Monday, June 16, 2008

And Now a word of comment on David Dockery

From Chapter 8 of The Future of Christian Higher Education: on Professional Education

The author’s premise is that a secular worldview that has dismissed eternity, morality, accountability, and charity touches every aspect of life in the world in which we live. A distinctive of Christian Higher Education is to infuse these dimensions of life into education. The ability to contend for the truth in whatever sphere of influence one is called to is the critical foundation for life and living.

There are several implications of the Christian worldview for Christian Higher Education.

First, Christian teachers and learners have a higher motivation for learning than getting a good job. God’s purposes inform our learning. Secondly, the integration of Christian faith and learning can help restore the loss of morality and accountability Our will to do actions of righteousness will follow and that will impact our world. Thirdly, a Christian worldview will impact how someone is prepared to fulfill their calling, which is the original meaning of vocation. Thus the goals of Christian education is to prepare servant leaders to be salt and light for the marketplace and to act as agents of change and redemption in their sphere of influence. The Christian tradition holds that honest work is divinely ordained. This, in a nutshell, means that our learning, study and hard work are a means of glorifying and loving God with our heart soul, mind, and strength.Dockery’s final point is an important one: Promotions and prosperity come from God.

Here I will diverge with a personal comment. This is no name it and claim it theology that co-opts God’s blessings for temporal pleasures. I have see it at work at the highest levels. God is pleased at myriad times to work miraculously to advance the cause of the humble and contrite before him who intentionally seek to glorify Him in their day to day marketplace intercourse. One mark of this genuine blessing is that the one who is advanced becomes more humble, not puffed up by accomplishment. The world, the flesh and the devil would shut this form of righteousness down.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Keeping the Main thing the main thing...

Let's read a little Lewis Carroll- from Alice in Wonderland...

(Alice) was a little startled by seeing
the Cheshire Cat sitting on a bough of a tree a few yards off.

The Cat only grinned when it saw Alice. It looked good-
natured, she thought: still it had VERY long claws and a great
many teeth, so she felt that it ought to be treated with respect.

`Cheshire Puss,' she began, rather timidly, as she did not at
all know whether it would like the name: however, it only
grinned a little wider. `Come, it's pleased so far,' thought
Alice, and she went on. `Would you tell me, please, which way I
ought to go from here?'

`That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,' said
the Cat.

`I don't much care where--' said Alice.

`Then it doesn't matter which way you go,' said the Cat.

This is an obvious fact- yet we miss it- your destination determines your direction. We usually get that backwards at our own peril. Your goals determine your choices. It’s easy for us to get distracted and more concerned with secondary things. Yet wise people think about what they are about

Pascal said- the last thing we learn is what to put first.

Paul prayed a prayer for strangers to him- yet he prayed for the them the things that were most important to him.- for them.

The Greek here says-“praying for you and asking that you may be filled.”

Grammar can be as exciting as looking at a root canal, but let’s do it- it will benefit us here.

It is imperative to see how Paul’s thought flows.

A. v. 9 the Petition-That you may be filled with the knowledge of his will.
B. v. 10 the purpose- That you might live a life worthy of the Lord then follow 4 participles
C. vv. 10b-14-The Products:

• Bearing Fruit
• Growing
• Being Strengthened
• Giving thanks

This prayer is like a tree- its source or root is found in verse 9
The trunk or substance is in verse 10
The leaves or fruit are in vv 10-14.

The profound question is: What is the right thing? that is the issue. How do we know what is wisdom and what is foolishness- how do we get an anchor for life so we are not knocked back and forth like the waves of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind? (James)

Paul is concerned for believers living in a pagan environment. What do they need most? Paul is not thinking of the theological issues here- God’s sovereignty, etc. “God works all things according to the counsel of his will”

The personal directive will of god is in view here. He does not express it specifically but it embraces all believers here. He is talking about the declarative will of God- the moral will of God. That which arises out of God’s desire for every single person. God’s purposes for all men who name the name of Christ and will follow in His commands.

These people didn’t have the New Testament as we know it- his written commands for us. We hold in our hands the will of God- the known, declared will- which is declared in Scripture-so we can be equipped for every good work. All I need to live a life pleasing to God is contained in Scripture.

The work “know” here is used of the most intimate relationship between a man and a woman. It goes on to say “spiritual wisdom”- this is not the type of word tested in a university, but tested in life. Not just knowing Scripture, but applying it to life.

Personal knowledge and practical skill- the ability to discern and understand what truth applies where. We need to know how the will of God flows into life- not some highly informed intellectual understanding.God says there is a human response to the Word of God.

Menalek the II, was ruler of Ethiopia before the turn of the century. In the Coptic faith the emperor is seen as a descendant in the line of all that. Menalek believed that when he fell ill he could be healed by the Bible. He thought if he literally ate a few pages of scripture it would make him better. In 1913 he fell seriously ill so he decided to eat 1 and 2 Kings…so they tore it out page by page and he ate it and somewhere in 1 Kings he expired.

This is NOT what it means to be filled with the knowledge of His will in case you were wondering about that.- But what DOES it mean?

When we are filled with something it controls us. It is to have the will of God shape and influence my will. And also to be captivated, full of love,

Not only intellect, of our choice, seeking to obey, but also of LOVING His Will. To say as David “Oh how I love your Law!”

