To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. 29 To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me. (Colossians 1:27-29, TNIV) 

Hope.  The word in Greek is  ἐλπὶς, this has a meaning of prospect, hope, and “expectation”.  Glory has a meaning of grandeur, splendor, majesty, of power.  However, it is not for worldly power or as we understand it.  It means something different, something deeper and more powerful.  It means finding an identity in the One who came to give himself away to others, while having confidence in his identity.

When I was a kid, I wanted a bike like my best friend, Jeff Hume, for Christmas.  Jeff was cool, if I had that bike, I’d be cool.  I didn’t get that bike…and, at age 8 or 9, I kind of moped around a bit and wondered, why didn’t my parents give me the bike that I wanted, I even showed it to them in the store!  Later, as I matured and grew older, I realized that my parents made sacrifices for me and it made a huge difference in how I viewed them, and myself.  My attitude changed.

Friends, God has made huge sacrifices for us, even the ultimate sacrifice.  His relationship with us cost him greatly, on the cross and throughout history.  Yet, this God continues to love us and shares his love with everyone (vs. 28).

We have a deep need to cultivate this awareness that Christ is residing in us!  Not in some building or program, but in us!

As we approach 2014, may it be a year filled with expectation!

Wright and Torrance: Different Framings of the Gospel

Love this! Great blog from Adam Nigh…Brilliant!

Out of Bounds

In the video below, N. T. Wright discusses his new book on Paul’s theology. He strongly asserts that the ministry and death of Jesus Christ have to be understood within the history of Israel and the promises God made to Abraham, Christ himself being the fulfillment of those promises, the righteous Israel that restores humanity and thereby creation in light of the primeval fall. That much I think ought to be noncontroversial. Have a look.

What is wonky about this is the unapologetic plan-B-ness of Wright’s understanding of Abraham, the nation of Israel that comes from him and therefore Jesus as the fulfillment of God’s intentions with that nation. Wright paraphrases “that rabbi who said in I think the 3rd or 4th century” that basically prior to creation God said to himself he’d make Adam and if Adam blew it he’d make Abraham to fix what Adam broke…

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Relationship really is what makes the world go around.

We experience this reality every day.  I’ve heard it said that we are the sum of our relationships.  All of our relationships form and reform us.  They give us perspective, hope, acceptance…and oftentimes, rejection, despair, and discontent.  That’s why it’s so important to approach every relationship with as much grace and honor as one can muster.

It’s also important to have that “long haul” perspective that helps us realize that we do indeed have grace and are free to give and receive each other in a way that brings growth.  We enter into relationships knowing that they are risky, yet so worth it.  We learn from mistakes, we understand the importance of confidence in ourselves and the frailty of ourselves.  We gain wisdom through relationships even as they are oftentimes “messy”.

We cannot escape relationships really.  We are not created to live as isolated individuals, but as whole persons interconnected with each other.

We were created for relationship out of relationship.  As a Jesus follower, I believe in a God who is relationship in it’s very being.  I believe in what Christian orthodoxy calls the “Trinity”.  God in three Persons.  God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit.  Three distinct beings that mutually indwell in each other.  Relationship.  This God relationship is the creative force that gave earth it’s form somehow, gave life to it somehow, and with a word of relationship, created us and even became one of us.

It’s not only relationship with others, but with a God who understands relationship, invites relationship, and gives us relationship.  A God that is not trapped in the four walls of a church, but is out in the community dancing and crying, laughing and frustrated, committed and loving.  A God who we can love well, doubt, question, and struggle with.  A God who’s relationship with us will not end, even when we think we may want it to.

Yeah, relationship, it says a lot to me about how I should interact with creation, with my wife, my family, co-workers, friends…and with God…especially when I understand the relationship that is the creative, regenerating, renewing force all around me…shaping me into the person that I am becoming.