April2012Archive for

Blooming Where You’re (Trans) Planted

The Kingdom Notes

Outside of choosing a spouse, there may be no more snarled intersection than that place where we seek to understand our calling, and the sovereign will of God. We know that we are called to exercise dominion. We know that we have been equipped with a certain set of skills or gifts. We know, if we are the head of a household, that we have an obligation to meet the needs of our family.  We know also that in the grand economy of things, God controls the economy.  We know that His sovereign will will come to pass. What we don’t often know if just what that sovereign will is. We want to know whether we should take this job, or move to that town. We want to know whether we should acquire certification in this field, or train for that industry. God knows all these things, and wouldn’t it…

Ask RC: Is a failure to vote for Romney a vote for Obama?

Ask R.C.

This little nugget of wisdom tends to get trotted out every four years, with different names of course, but the same principle, along with assurances that this one election is the very hinge of history.  Those of us more conservative than both the Democrat and the Republican are told that if we don’t vote for the Republican then we will be responsible for what the Democrat does, if he is elected.  Oddly, however, those who vote for the Republican never seem to take responsibility for what he does when he is elected. Nor do they take responsibility for picking a loser when he loses.  Is it true that a failure to vote for Romney is a vote for Obama? Of course not. Consider this. Imagine Candidate X from the We Haven’t Yet Had Anyone Elected Party. Both the Candidate and the Party are committed to using every power at their…

Blessed Are Those Who Mourn

The Kingdom Notes

Recently I had the opportunity to talk about this promise from Jesus given in the Sermon on the Mount. The week prior, our first in this series, Blessed Are, Studies in the Beatitudes, I argued that here Jesus, just as His Father did before on Mount Sinai, is not laying burdens on us, but instructing us in how we can lead a good life. He is telling us the pathway to blessing. Tuesday night I asked, “Who would ever think of suggesting that the way to have a good life is to mourn?” My answer? Jesus would, and did. We are a woefully woe-less people. That is, we are set on walking not the via dolorosa, but the via media, on staying steady, on avoiding looking too deeply into that which causes sorrow. This, however, will not lead us to the good life. It will instead lead us to the banal…

Black and White and Red All Over

The Kingdom Notes

What would you do, my father once wisely asked, if Jesus Christ Himself were to speak to you and make this promise- “I promise that nothing bad will ever happen to you again?” Can you imagine? What would that do for your love for Him? What would it do to your joy? How established would your peace, your patience be if you heard Jesus promise this to you? How might the fruit of the Spirit flourish and bloom all about you? As much as I would like to dig more deeply into this promise (you can read more about it in my new book Believing God) my point in this brief piece is that He has indeed so promised. Jesus tells you this in His letter to the church atRome. What, you don’t remember what Jesus said in that letter? This might help. Jesus also said, “Paul, a servant of Jesus…

Ask RC: What do you think about Young Life / Fellowship of Christian Athletes and other para-church youth ministries?

Ask R.C.

Those are some big name ministries. I’m not an expert on either one, though I briefly participated in both when I was in high school. I do know of a much smaller youth ministry that concerns me. This group spends more time eating than in group study. They play a great deal of sports and games and they’ve been known to giggle a lot. Two of the older girls are constantly vying for the attention of one of the younger boys. This particular group is led by a fellow who suffers from pride, is not as attentive to the young people as he ought to be, nor as attentive to the Word of God. Rumor has it that he is sleeping with his female assistant. Despite all this, I am confident that God is using this ministry in a powerful way. I am that leader, my wife my co-laborer and…

Beam Me Up

The Kingdom Notes

Jesus knew of what He spoke when He warned us to look out for the beam in our own eyes before getting too concerned about the speck in the eye of our brother. Our problem, having been forewarned by Jesus, is that we seek, through the diabolical art of simultaneous translation, to shrink this warning down to size. That is, we escape the far reaching implications of this command by turning it into a mere warning against hypocrisy. We fail to meet this standard, we seem to reason, only in those instances wherein the mote and the speck are of exactly the same genus, species and phylum. We think Jesus is telling us only that we should not remove the speck of sin a in our neighbor if we are more guilty of a more egregious form of sin a.  Certainly a failure here carries with it a special flavor of hypocrisy that…

Ask RC: Did Jesus suffer the wrath of the Father for all sinners, or just for the elect?

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Just for the elect.  This truth is hard for some people for a what seems like a good reason- It shows God treating people unequally. If Christ’s atoning work covers only some people, doesn’t this somehow make God unfair, treating one group of people one way, and another group of people another way? If people end up in different places, some in heaven and some in hell, then we can either attribute the difference to how God acts in our lives, or in how we act in ourselves. The latter choice has a great deal going for it. It absolves God of the charge of treating people differently. And no one in hell, of course, can complain about being there. They are there by their own doing. The first choice, however, has three things going better for it. First, it means some people will actually go to heaven. Given the…

Be Reasonable

The Kingdom Notes

In the great war launched in Genesis 3 between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent there are two other great battles. On one side of the battlefield stands the enemy. The seed of the serpent hate God, would kill Him if they could. They hate His people, and all that they stand for. But they have a battle waging inside themselves because, for all their sin, all their fallenness and depravity they still bear the remains of the image of God. Their great dilemma is that because they are made in God’s image they want to live in a world that makes sense, that is understandable, and coherent. Because, however, the objective reality is that they are under God’s wrath, they must construct a world with no God, or at least, no judgment.  It is impossible, irrational. The other great battle is the mirror of…

Five Reasons You Should Go to Your Local Abortion Mill

The Kingdom Notes

I know it is a scary thought. I know it is outside our comfort zone. And so at best we pray for those who go, those spiritual super-heroes that are better than we are. At worst we get angry at them for making us feel guilty. Going to the mill, however, will not save your soul, will not assuage your guilt. Jesus did that. If you will go, however, you will no longer fear, but will know that He is with you, wherever you go. Here then are five reasons you should go, pray, speak. First, you should go to feel the power of repentance. There is no place, outside the Lord’s Table, more powerful in demonstrating the depth of our sin. Though I am actively pro-life I go and repent for these things. First, for my country. I am a part of this country and so share in its…

Back on the Road to Serfdom

The Kingdom Notes

It’s déjà vu all over again, as the evangelical church lurches toward big government. I’m old enough to remember the heyday of evangelical lefties like Jim Wallis, Tony Campolo and Ron Sider back in the early 1980’s. Sider wrote a book that caught the church’s eye entitled Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger, wherein he argued that more socialism is a good and biblical goal. To say that it suffered from bad exegesis is to unfairly stain the word exegesis. Dr. Gary North then encouraged a very young and wooly David Chilton to respond in print. Chilton’s book, Productive Christians in an Age of Guilt Manipulators, point by point sliced and diced Sider’s work with all the precision of the sword of the Lord. Chilton not only dusted off the spot on which Sider had stood, he dusted off the dust as well. Chilton’s book was a life-changer for…