The Gospel for Weddings and Funerals

Before the Apostle John wrote about the miraculous healing of the nobleman’s son in John 4:46-54, he made a quick reference to the first miracle of Jesus when he turned the water into wine at a wedding in Cana. Why did he do that? The Bible is known for its economy of words —only what is absolutely necessary must be included. Why the reference? James Montgomery Boice gave us a very good answer: because these two miracles are meant to be read together.

Continue reading The Gospel for Weddings and Funerals

Wives, Submit. Husbands, Die!

Few sentences in the Bible generated as much controversy in our day as Ephesians 5:22’s text on marriage. In it, Paul commanded Christian wives to submit to their husbands. Some writers say this verse was so controversial that it helped launch the women’s liberation movement of the 60’s. Never mind that the verse has more words attached to it. And never mind that there is a wider context to Paul’s words. Or that Paul actually had more to say to husbands. The word “submit” was just too much for many people. In their minds, the word is synonymous to oppression, subjugation, or dominance.

Continue reading Wives, Submit. Husbands, Die!

God in a Time of Audio Visuals

God didn’t show his face to Moses because he knew humanity would be tempted to make visual representations of His face. He spoke and gave written words instead. The fact that God revealed himself through speaking and writing should give us a pause. We live in a time of audio visuals. We are tempted to think that the effectivity of the gospel lies in slick PowerPoint presentations and cutting edge video clips. The Bible tells us otherwise. God came to us through the spoken and written Word. No matter how technologically advanced we are, the medium by which God reveals himself to us is still through Bible reading and listening to sermons.

Many would say this is boring and primitive but this is actually where the second commandment makes more sense. God— the concept of God, the attributes of God, and the nature of God— can never be truly depicted with our lame visual aids. Our artistic expressions will never suffice. This is the reason why our concept of God has to rise higher than mere pictures and arts and videos. To know him, we need to go to the Word, and this Word-based intimation of God requires the highest order of thinking. This means that the posture of knowing God is that of hard work and concentrated effort, not laid back and slouchy.

Money and Paper Trails

Why do we talk about money every year? Two reasons come to mind:

First, because our spiritual maturity is most obvious in the way we spend money. I’m sure there are people in your life who you really admired until you saw their attitude towards money. Some, you admire all the more. Others, well, you just shake your head and wish you hadn’t seen them acting that way.

Second, you will know who you love the most by just looking at the receipts of your purchases. I forgot who told me this but about nine years ago, this was revolutionary to my ears. Back then, I greedily stockpiled all the [pirated] DVDs I could find in Quiapo and St. Francis Square. Having been deprived of TV shows and movies in my childhood years, the sight of all the affordable DVDs thrilled me. I bought everything I wanted: Smallville, Lost, Koreanovelas, Terminator Series, Back to the Future, and James Bond, to name a few. Then someone told me that receipts are paper trails of love. The person or thing you spend most of your money on is the true love of your life. Continue reading Money and Paper Trails

The Second Greatest Activity in the World

The most crucial issue in missions is the centrality of God in the life of the church. How can people who are not stunned by the greatness of God be sent with the ringing message, “Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods” (Ps. 96:4)? Missions is not first and ultimate; God is.

All of history is moving toward one great goal, the white-hot worship of God and his Son among all the peoples of the earth. Missions is not that goal. It is the means. And for that reason it is the second greatest human activity in the world.

Source: John Piper, Let the Nations Be Glad (Grand Rapids, MI, Baker Academic, 2011) Kindle location 600