We must be possessed by the Word of God, not just possess the Word of God. Do I want to be a man who is shaped by God’s will, by His revealed statement of all the concerns in life?? God has spoken, if we believe that, nothing is more important than being informed and obedient to that written word of God.

Colossians 1:9-14 Our Great Purpose

Why is it important to be informed by and live in accordance WITH the Word of God?

Look at Col 1:10- the purpose is clear here- to live a life worthy of the Lord and to please Him in all respects. OUR GREAT PURPOSE-

First a standard is given- as in Eph 4:1; Phil 1:27;1 Thess 2:12

Here- to Walk Worthy- do not miss the word picture here- the image is of a balancing scale- the standard is placed on one side- WORTHY- = weighs up-we all have a scale, but hat is our standard we measure against?

Here’s a little explanation I thought worthy from The Greek adverb, aksios, is translated "worthy of" in all six of its New Testament uses in the NASB. Five of those uses refer to our acting "worthy of God" or the gospel or our heavenly calling. What does this mean? Does it mean that we are to become "worth" God's favor? That is, does "worthy of" mean - deserving or meriting or earning God's favor? Does it call attention to our worth which God is obliged to acknowledge because it enriches his worth, the way a great computer programmer might be worth $200,000 to Microsoft?

Here are all five of these uses:

3 John 1:6, "You will do well to send them on their way in a manner worthy of God."

Thessalonians 2:12, "Walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory."

Colossians 1:10, "Walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God."

Philippians 1:27, "Conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ."

Ephesians 4:1, "Walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called."

I don't think these texts mean that we merit from God or the gospel or our call; but that they merit from us. That is, to "walk worthy of the Lord" means to walk in a way that the Lord deserves from us, not in a way that we deserve from the Lord. So it is with the phrases "worthy of God" and "worthy of the Lord" and "worthy of the gospel" and "worthy of the calling." They mean: Act in a way that fits the great value and glorious nature of God and the gospel and your calling. And what fits with that great value? Faith. Above all things, faith and its fruit of love fits the worth of God and the gospel.

When constructing our scale or worth, we must not look to other people, heroes, role models as what we measure against. NO! it must be Christ Alone! When you construct the scale make One person the Lord. He is your measure, your standard. His character and love poured out on a cross--this rescues us from death and wrath preeminently, but also mediocrity and the ordinary. Don’t just be obsessed WITH it, DO IT to please Him Paul says. In every way we have a motivation.

If these things are true, then 4 other things are true:

1. Fruit is not brought by effort- it is the overflow of life. God’s life is evident in you-manifest the reality. No apple tree consciously decides to bear Macintoshes. The fruit can be the fruit of the Spirit- character. Other places it is evangelism. Here it is good works- the inevitable outflow that we were created UNTO. Titus 2:14 says we are eager- fanatics for good works. We are productive.

2. We also GROW. Verse 10 looks back to verse 9. It’s a circle- we know God’s will and we know God’s person- an endless cycle through this. It is an upward spiral.What I do with what I know of gods will will determine whether I will know my God better and so forth- as I move up the spiral of response. Einstein’s theory of relativity. Mrs Einstein was asked if she understood her husband;s theory. No, she answered, but I understand my husband. Spiritually there is a lot of truth in that.I won’t understand God and all his plans and purposes. He will be my sovereign and omniscient Lord, but not my intimate love.

3. Also I will know his enablement- verse 11.We struggle with our weakness and Paul wants us to know how to live to God’s Glory. It’s not like getting a big push on a swing, then you are on your own. No, God enables constantly. We’d like the end to read “so THAT we might escape and always prosper.” But God’s power is not only revealed in protection, but patience, not escape but endurance. James 1:3 So we can bear fruit and be made perfect. God always marvelously sustains- this is the norm- but he some times miraculously delivers.

4. The last statement bears a sense of wonder: GRATITUDE- vv. 12-14.God’s work in our life is what qualifies us by His grace- this is our position in Christ. V. 13- it is a PRIVILEDGE we could never achieve. We are now citizens. V. 14. It is a FREEDOM only from God. REDEMPTION. None of us would not want these things.

The root of it all is in verse 9. Are we being filled by the knowledge that shapes and controls us? Is vv 12-14 true of us? Have you trusted Christ, been transferred, been qualified by being In Christ? God help us to put first things first. Trust Christ and then obey Him.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Indiana Jones-spoliers ahead!

How long has it been? Almost twenty years? Harrison Ford IS Indiana Jones. It's all there, the walk, the talk, the silliness, the fistfights. I enjoyed the movie thoroughly as you can tell.

Some movies just demand to be enjoyed and forget about the flaws. But then, that wouldn't make much of a review.

The big issue is the absurdity element. The earlier stories were made to seem to be almost believeable, but when you have Indy surviving an H-bomb test in a 1950's Frigidaire in the opening scenes and then opening the refrigerator door from the INSIDE to walk out without a scratch (that's a REAL trick) I got the sense that anything would be fair game. And it was. The poor Ark of the Covenant got left in the dust (and in the warehouse) for this foray into the cartoon unknown.

More to come...