Category Archives: God

What Defines You?

If I were to ask you “what defines you?”, what would you say?  Are you defined by what you do (your job, sport or hobby)?  Who you are culturally (African, hipster, gothic, etc.)?  By what ideals you hold to (Aristotelian thought, Nihilism, ideas of morality)?

Have you ever though about what God thinks about you?  If you are not religious or spiritual, this probably never happens, or often, who knows.  What if how you define yourself ought to be tied up in how God sees you.  After all, he made you.  Before the world was created, he had YOU in mind, and in this particular slot in history, he has placed you.

I’m one who places his trust in Jesus Christ, who came to earth to give us Love; the Father’s Love.  And it is in Christ where my hope and life lies.  Below is a video brilliantly made by an artist named Dan Stevers, and if you also put your faith in Christ, let it just remind you of the basics; that if indeed you’ve placed your life in Christ, how our Father views you, is how you are defined, is where your true identity lies.

I would like to challenge you.  Is your identity grounded in something that will last?  Say, forever?  When you’re dead, will the way you are defined, save you from death itself?  What if by embracing God’s identity for you, you become saved from death, and when death comes knocking on your door, it won’t be able to enter.  What if by embracing God’s identity for you, you tap into the very core of why you’re created.  And finally, what if by embracing God’s purpose for your life, you become a better singer, a better athlete, a better worker, a better mother, or a better father.

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How History Plays into Bibliology and Christology.

Dr. Daniel Wallace is a Textual Criticism scholar, and has written on the issue of the reliability of the Bible, evidence in ancient manuscripts, and what all that means for us today.  I’ve been following his works for some time now, and I’m so grateful for him in helping me formulate an informed view of inerrancy, textual criticism, and theology, and how it all pertains to my life.

I like this quote because it is a call for “hands-off” evangelicals to be better informed, and realize that our book has a wealth of evidence, which reinforces the pillars of our faith.

If Christ is at the core of our beliefs, then the incarnation has to loom large in our thinking about the faith. When God became man and invaded space-time history, this served notice that we dare not treat the Bible with kid gloves. The incarnation not only invites us to examine the evidence, it requires us to do so. The fact that our religion is the only major religion in the world that is subject to historical verification is no accident: it’s part of God’s design. Jesus performed miracles and healings in specific towns, at specific times, on specific people. The Gospels don’t often speak in generalities. And Paul mentioned that 500 believers saw the risen Christ at one time, then added that most of these folks were still alive. These kinds of statements are the stuff of history; they beg the reader to investigate. Too often modern evangelicals take a hands-off attitude toward the Bible because of a prior commitment to inerrancy. But it is precisely because I ground my bibliology in Christology rather than the other way around that I cannot do that. I believe it is disrespectful to my Lord to not ask the Bible the tough questions that every thinking non-Christian is already asking it.

Dr. Daniel Wallace

You can find more information on Textual Criticism, issues about the Bible, or if you want to read 2nd or 3rd century Greek manuscripts for yourself online, you can visit his website here, at the Center for New Testament Manuscripts.

A Sad Contrast

A bit of context for this quote.  A manager of his employee, Bartleby, a copyist,  has just realized that, perhaps, one of the reasons why Bartleby is so reluctant not to do anything, is because of his sorry state of solitude; no friends, no family, no home, no money, nothing!

“For the first time in my life a feeling of overpowering stinging melancholy seized me.  Before, I had never experienced aught but a not unpleasing sadness.  The bond of a common humanity now drew me irresistibly to gloom.  A fraternal melancholy!  For both I and Bartleby were sons of Adam.  I remembered the bright silks and sparkling faces I had seen that day, in gala trim, swan-like sailing down the Mississippi of Broadway; and I contrasted them with the pallid copyist, and thought to myself, Ah happiness courts the light, so we deem the world is gay; but misery hids aloof, so we deem that misery there is none.”

– Herman Melville, in Bartleby the Scrivener.

“We are far too easily pleased!”

“If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly to hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion has crept in from Kant and the Sotics and is no part of the Christian faith.  Indeed, if we consider the unblushing proimses of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak.  We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea.  We are far too easily pleased.”

