Questions (and some answers) About Communion

As previously announced, we have decided to have our Good Friday Communion on Good Friday (4/3 @6:30pm). However, we are doing some things a little differently this time, and I’ve received a number of questions…so I thought I’d tackle them here on the blog.

If you had a question (or are just curious what people are asking), scroll down and see if yours is addressed. If not, feel free to leave a question in the comments section. (I may edit the post and add it.)

So what exactly is changing?
In a nutshell, not a ton. Instead of a sandwich alone for the “Love Feast,” we’re incorporating a carry-in (see our announcements for details). This also means the order of our evening will switch from Bread & Cup, Feetwashing, Love Feast (a justification-sanctification-glorification format) to Love Feast, Feetwashing, Bread & Cup. (Interesting that for Good Friday the order tends to follow the Last Supper.)

So, we’re adding a feast?
Yes and no. If you’re are thinking “buffet” when you see the word “feast,” that’s not what we have in mind. In fact, 1 Corinthians 11:23-34 instructs us that our motive should not be to “pig out.” If you know you may be crazy hungry, it may be a good idea to eat before you arrive.

However, if by “feast,” you are thinking “celebration,” then yes, we are having a feast. By adding variety, choices and more food, we’re hoping to really encourage a heart of celebration to our communion services. (Think like a wedding reception…which the Love Feast envisions…the goal is not so much a full belly as a full heart.)

What was wrong with the old way?
Absolutely nothing. Our communion services have always been quite special and very meaningful. Those who have prepared, whether table settings, or Biblical instruction, or music have always done a great job! We’re simply trying something new to encourage our three key elements of Rest, Rejoice and Review from our Vision Night.

So what should I bring?
Again, follow the announcement link above to find your specific items. However, some have asked the question with a bit of “Martha Stewart trepidation” in their voice. If getting caught up in what dish to bring and what others may think about it is a major temptation, please resist. We don’t want you to be so distracted by your food item you brought that your focus cannot be on Christ. Jesus loves store bought desserts and side dishes…and so do we. Don’t sweat the preparation.

Do you have to be a member to attend?
Our communion services have never been “closed” (reserved for membership only), but are “close.” Yes, you may bring a friend or family member as well as attenders (but nonmembers) at Grace are welcome to join us. If you know someone who would like to come, I usually state to people, “If you are a believer who is in good standing with your local church, you are welcome to come.”

What about kids?
Two part answer. Kids will be joining us for the meal at the beginning. In the New Testament, there are multiple references to the church body enjoying meals together, but it is never actually spoken of like an ordinance (as Bread & Cup and Feetwashing are). Therefore, we don’t see any problem with your child, regardless of age or profession of faith, joining you. Non-believing children are always welcome to observe (but not participate) in all elements of our communion service. (It can be a great teaching tool.)

Who decides if my child can participate? Ultimately, you (the parents) do. If your child professes Christ and shows evidence of a life of repentance and trust, then you are the one to determine if you want them to participate in the whole service or not.

SIDETRACK:
As a parent, this can be difficult. How do you know when your child has transitioned from conforming to what the family teaches, or even wanting to please mom and dad, to truly possessing individual faith? I’ll tell you, I find that virtually impossible to determine on my own. I think this is a way that the local church can help.

Our church recognizes the conversion of a child the same way as we do an adult. Yes, their words and experiences are going to be different, but ultimately we want to hear an articulation of the gospel (without coaching) that expresses genuine faith and trust in Jesus Christ.

As a family (this is just what the Wrights do, not requiring it of others), we have chosen to only have our children who have been baptized participate in all elements of communion. Our reasoning is the following:

  • The ordinances (baptism and communion) have long been tied together throughout church history.
  • From Scripture to today, baptism remains the symbol by which a person is recognized as a believer. Praying a prayer, coming forward, signing a card is not wrong or sinful, but the way the Scriptures describe accepting someone as a believer is through their proclamation of baptism. (Be clear, baptism doesn’t save. Repentance and faith save. But baptism is the way we acknowledge publicly this repentance and faith.)
  • This process gets it out of “my hands.” I do not conduct the interview for baptism for any of my children. They meet with an elder (of their choosing) just like any other person in our church. I love that I can trust the assessment to another elder and not be forced through my own bias (either being too “soft” or overcompensating and being to “hard”).

