V is for Victory

buttonThere is no shortage of information on the internet to help you “claim your victory in Christ.” Often the victory that is promoted fits more within a prosperity gospel theology. But, victory in Christ is not unique to the health and wealth movement. Christus Victor is a theological concept that is found at least as far back as the third century.  Gustav Aulen even argues that this concept of Christ as victor over the powers of sin and evil was the prevailing view of the atonement during the first millennium of Christianity.

In  The Cross of Christ, John Stott outlines the six stages of Christ’s conquest over death. In the first stage, the conquest is predicted. The first prediction came in the Garden of Eden when God pronounced to the serpent, “he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” The second stage was the conquest begun in the ministry of Jesus. Satan made attempts to get rid of Jesus multiple times, but Jesus was determined to fulfill his mission.

The third stage, the conquest achieved, happened on the cross where Jesus overpowered and bound the powers of darkness and death. He tied up the strong man and took over his house just as he had predicted through his parables (Luke 10:18). It is important to note that it was the death of Jesus on the cross, not his resurrection that overpowered Satan. Jesus resurrection is the result of his conquest on the cross. We are saved through the blood of Jesus. The resurrection is the fourth stage, the conquest confirmed and announced.

The book of Acts represents the beginning of the fifth stage, the conquest extended “as the church goes out on its mission, in the power of the Spirit, to preach Christ … Continue reading

The Daily Docket 4/1/15

There are lots of great links for you to look at today.

A Clean House and a Wasted Life– Tim Challies has written a great post that should be encouraging for every wife and mother in the world: You cannot have perfect order and perfect productivity. You cannot have a home that is warm and full and inviting, you cannot have every child fed and cared for, while also having every dish done and every sock laundered. You just can’t.

Three Non-Negotiables this Easter Sunday– No matter what, these three things cannot be neglected this Sunday in your worship services.

How to Destroy Your Pastor– I may write more on this later, but until then, this article deserves your time. It really resonated with the things I know to be true about my ministry and the ministries of many other pastors: I realized then that he didn’t see me as I saw him, as a brother in Christ. I was his enemy, worthy only of his derision, not his compassion. As he met my stare with a stony one of his own, I pledged to myself, “That’s it. I quit.” For months and even years after this experience, I struggled to comprehend why this man viewed me with such disdain. The only thing that I could discern was that his entire small group seemed to collectively hold a pretty dim view of me as their pastor.

Absolute Truth in an Upside Down World– A great reminder that our experiences are not always the best way to determine what is truth and what is fiction.

A Holy People– The church should be known for its holiness: One of my greatest concerns in the Bible belt is that many are ok with being “Christ-followers” who have no concern for actually … Continue reading

Theology or Me-Ology

Theolgy

Theology. Yes, it matters, and yes you are a theologian. Everyone is a theologian, the only real question is whether or not you are a good theologian. Theology is a compound word made of two Greek words theos (God) and the suffix ology (which means knowledge or study of), so theology is the study of God. Since you have some ideas about God, you re a theologian. Unfortunately, many of us confuse our theology with a condition I like to call me-ology. Rather than studying the God of the Bible, you have superimposed your likes, dislikes, and character traits onto the God of the Bible and have begun to study and worship a god that looks like you. This “god” is not the God that we learn of in the Bible.

I received this in an email today from a guy building off of the idea of “me-ology:”

Let’s look at me-ology a little bit. A pretty common expression talks about when WE put God into a nice, neat, little box that fits what and who WE want Him to be, on our terms. There in lies the problem…His creation is trying to dictate who He is rather than His creation following His decree by which we were created. That’s like if I were to build a chair out of wood. It may be very simple or extremely ornate, but its still a chair. One day the chair says to me, “John, I don’t like what you built me for, I don’t want to be sat upon anymore. I want to sit on people, I want to sit on you.” Ok, chairs don’t talk. And if this chair did talk to me, I would probably have more issues than it trying … Continue reading

Starbucks Closed Their Doors and So Should We

StarbucksPicOn Tuesday, February 26, 2008 Starbucks closed all of its American stores at 5:30 PM so that employees nationwide could receive a three hour retraining of sorts on the intricacies of making the perfect cup of espresso. Customers were turned away at the door as employees were trained and had their skills refined. CEO Howard Shultz urged employees to work to regain the original soul of the company and to restore the customer experience.

