Friday, April 30, 2010

"How Comprehensive is the Love of Jesus!"

“How comprehensive is the love of Jesus! There is no part of His people's interests which He does not consider, and there is nothing which concerns their welfare which is not important to Him.”
~ Charles Spurgeon

I read this recently and just sat and thought about it for a little while. Think about the implications of this truth! The God is the universe is interested in every aspect of our lives! He is interested in how I coach my son’s soccer team, how I treat his momma, how I drive, how I tip the waiter at Red Robin, how I spend my “free” time, and how I view others. He is interested in how I feel about my relationship to my earthly father, my friends, and even those who oppose me. God is interested in all of me. There is no part of me that Jesus just wants the headlines on. He is interested in all of me! Think about that! We are so valuable to God that there is nothing about our lives of which God is not interested. Can that be true?

Ps 139:1-3
1 O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
2 You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
3 You comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.

Spurgeon said, “How comprehensive is the love of Jesus!”
This wasn’t a question, it was a statement! He was declaring what he had experienced. He was revealing what he knew to be true. Have you experienced this to be true?

I think most of us like the idea that Jesus’ love for us and interest in us is “Comprehensive”. At least we like it in theory, but we tend to live more like it is “Compartmental”.

“Comprehensive” means:
- including everything, so as to be complete

“Compartmentalized” means:
- to divide something into separate areas, categories, or compartments

I think for many of us our faith is “Compartmentalized”. We invite Jesus into certain areas of our lives, but close the door on others. This is an exercise in futility. God cannot be shut out. He knows us completely, and desires to be involved in every area of our lives.

Ps 37:23 The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.

Not only does He desire to be invited into every area, but He promises to help us in every area! He will give us wisdom when we need it, strength when we need it, and warnings when we need them.
Why wouldn’t we throw open every door, every window, and knock down every wall in our hearts for the lover of our souls to come into every area of our lives? He loves us!

Look at Spurgeon’s quote again…
“How comprehensive is the love of Jesus! There is no part of His people's interests which He does not consider, and there is nothing which concerns their welfare which is not important to Him.”

~ Charles Spurgeon

Is your faith in Jesus “Comprehensive” or “Compartmental”?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Another interesting take from Chuck Colson

Guts and Principles Just War and Assassination
April 13, 2010
The Obama administration has targeted Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical Muslim cleric, for assassination. Al-Awlaki has been linked to both the “underpants bomber” and the shootings at Fort Hood.
There’s no doubt that Americans would be safer in a world without al-Awlaki, but that’s not the only question we should be asking ourselves.
Al-Awlaki was placed on the “kill or capture” list after the White House concluded that he had gone beyond inciting attacks to actually participating in them.
Since al-Awlaki is currently in Yemen, the “kill” option is the most likely. And the most likely way of killing him is using a Predator drone, the kind used in Pakistan and Afghanistan against Al Qaeda and Taliban targets.
As one official told the New York Times, “None of this should surprise anyone.”
Well, my gut reaction is to applaud this resolution—kill the bad guys. But my gut instincts, like everyone else’s, are fallen. That’s why we need to ask what principles are involved in this kind of assassination.
For starters, al-Awlaki is an American citizen. We’re talking about executing an American citizen on the basis of evidence that has never been presented in open court, or any court for that matter.
Killing him would be satisfying, and it may make us safer, but it also sets a troubling precedent about the due process every citizen is guaranteed. There’s nothing in the reasoning being employed here that limits extra-judicial executions to people outside the United States—the next time those suspected of participating in alleged terrorist activities might be in Michigan or Idaho.
Then there are the just war implications of targeting al-Awlaki. The legal justification for the assassination is the September 12, 2001, congressional authorization of force against al Qaeda. This makes going after him an act of war and, to Christians at least, something that must be judged by just war criteria.
While this case clearly meets the “just cause” requirement, there are other considerations. Historically, the just war tradition has looked askance on assassination. Among other things, it has viewed assassination as treacherous and even cowardly because it doesn’t give the target a chance to defend himself.
It has also been concerned about what today is called the “collateral damage.” Drone attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan have not only killed the bad guys but also their families and neighbors, a violation of non-combatant immunity.
Then there’s the way that assassinations can devolve into a kind of “tit-for-tat” that undermines order. A world where warfare is increasingly irregular is a world without meaningful limits on the way we conduct war.
Apart from some voices on the left, coverage of this story seems to assume the legality and rightness of the policy. But I make no such assumption, nor should you.
I don’t really know how I come out on this. The “kill or capture” decision may pass muster or it might not. But I do know that the rule of law and the just war tradition are two of Christianity’s great contributions to Western civilization. And I know also that, in a fallen world, a ruthless leader might rely on this precedent to kill Americans for the wrong reasons.
This is a tough—yes, dubious—call. No matter what our gut tells us.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Roots of Basketball

I read this short piece by Chuck Colson and wanted to share it with you:

The Roots of Basketball
April 7, 2010
It was the basketball game for the ages. On Monday night, the Duke University Blue Devils survived a desperate, last-second shot by the underdog Butler University Bulldogs to win the NCAA men’s basketball championship.
It was a great game—a classic “David and Goliath” matchup, given that Duke has appeared in eight championship games under head coach Mike Krzyzewski, and that Butler had never even made it to the Final Four.
You may hear folks talking about the game for some time. When you do, you can add to the conversation by revealing an interesting fact: Basketball was invented more than 100 years ago by a Christian theologian as an evangelical outreach tool.
In a recent Wall Street Journal article, one of our Centurions, John Murray, recalled the story of the game’s founding. The inventor of basketball, James Naismith, became convinced that he stood a better chance of exemplifying the Christian life through sports rather than through preaching. So he took a job as a physical education instructor at the YMCA’s International Training School for Christian Workers in Springfield, Massachusetts. Naismith’s vision was “to win men for the Master through the gym.”
In 1891, Naismith set out to invent a new indoor game that students could play during winter. He spent weeks testing various games, including versions of soccer, football, and lacrosse, to no avail. “Finally,” Murray writes, “Naismith decided to draw from all of these sports: with a ball that could be easily handled, play that involved running and passing with no tackling, and a goal at each end of the floor.” In short, he came up with basketball.
From the beginning, Naismith and his athletic director, Luther Gulick, held the players to a high standard. As Gulick wrote in 1897, “The game must be kept clean.” A Christian college cannot tolerate “not merely ungentlemanly treatment of guests, but slugging and that which violates the elementary principles of morals.” He recommended that a coach should “excuse for the rest of the year any player who is not clean in his play.”
Basketball served as an important evangelical tool during the next 50 years, Murray noted. In 1941, Naismith wrote that “whenever I witness games in a church league, I feel that my vision, almost half a century ago, of the time when the Christian people would recognize the true value of athletics, has become a reality.”
In the last 100 years, we’ve seen no shortage of Christian athletes who use their skill, self-discipline, and sportsmanship as a witness to Christ—from Olympic runner Eric Liddel in the 1920s, to football player Tim Tebow in our own generation.
In fact, so many athletes give the glory to God after a game that sportswriters sometimes get irritated with them. To which I respond: Which would you prefer—players known for their faith and good sportsmanship, or players who are arrested for assault or drug use?
If you have a young basketball fan in your family, tell him or her the story of how basketball was invented. And pray for Christian players who can use the public’s love of sports the way Naismith envisioned when he invented basketball—as a witnessing tool to “win men for the Master through the gym.”
- Chuck colson