Saturday, January 31, 2015


It is rare in sports to hear a Christian with clarity and depth in their faith.  Great interview from Gospel Coalition . . 
In his interview with The Gospel Coalition about his faith, his football career, and Super Bowl XLIX, Seattle Seahawks assistant coach Rocky Seto asked for one editorial favor.
“Could we emphasize that Jesus is better than anything this world has to offer and that he is the greatest treasure in the entire universe?” Seto said. “Jesus is better than the Super Bowl.”
Seto made the same comment—that Jesus is better than the Super Bowl—in an interview in December 2013. Less than two months later, the Seahawks won the Super Bowl.
On February 1, Seto will win it again if the Seahawks beat the New England Patriots. Even if they lose, though, Seto will continue to preach the same sermon, says Mike Sylvester, director of Athletes in Action at the University of Southern California (USC).
“Don’t get me wrong,” Sylvester said. “Rocky is a competitive man. I’ve only seen a handful of other people who’ve worked as hard as Rocky has . . . but if the Seahawks don’t win, Rock would say, ‘To God be the glory. He’s still on the throne, and he’s still the only one who matters,’” because Seto knows his back-to-back Super Bowls berths would never have happened without his Christian faith.

Dreams of USC

Raised a short drive from the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Seto dreamed as a teenager of playing football at USC.
But he wasn’t talented enough to make the transition directly from Arcadia High School. His parents, Japanese immigrants, preferred for him to attend a four-year college. Instead Seto enrolled at Mt. San Antonio Community College with the intention of transferring to USC after two more years of hard work.
“My whole identity was tied into playing football at USC,” Seto says. “If I took care of football, everything would be okay. I thought that, even as a boy, meaning I would feel important, have purpose, and have a mission in my life.”
Two years later, Seto ran out the Coliseum tunnel wearing a USC uniform to play Florida State. Everything wasn't okay, though.
“It was cool. It was really good,” he says, “but I felt something like, ‘Wow, there’s got to be more to it than this.’”
Seto soon heard the gospel from Sylvester and several other Christian teammates, and he realized football wasn’t better than everything.
“The Lord broke me,” Seto explains. “He allowed me to achieve my idol, and he showed me the idol was hollow. . . . From that moment on, I was never the same. Football was really important, but Christ showed me that he’s way more important.”
“[Seto] just had an insatiable hunger,” Sylvester says. “I would just feed him Scripture, and he would eat it up. . . . When Rocky would come up against the hard truth of Scripture where his life was not congruent with it, then Rock didn’t flinch. He’s not a perfect man, but Rock really took and takes Jesus seriously.”
Seto played football during his junior and senior years at USC. After he graduated in 1999, USC accepted him into its graduate school for physical therapy. But to the dismay of his parents and head coach Paul Hackett, Seto felt a calling to be a coach.
Hackett reluctantly offered him a job as an administrative assistant, which required Seto to bring the coaching staff lunch, among other humble office duties. USC fired Hackett two years later, though, so Seto braced himself to be dismissed as a new staff entered.
However, his career was extended by a relationship that began at a USC women’s volleyball game. Seto had only attended the game to impress his girlfriend. But while sitting in the stands, Seto recognized and introduced himself to Pete Carroll, who was there to watch his daughter play. After USC hired Carroll as head coach, he gave Seto a shot as a graduate assistant.
“He really wanted it, really bad,” Carroll tells TGC.
Two national championships, four major bowl victories, and three job promotions later, Seto had worked his way up to defensive coordinator and achieved more at USC by 2009 than he’d ever imagined.
“That [success] was good,” Seto says. “However, I think it was building idolatry in my heart. My identity was in Christ, but it was mixed in with my identity as a USC football coach.”

