Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘restoration’


The first part of Tim Keller’s book, Walking with God through Pain and Suffering, is focused on apologetics: showing how Christianity has better and more complete answers regarding pain and suffering than any other way of looking at the world. The 2nd part of the book is called Facing the Furnace. It is about how Christianity looks at suffering, preparing us to enter the furnace. What does our theology say about suffering? That is an important thing.

“The world is too fallen and deeply broken to divide into a neat pattern of good people having good lives and bad people having bad lives.”

He begins with the challenge to faith. Christianity does not look at suffering simplistically like Job’s counselors. There must be answers that satisfy the heart and not just the mind.

(more…)

Advertisements

Read Full Post »


Addiction is a horrible master.  It doesn’t matter what your particular addiction- food, sex, alcohol, shopping etc. There are nearly as many “methods” for freeing someone from addiction as there are addictions.  As Christians, we recognize that addiction is a form of idolatry. We are not just seeking freedom from a behavior, but freedom from a false god. Most of the methods for freedom just don’t work. Often they just transfer your devotion from one false god to another. Many AA meetings are filled with chain smokers, and all of them are filled with bad tasting coffee to satisfy a caffeine addiction.

This is a really cool cover

Christians have often adapted other treatment plans and sprinkled in some Bible verses.  On the other hand, some have looked to Exodus for a pattern.  Gerald May, in Addiction and Grace, adds the wilderness motiff to psychotherapy. An old friend of mine should have his book, The New Exodus, published soon.

A few years ago, Mars Hill Church in Seattle noticed they had a buffet of small group options for addictions.  They decided to use one curriculum to address all the various addictions people struggled with.  Mike Wilkerson put one together that walks people through Exodus.  The result is Redemption: Freed by Jesus from the Idols we Worship and the Wounds we Carry.  Not only is Mike trying to apply biblical counseling, he’s using some exegetical, narrative theology.

This is one of the strengths of the book.  He is utilizing the pattern of redemption found in Exodus (which is used elsewhere in Scripture like Ezekiel and Revelation, and Jesus refers to the “new Exodus”).  He is applying it to both our idols and our wounds.  This is significant.  The Israelites not only worshiped false gods, but they were the victims of unspeakable evil.  God does not see us a merely victims or merely victimizers.  He knows the degree to which we are both wicked and wounded.  Because of our sinfulness, our woundedness results in one form of wickedness or another.  Bad counseling focuses on only one.  Good, biblical, counseling focuses on both.

(more…)

Read Full Post »


One of last year’s more important books was on the topic of helping the poor.  When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor … and Yourself was written by Steve Corbett & Brian Fikkert.  This is no treatise hatched in the hot house of academia.  They have been engaged in developing these models on the field.  They have often had to learn from their mistakes.

I haven’t finished the book yet, so my comments are only with regard to the first 5 chapters of the book.  The book does come with an endorsement from John Perkins who has worked in tranformational ministry for decades.  He’s one of those guys shaking his head when Glenn Beck lumped everyone who talks about social justice in the same bucket.  John Perkins sees a connection with redemption (we seek it as redeemed people longing to see that redemption extended to others) and the need for solid theology- not liberation theology.  The book has the “dubious” distinction of being recommended by people as diverse as Ron Sider and Bryan Chappell (or Joel Belz) and Steve Childers.  This means it has enough gospel in it to be Christian, and enough justice in it to get Ron Sider to buy in.

It starts with the premise that much of the work going on around the world to alleviate poverty actually makes matters worse.  John Perkins recognizes this with the U.S. government’s war on poverty.  It left people dependent on the government.

John Perkins

Another important premise is that most Americans (and other westerners) live as though there is nothing wrong in the Majority World.  We have no grasp of how serious things can be, and think a little money can make it all better (or a concert fundraiser).  We live as if not much is wrong.  We don’t need to feel guilty for our wealth, but we do need to think of ourselves as stewards instead of consumers.

Theologically they embrace both the individual and cosmic implications of the redeeming work of Christ.  Yes, there is the forgiveness of sins.  But there is much more too!  Some churches (and Christians) seek to bring forgiveness but neglect the justice of the kingdom.  Some people seek the justice of the kingdom without bringing the forgiveness of the king.  They illustrate this from the story of a southern pastor and civil rights workers.  They both got it partly right and partly wrong.

(more…)

Read Full Post »


While many relief agencies have left the areas devastated by Katrina 3 years ago, there are some churches that continue to work toward the rebuilding of their communities.  Many of them survive through donations and streams of Christians volunteering their time and skills.  Please consider supporting them as you can.

One is Lagniappe Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Lagniappe, MS.  Some teens and adults from the church we worship in went there to volunteer in July/August.  You can also support them financially or materially too.  You can read the article written about their ministry to help restore creation in ByFaith Magazine.

The one my brothers-in-law helped is the Christian Life Center (Christian and Missionary Alliance) in Waveland, MS.  Like Lagniappe, you can volunteer or support them in various ways.

The process of rebuilding this area will take many years (CLC estimates 6-10 years).  Just because the “emergency” is over doesn’t mean people aren’t still suffering in those areas.  People still need help rebuilding their lives.  These are just 2 of the Christ-centered ministries helping that to happen.

Update: How could I forget Desire Street Ministries?  Founded by Mo Leverett it was involved in community transformation long before Katrina hit.  Since the life-changing event, Mo has left to receive a call to a PCA church in Tallahassee, FL (gee, I can’t understand why they chose him over me 🙂 ).  Desire Street continues from a new headquarters in Atlanta and a new quarterback in Danny Wuerffel (yes, the Gator QB).  They hope to replicate what they did in the Desire Street neighborhood around the country.  The academy has moved to Baton Rouge. They are still doing some light construction in New Orleans, and need volunteers.  They are also looking for people willing to move to New Orleans to take part in a new church plant there.  They need financial resources too, obviously.  A new ministry they started, to rebuild affordable housing in New Orleans is CDC 58:12 (taken from Isaiah 58:12).

Read Full Post »


Joined at the Hip

Joined at the Hip

The last week seems to be a blur.  We are now back in hot, humid Florida.  The travel day was filled with way too much whining and crying.  Seems to put a damper on a good vacation.  Returning also means a return to my responsibilities- first of which is finding a way to support my family.  Yes, puts a damper on the whole thing.  But let’s ponder more interesting things!

Here are the “highlights”.

Monday night I learned that a church has begun checking references.  This is great news!  The result of the process is not certain, but the process has begun and maybe that will result in something really positive.

Tuesday we missed Tropical Storm Fay.  Our home got plenty of rain, but we did not experience the flooding many other communities in Florida and elsewhere did.  Better than that, CavWife and I stole away for a lunch alone.  A quiet lunch!  No crying, complaining etc.  We enjoyed each other’s company and talked about a few things- including my impressions of Job this time through (2nd time in a year).

CavWife's New Doo

CavWife

(more…)

Read Full Post »