Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Son of Man Must Be Lifted Up

I didn't go to church last night but I did hear a wonderful sermon by John Piper that compared John 3:14-15 to Numbers 31:4-9. The former is the encounter of Jesus and Nicodemus and the latter is the story of Moses raising the bronze serpent that allowed healing to those who had been bitten. I had never really considered the analogies and foreshadowing between the two and definitely came away enriched for having been shown the connection. Consider the following from the Numbers account:

1) The serpent on the pole is not preventative. It is for bitten people (verse 8). The poison is in them, and without divine intervention they will die.

2) The snakes in the camp are from the Lord. He sent them (verse 6). The wrath of God is on this people for their sin of ingratitude and murmuring and rebellion.

3) The means God chooses to rescue the people from his own curse is a picture of the curse itself.

4) All they have to do in order to be saved from God’s wrath is look at his provision hanging on a pole.

I think you can draw the proper connections to Christ's death on the cross. My heart aches for my Jewish friends who will not even consider the New Testament as remotely divine. It's like hearing the first part of the story and never getting to experience the amazing fulfillment and joy of the end of the journey - that which the first part of the story continually points and hints.

Piper also went into the story of G.K. Chesterton's conversion at the age of 16. This is the verse that did it: Isaiah 45:22 - "Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else." (King James) The minister was snowed in at home that day and one of the 12-15 people in the congregation went up to the pulpit and offered the following in part:

“But then the text says, ‘Look unto Me’. . . . Many of ye are lookin’ to yourselves, but it’s no use lookin’ there. Ye will never find any comfort in yourselves. Some look to God the father. No, look to him by-and-by. Jesus Christ says, ‘Look unto Me.’ Some of ye say, ‘We must wait for the Spirit’s workin’.’ You have no business with that just now. Look to Christ. The text says, ‘Look unto Me.’”

Then the good man followed up his text in this way: “Look unto Me; I am sweatin’ and great drops of blood. Look unto Me; I am hangin’ on the cross. Look unto Me; I am dead and buried. Look unto Me; I rise again. Look unto Me; I ascend to heaven. Look unto Me; I am sittin’ at the Father’s right hand. O poor sinner, look unto Me! Look unto Me!”

Was there a better way to end that message on Good Friday then by listening to "Watch the Lamb"? I think not.

Here is the link to the sermon if you have an interest:

Friday, April 10, 2009

A Conversation with Death on Good Friday

From John Piper...


Hello, Death, my old enemy. My old slave-master. Have you come to talk to me again? To frighten me?

I am not the person you think I am. I am not the one you used to talk to. Something has happened. Let me ask you a question, Death.

Where is your sting?

DEATH, sneeringly:

My sting is your sin.


I know that, Death. But that’s not what I asked you. I asked, where is your sting? I know what it is. But tell me where it is.

Why are you fidgeting, Death? Why are you looking away? Why are you turning to go? Wait, Death, you have not answered my question. Where is your sting?

Where is, my sin?

What? You have no answer? But, Death, why do you have no answer? How will you terrify me, if you have no answer?

O Death, I will tell you the answer. Where is your sting? Where is my sin? It is hanging on that tree. God made Christ to be sin—my sin. When he died, the penalty of my sin was paid. The power of it was broken. I bear it no more.

Farewell, Death. You need not show up here again to frighten me. God will tell you when to come next time. And when you come, you will be his servant. For me, you will have no sting.

O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory
through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:55-57)

Sunday, April 5, 2009


You can't be born a Christian, it is a conscious choice you must

God could have given up on the love affair with mankind. He could have resorted to power and demanded our loyalty, or given us a kind of spiritual lobotomy that would take away our choice to love him. Even now, he could easily obliterate our Enemy and demand the allegiance of our hearts, but the love affair that began in the laughter of the Trinity would be over, at least for us. And Satan’s accusation that the kingdom of God is established only through raw power would be vindicated.

"We can't expect the American People to jump from Capitalism to Communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving them small doses of Socialism, until they awaken one day to find that they have Communism." -- Nikita Khrushchev (1894-1971) Premier of the Soviet Union

See what happens when I leave Iowa? Do you see gay marriage in Missouri? No...I don't think so.

Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm. - Winston Churchill

"The difference between the path toward greater freedom or bigger government is the difference between success and failure; between opportunity and coercion; between faith in a glorious future and fear of mediocrity and despair; between respecting people as adults, each with a spark of greatness, and treating them as helpless children to be forever dependent; between a drab, materialistic world where Big Brother rules by promises to special interest groups, and a world of adventure where everyday people set their sights on impossible dreams, distant stars, and the Kingdom of God. We have the true message of hope for America." --Ronald Reagan

100-Plus Scientists: Obama ‘Simply Incorrect’ on Global Warming

Over 100 prominent scientists from more than a dozen countries — including a Nobel Prize winner — have signed a letter to President Barack Obama charging that his views on climate change are “simply incorrect.”

The letter — sponsored by the Cato Institute — cites a statement Obama made in November: “Few challenges facing America and the world are more urgent than combating climate change. The science is beyond dispute and the facts are clear.”

Under the headline, “With all due respect, Mr. President, that is not true,” the scientists state:

“We, the undersigned scientists, maintain that the case for alarm regarding climate change is grossly overstated. Surface temperature changes over the past century have been episodic and modest and there has been no net global warming for over a decade now…

“The computer models forecasting rapid temperature change abjectly fail to explain recent climate behavior. Mr. President, your characterization of the scientific facts regarding climate change and the degree of certainty informing the scientific debate is simply incorrect.”

The 115 signatories include Ivar Giaever, Ph.D., who shared the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1973 for his work with superconductors at General Electric; John Blaylock, formerly with the Los Alamos National Laboratory; Richard Lindzen, Ph.D., at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and William Gray, Ph.D., the respected hurricane expert at Colorado State University.

The signers include scientists at Princeton University, U.S. Naval Academy, University of Kansas, University of Oklahoma, University of Colorado, and University of Missouri.

Among the countries represented by the signers are Britain, Canada, Italy, Norway, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Argentina and South Africa.

A number of the scientists are current or former reviewers with the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — which shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with climate change crusader Al Gore — and have since reversed their views on man-made global warming.

Stranglehold or Embrace?

From this week's "Pastor's Page"...

"I know some people who are afraid to become students of God’s Word because they are afraid God might just reach out and touch their lives with the kind of change we might not want. That’s understandable to me. As a human race, we’re pretty comfortable with our habits and our way of life. As Christians, we know that Jesus always accepts everyone right where they are, but never leaves them there. He always transforms us, grows us up, and matures us.

That can be a bit scary. There’s always the worry that He might ask me to do something like Abraham: leave home on a faith adventure. Or He might do something like He did for Samuel: God made him a full time church worker. Augghhhh!

We hesitate to let the Lord have His way with us, until, like Abraham and Samuel and countless others, we realize that when God reaches out to us in His Word, it is not a grab to drag us captive, but an embrace of love to set us free!

I know we’ll hear from Abraham and Samuel one day that the greatest thing that ever happened to them was when the Lord spoke and they listened."

This is so true and something I think almost every Christian struggles with to one degree or another. You would think after all God has done for me that I would trust him more...but you would be wrong.