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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

'He must be a Christian'

A few years ago my good buddy Julian married this lovely girl from St. Catherines named Stacey. They're nice. Tonight I was helping them move a couch (I've moved more stuff for this guy...). Not only is Stacey a great girl, but she is also a deep well from which great quote-book-worthy statements can always be drawn. She seemed in rare form tonight as we cruised down Jane Street in Cleezer. Near Eglinton, she mentioned this guy she kept noticing on the the GO on her way to work.

He was a nice looking guy. He was youngish, like, around my age, and he had a wedding ring on so I thought he must be a Christian. The next week I noticed he was reading a book about controlling lust and then I was sure he was a Christian. The funny thing was, I was reading Feminine Appeal and was at the chapter on Lust. I could tell he was really trying to keep me from seeing the title of the book.

We kept talking about different things. As usual, the convo got around to Grace Fellowship Church. We were discussing a couple of people who had come once but whom we hadn't seen since.

I just want everybody to come to our Church. If someone comes once and doesn't come again they must be in sin.

Later, as we attempted to bring the ancient oversized couch down Lynn's narrow junction apartment stairway, we met this smelly, sorta drunk, guy who wanted to help. A mangled wall, a dented ceiling, a shattered light fixture, a destroyed banister, and a couple cursing fits later, the couch was at the Dundas Street curb. I chugged the rest of my Dr. Pepper and we left.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

A Beauty

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Good Times

I like this guy. This was a fun conference. Sola Scriptura conferences are always good. You should go to them. Their slightly sucky website is even being fixed up by uberblogger Tim (do I even need to site the guy?). I have never heard the word 'uber' so much and from such a scholarly event.

One of the coolest old guys ever. He waxes on Biblical literary forms, rhetoric, structure, and all kinds of other wicked stuff.

Friday, September 22, 2006

My new hero: Waltke explains the Psalms and sticks up for TNIV

He also critiqued C.S., which I was glad to hear. No offense to Clive. But he has some bad theology sometimes.
I am still processing the word I just heard from Bruce Waltke on The Psalms.

He expained the purpose of subscripts and postscripts in The Psalms and gave a convincing argument for their credibility. Subscripts give the genre, the author, and often the historical background. Does this not help us in our exegesis? They are found all over the Old Testament (Isa. 38:9, 2 Sam 22, Hab 3). They also conform to the Ancient Near Eastern practice. He taught on the whole of the Psalms as a royal psalter for the king. 78 of them actually, are about the king. That is why many are Messianic and so often fantastically prophetic. Most of the Psalms weren't written for the everyman. If there was no Christ, they would have no significance for us. But now, since we serve with the great king Jesus, the royal interpretation is extended to every saint. Cool.

Another awesome thing he said (and cleared up in my mind) had to do with the 'Form Critical Approach' to the Psalms. I can't explain it all. I have to order the CDs tomorrow. One thing I found incredibily profound was his explanation thanksgiving. The word apparently does not appear in the original text, at least in the way that we think of it. So often, I think of thanksgiving as a contented inward reflection on the faithful provision of God. He said that the word really implies a "public confession of God's particular deliverance, what God has done for you." Cool. I think we could use more (filtered) 'confession' time in Church: Real live public confession of specific things God has done for you to bring glory to himself.

And now, anti-climactically, I want to mention that he tastefully criticized C.S. and claimed that he was a great writer but not a theologian. His beef was Clive's problem with the "punish" motif in the Psalms (like when the writer calls upon God to punish his enemies). For Bruce's take go here.

Finally, I was intrigued and happy to hear him stand up for the TNIV which has taken a ton of bashing from all over the place from people that we love and trust (and still love and trust). I'm not going to state the explanation here but I will say that I think we Reformed people jump on and criticize stuff quite quickly. I like Bruce because he really values, builds into, and respects young people. I saw the sincerity in his eyes that gave witness to the burden on his heart for young people to know their God. He said something like, I can't stand the thought of young men and women being alienated from God and his Word because some old guy like me was more concerned with being literal than giving a relevant (faithful and exegetical) interpretation of the original text.

Anyhoo, I had a terrific night.

Serve your king.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

What I don't want to hear

This post lacks focus but I posted it anyway. It is late and it has been a week. Good luck.
This fantastic man reminded me tonight that the last thing that I want to hear from God is that I did not have because I did not ask (James 4:2). What am I trusting God for? That is what he asked me, along with 100 other folks attending the C4C weekly '532' meeting. What am I trusting him for? A godly wife someday? Some kind of security? Joy in sorrow? Those things aren't bad but I think I often miss out on seeing God do something aboslutely impossible and amazing simply because I didn't ask him every day for it. My 'trust' in God is so often an unconscious adherence to a "let go and let God" doctrine.

