Monthly Archives: October 2014

  • Ordinary, part 3 “The Young and the Restless”

    I once had an intern who was über talented, personable, sharp, loved people and the lost. His problem, though, was that he couldn’t stay put. He constantly hopped from one ministry to the next; from one church to the next; from one city to the next. I thought I could fix it. I didn’t. Since I have known him I can’t even count how many different things he has done. I once said that the best thing for him would be to get a car payment, a mortgage, married, and have children. Maybe those things would slow his changes.

    In chapter 3 of his book, Ordinary, Horton begins by contrasting children with adults. Children are fascinated with everything and the newness of everything, shifting attention very quickly from one thing to the next. In contrast, as we mature and become adults, … Read More »

  • Ordinary, Part 2

    I’ve never seen it in person, but even by looking at it in pictures it is almost unbelievable. It is Germany’s most visited site, averaging almost 20,000 people per day. Construction on the Cologne Cathedral began in 1248 but was halted in 1473. Construction started again in the nineteenth century and was finally finished by 1880.

    Michael Horton uses the Cologne Cathedral as an example — parable really — of how ordinary isn’t mediocre. For the men who labored for those hundreds of years on the cathedral, life was ordinary. Wake up. Go to work. Do the same the next day. And then, all of them who had started the work died. Enter a new group. Go through the same cycle. Then start again. Sounds nothing like the American dream or the dream of being a world changer. But the contribution … Read More »

  • Ordinary, Part 1

    In 2010 David Platt fired a shot across the bow of American Christianity with the release of his book Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream. As the title suggests living an ordinary life just isn’t the best for Christians. As Michael Horton asks, “Who wants to be that ordinary person who lives in an ordinary town, is a member of an ordinary church, and has ordinary friends and works an ordinary job?” Actually, Michael Horton does think that is exactly what we should be pursuing. For most of us life will be just ordinary. But as I and others have noted,  that is actually how God uses us in this world. James Davidson Hunter wrote about it in his masterful To Change the World: The Irony, Tragedy and Possibility of Christianity in the Later Modern World. Michael … Read More »

  • Hospitality

    “Worship is a space of welcome because we are, at root, relational creatures called into relationship with the Creator, in order to flourish as a people who bear his image to and for the world. In response to God’s welcome, we practice hospitality in worship, which is practice for extending hospitality beyond it.” ~ J.K. Smith

    I love that. Worship is practice for real life. And real life involves hospitality. Let me suggest to you three reasons for being engaged in hospitality, that is, opening your life to others and letting them in.

    First, we practice hospitality because we are covenantal creatures who have been made in God’s image. In other words, we are hospitable because we have been made to be. We have been made to live in community – whether in the family or the culture or the church. And … Read More »

  • Knowing God

    Narrowly defined, theology is the study of God. Generally, though, theology is defined more broadly, relating to God and Christ, creation and new creation, redemption and reconciliation, and everything in between. As Herman Bavinck says, “So then the knowledge of God is the only dogma, the exclusive content, of the entire field of dogmatics. All the doctrines treated in dogmatics—whether they concern the universe, humanity, Christ and so forth—are but the explication of the one central dogma of the knowledge of God (Dogmatics, II:29). So everything is related to the study and knowledge of God. Understood in this way, theology proves itself to be immensely practical (Who would have thought?). More than practical, theology proves itself to be the very essence and foundation of life.

    The knowledge of God “is life itself” (Bavinck). When the prophets of old described conversion they often … Read More »