Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Changeless Christ in a Changing World

Happy New Year! I'm about a month late, and I promise, there is reason for that. But, here I am, and here you are (hopefully), so let's get back at it. A year ago, I wrote the following in a blog post titled, A New Year with New Eyes:

2008 is over. By many accounts, it was not a great year. There were definite highlights, as with any year, but the feeling seemed pretty universal that it was time to send the year into the history books. Personally, it was a year of loss and some confusion. Economically, it was chaotic and not profitable. Politically, it was divisive, exhausting and historic. Theologically, it was exceedingly unbiblical and culturally violent. And now we look with optimism and hope into 2009, and are confident it will be better. And it will be. But in many of these ways I just mentioned it will be much of the same, and even worse, and that is wonderfully and gloriously OK. Because the Gospel is all that matters, and the Gospel will continue to be true, and the person and work of Jesus Christ will continue to be our only hope, and come what may; loss, depression, persecution, chaos, war, compromise; that will never change. In fact, my great hope and prayer is that the Gospel will continue to become more relevant and compelling and glorious as our culture battles, our economy collapses, and our world manages the inevitable chaos of a race plagued with overwhelming sin. The Bible is true and Jesus is everything. Let me say that again: the Bible is true and Jesus is everything. Do you really believe that? If you do 2009 will be amazing no matter what.

I could write the exact same paragraph for 2010. Praise Jesus! Specifically, though, I wanted to flush out how I think this reality applies to a couple devastating, but ultimately God-glorifying, happenings.


Watch these clips, and you will get a small introduction into the person of Matt Chandler, pastor of Village Church in Dallas, Texas. He is special. God started using him in big ways in the contemporary evangelical church only a few short years ago. Now, He has seen him worthy to endure a heart-wrenching trial. Please; read this article in its entirety:

What do we do with that? We don't know him. We don't know his family. We can pray for them, but the tragic nature of such a thing is almost unbearable to us, and therefore easy to ignore. But if we do not ignore, we have the chance to be a part of something incredible. God can heal Matt Chandler. Do you believe that? He can take the cancer in his brain and make it disappear. But He might not. The way that Matt Chandler is responding, and can continue to respond, to the lack of certainty on which way God will answer his prayers, is the kind of thing that can transform lives and change the world. Because no one has as much credibility to speak into the sin and hurt in our lives with the unchanging message of the Gospel as someone who is experiencing suffering in a real way.

John Piper says it best: "God promises that his ultimate design in the degree of futility is hope for his children. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, IN HOPE... So whenever you feel overwhelmed by your own suffering, or the sufferings of the world as you look at it on television, always say there is design in this, this is not the final point of the universe. In this hope, you have been saved. But who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with perseverance, and groaning, and invincible JOY."

Matt Chandler, talking and living this way (which he is, right now) communicates this hope in a life transforming way. What a miracle.


I have been at such a loss for words, and thoughts, for that matter, about the devastation in Haiti. This article, Live With Haiti in Your Heart, better than any, has helped me. Here is an excerpt:

But perhaps most of all, live with Haiti in your heart. In a week, when the blogs and news cycles die down a bit, or in a month, when our lives consume us once more with other things, or in a year, when most of us will have long forgotten the day the earth broke under Haiti, another disaster will strike, and we will be awakened once more to the realization that we care far too much about the trivial and far too little about the eternal. We’ll be reminded that the bones of dead men testify that our lives are but a vapor. In that day, we will remember that living with Haiti in our hearts means living with a longing for the One who will bring renewal and restoration to a planet and a people who desperately need both.


Somehow, I think God is calling the Church through these tragic stories to stand up, and not get Him off the hook for the suffering experienced, but stand up and declare more than ever His sovereignty, His goodness, and His grace. And do so by loving and praying for and weeping with those who may always have a much more difficult time than us envisioning the hope that God subjected the world to futility because of, and the hope that saves. The question I am left with after these things is, how I do I, individually, and as community with others, process and experience the grace that God not only lavished on me in the death and resurrection of His son, but also that He continues to pour out day by day, and hour by hour, in such a way that communicates and transfers that same grace to others, specifically those who are suffering. I don't have an answer yet, but my asking the question alone encourages me that God has begun to show me.

"The great mystery tonight is not that the wicked would be condemned to an eternity that they have chosen for themselves by determining to deny God; the great mystery is that such a God would come, and seek out men and women to inhabit His heaven."

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