Try not to become a man of success. Rather become a man of value.
Many people have questions about God, and many of those questions are good ones. But most people simply do not know where to go for the answers. Some have great church communities that can provide many of these answers, others do not. Eric Metaxas has taken the challenge to write a book that takes a good look at many of those questions, and provide some of the answers for those who are seeking them.
In Everything You Always Wanted To Know About God, Metaxas discusses many different topics, from the topics of evil and suffering, to sex, to miracles, and much, much more. The questions are good questions; and the answers are out there, and Metaxas does a great job of covering a lot of good information.
It’s just the format that I didn’t really like. Metaxas writes this in a Q & A, conversational style of writing that feels disjointed and can be hard to follow. Plus, he places some pithy humor is places that don’t warrant it, and it comes across as somewhat snarky. I had a difficult time with the format of the book, even though the information in it is excellent.
So I was mildly disappointed. I have read several other books by Metaxas, including Bonhoeffer, 7 Men, and 7 Women. This book was very different from those, and as a result, I didn’t enjoy it as much as his other works. Again, though, it bears repeating, the information and the answers he gives are great.
My initial thoughts upon picking up this book for the first time were, “What in the world could this possibly have for me?” Power struggles are not something I deal with, either in the church or in my own personal life, to any great degree. So I was less than enthused going into this book.
However, The Way Of The Dragon Or The Way Of The Lamb pricked my conscience in more ways than one, and brought me to a greater understanding of my own quests for power, versus seeking the power of God’s way, the way from above.
More than once, I had to set aside the book and do some soul searching and prayer. I found that I am tempted by the seduction of the world’s power just as much as the next guy, if not more. And this book spoke to my heart on that matter in a very deep way.
Authors Jamin Goggin and Kyle Strobel believe that the church has abandoned the higher way of power, that of God working through us, to embrace the world’s way of power, and working through our own strengths and achievements. The American church has been seduced by the world’s way, and we haven’t even realized it. Goggin and Strobel have identified this departure, and even though we would deny it, they have hit the nail right on the head.
In their search for wisdom in this area, they visited and interviewed several key people of the faith, living in these modern times, among them people such as Eugene Peterson, Dallas Willard and J. I. Packer. Their findings were difficult to read, but their solutions offer some hope that we can turn our hearts back to Christ, and seek the way from above as we strive to follow his lead in shepherding the church.
I found The Way Of The Dragon Or The Way Of The Lamb to be a refreshing, yet challenging book, and one that spoke to my heart in ways that I didn’t expect. It has opened my eyes to a reality I never knew existed, even in my own heart. I highly recommend that you read it, too.
In the United States, tomorrow is Independence Day, a day we celebrate our freedom as a nation, and the beginning of this Constitutional Republic. On this day, we typically celebrate with cookouts and fireworks, and we focus on the fun. But the meaning is so much deeper as we remember and celebrate the birth of a country.
The Preamble to the Constitution says:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
The Declaration of Independence states, in part:
When in the Course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the Separation.
We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness—That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
If you are interested in finding out more about Independence Day, here are a few resources:
The entire letter of 1 Peter is focused on the persecuted church and those believers who are experience such times. Peter’s immediate audience was in the first century, but his words apply across time as well. In this week’s passage, he turns to some practical application of how to live in such times. Take a look for yourself in 1 Peter 4:7-9.
This brief section of Peter’s letter can be divided into four parts, and we will look at each one of them in turn. Peter is giving some practical instructions on how the persecuted believers should live, and how they should stand together as they face such times. Already, he has touched on their need to love one another, in 1:22-2:5, in 2:17, and in 3:8. In this passage, he returns to the idea of loving relationships.
The end of all things
He begins with a statement that closely parallels that of James 5:8. Whether or not he had read James’ letter is unknown, but makes little difference. Peter and James are like minded, along with Paul, and other leaders of the early church, in their belief that the Lord’s return was at hand. Of course, the question that comes to mind is this: Peter wrote this over two thousand years ago, so what does he mean by “near?”
In a general sense, Peter could be referring to the fact that all the prerequisite conditions had been satisfied, and Christ could return at any time. But this doesn’t really answer the question, because it fails to take into account Christ’s own statement in Mark 13:10 and Matthew 24:14 that all people will have had a chance to hear the message of the gospel before his return.
The American Revolution was a beginning, not a consummation.
Have you ever wondered why most of your Bibles are printed with two columns of text instead of just one? This is partly because of centuries of tradition, dating back to the days of unwieldy scrolls. But there are actually a few more practical considerations involved. This short video explains some of those reasons very clearly.