Archive for October 2008
“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” -Revelation 1:8
Almighty is one of those terms that we only come close defining but in the end come up lacking. It is a word that involves infinity and therefore, incomprehensibility. The word in the Greek literally means “all power”. Try and wrap your mind around that one. God is all power. How much is that? What scale should we use to measure it? Is it sheer physical power? Is it more like political power? Is it mental power? Is it the power of long-suffering love? To all of these things we answer “yes”.
I had a math professor in High School who tried to demonstrate the concept of infinity to us. He began drawing a line on the chalk board. He wrote off the chalk board and along the classroom wall. He kept writing along the wall, out the door, and down the hall. He didn’t come back for the rest of the class. Pedantic as it is, that scratches the surface of Almighty.
So when you are tempted to call on God as “the Almighty” take a moment of pause and realize what it is you are doing. Turn your eyes to the cross and see there the clearest illustration of “all power”. Jesus was powerful enough to love when it cost him everything. God was powerful to will and to pay the cost to redeem a poor wretch like me–who remains a poor wretch, by the way. He now is powerful enough to apply that all-cross-power to the hearts of sinners, reversing death in them, and leading them to repentance and faith.
God is indeed Almighty. But that doesn’t even say the half of it.
According to the statistics on my blog, the single most popular series I have ever written has been my series on How God Answers Prayer. They aren’t that easy to find outside of a search so I decided to post an indexed list to that series.
How God Answers Prayer Series:
A few Sundays ago I preached the second sermon in my series entitled, “Jeuss, His Church, and His Mission”. It was my first of four sermons on the person and work of Jesus. I wanted people to see that Jesus is the revelation of God. When God wants us to see his love he shows us his Son. When God wants us to understand the way of redemption he shows us his Son. When God sets down a patter for godly living he shows us his Son. The main theme of the Old Testament is to introduce the people of God to the person of Jesus Christ. For these reasons and many more Jesus remains the focus of the church.
To many this doctrine is nothing new. But the basics are often the very places that we witness the greatest doctrinal errosion. My hope was to shore up the foundation and encourage my people again to love and adore Jesus Christ.
John 1:18 – Jesus: The Revelation of God
The sum of the matter lies here: It is our duty to speak truth, that is, so as our mind agree with the matter, and our mouth with our mind. We must speak things as we think them to be, and think them to be what they are.
- Thomas Boston, The Complete Works of the Late Rev. Thomas Boston (1853; repr., Tentmaker Publications: Stokes-on-Trent, 2002), 2:312.
Here Thomas Boston reflects on the ninth commandment–the Christian’s need to speak the truth. He sees in it the double necessity of being true to one’s self and true to the subject at hand. Or to put it another way, the Christian must speak the truth and believe the truth he speaks.
In just a few paltry words, Boston gets to the heart of Christian religion. It is not intellectual assent. Even demons confess that Jesus is Lord (James 2:19). It is a heart-faith tied to mouth-faith that makes true faith. At the same time I know how often cowardice gets the best of the Christian. He truly believes that Jesus is the only hope for the lost sinner yet his mouth rebels against his heart in the evangelistic moment. No, one cannot exist without the other. Truth is verified by the tongue in concert with the heart.
I’ve been reading up on spiritual warfare recently. It is a topic that I haven’t done all that much study on. Given the preponderence of the topic in the New Testament I figured I should take some time to study the theories, issues, and opinions involved.
What is your own experience with the topic of spiritual warfare?
Things I’ve read or listened to recently on spiritual warfare:
And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed. – John 17:5
Fatherhood is eternal. Before the world existed Jesus and the Father existed in perfect trinitarian love. My heart warms with the thought of it. Before he created anything, God was Father and Jesus was his Son. Before their was such a thing as birth, God was Father and Jesus was his Son. Then there was the moment when the father had to give us his only son. He had to send him, allow him to die for sinners who weren’t worthy to untie his Son’s shoes. But he loved them and he loved him. And in the cross both fatherhood and the Father’s love were on display as they never had been or ever will be. Fatherhood is eternal. Jesus has paid the price to enable sinners like you and me to boldly, audaciously call God our Father who art in heaven. How wonderful is the cross? How wonderful is the broken healing it brings? How wonderful is the Father’s love?
Its time to catch up on posting the links to the last two CS Lewis lectures held at our church this Fall. Brad did a great job on the whole series. My only frustration with the lectures was that we didn’t have more time to explore Lewis’s works. If you have any affinity to CS Lewis I heartily recommend all six lectures.
Here are the last two of the series.
Lecture 5 – The Four Loves
Lecture 6 – Suffering (The Problem of Pain and A Grief Observed)
This coming Wednesday evening we begin another round of our new members class which we have affecitonately named, First Things. We do our new members class differently than most churches. The class is designed to be a back to basics format to which we invite any member or nonmember to attend. It is a prerequisite for church members but it is also great material for a long time member to review.
All that being said, we are trying something a little different this time. We are trying to accumulate a list of resources with which we would like our new members to be familiar. This list is currently a work in progress. I’d love your help if you have any suggestions for helpful resources–especially if they are of the Reformed and Presbyterian variety.
Let me know what you would suggest a new member read. You can split your suggestions into three categories: articles, web resources (blogs and such), and books.
When I finish my list, I include it in the comments below.
We are holding our 53rd annual world mission conference this weekend. Our speaker is Joseph Wheat, pastor of Highlands Pres in Madison, MS. As you would imagine, many people give many hours to making sure this weekend’s events run without a hitch. Missionaries take time out of busy home assignments to travel to the church in order to spend a precious minutes with a congregation. It leaves many people asking by Monday, “Was it all worth it?”
In my very few years as a pastor I answer the question with strong affirmation. My reason is simple. Most of the missionaries I’ve met can trace their call to missions back to some sort of missions conference. That conference lead them to take a short term trip. That short term trip let them to a longer term on the field. That longer term led them to dedicate their lives to serving abroad. For many would be missionaries, a missions conference is that first step in a long journey of self sacrifice for those who have never heard the gospel.
The goal I set for myself this weekend is simply to look and pray for the people in my congregation and for my sons. I pray that God would cause them to be captivated by Jesus. I pray that captivation would lead them to deep personal worship. I pray that worship would lead them to ask, “Where can I take the gospel where people have not heard it?” Who knows if God will not use these next 56 hours to begin molding a missionary.
My review was just posted over at Reformation21 of the CJ Mahaney edited book, Worldliness: Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World.
It is a great book that I heartily recommend on cultural engagement. Don’t forget to check out some of the other great resources over at Ref21 as well.