Check out the latest spoken word vid by Jefferson Bethke. See previous ones here.
Did God die on the cross? Good question. At least one popular preacher has a chapter of a book and a sermon entitled “GOD DIES” when dealing with the cross. But is that accurate? I’ve heard a number of younger guys speak of the cross in that way, but I’m not convinced that God did die on the cross. Below is an extract from Dr. R.C. Sproul’s tremendous little book The Truth of the Cross. In the final chapter Sproul has a Q+A section dealing with some tricky questions about the cross. I like his response for this question.
The famous hymn of the church “And Can it Be?” contains a line that asks a very poignant question : “How can it be that thou, my God, shouldst die for me?” Is it accurate to say that God died on the cross?
This kind of expression is popular in hymnody and in grassroots conversation. So although I have this scruple about the hymn and it bothers me that the expression is there, I think I understand it, and there’s a way to give an indulgence for it.
We believe that Jesus Christ was God incarnate. We also believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross. If we say that God died on the cross, and if by that we mean that the divine nature perished, we have stepped over the edge into serious heresy. In fact, two such heresies related to this problem arose in the early centuries of the church: theopassianism and patripassianism. The first of these, theopassianism, teaches that God Himself suffered death on the cross. Patripassianism indicates that the Father suffered vicariously through the suffering of His Son. Both of these heresies were roundly rejected by the church for the very reason that they categorically deny the very character and nature of God, including His immutability. There is no change in the substantive nature or character of God at any time.
God not only created the universe, He sustains it by the very power of His being. As Paul said, “In Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). If the being of God ceased for one second, the universe would disappear. It would pass out of existence, because nothing can exist apart from the sustaining power of God. If God dies, everything dies with Him. Obviously, then, God could not have perished on the cross.
Some say, “It was the second person of the Trinity Who died.” That would be a mutation within the very being of God, because when we look at the Trinity we say that the three are one in essence, and that though there are personal distinctions among the persons of the Godhead, those distinctions are not essential in the sense that they are differences in being. Death is something that would involve a change in one’s being.
We should shrink in horror from the idea that God actually died on the cross. The atonement was made by the human nature of Christ. Somehow people tend to think that this lessens the dignity or the value of the substitutionary act, as if we were somehow implicitly denying the deity of Christ. God forbid. It’s the God-man Who dies, but death is something that is experienced only by the human nature, because the divine nature isn’t capable of experiencing death.
Extract from R.C. Sproul, The Truth of the Cross.
Originally posted here.
This year’s Katoomba Youth Christian Convention, known as KYCK, totalled roughly six thousand delegates over the three weekends and saw some 900 young people either become a Christian for the first time, or recommit themselves to following Christ.
The theme of this year’s convention, which concluded last weekend, was This is Love, focusing on the book of 1 John through six talks.
One of the two speakers at the convention, St Faith’s Narrabeen youth pastor Dave Miers, says that he was overjoyed by the response from many of the youth, and hopes to see them continue to follow Christ in the months and years ahead.
Really good Jesus-centred, gospel-centred lyrics. A number of the songs pick up the idea of Jesus as the fulfilment of Old Testament promises. I’m really enjoying all the tracks. So far, my three favourites are:
- track 3 – lion man // some good atonement theology with driving southern rock
- track 7 – holy holy holy // this hymn remake is all about the pipe organ at the end!
- track 10 – where were you // job 38 richness (God is God and you’re not)
Here is a lyric clip for track 1 ‘Mediator’
Q U E E N ' S B I R T H D A Y / / C O U S I N S
Cool story. I’ve got the same shoes as the kid. But not the skills.
In April/May 2013 I went on a trip with a bunch of other ministers to visit some of Compassion’s projects in Manado, East Indonesia. It really was an amazing trip! This post is a summary of the trip. I didn’t realise I’d written so many posts, but below there are 25 short blog posts written during and after the trip. Thanks to the team from Compassion for the opportunity to gain insights into their incredible work. Thanks also to the many who have followed along with the journey. Click here to sponsor a kid.