If I don't ask him to do impossible things, do I really trust him? I have an easy time trusting him in those easy things...those things that common grace usually covers even for the unregenerate. Have I asked him everyday to use me (even in a small way) to change the entire Schulich school of Business? (That may seem random but it isn't. Schulich is the area of campus where my buddy Steve and I are focusing our evangelistic efforts.) Am I trusting God to save tons of Schulich students this year and develope spiritual multipliers?

mmm. I haven't really.

This absolutely terrific girl pointed out a verse to me this summer. Zephaniah 1:12 says, "...I will punish the men who are complacent, those who say in their hearts, 'The Lord will not do good, nor will he do ill.'" Are we complacent in our prayers (I mean me)? Do we really expect God to do the things that we ask. When we don't see them happen within one week do we move on and pray for something different? I don't know. I am such a quiter. Here is a formula that I just thought of. Actually, it is more like a couple premises and a necessary conclusion.

God wants people to be saved.

All the people I know are people.

Therefore, I know that when I pray EVERYDAY for a particular friend to be saved I know that I am praying within his will. We can REALLY never go wrong praying for God to change people and change countries and schools and governments (everyday).

Now, I am young and often rash and foolish but the more I hear and read the more I realize that my friends are not saved because I have not asked. My street is not saved because I haven't asked. Schulich is not shaken by the spirit because I have not asked. I know that God is a God of ends, ends that he WILL accomplish with or with out me. But he is also a God of means. So often he won't do it until some one prays.

Acts 4:31 - God didn't shake the building until they had good and prayed. The worst thing that can happen is that God chooses to answer the prayer in a way we didn't ask. What we have to lose is the awe of seeing God do great and impossible things. He indeed is capable of more than we could ever ask or imagine (Epheshians 3:20ish).

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Feeling Asaph-esque

Paul preached from Ecclesiastes and it got me thinking... I wonder if there is a more poetic verse of the Bible than Ecclesiastes 9:11. It runs like this:

Again I saw under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favour to those with knowledge, but time and chance happens to them all.

I think this is very applicable to university students. I think this because we are all fighting for the 'A's, the social connectedness, and eventually when we leave, the jobs. We do lots of dreaming and tentative planning in university. We dream of being a successful literary editor who consumes great brew at popular bars and owns a bungalo in the beaches and pretty much lives a chill life with financial stability. Life is competitive and you've got to keep up but some people just get the breaks, ya know? Doesn't this cause Asaph-esque feelings like when he complained of the wicked who "set their mouths against the heavens" while their "tongues strut through the earth" (Psalm 73:9).

The next verses in Ecclesiastes illustrate the poetic statement above.

Man does not know his time. Like fish that are taken into an evil net, and like birds that are caught in a a snare, so the children of man are snared at an evil time, when it suddenly falls upon them.

Even thinking about how you are going to someday become a successful family man and still have time to golf with the guys and read great books and have beautiful friends and summer in Italy or whatever can cause some anxiety (summer was used as a verb). That is, if we don't preach the message of Ecclesiastes to our hearts regularly. Joy and peace come from the assurance of knowing whom you have believed and being convinced that he is able to guard until the (final) day what has been entrusted to you (2 Timothy 1:12).

The race is truly to the one who owes nothing to anyone except love (Romans 13:8).

Friday, September 15, 2006

What is "God, Max, and Me?" Find out...

To find out, go here. I like this man. His honesty. Clarity. This is about finding new and better ways to spend time with God. Because isn't that what it is all about?

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Something worth restating

I posted this awhile back but I think it is worth restating (because of somethings that I saw tonight). Let me set it up. I love that our Campus for Christ 532 (weekly) meeting is on the same night as York's famous 'Pub Night.' Another cool thing is that 532 was held in a Pub that has recently lost it's licence or something. Tonight, instead of being a venue for pagan self worship it was packed with Christians worshipping the only God and saviour that the universe will ever know.

What I really wanted to say has to do with the York U population being dominated by females. After the meeting most people go to some place on campus to eat and spend time with eachother. At around the same time hundreds of students line up around the building to get into the 'Underground' for a night of whatever...debauchery, who knows. The cool thing is that while York is buzzing with overly scented and made up, breast-inhancing bra and high healed shoe wearing girls travelling in groups, there were probably 45 girls with their backs to all the drama who are completely uninterested with the cotton candy that the world is throwing at them and unimpressed by hope of some kind of trite score, whatever girls consider to be a score. I'm continually refreshed by the deep and lasting beauty of godly women. Sisters and co-hiers.

