Monday, June 29, 2009

On Saturday, I felt an emotion that occurs in me only rarely: awe. We were at the Quonset Point Rhode Island Air Show. An F-22 took off in front of us, shot straight up in a giant roar that made my ribcage vibrate. It came to a complete stop in mid-air. I said, "Oh no!" I feared it would fall. And it was beautiful at the same time. And tears came down my face. I looked around, and thousands of fellow-observers were all looking up, jaws open. The volume, the total focus, the incredible sight, the fear, the joy. This is "awe." And it didn't take but a couple of moments, in the midst of this rare feeling, that I remembered John on the isle of Patmos, as he viewed the Risen King Jesus. He fell as a dead man. Awe. I'm not sure I'm looking for more of this emotion. But it was incredible. It emotionally took me to a great place to imagine the feeling of seeing the Lord Jesus. It will be awe then too, only far more.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Call me crazy. I fantasize about going back in time, enabled by the Lord somehow and doing it within some divine mission, but having conversations with various people--or at least watching them play out history. (I love time-travel movies and always have.) For instance, I think about going back to my home town (Annandale, VA) which lay in the path of several early Civil War battles. I would go to the place where my own neighborhood would someday lay. (I could easily find it.) I would stand in those woods or that field and watch the Union army retreat down the road nearby after defeats at First and Second Manassas.

I imagine showing up in front of my Dad (like the end of the film Field of Dreams) while he exits Buchenwald concentration camp, April 1945. I can imagine his state of shock, as a first-liberator. I would identify myself as his son, to be born seven years in the future. I would lift his spirits, tell him there was much to live for, that the war was nearly over (though he would have known that.) I would tell him of his grand-daughters--four decades in the future.

I often wonder what it would be like to be given a couple of days in Judea when Jesus was hang out in Capernaum just after Peter's mother-in-law was ill. Or to be in Ephesus when Paul visited. (Archaelology appeals to people like me for these dreamy reasons.)

I would love to walk beside Martin Luther as he makes his way back to Saxony after the Diet of Worms. I wonder what he would be muttering to himself. And as I appeared (and of course the Lord would enable me to speak in 16th century German) I would encourage him that although things so often seem dark, in God's gracious providence his efforts would bear much fruit.

Call me crazy, I know.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

If Christians didn't have the following words to use, when would it be?
  • Premillenialist, Amillenialist, Postmillenialist
  • Calvinist, Arminian, Amyraldian
  • Episcopalian, Pentecostal, Emergent, Baptist, Congregationalist, Plymouth Brethren, Church of the Brethren, Gathering of the Brethren...
  • Bi-partite or Tri-partite
  • Paedobaptist, Presbyterian, Reformed
  • Infralapsarian, Supralapsarian
  • Blended, Traditional, Contemporary
  • Missional or Body-life committed
  • Partial to Full Cessationist
  • Autocratic, Presbyterian, Democratic

The year would be 64 A.D.

Monday, June 08, 2009

In 2059
will there be?
  • Calvinists?
  • Premillenialists?
  • Charismatics?
  • Presbyterians?
  • Plymouth Brethren?
  • adherents of the Lord's Day?
  • people who believe marriage is by definition between a man and a woman?
  • pro-life people?
  • inerrantists?
  • people who listen to and like sermons?
  • churches with worship-dedicated sanctuaries?
  • the Lord's Table?
  • baptism by immersion?
  • only white churches?
  • only black churches?
  • hymn singing?
  • offering plates?

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Back in the Day
When I became a Christian in 1972 certain names were significant in the Christian arena. Representative were names such as Hal Lindsey, Francis Schaeffer and Elisabeth Eliot. Lindsey's The Late Great Planet Earth, Schaeffer's many books/conferences/L'Abri centers, and Eliot's testimony and books provided drive, thought and fun to evangelicalism. That was 37 years ago. Today Elisabeth is still alive but pretty quiet, Hal Lindsey has moved to the realm of the fringe and Francis Schaeffer has been with the Lord since 1984. Few mention any of them any more. And yet they were "prophetic" and popular in '72.

Who will be "prophetic" for the Church in the second decade of this century? Why will they be important? What lasting value will they have for the kingdom? I have no doubt some will rise in significance. God will raise up people who can speak, act and animate the movement of the Gospel. He is dependent on no specific person's fleeting popularity but He DOES give demonstratation of the Gospel, solid doctrine and individual experiences with Him and acts done by His people, which genuinely testify of His power and love. Most of the people in our church probably have little to no knowledge of Schaeffer, Eliot or Lindsey. The new names will be different. God's continual use of earthen vessels--changing from generation to generation--shows forth His determination to finish the work of this dispensation.