Sunday, December 28, 2008


Reflections for a New Year, I make no resolutions.
Take Time
Take time to take--the small gifts so hesitatingly offered by a friend.the proud handmade present from a child.
Take time to listen--to the old man's too oft-told tale to a husband's words of love
Take time to share a moment with a lonely soul (for loneliness shared becomes love)a sorrow with a bereaved friend (for sorrow shared becomes comfort).
Take time to touch--another human (which means "I care for you, I trust you")another life (for that is what life is all about).
Take time for each other for nothing else is that important. Take time to live--to dance for fun to sing for joy to paint or sew or create a beautiful gift.
Take time to watch--the snow swirling outside the windowpane,the flames dancing in the fireplace.
Take time for gladness--for this faltering, fumbling world is, after all,mostly good!
The above was given to me by a friend.

(Ecclesiastes 3:1-22 MSG)

There's an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth:

A right time for birth and another for death, A right time to plant and another to reap,

A right time to kill and another to heal, A right time to destroy and another to construct,

A right time to cry and another to laugh, A right time to lament and another to cheer,

A right time to make love and another to abstain, A right time to embrace and another to part,

A right time to search and another to count your losses, A right time to hold on and another to let go,

A right time to rip out and another to mend, A right time to shut up and another to speak up,

A right time to love and another to hate, A right time to wage war and another to make peace.

But in the end, does it really make a difference what anyone does?

I've had a good look at what God has given us to do--busywork, mostly.

True, God made everything beautiful in itself and in its time--but he's left us in the dark, so we can never know what God is up to, whether he's coming or going.

I've decided that there's nothing better to do than go ahead and have a good time and get the most we can out of life.

That's it--eat, drink, and make the most of your job. It's God's gift.

I've also concluded that whatever God does, that's the way it's going to be, always. No addition, no subtraction. God's done it and that's it. That's so we'll quit asking questions and simply worship in holy fear.

Whatever was, is. Whatever will be, is. That's how it always is with God.

I took another good look at what's going on: The very place of judgment--corrupt!

The place of righteousness--corrupt! I said to myself, "God will judge righteous and wicked." There's a right time for every thing, every deed--and there's no getting around it.

I said to myself regarding the human race, "God's testing the lot of us, showing us up as nothing but animals."

Humans and animals come to the same end--humans die, animals die. We all breathe the same air. So there's really no advantage in being human. None. Everything's smoke.

We all end up in the same place--we all came from dust, we all end up as dust.

Nobody knows for sure that the human spirit rises to heaven or that the animal spirit sinks into the earth.

So I made up my mind that there's nothing better for us men and women than to have a good time in whatever we do--that's our lot. Who knows if there's anything else to life?

The above is not unknown, it is God’s Word.


Monday, December 22, 2008

Strategies for Living in an Uncertain Economy

I was recently told about a new book, Mixing God with Money: Strategies for Living in an Uncertain Economy by Dennis Tongoi of Kenya. He serves on the board of Disciple Nations Alliance. As a native of a country which has seen more than its share of economic struggles, Tongoi brings a unique perspective. Here's an excerpt that caught my attention:

Principle One: Greed is Manifested by Haste. Faith Results in Patience.
Perhaps, like me, you are sometimes not willing to wait. Whenever I need to make any financial decisions, I am learning to apply the wait test. I know that my heart is predisposed to greed. . .Faith is patient. Whenever I see haste, I know that it is not of God. Waiting allows God to intervene and confirm. The bigger the decision, the more important this principle is
(pages 30-31).
With a couple of large decisions looming for me personally, these few short sentences were literally a Godsend. My decisions are not exclusively financial, but they do involve expenses if depending on what decisions are made. Please pray that I have the patience to wait, to allow God to be God, and to allow Him to intervene when and where He sees fit.

