Monthly Archives: December 2007

Prodigal Son 13: Anger

“But he (the older son) was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him.”
- Jesus, “The Parable of the Prodigal Son” (Luke 15:28)

Jesus describes how the older son has just found out that people are celebrating because his reprobate brother has returned home. In Jesus’ culture, any older son would be expected to high-tail it into the house and join the feast as quickly as possible. Instead, the older son stays outside, choosing to murmur about the apparent unfairness of his father’s actions. He deems the party unworthy of his attendance.

We’ve seen the way the father ran to his ragged son at the edge of the community, but what will he do for his puffed up and arrogant older son? Jesus tells us the father goes out to convince his son to come in. By leaving behind his guests, the father is again placing himself in the center of a potentially embarrassing act. Once the father is absent, the party stops. Everyone stands watching him court his older son, who is now displaying their broken relationship for all to see. The boy knows he’s humiliating his dad, but he doesn’t care. He’s become just as rebellious as the prodigal had been at the beginning of the story.

The loving father has two sons who have blocked his love in different ways. The younger has walled himself off from the Father’s love by doing evil, while the older has walled himself off from that same love …

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Unending Day

O God, the source of eternal light:
Shed forth your undending day upon all of us who watch for you,
that our lips may praise you,
our lives may bless you,
and our worship may give you glory;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

- Book of Common Prayer

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Romania and the Squashing of Dreams

Not long after I moved to Romania, I began to ask why things were the way they were.

Why did Romanians have a different mindset than Americans?

Why was it so hard for people to have hope in the future?

Why was it taking so long for the economy to get better? 

What had happened in this country to bring so much poverty? I knew the story of Romania’s revolution after decades of Communist oppression, but I did not know all the details. I hadn’t heard very many first-hand accounts of what took place during those awful years. Since I had time to study, I began to check out books from the school library that were written to chronicle the story of the Revolution. The story was fascinating and inspiring. However, as I spent more time in Romania, people began to open up to me more and more, and once they did, their stories of life under Communism began to pour out.

“People just don’t think big,” I would often complain about Romania. Coming from America, the “country of all possibilities,” it was sometimes frustrating to get new ideas shot down constantly from older people who didn’t want to try anything for fear that it might not work.

The frustration often led me to criticize this mentality as Communist and narrow-minded. But the more I stayed in Romania, the more I understood where the mentality came from, and why it was so prevalent.

Once, a village family told me stories about life under Communist rule. They told me about …

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Jesus is…

Jesus is . . .
the infinity of all excellence,
the vast treasure-house of all we can desire,
the perfection of all perfection,
the beauty of all beauty,
the glory of all glory.

- Horatius Bonar

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Ron Paul: Money Isn't Everything

Congressman Ron Paul (and presidential candidate) has set records in fundraising.

He has an internet presence that other candidates envy.

His fan base continues to surge.

He has a unique message that cuts against both the Republican and Democratic elite.

 

But he will not win.

 

If the preliminaries of the 2008 election year have taught us anything, it is this: Money isn’t everything. You need the Media.

 

I am not a supporter of Ron Paul. I appreciate his boldness, his family life, and his character. I appreciate his pro-life stance and his years of service as an OB/GYN doctor.

 

But I believe that pulling out of the war in Iraq would be unjust. (Put aside the question for a moment as to whether the war was justified in the first place. Surely our immediate withdrawal would do more harm than good to innocent Iraqis.) And that is why I am not supporting Ron Paul.

 

However, I am disappointed that Ron Paul can’t get a decent hearing for his views because of the media’s insistence in ignoring him. Paul is setting records in fundraising! He shows up in the polls. He is all over the internet (through his supporters). Yet Paul doesn’t stand a chance because the media refuses to treat him as a legitimate candidate. He has been gagged as an extremist and thus he doesn’t get a hearing.

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In the Blogosphere

Michael Spencer (a.k.a. the Internet Monk) lists his Top Ten Blogs of 2007. You’ll be happy to know that Kingdom People placed #5.

The family that eats together stays together. Another reason for frequent observance of the Lord’s Supper.

Tony Kummer is at it again! This time, it’s not just Said at Southern – it’s the entire SBC. Check out SBC Voices.

The Wittenburg Door interviews “heavy theological dude” N.T. Wright.

Vern Poythress has made many of his books available for free online. Check them out here.

Are the Gospels reliable? Scot McKnight lists some books that help answer that question.

“But that’s just your interpretation…” How to respond?

Martin Luther on the holiness of changing diapers.

Top Post this Week at Kingdom People: My Ten Favorite Reads of 2007

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My Ten Favorite Reads of 2007

As you can see from the list here, 2007 was the year of books and book reviews for me here at Kingdom People. I can’t help but think about what an honor it is to live in an age when books are so accessible! 2007 has also been the first year that I have received books free from publishers in order that I might write about them on this blog. So, without further ado, here is my list of favorite books in 2007.

