As I read Ben’s post earlier this month, What is the Point of Genesis?, I began thinking a lot about my own Genesis Bible studies. I have studied all 50 chapters of Genesis four times. But Ben’s thinking challenged me to rethink what I had learned. Do I really know Genesis well? I found that I really have just learned the proverbial tip of the iceberg of what Genesis has to teach.
I remembered a question that came up once during Bible study on Genesis 27: Is there a time to use deception to get God’s blessing? I don’t recall how anyone at the study answered the question. This sounds like an odd question, especially when asked of Christians. Why would a Godly person lie or use deception to get a blessing or to glorify God?
Continue reading →
For this holiday weekend (well at least in America it’s a holiday!), I’d like to publish a heartfelt story that my grandmother sent to me today.
It is in slideshow form and was translated from French into English: Mon_fils_English
Here is a free viewer if you have trouble viewing the file: Free MS PowerPoint viewer.
One of the issues that I perpetually struggle with is: How do we understand the gospel and faithfully articulate it in these times?
Formulaic presentations of the gospel — for example, the much celebrated and maligned Four Spiritual Laws — have never appealed to me. Not because they are wrong (they aren’t) but because they seem so reductionistic. The gospel is a living Word. It is like a beautiful multifaceted jewel that deserves to be examined and reexamined from every possible angle. When preaching of the gospel becomes stale, simplistic, habitual and tired, the spiritual life of a community is sapped and discipleship (if it exists at all) degenerates to rules, principles and practices that no longer capture the essence of what it means to follow a risen Savior.
To Rebekah B. Kim in Houston: If you are reading this, I want to apologize. I was one of the Toledo brothers who broke into your house one cold winter afternoon. I would rather say this to you in person, but I do not have contact information for you. Please forgive me.
It was a normal day in the winter of 1990. My friend and roommate rushed into the house and said “We have to move everything out of James and Rebekah Kim’s house. They need our help to move to Houston.” My friends and I immediately mobilized for action. I walked out of our house on Montebello Street, over to the Kim’s house on Kensington, which was only 2 houses away. But there was a problem. No one had a key to the house. One of my friends ran behind the house, another one ran up to the front door. Crash! I heard glass breaking in the back of the house. Crash! I hear glass breaking again, in the front. I started to go back to the house, but then someone called out, saying that the truck was here. Within a matter of minutes, the Kim’s belongings started to be packed into boxes. I walked into the Kim’s house. I picked up a box and loaded it onto the truck. Then I fled.
One word that appears frequently in UBF messages, testimonies, mission reports, and prayer topics is absolute. If you type “absolute” into the search engine at www.ubf.org, you will see the phrases in which it appears:
- absolute attitude
- absolute faith
- absolute commitment
- absolute obedience
- absolute command
If you use one of these phrases in a meeting, and you speak it with a loud and emphatic voice, you are almost guaranteed to evoke from your audience a hearty “Amen!”
This question is especially pertinent to us because, for the last fifty years, the study of Genesis has been the bread and butter of UBF’s Bible study ministry throughout the world. God has blessed thousands of people through our study of Genesis. It has led to many genuine conversions to Christ. It did for me when I studied Genesis in 1980 with Dr. John Lee of Lincoln Park UBF.
How I had understood Genesis. Having studied and taught Genesis for the last three decades, I can say that my understanding and presentation of Genesis was built upon imperatives: God is the Creator, and you are not; therefore, you must honor God as the Lord of your life (Gen 1:1). Man sinned; therefore, repent of your sins (Gen 3:1-7). Cain proudly rejected God’s sovereignty; therefore, you must humbly accept God’s sovereignty (Gen 4:1-7). Noah obeyed God and built an ark of salvation; therefore, you must obey (Gen 6:1-22).
As I looked at the Facebook posts that immediately popped up after the news from various friends, I was shocked at how many contained expressions of glee and celebration that Osama was “burning in hell” right now. This was expressed even by Christians. So I wondered: “What should I be feeling?”