Showing posts from January, 2012

The “Life-Fire” of God’s Word

In 1854, at the age of twenty and just four years after his conversion, Charles H. Spurgeon became pastor of London’s New Park Street Church. His ministry grew so much that the 6,000-seat Metropolitan Tabernacle was built to accommodate the congregation. In “The Mustard Seed: A Sermon for the Sabbath-School Teacher” he spoke of the power of the gospel, and his words extende to the whole of Scripture. The human can never rival the divine, for it lacks the life-fire. It is better to preach five words of God’s Word than five million words of man’s wisdom. Men’s words may seem to be the wiser and more attractive, but there is no heavenly life in them. Within God’s Word, however simple it may be, there dwells an omnipotence like that of God, from whose lips it came.

The Book that Would Understand Me

From Princeton philosopher Emile Cailliet (in Eternity Magazine, July 1974):
I was born in a small village of France and received an education that was naturalistic to the core. This could possibly have had a great deal to do with the fact that I did not even see a Bible before I reached the age of twenty-three.To say that this naturalistically inspired education proved of little help through front-line experiences as a lad of twenty in World War I would amount to quite an understatement. When your own buddy - at the time speaking to you of his mother - dies standing in front of you, a bullet in his chest, what use is the sophistry of naturalism? Was there a meaning to it all?One night a bullet got me, too. An American field ambulance crew saved my life and later the use of a badly shattered arm was restored. After a nine-month stay at the hospital, I was discharged and resumed graduate work.During my stay at the American hospital, I had married a Scotch-Irish girl whom I had met in Ge…

Fewer Meetings, More Parties

This past weekend we were invited to one party (a going away party for a friend) and threw another (Emily's 13th birthday party). Both were a blast and reminded me that we "should do this more often." Then I read the following today regarding Jesus' calling of Levi, the tax collector and the party that ensued.
"We seem to have forgotten an important dimension of what Christianity is all about: the kingdom of God is a party. Our Jesus was and is the Lord of the party" (Tony Campolo).Probably the main thing my friends and I would miss if our church didn't exist would be our community parties! I think this is born from a conviction that parties can be a sign of the kingdom if they deliberately include those on the outside, those considered unacceptable by others. Today's story once again powerfully demonstrates Jesus' focus on people on the margins, with parties as a key element. In Jesus' day tax officials were extortionists, Roman collaborator…

"Missions Exists because Worship Doesn't" by John Piper

Missions is not the ultimate goal of the Church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn’t. Worship is ultimate, not missions, because God is ultimate, not man. When this age is over, and the countless millions of the redeemed fall on their faces before the throne of God, missions will be no more. It is a temporary necessity. But worship abides forever. Worship, therefore, is the fuel and goal of missions. It’s the goal of missions because in missions we simply aim to bring the nations into the white hot enjoyment of God’s glory. The goal of missions is the gladness of the peoples in the greatness of God. “The Lord reigns; let the earth rejoice; let the many coastlands be glad!” (Ps 97:1). “Let the peoples praise thee, O God; let all the peoples praise thee! Let the nations be glad and sing for joy!” (Ps 67:3-4). But worship is also the fuel of missions. Passion for God in worship precedes the offer of God in preaching. You can’t commend what you don’t cherish. Missionaries…

I Use to Be Skinny

I'm overweight. For many who know me this will be a surprise--especially for those who knew me in high school and college. I use to be as skinny as my son, Eli. Now, the proverbial "6 pounds you gain between Thanksgiving and New Year's" have become 10. The Rubicon came last night when my wife, Heather, felt my belly and said with a shock, "What is that?!"

Something must be done.

This may seem like a very hard turn, but all this reminded me of an article I read years ago by David Wells in which he asserted that we have settled for a "skinny God." We diminish God's glory, he says. We are suspicious and ungrateful for his goodness. We would rather make ourselves the center of attention than have God be the focus of our lives. In the process, Wells points out, we substitute our importance for his greatness. Our self-obsession results in the shrinking of our souls. Diminishing God diminishes us.

Perhaps I should be less concerned about my expandin…