Sunday, December 21, 2008


By Peter Marshall

We yearn, our Father, for the simple beauty of Christmas -- for all the old familiar melodies and words that remind us of that great miracle when He who had made all things was one night to come as a babe, to lie in the crook of a woman's arm.

Before such mystery we kneel, as we follow the shepherds and Wise Men to bring You the gift of our love -- a love we confess has not always been as warm or sincere or real as it should have been. But now, on Christmas Day, that love would find its Beloved, and from You receive the grace to make it pure again, warm and real.

We bring You our gratitude for every token of Your love, for all the ways You have heaped blessings upon us during the years that have gone.

And we do pray, Lord Jesus, that as we celebrate Your birthday, we may do it in a manner well pleasing to You. May all we do and say, every tribute of our hearts, bring honor to Your name, that we, Your people, may remember Your birth and feel Your presence among us even yet.

May the loving kindness of Christmas not only creep into our hearts, but there abide, so that not even the return to earthly cares and responsibilities, not all the festivities of our own devising may cause it to creep away weeping. May the joy and spirit of Christmas stay with us now and forever.

In the name of Jesus, who came to save His people from their sins, even in that lovely name we pray. Amen.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Worldview Ignorance - Part 2

In Part 1 of this topic, I stated:

In my observation, there seem to be at least two types of Worldview
  • Willful Worldview Ignorance
  • Partial Worldview Ignorance

Willful Worldview Ignorance is practiced by people who are in what I call
“Worldview Denial.” They don’t want to think about the big questions of life. . . They tend to deny that such a thing as a worldview really exists. They don’t believe that a person can actually have a consistent, over-arching conceptual framework that explains the whole world, how it works, and what life is all about.

And now, Part 2:

Partial Worldview Ignorance is practiced by the majority of people – at least by a majority of those over 30.

It’s caused by misunderstanding what a worldview is. They acknowledge that they have a worldview. They have thought some about the big questions of life. But they have compartmentalized their beliefs. A few common examples of compartmentalized worldviews:
  • "I don’t let my religion influence how I vote. Haven’t you ever heard of 'separation of church and state'?"
  • "I don’t take my religion into the workplace because I might offend my Hindu co-worker."
  • "As a scientist, it’s not only possible, but essential, that I remain completely objective. I just follow the scientific evidence, wherever it leads."

As I said, they don’t really understand what a worldview is. They don’t see it as an all-encompassing and overarching view of the world. They see it as a small part of their lives. They think it’s like a coat that you can put on and take off – wear it when it’s appropriate, and take it off when it’s inconvenient.

We’ve said before that a worldview is like a pair of eyeglasses – because they influence how you see the world. Some glasses help you see better. Some change the way things appear because of colored lenses. The prescription for these glasses was either written by you or by God.

But as I think about it now (and compare it to the “coat” analogy above) – I think a worldview is more like your actual vision, not your eyeglasses. Just like a pair of eyeglasses, your worldview determines how you see the world. But eyeglasses can be taken off – just like the coat. But your worldview can’t be taken off – it’s a part of who you are. Some people have 20-20 vision; others are "blind as a bat." Their vision is a part of who they are.

There are certain things that can be done to improve your vision – like LASIK surgery. In the same way, there are certain things that can be done to improve your worldview "vision." It starts with reading the Bible with an eye toward all of life – all of your real life here and now.

  • Don’t just read the Bible as an interesting historical document - although it is that.
  • Don’t just read the Bible as a collection of useful moral instructions - "Do this; don’t do that - can’t ya read the signs?" (Bonus points for anyone who remembers the song!)
  • Don’t just read the Bible as a “how to be saved” manual, with an eye toward evangelizing others.
  • Don’t read the Bible as an end-times manual, identifying your current political or military enemies as the Antichrist and seeing Satan and his minions under every rock.

