On Losing a Computer

pexels-photo-129208

I really appreciate all your kind concern over the fate of my lost computer.

If you weren’t here last week, I mentioned in service that on my quick trip to Denver, CO, to visit the Thomas family I accidently left my computer in one of those plastic bens at the security check point at the Nashville airport. I didn’t realize it until I opened my satchel half way to Denver to find that my beautiful silver MacBook Pro was missing in action. Enter panic attack!

When I landed in Denver, I immediately called security in Nashville. No computer had been turned in. A little worried, I comforted myself with the thought that it’ll turn up soon. It couldn’t have gone far, right? Boy was I wrong. Much to my surprise, I received an e-mail message from someone in China who had my computer. You read that right: China! Somehow or another my computer ended up in this man’s suitcase and travelled half way across the world.

As I write to you today, the computer is still somewhere in China. I’ve corresponded with the man who has it several times. Last I heard he was going to look into the best way to return my computer. I’ve suggested he find a FedEx and let them take care of it! Pray he takes me up on that suggestion.

I’ve learned a few things from this experience thus far. Mostly, I’ve learned that you should never lose your computer! Trust me on this, friends. But aside from this obvious lesson, I’ve been forced to come to grips with how technologically dependent I am. I knew this before I lost my computer to a degree, but it’s come home to me in rather personal and painful way the moment my machine went missing. In a real and unsettling way, I felt as if my life had come to screeching halt. No computer. No life. How was I going to survive? Sounds ridiculous, but that’s how it felt.

Thankfully, I’ve learned there is a life beyond computers. In fact, it’s a pretty good life. For instance, I’ve rediscovered the gift of pen and paper. I’ve always loved to journal and handwriting, but I’ve drifted away from it as I’ve become more wedded to the computer. I’m experiencing a new and refreshing slowness in the practice of handwriting. I can even sense my mind slowing down in a healthy way, moving at a human pace rather than a technological one. Interestingly, I’m finding an increased ability to make connections between words, meanings, and concepts that seem to be missing when I’m following the blinking cursor and keypunching.

As strange as it may sound, there is something of a renewed satisfaction with meditative study taking place for me. Through the deliberate process of longhand writing, a fresh attention and receptivity has awakened. I can feel it in my bones.

Don’t misunderstand me. I want my computer back, and the sooner the better, please! But, by God’s providence, I’m grateful for this forced technological hiatus. For maybe when the computer gets here (if it does), I won’t let the computer “get me” as much as it once did.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

It’s a Joy to be Your Pastor

Cornestone LogoI woke that morning to a glowing iPhone screen with a text message that read, “I am praying that you will glorify God in all you do today!” It was from one of you. Amazingly, even before I was awake, you were awake remembering me before the Lord.

After the morning routine, I met with one of you for a sweet time of counsel and prayer before I hurried off to the She Reads Truth offices where I got the privilege of “preaching” an impromptu mini-sermon on the three uses of the law and how it applies to the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7. It was as always such an encouraging time!

Arriving back at the office, I ran into another one of you on the sidewalk outside the church. We stole 5 minutes to catch up on life, revel in the grace of God, and pray before I dashed inside to finish my (overdue) article for He Reads Truth and return some phone calls.

At 11:30am, I met my parents and my Uncle Gary and Aunt Debra at the church to give them the grand tour of the chapel before eating lunch together. As we were walking to 55 South, I ran into one of you. After a few introductions (and some very important baseball talk), you insisted on buying our lunch and provided the means to do so. Astonished by your great kindness to us, we ate together giving thanks to God for your generosity.

I walked back from lunch on the phone with one of you. You were calling for counsel on a difficult situation in your life. Despite the challenge of what you’re facing, I was moved by the gospel resolve and patience God has given you. In more ways than I can articulate, you ministered to me in that conversation.

Well, I could go on, but I’ll pause here. The hour is late and Christy’s already in bed. (Plus, I’m running out of real estate). Let me wind this down by asking a question that’s probably lodged away in your head right now, “Why did I mention all this?” For only one reason: to give thanks.

Many pastors struggle to say a positive word about their congregations. I’m happy to say that’s never been my problem. In fact, I sometimes temper my praise and thanksgiving for Cornerstone in the presence of other pastors so as not to overly discourage them. The truth is this: it’s a joy to be your pastor. Thank you for giving me the privilege and suffering me so well. You have no idea how much it means.

