From the Word
“Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples. For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods.” (Psalm 96:1-4)
“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” (Thomas Merton)
“The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.” (Aristotle)
“When I judge art, I take my painting and put it next to a God-made object like a tree or flower. If it clashes, it is not art.” (Paul Cezanne)
“All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” (Pablo Picaso)
“Evangelicalism has too many critics and not enough creators.” (Trevin Wax)
Around the Net
Some passages in the Bible are downright unusual, perplexing, or weird. Studying them requires that we connect with the ancient context of the biblical writers. In his newest book, The Bible Unfiltered, Michael Heiser takes on dozens of specific passages, revealing how understanding their original historical-cultural context can illuminate and inspire. Here are ten quotes from the book that may challenge the way you study the Bible.
“Nearly two thirds of not-yet-married Christians express regret over previous relationships. That means the critical questions in dating are not just whom to date, how to date, and when to wed, but what to do when we get it wrong. And the reality is, most of us get it wrong at some point along the way. . . . Your past may be precisely what God uses to prepare you most for marriage—if you allow your past to lead you to him.”
“Why isn’t the Reformation celebrated by more Christians? For one thing, Protestantism struggles from a debilitating lack of its own history. Recently, while I explained Martin Luther’s 95 theses in a Bible study, one of my church members asked, ‘Was this before or after his I have a dream’ speech?’ If our society can celebrate World Tripe Day (October 24), we as Protestants can set aside time on October 31, 2017 and remember the 500th anniversary of the event that lit the powder keg of the Reformation.”
Since “no one person can replace” Willow Creek Community Church founder Bill Hybels, the influential megachurch has named two people: its current executive pastor Heather Larson and teaching pastor Steve Carter. Hybels announced on Saturday that the pair will succeed him as lead pastors when he steps down in October 2018. The historic transition will make Willow Creek one of the largest churches in America with a woman in the lead pastor position.
This gifted street artist does an amazing job of playing the song, “Hallelujah” on crystal water glasses. He’s not using any other instruments, but if you listen closely, he manages to produce what sounds like the music of a violin and harp from just these glasses. The result is quite astounding. “What he does sounds absolutely angelic, even heavenly. If you like the song, ‘Hallelujah’ then you’re going to love this!” (Video 3:47)
Something to Ponder
Longing for a Place Called Heaven
Deep inside us, there is a sense of something more in life that drives us on. No matter what experiences you’ve had, no matter how wonderful they were, they were just a glimpse of what is still ahead. You are really homesick for a place you have never been before, and that place is heaven. You were wired this way. The Bible says that God has put eternity in our hearts (Eccl 3:11). This simply means there is a sense inside of us that there is more to life. That is what keeps us moving forward. It is sort of like the homing instinct we see in the animal kingdom, like the salmon making their way upstream with such determination. We see it in the way the swallows return every year to San Juan Capistrano. It’s a homing instinct that drives them.
We have the same thing, but it is a homing instinct for a place we haven’t seen yet. It is a homesickness for heaven. Until that day, there is nothing that will completely satisfy our lives. No matter what happens to us on Earth, it pales in comparison to this great hope. The apostle Paul wrote, “For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever” (2 Cor 4:17–18 NLT).
This is the hope of the Christian—the hope of a place called heaven. There is a better world ahead. There is something greater than what we’re experiencing now.
– Greg Laurie
The Glory of Creation
Acrobatic Dolphin Off the Coast of Cuba
Image Credit: @AwesomeEarthPix
Into All the World
“If you live for their acceptance, you’ll die from their rejection.” (Lecrae)