Saturday, May 31, 2008

Forty-Five Stabs in the Heart

Read this list. If you are not convicted by 50% of the statements, check your pulse. You may be dead.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Spiritual Senses and Suffering

On our drive back to Fargo from a weekend in the Twin Cities, Rebekah made a comment to me about how she wanted to be more concerned with spiritual health than physical health. This sparked a series of questions in my mind. And I thought it may be beneficial to share them.

  1. Do I desire to be more in tune spiritually than physically?
  2. Why is it that God made the physical so "real" and the spiritual so difficult to discern?
  3. Our senses (sight, smell, hearing, taste, touch) are obviously more in tune with the physical world than the spiritual. Are there spiritual equivalents to the physical senses?
  4. If I were to lose one of my physical senses, how would I respond?
  5. If I were to suffer in any capacity, how would I respond?
  6. If I fear suffering, do I trust God too little?
  7. Is there a way to trust God in suffering without actually suffering? (Or is that wishful thinking?)
  8. Is fear of suffering an indication that suffering is coming?
  9. Is there a direct relationship between suffering and spiritual awareness?
  10. Do I trust God that whatever happens is for the best, even if it means suffering?

Friday, May 23, 2008

American Idolatry: What Others Are Saying

In light of yesterday's post regarding American Idolatry, watch Mark Driscoll in this video:

In addition, Tom Stellar writes concerning 1 John 5:21:

"What, then, is idolatry? Idolatry is valuing any thing or any person more than the one true God. An idol is any thing or any person that takes center stage in our affections. God is a jealous God. He deserves center stage in our lives. Anything that usurps that place becomes an idol, whether it be a spouse, a child, a humanitarian project, or pornography, or drugs, or power over the poor, or religion. An idol is a god-substitute. Archeology limits idols to stone statues; biblical theology teaches that idols are any things that take the place of God in our lives. When understood this way, we can realize that idolatry is not ancient history but is alive and flourishing in America as we rush toward the twenty-first century.

"So John's closing command 'Little children, keep yourselves from idols' has as much relevance for our day as for any generation since creation."

Resolution 4

Resolved, never to do any manner of thing, whether in soul or body, less or more, but what tends to the glory of God; nor be, nor suffer it, if I can avoid it.

As best I can see, Edwards does not to wish to do anything, be anything, or suffer anything that does not exclusively bring glory to God.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

American Idolatry

Last night was the "American Idol" season finale. I was with Rebekah's family, working on wedding invitations, and thinking.

I pondered and decided that I wanted to address one very big issue with "American Idol:" idolatry. I think that there are many reasons why Christians should steer clear of the show, but for the sake of brevity I will leave them out or discuss them at a later date.

Let's look at a few of the many commands of Scripture that tell us to not put any gods before the one true God:

"Do not turn to idols or make for yourselves any gods of cast metal: I am the Lord your God." -Leviticus 19:4

"You shall not make idols for yourselves or erect an image or pillar, and you shall not set up a figured stone in your land to bow down to it, for I am the Lord your God." -Leviticus 26:1

"Therefore watch yourselves very carefully. Since you saw no form on the day that the Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire, beware lest you act corruptly by making a carved image for yourselves, in the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female, the likeness of any animal that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the air, the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the water under the earth." -Deuteronomy 4:15-18

"I am the Lord; that is my name;
my glory I give to no other,
nor my praise to carved idols." -Isaiah 42:8

"But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one." -1 Corinthians 5:11

"Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry." -1 Corinthians 10:14

"What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said,
'I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them,
and I will be their God,
and they shall be my people.'" -2 Corinthians 6:16

"Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God." -Galatians 5:19-21

"Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming." -Colossians 3:5-6

Little children, keep yourselves from idols." -1 John 5:21

"You shall have no other gods before me." -Exodus 20:3

"You shall have no other gods before me." -Deuteronomy 5:7

Ok. Idolatry is no good according to God. Here is my concern. Look at Colossians 3:5-6 again. As Christians we are good at steering clear of sexual immorality, impurity, passion, and evil desire (or at least condemning them). We take many precautions against such sin. But the last one Paul mentions is "covetousness, which is idolatry."

