Friday, May 27, 2011

Francis Schaffer: Personal Spiritual Crisis

An excerpt from the preface to Francis Schaffer's book True Spirituality:

"In 1951 and 1952 I face a spiritual crisis in my own life. I had become a Christian from agnosticism many years before. After that I had become a pastor for ten years in the United States, and then for several years my wife Edith and I had been working in Europe. During this time I felt a strong burden to stand for the historical Christian position, and for the purity of the visible church. Gradually, however, a problem came to me--the problem of reality. This had two parts: first, it seemed to me that among many of those who held the orthodox position, one saw little reality in the things that the Bible so clearly says should be the result of Christianity. Second, it gradually grew on me that my own reality was less than it had been in the early days after I had become a Christian. I realized that in honesty I had to go back and rethink my whole position.
We were living in Champery [Switzerland] at the time, and I told Edith that for the sake of honesty I had to go all the way back to my agnosticism and think through the whole matter. I'm sure that this was a difficult time for her, and I'm sure that she prayed much for me in those days. I walked in the mountains when it was clear, and when it was rainy I walked backward and forward in the hayloft of the old chalet in which we lived. I walked, prayed, and thought through what the Scriptures taught, as well as reviewing my own reasons for being a Christian.
As I rethought my reasons for being a Christian, I saw again that there were totally sufficient reasons to know that the infinite-personal God does exist and that Christianity is true. In going further, I saw something else which made a profound difference in my life. I searched through what the Bible said concerning reality as a Christian. Gradually I saw that the problem was that with all the teaching I had received after I was a Christian, I had heard little about what the bible says about the meaning of the finished work of Christ for our present lives. Gradually the sun came out and the song came. Interestingly enough, although I had written no poetry for many years, in that time of joy and song I found poetry beginning to flow again--poetry of certainty, an affirmation of life, thanksgiving, and praise. Admittedly, as poetry it is very poor, but it expressed a song in my heart which was wonderful to me."

Monday, May 16, 2011


When was the last time you heard someone speak about their destiny? Or should I say, speak correctly about their destiny? Destiny is not "what you make it." Destiny is a blessing beyond your power to achieve alone. Destiny is a story written by the hand of God. It is Ephesians 2:10" "For you are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago." What is your destiny? Know God's plan should fill His children with hope. It is your destiny.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

two funerals

Just this week I have been to two funerals. This post does not reflect on the lives of those who past away. It is merely a few thoughts on death and forever. What I find is that death and the hereafter is often reduced to a few nuanced statements, "It is more about the life in your years, than the years in your life", "[name] would have not wanted us to cry, they want us to be happy", " they are here with us", "we miss you, but will see you soon." In Ecclesiastes 7:2-4 it says, "Better to spend your time at funerals than at parties. After all, everyone dies--so the living should take this to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, for sadness has a refining influence on us. A wise person thinks a lot about death, while a fool thinks only about having a good time." Most funerals I go to now encourage us to forget death as soon as possible and to party, because somewhere out there that person is partying right now too. And so we fashion heaven however we would like it to be, forgetting about hell entirely. I think hell is only old fashioned in a culture where obeying your parents is old fashioned. We are more interested in being comforted and abandoning tears for a good laugh. Back in the days when England burned martyrs a small boy was seen walking home from Smithfield in England. Someone asked that little boy, "My boy, why were you there?" To this question the boy replied, "I want to learn the way." This boy was not morbid. At a young age he realized that there was much to be learned from a man willing to die because of a conviction. The man knew what he was dying for. He had watched the man live and realized that the martyr was no fool. His martyrdom was not a glamor stunt, nor was it a means for a greater reward. The martyr accepted the flames because he would not deny Christ. "To live is Christ and to die is gain" is the true christian anthem. This should not just be the composure of a dying Christian, but a living one as well. Paul was prepared. It used to be written on the gravestones of the Puritans momento mori, which translated means "remember your mortality." I went for a run before the funeral today. Near my house is a forest preserve. I ran alone and sifted through the thoughts in my head that seem to come out of hiding once I lace up my running shoes. Over and over I thought of Paul's statement, "I consider all things loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus." If you are reading this I want you to consider, in light of eternity, what exactly life is. What is your life? Do you say that it is your life or is it truly your life? Is this something that is worth living for in light of eternity?

My thoughts surmount these lower skies
And look within the veil;
There springs of endless pleasure rise,
The waters never fail.

There I behold with sweet delight
The blessed Three in One;
And strong affections fix my sight
On God's incarnate Son.

His promise stands for ever firm,
His grace shall ne'er depart;
He binds my name upon his arm,
And seals it on his heart.

Light are the pains that' nature brings,
How short our sorrows are,
When with eternal future things,
The present we compare!

I would not be a stranger still
To that celestial place,
Where I for ever hope to dwell
Near my Redeemer's face. - Isaac Watts

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Woman who died in stabbing was 19-year-old from Bremerton » Kitsap Sun

Woman who died in stabbing was 19-year-old from Bremerton » Kitsap Sun

Yesterday I spent 1.5 hours at Renaissance Alternative High School. The young girl that died went to Renaissance. We have a reason to share our faith. God desires that none should perish, but that all may have eternal life (2 Peter 3:9). What is our desire and how do we express it?