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evbc | gilbert


happy festivus!

Well, I suppose I'm in a bit of a video mood, so here's another one--this time a Seinfeld classic. Festivus for the rest of us!


"Christian" vs. Christ-follower

I think you'll enjoy this Mac vs. PC parody by Community Christian Church:


a thought on materialism

This quote from Tommy Nelson (in The 12 Essentials of Godly Success) is timely considering the Christmas rush we find ourselves in:

“Materialism has nothing to do with how much you own or how much you make; it has everything to do with how you regard money and how you use it.” (195)


the prodigal God

Do you know what the word “prodigal” means? Obviously, you’re familiar with the story of the Prodigal Son, but chances are you don’t know what the word “prodigal” means. My guess was “wayward or lost.” But here’s what the word actually means: “recklessly extravagant,” which is why the word fits—the young man “squandered his property in reckless living.”

But, really, the story could just as easily be called the story of the Prodigal Father. Because that’s what his response to his lost son was—recklessly extravagant. He ran to his son (which men didn’t do), put a robe around him, a ring on his finger, and he threw and extravagant party. Then he goes out of the house and shows extravagant grace to his older son who was proud and self-righteous.

Isn’t it amazing that we have such a recklessly extravagant God who—though we abuse his grace by sinning and though we reject his grace with our self-righteousness—runs to us and celebrates that we are his?

My prayer is that your heart is consistently amazed by your Prodigal God.


questions for parents

These were some thought-provoking questions from this week's Men's Fellowships on parenting:

-If you have children or grandchildren, what are your goals for them?

-Have you settled for hoping they won't turn out too bad, or are you praying for warriors who can change the world for Christ?

-How could this change of perspective impact your interactions with your children or grandchildren?

May God raise a generation of parents and kids who don't focus just on "not being too bad" but consider themselves missionaries of the Gospel who can change the world for Christ!


why theology matters

I had a wonderful reminder yesterday why having biblical theology (having an accurate view of God) is so important. I was praying with a man, Terry, from East Valley Bible Church who is having a surgery today to remove his cancer-filled stomach.

Terry's church background is one where it was common for him to hear that God would never want a person sick or suffering. Any belief that God was sovereignly overseeing something like cancer was thought to be something that only faith-less people would embrace.

In the last five years, Terry has seen that God is in charge of the whole universe, including every molecule of cancer in his stomach. This doesn't meant that he has resorted to some kind of cold fatalism, but that he acknowledges that God either causes or allows all things for good, wise reasons. As a result, he has confidence that God will do what is best for him and he prays with confidence knowing that the only person in charge of the situation is God, who can heal either through miracles, through medicine, or through taking him home to Heaven.

If anybody ever tells me that doctrine is unimportant or that believing in God's sovereignty doesn't matter, I'll think of my afternoon with Terry and I'll know that what you believe and know about God will determine how you respond to life's situations.

Pray for Terry. Pray that God will use this surgery and the recovery to rid his body of cancer. And pray that Terry won't waste his cancer.


it's all about him

I heard the following long quotation from Tim Keller's lecture on preaching the gospel. It's worth sharing and meditating on:

Jesus is the true and better Adam who passed the test in the garden and whose obedience is imputed to us.

Jesus is the true and better Abel who, though innocently slain, has blood now that cries out, not for our condemnation, but for acquittal.

Jesus is the true and better Abraham who answered the call of God to leave all the comfortable and familiar and go out into the void not knowing wither he went to create a new people of God.

Jesus is the true and better Isaac who was not just offered up by his father on the mount but was truly sacrificed for us. And when God said to Abraham, "Now I know you love me because you did not withhold your son, your only son whom you love from me," now we can look at God taking his son up the mountain and sacrificing him and say, "Now we know that you love us because you did not withhold your son, your only son, whom you love from us."

Jesus is the true and better Jacob who wrestled and took the blow of justice we deserved, so we, like Jacob, only receive the wounds of grace to wake us up and discipline us.

Jesus is the true and better Joseph who, at the right hand of the king, forgives those who betrayed and sold him and uses his new power to save them.

Jesus is the true and better Moses who stands in the gap between the people and the Lord and who mediates a new covenant.

Jesus is the true and better Rock of Moses who, struck with the rod of God's justice, now gives us water in the desert.

Jesus is the true and better Job, the truly innocent sufferer, who then intercedes for and saves his stupid friends.

Jesus is the true and better David whose victory becomes his people's victory, though they never lifted a stone to accomplish it themselves.

Jesus is the true and better Esther who didn't just risk leaving an earthly palace but lost the ultimate and heavenly one, who didn't just risk his life, but gave his life to save his people.

Jesus is the true and better Jonah who was cast out into the storm so that we could be brought in.

Jesus is the real Rock of Moses, the real Passover Lamb, innocent, perfect, helpless, slain so the angel of death will pass over us. He's the true temple, the true prophet, the true priest, the true king, the true sacrifice, the true lamb, the true light, the true bread.

The Bible's really not about you – it's about him.