Think about the exchange that occurs when watching "American Idol." Some of us wish to be that individual on the stage. We covet his or her position. "Boy, I wish I could sing like that," we say. While coveting that persons position in the world we commit idolatry. We are essentially saying, "God, I know what is best for me and it is what you did not make me." That, Paul says, is idolatry.

The other exchange is a little simpler. It is putting a any person or any thing in place of God. "American Idol" so blatantly does this. Everyone is so excited about these people singing. And in the process we elevate the creature above the Creator. Bad idea says Paul in Romans 1.

I know that I am picking on "American Idol" here. This exists in many more areas including Hollywood, sports, and basically any form of media. We elevate people and product to a status that is higher than God.

However, I do appeal to you in this manner: "American Idol" does not disguise its defiance of Biblical truth. Do not be deceived.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Prince Caspian: Many Reviews

I have not seen Disney's depiction of C.S. Lewis' Prince Caspian yet. Movie going falls outside of my budget. However, many respectable people have viewed the film and written some nice reviews on it. Here are some that caught my eye.

  1. Stand to Reason blog: "Prince Caspian: Good Film that Misses the Mark."
  2. John Mark Reynolds: "Prince Caspian: Better than the Book, Wonderful Film."
  3. Frederica Mathewes-Green: "Movie Trumps Book."
  4. Gender blog: "C.S. Lewis, Prince Caspian, and Women in Combat Part 1" and "Part 2."
Also, check out the Christianity Today interview with the director, Andrew Adamson, and Leland Ryken's "The Imagination of C.S. Lewis."

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Easy Mac vs. Diligence

I ate Easy Mac today. I really didn't want to make anything too complicated. How bad could it be?

I was shocked at how terrible it was compared to regular mac 'n' cheese. All to save 5-10 minutes. Disgusting.

"The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing,
while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied." 
-Proverbs 13:4

What a profound Biblical truth. When I crave the Word of God but my laziness wins out, I get nothing. But my soul is saturated with all it needs and more when I spend diligent time in Scripture.

What do I desire more? The pool of Easy Mac I am wallowing in or an infinite God who provides for all of my needs all of the time and is entirely satisfying without fail from before time began to eternity? I hope that it is the latter.

"Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased."
-C.S. Lewis

Lord, I pray that I will desire that which satisfies me the most.

Tree of the Week (5.20.08)

Monday, May 19, 2008

Churches, Do Not Abandon Downtown

I have lived if Fargo for nearly four years now and I have observed several things.

  1. People run stoplights and stop signs like they don't even exist.
  2. The restaurant to person ratio is approximately 7 to 1.
  3. Apartment complexes are being built at an astronomical rate. And yet I see many neon-colored signs in front of the 10 year old complexes because they can't rent out all their units.
  4. When shopping at Wal-Mart, the average wait time in line is 15 minutes. Three blocks away at Sunmart, the average wait time in line is .15 minutes.
  5. There are a million one acre parks. I wish there was a one million acre park.
  6. Everyone goes to lunch at noon. The line at Subway does not exist at 11:55, but at noon it's out the door.
  7. In addition to number 6, everyone gets done with work at between 4 and 4:30 making traffic ridiculous for a half hour every day.
  8. If a Fargo driver is on a street with more than one lane and has to turn right in 3 miles, that driver will make sure and be in the right lane the whole time no matter how many cars are already in that lane or how slow traffic is going in that lane. This creates quite a large amount of congestion, but only in one lane. The other lanes are usually empty.
  9. Fargo is one big suburb with no urban area.
  10. Number ten is the one I want to discuss in short. While number nine is true, according to my observation this is about to change. Here is number ten: many churches in Fargo, that have seen a significant amount of growth the past few years, are moving south.

Why do I want to focus on number ten? Because as Fargo develops more and more of an urban area, there is going to be a larger call on churches to participate in urban affairs. This is an exciting time for the Fargo community. Along with urbanization comes new and exciting cultures as well as a heightened sense of community. So why are some churches vacating the downtown area?

I understand that part of the issues is space. Churches that grow need more of it. What I hope is that their relocation is not out of fear. I want to scream when I hear people say that with urban areas are cesspools of crime and drug culture. That kind of thinking is a blatant subscription to unwarranted stereotypes and needs to be removed. And while it might be a while before we see a large urban area in Fargo, churches need to be present during the urbanization process. Churches that run for the suburbs when a neighborhood gets a little tough need to reassess their mission. If churches stuck around before the bad times hit and invested in their immediate community, maybe the crime and drug culture would not become as predominate.

