Saturday, June 25, 2011

Pascal on man's plight:

If man is not made for God,

why is he only happy in God?

If man is made for God,

why is he so opposed to God?

- Blaise Pascal, Pensées, as read in R.C. Sproul's The Holiness of God

Saturday, June 18, 2011

12 Ways to Glorify God at Work

A good word from Josh Etter at Desiring God about glorifying God at work. As I look forward with some anxiety to the new job I have before me, the thing that most relieves my anxiety is the knowledge that God will be using me for His glory here. That knowledge can make any work seem bearable and worthwhile. Here's the beginning of Josh's blog post:

Mark Twain once said, "Work is a necessary evil to be avoided." Although there may be days when we feel like he got it right, we know God has ordained work as a stewardship of his created world (Genesis 1:28; 2:15). He has designed work for his glory and our good. But how might we glorify God at work? This list is not exhaustive, but here's at least 12 ways...

Read the rest here:

12 Ways to Glorify God at Work

Saturday, June 11, 2011

For our God is a consuming fire

I picked up a new book yesterday after getting off of work for the weekend. I'm still reading St. Augustine's The City of God but that is going to be a long-term project. The book I picked up yesterday was written by a man for whom I have gained ever-increasing respect over the past few years. The man is R.C. Sproul and the book is The Holiness of God.

Also over the past few years I've become more and more convinced that it is God's holiness which is His attribute most frequently distorted or forgotten in our modern context among Christians from many different churches and denominations. It is this forgetfulness about God's holiness which leads to people rejecting certain stories of the Old Testament which they find unsettling, such as the conquest of Canaan under Joshua or the death of Uzzah as he reached out to steady the Ark of the Covenant. In my opinion, the New Testament presents even greater problems for those who distort or forget God's holiness. This is because when God's holiness is down-played or distorted there is no way to understand the cross while being faithful to Scripture. There is no way that Isaiah 53 can be affirmed as a prophecy concerning the crucifixion of our Lord, much less the words of St. Paul who wrote that Christ saved us from God's wrath in Romans 5:9. Without a proper understanding of God's holiness one can make no sense of the wrath of God which is frequently mentioned in Scripture. It would make no sense that in the saving of sinners that Christ was "crushed for our iniquities," and that upon Him, "was the chastisement that brought us peace (Isaiah 53:5)," much less that, "it was the will of the Lord to crush him (Isaiah 53:10)."

I respect R.C. Sproul for a number of reasons, most importantly for his obvious love of the Lord, but also because he strikes me as a very intelligent man and because he seems to be well-read in Church History. I was very impressed that in the first chapter of The Holiness of God, Sproul interacts a lot with the writings of St. Augustine and even cites Augustine's writings as something which first caused him to be intrigued by the holiness of God. Sproul begins his third chapter with an amazing quote from St. Augustine touching on the holiness of God which I will conclude with:

What is that which gleams through me
and smites my heart without wounding it?
I am both a-shudder and aglow.
A-shudder, in so far as I am unlike it,
aglow in so far as I am like it.

- St. Augustine

Friday, June 10, 2011

Random Update: To every thing there is a season

It's been a week now in the new season of life I've entered into. The Lord has provided me a house here that I'm very happy with and hopefully this weekend I'll also find a community of brothers and sisters to worship with over the next three years. I also know at least one other Christian co-worker for whom I'm very thankful.

Anyone who follows this blog most likely knows where I'm at and what kind of job I'm doing but from here on out I'm going to be purposefully vague about my location and work. I look forward to continuing to write about theological reflections and hiking trips among other things.

This Sunday I think I'll check out a nearby church called New Hope Anglican, which, from the website, looks like a great church.

I have already seen so much of God's faithfulness to this unworthy sinner in the last week that I am overwhelmed by His graciousness. It has reminded me of the truth expressed in Romans 2:4, that God's kindness is meant to lead us to repentance.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Greatest Generation

After our graduation Sunday I celebrated with my family, the family of one of my housemates in Loma Linda and also with the family of the boys from San Bernardino with whom we've studied the Word of God for the past 3 years. We had a barbecue which ended up being a great way to say goodbye to Loma Linda.

As the various families visited I realized something. I realized how much I had taken for granted a generation which has now all but passed away in my family, that generation which lived through the Great Depression and fought in WWII.

Growing up, listening to various grandparents and great aunts and uncles tell stories about days-gone-by, I was never bored but I never realized what a gift it was to have those relatives around who could relate a story in-person the way a written account will never be able to.

I also was reminded of the fact that people from the "Greatest Generation" do generally seem to have a kind of respectability, maturity and common-sense which seems to have been lost in the upheavals of the 60's and 70's. Like any generation they had and have their own predominant sins and rebellions against God. But I can't help but think that, as a generation, they do just seem better in some way. I wish I could have been as thankful for them while they were still alive as I think I would be now.

With the last remaining relative from the "Greatest Generation" in my family, my 93 year-old Aunt Jo.