From USC to the NFL 

Carroll left USC to coach the Seahawks in 2010 and didn’t initially hire Seto. After USC let Seto go during offseason, Carroll offered him an entry-level position as quality control coach.
“That really bothered me,” Seto says. “I was thinking to myself, How come I wasn’t brought up originally? And in my mind, I went from my dream job to what I used to do 10 years ago.”
He wanted to decline the offer, but hours of prayer helped humble him. He accepted. A week later, his father-in-law, who lived in Seattle, suffered kidney failure.
If Seto had declined, he and his wife would not have been by his father-in-law’s side during the next several years of dialysis treatment. Seto would also not have helped introduce a tackling technique to football last year that he and Carroll believe will significantly decrease concussions—an innovation they believe will be their greatest contribution to the sport. And this Sunday, Seto would not have a chance to win his fourth championship.
“He’s my No. 1 guy in terms of philosophy and approach,” Carroll says. “He’s the first guy to keep us on track with all of the things that we believe in, staying in connection with the mentality that we’re trying to promote and the culture that we’re trying to build.”
Seto himself takes little credit. “If it was up to me,” he said, “I wouldn’t have chosen to leave SC and come up here, but God knows better.”
“This Super Bowl thing, it’s such a big deal to the people of the Northwest,” he adds. “You can see how the Seahawks provide identity for so many people. What’s cool is that God has opened up a platform through winning to talk about Jesus Christ, the greatest treasure of all. Why do we want to win? I know the brothers on the team, they want to win to glorify God and tell more people about Jesus Christ.”
David Daniels is a reporter for You can follow him on Twitter.

Friday, January 30, 2015


From the Gospel Coalition blog . . .
A friend discovered the joys of body surfing in midlife, when she and her husband moved to Southern California, within 40 miles of the beaches and breakers of the Pacific Ocean. So she was understandably troubled by Revelation 21:1 and the prospect that ocean’s azure waters and surging waves will be absent from the coming new heavens and new earth. A few verses later we read that God “will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away”[1](Rev. 21:4).
To such miseries, sin’s toxic byproducts, we say, “Good riddance!” But, we wonder, once the curse-stained first heaven and earth have given way to a new heaven and a new earth, why must the new cosmic order be sans sea, while we’ll still stand on terra firma?

Literal Interpretations of the Sea

My friend’s dismay assumes that the “sea” that will be “no more” in the new heaven and new earth is a vast body of physical water (all the oceans that blanket our present earth). That is understandable, since in Revelation, even amid its symbolic visions, “sea” should sometimes be understood “literally”—that is, physically. For example, God is to be worshiped because he created “heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water” (14:7; see also 5:13; 7:1-3; 10:2-8; 12:12). So it is not surprising that Revelation 21:1 has been understood as announcing that a large body of physical water, or all large bodies of physical water, or even physical water itself will not be present in the new earth. John Walvoord, for example, commented, “Most of the earth is now covered with water, but the new earth apparently will have no bodies of water except for the river mentioned in 22:2.”[2] John MacArthur goes further, interpreting the absence of “the sea” as implying the absence of all physical water (H2O) anywhere, in any form, on the new earth: 
The sea is emblematic of the present water-based environment. All life on earth is dependent on water for its survival. . . . But believers’ glorified bodies will not require water, unlike present human bodies, whose blood is 90 percent water, and whose flesh is 65 percent water. Thus, the new heaven and the new earth will be based on a completely different life principle than the present universe. There will be a river in heaven, not of water, but of the “water of life” (22:1, 17).[3]
On the other hand, Randy Alcorn, who admits to enjoying snorkeling, is troubled by the prospect that oceans and the wonder-evoking creatures that inhabit them would have no place in consummation of God’s new creation. He suggests that the “core meaning” of Revelation 21:1 is that “there will be no more of the cold, treacherous waters that separate nations, destroy ships, and drown our loved ones. There will be no more creatures swallowing up seafarers and no more poisoned salt waters.”[4] In a cosmos purged of pollution, salt water would no longer be needed to serve as a global antiseptic, so perhaps the “sea” that is “no more” refers only to salt water oceans. In the new earth “[h]uge lakes could, in effect, be freshwater oceans,” teeming with sea life.[5]

