Archive for the ‘ quotable things. ’ Category

I want to be like this man:

After receiving a letter from Nancy Hasseltine that she would not consider Adoniram Judson her suitor until she had the consent of her father, Mr. Judson wrote this letter to her father:

“I have now to ask, whether you can consent to part with your daughter early next spring, to see her no more in this world; whether you can consent to her departure, and her subjection to the hardships and sufferings of a missionary life; whether you can consent to her exposure to the dangers of the one who left his heavenly home, and died for her and for you; for the sake of perishing, immortal souls; for the sake of Zion, and the glory of God? Can you consent to all this, in hope of soon meeting your daughter in the world of glory, with the crown of righteousness, brightened with the acclamations of praise which shall redound to her Saviour from heathens saved, through her means, from eternal woe and despair?”

After reading this, her father basically said, “Nancy, it’s your choice.”

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Relevant Calvin

I’m finally on Easter Break!  You know what that means? I get to read! So, I’m reading a sermon by John Calvin called Pure Preaching of the Word, and I have found it to be especially enlightening in light of recent arguments about Heaven and Hell.  This is a hefty passage from the sermon, but I think that you’ll find yourself enjoying what Calvin has to say.   May the Gospel of Christ on the Cross, his resurrection and gift of the Holy Spirit refresh and renew you this season.

SERMON IV.

2 Timothy 2:16, 17, 18

But shun profane and vain babblings; for they will increase unto more ungodliness.  And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymeneus and Philetus;  Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.

We have already shown that St. Paul hath, not without cause, diligently exhorted Timothy to follow the pure simplicity of the word of God,without disguising it. The doctrine which is set forth to us in God’s name, to be the food of our souls, will be corrupted by the devil, if in his power : when he cannot destroy it, he blendeth things with it, in order to bring it into contempt, and destroy our knowledge of the will of God. There are many at this day, who put themselves forward to teach: and what is the cause of it? Ambition carrieth them away: they disguise the word of God: and thus satan goeth about to deprive us of the spiritual life.

But this he is notable to accomplish, unless by some means the doctrine of God be corrupted. St. Paul repeateth the exhortation; that we must shun all unprofitable babbling, and stay ourselves upon plain teaching, which is forcible. He not only condemneth manifest errours, superstition, and lies, but he condemneth the disguising of the word of God: as when men invent subtleties, to cloy men’s ears; bringing no true nourishment to the soul, nor edification in faith, and the fear of God, to the hearers. .

When St. Paul speaketh of vain babbling, he meaneth that which contenteth curious men; as we see many that take great pleasure in vain questions* wherewith they seem to be ravished. They do not openly speak against the truth, but they despise it as a thing too common end base; as a thing for children and fools; as for them, they will know some higher and more profound matter. Thus they are at variance with that which would be profitable for them. Therefore, let us weigh well the words of St. Paul; vain babbling; as though he said, if there be nothing but fine rhetoric, and exquisite words, to gain him credit that speaketh, and to show that he is well learned, none of this should be received into the church; all must be banished.

For God will have his people to be edified; and he hath appointed his word for that purpose. Therefore, if we go not about the salvation of the people, that they may receive nourishment by the doctrine that is taught them, it is sacrilege: for we pervert the pure use of the word of God. This word profane, is set against that which is holy and dedicated to God. Whatsoever pertaineth to the magnifying of God, and increases our knowledge of his majesty, whereby we may worship him: whatsoever draweth us to the kingdom of heaven, or taketh our affections from the world, and leadeth us to Jesus Christ, that we may be grafted into his body, is called holy.

On the contrary, when we feel not the glory of God, when we feel not to submit ourselves to him, when we know not the riches of the kingdom of heaven, when we are not drawn into his service to live in pureness of conscience, when we know not what the salvation meaneth which was purchased by our Lord Jesus Christ, we belong to the world, and are profaned. The doctrine which serves to mislead us in such things, is also called profane. Thus we see what St. Paul’s meaning is: to wit, when we come together in the name of God, it is not to hear merry songs, and to be fed with wind ; that is, with vain and unprofitable curiosity; but to receive spiritual nourishment. For God will have nothing- preached in his name, but that which will profit and edify the hearers; nothing but that which containeth good matter.

