Category Archives: Musings

Never Eat Alone

Back in my study days at Northwest University, Dr. Gordon Fee came through as the Staley Distinguished Scholar. His one week of teaching is permanently stored in my memory.

In the chapel service each day, he taught us how to compare the “vanity, vanity, all is vanity” of Ecclesiastes with the permanence of “The man who does the will of God is forever,” in 1 John.

Dr. Fee gave his attention, in the evening sessions, to the fact that Christians and the Church are the “newly reconstituted people of the Spirit.” We studied some of the intricacies of God’s selection of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as the “people of God.” Yet the primary emphasis was upon how in Jesus’ life, death, burial, resurrection, and sending of the Holy Spirit, God reconstituted “the people of Spirit.”

This holy-day season, I am uber thankful for family. In this newly reconstituted people of the Spirit, one’s family is even more grand than the biological family. Yes, my father lives in Arkansas. Yet I have fathers in our newly reconstituted family too and everyone in this particular family find father in Father God.

As a daughter or son of God you are truly, really, and genuinely related to the rest of our “newly reconstituted family of God.” These sisters and brothers are actual relatives. “The Church family” isn’t just a slogan on the wall or an idea on the pages of an antique text or a philosophy in seminary lecture. The Christian family is related at the deepest level.

Ninety minutes from now our part of the Christian family will gather for a church family meal. Our ethnicities will be diverse. Our skin color will various shades of the palette. Our primary languages will be varied. HOWEVER, we are genuinely and deeply family.

God’s newly reconstituted family is our most powerful evangelism message. Nothing on earth is as powerful as aligning with Father God as a daughter or son who brings joy to His heart.

When we lock ourselves in our homes with our biological family, to the exclusion of the larger family, we silence our greatest Gospel voice. I have noticed that “the happy American family” is rarely effective in evangelism in their homes. It is not the fact that the family is happy and American, it is that our families often become ingrown, isolated, and cut off from the joy of welcoming the God-orphan into our newly reconstituted family of the Spirit.

The stranger in your home gets a taste of the day when, should they come into alignment with Father God, they are welcomed to God’s eternal home and into His fantastic family.

There is plenty of time. Come on over so that neither you nor I eat alone.

Hey, Dude. You are wrong!

Just been reading a few bloggers who feel their calling is to point out every well known pastor, author, television presenter, or evangelist’s theological error. Viciously these bloggers attack everyone who views a text, doctrine, or experience differently than they estimate it should be viewed.

My problem with this approach is rather simple. Everyone is wrong, seriously and entirely wrong somewhere. No one has attained theological perfection. The pride required to think that you are perfectly aligned with the Eternal Mind of God is gargantuan.

Thankfully you and I are not God.

We are merely tiny little human beings (with even smaller brains) who are invited to activate the grey matter in thoughts of God. My Bing search tells me that your brain weighs less than three pounds. Really, there is no way that a three pound organ can contain all the truth of God.

I am fairly sure the Apostle Paul was smarter, brighter, and more intelligent than you and me. About trying to understand the love of God, Paul said, “We see through a glass darkly.” Pity the soul who thinks the glass has no darkness.

One guy said, “I don’t preach man’s opinion. I preach the infallible Word of God.” My immediate thought was, “Dude! That’s your opinion.”

A pastor argued with me one day, “Kent, there is only one truth. All truth is one.” To which I replied, “And, by your estimation, you have that one truth. Every one who disagrees with you is in total error, because you have all truth.”

God, it seems to me, is fairly bright.

If he wanted to do so, he could have written us a theological text. But He didn’t. He might have written us an ecclesiological treatise so that everyone knew the exactly perfect church governance model. But He didn’t. No need for Plato, Socrates, or Thales because He could give us the mother of all philosophy works. But He didn’t

Maybe the Eternal Mind of God likes his creation to actually think! What if God likes the process of human thinking as much or more than the conclusions of the thinking endeavor?

My best guess is that God so much enjoys watching you think that He has grace for all the areas in which your conclusions are wrong.

Rather than run around the theological world to point out other folk’s error, one could humbly approach the Throne of Grace to obtain mercy and ask God for insight into the error in their own understandings.

We are all wrong somewhere. Humility demands this truthfulness.

My Systematic Theology professor at Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington, Dr. Daniel Pecota, was fond of saying, “Students, what we don’t exactly know is how much error God tolerates.”

Most of what we know about pleasing God is VERY clear and easy to understand. “Honor your father and mother,” isn’t hard to assimilate. “Remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy,” is pretty clear. “Declare with your mouth and believe in your heart,” makes sense to a three year old.

If we anchor all of our thoughts in the Bible, 80% of our thinking will be in alignment with the Eternal Mind of God. The other 20% is a ton of fun to debate but surely not worth inciting pride in our hearts, because pride is what makes devils. Rather than operate, with pride, out of the 80% of your thinking that may be accurate, how about living in humility from the 20% that is in error?

I challenge you to select your least favorite Christian group, minister, author, or organization and find all of the ways that they agree with the Eternal Mind of God. Make a list. It will be longer than you expect and more of a joy than anticipated.

Although I am not sure where, most likely, part of this article is wrong.

Traffic Pattern Change this Weekend! 9/7-9/10

MCA Church must be approached from the west on Saturday and Sunday, September 8 and 9. The fire hydrant on the North side of DeBarr and Patterson is being removed and DeBarr Road will be closed just to the east of MCA Church. You can easily get to MCA from the west.

Thinking about Theology

In one way, theology impacts every aspect of life. In other ways, it is an entirely different deal altogether.

I hold to particular views of soteriology, Bibliology, anthropology, eschatology, and a few other “ologies.”

However, I am not sure how God and the NFL intersect or the role sovereignty plays in accidents or how involved God is when the human DNA is developing.

I don’t have a theology of sports or beauty or details of birth. Why were you born in a wealthy country with plenty of natural resources to provide for your food while others were born in dusty, parched, and dehydrated deserts?

What if “theology” has become too big of a concept? Do we really need a theology of cancer? Can we require a theology of technology? Should we pursue a theology of over-population?

Maybe theology is a discipline and dance of the mind, heart, and soul in relationship with God.

Maybe we demand too much of theology and in so doing miss the joy of keeping in step with the One who rejoices over us with singing and maybe forcing theology on everything is a self-protective measure that guards us from falling head over heels in love with Jesus.

Paul said, “I know whom I have believed.” I think it is significant that he DIDN’T say, “I know what I have believed.”

The Bible doesn’t say why my Seattle Seahawks seem to always lose the big game. It never mentions ADHD or Autism or car wrecks.

BUT! It does weave for us a theology of God’s love, presence, grace, and power.

Maybe we should drop an extreme emphasis upon arguments about God and just fall into his arms and lovingly dance with Him.

The Problem of Evil in the World

Atheists seem to struggle, deeply struggle, with the problem of evil in the world. If God is all good and all powerful, why is there evil? They ask.

I don’t really struggle with this question because for me, it is only a question for which I have no answer.

Why do we feel the need to have all questions answered here and now?

What I do know about God and my personal experience with Him is more than enough to ensure that there is a perfect answer for this difficulty, but it simply isn’t yet known.

Most atheists don’t struggle, I am guessing, with the question, “If there is no God, why is there love in the world today?” They don’t have an answer.

Sometimes “I don’t know,” is the perfect answer.