Entries in New Testament (60)


reconciling all things to Himself

courtesy Lauren Merritt of The Christian and Creation ...

In the evenings you can usually find me buried deep in a theology book.  Legos, dinosaurs, and 200 matchbox cars put away, after the kids’ bedtime, it’s my time to work toward my master’s degree in theology.  Every once in a while one of my text books has something especially lucid to say about the created order and our responsibilities and response toward it as God’s stewards.  I came across such a passage the other night, and though we’ll come to Colossians later in our current series, I wanted to share it now as well:

Those who have been reconciled to God become proclaimers of reconciliation, calling others to the reconciling love of Christ.  Finally, as Paul indicated in Colossians 1:20, the scope of reconciliation is cosmic.  God wills nothing short of the reconciliation and unification of all the created order.  This is not a far-fetched hyperbolic statement.  It has strong implications for ecology.  God desires nothing less than a completely harmonious and unified world as he created it to be.  Those of us who have been reconciled to God in Christ should seek to be ministers of reconciliation on every level – among our fellow human beings and toward the natural order as well. (John B. Polhill, Paul and His Letters)

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summer of silence

I (Ben) owe anyone connected to not one sparrow and our blog an apology for the long silence these past four months.  I've had a chance to fill some of you in a bit more on what's been going on, and am grateful for the patience and understanding you've shown.  But I know some more public explanation is overdue. 

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Jesus and the donkey

Today being Palm Sunday, it's natural to think of the young donkey which Jesus rode in His triumphal entry into Jerusalem (Matthew 21:1-11).  Though the manner of the donkey's requisition seems a bit unorthodox to modern sensibility, it's clear that Jesus knew which colt He wanted and why He needed him.  Zechariah had prophesied after all, in Matthew's words:

"Say to Daughter Zion, 'See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.'" (21:5)

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creature praise

thanks to Dean Ohlman of The Wonder of Creation for this poignant reminder of our calling to join God's creatures in worshiping our mutual Creator ...

I’m not sure how many churches today still incorporate in their worship the traditional “Doxology” sung to the tune of the “Old Hundredth.”  It was so common in the past and familiar enough now that in almost any crowd gathered anywhere in the English-speaking world, if you started singing it, you’d likely be joined by the majority—much like the singing of “Amazing Grace.”  I’ve always loved it:

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The Christian Post on rhino poaching & species endangerment

The callous poaching of rhinoceroses in South Africa, where 3/4 of the world's rhinos live, has thankfully received mainstream attention in the news of late.  See for instance "Spike in Rhino Poaching Threatens Survival of Species" at MSNBC.com which points out that "South Africans brought the white rhino back from the brink of extinction" going into the 20th centuty, but "the recent spike in poaching has South Africans worried that all of their hard work to save the rhino will be reversed."  The Rock Center video report attached to the article also gives a glimpse of the very personal toll which the poaching is taking on those who work so diligently to protect the rhinos.

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even the animals knew

Not long ago our friend Anna Clark introduced me to Christian author and poet M. Kent Travis.  Kent's blog is worth following in general, but his recent post "Even the Animals Knew" especially grabbed my attention.  Kent acknowledges he's not the biggest "animal person," but his insight is perhaps even more valuable as a result.  I'm grateful to be able to share it here at the beginning of Lent when many Christians are honoring Christ's 40 days in the wilderness ...   

Yesterday was a particularly difficult day for my second daughter.  She was being snippy and unkind to everyone else in the family, even after we explained to her what she was doing.  It was if she couldn't stop herself or didn't even know that she was doing it.

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forty-some days without meat?

With Lent beginning this Wednesday or next Monday for many Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christians, an ever growing number of Protestants and Evangelicals are also looking to honor in some way the ancient Christian period of fasting leading up to Easter.  See, for example, an informative and encouraging review of the practice by Rev. Ken Collins

The first two traditions have typically included abstaining from meat in their fasting, though in some cases seafood is permitted, while in other forms of fasting even non-flesh animal products are avoided as well.  But I wonder if many of us who are descendants of the Reformation consider fasting from meat or other animal products in any capacity as a legitimate, even vibrant, way of honoring Lent?  

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God's compassion for animals

A fundamental post, rich with biblical references to God's concern for animals, from Dean Ohlman of The Wonder of Creation ...

One of the many key indications of the reliability of the Bible is its addressing the broad span of the reality of life on earth.  I’m only vaguely knowledgeable of the scriptures of other religions, but I think it’s safe to say that the Bible is unparalleled in its “heart” for animals—from their origin to their destiny.  They were created by God before mankind (Gen. 1), they were put under man’s authority and responsibility (Gen. 1:20-30; Psalm 8:4-8), they were saved from destruction in the flood (Gen. 7:6-10), and they are remembered by their Creator who covenanted with them that they would continue under His protection and in His care (Gen. 9:8-16).

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let heaven and nature sing

Thank you to pastor Chuck Summers of Seeing Creation for allowing us to share this meaningful Advent reflection accompanied beautifully by some of Chuck's photography ...

It’s the third Sunday in Advent and since the theme for this Sunday is joy we sang “Joy to the World!” at church this morning.  This has to be one of the most familiar and popular of all Christmas hymns.  I have enjoyed singing this song since my childhood.  Even as a kid I particularly liked the part that says, “let heaven and nature sing.”  What I didn’t realize back then is that the idea of heaven and nature singing comes straight out of the Bible.

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my faith, God's animals and diet

I prematurely concluded our recent series on Christian voices for animals before sharing this heartfelt personal reflection from Canadian friend and animal advocate Anne Sturgeon ...

Having been raised in a loving Christian home, it didn’t feel like a huge step to believe in a loving, merciful God who wants to have a personal relationship with me.  What I do find difficult is being the best person I believe God expects me to be.  I keep returning to him knowing He will be there, waiting for me, prepared to forgive and ready to guide me, once again, if I choose! 

Since a child, I have been hearing and feeling God's loving, gentle, caring, compassionate, and merciful voice telling me to take care of His creation.  God frequently teaches me through my day-to-day life, and I feel that His handiwork clearly points to Him and His awesome, magnificent power.  God's Universe is so amazing and reveals His miracles every day.

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