But it is true, our nature is such, that we take great pleasure in novelty, and in speculations which seem to be subtle. Therefore, let us beware, and think as we ought; that we may not profane God’s holy word: Let us seek that which edifieth, and not abuse ourselves by receiving that which hath no substance in it. It is hard to withdraw men from such vanity, because they are inclined to participate in it: But St. Paul showeth, that there is nothing more miserable than such vain curiosity: ««For they will increase unto more ungodliness.” As if he had said, my friends, you know not at first sight what hurt cometh by these deceivers; who go about to gain credit and estimation among you, and with pleasant toys endeavour to please you: but believe me, they are satan’s instruments; and such as in no wise serve God; but increase unto more wickedness: that is, if they are let alone, they will mar the christian religion; they will not leave one jot safe and sound. Therefore, see that you flee them as plagues; although – at first sight, the poison which they bring be not perceived.

Every one of us should suspect himself, when we have to judge of this doctrine. And why so? Because, (as I said before,) we are all weak; our minds are altering and changing; and besides, we have a foolish desire that draweth to things which are unprofitable. And therefore let us beware that we do not satisfy our own desires. Although this doctrine may not seem bad to us at the first view, yet notwithstanding, if it has not a tendency to lead us to God, and strengthen us in his service, to confirm us in the faith and hope that is given us of everlasting life, it will deceive us in the end; and prove to be but a mixture which serveth no purpose, except to take away the good which we had received before.

To be short, those that have not this in view, to draw the world to God, and build up the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ, that he may rule among us, mar all. All the labour and pains they take, but increases their wickedness: and if they be suffered to go on in this way, a gate is set open to satan, whereby he may bring to nought whatsoever is of God: although this is not done at the first blow, yet we see the end is such. To express this the better, St. Paul adds, “Their word will eat as doth a canker.”

‘The word “eat,” mentioned here, is not commonly understood; it is what the chirurgeons call, on eating sore; and what is also called, St. Anthony’s fire: that is to say, when there is such an inflammation in any part of the body, that the sore eateth not only the flesh and sinews, but the bones also; in short, it is a fire that devoureth all: the hand will cause the arm to be lost, and the foot the leg ; unless at the beginning, the part that is affected be cut off: thus, the man is in danger of losing his members, unless there be fit remedies provided for it; in this case we should spare no pains, but cut off the part affected, that the rest be not utterly destroyed.

Thus we view it here. spiritually: for St. Paul showeth us, that although we may have been well instructed in wholesome doctrine, all will be marred, if we give place to these unprofitable questions, and only endeavour to please the hearers, and feed their desires. Seeing we understand what St. Paul’s meaning is, let us endeavour to put this exhortation into practice. When we see men go about, endeavouring to turn us aside from the true doctrine, let us shun them, and shut the gate against them. Unless we take it in hand at the first start, and entirely cut it off, it may be as difficult to control, as the disease of which we have spoken.

Therefore, let us not be sleeping; for this is a matter of importance; it will prove a deadly disease, unless it be seen to in time. If this exhortation had been observed, things would be in a better condition at the present day in Christendom. For this doltishness of papistry, is but the vain babbling spoken of by St. Paul. Even those who would be counted the greatest doctors among them, who are of many years standing, yea, and have spent their whole life in it, think upon nothing but foolish prattling; which serveth no other purpose than to lead men astray: as no man knoweth what they mean. It seemeth that the devil hath forged this language by a miraculous subtlety, in order that he might bring all doctrine into confusion.

It is plainly perceived that they have conspired to do contrary to that which St. Paul hath in God’s name forbidden. For they that have thus turned the word of God into a profane language of barbarous and unknown words, shall be much less able to excuse themselves. Many there are that would gladly have pleasant things taught them ; they would make pastime of the word of God, and recreate themselves thereby; thus they seek vain and unprofitable teaching. They would bring errour, contention, and debate into the church, and endeavour to bring the religion we hold into doubt, and obscure the word of God.

