Guest Contributor – David Guzik “We gain far more in Christ than we lost in Adam”

This post is a response to a question that I posed to David Guzik. He graciously allowed me to post it as it was a great response.

I sent David a question based on something I saw tweeted that he had said.
“We gain far more in Christ than we lost in Adam.”

I asked David, “Is this true? Can you riff on this a bit for me?”

Here is David’s response-

Most of us think that the ideal world is the world of innocence, where sin or even have never been experienced. But God seems to place a greater value on the world of redemption.

Adam was certainly innocent, in the sense of not knowing good and evil (Genesis 3:22). But he was not righteous, in the sense of having fulfilled all of God’s law. Jesus came as the second Adam (Romans 5:12-21), and perfectly fulfilled the will and law of God with His obedient life. This positive righteousness of Jesus is credited to the believer by faith (Romans 3:21-22, Philippians 3:9). This is something greater in Jesus than Adam never had.

We also don’t have any evidence that Adam was regarded as an adopted son of God, but the believer is in Jesus (Ephesians 1:5, Galatians 4:5).

We are named kings and priests before God (Revelation 1:6, 5:10) – Adam never was.

We are part of a glorious community that Adam never knew, a community that will be consummated in the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:1-3). Man has never known a community unmarred by sin. Adam and Eve only knew a limited community, and community in a larger context only came long after the Fall. Here, in the New Jerusalem, we have something totally unique: a sinless, pure, community of righteousness, a holy city.

In Ephesians 1:9-12, Paul wrote of the mystery of His will that has been made known to us. What is it? That in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ. A critical aspect of God’s plan of the ages is to “sum up” or resolve everything in Jesus. In a sense, we could say that God glorifies Himself by allowing a problem and showing His wisdom in not only solving the problem, but in making the end result greater that the prior condition.

I see a wonderful consummation of all this in Revelation 21:5: Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”

This is an authoritative announcement, coming from the throne of God itself: He who sat on the throne said. In this announcement, He says: “Behold, I make all things new.” This statement is in the present tense, “I am making everything new.” Revelation 21:5 marks the consummation of God’s work of renewal and redemption, having begun here and now in our present time.

The words “All things new” connect with the thinking behind God’s eternal plan – to allow sin and its destruction in order to do a greater work of making all things new. At this point in His plan of the ages, the plan is complete. All things are new.

Our instinct is to romantically consider innocence as man’s perfect state, and wish Adam would have never done what he did. But we fail to realize that redeemed man is greater than innocent man; that we gain more in Jesus than we ever lost in Adam. God’s perfect state is one of redemption, not innocence.

A few days later, David added this quotation to an email

Today I was reading some Spurgeon, and methinks I have a great quote from him about this very topic:
“You have been a gainer by Adam’s fall. You might almost say, as one of the fathers did, O beata culpa, ‘O happy fault,’ which put me into the position to be so richly endowed as now I am! Had you stood in Adam, you had never been able to call Jesus “Brother,” for there had been no need for him to become incarnate; you had never been washed in the precious blood, for then it had no need to be shed. Jesus has restored that to you which he took not away. He has not merely lifted you from the dunghill to set you among men, but to set you among princes, even the princes of his people. Think of the bright roll of promises, of the rich treasure of covenant provision, of all that you have already had and all that Christ has guaranteed to you of honor, and glory, and immortality, and will you not in the midst of the congregation praise the Lord?” (Jesus, the Example of Holy Praise)

Wow. I love that: You have been a gainer by Adam’s fall …. O beata culpa …. Jesus has restored that to you which he took not away.

No wonder that God had to tell John, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.” John was probably so astounded by these words that he forgot to write – and must be told to do so.

That’s how it runs through my mind. To me, it is just plain glorious.