Now, as stated above, this is not “church policy.” There is room for freedom, conscious and “special circumstances” to apply. (Even in our situation, we’re making an exception this communion. One child of ours will be participating though she had not been baptized yet. She has conducted the interview and was approved. We just need to set up a date for her baptism.) I would simply encourage parents to think through two dynamics as you make your decision:

  • Not “assuming faith” upon your child. While we all desperately want to see our children believe, it can be quite confusing if we treat them fully as a believer before they actually are.
  • Not invoking condemnation. It is not good for a nonbeliever to take part in communion. While telling your child they are not ready may be awkward and cause some family tensions, it seems far less costly than participating in something that could bring about judgment from God.

Ok, that’s a looong post (but maybe not long enough). Feel free to post questions or further thoughts in the “comments” section.

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Book Review: Everyone’s a Theologian

Everyone’s a Theologian
An Introduction to Systematic Theology
RC Sproul
Reformation Trust; 335 pages

everyones-a-theologianI own a few different systematic theologies. Most of them are “bug killers.” Imagine the scariest bug possible is in your room. Reach for a book. If that book is a) big enough in size that you do not need pinpoint accuracy to throw the book toward the bug on the floor and be confident you hit it, and b) the book is heavy enough to give you confidence that it will fracture whatever exoskeleton the bug may possess, then you are dealing with a “bug killer.”

Most systematic theology volumes are bug killers. In effort to address issues, as well as controversies and misapplications, the authors go to great pains to be detailed and thorough. They can be quite a helpful resource. In fact, their girth typically makes them just that, a reference tool. I know of no one who typically reads through a systematic theology book cover to cover. (Unless reading through it over the course of a year.)

Unlike most theologies, I read through Sproul‘s book cover to cover. The layout is favorable, with small, accessible chapters. Scripture passages are cited parenthetically, but not so frequent that they interrupt the flow. He also incorporates footnotes (all God’s people say, “Amen!”), yet sparingly. If you’ve heard Sproul, you expect the book to be peppered with latin phrases. However, this does not intimidate since Sproul defines the term either within the same or following sentence. His logic is also generally easy to follow and he provides some good everyday examples and illustrations. Though he does not claim this volume as a historical theology, he does a good job of wedding his teaching with orthodox tradition and history.

LIke all his fellow Steelers fans, RC has 6 more reasons to smile than Browns and Bengals fans combined!

LIke all his fellow Steelers fans, RC has 6 more reasons to smile than Browns and Bengals fans combined!

When Sproul addresses issues of Orthodox Christianity, there are few better. He’s clear, winsome, logical and even practical. This book is much the same. He clearly points out truth and contrasts it with Rome, liberalism or secular humanism. Yet, he does it in a way that clarifies his position, not in a way that seems like he has an axe to grind. This book excels in the areas of basic Christian doctrine.

But I’ve noticed another trend with Sproul. (And quite possibly I’m reading this trend into Everyone’s a Theologian.) Where Sproul addresses the particulars of his convictions, he loses some of his potency. It appears to me, that he simply assumes people will see things the same way as him, and therefore doesn’t address objections.

For instance, Sproul is clearly covenantal. He lays out the three main covenants (Redemption, Works, Grace) with little explanation. There are noticeably few Scripture references here. Obvious questions do are not addressed. Does a Perfect, Holy, Loving God needs to covenant within a Triune relationship? And if the covenant is for our sake (ala Hebrews 6), why wouldn’t that covenant be formally articulated in Holy Writ? I have to think these questions are standard questions that are asked by many others. Furthermore, Sproul simply acknowledges that believer’s baptism is practiced by some, but argues that history is on his side with paedobaptism (an argument I would not necessarily agree with). If it’s no problem to apply a “sacrament” like baptism before conversion, is it also permissible to apply the Lord’s Supper to a nonbeliever? If so, is this not at least some violation of 1 Corinthians 11? When presenting different views of the millennium, Sproul presents Postmillennialism as the only optimistic view of the gospel. Isn’t anything less than universalism a pessimistic view of the gospel’s impact, yet we recognize universalism as heresy?