Therefore we must be so much the more earnest to serve God, and continue constantly in the pureness of the gospel. If we have a desire to obey our God as we ought, we must practise that which is commanded us, and pray him to cleanse the church from these plagues; for they are the devil’s instruments. This might be applied to all corruptions and stumbling-blocks invented by the devil; but it is here spoken of, concerning the doctrine whereby we are quickened; which is the true food of the soul.

Hope you enjoyed that.

Ephesians 5:6

Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.

the uncritical temper

This is the most convicting piece of literature I’ve read in a while.  I think that Chambers pins the issue down.  Matthew 7:1.  No escape. Buckle up:

“Judge not, that ye be not judged.” Criticism is part of the ordinary faculty of a man, he has a sense of humour, i.e., a sense of proportion, he sees where things are wrong and pulls the other fellow to bits; but Jesus says, ‘As a disciple, cultivate the uncritical temper.’  In the spiritual domain, criticism is love turned sour.  In a wholesome spiritual life there is no room for criticism.  The critical faculty is an intellectual one, not a moral one.  If criticism becomes a habit it will destroy the moral energy of the life and paralyse spiritual force.  The only Person who can criticise human beings is the Holy Spirit.  No human being dare criticise another human being, because immediately he does he puts himself in a superior position to the one he cricises.  A critic must be removed from what he criticises.  Before a man can criticise a work of art or a piece of music, his information must be complete, he must stand away from what he criticises as superior to it.  No human being can ever take that attitude to another human being; if he does he puts himself in the wrong position and grieves the Holy Spirit.  A man who is continually criticised becomes good for nothin, the effect of criticism knocks all the gumption and power out of him.  Criticism is deadly in its effect because it divides a man’s powers and prevents his being a force for anything.  That is never the work of the Holy Ghost.  The Holy Ghost alone is in the true positino of a critic; He is able to show what is wrong without wounding and hurting.


The temper of mind that makes us lynx-eyed in seeing where others are wrong does not do them any good, because the effect of our criticism is to paralyse their powers, which proves that the criticism was not of the Holy Ghost; we have put ourselves into the posiition of a superior person.  Jesus says a disciple can never stand away from another life and criticise it, therefore He advocates an uncritical temper, “Judge not.” Beware of anything that puts you in the place of the superior person.


The counsel of Jesus is to abstain from judging.  This sounds strange at first because the characteristic of the Holy Spirit in a Christian is to reveal the things that are wrong, but the strangeness is only on the surface.  The Holy Spirit does reveal what is wrong in others, but His discernment is never for purposes of criticism, but for purposes of intercession.  When the Holy Spirit reveals something of the nature of sin and unbelief in another, His purpose is not to make us feel the smug satisfaction of a critical spectator, ‘Well thank God, I am not like that’; but to make us so lay hold of God for that one that od enables him to turn away from the wrong thing.  Never ask God for discernment, becuase discernment increases your responsibility terrifically; and you cannot get out of it by talking, but only by bearing up the life in intercession before God until God puts him right.  “If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and He shall give him life for them that sin not unto death.” (1 John v, 16.)  Our Lord allows no room for criticism in the spiritual life, but He does allow room for discernment and discrimination.


If we let these search-lights go straight down to the root of our spiritual life we will see why Jesus says ‘Don’t judge’; we won’t have time to.  Our whole life is o be lived so in the power of God that He can pour through us the rivers of living water to others.  Some of us are so concerned about the outflow that it dries up.  We continually ask, ‘Am I of any use?’ Jesus tells us how  be of use: ‘Believe in Me, and out of you will flow rivers of living water.’


