Friday, January 30, 2009

Quote of the Week

"My brethren, true religion has as much to do with this world as with the world to come; it is always urging us onward to the higher and better life; but it does so by processes and precepts which fit us worthily to spend our days while here...Faith is a principle for present use; see how it has triumphed in ordinary life..."

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Gospel for Your Bad (or Good) Situation

Here's what I read today from 1 Corinthians 7.   I found this passage both interesting and instructive.

"Only let each person lead the life the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him.... Each one should remain in the situation he was in when God called him.  Were you a slave when you were called?   Don't let it trouble you - although if you can gain your freedom, do so.  For he who was a slave when he was called by the Lord is the Lord's freedman; similarly he who was a free man when he was called is Christ's slave.   You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men.  Brothers, each man, as responsible to God, should remain in the situation God called him to."  

 (1 Cor 7:17, 20-24)

Here's what this passage impressed on me - your station in life isn't the most important thing.  Whether you're rich or poor doesn't matter a whole lot.   Whether you're part of the intellectual elite or part of the blue collar crew doesn't mean that much.   It isn't the measure of your worth - it's just not that important.   

This is not only counter cultural, it seems unnatural to think this way.   Most of us are always looking for ways to distinguish ourselves from others, to favorably compare ourselves, to keep score.   Paul says no - don't think this way.   Certainly, if you can improve your standing... get a higher paying job... move to a better neighborhood... better your life in any way, by all means do it.   But don't let it dominate your focus or lose peace over your situation - it's not the sum of your life in God.   

In fact, Paul instructs us on how to think about this by bringing the gospel mindset into view.  Paul addresses the slave and reminds him that in Christ, he is free regardless of his social standing.  Paul reminds the free man that he is called to be a slave for Christ.   What matters is our standing before God - we need to remember that we're called by God and for Him.  

If you're stuck in a bad situation - unsatisfying job, unreasonable boss, too much travel, too little pay - it's easy to get frustrated and allow this "bad" situation dominate the landscape of our minds.   Paul's instruction to us is to get perspective - the kind with God in view.   Let the good news of what Christ has done for us dominate our thoughts and it'll bring our hearts in line with the truth.

What do you think about this?   Perhaps I'm not reading this right - if so, please let me know.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Quote of the Week

"The main problem, then, in the Christian life is that we have not thought out the deep implications of the gospel, we have not 'used' the gospel in, and on all parts of our life."

Tim Keller, The Centrality of the Gospel (article)

Monday, January 19, 2009

I Have a Dream

Today is Martin Luther King Day. Tomorrow, millions will flock to Washington DC to celebrate the inauguration of the nation's first African American President. You may or may not agree with Obama's politics but you cannot overlook the significance of his presidency.

With the backdrop of history in the making, I thought it might be interesting to post a video excerpt of Dr King's "I have a dream" speech. It was only a mere 45 years ago when he gave that speech.  Just a little more than 40 years ago, interracial marriage was illegal in Virginia.

Although racism still prevails in certain places, things are changing and perhaps tomorrow marks a new day.   There's much to be grateful for.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Quote of the Week

"There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations - these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit - immortal horrors or everlasting splendours."

C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

Monday, January 12, 2009

Sanctity of Life

This coming Sunday, January 18, 2009 is Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. Since Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision legalizing abortions, there have been over 49 million abortions performed.

We've become so accustom to these kinds of statistics that it's easy to overlook of the scope of this atrocity. Even today, we're still horrified by the 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center as we should be - 2,752 deaths in a single day is terrible indeed. But in 2003, there were over 3500 abortions performed every single day. Somehow as a nation, we're not as troubled by this.

We're sympathetic to the tsunami victims - approximately 169,000 lives were lost in this natural disaster. Yet, 49 million deaths since 1973 doesn't seem to affect us quite as much. 49 million is about the size of South Korea or Spain - an entire nation of babies has been lost.

As a nation, we no longer view life from a biblically informed perspective and we are lost because of it. The high value of a human life is ascribed by God himself in Genesis 1 -"Then God said, 'let us make man in our image, after our likeness". Imago dei -the image of God in us means that every life has value outside of our utility or function or viability. It means that human life is sacred.

This week, especially this Sunday, pray for God to be actively at work in our courts, our homes and our hearts so that life is regarded as holy and the wicked practices of abortion might be no more. Let's also pray for National Right to Life and other newer groups like Abort73 as they continue to labor on behalf of the unborn.