Hello, and welcome to another edition of “Links I Like,” a weekly collection of links and stories that impacted me in some way during the past week. Let’s get right to it!
Easter Is Our Adoption Sunday
This past Sunday we celebrated Easter, “Resurrection Sunday,” as it’s often called. Most don’t think of this day in relation to adoption and orphanages. But we should, because Christ’s resurrection secured forever our adoption. Perhaps the most beautiful picture of God’s salvation of sinners is of an orphan being adopted into a new home. I am unfamiliar with this perspective, but my dear friend Obbie Todd understands this portrait firsthand, he himself having adopted twins. It is this that we should see on Easter. The glory of the resurrection that invigorates lifeless souls, as Obbie writes, “The Holy Spirit is the power to awaken cold, dead hearts and to give orphans the breath to cry Daddy. The empty tomb is an empty orphanage.” continue reading→
What Kind of God Washes Filthy Feet?
The idea of the incarnation is so foreign to our finite minds, we’ll try to explain it way or disregard it any chance we get. The notion that the sovereign Creator of the universe would lower Himself to such degrees as to join Himself to His very creation is absolutely astounding. But such is the truth of the gospel — a truth which is exclusive to Christianity. No other religion can lay claim to deity coming down. All other systems require man to climb up. Yet, in the gospel, God comes down. “The Most High is incarnate as the Most Low.” This is the crux of the good news, that God would take His place among the very men and women who spurned Him. Beautiful reflection from Chad Bird over at Christ Hold Fast. continue reading→
The Great Eucatastrophe
It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of the works of J. R. R. Tolkien. Not just his masterpiece, The Lord of the Rings, but his other writings as well. He’s in a class of his own when it comes to mythological literature, as he not composed timeless stories filled with characters we can still relate to today, he created worlds in which we can enter and lose ourselves. He adeptness with not only world building but word forming is no better seen than in the term he coined for a sudden and surprising turn of events from bad to good: eucatastrophe. Eucatastrophes can be seen all over modern storytelling. And, in fact, Tolkien saw this phenomenon as the heart of fairy tales and legends. But the truest eucatastrophe is no better seen than in what we just celebrated: Resurrection Sunday. This was God’s eucatastrophe. From the dark night of Jesus’s death to the glorious day of His rising, a sudden turn from bad to good, from lost to found, from sinner to saint took place. Loved this piece from Sam Schuldheisz via 1517: The Legacy Project. continue reading→
Jesus & Judgment: On Easter Violence & the Cross
For as long as we’re alive, Easter will be associated with a bunny and eggs and pastels. For whatever reason, these are the facets of Easter that have become nationally accepted. A bunny hides highly decorative eggs that you’re toddlers and kindergartners are supposed to joyously hunt and treasure. All the while, light pastel blues and pinks highlight the enthusiasm of the holiday. And yet, for all this cheer, what often gets overlooked is the violence of Easter. Resurrection Sunday should not only cause believers to both remember and to hope, it should stir them to greater urgency to share the good news of Easter to others. Owen writes that, “The cross and empty tomb gloriously call every sinner to repentance and life, to be sure. But the cross and empty tomb also point us forward, to the day that God has appointed.” The Day of Reckoning is also seen in this Day of Resurrection. Good stuff, as usual, from Owen Strachan via the Center for Public Theology. continue reading→
Jesus’ Most Import Words
More than all the other words in the Scriptures, the two words “for you” stand as the most important. It’s not just that Jesus died and proved that the perfect life is possible, it’s that He died for you, on your behalf, in your stead. “For you” points us to the crux of the gospel itself: substitution. This is what the apostle Paul is getting at in Romans 5 and elsewhere when he refers to the first and second Adam. Just as the first Adam represented us and plunged us into sin and dead, the second Adam died for you and has delivered you unto salvation and hope. As you read your Bible, remember that everything that’s done is done for you. And that’s what makes this gospel, this grace so amazing. Great reminder from Kyle George Jones via The Gospel Economist. continue reading→
