Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Day 07: The Reason for Everything

Just when we were getting on so well together...

My first thoughts on this chapter were very positive and I was enthusiastic about statement that seemed to do justice to his opening words... "it's not about you". The earlier part of the chapter puts the Glory of God as 'the reason for everything' and that is a great issue to settle.

TPDL then explains 'how' we become part of a world in which the "Glory of God" is "the reason for everything." "All you need do" it declares "is to receive and believe. The Bible promises , 'to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.' Will you receive God's offer?" I am tempted to ask 'which Bible?" The Bible makes no such 'promise'. My Bible gives an account of the days of Christ's physical presence on earth and makes the statement that “...as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:” (John 1:12 NKJV) This is a historical statement not a promise.

TPDL continues..."Wherever you are reading this, I invite you to bow your head and quietly whisper the prayer that will change your eternity: 'Jesus, I believe in you and I receive you.' " and then, even more alarming "If you sincerely meant that prayer, congratulations! Welcome to the family of God." Roman Catholicism teaches that automatic entrance to the Kingdom and Family of God is effected immediately by water baptism. Modern day Evangelicalism is headed in a similar direction. Say the words, go through the methodology... and welcome to the family of God? This is really a sad travesty of genuine Evangelicalism but it has become so much the 'norm' that to suggest anything different is to be questioned as to just how authentic an 'Evangelical' you really are.

If this is the foundation upon which TPDL is going to build its Purpose Driven Life I am going to find it difficult to stay the course.

Monday, January 1, 2007

Day 06: Life is a temporary assignment.

My apologies for the gap... this Christmas thing got in the way...

Now I really like this chapter, for several reasons. The first is that a feel that at last I can identify the 'audience'. This chapter, and I presume the whole book, is designed for 'Christian' or 'real believers'. This may seem irrelevant for many but for me the starting point is always vital. TPDL is aimed at people who have 'already started'. I do believe there is a real need for people who have 'already started' and either got distracted or bogged down. As such TPDL may serve as a really valuable 'reality check'.

The second reason I like it is that it nails the lie of the 'prosperity gospel' and pretty thoroughly at that. This is such a subtle, invidious, perversion that it creeps into the thinking of many who would never give a thought to the rantings of Hogan and Hinn. It is the subtle conviction that things are going well for me; this is God's blessing. It may be, and it may not be.

Thirdly, and this is the real thrust of the chapter, it declares without compromise that Christians/real believers are pilgrims. This 'world is not my home, I'm just a-passing through'. This is such a vital truth in our current day. To read some of the old Christian writers is to enter a completely foreign world for many modern-day Christians; those older writers have a much clearer grasp on 'what it's all about'. Life itself seemed much more precarious with high infant mortality rates and mothers dying in childbirth. That progress has been made on this things is good but it may hide a snare. As one of those older pilgrims once prayed..."Lord, if you see me in danger of nesting put a thorn in my nest".

So as this is the '007' year may we all be both 'shaken and stirred' as we continue our brief sojourning here. God speed... pilgrim!