Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Putting Christmas back into the Holiday. Is that a good thing?

I got an email a week or so ago from a reporter at the IDS asking if I would share my opinion on Walmart's decisions (along with Kohl's and Macy's) to reintroduce the word "Christmas" this year, replacing the more neutral term "Holiday". Honestly, I didn't respond because I was 1) to busy, and 2) afraid that I would be to caustic.
This may be shocking, and feel free to post your comments, but I wish Walmart and Macy's would stick with "Holiday".

Why? Because I hate it when Jesus is a marketing ploy. I hate that his name is being used to baptize a holiday we have turned into a consumeristic circus, a materialistic mad dash to accumulate crap we don't need. I hate it because too many Christians will think this is a victory and will say to themselves, "We've taken back Christmas". Oh really.

Don't get me wrong - I'll be buying toys for my kids (and they'll be buying toys for me). I don't want to be the grinch that steals your Christmas, but does it make us feel better to have the clerk smile and say "Merry Christmas" after we've spent an obscene amount of money on junk.

I find it incredibly ironic, sadly ironic, that we become and teach our kids (ok, most of you dont' have them yet, but you will) to be the most self-centered at a time of the year that beckons to be the most others-centered. We make our Christmas lists, if only in our heads. We spend the money we know we'll be getting from Aunt Susie before it ever arrives. We think, "I better get so and so a gift, they got me one last year".

So what do we do about it?

Saturday, November 25, 2006

New Link

I just discovered a new website with a host of article by and about Cornelius Van Til. Van Til was one of the most influential, and one of the original prof's at Westminster Theological Seminary. His approach to apologetics, usually called presuppositional apologetics, has impressed me greatly. Check it out at VanTil.info.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

Today, I deep fried our Thanksgiving turkey. It was a first. I was afraid of this:

We all survived and the turkey, along with everything else today was great! Hope you had a great day too.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

searching for helpful resources

the web is an awesome, and a dangerous place to find theological resources. here's a database of great resources from covenant seminary you can search!

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Ministry Resources Search

Search and download over 1000 print and MP3 audio resources from the Covenant Seminary Web site -- free!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

seeing is the best gift

Last night I got so consumed telling the story of Lazarus that I kinda ran out of time when I wanted to draw out the theology a little bit better. Throughout the whole message I was kept emphasizing that our conception of God’s love needs to change and that this story of Lazarus should reshape how we think of God’s love. God, because he loves us, is committed to giving us the best gifts, not just good gifts. What is the best gift he could give? Well, I think from this story you would have to say it is to see the glory of God…

Remember, in v. 5-6 it says that Jesus loved Mary and Martha and Lazarus, SO he waited two days before he went to visit, knowing Lazarus was ill and that Lazarus was going to die. That seems callous, harsh and not very loving. After all, Jesus has the power to alleviate Lazarus’ sickness and prevent Mary and Martha’s grief. Why wouldn’t he do it, if he loved them?

Honestly, he loved them and so he didn’t prevent the death or the grief so that he could give them an even better gift than a healing. Jesus loved Mary and Martha and Lazarus (and the disciples) so much, that he allowed Lazarus to die so that he might show them the glory of God! Jesus tell his disciples as much in v. 4 and says to Martha in v. 40 “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?”. There it is. That’s the best gift, that’s the reason Jesus let Lazarus die - so that he would have the occasion to display the glory of God, knowing this is the best gift he could give the Bethany family (even better than a healing).

As Piper says repeatedly in his books, the best gifts God can give his people is himself. That is the highest good in the gospel. “Justification is good news because it makes us stand accepted by the one whose glory we want to see and savor above all things. Forgiveness is good news because it cancels all the sins that keeps me from seeing and enjoying the glory of Christ who is the image of God. Removal of wrath and salvation from hell are good news because now in my escape from eternal misery I find eternal pleasure beholding the glory of God in the face of Christ. Eternal life is good news because this is eternal life, Jesus said, that they know me and him who sent me. And freedom from pain and sickness and conflict are good news because, in my freedom from pain, I am no longer distracted from the fullest enjoyment of the glory of Christ who is the image of God”