Using the Scripture but missing Jesus

“If we don’t ultimately view the Bible as an unfolding, cohesive story of God’s redemption that comes to completion in Jesus Christ, our use of Scripture in ministry situations has the potential to miss Him–and so will our hearers. Those we minister to need more than commands, principles, examples, and systematic theological categories per se. Rather, they need to be connected in vital relationship with a Redeemer”

-Mike Emlet, CrossTalk, Westminster Today (Print Magazine), Summer 2011 Issue

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Ten Thousand Times More Amazing

Jesus Christ is the final and ultimate and perfect righteous one (Acts 7:52; 1 John 2:1). To others it seemed as if Jesus’ life was going so badly that he must be a sinner. But in the end, all the sin against him, and all the suffering he endured in perfect righteousness, led to his vindication and, because of it, to our salvation. If Joseph is amazing in his steadfastness, Jesus is ten thousand times more amazing, because he experienced ten thousand times more suffering, and deserved it ten thousand times less, and was perfect steadfast, faithful, and righteous through it all.

John Piper, Spectacular Sins and Their Global Purpose in the Glory of Christ (available free here), page 83

On Spiders

In the sunshine of the patio at GCC yesterday I observed an intricately spun spiders web, certain damaged by the weather. I don’t think the spider minded much, I saw some remains of some bugs from past meals.

On campus there were probably thousands of people, all of them (unless they were young children) had specific intentions to be there. Even the plants and trees, someone planted with a landscape in mind. The water from the fountain was running intentionally.

Here is this little spider, enjoying a small feast on these bugs. He’ll likely meet his end by another, perhaps larger, spider. Or he’ll suffer at the end of a broom. Or because of a curious young boy’s foot. His life is short, here for a purpose and then gone.

I’m not wanting to stretch too far for this one, but here goes. I’m love understanding and learning about the sovereignty of God. This is God’s world, he creates it, he sustains it. He is the Author. But sometimes I forget the story that he’s weaving. Sometimes I think evolutionary type thoughts, thinking that God’s given the world a push in the right direction and while He controls it, He lets things go as they go. But God is not like that, He is there. He is in control.

It was God’s plan for our pastor to be on vacation this Sunday. It was God’s plan for a guest preacher to be filling the pulpit. Perhaps to the chagrin of some human guests. (I’m thankful for the pulpit-fillers and guests.) It was God’s plan to feed the spider those other insects.

I am thankful for a God who is infinite, who created galaxies that no earth-dweller will ever see. I’m thankful to worship a God who created oceans with depths so deep no instrument will ever be able to document what is there. These depths, along with that little spider exist for his glory, and we must be mindful that they are part of his story. They don’t exist for nothing.

Being in the middle of the ocean reminds you how small you are. We’re tiny in this massive world. And yet, the Creator of all of it, sacrificed His son, offering a substitute, our sin for His son’s righteousness. He not only provides for your greatest need, but He also provides for your daily needs. Don’t worry, if He takes care of the spider, how much more will He care for you? We’ll here for a purpose and then we’re gone, just like that spider.

Evil Exists for Jesus

Christianity begins with the conviction that God is an objective reality outside ourselves. We do not make him what he is by thinking a certain way about him. As Francis Schaeffer said, he is the the God who is there. We don’t make him. He makes us. We don’t decide what he is going to be like, He decides what we are going to be like. He created the universe, and it has the meaning he gives it, not the meaning we give it. If we give it a meaning different from his, we are fools. And our lives will be tragic in the end.

Christianity is not a game; it’s not a therapy. All of its doctrines flow from who God is and what he has done in history. They correspond to hard facts. Christianity is more than facts, but not less. There is faith and hope and love. But these don’t float in the air. They grow like cedar trees in the rock of God’s truth.

And the reason I make this one of my aims in this book is because I am deeply convinced from the Bible that our eternal joy and strength and holiness depend on the solidity of this worldview putting strong fiber into the spine of our faith. Wimpy worldviews make wimpy Christians. And wimpy Christians won’t survive the days ahead. Rootless emotionalism that treats Christianity like a therapeutic option will be swept away in the last days. Those who will be left standing will be those who have built their houses on the rock of great, objective truth with Jesus Christ as the origin, center and the goal of it all.

John Piper, Spectacular Sins pages 56 and 57.

Are we convinced that even EVIL exists for the purpose of magnifying Christ? Or, are we satisfied to punt on the issue pretending verses like Proverbs 16:4 don’t exist? Understanding God purpose for evil does not hinder our joy, but it is the foundation for it.

Mountasia

On Wednesday evening we visited Mountasia. After thirty minutes in the arcade we enjoyed a quick round of miniature golf. Our kids did pretty well, considering the patience required to play miniature golf. Claire especially loved it.

Living in a shaped world

His attention to detail, his attention to things that honestly don’t matter to us at all should be really encouraging. You serve a God and live in a world shaped by a God who cares down to the ants. If he didn’t care down to the ants I’d be more worried for myself. We don’t have to see everything, we don’t have to have all the answers or have everything explained to us. We can see his personality, we can see his caution, his care, his rashness. We can get to know him and get to know that he’s the one there. He’s the one telling the story. You can find that you’re in a Shakespearean play and you can trust Shakespeare.

N.D. Wilson on Talking Rocks, from Notes From the Tilt-A-Whirl.