Posts Tagged ‘religion’

Submission – A Delight (Part 3 of 3)

Submission – A Delight
Submission is not a sword to be wielded by the powerful or a burden to carried by the weak, rather it is a virtue and practice that every Christian is called to day after day in a variety of settings and within a variety of relationships.  No doubt authority has been abused and this principle of submission has been used to hold people hostage, but the misuse of a principle does not cancel the legitimate place of that principle.  Furthermore we must remember and teach that no one is exempt from the demand of submission by the Lord.  Instead of looking for excuses to get out of submission, let us look for reasons to submit.  Submission can become for us a place of refuge and a delight  as it is evidence of the work of God within us and it becomes part of our witness to the world (Titus 3:1-11).  Submission is also a way that we can minister to our leaders (Hebrews 13:17: Obey your leaders and submit to their authority.  They keep watch over you as men who must give an account.  Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you).  Leadership carries burdens, but the people of God aid leaders when they act on submission, rather than in pride, gossip, back-biting, slander, or rebellion.
We also model Christ for one another when we follow His own practice of submission to the Lord.  In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed to God to take away the cup of wrath (Matthew 26:39; Luke 22:42), but Jesus knew He must submit himself to God’s will.  Thank God that He did.  Jesus’ submission is seen in his devotion to the work and will of God – I think of the Gospel of John as showing this repeatedly.  When we offer our submission to God and one another we display Christ likeness and there is no better delight for the Christian.
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Submission – Defied (Part 2 of 3)

3 part post on Biblical submission.  Read part one here.

Submission – Defied
Why do we struggle so much with submission, and why is it so hard for us to see and acknowledge the struggle?  Our struggle with submission is primarily rooted in our sins of pride and arrogance.  Submission runs counter to our self-sufficiency and the place that we feel we occupy in our church or work or community or family.  Furthermore, in our mind, we need not submit to authority or to one another when we are right.  Admit it:  you’re right more than you’re wrong, a whole lot more!  At least I am.  But we can’t all be right all the time. Also, submission finds its fullest expression when we believe we are right but choose to submit to one another anyway.  Our pride, unfortunately won’t let us submit, readily or easily.  There is a fight within us and our pride seems to be on the winning side more often than not.  Pride is only one reason we have dispensed with submission, of course.  It is also our unbelief in what God has instituted.  We have installed our own values in place of God’s values.  We don’t believe that God would have our best at heart, that submission is best for us, for our relationships, or for our church.  We also fear giving up control and authority to others.  We have trampled on submission and authority and we reap what we have sown within our churches, our families and our communities
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Submission – Defined (Part 1 of 3)

For a variety of reasons, I have not been able to blog much original material recently.  This is original, although originally published in our church newsletter in 2006.  I am posting this article in three parts over the next three days:  Submission: Defined, Defied, & A Delight.

Submission – the lost Christian virtue.  Okay, I don’t know if it’s been lost or not, but I do know that I find little written, hear little spoken, and see little practiced, which makes me wonder.  I also wonder if we haven’t lost sight of the concept of submission within the church.  When was the last time that you heard about this topic?  Quite likely at a wedding where the admonishment to submission was mostly or completely directed at one particular gender.  But submission is more than a wife’s submission to her husband. We have done the church and women a disservice when we only speak about submission  in the context of the marriage relationship.  I suppose that we might also occasionally speak about submission in relation to our government, but it is still a truncated view if we allow submission to only be about these things.  We seem to be looking for ways to be let off the hook.   In reality, submission, or the opportunity for submission, is an aspect of most, if not all, of our relationships at some level.  There are times when we submit and times when others submit to us.  There are also times when there is no clear authority and there is an opportunity for both parties to show submission.  Opportunities abound, I just wonder if we are aware of what is before us and how we tend to react.

Submission – Defined

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Sermon on Romans 13:1-7

There are two things we are not suppose to talk about…politics and religion.  In this sermon, I got to talk about both on the Sunday after our national elections.  This is a part of our preaching series through Romans at Calvary and we were not intentional about this passage falling on this particular date (all things in God’s providence).   Anyway, here is the sermon information:

Passage & Title:  Romans 13:1-7…Submitting to God’s Servants

Theme:  How should submission to governing authorities characterize the lives of Christians?

I.  The Motivation of our Submission

A.  God’s Sovereignty
B.  God’s Servant
C.  God’s Spirit

II.  The Movement of our Submission

A. Towards Prayer
B.  Towards Repentance
C.  Towards The Kingdom of God

October Books

As of writing, I need to complete seven more books to reach my goal for completing 52 books this year.  Here are the books that I completed reading during the month of October.