It’s not like these positions surprised me. I knew ahead of time that these were Sproul’s convictions. But it seems to me that even if you are a Partial-Preterist Covenantal Presbyterian, this probably isn’t the book you’d want to pass out to defend your position. (And if it is the book you’d use, perhaps your position is weaker than I estimated!)

While I enjoyed reading through the book, it does make its application a bit confusing. It’s not even that I wouldn’t recommend the book. It just would need a particular setting. And quite honestly, I may simply be expecting too much out of RC. For a volume this short, it simply may not be possible to really dig into the details.

In the end, “Everyone’s a Theologian” serves well as a refresher. If you simply want to think more theologically, it’s quick and can help you get back in a “systematic flow.” But if you’re looking for RC Sproul to explain or defend his position on some secondary issues, you’re probably going to have to pick up a bigger, longer, bug squashing book.

 

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Why I’m Growing Proud…and I’m OK With It

About a month ago, both of my youngest children received similar recognition from their school. My wife and I were informed by letters that came to us. Like any parent, when the letter arrives “To the parents of…” and the school letterhead is on it (and it’s not in a season you expecting correspondence) you feel a twinge of fear/anxiety. Once we read the letters and saw they were good news, I decided to transfer that trepidation onto the kids.

Gruffly, I called the littlest ones off the trampoline and to meet me and Charity “on the couch.” (A phrase reserved for our “more intense conversations.”) Once they were seated I proceeded to ask the kids why we had received letter from their school, sounded frustrated the whole time. Part of me thought, Hey one of them probably has done something you haven’t known about. Now’s your chance to manipulate a confession! The rest of me thought, I’m not really sure how to tell them how I feel.

I'm proud of my dad...well, most of the time.

I’m proud of my dad…well, most of the time.

Just a couple days later, I’m working in my dad’s shop. I finished one project and it wasn’t quite lunch time yet. Instead of giving me my next task, my dad told me we needed to chat. I gathered some chairs and sat down…wondering what I had done wrong. Playing me in the same way I had my kids, he let me fret a little. He asked me, “How do you think your ministry is going?” I slowly, cautiously slid into articulating that I was comfortable with ministry. It wasn’t perfect, but a lot of grace is visible. As he pushed back from his desk he stated, “Me too.” He then proceeded to tell me the ways he’s been blessed and how he has enjoyed life at Greenville Grace. And as he wrapped up his compliments (with a few “don’t let this go to your head kid” warnings), he stated, “I know I didn’t say this growing up…But I’m proud of you.”

You see, growing up, my dad never told me he was proud of me. I don’t say that to elicit pity. First, I don’t know of a man who has a better relationship with his father. I have always known I was loved by him (he says/said that all the time) and have always felt supported. I don’t say that because there is a void in my soul as I seek the approval of my earthly father. I know I have it. Second, he told me growing up why he never said he was proud. Pride is a sin. At least that’s one definition of pride.

Saying I'm proud of these kiddos does not mean I think I can take credit for anything about them. Just means that I'm pleased as I watch them growing up.

Saying I’m proud of these kiddos does not mean I think I can take credit for anything about them. Just means that I’m pleased as I watch them growing up.

But a more detailed definition says: feeling deep pleasure or satisfaction as a result of one’s own achievements, qualities, or possessions or those of someone with whom one is closely associated. To say you are proud of someone else in no way means you take some form of credit for their achievement. It simply says you are pleased with what they have achieved.

