Saturday, June 27, 2009

great and hidden things

"Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known." (Jeremiah 33:3 ESV)
When I was a young Christian people used to refer to this verse as "God's phone number." That is, it is God's invitation for us to call upon him and he will answer. It certainly does reflect God's willingness to be approached and his desire to communicate great truths.

Contextually, this is addressed to the prophet Jeremiah, who is reeling from the awareness that...

1) Jerusalem will be destroyed and lay desolate for many years, but God in his miraculous power will bring the people back to rebuild and re-populate the land, and

2) an even more amazing transformation will take place when God makes a new covenant with his people, where his Spirit will transform, renew and fill the human heart with new affections for God.

So, the "great and hidden things" have to do with the glories of Jesus Christ. He is the great Center of all Scripture...

"You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me..." (John 5:39)
"And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself." (Luke 24:27)

Jesus himself is the revelation of God. His true nature and teaching are often hidden from humanity, which sits in darkness and ignorance...

This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet: "I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter what has been hidden since the foundation of the world." (Matthew 13:35)

Knowing Christ and being in his kingdom is like finding a great hidden treasure...

"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field." (Matthew 13:44)

For the NT believer Jeremiah 33:3 becomes a promise that God will answer when we pray for an ever-increasing awareness of the glory, work, and will of Christ our Lord...

"...that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God's mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." (Colossians 2:2, 3)

Monday, June 22, 2009

calvin's 500th birthday coming

July 10 will be the 500th anniversary of the birth of Jean Cauvin (aka John Calvin).

So maligned and misunderstood, yet he was a faithful evangelist, pastor, loving husband, and scholar, who suffered much and humbly asked to be buried in a unmarked tomb when he died.

As a 20-something he wrote The Institutes, one of the most important theological works in church history and a benchmark for Protestantism.

I was struck recently that one part of the Institutes (III:7:1), with only minor editing has such a poetic beauty about it. Commenting on 1 Corinthians 6:19 ("you are not our own") he says,

We are not our own:
let not our reason nor our will sway our plans and deeds.
We are not our own:
let us not set it as our goal to seek what is expedient for us according to the flesh.
We are not our own:
in so far as we can, let us forget ourselves and all that is ours.

We are God's:
let us live for him and die for him.
We are God's:
let his wisdom and will rule our actions.
We are God's:
let all the parts of our life strive toward him as our only goal.


I think one of the best things about a beach vacation -- no, make that one of the best things about summer in general -- is that you get to wear flip-flops a lot of the time.

My old Columbias were wearing out while at Oak Island and so my wife de
cided it was time to upgrade to Rainbow sandals. It was a sort-of delayed birthday gift, and we settled on the Rainbow East Cape (below).

They are so comfortable! I can't wait to get home from the office to put them on.

I'm trying to figure out a way to wear them during work hours too, because all the emergent guys get away with it.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

unlocking the awesome potential...

multi-ethnic weddings

I especially enjoy weddings which bring cultures together in Christ. I've been involved with mixes of American, Chinese, Indian, Malaysian, and today Turkish. This is a precious couple who said their vows in two languages. Here is the groom's words:

Seni seviyorum ve biliyorum ki bu sevgi Tanri’dan geliyor. Bu nedenle kocan olmayi istiyorum. Beraberce Tanri’nin sevgisi ile hizmetinde olacagiz, boylece hayatimizin butun alanlarinda Isa Mesih baskin olacak. Mevcut zorluklar ve gelecegin bilinmezligi icinde bile sana sadik olmaya soz veriyorum. Ikimiz de hayatta oldugumuz surece Isa Mesih’in inananlari sevdigi gibi ben de seni sevmeye, korumaya ve yol gostermeye soz veriyorum. Incil Efesliler 5’e gore ve Tanri’nin verdigi guc ile sana Isa Mesih’in ugrunda can vererek inananlara gosterdigi sevgiyi gostermek ve tek vucut olmak icin seni kendimin bir parcasi gibi sevmeye soz veriyorum. Ve hayatim boyunda, onumuzde ne olursa olsun, kendimi sana sevecen ve sadik bir koca olmaya adiyorum.

[Translation:] I love you, and I know that God has ordained this love. Because of this I desire to be your husband. Together we will be vessels for His service in accordance with His plan, so that in all areas of our life Christ will have the pre-eminence. Through the pressures of the present and the uncertainties of the future, I promise to be faithful to you. I promise to love, guide, and protect you as Christ does His Church, and as long as we both are alive. According to Ephesians 5 and with His enabling power, I promise to endeavor to show to you the same kind of love as Christ showed the Church when He died for her, and to love you as a part of myself because in His sight we shall be one. And so throughout life, no matter what may lie ahead of us, I pledge to you my life as a loving and faithful husband.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Iain Murray

I so enjoyed hearing again, and speaking with, Iain Murray last weekend at Drapers Valley PC.

Am currently reading Lloyd-Jones: Messenger of Grace.

Next in queue: A Scottish Christian Heritage.

My favorites: the two-volume life of Lloyd-Jones which I have read twice. The Old Evangelicalism, and the two books on Spurgeon, and Revival and Revivalism.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

tonight's project

This will be our only night home this week... after kids in bed I restored a pen they gave me today, a late 1940s Mabie Todd Swan (English-made), black celluloid model 3260, with 14K no. 2 nib. All I had to do was put a new sac in it and clean it up. Writes like a dream.

Monday, June 1, 2009


In my study the other morning I came upon a passage in Isaiah about the [then] future outpouring of the Spirit. It reminded me of passages in Romans and Galatians...

"But now hear, O Jacob my servant, Israel whom I have chosen! Thus says the LORD who made you, who formed you from the womb and will help you: Fear not, O Jacob my servant, Jeshurun whom I have chosen. For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. They shall spring up among the grass like willows by flowing streams. This one will say, 'I am the LORD's,' another will call on the name of Jacob, and another will write on his hand, 'The LORD's,' and name himself by the name of Israel." (Isaiah 44:1-5 ESV)

"For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!" The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God..." (Romans 8:15, 16 ESV; cf. Galatians 4:6, 7)

When the Holy Spirit comes into the life of the believer -- and we might add, when the Holy Spirit is filling and controlling us -- there is a removal of fear, a strong sense of belonging to God, and a delight in his relationship to us. This is demonstrated in both of the passages by the believer's voice, specifically, the voice of testimony in Isaiah and the voice of prayer in Romans. The Holy Spirit in both passages causes a delight of belonging-ness, the overflow of which is manifest in our speech.

This was so characteristic of my early Christian walk. Should we not continually seek this ministry of the Holy Spirit?