Monday, January 29, 2007

Christian Liberty in a Nutshell

What does it mean to be free? Many people think that being a Christian means having to adhere to a list of dos and don'ts. And based on what we see and hear from many fundamentalists, that would seem to be the case.

After all, Romans 6:17-18 says, "But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness." But the Christian life is one of liberty, and being a "slave of righteousness" is about being free to serve Christ.

I think the essence of Christian liberty can be summed up in Galatians 1:10: "For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ."

Submitting to the Lordship of Christ means that we are free to serve him without worrying about pleasing others. For if we go through life trying to live up to everyone else's expectations, we are doomed to failure. It's an impossible task. In trying to please one person, we will certainly offend someone else. Being a slave to righteousness eliminates that problem. In other words, having only one Master is more liberating than having many.

Now, one can argue that it is even more impossible to live up to God's expectations. Well, yes, that's true. But that is what grace is all about. Through the cross, Christ's righteousness has become our righteousness. The need to live up to a particular standard has already been taken care of.

As Christians, we have been given a blessed gift. May we all learn to live a life of liberty in Christ Jesus.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

10 Rules for Effortless Bible Reading

The following is from a sermon by Mark Gladwell entitled "Profitable Bible Reading":
    10 Rules for Effortless Bible Reading

  1. Always read at night when you're tired.

  2. Open the book at random; your chances of striking a genealogy are pretty good.

  3. Never read more than five verses at a time; you might get the idea of a story.

  4. Tackle the most difficult passages first; they will encourage you to give up more quickly.

  5. Don't have a system; you might know where to start.

  6. Fill your bookshelves with translations; they prove it's too hard to understand.

  7. Never make notes; you might remember something.

  8. Never share what you read with others; speech often brings thoughts into focus.

  9. Never attempt a group Bible study; confusion might disappear.

  10. Whatever you do, never, never become a regular daily reader; it might affect the way you live.

    - Author unknown

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Perseverance of the Saints

(Okay, so the title might be a little misleading. Just indulge me.)

Though they lost the NFC championship,
the Saints have every reason
to feel good about their Chicago trip
and their most illustrious season.

For four decades the team has fought
against great odds and shame.
And for too long, it seems, they've sought
to win just one big game.

So never in our wildest dreams
did we ever think we'd see
the Saints among the best of teams -
number two in the NFC!

No, the Saints won't go marching in.
There'll be no Super Bowl.
But loyal fans have cause to grin:
Their team has found its soul.

Now let this thought quell the urge
to feel down and shed a tear.
Don't groan or sing a mournful dirge,
'cause they're going all the way next year!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Young, Restless, Reformed

"Calvinism is making a comeback - and shaking up the church."

In case you missed this excellent Christianity Today article (I can't believe I'm saying that), you can read it online here.
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