Friday, March 30, 2007

Luther's use of the Lord's Prayer

WWLD? what would Luther do with the Lord's prayer?

“A Simple Way To Pray” gives some examples of the intercessions Luther was inspired to pray on the basis of The Lord’s Prayer: Hallowed be Thy Name. Yes, Lord God, dear Father, Hallowed be Your Name, both in us and throughout the whole world. Destroy and root out the abominations, idolatry and heresy of all false teachers and fanatics who wrongly use Your Name and in scandalous ways take it in vain and horribly blaspheme it…Dear Lord God, convert and restrain them… restrain those who are unwilling to be converted so that they may be forced to cease from misusing, defiling and dishonoring Your Holy Name and for misleading the poor people. Amen.

“Thy Kingdom Come. O dear Lord, God and Father, convert them and defend us… so that they with us and we with them may serve You and Your Kingdom in true faith and unfeigned love and that from Your Kingdom which has begun, we may enter into Your eternal Kingdom. Defend us against those who will not turn away their might and power for the destruction of Your Kingdom so that when they are cast down from their thrones and humbled, they will have to cease from their efforts. Amen.

“Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. O dear Lord, God and Father, You know that the world, if it cannot destroy Your Name or root our Your Kingdom, is busy day and night with wicked tricks and schemes, strange conspiracies and intrigues, huddled together in secret counsel, giving mutual encouragement and support, raging and threatening and going about with every evil intention to destroy Your Name, Word, Kingdom and children… for Your sake gladly, patiently and joyously enable us to bear every evil, cross and adversity, and thereby acknowledge, test and experience Your benign, gracious and perfect Will…

“Give us this day our daily bread. Protect us against war and disorder. Grant to all rulers’ good counsel and a will to preserve their subjects in tranquility and justice. O God, grant that all people be diligent and display charity and loyalty towards each other. Give us favourable weather and good harvests…

“Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. O dear Lord, God and Father, enter not into judgment against us because no person living is justified before You. Do not counter it against us as a sin that we are so unthankful for Your ineffable goodness, spiritual and physical, with that we stray so many times each day. Do not look upon how good or how wicked we have been but only upon the infinite compassion, which You have bestowed upon us in Christ, Your dear Son. Amen. Also, grant forgiveness to those who have harmed or wronged us, as we forgive them from our hearts…we would much rather that they be saved with us. Amen

“Lead us not into temptation. Keep us fit and alert, eager and diligent in Your Word and service, so that we do not become complacent, lazy and slothful as though we had already achieved everything. In that way the fearful devil cannot fall upon us, surprise us and deprive us from of Your precious Word or store up strife and factions among us and lead us into other sin and disgrace…

“And deliver us from evil. This wretched life is so full of misery and calamity, of danger and uncertainty, so full of malice and faithlessness… but You, dear Father, know our frailty. Therefore help us to pass safety through so much wickedness and villainy…”

NPP- "yeah you know me"

that title is an obscure reference to a song from the early 90's or late 80's that wasn't so edifying, sort of like the NPP, the New Perspective on Paul, advocated by, trumpets please, NT Wright, EP Sanders, and Jimmy Dunn. those links are internal that go to external sources. however, the topic has sprung up closer to home, a blogging church near my beloved UConn, and so i'm re-reading and seeing what else is new out there in the blogosphere. it seems most critics are of the Reformed persuasion, and i'm not finding anything yet, other than myself, who is a critic but not Reformed. So who are the critics? John Piper, Reformed Baptist. Kim Riddlebarger, Lutheran. Carson and Moo. Theopedia.
i could never read all of wright's stuff. but i can read the Bible, over and over again, and find verses that don't fit into certain theological models. so i might start a series on "the gospel/good news" through the NT. it's all over the place. how does Matthew explain the good news? what about Mark and Luke and John? its not a new study. i'm sure i could find it on someone's blog. but it would be good for me to study it for myself and for those who surf by.
almost done with the Lord's prayer.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Lord's prayer: "the evil one"

v. 13 And mayest Thou not lead us to temptation, but deliver us from the evil,

i memorized this in King James' version where evil isn't prefaced with "the." i later learned about "the" and how this could be translated "the evil one," which implies our spiritual adversary, Satan. Matthew uses this construction in the parable of the soils in chapter 13. in verse 19 Jesus explains to his disciples that "the evil" comes and eats the seeds off the road. Mark and Luke confirm "the evil" equals "satan" in their recountings.
John uses this construction in 1 John 5:18 and 19. We know that everyone fathered by God does not sin, but God protects the one he has fathered, and the evil one cannot touch him. We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. (NET)
It's as if John is amplifying this section of the prayer. We ask Father to deliver us because He protects those he fathered, and we need deliverance from the evil one, since the whole world is in his power. Paul points out to the Ephesians, For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. (6:12 NET) Peter also warns us to be alert, Be sober and alert. Your enemy the devil, like a roaring lion, is on the prowl looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8 NET)
Our enemy is real. He isn't a joke. He isn't a myth. He is enough of a concern to Jesus that he tells us to pray daily for deliverance from this evil one.

