Archive for April, 2010
You can currently get a free episode from iTunes (US). Some amazing footage on here. The birds of paradise were unbelievable. God’s creation is mind-blowing.
Theological emphasis is unique to Christianity. That is because Christians don’t earn salvation. It is a gift. Rodney Stark notes that the other world religions all share one teaching in common: self-salvation. Therefore, their focus is on behavior rather than God. They study rules and regulations–how to be good, to meet God’s standard. But because Christians believe that salvation is God’s gift, which can’t be earned, they study the giver. They focus on right belief about God himself–that is, theology.
~ William Farley, Gospel-Powered Parenting
That’s the name of a new book by Ted Kluck (co-author with DeYoung on Why We’re Not Emergent, and Why We Love the Church). It sounds like it will be a great read. Here’s the blurb.
There is perhaps no feeling lonelier than that of being a stranger in astrange land — an experience many adoptive parents know well. Touching down in a crowded airport, with tens of thousands of dollars in cash strapped around your waist, to pay people you’ve never met for a baby you’ve never seen . . . . You might have prayed for months, even years, about that moment, but it still often feels like the foreign country is a region God has forgotten, and that He has sent you there in vain. For the young Christian couple, perhaps the only feeling more paralyzing and lonely than the one I’ve described is that of infertility. There are pregnancy announcements nearly every week in the church bulletin, and not wanting to “rain on your friends’ parade,” you suffer and grieve together in silence.
This is the story of two international adoptions, complete with piles ofcash, passport checks, airport con-men, electrocution, and Ukrainian cops on our doorstep with guns. It’s all part of the wild ride that is internationaladoption. But so is God’s faithfulness taking new forms each day through the love of friends, the support of family, the comfort of Scripture, and thefellowship of a new church family in a foreign land. And so is the joy ofmeeting two boys who will soon become part of your family — the sensation of walking down narrow hallways through dark orphanages to say “hello” to your children for the first time.
Pascal: the measure of a true human being is the ability to sit alone in silence in a room.
I don’t know that this is anyone’s experience nowadays.
Most of the messages from the recent Together for the Gospel conference are up and look to be a feast. Speaking of feasts, I managed along to Illegal Jack’s today (sooner than expected) for a burrito and was not disappointed in the least. It doesn’t match Freebirds, but, living in Edinburgh, it was all I hoped for. And I even learned something while I was there, that fajitas are a Texan invention. Who knew?
Yesterday I took Anna to Edinburgh castle on a date. She was very excited about going and an unknown perk was that under 5s are free (which helped subsidise the overpriced attraction). Anna was quite chatty through the day and I thought I’d share two of those moments.
The first was when we were walking through the bit with all the royal history of Scotland leading up to the crown jewels and the stone of destiny (which is apparently the stone Joseph used to rest on when he saw the ladder going from earth to heaven, all I have to say is, if this was his pillow he must have been bigger than I’ve ever imagined him to be). As we made our way into the room with the jewels and stone Anna mentioned that everyone seemed to be very quiet around us. I mentioned that there was lots of writing on the walls and by the displays and people were reading them so they couldn’t talk. Her response? “We don’t need to read them because we already know everything.”
The second was a bit more surprising. We were in part of the royal residence and there was a massive painting of Charles II. I mentioned to Anna that he was an evil king and she asked why. I gave her a short answer in saying that he didn’t tell the truth to people and was unkind to people who loved Jesus. She responded, “Is it because he didn’t tell the truth about his child, that is wasn’t his child?” I’m not sure where Anna got that idea, she said she just made it up. But if memory serves me correctly, that is actually a very accurate description of Charles’ attempt to have a male heir (James) to follow him. Anyhow, I was quite impressed by Anna’s knowledge of British history. It is all intertwined with the history of the church, but I didn’t try to explain all of that to her.
Here are a few pictures from our day.
Orombi, Anglican Archbishop of Uganda, will be speaking in Edinburgh next week, 15 April at 11am at The Faith Mission Bible College. This is an excellent opportunity to hear a great man of faith and one who is playing a critical role in the Anglican communion and in Africa.
God is not a lucky charm, nor will he be manipulated by mankind, but that is exactly how Israel wanted to treat him. They thought God was a wee rabbit’s foot hanging from their key ring.
1 Sam 4.3 “And when the troops came to the camp, the elders of Israel said, “Why has the Lord defeated us today before the Philistines? Let us bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord here from Shiloh, that it may come among us and save us from the power of our enemies.” So the people sent to Shiloh and brought from there the ark of the covenant of the Lord of hosts, who is enthroned on the cherubim. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God. As soon as the ark of the covenant of the Lord came into the camp, all Israel gave a mighty shout, so that the earth resounded.”
The lucky charm had arrived and Israel thought they were invincible. Well, clearly they weren’t, and they thought God had let them down. So what do they do when they get the ark back (Ch 5-6)? They said (Ch 8), “God didn’t work, so let us have a king like the other nations. Maybe he will be a lucky charm that will better work for us.”
The people of Israel didn’t need a lucky charm, and neither do we. The people of Israel didn’t need a God they could manipulate for their own ends, and neither do we.
It’s not a lucky charm that we offer to people in Christ and in the gospel because just like the people of Israel, they’ll throw it out once life gets ugly and hard. No, we have a message of forgiveness and true life that transcends the difficulties of this life. It’s not a lucky charm we point people to, but a sovereign God.
You see, the people of Israel didn’t want God; they just wanted the things God would give them. And how easily we treat God the same way. God wants us to desire him for himself, not the things he can give. When we desire God only for the things he can give, we make him into an idol giver. Desire God. Desire Christ. Sing with the hymnists, “Give me Jesus,” and “Christ, or else I die.”