Sunday, April 01, 2018

Is this the greatest Easter painting of all time?

Les Disciples
Wishing you a very happy and meaningful Easter. In step with these wishes, I came across a 2017 post by Mike Frost that’s fitting and worth a read.  (link is here)

It's a tradition in some circles to greet one another on Easter Sunday with the phrase Christ is risen! The reply: He is risen indeed! Knowing the practice spans the centuries for more than 2000 years, I actually look forward to hearing it again today and knowing the rootedness of the tradition is millennia old sets the practice in the context of history and narrative that undergirds its meaning today. 

Yet, springing from a real place, real persons, and real time in history it's a helpful reminder to remember there was a day when the words were uttered for the first time. How incredible it must have been to hear in that day "He is risen!" - and to see again the Risen One - having "put death in its grave" - this side of the his cross and tomb!

Quoting the prophet Isaiah from more than 800 years before the birth, life, crucifixion, and resurrection of Christ:
“He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken.”
 So, to that end, may I say: Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed!

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Sunday, November 03, 2013

Half Built Towers

“Jesus never concealed the fact that his religion included a demand as well as an offer. Indeed, the demand was as total as the offer was free. If he offered men his salvation, he also demanded their submission. He gave no encouragement whatever to thoughtless applicants for discipleship. He brought no pressure to bear on any inquirer. He sent irresponsible enthusiasts away empty. Luke tells of three men who either volunteered, or were invited, to follow Jesus; but no one passed the Lord’s test. The rich young ruler, too, moral, earnest and attractive, who wanted eternal life on his own terms, went away sorrowful, with his riches intact but with neither life nor Christ as his possession…The Christian landscape is strewn with the wreckage of derelict, half built towers—the ruins of those who began to build and were unable to finish. For thousands of people still ignore Christ’s warning and undertake to follow him without first pausing to reflect on the cost of doing so. The result is the great scandal of Christendom today, so called “nominal Christianity.” In countries to which Christian civilization has spread, large numbers of people have covered themselves with a decent, but thin, veneer of Christianity. They have allowed themselves to become somewhat involved, enough to be respectable but not enough to be uncomfortable. Their religion is a great, soft cushion. It protects them from the hard unpleasantness of life, while changing its place and shape to suit their convenience. No wonder the cynics speak of hypocrites in the church and dismiss religion as escapism…The message of Jesus was very different. He never lowered his standards or modified his conditions to make his call more readily acceptable. He asked his first disciples, and he has asked every disciple since, to give him their thoughtful and total commitment. Nothing less than this will do”
― John R.W. StottBasic Christianity

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Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Far Too Easily Pleased ...Indeed.

The following C.S. Lewis quote from the "Weight of Glory" is striking- at least too me. And, based on how often I've seen it shared over the years, it is to others, too.

This week it resonates true even moreso as I sift through puzzled thoughts triggered by seeing  - seemingly aimless and easily entertained - tourists wandering the "The Strip" in Vegas taking photos of sham Roman statues and sitting in the shadow of a faux Tour Eiffel whilst paying too much for a small Starbucks coffee to drink in the surprising state of being whisked away as imaginary actors in the Bellagio water show scene from "Oceans 11". I mean really?  ...this is enjoyable?

Admittedly,  I'm jaded by too many working visits to "grown up Disneyland", yet Vegas - at least the fake, plastic, neon bit- doesn't suit me well.  I find it akin to a Potemkin Village seeking to hide a collective pool of creaturely emptiness from a people intended for deep and abiding joy. Intended for joy, yet now broken and losing their way in the course of being led by the nose further into the innards of an ages old deceit.   