Cultural Shift – Part 2

[dropcap3]M[/dropcap3]inistering in a theistic environment is relatively easy. Relatively easy in the sense that the you, and the person to whom you are ministering, are playing from the same deck. When you ask, “Can I pray for you?” there’s likely a common understanding about prayer. When you speak about God you can assume that your hearer has a similar concept of God. Religious people with a similar [theistic] worldview are generally more receptive to the gospel, thus “large-scale” evangelism can be effective.

Evangelism in America for several generations had been anything but cross-cultural. For many, “cross-cultural evangelism” has been the equivalent of “foreign missions.” That is simply no longer the case, and contextualization of the gospel is now commonplace for evangelism in our own backyard. There are however some problems. “Contextualization” seems foreign to most ministers over 40. The mainline church is still [largely] relying on evangelistic tactics that are oriented toward a theistic worldview, and expecting receptiveness to the gospel like what you’d hope for among theistics (if I can make up a word).

At the close of 2008 I began teaching through the book of Acts at Calvary Escondido. Six months later, as we came to chapters 10 & 11, I was struck by how the move of the gospel from Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, to the “uttermost parts” – or the Hellenistic Roman world – mirrored the shift of culture the church is now facing in 21st century America. In many ways we’ve reverted to a 1st century mindset and culture in the west. How’s that for progress? This is incredibly foreign for the western church, as it has not experienced such an environment for centuries. This epic shift has given rise to the term “Post-Christian,” which strikes great fear into the hearts of masses of evangelicals.

The first week of April, 2009, Newsweek’s cover featured the headline “The Decline and Fall of Christian America.” John Meacham’s provocative article “The End of Christian America” got more than a little rise out of many in the Christian community. A year prior, in February, 2008, The Pew Forum released it’s nearly 150 page “Religious Landscape Survey.” Pew’s survey of more than 35,000 Americans explored this religious and cultural shift; it was, in many ways, the catalyst for Meacham’s article and Newsweek’s cover.

Post-Christian. This is the cultural landscape of 21st century America; and Western Europe for that matter (Europe is actually far further down the path). Christianity and the “Christian worldview” are no longer the default in America. Some staunchly hold that America is a Christian nation and consider it their call to defend [politically] “Christian America.” Every time I am confronted by this mindset, I am reminded of Jesus’ words to Pilate, “If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight… My kingdom is not of this world.” (John 18:36, emphasis mine) Perhaps we’d do well to actually read those bumper-stickers that are so trendy among evangelicals today.

Why does this reality seem to frighten us so much? Have we totally forgotten that the world in which Peter, John, Paul, Barnabas, Silas, Timothy, Titus and many others ministered was wholly non-Christian by the very fact that it was pre-Christian? Do we honestly [and arrogantly] believe that America is the last hope for the Christian faith? Look at the statistics, Christianity is not slowing it’s pace of growth in the least. Sure, it may be growing fastest in places other than America and Western Europe, but the Christian faith is not in decline, even in the west.

What then is in decline? To answer that we’d have to ask, “What exactly is “Christian America?”” I believe that “Christian America” has actually meant “Christian Consumerism,” or if I can make up another word, “Consumeranity.” If that is dead or dying, may it be that the DNR is signed and notarized.

Certainly the long way about it, but what exactly is the point for 21st century evangelism in America? Clearly it’s going to look different than it has, but it’s going to be more like it was, as in the days of Paul.

Large scale “crusade evangelism” may still have a place [for a time]. However, most who attend crusades are already theistically minded. They are, for lack of a better analogy, the low hanging fruit. Paul did seek such individuals in his evangelism. Always when he entered a new city he searched for the synagogue; he first desired audience with the Jews and gentile god-fearers. Ultimately he would endeavor to reach the unreached; the paganistic, polytheistic, pluralistic Roman mind.

Evangelism with Romans involved contextualization and more explanation; and uptake, or receptiveness to the gospel was on a much smaller scale. Roman’s were skeptical and suspicious. At Athens in Acts 17 there were a few who were open, but most mocked and dismissed Paul’s defense. This is what I believe awaits the evangelist of our day; skepticism, suspicion, mocking and dismissiveness. Add to this, they, the modern day lost, are not going to come to us; we must meet them in the marketplace, outside the structure of the church.

