Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Out of the Office...

Gone on vacation...sans computer!

Merry Christmas!!!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Recovering a Huge Vision of God

The final chapter of The Knowledge of the Holy (two earlier posts here and here) is perhaps the best because it puts application to the thoughts and musings of the previous 100 pages. Tozer’s desire is that the name of God be glorified in the church again, and for that to happen, the individual must glorify God through personal revival.

He says there is only one secret… “Acquaint thyself with God.”

Tozer then goes on to present a brief summary of the conditions necessary in order to do this acquaintance.

First… “We must forsake our sins.”

Second… “There must be an utter committal of the whole life to Christ in faith.” He describes this as involving a “…volitional and emotional attachment to Him accompanied by a firm purpose to obey Him in all things.” Consider some of my earlier posts (here and here) on the necessity of obedience. And note his intentional use of the words “utter” and “whole” and their implications to how we live here in America.

Third… “There must be a reckoning of ourselves to have died unto sin and to be alive unto God in Christ Jesus, followed by a throwing open of the entire personality to the inflow of the Holy Spirit.”

Fourth… “We must boldly repudiate the cheap values of the fallen world and become completely detached in spirit from everything that unbelieving men set their hearts upon, allowing ourselves only the simplest enjoyments of nature which God has bestowed alike upon the just and the unjust.” This one really sounds difficult to me. However, I suspect that as I accomplish the first three, the fourth will naturally follow.

Fifth… “We must practice the art of long and loving meditation upon the majesty of God.” Tozer warns that as we progress deeper in becoming acquainted with God, we may for a time, lose friends and gain a passing reputation for being holier-than-thou. But he also states that if we were to turn from this effort simply because of these things, then we are not fit for the Kingdom of God. We fear the world more than we fear God.

Sixth… “As the knowledge of God becomes more wonderful, greater service to our fellow men will become for us imperative. This blessed knowledge is not given to be enjoyed selfishly.”

Tozer concludes that as we develop an intensified knowledge of God, there is no way it cannot begin to affect those around us, especially those in our circle of Christian friends. We must purposefully share our increasing light with our brothers and sisters. As this happens, the church as a whole grows to bring more glory to God.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Implications of Knowledge of the Holy

Tozer says that it is often easier to understand about God from the negative. In other words, when we consider what He is not like, we better understand what He is like. For instance: God had no origin; He had no beginning; He requires no helpers; He suffers no change; He has no limitations in His essential being; there is no place God isn’t; nothing can sway His hand.

What does this mean to us in everyday life? In a word…majesty. We have such a low view of God, often (if we are brutally honest) as not much more than the big vending machine in the sky. Think how often our prayers are nothing more than a list of requests! Yes, we have been adopted as sons of God and have been given permission to address Him as “Abba.” But in no way does that change Who He is relative to who we are. But since we now consider Him to be our “big buddy in the sky,” we feel free to live our lives in whatever way we see fit. We don’t see our sin as a big deal…yes, maybe our bigger sins, but certainly not the smaller ones. We don’t strive for holiness. We don’t fall on our faces in awe of God, especially in light of what He did for us on the Cross! God and His demands on our lives fall to a distant second place when compared to the demands and cares of the world.

Oh, how I want to go back and study, internalizing the insights Tozer has compiled here, praying that the Holy Spirit will help me to develop a massive view of God that leaves me in stunned awe and adoration. Just consider what a motivation such a view would be when it comes to the difficulties of challenging our culture with a life lived wholly sold-out to Christ.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Aircraft Operating Manuals

As a short reprieve from A.W. Tozer, I'm going to continue my airplane analogies a bit further.

In the airline world we have massive books that tell us about the systems of the plane, how they work, how they are to be operated, and how to handle things when they don't work as advertised. We also have books that tell us how to most efficiently fly the plane within the safest parameters.

For instance, let's say the book tells us to fly a final approach speed of 142 knots. That would be the designer's calculation as the speed which gives us the best stall protection (assuming we are flying something that could actually stall...not an Airbus) and maneuvering capability while giving us the least energy necessary to dissipate on landing.

As the pilot, I can override the designer's calculations and increase or decrease the speed. If I increase it, I then the result will be a longer landing roll. This could result in something as minor as hotter brakes, or in something as major as going off the end of the runway! If I decide to fly slower than the designer's calculated speed, I could stall the airplane and crash.

The bottom line is the designer built the plane. He knows how it is best flown. If I am smart, I will listen to what he has to say and do it!

The spiritual lesson is that God "built" the human being (us). He knows how we are to operate best. He has given us a "manual" telling us the best way for us. If I am smart, I will heed what it has to say and live according to its patterns, principles, precepts, and commands. If I don't, I can expect anything from minor difficulties to major crashes...and perhaps an eternity in hell!

Bottom line... Read your Bible. Repent and trust in Christ for the forgiveness of your sins if you have not already done so. And then follow the Bible, thus becoming more and more like your Lord Jesus every day, and thus operating the human being that is you in the "best way possible according to the Designer!"

Friday, December 01, 2006

In the Center of the Cross

This is a picture of the Primary Flight Display on an Airbus A320. It shows our attitude in relation to the horizon, our heading, our airspeed in knots, our altitude, our mach number, our vertical velocity, and the particulars of our automation.

Specifically what I would like to draw your attention to are the two lines that form a cross right in the center of the instrument. Those form what is called the "Flight Director." There is a little black box that is right in the center of the cross. By pitching the plane up or down or rolling it right or left, you move that box to center it up underneath the crosshairs. The function of the crosshairs is to tell you where to put the airplane in order for it to fly in the manner you have asked it to. In short, if I were to set the automation up, you as a non-pilot could fly the little box into the cross, and you would be able to make the plane do something you would not be able to do on your own. On the other hand, if you were to ignore the cross, really bad things usually happen!

I took one of our pastors in the simulator one day and after learning how to keep the box under the cross, he came up with the following insightful application to real life:

If you want to get to your proper destination in this life, you must stay in the center of the Cross. When you are not in the center of the Cross, really bad things usually happen!

A Message from the Grave

We recently returned from a wonderful week-long tour of Plymouth, Boston, Salem, and Lexington/Concord. Believe me when I say that being in Plymouth over Thanksgiving is something everyone should endeavor to do once in their lifetime!

Anyway, if you were to tour Burial Hill Cemetery in Plymouth (William Bradford is only one of many famous people from our history buried there), you would find many, many gravestones from the Puritan era. One of the things the Puritans tried to do was communicate a message with what they put on those stones. Here is a quote I found that relates to one of my previous posts.

Short is our longest day of life
And soon its prospect ends.
Yet on that day's uncertain date
Eternity begins.