Borrowing from the Apostle Paul, I say to you in closing: “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now” (Philippians 1:3-5).

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Answering the Call: On Mission to Athens, Greece

acropolis-akropolis

Whenever I teach the Exploring Cornerstone class, I unpack in detail the vision and mission of the church. To do that, I first summarize and then dissect this one sentence: “Cornerstone exists to glorify God in the gospel together as disciples who make disciples.” Embedded in that single sentence are these four priorities: worship, discipleship, fellowship, and mission. Let me break it out for you by italicizing the specific words that relate to these four areas of the church’s mission.

  • Worship – To glorify God in the gospel
  • Fellowship – To glorify God in the gospel together
  • Discipleship – To glorify God in the gospel together as disciples
  • Mission – To glorify God in the gospel together as disciples who make disciples

Whenever new folks enter Exploring Cornerstone, I ask them what drew them to our fellowship. It’s very common to hear that our Sunday morning worship service was a bigCornestone Logo draw. The quality and approach to music, the gospel-centered expository preaching, and the ordered intimacy of the service are regularly noted. It’s also not surprising to hear that folks are attracted by the warm and welcoming fellowship at Cornerstone. There’s a holy buzz on Sunday morning and a genuine friendliness and intimacy among the flock that’s often evident to those who visit. Many visitors also appreciate the breadth and depth of the discipling ministries. The quantity and quality of different discipleship offerings communicates to them our commitment to grow in the knowledge of God and be equipped for the work of ministry.

These comments are always encouraging, for they reveal that our ministry vision is not just on paper but is actually taking root in and radiating out from the life and ministry of the church itself. One distinctive, however, almost never gets the kind of commendation that worship, fellowship, and discipleship gets. Can you guess it? That’s right—missions. Why do visitors rarely mention being drawn to Cornerstone because of missions? We generously contribute financially to five campus ministries, eight church plants, and six missionaries (both foreign and national). We also have a host of members actively involved in local ministries like GraceWorks, Nashville Rescue Mission, English as a Second Language classes, nursing homes, prison ministry, local schools, etc. Even with this, it has seemed that this part of our vision has too often flown under the radar and not reached the same level of commitment as the other aspects of our vision.

I’ve been praying that more and more that the call of Jesus Christ “…to make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19) would become for us the very heartbeat of our lives. In addition to prayer, the leadership of Cornerstone is striving to organize more opportunities for us to answer the call to make disciples both locally and globally.

fullsizeoutput_1b57

One such opportunity is quickly approaching. In partnership with one of our supported ministries, Servant Group International, Cornerstone is sponsoring a mission trip to Athens, Greece this summer. We will be serving among the 50,000 refugees that are stuck in Athens. Women will be assisting at a local church helping to provide for basic needs for moms and kids. Men will help with light construction and building a rooftop vegetable garden at a nearby live-in shelter for unaccompanied minor age refugee boys.   This is an incredible opportunity for you to show with your hands and share with your lips the love of Jesus Christ! Several of you have mentioned you are interested, but you’re concerned you can’t get the money. Let me urge you strongly to not let financial fear stand in the way! Church support is available and fundraising opportunities are forthcoming, but you need to apply in order to be a candidate for that support. Trust God to provide and say, “Yes!” to this unique opportunity. Let’s go together in the name of Christ as agents of gospel grace to make Christ known to those who are desperate need of gospel hope. Apply today! For more information visit www.ServantGroup.org/greece

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

On Why the Ugliness of the Cross is So Beautiful

A few years ago now, the great Italian writer, Umberto Eco, published a book entitled, “On Ugliness.” It’s a remarkably disturbing book – as you might imagine – a book that both attracts and repels the reader all at the same time. From the opening picture of the severed head of the snake-haired Greek goddess, Medusa, to the closing image of “The Thing” taken from the 1982 horror movie by the same name, Eco explores the dark, the grotesque, and even monstrous in the visual culture of art.

Though it may sound like it, Eco didn’t write the book to simply rub our noses in the gross. Instead, he was striving to show the ever-changing conceptions of “ugly” over timeimages
and across cultures, and even more to provide greater understanding for how we come to determine and then label something as either beautiful or ugly.