additionally, it has recently occurred to me that i too am evil in need of deliverance of myself. i have this selfish unredeemed un-Christ-like part of me which hasn't died, which seeks to reassert the prominence of the flesh over the spirit. not only is the battle without, it's within. i can't deny that my heart is desperately wicked. without that realization i wouldn't know my need for a Savior. but until recently, i've focused on the prayer as deliverance from our external opponent, but i'm also my own opponent. my Lord has definitely begun his work in me, but he isn't finished. he is still setting me free. he is still teaching me the way of love. he is still conforming me to his likeness. i haven't arrived. when i pray this i am now not only praying against Satan, but against my unsubmitted, selfish flesh.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Lord's Prayer: but rescue us

in Greek, ἀλλὰ ῥῦσαι ἡμᾶς, but rescue/deliver us...
in the ultimate reality, God's kingdom, we realize there are no bootstraps we can pull ourselves up with. all we have are filthy rags. we have no kingdom of our own. we have no will of our own. we can't feed ourselves. we can't avoid indebtedness to God. we can't even tell ourselves "No." we are drowning in need of a rescuer.
it turns out ,a rescuer has come to tell good news to the poor, to set captives free, to restore sight to the blind, and to release the oppressed. (Luke 4:18-19)
this prayer reminds us that the delivering and rescuing is ongoing, just like the forgiving and being forgiven, and the sustaining, and the worshiping. our life is a journey, a pilgrimage, and a walk. we spend our entire lives learning to die.
Then He said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. What is a man benefited if he gains the whole world, yet loses or forfeits himself? Luke 9:23-25 (HCSB)
but we don't hate life. we hate sin. it keeps us from our Father, the one who gives us life.

10 For “Whoever desires to love life
and see good days,
let him keep his tongue from evil
and his lips from speaking deceit;
11 let him turn away from evil and do good;
let him seek peace and pursue it.
12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and his ears are open to their prayer.
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” 1 Peter 3 (ESV)

We are in need of rescue from a life of death to a life everlasting, a life we can't attain on our own.

God is good

Monday, March 26, 2007

Jesus Christ/Joseph Smith DVD

a new outreach video from "good news for LDS."

the Gospel

great link from the EO

As you all know, the gospel is simple: “The just shall live by faith.” There is much, of course, to be unpacked from those six words and the study of their implications and ramifications could consume a lifetime of study. But the declaration remains effectively brief, as Johnson goes on to say:

The apostle does not set forth the details of his gospel.’ The interpreter, however, is upon reasonably safe ground in assuming that they are found in 1 Corinthians 15:1-5. The gospel is the good news of Christ’s death, burial, resurrection, and appearances, together with the apostolic explanation of the doctrinal significance of these great facts. It is that which the apostle expounds in Romans, particularly chapters one through eight .

The word euaggelion (AV, ‘gospel’) by New Testament times came to mean good tidings, good news, and it carried with it a note of excitement. ‘Good news’ was and is the type of message one might shout across the street to a friend or neighbor. ‘The war’s over!’ ‘It’s a boy!’ ‘The [Colts] won!’ The Christian message has that same note of exhilaration. ‘The atonement’s accomplished!’ ‘God welcomes sinners!’

The good news is the statement of war’s end, a birth, a victory, or a salvation accomplished. Anyone hearing such news, were they interested, would immediately ask for the details, which would then be happily given. But the gospel remains encapsulated in Habbakuk’s words. As Johnson says, “the apostle’s meaning is simply this: The gospel is the power of God that leads to complete salvation, salvation from the penalty, power and, ultimately, the presence of sin.”

And that is, quite simply, good news, indeed!

The Lord's Prayer: into trial

Trial? the Greek word is PEIRASMON. It's the word used in James 1:2 and 1:12.
Old man Strong defines it as, a putting to proof (by experiment (of good), experience (of evil), solicitation, discipline or provocation); by implication, adversity
another old man, Thayer, writes more:
  1. an experiment, attempt, trial, proving
    1. trial, proving: the trial made of you by my bodily condition, since condition served as to test the love of the Galatians toward Paul (Gal. 4:
    1. the trial of man's fidelity, integrity, virtue, constancy
      1. an enticement to sin, temptation, whether arising from the desires or from the outward circumstances
      2. an internal temptation to sin 1b
    2. of the temptation by which the devil sought to divert Jesus the Messiah from his divine errand
      1. of the condition of things, or a mental state, by which we are enticed to sin, or to a lapse from the faith and holiness
      2. adversity, affliction, trouble: sent by God and serving to test or prove one's character, faith, holiness
    3. temptation (i.e. trial) of God by men
      1. rebellion against God, by which his power and justice are, as it were, put to the proof and challenged to show themselves
The NLT footnotes, And keep us from being tested. But most translators use temptation, perhaps with the following plea for deliverance from the evil. This prayer never stops exalting our Father and acknowledging our weakness and frailty and dependence. It is so contra-testosterone to ask for a pass. But its also a taste of heaven. Jesus has already instructed us to let his heavenly kingdom and heavenly will come to earth.
Who desires a trial like Job's? Who desires the temptation of Christ? Even Jesus, in the garden before his betrayal, asked our Father for a pass. If Jesus can ask for a pass, who am I to claim more strength than him? I can't even resist coffee cake out in the hallway at work. I think it was C.S. Lewis who pointed out that only Jesus resisted every temptation in his life and we don't know the struggle until we resist our fleshly desires.
While pondering these words I ended up at the 23rd Psalm.

