Monthly Archives: April 2011
He who hung the earth is hanging.
He who fixed the heavens in place has been fixed in place.
He who laid the foundations of the universe has been laid on a tree.
The master has been profaned.
God has been murdered.
But He rose up from the dead
and mounted up to the heights of heaven.
When the Lord hath clothed Himself with humanity,
and had suffered for the sake of the sufferer,
and had been bound for the sake of the imprisoned,
and had been judged for the sake of the condemned,
and had been buried for the sake of the one who had been buried,
He rose up from the dead,
and cried with a loud voice,
“Who is it that contends with me?
Let him stand in opposition to me.
I set the condemned man free;
I gave the dead man life;
I raised up one who had been entombed.
Who is my opponent?
I am the Christ
I am the one who destroyed death,
and triumphed over the enemy,
and trampled Hades underfoot,
and bound the strong one,
and carried off humanity
to the heights of heaven.”
“It is I,” says the Christ.
-Melito of Sardis (ca. A.D. 195), Easter sermon
When Paul commends faith, what he is wanting from us is a God-given ability to perceive what God has done
- by hanging Jesus on the cross,
- reconciling us to Himself,
- setting aside His own just wrath,
- demonstrating His love,
- and declaring us just even though we are not,
because the righteousness of Christ Jesus is now counted as ours
and our sin is now counted as His.
And Paul has anchored this in God’s gracious self-disclosure
across enormous tracts of time,
across the Bible’s entire storyline,
climaxing in the shattering reality that the God who made us,
the God who is our Judge,
bled and died for us and rose again.
- D.A. Carson, The God Who Is There
Earlier this week, I spoke at length with Susan Donaldson James of ABC News about Rob Bell’s Love Wins. Today, she has posted a report that is unique for how it focuses largely on the traditional reaction against Bell’s view of hell. She quotes me, Scot McKnight, and pastor Phil Hotsenpiller. I encourage you to check out the article.
Seven links for your weekend reading:
As it happens, this year’s Earth Day falls on Good Friday. I wonder if any connection will be made between the two while folks are planting trees or strumming guitars in consciousness-raising events. Probably not. In its short memory (this will be the 41st), Earth Day stays focused on the color green. But the Earth herself—if we can figuratively speak of “her”—remembers mostly in red.
We are not equipped to remember our own beginnings, much as we’d like to: the passage from warm darkness to chilly light; how we fixed on a face; the first words we heard and spoke. We don’t remember how we learned to stand and to fall, the exploration of hands and feet belatedly recognized as our own, the first glimmerings of personhood creeping up on us out of a fog.
But Earth—brooded over, spoken forth, watered, and greened—was full of memories better forgotten. For instance: a sudden darkness, a tremor in Eden, and the gravity of an angel with a flaming sword. The blood of a murdered brother, her first deep wound, made her cry out to heaven. But in the years to follow, with death polluting her fields and blood continually soaking her soil, who could keep track? The tally-sticks piled up and rotted away, as Earth grew old before her time, sunk into grief and despair and finally indifference. An occasional rumbling—fire on the mountain, a monumental voice, a whirling chariot—made her stir, but only briefly. She sighed, and trembled, …
The super-rich pay a lot less in taxes than they did a couple of decades ago, and nearly half of U.S. households pay no income taxes at all.
The people surrounding him are in effect a real family for the Pope. In his recent book, Light of the World, Benedict said he hardly ever watches TV, though he made an exception when he watched with his “family” old black-and-white movies of Don Camillo and Peppone, Italian comedies portraying the playful clashes between the communist mayor of a small town and the local priest in postwar Italy.
An important discussion about pietism and confessionalism has been taking place this week, with a variety of voices speaking to the issue. Kevin DeYoung links to all the pertinent posts.
Recently-discovered letter tells how Robert E. Lee wrestled with the decision to resign from the army and fight for the South:
Lee biographers have long claimed that his decision to leave the Army was an inevitable one, driven by the pull of relatives, state and tradition. However, as his daughter shows us, in the end the decision was highly personal, made in spite of family differences and the military conventions he revered.
A few weeks ago, I was given premium access to The Glo Bible, which is an interactive Bible for your Mac, PC, or iPad. Glo brings the full text of Scripture to life through HD video, high-res images, zoomable maps, 360-degree virtual tours, and a natural user interface for fast, easy, visual navigation on Mac, PC or iPad.
