Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Case For Real Jesus

Author : Lee Strobel
Publisher : Zondervan
Price : Approx RM39.95 (Available in Christian Book Stores)
Reviewed by : Henry Hock Guan Teh.

Like his other books, Strobel uses evidential methodology apologetics approach in this book to point out the errors and absurd assumptions of the liberal theorist about Jesus. Taking advantage of his journalistic forte, he intellectually wrote but carefully framing his interviews with leading scholars for narratives loving readers. The author’s main concern is that the public (including Christians) are duped by recent ill-supported assertions concerning Jesus, such as from the likes of Dan Brown (Da Vinci Code, 2003), Michael Baigent (The Jesus Papers, 2006) and James Cameron (‘The Jesus Tomb’, Discovery Channel Documentary, 2007).

Strobel also brilliantly exposed and explained away today’s cacophony of postmodernism by systematically presenting logical counter-arguments against conjectures such as:

● Jesus is portrayed in other non-canonical gospels;
● Tampering by the church had damaged Bible’s portrayal of Jesus;
● New explanations refuting Jesus’ resurrection;
● Christianity’s portrayal of Jesus drawn from pagan religions;
● Jesus failed to fulfil messianic prophecies, and
● Contemporary people should interpret their own way about Jesus.

I got this wonderful book as a Christmas gift from my wife. You can borrow it from CDPC library. I intend to keep my copy.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Altared Living For Altered Lives

Peter Rowan, my homiletic teacher, preached on "Worship At The Kitchen Sink: Altared Living for Altered Lives" last Sunday and here are the sermon notes:

Where Does Worship Take Place?

The radical difference between early Christianity and the surrounding religions of the first century:

No longer is religion to be a sector of life as was with the case with the elusive and empty divinity cults. Christian worship is a total consecration involving belonging, obedience, brotherly love, in short, total service and adoration of the living and true God. (R. Corriveau)

1. Mind Your Language - Old Words, Wider Meanings

- Worship patterns in redemptive history (remember John 4): OT worship pointed forward to the ultimate sacrifice and the perfect high priest - Jesus and the Cross.
- In the NT, OT worship language is transformed and widened in its application.

2. Do As The Romans Do - Worship 24/7

The Build-Up to the Call of Worship:
- 1:18-3:20 - sin keeps humanity from a true knowledge of God, making true worship impossible.

- 3:21 - 11:36 - God has not abandoned His world. Through Christ's sacrificial death, God has acted to bring humankind back to Himself.
- 12:1ff - Paul's exposition of the righteousness of God and of justification by faith leads to 12:1 "Therefore, in view of God's mercies, ..."
- Romans 12 expresses a new understanding of worship based on a right response to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Understanding 'understanding worship'

- This kind of worship involves the obedience of faith (1:5 & 16:26) - worked out by those whose minds are being transformed and renewed by God so that their lives in their totality are lived according to the will of God.
- The Christian's spiritual worship involves an extreme of realism - the offering of himself (R. Corriveau).

3. Worship at the Kitchen Sink: Altared Lives for Altered Living

- 12:1 "offer / present your bodies..." The presentation of ourselves to God at the beginning of our Christian lives - in terms of a deliberate, decisive, demonstrable surrender to God, is to be renewed on a regular basis.
- Our death to sin in the death of Christ, which Paul has declared earlier in Romans to be and accomplished fact, must become real in experience too (James Philip).

Altared Lives

- Not a disembodiment consecration, but the consecration of our whole lives.
- Ruth Graham had a card above her kitchen sink: "Divine worship offered here three times daily." All of life lived to the glory of God.
- OT language of sacrifice is applied now to the offering up of all our live all the time to God.

Authentic Worship Flows from an Altered Life

- The life that is fully acceptable to God is the life consecrated to Him through self-abandonment to the saving work of Jesus Christ. It is the life that seeks to serve Him in the context of everyday relationships and responsibilities, in the power of His Holy Spirit (David Peterson).

- Altared lives will result in altered living

Altered Living - The Life of Comprehensive Worship is to be lived out in the concrete relationships and circumstances of life:

a. relationship with yourself
b. relationship with other Christians
c. relationship with enemies
d. relationship to authorities
e. relationship to God's standards

- Philip Yancey talks about the kind of alternative lives we are called to live: Stalin built a village in Poland called Nowa Huta or 'new town' to demonstrate the promise of communism...

- "All too often, the church holds up a mirror reflecting back the society around it, rather than a window revealing a different way..." (What's So Amazing About Grace)

4. Real Worship: Connecting the Real World with the Real God

- (Romans 15:15-17) Paul sees his mission to the Gentiles as an expression of his worship to God.

- Evangelism has as its chief purpose the multiplication of worship, praise and thanksgiving to the King of kings and the Lord of lords (Andrew Kirk).

- Corporate worship should encourage us to engage with the world, and not escape from it.

- There can be no place for fantasy religion - worship is real only if it connects the real world with the real God (Mark Santer).

5. Our Debt Problem: The Solution to Sustaining True Worship

A Life for a Life
- a debt of gratitude
- a matter of obligation
- a matter of honesty

To see the meaning of the cross and still withhold our whole being from God is an impeachment of our sincerity and integrity (James Philip).

This is the worship God so desires and deserves:

- a comprehensive worship that flows from the totality of our lives
- worship that leads us to engage with the needs of the world
- worship sustained by the gospel of Christ

Friday, July 04, 2008

Stuart McAllister: Half Day Seminar

Life's Pursuits and the Question of Meaning

We think that man's quest for order and control, and man's hope in science and technology, will bring about the benefits and rewards we crave for. But is that truly the case?

Come and listen to Stuart McAllister of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries who will share the Biblical perspective of life's meaning, and the implications of our attempts to have the fullness of life in our own terms.

Venue: Evangel Christian Church
Time: 9.30am - 12pm
Date: 12th July 2008, Saturday
Speaker: Stuart McAllister
Free Admission

Evangel Christian Church
Blk 211, Henderson Road#04-02, Singapore 159552
Tel: 97892115

About the speaker, Stuart McAllister:

Born in Scotland, Stuart McAllister spent his earlier years in sales before Christ changed his life at the age of twenty. From then on, filled with a hunger to learn more about and preach the Gospel, he took every opportunity to witness and give his testimony. The desire to serve the Lord and at the same time deepen his understanding of the faith led him to Operation Mobilisation in 1978. OM sent him to Yugoslavia where he was imprisoned for forty days for distributing Christian literature. Undeterred, he continued on his mission to preach the Gospel in communist countries, which resulted in several more imprisonments.

He was general secretary of the European Evangelical Alliance and is involved with the European Lausanne Committee. Stuart has developed an evangelistic mobilization called "Love Europe" that sent several thousand team members across Europe with the message of the Gospel. He also founded the European Roundtable to bring together a diverse group of ministries and interests; they united to foster "Hope for Europe."

After residing in Vienna, Austria for twenty years, Stuart joined the staff of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries as the International Director in January of 1998. Pluralism, postmodernism and consumerism are regular topics addressed by Stuart in the leadership seminars.