The Lord is my shepherd;
there is nothing I lack.
He lets me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He renews my life;
He leads me along the right paths for His name's sake.
Even when I go through the darkest valley,
I fear [no] danger,
for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff -they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Only goodness and faithful love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
as long as I live. (HCSB)

I want to be lead along the right paths to the green pastures and quiet waters. But sometimes i'm in the darkest valleys due to sin, my own and others, or death and disaster, the world still turns, but i have The Comforter, the Holy Spirit, who is with me, who i know will provide a banquet for us, a huge wedding reception, where i will celebrate and dwell eternally.

Friday, March 23, 2007

The Lord's Prayer: and do not lead us

what an unusual way to make a request of Father. Jesus asks us to ask negatively. perhaps He assumes we are already doing the Proverbs 3:5, 6 thing, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight" (meaning successful). perhaps He assumes we are already trying to love Him with all of our hearts and souls and minds. perhaps He expects that we will love our neighbors as ourselves. after that it's all petty i guess. while walking the dog tonight i was thinking, wrongly, that maybe the verse was parsed this way, Lead us, not into trials... but the "not" in the Greek is modifying the verb and not the noun, and its not negotiable. that "not" "MH" in Greek is a verb modifier only. so i had a much better blog post on this verse. but my insight is not good.
why doesn't Jesus have us pray for strength in trials? why not pray to be lead into ever greener pastures? instead we are asked to pray to not be lead into trials. is there a positive way to read this?
there's really only two ways to learn things. the hard way and trusting someone else's hard way. since i was a child i've decided to do things against instruction from those wiser than me and refused to learn from their wisdom and experience. this is the search for the exception that plagues us humans. we'll play the lottery because maybe this time we'll have the 20 millionth winning ticket. we'll smoke cigarettes because we heard of someone who lived till he was 100 years old despite smoking since he was 12, so smoking probably won't harm us either, despite all those people walking around with oxygen masks. we will pursue a physically intimate relationship before marriage because not every marriage that starts out that way ends in divorce. we want to be the exception, which always leaves us in trouble and wishing we had trusted the Bible or our parents or our elders. the hard way of sin results in regret. who seeks regret? when we pray "lead us not" i think we acknowledge how hard headed we are. its another line to bring us to humility before Father and remind us of our dependence on Him.
and do not lead us into trial...

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Lord's Prayer: as we forgive others

as i drove home from a memorial service i got to thinking about defining forgiveness. once again i had read believers claiming that forgiveness should be given only to those who ask for it. some believers with a lot of calfskin (multi-degreed) hold this view. but my observations are that those who withhold forgiveness only burden themselves and tie burdens onto their souls. immediately after the prayer Jesus teaches that our Father won't forgive us if we don't forgive others. but right before this we ask Father to forgive "us." who am i to ask Father to forgive someone i won't forgive.
what is forgiveness?
i made up my own definition without consulting dictionaries or commentaries so this could be totally wrong.
forgiveness is the relinquishing of my claim to justice.
when i relinquish my claim to justice i turn it over to our Father to handle. great article here.
see also an article about the effects of unforgiveness and anger
and responding to wrongs with blessing
using forgiveness to bring healing to others

update: the point asks these questions in light of the VT rampage.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

a feed for my shared feeds

maybe some of my feedreaders already figured this out, but i hadn't until today. here is the feed for the shared items, enough blogs to burst your brain and ruin your productivity, and these are only the ones that stimulated me enough from the 150 posts i read a day.

The Lord's Prayer: Forgive us our sins

up to this verse we have acknowledged our relatedness, our Father in heaven, His worthiness, His better reign, His impending return, His provision for us, and our need to take one day at a time. The next line continues to exalt our Father by having us ask for forgiveness for our sins. I reason that since we are asking for our bread daily, it is not unusual to be asking for forgiveness daily also. After reading the rest of the sermon of the mount, I come away with the realization that the sins of the heart are like weeds. Even if the weeds are mowed and can't flower, the roots are still there and still spreading. I can agree with God that my heart is desperately wicked and who can know it. Despite the ugliness He decided to save me and wash my sins white as snow with his blood. It's one thing to say you haven't killed anyone, but special that day will be when i can say i haven't coveted anyone's stuff. Or maybe i'll say someday i've been more concerned with others for an entire day. I've loved others more than myself all day will be heavenly.
Not only am i asking Father to forgive me, i'm asking Him to forgive us, our sins, like Daniel did for the sins of his people. and if i'm asking Him to forgive them, how can i possibly withhold from others the grace that i've asked Father to give them?
Say Mr. X at church slanders me among our mutual acquaintances. Being the normal human that i am, with a long ways to go in my sanctification, i get angry at Mr. X. but Jesus tells me to ask Father to forgive US, our sins.
the crazy thing about this prayer for Americans is the 1st person plural throughout. there is no "I" in the prayer. instead it is full of "our" "us" and "we."
when i ask Father for forgiveness i ask for us.
who is "us?"
sounds like asking who our neighbors are. what if we asked Father to forgive our neighbors' sins as well as ours? don't they deserve what's coming? well i do too but i have a mediator, Jesus, and they don't. maybe i can stand in the gap for them until they see God's kindness that leads to repentance rather than his judgment. asking for forgiveness for "our" sins helps me understand how Job would offer sacrifices every morning for his children in case they sinned the night before.
i think this prayer is best prayed aloud together with other believers. my brother on my right might have in mind a sin of mine that i am blind too while i am praying for the sister next to me whose sin i can smell on her breath. however she might be asking forgiveness for her own sins that are so deep and dark that my prayer for her is only a surface cleaning. nevertheless, what a great thing to pray in community. i don't see how much more than this could be accomplished in a meeting.
sin separates us from our Father. forgiveness restores fellowship with Him. it's all been enabled by the sacrifice of His Son, our Savior, our friend, our brother, Jesus. Only a perfect God-man could shed the blood to appease the justice for the greatness of our sins. and daily we can remember what he did for us.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

