A Brief Biblical Synopsis of God's Redemptive Plan

I recently came across an old short essay I wrote for a class I took in graduate school. I was encouraged by reading the essay because it serves as a great reminder of the immeasurable and incomprehendable love the Father has for his creation. I hope you are experiencing that perfect love in your life today. 

From the course The Gospel, the World and Cities: 

We can be assured that God loves all people. Gen. 1:26 tells us that man was created in God’s image. The simple truth that God created man at all, reveals his love for us all. The Bible tells a love story that begins in the garden, climaxes at the cross, and continues to pierce hearts across the globe today. God desired relationship with man in the garden. After Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden tree, Gen. 3:8 tells us that God was walking in the garden. This tells me that he had a close relationship with Adam and Eve. Then, in Gen. 3:9, God is calling out to them; seeking them out after they had sinned against him. He personally approaches them. In Gen. 3:15, God reveals his plan for redemption.

God took the initiative to go after his creation in order to reconcile the gap that had been created as a result of disobedience. Here we see the first time that God begins his mission to reconcile his creation back to himself. In Gen. 4 God took the initiative with Cain and sought him out as well. God’s mission to reconcile his relationship with man has been coined the mission dei. This means that mission originates with God.

God called Abram in Gen. 12:1. Verses 2-3 reveal a promise.The end of the promise says that, ‘all the peoples of the earth will be blessed through you.’ This passage has been referred to as the most universal passage in scripture. Then, in Ex. 19:3-6, we see the charter of the Nation of Israel. We have a reference to ‘all nations’, ‘the whole earth is mine’, and ‘you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ Therefore, the promise of God’s plan was directed to the nation of Israel, yet Israel was to act as the mediator to bring all nations to God. It was not to isolate Israel from other people groups. In fact, we know that those who lived outside the nation of Israel did come to a faith in God. Josh. 2:8-11 tells us the story of Rehab and her incredible faith as well as the following individuals recorded in 2 Kings5:11ff, Jer. 38:7-13 and 2 Chron. 30:25. Solomon had a firm grasp on this when he prayed his universal prayer in 2 Chron. 6:32-33.

The Psalms are also filled with evidence that salvation and God’s redemptive plan is for all nations. Beginning in Ps. 2 and throughout thePsalms, salvation to all the nations is proclaimed. Psalm 67 perhaps is one ofthe most well known for its missions concept. Not only does it reveal God’splan to bless all nations, it reveals the purpose behind this blessings; ‘that your ways may be known on earth.’

Therefore, there is clear evidence that God was and is very concerned for all his creation. I began this essay by declaring the Bible to be a love story. God revealing himself to man is the most beautiful act of love and missions does in fact begin in the Old Testament and it does begin with God.

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Tags | Global

Politics: Looking Ahead

The news on Wall Street has been bad, but should start getting better.

Christians face death in India.

Some very good students are exploring Phaedo at my house on Wednesday nights.

That is all news.

Polls are not news . . . and remember I am not saying this because they now show an Obama-Biden uptick. They do, but while better for Team Obama than the reverse it is not fundamentally altering the contest.

As I have said since early summer, this election comes in phases. Over excitement in any direction is unwise during a phase. Everything waits for the debates . . . and the first debate will count the most. Somehow the McCain camp managed to get the first debate switched to foreign policy. This is a masterful move as it plays to Senator McCain’s strength. I have noticed that the McCain camp, usually so quick to react, has not made much of Senator Obama’s “negotiations” with Iraq.
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Tags | Politics

Fun with Partial Birth Abortion

Barack, you had me at hello. Your winsome smile, inspirational life story, commitment to ending the war, and can-do attitude makes me want to love you. And I mostly do. But Barack. Seriously. The partial-birth abortion thing? Not cool.

Sure, I realize that many in your camp are pro-choice, and there are some disagreements between us as to when life begins. I realize that many do not share my views on the protection of a teensy tiny fetus. But when we are talking about the intentional killing of a baby old enough to live outside the womb? Good Lord, something is not right.

And there is lots of talk about situations where the mother's health is at risk. But may I point out - a partial birth abortion is much more risky than an induction or c-section, which are better options if we're really talking "health of the mother" here. Since when is it safer to crush a baby's skull while still in a woman's body, instead of allowing the baby to be delivered alive? Oh wait. Here's the answer to that question:

There are in fact absolutely no obstetrical situations encountered in this country which require a partially delivered human fetus to be destroyed to preserve the life or health of the mother

-(Dr. Pamela Smith, Senate Hearing Record, p.82: Partial Birth Abortion Ban Medical Testimony).

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Sometimes It's Good To Have Less

Every morning, I listen to NPR while getting ready for my day. It's my way of keeping tabs on what's going on in the world. Once I get to work, I am pretty much tunnel-visioned, so this is how I know when there is a hurricane somewhere or earthquake or, say for instance, an economic crisis.

When I was in the corportate world, working for the CEO of a publically held company, I dealt regularly with shareholders and the folks whose job it was to drive the stock prices up. But now that I work for a non-profit organization, the only time we talk much about the economy is when we're thinking about how likely it is that we'll get major gifts this year. A strong economy means more donations. In a weak economy, charitable donations are the first to go.