These may be changes from the norm of Christianity in America, but the reality is that what we’ve experienced in America has not been normal to Christianity. American Christianity for the last hundred years (or more) has made abnormal, normal. So much so that we’ve lost sight of the fact that every Christian is called to be an evangelist on mission. We have exalted a few key leaders as evangelists and cast on their shoulder the burden of the task. The harvest is white and the few laborers are bound to grow weary unless we reengage the body as a whole.

The Apologetics of Homosexuality

There is little doubt that Christianity and Homosexuality seem to be at odds with one another. The Christian belief that homosexuality is a sin and their refusal to advocate same-sex marriage has the Christian church dubbed zealots, bigots and homophobic by the homosexual camp. The rhetoric is loud and divisive on both sides. There is a massive chasm in both beliefs and mutual understanding. This makes a toxic environment to say the least. This toxicity begins to spill into the public forum with the debates, discussions and voting on the legality of same-sex marriage.

For a few decades now, Christians have congregated in churches and taught the Bible. Homosexuals formed like-minded communities and in like manner were built up in their beliefs. These two groups spent little time intersecting or interacting. But with the rise of the discussion about same sex marriage and its national exposure, these groups are now intersecting all the time. The problem seems to be that they aren’t interacting much. There is much bigotry on both sides of this very complex issue. What is most needed is mutual understanding. This short paper is an attempt at beginning a civil, although packed with emotions, dialogue on the discussion.

I am a pastor of a Christian church. I believe that the Bible is God’s word and that it is both inerrant (without the capacity for error) and infallible (without error). I believe that God says what He means, using human authors, and means what He says. Because of this, I believe, and the Bible clearly teaches, that homosexuality is an action that is in rebellion to the plans and purposes of God. In other words, it misses the mark of God’s view of perfection and it is properly termed a sin. I also have many, many friends who have same sex attractions. Some, because of their beliefs, have chosen not to act on those attractions and would say that they live lives of joy. Others, because of their beliefs, have chosen to act on those attractions and would say that they live lives of joy. These men and women are people whom I love and respect. We work hard, albeit uncomfortably at times, to maintain relationships although we disagree on fundamental things. There is love and mutual understanding. We love each other but we do not agree with each other on different things.

My goal is to write this out in such a way as it can be read in one sitting. So my aim is not to be exhaustive but to bring out the most basic questions. It is my hope to facilitate discussion and mutual understanding between the two groups. It is also my hope to give a nuanced view of why Christians view homosexuality as a sin and to propose a way to navigate the lack of civil rights afforded to those seeking government approval for same sex unions.

The Bible and Homosexuality

There are extensive writings about the Bible and homosexuality. From Genesis to Revelation, spanning the entire Old and New Testaments, homosexuality is portrayed as ‘a sin’ (an act that misses the mark of God stated perfection in how humanity should conduct itself). No one denies this. Many people seek to handle these verses in different ways but no one can deny that ‘homosexuality is a sin’ is in there. Whether in Genesis with the narrative of Sodom, in Leviticus with homosexuality capital punishment laws, or in the writings of Paul or the Revelation, the Bible says what it says. So I don’t think it is time worthy to go into each of these passages and discuss them because, at least for me, it is a foregone conclusion as to the Biblical teachings on the subject.

So what are we to do with such a teaching? Most often the attempt is to argue away the validity of the teaching based on personal experience or accusations of judgmentalism. So let’s look at each of the most basic arguments.

Argument #1 – The Natural Affections Argument

This argument looks something like this. “For as long as I can remember, I have always been attracted to people of the same sex”. In essence, the argument is that my natural affections have always pointed that way. Because this way comes naturally then it should not be a problem. This is also extended to the “I love this person”.

