Tuesday, 25 May 2010


So.. some rough thoughts on why we dream.

If sleep = death

and waking up = resurrection

Then what of those people who die now, but Christ has yet to return? Where do they go?

Like Jesus on the cross says... this day you will be with me in paradise.

But is paradise the finished new creation, new kingdom, new temple Jerusalem?

Dreams are fragments and mostly incoherent.. but they could be reflective of that pre new-creation paradise; or, it could be reflective of that pre new-creation Sheol.

So just as we have nightmares, which represent the deep where the non-Christians are thrown into before they are resurrected just to die a second death; so also we have joyous dreams which represent the paradise where His sons and daughters go to before being resurrected to experience a new, physical and more real new creation paradise. dreams are but the in-between... before the new kingdom is created.

Further thoughts?

Saturday, 22 May 2010

The Glory of God

Glen's done a great series on what God's glory means


Here's a question....

I wonder what imagery you have in mind when you think of this verse:

"All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God"

If God's glory is some kind of personal transcendence - how on earth would this verse make sense - it pictures someone working to become a shining deity?
so then your definition of sin is what? not being splendorous enough?

as opposed to being utterly loving and other-centered, like Jesus..

Re-Learning then Growing

Being born again is an interesting concept even in practical life..
(understatement of the year)


Think of it this way
we start off as infants - that's the state of Adam's 'innocence'
then it goes wrong - they listen to the wrong father, the father of lies
so they grow up according to the lie - to have hardness of heart

lets take a few examples:
1. food
- Food becomes an idol (cf Phil 3:19)
- life becomes a pursuit of the next meal - either for quality or quantity
- we live to eat
- it is a meaningless pursuit, since it can never be satisfied - and ultimately results in death
- the cost is that we now take the resources meant for supplying others with bread to supply ourselves - it also causes the death of others (cf. James 5)

2. sex
- Sex becomes an idol (everywhere)
- people become objects instead of persons
- they are used for our own pleasure
- that pleasure never satisfies - so we have 5 husbands, then we just end up sleeping around and indulging various perversions (cf John 4)
- sex costs in terms of ripping out the very life of other humans (cf 1 Cor 6)

So then..

Being born-again
We are once again infants
but now are pointed through the Spirit to the Word of our Father
we now grow up again - but differently
so the way we relate as children is different, but also the way we relate as mature is also different
taking the examples again:

1. food
- we learn that food is meant for sustenance
- we learn that food is meant for joy
- we learn that food is meant to enhance fellowship
- we now learn that fellowship=joy=true strength

as we grow up -
we learn that fellowship is the real food
and so we then substitute 'fake food' for 'True Bread'
we learn to fast - since what we want is the true food
we learn to give up for the sake of others - since we want the true fellowship
- in this we find true strength

2. sex
- we learn that sex is meant to enhance covenant relationship
- we learn that sex is meant to produce godly fruit
- we learn that people are precious and meant to be enjoyed by intimate relationships
- we now learn sex=true intimacy in covenant relationship

as we grow up-
we begin to no longer desire so much the temporary relationships (till death do us part)
- but long for the eternal marriage (so much so that some give it up in a way - cf 1 Cor 7:29)
- and so as single people or widowers or even married couples - we try to have real intimacy by spending much more time with our true Bridegroom

If this is true, then we have to re-learn everything from scratch again as we follow Jesus, but then not stay that way, and to grow up from our fleshly 'training wheels' into what is the new way of physical life by the Spirit

It also has many implications on pastoral thinking in different issues... as well as discerning people

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Sovereignty of God (2)

Further attempts to go a little deeper into God's Sovereignty:

So then...

Here's a question, can one go against the will of God?

See.. both yes and no answers have problems
if yes - you imply God is not sovereign
if no - you imply there is no 'free will' (at least at some level)
therefore current theologians want to insist that there is tension between the 2

tension cannot be the state of the living God - He is definitely not tense
the theologians are

let's review it with Christ in mind

the Sovereign Will of God has to be Christ-centered and Christ-focused
therefore what is the will of God?
let's take a few:
1. To glorify Christ
- this is done through Christ's obedience

2. To perfect Christ (cf Heb)
- this is done through Christ's obedience

3. To save the world - so that Christ will have a bride
- this is done through Christ's obedience

So then - the will of God is for the sake of Christ ALONE in the major sense
and accomplished through Christ ALONE
what else would you expect?

So what does that mean?

