Friday, July 20, 2007

Come On, Baby, Do the Locomotiv!

Yashin signs with Russian club

Athletes are an interesting thing to me. None more so than hockey players, probably as a result of the fact that hockey is one of the few sports I love... and pretty much understand. Anyway, if you know much of hockey you know something of Alexei Yashin. He is quite a character with a storied NHL career, but news just came out that this one time highest paid player is off to Russia.

Yashin’s problem has always been that he disappears in the playoffs and tends to whine after his freshman season on any club. In hockey terms, he has no grit. Hit him hard enough and he’ll scurry home with his tail between his legs. And my adrenalin starts pumping every time I picture little Darcy Tucker drilling the lumbering Yashin into the boards! Booyah!

Anyway, Yashin’s flight to the Locomotiv made me think of a lot of pastors that flee hard times to play for the hometown crowd. I have little time for them.

John MacArthur once told us that the only times he had been tempted to leave Grace Community Church were when things were going badly. But he had made a decision to stick out the tough times, see the church through, then think about moving on. But you know what happens... who wants to leave when times are good!

Pastor’s need the tenacity of a Tucker... or a Bobby Baun, scoring a game-winning goal off a broken ankle to get your club one game closer to your Stanley Cup. The good times will come, but not after some sweat in this life. Too bad Yashin never learned that lesson.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Couples, Newton and Love, Twue Love...

Tonight is the first of four "Couples' Nights" we hope to hold at GFC. We had three of these spaced over 3 months last year, but decided to try this new format with the hope of injecting a mother lode of hope, grace and encouragement into our unions.

I was happy to read this quote again today from John Newton concerning his bride after her death. The love they shared was rather remarkable and was used as one of the means to draw Newton to the Saviour.

Call me crazy, but I think I know something of this love for Mrs. Kerux... I shall save that story for another day.

John Newton on his wife Mary (after her death)

“My first regard for her was truly a passion,” he wrote to a friend, Mrs. Coffin, “strong as ever writers of romance imagined. Neither absence, nor distance, nor the unhappy scenes of profligacy in which I was too long engaged, could extinguish it; and from the moment I had a prospect of gaining her, it sprung up with renewed force. At length the Lord gave her to me: we lived together more than forty years in harmony, and, if possible, with increasing affection.”

He described her as “the main hinge upon which all the principal events of my life had turned ... an excellent wife ... my faithful friend, my judicious counsellor; we had but one heart between us.”

“God’s people, in God’s place, under God’s rule”

I am “eating up” Graeme Goldsworthy these days. I have had several of his books on my shelf for several years... but am just now getting to some serious reading of them. I posted a review of “According to Plan” here and here, but I wanted to post a lengthy quote from “Preaching the Whole Bible as Christian Scripture" right here.

This quote presents in summary form what appears to me to be the heart of Biblical Theology as Goldsworthy sees it. He begins this approach by explaining that the one concept/word/idea that summarizes God’s interaction with humankind in the Scriptures is “kingdom.” As in, “God’s Kingdom.” This becomes his silver needle that pokes into salvation history in Genesis 1 and proceeds through progressively revealed Truth to take us to Christ, the fulfillment.

In explaining this “kingdom theme,” Goldsworthy offers the following summary that I found particularly useful.

Above all we need to understand that our basic starting point is the gospel. Let us, then, take the God-people-place schema and observe how it is employed in the unfolding revelation of the Bible. In this we must include the element of relationship that is at the base of the notion of the kingdom of God, namely, that the essence of the kingdom is God’s people in God’s place under God’s rule. Sin means that the rule of God is repudiated, and the result­ing judgment threatens the complete undoing of the whole fabric. God will remain sovereign but the life in fellowship with God enjoyed by humans is lost. Only the loving plan of redemption can deal with the problem.

In the unfolding revelation of the kingdom we can observe the follow­ing manifestations of the basic kingdom notion in sequence:

In the Garden of Eden

God, his people, and the place all exist in the perfect relationships intended by God.

Outside the Garden of Eden

The relationships established by God at creation are dislocated and confused because of sin. They are not totally disrupted, and the world goes on while under sentence of death.

In redemptive history

God calls one family of people, and their successors, to be the con­text within which he reveals his plan and purposes for the redemp­tion of people out of every nation. The relationships of the kingdom of God are put in place but never fully realized by sinful people.

In prophetic eschatology

The pattern of redemption, and the promised kingdom of God that failed to eventuate in Israel’s history, constitute the pattern of a fu­ture glorious salvation and kingdom promised by the prophets.

In Jesus Christ

Where Adam failed, and where Israel failed, Jesus comes as the last Adam and the true Israel to carry out God’s purposes perfectly. Be­lievers from all periods of history are credited with his perfection and righteousness as a gift.

In the consummation

The perfection that is in Jesus, and that believers possess by faith, is only fully formed in believers and the world when Christ returns in glory.

We can say this in another way:

1. The pattern of the kingdom is established in the Garden of Eden.

2. This pattern is broken when sin enters in.

3. The pattern is reestablished in salvation history in Israel but never fully realized.

4. The same pattern shapes the prophetic view of the future kingdom.

5. The pattern of the kingdom is perfectly established in Jesus in a repre­sentative way.

6. The pattern of the kingdom begins to be formed in the people of God through the gospel.

7. The pattern of the kingdom is consummated at Christ’s return.

The “mechanics” of salvation, then, consist in this: that what is lost with the fall God foreshadows in the history of redemption in Israel. Then the solid reality comes, namely, Jesus, who bears in himself the fullness of the king­dom in that he is God, man, and created order, all existing in perfect relation­ship.

(This extended quote taken from “Preaching the Whole Bible as Christian Scripture,” pages 87-88.)

Alltrogge's About to Release New Album!

My friend Mark Altrogge is set to release a new album with his son Stephen.

You can download a full sample song here and check out the lyrics and partial samples of other songs here.

Tim linked to a blog by Stephen today. I am happy to add that to my blogroll!

I think that Mark and Stephen should write one song per week and post them all on the blog. 52 new cross-centered, Jesus-exalting songs a year! Glorious!!