Monthly Archives: January 2007
One 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
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 …
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,
“… 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
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 …
James 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
It 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.
“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 …
“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