Friday, July 31, 2009

The Power of Forgiveness

My previous post showed a picture taken at the now famous 'beer summit' where an attempt at 'healing' took place over an unfortunate event made worse by the President's words. I think what saddened me the most is that there were no apologies made, and hence no forgiveness granted. Just empty platitudes like, "We're choosing to focus on the future."

At any rate, I've been preparing a message on the Book of Philemon this week which fundamentally deals with forgiveness & reconciliation though those two words are never used.

In the midst of my preparation, I came across this amazing story of healing through forgiveness. The short of it, a woman who had been raped unwittingly accused the wrong man who spent 11 years in prison before DNA cleared him. She was overwhelmed with guilt. He forgave her. They have since become good friends.

Check out their website here.

Listen to their thoughts on the healing forgiveness brings on NPR's "This I Believe."

For those of you in Calgary, this will be a part of the sermon this Sunday at New City Church: North Ridge.

I'm glad I serve the Lord Jesus Christ, who doesn't say, "Let's just focus on the future," b/c I guarantee I'll screw up again in the future. I need a Savior who looks sinners in the eye and says, "Your sins are forgiven."

BTW, I've posted this powerful clip from ER entitled "Atonement." If you haven't seen it yet, take a few minutes to check it out.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Interesting Wedding Entrance

Filed under: Echoes of Another World
If you haven't seen this wedding entrance, you definitely have to check it out. Then read why my friend & RUF Campus Minister, Shaynor, finds himself crying like a girl...

From the RUF Baylor Blog:
"Which brings us back to the video. I find it extremely compelling, and I've spent the past few hours trying to figure out why not only have I watched it several times, but I tear up over it and am really moved by it. Not only I, but millions have been drawn to it. Again, usually when something spreads like wildfire in our culture I tend to be skeptical and assume something is wrong with it. Which is typically true. However, this phenomenon did not affect me that way, and again I ask why?"

Read it all here.

The Good News of the Kingdom of God

Filed under: Quote of the Day
Probably the biggest area of growth in my thinking over the past 4-5 years has to do with the theme of the Kingdom of God that Jesus & the Apostles came proclaiming. My shorthand definition has to do with the new creation that was inaugurated in the life & ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. Here is another, fuller definition that I came across.

“The kingdom of God is the new and final age that began with the coming of Jesus. His kingdom is not part of the present age — an age where the flesh reigns; where people are divided, relationships are broken, and suspicion and competition dominate; where money, sex, and power are abused; where leaders are first and servants last; where behavior is controlled by laws, and identity is defined by race, gender, or social standing; and where gifts and resources are used for the advancement of oneself.

Rather, the kingdom of God is the new age. It is the age of the Spirit (Matt 12:28). It is the age of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom 14:17). The Kingdom of God is about the renewal, restoration, and reconciliation of all things, and God has made us a part of this great story of salvation.

This kingdom is about the restoration of relationships, justice, and equality; about freedom from every lord except Jesus; about reconciliation, forgiveness, and the defeat of Satan. It is about compassion for the poor and powerless, about helping those who are marginalized and rejected by society, and about our gifts and resources for the advancement of others. It is about new communities and the transformation of society and culture, so that race, gender, and social class no longer define identity, nor are they used to control and divide. For Paul, to preach the gospel is to preach the kingdom, is to preach the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:24-27).

The gospel sums up the whole message of good news that he brought to the nations — particularly to the downtrodden and powerless. And since it is good news, our response to the message of the kingdom is to be one of repentant faith (Mark 1:15).”

- Neil H. Williams, Gospel Transformation, 2nd Ed. (Jenkintown, Pa.: World Harvest Mission, 2006), iii.
[HT: Of First Importance]

Re-connected with the world now...

Well, folks, it's been about a month since we've posted anything. In that month, we've said our goodbyes to our friends & family in the States and headed north of the border to Calgary. We had a good trip up here, relatively uneventful. Saw some beautiful country between TX & Calgary.

We've made it up here to our new home. It took about 2 weeks to get the internet & phone plugged in to our home, so now we are reconnected to the world. Thanks for all your prayers during this transition!