A Thing about The End of the World

Jesus is coming back—His followers know it and most are thrilled at the immanent possibility. My friend Don Stewart, however, reminds us to be careful about one important detail…

“Do not make the mistake of replacing the Gospel with talk of the end times events—our main message isn’t the second coming of Christ, but the first.”

Preach it.

—j

Have a Reckless Year

Where will you go in 2017?

“I have learned…to let God be the mystery that He is and, with eyes wide open, to pursue Him, not with the precision of a crossword puzzle fanatic but with the reckless passion of a pilot flying into the Bermuda Triangle. Following Christ is a wild adventure full of risk, frustration, excitement, and setbacks. It is not an evening stroll in a planned community along a well-manicured path.” —Larry Crabb

Aslan is not a tame lion, but He’s a wonderful traveling companion.

Happy trails.

—j

The Eucatastrophe of History (Merry Christmas)

Lord of the Rings author J.R.R. Tolkien declared, “The Incarnation of God is an infinitely greater thing than anything I would dare to write…” (italics in the original). But later on he tried. Here is what he wrote…

The Gospels contain a fairy-story, or a story of a larger kind which embraces all the essence of fairy stories. They contain many marvels—peculiarly artistic, beautiful, and moving: ‘mythical’ in their perfect, self-contained significance; and at the same time powerfully symbolic and allegorical; and among the marvels is the greatest and most complete conceivable Eucatastrophe… The Birth of Christ is the Eucatastrophe of man’s history. The Resurrection is the Eucatastrophe of the story of the incarnation. This story begins and ends in joy. There is no tale ever told that men would rather find was true, and none which so many skeptical men have accepted as true on its own merits. For the Art of it has the supremely convincing tone of Primary Art, that is, of Creation. To reject it leads either to sadness or to wrath.

“It is not difficult to imagine the peculiar excitement and joy that one would feel, if any specially beautiful fairy-story were found to be ‘primarily’ true, its narrative to be history, without thereby necessarily losing the mythical or allegorical significance that it had possessed. It is not difficult, for one is not called upon to try and conceive anything of a quality unknown. The joy would have exactly the same quality, if not the same degree, as the joy which the ‘turn’ in a fairy-story gives: such joy has the very taste of primary truth (otherwise its name would not be joy). It looks forward (or backward—the direction in this regard is unimportant) to the Great Eucatastrophe. The Christian joy, the Gloria, is of the same kind; but it is pre-eminently (infinitely, if our capacity were not finite) high and joyous. Because this story is supreme; and it is true. Art has been verified. God is the Lord, of angels, and of men—and of elves. Legend and history have met and fused.”

Good job, Ronald, and Merry Christmas to all.

—j

What Others Want for Christmas

(Back from Israel and Jordan—you gotta go and I’d love to take you.)

So—what are you spending on others this Christmas?

And I will very gladly spend and be spent for your souls; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I am loved,” said the Apostle Paul. In the same way, go before God’s people this day and spend yourself on them—pour out your all. Be fully spent this day on the people He has entrusted to you. Hold back not a single tear or drop of sweat on their behalf. Lay your whole heart on the line for them and do so with a supreme gladness to be able to do so. They may not respond the way we would like, they may not return the affection—the Corinthians did not to Paul—nonetheless, let us be spent for their souls this day for the glory of God. It is my prayer that this verse could be spoken of me, but also you all today—that we gave our all for the souls of the people of God. The Lord strengthen us in order to do so! —Pastor Jim Suttle

Add that to your list.

(Thanks, Jim.)
—j

Tribute to the Wise

Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel made a profound observation…

“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference… To remain silent and indifferent is the greatest sin of all.”

Jesus was never indifferent. He loved and things happened. Then He told His followers, “Love each another just as I have loved you.”

“…just as I have loved you.”

Love.

—j

Galilean Wedding, Streaming Version

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If you haven’t seen the full stage presentation of the Galilean Wedding, have a look here. Huge thanks to The Life Center in Orangevale, CA.

A Rock for Your Soul

What is a soul and why do you have one? Here’s a short answer. Enjoy. Really.