Evangelizing gifted but unbelieving neighbours

Since Christians should continually seek ways of reaching their neighbours for Christ, a recent post by Dr. Nelson Kloosterman here got me thinking about this again. A good way to get unbelievers talking and thinking about God their Maker (Father), Saviour (Son) and Life-Giver (Holy Spirit) is to commend (not flatter) them for things they do well.

As in, “Thanks for the great job you did helping me fix my computer problem: God has obviously given you a special talent. Do you worship God?” That takes some boldness, I confess. And probably a quick prayer for the Spirit to give the right words and tone to convey it (Mt. 10:19,20).

Who knows where the conversation may lead? Even if not right then and there. Some may refuse to answer you or be offended by your question since you’ve put them on the spot. But that’s OK. It’s not all about my or my neighbour’s comfort level. It’s about God’s glory and my neighbour’s salvation! Besides, the results aren’t mine to control or decide. We can leave that in God’s hands.

Published in: on April 27, 2012 at 11:20 am  Comments (2)  
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The Parable of the Net

Getting back to Bible translations, why do some translations such as the NKJV speak of the dragnet, whereas the NIV and ESV just speak of the net?

I suspect the reason for this choice is that while “dragnet” is a little more descriptive of its object, in modern English it has a second meaning that refers to “a network of measures for apprehension (as of criminals)” (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th edition).

After doing some exegesis on this text, I discovered that in modern marine terminology “seine” (ˈsān) is probably the most accurate translation of the Greek σαγήνη (sagḗnē). I have to admit, however, that before working on this text that word was foreign to me, as it likely is to most folks these days.

The complexity of this single word gives us a small window into the tough decisions biblical translators and interpreters face when they are attempting to make the ancient text understandable to readers in the present time.

Published in: on April 12, 2012 at 10:04 pm  Leave a Comment  

There is a God, say NP readers!

I wrote the following letter to the editor in response to Paul Russell’s Saturday column in The National Post, which you can find here. I responded in particular to the comments which Mr. Russell cited from Peter Luskin.

Peter Luskin may have proven more than he set out to prove when he declared: “All theocrats are my enemy.” As an atheist, he looks with disdain on all other religions for being “instrumental in causing world conflicts.” I wonder whether it occurred to Mr. Luskin that by the judgment he pronounced on others, he condemned himself. This proves once again that atheists, too, are religious–in their own way.

And by the way, dear neighbour, you have nothing to fear from Christians who loyally follow their King. You see, the Lord Jesus says, “Love your enemies.” So if you consider me an enemy, I’d like to offer you a coffee.

(The letter was published in NP on April 12, with only minor changes. You can read it here; scroll down to the bottom of that page.)

Published in: on April 10, 2012 at 10:45 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Easter Sunday Call to Worship

This is the day the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it!
Blessed is he who comes in the Name of the LORD.
From the house of the LORD we bless you! 

Published in: on April 7, 2012 at 9:38 pm  Comments (1)  
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Good Friday Prayer

O Saviour of the world, who has redeemed us by your cross and precious blood: save us and help us, O LORD.

Do not let it happen, merciful God, that earthly delights, comforts and affections so crowd our hearts that we forget the pains and mortal anguish our Lord Jesus endured for our salvation.

Grant us this day a true vision of all that he suffered for us unworthy sinners, in his betrayal, his lonely agony, his false trial, the scourging and mocking that was heaped on him, and the torture of his death upon the cross.

As you have graciously poured out your life for us, may we pour out our lives for you, O Jesus Christ, our only Lord and Saviour, now and forever.


Published in: on April 5, 2012 at 10:04 pm  Leave a Comment  
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A Prayer to the Sovereign LORD

A paraphrase of Jeremiah’s prayer that could be used or adapted for public worship, or in family or personal devotions.

Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you. You show love to thousands but bring punishment for the fathers’ sins into the laps of their children after them. O great and powerful God, whose name is the LORD Almighty, great are your purposes and mighty are your deeds. Your eyes are open to all the ways of people; you reward everyone according to their conduct and as their deeds deserve. You performed miraculous signs and wonders in Egypt and have continued them to this day, both in Israel and among all humanity, and have gained the renown that is still yours. You brought your people Israel out of Egypt with signs and wonders, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with great terror. You gave them the land you had sworn to their forefathers, a land flowing with milk and honey. They came in and took possession of it, but they did not obey you or follow your law; they did not do what you commanded them to do. So you brought disaster on them. We, too, are guilty of transgressing your law. We, too, are guilty of forgetting the signs and wonders that you have done, and your great work of salvation through Jesus Christ your Son. Although you have promised us the kingdom of heaven, we confess that we also have not obeyed you nor followed your law as we must. We confess these sins to you. Have mercy upon us, O LORD. Renew us and restore us. Fill us with your Holy Spirit so that we might know your will and obey it. Open the hearts and mouths, minds and souls of all your people this day, that we all may hunger for all that you desire to give us in your Word and sacraments. Grant your ministers your Spirit and wisdom to impart the spiritual gifts and blessings of Christ and his Word, so that all who come may be nourished in their faith and strengthened for a life of service and fellowship with you and their neighbour. May this be true for us and all who worship you in Spirit and in truth.  Amen.

Published in: on April 1, 2012 at 11:39 pm  Leave a Comment