Introducing the For The Church Podcast
Monday through Friday, I endure a 30-40 minute commute to my office where I work. Therefore, I’m an obsessive podcaster. And while that time is usually filled with “Doctrine & Devotion,” “40 Minutes in the Old Testament,” “30 Minutes in the New Testament,” or Matt Chandler’s sermons, I’m always looking for something fresh to add to the mix of shows I listen to. Naturally, then, I was elated when the folks at For The Church announced the “For The Church Podcast” with Jared Wilson. I’m really looking forward to this and seeing how it develops. Definitely go subscribe to this one! continue reading→
The Lesser Known Joseph
The Bible is filled with names and places and nations and more names. There’s a seemingly endless list of characters in Scripture, which can often get confusing. Perhaps one of the lesser known characters in the Bible is Joseph of Arimathea. He’s the one who offered his own tomb as the place to rest the corpse of Jesus of Nazareth, the Savior who died a criminal’s death. As Paul notes, he “had no idea of the significance of what he was about to do. He acted not because he knew what was about to happen, but because he knew who he has acting for.” Great read from Paul Tripp on this lesser known character and the unassuming nature of faith. continue reading→
The Crutch of the Cross
There are many that get frightened by the word “doctrine.” They see it and run for the hills. It has become almost interminably linked to rigid religiosity and rules. Those who harp on doctrine are seen as the religionists who keep getting in the way of an honest faith-based relationship with God. But these notions that doctrine is scary are misguided and misinformed. The link we between doctrine and life is so bound up you can never separate them. Indeed, your doctrine, your theology (I might add) is intrinsically tied to your view of the world, your understanding of life in general. It informs how and why you live. Therefore, as Brandon writes, “doctrine matters because it tells us who to know — and what was done — before it tells us what to do.” The doctrine of the gospel is radically different than the doctrine of the world because it doesn’t give us a list of rules and regulations, it shows us a person. Great read from Brandon Scalf via Dead Men Stuff. continue reading→
How God Sees Me
One of the more radical ideas of the gospel, and the truth that takes a lifetime to truly believe, is the fact that when God sees us, He sees His Son. The idea that our identity is no longer found in what we do but in what Christ has done is something the old Adam in all of us has a terribly difficult time comprehending and believing. And yet, it is the true that’s found at the core of God’s good news. Once you believe in Jesus, His death and resurrection become yours, and you are united to Christ. This union means that all the glory and riches of the Son are imputed to you. His righteousness is yours. Therefore, “gone forever,” Lydia writes, “is the illusion of deliverance that comes from standing before a twelve-step group and publicly defining ourselves by our besetting sin . . . Christ is the Christian’s identity, and it is glorious.” Superb words from Lydia Brownback and CCC Discover. continue reading→
Why ‘Redwall’ Should Be the Next Huge Movie Series
Even as I state in this very entry my adoration of Tolkien’s myths and writings, there’s a series of books that are even nearer and dearer to my heart. The late Brian Jacques’ Redwall series of fantasy novels are just as captivating and inspiring as Tolkien’s and Lewis’ similar feeling works. The Redwall mythos is filled with anthropomorphized rodents embarking on harrowing adventures and engaging in gigantic battles. Like Josh Spiegel writes on SlashFilm, I believe we’re primed for these works to be adapted to animated feature films. I’m dying to see The Long Patrol and Martin the Warrior as photorealistic CGI movies! “Hollywood should look to the woods of Mossflower. Redwall is waiting.” I couldn’t agree more! continue reading→
Rogue One: A Star Wars Legacy
I’m somewhat of a film score buff. I’ve been collecting and cherishing film scores for as long as I can remember. But even more fascinating than the scores themselves at times are the theories behind them. Understanding the way a composer chose those particular notes and chords to represent those themes is an awesome study in the way music impacts you. Naturally, I found this video essay exploring the musical structure of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and its connection to the original trilogy of films supremely interesting. Check it out!
Song of the Week
“Heaven Came for Me” by Chris Quilala.