Biblically speaking, this argument is exactly the reason that Jesus came to the earth, died on a cross and rose again. The teachings of the New Testament make the case that our natural affections are by default in rebellion against God. Sin is the norm. Sexuality is morally neutral in a vacuum. Humans are sexual beings by nature (whether by design or evolution depending on your viewpoint). The problem is not sexuality but how a human heart handles sexuality. Homosexuality and heterosexual immorality are handled the same way in the Bible. So sexuality is not the problem. The problem is that if humanity’s default is be in rebellion against God then humans tend to handle their sexuality in a way that is in rebellion against God as well. So the Bible teaches our natural affections are exactly the problem. People are naturally selfish (ever see two two-year olds fight over one toy in a room full of playthings). Selfishness is a sin as well. No one teaches a child to be selfish. That comes naturally and is exactly the problem.

Argument #2 – The Judgment Argument

This argument looks something like this. “Who are YOU to tell me who I can and cannot love?” This is the natural affection argument is used in regards to someone’s ability to limit the activities of someone else. This is where laws come into play in this discussion (and we will look at that separately in a moment). But the idea here is that it is wrong and judgmental for someone to tell someone else how to live. There is both validity and absurdity in this argument. I will discuss in a moment the validity side of this argument because in a free country, as long as the country deems that no one is being hurt, you cannot tell someone who they can and cannot love. Again, more on that in a moment. But the absurdity side of the argument is this. Freedom with the absence of any constraints is anarchy (which is radically constraining). True freedom is not living with an absence of restraints but living only with enough restraints to let them be truly free. A simple example is this. If a family lived in a house where their backyard is adjacent to a major highway, would the parents just let their children go out and play anywhere they want? No, they would put a fence around their property. Their children are then free to go and play in the backyard and express their childhood curiosities. But, the parents made a judgment to limit their children’s freedom (by putting up a fence) so that their children can have true freedom (the ability to express themselves without being harmed). So true freedom is not the absence of all constraints but instead enough constraints that there be an absence of destruction.

Argument #3 – The Loving God Argument

This argument looks something like this. How can a loving God not allow people to express their love in a way that seems natural to them.
Now on the Christian side of the discussion, other than using the Bible teaches it argument, there is two major arguments.

Christian Argument #1 – Natural Law

This argument is simply that homosexuality is against nature. This point is argued in a few ways. 1) Men have penises and women have vaginas. Penises emit semen. Ovaries produce eggs. The semen meets the egg and fertilizes it. You get the picture. This biology works simply and effectively. 2) That if took every homosexual and put them on an island (which I would NEVER advocate), without the help of technology or partner swapping, there would only be the present generation and no additional generations. The act itself goes against the evolutionary impulse of natural selection. There are other nuances to this argument but you get the picture.

Christian Argument #2 – Spiritual Blindness

This argument is that humans do not know the extent of their errors until God’s Holy Spirit illuminates it in their hearts. This argument is not specific to homosexuality at all, but is general to all of humanity. Humanity does not know the extent of their depravity until God’s light shines into man’s darkness. For me, I didn’t realize how selfish and destructive my sexual relationships with women were until God’s Spirit revealed them to me. I was a ‘normal’ American teenager; enjoy all the excesses of collegiate life. I was just doing what everyone else was doing. But when God’s Spirit illuminated my heart, I realized how wrong I had been. My conversion only began the process of my realizing the extent of my spiritual blindness. All humans suffer from spiritual blindness and lack an authentic understanding of the spiritual, social, emotional and physical implications of our decisions.

Homosexuality, Religion and Politics

Now we come to what has brought this issue into the forefront – the intersection of homosexuality, religion and politics in the American public square. The touch point for this issue is same-sex marriage. Most often this is seen in light of the separation of church and state. Even the language shows how much America has changed since the writing of our constitution. Today it would have to be seen as the separation of faith and state (or else you could argue that you don’t have to separate mosque or synagogue and state). In essence, the government is not allowed to impose a state mandated faith belief on the people. We are all excited about this. The government can not impose itself on a person’s personal interiority.

