The Telos

"Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs ." --Hebrews 1:1-3

Our God is a speaking God; He is not silent. This fact alone should make us stand in awe. Who are we to be the recipients of God's speech? Yet, He has chosen to communicate and fellowship with us. In the past He spoke through the prophets, who were His representatives to His people. And as the writer of Hebrews makes clear, God's communication with His people did not stop with the prophets. On the contrary, God chose to speak to us in "in these last days" in the clearest and most personal manner: by His Son. As Donald Hagner remarks:
A fundamental turning point has been reached as God speaks climatically, definitively, and finally through his Son. Any further speaking about what remains to happen in the future is but the elaboration of what has already begun. All that God did previously in a preparatory manner, pointing as a great arrow to the goal of Christ. This is the argument our author so effectively presents throughout the book. Christ is the telos, the goal and ultimate meaning of all that preceded.
Here in these verses the writer points us to the true nature and superiority of the Son. (The fact that He does this by using seven phrases may be yet another way that the author of Hebrews points to the greatness and completeness of the Son of God.)

The Son is...

*The One whom God appointed the heir of all things.
*The One through whom He created the world.
*The One who is the radiance of the glory of God.
*The One who is the exact imprint of His nature.
*The One who upholds the universe by the word of His power.
*The One who made purification for sins.
*The One who sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.


Hairy Legs

Alora: Daddy, you have hair on your legs.

Me: Yes. I have a lot of hair on my legs.

Alora: Why do you have hair all over your legs?

Me: Because God made me to be hairy. Boys like having hair on their legs, but usually girls don't. Mom would have hair on her legs too, but she shaves it off.

Alora: I don't like hair on your legs. I think we need to cut it off.

A Special Dog Treat

This morning Alora was playing outside with our dog while Amy and I did some yard work. At one point we noticed that Alora was feeding something to the dog. It turns out that Alora had pulled up one of Amy's potted plants. Apparently, Spicy really enjoyed the plant because she ate all of the leaves.


Morning Music

I absolutely love Fernando Ortega's cd, The Shadow of Your Wings: Hymns and Sacred Songs. The music is beautiful and the words are filled with scripture. A few of my favorites are "Grace and Peace," "Let the Words of My Mouth," and "Sing to Jesus." I've especially enjoyed listening to this music on my morning drives to Erskine Seminary. There is something wonderful about seeing the beauty of God's creation and listening to music to lifts His Name on high. Go and check out a few music samples here.

Gospel-Faithful Ministry

A couple of months ago I placed a link in the sidebar for The Gospel Coalition. If you haven't taken a chance to visit the site, I'd like to encourage you to listen to the media that is available. Be sure to start with Don Carson's address, What is the Gospel? where he digs into 1 Corinthians 15. The gospel is so rich, deep, and wonderful. I hope that we never grow tired of being reminded of that which is "of first importance." So, listen and be reminded of the greatness and graciousness of God.

If you want to listen or download an mp3 of Carson's address, go to the link above. If you'd rather read a transcript, you'll find that here.


Giving Without Hypocrisy

If you'd like to listen to the sermon I preached on Sunday, Giving Without Hypocrisy, it is available here and here. The text is Matthew 6:2-4 - "Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.


The Paradoxes of Self-Love and True Love

"[A Christian] lives not in himself, but in Christ and in his neighbor...He lives in Christ through faith, and in his neighbor through love." --Martin Luther, The Freedom of the Christian

"The self will lose itself if it simply lives in and for itself. It will seek its own benefits, and the more it seeks it own benefits, the less satisfied it will become. That's the paradox of self-love: The more you fill the self, the more it echoes with the emptiness of unfulfillment. Living in itself and for itself, the self remains mysteriously unsatisfied and insatiable. Since God creates the self to be indwelled by Christ, the self will be fulfilled only if it draws the living water from the wellspring of love's infinity and passes it on to its neighbors. The paradox of true love is exactly the opposite of the paradox of self-love: When loving truly, the self moves outside of itself to dwell with God and neighbor, and only then is it truly at home. When this happens, we have crossed over from self-centeredness to genuine and fulfilling generosity." --Miroslav Volf, commenting on Luther's quote in Free of Charge: Giving and Forgiving in a Culture Stripped of Grace.

A One-Liner on Hypocrisy

After preaching today about giving without hypocrisy , a member of our church came up to me and told me a great one-liner about hypocrisy: "The hypocrite always complains about all of the sex and violence on his vcr." (He thinks that Lou Holtz said this, but he wasn't sure.)


Proverbs 31 and Lady Wisdom

Most often, Proverbs 31 is seen simply as the paradigm for godly womanhood. Women are told to model their lives after this woman and men are told to look for a wife who exhibits the qualities of the Proverbs 31 women. I do believe that this is a proper way to read and understand the text. We can find many fruitful applications from this particular way of reading the text. Yet, as I've been reading through the book of Proverbs another option came to mind: Is it possible that the Proverbs 31 woman is Lady Wisdom? Meaning, is it possible that the Proverbs 31 woman serves as a visual symbol/summary for the wisdom put forth throughout the book of Proverbs? Thoughts anyone?

Proverbs 1:7 - "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction"

Proverbs 31:30 - "Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised."


$5 Christian Book Store

The $5 Christian Book Store is back in Anderson until December 31st. Last year it was located in the Anderson Mall, but this year it is beside Mama Penn's. I went there a couple days ago and found a number of great books. They receive new shipments each week, so be sure to stop in often. Also, in addition to the $5 books, they also offer a 50% discount on Bibles and reference books such as commentaries, Bible dictionaries, etc.

Correction (10/14): It has come to my attention that this isn't the same store that was located in the mall. Sorry for the wrong information.


The Right Motive

If you'd like to listen to the sermon I preached this past Sunday, it is available here and here. The title is "The Right Motive" and the text is Matthew 6:1 - “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven."

Test and Visit

Well, today I'll have my first Greek test of the semester. Last night a couple of my classmates and I sipped coffee and studied at E-City. I believe that I'm prepared but we'll have to wait and see if my grade reflects my belief.

Also, my dad is coming to hang out with me at Erskine today. He's coming to chapel, and we're going to eat at DeWitt's. I'm looking forward to hanging out with him.


Marrying the Right Woman

"My son, soon you will leave your mother and I in order to find a wife and start a family of your own."

"Yes father, I look forward to that day."

"As do I. But I must warn you because you must not choose a wife in haste. You must learn what kind of wife she will be. My son, there will be many women looking for your hand in marriage, but they are not all worthy to wed. There is only one that you should seek after."

"But how will I find her?"

"Her name is Wisdom, she will call to you on the street. She will raise her voice so that you will listen and come to her. My son, she is a remarkable woman. She is worth more than silver or gold, yes, more than precious jewels. All of her paths are pleasant and peaceful. She will guide you on the right path as long as you love and listen to her. She works with her hands, she feeds the poor, and you will be a great mother to your children. My beloved son, listen to my words and your mother's teaching: Lady Wisdom is the one whom you should marry."

"I will look for her, father."

"Wait my son. I must warn you about another women: Lady Wisdom is not the only one who will call out to you. There is another who will speak to you with smooth words. Yet, every word from her mouth is a lie. Yes my son, she is beautiful...at first. But if you marry her, I will never see you again because she drags off her lovers and poisons them! None who go to her come back. She has married many times before and all her lovers have met the same fate: destruction. So, you must not listen to her words or look to her fleeting beauty. You must not marry her!"