As I continue to make my way through memorizing passages of Scripture this year, I come to a prayerful act of praise by the Apostle Paul in Romans 11:33-36. However, you can’t really understand someone’s outburst if you don’t have the context. Yes? So in order to truly grasp what you may be memorizing with me, if you are following the Fighter Verse program, you need to step back a few pages and listen to Paul’s heart in Romans chapters nine through eleven.
For it is there that Paul has reflected upon his desire for his kinsmen to be saved, as he has been gloriously saved by God through Christ. He has poured over the nature and progress of God’s salvation project through the history of his people and the nations, a project that is at once simple and complex. Paul's work takes time, and effort. He is drawing conclusions and connecting dots that have immensely significant implications for very real people — immortal souls every one of them. The meditations of his heart and the words of his mouth are earnest, zealous, passionate, compassionate, thoughtful, energetic, and extensive.
And such thinking, though difficult and demanding, produces dividends.
For as Paul has been scraping his way up the mountain of God’s providential plan, and begins to ascend the summit near the end of Romans 11, what he discovers at the top is not that he has arrived, but that he now has a view of the endless vistas of God’s extraordinary grace in the good news of the kingdom of God that has come in Jesus Christ. So that he stands there atop his one, theological mountain, and exclaims,
33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?”
35 “Or who has given a gift to himthat he might be repaid?” 36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. (The Holy Bible: English Standard Version; Romans 11:33–36)
I am so grateful for the dividends of delight that God has produced in my own heart through meditation and memorization of this passage of praise from Paul! Oh how I love the Bible, and how I love the good news - this gift from God that keeps giving and giving. Spend some time climbing the mountain today, and looking on the vistas of God's extraordinary grace with our friend, the Apostle Paul.
I believe that you won't be disappointed by the investment.
We are now making our way into the “Prophets Before the Exile” section of The Whole Story. I really like the way our Read Scripture plan breaks a bit here from the order of the books of the Old Testament in our common English translation of the bible. For the Read Scripture plan is more in line with how the story actually unfolded.
On Easter Sunday, the Calvary family got to witness God working in the lives of two men who publicly affirmed their faith through baptism. It was a joy to see!
As the Bible is an ancient text, it makes sense that much of it is a recording of history. But to respond by merely reading it as a textbook would be a mistake, for this is history written with a very particular purpose. Namely, it is a theological history — its authors, under the inspiration of God, make theological arguments by the way they tell the stories, and what they include in them.
King of My Heart (Samuel part two)
It’s a little hard to believe that we are already twelve sermons into our adventure through the Bible called The Whole Story. I have been very encouraged to hear from many of you how this pace of moving through the Scriptures week-by-week, book-by-book has helped you see things you’ve never seen before, and appreciate our Father and his Son, Jesus, so much more. Personally, I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed preaching as much as I have this year, discovering how, as our friends at The Bible Project say it, “The Bible is a unified story that leads to Jesus.”
Eight Acts of Service on Easter
We’ve arrived once again to the glory of Holy Week. And as Easter Sunday draws closer, it is good to remind ourselves of ways we can bless those who don’t normally attend Calvary on this highest attended service of the year.
Samuel Part One
As Douglas Wilson has observed, these are fragile times. And when a nation finds itself in the kind of mess we find ourselves in, there is a kind of widespread longing for a leader who has the qualities, vision, and ability to show the way out. That makes sense. Who doesn’t want to find their way out of a mess? But it’s a dangerous spot to be in. It can leave one vulnerable to charlatans and pipe dreams.
Two weeks ago, we spent our Sunday morning gathering in the book of the Judges. It describes a time in the nation of Israel of great darkness, disobedience, destruction, and dystopia. It was a time, states the last sentence in the story, when “there was no king in Israel, and everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 21:25). It was very disturbing.