Here’s the problem though. This has become more of a debate about traditional religion and the state. But so many moral judgments, from whatever camp it comes from, are faith-based beliefs. Sure, they may come from non-traditional sources but they cannot be scientifically verified. Even secularism is a faith-based belief. The reality is that no one divorces his or her ideas about morality from some sort of faith-based belief (even if it is the faith-based belief against having faith). So in essence, everyone brings his or her beliefs into the public square. Not just the religious but the irreligious as well. No one ever leaves his or her religious (traditional or nontraditional) beliefs outside of the public square. So any side of any argument is the seeking of people to legislate their faith-based assumption on the morality of any issue.

With that being said, we have a level playing field. All people argue the validity of their position from a position of faith, seeking to win over society to their way of evaluating and seeing the world. Because of this, we have a divided nation.

Initial Leadership For Your New Church – Part III

 INITIAL LEADERSHIP FOR YOUR NEW CHURCH – Part III

TIME FOR CHANGE

When the church you’ve planted becomes established and new leaders are being called to serve by the Holy Spirit you will need to start looking at leadership transitions.  In part three of this series I want provide a biblical basis for training local leadership, as well as address some practical issues that come up when transitioning from a non-local board to a primarily local board of elders.

 TRAINING AND EMPOWERING LOCAL ELDERS IS BIBLICAL

There are some pastors who establish boards when they plant a church that are entirely comprised of senior pastors from other churches, who never decide to train up and empower men to be elders from within their local church.  While I would never say that’s a sin, I personally don’t believe that Scripture sets that example.  The Bible seems to encourage the training and placing of elders that rise up from within local congregations to serve as overseers over the local church. Paul told Timothy that it was part of his job as a lead pastor to evaluate the desires for leadership,[1] home-life and character,[2] teaching gifts,[3] spiritual maturity,[4] and reputation amongst non-Christians of the men in his local church for the purpose of establishing a local team of elders. He told Titus that it was his job as a lead pastor to do the same work of evaluating and establishing potential elders in the churches in Crete.[5] Paul was only calling these pastors to do what he had done in the churches he’d planted.[6]

A LONGTERM NON-LOCAL ELDER CAN STILL BE HELPFUL

I don’t think the example of the New Testament encourages us to have only outside elders helping us oversee the churches Jesus calls us to plant for the long-haul.  But that isn’t to say that you cannot have any outside elders after you’ve raised up some men locally.  In a sense, Paul was an outside elder to the churches he established after leaving guys like Timothy and Titus to lead and further establish leadership teams in some of those same churches.

At both churches where I’ve served as the lead pastor I have always had one long-term outside elder.  The main role of this elder is to be a man who can simply offer a fresh perspective in the event that the local guys are too at odds over something to be able to move forward. Thankfully I’ve never had to call on the services of these men to help deal with negative situations, but I’m glad they’re there.

 REPLACE THE LEAST HELPFUL BOARD MEMBERS FIRST

When it does come time to begin replacing outside elders with local elders I would encourage you to replace them in order from least helpful to the most helpful.  That sounds rude, but it’s simply honest.  I discovered that while none of my outside accountability elders were totally unhelpful through the process of planting Refuge, not all of them were equally helpful.  You’ll discover who fills these roles over time.  Some guys might be less accessible or less insightful than others.  Make sure you replace them first with local guys while still keeping the extra helpful guys around.  Of course, as in all things, I would encourage you to soak your decisions in prayer in this area and not merely be pragmatic.