“Judge not, that ye be not judged.”  If we let that maxim of our Lord’s sink into our hearts we will find how it hauls up.  “Judge not” – why, we are always at it!  The average Christian is the most penetratingly critical individual, there is nothing of the likeness of Jesus Christ about him.  A critical temper is a contradiction to all our Lord’s teaching.  Jesus says of criticism, ‘Apply it to yourself, never to anyone else.’ “Why dost thou judge thy brother? . . . for we shall all stand before the judgement seat of Christ.”  Whenever you are in a critical temper, it is impossible to enter into communion with God.  Criticism makes you hard and vindictive and cruel, and leaves you with the flattering unction that you are a superior person.  It is impossible to develop the characteristics of a saint and maintain a critical attitude.  The first thing the Holy Spirit does is to give us a spring-cleaning, and there is no possibility of pride being left in a man after that.  I never met a man I could despair of after having discerned all that lies in me apart from the grace of God.  Stop having a measuring rod for others.  Jesus says regarding judging, ‘Don’t; be uncritical in your temper, because in the spiritual domain you can accomplish nothing by criticism.’  One of the severest lessons to learn to is leave the cases we do not understand to God.  There is always one fact more in every life of which we know nothing, therefore Jesus says, ‘Judge not.’  We cannot do it once and for all, we have to remember always that this is our Lord’s rule of conduct.


Oswald Chambers


Thoughts?
Chambers, Oswald. Studies in the Sermon on the Mount. 1960 ed. London: Marshall, Morgan & Scott, 1960. Print.

a story and a paraphrase

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Azusa Pacific Man Choir of 2008-2009 fame (i'm top left corner with my thumbs up)

The first two weeks of my summer were spent on a tour with Man Choir of Azusa Pacific University fame. The choir has 70 guys enrolled.  Here are two documented days of our tour that I wrote down for you. Why these two? Because they deal with Mormonism. Please read on. VERY fascinating stuff I must say.

Christian Church

Waiting to sing in the Christian Church in Utah

MONDAY
We woke up early. No surprise there. We left for Red Hills Southern Baptist Church in Red Hills, Utah at 9am.  The couple that invited us to the church were graduates of APU. Sweet couple. Well the drive was nice, mainly because I got a bunch of sleep.  It’s hard not to fall asleep to the drone of the highway… oh, and hours of driving. =]  We arrived at 4:30pm pacific time and our performance was at 6:30pm, but in reality by crossing the Arizona/Utah border, we crossed over into mountain time, loosing an hour (AZ doesn’t recognize daylight savings… too bad they’re missin’ out), so it was really 5:30pm. We were way late.  We had an hour to eat, set up the risers and sound system, and get our tuxes on.  Not much time for that, but we got it done just a little past 6:30pm.

This concert was special for a specific reason. Utah is believed to be the Promised Land for the Mormons. Because of the heavy population of the Ladder Day Saints (LDS), these Baptist church members experience a unique type of persecution.  It’s a type of discrimination. Of segregation.  People treat them cruelly and rarely make eye contact with them.  I’m sure the implications of this discrimination are much more far-reaching than you or I can fully realize. I have not yet experienced persecution on any level, so far as I can remember.
Well there wasn’t a whole congregation of people like there was in Arizona, but the few that did show up were full of joy and sincerely thankful for our visit.  They were encouraged that 70 men would come and sing for them. That was an encouraging stop for me. Praise Jesus.

That night we stayed in a Marriott. Again, praise Jesus.

TUESDAY

Waking up early again, we were served a complimentary breakfast by the hotel.  The next stop would be a public high school, which ironically enough was 90% Mormon.  Whatever.   It was interesting to see them respond to our songs. Most of our repertoire doesn’t coincide with LDS theology at all, (which I’ll touch on in a sec)…  but the kids were impressed and responded positively, and ultimately, Christ was proclaimed (Philippians 1:15-18).  The choral director even invited us to sing a few songs for his beginning choir.  Awesome. It was an interesting gesture, and for me, an unexpected one. Thank God that we were so well-received and that we were able to penetrate this Mormon-believing school with the truth of Christ’s Word.

The Marble-Painted, Soft-Wood Pillars.

