From the Word

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:12-14)

Notable Quotables

“Do not be afraid of death. Be afraid of the half-lived life.” (Laird Hamilton)

“I’m not afraid of failure. I’m afraid of succeeding at things that don’t matter.” (William Carey)

“The tragedy of life is not that it ends so soon, but that we wait so long to begin it.” (W. M. Lewis)

“Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” (Will Rogers)

“Real difficulties can be overcome; it is only the imaginary ones that are unconquerable.” (Theodore N. Vail)

Around the Net

When You Ask ‘Why, God? by Ann Voskamp

Ann takes a gentle look at the thorniest of all question for believers. “When suffering sears the heart—the heart can leak tears, trying to wash away all the senselessness until meaning is seen. And when suffering surrounds, the Wounded God with the nail scars does not ask us to deny it, or turn a blind eye to it, or beautify it. He asks us to hold space for it . . . and believe that something in the suffering offers sustenance for the soul.”

“Artificial Intelligence and Religion” by Gene Veith

Maybe it was my recent foray into Battlestar Galactica that got me interested in this article. In that saga, there’s a blurring of the line between humans and Cylons (robots). Could that happen in our day? If so, what are the implications for Christian faith? “If human beings were made in God’s image, and robots are made in the human image, wouldn’t they be made in God’s image too, with all the rights and privileges thereof? Should robots be baptized? Evangelized?”

“Is Reading the Bible Like Watching Game of Thrones?” by Tim Barnett

Why do believers make such a big deal about not watching nudity and graphic violence on our screens when the Bible itself is full of similar content? Indeed, the Bible can be raunchy at times. That’s why some have begun arguing that reading Scripture is morally equivalent to watching programs like Game of Thrones. Therefore, if watching Game of Thrones is immoral, then so is reading the Bible. Tim Barnett offers three reasons why such logic is questionable.

“Give Me Jesus over Westminster Abbey” by Trevin Wax

I appreciated the irenic tone of Trevin’s otherwise challenging message after his visit to a famous church in London. Without the gospel, what’s the use of a great building? “As wonderful as all the outward symbols and signs of faith may be, the greatest and most life-changing power and beauty is found in the declaration of the crucified and risen Lord. That’s why he must be the One who always resounds in our singing and our preaching and our sharing and our mission.”

“Reading Wars” by Philip Yancey

Yancey discusses a growing problem in the internet age—reading. “I’ve concluded that a commitment to reading is an ongoing battle. . . . We have to build a fortress with walls strong enough to withstand the temptations of that powerful dopamine rush while also providing shelter for an environment that allows deep reading to flourish.  Christians especially need that sheltering space, for quiet meditation is one of the most important spiritual disciplines.”

Something to Ponder

He Laid Aside His Immunity to Pain

“I could never myself believe in God, if it were not for the cross. The only God I believe in is the One Nietzsche ridiculed as ‘God on the cross.’ In the real world of pain, how could one worship a God who was immune to it?

“I have entered many Buddhist temples in different Asian countries and stood respectfully before the statue of the Buddha, his legs crossed, arms folded, eyes closed, the ghost of a smile playing round his mouth, a remote look on his face, detached from the agonies of the world. But each time after a while I have had to turn away. And in imagination I have turned instead to that lonely, twisted, tortured figure on the cross, nails through hands and feet, back lacerated, limbs wrenched, brow bleeding from thorn-pricks, mouth dry and intolerably thirsty, plunged in Godforsaken darkness.

“That is the God for me! He laid aside his immunity to pain. He entered our world of flesh and blood, tears and death. He suffered for us. Our sufferings become more manageable in the light of his. There is still a question mark against human suffering, but over it we boldly stamp another mark, the cross that symbolizes divine suffering.”

– John Stott, The Cross of Christ

The Glory of Creation

Fukuroda Falls, Ibaraki, Japan

tgoc-fukuroda-fallsImage Credit: @beautyofearth. Photo by Janiar Putra. 

Into All the World

“Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness.” (Seneca)

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