Archives For August 2008

I used to think I lived my life on the edge — I’ve broken my wrist, fallen off a plastic car onto pavement and gotten stitches, gone to the hospital with a swollen appendix and hooked my dad’s finger while fishing.

I’ve had some close calls too — I’ve been stuck on way too many roller coasters, seen one too many robberies from the parking lot and have been in a restaurant where a car came crashing through the wall during lunch (seriously, I have).

It’s been interesting, exciting and really painful. Yet I have to sit back and laugh when I think about some people who do crazy things to themselves — like those crazy skydivers. At least I didn’t choose to be heading to the hospital — these guys risk skipping the hospital visit and creating an instant grave on impact. Most people may think skydiving is just plain suicidal, but I have to admit there’s just something about “living on the edge” that people love — and in the case of skydiving, jumping off the edge. Sometimes, I think I’d love to take the plunge.

//Read the rest at Boundless//

P.S. Just ignore the amazing article series by David Powlison. If you read him, you may not return to my article. Just warning you. (Okay, seriously. Please read his article series.)

I couldn’t help but be moved by the post “I Miss Him” over at Beauty from the Heart. It’s the kind of story that could rock you to the core. As I read, I felt a deep and heartfelt sadness for Charles Templeton – oh! If only he could see the hope! If only he could see that He who had no sin became sin for us, that the Jesus he misses so much could be seen again someday.

It reminds me of a question I was asked the a couple months ago.

I help at my church each Wednesday, and one Wednesday I was talking with some of the guys there about John Piper’s book, God is the Gospel. I’d never read it, so I was intrigued. I was leaning on the door frame of the office, another guy sitting in a chair in the corner, and one guy sitting with God is the Gospel in his hands in a chair by the desk. He told us he was very moved by this book.

“There’s this great part,” he told us, “somewhere early on, where John Piper asks this question.” He started flipping through the pages. Finally he found it.

“It’s like this,” my friend said, “If we were able to go to heaven, to receive all the benefits of eternal life, no pain, no tears…but Christ was not there…would we be satisfied?”

We all stood silent as he looked up. I glanced down at the floor.

Finally, our reader broke the silence. “I think each of us, sometimes, might honestly answer ‘yes’ to that question.”

That was pretty scary – and many times true for me.

So, I find myself working each day to grow a deeper affection for Christ, and the way I do that is by constantly reminding myself of the cross, and studying books that grow that deeper affection for Christ. But is my affection that deep? Would I honestly say I would not go to heaven without Christ?

If you haven’t read the story and interview of Charles Templeton, just stop right now and do it. Then come back.

Okay. So, you’re back.

Are you like him? Do you long to see your Savior’s face? Do you long to run to him? Do you cry out for Him, and Him alone? Can you honestly say, “give me Jesus, give me Jesus, only Jesus“?

I pray that I can. And I pray you can as well.

Yet I Sin

August 20, 2008 — 6 Comments

I read this today during my devotions.

Give me the fullness of a godly grief
that trembles and fears,
yet ever trusts and loves,
which is ever powerful, and ever confident;
Grant that through the tears of repentance
I may see more clearly the brightness
and glories of the saving cross.

Amen.

From The Valley of Vision, page 125.

God Is Changeable

August 17, 2008 — 8 Comments

Studying Exodus 32-34 recently (the record of the golden calf incident and its aftermath), it became clear to me how un-God-like God is at times. He is strikingly changeable, emotional, and downright human on occasions. — Jamie Kiley

Something struck me as horribly wrong as I read those words from Jamie Kiley the other day. I saw what she was saying. She mentioned that in the story of the golden calf that God burns with anger and wants to destroy the Israelites, but four verses later he supposedly “changes His mind” in response to the pleas of Moses.

Jamie mentions that in chapter 33 God tells Moses to go into the promised land, “but says he will not go along, ‘because you are an obstinate people, and I might destroy you on the way.’” In 33:5, “God indicates His uncertainty about what to do with his people, telling them to ‘put off your ornaments from you, that I may know what I shall do with you.’”

She concludes that “God appears strikingly mutable.” Jamie believes that God “changes his mind, regrets past actions, is subject to anger, and argues with his people.” Obviously, her statement that “these might not fit neatly into our western conceptions of God” is dead on. From the looks of things, God doesn’t always have it all together.

But in one paragraph of Jamie’s post, I believe she dismisses a very important hermeneutical error. When we read passages of Scripture, such as these in Exodus, we have to understand the big picture. We really need a bird’s eye view to properly interpret the text. Jamie says that “we should not dismiss it on the basis of what we ‘know’ God to be like.”

I disagree. It’s true that we should not dismiss it, but we must understand that Scripture does not contradict itself. If Scripture has said that God is immutable (unchanging), then he cannot be mutable (changing) in another passage.

I believe in this context that God is sovereign. He is not changing his mind. He knows all along what he is doing. Notice in 32:14 that God is only threatening, not making a sworn decree. Gotquestions.org answered the question “does God change his mind” by answering that:

“The Scriptures that describe God apparently “changing His mind” are human attempts to explain the actions of God. God was going to do something, but instead did something else. To us, that sounds like a change. But to God, who is omniscient and sovereign, it is not a change. God always knew what He was going to do.”

So when Jamie quotes Terry Muck as saying “Too often, it seems to me, despite our biblical literacy, we think of how God ought to be rather than how he has actually portrayed himself,” we can answer very clearly: God does not change. We must think of God how he has portrayed himself – not how man portrays him.

It’s dangerous to simply stop and “consider” these things by just reading one blog post and not evaluating the context. I want to put this out there: we need to know how to read our Bibles and not stop with reading a blog post or article. Otherwise, we’ll come across a passage and believe that God is somehow changeable and very human-like. Before we know it we’re crossing the line for bad hermeneutics to heresy. We cannot allow that to happen. Learn how to properly interpret the text.

Update: Things went great on my first day. Thank you all for your prayers. Also, I received news yesterday that a scholarship I applied for came through.

Each of us have seasons in our lives. Some are seasons of preparation, some are seasons of change, and in my case I am in a season of study and learning.

In other words: Monday morning I have my first college course ever.

I’m pretty excited, yet at the same time I have doubts and fears about how well I will do in college, and whether or not I’m academically prepared for college level courses. I’m asking for your prayers this week – I want you to pray that I will be given a peace that passes understanding, that God will be glorified through my life and my example here on campus, that I will have faith to trust God in the area of finances, that I can continue to blog, and that I will continue to stay in God’s Word on a daily basis.

You don’t have to leave a comment to tell me that you’ve prayed – but I would be honored if you took just a moment as you read this to stop and pray.

I think we need to start getting in the habit of doing this – just stopping and praying. Thanks in advance for your prayers and may God bless.

No Little People

I feel small. No, not short. Small.

I scan the news and the campus and see people who are making an impact. They’re culture shifters, trendsetters, attention-getters. I notice them when they come into a room; we all want to meet them. My sinful inclination is to desire what those people have: a following, influence, impact.

But I’m small, and my impact, influence, and following seem insignificant.

It’s not that I yearn for the kind of fame here on earth that a politician or musician might get. I just want to be known as the guy who changed lives (thousands, preferably), who saved souls (again, thousands), or who started a revival in my country. I want to be a “big person.” I don’t want to be small and unused.

Sometimes, though, I wonder if I can do anything at all, much less change the world.

// Read the rest of my article at Boundless.org! //