The postlude to this high school experience was even cooler, for lack of better words.  Man Choir took a tour of the Mormon Temple Square.  THE Mormon Temple Square in the “Promised Land,” aka Utah…=]. Yyyeah. Well, we split into two groups and received a formal tour of the Square grounds.  We got to see the first tabernacle built by the first Mormon pioneers to America.  The entire building was constructed out of a type of soft-wood (the name of the wood escapes me), including the pews and the pillars; however, because the pioneers didn’t like the way the soft-wood looked, they painted the pews to look like hard-wood and the pillars to look like marble. The pillar pictured below is soft-wood, not marble. Weird? Yes. Their completely legitimate justification: They want the temple to look its best for the Lord. Well, I guess, amen to that. We toured a couple more insignificant buildings in the Square, then later ended up with the other group in the Mormon Tabernacle. The way in which the building was designed is unique.  Picture a football field. That’s how long the temple was. A huge organ at the front of the room took up 10% of the building.  Also, the ceilings were designed in such a way to allow the choir and any speaker to speak or sing without the use of any microphones. Perfect audible sound in the entire building.

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The Organ… yep.

When we entered the Temple Sqare, Harold, being the complete smooth talker that he is, talked the elders into letting us sing ONE song in the Tabernacle. Of course we pushed the envelope and sang two. A little background before I go on. First of all, there are unspoken ranks in the Mormon church. The 2nd Organist of the church is higher “ranked” than the elders.  We were singing on the Organist’s practice time; rather, he was allowing us to sing on his practice time.  I believe are second song was Pentatonic Alleluia/Holy, Holy, Holy, and one of the elders realized that it didn’t jive with LDS doctrine. He came up to Harold and said quietly, “Thank you, that’s enough,” and we then sat down. The organist PLAYED the song we JUST SANG (‘Of the Father’s Love Begotten) on the organ! HOW COOL! We gave him a standing “O” and asked him to play another… he agreed to only if we would sing more for him =D!! We agreed. =] WE SANG 5 MORE SONGS!!! Elder’s power usurped by the Organist. That’s God’s legit supremacy for ya. Here’s a few vids of us in the Tabernacle (Listen to both of these all the way through! You’ll miss the cool parts in both. AND listen at the very end of each… there’s about a 3 second delay. That venue was legit):

Now for some Mormon History. =] I’m just going to post this as a summary. I might be wrong on some parts, but you’ll get the general idea. If any Mormons read this, please feel free to correct me.

General Warning: I in no way support or condone or believe any of this history to be true.

Mormon Origins:

  • 13th tribe of Israel – Tribe of Mannaseh
    • Lehi was the prophet of this tribe
  • Israel becomes upset with Lehi’s teaching; Lehi has four sons – older sons included Laman and Lemuel and younger sons included Sam and Nephi
    • Lehi prophesied destruction and captivity of Jerusalem by Babylon
    • Israel didn’t like it -> God told Lehi and family to go to wilderness
  • Eventually, an angel revealed to the 4 brothers that Nephi would be chosen by God to lead family after Lehi’s death
    • brothers didn’t like this, especially Laman
  • After his father’s death, Nephi built a boat and took the whole Lehi family to the Americas, where they established a homeland
  • Lamanites escalate to violence causing Nephi to move his family elsewhere in the Americas
    • family of Lehi was then segregated
      • Nephites
      • Lamanites
  • Nephites eventually became wicked and rebelled
    • civilization dwindled
    • the moment Jesus was crucified, many natural disasters occurred around the world. One bein ghte “dust”-ification of all the Mormon monuments and cities… =|
    • when there were only 2,500 Nephites left, Jesus appeared to them (supposedly one of his appearances after he was risen)

      Jesus appears in the Americas

      Jesus appears in the Americas

  • Jesus then proceeded to spend many days with them
    • organizing the church
    • teaching them the gospel
    • blessing them
  • The last two Nephite were a man named Mormon and his son, Moroni
    • before dying, Mormon documented the history of the pioneers on golden plates
    • Moroni finished the last bit of history after the death of Mormon

This time was known as the “great apostasy” in which no new revelations from God’s prophets were heard, simply b/c there were no prophets (they had all been killed by the Nephites).

