Union with Christ, Communion with the Triune God

Rankin Wilbourne, in the final pages of his book Union with Christ: The Way to Know and Enjoy God:

We have communion with all three persons of the Trinity, each in turn; and each in turn cares for us and ministers to us. This is how union with the cosmic Christ becomes an everyday reality—as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit impress these truths on our hearts and minds even as we labor to be brought near.

We have communion with the love of God the Father. Perhaps you don’t have trouble believing that Jesus loves you, but God the Father remains a shadowy figure, distant and dark. Adding to this distance, sometimes we speak as if Jesus had to die to convince or coerce his Father into loving us, as if the Father were unwilling. But this is a tragic misunderstanding of God’s heart. It is only because God the Father loved us first, while we were yet his enemies, that he was willing to deliver up his only Son for us (Rom. 8: 32). Such is the love of God the Father, with whom we now have communion. What heights of love!

We have communion with the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is full of “grace upon grace” (John 1: 16). Jesus, the only child of God by nature, is yet not ashamed to welcome us into his family by adoption through his blood. Our communion with God the Father is made possible by the grace of our Lord Jesus, who is our mediator (1 Tim. 2: 5) and who never grows tired of us or weary of dispensing his grace. What depths of peace!

And we have communion with the Holy Spirit, our comforter and advocate. In the courtroom of our conscience, when the voice of our own heart rises up to condemn us (1 John 3: 20), the Spirit of God bears witness with ours that we are God’s children (Rom. 8: 16) and gives us, beyond what words alone could, certainty of our salvation by pointing us back to our Savior (John 16: 14). The Spirit subjectively assures us of what is objectively true. What blessed assurance!

The Effects of Digital and Skim Reading

Maryanne Wolf writing for The Guardian:

Look around on your next plane trip. The iPad is the new pacifier for babies and toddlers. Younger school-aged children read stories on smartphones; older boys don’t read at all, but hunch over video games. Parents and other passengers read on Kindles or skim a flotilla of email and news feeds. Unbeknownst to most of us, an invisible, game-changing transformation links everyone in this picture: the neuronal circuit that underlies the brain’s ability to read is subtly, rapidly changing - a change with implications for everyone from the pre-reading toddler to the expert adult.

Read this entire article—and don't skim.

As I see more and more Christians carrying only the Bible on their phones, I'm especially concerned about how all this is impacting our ability to read Scripture well.

Poverty, Abortion, and the Culture War

Matthew Loftus, writing for Mere Orthodoxy, in response to Freedom Road's recent statement calling for Evangelical women to "hit pause" on the culture war: 

I am wholly in favor of ensuring that everyone in the world has access to quality healthcare; I have spent my short career working towards this goal and writing about why this is a moral imperative for the state. I subscribe to many similar ideas about the crucial importance of poverty reduction. Yet I cannot accept the canard that other legal interventions against abortion can somehow be rendered unnecessary by reducing poverty, and it is a failure of both imagination and courage to suggest otherwise. Poverty and abortion are both the natural outworkings of evil systems that exploit and abuse human beings made in the image of God; simply replacing Anthony Kennedy with another justice like him will only keep the status quo of culture war where it is now and fail to transform the Christian political imagination as it needs to be transformed. Let us fast, pray, and listen, yes—but let us not accept a lesser solution.

I appreciate Loftus's unwavering desire to protect the lives of the unborn, while making both left and right-leaning Christians uncomfortable in the process. The above quote serves as a summary, but the entire post is worth a read.

 

The System - Special Edition Retro 1951 Tornado

On the Clicky Post blog: 

“The System” pen features a matte black barrel with a representation of the planets, each one with either their unique color or features, orbiting the sun on glow in the dark rings. 
Accenting the barrel are gloss black “dark matter” stripes for added texture and mystery...
To finish it off, the finial of the pen is adorned with an orange disc representing the sun which adds a nice pop of bright color over the pen's overall dark features.

This is a good looking Retro 51. And it sold out fast! 

10 Things You Should Know about what Happened on Easter Sunday Morning

Sam Storms:

There has been considerable controversy over the differences between Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and their respective descriptions of what happened on Easter Sunday morning. But the differences are not discrepancies. In other words, all four accounts, in my opinion, are complementary and perfectly compatible with one another. When we compare and align the four gospel accounts we derive the following ten truths.

 

The Power of The Inbox

Kourosh Dini: 

But, without regular cleaning, the Inbox loses vitality. It becomes something we can no longer trust to hold our ideas until they’d be useful. Thoughts grow stale, irrelevant, or get lost when they could have been useful.

Too often, we can let the inbox go, particularly when we are first learning systems of work. We haven’t yet formed that internal sense of its power and how delicately it rides on our care of it. But when we do have this habit of clearing well practiced, we can better feel its power.

On the one hand, this is so obvious. On the other hand, it's so easy to miss. I'm often guilty of allowing my OmniFocus Inbox to grow stale. This undermines its usefulness and power, leaving me without a safe and trusted place to clear my head and capture tasks. And without a safe and trusted Inbox, I'm much more likely to drop the ball somewhere.

