A Belly-Button Generation

I recently (and by recently I mean this morning! Ha!) started listening to 5 Minutes in Church History, a podcast hosted by Dr. Stephen Nichols. It is perfect because my commute to work is roughly seven minutes. The only time it is longer is if  I am delayed by a huge tractor taking up half the road (at least a few times a week – I kid you not) or by several deer crossing the road right in front of me such as occurred this morning.

I started the podcast on the very first episode which was made available for listening almost five years ago. After all, the beginning is a very good place to start, right? It is titled, “Confessions Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow: Augustine’s Big Word.” Yeah, not that exciting of a title but the way stick with me. This morning I read these words from Galatians 1:10 in my Bible study, “For now am I seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” We are not to be man-pleasers but God-pleasers. We are to seek to please God in all that we say, do and think. However, as this podcast reminds us, we live in a belly-button generation. We are consumed with ourselves and being accepted by others: “This sociologist was saying we’re like infants when they first discover their own belly button. They’re utterly fascinated by it. Okay, when you’re an infant. But, as we grow up if we fail to see there’s a world around us, we are living pretty shallow lives. If we’re still fascinated by our belly buttons, something is wrong.”

What we need is a big view of God, a God who is great and vast.  A few minutes later in my morning Bible study I read these words in Isaiah 45, “I am the LORD, and there is no other, besides me there is no God…I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the LORD, who does all these things” (Isaiah 45:5-7). There is a God who is far greater than us and worthy of all our love and thought and emotion and energy and whatever else you can think of. Stop staring at your navel! You and I are not the main characters. That role belongs to God and God alone! So let us look up and see ourselves as the dot that we are and God who is Magnus – vast, great – and what matters most!

You can listen to the podcast here. It is only 5 minutes. You won’t regret it. 

Revelation 20, the Millennium and “right minded Christians”

I have been studying Revelation 20 for a men’s bible study in my church and of course the big discussion is always if we should take the thousand years literally or not. This really is an important issue that many don’t take seriously (but that will have to be a post for another time).

My reason for this post is to share a quote from Justin Martyr, an early second century apologist of the Christian faith, who had very definite pre-millennial views. The quote comes from a work he wrote called Dialogue with Trypho. Trypho asks him the question, “Do you really admit that this place Jerusalem shall be rebuilt, and do you expect your people to be gathered together and made joyful with Christ and the patriarchs and the prophets, both the men of our nation and other proselytes who join them before your Christ came?” And Justin answers Trypho and says:

“I and many others are of this opinion and believe that such will take place as you are assuredly aware, but on the other hand I signified to you that many who belong to the pure and pious faith and are true Christians think otherwise. But I and others, who are right minded Christians on all points are assured that there will be a resurrection of the dead and a thousand years in Jerusalem which will then be rebuilt adorned and enlarged as the prophets Ezekiel and Isaiah and others declare (italicized emphasis mine).”

I love it! “But I and others, who are right minded Christians on all points!” Are you “right minded” on the millennium? If not, come on in, the water is fine!

Weekend Roundup: Seven Articles for your Musings

I know. I know. It is Monday so it is a little late for a “weekend roundup” but in my household the kids have a four day weekend from school so technically for me this still counts!

The False Teachers: This sounds like it will be good. Tim Challies is starting out a new series of articles that will scan the history of the church and pause to examine some of Christianity’s most notorious false teachers. The first one is Arius.

Missionary Biographies: Here is another church history link but of a different focus. This one is about the power and importance of reading missionary biographies and at the bottom actually provides a link to a great list of free ebooks of missionary biographies! Read up and may the Lord put a fire in your heart for the glory of his name and declaring it to all peoples!

Common Objections: The Old Testament is Full of Rape, Murder, Slavery, Homophobia: Over at monergism.com John Hendryx gives a very gracious and powerful response to some of these common objections. Read up so that you might be ready to give an answer for the hope that is in you!

Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God: Nice review of a good book that I highly recommend. I have a very old beaten up copy of it in my library.

Looking to Christ in the Loss of a Child: As the article says, “The loss of a child is painful, deeply painful” but “In Christ, grief will not the last word.”

7 Truths for a Christ-Centered Marriage: This is the first of a mini-series on marriage that was timed to coincide with the week of Valentine’s day. I encourage you to read them all.

Final Focus: OK preachers and teachers – what is the final focus of your sermons?