At one point near the end of the book, Eco acknowledges that we don’t all respond to every “ugly” thing in the same way. John Milton’s elaborate description of Satan in Paradise Lost is most certainly ugly but in a way that repels us. While images of starving children— skeletal frames, distended bellies—are also in very real sense “ugly,” but in a way that draws us toward them in love and compassion. We might say there is a particularly mysterious interplay of disgust, repulsion, empathy, and attraction that rises up within us when the ugly comes to us in the form of human tragedy.

It’s this same mysterious interplay that helps make sense of Good Friday. For in a special and even cosmic way, ugly and beauty come together in the words, “Christ and him crucified.” For in order to save us, Jesus took on our sinful ugly.

  • Coming as a “…a man with no form or majesty that we should look on him, or beauty that we should desire him…” (Isaiah 53:2)
  • Living as a man of sorrows, experiencing the pain of rejection, “…a man from whom men hid their faces, who despised and esteemed him not…” (Isaiah 53:3)
  • Dying as a man marred beyond recognition “…being wounded for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities.” (Isaiah 53:5)

And yet for the believer this ugliness strikes us as a sublime beauty. For we know that this ugliness is not His by nature—it is His by love for us. Christ took up the ugly deformity of our sin on the cross in order to make us into the beauty of His righteousness. And so within the the the ugly truth of our sin and the gory details of the crucifixion is lodged the most beautiful thing imaginable. God’s love.

This is Good Friday. Thanks be to God.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Priority of Personal and Family Worship

silueta-de-familia-jugando-en-la-playa_1160-596Throughout church history, one of the key spiritual practices of a Christian household was regular family worship. Pausing daily to read the Scripture, pray, and sing together as a family became a regular practice in the early decades following the close of the New Testament era.

For instance, the early church father, Tertullian (c. 160-225), writes about central role family worship in Christian households saying, “…They pray together, they worship together, they fast together; instructing one another, encouraging one another, strengthening one another.” A few centuries later the archbishop of Constantinople, John Chrysostom (c. 349-407), implored God’s people to gather daily as families for worship, arguing that, “…every house should be a church, and every head of a family a spiritual shepherd…” (Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, p. 545)

Family worship fell on hard times during the late medieval period. The hierarchical view of clergy as well as the removal of the Bible from the laity is at least part of the reason. But as the Reformation got underway, emphasizing a return to the Bible and translations in the vernacular of the people, family worship was revitalized. In his lectures in Genesis, Martin Luther (1483-1546) said, “Abraham had in his tent a house of God and a church, just as today any godly and pious head of a household instructs his children in godliness. Therefore, such a house is actually a school and a church, and the head of the household is a bishop and priest in his house.”

The framers of the Westminster Confession of Faith picked up the same sentiment in 1647 when in the chapter devoted to religious worship and services they wrote, “…God is to be worshipped everywhere, in spirit and truth; as, in private families daily, and in secret, each one by himself.” (WCF, 21.6)

In that very section, the WCF cites Deuteronomy 6:6-7 as a proof text for the instruction—a text some of you, I’m sure, have committed to memory, “And these words that I command to you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up.”

The primary reason Cornerstone published The Repentant Life devotional for the Lenten season is to encourage you in the discipline of daily private and family worship. Due to the demands of daily life, it’s often unrealistic for a Father or Mother to prepare a daily Bible lesson for the family. Having a ready-made devotional with a simple service-like pattern helps the whole family enter into the presence of God together and be nourished spiritually without a lot of preparation or effort.

We sincerely hope you’re finding The Repentant Life devotional a helpful aid to your personal and family life this Lenten season. We’d love to receive feedback from you about the devotional. What are you finding helpful? What is challenging or confusing? Do you have any suggestions for how it could be better? These devotional publications are designed to help edify you, so please know your input is welcomed and always appreciated.

Resources for Learning More about Family Worship:

  • Family Worship by Donald Whitney
  • A Neglected Grace: Family Worship in the Christian Home by Jason Helopoulos
  • The Family Worship Book: A Resource For Family Devotions by Terry Johnson

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Officer Ordination & Installation

Next Sunday will be a special Lord’s Day in the life of our congregation. As most of you know, two weeks ago we elected six men to our officer coreimg_4355—three deacons and three elders. Next Sunday we will have the privilege of ordaining and installing these men to their respective office.