Looks like it's time to go process my Inbox.

Akimbo - A New Postcast from Seth Godin

Godin:

Akimbo is a posture of strength and possibility. The chance to make a difference, to bend the culture.

It's at the heart of my work. Your work too. The work of making change that we're proud of.

And so, a new podcast. A different kind of podcast. No guests, no fancy production, it won't remind you of NPR or sports radio either. 100% organic and handmade

Subscribed.

How Acts 29 Survived—and Thrived—After the Collapse of Mars Hill

Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra, writing for the Gospel Coalition:

On the whole, the transition hasn’t been easy, and “those in the U.S. networks need to be applauded for their humility and patience as the feel of the family has really changed for them,” said Ross Lester, former Acts 29 network director for southern Africa. “The fruit is obvious, though. Acts 29 is now truly becoming a diverse and global family and it feels that way.”

The “chest thumping” and “fist bumping” are gone, replaced with “cross-cultural fondness, affection, and warm embrace,” he said. “I truly believe that the organization is healthier than it has ever been, and is well-positioned for ongoing advance across the globe.”

This article is best summarized by a quote from Ryan Kwon, a church planter in San Francisco: "It’s a story worth knowing. Because it’s not Acts 29’s story; it’s God’s story.”

The Case for RSS

David Sparks:

If you are thinking about using RSS, I have a little advice. Be wary feed inflation. RSS is so easy to implement that it's a slippery slope between having RSS feeds for just a few websites and instead of having RSS feeds for hundreds of websites. If you’re not careful, every time you open your RSS reader, there will be 1,000 unread articles waiting for you, which completely defeats the purpose of using RSS. The trick to using RSS is to be brutal with your subscriptions. I think the key is looking for websites with high signal and low noise. Sites that publish one or two articles a day (or even one to two articles a week) but make them good articles are much more valuable and RSS feed than sites that published 30 articles a day.

I love RSS, but David is right—things can quickly get out of hand if you aren't careful. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some unsubscribing to do.

 

United Pastoral Statement on Racism

I read the following "United Pastoral Statement on Racism" at our worship gathering last Sunday. At the time, it had been affirmed by over sixty pastors in the city of Lincoln NE—a list that grows still today.

As Pastors in the city of Lincoln, Nebraska we believe that all people are created in God's image. However, not all ideologies are godly. Any ideology, such as White Supremacy or Neo-Nazism, which states that one person is superior to another is blatantly sinful. We call upon the leaders of our city, state, and country to take a stand against the numerous groups in Charlottesville and throughout our country who claim these evil ideologies. We will be united as Christian brothers and sisters and will be preaching that there is no room for racism at any of our churches. We pray for healing, for accountability, and that racism will be condemned by all people in our city and in this country. Lastly, we pray that Jesus' message of loving our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:39) would echo through our churches.

As I pointed out Sunday evening, this is only one small step. But, for the church in Lincoln, it seems to be a step in the right direction.

How Fast Can a Fast Reader Read?

Timothy Noah, writing for Slate back in 2000:

When you factor out the amount of time spent thinking through complex and unfamiliar concepts—a rarity when people read for pleasure—reading is an appallingly mechanical process. You look at a word or several words. This is called a "fixation," and it takes about .25 seconds on average. You move your eye to the next word or group of words. This is called a "saccade," and it takes up to about .1 seconds on average. After this is repeated once or twice, you pause to comprehend the phrase you just looked at. That takes roughly 0.3 to 0.5 seconds on average. Add all these fixations and saccades and comprehension pauses together and you end up with about 95 percent of all college-level readers reading between 200 and 400 words per minute, according to Keith Rayner, a psycholinguist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The majority of these college-level readers reads about 300 words per minute.

I've always thought of myself as a slow reader. This article puts reading speed into perspective. 

 

A Prayer for Good Friday

"Precious Blood" from The Valley of Vision:

Blessed Lord Jesus,

Before thy cross I kneel and see
the heinousness of my sin,
my iniquity that caused thee to be
‘made a curse’,
the evil that excites the severity
of divine wrath.

Show me the enormity of my guilt by
the crown of thorns,
the pierced hands and feet,
the bruised body,
the dying cries.

Thy blood is the blood of incarnate God,
its worth infinite, its value beyond all thought.

Infinite must be the evil and guilt
that demands such a price.

Sin is my malady, my monster, my foe, my viper,
born in my birth,
alive in my life,
strong in my character,
dominating my faculties,
following me as a shadow,
intermingling with my every thought,
my chain that holds me captive in the empire of my soul.

Sinner that I am, why should the sun give me light,
the air supply breath,
the earth bear my tread,
its fruits nourish me,
its creatures subserve my ends?

Yet thy compassions yearn over me,
thy heart hastens to my rescue,
thy love endured my curse,
thy mercy bore my deserved stripes.

Let me walk humbly in the lowest depths of humiliation,
bathed in thy blood,
tender of conscience,
triumphing gloriously as an heir of salvation.



¯\_(ツ)_/¯ © 2017 Adam Stahr