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Whole Faith

We began our study by exploring Whole faith: essential ingredients for a life of complete faith. Using Richard Foster’s book Streams of Living Water as a launching point, we began by examining what it means to live a Christ-centered life. We then reviewed the major traditions and practices of the Christian faith including:

  • the Evangelical tradition (with its emphasis on the Word),
  • the Social Justice tradition (with its emphasis on compassion),
  • the Holiness tradition (with its emphasis on personal character),
  • the Charismatic tradition (with its emphasis on the Spirit),
  • the Contemplative tradition (with its emphasis on prayer), and
  • the Incarnational tradition (with its emphasis on being light in all spheres of life).

Our conclusion: we are often people who have “holes” in our faith because we neglect one or more of these biblical emphases in our lives. However, as people of “whole” faith, we should embrace them all. 

 

--David<><

Published on July 23, 2010 at 11:31 am | | 0 Comments

We follow the Lamb

But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.” 1 Peter 3:15

 

Today in our country, there is a lot of debate about what type of society we should have. Wrangling among political parties and their supporters is often loud and vociferous. Competing views are critiqued by pundits and pollsters.

In thinking about what type of society we should have or what initiatives we should support or oppose, we Christians need to heed the warning of C. S. Lewis in Mere Christianity.  There he writes:

“Most of us are not really approaching the subject in order to find out what Christianity says:  we are approaching it in the hope of finding support from Christianity for the views of our own party. We are looking for an ally where we are offered either a Master or a Judge.”

In other words, our decision-making is often wrong-headed.  We settle into the view of our favorite political party and then seek to justify it, arguing that surely “God is on our side”. But the real issue is whether we are on God’s side. With God, we have two opposing options. We either yield to Him as Master or face Him as nothing but Judge.

So, as Christians, our positions on issues of the day should not merely mimic the positions of a particular political party or prattling pundit. Our support for or opposition to an issue should never stand or fall on whether the issue is supported by the Republicans or the Democrats, by the “conservatives” or the “liberals”. In fact, no party should have our undying allegiance. That’s called idolatry. Our undying allegiance is to the Master. We are to care first and foremost about what He thinks and wants. We are to seek after the type of society that He desires, applying biblical principles to our decision-making. The positions of political parties or politicians or the results of opinion polls do not set the standards by which we live, vote, or take action. 

For, you see, as Christians, we follow neither an elephant nor a donkey. We follow the Lamb who is the Lion of Judah.  May we think, speak, and act like it. 

 

--David<><

Published on July 12, 2010 at 11:57 am | | 0 Comments

All You Need is Love

Part 2: “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:1-2

 

One important lesson of love is illustrated by Christ’s story of the Good Samaritan. Here, a man from an ethnic group often despised by the Jews, is the only one in the story to exhibit agape. He alone stops to help an injured man who, as implied by the story, is Jewish. Yet, the Samaritan gives of his time, his effort, his possessions, and his money to help this Jewish man who is ethnically and religiously different. He demonstrates agape, unlike the “religious” people who simply passed by, offering no aid to the injured man.

 

You see, agape, rightly understood and applied, is revolutionary. It is never self-centered, but is self-sacrificing. It always desires what is best for the other person and works to make that best a reality. It is patient, kind, and keeps no record of past wrongs.  Agape is not so much about how we feel but about what we do. It is a love that is to be extended not only to our friends but to our enemies, to the unlovely as well as the lovely, to the worthy and the unworthy. Agape always protects the beloved and always perseveres, even when love is not returned. Agape is unfailing and unending. It is best illustrated in the life of Christ who died for us.

 

In a world often fractured by physical violence and verbal attacks, divisive hate and destructive behavior, we, as Christians, should be a healing balm.  Do you want to change the world?? All you need is love (agape); all you need is love; all you need is love, love; love is all you need.

 

--David<><

Published on June 23, 2010 at 12:47 pm | | 0 Comments

All You Need is Love

Part 1: “Do everything in love.” 1 Corinthians 16:14

 

It happened June 25, 1967—the first ever live television show to be broadcast globally using satellite transmissions.  400 million people in 31 countries viewed the 2 hour production that featured various artists and musicians from around the globe performing live. The broadcast opened with the Vienna Boys Choir singing a song in 22 different languages. But the highlight of the evening was the appearance of the Beatles performing a new song for the first time for this international broadcast. The song—All You Need is Love—became an instant hit.

Understood rightly, All You Need is Love, provides an excellent theme for our lives and relationships. Now the Beatles, I would submit, had some wrong-headed notions about real love. But biblical love—agape—is the central ethic in the teachings of Christ and the New Testament.  It is a virtue that should pervade our lives.

--David<><

Published on June 16, 2010 at 2:29 pm | | 0 Comments

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