Tag Archives: jesus christ

John Piper on Jesus & Truth + Priest Encouraging Impoverished to Steal

Couple of items I’d like to share with you today.

First, I ran across a good article from John Piper on Christianity.com today. In it, John points out four aspects of Jesus’ “bearing witness to the truth:” 1) Speaking the Truth, 2) Being the Truth, 3) Dying to Establish the Truth, and 4) Sending Us to Witness to the Truth. It’s short and worth the read – check it out.

Second, this story made me chuckle today. A priest in England encouraged poor congregants to steal over the holidays. Here’s an excerpt:

Father Jones told the congregation: ‘My advice, as a Christian priest, is to shoplift.  I do not offer such advice because I think that stealing is a good thing, or  because I think it is harmless, for it is neither.

‘I would ask that they do not steal from small family businesses, but from large national businesses, knowing that the costs are ultimately passed on to the rest of us in the form of higher prices.

‘I would ask them not to take any more than they need, for any longer than they need.

‘I offer the advice with a heavy heart and wish society would recognise that bureaucratic ineptitude and systematic delay has created an invitation and incentive to crime for people struggling to cope.’

He added that he felt society had failed the needy, and said it was far better they shoplift than turn to more degrading or violent options such as prostitution, mugging or burglary.

He continued: ‘My advice does not contradict the Bible’s eighth commandment because God’s love for the poor and despised outweighs the property rights of the rich.’

The local police disagreed:

‘First and foremost, shoplifting is a criminal offence and to justify this course of action under any circumstances is highly irresponsible.

‘Turning or returning to crime will only make matters worse, that is a guarantee.’

I see the priest’s point and understand where he’s coming from, but believe this is bad advice.

… but wait a minute – if they end up in jail, they’ll get three squares a day, right?

Hey, maybe this priest is on to something!

Read the full story here.

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Awards We Don’t Deserve

I couldn’t help but notice the flutter of posts about Obama’s winning the Nobel Peace Prize this morning.

Here’s an excerpt from the full story:

Obama expressed surprise at winning the award, saying he felt humbled and unworthy of being counted in the company of the “transformative figures” of history who had won it.

“I do not view it as a recognition of my own accomplishments but rather an affirmation of American leadership,” he said in the White House Rose Garden. “I will accept this award as a call to action, a call for all nations to confront the common challenges of the 21st century.

I haven’t heard anyone (besides the Nobel Committee) say that they believe Obama deserves this prize. In fact, my liberal friends are saying they believe the award has been cheapened now since Obama hasn’t really accomplished much in nine months.

Before you get the wrong idea, I didn’t write this post to bash Obama. Rather, I’d like you to notice something: people tend to get their dander up when they see someone receive an award they really don’t deserve.

It’s offensive to our human nature. It’s unjust! “Who does this person think they are, accepting an award they don’t deserve?” people ask.

And look at how Obama responded – “I will accept this award as a call to action …” – in other words, “I don’t really deserve this award, but I’m going to take it and remember that I need to live up to it.”

I’ll be honest – I don’t care whether Obama won the Nobel Prize or not – it’s ultimately meaningless. What’s interesting to me is the parallel I see in the free gift Jesus gives to us that we don’t deserve:

Romans 5:6-10
6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.

7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die.
8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!
10 For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!

While we were powerless, no good, ungodly, rebellious sinners, Jesus died for us. He gave us a gift much, much, much greater than any man can invent, and we did absolutely nothing to deserve it. We did just the opposite.

Paul understood this undeserved gift God has given us, and that’s why he said:

Philippians 3:14-16
14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
15 All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.
16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained.

“Let us live up to what we have already attained.”

What is Paul referring to? The gift of salvation and forgiveness of sin that Jesus offers to those who follow him.

If Obama wants to try to live up to his Nobel Peace Prize, let him. In my opinion, he’s setting his sights too low.

As followers of Jesus we’ve been given a gift we don’t deserve but in an ultimate way, and we have the privilege of striving to live up to it.

May we always do our best to “live up to what we have already attained.”

Happy Friday 🙂

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Notes From The Pepperdine Lectures – Monte Cox

Notes taken during Monte Cox’s presentation at The 2009 Pepperdine Lectures – “Christ, the Mystery of God” – Tuesday, May 5, 2009 – 7PM. Based on Colossians 2:1-7.

To download Dr. Cox’s PowerPoint presentation used during this lecture, go to www.harding.edu/cwm and look under the heading “Dr. Monte Cox’s ’09 Pepperdine presentation,” or click here.

  • “Pluralism drives the relativism that makes evangelism a four letter word.”
  • The book Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert is a good example of how people view spirituality today (pluralistically – just make sure you get a little bit of every religion and you’ll be ok).
  • Ministry in the North American context means you will encounter 1) postmodernism, 2) individualism, and 3) skepticism.
  • “Does the concept of ‘God’ belong in a religion class? Can a Christian teach a world religion class at a secular university? Some would say ‘no’ because of their Christian bias. We do, however, need to critique that question. How is a believer’s bias less valid than an unbeliever’s? The underlying assumption of that question is a biased one.”
  • Colossians 2:9 – “Son of God – fully human and fully divine?” Rejected by postmodern thinkers because that sounds too exclusive.
  • People today aren’t looking for a Savior – they’re looking for a spiritual life coach. They’re looking for a therapist. For many, that’s what Jesus is reduced to.
  • Jesus is seen by many as a highly evolved spiritual coach who can help … if you want Him to.
  • Colossians 2:2,3 – “All mysteries” are hidden in Christ. Not Christ plus something else!
  • Paints a picture of two people. One is a girl who gets up in the morning, looks in the mirror, and sees nothing but ugly. Another is a young man that gets up in the morning, looks in the mirror, and sees a suave ladykiller. Dr. Cox says both of them have a self-esteem problem – not just the girl. The problem is they get up in the morning, look in the mirror, and see themselves instead of seeing Christ.
  • Recommends Christless Christianity by Michael Horton as a book we all should read. Read the first chapter of this book by clicking here.
  • 1 Corinthians 15:14 – “If Christ isn’t the Son of God and raised from the dead, we have nothing to say! Apart from Christ – the center of our faith and identity – we have nothing to say!”
  • “I do not want to be guilty of drawing lines [in terms of fellowship] where God hasn’t clearly drawn them Himself because I’m too conservative for that!” (Amen to that!)
  • Christ-centric theology is the key to the future of the Churches of Christ. (Amen to that too!)

Other good stuff from Dr. Cox concerning Church of Christ world missions (PowerPoint presentations):

  1. Around the World in 60 Minutes
  2. Missions and Money
  3. What the World Needs Now
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Advertisements