  • skipping ahead to 1819, Joseph Smith arrives at the scene
    • 14 years old, mind you
    • couldn’t figure out which church to attend… =\
    • stumbled across the book of James – “if any lacks wisdom…”
  • Smith goes out into the woods to pray
    • encounters 2 figures of light
      • The Father and Jesus Christ  – “the churches he seeks attendance at are false”
  • Smith later encounters the angel Moroni (yes, Moroni became an angel somehow) who give Smith revelations
    • shows Smith where the golden tablets are, which he then proceeds to interpret (by means of divine “inspiration”)
  • After he translated the plates, they go missing

TA DA! The End! Since then, the president’s (likened to the Pope of the Catholic Church) of the Mormon churches have taken liberties to divinely change “rules” of the Mormon church. The most recent rule change: Mormons may now drink caffeine, as long as it is cold. Psht!

Pray for these people. They need to be healed of their blindness to the true trinity known as God. The Alpha and Omega! The only God of everything. The Great and Mighty. Most of all, love them. That’s where true understanding and reconciliation take place, and with this comes the openness to hear the Word of truth! Thanks for reading. Comments?

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“christian” holy wars and the social gospel

Interesting. I’m reading this book called ‘Foxe’s Book of Martyrs,’ and Mr. Foxe just informed me of the medieval inquisition which included the Papal Inquisitions.

As you can probably guess, the book is about Christian persecutions as they’ve happened throughout history, starting with the early church, much like dc Talk’s ‘Jesus Freaks’ that was published some years ago.

I can’t tell you how interesting and inspiring this book is.  These witnesses bring a whole new meaning to Colossians 1:24. Not recanting their faith even to the point of excruciating pain. Incredible and invigorating. Not only is it inspiring, but the facts are very intriguing as well.  Take the movie ‘Gladiator’ for instance.  The philosopher and Emperor, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (A.D. 162-180) was known as the last of ‘Five Good Emperors‘ of Rome.  You might remember him in the movie as the murdered father. He was responsible for the fourth general persecution against the Christians. Weird, right? He ordered and allowed (despite what wikipedia might tell you) countless horrible and unthinkable tortures.  Dang. He seemed like such a nice guy in the movie.

Now what I’ve just been reading is about the papal persecutions.  The history teachers leave out detailed information about these. ‘Christians’ were the villains; however, Christians were also the direct victims of these persecutions. Wait, what??

So before this era of Papal-ity (1208 A.D.), most of the persecutions against the believing church came from the pagan world. The church in Rome began to set aside scriptural doctrines such as holiness, piety, humility, charity, and compassion, and instead took up the sword along with pagan superstitions and practices. All of this in order to benefit the clergy of the Roman church.  ANY who disagreed with this doctrine (true Christians being the “any”) were labeled as heretics to the faith, and if refusing to recant “heresy,” were executed.

So now the world tells us that Christians were going around slaughtering heretics. False. Heretics were going around slaughtering Christians labeled as heretics. After all, 2 Timothy says, “all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”  Now we get into persecution and suffering.

Oh the agendas of the social gospel.  To be quite honest, Azusa Pacific University upsets me when it comes to this issue.  This idea of “preach the gospel always, and when necessary, use words.”

WHAT?! NO!

And unfortunately, I hear too much of this at Azusa. God is behind it, maybe. I’m sure it pleases our Savior that the needy are being cared for; however, I’m convinced he’s more concerned about their eternal futures. I feel like many students at Azusa (or the mainstream students anyways) are taking the easy road, copping out and buying shoes for kids, rescuing little children from enslavement, sending monetary savings to feed some others. THIS IS NOT THE GOSPEL! Let me quote a friend of mine:

What is happening today in our Christian culture is the thought that the application of the gospel is to simply come to the monetary assistance of those in need.  This is an aspect, but it is not even the central aspect, but a corollary of the gospel.  I fear that there is a growing belief that the preaching of the gospel to those who are sufferers of social injustice is secondary to the remedying of these people’s situation.  Or, to look at it another way, that the remedying of social injustice is the preaching of the gospel to those who are its sufferers.