the Lord's Prayer: our daily bread

enough for today.
our - of us - me and my family and my neighbors/locally, nationally, around the world.

some don't have enough bread to eat. some die of starvation. more don't partake of the bread of life and they die the 2nd death in hell, forever. Jesus references the bread metaphor in John's gospel. In 6:35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst." (ESV)
he continues, 47 "Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
In 6:56 he says something so offensive it drove away most of the groupies..."Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him."

the overtones and undertones are so numerous, who can count them? manna, literally "what is this," was the daily bread God spread on the ground for the children of Israel to gather up for that day. any kept overnight became infested with maggots and rotted and unfit for any nourishment. they had to get it fresh every morning. daily bread.

eucharist. communion. the Lord's supper. at that supper Jesus broke bread and said, "take eat, this is my body, do this in remembrance of me." (1 Cor. 11:24)

comuning daily with Him, abiding in Him, daily. at that supper, John records Jesus telling them, 15:4 "Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing." abide. dwell. daily. fruitfulness. life. answered prayer. everything or nothing.

Jesus instructs us to pray in this way... Give us this day our daily bread. in Greeklish, the bread of ours for today give to us today.
so few words. so much said. poetry. so short. so profound. so humbling. acknowledging daily my weakness, my dependence, my inadequacy. expecting so much in return. not just bread for my stomach but bread for my soul. when Satan tempted Jesus for 40 days, he told Jesus to turn the rocks into bread to break his fast. for 40 days Jesus had been waiting for the release from starvation and temptation. knowing his Biblical themes he knew 40 days would be the end, but no release had come. in fact, the accuser, the Father of lies came and told him to break the fast and feed himself. Jesus wouldn't. he stood firm on the revelation to the children of Israel who had received manna Matt 4:4 But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
we are more than animals. we need more than food. we need communion. both come from God.

Friday, March 16, 2007

blogs to catch up on

i found a lot of good stuff this week and added all their links here. unfortunately, one can only view a few of the posts at a time and you'll have to go to the bottom and hit the more link over and over... it is so web 1.0
God is good

Thursday, March 15, 2007

the Lord's Prayer: today

give us today/this day...
why only today? why doesn't Jesus have me pray about tomorrow's needs or next week's?
at the end of chapter 6 in Matthew's gospel Jesus tell us, "So then, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Today has enough trouble of its own." (NET)
that's true. i think part of the issue is we are only given today. we are not promised tomorrow. this principle is repeated over and over.
James tells us in chap. 4 "Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into this or that town and spend a year there and do business and make a profit.” You do not know about tomorrow. What is your life like? For you are a puff of smoke that appears for a short time and then vanishes."
talk about getting the reality smack down. by adding one word, "today," Jesus reminds me again of my humble estate. every other word in this prayer reminds me of my weakness and my need and my dependence on my Father. in this sentence we are asking Him to provide for us what is so easily grasped by some of us, bread, yet so far from others.
Yesterday i taught a Bible study at work on 2 Peter 3. Peter writes, "Since all these things are to melt away in this manner, what sort of people must we be, conducting our lives in holiness and godliness, while waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God? Because of this day, the heavens will be burned up and dissolve, and the celestial bodies will melt away in a blaze! But, according to his promise, we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness truly resides."
Today is a shadow. Eternity is the reality. Earth is a taste. Heaven is the meal. Here it's bread. There its a banquet. Here the Spirit is like wind. There the spiritual is tangible.
When i pray this, i'm reminded i only have today. I'm like the children of Israel in the wilderness gathering up manna. he who gathered much had enough for the day and he who gathered little had enough for the day.
Give us enough for today Father.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

cotton gin patented - slavery revived

on March 14 1794 Eli Whitney received a patent for the cotton gin.

cotton bale production increased almost 700 fold over the next 60 years mostly by the ease of this machine and the labor of enslaved Africans.

from wiki
The invention of the cotton gin allowed for the large-scale harvest of cotton. The cotton gin allowed the fluff around the seeds to be more easily and cheaply extracted in large numbers than could be done by hand, and made the practise an extremely profitable one. In the Southern United States, because the cotton gin only required unskilled labour, slaves were often employed in its operation. This led to an increase in the use of slaves in the South and increasing reliance on a plantation economy, leading to a greater divide between the North and the South that would culminate in the American Civil War.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

my blog's value has increased!

in dec 2005 it was worth 500 bucks, now i'm ready to sell...

