Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Weight of Glory


We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.
Though I do not believe (I wish I did) that my desire for Paradise proves that I shall enjoy it, I think it a pretty good indication that such a thing exists and that some men will. A man may love a woman and not win her; but it would be very odd if the phenomenon called “falling in love” occurred in a sexless world.

~ C.S. Lewis

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Powerful.



I once offered some thoughts here on Phil Robertson's infamous interview -- specifically how he responded when asked to speak to the idea of sin and sinful behavior.

How Christians describe sin has enormous consequences for how we go on to describe grace, Christ, the cross, forgiveness, and the gospel.  So.  That's obviously quite important.

But that was, of course, only one part of that whole conversation.  Perhaps the most important part, in the grand and eternal scheme of things, I would argue.  But there were other parts as well.

I also signed the "I stand with Phil" petition, which I thought was also making a valid point.  It was a much less important point, I thought, in light of eternity, but valid nonetheless.

But I just now had a chance to watch this 29 minute video about the Robertson family.

Powerful.

You should find a half hour and watch it.  I give thanks for this family and the work of conquering grace that Christ has won for them... from one generation to the next.  That in itself is part of the beauty and glory of God's covenant-keeping faithfulness.    




Friday, January 17, 2014

Hollywood Worldviews...



One of the Adult Christian Education Classes at DPC these days is discussing "Hollywood Worldviews," a book by Brian Godawa.

From all that I hear, it's been a very interesting class, with lots of lively conversation.

Check out this recent Breakpoint essay by Eric Metaxas...

HOLLYWOOD'S GREATEST YEAR
by Eric Metaxas


When it comes to Hollywood movies, there really was a “good old days.” And we’ll be talking about the good old days of film throughout the year on BreakPoint. 
What comes to mind when you think of Hollywood movies?
Mindless entertainment? Blood and guts, car chases, over-the-top sexuality? Or maybe you think about how much it costs to take your family to the theater. Seven bucks for popcorn? Really?
Well, if you’re only thinking about all those negative things, that’s unfortunate, because movies were meant to be so much more than just mindless or trashy or expensive entertainment. Like music and art and literature, film is an art form. And just like any other art form, it can express our God-given creativity in ways that stir the imagination and the soul.
At its best, film can move, edify, and inspire us. Just think of Gregory Peck pleading for justice in “To Kill a Mockingbird,” or Humphrey Bogart making a great sacrifice for a good cause in “Casablanca,” or Vivien Leigh vowing never to be hungry again, or even Gene Kelly dancing in the rain. Images like that stay with us and shape the way we look at the world. They’re examples of all that’s good and beautiful about film.
That’s why, all this year on BreakPoint, we’re going to be celebrating some of the greatest films ever made. Specifically, we’re celebrating the 75th anniversary of what has been called “Hollywood’s greatest year.”
In that one year of 1939 we got “Gone with the Wind” and “The Wizard of Oz,” “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” and “Stagecoach,” “The Women,” “Wuthering Heights,” “Of Mice and Men,” “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” and so many more immortal films.
The late film historian Ron Haver once called 1939 “an embarrassment of riches.” He went on to add, “An awful lot of accidental things came into play that year. . . . Nazism had driven a lot of refugee film makers over here, creating a great confluence of talent. There was a great spirit of nationalism in the country. Americans were reinvigorated after the Depression, and the movie industry was at its absolute peak in its ability to hold its audience.”
And personally, I don’t think it hurt that Hollywood was far more concerned in those days about respecting the morals of moviegoers.
Now you have to admit, a lot of ink has been spilled about the rigorous Motion Picture Production Code, the famous Hays Code, that went into effect in the mid-1930s, and about how restrictive it could be. You will not find very many filmmakers today who look back at it fondly. And yet the Code helped ensure a steady stream of good films that families could watch together. And there are those who argue that its restraints actually forced filmmakers to be more creative. Even those who hated the Code have to admit that some of the greatest movies of all time were made under it.
So as we discuss some of those wonderful movies on our features page at BreakPoint.org, I hope you’ll follow along.
This month we will be starting off reviewing the tremendous John Ford western “Stagecoach” starring a very young John Wayne and Andy Devine. Next month, we will be looking at “Gunga Din,” based on the classic poem by Rudyard Kipling, of course. And so on and so on.
You’ll find plenty of movies you can watch and discuss with your family, and you’ll learn more about the powerful images and ideas that they share.
We Christians talk a lot about the need to redeem films. But to do that, we need to get past our habit of seeing this art form in a negative light, and start remembering how good and great it can be.
With this celebration of the films of 1939, BreakPoint wants to help Christians do just that.
So we hope you’ll join us at BreakPoint.org.



Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Are you in the fight?



