One More Trip to The Shack

For those of you who have read Paul Young's The Shack (or for those considering reading it), please go NOW to the following link, which offers two of the author's testimonies from two Sunday morning services at the Crossroads Church in Denver. You'll need to scroll down on the page to the lower right hand corner and I'd recommend listening to the second message first. Here, Young tells the story of his broken life, touched, loved, and healed by the love of God in Christ. It's a very moving story and one that despite its uniqueness will resonate with your own story, I'm confident. Here's the link and it's worth your time (and if you're in a book study with others reading The Shack, consider playing the MP3 file for one of your next gatherings):

I hope you'll find this as helpful and inspiring as we did!

"Religionless Christianity"

I've just finished giving a sermon on "Jesus in Our Politics" and a particular quote from John Stott has stayed with me. Stott wrote many years ago in Issues Facing Christians Today, "Our God is often too small because he is too religious." Stott was challenging our tendency to confine God to an airless spiritual box called "religion." It's the old mistake of the Greek dualists: to elevate things "spiritual" while denigrating things "material." Spiritual, good; material, bad. Stott's plea in this section is for Christians to regain the traditional Judeo-Christian view of God's holistic commitment to all that he has made. Because God declared his creation "good" (see Genesis, Chapter 1's resounding refrain) and because God took on human flesh in Jesus, God's creation and redemption honor all things--things "spiritual" and things "material." In fact, as we look forward to the world to come, we need to be reminded that God will create a new heaven AND a new earth (Revelation 21:1). The goal of God's salvation project in Jesus is not to rescue us from the burning house called earth (or to deliver us from our bodies); rather, God's goal is to rebuild the house altogether and give us even better bodies!

If you think about it, this is pretty exciting. It's also captivating, both for the Christian imagination ("Wow, heaven will have even better mountains to hike and rivers to enjoy...") and for our Christian witness (our unchurched friends might be attracted to this idea of their potential future).

I heard someone say recently, "I hope heaven isn't just one long hymn-sing..." Don't worry. The Bible tells us it's going to be a whole lot more than that!