So, let me get out of the 105 Degree F  heat and back to work.  And, as I do, let me leave you with the fitting - and aforementioned- quote:

“If we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desire, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” ---from The Weight of Glory, by C.S. Lewis

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Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Believe It or Not: A Telling Hermeneutic

"How can this strange story of God made flesh, of a crucified Savior, of resurrection and new creation become credible for those whose entire mental training has conditioned them to believe that the real world is the world which can be satisfactorily explained and managed without the hypothesis of God? I know of only one clue to the answering of that question, only one real hermeneutic of the gospel: a congregation which believes it." – Lesslie Newbigin

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Saturday, July 30, 2011

We are seeking to accomplish what God himself wills to happen

It's been a very long while since posting here. Lot's of reasons -mostly good methinks. However, the following link merits chasing. Enjoy :-)

So all our missional efforts to make God known must be set within the prior framework of God’s own will to be known. We are seeking to accomplish what God himself wills to happen. This is both humbling and reassuring. It is humbling inasmuch as it reminds us that all our efforts would be in vain but for God’s determination to be known. We are neither the initiators of the mission of making God known to the nations nor does it lie in our power to decide how to the task will be fully accomplished or when it may be deemed to be complete. But it is also reassuring. For we know that behind all our fumbling efforts and inadequate communication the supreme will of the living God, reaching out in loving self-revelation, incredibly willing to open blind eyes and reveal his glory through the treasures of the gospel delivered in the clay pots of his witnesses.

- Christopher Wright, The Mission of God, p. 129, 130

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Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Holy Love :: Offensive Cross :: Needed Win

With my thoughts turning towards the Lenten and Easter seasons and the continued shaping of our community, I'm often - and may it always be so - reminded that the benefits of the Gospel and Kingdom come only on the basis of the blood, death and resurrection of our King. Whilst being boldly loving folk and doing "good" things should lead us towards the peaceful fruits of justice, mercy, humility and the "blessing" of others - especially the "least of these", I cannot step over the stumbling block and offense of the cross which remains foolishness to some and the very power of God to others.

Seeking to anticipate the "sparks in the wind" sort of varied influences - especially the markedly heretical - that may contain the embers needed to influence, confuse or harm the folks of our community, I came across the following poem. It is an excerpt from Timothy Stoner’s The God Who Smokes: Scandalous Meditation on Faith (p. 30).

Certainly worth the read methinks.

Holy Love Wins

The love that wins is a holy love.

The love that won on the cross and wins the world is a love that is driven, determined, and defined by holiness.

It is a love that flows out of the heart of a God who is transcendent, majestic, infinite in righteousness, who loves justice as much as he does mercy; who hates wickedness as much as he loves goodness; who blazes with a fiery, passionate love for himself above all things.

He is Creator, Sustainer, Beginning and End.

He is robed in a splendor and eternal purity that is blinding.

He rules, he reigns, he rages and roars, then bends down to whisper love songs to his creatures.

His love is vast and irresistible.

It is also terrifying, and it will spare no expense to give everything away in order to free us from the bondage of sin, purifying for himself a people who are devoted to his glory, a people who have “no ambition except to do good”.

So he crushes his precious Son in order to rescue and restore mankind along with his entire creation.

He unleashes perfect judgment on the perfectly obedient sacrifice and then pulls him up out of the grave in a smashing and utter victory.

He is a God who triumphs . . .

He is a burning cyclone of passionate love.

Holy love wins.

Grace & Peace,


Read entire originating post: Holy Love Wins

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Needed Glimpse @ Nehemiah

For the Love of God , a daily devotional designed to walk a person through the Bible in a year, remains a helpful compliment to the M'Cheynne Reading plan. Sunday's commentary was particularly striking. Partly because of the pastoral context and needs in our community. Partly because of the tendency to drift that remains a resident lure in my own heart.

Reflect: A Swim Upstream Awaits

ONE OF THE MOST STRIKING EVIDENCES of sinful human nature lies in the universal propensity for downward drift. In other words, it takes thought, resolve, energy, and effort to bring about reform. In the grace of God, sometimes human beings display such virtues. But where such virtues are absent, the drift is invariably toward compromise, comfort, indiscipline, sliding disobedience, and decay that advances, sometimes at a crawl and sometimes at a gallop, across generations.

People do not drift toward holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; we drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; we drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated.

Click here for the complete post. (D.A. Carson:For the Love of God: The Gospel Coalition)

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