What lesson can we learn from the coffee shop turned world domination machine that is Starbucks? Time away to focus on our core principles makes us better. Luke 5:16 tells us that Jesus would often withdraw to isolated places to pray. In a world of constant contact and the expectation that we will always produce, it is ever more important that we take time to refocus and retrain. Jesus needed time alone, how much more do we need time away from distractions (whether good or bad) to be strengthened for the ministry tasks to which we have been assigned?

Of course getting away is often easier said than done. I myself struggle with scheduling these quiet times away, but I also struggle with a false sense of guilt for not being in my office and accessible by the people of my church. I need to be reminded regularly of my primary responsibility to equip the saints. I often confuse equipping with resourcing. By being constantly available, I am a great resource to the people of Malvern Hill, but unless I am getting away on a regular basis to pray, study, and grow then I will do a terrible job of equipping the people of Malvern Hill for the ministry ahead of them. In short, I can pour into others … Continue reading

Crowdsource Parenting

the-coolest-cooler-13270Crowdsourcing, according to Merriam-Webster, is “the practice of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people and especially from the online community rather than from traditional employees or suppliers.” It is a relatively new phenomenon and one that has great merit in certain situations. One of my favorite crowdsourcing campaigns was for the Coolest Cooler (honestly, this thing looks amazing.) Interestingly, their Kickstarter campaign was for funding, not for design ideas. Maybe they didn’t want just anybody giving design input. Wikipedia stands as another great example of successful crowdsourcing.

Unfortunately, I see crowdsourcing taking a very negative turn through social media. Many people are using their Facebook, twitter, and Instagram pages as a sort of crowdsource parenting (or marriage) page. I want to go on record as saying that crowdsourcing has its place and is obviously a neat idea for fundraising or market research, but it is a terrible place for you to turn for advice on loving your wife or husband or raising your kids. Here are a few reasons why crowdsource parenting is such a detrimental idea:

  • You need REAL community. I know that online community is a reality, but it cannot replace face to face encounters with people you know. You want to know how to discipline your child, then turn to someone who has intimate knowledge of both you and your child. Perhaps those who know you best recognize that the issue is not the form of discipline, but the person enforcing the discipline. I know that is a hard truth, but no one reading your four sentence description on Facebook has actually witnessed your kid throwing a tantrum or you losing your tempter. You need REAL community, not the false … Continue reading
  • The Daily Docket 3/17/15

    shamrockThe Integrity of Words and Our Confession of Faith– Al Mohler has some insightful words of warning. “Rarely does an institution decide, in one comprehensive moment of decision, to abandon the faith and seek after another. The process is far more dangerous and subtle. A direct institutional evasion would be instantly recognized and corrected, if announced honestly at the onset. Instead, theological disaster usually comes by means of drift and evasion, shading and equivocation.”

    What is Your Exit Plan?– This is one of two articles I read yesterday on the necessity of protecting our kids from us online. “At some point you need to evaluate when and why you post those pictures, and who they are really meant to serve. At least in my case, I know that so many of them were meant to serve only me. I could portray myself as a great dad or a good Christian, and use my kids as little more than props. They were props, not people, and it revealed something ugly within me.” Here’s the other link from USA Today: Do You Overshare About Your Kids Online?

    Who Was St. Patrick?– In his inaugural podcast, J.D. Payne shares some information about St. Patrick and dispels some common myths.

    How to Look Organized– Here are some good practical tips if you are suddenly overwhelmed by the number of requests on your time.