Lately, I’ve become convicted that I do not see the evidence of God’s grace as often as I should, and I express gratitude for that grace even less frequently. I want to enjoy and rest in His grace more. Personal pride blinds us to God’s grace. But being proud of those whom God has put around you, I think that can magnify God’s grace!

By God’s grace, I’m growing more comfortable telling people I’m proud of them…I may even quit making them think they’re in trouble when I do it!

Posted in humility, pastoring, sanctification | 6 Comments

Book Review: PROOF

PROOF
The Intoxicating Joy of God’s Grace
Daniel Montgomery & Timothy Paul Jones
Zondervan; 170 pages

Disclaimer: As part of the Sojourn Network, I readily acknowledge that my observations will not be without bias. I love the Network, and appreciate both of these brothers. While there are tremendous benefits to our church and my soul by being a part of the Network, I have received no compensation or benefit for the following review.

proofI’ve never met a single person who says, “I hate grace.” People generally like the concept of grace. However, people also like to define grace according to their own means. Some “say grace,” as a prayer before a meal. Others speak of Lynn Swan’s “grace” when receiving a pass from Terry Bradshaw. (Are you really that surprised to find a Steeler’s reference?) Others employ “grace” as a euphemism for excusing sin (see: “error to the side of grace”).

It’s not like the debate clears up in theological circles. Churches, denominations and even cults all claim to teach the message of grace. Even within Christian circles (those who are believing a Biblical gospel), there can be a great degree of confusion when we speak of grace. Systems are developed, historical theology is consulted and pastors and teachers are quoted…all in attempt to explain what we mean by grace. Montgomery and Jones’ book helps advance the cause of defining what many of us mean by grace. Together, they use the acrostic PROOF:

Planned Grace. Before time began, God mapped out the plan of salvation from first to last. God planned to adopt particular people as his own children; Christ offered himself as a sacrifice for these people’s sins and as their substitute to satisfy God’s just requirements (John 10:11-18; Ephesians 1:4-12)
Resurrecting Grace. Everyone is born spiritually dead. Left to ourselves, we will never choose God’s way. God enables people to respond freely to his grace by giving them spiritual life through the power of Christ’s resurrection (John 5:21; Ephesians 2:1-7)
Outrageous Grace. God chose people to be saved on the basis of his own sovereign will. He didn’t base his choice to give us grace on anything that we did or might do (John 15:16; Ephesians 2:8-9).
Overcoming Grace. God works in the lives of his chosen people to transform their rebellion into surrender so that they freely repent and recognize Christ as the risen King. (John 6:44, 65; Ephesians 2:4-10).
Forever Grace. God seals his people with his Holy Spirit so that they are preserved and persevere in faith until the final restoration of God’s kingdom on the earth (John 10:27-29; Ephesians 1:13-14, 4:30).

Generally, I really enjoyed the book. It’s theological, but quite accessible. It’s a personal and enjoyable read. (The account of Jones’ “disaster vacation experience” is worth the price of the book alone!) Yet, it doesn’t skirt around theological issues; being quite careful to clarify and quantify statements that are made. Specifically, I enjoyed the following elements:

Worship is the intention. Doctrine should lead to doxology! I appreciate that the authors are not simply trying to produce academic fruit, but are seeking to transform your relationship with your Savior. The language is faithful and emotive, yet is not manipulative or hyperbolic.

Grace is exalted. Rather than sticking with conventional theological discussions and labels, which tend to shift in focus from God and His sovereignty to man and his depravity, Jones and Montgomery choose to see all of the issues through the lens of grace. This allows for a more consistent approach, but also a more God-centered discussion.

History is recognized. While approaching the topic of grace in a fresh way, history is not ignored. It is clear from Scripture references and theologians quoted, that Montgomery and Jones have consulted history. In fact, Chapter 7 exposes that PROOF is not stating anything new, but is actually getting back to the original intention of those who sought to clarify grace at Dort.

Arguments are answered. The authors do a good job of anticipating objections and dealing with them. At times, significant sections are devoted to refuting a concern or objection. Other times, the reader is urged to check out a paragraph in the end notes. Either way, objections are addressed and objectors are vilified.