The other morning, I was listening to NPR reporting on the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy and what that would mean for many people globally. I realized that, when most of your wealth lies in stocks and bonds, this kind of thing can really make you sweat. Or, if you bank at a place like Washington Mutual (like I do), and that bank goes under, you stand to lose a lot - that is, if you have a lot more than $100,000 in the bank.

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The Money Pit: Gospel Revisited

The Headlines are pouring in from around the world:  500 point market 'adustment' evaporates billionsMajor banking institutions melting down.  Government bails out major insurance companyGlobal Economy.  Foreclosure crisis.  Consumer Debt.  Energy Consumption declines with economic downturn... etc. etc. 

"Yes, yes, all very interesting, author, but you're here to talk about spiritual things,  So please, a little Bible study?" Since you asked... here we go:

 James 5:1 tells us that we who are rich will have our own share of miseries so that, rather than rejoicing in our riches, perhaps we should acknowledge that they've come, perhaps, at the cost of unjust treatment for those who live elsewhere, far away, working for wages that fail to provide adequately.  

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In Praise of Civility

When Walter Mondale and President Reagan were about to begin their first debate, Mondale began with a statement: "Tonight, I will say some strong things about the President's views and policies. I would like it to be understood that I mean no disrespect, either to the man or to his office. I enjoy President Reagan's company, and I know him to be a decent and kind man."

At this, President Reagan replied, "I like you too Fritz, let's go to it!"

The audience laughed and the debate began in earnest. Mondale did not hold back. He hit the president's policies hard. But he had already announced his boundaries: he was not going to cross the line into dishonor for his opponent.

Walter Mondale didn't win my vote that night but he did win my respect. He had modeled how a person can be passionate for his cause and still remain a gentleman. His words reflected what our national leaders thought, once upon a time: that it was as essential for a statesman to promote national unity as it was to advance his political persuasion.

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Tags | Politics

What Is Liberalism?

What is a liberal?

Some of the popular definitions for the word "liberal" include "showing or characterized by broad-mindedness;" "generous and broad sympathies," tolerant," "having political or social views favoring reform and progress," " tolerant of change;" "not bound by authoritarianism, orthodoxy, or tradition;" "a person who favors a political philosophy of progress and reform and the protection of personal civil liberties."

"Liberalism," is thus a philosophy that seeks to advance "social progress," usually defined as continual movement towards increased personal freedom and broader protection for the individual from the threat of poverty, prejudice, illness and ignorance. Liberalism is thus an orientation toward the future rather than the past.

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Cultural Revolution

On May 16, 1966, Chairman Mao set into motion a movement of youth and peasants who would work untiringly for nearly a decade to rid China of all "foreign," "elitist," and "bureaucratic" elements.  He called for the masses to unleash their frustration against the educated classes.
We call Mao's movement "the cultural revolution."
In that decade of ideological madness, the Chinese people learned to think and speak in clichés. Sentences often began with "as the Chairman says, …"
In the movie, The Red Violin, a woman who loves music has to hide her records and instrument from the young punks who roam the streets in search of people like her, people who care about culture. She has to sit in silence while sarcastic "no-nothings" publicly ridicule an old music teacher because the man had taught Bach and Beethoven instead of popular Chinese music. It was a time to hide one's love of learning, culture and refinement. For the moment, the mob was in control.
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I would like you to meet two of our friends, Jonathan and Marielle. They're the newest couple to Erdenet, though they both came here a few years ago when they came as a part of YWAM. Like so many of the couples out here they're international; Jonathan is from Oregon and Murielle is from France. They are somehow both fluent in English and French and are now becoming trilingual with Mongolian.

Their work in Mongolia is really unique, and that's why I wanted to share it with you. The Mongolian educational system, to put it lightly, needs a lot of work. One of the biggest problems is that the government says that children must buy all of their books for school. If they cannot afford the books, they cannot go to school. This obviously does nothing to help the over 36% of the population living at or below the poverty line. For many families, especially those living on the outskirts of cities and in the smallest towns, the $20 per year they spend on books is a question that can come down to a decision between buying books or food (especially with the global increase in gas, wheat, and rice prices).

Jonathan and Murielle run their own non-profit called EduRelief that raises money to buy, print, and distribute books for students in the poorest areas of the country and to start libraries in the impoverished schools.

You can read all about EduRelief and what they do here. If you like what they do, send them a nice email or ask how you can help.

Jonathan was featured in a commercial for a school recently. For those of you who've never heard Mongolian, here's your introduction. (It still blows my mind that Kim can speak it.)

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The Election Today: Five Quick Takes

Avoid the temptation to read each poll and make Big Conclusions about each. The race is slowly unfolding.

Status Recap:

This election was Obama’s to lose, but he is presently losing it. “Losing it” is becoming personal as well as general. In fact, Obama now is the candidate who must be looking forward to the debates.

He needs to change the direction of the campaign. That is a major switch from the summer.

We will not know much more until the debates, but:

1. Sarah Palin jumped the low bar set for her in her first major interview last night. She was not great, she fumbled at least one answer, but in a high pressure interview she showed that she can handle major media (whoopee!) and has a good grasp on the issues of the day. It will only get easier from here.
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