#1. THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV
- Fyodor Dostoevsky

“…might possibly be… the greatest novel of all time… Provokes questions about God’s sovereignty, the place of suffering in our world, human depravity, and redemption through pain.”
See my full review here. 

#2. A COMMUNITY CALLED ATONEMENT
- Scot McKnight

“…one of the most important Christian books of the year… [gives one] a wonderful sense of how big the atonement is and how great is God’s love for this fallen world.”
See my full review here.

#3. THE PREACHER AND THE PRESIDENTS
- Nancy Gibbs, Michael Duffy

“…tells the story of Billy Graham’s relationship with eleven presidents (from Harry Truman to George W. Bush)… a testament to Billy Graham’s legacy – both how and how not to mix politics and religion.”
See full review here.

#4. THE FUTURE OF JUSTIFICATION
- John Piper


“…an important contribution to the current debates surrounding the ‘new perspective’ on Paul… Piper’s critique of N.T. Wright is gracious and even-handed… represents the way that theological debate should take place.”
See my full …

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2007: The Year in (Book) Review

2007 was a landmark year for me as a reader. I finally accomplished my goal of reading 100 books in a year. I reviewed the majority of these books here at Kingdom People. In case you’d like to catch a quick glimpse of the books I read and reviewed in 2007, here’s the list. Tomorrow, I’ll list my Top Ten Favorite Reads of 2007.

10 Things I Wish Jesus Never SaidVictor Kuligin
3:16 – The Numbers of Hope - Max Lucado
A Community Called AtonementScot McKnight
A Concise History of Christian ThoughtTony Lane
A Mind for GodJames Emery White
A Reformation DebateJohn Calvin, Jacopo Sadoleto
A Reformation ReaderDennis Janz
A.D. 33 – The Year that Changes the WorldColin Duriez
Advanced Strategic PlanningAubrey Malphurs
Ancient-Future Faith: Rethinking Evangelicalism for a Postmodern World - Robert Webber
The Apocalypse CodeHank Hanegraaff
Baptist SacramentalismAnthony Cross, editor
Believer’s BaptismThomas Schreiner, Shawn Wright, others
BlinkMalcolm Gladwell
The Brothers KaramazovFyodor Dostoevsky
By Faith Alone: Answering the Challenges to the Doctrine of JustificationGuy Waters, Gary Johnson
Calvin for Armchair TheologiansChristopher Elwood
Calvinism in the Las Vegas AirportRichard Mouw
The ChamberJohn Grisham
Christ-Based LeadershipDavid Stark
The Christian and the PhariseeR.T. Kendall, David Rosen
Colossians Remixed: Subverting the EmpireBrian Walsh & Sylvia Keesmaat
Confessions – Augustine (Summary Part 1, Part …

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Prodigal Son 12: The Older Brother

“Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.’”
- Jesus, “The Parable of the Prodigal Son” (Luke 15:25-27)

Jesus’ story about the father and two sons has followed closely the younger son’s journey into the far country and his subsequent return home. Now, Jesus turns the focus back to the older son, who has not been mentioned since the beginning of the parable. The family fortune had been split between him and his younger brother. By taking what was his and staying quiet, the older son had shirked his responsibility to be a bridge between his father and brother.

Although the older brother may be busy in the field, it will soon be evident that he also has a problem with his father. Once he hears the music and dancing, he asks a servant what is going on. The servant explains that everyone is celebrating because the father has received his younger son back in peace. He’s forgiven him. The celebration is for the father’s incredible display of grace, not because the prodigal has done something worthy of celebration.

Many people involved in God’s Kingdom work have a broken relationship with the Father. They see no cause for celebration …

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Puritan Christmas Prayer

O source of all good,
What shall I render to you for the gift of gifts,
your own dear Son?

Herein is wonder of wonders:
he came below to raise me above,
was born like me that I might become like him.

Herein is love;
when I cannot rise to him he draws near on wings of grace,
to raise me to himself.

Herein is power;
when Deity and humanity were infinitely apart,
he united them in indissoluble unity,
the uncreate and the created.

Herein is wisdom;
when I was undone, with no will to return to him,
and no intellect to devise recovery,
he came, God-incarnate, to save me to the uttermost,
as man to die my death,
to shed satisfying blood on my behalf,
to work out a perfect righteousness for me!

O God, take me in spirit to the watchful shepherds,
and enlarge my mind!

Let me hear good tidings of great joy,
and hearing, believe, rejoice, praise, adore,
my conscience bathed in an ocean of repose,
my eyes uplifted to a reconciled Father!

Place me with ox, donkey, camel, goat,
to look with them upon my Redeemer’s face,
and in him account myself delivered from sin!

Let me with Simeon clasp the newborn child to my heart,
embrace him with undying faith,
exulting that he is mine and I am his!

In him you have given me so much that heaven can give no more.

Visit Trevin’s Prayer Room

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