Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Suffering

Here are some great thoughts on suffering and American theology from a dear old friend (Natey K anyone?). I got to touch on some similar themes preaching at Bent Tree a couple of weeks ago.

Link

AND, here are two other great links:
1. A 4-hour debate/conversation at Saddleback between Rick Warren [wiki] and Sam Harris [wiki] on the existence of God. It was Newsweek's idea. Link.
2. Time Magazine article on teaching the Bible in the public school system. Link.

9 comments:

Andy said...

are you familiar with the new monastic movement?

Steve said...

no

texnartist said...

Steve,

For your consideration:

http://mp3.sa-media.com/media/32607155852/32607155852.mp3

Let me know what you think.

Cody

Steve said...

Cody,
I listened to the first 26 minutes of that sermon and thought it was great (I have to get a paper written tonight so I had to quit). For a minute, I thought I'd try to write and listen at the same time, but that didn't really work. Didn't work the last time I tried that either...

Anyway, I think he's right. But I always worry about giving too much freedom to examine the fruit of others. I think there's a point where it's kind of obvious, but I also think some who are saved are changing more than is always obvious on the outside (like the stereotyped old sailor who is learning compassion but still cusses a bit and can be kind of hateful). The university where my sister works just got hit with a traveling band of preachers coming from a pentecostal holiness perspective. They came looking for a fight over holiness and judgment, and they also teach that they haven't personally sinned in 20 years and if you have then you're not saved--an extreme and non-Christian teaching.

Washer is walking a different line and I agree with what I heard. There are some old documents (I'd have to do homework to find them) that discuss the problems the early church was having with Christians who caved under persecution and denied Jesus--there were real debates on whether or not to allow them back into the church.

Anyway, you've GOT to read this book (or download it for free). It's the diary of David Brainerd, a missionary to the Delaware Indians before the American Revolution. Jonathan Edwards published it for him after his death. It's dry and slow in places, but it's amazing in others. I think you'll love it. Brainerd does an amazing job in exactly this area. He would thoroughly teach the holiness of God and and our separation and coming judgement. And then he'd teach it again. He'd go for days and even weeks and has stories of one shaman convinced of his own doom and yet trying to help others hear the message because there might still be hope for them. THEN Brianerd would introduce Jesus and it was like superman catching a crashing train--unimaginable. There was little question over the sincerity of conversion.

In honesty, I struggle with this in junior high. We go a lot deeper than some, but I present the Gospel pretty succinctly. We celebrate any decisions, but really see them as the beginning, not the climax. It's the baptisms we get really excited about.

texnartist said...

Thanks Bro for checking it out. I was just wanting another persecutive. I know you are very busy, so if you get a chance, please finish it. Towards the end is really what I wanted your input on. The tests in 1 John on how to know you are saved, but I understand if you are too busy.

I will check out the book that you recommended.

I have been reading a lot lately about the martyrs of the faith. I have this memory, as kid watching a movie with my father where a group of people had to renounce their belief or be executed. I asked him, "Dad, why don't they just say whatever and live." I know now, by the look on my father's face that he didn't have an understanding of that either. He didn't have an answer. I now as a Christian understand, why a person would give up their life for Jesus. Recently I have come to an understanding as to why people embrace their cross, before they are to be executed. I could understand standing up for the truth, but I never understood why a person would passionately embrace the cross, even kissing it. This is the reason why, it means that they have finished the race, they have kept the faith. The pain doesn't hold back the joy of this day being in paradise. Oh, what have we done to the Gospel? Oh what injustice do we do, when we don't challenge people, and have them count the cost of following Christ.

It is painful for me, because several months back I was doing street ministry and I thought that I was about to get stabbed. I can recall thinking, of all the stupid things in my life that I have done, I am going to die witnessing to someone. This is the part that bothers me, I took a defensive position preparing to fight or run. Am I prepared to die for my faith? I only know it would be by God's strength working through me.

So, what does that have to do with anything? I just wish, today that we would hear more people talking about the cost of following Christ. Preaching on the true meaning of surrendering it all. Challenging people to examine themselves, and to truly count the cost.

Steve said...

Amen.

texnartist said...

Hey Bro, What do you think about the stir about Rick Warren partnering with Self Described New Age Guru Ken Blanchard?

Steve said...

Wow--I thought Blanchard came to Christ a few years ago (I've seen Bill Hybels interview him).

texnartist said...

Steve,

Hey, I bought the book you suggested and started reading it last night. I will let you know what I think of it, when I am done.

FYI-watchman.org has changed it's status of Ken Blanchard, however there seems to still be a stir about him.

Anyway a while ago I gave you some printouts about U2. I found where someone had posted the whole video clip. I know you have another point of view, but you may enjoy watching it.

http://www.godtube.com/view_video.php?viewkey=62555582b513ff9d0249