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Showing posts from March, 2011

Comedy or Tragedy?

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When people ask me if I'm optimistic or pessimistic about the future, I say, "Both, of course!"

I'm very optimistic about the grace of God triumphing over evil. In the end, God wins. Evil will be banished and righteousness will prevail. Leland Ryken describes the scene of the new heaven and new earth portrayed by the apostle John:
The climactic vision of Revelation is this vision of heaven. It is pictured in symbolic terms--as a transformed or new place and as a city that combines features that no earthly city can possess. The emphasis is on motifs of permanence and transcendence; splendor; the bliss and perfection of the citizens of the city; the beauty of the place, freedom from intrusions of sin; absence of fallen experience; the banishment of all evil; the satisfaction of all human needs and longings; the life-giving, light-shining presence of the Lamb... The garden of perfection at the beginning of the Bible is here completed in a city of perfection.
I'm very …

Family Movie Night

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Last night was 'Family Movie Night' at Redlands. We had our dinner as usually at 6 pm, followed by a special Spring Break edition of our normal mid-week gathering. It was "a break form Spring Break," complete with popcorn, candy, and Lord of the Beans on the "big screen." We learned the importance of using your gifts for the glory of God and the good of others.

Just in case you don't have plans for your Spring Break weekend, I thought I would recommend some movies that you can actually watch with the kids (or your parents) and may have missed (or need to watch again):

1. Chariots of Fire This is still my favorite movie. Recently, the kids, Heather and I watch it for the first time together. The race scenes still get my heart pumping. What struck me this time was the scene when Eric Liddell reads verses from Isaiah 40 while athletes’ greatest efforts come to nothing. In light of the recent fall of dictators and the threat to empires, the scene became for …

Was Bonhoeffer an Evangelical?

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Eric Metaxas' biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer made my top ten list for books last year. It is actually the best biography I've read in a long time. (Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand comes in a close second.) Metaxas has been criticized for presenting Bonhoeffer as too evangelical. Here is his reply, in classic Eric Metaxas style.

Critics have said that you paint Bonhoeffer as "too evangelical." I thought that you portrayed the whole of Bonhoeffer's theology, even quoting lengthy excerpts from his books. How do you respond to this criticism?

I find the criticism hilarious on the one hand and tragic on the other. Bonhoeffer and any other serious Christian is less concerned with being an "evangelical"—whatever that really means—than with being a Christian, a devoted disciple of Jesus Christ. One thing I have said over and over: I never set out to paint any portrait of Bonhoeffer other than what I saw, for good or for ill. That some seem to think that I have …

You Know You're Preaching the Gospel When...

Felipe Assis, pastor of CrossBridge Miami, wrote a top 10 list for Gospel preachers. I think it is well worth reading even if you're not a preacher. He notes that "most sermons among the most famous evangelical preachers of our day could be preached by Dr. Phil, Deepak Chopra, and Oprah without a problem." This, of course, is a problem. Whether you are preaching in a pulpit, teaching a Sunday School class, explaining Scripture to your children, evaluating a sermon, or just reading the Bible on your own, this list will help.

You know you’re preaching the gospel effectively when…

1. In your prep you are able to see Jesus in light of every text and every text in light of Jesus. Jesus is the hermeneutical key to unlock every text because every text fulfills its main purpose when it reveals Christ. He said so himself (Lk 24:25-27,44).

2. Your reasoning sounds deep to mature Christians and simple to non-Christians. Both groups of people are not used to see Jesus in the Bible. The…