Monday, October 17, 2011

Book review-"Seeing Through Heavens Eyes"


This book is about trying to see through the eyes of heaven. His premise is that we tend to see things from the human perspective and fail to see from God’s viewpoint. Though the author says some good things I am afraid, at least in one spot, he has failed to see ‘through heavens eyes.’
The author, making reference to the fall of Adam and Eve in the garden, makes some good points in helping us recognize the tactics satan (the serpent) used to deceive Adam and Eve.
1. The first tactic is that he disguises who he is. In this case he transformed himself into a familiar serpent, a creation of God
2. The second tactic is to divide and conquer. He apparently approached Eve while Adam was not around.
3. Third tactic he uses is to cast a shadow of doubt on the word of God.
4. The devils final tactic is to call God’s character and His motives into question.

It seems to me that the author has fallen to the wiles of the devil. The author says that after the fall Adam and Eve were still Gods children and that their sin disgraced them but didn’t disinherit them. “And our sin -no matter how serious or how shameful-wont disinherit us…It is our position in the family-not our performance in the family- that establishes our identity and entitles us to our inheritance. We can never be downgraded, disowned, or disinherited.”

At this point the author seems to ignore what he has just said and allows his theology to take precedence over the scripture. Let me briefly explain:
1. Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden because of disobedience- that was their inheritance and they lost it.
2. Their performance did matter. They lost their inheritance because they listened and followed the serpent (satan) instead of God.
3. The devil would like us to overemphasis God‘s love at the expense of His holiness and wrath. He along with many modern day preachers and writers (including our author) would like to think that Gods love overlooks and ignores our rebellion and disobedience.
4. There is a sense that when Adam and Eve sinned we didn’t just forget our identity but we lost it. In Genesis 1:26-27 it says “ And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
Then in Gen. 5:3 it says “And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth.”
Evidently the image of God in man had become marred through the fall, that Adam’s childrens’ image is that of fallen man instead of the image that was first produced in the garden. Thus their identity had changed.

I am sure that this is the authors rational attempt to prove that even once we are ‘saved’ we will continue to be ‘saved’ irrespective of our behavior. But the rational does not meet with the simple truths of the bible and because of that I cannot recommend this book.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Ending Extreme Poverty


The author, a senior ministry advisor for Compassion International, brings about a compelling and motivational case to end poverty. He believes that one of the main hurdles to get over in eradicating poverty is our low expectations. The point here is that we don’t think we can get rid of poverty it will always be with us, as seen and interpreted when Jesus told the disciples, “the poor you will always have with you.” The author brings out the argument that what Jesus was talking about and to were the disciples. The poor would always be with them, but not necessarily have to be with civilization forever.
He gives some statistics that show that extreme poverty is already being broken.

• In the past 8 yrs., the number of kids dying from measles has declined by 78 percent
• Twenty two countries have cut their malaria rate in half in only 6 years
• The number of children dying each day from preventable causes has dropped from 40,000 per day to 21,000
• In 1981 52% of the world’s population lived in extreme poverty. Today that number is 26%

As I read those statistics I could not help but think how those who feel that Jesus return is near, because everything is so bad, would respond. I suppose it would make you review your ‘last days’ theology. The author feels that for the first time in human history, we have the realistic possibility of ending extreme global poverty.

The author does not make a dichotomy between poverty work and evangelism. He says, “we don’t do anti-poverty work and share the gospel. Sharing the gospel is anti-poverty work.” He goes on to say that the most powerful ant-poverty strategy is the good news of Jesus Christ both proclaimed and demonstrated.

From a practical standpoint the author says that the best way to end poverty is by a combination of the 3 major sectors of society: government, business and the church/non-profit. Then he gives a chapter on each section to explain what he means. He closes the book out by showing the statistics of how little we as the church give financially ( 97.1% of the churches income from donations etc. is spent on themselves and that 96% goes toward buildings, carpet, staff etc)

This is one of many books written about poverty and its eradication that have come out in the last few years. If you have not read any this would be a good primer. It is easy reading, less than 200 pages and a good place to begin to motivate us to do our part to end extreme poverty

Friday, October 07, 2011

Wall Street Occupiers'

I like what they are doing and if I could afford it I would like to join them for a few days....The following is what Jim Wallis of Sojourners had to say.

The Occupy Wall Street protests make some people nervous, while others scratch their heads, and more than a few grab their sleeping bags and join in.

There is a lot of speculation as to who the "Occupiers" are and what they might accomplish. There is much I still don’t know about the movement, but undeniably it has caught the imagination of a generation -- and that matters.

Here are a few things I do know about the Occupy Wall Street protesters:

When they stand with the poor, they stand with Jesus.

When they stand with the hungry, they stand with Jesus.

When they stand for those without a job or a home, they stand with Jesus.

When they are peaceful, nonviolent, and love their neighbors (even the ones they don’t agree with and who don’t agree with them), they are walking as Jesus walked.

When they talk about holding banks and corporations accountable, they sound like Jesus and the biblical prophets before him, who all spoke about holding the wealthy and powerful accountable.

Pray for those out on the streets.

Think of ways that you or your church can be Jesus to them.

And do one of the things that church folks do best: Bring them a covered casserole!

Take your church potluck down to the occupations. Sit, eat, and talk with the protesters. Offer them the sacred gifts of hospitality, company, and friendship.

Or a hot cup of coffee.

Or send them a pizza. (Think of it as a peace-za.)

The Occupiers' desire for change and willingness to take action to do something about it should be an inspiration to us all.