Monthly Archives: January 2007

 

Jan

31

2007

Trevin Wax|6:58 am CT

Book Review: The Narrated Bible in Chronological Order

The Narrated BibleOne of my goals this year was to read the entire Bible during the month of January. Corina bought me The Narrated Bible in Chronological Order (NIV)
for Christmas, and I found it to be a helpful guide to reading the Bible as a narrative.

Every pastor should own this Bible. It is extremely helpful in the way it lays out the historical narrative. Two sections deserve particular mention. First, the Law of Moses is arranged topically. Laws from Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy are harmonized and combined into one section which is broken down in outline form. This helps the reader gain a good overview of the substance of the Mosaic Law. Secondly, the minor prophets can be rather intimidating for today’s readers. This Bible takes you through the narrative of 1&2 Chronicles by interspersing the prophetic writings. That way, you know exactly what time period each prophet is from.

I have a few quibbles with this Bible. I question some of the editor’s chronology. For example, he places Jesus’ crucifixion on Thursday instead of Friday. The Gospels are harmonized, and unfortunately the editor does not leave footnotes that explain (or even bring to attention) apparent contradictions. Also, the author’s narration is sometimes too detailed, and other times not detailed enough.

Still, The Narrated Bible in Chronological Order is a very helpful guide to pastors and laypeople alike. I highly recommend it.

written by Trevin Wax. © 2007 Kingdom People Blog

 
 

Jan

30

2007

Trevin Wax|6:48 am CT

4 Books Every Thinking Christian Should Read

Mere ChristianityWhy Christianity Makes Sense

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Now Shall We Live?

Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity (Study Guide Edition)

 
 

Jan

29

2007

Trevin Wax|6:42 am CT

In, Not Of

saltshaker.jpg“I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.”
- Jesus, praying on the night of His betrayal (John 17:15)

Faced with persecution and marginalization, Christians have often felt like prisoners, citizens of heaven biding their time on a hostile earth. This feeling sometimes leads us to adopt ways of thinking that hold us back from being a truly transforming presence in our world.

On the night of His betrayal, Jesus prayed, not that God would snatch His people out of the world, but that He would protect them from the evil one. We can take heart in knowing that this world is the place Jesus wants us to be. But living in the world without being of the world still puzzles Christians.

Many believe that to be “in and not of” means to eek out a physical existence on planet earth while participating in as few “worldly” activities as possible. Retreating to our Christian ghetto of activities, music, books, and bracelets, we eventually separate ourselves until we are neither of nor in the world in any true sense at all.

Others believe that to be in the world means to dive headfirst into the world’s way of doing things – adopting the prevailing culture’s lifestyles, values, philosophies, and actions. But these adapt so well that they can hardly prove they are not of the same material as the lost people around them.

Salt is no good in the saltshaker. God calls us to be a preserving influence that flavors the world we live in. But salt without saltiness isn’t any good either. Jesus does not pray that we will be taken out of the world, whether by our own retreat to the Christian fortress that stands aloof and distant from the lost world around, or by accommodating our beliefs to culture. He prays that, while we shine our light in the darkness, we will be kept from the evil one. We are in, not of. We should join our voices and echo the prayer of Jesus – that God would keep us from evil while we fulfill His purpose for us on earth.

 
 

Jan

28

2007

Trevin Wax|6:54 am CT

The Perfect Prayer to Start the Day

sunrise6.jpg

I’ve come across many “Morning Prayers” from believers in previous generations, but I have yet to find a richer or more appropriate prayer for organizing my thoughts every morning than this one, from the Book of Common Prayer.

“Almighty and everlasting Father,
You have brought me in safety to this new day.
Preserve me with Your mighty power
     that I might not sin
     nor be overcome by adversity,
and in all I do, direct me to the fulfillment of Your purpose,
        through Jesus Christ our Lord,
        Amen.”

 
 

Jan

27

2007

Trevin Wax|6:58 am CT

Glad Suffering Better than Gratitude

“… Suffering with joy, not gratitude in wealth, is the way the worth of Jesus shines most brightly…”

“You cannot show the preciousness of a person by being happy with his gifts. Ingratitude will certainly prove that the giver is not loved. But gratitude for gifts does not prove that the giver is precious. What proves that the giver is precious is the glad-hearted readiness to leave all his gifts to be with him.”

