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Posts Tagged ‘Creation’

“Sometimes you take from the mountain…sometimes the mountain takes back.”

My pastor said that about our high school ministry’s senior skiing/snowboarding trip a few days ago. I chuckled. The next day, the mountain took back, all right…from me. I took a nasty spill but got up and made it down the mountain by myself. Totally worth it.

A few reflections from our days in the mountains of Colorado:

1.) Skiing reminds me of our challenge to be motivated by the glory of God as Christians. Skiing, especially for novices like me, has you looking down at the ground all day. You’re watching for obstacles, picking out your line, watching the cross traffic and downhill traffic, feeling the burn. Every now and the, especially on the lifts, you look up and go, “Wow! Look at that incredible view!” It’s there the whole time and somehow you manage not to notice. Same goes with the glory of God. Everything, and I mean everything, is to be done for His glory (1 Cor 10:31). The details of daily life distract us from this focus rather than directing us, as they should. Look up, take it all in, and glorify God in all things.

2.) How awesome was creation before sin? All creation is under the curse of sin (Rom 8:22). It’s as if the edge has been taken off of their glory. As they stand right now, the mountains are pretty incredible. It definitely makes me look forward to the new earth.

3 .) God loves to build us up by stripping us down. In a parallel sort of way, our mission to prepare our seniors for the challenges of college life is helped by our utter fatigue from snow sports. At the end of the day, we’re ready to have some awesome conversation. At salvation, God regenerates us by His Spirit, crucifying the old man and making us a new creation (Rom 6:6, Col 3:9-10). As we grow God displaces our sinful tendencies with Christ (Col 1:24).

Good trip. It’s a shame that once you get to know people so well that it’s time for them to move on. Still, the fruit of the ministry makes it worthwhile.

And it barely hurts anymore.

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I had the opportunity over the last two weeks to fill in as teacher for our adult’s Sunday school evangelism class. We were discussing the major elements of the gospel, and to my pleasure I saw that the curriculum called for a discussion of the role of creation in the gospel. Creation is a critical element in establishing the context of the gospel, but it is something that is almost always overlooked by everyone. Ask anyone who has shared the gospel with someone recently if they referenced Genesis, and you probably get a look like you just asked them to unscrew their heads.

Why is this? It’s a simple but vitally important connection. A few years ago I heard D.A. Carson (Christian scholar, author and all-around uber-genius) tell a story that I’ll never forget:

The story, as best as I can remember it, involves an Irish (English? whatever) religious-school teacher who gets “stuck” teaching the Bible class to young boys. Seems the teacher was new, and Bible class being considered the most cumbersome to teach and uninteresting to the students, fell to the last in the pecking order. So the teacher begins by having the children all make gingerbread men. Interesting way to start a Bible class, they’re probably thinking. They are told to give the gingerbread man a name. Then they make a world for their gingerbread men to live in (yes, out of order, I know…), and even make rules for their gingerbread society. Finally the teacher asks the students, “Now what would you do if your gingerbread man looked up at you and said ‘You know, I don’t think I’m going to follow your silly rules. And waht’s more, I’m not sure if I even think you exist.” One of the students replies, in his little British accent, “I’d break his legs off!”

“Open your Bibles to Genesis chapter one.” says the school teacher.

Cute? Yes. Profound? Even more so. Even these young boys understood that creation equals authority. You bring this little man made out of cookie dough into the world, and you’ll take him out if you have to. The creator owns what he has created, and out of this springs authority.

God, our Maker, made us. The gospel makes stringent calls on our conduct, calling us to repent and trust in the atoning work of Christ for our salvation. Why does everyone have to be saved this way? Why does everyone even have to answer to this God who makes such specific demands?

Because He created you, He owns you, and you are therefore accountable to Him.

Do not overlook this critical element of context of the gospel. In this post-modern age many people you will talk to lack basic Christian vocabulary. Failing to establish God authority in creation is like getting a call from a total stranger who says you are late for work. Huh? Oh by the way, this is your BOSS! Oh yeah, be right in. Get it?

No you don’t have to read to them from Genesis 1-3, but you do need to be clear that God is calling them (not you) and that he has a rightful claim, not of moral superiority, but of ownership.

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God of wonders.

“He counts the number of the stars;
He calls them all by name.
Great is our Lord, and mighty in power;
His understanding is infinite.” (Psalm 147:4-5)

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WOW! That is awesome! One of the things that I constantly think of when discussing the gospel with unbelievers is their willingness to accept some things the Bible says, but not others. They will agree that God created the universe, but dispute that it was done in seven days. (well, six anyway). Moreover, while agreeing that God created the universe they will dispute that the Bible is God’s inspired, inerrant Word.

Take a good look at that photo up there. If He could make it at all, how is it so crazy an idea that the God who made THAT couldn’t preserve His communication to man. The grandeur and inconceivable magnitude of creation demands a God who is infinitely beyond our comprehension. Out of this it seems so small to accept that He couldn’t keep one lousy book from being corrupted.

People are willing to accept the creation account in Genesis, but reject the Word as inerrant because in the Word, God’s moral attributes come into play. If they plug their ears, they hope, they can avert His judgment by avoiding accountability.

“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,” (Rom 1:20)

Providentially, God’s moral attributes are in view, even in creation. That term, “Godhead,” indicates the revelation of His character. For example, in my opinion, His goodness is on display in the provision of food, water, shelter etc in creation.

Wjat’s the lesson here? One of them is that the Christian, like the Psalmist above, can use visual marvels like this not only to reflect on His awesome creative mind, but on His character as well. I am thankful that the God who made this incredible phenomenon is the same God to whom I trust my salvation. The fulfillment of His promise to me, through faith in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, is as sure as the enduring order of the universe.

That’s something worth jaw-dropping, too.

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