 PRAYERFULLY DEVELOP A SYSTEM FOR TRAINING NEW LEADERS

So how in the world do you go about identifying and training the men the Holy Spirit has called to be part of the local leadership team in your new church?  The fact is that identifying and training elders doesn’t happen by osmosis!  Pastor, God commands you to do the work of training up the men He will call into leadership in your church plant.  God’s exhortation to those of us who serve as lead pastors is seen in another command Paul gave to Timothy: “And the things that you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”[7]

That is a command of God to lead planters and pastors. What this means is that you need to prayerfully develop a system for evaluating the character, family life, gifts, calling, and theology of men before empowering them as your board.  It takes more time to do this with some men than others.[8]  There’s never a way to do this perfectly without making mistakes. You will simply have to be led by the Spirit, and be courageous as He guides you.

 LOOK FOR LEADERS WHO ARE GIFTED DIFFERENTLY THAN YOU

Recently I asked another local pastor I was out to lunch with if he had any main points of advice for a young guy like me who has been in ministry for a far shorter time than he has.  One of three valuable exhortations he gave me was this: “Figure out the things that only you can do, and do those.  Delegate and empower others to do the rest.”[9]  That’s really great practical wisdom.

I have the privilege of having one of my best friends as my assistant pastor.  Our relationship has proven the above pastor’s statement to be true over and over again.  As we work together we keep discovering that while we are both called to be pastors, the Lord has given us different kinds of giftedness as pastors.  My assistant pastor Jeremy is very priestly.  He loves meeting one on one with people and focusing on shepherding ministry.  I love to see and move people toward the big picture of what our church is supposed to be as Jesus leads us.  In some ways my gifts are more suited to working on the church while Jeremy’s are more suited for working in the church.

My encouragement to you would be to look for leaders who are biblically qualified to be pastors, but who have different emphases in their gift makeup.  If you are more of a visionary leader or a missiologist look for guys with a priestly heart who can help care for the personal needs of the people. Hire and empower to your weaknesses when it comes to creating your formal leadership team of local elders. Just like the wider church body, as you each fill your different but vital pastoral roles, your leadership of the church as a team will flow well and the people will be served well.  If you hire and empower guys who are just like you, critical needs in the ministry will probably not be met.

FIGHT TO MAKE IDENTIFYING AND TRAINING NEW LEADERS A PRIORITY

For whatever it’s worth, I would recommend that you as the lead planter start praying about crafting a sort of internship style system that will enable you to spend the needed time with prospective leaders, evaluating the necessary areas in their lives, and testing their call. The issue of training up local leaders is so important![10] Many things you do are important.  But if you allow meeting with people one-on-one, and all the other duties you have to prevent you from training up other elders, in the end you will end up burned out and the people won’t get the attention they need because there’s not enough leaders to help them as your church grows.[11]

At the time of this writing I am meeting with twelve men on Saturday mornings for an hour and a half each week.  On Saturdays we are praying together, learning theology, and practicing accountability.  During the week each man is serving in practical opportunities we’ve designed for them to be able to test their spiritual gifts and call from God. God has blessed it astronomically! You don’t have to be flashy.  You just need to be available to train God’s men and He will do the rest.  Pray for your initial team.  Pray for your replacement local team.

Kellen Criswell

Lead Pastor, Refuge Church

www.refugeutah.org

www.refugeutah.tumblr.com

www.calvarychurchplanting.org


[1] 1 Tim. 3:1

[2] 1 Tim. 3:2-5

[3] 1 Tim. 3:2

[4] 1 Tim. 3:6

[5] Titus 1:5-9

[6] Acts 14:23

[7] 2 Tim. 2 NKJV

[8] 1 Tim. 5:22

[9] Roy Gruber is the senior
pastor of Washington Heights Church in South Ogden, Utah

[10] See Exodus 18 for an Old
Testament example.

[11] Exodus 18 and Acts 6

Helping God Move the Pile of Dirt

“for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”  Philippians 2:13

There was a huge pile of dirt up against the fence and I wanted to move it. I grabbed a shovel and started slingin’ dirt. As soon as a bunch of my kids saw me, they rushed out to ‘help’ dad. They gathered up their plastic shovels and buckets, sand toys…I think one even tried to get on the end of a pic.

