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Posted on June 12, 2015
Every Friday I’m posting links to things I’ve read this week that I think you might find interesting too,
- God made us to love him and respond in a life of work with him, that being said, it is easy to swap these two around and to have activity become the ‘Lord’ or ‘director’ of our lives. This easily susceptible trait significantly deforms our spiritual lives, crushes or maligns our significant relationships and tells us a false story about what life is really about. That is why I enjoyed this post adapted from a book 1 called “seeing is believing” – The post was called The Spiritual Value of doing nothing
My good friend Calvin Hanson just published a great short piece at Awaken Magazine on having 2 Callings, I really appreciated when someone helped me make this distinction a few years ago. The person who shared it used the language of, One Dream – Jesus’ Himself, and An Assignment – Our mission from God. Unteasing these helps us stay focussed on our dreams, when our assignments fail, or as is more often, aren’t as fulfilling as we had anticipated.
- I only caught the second part of Jim Martin’s series here on a focus on the heart, but it describes a significant truth for those of us who get to give positions in the kingdom – how do we discern their motivations, read more here
Think Theology has a great summary of some thoughts on the state of Christian societal witness in the coming age titled; “Winter is coming; and we’ll spend it in Babylon”. The summary is that, we have gone through exile stage one, and we are entering exile stage two and we made 3 crucial mistakes in stage one;
1. We assumed Athens not babylon
2. We assumed a neutral culture not a hostile world
3. We Loosened Our Language Just When The Cultural Elites Were Tightening Theirs
- Over at Jesus Creed, David Roseberry who has led an anglican church for the last 30 years reflects with 30 lessons. These list type blog posts are often written by pastors in more attractional based church denominations, so I found it fascinating to hear the different tone in this article. I can’t say I agree with them all, but here were a few interesting ones;
- Congregations have their own culture; a parish-wide attitude and way of doing things. People may come for the program, location, music, or the preaching…but they will stay or leave because of the culture.
- Momentum. With it, you can do much. Without it, you cannot do much. Pray to have it…and then keep it.
- Pastoral connection, the art of being with people in their homes or over coffee, providing prayer and spiritual support…this practiced art will cover a multitude of inadequate preaching and sour notes. Whenever I have doubts, I get out and see people.
- Jesus played with children and taught adults. We tend to do just the opposite: we play with adults and teach children. Adult ministry is key to a healthy congregation.
- Younger leaders have incredible energy and vision and need to be placed in positions of leadership and influence. Practice a kind of ‘reverse-mentoring’; let the younger teach the older.
- A church grows large because it is growing smaller. The large moments of celebration are supported by many more smaller moments of prayer, fellowship, support, and pastoral ministry.
- Remember W. H. Griffith Thomas’ great adage about preaching: “Think yourself empty; read yourself full; write yourself clear; pray yourself keen; then into the pulpit, and let yourself go!” *
- Atonement, which was in the theological (or at least NT study) news more prominently half a decade ago, has become increasingly interesting to me (the ongoing trend in the treatment of the doctrine, rather than atonement itself, which you’ll be glad to know has always been engaging) – Systematician Adam Johnson writes a review here on what may become a text book for Atonement studies which helps you catch a good overview of what’s happening in the field.
Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases; yet we accounted him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have all turned to our own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all… Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him with pain. When you make his life an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring, and shall prolong his days; through him the will of the Lord shall prosper. (Isaiah 53:4-6 and 10, NRSV; author’s italics)
Then he will beseech concerning our sins and our iniquities for his sake will be forgiven; yet we were esteemed wounded, smitten before the Lord and afflicted. And he will build the sanctuary which was profaned for our sins, handed over for our iniquities; and by his teaching, his peace will increase upon us, and in that we attach ourselves to his words our sins will be forgiven us. All we like sheep have been scattered; we have gone into exile, every one his own way; and before the Lord it was a pleasure to forgive the sins of us all for his sake… Yet before the Lord it was a pleasure to refine and to cleanse the remnant of his people, in order to purify their soul from sins; they shall see the kingdom of their Messiah, they shall increase sons and daughters, they shall prolong days; those who perform the law of the Lord shall prosper in his pleasure… (Isaiah 53:4-6 and 10, Isaiah Targum [Chilton, 103-104], emphasis mine)
Septuagint (Gk) Trans
This one bears our sins and suffers pain for us, and we accounted him to be in trouble and calamity and ill-treatment. But he was wounded because of our acts of lawlessness and has been weakened because of our sins; upon him was the disciplined of our peace; by his bruise we were healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; a man has strayed in his own way, and the Lord gave him over to our sins… And the Lord desires to cleanse him from his blow. If you offer for sin, your soul shall see a long-lived offspring… (Esias 53:4-6 and 10, NETS translation by Moisés Silva, emphasis mine)
As the author says;
This presents us with plenty of difficulties: what translation is authoritative for Christian theology? Jesus spoke Aramaic, while the New Testament writers often quoted from the Septuagint along with variations that are paralleled in the Hebrew manuscripts. The issue with Isaiah 53, particularly the verses in view, is that it is only explicitly quoted twice in the New Testament: Matthew 8:17 and Acts 8:26-40. However, even these passages do not discuss the theological implications of Isaiah 53, outside of identifying Jesus as the Suffering Servant.
- Maybe it is the onset of winter and the wanderlust (nae Escapism) that it produces but I’ve been increasingly drawn in by images of space recently! Here are some extraordinary images of Mars that flickr published and I’ve also been enjoying following the Instagram account for the International Space Station HERE.
Enjoy your weekend reading!
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