Oh friends!  Do not be deceived! Let us not usher in temporal comfort but everlasting. Or at least couple social justice with Christ’s message of redemption.  One without the other is meaningless. More so social justice without the gospel (not all third-world countries are needy fyi). And do not be deceived into the thinking that “loving” can indefinitely take the place of “witnessing.” If you are afraid to share the gospel because it will offend… that’s the whole point. The truth is offensive. It’s edgy, difficult to cope with. God’s gospel was seen as heretical. Christ was seen as a blasphemer. “PREACH THE WORD!” (2 Timothy 4:2). It’s a command straight from the mouth of Jesus Christ who died for everone’s sins and beat the heck out of death.

And in terms of staying safe and protected from disease and sickness and third-world maladies:

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall TRIBULATION, or DISTRESS, or PERSECUTION, or FAMINE, or NAKEDNESS, or DANGER, or SWORD? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death NOR life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. -Romans 8:35-39

Have I made my point clear? If you disagree or anything, I’d be happy to politely discuss it with you anytime. I have skype (milesgrimes), twitter (milesvincent), and aim (mgrimes08@mac.com), and my email is mgrimes08@apu.edu.

Let me leave you with one of my favorite quotes.

The world can do almost anything as well as or better than the church. You need not be a Christian to build houses, feed the hungry, or heal the sick. There is only one thing the world cannot do. It cannot offer grace.
-Gordon Macdonald

EDIT (6/13/09): In regards to the last statement/quote: The world can offer the avenue to grace. The means by which the grace is offered. Grace, the seed planted by the church waiting to be broken and made fruitful by the Holy Spirit.  The church: the workers who must usher in the harvest. Thank you Mr. Mark Montgomery =]

it’s late, i’m a little fatigued, and here’s a poem that means absolutely nothing.

So in christianity and the creative process, we had to write 50 pages in our journal for the end of the semester. near the end, i was running out of ideas on what to write about, and this one night in particular, i decided to write whatever popped into my mind and make a poem out of it. i just wrote it down on a sheet of paper, so i’m going to copy it here as if it were written like a poem. i didn’t let my pencil leave the paper…aaand here it is:

Walking through a shadowed roof,
I trudged along the banks of gold.
Climbed up all the hill and dale
And took the things I sold.
I sat and pondered life and death,
And all that lies between.
That span of life, lies in a line,
Such a wonderful short dream.

Like daffodils and sunflower seeds,
I drink the night wind in.
I gasp and gaze at camera views
And chuckle at the pin.
Like fireflies go turning about,
So too the badger swings.
Up through the sky a mile high,
It laps it’s tired wings.

In candy canes and candy corn,
The corny jokes dissolve.
In pretty jewels and karat rings,
I seem quite unresolved.
The wasted time, the wasted time,
No redemption to be found.
Each ounce of moment in here and now
Sums up quite a pound.

Children laughing, mothers smiling,
Trees tossing back and forth,
I’m tired, I’m weak in need of much sleep,
I’ll hibernate, travel north.

My head is full of thoughts that tick,
And some spots just lie dead.
It’s in those spots and lazy thoughts,
My conscience turns blush red.
I’m writing nonsense, writing brilliance
With one thing in my head:
Just keep on writing, keep on fighting,
Or else you’ll end up where you didn’t think you would if you hadn’t. =|

easter

My oh my. I haven’t blogged in a while.  REALLY blogged.  Well the topic of this post is somewhat of a broad one and I think I’m going to be jumping all over the place, but that’s okay.  I want to start off by saying that this is going to be more of a personal reflection rather than a “try to teach you something” or “try to be exegetical” blog.

Right now it is 7:38am on Easter Sunday Morning.  I was planning on going to the sunrise service that was orchestrated by the college group, famously known as “The Well,” at EFCC.  It was a facebook event, and I completely misread it.  It said meet at 6am at 7-11.  It did NOT say meet at 7am at 7-11.  My bad. Well, I’m a little disappointed, but not too much because I think it was God ordained.  He wanted me to blog. =] So here I am, saddened that I missed the beautiful California Sunrise on the most appropriate of days, but content to know that it was not meant to be.

