Thursday, July 27, 2006

Without Blemish

I am teaching through 1 Peter on Wednesday nights and Colossians on Sunday mornings. In the providence of God I covered 1 Peter 1:17-19 and Colossians 1:21-23 the same week. These two passages came together to remind me of God's incomprehensible grace.

1 Peter 1:19 describes Christ as a lamb "unblemished," of course in reference to his perfect and sinless life. Then in Colossians 1:22 it says, "yet he has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach."

What jumped out at me as I studied and prepared these two passages was that the word that is used to describe Christ, "unblemished," is the exact same word, in the Greek, that is used to describe how Christ will present us. We will be holy, unblemished, by the grace of God. He will take that which He cannot look upon and, through Christ, make us that which He loves to look upon.

"He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." - 2 Corinthians 5:21

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Who defines leadership in the church?

Willow Creek is having their annual Leadership Summit . It is troubling to know where the church is looking for advice on leadership. While I have known for some time that this sort of thing exists, it is disconcerting to actually see it in print . . . read for yourself!

Read more at www.sliceoflaodicea.com...

HT: Slice of Laodecia

Friday, July 21, 2006

Are We Facing the End Times?

I thought that title would get your attention! In the recent week and a half I have heard this question more than a few times in light of the current conflict in the Middle East. So, let me go ahead and answer it as best I can: I have no idea. Sorry to let you down. I am not able to answer such questions. And, if anyone else were being honest, they would have to say the same thing.

Now, I suppose there is nothing wrong with speculating. It makes for interesting conversation and intrigue. But, I fear often that is exactly what the conversation is all about: intrigue. I think that there are deeper questions we need to be asking ourselves. There are two in particular that come to my mind: Do I long for the return of Christ? Am I living in preparation for His return?

These two questions get to the heart of the issue. Revelation 22:20 makes the plea “Come, Lord Jesus.” How many of you make that plea on a regular basis? I fear that many, if they were being honest, would say that they would prefer He wait just a little longer until they were able to accomplish a certain something, get something, or see something. Whatever those “somethings” may be in your life are idols. Your desire for them has trumped your desire for your all-satisfying savior. Trust me, no, trust God’s Word, He is more glorious than whatever that “something” may be (Col. 1:15-20).

Of course the second question is related to the first. If you are not longing for his return, then you are probably not preparing for it either. In Matthew 25:1-13 Jesus, through a parable, makes it clear that we are to be sure that we are prepared for His return. It is our joyous obligation. It should be our joy and privilege to order our lives in such a way that when Christ returns we are ready. You don’t want to be frantically getting your house in order and picked up while Jesus is figuratively waiting at the door. He will not wait. His patience will have been expended at that point. Those who are His will be ready. Those who are not will be left saying, “Lord, lord, open up for us.’ But he answered, 'Truly I say to you, I do not know you.' Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour” (Matthew 25:11).

So, instead of speculating, start examining your life. The truth of the matter is that the culmination of history could be upon us at any moment. The real question is: Will we be ready?

Come, Lord Jesus we long to see your face!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

A Helpful Resource

The World eBook Fair is offering free access to their collection of 300,000 e-books. From July 4th to August 4th you can view and download the books for free. They have a section of Christian classics in their collection here.
I just downloaded a collection of the poems of William Cowper, its 394 pages long! I don't think I'll print that one off!

God's Sovereignty, Man's Responsibility

The issue of God's sovereignty man's responsibility is a conundrum that has caused many to stumble for centuries. People run to the extremes, only to find that they have fallen headlong into nonsense. Those who ignore man's responsibility refuse to pray or evangelize because they believe that if God's does it then they don't need to. Others, ignoring God's sovereignty, act as if they control the fate of the nations depending on whether or not they "release" God to work.
As I was reading through 2 Samuel I came across a verse that puts both into a healthy perspective, 2 Samuel 10:12, "

"Be strong, and let us show ourselves courageous for the sake of our people and for the cities of our God; and may the LORD do what is good in His sight."

These words find themselves on the lips of Joab as the Israelites are preparing to enter the battlefield. He makes it clear that they are to put forward their best effort, yet in the end he acknowledges that the results will be God's.
May this be the battle cry of our lives as well. Let us show ourselves courageous in the work of the gospel, but in the end leave the results to God and give Him the glory, not ourselves.