Disclaimer: About This Blog

THIS BLOG IS: my personal journey of how I am rethinking some of my spiritual beliefs.
THIS BLOG IS NOT: intended to point fingers at people who I think are wrong.
I do not believe the final judgement will be based on how many correct answers we get on a theology exam. I believe many people throughout history have had genuine relationships with our Lord and Saviour Jesus, despite holding questionable beliefs and practices. I make no claim to having it all figured out or being your judge. If we end up disagreeing over these topics I pray we can find a way to demonstrate grace.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Slow down Jon

Slow down Jon, what's the rush... do you need to figure everything out right now? Do you need to question everything?

No.

So I may slow down on this blog for awhile. I thank God for giving me some peace on some matters recently... and it would likely be best if some of them were applied to my life before I go much further.

During recent months I've discovered that I question a number of things:
  • Do Christians 'go to' church... isn't that how we show we are Christians?
  • Do protestant evangelicals have the best doctrine/thinking - and is having the best doctrine/thinking of utmost importance?
  • Is it OK to judge others who are obviously wrong because they disagree with me on a few things?
  • Calvinism?
  • Does the good news message emphasize God punishing people in Hell for ever and ever?
  • Does the good news message emphasize God punishing Jesus instead of me, Penal Substitutionary Atonement?
  • Does the Bible give clear answers on all issues, should it be use it like a magic 8 ball?
  • Does 'Romans Road' best describe the gospel message?
Ok, so there's a few questions I've grappled with. But what positive things have I learned:
  • God loves everyone and desires a restored relationship with all of us
  • To follow Christ means to live in His love, and be His love to everyone
  • I need to love and respect everyone, including those who don't agree with me (which is actually a relief - otherwise I'd be a lone duck)
  • I see the good news message going something like this... Jesus came and died so I can live under His authority instead of being in bondage to sin. In some mysterious way Jesus took my sin to the cross. My sin is dead. His love is alive in me.
  • The Holy Spirit is trustworthy, and can be relied upon to lead and guide us.
So now I need to practice living this way. There are people and situations out there that I need to learn to respond to in Christ's love. I can't learn it all in blogger-land. More learning needs to happen in real life.

So my passion for blogger-land is fading for now... I may not have any new thoughts to share for awhile...

...But who knows... I have no idea what lies around the next curve of this journey I'm on...

A Conversation with Wayne Jacobsen

I really appreciate the humble approach of Wayne Jacobsen and was encouraged by this video series posted here. It's a question and answer time with Wayne visiting with a group of believers.

He shares about living in Father's love, which is where I desire to live. There's no formula on this, but just learning to recognize Christ's love for me, how He loves me and lives in me, and how His love should be how I relate to the world.

And he shares other stories from his life.

Anyways, here's a few video clips that were an encouragement to me.. just thought I'd post them here.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

My Delight

Various verses from Psalms (NIV) about what David (and we) should delight in.

1:2
But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.

35:9
Then my soul will rejoice in the LORD and delight in his salvation.

37:4
Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.

111:2
Great are the works of the LORD; they are pondered by all who delight in them.
112:1
Praise the LORD. Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who finds great delight in his commands.

119:16
I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.
119:24
Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors.
119:35
Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight.
119:47
for I delight in your commands because I love them.

119:70
Their hearts are callous and unfeeling, but I delight in your law.
119:92
If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.
119:143
Trouble and distress have come upon me, but your commands are my delight.

Thank you Lord for your laws, commands, paths for me, statutes, and decrees. Even though I often think I'd rather do things my own way, I know your ways are best for me, and I thank you for revealing your ways to me.

Thank you for your great works (some that I have seen and heard about, others that I have read about in your Word). Thank you for your Salvation - I don't deserve it.

I delight in You.

I pray that I will always live in such a way to show others that you are my delight.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Permanent Residence in a Life of Love

1 John 4:7-21 (The Message)
My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God. The person who refuses to love doesn't know the first thing about God, because God is love—so you can't know him if you don't love. This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him. This is the kind of love we are talking about—not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they've done to our relationship with God.

My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and his love becomes complete in us—perfect love!

This is how we know we're living steadily and deeply in him, and he in us: He's given us life from his life, from his very own Spirit. Also, we've seen for ourselves and continue to state openly that the Father sent his Son as Savior of the world. Everyone who confesses that Jesus is God's Son participates continuously in an intimate relationship with God. We know it so well, we've embraced it heart and soul, this love that comes from God.

God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we're free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ's. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love.

We, though, are going to love—love and be loved. First we were loved, now we love. He loved us first.

If anyone boasts, "I love God," and goes right on hating his brother or sister, thinking nothing of it, he is a liar. If he won't love the person he can see, how can he love the God he can't see? The command we have from Christ is blunt: Loving God includes loving people. You've got to love both.
My God is not a God I fear, He is a God I love and trust.

Christ's work on the cross was a work of love, to clear away my sins, and restore my relationship with God.

To follow Christ is to be in a loving relationship with God.

I live in God, and God lives in me... not sure if I fully understand this one yet...

His Spirit lives in me, and His Spirit is love.

The love that is given to me will overflow from my life to all others.

I have taken up permanent residence in a life of love.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

John Calvin 500 years

I've made a few posts related to John Calvin and Calvinism lately, but I had no idea this week marks 500 years for John Calvin's influence. I had no intention of showing disrespect at a time when other were celebrating the life of John Calvin.

So here's a positive quote about John Calvin:
"When he had died, all Geneva desired to see his body, as if he were a medieval saint or one of those relics that he had so sardonically mocked. But he had seen to it that there should be no posthumous canonization and left orders that he should be buried in an unmarked grave. Thus his death and burial were of one piece with his life; as a good witness, he would not be regarded, but bent all his energies in life and death to making Jesus Christ alone great, and making that greatness visible."
http://www.desiringgod.org/media/pdf/books_mpc/mpc.pdf
I appreciate that John Calvin did not desire to take attention away from Christ.

Would he be pleased with all the attention his name still receives?

Monday, July 6, 2009

Spurgeon on Calvinism

"Every heresy, if brought to the touchstone, will discover itself here. I have my own private opinion that there is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified, unless we preach what nowadays is called Calvinism. It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else. I do not believe we can preach the gospel, if we do not preach justification by faith, without works; nor unless we preach the sovereignty of God in His dispensation of grace; nor unless we exalt the electing, unchangeable, eternal, immutable, conquering love of Jehovah; nor do I think we can preach the gospel, unless we base it upon the special and particular redemption of His elect and chosen people which Christ wrought out upon the cross; nor can I comprehend a gospel which lets saints fall away after they are called, and suffers the children of God to be burned in the fires of damnation after having once believed in Jesus. Such a gospel I abhor."
http://www.spurgeon.org/calvinis.htm

"Calvinism is the gospel" ????


When Jesus preached the good news of the kingdom of God was he preaching Calvinism?

Is there any evidence that the 5 points of Calvinism where widely accepted in Christianity before the days of John Calvin? I suspect not. The reason it is called Calvinism likely has something to do with John Calvin.

I suspect Calvinism is not the gospel, or the 5 points of Calvinism would be a central message of our scriptures.

Also, if Calvinism is the gospel, it is not good news for all people. Calvinism can only be good news for the elect. For those whom God chooses to punish, it's really bad news.

Luke 2:10-11 (NIV)
But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.
Mark 16:15 (NIV)
He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.
Matthew 24:14 (NIV)
And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.