Anything I didn’t like?

The previous paragraph articulated one objection: end notes. I simply despise them. I know the authors’ intention. They desired that the book would not feel overwhelming or bogged down by references on page after page. However, I’m just too curious and can’t let a single end note pass…which meant a lot of page flipping for me.

Not quite as stealth as they assume. Calvinism isn’t named in the book until near the end. I understand the authors’ intention. One, their theological convictions are not tied to an allegiance to a specific man. Two, they are trying to keep conventional labels and names from clouding the discussion. This is probably just an issue of preference, however, it seems to me that if a person knows enough about the Calvinism/Arminianism discussion to be offended by the labels, they’ll see through the nature of the discussion. However, if a person isn’t familiar enough with the issue to spot it, it won’t turn them off from reading to hear the labels earlier in the book. I assumed I could give this book to a person who claims to hate Calvinism and win them over without resistance…probably an unfair expectation!

How would I use this book?

A month ago, a widow in her 60’s asked me for a good book to read on Calvinism. (Why? I’m not sure. I rarely, if ever, use that term.) This will be the book I recommend to her.

In our “Welcome to Grace Class” we exposit Ephesians 1. We press into issues of predestination and eternal security. We acknowledge that our teaching is considered “reformed” by some, but do not define a person’s theology as a “3-pointer, 4-pointer or 5-pointer.” (Some reading this know what I mean.) For the person who wants more information about grace, this is the book I will hand them.

I serve in a Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches. When McClain chose the name “Grace,” he did so with the Doctrines of Grace in mind. Our Fellowship has largely drifted from these convictions, either redefining them, assuming them or rejecting them altogether. John Calvin’s name brings up great emotion and the word “reformed” seems to bring about confusion. This is the book I would hand a fellow pastor in our Fellowship if they asked how our understanding of the doctrine of salvation may be different than others.

Reading this book will do more than let you know better what others mean by the word “grace.” I believe reading this book will actually grow your understanding of grace.

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To My Beloved Multi-Ethnic Families

A couple weeks ago, I had the privilege of preaching from Genesis 10-11. (Sermon audio: here) In the midst of the message, I expressed the difference between race and ethnicity.

Race sets strong boundary marks. You are born in a race and remain in a race. You can observe and appreciate another race, but you can’t enter into it.

Ethnicities (or as the Bible calls them, “nations”) are built around cultures and language, not skin type. Therefore, you are born in an ethnicity, but you do not have to be confined by it. Not only can you study other ethicities, you can enter into them.

If the Bible teaches (and it does) that we all came from Adam, then we are from one race. In fact, the gene pool filters down to Noah and his family, so we can even trace ourselves to that same origin. Everyone at the Tower of Babel (formation of nations) was of the same race…the human race. The only other “race” in the Scriptures is the “chosen race,” a reference not to a skin color or ancestry, but a reference to those who have trusted Christ.

58705050_640If I have muddied the issue, or if this is a new thought for you, I highly recommend listening to Thabiti Anyabwile’s “Bearing the Image: Identity, the Work of Christ, and the Church.” Seriously, do yourself a favor. Follow the link. Listen to the sermon. Come back to this blog later, if you want to.

There was an application I wanted to bring in my sermon that time did not permit. I wanted to speak to those who have cross-ethnically adopted within our church. What are the ramifications of ethnicity on adoption, as informed by Scripture?

Here are a few of my thoughts:

1. It’s beautiful.
It’s a small piece of Revelation 7, a gathering of every people, language and tribe. A few years ago I quipped that I’d love it if when people saw a child of a diverse ethnicity in Greenville, they’d assume that maybe that child’s parents were from Grace. That’s not because a child of a different ethnicity is more glorifying to God than the ethnic majority in Greenville, but because the diversity helps represent the greater glory of God that already exists.