Instead, read it with your feet firmly planted in the here and now, knowing that God is the sovereign God over all of life – including the parts that you may not associate with the Bible – art, economics, politics, and education come to mind. After all - if He's sovereign (and He is!), then He's sovereign over every square inch of life.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Worldview Ignorance - Part 1

Worldviews contain at least five clusters of beliefs, namely beliefs about God, metaphysics (ultimate reality), epistemology (knowledge), ethics, and human nature. While worldviews may include other beliefs that need not be mentioned at this point, these five usually define the most important differences among competing conceptual systems.
Dr. Ronald Nash, Life’s Ultimate Questions: An Introduction to Philosophy
(Buy it
here and support the work of ACWI)

Dr. Kenneth Samples, professor @ Biola University, in reviewing his book, A World of Difference, has said that most of the time we don’t think in a worldview-ishly manner. (Buy it here and support the work of ACWI)

George Barna’s 2003 research which was documented in his book Think Like Jesus (Buy it
here and support the work of ACWI) identified the following characteristics of a person with a Biblical worldview. They believe in:

  • certain doctrines that have historically been considered “orthodox Christianity”
  • absolute truth. You can’t have your truth and I’ll have mine.
  • the Bible as the source of absolute moral truth

So far, so good. But details from Think Like Jesus give the bad news:

  • Only one out of four born-again adults (25%) “make their moral and ethical decisions on the basis of the Bible” (p. 36).
  • Only one out of seven born-again adults (14%) “rely on the Bible as their moral compass and believe that moral truth is absolute” (p. 37).
  • Most disturbing of all: 91% of all born-again adults and 98% of all born-again teenagers do not have a Biblical worldview (p. 39).

We live our lives based on what we believe – not what we say we believe, but on what we really believe.

Most Christians would claim that they try to live their lives according to the Bible. This is just another way of saying “I try to live out a Biblical worldview.” But do we really?

What I’ve noticed over the years is that Christians tend to do a pretty good job in a few select areas. We’ve read books and heard speakers on Christian parenting, on abortion, on gay marriage. . . and on certain moral issues. We’ve often taken the time to think through the implications of the Bible in these specific areas.

But what about some other areas? Your worldview encompasses ALL of life – not just a few little corners of life.

Can you articulate your worldview? Can you explain why you make the decisions you make?
For example:

  • Can you point to specific Biblical principles that support your choice of candidate in the recent presidential election? John McCain, Barak Obama, or Ralph Nader – it doesn’t matter. Can you point to specific Biblical principles to explain why you’re a member of one political party or another?
  • In a press release the day after our most recent presidential election, Mathew Staver, the founder of Liberty Counsel and the Dean of Liberty University School of Law, said:

    While the people passed marriage amendments in Arizona, California, and Florida, two of those states voted for Barack Obama. When asked to vote on values, they chose traditional marriage. In California, the people overturned an activist state supreme court. However, a large number of people who voted for Obama voted for these marriage amendments, which Obama opposed.
    Accessed 12/3/08

    These people probably couldn’t explain their contradictory voting decisions, much less support them Biblically.

  • In the current economic “downturn” – a misnomer if ever I heard one! – are there specific Biblical passages that guide your economic decisions as a family or a business owner?
  • Can you explain to someone - from Scripture – why Communism isn’t Biblical?
  • Would you be able to provide Scriptural support for your parenting decisions? For the way you discipline your children? Or the choice of school your kids attend?
  • Can you offer Biblical support for your entertainment choices – the music you listen to, the TV shows you watch, and the movies you see? And not just the content, but the amount of time spent being entertained?
  • Do you try to live your life according to the Bible? Or are you allowing the world around you to influence your decision-making?

In my observation, there seem to be at least two types of Worldview Ignorance:

  • Willful Worldview Ignorance
  • Partial Worldview Ignorance

Willful Worldview Ignorance is practiced by people who are in what I call “Worldview Denial.” They don’t want to think about the big questions of life. . . many don’t really want to think at all!