My blog is worth $55,889.46.
How much is your blog worth?

the Lord's Prayer: Give to us

i've lived such a comfortable life that i've never had a day where i questioned whether i had enough for today. yet i still pray this line.
first of all, i am confident that all that i have comes from our Father. every few years when layoffs are announced at my company i find solace in knowing that this job is only a means that God uses to make me productive and provide for us. if i'm laid off i know he will continue to provide for us by some other means.
who is "us?" me and my family and the missionaries i send money to every month and a child i sponsor in India and then all those who are helped by the regular offering i make at my church. we are connected. one of the challenges we had in house hunting 10 years ago was that i wanted the mortgage to not interfere with the regular giving we do. Father has provided enough for me to share with the family.
when i pray this i am acknowledging His provision for us. i take no credit. everything i have has been given to us. i am also acknowledging that the prayer is for "us." and our Father may give me not only enough for me but enough for us. Jesus tells us that if we are faithful with a little we will be given more. this principle might sound like a prosperity gospel at first but the "more" is not for "me" it's for "us."
Jesus models a prayer for each other to our Father. I'm not praying just for my need but for my entier family's need, and not just for my wife and children, but also for all the brothers and sisters and children in my Father's family.

1 Peter 3 sermon audio

the sermon i gave last month on 1 Peter 3 is streaming from my church's website...

Monday, March 12, 2007

Lord's Prayer: your [God's] Kingdom

yesterday i had planned to write on "give us today our daily bread" but some other blog posts extolling NT Wright's interpretation of the gospel/good news and my reading Sunday morning has brought me back to God's kingdom. I'm power reading through the Bible. Since January, i've been reading 18 pages a day and i finished the Old Testament on Saturday, March 10th. Sunday i started the NT. i'm reading Reese's chronological Bible so the Gospels are harmonized.
Mark 13:14-15 After John was put in prison, Jesus went in to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. "The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!" (NIV)
What is the good news? That the Kingdom of God is near.
What is the response to the good news? Repent and believe, aka, convert.
is that a fair aka?
Matthew 4:17, 23 From that time on Jesus began to preach, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near."...Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.
I don't read Wright's books. i've disagreed with his thoughts of his before. But others who quote him with favor say the gospel is God-focused and we make the mistake of emphasizing the individual's need to repent and believe. Here is a quote of Wright's,
The word “gospel” and the phrase “the gospel” have come to denote, especially in certain circles within the church, something that in older theology would be called an ordo saluits, an order of salvation. “The gospel” is supposed to be a description of how people get saved; of the theological mechanism whereby, in some people’s language, Jesus becomes my personal savior; in other languages I admit my sin, believe he died for me, and commit my life to him. In many church circles, if you hear something like that, people will say “the gospel has been preached”. Conversely, if you hear a sermon, in which the claims of Christ are related to the political or ecological questions of the day, some people will say that, well, perhaps the subject was interesting, but the gospel wasn’t preached…In the present case, I am perfectly comfortable with what people normally mean when they say “the gospel”. I just don’t think it is what Paul means. [What St. Paul Really Said. Was Paul of Tarsus the Real Founder of Christianity? (pg 40-41)]

my assumption is that Paul wouldn't disagree with Jesus and Jesus proclamation of the good news focused on God's kingdom and our individual response to it.
John 3:3, 5 In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, unless a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."... Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, unless a man is born of water and Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God." This is from Jesus' semi-private discussion with Nicodemus, a religious leader. Jesus didn't have political or ecological discussions. Paul didn't either. here is a previous blog post on politics and God's kingdom.
i think politics and ecological issues are useful when framed in the context of loving our neighbors, but they are an extension of the good news, just examples and not the Gospel. and i've written before that the social gospel as a result of conversion throughout the church's history instead of a means to conversion. in other words, we love our neighbor because we've been loved, not to show them how great kingdom citizenship is.
Luke 17:20, 21 Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, "The kingdom of God does not come visibly, nor will people say, 'Here it is,' or 'There it is,' because the kingdom of God is within you."
We are strangers and sojourners on this world. We bring the good news with us. We carry with us the kingdom. We are known by our love. We demonstrate our love for others by warning them about the coming judgment and the freedom from it through God's son first. We demonstrate our love by inviting everyone from the highways to the by-ways into the kingdom. We demonstrate our love by continuing to serve others even though they have rejected the invitation to join.
By proclaiming first and serving second we avoid the sales con of schwag for business. Even worse, we don't want the reputation of time share sales people who offer you free plane tickets and weekends away with the catch of having to listen to a 90 minute sales pitch, and a hard pitch too.
so i'm at the point where i ask myself, what's the difference between rambling and preaching? whether the invitation is given to enter into the kingdom....
update: a 4 page paper by F.F. Bruce here
Lord let your kingdom come and enlarge and grow in us and among us.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Home video: January 1990

john's biking and shared posts March 9th

since i'm focusing on the Lord's Prayer series all the blog articles that i normally would like to are now here. i just want to give all the RSS readers a link every week. surprisingly, the series hasn't knocked down my average hits. i'm really surprised. thanks for reading, i hope its good for you. its been good for me.
biking update: 10F this morning. the mile wide river iced over. a record setting low. i made the 5 mile ride. the temperature should triple by the time i ride home. spring temps expected tomorrow and next week. my knees aren't sore like they were after monday's ride. that's good.