If I say I can reject or cannot reject the will of God - I take Christ out of the picture - in some sense it is a meaningless question, with no correct answer found in Scripture
there is no will of God for me ALONE

Since the will of God is only for Christ through Christ
so can I thwart those 3 points above? no.. of course not - Christ has been obedient
can I not reject the will of God? - again a bit meaningless here.. it's not really about you

Yet when I join into Christ - the will of God is fulfilled:
1. glorify Christ - yes you glorify Christ by trusting Christ
2. perfecting Christ - yes you now are making up the new body of Christ through death
3. saving the world - yes you are saved and are now His bride

let's take it down to me personally :
In Christ - His will for ME is :
1. to conform me into the image of His likeness - which glorifies me (cf John 17), perfects me, and saves me (past, present and future tense)
2. this was foreknown - God ordained it from before the beginning of the world
3. this was predestined - God carried it out - through His Son (note here that predestination only makes sense when the Father trusts His Son)

When I am not doing things in Christ, that is against the Spirit
then I am 'outside' His will for Christ - i.e. I am in the 'curses' zone (cf Abraham)

I am not 'against' His will either - because again:
- He predestined those outside of Christ to go to the place of judgment
- He will still glorify, perfect and have a bride for Christ
- It's just it will be done without me included in the blessings, but in the curses for the same purposes

so the Christological question is not whether I can defy the will of God
but rather whether I am in Christ, so am I part of His will in Christ, done by Christ and present-continuously, am being part of His will - so I pray "let thy will be done" or "not my will, but your will"

then there really is no tension
God, and those in Christ, can relax....

Friday, 14 May 2010


Genesis 16:12 12 He shall be a wild donkey of a man, his hand against everyone and everyone's hand against him, and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen." (Ishmael)

Jeremiah 2:24 24 a wild donkey used to the wilderness, in her heat sniffing the wind! Who can restrain her lust? None who seek her need weary themselves; in her month they will find her. (Israel)

Hosea 8:9 9 For they have gone up to Assyria, a wild donkey wandering alone; Ephraim has hired lovers.

Genesis 49:14-15 14 "Issachar is a strong donkey, crouching between the sheepfolds. 15 He saw that a resting place was good, and that the land was pleasant, so he bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a servant at forced labor. (blessings from Jacob)

Zechariah 9:9 9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

Jesus tames the wild donkey lusting after everything, living alone...
She was chained up by the law, restraining the lust - but still rebellious
Untied by the Master, she willingly bears this Burden
She carries Him to the cross....

Attempts to destroy secular philosophy

the only philosophy is Christ..

so one by one... my hope is to destroy all the non-Christological philosophy that is within my thinking...

here's a few out of Reeves talk on Aquinas

God is First Cause or the Unmoved Mover
- Rather God is the Father of Christ - He is the perpetual cause, not the static Origin... He always Causes (or begets) Christ
-then He is always moved by His Son, and vice versa, the Son always marvels at the Father
- He is the affectionate and affected God... and has always been - so He is unchanging
why? because WE, sinful human beings are the unaffected - it is US who HARDEN our HEARTS... that is the Satanic life...

Sovereignty of God

Can we come to a more Christological understanding of the sovereignty of God?

very often our view is more tyrannical - basically Satan's idea of the god that has to dictate otherwise he's not really in control
Yet Jesus view on the Sovereignty of God - is therefore you should pray more

If anyone ever writes about God as Sovereign
he is already on the wrong track if he does not start with "God is Father"
for in our understanding of how God foreknows, ordains, predestines, guides, provides, etc... must be because He is our Father

God is our Father, therefore He knows what we are going to do
He knows what is good for us and will plan - intimately so (not just from a distance)
what is good for His children - only doing things (whether pleasant or painful) for the good of His children

How do we know? we look at Jesus
We see His trust in His Father, we see His example of how His Father deals with Him, foreknowing and telling Him what He would do, enabling Him to do it, encouraging Him to trust Him by praying to Him and reading His Word, predestining where He will go if He remains in Him, etc...

In that sense I wonder if this doctrine is not "too" hard to think about?
it's only when we get quite philosophical (usually implying non-relational and abstract) that it is very hard to see

God is my Father, so I trust in Him
He knew me before I was born - in Christ
He knows me now, through and through - in Christ
He knows and is ordaining what will happen to me - in Christ
He knows what will happen to me if I am against Christ
He even goes out of His way to plan things that will happen to me when I was 'spiritually out' of Christ - so that I may come to Christ - through Christ and those who are in Christ, and through the creation and running of the world - which is in Christ

And obviously... all this through His Spirit whom He sends

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Ascension Day - Yet Again

Ascension Day is here again...

so who says that easy to understand 3 point sermons done at a comfortable rate will be the most impactful..

this is me cramming 60-90 min of material in 24 min making hardly any explanation for anything =)

The Ascension of Christ

MP3 File

>100 direct downloads and counting over the last 3 years

more ascension resources at Glen's site - here

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Mark 10

The 2nd part of blind-spots of discipleship - based on the 3rd and final time Jesus explains what it means to be the Son of Man.

