on Bible Translation

According to the latest Mission Frontiers magazine, a publication of the US Center for World Mission

2252 languages groups have not one verse of Scripture, and no one is working on translations for these groups (pg 11)

My question is this: should we continue advocating Bible translations for these groups or should we just advocate these groups learn a similar language to theirs that does have some or all the Bible translated or promote more English teaching and just give them a good ol NLT Bible?    For example if one of these groups is in N. Asia should they just learn Manderin and save work for translators or should it be encouraged they have a translation in their own language?

What say you?

haven’t been blogging

because I have had very limited access to the internet and or a computer.  My comp crashed and I haven’t been able to get it fixed yet.  The laptop we have is the wifey’s.  😉  She does photography on the side and has had photos to work on.  We have moved into our “new” (used) trailer but Qwest has been taking it’s time to get the phone line hooked up – it’s been frustrating to say the least.  Hopefully I’ll be able to blog again eventually.  Well, I trust all is well in the blogging world.

will you run with the horses?! (or, how to live your best life now)

Eugene Peterson has a book by this title based on his thoughts on the life of Jeremiah that I think is a much better approach to “your best life now” than Joel Osteen’s approach (or even Warren’s Purpose Driven Life) – probably because there is a world of difference between how these to men approach pastoral ministry.   Peterson writes in the first chapter:

Life is difficult Jeremiah.  Are you going to quit at the first wave of opposition?  Are you going to retreat when you find that there is more to life than finding three meals a day and a dry place to sleep at night?  Are you going to run home the minute you find that the mass of men and women are more interested in keeping their feet warm than in living at risk to the glory of God?  Are you going to live cautiously or courageously? I called you to live at your best, to pursue righteousness, to sustain a drive toward excellence.  It is easier, I know, to be neurotic.  It is easier to be parasitic.  It is easier to relax in the embracing arms of The Average.  Easier, but not better.  Easier, but not more significant.  Easier, but not more fulfilling.  I called you to a life of purpose far beyond what you think yourself capable of living and promised you adequate strength to fulfill your destiny.  Now at the first sign of difficulty you are ready to quit.  If you are fatigued by this run-of-the-mill crowd of apathetic  mediocritics, what will you do when the real race starts, the race with the swift and determined horses of excellence?  What is it you really want, Jeremiah?  Do you want to shuffle along with the crowd, or run with the horses?

This is enough to think about as it, but he goes on.

It is understandable that there are retreats from excellence, veerings away from risk, withdrawals from faith.  It is easy to define oneself minimally (“a featherless biped”) and live securely within that definition than to be defined maximally (“little less than God”) and live adventurously in that reality.  It is unlikely, I think, that Jeremiah was spontaneous or quick in his reply to God’s question.  The ecstatic ideals for a new life has been splattered with the world’s cynicism.  The euphoric impetus of youthful enthusiasm no longer carried him.  He weighed the options.  He counted the costs.  He tossed and turned in hesitation.  The response when it cam was not verbal but biographical.  His life became his answer, “I’ll run with the horses.”

I think this is the key question for all of us as I believe God has called all of us to a life of excellence in one form or another.  That question is this:

Are you going to run home the minute you find that the mass of men and women are more interested in keeping their feet warm than in living at risk to the glory of God?  Are you going to live cautiously or courageously?

And his is right, we are called to live our best and he is right, it is easier to live below the level of excellence than to press forward to whatever it is God has called us to do and live.

I called you to live at your best, to pursue righteousness, to sustain a drive toward excellence.  It is easier, I know, to be neurotic.  It is easier to be parasitic.  It is easier to relax in the embracing arms of The Average.  Easier, but not better.  Easier, but not more significant.  Easier, but not more fulfilling. I called you to a life of purpose far beyond what you think yourself capable of living and promised you adequate strength to fulfill your destiny.

What about you, are you willing to run with the horses of excellence?  I look forward to reading the rest of the book and learning to run with the horses!

Galatians 5:1 flub

I was reading through a ministry periodical associated with a certain denomination recently and was stunned by a comment regarding Galatians 5:1 in an interview with a local international pastor.   The comment goes as follows:

(question): What does freedom in Christ mean to you?

(pastors answer): Galatians 5:1 tells us the Lord has made us free.  We have many freedoms, especially in America.  Back home under the communist government, Christians could be persecuted, and no one openly said they were Christians.  When we came to America, we experienced freedom to preach, to worship, to witness, to do everything.

—————

I’ll leave it all for you to digest, but this is a classic way of interpreting the Bible in the denomination this international pastor serves in.   I am still not sure what to think.

on Galatians 5:1

I am working a sermon on this part of Galatians for my 4th of July sermon and appreciated come thoughts on this verse from John Stott:

As the New English Bible puts it, ‘Christ set us free, to be free men.’  Our former state is portrayed as a slavery, Jesus Christ as a liberator, conversion as an act of emancipation and the Christian life as a life of freedom.  This freedom, as the whole Epistle and this context make plain, is not primarily a freedom from sin, but rather from the law.  What Christ has done in liberating us, according to Paul’s emphasis here, is no so much to set our will free from the bondage of sin as to set our conscience from the guilt of sin.   The Christian freedom he describes is freedom of conscience, freedom from the tyranny of the law, the dreadful struggle to keep the law with a view to winning the favor of God.  It is the freedom of acceptance with God and of access to God through Christ.