There is more I could say and I could have said some things that I did say much better but it is late right now and just wanted the thoughts up.

I think all this has something to do with the unchanging Christ who is constantly fresh and new and never fades. He transcends fads and has the patience to wait during times when other things look more important and attractive than him. His arms are open (Luke 13:34). He never grows weary of doing good to us (Jeremiah 32:40).

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Asymmetrical Sympathy

I know this post is long but I think it is actually pretty good.
I had my Islamic Tradition class today. Lots of things really didn't surprise me. I've taken courses in Religious Studies before such as Philosophy of Religion, and Greek and Biblical Traditions. As a Christian, I was welcomed with a warning from profs in both classes that "all Christians must approach this subject with an open mind" and a whole bunch of other stuff that gave away their opinions of Christianity and the narrow-minded and naive people who practice it. No such warning was given in my Islam class today. On the contrary, the topic of Islam as a Religion and a faith was treated with much reverence.

As a side note, as far as I remember my Philosophy of Religion class pretty much turned into a class that compared the defense of the Christian faith and the attack on the Christian faith. What I mean by 'Christian faith' is Biblical doctrine.

Another thing that I noticed in my class today was the asymmetry of nationality among those in attendance. Our tutorial "meet and greet" time revealed that 98 percent of the students, in a class of around 25 or so, were Muslims yearning to "learn more about their Religion." I am so very white. So clearly non-muslim. Those last two statements have nothing to do with anything I've said or will say. I had to chuckle, maybe unfairly, at the readiness with which so many students defended the slightest "misconception." My previous religious studies classes were populated by students of all nations and religions. Shots were being taken at my Saviour and his word from all over the room. Most Christians in the room spend the Bible-bashing time sighing, throroughly unimpressed with and not intrigued by the arguments being posed. We're just so used to it. I just thought of something. I think I can say that Christians are the most objective people in the entire world. I think it has something to do with our spiritual blindness being healed by Christ. We can see the world as it truly is (see Romans 1:21-22)

I really haven't met a more tolerant group of people than true Christ-centered, evangelical Christians. I was recently reading some material provided by one of the more 'left' clubs at York University. It amazed me that in one statement made in two or three sentences, 'the political and theocratic right' turned into Christians. Stunning. Christians sure put up with a ton of crap from everybody. Of course, we were called to it (2 Timothy 3:12). We take joy in it (2 Corinthians 12:10). And we bless the bashers (Matthew 5:44). That is, wish God's deepest blessing on their lives, and seek to love them in any way possible. Ochuk has a terrific satirical post on this subject. Man, who doesn't love that guy?!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Some amusing quotes

I just finished Mark Driscoll's book Confessions of a Reformission Rev. Aside from his Campus Crusade for Christ bashing and a few minor things I loved the book. The Bible of Church planting it is not yet it provided tons of challenges and also the encouragment that God will do huge things when we take big risks for him. The guy is stinking funny too. Here are some noteable sentences and chunks. These are not intended to represent the book.

- So the Brethren folks and their handbells and their doily left our church.

- ... Paul said that a pastor must fight like a soldier, train like an athlete, and work hard like a farmer... he had in mind the manliest of men leading the church (2 Tim. 2:1-7). Sadly, the weakest men are often drawn to ministry simply because it is an indoor job that does not require heavy lifting.

- Unfortunately, our little church met at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday nights in a hot church without air-conditioning, and the attendance started thining to the degree that it looked like some of us had missed the rapture.

- Scrambling for ideas, I agreed to cancel a Sunday church service to let some of our long-haired public-radio types take us outside to do a large joint art project they had proposed ... I feared ending up with a church of chickified arty dudes drinking herbal tea and standing around talking about their feelings, as illustrated by their finger painting. To this day, I twitch like a Vietnam vet just thinking about the mural.

Mark on 'solid long-winded, old-school Bible preaching' after receiving complaints about his 'preaching monologues': My people need to hear from God's word and not from each other in collective ignorance like some dumb chat room.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Of Course, I am excited to be back at school.

Who wouldn't be.

Not only is my book list "excellent" (say 'excellent' as if imitating Wayne from Wayne's World), but the Campus Ministry has been really rolling. Three days of classes so far and already one guy as bent the knee to Christ. Now, the problem of overworking is pressing threat. This terrific guy posted something great about this potential threat.


This is sorta related to some of the sentences above but not really. Why do people fear long posts?


I am also sorry that this post isn't very great...it has just been so long.