PA crew were new, so first 5-7 min is missing - text here:

Well we’re looking at part 2 of the blind spots of discipleship this week. I know it’s possibly ever so slightly difficult to remember a two-part sermon series when they are almost 2 months apart. But let me do my best to remind you.

We were essentially asking what does it mean to be a disciple of Christ,– trying to make further sense of Jesus’ statement earlier on in Mark chapter 8:
Mark 8:34 Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

So the last time I was here, we were looking at the 3 statements where Jesus describes what He came to do. (PowerPoint – 3statements). The plain and open statements of Jesus to His close disciples on what it means to be Him, Jesus, the Son of Man – and by extension, what does it mean to be His follower, His disciple. So we remember Him saying:

Mark 9:31 For He taught His disciples and said to them, "The Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill Him. And after He is killed, He will rise the third day."

And so what happened next? Well, Jesus just told them about His suffering and fate, and just like the first time, their response is a desire of personal greatness and glory:

Mark 9:34 34 But they kept silent, for on the road they had disputed among themselves who would be the greatest. (NKJV)

We remember - the disciples were debating on who was the best amongst them, the privileged few that were allowed to follow Jesus so closely. Jesus’ response to them, was that the disciple of Christ, requires humility, literally as we mentioned – it is to become bent over. It means you will become someone who is totally dependent on His Heavenly Father, and not to make the same mistake of Adam, and of Israel who’s desire was to become independent, become Gods even, they became blind in the sense that they no longer recognized that all the power, and good gifts, and talents that they had, had been given to them by God to be used God’s purposes, so that His glory could be shown to others – that they also may come to Him. Jesus used the words “faithless and perverse”, using these resources for their own vain-glory.
So now in Chapter 10, It seems that in the short time since the last incident, not much has been learnt at all. Jesus yet again states in more detail who He is – please follow with me in your Bibles:

Mark 10:32-34 32 Now they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was going before them; and they were amazed. And as they followed they were afraid. Then He took the twelve aside again and began to tell them the things that would happen to Him: 33 "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death and deliver Him to the Gentiles; 34 "and they will mock Him, and scourge Him, and spit on Him, and kill Him. And the third day He will rise again."

Again, Jesus has just told them about the way of the cross, the way of humility and humiliation, the way of suffering at the hands of others. So what happens next?

Mark 10:35-37 35 Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Him, saying, "Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask." 36 And He said to them, "What do you want Me to do for you?" 37 They said to Him, "Grant us that we may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on Your left, in Your glory."

One preacher remarked that this must be the worst prayer in all human history “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask”. A prayer of complete self-centeredness and having no regard for anything that Jesus has said, imagine how he felt - It’s even worse this time, since it is the 3rd time He’s saying it and because this time, Jesus has started to make His way towards Jerusalem. He is now definitively setting off on the events that will lead Him to His being mocked scourged and spat upon, and ultimately death.

Sadly however, this type of prayer has been repeated countless times ever since, by myself included, and many a time, this is the manner in which we pray in our petition to the Living God, our Cosmic ATM machine – that will provide us with whatever we want for our own goals and ambitions in this life, and even in the next, regardless of anything He says about Himself.

The situation gets even worse in Matthew’s gospel, in that one, James and John have gotten their dearest mother to ask Jesus for them. Note the amazing irony, they’ve basically asked to be co-rulers of the universe, and they need mummy go do their dirty work. Mark does not bother with the nuances in Matthew, and cuts to the chase – this is their desire, no matter who has done the asking. They want to be co-regents with Christ when He sits on His glorious throne. Jesus – we want you to grant us power, glory, security and comfort.

remaining audio here:

Wednesday, 5 May 2010


Luke 5:4-9 4 And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch." 5 And Simon answered, "Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets." 6 And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. 7 They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. 8 But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord." 9 For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken,

John 21:6-7 6 He said to them, "Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some." So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish. 7 That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, "It is the Lord!" When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea.

What's the difference?

Peter on one hand assumes himself to be sinful and when Jesus comes, asks Him to go away

Peter on the other hand KNOWS himself to be sinful very very well (he's just betrayed Jesus) - and now runs to Him

the difference is now he knows Jesus, and really knows himself, and yet knows himself in relation to knowing Jesus

why do we have such difficult times praying, meditating on God's Word, serving Him - because we don't really know Him... so we run away to other things

Peter in the course of his life (John 6) came to a point where there was nowhere else to run to... but yet not quite yet running to Jesus

but Jesus longs for us to come to a point where we run to Him, knowing He knows all about us, and is here to save us

We move from loving ourselves (being in the world).... to despairing in the light of the law (the shadow of Christ).... to being lost from leaving the world (entering the wilderness).... to being found in Christ (being embraced by His light)