Archive for May, 2008

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Prayer for the Lost

May 29, 2008

Some refer to Romans 10:1 when asked for a Bible reference concerning prayer for unbelievers, “Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved”.

I’d like to suggest another one, John 17:20, where Jesus prays not only for those who are alive at that time and do not yet believe but also for those who are not yet born but will believe – “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word”. Jesus prayed beforehand for those who were saved on Pentecost and for every believer after that to be joined to the body, to be one even as Jesus and the Father are One (v. 21). We need to pray for God to give us and make us workers for the harvest (Matthew 9:37-38).

Do you pray for your community? For your family and friends? Pray that God would raise up workers, that God would allow the harvest pour forth from His hands!

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Book Review – “According to Plan” by Graeme Goldsworthy

May 22, 2008

\I read this for my Systematic Theology I class during Spring semester. Mostly, I’d like to recommend it for everyone, especially non-theologians.

This book is great for everyone who wants to know how the Bible fits together, centered around Jesus Christ. The closing couple chapters could be improved by showing more specifically how Jesus’ life and teaching fulfills the themes that are built up through the book but overall a great and worthwhile read.

I recommend it specifically for the every-week church-goer because of how many people are losing sight of the purpose and focus of the Bible. Reading the Bible can become a segmented phenomenon, a compilation of stories based around the theme of moral goodness. The Bible is so much better than that! By centering your reading of the Bible around Jesus Christ and recognizing the themes that Goldsworthy highlights (along with others), you can greatly improve your knowledge of God and what He’s doing, and thus increase your love for Him, His plan to glorify Himself and your participation in it.

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Supplanting God’s Timetable

May 15, 2008

How the “Problem of Evil” shows arrogance worthy of repentance

A poster hangs on the wall in the office I work in. It pictures the cover of one of our magazines with a question, “How should Christians respond to the problem of evil?”

I think two aspects of the “problem of evil” that are overlooked are: first, arrogance and second, God’s timetable. A great and classic passage is Luke 13:1-5:

There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

First, we’re on God’s timetable. The Christian God, the only true and living God, is good and sovereign over all things. He does not need to resolve injustice according to our perception of “due process”. When Jesus is approached about the Galileans, the people are bringing an injustice to Jesus’ attention in order to receive an explanation of why God allowed their death – were they greater sinners? Jesus turns their attention to their own sin. He refocuses their timetable – God’s on His own timetable, doing as He pleases (Psalm 135:6), concentrate on the timetable you yourself are on (which is also God’s) – are you right with God?

Second, when we ask a question of why God ordains evil, most of the time we are assuming that God must conform to our timetable to make things right. God has promised a day of judgment. We should be confident in it. God will make things right. We should not demand that God do so according to us. We sin in arrogance when we question why God is not making things right or why He is allowing things to happen. This is just one of the many sins we have to repent of when we realize we are sinful and need to repent.

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Running

May 2, 2008

“I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3:14

When is the last time you ran? I mean really ran. The type of running you do when you’re competing with someone, or because you’re late or because someone really needs you. When have you run like that?

A few years ago I did some running in 5K races. People tell me I’m built like a runner. So I trained and ran and ran. A friend of mine who use to run cross country coached me for a while. I got to compete a few times. But ultimately my knee didn’t agree with the people who thought I was built like a runner. Perhaps I’ll try it again sometime. But my laziness is getting the better or me.

When Paul says, “I press on” he is speaking figuratively of running, and running hard. Paul’s spiritual life was a vigorous run. He writes in 1 Corinthians 9:24, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.” Paul did not run for exercise or experience or to keep in shape like I did. He ran because Jesus is worth running, a long, pressing and painful, knee-breaking run that lasts your entire life.

The author of Hebrews also writes about this same race and the way we should run:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

You, reader, have read at least parts of the Bible. Parts that describe great men and women of faith. These were each runners. They ran by faith in Jesus Christ. They are great examples. And how did they run? They obeyed the command to put everything else in our lives away, every sin because sin clings so closely, weighing us down. Then they obeyed the command to run. They fixed their eyes on Jesus, who ensures their eternal life with Him and even their on-going improvement in the faith. And, finally, with their eyes so fixed, they run, shedding sin from their lives, enduring everything in the knowledge that Jesus endured much more when doing His work for them.

So, when is the last time you ran? I mean really ran? Spiritually ran? Do you read your Bible every day, completing it at least once-a-year? Do you pray daily for God’s glory, your family, church members and friends? Do you memorize verses from the Bible? How about whole books? Do you pray through Scripture? Do you fast? When is the last time you waged war on a prominent sin in your life through Bible study, prayer and discipleship? Evangelism?

Perhaps it’s time to RUN again! Jesus is worth it.