If you’ve never attended an ordination and installation service before, there are several elements of the service that are unique, including a charge, laying on of hands, and public vows. I thought it would be helpful to publish the vows ahead of time, so that you can see the commitments the officers are making to you, the church, and the commitments you, the church, are making to them. These vows are taken directly from our denomination’s Book of Church Order. Please read through, ponder, and prayerfully consider the vows below and come with joy and anticipation next week as we celebrate God’s provision of new officers in our midst.

Officer Vows

  • Do you believe the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, as originally given, to be the inerrant Word of God, the only infallible rule of faith and practice?
  • Do you sincerely receive and adopt the Confession of Faith and the Catechisms of this Church, as containing the system of doctrine taught in the Holy Scriptures; and do you further promise that if at any time you find yourself out of accord with any of the fundamentals of this system of doctrine, you will, on your own initiative, make known to your Session the change which has taken place in your views since the assumption of this ordination vow?
  • Do you approve of the form of government and discipline of the Presbyterian Church in America, in conformity with the general principles of Biblical polity?
  • Do you accept the office of ruling elder or deacon in this church, and promise faithfully to perform all the duties thereof, and to endeavor by the grace of God to adorn the profession of the Gospel in your life, and to set a worthy example before the Church of which God has made you an officer?
  • Do you promise subjection to your brethren in the Lord?
  • Do you promise to strive for the purity, peace, unity and edification of the Church?

Congregational Vows

  • Do you, the members of this church, acknowledge and receive these brothers as ruling elders or deacons, and do you promise to yield him all that honor, encouragement and obedience in the Lord to which his office, according to the Word of God and the Constitution of this Church, entitles him?

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Wait for It

One of the most disheartening things that can happen to a preacher is finding a great resource for a particular sermon a week too late. That happened to me this past week.

I just found out that Intervarsity Press published D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ sermons on Habakkuk in 1953. Lloyd-Jones, if you’re not familiar with him, was the Pastor of Westminster Chapel in London for nearly thirty years. He was one the most influential figures in the Reformed and Evangelical church in Britain in the 20th century.

Though I never met him—he died a year after I was born—Lloyd Jones has become one of martin-lloyd-jonesmy mentors, primarily in the area of preaching. His book Preaching & Preachers was the most influential book I read on preaching in seminary, and over the course of the last tenyears or so, I’ve listened to at least a couple hundred of his sermons online. He is, in my opinion, one of the greatest practitioners of expository preaching that has ever lived.

And so, I learned, after preaching half of Habakkuk, that Lloyd Jones’ sermons on this great book were available. Published in a slim little volume entitled, “From Fear to Faith.” I located a copy from a small book house in Britain and had it airmailed to me. It arrived Wednesday of this past week, and I’ve found little snatches of time this week to read through all six expositions. As you might imagine, it is remarkably good.

I took some small comfort in noticing his textual and application focus on Habakkuk 2:1-4 paralleled what we covered in last week’s message, namely, waiting upon the Lord. But what I enjoyed about Lloyd-Jones message was how he spent substantial time illustrating the principle of waiting upon the Lord from the Bible. Whether it was Noah, or Daniel, or Jeremiah, he showed that God’s people very often learn the most from God when they wait upon Him.

He finished his sermon on Habakkuk 2:1-4 with these words:

“For Christian people today, in perplexity with regarding to so much that is happening in the church and in the world, this is still the answer of God—wait. Not only is the whole future course of history known to God, and His purpose for the church made plain, but what He has decreed will most certainly come to pass. It may at times be difficult to understand the delay. Yet, ‘with God a thousand years are as one day and one day as a thousand years.’ Wait for the vision; it is certain, it is sure, it can never fail.”

These words are even more impactful when you realize that Lloyd Jones was speaking to a war torn audience in Britain at the time. After the ravages of World War II, Europe saw some of the bleakest days of hunger and disease. Many were without work and a whole generation of young soldiers had been killed. The questions circling their minds were, “What does all this mean? What is happening?” Or, as Lloyd Jones put it in his opening sermon, “Is God in control of world history?”

These are the questions many in the world today are asking. What is going on? Is God in control? Habakkuk is teaching us what it means to not stifle such questions but to instead take those questions to the Lord and probe His Word for answers. In the end, we may not get all the answers we want, at least not yet. But, we will most certainly get The Answer we really need.

