If you’ve been in the church for a while, no doubt you’ve heard a lot about Jesus as Savior, Lord, King, and Teacher. All these glorious truths are essential and should be held up. But there is a core reality of who Jesus is that doesn’t get nearly the attention it deserves. There is a benefit to the gospel and believing in Jesus even deeper than forgiveness. There is a key truth motivating our walk with Christ just as important as viewing Jesus as our Lord. And this wonderful biblical truth is that Jesus is our friend.
Early in Disney’s The Lion King, Mufasa perches high on Pride Rock, overlooking his African territory. Next to him sits his beloved son, Simba.
Mufasa tells Simba, “Everything the light touches is our kingdom.”
As a church, does our culture match our doctrine? As an individual or as a family, does our culture match our doctrine?
“Gospel doctrine – gospel culture = hypocrisy
Gospel culture – gospel doctrine = fragility
Gospel doctrine + gospel culture = power”
The last couple of months our family has watched a lot of Disney movies, sometimes with our daughter but a lot of times without her. You can expect more posts soon with comments on themes, narratives, and theology in some of these movies. Below is my current, ongoing ranking of Disney movies.
Can you recalling driving in a rainstorm, anxious as you follow a blurry trail of brake lights, only to have a semi-truck fly by and slosh a thick covering of water on your car? Come on. Anxiety shifts into panic or anger because you can no longer see the road lines or slow-moving vehicles ahead. One thing you can be thankful for in this moment is a good pair of windshield wipers. As you sing “Jesus Take the Wheel” with Carrie Underwood, the wipers clear everything out of the way. You can see again.
I recently read and recommended How the Nations Rage: Rethinking Faith and Politics in a Divided Age by Jonathan Leeman , not only for what it says but how it says it. The book focuses on faith and politics, though in the conversations many other significant hot-button issues get brought up. The book not only helps us root our thinking about politics in the Bible (the what of the book), but I recommend the book because it also teaches us how to engage tough topics as Christians. With 2020 promising to be a heated and divisive year in our country, this book will be a timely read.
What is the proper response to seeing God? When we consider His glory, holiness, righteousness, faithfulness, power, knowledge, patience, and grace, what’s the right way to react? To add another factor, when we take this vision of God, and put next to it a realistic vision of who we are, then what’s a fitting response? What do sinful, limited, selfish, weak, broken, flawed, and impure creatures like us do before the infinite and almighty God?
Seeing God’s holiness and glory, and recognizing our sinfulness and frailty, is why people in the Bible commonly respond in humility and brokenness.
Children are a gift from God. We love and treasure them. Children are also sheep needing shepherded. Parents must know, feed, protect, lead, and care for their kids.
But did you know the Bible also describes children as arrows? “Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth” (Psalm 127:4). This metaphor gets at the missional aspect of raising a child. God wants us to love and enjoy them but also to train them so they can be missionaries wherever they go. God doesn’t want us to hoard them or shelter them but to release them. Parents think about their kids in terms of what they mean to us or what we want from them and for them, but we often neglect what God intends to do in them and through them.
Here are two worksheets to guide you through a study of God’s Word. These don’t rely on the inductive method but provide questions for reflection on God through Psalm 103 and Psalm 104.
Bible reading plans help answer the question, “What should I read today?” Rather than randomly flipping open the Bible and reading whatever page you open, it’s helpful to read through a whole book of the Bible. Starting this Sunday, my church will read through 1 & 2 Peter and James during the 30 days of September. You can download the reading plan and suggested questions for study here.