I pray that Fargo churches would not dash for the outskirts of town. If it's space that is needed plant a church or start a new campus. If it's funds that are needed, trust God to provide.

Urban areas allow for a mighty impact.

Churches, do not abandon downtown.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Five Reasons Why Today Was A Good Day

  1. This morning's sermon was about hope. Hope is the desired end, not absence of trouble. Good reminder.
  2. I had a wonderful meal with my almost in-laws.
  3. It was absolutely beautiful outside. Nice days mean a lot in Fargo because often the wind blows 40 mph and the last of the snow just melted.
  4. I disc golfed.
  5. I know that tomorrow God's mercies are new. His faithfulness is great.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Pursuing Joy

Taken from Profiting from the Scriptures by AW Pink

"The ungodly are ever seeking after joy, but they do not find it: they busy and weary themselves in the pursuit of it, yet all in vain. Their hearts being turned from the Lord, they look downward for joy, where it is not; rejecting the substance, they diligently run after the shadow, only to be mocked by it. It is the sovereign decree of heaven that nothing can make sinners truly happy but God in Christ; but this they will not believe, and therefore they go from creature to creature, from one broken cistern to another, inquiring where the best joy is to be found. Each worldly thing which attracts them says, It is found in me; but soon it disappoints. Nevertheless, they go on seeking it afresh today in the very thing which deceived them yesterday. If after many trials they discover the emptiness of one creature comfort, then they turn to another, only to verify our Lord’s word,

'Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again' (John 4:13).

Going now to the other extreme: there are some Christians who suppose it to be sinful to rejoice. No doubt many of our readers will be surprised to hear this but let them be thankful they have been brought up in sunnier surroundings, and bear with us while we labor with those less favored. Some have been taught—largely by implication and example, rather than by plain inculcation—that it is their duty to be gloomy. They imagine that feelings of joy are produced by the Devil appearing as an angel of light. They conclude that it is well-nigh a species of wickedness to be happy in such a world of sin as we are in. They think it presumptuous to rejoice in the knowledge of sins forgiven, and if they see young Christians so doing they tell them it will not be long before they are floundering in the Slough of Despond.

'Rejoice evermore' (1 Thessalonians 5:16). It surely cannot be unsafe to do what God has commanded us. The Lord has placed no embargo on rejoicing. No, it is Satan who strives to make us hang up our harps. There is no precept in Scripture bidding us 'Grieve in the Lord always: and again I say, Grieve'; but there is an exhortation which bids us,

'Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous: for praise is comely for the upright' (Psalm 33:1).

Reader, if you are a real Christian (and it is high time you tested yourself by Scripture and made sure of this point), then Christ is yours, all that is in Him is yours."

Friday, May 16, 2008

Me + No Job = Photoshop

A Two Cent Quatrain

For those of us who just finished our college career many brutal questions pose themselves. Uncertainty is the turkey on the thanksgiving day table of the college graduate. Will someone please put this into perspective?

Enter my fellow NDSU grad, Jordan:

Freedom, in Grace

Where to live?
Where I can work.
Why work,
When I can live?

Sorry 'Bout That

Yesterday I got on my soapbox and told everyone how and why they should subscribe to blogs in my entry entitled, RSS: An Untapped Resource.

Little did I know that the RSS icon that shows up in the URL field was set to send you to an unknown feed. Smooth.

Well, the problem has been fixed. If you tried to subscribe using that icon in the URL field and were unsuccessful, just try doing it again. It works now. Promise.

Subscribe away.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Delight Yourself in the Lord

"Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart." 
-Psalm 37:4

If I delight myself in the Lord, I will be delighting in what I desire.

If I desire the Lord, I will be desiring what I delight in.

The Lord is my heart's desire. And He will give me more of Himself.


RSS: An Untapped Resource

More than 90% of the world's internet users do not subscribe to blogs or newsfeeds or anything. Why? It's a mystery to me. But if you read a blog or news online, I urge you to check out RSS (Real Simple Syndication).

Subscribing to feeds is about the easiest, simplest thing in the world. Just look for the . Not subscribing is like swimming from California to Hawaii. Subscribing is like swimming across the kiddie pool. It makes things that easy. This is not an exaggeration! (Well, maybe a little)

Maybe people just don't know about subscribing to blogs or news. Here is a helpful video in understanding why it's a good idea to make use of RSS.