2. Enjoy entering their ethnicity.
There’s something beautiful about studying their language, traditions, foods and customs. And as you appreciate things, you can even “adopt” that element into your culture. You’re not being an imposter to enter their ethnicity, for you are not claiming to be something you are not. You’ve simply been exposed to a greater degree to the diversity of God’s humanity. Enjoy exposing them to some of their ethnic culture.

3. You won’t ruin them with your ethnicity.
Thinking in terms of race requires thinking in preservation. If too many people intermarry (for instance), and entire race could be lost. However, thinking in terms of ethnicity, nothing is lost. They can appreciate your culture as they also appreciate elements from other cultures (not even just the ethnicity they were born into). It’s ok if they start to act, think, speak like you. You are the greatest influence in their life. It’s only going to be natural.

4. Acknowledge that ethnicities are real and obvious, but not divisive.
If your child does not really look like you, don’t be offended when people notice! Ignoring our differences is a silly exercise that only leads to frustration. Instead, use it as an illustration of the gospel.

Consider Jesus. (Whether a multi-ethnic family or not.)

family-handsPresent to your kids a Jewish Jesus. He’s a son of Abraham and a Son of David (Matthew 1:1). This mean He knew Aramaic, was acquainted with the Old Testament, practiced the feasts, celebrations and culture of the Jews. We don’t try to conform Jesus to our ethnicity, or that wouldn’t be an accurate Jesus. There’s no pressure to try to make Jesus “one of us.”

But Jesus died for us. Acknowledging Christ’s ethnicity does not need to isolate Him from us. But acknowledging His work unites Him to us! Christ died to purchase to Himself a people from every nation, tribe and tongue! We do not feel removed from Jesus when we recognize He is a different ethnicity from us, we are drawn to the astounding nature of His work that it is sufficient for every man!

Share with them this glorious picture of Revelation 7. Let them know that even your family is just a glimpse of the glories to come. As you enjoy the beauty of diversity around your dinner table, rejoice in the glories that will fill the Throne Room when every language, every culture will be represented!

If you’ve adopted across ethnic lines, you are not more righteous than those who have not. However, you are giving all of us a greater opportunity to grasp the righteousness of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit!

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A Greater Grace than Discovery

Thanks guys for playing nicely. Children need to see adults debate...not the childish political debates we are often subject to.

Thanks guys for playing nicely. Children need to see adults debate…not the childish political debates we are often subject to.

Though I debate more than I probably should, I really don’t know the rules to “formal debate.” This means I won’t be turning in a scorecard for the Nye v Ham debate. I would imagine that creationists generally think Ham won, while evolutionists probably think that Nye won.

I do have a couple of quick observations, though:

  • Both men handled themselves well. Neither man resorted to mockery or ridicule. Our political debates could take a page from this.
  • The audience handled itself well. It did not seem to create an “advantage” for either man. I appreciate that they let the debate take place on the stage, rather than filling the whole room.
  • Kudos to the moderator. I know nothing about him, but left the night not knowing whether he’s a creationist or evolutionist. That’s the way a moderator is supposed to do it.
  • While questions from the audience were somewhat beneficial, I would have preferred an opportunity where each man could have asked his opponent one question at a time to be addressed. I felt that Ham and Nye both avoided answering certain objections from the other man.
After reading this last summer, I wanted to teach my kids basic logic. After watching the debate, I'm committed to it!

After reading this last summer, I wanted to teach my kids basic logic. After watching the debate, I’m committed to it!

Since the world was being cancelled due to snow, we snuggled up with the kiddos and decided to watch the debate as a family. (It may have been a bit much for “the littles.”) Having recently taught through Genesis 1-11, my kids know what I believe. Though they would never know the label (a problem I plan to fix), they could spot when an argument went from deductive to inductive reasoning. They were frustrated at times by things that Nye would say, and equally frustrated at times with things Ham didn’t say. Call me a troglodyte, but our family lands squarely in the 6-literal-day-young-earth-creation camp.

Yet, we still love Bill Nye.

