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A Christian Chronicle

Thoughts and ideas on current events from an California evangelical perspective.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Psalm 109 "God is Judge"

Monday, November 12, 2007

There's a review of Andrew Lester's book The Angry Christian.
The book argues anger has a benefit spiritually as it helps us fight injustices. The review suggests that anger is more biological than spiritual; it also draws a connection between anger and sex.

I think anger does both. Spiritual anger,though, needs to be controlled both by the Word, and the input of others. Done individually, what we think is spiritual anger is often biological: meaning it's selfish. True spiritual anger is focused on God and His justice, not on protecting ourselves.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

From a ChristianityToday interview of N.T. Wright:
"In other words, don't assume that you've got God taped, and fit Jesus into that. Do it the other way. We all come with some ideas of God. Allow those ideas to be shaped around Jesus. "
It requires us to come with humility, and being willing to learn. It means changing what we think and believe in light of what we read.

"the gospel is that the crucified and risen Jesus is the Lord of the world...That has always been at the heart of the Lord's Prayer, and how we've managed for years to say the Lord's Prayer without realizing that Jesus really meant it is very curious... It's quite clear in the text that Jesus' kingdom doesn't start with this world. It isn't a worldly kingdom, but it is for this world. It's from somewhere else, but it's for this world."
This is a helpful way to think about what is important and how to balance two tensions. I think of it as three types of relationships: with God, with Christians, with the world. We need to be giving and receiving in each of these.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

From Gordon MacDonald on commenting about Ted Haggard:

The cardinal lies of a failed leader? I give and give and give in this position; I deserve special privileges—perhaps even the privilege of living above the rules. Or, I have enough charm and enough smooth words that I can talk anything (even my innocence) into reality. Or, so much of my life is lived above the line of holiness that I can be excused this one little faux pas. Or, I have done so much for these people; now it's their time to do something for me—like forgiving me and giving a second chance.

Leaders have to continue in holiness. There is no place for excuses. This is an important reminder when temptation comes.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

FROM the Christianity Today vault:

(My comments in bold)

The center of any theory about why Christians should vote must be a theory about why Christians do anything at all: that the Lord our God might be glorified. And how do we glorify God in our lives? Not by what we force others to do, but by what we ourselves do.

This connects with the Westminster Confession and John Piper's general view of our purpose being "to bring God glory"

One consistent feature of Christ's ministry was sacrifice of the self and its interests for the benefit of others. A Christian theory of voting, therefore, might be sketched along the same lines. Others vote because they are determined to win. Maybe Christians should believe their votes signal a willingness to lose.

Are we ready to be losers? To be losers for Christ? This a paradigm-shifting truth of Christianity. It's not about us. It's not about what we can accomplish. Christian belief is very humbling because it's not all about us. We admit that we aren't in control, and we need God's help.

Voting is the ultimate symbol of trust in our fellow citizens. To vote is to propose that we settle our differences not by warfare, and not by litigation, but by accepting the forms of democracy and laying our cherished certainties on how the world should be on the table. We rely on persuasion rather than coercion, which means that we risk being unpersuasive. If we are sufficiently unpersuasive, then our side loses and the other side wins.

What are the implications for this mindset? It means we aren't tied into the results. It means politics aren't greater than God.
How does it affect the idea of "activist judges"? I guess it makes us think about how much how persuasion is still required.

In that sense, our voting represents a sacrifice, an acknowledgment of the possibility that we will lose the political struggle, at least in the short run. But by taking that risk, by allowing our fellow citizens to outvote us, we place our hope in the next world, not this one, enabling us to render unto Caesar and glorify the Lord.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Brian Mavis at surveyed over 1,000 preachers on their biggest frustration:

I am Often frustrated by…

49.3% Seeing little response or life-change in the listeners.

34.6% Finding relevant illustrations.

31.9% Keeping the sermons fresh each week.

31.4% Lack of sermon preparation time.

23.9% Getting practical applications in my sermons.

22.0% Deciding what to preach on week to week.

18.7% Lack of attention and connection from the listeners.

Why sit down and listen if you don't want to be changed? I think that's the question preachers ask. They feel as if people are just there passing time, or constained out of a sense of obligation. But the other side of the interaction has to be addressed as well.

Why get up and talk if you aren't going to help God work in peoples' lives?
If I can't articulate and argue and demonstrate from Scripture how to live our lives, then it's not really preaching.

When you come away from a sermon, can you do more than remember the main point, or a rich illustration; can you experience life change? If not, there's work to be done on both sides of the pulpit.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

From today's SF Chronicle:

One of the generals on the pro-Christmas side is Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association in Tupelo, Miss. "Sometimes it's hard to tell whether this is sinister -- it's the purging of Christ from Christmas -- or whether it's just political correctness run amok," he said. "I think in the case of the White House, it's just political correctness."

Wildmon does not give retailers the same benefit of the doubt. This year, he has called for a consumer boycott of Target stores because the chain issued a holiday advertising circular that did not mention Christmas.

Wait, what's the problem with not having Christmas connected with a massive spending, greedy, materialistic event? Let the world celebrate "the holidays" by buying toys, towels, televisions, tapestries, trowels, tiramisu and the like.

If you're looking for the in-breaking of God in our crazy world, a sign of hope amidst so much confusion, then please come and truly celebrate Christmas!