The main point is that you do not have to visit every blog or news site directly in order to read it. You can simply subscribe to your favorite blog on your reader and concentrate on reading, not on searching.

Recently, there was a post entitled A Step by Step Guide to Google Reader on the Desiring God Blog. Check it out. It is a great resource in understanding Google Reader and the importance of making use of RSS.

Also check out the official RSS Day website. It discusses the benefits of RSS and how it can help you.

Subscribing lets me know that you are reading my blog and enjoying it and making use of RSS is free and you do not have to give out any personal information.

This is my plea to you to subscribe to my blog and to others. I am not the only blogger in the world who likes to see that people are reading his or her material. Subscribing to blogs builds the bloggers credibility and gives us more of a reason to continue blogging. Read Abraham Piper's "22 Reasons to Subscribe" on his blog, 22 Words.

So, using RSS is simple and beneficial to both the reader and the blogger. You can always subscribe to as many blogs or news feeds that you like and unsubscribe to them whenever you like.

If you are still confused about subscribing, leave a remark! I would be more than willing to help you out.

I would love to have you subscribe to my blog!

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Add to Google Reader or Homepage

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Thank You, Rebekah

About a month ago my lovely bride-to-be wrote me a poem. What a blessing she has been!

Psalm 25:15, For Caleb

All Grace is given to the sinful soul
From Jesus – the atoning sacrifice.
Oh! How His brokenness will make you whole,
His mercies are new after every night.
The child with feet all tangled in the net
Must only fix his gaze above his plight.
For Jesus will be seen and he’ll be met
Cut free from bondage – carried by His might.
Why is all grace given at such expense
That Christ – who knew no sin became as such?
It’s for His Father’s sake and nothing hence
Will mar His Glory; Jesus made it much.
He will not leave us in our broken state,
His desire for God’s Glory is too great.

I love this poem for three reasons:

  1. It references one of the most encouraging verses in Scripture: "My eyes are ever toward the Lord, for he will pluck my feet out of the net." -Psalm 25:15
  2. Christ is the primary actor and the subject of the poem. Man is being acted upon and is secondary.
  3. The final couplet states "He will not leave us in our broken state/His desire for God's Glory is too great." Christ was completely subservient and obedient to the Father because He knew that it was for the Glory of God. By Grace we become the beneficiaries of this wonderful truth.
Thank you, Rebekah!


I got dunked this past Sunday.

I was baptized as an infant, but since that day my theology concerning baptism has changed considerably, given the fact that I now possess the ability to comprehend the world around me.

Check out Brett's blog to find out all the double dunking details.

Baptism has been a bit of a difficult topic for me. I guess I know where I stand theologically, but I constantly struggled with the right time and place to be baptized. I was always worried that my heart would not be in the right place. And if it were up to me, it would never be in the right place.

One word: Grace.

Well. Sunday morning rolled around and God made Grace as real as it ever has been to me. I was moved deeply by God's Grace throughout the service until I went into the tank and it continued throughout the day.

Shoot. I just need to trust that God will get me where I need to go. He makes my heart right, not me.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Tree of the Week (5.13.08)

I like trees. Trees are in the Bible. Therefore I dub this blog segment "Tree of the Week."

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
whose trust is the Lord.
He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
for it does not cease to bear fruit.” -Jeremiah 17:7-8

"The trees of the LORD are watered abundantly, the cedars of Lebanon that he planted." -Psalm 104:16

"So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, 'Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.'" -Luke 19:4-5

Monday, May 12, 2008

Resolutions 2 & 3

Since Resolutions 2 & 3 essentially go to support Resolution 1, I am posting them together.

Resolved, to be continually endeavoring to find out some new invention and contrivance to promote the aforementioned things.

Edwards decides that he must exert energy and make it his ultimate aim to keep Resolution 1. And in that he must find fresh new ways to continue to carry out Resolution 1 in his life.

Resolved, if ever I shall fall and grow dull, so as to neglect to keep any part of these Resolutions, to repent of all I can remember, when I come to myself again.

If Edwards were to become lazy in the things that he resolved, and his lack of diligence is brought to his attention, then repentance would be the proper response. This one is extremely important when you consider the lofty nature of the resolutions that follow.