Wait for it.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Officer Election at Cornerstone

In June of this last year, the elders approved seven men to enter officer training at Cornerstone Presbyterian Church. The seven men were John Marquardt, Gene King, Todd Russell, Mike Smith, Brian Phillips, Marty Smith, and Steve Green. Each of these men accepted your (the congregation) officer nomination and filled out the “Officer Readiness Questionnaire” as the first step in evaluating belief, character, and call to leadership

Beginning in July, these seven men began a six-month officer training process that focused on spiritual, doctrinal, and officer development. One of the objectives of training is to evaluate and test each man’s sense of call to being an officer as well as identifying Cornestone Logoand developing gifts for ministry.

Over the course of the training, Mike Smith and John Marquardt determined that now is not their time for them to pursue officership at Cornerstone. As so many of you know, Mike and John are remarkably godly men, whom the Lord has used immensely in our church and the wider community. Not surprisingly, it was their godliness and commitment to honor the integrity of officership that helped them determine that now is not the time for them to be an officer. Though it was sad to see them step away, my love and respect them increased all the more through the process. We are truly a better congregation for having these two brothers in our midst.

The five other men—Marty Smith, Brian Phillips, Todd Russell, Gene King, and Steve Green—finished training a couple of weeks ago and were examined this past Tuesday night by the elders. I’m pleased to announce that each man passed examination with flying colors and was unanimously recommend to the membership of Cornerstone for election on Sunday, February 12, 2017. (Mark your calendars now!)

In addition to these new officer candidates, one of our current officers, Joe Haworth, was nominated to move from the diaconate to the eldership. As anyone who knows Joe will testify, he’s a servant of servants. He’s certainly among the most caring and compassionate men I know. At the same time, Joe possesses gifts in teaching and spiritual shepherding. What that means is Joe is a unique servant of the Lord whose gifts could be deployed as either a deacon or an elder.

As Joe and I began to talk through his sense of call and gifting, exploring whether a transition from deacon to elder was wise, we both became convinced that a move to the eldership made the best sense. So, in addition to the five new candidates, you will also be voting on Joe Haworth for the office of elder.

To help you prepare to vote your conscience on February 12th, next week pictures as well as short bios of the officer candidates will be published in the Pastoral Notes, so you can get to know the men better. In addition, we will publish their contact information as well, so you can reach out to them personally with any questions you might have.

Speaking of questions, if you have any about the officer training process or the upcoming election, please feel free to contact the church office or one of our elders. We would be happy to help in any way we can!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Nurturing a Holy Imagination

156380455

“As a Christian, I am responsible for the furniture of my mind and imagination.”—Frank Gaebelein

I’ve taken time over the last several weeks to talk about the imagination, because I sincerely believe a healthy and holy imagination is critical even essential to a vibrant life of faith. God designed us to be drawn toward whatever it is we find beautiful or compelling. That is to say, what we see and love—real or imagined—possesses the power to give shape and direct our lives.

If, for instance, you’re imaginatively drawn to being a rock star, then your vision for the good life will be drawn in large measure by what it means to be a rock star. A certain dress code and attitude—we might even say character—begins to take shape as your life more and more falls under the influence of what it means to be a rock star.

Likewise, if you’re imaginatively drawn to being a cowboy, the very same principle holds true even though the image will form in an entirely different way. A different dress code and attitude are required to be a cowboy, and over time the shape and direction of your life will form around the “image” as it bears increasing sway over your mind.

Hopefully you can see through these analogies the particular power that the imagination has to direct our affections and then our life. If you pay close attention to your own internal world, you’ll likely to find various images of the good life floating around inside of you. Those images possess immense power to cultivate virtue or vice in your life.

Remember, our everyday sins like greed and lust are little more than imaginative iniquities. But even the more egregious sins like stealing or adultery are really just greed and lust all grown up. Consider Eve’s imaginings about the fruit on the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in Genesis 3. It wasn’t until she had imagined what fruit could do for her (“the good life”) that she was poised to eat it.

At the same time, if our imaginations are filled with visions of the true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8), then it’s likely our character and course of life will follow suit. What that means is that all Christ followers must learn both to properly guard and guide their imaginations.

