A few weeks back, I took the time to spell out a bit of what it looks like for men and women to cultivate faithfulness to God through our dating habits and practices. In that post, I articulated what God’s best for romantic relationships (as seen in Ephesians 5:22-33) implies for the way we, as the Church, ought to practice dating in our culture.
God’s best for romantic relationships puts the man in the role of pursuer, just as Christ pursued us, and an oft-missed subtlety of the biblical story is that Christ had in mind his marriage to the Church from the very beginning of his ministry. As Tim Keller notes in a sermon he preaches on the Wedding at Cana, when Mary comes to Jesus to tell him that they’ve run out of wine and Jesus responds with, “My hour has not come,” it’s a logical non-sequitor. It doesn’t make sense, unless we understand that like most people at weddings, Jesus is thinking about his wedding to us in that moment—and all that it was going to take to get there (the Cross). Thus, before Jesus’s ministry was really underway, he was thinking about his marriage to us—and that was the goal of his pursuit.
Continue reading Less than His Best
I still remember sitting amidst the fresh mountain air of the Pinecliff Camp and Retreat Center just east of Coalville, Utah, as we listened to Ron Kincaid teach us about Jesus. I remember him asking a powerful question that struck a chord in my soul: If God knows everything, including what you and I need, why then do we pray?
It’s just as powerful a question today as it was almost a decade ago. Even today, the only answer that I can give is that it fosters a sense of our dependence on the Creator. Test this: Take a survey of your life, and tally up all the things that rely on “luck” or “chance” or whatever term you like to use. Consider that your paycheck only comes if your company makes the money it needs to pay you, and that your company probably only makes the money it needs to pay you if a whole host of macroeconomic variables that are beyond anyone’s control are in a favorable state. Consider that your children and spouse only continue to live because the countless bad things we call “freak accidents” didn’t happen to them this week. Consider that your ability to live in your house, to put food on your table, to pay for your kids (or yourself) to go to school, is all dependent on your paycheck, the vulnerability of which we’ve already exposed.
So much in our life chalks up to what we dismiss as “luck” or “chance,” but when we come face to face with the living God, we quickly come to see that none of it is “luck” or “chance.” Answer this: can you surprise God? Try and throw God a surprise party. Christmas is coming up soon. It’s when we celebrate his birthday. Go ahead. Give it a shot. Let me know how it goes. Continue reading An Attitude of Gratitude