Recognize Your Mom for Real

This morning I read a brief article on about the founding of Mother's Day 100 years ago. The article was called "Mother's Day Founder Opposed Commercialization."

Ann Jarvis, the founder of Mother's Day, hated the idea of commercializing Mother's Day. Most of us these days send our mothers card or flowers or gifts, but "Anna Jarvis would want us to give mothers a white carnation — she felt it signified the purity of a mother's love." And when the holiday continued down the path of materialism "Jarvis became known for scathing letters in which she would berate people who purchased greeting cards, saying they were too lazy to write personal letters 'to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world.'"

Jarvis died in 1948 and was arrested earlier that year on Mother's Day for disturbing the peace in protest of a Mother's Day celebration in New York.

In 2008 it was estimated that Americans will spend a grand total of $15 billion on their mothers.

Mothers deserve to be recognized. But not with blatant materialism. They deserve to be honored with our words and our actions and our appreciation. Thank God for them. Abraham Piper used his blog, "22 Words", as the venue to honor his mother.

If you want to honor your mother more than with the greeting card, e-card, flowers, or even jewelry that you bought her, then write her a poem, a song, a letter, or just make a list of things that you appreciate about her. That would honor her deeply.

Less Sand: The Fruit of a Storm

Sometimes I think in photoshop. Here is what has been going on in my mind:

Things are good. The sun is shining. There is sand beneath your feet. You are learning about the Hand that upholds you, but you hope to know Him more...

Then a storm comes. The rain is beating down. The wind is blowing. The sand beneath your feet is swirling. And you feel like the bottom is falling out. Where is the Hand you have been learning about?

It's not until the storm ends that you see the Hand was there the whole time. But some of the sand that used to be below your feet is gone. And you are more aware of the Hand than you have ever been before...

The storm is weathered. There is less sand between you and the Hand. Could it be that the Hand used the storm to draw you closer to Himself?

Thursday, May 08, 2008

DL Moody?

When I visited Southern Baptist Theological Seminary over my Christmas vacation I took this picture:

Initially I thought it was pretty sweet to see DL Moody's graduation picture from Southern. I didn't know that DL Moody went to Southern. Well, this one did.

However, I was thinking about this picture today and I sensed that this picture was far too recent to be the actual DL Moody. I wikipediaed Moody and found that he died in 1899. This is the Southern graduating class of 1958. So who is this guy? Is he related to DL Moody? I found a family tree going through DL Moody's grandkids, but part of it was cut off and I could not tell if that was the case. Am I missing something here?

Does anyone know who this DL Moody is?

A Metaphorical Safari

Watch this outrageous video.

This is how I am watching it:

Baby Water Buffalo: You/Me
Lions: Sin
Alligator: Satan/the World
Herd of Water Buffalo: The Body of Christ/the means which God uses to encourage and protect us

Praise God for the Body of Christ!

Resolution 1: What does it mean?

It was suggested to me that I include a 21st century interpretation of the Resolutions of Jonathan Edward that I post on a weekly basis. If I miss the mark on any one of the resolutions please correct me or include your own input. And hopefully some beneficial discussion will ensue.

First, Edwards resolves to "do whatsoever I think to be most to God's glory." I think this piece is the fundamental basis for the rest of the resolution. And then he resolves to seek "my own good, profit and pleasure, in the whole of my duration, without any consideration of the time, whether now, or never so many myriad's of ages hence." This is all founded on God's glory. The greatest good that we can seek and the greatest profit and pleasure that we can desire will come when we strive to glorify God in all that we do and when we understand that the only good, the only profit, and the only pleasure there is comes through Christ.

Secondly, Edwards resolves to "do whatever I think to be my duty and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general." Again, this is placed squarely on the glory of God. Our duty is to glorify God. This will benefit every area of our lives, including our interactions with others.

Finally, there is a resolution to keep the resolutions.