- John Piper, “Why God Appoints Suffering for His Servants” from Suffering and the Sovereignty of God

See more Quotes of the Week

 
 

Jan

25

2007

Trevin Wax|6:48 am CT

Why We Are Pro-Life

thumb.jpgEvery January, Southern Baptists mark the sad anniversary of Roe vs. Wade by celebrating the sanctity, or sacredness or human life. It’s actually a celebration of the God who cherishes his creation.

Scripture often refers to God as the God of the fatherless and the widow.  “God executes justice for the fatherless and the widow” (Deut. 10:18). ”Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation” (Ps. 68:5). 

In Bible times, as in many places in our world even today, widows and orphans were the most vulnerable people in society. They were people without a voice. To be orphaned was to be abandoned. To be a widow with no immediate family members was to be impoverished.

But God declares that He is the Father of the fatherless and the protector of widows. He is the God of the oppressed. He is the one who hears the cries of those who have no voice. And that is why we, as Christians, are pro-life. We are pro-life, because our God is pro-life.

We believe human beings have a right to live – because of who they are – as image bearers of God – not because of what they do – as productive members of society. We do not judge the worth of a person by their usefulness to society. But sadly, our culture is beginning to do just that.

Human embryos are disposable - maybe useful for future medical research. And thus an embryo’s value is found it what it can be used for, not in what it is.

The unborn have no voice. They cannot yet think or reason, so their rights depend on the circumstances of the mother. They have value only if they are “wanted,” and they can be terminated if they are “unwanted.”

The senior citizen battling dementia – what useful purpose does she serve for society? Why not allow her to die? After all, euthanasia provides “death with dignity.” Society thinks the elderly have no value in who they are, as fellow human beings who bear the image of God, but in what they can do to serve society.

We must fight against our society’s mindset with the most powerful weapon in the Christian arsenal – compassion. We must make it clear that the reason we prize human life is because God prizes human life – at all stages.
      The human life of an embryo in a science lab
      The human life of an unborn baby in development
      The human life of an expectant mother faced with a crisis
      The human life of a mentally handicapped child
      The human life of a man in a vegetative state
      The human life of an elderly woman in a nursing home

Our approach to abortion is the compassionate one. We stand up for those who have no choice, those who have no voice. Through the work of pregnancy support centers, we walk alongside hurting mothers, helping them through pregnancy after they decide to preserve their baby’s life. We are there to counsel the other women who feel the enormous burden of guilt after having taken their child’s life.

Our approach to the elderly is the same. We do not agree with the term “death with dignity,” because no death is ever dignified. Death is a mar on God’s good creation. It is our greatest enemy.

But our Savior – the one who raised the widow’s son, congratulated the poor, raised up the oppressed and gave voice to the voiceless – He himself defeated death on Easter morning, unleashing God’s new creation into our world.

And that is why we are pro-life. In God’s eyes, every human life is precious. Every human being bears his fingerprints. Every person – from the embryo to the elderly – deserves life.

May God give us the courage to show the love of the Father to the fatherless.

written by Trevin Wax. © 2007 Kingdom People Blog

 
 

Jan

24

2007

Trevin Wax|6:56 am CT

Book Review: A Mind for God

A Mind for GodJames Emery White’s A Mind for God (Intervarsity Press, 2006) is a short book emphasizing the need for Christians to cultivate their minds. Nothing that White says in this book is particularly new; Christian thinkers have been advocating immersion in the Christian worldview for decades now.

What makes White’s book stand out is its brevity. At just over 100 pages, this small book serves as a very concise declaration of Christianity’s need for biblical thinkers. It is not designed to provide Christians with a biblical worldview. Instead, it points us in the right direction. Especially helpful are the appendices in the back of the book which list important books from the past three thousand years.

White’s book is a clarion call to evangelical Christians to begin cultivating the life of the mind. His view of the future is hopeful, his advice practical, and his words should be heeded by our generation.

written by Trevin Wax. © 2007 Kingdom People Blog

 
 

Jan

23

2007

Trevin Wax|6:38 am CT

5 Tips for Good Tipping

dscf1556.JPGIt looks like my days as a waiter have come to an end. During my year-and-a-half stint as a Cracker Barrel “server,” people often asked me about the difference between a normal tip and a good tip. Since we represent Jesus Christ wherever we go, even a restaurant, I assume that all Christians want to faithfully represent the Savior through their generosity. Here are several tips to becoming a good tipper.

