Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sunday Night Reflections

We have been studying the gospel of John in the Sunday school class I teach, and this week we looked at John 15:19-27. In this text we are shown how the fallen world system and its people will relate to the disciples of Christ and that we can know what to expect because of the way that they treated Christ Himself. In my lesson preparation, I was struck by a few things that made this a very beneficial study for me.

The first thing that helped was outlining the passage according to the relationships between those in view. Now, this may not be the best outline, but it helped put things into perspective.

1. Disciples Relationship:

a. To the world (18-21)

b. To Christ (20-21,27)

2. Christ’s Relationship:

c. To the Father (21,23-24)

d. To the Spirit (26)

3. Unbeliever’s Relationship to the word and work of Christ (22,24-25)

a. Spoken to them (22)

b. Worked among them (24)

To say the least, the world was antagonistic to Christ. So a Christian following in the footsteps of Christ will be loving, kind, and Christ-like…and the world will be hostile towards the Christian to the degree that we are conformed to the image of Christ. This is not a reason to be cavalier and thoughtless about preaching the gospel which must have as its precursor a no-nonsense look at sin. We must be wise and sensitive in how we do this, but we must not be timid to the point of not bringing up sin.

This was a good reminder and encouragement to me.

The second thing that was really an encouragement was something that I had not seen in this text before. It came directly from outlining the section according to the relationships in view. Putting it simply: the descriptions of how the Christians relate to the world or the world relates to them are rooted in the intra-action of the Triune God.

The Trinity is not a theological issue that is divorced from everyday life and experience, it is essential for properly understanding our relationship to the world as it is laid out in this text.

To God alone be the Glory!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

humbled by an (almost) 8-year-old

“1 Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, 2 like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, 3 if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.” (1 Peter 2:1-3)

In our home, nap time is a critically important time for everyone. With four children under eight (and one on the way), it is no understatement to say that it is almost more important for parental sanity than it is for the demeanor and physical needs of our younger children. A difficult situation presented itself about a year ago when our eldest no longer needed a regular nap in order to make it through the day.

My wife did a few things to augment Micah’s (my eldest child) nap time, one of which was to make sure that he would read his Bible for either a certain length of time or until he finished a full chapter before reading other books, playing Angry Birds on my iPod, or whatever. So this has been his pattern for quite some time. For a while he was trying to read through the Bible in a year, but he found that too big of a challenge for his reading abilities. But rather than get discouraged, he continued to read and usually chose his sections on his own.

I began noticing that he would tell us that he read Psalm 117 quite regularly. It wasn’t until he informed me that Psalm 117 is the shortest chapter in the whole Bible (only two verses) that I began to get a little suspicious.

“Hey, if I’ve got to read one chapter (even a few times each day), why not make it the shortest one so that I can do other fun stuff.” That was what I imagined his thought process to be – it would likely have been my own in his position. So, one day last week I decided to talk to Micah about it and told him that he should read more than the shortest chapter.

To my shock – and my extreme joy – he said that he’s been memorizing it. So, I opened up his Bible, and asked him to recite it for me. And he did. And he did it almost word for word perfectly. Not for Awana shares, trips to the kids’ prize box, or any other external reward offered to him – but because he wanted to.

Praise the LORD, all nations; Laud Him, all peoples! For His lovingkindness is great toward us, And the truth of the LORD is everlasting. Praise the LORD! (Psalm 117)

And when I asked him about this, he said that he’d already moved on to the next shortest chapter (another Psalm) and was working to memorize it.

What sheer joy this brings to my heart.

As a father, my hope and desire is for my children’s salvation. My hope and desire is that their new birth would be evident by many things, one of which is their desire to know God, His Word, and to serve Him.

I am overjoyed at my son’s initiative, implementation, and continuation of his own devotional plan that fits his personality and his abilities.

I am deeply humbled and challenged by my son’s initiative, implementation, and continuation of his own devotional plan – especially as it comes to memorization – because it shows me just how much better I could be doing.

Soli Deo Gloria

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