So, liveblogging didn't work out as hoped due to the lack of wireless at the camp we're staying at. Yet I am able to do what might be the next best thing. On our free time today, we came into Mt. Airy (the town on which Mayberry in "The Andy Griffith Show" was based, if you didn't know). At the original time of posting this, I was in a local book store called Pages right in down town. I'm going to post my "unfiltered" notes from this morning. They are essentially a summary of what my good friend Pete shared on. So here it is.
We began by praying. Pete read from Psalm 77:11-20 to open. It was an emotional experience for him. He began to choke up a bit as he recalled how blessed he was to have us as a family. Then he went into “boasting in his weakness,” talking about his memory skills. He made the point that in his forgetfulness, he is reminded that he is constantly forgetful. This is a link to many people in the Bible, as many in the Bible were forgetful (i.e., the people in the time of the Judges). He gave the example of the children of Israel in Exodus 32, where they made the golden calf. He then set the context of how the LORD had delivered Israel from Egypt. They passed safely through the waters into the wilderness where they were led by the LORD who appeared to them as a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. The people began to complain because they seemed to lack food. As he read the text about the Israelites making the golden calf, he said how he began to think, “the nerve of these people, how could they forget the LORD?” But then it hit him…he (and likewise all of us) forgot the LORD on several occasions.
With all of this he set the foundation for his talk. He stated how his talk would not be innovative per se, nor did he hope for it to be. Rather it was to remind us of truths we need to be reminded of lest we drift into idolatry.
The meat of his talk was to discuss the proper place of missions in the Christian life and spoke on two extremes. One extreme is to put missions in the “church” category. He noted there is a reason why we aren’t “immediately zapped into heaven” when we are saved; this is because we are to share the gospel. The other extreme is to view missions as “the be all, end all” of the Christian life. He then quoted John Piper—“Missions exists because worship doesn’t.” This notes that missions is not an end unto itself, but rather a means to the end of worship. In missions, we seek to bring the nations into enjoyment of God’s glory. “You can’t commend what you don’t cherish.” The gist of what Piper said is, “We will not praise what we do not prize.” If people are captured by something in their hearts, they will praise it. It is important to remind ourselves of the Gospel. It is important that we cherish the Gospel.
He proceeded from here to share a personal reflection on Romans 5:6-11. When he was in France, he was stationed in a Podunk town in the Alps. This was a bit of a struggle at times as he didn’t have many people to talk to, since there were no other missionaries, and he didn’t speak French well. When he would go downtown, every single time, he would pass by a run-down mansion. He asked about it, and heard it used to be ran by the Nazi’s in WWII. Apparently people in France believed it to be haunted.
Later on, Pete shared with us an imaginitive vision he had at one point overseas. He imagined all of us (the FLC) worshiping the LORD before the throne; everything was sweet. But then behind us, he heard a German voice singing—none other than Hitler. This disturbed Pete, but no one else seemed to notice. This bothered him that Hitler was apparently in heaven. He went up to Jesus and asked Him about it, having a difficult time believing he was there. Then Jesus stooped down to write something on the floor of heaven (John 8:1-11). Pete read that passage and was reminded that in God’s eyes, all of us are sinners redeemed by grace. Just as much as Hitler was an enemy of the world (and of God), so are we by nature even more enemies of God.
An enduring passion for missions comes from a heart that is steeped in the Gospel.
We never graduate from the gospel. If we don’t feel a passion for it, we need to keep reminding ourselves of it
Live Blog Session #1
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