Monday, May 29, 2006

Seeing and Savoring the Glory of God

Here are some quotes and thoughts from Chapter one of Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ. I hope they will encourage and minister to you as they have done to me.

  • “The created universe is all about glory. The deepest longing of the human heart and the deepest meaning of heaven and earth are summed up in this: the glory of God. The universe was made to show it, and we were made to see it and savor it. Nothing less will do. Which is why the world is as disordered and as dysfunctional as it is. We have exchanged the glory of God for other things (Romans 1:23)”.
  • “The Christian Gospel is “the gospel of the glory of Christ” because its final aim is that we would see and savor and show the glory of Christ. For this is none other than the glory of God.”
  • “Therefore, in the Gospel we see and savor “the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6). And this kind of “seeing” is the healing of our disordered lives. “We all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another” (2 Corinthians 3:18).”

This chapter is classic Piper. It seems like a mini God is the Gospel (another great book by Piper) toward the end. Ultimately, the gospel is that God gives us himself. The other things are good, but not ultimate.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ

As I prepare to go to Florida for some seminary classes this summer, one of the books I have the pleasure to read is Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ, by the man, John Piper. I think over the next couple days I will post some of my thoughts and favourite quotes from each chapter.

In the Preface, Piper says he is not going to try and prove that Jesus is worthy of "seeing and savoring" by refering to outside sources. He is going to show it by showing who Christ is, and when we see that, we will know that he is worthy of seeing and savoring. Here is how he puts it:

“There is another path. It’s the path I am following in this book. It starts with the conviction that divine truth can be self-authenticating. In fact, it would seem strange if God revealed himself in his Son Jesus Christ and inspired the record of that revelation in the Bible, but did not provide a way for ordinary people to know it. Stated most simply, the common path to sure knowledge of the real Jesus is this: Jesus, as he is revealed in the Bible, has a glory – an excellence, a spiritual beauty – that can be seen as self-evidently true. It is like seeing the sun and knowing that it is light and not dark, or like tasting honey and knowing that it is sweet and not sour. There is no long chain of reasoning for premises to conclusions. There is a direct apprehension that this person is true and his glory is the glory of God”

I would say that this is his thesis for the book... the point he is proving. So stay tuned for some great quotes and personal reflections in the days to come!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

CCC ad banned from theatres

With the Da Vinci Code set to release in theatres tommorow, there is a lot of hype going around. The latest has hit close to home for me, a staff member with Campus Crusade for Christ. I recently found out that Cineplex Odion has banned an ad from CCC. Here is a quote from the webpage, :

"The group behind this blog had planned an in-theatre ad campaign to encourage
The Da Vinci Code movie-goers to come online and discuss what they had seen. In
an unexpected move, Cineplex Odeon decided today the ads were too
and has pulled the spots from theatres in Vancouver,
Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Toronto."

You can see the ad that was banned by going here. I find it hard to beleive that this ad was too controviersial.

You can see the press release from CCC regarding the situation here.

Lastly, the Toronto Star also got in on the action writing an article about what they think. You can read this "intelligent" piece here.

Personally, I think this is really dumb that CCC has had their ad removed from the theatres. This really is an attack at freedom of speech. The whole movie they are allowing in the theatres is pure junk historically, yet they will not allow a 10 second ad in the theatre that points people to a website to discuss the film. This is the world we live in though. Anything goes unless is saying that Jesus is the person that the Bible says He is.

What do you think?

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Regaining a Wonder for God's Creation

This morning I was reading McManus and this paragraph stood out to me:

When your heart is full of gratitude, life paints itself in far brighter
and more vivid colours. The aromas, flavours, and textures of life are so
exhilarating that they take you to places of indescribable pleasure. Life
becomes an endless celebration. Your laughter and joy is the applause of your
soul as you marvel in the goodness of God and the wonder of His creation. There
is always something that fills you with joy and unleashes hope and inspiration.
Gratitude doesn't lead to monasticism; it leads to hedonism, not a hedonism
absent of holiness, but one that erupts out of wholeness.

I originally thought of this stuff when reading The Pleasures of God by John Piper, but was reminded that I need to appreciate the things in life that I often take for granted. Like say trees, or the sky... things that I don't notice or appriciate very often, but if they were taken away, I would be willing to pay anything to bring them back.

I think this quote also spoke to me because it is so John Piper-ish. It is like I was reading Desiring God, but this time written from a different angle and in a place that I did not expect it.

So, when you are out and about today, take time and appreciate and marvel at the things that you usually take for granted, and give glory to God for them.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

The Da Vince Deception, Part 1

I recently finished reading The Da Vinci Code, so I also thought I should read a book that looks at the historical claims of the book, so I could know what is what. The book I am reading is called The DaVinci Deception by Erwin Lutzer. So far, it is full of great stuff on real history.

For those who have read The Da Vinci Code (probably a few), and more for those who will see the movie (probably most of you), here are some facts about some of the events that the book calls into question. I think it will be helpful to know some of this, first, for confidence in your own faith (if you are a Christian), and secondly in evangelism (also if you are a Christian). Enjoy!

Constantine converted to Christianity in AD 312. This was at the time he was fighting Maxentius for the absolute rule of the Roman Empire. The night before the battle, he saw a vision of Christ, and so during the battle he fought with the banner of the Christian Cross and won. Shortly after this, he issued the Edict of Milan which stated that Christians should no longer be persecuted.

Early in Constantine’s rule, there were many disputes about Jesus (i.e. God? Man?, Equal with the Father?, Created?, Etc). At the same time, Arius was teaching that Jesus was a created god, lower than the God the Father. The Church Bishops labeled him a heretic, but his ideas gained popularity. In order to unite the Empire, Constantine called the Council of Nicea to answer these questions. Constantine cared little for doctrine, but more for unity of the Empire. Over 300 Bishops met, and overwhelmingly declared Arius a heretic. The Council also affirmed the divinity of Christ based on Scripture (Col 1:16, John 1:1, Rom 9:5, Heb 1:8, etc). Theologian Athanasius was present, although uninvited, argued that Christ was not similar in nature to God the Father, but the same and equal. The Council agreed and today we have the Nicene Creed. Of the 318 Bishops present, only 5 protested, and in the end only 2 refused to sign the document. Arianism continued to have followers, but from that point on, orthodox Christianity held that Jesus was “God of very God”.

It is debatable though whether Constantine’s conversion was true, since he continued on in Sun worship and used Christianity for political gain. There no evidence however to suggest that before Constantine, Christians believe that Jesus was only a man. In fact the evidence overwhelmingly points the other way:

In AD 110, Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch wrote of Jesus being “God”, “Son of God”, “Christ God”, etc.

In Addition, Polycarp (approx AD 112-118) who was a disciple of the Apostle John, Justin Martyr (AD 100-165), Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons (AD 177), Tertullian (AD 150-212) were all recorded as believing in Jesus as the Son of God, equal to God, and in the Authority of Scriptures. These men lived 150-200 before Constantine converted to Christianity.
Furthermore, many years before Constantine, many Christians were regularly killed because they would not say that Caesar is Lord. This shows that they believed that Jesus was more than just another god, since they were willing to die for that belief.


"but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name." John 20:31