  • What Angels Fear by C.S. Harris
  • When gods Die by C.S. Harris:  These are the first and second books in a new series of a mystery series centering around Sebastian St. Cyr.  These books are set during the Regency period of England and so have an interesting historical/societal/political element that helps to frame the mysteries.  These are well-told stories and each book asks a philosophical question in the midst – these questions from the title of each book.
  • Vintage Jesus by Mark Driscoll & Gerry Brashears:  Excellent book that seeks to answer twelve critical questions about Jesus.  The book follows Driscoll style that sometimes offends but I think he uses his wit and cutting edge effectively to communicate the Biblical teaching about Jesus and His importance to those who trust Him for salvation.  This would be a very good resource for helping someone who is wrestling with various questions regarding Christ including the Virgin Birth and His Resurrection.
  • Half-Life/Die Already by Mark Steele:  I really liked this book.  I cannot remember where I had heard about it, but I started reading it during a trip to Barnes & Noble.  I ended up spending most of time there sitting in a big comfy chair reading this book…I decided I ought to buy it.  This is a laugh-out-loud memoir of a couple of years of his life that really helped me think through some of my frustrations and wrestle with my jaundiced perspective.  Steele is a Christian and writes as one, but the book is not didactic in nature.  I hope to read Steele’s first book, Flashbang, soon – I found it the used bookstore!
  • Total Church by Tim Chester & Steve Timmis:  Great book that really challenged me in several areas about the way I think about church and how church is done.  While I didn’t agree with everything or some thoughts gave me pause, I found the authors to be incredibly humble, Gospel-centered, and biblical.  The subtitle of this book is “A Radical Reshaping Around Gospel and Community”.  After arguing for both from Scripture, Chester and Timmis show how these apply to various areas of ministry and practices of the church.  Very helpful and persuasive and I am inclined to believe that when we miss on one area (gospel or community) we will miss out on the fullness of both – ultimately they are intertwined.  Just found this (Audio/Video from a Total Church Conference), but have no idea when I might be able to listen to some of it.
  • Watchman by Ian Rankin:  I started reading Rankin a few years ago with the Inspector Rebus series books, which tend to be dark in content and feel.  This is a stand alone book, was actually Rankin’s second book to write and this is the American publication of that work.  The writing is not as strong as Rankin’s other works, I think partially due to his attempting to build suspense.  Watchman is essentially a spy novel but the main character is more of an everyday spy than a Jason Bourne type.  Anyway, decent and entertaining read.

A Journey Worth Taking: The Fall (part 2 of 2)

You can read more about what I am doing and see a schedule for reading/posting here.  First post is here.  Second post is here.  Third is here.  The fourth is here.

In chapters 10 and 11, Charles Drew in A Journey Worth Taking, concludes his probing of the effects of the sin of man on the way that we approach work, purpose, and life in general.  Chapter ten describes some of the symptoms of how our calling and sense of that calling has gone wrong;

  • Delusions of grandeur or innocence
  • Delusions of worthlessness
  • Ingratitude masquerading as modesty
  • Isolation brought on by competition
  • Envy

As I reflect upon these symptoms, I find that it isn’t just one of them that is a problem, but that all of them can operate in our hearts and lives depending on the situation.  The end result is the same: frustration at best and at worst what we really want…to be the center the cosmos rather than God.  These themes show up in our work (including school) where we “tend either to devalue work or make it too important.”  Towards the end of chapter eleven, Drew makes this statement that stood out for me:  “When we give our lives away to any created thing – however good that thing is – we begin to die on the inside.”  This goes back to the topic of idolatry and I wonder how many of us are really dying because we have done this?

A Journey Worth Taking: Creation (part 2 of 2)

You can read more about what I am doing and see a schedule for reading/posting here.  First post is here.  Second post is here.

I love how Drew is directing us in chapter six to make God the priority of our lives – that that will be the most meaningful way for us to “find ourselves”.  This, again, is counter to the current notion of self-discovery that pushes us out to the edges instead of to the center of all life.  Or the notion that I (and I alone) am the definitive voice for all notions, whether they be about who I am or what I will do.  In discussion Psalm 34:3 (“O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exult his name together.” – KJV), I loved the following statement:

How strange this language is when you think about it.  Isn’t God already big – isn’t he already infinite?  Indeed he is.  The problem lies with us.  For multiple reasons we have difficulty seeing his greatness and therefore must train our vision.  We also have difficulty giving God center stage and therefore must train our hearts.”

This then leads to Drew coming back to the notion of all work being sacred and therefore we can “worship while we work…Our pursuit of calling unfolds in God’s world, not ours.”  And finally there is this thought:

Our calling…is ‘missional’ – not in the narrow sense of going into foreign missions (though it might include this), but in the much broader sense of finding and promoting him in everything we do.”

How rare I imagine that this is in our lives and how often we miss the opportunities to see God, let alone promote God in everything we do.

This article (an interview really) on byfaithonline fits nicely with the topic of this book.

(I will probably post separately on the topic of chapter seven, “Finding Ourselves in Community”)