Gospel Amnesia

Dear Zion,

Quick – pop quiz: what is the Gospel? It seems a simple enough question, right? We hear about the Gospel in every Sunday sermon. We learned about Jesus’ virgin birth, perfect life, substitutionary death, and resurrection to save us through faith and repentance since we were little. Ok then, next question: do you know how the Gospel relates to whatever you’re going through right now? Or, have we become like many people today who are suffering from “gospel amnesia” – we’ve got the facts, but we’ve forgotten its immediate relevancy?

One of my former professors, Dr. David Powlison (CCEF), is a licensed and practicing counselor. He had undergone heart surgery in his fifties, and though the surgery was successful, it took over five years for him to return to full strength. There were numerous losses to his personal, social and professional life due to his recovery. He found that he would go to important counseling meetings and mediation sessions, and was horrified to find that there would be times when he could not complete his thoughts. He was paralyzed by the thought that his life as professor and counselor might be at an end – who would ever go to a counselor that couldn’t complete his own thoughts, much less help the patient? Who would hire him as a professor to teach young minds, when his own mind was clouded? Continue reading

It Is Not Death to Die

This title comes from an 1832 hymn written by H. A. Cé­sar Ma­lan. (Alternate title: Memento mori)

Jeff Vanderstelt makes the (correct!, imho) observation that whatever else churches have been doing, we have not been helping Christians deal with one of the most fundamental realities of their existence: their impending death.

And a few quotes from giants in church history to solidify the point:

Athanasius, Calvin, Owen, & Eliot on Death

Continue reading

To Do: Download Android 4.0 ICS today for Galaxy SII

Aside

Attn: T-Mobile users

Unfortunately:

Most Galaxy S II owners won’t see much visual difference after the update. Based on the experience with Android 4.0 for the Galaxy Note, which was upgraded earlier this year, Samsung’s TouchWiz user interface will cover most of the Ice Cream Sandwich UI improvements. However, the many new Android 4.0 features will be welcome by Samsung Galaxy S II owners: Monthly data usage monitoring, an improved camera interface and widgets that are re-sizable and more interactive, to name a few.

Still, I’m looking forward to the upgrade.

I don’t normally keep Samsung’s Kies app up to date, so I’m going to have to make sure that is running smoothly before I go monkeying with the UI.

For those who have the SGII (or Galaxy Note), will you (have you) get the ICS? Sound off in the comments.

Get Out the Conservative Christian Vote?

We had an election on Tuesday last week. I paid my dues.

What was interesting for me were some the mailers and adverts being sent out to local pastors in an attempt to encourage the vote. (Side rant: Just after taking a full time call in the Midwest, I was shocked and awed at the amount of mail that comes through a pastor’s inbox, assuming that the pastor and/or church will serve as a bully pulpit or free advertising for nearly any cause under the sun. /rant) What was surprising was the ideological content of the mailers versus the support and foundation they were built on.

I received one such advertisement urging conservative Christians to vote (presumably for neo-conservative policies in the Republican platform), and to spur them on five historic heroes were pictured with accompanying quotes. Continue reading

Quote: Jesus Wants All Of You

Quote

“Give me all of you!!! I don’t want so much of your time, so much of your talents and money, and so much of your work. I want YOU!!! ALL OF YOU!! I have not come to torment or frustrate the natural man or woman, but to KILL IT! No half measures will do. I don’t want to only prune a branch here and a branch there; rather I want the whole tree out! Hand it over to me, the whole outfit, all of your desires, all of your wants and wishes and dreams. Turn them ALL over to me, give yourself to me and I will make of you a new self—in my image. Give me yourself and in exchange I will give you Myself. My will, shall become your will. My heart, shall become your heart.”

― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Tree of Life: Two Ways

The nuns taught us there were two ways through life—the way of nature and the way of grace. You have to choose which one you’ll follow… Grace doesn’t try to please itself. Accepts being slighted, forgotten, disliked. Accepts insults and injuries… Nature only wants to please itself. Get others to please it too. Likes to lord it over them. To have its own way. It finds reasons to be unhappy when all the world is shining around it. And love is smiling through all things… They taught us that no one who loves the way of grace ever comes to a bad end.

I will be true to you, whatever comes.