the Lord's Prayer: Let your will be done on earth as in heaven

how is His will done in heaven? we can guess from the opposite of our current reality that when His will is followed things have got to be much better.
we only have a couple glimpses into heaven in the scriptures, the beginning of Job and the Apocalypse. Both of those use royal court motifs. And the person sitting on the throne, who's decrees are not contradicted, is God the Father, our Father. when kings were defied in Bible times, they were not out of bounds to put down such rebellion quickly and usually mortally. the will of the king was absolute. it was the will of His people. that's how it is in heaven.
what is God's will then? that the wicked repent so that none should perish. to separate the sheep from the goats. eventually the kingdom will come and the last book of the Bible, the apocalypse, tells us that there will be plenty of wicked opposers to the reign and the will of God. so He will take his bride to heaven for a wedding banquet while he unleashes hell on earth. when i pray for his will to be done here on earth as it is in heaven i'm asking him to establish his authority and kingdom in its immediate consequence for rebellion. that's scary in my sinful times and comforting in my oppressed times.
that is God's will on the horizon, on Sunday, but it's still Friday.
last week i copied, with post crime blessing, a post on the 10 commandments of Jesus. these are the will of God on earth. it all boils down to loving Him and our neighbors. if we love Him we'll obey Him. if we love Him we will love all those around us made in His image even those who treat us as enemies. and when we pray for His will to be done in us on this earth, we are convicted by how often we fall short of it, neglect it, oppose it, and sometimes trample it.
Jesus is setting us up.
i know what's right and i don't do it. what a miserable man am i. a guy named Paul wrote that down in a letter once (Romans 7). eventually, Jesus leads us to reconnect with the Father by asking for forgiveness from Him and granting forgiveness to others.
this prayer is a journey because life is a journey. he doesn't give us "rub-a-dub-dub, thanks for the grub." he gives us worship and orientation and conviction in only 2 sentences so far.

is His will trustworthy? its the question of someone who hasn't experienced autocratic government. it's a question that comes from a life of ease. but the answer is yes. can i trust myself? the only thing i can count on for myself is screwing things up. everyone else in skin have similar weaknesses and unreliabilities. what about the other pretenders to the throne of higher power? can they be trusted? can they save? no, no, no. God invites us to taste Him and see He is good. He invite us to compare his prophecies to any other deities and see who is always right. read His book and see.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

my new ride

hopefully the temperatures and wind chill will get above 0F next week and i will ride it to work.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The Lord's Prayer: Let your Kingdom come

where is His Kingdom? Jesus told us when we gather together, even just 2 of us, he's with us. he also told us the kingdom is within us. he also kept proclaiming the Kingdom is near.

so is it here or isn't it? i guess it depends on what kind of day we are having. some days we think heaven is on earth. most days resemble hell on earth. those heavenly days remind us what we are anticipating. something so good, so right, so joyous that our longing only increases.

i've usually prayed this in terms of my heart. let your kingdom invade my wicked heart.
it does.
i've prayed it for my poor, drug-infested, prostitute-trodden, kid-filled street.
it has.
i've prayed it for church relations torn by strife.
it has.
and then i've prayed it for the world. especially after i learned that there are more Christians per capita now than there has been in history. Christianity used to be a minority religion. Now its the major religion. the kingdom is coming!
i know i came to this realization backwards but i realized i'm not only praying for the kingdom to come spiritually, but i'm actually praying for Christ to return and finally set up his kingdom on earth.
that's kind of scary. he won't be taking prisoners. and so many of my friends and co-workers are not part of his kingdom. at the same time, so much suffering will end when he comes.
no kingdom will be better. of course, when Jesus walked among us, his goodness interrupted others' plans and they killed him. the Apocalypse tells us that his kingdom will be opposed also. this time, though, he strikes back and defeats his enemies. his kingdom hasn't arrived in its full manifestation yet, but that's because he is patient, he doesn't delight in punishing the wicked, he wants all to come to repentance.
some of us have wished him to return before a test at school that we didn't study for. however, some have pleaded for his return as they were tortured for their faith. how petty i am. but when i pray this prayer, i'm praying with the church at large, not just for my benefit but also for theirs. the bride is calling for her husband, who will come like a thief in the night, when we least expect it. but at least we can be confident that his return is closer now than it was last year.

come quickly Lord Jesus.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Dred Scott decision - today in history

the U.S. Supreme Court denied the citizenship rights of slaves in 1857.
"Three of the justices also held that a black 'whose ancestors were … sold as slaves' was not entitled to the rights of a federal citizen and therefore had no standing in court."
8 years later this injustice was resolved with blood.
it has been 34 years since the high court denied human rights to pre-born children. i just listened to this interview by Mark Dever of John Piper in which an audience member and Dever ask Piper what should Christian citizens do in response to the continued legality of abortion. he said one option is civil war. He said the country paid 600,000 lives for a lesser evil than slavery.

Father, let your kingdom come and let your will be done on earth as it is in heaven....

