Skip to main content


Showing posts from February, 2015

Dealing with a Fallen Mind

Dallas Willard writes in his new book (The Allure of Gentleness), "The highest aim of a student (disciple) of Jesus is to learn to live like him in His Kingdom.  This involves planning to be like Jesus.  What Jesus is essentially telling us in Matthew 4:17 is: 'Think out your strategy for life in the light of the new fact that you can now live under the reign of God immediately present to you from the heavens.'  This method of learning to fully lead a spiritual life is to do what Jesus did in his overall style of life.   Follow him.  This appropriates the grace of God and transforms our abilities." All in all, I'm in agreement with Willard's statement.  Our highest calling is to look at our lives through the grid of the "mind of Christ" - i.e., what is in front of me (actions, thoughts, desires, etc...) and how does this stand up with my faith in this something that I know Jesus would want me to do/think/want, etc... Yet the words Da

It all begins in the mind

During Lent we have the opportunity to more fully focus on what Christ Jesus has done for us in going to the cross for our sins. But, what value is there in this thinking if we don't really believe we're that bad to begin with?  Or if we believe that Jesus' death is merely an example of living sacrificially and we should also live in the way of Christ if we hope to be ready for eternity.  That would be a huge theological mistake. Don't get me wrong, it is not that we don't think and come up with a world of ideas on how to live our lives.  Dallas Willard said it this way: "It is the ideas that make the world run -- or not run, as the case may be.  People are fully at the mercy of their ideas.  Every one of us has a map in our mind made up of our ideas about life, how things work, who we are, and so on.  And that map tells us how things hold together, what's important, and what leads to what.  When tackling all the major objectives of human life, we cons

Having the Mind of Christ

Philippians 2:5 5  Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, Colossians 1:9-10 9  For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10  that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;  I'm having an interesting reading schedule these days.  I continue to read through John Calvin's "Institutes of the Christian Religion"; and at the same time I'm enjoying the posthumous publishing of Dallas Willard's "The Allure of Gentleness - Defending the Faith in the Manner of Jesus".   I've come to Book 2 in Calvin's great work where he deals with the most fundamental of human issues - the innate sinfulness, or original sin - that defines our condition before God. Here's a summary of Calvin's thoughts

The difference between defending and explaining

The news of recent has focused the suffering of Christians in the middle east who have been martyred for their faith in Christ at the hands of Islamic Terrorists. Through the centuries many Christians have lost their lives as a result of their faith. For us, who live in America, there is little chance that we would have this happen here - but it's entirely possibly that terrorism will strike out at Christians sometime.  But, for many Christians in the western world - especially here in the U.S. - being a Christians who believes God's word there is a form of persecution that is defined by words like "ostracized", "passed over", "ridiculed", and more. What do we do in the face of opposition to faith? When the Apostle Peter writes to the early believers who are undergoing great pressure, even persecution for their faith in Jesus, he gives them this charge. 1 Peter 3:8-18 8  Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly lov

The First Day of Lent - Our Gentle Jesus

I published a book that is on Amazon called "A Lenten Sojourn" and I plan on reading it and thinking about it for the Lenten season. You can find it, if interested, at Yet I plan on posting some thoughts...just because I want to.  I'm reading another book by one of my favorite authors - Dallas Willard - during this season.  Dallas Willard is now home with the Lord and it was his daughter who assembled and edited the notes of his writings to put the book together. The book is entitled "The Allure of Gentleness".  I love the idea of it.  I want to be known as a gentleman, and I once heard someone describe me as a "Gentle Bear" (I am a big man). What we know of Jesus is his love, grace, mercy...and straight-forward, prophetic, no-nonsense, approach to the proud. Yet this is also what we need to

Fat Tuesday????

Today is known as "Fat Tuesday"...the day before the official beginning of the forty days of Lent.  This is how one writer described it: " Fat Tuesday is also known as Mardi Gras Day or Shrove Day.  It is a day when people eat all they want of everything and anything they want as the following day is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of a traditional fasting period for Christians.  In addition to fasting, Christians also give up something special that they enjoy. So, Fat Tuesday is a celebration and the opportunity to enjoy that favorite food or snack that you give up for the long Lenten season. " It's interesting how some people approach the beginning of a longer reflection on Jesus' death, his sacrifice, as a party time...  Hmmm,  Fasting?  Giving Up.  Sure, I know many Christians who approach the Lenten season as a season for fasting and giving up something they value.  I've heard of giving up coffee, sugar, chocolate, sweets, alcohol, e

On the Beauty and Mystery of the Trinity

I don't think in my theological studies nothing was harder to understand than the nature of the Trinity.  Fortunately for me, Church History's struggle in the first few centuries turned out to be an apt teacher for understanding the delicate balance or nuances of words that are crucial to use in understanding the nature of God as three in One. In Book 1 of Calvin's Institutes, Calvin dives into the relationship of the Father to the Son and the Father and Son to the Spirit, and if you read carefully you'll notice how he walks this delicate line that keeps things both in balance, and most importantly in truth. We begin with Calvin explaining the distinction that must be kept as the Trinity relates to individual persons - Father, Son, Spirit.  The technical Greek word "hypostasis" is an important theological term, since it means the "essence", or "being", and "substance".  So the writer of Hebrews says in 11:1 in the King James tr

On Our Amazing Jesus

I'm coming back after a couple of weeks away...a little vacation time and then time to catch up. Besides this I have been finishing a new book for upcoming Lenten season.  I have been working on the book for the last month and a half, and it's almost finished.  I hope to have the details of the book to report soon. During this time I've been keeping up with my reading of Calvin's Institutes.  I continue to be amazed at the depth and relevance of his writing (and when I say relevance, I mean concerning the events of his own time which is around 1530-1560).  Although Luther wrote prolifically during this time also, he didn't have the systematic writings that Calvin did. I've worked my way through most of Book 1.  There are 5 books in Calvin's Institutes.  This first book concerns the Knowledge of God as Creator and in dealing with this he introduces the reader to the unity of the divine essence of God as three persons, yet one. I wanted to share a few