I see this first resolution firmly founded in the Great Commandment. And the second resolution founded in the second greatest commandment. Both are found in Matthew 22:34-40.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Resolution 1

In 1722 Jonathan Edwards made some resolutions. Seventy in fact. They are big. I am planning to meditate on one each week and post it. And "being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God's help, I do humbly entreat him by his grace to enable me to keep these Resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to his will, for Christ's sake. Remember to read over these Resolutions once a week." Those were Edwards' words, not mine. But I am going to adopt them. So here is resolution #1:

Resolved, that I will do whatsoever I think to be most to God's glory, and my own good, profit and pleasure, in the whole of my duration, without any consideration of the time, whether now, or never so many myriad's of ages hence. Resolved to do whatever I think to be my duty and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general. Resolved to do this, whatever difficulties I meet with, how many and how great soever.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Too Much Culture

Ever wonder what would happen if the culture had a larger impact on a church than Scripture? Well, it happened in a big way at Mars Hill Bible Church. Jeff Robinson posted his findings at in an article entitled Engaged by the Culture: Michigan Megachurch Goes Egalitarian.

Mark Driscoll addresses the danger of cultural issues permeating Biblical Principles in this video. Check it out.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Unemployed, But More Like Christ

It was a rough day.

Two weeks ago I interviewed for a job. A job that I was supposed to get. No problem. That's what I thought and that was the problem.

My certainty was my pride. I prayed about the job, but presumptuously. I was qualified, over-qualified even, from a worldly standpoint at least.

When I found out that I had not been selected for the job, I was surprised.

Then I thought to myself, "God has something better. Probably higher pay, more flexibility, or something fabulous." Hmmm.

Let's take that thought and break it down. "God has something better." Indeed that is true. "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28).

But what about the higher pay, more flexibility, something fabulous part? Well, it may not work that way. Jesus says, "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matthew 6:19-21). Yeah. I can work with that. But now combine the two notions.

What does God have that is better? Jesus Christ. What is my treasure? Jesus Christ. Not money. Not flexibility. Not fabulous earthly stuff. "For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that He may be the firstborn among many brothers" (Romans 8:29). That's better.

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts." -Isaiah 55:8-9

"Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, 'You shall be holy, for I am holy.'" -1 Peter 1:13-16

I guess that I needed to be reminded of these things and humbled. What I think is best, may not be the best. I can pray for higher pay and more flexibility. If I ask for bread, will God give me a stone? Or a fish, will I get a serpent? Of course not! But if I ask for a stone or a serpent, and God's ways and thoughts are higher than mine and He always works for my good, then I will always receive bread and fish. It may not be what I want initially, but I will trust that it is best.

I need to be more like Christ and less like the world and if it takes not getting a job to rid me of my self-reliance that is keeping from being more like Christ, then so be it.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Globalization and the Gospel

We live in a world that is shrinking at an exponential rate. Global communication is becoming easier and easier. Many countries are becoming economically interdependent. Institutions, like the European Union, are making an effort to unite an entire continent, asking states to respond to a higher authority without domination by an authoritarian regime. With all of these things going on, how should Christians respond?

I think that there are two general responses that followers of Christ can choose from.

  1. Isolate ourselves
  2. Use opportunities for the sake of the Gospel
You can see where this is going. I just had a conversation with my mother about the state that the world is in. She asked if I was seeing things that would make me think that Christ's return was imminent. She was obviously referring to things that she had been hearing about globalization.

Here is the response to the question that I think is wrong: Yes. Christ's return is imminent. Globalization is a sign of it. I will not engage the world in any capacity and essentially isolate myself from the world.

Here is the proper response: Yes. Christ's return is imminent. Globalization may be a sign of it. Now is the time to act. Use the tools that are in place through the global communication process to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ. Send God-glorifying emails. Make God-glorifying websites. Write God-glorifying blogs. Do God-glorifying business in the global marketplace. Learn about other nations that you have the ability to communicate with like never before and communicate with them in a God-glorifying way.

Now, there will be objections to these things I am sure. For example: As Christians it is wrong to engage the world by the means of global communication, primarily the internet. This is because the internet makes pornography available and is a tool used by terrorists. I disagree heartily with this logic. If this is the argument then we must do away with all forms of communication all the way down to the post office. Pornography and anthrax both can be sent through the mail, but would we be so quick to do away with this service? The internet, as a communications platform, is no different. Very few people would probably make an argument against the post office, a means by which potentially carried Scripture from Paul's hand to his church-plants in the Roman Empire.

Globalization, or "international integration" in its literal sense, is important and glorifying to God. "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations" (Matthew 28:19)... The Gospel is meant to be integrated into all nations.