I invite you to look at--

My Website where you will find: ordering information and chapter summaries for The Beauty of God for a Broken World; audio sermons; a few poems and hymns; and some other essays.

My Videos where you will find a few two-minute videos on various subjects related to The Beauty of God for a Broken World.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

2012 Apocalypse

A buddhist monk standing against a background of the Himalayan mountains while a mega tsunami is surging over them.
Contrary to the wackos, the conspiracy theorists, and a recent movie, the world will not end on December 21, 2012. First, although the thirteenth Baktun cycle of the Mayan calendar does end then, the Mayans did not associate anything special with that date. Second, the sun will not line up with the galactic center on that date. Third, there is no special alignment of the planets on December 21, 2012. All of these issues are clearly explained by E. C. Krupp, chief astronomer at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. Krupp is a frequent contributor to Sky and Telescope, the premier magazine for amateur astronomers, and the astronomy of ancient civilizations is one of his specialties. Here is a link to his article, "The Great 2012 Scare" from the November 2009 issue.

There is also a good theological reason for saying that the world will not end on December 21, 2012 or at any other time that some unbalanced publicity seeker announces. When the disciples asked Jesus to nail down a date, He replied, "It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth" (Acts 1:8-9). Furthermore, Jesus said, "The Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect: (Luke 12:40). So when a group of Christians or atheists or cultists expects Him to come, He's not coming then.

When Jesus talked about His Second Coming, He frequently emphasized three things. (1) You cannot know when He is coming. (2) Keep on doing your duty, so that when He comes He will be pleased with you--preach the gospel, care for the poor, love your neighbor. (3) There will be very hard times throughout this age, but suffering is not a sign of the end. Therefore, endure it without giving up your faith in Christ.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Three Cups of Tea

Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson is one of the most amazing stories I have read in a long time. It is a must read for anyone who wants to understand what is going on in Afghanistan and Pakistan. And it is simply a good, inspiring read. For a longer review, here's a link to a friend's blog.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Whom Does God Love

While handing out tracts at “The Great Allentown Fair,” I have read the slogans of innumerable T-shirts. Among the blasphemies, the beer commercials and the “I’m with stupid” mottos, I saw one T-shirt that sums up the spirit of our age.

Our me-centered culture needs to hear that God’s chief concern is not to give us stress-free, fun-filled lives. You and I are not the focus of His affection. Putting it more bluntly—God loves His eternal Son far more than He loves you.

Since God’s love is infinite, we may suppose that He has an infinite love both for His adopted children and for His eternal Son. This cannot mean, however, that He loves us in exactly the same way and to the same degree as He loves Christ, for if the Father loved any creature exactly as He loves His Son, He would be placing the value of that creature on a par with the value of God. I believe that God’s love for His adopted children is infinite, but Georg Cantor has shown that some infinities are larger than others. For example, there are more points on a line one inch long than there are integers. Therefore, even if the Father’s love for His adopted children is infinite, it is not a contradiction to say that His love for His eternal Son is greater.

Why, then, are we here, if we are not the main attraction? Why did God make us? What in the world is God doing? The thesis of this book is that God’s love for His Son is the reason that He created the world. The bond of love between the Father and the Son is the bedrock on which creation, redemption, judgment, and final glory ultimately rest. This divine love is the primary beauty; all the beauty we experience in the world around us is a secondary kind of beauty that depends on and reflects the beauty of God.

The fact that God loves His Son far more than He loves us has two astonishing corollaries: First, God created us because He loved His Son; second, He loves us because He loves His Son.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Beauty and Glory

The most common Hebrew word for glory is Kavōd. Kavōd is related to an adjective (kavēd­ = heavy) and to a verb (kavēd = to be heavy). Eli is an old man and heavy—kavēd (1 Samuel 4:18). Abraham is also kavēd, not because he is fat, but because he is rich (Genesis 13:2). He is heavy (or we would say loaded) with possessions. In general, the Hebrew language can use kavēd for anything that is heavy or impressive, in a literal or in a figurative sense. Children are commanded to honor (kavēd) their parents (Exodus 20:12). That is, they are to treat them as weighty or impressive people. When we glorify the Lord, the word is again kavēd. Unlike the varied senses of the verb, the noun kavōd always means glory or honor, but the underlying thought is that God is weighty or impressive. In Hebrew, glory is a heavy word. Even though the apostle Paul wrote in Greek, the heaviness of glory in Hebrew was no doubt on his mind when he wrote,

For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal (2 Corinthians 4:17-18)

All of God’s attributes are glorious, but when His actions are considered individually, they are not all beautiful. Ezekiel 39 speaks of a great battle in which God destroys the rebellious armies of the earth. At the end of the battle, the Lord invites the birds of the air to come and “eat the flesh of mighty men and drink the blood of the princes of the earth. . . . So you will be glutted at My table with horses and charioteers, with mighty men and all the men of war” (Ezekiel 39:18–20). That is not a pretty picture, but in the next verse the Lord declares, “And I will set My glory among the nations; and all the nations will see My judgment which I have executed and My hand which I have laid on them.” God’s just judgment is impressive; it is an expression of His glorious holiness and wrath, but considered by itself, it is not attractive. God’s judgment is only attractive when we view it in the context of all His perfections.

This, then, is the distinction I wish to point out: God’s glory is what makes Him impressive. His beauty is what makes Him attractive. The sum of all God’s attributes is both glorious and beautiful.