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July 2012

Viewing posts from July , 2012

40 Days of Fasting and Prayer

Staff of Thailand CRU set out on a 40 Day adeventure of fasting and prayer for the salvation of many across their country.  We begin together…

How ‘Love God And Others’ Is A Backward Gospel

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All credit to Mars Hill.com

How ‘Love God And Others’ Is A Backward Gospel

Sometimes you hear people say that the gospel message is “Love God, love others.” It sounds nice, but it’s all backward. “Love God and love others” is not a summary of the gospel—it’s a summary of the law.

God revealed his ethical requirements to his people in the Old Testament law, which contains over 600 commands. These are summed up in the Ten Commandments, which God revealed through Moses to his people after the Exodus from Egypt. They are found inExodus 20:2–17 and Deuteronomy 5:6–21:

1.    Do not have any other gods.

2.   Do not make for yourself idols.

3.   Do not take the name of the Lord in vain.

4.   Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.

5.    Honor your father and mother.

6.   Do not kill.

7.   Do not commit adultery.

8.   Do not steal.

9.   Do not bear false witness.

10.    Do not covet.

The first four commands (or the “first tablet” of the Law) are about how we are to relate to God. The next six (the “second tablet”) are about how we are to act toward each other. Jesus summarized the Ten Commandments in this way in Matthew 22:37–40: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind [Deut. 6:5]. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself[Lev. 19:18]. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” 

As Paul Zahl writes,

The law is a true thing, an accurate summary or description of what it means to be happy and fulfilled, especially in relation to one’s neighbors. If we were able and willing to follow it, the law would be the answer to humanity’s problems. . . . The Bible declares the law to be good and right (1 Tim. 1:8; Rom. 3:31; Rom. 7:12–16) but then with one great persuasive insight deprives the law of any lasting capacity to do us any good (Rom. 7:24–25). 

WE ARE UNABLE TO FULFILL THE LAW 

God’s law is good. The problem is us: our sinful hearts don’t love God or others as we should. Even worse, the law only points out the problems with us; it doesn’t and can’t generate within us the ability to obey….

Continue reading on MarsHill.com…

Understanding Thai Culture through Orality

All credit to dahlfred.com

 

As a Westerner, there are many aspects of Thai society and thinking that I find strange, baffling, or frustrating – and sometimes all three at once.  But as I  read through Walter Ong’s book “Orality and Literacy”, there were several “Ah ha!” moments about Thai culture.  Many of his descriptions of oral cultures resonated with things that I’ve observed in Thailand.  I felt like I was beginning to understand why the Thai do some of the things that they do, thus disarming the judgmental attitudes that I’ve had at times.

I suspect that many more cultural differences between Thailand and the West that can be tracked back to orality than the ones that I list below.  And even these differences likely cannot be attributed entirely to orality.  Whether you are primarily oral or literate, other factors such as personality, family background, education, sin, and faith come into play in making a person who they are.  To classify all Thai people as oral thinkers and all Westerners as literate thinkers would grossly oversimplify matters.  However, as a general grid to think about cultural differences that I encounter, orality and literacy are a helpful framework even though individual people from any culture may fall any place along the spectrum.

 

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Get a (New) Life

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All credit to Mars Hill.com

Get A (New) Life

You need to get a life. And so do I. Not so much a better and improved life, but an entirely new life altogether.

When the Bible talks about the life of a Christian in contrast to that of a non-Christian, it never uses adjectives like “reforming,” “improving,” or even “recovering.” Instead, Scripture draws a bigger contrast: new versus oldlight versus darknessfriends versus enemies, and, most poignantly of all: life versus death.

A most basic definition of a Christian is one who has been given new life by God through Jesus. We need a new life.

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved.

Ephesians 2:1–5

The big idea from this passage in Ephesians is that, without a new life from God, we are dead. And dead people are powerless—to do anything, much less to change their status…

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