Monday, March 05, 2007

The Lord's Prayer: Glorify your name

i am struggling to write on this part. i don't feel i understand it well enough. the harder you meditate on the things of God the less you know.
hAGIATHETW TO ONOMA SOU: let it be exalted, the name of yours
the verb is the first word. its tense is aorist (kind of like a past tense but also the typical tense to write in), its a command, but a passive one, in the 3rd person singular.
we are telling God, don't hold back the exaltation of your name, phrased in the active tense.
we translate derivatives of this word into "holy" and "saints" and "set apart" and "sanctify."
This is another facet of not taking His name in vain. His name is set apart.
It's the name of the only being in the universe worthy of worship. Devotion and adoration to any other deity is not acceptable. Only His name is set apart. His name is found in His words to us, in His Scripture, proclaimed by His Son who claimed that those who see him have seen the Father.

What is God's name?
This is how God describes himself to us as he described himself to Moses in Exodus 34, in multiple translations so more nuances are covered.

6 And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, "The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love [mercy] and faithfulness, 7 maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; (NIV)

God passed in front of him and called out, "God, God, a God of mercy and grace, endlessly patient—so much love, so deeply true—loyal in love for a thousand generations, forgiving iniquity, rebellion, and sin. Still, he doesn't ignore sin." (Message)

6 Then the LORD passed by in front of him and proclaimed, "The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; 7 whokeeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, (NASB)

6 And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord! the Lord! a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abundant in loving-kindness and truth,7 Keeping mercy and loving-kindness for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but Who will by no means clear the guilty, (Amplified)

6 The Lord passed in front of Moses, calling out,

“Yahweh! The Lord!
The God of compassion and mercy!
I am slow to anger
and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.
7 I lavish unfailing love to a thousand generations.
I forgive iniquity, rebellion, and sin.
But I do not excuse the guilty. (NLT)

6The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, "The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, 7 keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, (ESV)

6Then he passed in front of Moses and called out, " I am the LORD God. I am merciful and very patient with my people. I show great love, and I can be trusted. 7 I keep my promises to my people forever, but I also punish anyone who sins. (CEV)

6 And the LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, 7 keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, (NKJV)

6 Then the LORD passed in front of him and proclaimed: Yahweh—Yahweh is a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in faithful love and truth, 7 maintaining faithful love to a thousand [generations], forgiving wrongdoing, rebellion, and sin. But He will not leave [the guilty] unpunished, (HCSB)

6 The Lord passed by before him and proclaimed: “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, and abounding in loyal love and faithfulness, 7 keeping loyal love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin. But he by no means leaves the guilty unpunished, (NET)

[i left out the end of v. 7 because God updates the policy in Ezekiel 18.]

Sunday, March 04, 2007

The Lord's Prayer: who is in heaven

hO EN TOIS OURANOIS - hoe en toys ouranoise - the in the heavens one
"Our Father who art in heaven" in Greeklish is "Father of us, the in the heavens one..."
why does the Greek language speak of heaven in the plural? i guess they looked up and saw the sky and knew about the stars beyond it. birds fly in one heaven and comets fly in another. and God is not earth bound, nor is he sky bound, nor space bound. So although he is all about us he abides in heaven and that's the place Jesus went to to fix us up some rooms or mansions (John 14) for our arrival. Our Father is not of this world. He is not stained or crippled or marred or made dysfunctional by this world. He is the one in the heavens. He has adopted me and sends his Spirit to live in me as a deposit on the promise of eternal life with Him in his abode. As an adopted child I also gain a passport not of this world which proves my citizenship is elsewhere. Heaven is one place where the guarantee stands that the grass is greener. This world is only a shadow of that one. This earthly body is only a seed compared to the full bloomed one in heaven. This is where my Father lives. This is where He will bring me. As a foreign-born adopted child His ways will seem strange to me. Maltreatment i have come to expect from this world is not allowed there by Him, nor will he act toward me in any malicious way.
We have a heavenly Father. This is enough for rejoicing. and praising. and singing. and celebrating. no matter how hard and awful this short life is, i can draw comfort from the future. We practice this in our lives now. We endure short term hardships for delayed gratification. We save up for a car. We go to school for a degree. We apprentice for a certificate. However, sometimes on this earth the plans fall through. But in our Father we have a guarantee. He's in heaven. We will shortly be with Him. Jesus faced the cross because of the joy before him. It may be Friday but Sunday's coming. Hallelujah.

Friday, March 02, 2007

latest shared articles and an update

i'm trying to focus on the Lord's Prayer series, so anything i get in my feeds i'm throwing straight onto the shared articles here.
also i added an update on the bike spill/skunk commute and how God did me a favor.