They tend to deny that such a thing as a worldview really exists. They don’t believe that a person can actually have a consistent, over-arching conceptual framework that explains the whole world, how it works, and what life is all about. Their thought processes, their entire universe, are so fragmented and disconnected that it’s hard for them to imagine that anyone can have it all together and make sense of it all.

Part of the problem (certainly not all of it!) is in our educational system.

Today we have a weakness in our education process. . . we tend to study all our disciplines in unrelated parallel lines. This tends to be true in both Christian and secular education. This is one of the reasons why evangelical Christians have been taken by surprise at the tremendous shift that has come to our generation.
Dr. Francis Schaeffer

Because the vast majority of students today are taught this way, they don’t see the connections between history, literature, art, and language. By sitting in class for one hour to study history, in another class for another hour to study science, and yet another class to study literature, it's no wonder that life seems fragmented.

Because many have suffered through a fragmented education, they now have a fragmented worldview, thinking that connections don’t exist, that “having it all together” is just a dream.

Consider the alternative – what could “connected education” do?

Integration between academic subjects ties the world together. Math, science, philosophy, and history are all interwoven in a way that relates all subjects to a whole.
Adapted from Discover Classical Christian Education by David Goodwin, headmaster of Foundations
Academy in Boise, Idaho

And that whole is Jesus Christ. All the academic subjects relate to Him – because He is the Creator of all things, including academc subjects.

In addition, those in worldview denial tend to be totally focused on the here and now.

How do we get these people think beyond what’s for supper tonight or where I’m going to party this weekend?

And what of Partial Worldview Ignorance? Watch for Worldview Ignorance - Part 2 next week.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Rest You Merry Saints

The First Time Jesus Came

He came veiled in the form of a child.
A star marked His arrival.
Wise men brought Him gifts.
There was no room for Him.
Only a few attended His arrival.
He came as a baby.

The Next Time Jesus Comes

He will be recognized by all.
Heaven will be lit by His glory.
He will bring rewards for His own.
The world won’t be able to contain His glory.
Every eye shall see Him.
He will come as the Sovereign King and Lord of all.
John F. MacArthur, Jr.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Foundation of Creation Part 2

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." (Gen 1:1)

Genesis 1:1 is the first verse of the Bible, but I also believe it is the first place we need to go to begin to understand the overall consistency, flow, and story of Scripture. I believe that the battle for creation is one of the most important battles the church faces today, because without creation, the rest of the Bible cannot make sense. What does the Just wrath of God mean if we are not his creatures? At best, God's wrath against us would be a capricious act of a being who has the power to do what he wishes with lesser beings. Please do not misunderstand me, God is all powerful, does as he wishes, and we are lesser beings. The Biblical notion of God's wrath comes from the understanding that we who are dependent on God for our very existence, and have been given the image of God, have transgressed his law. However, if we are not created we are not dependent on God for our existence, and we are not created in his image; so to remove creation is to remove the entire Biblical basis for God's just wrath. Now, if there is no basis for God's just wrath, then what basis can there be for his gracious salvation? none. We know, though, that the Bible teaches creation, and that man is a creature of God invested with his image. This is a beautiful doctrine that cements together the rest of the Bible (and history) in a consistent, God glorifying way. After all, was it not Jesus who entered into his very creation to redeem it?

As a side note:
I am not necessarily here referring to the six days or the six billion years debate. I believe that Genesis has clear elements of different kinds of genre which makes exegeting it a particularly weighty task. I personally believe that it was six days, but I am open to there being a much larger time period. However, one thing that I believe the Bible makes clear is that man was created as is and not through an evolutionary process guided by God. I believe this because Jesus and Paul make it very clear that Adam and Eve were historical figures.

"He [Jesus] answered, 'Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female',and said, 'Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh'" (Matt 19:4-5)

"Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come." (Romans 5:14)

-- This is not an exhaustive list of Scriptures on this point, and I would certainly recommend reading the entire chapters of Matthew 19 and Romans 5.