Colorado Photos & Audio

I spent last week in Hermit Basin, Colorado with my good friend Jon Kever and a good part of the church he pastors in Dallas, Skillman Bible Church. Jon invited me to attend, and speak at, their annual church retreat. What a great time! These people love and reflect the grace of God, and made me feel an immediate part of their family.

On the last day of the retreat, my sister Kathy came down from Evergreen and got the same warm reception. What a blessing to experience the immediate family fellowship of the body of Christ.

Jon’s sister-in-law Amber missed some portions of the talks while taking care of her little one, so I told her I’d send her links to audio from the first time I gave these talks in the Sunday services at CBC. So here they are. Click the link to download the mp3, or just click the play button to listen on line.

Losing It (Judges 2:6-13)

God Has Spoken (Hebrews 1:1-3) 

Unfortunately, I can’t find the talk from 1 Timothy 2.

Here are some photos from my trip. To see all my Colorado pictures, good and bad, click here.

On Saturday, when the retreat was over, Kathy & I did a little exploring around the area. As teenagers, we went to camp at Horn Creek Camp which is just a few miles away from Hermit Basin. We went on a quest to find a tree where Kathy, our cousin Shelley, and their boyfriends, Norm and Joel, carved their initials in 1974. We only had to look at 2,743 aspen trees, before finding this one. It’s got 3 out of 4 of the correct letters, and the 4th is illegible, so we decided it must be the one.

Here’s a little more of the scenery we saw.

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The Unveiling of Christ

SIX VISIONS OF JESUS FROM THE BOOK OF REVELATION

Speaking of Jesus, the Apostle Paul wrote, “For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us” (2 Cor. 1:20). Speaking through the Apostle John in the book of Revelation, the Lord himself explains in some detail just how he intends to deliver “all the promises of God.” He does so in himself. That is to say that he is all the promises of God.

“The book of Revelation,” wrote John Walvoord, “gathers in its prophetic scheme the major themes of prophecy which thread their way through the whole volume of Scripture.” Revelation ties the whole Bible together in the person and work of Jesus Christ. So while it reveals how God will bring the history of man to righteous conclusion, it is first and foremost the unveiling of Christ personally. It is all about Christ–who he is and what he does.

The following talk, delivered to the Community Bible Church women’s Bible study, is an overview of the book of Revelation from this perspective. What are it’s Christological themes?


To download the audio, Right-click here and select save.
My apologies for the noise at the end. Forgot to turn the recorder off when I was done.

Click here to get the handout.

On the Fifth Day…

where is this?

Two guesses where this picture was taken…

“Near Tucson” would be a pretty good guess, but this photo was taken on a tiny tropical island in the southern Caribbean, an island called Bonaire. For me, it gives new meaning to the phrase desert island.

I’m here in Bonaire to fill the pulpit at International Bible Church, where Totoram Baran is the pastor, while he takes a well-deserved holiday in the USA. Community Bible Church supports Pastor Baran as one of our missionaries, and for two years in a row, we’ve sent a short term team to serve here during the summer. I get to preach twice. I’ve divided my Romans 12:1-2 sermon (which I’ve been posting here in short segments) into two parts, one of which I gave last Sunday, and the second this coming Sunday.

Pray for International Bible Church. It’s a very small congregation, but they are developing a heart for spreading the gospel in this end of the earth.

Bonaire’s economy is entirely supported by the fact that it is one of the best places in the world for scuba diving. So this year, while I’m here, I decided to take the three-day course and get my open water certification. The underwater wildlife is AMAZING! That’s the reason for the title of this post, because it was on the fifth day that God said, “Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures.” Man do the waters teem! The other day, while snorkeling no more than 100 yards from the beach, I got to see a baracuda about half my size swimming slowly alongside a giant school of little silvery fish (like the school of fish in Finding Nemo that makes all the interesting shapes). All of a sudden, the baracuda turned and zipped through the crowd, grabbing one of the little fish for supper. WOW! I swam along next to this giant fish for about twenty minutes.

A New Mind

“…be transformed by the renewing of your mind…”

The key to developing the character of Christ is developing the mind of Christ. The word renewing here indicates a complete overhaul, a whole new way of seeing everything. Jesus says it like this in John 8:31-32: “If you abide in my words, you are my disciples indeed. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

All of the world’s schemes are based on false and incomplete conceptions of reality. But Jesus is omniscient and the perception of reality he imparts is the Truth itself. 2 Corinthians 10:5 puts it this way: “We are destroying speculations and every loft thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.”

Now allow me to make a few observations about the transformation produced by renewing of the mind:
First, the goal is not orthodoxy alone, though it certainly includes orthodoxy. The renewing of the mind is not just the development of correct doctrine, it is about a mind occupied with the person of God himself—a personal knowledge of God, not an academic knowledge of God.

Second, the goal is not orthopraxy alone. The renewing of the mind is not just about replacing sinful behavior with righteous behavior, though it certainly includes that. The goal is personal knowledge of God—to see Christ as he is and to be like him.

Third, I make myself available for the renewing of the mind by bathing my mind in Scripture. I cannot possible be familiar enough with my Bible. In this present life, the only infallible revelation of God, the place where I can see him as he is, is the Bible.

Fourth, our life in Christ is a life we live together in the body of Christ, so a mind in renewal is a mind guided by good mentors—people who see Christ better than I do and can show me the lay of the land.

Finally, the renewed mind develops a comprehensively Christian perspective. In other words, it takes every thought captive. Whatever the subject, the renewed mind perceives it with Christian eyes.

Full-fledged Human

“…but be transformed…”

Living sacrifices are subversives in this world. Living sacrifices show that all the schemes of humanity are futile. Living sacrifices demonstrate that the only life worth having—the only life that actually is life—is one of radical availability to God. In fact, radical availability to God is the only path to full-fledged, image-bearing, humanity.

It’s here in our text: “Be transformed.” The word here is metamorphosis, which means become what you were meant to be. Again, this is a present passive imperative, which means we do not transform ourselves, but we allow ourselves—we make ourselves available—to be transformed by another. So who transforms us? And what is it we are meant to become?

Take a look at this passage from 2 Corinthians:

3:17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit…

4:3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; 8 we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 

So transformed into what? We see in verse 18, that we “are being transformed into the same image” which is the image of the Lord himself. We are to be transformed into Christlikeness, and we see in verse 4 that Christ is himself the image of God. In verses 7-10, we see what that looks like in this present life: “always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.”

And who is the agent of this transformation? Verses 17-18 tell us that it is none other than God himself in the person of the Holy Spirit.

Romans chapter 8 answers these questions as well. The whole chapter is a description of the Holy Spirit’s work to transform the life of the believer. In verse 29, we read, “For those whom he foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren.”

This is God’s plan for humanity from the very beginning. His purpose in creating us was to put himself on display. We see this in the very first chapter of the Bible, where we read, “Let us make man in our own image.” God transforms us from dead, broken-down, sinful, semi-humans into full-fledged righteous humans that glorify him by being like him.

The promise of God’s word is that this transformation will be completed when Jesus returns: “When we see him, we will be like him” (1 John 3:2). Romans 8 tells us that all creation is longing for that day in which God will fully reveal his transforming work in the lives of his people.

But the process has already begun. And how do we get in on it? Well, we don’t do it ourselves. Our text says, be transformed, not transform yourself. Our part is simply to make ourselves available to God, to present our bodies a living sacrifice. Radical Availability to God is the only path to full-fledged, image-bearing humanity.