- SINGAPORE TO MANADO
- SUNSET MANADO
- RICH + POOR
- THE SKINNY ON COMPASSION EAST INDO
- KING OF THE KIDS
- PARTNERSHIP WITH CHURCHES
- GRATEFUL FOR GRACE
- STOP CUTTING BABIES IN HALF
- WILL YOU SPONSOR JUN?
- LOOK, IT’S JUSTIN BIEBER!
- LOOSE THE CHAINS OF INJUSTICE
- ROLL THE CAMERAS
- YESUS NOMOR SATU!
- NEEDING CLEAN WATER
- MANADO RAW CUT
- MANADO 2013 RAW CUT #CompassionINDO
- LOVE IS NOT OPTIONAL
- WRITE LETTERS TO YOUR SPONSOR CHILD
- THE TASTES OF MANADO
- TAKRAW // CONNECTING THROUGH SPORT
- JESUS LOVES KIDS
- THE TEAM
- FEGA’S PAIN-FILLED POEM
- TUHAN ITU BAIK KEPADA SEMUA ORANG
- CHRIST + CHILDREN + CHURCH
Marcus Reeves from Crossroads Canberra has written a fantastic summary of the trip, probably more worthwhile than my 25 posts above!
WYDICK RESEARCH – COMPASSION CHILD SPONSORSHIP… IT WORKS!
Some independent research has just been released regarding Compassion’s child sponsorship work.
Compassion Australia CEO Tim Hanna has this to say about the research:
“I’m very excited about the results of this research. We have known for many years that Compassion child sponsorship is making a deep and lasting difference in the lives of individual children—now we have world-class independent research to support this.”
Check this video:
Compassion describe the heart of what they do as Christ-centred, Child-focused and Church-based.
I love these 3 values and saw each of them in practice while in Indonesia.
CHRIST-CENTRED // it’s clear that Compassion’s work flows out of a commitment to Christ and sharing his love. The good news of Jesus is made known in word and deed.
CHILD-FOCUSED // kids are the most vulnerable in places of poverty and it’s right to focus on helping them out of the poverty cycle. Education and child sponsorship works.
CHURCH-BASED // this is a real winner! Their partnership with local churches means that they are even more effective in the other two (Christ-centred & child-focused). Churches are empowered and resourced to be a genuine blessing to their community, both now and for eternity!
This is the final compassion trip posts. Thanks for reading along. I will put a summary page on davemiers.com
Check out compassion.com.au to see and consider supporting Compassion’s great work.
All three of the churches we visited in East Indonesia had the same banner with the same “tema” (theme/motive). It was from Mazmur 145:9a. With such a high chapter number, I figured that “Mazmur” was a verse from “Psalms”.
With the help of the YouVersion Bible App (available from bible.com with a few hundred different languages to boot) I found the verse.
“Tuhan itu baik kepada semua orang, dan penuh rahmat terhadap segala yang dijadikan-Nya.” (Mazmur 145:9 TB)
The first part means: “The Lord is good to all”
A great God centred verse to focus on in church.
The second half, the bit not quoted on the banner, said: “he has compassion on all he has made.” (Psalm 145:9 NIV)
Apt considering we were there with Compassion!
It was a joy to go to church with our Indonesian brothers and sisters. Lots of bible reading, confession of sin, songs of praise and items from different groups within the church.
Our translator, Claudia, did a sterling job with communicating the sermon to us in English. A solid sermon. The preacher spoke the word of God faithfully with some culturally relevant and pertinent application.
It was good to spend time with our family after church and over good food.
The LORD is indeed good to us all.
One afternoon we stumbled into a Compassion project class while they were proudly sharing their poems. Rodrigo had just shared a moving poem about how his “mumma” is everything to him. Pride, joy, gratitude and affection for his mum was evident even before we heard the translation into English.
Fega (on the right) was much more coy when it came to sharing her poem. She was visibly moved before reading it. And chose not to share it with the class.
However, she shared it with me. Her poem, like Rodrigo’s, was about her family. Filled with grief and tears she shared how her dad had died when she was young and her mum was gravely ill. The poem spoke of anguish and uncertainty about the future. Gut-wrenching.
Although only with her for a short time, it was special to be able to comfort her with the comfort of Christ and to pray with her.