Since ‘Christ has set us free’ and that ‘for freedom,’ we must ‘stand fast’ in it and not ‘submit again to a yoke of slavery.’  In other words, we are to enjoy the glorious freedom of conscience must not lapse into the idea that we have to win our acceptance with God by our own obedience.   The picture seems to be of an ox bowed down by a heavy yoke.  Once it has been freed from this crushing yoke, it is able to stand erect again (cf. Lev 26:13). which Christ has brought us by His forgiveness.  We

It is just so in the Christian life.  At one time we were under the yoke of the law, burdened by its demands which we could not meet and by its fearful condemnation because of our disobedience.  But Christ met the demands of the law for us.  He died for our disobedience and thus bore our condemnation in our place.  He has ‘redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us’ (3:13).  And now he has struck the yoke from our shoulder and set us free to stand upright.  How then can we dream of putting ourselves under the law again and submitting to it’s cruel yoke?

What I noticed is that often times our freedom in Christ, be it either from sin, or from a guilty conscience, is something we have to intentionally walk in, live in, and live out. We have to stick to it and not let the things of this world (or our faults, failures or shortcomings) tempt us back into living a guilt ridden life.  In contrast, we are to walk in the freedom God has given us through the cross and resurrection of Christ.

Paul later says in Gal 5:4 –

You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.

When we stop walking in the freedom we have in Christ and start relying on our efforts to please God, we’re no longer walking in grace – we actually begin to step out from God’s favor – it displeases him when we try to live a legalistic life, which as my friend Bill Heroman noted, can sometimes be unintentional.   Trying to live a life based on good works alienates us from God where as reliance on his mercy and grace brings us into his favor and brings freedom into our lives, real and lasting freedom.  Once we have been in God’s favor why would we want to leave that by trying to live in slavery to a guilty conscience again?

I don’t know about you all but I am not aware of a greater freedom than freedom from a guilty conscience that was bound by the law or efforts to please God or others.  There is just nothing like it.   A guilt ridden conscience is indeed a heavy yolk and burden.  And Paul, who know what that kind of life was like (see Romans 7), urged the Galatians not to go back to that way of life – so much so he called anything other than freedom in Christ “another gospel” and a gospel that condemns, not one that brings freedom.

So let’s remember Christ has set us free from the need to please him through legalistic actions or through obedience to a set of rules and regulations (Gal 1-14) – all that is needed to live the life of freedom he has called us too is to simply live by faith in him and what he did on the cross and through the resurrection from the dead.

on experiencing the Holy Spirit

or “on why I support initial evidence.”

When journalist John Sherrill investigated “the Pentecostals” (see his book: They Speak with Other Tongues)  he ran into a wall with his objective nature and was exhorted by one Baptist minister in New Jersey in regards to Sherrill’s attempt to isolate language in tongues.  He writes:

“Are you sure you’re not making a basic mistake?” asked Dr. Ervin.

“I must be I am not coming up with any answers.”

“I think the mistake is to divorce tongues from the essential whole of which they are a part.” said Dr. Ervin. “Let me tell you a little story. I happen to be fond of church architecture. One day when I was out driving I found an exquisite little Gothic chapel. I stopped my car and got out to admire it.”

“But that church happened to have at its entrance a bright, red door. My eyes would try to follow the soaring lines lines of the building upward as Gothic architecture makes you do.  But every time they were jerked back to that red door. It was so flamboyant it kept me from seeing the whole picture.

“Tongues, John, are like that red door.  As long as you stand outside your attention is going to be riveted there and you’re not going to be able to see anything else.  Once you go through. however, you are surrounded by the thousand wonders of light and sound and form that the architect intended.  You look around and that door isn’t even red on the inside. It’s there. It’s to be used. But it has taken its proper place in the design of the whole church.

“That’s what I’d hope for you, John.  I think it’s time for you to walk through that door.  If you really want to discover what the Pentecostal experience is all about, don’t concentrate on tongues, but step through the door and meet the Holy Spirit.”

And go through the red door and meet the Holy Spirit he did.  Have you?  Too often we get over focused on the tongues aspect of experiencing the Holy Spirit – but as Dr Ervin is suggesting, the experience of speaking in tongues is simply the doorway in to the greater experience of a life lived the Spirit – once we get through the door there is so much more and then we tend to forget about the red door, or we just know it is part of the larger picture but the larger life lived draws us from over focusing on the smaller parts.

Does this make sense or no?

so I might have a new pastor/mentor

who is he? He is Eugene Peterson.  How will I be pastored/mentored by him?  Through his books.

one book of his I picked up recently is: Run With the Horses: The Quest for Life at Its Best

though I have read one other one (that I think others should think about reading too) and have another in that series I need to get too, I am also still fairly new to pastoral ministry (2 1/2 years) so I have time and mentoring takes time anyways so when I need training/insight/mentoring, I’ll be turning to his books.  Does that mean I’ll agree with everything he says?  Not necessarily but that is not as a big a concern as having someone to go to to get insight in being a pastor/shepherd to the congregation we presently oversee and in our relationships with others.

so, yup, Eugene Peterson will be one of my pastor/mentors.