As we continue in our sermon series on spiritual warfare (from Ephesians 6.10-20), I'm going to post this well-known, well-used, & very, very helpful illustration that we used a couple of weeks ago...

*


There's a great illustration that the church has often used to teach Christians a very important and powerful truth throughout the last few decades.  

I believe it was first taught by Oscar Cullman, a Lutheran theologian.  You may have heard it before; it goes like this....

In every war there tends to be one decisive battle.  And after that battle is over (though there may still be a lot of carnage yet to endure), the inevitable starts to work itself out.  In the American Civil War, for example, it was the Battle of Gettysburg.  After Gettysburg, the South knew it could really no longer win & the North knew that it would win, eventually.

But the classic example of this is in World War II.  D-Day.  June 6, 1944, when that massive invasion force crossed the channel from England to Normandy, France.

This was the pivotal moment in all of WWII.  The Allies bet everything on this single day; everything was at stake.  And it was brutal.  You remember that long scene from the movie Saving Private Ryan?  It was absolutely brutal.  It was called "The Longest Day."

And yet, when it was all over the Allied has established a beachhead in France.  And from that beachhead they could guarantee eventual liberty from the Nazis.  The ultimate outcome of the war was now inevitable.

Now - make sure you understand this point:  the battles didn't immediately end.  In fact, the battles were now more horrific than ever!  In fact, more people died after D-Day than before D-Day.  In fact, there was more destruction, pain, & suffering in every way after D-Day than before D-Day.

But after D-Day, the outcome was no longer in doubt.  It was certain.  Once there was a D-Day, we knew there would be a V-Day, when the victory would be complete, when the Nazis would be defeated.  And there was!  It was May 9, 1945.  But D-Day (which, I remind you, was June 6, 1944) was the turning point.

Listen - the Bible has a D-Day & a V-Day too.  It goes like this:  the one decisive, pivotal battle (on which absolutely everything was staked) is when Jesus of Nazareth died on the cross, bearing the curse and punishment for his people's sins.  And then he rose again, liberating his people from sin & death!

That is the Bible's "Longest Day" - the death and resurrection of the Savior.  That is the day that assures Jesus' people of ultimate victory.

But, let me ask you... between the Bible's D-Day (which is Jesus' first coming) and the Bible's V-Day (which is Jesus' second coming), is there still a lot of fighting going on?  Is there still a lot of destruction, pain, and suffering going on?

Oh, yes.  Just like between D-Day & V-Day in Europe!  The decisive, pivotal battle may be won, but that doesn't mean that the enemy is going to acknowledge defeat or quit fighting.  The outcome is absolutely determined & secured & inevitable, but the fighting may continue for a long while yet.

In theology we call this "the already but not yet" nature of Jesus' kingdom.  The fullness of victory & renewal is assured!  All things will be made new!  But the enemy hasn't given up yet.  There's still a lot of fighting left to do.  There's still lots of horror & destruction & pain still to go.

But the Christian now fights knowing that ultimate victory is inevitable!  Because D-Day is a done deal!  We know how this ends; we know who wins!

So... we might get knocked down.  We might lose a battle here & there.  But we're not going to be cast out!  We might even personally die in the battle, but we know we die on the side that ultimately wins!  We die on the side that has been given the promise of resurrection unto life!  (Which is so much better than winning the occasional battle on the side that ultimately loses.)

That changes how the Christian fights!  It changes our performance in battle!  No ultimate fear of defeat.  No ultimate fear of the enemy.  Rather, we can be confident & victorious, even if our present, immediate circumstance don't seem to justify that kind of disposition at all!

We still fight.  On many fronts.  But the battle is already won.  Victory has already broken in on us, even if we don't see its fullness yet.

Do you get that?  Do you think in those terms?

And with that illustration in the background, let's come back to our question:  Are you in the fight?  Are you getting bumped & bruised & bloodied for the honor & glory of your King?

Or are you just kind of hanging back?... sitting it out?... being safely intellectual about it all?

Are you in the fight?






Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Welcome Baby Isabella!







Some quotes from DPC members, missionaries & friends Sean & Amber, as they've welcomed Daughter #2:

Isabella is perfect. Absolutely perfect. :)
Isabella Faith DeMars, 7.5lbs of pure awesome.
Isabella is WAY more chill than Patience was at this point. This should be interesting.
Finally home with both my sweet girls and my handsome man who I'm proud to call my husband and father of my children.
Don't wanna see me blow up your timeline with more baby pictures? Sorry, this is your life for the next...until I decide.
Just want to say a big thanks to all our family and friends who prayed for us during the time where we didn't know what was going on with Isabella. So thankful that the Lord knew exactly what was going on. Praise God that we were here in Lima were we could get good medical advice so that the baby got here safely.
That's a good lookin' baby. Who's is it? She must have a really handsome dad.

Don't you miss this family?  Bad?