This Road We Travel
may it be the strait and narrow...
Monday, January 29, 2007
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Monday, January 15, 2007
Lead of Love
I thought it would be good to explain the theme I've used for my blog. I heard a song the other day that reminded me of the very idea I am going to try to get across. "This Road We Travel" actually came from a different song but I'm going to introduce you to this one.
Lead of Love
Looking back at the road so far
The journey's left its share of scars
Mostly from leaving the narrow and strait
Looking back it is clear to me
That a man is more than the sum of his deeds
And how You've made good of this mess I've made
Is a profound mystery
Looking back You know You had to bring me through
All that I was so afraid of
Though I questioned the sky, now I see why
Had to walk the rocks to see the mountain view
Looking back I see the lead of love
Looking back I can finally see (I'd rather have wisdom)
How failures bring humility (than be)
Brings me to my knees (a comfortable fool)
Helps me see my need for Thee
It's impossible for me to fully understand this song. What am I? 16? I don't have a lot of road to look back on. I anticipate the meaning. It's great being young with all that road ahead. But it's going to rock being old. Even better to die. This will be my song in heaven when I can really see what God was doing. He promises it's gonna be good.
Thursday, January 11, 2007
The Loving, the Wise
Wisdom and love. They never seemed to have much in common to me. Not that they can't coexist. They are simply different things. I came across an interesting parallel between wisdom and love.
But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness. (James 3:17-18 NLT)
Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn't want what it doesn't have. Love doesn't strut, doesn't have a swelled head, doesn't force itself on others, isn't always "me first," doesn't fly off the handle, doesn't keep score of the sins of others, doesn't revel when others grovel, takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, puts up with anything, trusts God always, always looks for the best, never looks back, but keeps going to the end. (I Corinthians 13:4-7 The Message)
Okay, I realize they aren't identical. But there are similarities. I got to thinking about how they could be reconciled to each other. How can they display the same qualities?
I've been wrestling a bit lately about what love really is. Sometimes, I find it's hard to recognize. C.S. Lewis's work, The Four Loves has been helpful but at the same time gave me more questions. Most would point you to the I Corinthians passage I quoted above for one who has questions about what love is. But Paul was not defining love for the Corinthians. It's a description of what it's supposed to look like, and a beautiful description it is. But it didn't solve my problem. It was then that I saw that James wasn't defining wisdom. He was describing its fruit. The fruit is the similarity. Wisdom is "peace loving, gentle at all times and willing to yield to others." Strange, since our idea of a wise (or maybe intelligent) person would be, stereotypically, a proud, argumentative person who always ends up being right. He's not afraid to tell you what he thinks because he is confident of his ability to defend his answer. But that's not the kind of wisdom James is talking about. Biblical wisdom is married to meekness. James stresses the wise as peacemakers. It's not about philosophizing and debunking, writing books, showing up the lesser man. It's understanding things that are far beyond philosophy. God alone can grant pure wisdom. It's a gift to those who want it. Who really want it (James 1:5-8).
And love? Lewis points out in The Four Loves and illustrates powerfully in Till We Have Faces the many facets of love. They aren't all noble ones. Like most things, men easily corrupt the things that are legitimate. But true love, or should I say pure love, free from corruption that comes naturally in our fallen world is evidence of a work of God, marked by patience, meekness, mercy and goodness. So here we can see the connection. Both wisdom and love, in pure form, in true and sacred form, are the gifts of God. His fingerprints give the similarities. His unmistakable, predictable character is superimposed on all His works and the glory is all His.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
The Fruits of Boredom
Monday, December 18, 2006
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
I read this quote by Mark Dever, pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church. Yes, a Baptist said something that made me think :) Anyway, it was radically different than any philosophical approach I’ve heard in the past to presenting the Gospel. Maybe I live under a rock or something. Here goes...
“When we hold forth the good news in our preaching, we should particularly beware of presenting this gospel as an option to be exercised for the betterment of sinners' lives. After all, what would a carnal person consider "better"? Leading questions like "are you scared of death?" "Do you want happiness?" "Wouldn't you like to know the meaning of your life?" are all well-intentioned, and any of them may be used by God's Spirit to convict someone, and to lead to their conversion. But such questions may also be answered by a simple "no." To use such questions as if they are the starting point for those considering the gospel is to make it sound all too optional.
I don't care if my hearers are scared of death, wanting happiness or meaning in life, I know that they will die and stand before God to give an account of their lives. And I know that God will therefore rightly condemn them to an eternal Hell.
So I find verses like Mark 8:38 useful, where Jesus taught "If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels."
Or again, Romans 3:19-20, "Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin."
Or Hebrews 9:27, "man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment . . ."
This demand—rather than a marketer's appeal—is to be the basis of the evangelistic call in our sermons. Our gospel sermons are not to sound like the solicitations of a salesman, but the summons of a judge.”
I can’t think of an evangelistic service I’ve been to that didn’t bend over backwards to make the Gospel as appealing as possible, though in a well-meaning attempt to bring souls to Christ. I thought about this. Paul says in 1 Cor. 2 “And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” I started to write more but it was only speculative. I want to know what you all think. I'm not looking to pool ignorance, but if you have anything enlightening to tell me, I would appreciate some enlightenment on this subject. I know the Gospel is simple, but the proper approach to sharing it seems rather complicated.