Archives For June 2008

Is the cross truly the center of our lives?

It’s a question I have been wrestling with ever since I began to study 1 Corinthians. From the very beginning, as Paul addresses the church of Corinth, strikingly similar to the “church of America,” we see his emphasis on one thing — the cross. The Corinthians had been filled with pride, envy, factions, and immorality only a short time after Paul had left them. They believed that even as young Christians they had reached the peak of their Christian experience. Their pride led them to focus on things of this world, their own opinions and tastes, and begin to rebel against Paul’s teaching. But Paul tells them plainly and simply that what is important is the cross — the gospel that saved them.

What struck me when I first began studying was something D.A. Carson mentions in his book The Cross and Christian Ministry.

What would you think if a woman came to work wearing earrings stamped with an image of the mushroom cloud of the atomic bomb dropped over Hiroshima?

What would you think of a church building adorned with a fresco of the massed graves at Auschwitz?

Both visions are grotesque. They are not only intrinsically abhorrent, but they are shocking because of powerful cultural associations. The same sort of shocked horror was associated with “cross” and “crucifixion” in the first century. Apart from the emperor’s explicit sanction, no Roman citizen could be put to death by this means. Crucifixion was reserved for slaves, aliens, barbarians. Many thought it was not something to be talked about in polite company. Quite apart from the wretched torture inflicted on those who were executed by hanging from a cross, the cultural associations conjured up images of evil, corruption, abysmal rejection.

That quote seems to make the statement that God chose the “foolish things of this world to shame the wise” even stronger. I like the new perspective it gives us into what Paul is saying right in the very beginning of 1 Corinthians. It is clear that the cross is not, in the world’s eyes, full of wisdom, nor of strength. It was even more so in the first century.

We run to the cross. It must be the center of our lives, our speech, our actions, and our minds. The cross- the gospel – must guide our daily actions. Many do not understand this teaching, but it is so evident through God’s Word. It saves us, and when we look at the cross and its suffering, we flee from sin. It is the center, it is the story.

Book Giveaway

June 11, 2008 — Leave a comment

Beauty From the Heart is giving away my favorite book.

From the FRC email June 6th. For those who have read Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper, the following news is of great importance.

One of America’s greatest stories came to an end yesterday as Jack Lucas, the youngest Marine to be awarded the Medal of Honor, died of cancer. After forging his mother’s signature so he could enlist at age 14, Jack begged his superiors to let him fight. He even “stowed away aboard a Navy ship headed for combat in the Pacific Ocean.” When he explained his situation to the officers on board, they granted his wish of fighting the Japanese. It turned out to be one of the best decisions they could have made. In a trench at Iwo Jima, Jack threw himself on two grenades to protect his squad. When one detonated, he was nearly killed. With hundreds of pieces of shrapnel lodged in every major organ, Jack underwent more than two dozen surgeries–and lived to tell about it. His Medal of Honor notes that his “inspiring action… not only protected his comrades from certain injury or possible death but also enabled them to rout the Japanese patrol and continue the advance.” He died on Thursday after losing his battle with cancer. We remember Jack, as we remember so many soldiers from World War II–with humble gratefulness. President Reagan said it best when he looked out over Omaha Beach and told our veterans, “Strengthened by their courage, heartened by their valor, and borne by their memory, let us continue to stand for the ideals for which they lived and died.”

Other posts that included Jack Lucas are Great Stories…Great Lives, Freedom, Coolness Redefined.

Nothing is essential until you get it and then don’t have it. — Jake Smith

Well, the blog has risen from the dead database crash zone, where for some odd reason blogs and websites may suddenly disappear into the unknown due to the dropping of hostname for a database. Basically, what we did was to simply assign my DB to an alternate address and then edited the wp-config file to reflect that change.

In other words: I email the problem, it got fixed, and the site was back in 30 seconds. Exciting stuff. Wild things always happen to me.

It’s been a busy couple of weeks – and of course since the blog has been down, I’ve been wanting to write, but I can’t. I’ve been writing a lot of other things, and I hope you’ll pray for me as I take on some big projects, along with scholarships and more. A few things have hit me in the past few weeks.

First, we all seem to have the mindset that our name needs to be big in this world to make a difference for the kingdom of God. It simply isn’t so. You don’t have to be Billy Graham to change the world. If God has called you to a place that seems small, you need to be content in that situation – and glorify God through whatever you do. It’s not about your name, it’s about God’s fame and His name being spread through all the world.

Secondly, God’s grace is so abundant. I am constantly returning to the cross and the grace that can be freely received there. It is easy to be depressed by our failings in sin, and to stay that way. We allow our pride to take a hold, and we refuse to humble ourselves before the cross – and we refuse to humbly accept grace. B God is so patient with a sinner like me as I grow more like His son.

I’m looking forward to getting back to blogging, and I’m praying you all are as well.