Bill Nye’s enthusiasm is what makes him so winsome. He has become popular because I believe that passion is legit. You could see it last night in the debate. Even when asked the simple question of favorite color, he couldn’t help but go off on how amazing it is that plants reflect green light. Even if you’re not really into science, I don’t think you could sit down with this man and not get fired up about something scientific. Near the end of the debate, he even affirmed that “discovery” is the great passion for him.

As Christians, we refer to this process of discovery as “common grace.” That’s why we believe a person with a different worldview can still contribute to inventions and scientific discovery. As creatures made in the image of God, we have the capacity to study our environment, discover tendencies, and subdue them to the benefit of mankind and the creation around us. Though our hearts may desire that others would share our worldview, common grace does not depend on whether they do.

Sir Isaac Newton's hair may have set the scientific community back a few years, but his creationist perspective didn't seem to hinder him.

Sir Isaac Newton’s hair may have set the scientific community back a few years, but his creationist perspective didn’t seem to hinder him.

(As a side, this seemed to be one of Nye’s greatest oversights. He claimed that America will fall behind in technology and innovation if people continue to hold onto a creationists perspective. This ignores the host of current creationists that are very involved in developing science…of few of which Ham mentioned. But also ignores the fact that many of the great scientists in history were creationists. Theology herself, used to be called the Queen of all Sciences. Most of our great Ivy League schools were started as Theological Seminaries. Thinking and theology hardly need to be enemies.)

I’m thankful for the common grace that Bill Nye loves. I would still gladly sit down and watch an episode of “Bill Nye the Science Guy” with my kids. If he said things we don’t agree with, I could talk to my kids about why we don’t. But I’d also hope that some of that awe of common grace would rub off on my kids. We should be amazed by the universe around us! But it shouldn’t stop there.

While I so greatly appreciate Bill Nye’s enthusiasm for discovery, I also found my heart aching. Discovery can be fascinating. Discovery can be exhilarating! But discovery can also be empty. Discovery simply “stops short.” Discovery leaves the possibility that at the end of all things, you find nothing. Discovery can lead to despair. Or, with a new revolutionary discovery, it can lead to pride. When you feel like you’ve found something no one else has (either your peers, or societies of the past), it inevitably leads to the belief that your knowledge creates superiority. Discovery is good, but it’s not ultimate.

No, we need to teach our kids the thrill of discovery, but then we need to point them further. Discovery is a giant neon sign that should point us to revelation. Revelation puts a person behind what we discover. Revelation puts intention behind what we discover.

Whether it’s observing the universe (general revelation) or digging into our Bible (special revelation) we don’t actually enter as discoverers. Discovery can possibly lead to nothing, but revelation always leads to Someone.

The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.–Psalm 19:1

Of course, as Christians, revelation then goes further. The creation declares God’s glory. But the Word of God (Bible) reveals God to us. And the Word of God–In Christ Jesus–reveals the Father perfectly to us (John 14:9).

I’m praying our kids don’t just grasp a little bit of Bill Nye’s joy of discovery. I’m praying that it goes beyond our children matching Bill Nye’s joy of discovery. I’m praying that our kids would exceed Nye’s joy of discovery by embracing the glory of revelation. And I’m praying that Mr. Nye would discover that greater grace too.

Posted in Beauty | 8 Comments

Elder Leadership Class

Greenville Grace will be offering another “Elder Leadership Study.” This class if required for any man at Grace who would want to become an elder, but is highly recommended for all men. It’s a great study to help you understand how elder leadership functions, but also encourages men in their own walk with the Lord, as we examine the different qualifications of an elder.

PC_FRONT_ELDER-CLASSClasses will be:

  • January 20
  • February 3
  • February 17
  • March 3
  • March 17
  • March 31

With a lot of interaction, these classes also serve as a great opportunity to get to know other men. This year, multiple churches may be bringing some of their leadership as well, allowing a chance to examine a variety of approaches and applications.

If you are interested in the class, the cost is $50 (all materials included). (There is a scholarship for Greenville Grace members, dropping the cost to $35.)
Final day to sign up is January 13.

Contact the office of Greenville Grace if interested.

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