If I remember correctly, my brother should be 39 now! Happy Birthday. I hope it was a good one.
The God of the Bible is a strange God– not the kind of God we can manage, manipulate, accommodate, or domesticate to our familiar experience. We cannot find this God by looking within ourselves. His Word is not the same as our inner voice. He cannot be pared down to our size, measured by our speculations, experiences, or felt needs. Rather, he stands over against us, telling us how things actually are. When God actually confronts us, our speculations are exposed as idols, our experience judged as little more than a projection of ourselves, and our felt needs give way to more pressing needs that we did not even realize that we had. God confronts us, disorients us, and pulls us outside of our comfort zones. If we feel naked and ashamed, then it’s a good sign that we are actually in the presence of the God of the Bible.
I wish that more Christians would spend time reading Horton’s books. They are masterpieces of explanation when it comes to the Gospel of Christ.
I tried to tell them I had had lunch with royalty before. After all, turns out that Larry G., from my former church, was in line for the throne in… I think, Croatia. Yup, Larry G. was royalty in exile. But he had no intentions of heading back to Croatia to assume the throne at all. He was more dedicated to his wife, family, and Christ here in the states. So as far as he was concerned, he had all the royalty he needed.
Then there was the guy in seminary who was royalty as well. I only had lunch with him once, and I can’t remember what country he was exiled from.
So having lunch with Prince Charles, and his wife, Maggie Thatcher, was an honor. But not the first time I had lunch with royalty. Maggie was being so nice. It was Maggie’s decision that they had lunch with us, because she visited Joey in the hospital, he was sick, and fell in love with my boy. She wanted to make sure we had everything we needed to get through the ordeal. After all, allergies can be so… pesky.
The reporters droned on and on, about how privileged we were to eat with royalty. Finally, I brought up Christ. I told them that while this was an honor, and we were honored, (this was after Maggie and Prince C left), that it was nothing compared to the honor of knowing the True King, Jesus Christ and being known by Him. While all those kingdoms were important, they would one day all fade away, and be replaced by His Kingdom. It was far more important to be known by Christ, and to know Him, than to sit in all the palaces of this world. I was trying to explain this to one reporter when…
“GET UP!” Andy woke me up. Turns out, it was just a silly dream. Thank goodness for that. My hair was a mess and I didn’t want all those pictures of me and Maggie being published since I had bed head.
“Yes,” he said. “Last week!”
I busted up laughing! I guess to a 4 year old, the good ol’ days can fall as recently as last week. He never did get around to telling me what about last week was worth remembering. I think my laughter threw him off.
The above picture was from the archives. We took it at our favorite ice-cream shop, which sadly, has closed for the winter. This means we will not get to go there again before we move.
The Holy Spirit is involved in every aspect of creation and salvation for those who belong to God. It’s amazing to see His work.For instance, I read the section called Judgment Reversed last night and realized how much the Holy Spirit has to do with reversing man’s bitter attempts at religion. If you recall the tower of Babel was man’s attempt to approach God. In that account, God responds to man’s attempt by confusing man’s language. Man said, “let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.“ God responded by saying, “Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them. 7 Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.”
He confused man’s speech so that they could no longer understand one another. This kept man from making a name for themselves, because this is ultimately trying to achieve immortality and significance in their own strength. Only God can bring that about.This theme the nations all together arises again on the day of Pentecost. Only, instead of confusion for mankind, the gospel bring clarity. Acts 2:5-12
And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. 6 And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language. 7 Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born? 9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs—we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.” 12 So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “Whatever could this mean?”
All the nations were gathered again, this time, they heard Peter and the Apostles speaking in their own tongues. Instead of bringing confusion, the Holy Spirit has brought coherence and understanding. Instead of the message of hope being limited to one nation, brought through Abraham (Genesis 12), now the message of hope goes to all the nations. The curse that was brought at Babel was broken by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
On the Day of Pentecost that new community became the sphere in which the eschatalogical (end times) reversal of the effects of sin began to appear in a reconciled people consisting of both Jew and Gentile, possessing one Lord, one faith and one baptism (Eph. 4:1ff), united by the Spirit.
The effects of Babel were thus arrested. Now the word of reconciliation will be preached in many languages, since the discipels have received the promised power of the Spirit to enable them to be witnesses to Christ all over the world (Luke 24:48, Acts 1:4).
In other words, the Holy Spirit will accomplish on behalf of the Triune God, what man tried to do at Babel, but could not do. The judgment on mankind was reversed by Christ’s actions on the cross, and the Spirit being poured out on those who believe.
Now, instead of being kept at a distance as was the case under the Mosaic period, all who believe may know and understand being in the presence of God. The Spirit rests upon all who believe, not just the prophets. Therefore, we have been given a wonderful blessing, through the Third Person of the Trinity.