So what am I getting at?  Well in the past week, I have been vacationing in the most awesome place.  A good place of relaxation (ish) and reflection commonly known as Yosemite.  I brought a couple books to read, one being Surprised by Hope. In an earlier post that was written during Christmas break, I criticized the work a little too harshly, quickly reading through it and not paying attention to the important details that Wright has to offer.  Reading this book and paying close attention to detail, I learned so much about Christ and specifically his purpose here on earth as it pertains to the resurrection (I have finally digressed).  What an earth shattering thing, Christ’s rising from the dead.  The implications of this event are far greater than I could ever hope or imagine to put into words, but I think Wright does a fine job.
I want to share some of what I am learning from this book.  It is amazing.  I highly recommend it.  I have not completely finished it yet, but I am close, and it is so good.
God and the world are not the same thing, nor is everything simply held within something called “god.”  Within biblical theology it remains the case that the one living God created a world that is other than himself, not contained within himself.  Creation was from the beginning an act of love, of affirming the goodness of the other.  God saw all that he had made, and it was very good; but it was not itself divine.  At its height, which according to Genesis 1 is the creation of humans, it was designed to reflect God, both to reflect God back to God in worship and to reflect God into the rest of creation in stewardshipHumans were made to be God’s stewards over creation, so the one through whom all things were made, the eternal son, the eternal wisdom, becomes human so that he might truly become God’s steward, ruler over all his world.  Equally, if you tell the story from the point of view of human rebellion and the consequent sin and death that have engulfed the world, this again emerges as the moment all creation had been waiting for: the eternal expression of the father’s love became the incarnate expression of the father’s love so that by his self-giving to death, even the death of the cross, the whole creation can be reconciled to GodThis is the real cosmic Christology of the New Testament:…a retelling of the Jewish story of wisdom in terms of Jesus himself, focusing on the cross as the act whereby the good creation is brought back into harmony with the wise creator. (pages 94-96)
Did you put all that together?? Wright took 3 pages to explain all that, but I condensed it down and made it more concise.  It took me a long time to read through these pages.  Re-read the bold sections.  Because of Christ’s resurrection, the whole creation was reconciled back to God.  I cannot quite explain it how Wright does, but if you do not fully understand what this passage is saying, please ask!  What a magnificent God! What an all loving and forgiving God, that he would become his own creation, love us so much, and be willing to die and defeat death so that we might one day be resurrected in bodily form like he was along with all creation!  That is the implication of his death and resurrection.  Death is the last enemy.  Jesus Christ has defeated it and therefore, we have all the hope in the world! Hallelujah! What love.
The world is created good but incomplete. One day, when all forces of rebellion have been defeated and the creation responds freely and gladly to the love of its creator, God will fill it with himself so that it will both remain an independent being, other than God, and also be flooded with God’s own life.  This is part of the paradox of love, in which love freely given creates a context for love to be freely returned, and so on in a cycle where complete freedom and complete union do not cancel each other out but rather celebrate each other and make one another whole. (page 102)
Wow.  Thank you Jesus.
I guess I want to confess publicly here.  I have been struggling with selfishness for quite a while.  Selfishness is an awful thing because the way I see it, it plays out in every corner of my life.  My entire motivation is all about me.  The only reason I do things and the only way I look at some situations is by how much I will be benefiting from those situations.  It is is remarkable to me how selfishness manifests itself into so many different areas.  Please, as you think of it, pray for me.
Lord I confess to you my wrongness and my sin.  I have chosen to follow you and in doing so have committed myself to you.  I am not my own.  Forgive me.  Thank you for humbling yourself by entering creation and reconciling it to yourself.   And thank you for your sacrificial love.   You are alive today, and I celebrate and live in the hope that one day I will be raised up to spend eternity with you.   Thank you!

For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised.  And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.  Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.  If in this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.
BUT in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead.  For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.  But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ.  Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power.
-1 Corinthians 15:16-24
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