Today is Halloween. Many people will celebrate by dressing in weird and wonderful costumes and doing all sorts of weird and wonderful things. They consider today spiritual in the sense of having something to do with ghosts and ghouls.
Spiritually however, October 31st is a very important day for the Protestant church – it is the day Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of a church in Wittenberg, Germany – it is called by some Reformation Day. Luthers simple action triggered massive events in the following years, decades and centuries. Graham Tomlin has said of Luther that he ranks as,
“…as one of the most influential European figures of the last millennium. Marco Polo and Columbus opened up new continents, Shakespeare and Michelangelo produced some of the most sublime pieces of art, and Napoleon and Hitler changed the political face of their centuries. Yet Luther and the Reformation he triggered have made a huge impact not just on Europe, but…throughout the rest of the world. Protestantism shaped a whole new way of life for countless people across the Western world and beyond, which coloured their approaches to God, work, politics, leisure, family – in fact, almost every aspect of human life…[including] the early development…of the United States, and in the emergence of democracy and economic and religious freedoms in Europe.”
The simple act of Luther’s affects all of you within Christianity today. I read James Emery White summing up the effect of Luther thus,
In essence, Martin Luther felt anyone could, and everyone should, make history with their life.
As a Protestant I stand thankful for all that Luther was prepared to do. Men and women of God like him deserve to be remembered. The Old Testament reveals that the Israelites continually remembered their history. We should do the same.
As a Christian with inclinations towards the charismatic I found this post by J Lee Grady, calling for reformation within the charismatic church, to be a good read.
Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows I ‘love’ checklists. I should add that I don’t love them for the fact you get easy answers by ticking a box, but because they make you ask more questions – they make you think more deeply (rather like on a test a good multiple choice question is often harder to answer than an essay question). The questions below are taken from a list on the Desiringgod.org website – for the original post go here. If you are thinking of getting married, or are married it is worth taking time to talk, think and pray about.
I always find it interesting to see what might become possible in the future – this video has some interesting ideas though i am not sure how close we are to seeing the technology necessary to fulfill this dream.
Recently I rightly got criticised for putting on my about page that I hated certain people – my passions are strong and my desire to love God sometimes gets caught up in them. Yet today as I read Psalm 101, and “fell in love” with the man of God depicted there, I felt strong passions arising in me again. Nothing half hearted here, no accepting of grey areas in life, no compromise. These are not the vague ramblings of a man who wants to be seen as godly, these are the impassioned prayers of a man who has seen in part and has been marked by God so that there can be no going back. Desiring integrity, not gazing upon that is worthless, no perverse heart, no slander, no arrogance, no deceit, no lies, and he can even hate those who fall away – such people are hard to find.
Already I walk with some men and women who are like this – I long to walk with more of them. I hope you become one.
I will sing of steadfast love and justice;
to you, O LORD, I will make music.
I will ponder the way that is blameless.
Oh when will you come to me?
I will walk with integrity of heart
within my house;
I will not set before my eyes
anything that is worthless.
I hate the work of those who fall away;
it shall not cling to me.
A perverse heart shall be far from me;
I will know nothing of evil.
Whoever slanders his neighbor secretly
I will destroy.
Whoever has a haughty look and an arrogant heart
I will not endure.
I will look with favor on the faithful in the land,
that they may dwell with me;
he who walks in the way that is blameless
shall minister to me.
No one who practices deceit
shall dwell in my house;
no one who utters lies
shall continue before my eyes.
Morning by morning I will destroy
all the wicked in the land,
cutting off all the evildoers
from the city of the LORD.
I still like a paper Bible – probably something to do with being old and able to use my fingers to leaf through pages, and using my mind to remember the books in order, and having learned a number system (and alphabet) in primary school – not that those considerations should come into play when you look at this really snazzy device – don’t you want one?
I shall be teaching two new courses next semester at LTCi – Christian Apologetics and Spiritual Leadership. They both look interesting and should be a joy to teach (and attend?). The required text books for 702 Christian Apologetics are:
Francis J. Beckwith, William Lane Craig, and J. P. Moreland. To Everyone an Answer: A Case for the Christian Worldview.
Lee Strobel. The Case for Faith.
Lee Strobel. The Case for Christ. A Journalist’s Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus.
Leaders are meant to lead, duh! In our day leadership is often emasculated by wrong ideas of what grace is, by thinking that we have to be democratic, fair and nice. Do you know a leader who is a coward? Ron Edmondson gives 7 characteristics of cowardly leadership – I think he is spot on;
Says “I’ll think about it” rather than “No”…even [when] no is already the decided answer…
Avoids conflict…even when it is necessary for the good of relationships and the organization…
Never willing to make the hard decisions…
Pretends everything is okay…even when it’s not…
Bails on the team when things become difficult…
Refuses to back up team members…
Caves in to criticism…even if it is unfounded…
If you are a leader and realise you fall into these traps you need to repent. Don’t think you are perfect but do accept what God has made you to be. God called and ordained you for a such a time as this, and if you fail to walk in that call you are part of the body but not doing the work – the appendix of the church. You don’t need to obliterate the people around you, remember Moses was the most humble man on the face of the earth, but still he led millions of people into the promises of God. You can try to hide from it but somewhere, someday you will have to realise that to be a leader you do have to lead.