Last Sunday, our Children’s Ministry kicked off week 1 of The Gospel Project. The first session is on “God Created the World” and Genesis 1. (Next week highlights God Created People.) While all of Scripture is inspired and profitable (2 Tim. 3:16), not every section is equally significant to the Story. Genesis 1-2 summarizes Creation. It reveals God as the Maker of all things, and how all things point to Him. It provides conceptual seeds for truths and themes that bloom throughout the Bible.
(Below is a Communion Meditation I shared at my local church. This was one way to remember and rejoice in Christ through Communion, not a detailed explanation of it.)
Communion, or the Lord’s Supper, can confuse and remain unclear. And not just the tricky theological questions, but the practical ones most people in their seats have going through their minds. What should I be doing while the bread and cup are passed? Should the tone be somber or celebratory? Should I confess sin, listen to the song, sing, give thanks, or think about the death of Christ?
(This communion meditation took place in a series at our church on spiritual desperation.)
One morning this week I reflected on how God designed simple, tangible, physical things in our life to show us how needy and dependent we are. Every day I need hours of sleep. I can skip sleep or try to cheat it, but I pay the price. Every morning I wake up reminded my energy is limited, my body is weak, I’m not strong enough to just push through, and my health is in part dependent on physical rest. It’s similar with food. At least three times a day I have to eat. I get hungry and thirsty throughout the day and my body’s strength, health, and ability to work effectively and think clearly depends on food.
This week I had the opportunity to teach on our cultural narratives or presuppositions. In recent years, “worldview thinking” has benefitted from a better understanding of how our worldview is formed and informed by not only our conscious (foreground) beliefs but by our unconscious (background) values, desires, imagination, beliefs, experiences, and ways of perceiving and relating to the world. These presuppositions become the grid or tastebuds by which other things (truth-claims, beliefs, moral stances, etc.) are seen as plausible or implausible, appealing of distasteful, and ultimately worth accepting or rejecting. Too often, Christans are unaware of both their own presuppositions as well as those cultural presuppositions informing the average person you meet.
As our church continues to read the book of Acts, the second chapter highlights the day of Pentecost. The author of Acts, Luke, assumes his readers are familiar with the holy-day/holiday. He, therefore, doesn’t explicitly tease out what Jesus sending the Holy Spirit on his people that day (of all days) means. If you skip over Pentecost you miss a lot of color within the text’s story that the wording itself doesn’t always supply. Here are four blogs surveying some of the meaning behind that day and what’s going on in Acts 2. Continue reading What’s Pentecost About?
Author vs Audience Questions
When we read the Bible or any other book, we bring our own questions. This isn’t always bad, but it can cause us to read books with a filter whereby we pass over material we don’t consider relevant to our question. In fact, we might be so “locked in” to our own thinking and concerns that we miss what the author intentionally builds into his story or letter. We don’t totally disregard our questions, but we read more slowly and more carefully in an attempt to let the author’s concerns shine through.
The quotable Keller doesn’t disappoint in his book on prayer. One section I’ve found especially helpful defines and explains prayer as conversations in response to our knowledge of God. An implication is that one way to galvanize our prayer life is to grow our theology. Continue reading Good Theology Makes for Good Prayers
On Sunday, our church passed out a 40 Days of Prayer & Reading to takes us through the book of Acts together. Each day provides a section of Acts to read and one thing to pray over. It’s a small step in helping people get into the Word consistently, intentionally, and prayerfully. (You’ll notice the text sizes start short and get longer as we walk before we run.) What sorts of questions should we ask when reading the Bible?
One word in the Bible can be a game changer. When John says “SEE what kind of the Father has given to us, that we should be called the children of God, and so we are” (1 John 3:1), it’s like he brings us to a halt with hands waving and fingers pointing to a jaw-dropping sight. You’ve got to see this! Look! Come and see something you won’t believe! While we are quick to speak of God-especially his love-with generalizations and glance over Scripture in our readings, John invites us to slow down, take a look at something, and be amazed.
The superhero film genre shows no signs of slowing down. Every month a new DC or Marvel film tries to quench our thirst for heroes. We were made for heroes. We need them. The problem is we lack authentic, relatable, real-life heroes who show us what a life of passion, love, virtue, courage looks like in a flesh-and-blood human being. Superman and Wonder Woman might leave us looking for someone to save us, but they are so fundamentally unlike us that they fail to provide fallen human heroes we can emulate. Continue reading Steal Away Home