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Showing posts from March, 2017

THE PROBLEM WITH ARMS LENGTH THEOLOGY

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There are some people that I will greet with a handshake and others with an appropriate hug. Hugs are often given to affirm, console and express agreement.
You may tend to get cautious about people who hug indiscreetly.Maybe you’ve met complete strangers who felt it their obligation to give you a big, body hug.Gingerly we pull back and evaluate the motives and boundaries of the stranger who hugs or kisses us.
There can also be times when we were close to someone and grew distant.It is difficult for us to know the spatial boundaries when greeting the one with whom we developed distance and caution.
I believe that there are doctrines of Christianity that we may still believe, but hold at arm’s length.Perhaps we once fully accepted a particular belief, but scandal, misinformation and a prevalence of scoffers cause us to pull back and question the certainty of a doctrine.
In the context of this topic, are we able to embrace the apocalypse? Do we believe that Christ will come again but need to…

APOCALYPSE PARADIGM

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The Apocalypse is a common theme in movies, TV series, etc. The world imagines that the world could easily end because of environmental issues, wars, meteors, zombies, aliens, etc. Human error is a strong feature in the end-of-the-world stories. But what if it is not human hands that bring an end to the world, as we know it? What if the Apocalypse is the act of a Creator tearing down the old to bring about the new?
Every story of survival in popular culture relies on human unity and the will to overcome in its battle against rogue robots, climate change or nuclear holocaust. The present day tale and the post-apocalyptic story both feature mankind as the ultimate saviours. We are our own worst enemy but we will find a reason to live more humanely and survive every worse case scenario. We will not be overtaken—we will join together in our fight against the invasion of power-hungry enemies.
But that is a different storyline than Christ returning to rule. The human-centered stories do not…

HOW YOU CAN ANSWER SOMEONE'S PRAYER

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Matthew 7:9   "Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone?
10   "Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he?
11   "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him! 12   "In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.


God answers your prayer appropriately with the best, possible solution. There is not a more appropriate responder to human need than the One who created us in the first place. Isn’t this at the heart of justice-- appropriate and fair treatment?When we pray, God desires to act justly towards us.
In light of God’s good nature to respond appropriately as a loving Father to us, it is not surprising that Jesus’ very next words focus on how we are to treat each other.
If you want people to treat you fairly and justly,…

COMING UNDER

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C.S. Lewis said, “Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man... It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition is gone, pride is gone.” [1]
Eliminate competition when you pray. Stop comparing yourself to the success or failure of others.
John the Baptist saw something in Jesus that he wanted to emulate.

John 3:27 To this John replied, “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven. 28 You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’ 29 The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. 30 He must become greater; I must become less.”

In the same way that John saw Jesus’ humility in coming to be baptized, he was able to see himself in a truer light. I must decrease and Jesus …

THE DEVIL'S GREATEST FEAR

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Why is the Devil afraid of humility? It is the polar opposite of Satan’s being full of himself. Jesus maintained a mindset of humility. He depleted himself or let himself be lowered to a lesser role in order to bring the fullness of God to empty, humble people.
Every example of Jesus’ prayers to the Father reflected a great self-awareness and a forward thinking hope. He knew who He was and resisted the Devil’s temptation to exalt himself beyond who he was to be in his earthly mission.
His very life was an emptying out that the theologians entitled ‘Kenosis’. This simple Greek word kenoo means emptying and depletion. In the temptations Christ faced in the wilderness, Satan resisted Christ’s humility and appealed to a false sense of arrogant pride.

Philippians 2:5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing by taki…

PRAYING EMPTY

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If someone is arrogant and self-indulgent or if their only language is ‘Me-talk’, we say they are ‘full of themselves’. There is no room in their perspective to value another being to the same extent. All of the attention is focused on self-evaluation and self-promotion.
In the matter of prayer, God has encountered many people of whom it can be said, they are ‘full of themselves’.

Luke 18:10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble …