Living in Light of Two Ages
Hospitality & Missions
During the first half of this program, Michael Horton will speak with Reverend Tim Blackmon about the practice of hospitality in his own church context in The Netherlands. Hospitality, he argues, is the appropriate response to a proper understanding of who God is and what he has done to save and rescue us. In the second half of the program, Michael Horton talks with Christopher Wright about his book, The Mission of God.
The "Prophet" Julia and the "Apostle" Emeka in action! Love the ram's horn. By the way, don't let your kids handle hamsters! (h.t. Richard Wolfe)
The First in a Series of Sermons on the Gospel of John
It was Augustine who supposedly said of the Gospel of John, “John’s Gospel is deep enough for an elephant to swim and shallow enough for a child not to drown.” Whether Augustine said this or not, the sentiment is certainly true. John is a remarkable Gospel which can instruct a child and yet challenge the greatest of theologians. It is to this gospel that we now turn our attention as we begin a new series on the Gospel of John.
In years past we have made our way through the gospels of Matthew and Mark, and we have covered John’s epistles (1, 2, 3 John) as well as the Book of Revelation, which I believe was also written by John. But we’ve never covered John’s Gospel, which is different in style and structure from the so-called synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke). The reason for these differences–which is expressed in the Gospel’s purpose statement (our New Testament lesson; John 20:30-31)–is that John’s gospel is written for the purpose of answering the question “who is Jesus?” Or more specifically, John answers the question “who is the Messiah, the Christ, the Son of God?”
Christians would not ask these questions because they already knew the answer. Since these were questions Jews and non-Christians would be asking, it is clear that the Gospel of John was written to equip Christians to evangelize those who were asking about Jesus, including Jews, Jewish proselytes, and God-fearing Gentiles. In may ways, John’s gospel reflects a time of chaos. After the events of AD 70, Jews were asking the question, “what would become of the people of God after the temple was destroyed and Jerusalem had been occupied by the Romans?” Furthermore, after the loss of their homeland the Jews had been dispersed throughout the Mediterranean world, and were encountering Christians in virtually every city in which there was a synagogue. In answering the question “who is Jesus” John is not only addressing one critical question many Jews were asking, but he also directs his readers to trust (believe) in that one whose own body is the greater temple (John 2:21). The coming of Jesus Christ (the true temple), is God’s answer to all of these questions regarding the fate of the nation of Israel.
John’s gospel was not intended to replace the synoptic gospels, nor was it intended to serve as an evangelistic tract to give to unbelievers (and Jews). But it was written to offer Christians instruction about how to answer the question Jews and God-fearers were asking about Jesus’ identity and about God’s purpose for his people. Who is this Jesus in whom Christians were trusting? What were Jews to do now that the temple was destroyed and they had been cast from the promised land. How is Jesus their Messiah? And how are Christians to relate to Jesus now that he has ascended into heaven? This is why John’s gospel is structured as it is, and this is why this gospel is every bit as relevant to us now as it was to John’s original audience. Living in an age of religious chaos and uncertainty as we now do, we too need to listen to John’s answer to the question many are still asking, “who is Jesus?”
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Sunday Morning (October 12): We are continuing our current sermon series on 1 Peter. This coming Lord's Day we'll be covering 1 Peter 3:18-22, and discussing baptism. Our Lord's Day worship service begins at 10:30 a.m.
New Members Class (9:00 a.m.): Our Fall new members class continues with a discussion of why we worship the way we do. Inquirers welcome!
Sunday Afternoon: We are continuing our study of the Canons of Dort, and we are currently in the 3rd/4th Head of Doctrine. We will be considering the effects of regeneration upon the human will (article 16). Our catechism service begins @ 1:15 p.m.
Wednesday Night Bible Study (October 8): We begin our study of the Book of Romans.
Friday Night Academy (October 10): Special Academy Guest Lecture: Dr. Rod Rosenbladt will be our special guest, lecturing on the "Trinity and the Nicene Creed."
New Academy Series: Beginning Friday, October 17, Prof. Ken Samples will begin a six week series entitled, "If I Had Lunch with St. Augustine." Here's the synopsis for the course:
The last and greatest of the men revered as the “Church Fathers” was Augustine of Hippo or “St. Augustine” (A.D. 354-430). Though Christianity has produced many prominent thinkers during the past two millennia, Augustine may be the most influential Christian thinker of all time outside of the New Testament. His significant influence, especially on Western Christianity, is directly tied to his profound work as a theologian, philosopher, apologist, and church bishop. If you had lunch with the bishop, what would you ask him? What would you want to know about a man who was a great sinner who became a great saint?
For more information and directions, check out the Christ Reformed website: Christ Reformed Church
God So Loved, He Gave
The entire Christian story can be understood through the lens of gift-giving. The history of redemption is the story of God’s gracious and sacrificial giving of himself in order to rescue his fallen and rebellious creation. As he rescues us, he also invites us to live with hospitality and generosity so that, like him, we live to serve our neighbors in love. Michael Horton will be discussing this topic with Covenant College professor Kelly Kapic, author of God So Loved, He Gave: Entering the Movement of Divine Generosity.
Well, the old Kirk Cameron "Left Behind" movie has been re-done, this time with everyone's B-movie favorite, Nicolas Cage.
Three take-aways from the trailer.
1). If you are taken in the Rapture, your clothes will be left behind. This means grandma was right--make sure those skivvies are clean.
2). There's no such thing as original sin, since all babies are raptured--presumably because the film-makers hold the Pelagian view that children are born innocent, and are not guilty before God until they reach the mythical age of accountability.
3). I was very disappointed that Third Eagle's "Doom and Gloom" was not featured as the soundtrack (William Tapley's Doom and Gloom)
Mike Horton's newest book is ready to ship! You may recall the White Horse Inn series, "the Ordinary." Michael's manuscript was the basis for those programs.
Here's the publisher's blurb (Zondervan):
Radical. Crazy. Transformative and restless. Every word we read these days seems to suggest there’s a “next-best-thing,” if only we would change our comfortable, compromising lives. In fact, the greatest fear most Christians have is boredom—the sense that they are missing out on the radical life Jesus promised. One thing is certain. No one wants to be “ordinary.”
Yet pastor and author Michael Horton believes that our attempts to measure our spiritual growth by our experiences, constantly seeking after the next big breakthrough, have left many Christians disillusioned and disappointed. There’s nothing wrong with an energetic faith; the danger is that we can burn ourselves out on restless anxieties and unrealistic expectations. What’s needed is not another program or a fresh approach to spiritual growth; it’s a renewed appreciation for the commonplace.
Far from a call to low expectations and passivity, Horton invites readers to recover their sense of joy in the ordinary. He provides a guide to a sustainable discipleship that happens over the long haul—not a quick fix that leaves readers empty with unfulfilled promises. Convicting and ultimately empowering, Ordinary is not a call to do less; it’s an invitation to experience the elusive joy of the ordinary Christian life.
You can order the book here: Mike Horton's new book Ordinary
Ordinary was reviwed in CT: Christianity Today's Review of Ordinary