How Can you Beat this!

I just saw a digitally captured tap dancing ghost (compliments of the show Ghost Adventures)…how can you beat that!!!!

The Dirk

Advertisements

My Favorite Topic…Grace

Steve Brown, one of the greatest proponents of grace, wrote:

I’m often asked, “Okay, I get this grace thing, but where do you draw the line?”

My standard answer is that you don’t; and when you do, it’s no longer grace. Grace covers white lies, murder and porn. It’s an umbrella that invites gays, lesbians, adulterers, liars and thieves. It’s for the pretenders of goodness and obedience. It covers the arrogant, the fat, the angry and the failures. It’s for everybody who is unqualified.

The drawing of the line is more often than not an effort to attain power, manipulate, affirm one’s own righteousness and keep out the spiritual cretins from the “family.” Drawing a line is the stuff of which religious institutions are made. I find myself getting quite irritated when people do that…

There is (and you know it’s true) a mushy kind of grace sort of like what…attributes to political liberalism. It’s a ‘let’s join hands and sing Kumbaya around the campfire. You’re okay and I’m okay…so just keep singing because the singing is the important thing.'”

Now from Dirk: That “mushy” kind of grace is not part of the grace of the Gospel of Jesus Christ…that is heretical sentimentalism, not the grace that is from and founded in and exclusively kept by Jesus Christ and testified to by the Holy Spirit!

Grace to you, dirk

Wisdom

“In religion, as in war and everything else, comfort is the one thing you cannot get by looking for it. If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end: if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth–only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin with and, in the end, despair. Most of us have got over the pre-war wishful thinking about international politics. It is time we did the same thing about religion.”

C. S. Lewis – Mere Christianity

 

Heaven…

As I worshiped this morning in church, something hit me about activities in heaven. Yes, activities. Several years ago I endured an examination as part of my degree program. Four highly educated philosophers and theologians “grilled” me as to my intellectual fitness. It sucked.

The oldest member had metastasized cancer and died only days later. He was known for throwing odd ball questions, but that day the questions revealed the immediacy of his imminent transition.

First, he asked if I thought all dogs would go to heaven and to then support my position. I never saw the movie, so I felt at a loss. I fumbled through some answer on the new heavens and new earth possibly including dogs. He sighed and said that he really loved his dog and would like to be companions for eternity (There was, by the way,no mention of his wife).

After several other questioners taken their turns, he asked what would we do in heaven. I responded somewhat assuredly that we would praise God. Again, rather deflated, he said that eternity is a long time just to do that, “I mean, will we read, you know, novels, etc..?”

I looked at him and could only respond, “I do not know.”

His questions surfaced today. I realized that this man (and myself) have a diminished view of the glory of God. The glory of the Triune God is so intense and limitless and deep and multi-faceted that even eternity will not contain all to be praised and discovered. We think that twenty minutes (depending on your denominational background!) of hymns, psalms, and spiritual song just about wraps praise time.

In heaven, if the God of the Bible is real, He will enrapture each of us with an unending sense of awe supplanting and surpassing anything, simply with His unveiled presence.

That is the answer: Our excitement and desire to praise Him will never be exhausted, routine, or boring. It cannot be.

Blessings, The Dirk

The Luther Speaks

“So when the devil throws your sins in your face and declares that you deserve death and hell, tell him this: “I admit that I deserve death and hell, what of it? For I know One who suffered and made satisfaction on my behalf. His name is Jesus Christ, Son of God, and where He is there I shall be also!”  ― Martin Luther

There is therefore now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus…my only hope and foundation.

Social Commentary

The Dirk had a car breakdown yesterday (my sons will recall many of  of those!). I was stranded for several hours in a high traffic area, next to a McDonald’s during the middle of the day. The only people to offer help and the help I received was from women. I would like to say that the Dirk’s good looks and charm moved these women just to talk to me. The fact is that I am so NOT threatening. Not one man asked or offered to help me in almost three hours. The young mother who helped went home to get jumper cables and came back. She was a recent resident of the area from Granbury, Texas (how ’bout that, Huldrich?). She wanted to make sure her son knew that helping people is the “right thang” to do.

I thank God for the ladies who stopped and especially the sweet Texas gal that helped!

The car still is doesn’t work…sigh.

The Dirk

Heaven…

For years I have contemplated heaven. Recent physical challenges have highlighted the idea of “no more pain.” As a Christian, I have been taught (and taught others) the amazing future for believers in Jesus Christ: no more pain, tears, or the inevitable aging breakdown. I had a professor during an oral exam ask me if I thought that dogs would be in heaven. I gave him latitude because he was close to dying with cancer. Some Christian cults or sects believe in a heaven of sorts (paradise on earth, etc…) but there are differences from Christian orthodoxy. Starla maintains that Heaven will have herds of Guinea Pigs running through the streets (of course, guarded by Marines). The same professor also asked me if we would read books in Heaven…I fumbled through that answer.

However, the overarching teaching from most pulpits, books, and even sectarian Christianity is the emphasis of the elimination of human frailty and pain.

The most piercing question I have had to face (and have asked many others) is: “Would you be OK with the Heaven as advertised sans Jesus Christ?” In other words, would a pain-free, peaceful, eternal life-after-death satisfy your earthly salvation experience but Jesus was absent? Please do not mistake this as a soteriological question as to HOW one gets to Heaven. This only addresses the post-physical life existence in Heaven after one makes the approved journey.

I am terrified personally that I often fall into the category of viewing Jesus as an auxiliary benefit of celestial citizenship and the physical remedies as the primary draw. I am ashamed to admit that I also have unconsciously taught this as well.

Reading books, I answered the terminally ill professor, compared to the presence of God that no desire would exist for anything else. It did not satisfy him and I am not sure I believed it at the time. He simply and reflectively replied “Eternity is a long time.” The answer has bothered me ever since.

There is a country song lyric stating that “when I die, I want to live on the outskirts of heaven.” The sentiment is reflecting his love for God’s creation as he experienced in the rural country. I understand that, but as I think on the teaching of the Bible and who the wondrous Triune God is, when I die I want to be as close to Jesus as possible all the time. If the description of God Almighty is true, even the “baby-talk” version we comprehend exposes an endless and limitless source of beauty, truth, wonder, excitement, and my mind fails to adequately continue.

I daily forget this reality as the pain or challenges of this fleshly existence seem overwhelming but I often try to “renew my mind” with the truth of the wholly other, limitless, Creator of the Universe knowing that I will be completely satisfied (at peace and healed) simply in His presence. Before anyone thinks that I am too sanctimonious and self-righteous to be around…it only happens when the Holy Spirit reminds me to STOP WHINING!

Dirk