Jim Wilson is the retired director of Community Christian Ministries in Moscow, Idaho. He will be posting regularly, so check back in soon!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Passing on Good Stuff

Following is an article by an old friend, Bob Flynn, President of the Christian Military Fellowship.

Casualties of War — Friendly Fire

I am grieved in my spirit of late at the breaking news about all of the terrorist activity reported in the news. Not the television network news, nor even the cable news, but reports from the front lines in the battle for souls. My ears are still ringing from reports of church splits, pastoral staff resignations, mischief and misbehavior at Christian universities. What fuels the flame of this seemingly continuous conflagration that destroys lives, churches and makes impotent the work of the Gospel? It is the sin of anger! Yes, you heard it here first. Anger is a sin.

I did not come to this conclusion by way of thoughtful consideration of my intellectual prowess. It came instead by incremental illumination by the Holy Spirit as He worked upon my heart during a ten-year long sojourn in the second chapter of the Epistle to the Philippians. It could not have happened any other way! It was and is a continuance of the work that God began and will finish on the day when Christ returns (Phil 1:6, paraphrase mine). For how can mere flesh and blood stand in the midst of Him of whom angels sing, “Holy, Holy, Holy.” For He who brings everything into conformity with His will had already spoken through the Apostle Paul and said, “Be humble, thinking others as better than yourself…In everything you do, stay away from complaining and arguing….” (Phil 2:3b, 14) Instead, our lives should epitomize the “attitude that was in Christ Jesus.” The only innocent man who lived did not cling to His innocence but rather sacrificed himself on the altar without complaint. He could have been angry at those who falsely accused and condemned Him. He could have clung to His excellence and rightly held us in contempt. Instead He went as a lamb to the slaughter. How then shall we live? Shall we continue giving aid and comfort to the Enemy? Shall we continue inflicting casualties upon each other because our lives are not “blameless,” “clean” and “innocent” “as children of God in a dark world full of crooked and perverse people.”? (Phil 2:15) How then can we be angry with another without thinking too highly of ourselves?

I know that there are those who would argue with me, but C.S. Lewis pretty much covers the basis for this conclusion in his book, Mere Christianity. “The law of gravity tells you what stones do if you drop them; but the law of Human Nature tells you what human beings ought to do and do not. In other words, when you are dealing with humans, something else comes in above and beyond the actual facts. You have the facts (how men do behave) and you also have something else (how they ought to behave). In the rest of the universe there need not be anything but the facts. Electrons and molecules behave in a certain way, and certain results follow, and that may be the whole story. But men behave in a certain way and that is not the whole story, for all the time you know that they ought to behave differently.”

Friday, March 05, 2010

Fame or Fruit?

Biographies are written about famous people, not because the people are good, but because they were great in their profession, science, military, drama, politics or sport and their lives were fascinating.

These people will be imitated; they will have babies named after them. As an example, Peton Manning will become a great quarterback like his example Johnny Unitas.

Unfortunately bad qualities are also copied and proudly so. This just happens.

Here are two short biographies of men who can be copied:

“Agape Leadership” about R. C. Chapman
“To Know This Mystery” about Lewis L. Bock M.D.

Here is a poem, Status Quo, written by Dr. Bock a year or two before he died in 1985.

To Know This Mystery by Dr. Lewis L. Brock, M.D.

Status Quo!

I’m so tired of mediocrity, Lord,
Weary of the commonplace
Jaded by the customary
Of business as usual
Of life restrained
Shallow and muted

Of preoccupation with trivia
Small talk and egomania
And knowledge falsely so-called
Of confusion called art
Noise called music
Dys-symphony praised

Of self-centered anarchy
Empty and deceptive
Vacuous and suspect
Embracing the usual
As exceptional and normal
A herd mentality of
Unquestioned acceptance
Of what nature suggests
Undisciplined and self-indulgent
The “everybody does it”

Of great swelling words
Form without substance
Religion devoid of power
Profession and little more.

O natural talent confused with spiritual power
Education equated with competence
Conformity without struggle
Life lacking veracity
Suppositions without challenge
Approval before proof
Fizz instead of ebullience
Observation not participation
Frustration and nothingness
Nowhere to go.

When you were here, Lord,
You promised life abundant,
Overflowing, pressed down,
Shaken together and running over.

You said, “He that believes in Me
As the scripture has said
From him shall flow
Living streams of water.”
Out of internal reservoirs
Alive and life-giving
Abundant, satisfying, his gift
God’s spirit within.

Lord Jesus, never let me affirm the status quo
Or embrace the mediocre,
Accept the commonplace
For this denies your presence;
Makes me tell lies about You

And repudiates the purpose of Pentecost,
Estranges me from my heritage
Shames the Son of God
And denigrates his purposes
For my world.

So, Lord, God of grace, I search my heart.
In your eternal presence
I bare my soul
To know this mystery among the nations
My hope of glory now and forever:
Christ in me
God’s great secret
Completely whole
Vibrantly alive, totally free!

We all know people who know their Bible very well. They are experts in teaching truth. We also know people whose lives radiate scripture. These might not be the same people. R. C. Chapman and Lewis Bock radiated scripture.