If you are a reader of C.S. Lewis, you may find this interview of Walter Hooper, former C.S. Lewis assistant and biographer, to be quite interesting. Eric Metaxas, host of Socrates and the City, is a great interviewer, too.
From Fr. Bill Klock of Living Word Reformed Episcopal Church in British Columbia, here is another sermon in his series on the Gospel of Luke, titled The King Who Comes in the Name of the Lord. In this message, Fr. Bill talks about Jesus’ journey into Jerusalem where he is actually being hailed as a king by the people – but His kingship winds up not being at all what they expected. As Fr. Bill points out, the agendas are not the same, and he goes on to make this point about our agendas:
Brothers and sisters, in us, the Lord has raised up children of Abraham from the stones. We aren’t the biological sons and daughters of Abraham, but by faith in Jesus we have been grafted into his family—into the new Israel. As I’ve said before, we have the law and the prophets, just as the Jews did, but we have an advantage. They couldn’t grasp what Jesus was about. They couldn’t wrap their heads around the idea of the Messiah as both king and suffering servant. But we can. We have the gospels and the apostles too. And yet as much as we understand the suffering of Jesus and as much as we understand the cross, how often are we like the Jews? As they waved palm branches and praised Jesus on the road to Jerusalem, we gather in the church and sing praises to him too. But the Jews that day—many of them, at least—were imposing their own ideas on Jesus. They were happy and excited because they thought Jesus had come to fulfil their agendas. Had they known what Jesus was actually going to do, had they known that he was going to Jerusalem to suffer and die, most of them wouldn’t have been in that Palm Sunday procession. The people turned on him as he stood before Pilate. Pilate offered to release the beaten and bloody King, but they shouted out to have him crucified. Why? Because they couldn’t accept him as Messiah unless he was fulfilling their agenda.
Friends, we need to ask too if we’re following Jesus to fulfil his agenda or if we’re following him in the hopes that he will fulfil ours. Too many people come to Jesus for the wrong reasons: for personal fulfilment, for happiness, for health and prosperity. Brothers and sisters, none of that is the agenda of the Jesus who calls his disciples to follow him by daily taking up our crosses. Some of us are like the people there that first Palm Sunday, thinking that Jesus came like another Judas Maccabeus, to defeat our enemies with the sword. We might not put it quite that way, but that’s what we’re saying whenever we confuse Jesus and his kingdom with political power and government coercion. Friends, the kingdom of God doesn’t come by force with swords or guns and the hearts of men and women are not moved to repentance by legislating faith. Only the Holy Spirit can do that and he does it as the people of Jesus proclaim the Word of God and proclaim the Good News that Jesus is Lord. And we proclaim that message in part as we follow in the footsteps of Jesus. Dietrich Bonhoeffer is famous for penning the words, “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” That’s what it means to take up our crosses. It means giving up our agenda, our rights, everything we hold dear that is not Jesus, even giving up our lives that the men and women of this world still lost in darkness might come to know the love and grace of Jesus, who became King only by giving everything for our sake.
If you’d like to hear the message, you can do so below if you wish.
From Dr. David Powlison of CCEF, here is an interesting perspective on the “General Thanksgiving” found in the Book of Common Prayer: he is looking at it from the viewpoint of a biblical counselor, and finding that it has great wisdom in its encouragement for each of us to have a thankful heart.
Here is another in Dr. Don Carson’s excellent series, “The God Who is There”, and this video is “The God Who Gathers and Transforms His People”. In this message, Dr. Carson explains Ephesians 2:1-18 and 4:17-5:10 along with Galatians 5:13-26.
If you have pondered what you can do to help spread the Gospel and how to use what you have been given by the Lord for His Kingdom, this interview by Tony Payne of John Rinehart on the subject of “Gospel Patrons” could be quite helpful. John Rinehart has written a very engaging book by that title, which is available on Amazon or on Matthias Media, and here is one short quote from that book:
This message of Gospel Patronage is not something new for a select few, but a focused application of the gospel for all of us. The truth is no matter how much or how little you have been given, there is eternity to think about what you did with it , and hearing Jesus say, “Well done” will be the only thing that matters.
The interview is well worth hearing, and it does cover much of what the book talks about (I am reading it now): what being a ‘gospel patron’ means, as well as challenging each of us to think about how we can better work for the Kingdom. (Hat tip: Anglican Church League and GoThereFor.com)
Here, from RZIM Canada, is another in their video series on “Short Answers to Big Questions”, where they plan to address fifty of the most common questions and objections about Christianity and attempt to give short, succinct answers to each of them. In this one, Dr. Andy Bannister answers the question “What does it mean to be human?”. RZIM Canada notes that if you want to read more widely on this question, you should check out C. S. Lewis’ two books “The Abolition of Man” (http://bit.ly/1xWbI1F) and “The Weight of Glory” (http://bit.ly/1ws358o).
Another free ebook in Kindle format: Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe’s “Jesus in the Present Tense: The I AM Statements of Christ”
I thought I would mention that another book by Dr. Warren Wiersbe is now available for free in Kindle format: Jesus in the Present Tense: The I AM Statements of Christ. The Amazon notes say that “In Jesus in the Present Tense, Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe explores the “I AM” statements of God—from His burning bush conversation with Moses, to His powerful reassurances to the Israelites, to Jesus’s startling claim to be the Light of the World.” I don’t know how long this will be available for free, but it is certainly worth checking out because the “I AM” statements are essential to our understanding of Who God is.
One of the better sermons I have heard stemming from the news about the recent Supreme Court decisions this past June is the message We Are Now in Babylon by the Rev. Brian Campbell of Christ the Redeemer Anglican Church in Norfolk, Virginia. He makes some very good points about the shift in our culture from the Christian ethos of the past millennium to what we now have as a result of the past fifty years, where one might say “the only absolute is that there are no absolutes”. As well, one might say that the adherents of this new ethos believe that for humanity to flourish, two things are needed: the freeing of the human will and the enabling of human desires. Hearing this message made me think about Babel as well as the Babylon of Daniel’s day.
This is indeed a worthwhile message, and I’d say that if you are looking for a church in the Norfolk area, Christ the Redeemer Anglican Church is very much worth considering.
From The Gospel Coalition: an interview with Jennifer Lahl on the ethics of Planned Parenthood and tissue donation
If you were as saddened as I was by the recent video of Dr. Deborah Nucatola, senior director of medical services for Planned Parenthood, talking about the practice of harvesting fetal organs through abortion in order to donate them to biological research, you will find this podcast of Collin Hansen and Jennifer Lahl, discussing the ethics of fetal tissue donation and the moral questions surrounding the issues raised by the video, to be of interest.
As the Gospel Coalition notes, Jennifer Lahl is founder and president of The Center for Bioethics and Culture. She worked for 25 years as a pediatric critical care nurse and hospital administrator and has a master’s degree in bioethics from Trinity International University. The Center for Bioethics and Culture addresses bioethical issues that most profoundly affect our humanity, especially issues that arise in the lives of the most vulnerable among us.