To that end, a few practical instructions for pursuing healthier and holier imaginations:

  1. Take time to identify the images that are exerting power in and over your life. What are the images that frame your hopes and expectations? What is the vision of the good life that you’re using to we evaluate life and determine whether you’re succeeding or falling short? The more aware and attentive you are to the mental images at work within you, the better prepared you will be to protect against idolatrous imaginings and promote visions of the good life that are consistent with Scripture.
  1. Monitor how different images or imaginings are affecting your heart. Ever noticed how going to someone else’s house will often effect how you feel about your own house? Ever noticed how a movie will inspire you to live differently or draw you into temptation? Take note of how your heart gets turned in various ways through images. Which ones encourage you? Which one’s derail you? Establish parameters where your heart may be most susceptible to sin. Not everyone struggles with the same images. Pay attention to your heart.
  1. Set good, true, and beautiful images before your eyes as often as you can. The German poet, Johann Goethe, argued that the best way to train our aesthetic sensibility is to have beautiful things always before our eyes. The point Goethe is making is that our taste for things is shaped by regular exposure to them. Repetitive influence is profoundly powerful. If we regularly and intentionally set the good, true, and beautiful before our minds, then the likelihood of those things catching hold of our imaginations and over time directing our lives is far greater than if we do not.

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

A Holy Imagination for the Life of Faith

“The constructs of the imagination tell us things about human life that we don’t get in any other way”—Northop Frye

Last week in the Pastoral Notes, I took time to express the importance of the imagination for a strong and vibrant faith in Jesus Christ. The reasoning was simple. If we are going to see and live according to “…the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1), then we must possess the ability to envision the invisible—we must be able to imagine.

Whether we know it or not, we imagine all the time. Every time I lose my wallet and my dear, patient wife asks me, “Where were you last time you had it?” she’s calling on my imagination. Simple questions like, “What did you have for dinner last night?” or “Who do you want to be when you grow up?” are imaginative questions. You’re being asked to mentally retrieve something in the past or cast a vision for the future. You’re being asked to see with your mind something that you can’t see with your eyes.

The imagination also has a deep-seated moral component. Little girls play house and want to dress up like Mommy, because Mommy is the hero they want to be like. Little boys dress up like a superhero, because that’s the vision of what it means to be great. We grow toward that which our imagination is captured by.

Any time we have expectations or hope or an idea for how something ought to be, we are using our imagination. For instance, “What’s your idea of a perfect Christmas morning?” That question is asking you to build a mental image. The person answering is likely to channel certain images and feelings that will evoke a “this is the way things ought to be” moment.

Anytime we’re thinking in the category of the “way things ought to be,” we’re employing to more or less degree the moral imagination. We’re conjuring in the mind a perspective or an image of the good and beautiful life. That image however fuzzy has the power to shape and direct a life. You will inescapably move toward it.

This is why we have to keep a close watch on what’s grabbed our imagination. Does our imagining align with God’s vision for the good and beautiful life? To keep our moral imaginations holy and healthy, we must have our hearts captured and then shaped by the narrative of Scripture.

For instance, when we read the story of Moses and the parting of the Red Sea or David’s clash with Goliath, we’re immersed into a (true) story that shows us God’s power to conquer what looks like unstoppable evil and to rescue His people in what looks like impossible situations and to do in the most unlikely of ways. The imaginative power of the characters, events, and the storyline can “baptize” our minds (to steal a line from C.S. Lewis) and then direct our lives toward the good, right, true, and beautiful.

The more such biblical stories capture our minds, the more power they carry to strengthen our trust in God and condition our obedience to His call. In other words, as the Scriptures through the power of the Holy Spirit lay hold of our imaginations our moral lives are shaped according to God’s heart.

We must be disciplined to stir up the imagination to the enchantment of the gospel story. We must remember time and again that not just Moses and David have come, but an even a greater Hero has emerged. And He came conquering what looked like unstoppable evil, to rescue His people from what looked like an impossible situation, and to do it in the most unlikely of ways. His name is Jesus Christ. He is the babe in the manger, the man on the cross, the resurrected Savior in the sky, and one day returning King of King who is remaking heaven and earth.

The more this story gets in you, the more power it will have over you, and the greater shape and direction it will give to the unfolding of your story—I mean God’s story in and through you.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized