Friday, March 26, 2010

Who Are You?

'I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.'
- Gal 2:20 ESV

'Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation…'
- 2Co 5:17-18 ESV

'We can only begin an upright course of life when God, of his good pleasure, adopts us into his family.'
- John Calvin, Psalm I:280, quoted in Calvin's Wisdom, p. 1

'You are in Christ. He is in you. Christ in us fills us up into the fulness of God. We in Christ are the fulness of him who fills all in all.'
- David Powlison, Seeing With New Eyes, p. 54

'The promise has dawned, and our identity is now found in him.'
- Russell Moore, Adopted for Life, p. 31

Dear Christ Our Redeemer Family and Friends,

Identity is everything, just ask anyone whose name and identity have been sullied. Who we are by identity determines how we think and how we act and for some of us this is a slow dawning. The realization that our identity is now found in Christ is nothing short of revolutionary. The person who realizes who they belong to will order their life accordingly. Slaves act like the the chattel of their owner. Sons act like the heir of their Father. When we realize our identity it will change everything for us. Our identity is both positional and practical. We become who we are. This is the promise and purpose of being adopted in and through Christ. Where is your identity? To whom do you belong? Who are you?

I'm grateful for God's electing love and His new, conforming identity through His Son.

Pastor Dan

Thursday, March 18, 2010

That Glorious Scandal

"The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone," and "A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense."
-1Pe 2:7-8 ESV

'Paul’s theology of the cross involves his theology of the resurrection and is simply unintelligible apart from it.'
- Richard Gaffin, The Scandal of the Cross

“The Gospel is ‘the greatest drama ever staged … a terrifying drama of which God is the victim and the hero'"
- Dorothy Sayers, Creed or Chaos, ch. 1

"It was not nails that held Jesus to that wretched cross; it was his unqualified resolution, out of love for his Father, to do the Father's will - and, within that framework, it was his love for sinners like me. He really could not save himself."
- D.A. Carson, Scandalous- The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus, p. 30

"There is no better news for sad men, for distressed, desponding and despairing men, than this - the Savior lives, able still to save and willing to receive you to his tender heart."
- Charles Spurgeon, The Lord is Risen Indeed, Twelve Sermons on the Resurrection, p. 102

Dear Christ Our Redeemer Family and Friends,

The drama of the gospel is a story unlike no other. In this story the hero is not hailed, but mocked. He is not sustained by superhuman powers, he dies. The accolades originally directed toward him give way to rejection and disdain. After all, heroes are not supposed to become the victim. The Creator succumbs to the malevolence of the creation. And this death comes willingly, not with reluctance. He does not save himself. In fact, it is death that brings life. The gospel in all of its tragedy and offense brings glory. Death itself becomes a victim of itself. Through the mystery and glory of the crucifixion and the resurrection every enemy is finally overcome. This is the ultimate scandal and if it has no place of offense with us we've not understood it well. There is divine wisdom and human absurdity in the cross and resurrection. Surely, God could have done it another way…or not. In these singular events God has revealed the very heart of the gospel. The Son has revealed His heart for His Father. God has revealed His own heart for the world. By love God is inclined to His creation, by love God sends the emblem of His love to die, by love God raises His dear Son from the grave, and by love God vanquishes every enemy and removes every obstacle to His love for His creation. Our redemption has been accomplished by a glorious scandal.

Rejoicing with you in the scandal that is signified by gospel love.

Pastor Dan

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Light in Darkness

"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven."
- Matthew 5:14-16

"Do not be conformed to this world...."
- Romans 12:2

"The problem is that contemporary culture is deaf to the things Christianity has to say, and deaf ears must be unstopped not with drum sets and drama, but with 'the glorious gospel of our blessed God'(1 Tim. 1:11)."
- Jason Stellman, Dual Citizens, p. 27

Dear Christ Our Redeemer Family and Friends,

In a very real sense we are the demonstration of Christ to a perishing world. For better or for worse the world is looking at us to see what Chist-followers look like and if you are like me I find that prospect sobering. The voracity of our Christian testimony is not to be determined by externals, but rather by a radical and pervasive internal revolution that thereby effects the entirety of life. The reach and depth of regeneration are the impetus for a thorough and comprehensive difference in us. Sure, we still struggle with the remnants of sin, but we have been made new and as a result the effects are supposed to be noticeable to those that are around us. Something is profoundly different with the Christian. Our affections are to be no longer self-directed and self-absorbed and there now exists a gospel-fueled luminescence that sets us apart. Our lives are no longer our own. We've been bought with a price and the effect of new ownership is to be noticeable. We are light in darkness. The Christian has become the citizen of a kingdom that cannot be shaken and as a result every orientation has become new. Our thinking, behavior, and source of life has a new genesis. By grace the impossible has happened, and it is God's intention that it shows so that we bring Him much glory.

