The Beautiful News

On Friday in Shepherd’s Bush, Josephine and I served with St. Stephens Church to feed about 400 people in celebration of the opening of the Olympics. It was a wonderful day with many people taking pictures with the Olympic torch as Bob Mayo, vicar of St. Stephens, received the honour of running one leg of the relay.

The Olympic torch

Some of the folks who came were people who I met at the film club for the homeless over the past year. I asked how they knew about the BBQ. “My friends told me – they said there was going to be free food here.”

Homeless people heard a little good news and shared it with their friends.  They shared  with those around them.  The information just flowed from person to person.

 
Interesting.

In 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 Paul lets us know the core of the gospel – the good news – the beautiful news in biblical terms:

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures,  that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures

Paul finishes this section of his letter in verse 10 with a few comments on how the grace of God has impacted him. He writes: “I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.”

 
Paul understood that this news needed to be carried to others.  He worked as hard as humanly possible to get the gospel out. And yet – Paul was always aware that it was God working through him.  Paul had heard the beautiful news of God’s grace and it flowed to those around him.

 

You and I can learn from the homeless in the way they spread the good news about the Olympic BBQ in Shepherds Bush.  Friend to friend.  Letting others know that they’ve heard something about good. Do you know the grace of God?  Don’t keep it to yourself.  Let that beautiful news flow to those around you.

 

Quick Book Review: “Salvation Accomplished by the Son”

I just finished reading Robert Peterson’s wonderful book on the work of Jesus “Salvation Accomplish by the Son: The Work of Christ”.  Although I am biased due to the fact that Peterson was one of my favorite professors in Covenant Seminary many years ago, I can honestly say this has be one of the best books I’ve read on the Son’s work.

Peterson says in the conclusion “Christ’s saving work is profound, massive and magnificent” and this book brings out that work in very helpful and encouraging ways. Although not overly technical, it is long (575 pages) but considering the subject matter, Peterson makes the book both readable and comprehensive.

The book is divided into two sections: Events and Pictures – each of these 15 chapters used to help give us a greater understanding of how salvation is accomplished.

The events are:

  • Incarnation
  • Sinless Life
  • Death
  • Resurrection
  • Ascension
  • Session (his rule)
  • Pentecost
  • Second Coming

The pictures are:

  • Reconciler
  • Redeemer
  • Legal Substitute
  • Victor
  • Second Adam
  • Sacrifice

Take your time with this book. Slowly digest it. And let Peterson open your eyes to the fullness of Christ’s saving work.

I am average

I attended my son’s awards day last week which reminded me of my school days.  Most of the time I didn’t win any awards.  I wasn’t the smartest.  I wasn’t the best athlete.  I wasn’t the most popular.

I was average.

I was smart enough to get decent grades and hang with the smart kids at times but I wasn’t into nerdy games like Dungeons and Dragons.  I was cut from the basketball team at 15 years old but then spent many nights playing basketball with guys on the team.  I definitely wasn’t rich but had a junky car at 16 and a paper route in order to have a little spending money.

I was average.

Most of us were not in the 10% of the smartest or not so smart kids in the class.  That’s 80% of us who where neither award winners or failures.  We didn’t win the goal metal.  Or the silver.  Or the bronze.  But we could and still can run in the race.

Paul encourages us to love one another in 1 Thes 4 and then says:
But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.

I don’t think aspiring to “live quietly” will ever make it as a slogan for Nike or become the title of a new self-help book.  And though we are called to live passionate, energetic lives, for most of us, this will include getting married, providing leadership in a local church, serving our family and neighbors, working a normal job and leading an average life.

God is working in our communities through average people doing regular, everyday activities for His glory.  Yes, there are the 10% who are gifted in special ways but that’s not most of us.  Most of us are average, but as a follower of Jesus, we do our “average” activities not for ourselves but for the sake of the Lord and those around us.

I am average. And I’m praying for a lot more average people to understand their calling before God.

But there’s another name for average.

It’s called normal.

The law and the law

My son, Kaleb, and I walked down to the park to play football last week one evening before dinner.  As he took shots, I mentioned to Kaleb that John Terry had been cleared of racist abuse by the criminal court here in London. I briefly wrote about one aspect of this incident briefly here, and here’s CNN’s coverage of the story.

“That’s not right!”, Kaleb cried.  “It’s against the law to be racist.”  True and true.

“Should it be against the law to be racist or even say racist things?”, I asked.  Kaleb responded “Yes, because it was public.”  I agreed with him that the public nature of John Terry’s offense puts it in a different category.

I’d also added that I think a society must protect it’s citizen from racist abuse when it is tied to violence or the treat of violence.  On the other hand, government cannot control what comes out of our mouths, let alone, monitor our racist thoughts.  But when those words are public and bring fear to another individual – then the government has a right to step in.

But Terry’s words broke another law.  The law of God on which the law of our government is based.  Racism is a sin in that it contradicts God’s call for us to love our neighbors as ourselves which Jesus taught in Mark 12:31.  John Terry may have been found innocent in Britain’s criminal court but I know he’ll face judgment again at a later date.

Did the court made the right decision in this case.  Not sure that Terry broke the law of the land.  But I am sure that John Terry broke the law.

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