Monthly Archives: April 2014

Walking From East to West

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Every Christian who is really focused on the missional/incarnational church movement should read this book. It serves as a timely reminder to us that God will do what he will do in his time and in his way whether or not it agrees with our philosophical leanings. Ravi became a follower of Jesus through the preaching of the word of God and through the reading of commentaries! He was saved by preaching to preaching. His entire life as a minister of the gospel has been preaching, preaching, and more preaching. He probably would have no concept of a “missional community” or a mission that emphasizes highly relational discipleship. I am certain he wouldn’t oppose these ideas, it’s just that they have never been a part of his experience, gifting or calling, and that is clearly ok. As his biography unfolds, one incredible story after another is told about how countless people in the most unlikely places have been reached for the gospel primarily through Ravi standing up in front of a crowd and proclaiming Jesus.

Ravi is known as a great apologist for Christianity, his ability to defend the tenant’s of the faith while at the same time masterfully poking holes in competing world views is unparalleled. However, it should be noted that he has another gift without which his abilities as an apologist might have been overlooked. He is a consummate storyteller. God merged these two gifts, and mixed them with just the right amount of faith and courage to create this special man for his unique calling.

Ravi’s is truly an incredible story. From an obscure village in India, God takes an insecure, suicidal, deeply depressed boy, suffering under the cruel hand of a misguided father and transforms him into a man who criss-crosses the globe chatting with world leaders and people of influence about their need for Jesus.  In 2012 Ravi’s ministry with the worlds influencers reached it’s zenith when he stood before the U.N. and preached a message on how the seemingly contradictory absolutes of love, evil, forgiveness, and justice can only come together in Jesus at the cross.

 

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Noah (Movie Review)

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          “Damned if I don’t do what it takes to survive. Damned if I don’t do what I want.”

All throughout this movie we see human depravity played out. It’s not pretty, it’s dark. Mankind is the master, the strong survive, to live is to accomplish whatever you want, without God or others as a consideration. This is human depravity lived out in absence of God. The earth is destroyed, before the flood ever comes.

There is another form of human depravity that is perhaps even more sinister. This is the depravity that is lived out in the presence of God. God becomes a tool to accomplish whatever one wants.

          “God has made us in his image, we are to subdue and dominate, so be a man and seize whatever you want.” 

A third kind of depravity is particularly sorrowful. It’s not when people ignore God, or use God, it’s when they misunderstand God

          “The time for mercy has passed, God’s judgement is on us all. We all must die, and I will see that it happens” 

Noah is painfully aware of all the wickedness around him. He also becomes aware of the wickedness of his own heart. He rightfully understands that he and his family are no better than anyone else. At this point, Noah of the movie, makes a massive mistake in his understanding of God. To this version of Noah God is simply the distant creator and the judge who has come to wipe away all that is wicked including Noah and his family. As faithful servant to this stern, unloving, master, Noah sets his mind to ensure that even his family doesn’t escape God’s judgement. The results of robot like obedience to a false God like the one portrayed in this movie, produced catastrophic results for Noah’s family. False understandings of God, have regularly produced similar horrors all through out human history.

God is creator and God is judge, yes, but God is saviour as well. The human cannot save himself, Noah of the movie was aware of this, but he failed to realize that God can and does save those who are willing to be saved. The human need only to repent and believe that God loves his children and will rescue them. This is the over arching story of the Bible. This is what the actual Noah believed. The Old Testament is a tangled mess at times, but keep reading, what emerges is that God has massive love for the human and he is committed to our rescue. All these ancient stories point in unique ways to the ultimate story, the story of the cross, where Jesus, God in flesh, enters into the dark human world to offer salvation, forgiveness, and life for any who would put their faith in him. Jesus is the ultimate ark, his blood is what pays for the safe passage of any who wish to enter. A Noah story that fails to offer mercy and redemption from a loving God misunderstands, the person of Noah, the actual story, and worst of all, God.