Out of the Ordinary Updates
I've started blogging over at Out of the Ordinary and have several future projects coming. Listed below you will find some of my recent articles. Enjoy!
By the end of Judges 19, the concubine's story graphically depicts the reality that in a culture, given over to autonomous self-gratification, the death wages of sin typically pour out on its weakest members. With that backdrop, I also hope that women will come to see how the truth of the Gospel of Christ can speak into even the dark, hopeless state of the Judges 19 woman. We can and should bring the Gospel message to bear even in these utterly hard passages.
Our loving Creator, who rightly despises sin and rebellion, rescued fallen sinners from this evil, for His ultimate glory, in the Person of Jesus Christ. The Lord, our God, came to renew and restore His people to right relationship with Himself. Whether we lean toward the prideful and prosperous, who eschew the creature/Creator distinction, or toward the lowly and poor of spirit, who diminish the goodness of the image of God, if we are in Christ Jesus, we are being made new. As new creations in Christ, our story does not end when our redemption begins.
Our very identity and ontology comes from an external, transcendent creator, our ultimate reality -- our true selves and very nature -- are not inwardly determined. God tells us how we were created, what we were created for, and how we will find our greatest fulfillment both in this life and the life to come. Without Him and His Word speaking into our lives and our hearts, our endeavors to "be real" with one another will always fall short. Word-filled fellowship that lifts us up by the Spirit before the face of Christ will transform us into His likeness.
Even so, the Christian worldview and our truth claims do not rest on empirical evidence or the falsification of facts. Rather, our foundation is based on the power of the God, proclaimed in the Gospel of Christ.
Rather than basing our friendships on worldly wisdom or empty promises as the two-faced friend might, we cultivate redemptive friendships, based on a lasting foundation, with eternal implications... In our approach toward cultivating redemptive friendships we ought to consider three different perspectives or orientations: 1) toward God, 2) toward self, and then 3) toward others
This was no ordinary friendship. The younger woman, Ruth, demonstrated real covenant commitment through active faith, love, and encouragement to the older woman, Naomi, to Naomi's people, and most especially to the Lord. Because of Ruth, the Lord redeemed the devastation that Naomi and Ruth experienced in Moab, while Elimelech and Naomi were separated from their covenant community. Because of Ruth, we see the Lord's providential provision to transform Naomi's life from an untimely tale of loss and discouragement to a phenomenal epic of life-giving rescue.