The Lord's prayer: Our

Our - hEMOWN- hay-moan - of us...
Jesus brings us into the relationship he has with God, Father. He invites us to become part of the family. Part of his family. He invites us into adoption. We can begin what he has eternally had, a perfect relationship with someone who loves and oversees and knows us. David's Psalm 139 comes to mind.
Additionally, not only do we pray with Jesus, we pray with each other. All too often my prayers are done alone. Around this prayer in Matthew 6 Jesus does advise to pray without show and even in a closet. Prayers alone are good. Jesus prayed alone on mountains and through the night. But prayer together is also good. Both should be happening with similar frequency. When i pray this alone i am aware i'm praying with Jesus and also with the saints around the world who are praying at the same moment. This prayer is worded for community prayer.
Community prayer is good for me. Have i confessed my inadequacy as intercessor? i am inadequate. If i'm sitting in a quiet place praying, i fall asleep. It's great that prayer is relaxing to me, but i don't feel much has been gained from that time either for me or others or God. So i pray while i'm physically active, walking the dog, biking, working, making dinner. When i join others in prayer things are a little better. i may fall asleep but i have had visions for people in those trances. when i pray with others i receive words of knowledge. when i pray with others i know i'm joining a great work on behalf of others. when i pray with others their words minister to me. the Holy Spirit blesses me through them. other's prayers assist me and my thoughts. i pray more intelligently, more purposefully. not that dumb aimless praying is bad, sometimes fellowship with God is great in itself.
for all those benefits it is hard for me to force myself to pray with others. i am introverted. i am inconvenienced. i am sometimes irritated with others prayers. everything is outside of my control. and i think that is the point for me. when i am not in control, i learn to submit and God sometimes takes control and gives me spiritual gifts to share with those i am praying with or for.

i need "us" to get closer to the "Father of us"...

a maimed pastor with a ministry to those in need

this guy is awesome and kudos to the church for brining him on to reach those who might be overlooked.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

India: Mob attack

02/28/2007: Militants Attack GFA Bible College
About 500 anti-Christian radicals attacked a Gospel for Asia Bible college in the eastern Indian state of Orissa on Wednesday evening, February 28. Gospel for Asia leaders in the area report the mob, which was mobilized by a Hindu nationalist group, systematically attacked the approximately 300 students and staff members present on the campus. Five students and the women's dorm director were seriously injured. All have been hospitalized, and one student is in critical condition.

The rest of the student body and staff remain inside the dormitories. Local and reserve police have arrived on the scene, but have found it difficult to control the crowd, and the situation remains tense.

The attackers also disconnected the electricity and ransacked the campus, destroying the roofs of many of the school buildings.

"The magnitude of this attack is unlike anything we've ever seen," said Gospel for Asia President K.P. Yohannan. "This is one of the most severe situations we've dealt with, but our students and leaders are not discouraged."

Instead, they are asking God to bless their enemies.

"Please pray that this will become an opportunity for us to share the love of Jesus to the people who are persecuting us," one GFA leader from Orissa requests.

The attackers have been identified as members of the Bajrang Dal, the youth wing of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), a Hindu militant group. The VHP is one of the organizations that falls under the Sangh Parivar umbrella, a loosely organized association of Hindu militant groups that promotes a philosophy known as Hindutva, literally translated as "Hindu-ness." This is the view that "to be Indian is to be Hindu." Groups adhering to Hindutva claim that Indian citizens who become Christians are abandoning their national identity, and their goal is to see Hinduism become the state religion.

The extremists who attacked the college demanded that GFA close the school and discontinue all work in the state. Gospel for Asia has had workers in Orissa since 1993, and their ministry has included Compassion Services relief and reconstruction work following the 1999 cyclone.

Orissa has a history of violence against Christians. Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two young sons were burned to death in the state in 1999. Two other Christians—a pastor and a layperson—were stabbed to death earlier this month. Police have yet to take any action on these two recent murders of Christians.

In spite of the Indian constitution's provision for freedom of religion, the state of Orissa, now governed by the Hindu nationalist BJP party, has an anti-conversion law aimed specifically at Christians. Citizens must report to the government if they become Christians and then petition for permission to be baptized.

The attack on the Orissa Bible college comes just 10 days after another group of Hindu extremists attacked five Bible college students in the Indian state of Maharashtra. Two of those students were critically injured in the attack.

"We are asking Christians around the world to pray for complete restoration of the injured students and their campus," says Dr. Yohannan.

"And let us also pray for these attackers. In all religions there are extremists, and this case is one example of that," he remarked. "They, too need to know the love of God in a real and personal way."

pre-dawn ice biking

i'm still riding my trek hybrid 7200. rode it yesterday. rode it this morning, at 5:30 AM, before dawn. i can't remember the last time i rode in the dark. temps in the 20s F. i had a blinker on my backpack. and i had an LED headlight strapped on my head, under the helmet. anyway, things went pretty smoothly for the first half of the ride. birds were chirping. cars were sparse. headlamp worked well. ice spots were visible. except for that spot under the big bridge. coming off the bridge the bike path wraps tightly underneath it and it isn't plowed too well. so i cut the corner through the snow, which went fine except i came out onto a black ice patch and totally wiped out. my shoulder is a little sore. but that wasn't the worst part. i got off the patch and got on the bike and started off right into the view of a small skunk ambling down the path. the skunk turned around and started walking away from me. i wanted to be far away from the skunks rear end so i stopped riding. but the skunk figured, "hey, this guy must be friendly" and turned around and started walking back towards me. so i got off the pathway and into the snow to go around it. far around it. but it got scared again and headed back down the direction i needed to go. so i had to outrace a skunk through the snow on my bicycle. and i managed to do that and arrived at work without further incident.
two firsts.
1) pre-dawn ride
2) close skunk encounter

updated thought: God was gracious to me by having me fall down instead of biking right into the skunk...

Gayle Erwin videos

i strongly recommend these highly enjoyable presentations by Gayle Erwin on the nature of God.
update link 03/36/09 Thanks Renee