I was stunned by the resources included in this resource. I clicked on Mark 3 in the ESV where Jesus heals a man with a withered hand. The footnotes allowed me to see famous art reflecting the events of Mark’s Gospel, a virtual tour of what the synagogue would have looked like in Jesus’ day, and pictures of the ruins of the synagogue today. There are also dozens of videos that explain key historical events within their context.
To celebrate the Glo Bible launch on Mac, PC and iPad, they have given me an upgrade to Glo Premium to give away to readers of Kingdom People ($69.99 value)! This upgrade gives access to all Glo media, features and translations on Mac, PC, iPad and soon to be released iPhone.
You can already download a free version of Glo that includes the NIV. But I highly recommend the premium version.
To win a premium version of Glo, you need to do two things:
1. Please leave a comment on this post with a Bible verse that has been especially meaningful to you in the past few months. I look forward to being encouraged by …
Even if you have the most profound truths, you can still be profoundly boring… Writing non-fiction (or speaking, teaching or preaching) doesn’t mean you can’t build in drama. Including stories as illustrations is always good, but there’s more to it than just telling the tale. Here are a few options to keep your audience with you every word of the way.
E.M. Bounds on what makes great preaching:
Preachers are not sermon makers, but men makers and saint makers, and he only is well-trained for this business who has made himself a man and a saint. It is not great talents or great learning or great preachers that God needs, but men great in holiness, great in faith, great in love, great in fidelity, great for God—men always preaching by holy sermons in the pulpit, by holy lives out of it. These can mould a generation for God.
One reason why we struggle so much with the Christian life as Christians is that we think that growing up in the faith involves becoming less dependent on God, that if I were really mature, I wouldn’t be such a mess and so needy for Jesus. But in reality precisely the opposite is true. In God’s economy, we age backward. As you mature as a Christian, you become more like a child, not less. You’re born an “adult,” so to speak – relying on your own goodness and power and wisdom and strength to gain acceptance with God; it’s your natural inclination. But …
Last Thursday afternoon, I packed my bags and headed back to the airport. Watching the Chicago landscape speed along from my seat next to the train window, I saw people coming and going: some looked like locals, others like tourists, but regardless of where they hailed from, many were probably lost and running from Jesus.
Chicago is big. The dispersion of 5500 believers into this sea of millions of human faces seems like merely a drop in the bucket.
For three days, thousands of young pastors and church leaders sat under profound, biblical teaching. We were drenched in the truths of God’s Word and blessed by the opportunity to meet with likeminded believers. We were challenged to deeper devotion, encouraged in our walk with Christ, and infused with passion for proclaiming the riches of Christ’s atonement to impoverished humanity.
The conference was like a nuclear explosion of gospel truth. Being in the middle of that kind of gospel intensity was thrilling.
But on the train back to the airport, the sound of our voices mingled in praise lingered only as a faint echo in my mind. The conference experience was beginning to fade. The intensity of gospel celebration was supplanted in my heart by the immensity of the lostness that engulfs the streets of Chicago. Even as we were gathering to sing praises to our …
James MacDonald records some reflections on the Gospel Coalition and includes some gracious (and much-needed) internal critique of some of the conference’s strengths and weaknesses:
I think some of the statements about the dangers of ‘moralizing’ from the Old Testament were vastly overstated. It’s the idea that lessons on godly living from the characters in the OT are misusing the OT text. I disagree strongly with this. The idea that we don’t learn patience from Job, or passion from David, or the consequences of disobedience from Saul is just wrong. However as in most instances, hyperbole and over-correction are needed to awaken our hearts to a neglected priority, so some of the sessions overstated the point to make sure it was heard.
This post made me chuckle. “12 Ways to Make Arminianism Cool Again”
1. Petition Microsoft to make Arminian an actual word so that bloggers ranting about the pros and cons of Armenians don’t sound like complete racists.
2. Create a Stuff Arminians Like blog. Entries could include: love, freedom, and “secretly wondering if we’re not elect.”
3. Three words: Driscoll. Boyd. Cagefight.
Scientists know that overweight and obese people are at a greater risk for memory problems and other cognitive disabilities, but the latest study is one of the first to indicate that substantial weight loss improves brain health.
The replacement of PCs I predicted hasn’t quite begun in earnest. The replacement will come. And I will brag. But for …