Sunday, November 13, 2011

I don't really mind driving; in fact often I kind of enjoy it.  This weekend I had to drive for 5 and 1/2 hours, which gave me the perfect opportunity to think and pray and sing and to listen to some good sermons.  One in particular by John Piper I found relevant to my life, and part of it very relevant to this blog.
Here is a transcription of part of the sermon from (emphasis added).  You can listen to the whole sermon here if you like, or get it on iTunes.

Verses 26–30 (John10):
 But you do not believe, because you are not part of my flock. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.

Notice three things. First, when the Father gives his sheep into the omnipotent hand of the Son, they are still in the Father’s hand. Verse 29: “My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” Even though the Father has put them into the Son’s hand, they are in the Father’s hand. What does this imply?
Second, notice that Jesus explains this with the words of verse 30: “I and the Father are one.” His final answer about his identity is way beyond messiahship. It is oneness with God the Father.

And third, notice that Jesus takes us to this answer by showing how this oneness serves our salvation—our eternal safety and joy. The Father and I are one. No one can take you from me because I am stronger than all. And no one can take you from my Father, because my Father is stronger than all. When you are in my hand, you are in his hand, and when you are in his hand, you are in my hand. Our omnipotence, and our unity are your safety, your salvation.
Now there is a lesson here, and I want to drive it home. Jesus takes us to the heights of doctrinal truth about himself. He is one with the Father. “In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God. . . . And the Word became flesh” (John 1:1, 14). But he does it by showing us the immediate implication for our lives: No one can snatch you from my hand. Or the Father’s hand. Which are one hand. In other words, doctrine, theology, biblical propositions (like “I and the Father are one”) are always related to their implications for human life. Don’t be afraid of doctrine. Just be afraid of disconnected doctrine. Doctrine that doesn’t make a difference for life and eternity.

So Jesus’ answer to the question in verse 24 is yes. “I am the Messiah and infinitely more. And all of this is infinitely relevant for your eternal safety.”

First of all, this whole quotation is profound.  It helped me understand this passage like never before.  Not only that, but this observation, which I have highlighted in bold, is crucial.  No, we are not to be afraid of doctrine.  Doctrine is what helps us know God better.  It helps us worship him more truly.  But I think this observation of the way that Jesus teaches is beautiful.  He teaches us doctrine by simultaneously showing us its relevance to our life in him.  Oh, that we might learn to do so half as eloquently!

On this blog I often talk about theology and doctrine.  I hope you, as reader, will keep me accountable to this principle.    Have a wonderful week!

photo credit:

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Tagines and Turnovers

For some time now, I have been wanting to do a post about cooking.  Instead, I decided to start a separate blog so that when I want to do this, I can (without changing the nature of this blog)!

I am going to shamelessly advertise that new blog, called From Tagines to Turnovers.  Hopefully you will enjoy this other side of me!

To tie this 'advertisement' into the current blog you are reading, I'll give you a quotation from a book I'm reading called Living the Resurrection by Eugene Peterson:
"The unimaginable transcendence of resurrection is assimilated into the routine and ordinary of actions -- eating a meal.  We have a long tradition among Christians, given shape and content by our Scriptures, that practices the preparing, serving, and eating of meals as formational for living the resurrection.  A culture of inhospitality forebodes resurrection famine." (p59)
Certainly something to think about in our culture of busyness, isolation, and fast food.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

New! Email Feed

I just wanted to let you know that this blog now has the capability of being followed via email!  Just enter your email in the box on the right and you will get automatic updates every day that I post.  There will be links in the email back to the blog, in case you prefer reading it on the actual site.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The greatest danger...

Something I read today:

"The great danger facing all of us [...] is not that we shall make an absolute failure of life, nor that we shall fall into outright viciousness, nor that we shall be terribly unhappy, nor that we shall feel that life has no meaning at all - not these things  The danger is that we may fail to perceive life's greatest meaning, fall short of its highest good, miss its deepest and most abiding happiness, be unable to render the most needed service, be unconscious of life ablaze with the light of the Presence of God - and be content to have it so - that is the danger.  That some day we may wake up and find that always we have been bust with the husks and trappings of life - and have missed life itself.  For life without God, to one who has known the richness and joy of life with Him, is unthinkable, impossible.  That is what one prays one's friends may be spared, satisfaction with a life that falls short of the best, that has in it no tingle and thrill which comes from a friendship with the Father. "
- Philips Brooks