Thankful for new light and life that the gospel brings,

Pastor Dan

Thursday, February 18, 2010


But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,
(Phi 3:20 ESV)

For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.
(Heb 11:10 ESV)

And he who was seated on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." Also he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."
(Rev 21:5 ESV)

Dear Christ Our Redeemer Family and Friends,

Yesterday was a beautiful day in the Pacific Northwest. Judy and Lydia and I worked outside. We recently purchased a number of fruit trees and we were able to get them all planted. The sights, sounds, and smells of this gorgeous February day were incredible. Its days like these that make me thankful to live where we live. The Pacific Northwest is a beautiful place. But these days also remind me that in this life there is no permanence. The fruit trees will need care and protection from disease and deer and they will one day die. And these beautiful February days will soon give way to the rains of March. I'm reminded that this life is a short trudge on the march toward the Celestial City and one day we will die also. There is no permanence, at least for now. But there awaits new place where there will be permanence, glory, and the absence of sin. A new heaven and a new earth are on the horizon. For now the creation is anticipating release from bondage and exile. And even on beautiful February days the creation groans. Our citizenship is not here. We await the new creation with all of its redeemed fullness. The all-encompassing redemptive work of Christ includes a fallen world and one day all of our days will be glorious days where both we and the creation no longer groan and where the glory of the Son far outshines anything we've ever seen. Death will be a forgotten memory. Because of the Son impermanence will give way to permanence. New life will be known forever. The resurrection of Christ is the demonstrated proof that the new creation is coming, and not solely for those who trust in Christ, but for all of creation as well.

Looking forward to new life in the new creation,

Pastor Dan

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Being Made New

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Co 5:17, ESV)

For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. (1 Co 15:22-23, ESV)

Dear Christ Our Redeemer Family and Friends,

In the resurrection of Christ something new has begun. It’s not just a rehash of the old. Christ has come as the new Adam. A new creation has begun. In some ways it’s like the old, but in many ways it’s entirely new. Jesus is like the old Adam, but without confusion He is also the God-man. He does not sin; therefore this new creation is without corruption. Christ has done what no man could do. God has raised Him from the dead and has designated Him the living head of the new race. He has become the life-giving Spirit. If you are a Christian you have new life and if you have new life Christ has been raised from the dead. The day will come when the Christian will put off corruption and sin fully and finally. We too will be raised incorruptible because we have already been raised together with Christ. We have been and will be made new.

Thankful for grace revealed in new life,

Pastor Dan

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Importance of Origins

'Man in his ignorance thinks himself a great work worthy of the interposition of a deity. More humble and I think truer to consider him created from animals.'
- Charles Darwin in 1838, cited in Created from Animals, James Rachels, p. 1

'...then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.'
- Genesis 2:7

Dear Christ Our Redeemer Family and Friends,

The ascertaining of where we've come from will determine where we are going. In other words, if man has his origins in primordial soup then his end won't really matter. If man is no different than animals then all sorts of mischief will be expected. With this sort of sentient reductionism the intrinsic value of an infant will be no different than that of a kitten. In the words of animal rights apologist Ingrid Newkirk, 'A rat is a pig is a dog is a boy. They’re all animals.' Only when origins are removed will it make sense to conclude that the Jewish Holocaust is the moral equivalence to the slaughter of broiler chickens.* When you have no certainty in the beginning, you have no certainty at the end. As Christians our defense of human life comes from an understanding of beginnings. With the clarity of God's Word the beginnings of life have never been in doubt. This has been God's revealed creative fiat and His prerogative from the outset. Life is His to both give and take, and particularly human life bears intrinsic worth because God is its author and He has deemed it so. Life is important because the redemption of it came at an inestimable cost. In the beginning the first Adam died, and in the end the second Adam rose from the dead. Human life matters because God declared it so from the beginning, and because of the Cross and resurrection it will be so at the end.

Standing for life with you,

Pastor Dan

*Ingrid Newkirk, cited in, The Washington Post, November 13, 1983

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Subjected to Hope

'God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pain: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.'
- C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain (HarperCollins, 2002) p. 91

'For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.'
- Romans 8:19-21

No one laughs at God in a hospital; No one laughs at God in a war.
No one laughs at God in a hospital; No one laughs at God in a war.
No one laughing at God in hospital; No one's laughing at God in a war.
No one's laughing at God when they're starving or freezing or so very poor.
No one's laughing at God; No one's laughing at God; No one's laughing at God.

- Regina Spektor, Laughing With

'...Jesus treats wars and natural disasters not as agenda items in a discussion of the mysterious ways of God, but as incentives to repentance. It is as if he is saying that God uses disaster as a megaphone to call attention to our guilt and destination, to the immanence of righteous judgement if he sees no repentance…. Disaster is a call to repentance.'
- D.A. Carson, How Long, O Lord?, p. 67

Dear Christ Our Redeemer Family and Friends,

This week we have been been privy to the horrific and tragic news reports from the devastation of the severe earthquake in Haiti. At last report there is no comprehensive and realistic estimates of the death toll and damage. The nearest guess numbers are projected at over 100,000 dead. I find myself moved by empathy for those who are now suffering, and for those will suffer for years to come. The world is broken and there is consequence to its brokeness. Because of sin the creation is subjected to futility. Creation groans under the weight of alienation brought about by man's rebellion. Cancer, tsunamis, earthquakes, death, pain and suffering are the result of our brokenness and sin, but we are not without hope. Though subjected to futility now, redemption will finally come. Death and destruction will not have final say. Creation has been subjected to futility, but the day will come when it is set free from bondage and decay. In Jesus Christ's suffering under the wrath of God the dawning of redemption has come. We don't see it in it entirety yet, but hope has come. In the interim let us pray for those who are suffering in Haiti, and let us use this disaster as a call to repentance. May God humble us to seek His mercy and grace.

Sovereign Grace Ministries has established a way to give to those in need in Haiti. Here is the link if you would like to contribute.

With much affection,

Pastor Dan