1. Realize that your waiter/waitress probably knows you are a Christian.
     Think about it. Did you pray before the meal? Are you attending just after church, dressed up and looking nice? Do you know other people in the restaurant (who are coming from church too)? Have you mentioned your faith at all during your conversation with those at the table?

2. Remember what your waiter/waitress is making an hour.
    
Most servers make around $2 an hour. Virtually all of the money they make comes from tips. The money they need to bring food home to their families hinges on the generosity of the people they serve.

3. Remember that you are not usually a server’s only customer.
     During peak times (and sometimes during an unexpected rush of business during an off time), a waiter/waitress might have anywhere from three to five tables. Put four people at each table and you are talking about serving 12-20 people at one time. If you aren’t getting good enough service, before you blame it on the waiter, consider how many tables the server is waiting on.

4. If you leave a tract, PLEASE leave a tip too!
    
The most frustrating tip is the one that comes in the form of a tract, without any cash at all. (The worst ones are those tracts that look like a $20 bill and are actually just a tract!) I am thankful for people who want to share their faith with their server, but if you don’t leave a good tip, just keep the tract. Don’t undo the evangelistic efforts of your waiter’s Christian co-workers by being such a terrible testimony.

5. Astound the server with your generosity.
     If the service was acceptable, leave 15%. If it was good, leave 17-18%. If it was fantastic, consider leaving 20% or even 25%. Reward good service. But don’t figure a tip by looking only at the bill. Consider the amount of work your server did. Did you have salads? Hot drinks like hot tea or hot chocolate? Did you ask for extra bread? How many Diet Cokes did he/she refill you? And please! If you share the Gospel at all with your server, make sure you astound them with an extra-generous tip.

written by Trevin Wax. © 2007 Kingdom People Blog

 
 

Jan

22

2007

Trevin Wax|6:37 am CT

How is Jesus the "Living Bread?"

im-cha-euc-bread-image.jpg“I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.”
- Jesus, to the crowd who has asked for bread from heaven (John 6:51)

On two occasions, Jesus miraculously fed thousands of people in the wilderness, reenacting events from Moses’ day when God provided manna from heaven for His people in the desert. The day after Jesus first fed the people, many returned, hoping for more food.

Instead of performing another sign, Jesus claimed that He Himself was the Bread – the Manna that had come down from heaven. He had come from heaven into the wilderness of the world, amidst a spiritually-wandering people who saw themselves in a theological exile. Jesus then went further than simply associating Himself with bread; He said that whoever would come to Him would never hunger again.

In the agrarian culture of first-century Jews, having bread was essential to survival. There was no endless supply of bread (in dozens of varieties) available at the local market. Simply put: without bread, there was no life. Even today, almost everything we eat comes from something else that has died. Dead animals provide us with meat. Dead wheat gives us bread. Vegetables come from dead plants. When we see how other life dies that we may live, Jesus’ words take on a new meaning.

“I am the Bread of Life” is another way of saying: “Without My death, you cannot live.” Just as bread is the essential element in the human diet, Jesus says that He Himself is the foundation for spiritual life. Without His death, no one else can live. Those who come to Him will never again be hungry. Those who believe in Him will never again thirst. Through His death, we live.

John describes many people turning away and rejecting Jesus after the “Bread” speech. Many today will also find it too hard to swallow that Jesus is more than just one religious teacher in a diverse grocery-store selection of beliefs. Yet, Jesus’ words remain true. Whoever eats the bread that He gives (His flesh) will live eternally. The “open-minded” and “diverse” people who leave room for belief in other religious figures will starve to death.

written by Trevin Wax. © 2007 Kingdom People Blog

 
 

Jan

21

2007

Trevin Wax|6:24 am CT

A Steadfast Heart

“Give me, O Lord, a steadfast heart,
     which no unworthy affection may drag downwards;
give me an unconquered heart,
     which no tribulation can wear out;
give me an upright heart,
     which no unworthy purpose may tempt aside.
Bestow on me also, o Lord my God,
     understanding to know you,
     diligence to seek you,
     wisdom to find you,
     and a faithfulness that may finally embrace you,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

- Thomas Aquinas