28 March 2008

Sit Next To Me

It's not every day that you come to theological realizations at McDonald's.

As I sat alone, eating my double cheeseburger and wondering what I needed to do next on my list of errands, two ladies entered the restaurant, each with one son who was friends with the other. The boys were pretty excited about being at McDonald's, as evidenced by their sprint through the open door and subsequent opening of everything with a handle, starting with the door to the trash bin. While the two ladies ordered lunch, they apparently sent the boys off to secure a table. They scurried about, weaving in and out of several tables before settling on a large, rounded booth with more than enough seating for two little boys and their moms.

One boy said to the other, "Come sit with me."

The other asked outright, "Why?"

Without any hesitation, the first boy said, "Because I love you."

I smiled, and immediately my eyes began to tear up. I tried to hide it: people might have thought, what's this guy's problem? Is the food that bad? It wasn't the food, however, that brought tears to my eyes. It was the nature of the conversation and the sheer honesty on the part of both boys, one wondering why he should sit next to his friend, and the other wanting him to simply because "I love you." You could interpret the conversation this way:

"Come, sit with me."

"Why? What have I ever done to deserve or warrant you, my best friend, wanting me to sit next to you?"

"Nothing. Sit with me because I love you. Isn't that enough?"

I have not had that conversation with any of my friends. At least, not yet. But I know someone who has.

Jesus told the church in Laodicea, "To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne."

Brothers and sisters in Christ, if we overcome life in this sin-filled world, if we escape the corruption of immorality and the manifold temptations waging war on our souls, Jesus will one day say to us (even us who, like the Laodiceans, have at times been lukewarm in our faith), "Come sit with me."

And we'll say, "Why?"

And Jesus will say, "Because I love you."

27 March 2008

An Evening with Phillip Johnson

Last night I attended a presentation called (you guessed it) "An Evening With Phillip Johnson." If you're thinking who is Phillip Johnson, then you should know that he is basically the guy who started the Intelligent Design movement and has been one of Darwinism's fiercest critics. He's also a guy that naturalists (Darwinists) hate because he's not an easy-to-make-fun-of fundamentalist; he's not even a young-earth creationist. In fact, he doesn't even like to be called anything with an -ist at the end. If you're into the literature surrounding the debate, then you will be familiar with his most famous book, Darwin on Trial.

Mr. Johnson, born in 1940, has had at least two strokes in recent years, making walking quite difficult and somewhat slowing his speech. He is still quite sharp, however, and once he got going on a topic, the words flowed quite smoothly.

I arrived a bit early at CCU (where the event was held), and I happened to walk in right behind Johnson and his wife. I introduced myself as he and Jack Cottrell (the interviewer) were meeting. We spoke briefly about Cincinnati in general and the seminary in particular. I must say that Phillip Johnson is a real gentleman. He shows respect for evolutionists and creationists (he made mention of Ken Ham and Answers in Genesis, located just across the river in Petersburg, KY), and he speaks very gently but clearly regarding the fallacies committed by evolutionists.

All in all, the information given was not really anything I haven't heard or read before. It was nice, however, to meet him in person and to experience an event like this while Johnson is still willing and able to travel and speak.

21 March 2008

For This Christ Died? (a repost from last year)

Easter, like most holidays here in America, tends to be marked

by mixed messages. There is truth, and there is all the crap on sale at Wal-Mart.

"God made him who had no sin to be sin for us,

so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Cor. 5:21)

"Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows,

yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities;

the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,

and by his wounds we are healed" (Isaiah 53:4-5)

"Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us,

for it is written: 'Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.' He redeemed us

in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus,

so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit"

(Galatians 3:13-14)

"And they sang a song: 'You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals,

because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God

from every tribe and language and people and nation. . . . Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,

to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!'"

(Rev. 5:9-10, 12)

The contrast is phenomenal, is it not? Now, the Easter bunny is not the Antichrist, nor is Easter egg hunting a sin. But, as is the case for most holidays, we need to stay focused on the source of the holiday and the true meaning. Easter is a bouquet of truths given to us by God. Lean in and savor them for yourself:

"Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."

"The Son of Man came to give his life as a ransom for many."

"While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

"It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out in a loud voice, 'Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.' When he had said this, he breathed his last."

"But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep."

"For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him."

"For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God's presence. . . . But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him."

"Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades."

15 March 2008

Tuesday, a Big Day

I’m really looking forward to Tuesday. It’s Heidi’s birthday, and we are going for our second visit to the doctor, this time to hear the heartbeat! (In case you didn’t know, we’re having a baby! Heidi is due September 16) By then she will be starting week 13.

We really feel blessed by all this. Blessed, but surprised. God’s timing is, it seems, strange. Just when we were at peace with the thought that we may never have our children through natural birth (adoption was certainly on the table), and just when we thought It’s a good thing we don’t have any kids right now, with me being in school another year, maybe more after that, etc., God smiled on us and reminded us in a beautifully poetic way that "in him we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28). We have jokingly said that if it’s a boy, we’ll name him Isaac, which means "he laughs." Perhaps God laughed (in a "bless your heart" way) at our thinking.

We’re ready. We’ve loved this child for seven years already. That’s about how long it took for us to conceive. And I’ve gotta tell you, it was a profound moment when I first said the words (in a prayer) "our child." Wow. Every parent can identify with that feeling, and with the words of Psalm 139:13-18:

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know them full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you.

01 March 2008

I've Been Featured . . . Sort Of

On one of my favorite blogs, Apostrophe Abuse, I've had two photos displayed in their latest entry, "Resident's, Balcony's, Patio's, and Case's." If you've never seen this site, it's a funny collection of instances where people use unnecessary apostrophes. This would be a good time to go over some basics about our friend the apostrophe:
  1. An " 's" never makes a word plural. So please don't write stuff like "Case's of cold Red Bull for sale."
  2. An apostrophe serves a few purposes: signaling contractions (don't, can't, etc.), signaling possession (Mike's book, my parents' names), and, rarely, to indicate the shortening up of a word, usually to represent in writing an accent or unique use of word ('twas, buggin', " 'allo there, 'ow are you?" some Irish guy asked me).
  3. Though not officially an apostrophe rule, its misuse in "its" and "it's" deserves special mention. "It's" always means "it is" or "it has." "Its" always means "belonging to it." It's time for its uses to be clear.

There may be more uses as well as better explanations for the three above (those were off the top of my head). For now, though, class is dismissed.