I kept digging away, having to pause every once in a while because one of my well meaning children would be scooping up a blue plastic hand shovel full of dirt…and then dropping it down the baby’s diaper. My oldest son had found a bug in the dirt and was on his hands and knees, obstructing half of the pile.

Babies crying, siblings fighting, and dad getting frustrated. Mom comes to the rescue and scoops up the kids and takes them inside, away from a mad dad who can’t accomplish the work in front of him because of these kids.

“I’m not like that.”

“No, Lord, You’re not.”

“You’re like that, aren’t you?”

“Yes, Lord, I am.”

“I allow you to be involved in what I am doing and aren’t you glad I don’t get frustrated with you when you ‘help’ Me, Josh?”

“Yes, Lord…sorry, DAD. Help me not to be like that but to be more like You. Thanks for letting me ‘help’ You in the work that You are doing.”

The kids ended up coming back out after I asked them to forgive me for being a knucklehead, and as I was leveling the last of the soil. The father had accomplished the work. And the kids ran screaming into the house…

“Mom! Look what we did!”

I am continuously humbled that the Lord counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, His work. And I look forward to the Day when we all get to run Home screaming with a joy unspeakable, “Look what we did”, with that childlike simplicity…knowing the whole while, in our heart of hearts, that it was God working in us, both to will and to do, for His good pleasure.

“I’m Sorry, Mr. Tree”?

As you read this, please understand that we live in Santa Cruz County, CA. But the rest of the country is catching up, if you want to call it that.

So a while back my wife is hanging out with one of our granddaughters at the local elementary school. As they are leaving, a couple of little schoolboys climb up into a tree. Boys will be boys … and after all, that’s what trees are for, right?

Not according to the yard duty supervisor. She tells them they need to get out of the tree (understandably, given the various liability and safety issues). After they descend, she then gives them firm instructions: “Now you must go tell the tree you’re sorry!”

Classic scene ensues: one little boy stands up to the tree and says, “Tree, I’m NOT sorry!”

Possible insubordination aside, it’s a pretty funny (and cute) scene. Were it not for probable encouragement toward disrespect for those in authority, my wife would’ve given these boys high fives.

“Tell the tree you’re sorry” is SO Santa Cruz.” People around here love that stuff. This is a tree hugger’s paradise. But this ideology/religion is wrong, and it stems from a rejection of God as Creator.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want to hurt trees. That is, I don’t want to aimlessly or recklessly damage plants, trees, bugs, or animals. Maybe I did when I was a boy, but not now. But I will use trees to build my house, to heat the wood stove, and make my toothpicks.

These boys didn’t “hurt” the tree at all. They weren’t breaking branches, and the tree was plenty strong enough to support them both. Their “crime” was climbing the tree at all.

We’re in a worldview battle, folks. The camps are clearly divided between those who believe God created everything and then left man to use and responsibly manage what He made … and those who deny the existence of God and replace Him with the creation itself.

If there is no God as Creator, Sustainer, and Life Giver, then this life we’re living is meaningless.

I’ll worship God as the Creator of the trees, and then I’ll support responsible use of them.

But I’ll never apologize to a tree. Not gonna happen.

Romans 1:20-21 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

Romans 1:25 …who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

Thanks for reading.

Total Wellness #2 – All Your Heart – Calvary North Bay

 

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Saturday Reflection #2 – Michael Frost – The Purpose of the Church

 

Michael Frost can be controversial. What do you think? Is he correct?

Saturday Reflection – Biblical Shalom

“We call it peace, but it means far more than mere peace of mind or a cease-fire between enemies. In the Bible, shalom means universal flourishing, wholeness, and delight, the webbing together of God, humans, and all creation in justice, fulfillment, and delight. It’s a rich state of affairs where natural needs are satisfied and natural giftings are fruitfully employed all under the arch of God and in His love. Shalom, in other words, is the way things ought to be.” (Cornelius Plantinga, Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be: A Breviary of Sin, [Eerdmans, 1995] p. 10)