Hopefully this doesn’t seem too crass, but Fega reminded me that sponsor kids are real people, with real families, with real emotions and real pain.
Poverty in our world is massive. The number of children that die each day from preventable diseases is heart-breaking. But it’s easy to let the tragic numbers wash over you. Fega isn’t a number or a statistic. Her deceased father and ill mother aren’t a number or a statistic.
I’m thankful to God for Fega’s grandmother and her care for Fega. I’m thankful to God for Compassion and their care and support of Fega.
Compassion know that children aren’t statistics. Compassion workers on the ground know the children and their needs: physical; spiritual; and emotional.
Check out www.compassion.com.au if you want to bring comfort, care and compassion to precious little ones like Fega.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-5 NIV)
Here’s a pic of the team that went to Indonesia.
We were lead by Paul Beeston from Compassion Australia. The team were an impressive bunch of people. It was a privilege to spend time with them, see them in action and share lots of laughs.
Back: Andy, Justin, Jen, Paul, Colin, Riley & Tom.
Front: Tom, Me, Sam, Jon & Michael.
Absent: Marcus (Visiting his sponsor child)
I’m almost at the end of this series of pictures/posts from my recent trip to Indonesia. Stay tuned…
Jesus loves kids. Compassion loves kids. Kids in Indonesia now love Jesus because of Compassion’s love “In Jesus’ Name”. What precious work!
“People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.” (Mark 10:13-16 NIV)
I mentioned in a previous post that it’s difficult to connect across language barriers. One way to break down barriers is through sport.
We spent an hour or so one afternoon playing Takraw (3 vs 3 soccer tennis style Asian sport). Sweaty work. Good fun. Great to connect with the boys.
We enjoyed so much delicious food in Manado! My favourite was the fish on Bulakan Island (bottom right pic) and the avocado juice.
There was also lots of sketchy food to stay away from. I’ve since heard that more than half the team were sick upon arriving home. Bummer. Literally.
Vicky’s family were given critical support by Compassion after a typhoon ripped the roof off their house two years ago. It was a privilege to be welcomed into his home and see how Compassion has restored their home and loved this family.
One framed photo stood out on their wall. It was an Italian couple: Antonella and Roberto, Vicky’s sponsors.
When asked if he had received any letters from them, he dashed around to his bed and pulled out a precious tin box. Proudly he presented the letters he’d received from his generous friends from Europe.
A consistent message from Compassion staff and kids in the projects is that letters make a difference.
We met a veteran letter translator in the Compassion office. She passionately pleaded with us to write letters and encourage other sponsors to write letters.
We’ve got 2 sponsor children in Swaziland, Bandzille and Silungilie. We regularly pray for them but have been pretty slack in writing letters. The plan? Start writing to them. We want to share our lives, share our hope in Jesus and let them know we love them and are praying for them.
Got sponsor kids? Write often.
#CompassionINDO @CompassionAU #LoveIsNotOptional
At #KYCK2013 I urged young crew from 1 John 3 to see that LOVE IS NOT OPTIONAL in our response to God’s love shown in Christ Jesus.
Check it: “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” (1 John 3:16-18 NIV)
Christians must love their brothers and sisters in Christ. This happens as we meet the needs of those local to us.
As I have met Indonesian brothers and sisters living in poverty, I’m convinced that as those with means (98% of Aussies) our love ought to also reach out more globally.
So many Christians around the world have so little. We (rich Aussies) have so much. Our means can actually release a child from poverty.
Love is still not optional.
The official part of our trip is now over. Three of the guys are still visiting projects in different areas; I am on holidays in Singapore; but most of the team have now landed back in Australia.
The official videos will be out in time (they will be worth the wait!), but here is a quick behind the scenes look at COMPASSION TRIP MANADO 2013.
These shenanigans were shot with my phone and edited on my tablet device.
Check it: http://davemiers.com/manado-raw-cut
(I still have another 5 or 6 posts that will drop on line soon!)
The official videos will be out in time, but here is a quick behind the scenes look at COMPASSION TRIP MANADO 2013. It’s shot with my phone and edited on a tablet device.