Archives For Christianity

In the first post, I talked about 11 different aspects of society used a filters or barriers to form or foster community. I argued, “In order for a gospel community to be counter-cultural, we first have to assess what we are encountering in the culture. How does culture and society determine how community is formed and fostered? What are some of the guiding principles and motivations behind its formation?” If part one addresses the external schema of society formation, this post addresses the internal driving forces influencing how and where we fall out in our version of societal segregation.

Dick Keyes, in his chapter “The Idol Factory” (in No God but God) takes about the construction of idols in our lives. He makes the distinction between “near” and “far” idols. Near idols are those that are more specific, superficial and concrete, such as career, spouse, possessions, etc. Far idols, on the other hand, are “farther” from the surface of things and go to the root of why we do what we do. They get to the “sin beneath the sin” and are also referred to as “source” or “root” idols.

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This past April, I had the privilege of meeting and hanging out with Jefferson Bethke while in Louisville when he shared this Spoken Word at Southern Seminary.  You may remember him from this video. He’s a faithful brother representing Christ well. I commend this video to you, the paradox of Christianity. Indeed, “you only live once,” but the best way to live is dying to self and losing our life in Christ.

Check it.

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For the past couple months, I have been teaching a class on disciples making disciples at Grace. I was prepared yesterday morning to teaching on the importance of law and gospel in the Christian life, but I decided to make a last minute change to address what I called “Politics, Patriotism, and Making Disciples of Jesus.” I figured in light of Independence Day (prospect) and the Supreme Court ruling on Obamacare (retrospect), it would be timely to address this issue.  Needless to say, it was lively, fun, and one of the most engaging hour-long discussions we’ve ever had.

I decided to address this topic not only because of the timeliness of the issue but also the need to have a formative, proactive approach to addressing politics from a gospel-centered framework. No new Christian trusts Christ without a past, without presuppositions or convictions, and this includes politics, culture, and view of God and country. Of the potential things that can drive a person’s identity, politics ranks among the top, so a church committed to disciple-making cannot be ignorant or indifferent in helping new Christians (and old!) understand civil responsibilities and political involvement.

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At the very heart of the Lord’s Prayer is the petition, “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”  Like so many other familiar passages of Scripture, I fear that there are myriads of truths that fail to be apprehended due to our contemptible satisfaction of superficial understanding.  Such has been the case for me regarding these petitions of our Lord.

One of the remarkable things I’ve been learning lately is how the gospel interconnects kingdom come and the Father’s will being done on earth.  The gospel intertwines this petition precisely because the response these realties demand are that of repentance and faith.

Whenever Jesus preaches about the kingdom, the action invariable associated with it is to repent.  The arrival of His kingdom means the removal of your kingdom.  The arrival of His reign means the surrender of your rights.  His position on the throne of your life necessitates the crushing of all idols and rivals to Him as Lord and King.  With the inauguration of the kingdom in the life of a believer, there is a corresponding denunciation of the kingdom we had built with ourselves at the center.   Simply put, when the King is present, our rights are absent.  We repent. We look away from ourselves.  We turn from our rebellious, treasonous ways. We renounce all our self-righteous deeds.  We gladly submit and surrender our lives to His sweet sovereignty as the one who alone has the right to govern our lives.

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Recently, Tim Keller spoke at The Veritas Forum at UC Berkeley and addressed the question of Christianity and other religions.  Check out this short video where he answers whether all religions are equally right.

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