C. S. Lewis, “The Weight of Glory”

The Talent of living with Inadequacy.

I don’t have children presently, but am excited for the day we will have some.  I know it will take all of who I am to raise them and then some.  I praise God for a Dad who modeled for me a godly fatherhood.  Seeing him to go to his heavenly Father for help has helped me understand where ability in the face of inadequacy comes from.  I was his first child and I’m sure I made that first huddle more difficult than he expected.

This quote is dedicated to all the fathers out there.  If you are a father, you are a leader.  In this book of leadership I’m going through, I want to share a quote with you concerning inadequacy and leadership.

“What do you do with your weaknesses, failures, and wounds?  Do you hand them over to God in exchange for His grace and strength, or do you wallow in self-pity, allowing the enemy of your soul to immobilize you?…..I have come to firmly believe that inadequacy is always associated with anything that God calls us to do.” – Crawford Loritts, Leadership as an Identity. p. 63-64

“My wife married five men, all of which were me.”

I’m taking today to share with you just a golden video of wisdom from three great men I highly admire.  John Piper pastor of my youth, Tim Keller excellent author on making timeless truths relevant for the modern day man, and DA Carson one of the most respected scholars in my book.

Together they’re talking about the covenant of marriage, and how that covenant, not the feeling of being in love, will be sustaining power in a marriage.  So worth the listen.

Notable excerpts:

Tim Keller: “My wife married five men.  All of which were me….hes trying to get across the fact you change, and your spouses change….when you get married you change each other.”

John Piper: “[Covenant] is the ground where the flower grows.  If you are in a season where your flower is wilted and you think the solution is to pull the plant up out of the ground, thats not the solution.  The ground of covenant, the ground of promise, the ground of “no divorce, maybe murder” is the ground where the flower can flourish again.  And my life is a testimony of 42 years of falling in love with my wife all over again…”

The original link can be found here.

Top Death-bed Regret; from new book

Every morning I get out of bed, skip breakfast so I can make a big one later, and drop off my wife at work.  Our TV doesn’t work, and I don’t subscribe to a major newspaper, so most of the news I get briefed on comes from the radio in the car.  Emily and I happily listen to NPR every morning as well as other stations that might strike our fancy.

This morning I happened to tune into 101.9, the “Mix”.  If you hail from Chicago, you’ll know this station well.  They were talking about an interesting book compiled by a nurse.  This nurse tended to those on their death bed, and being at the bedside for countless people she heard many of her patients dying regrets in life.  She compiled the top regrets into a book.  I didn’t catch the book name, nor did they mention the author, which I wish they would have mentioned.

They did talk briefly about the single most mentioned regret that the nurse heard.  After considering the entirety of their lives, “working too much” was the most mentioned.

Why did they work too much?  What was the problem?  That’s a question that could have millions of answers, but I’m sure answers like “money, prosperity, happiness, nice house, nice car” is what composes much of the working classes motives.

More compelling, and striking to the heart, is the question Why did they come to this conclusion?  Why after a lifetime of good hard honest work, did they realize “Wow, I worked so much, but lived little.”  Wouldn’t they be proud of their accomplishments?  Perhaps thats why on peoples tombstones loved ones don’t put, “He worked hard all his life.”  Maybe after all has been said and done, work really isn’t the all in all.

Perhaps they suddenly realize all that they worked for, was in vain.  Death the ultimate sure thief, comes and takes away all that is precious.

When someone prepares for a disaster, they make sure they have means to survive for when the storm passes over.  Survival requires you to look beyond the disaster.   Before a hurricane, you stock up on fresh water and canned goods, because after that storm you may not know what will be available.  Your world is going to change.

If people spend as much effort looking at what might be beyond the grave with as much effort as they spend working all their lives for something that will be taken away, death won’t be so much of a thief.  But merely a transition.  And regrets?  A vapor of a memory for those who put their trust in the one who has already conquered the grave.  Jesus Christ our Lord!!

If you haven’t struggled through that in your life, I invite you to. Work, labor, struggle, wrestle with this question.  Where am I going?  That is a question worth working towards an answer!!