Interpretations of the Sea Elsewhere in Revelation and Earlier in the Bible

Speculations about the absence or presence or form of physical water in the new earth are intriguing, but we do better to take seriously the symbolic genre of John’s visions. John has seen a dragon, an ancient serpent, standing on the sand of the sea (12:17). Interpreters of every eschatological school recognize that this “serpent” is not a physical reptile, actual or mythical, but a visible symbol of a corrupt, immaterial, personal creature: Satan (12:9). Rising from that sea John saw a beast emerge, having ten horns and seven heads and resembling a leopard, a bear, and a lion (13:1-2). Bible students of all varieties recognize the echoes of Daniel’s night visions of four beasts rising from the sea (Dan. 7:1-8), which “are four kings” (7:17). So they agree that the beast of Revelation 13 is not a physical monster but a symbol of a human agent or agency, an individual or a state or a system, that violently opposes God and his people. If both the dragon on the seashore and the beast from the sea are symbols, not physical monsters, why would we assume that the sea itself is a physical body of H2O?[6]
It is important to notice that the imagery in John’s visions is drawn from the Old Testament’s rich store of symbolism. It is not only Daniel 7 that presents “the sea” as a picture of the source of restless evil (see Isa. 57:20) and hostile resistance to the Creator’s orderly reign. Without endorsing the mythological concepts of their Ancient Near Eastern neighbors, Israel’s prophets evoked their imagery in passages such as Isaiah 27:1: “In that day the LORD with his hard and great and strong sword will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan the twisting serpent, and he will slay the dragon that is in the sea.” The parting of the physical waters of the Red Sea at Israel’s exodus displayed his victory over greater foes than Egypt:
You divided the sea by your might;
you broke the heads of the sea monsters on the waters.
You crushed the heads of Leviathan. (Psalm 74:13-14)[7]
Throughout history the Lord wages war against the forces of evil that storm against his sovereignty and threaten to engulf his people, whether demonic powers or pagan nations:
O LORD God of hosts,
who is mighty as you are, O LORD,
with your faithfulness all around you?
You rule the raging of the sea;
when its waves rise, you still them.
You crushed Rahab like a carcass;
you scattered your enemies with your mighty arm. (Psalm 89:8-10)
The Lord’s past victories over the dragon and its sea offer hope that he will intervene to redeem his people in one future, final foe-crushing, woe-banishing triumph:
Awake, awake, put on strength,
O arm of the LORD;
awake, as in days of old,
the generations of long ago.
Was it not you who cut Rahab in pieces,
who pierced the dragon?
Was it not you who dried up the sea,
the waters of the great deep,
who made the depths of the sea a way
for the redeemed to pass over? (Isaiah 51:9-10)
By the time John’s visions reach Revelation 21:1, “the sea,” that turbulent realm from which the dragon launched its desperate assault on the offspring of the woman, is the last symbol of evil to be eliminated. The prostitute enthroned on many waters has fallen (14:8; 16:19; 17:16-17; 18:2-3). The beast from the sea, the false prophet, and the dragon have been consigned to the lake of fire (19:20; 20:10). Now, at last, as a new heaven and new earth appear, “the sea” itself is “no more.” Gregory Beale notes that the parallel wording of Revelation 21:1 and 21:4 shows that “the sea is no more” previews the fact that death “will be no more,” and mourning and crying and pain “will be no more” in the consummated new creation. The convergence of allusions to Isaiah 51:10-11 (the Lord’s triumph over the sea) and to Isaiah 65:16-19 (the new heavens and earth, replacing “the former things,” weeping and crying) leads Beale to conclude, “in all likelihood, ‘sea’ is figurative for old-world threats. Therefore, the presence of a literal sea in the new creation would not be inconsistent with the figurative exclusion of the sea in 21:1.”[8]

Avoiding Speculation

It is tantalizing to try to imagine what life will be like in the new heavens and the new earth, where every evil, misery, sorrow, and danger “will be no more.” Will there still be waterfalls and waves, puddles and ponds, lakes and even oceans? We infer that the new earth will be material because Jesus’s resurrection body, the “sample” of that coming cosmos that has invaded human experience in this age, could be touched and ingest fish and, presumably, “the fruit of the vine” (Luke 24:36-43Matt. 26:29).
But “the sea was no more” in Revelation 21:1 is not intended to answer our questions about opportunities to surf or snorkel or sail on the new earth. Instead, it conveys good news: our divine Champion will come to destroy our every enemy, to wipe away our every tear, and to eliminate every realm of restless rebellion, securing for all eternity our joyful, holy communion with God, who will make his dwelling with us forever (Rev. 21:3).

[1] Scripture quotations are from the English Standard Version.
[2] John F. Walvoord, The Revelation of Jesus Christ: A Commentary (Chicago: Moody, 1966), 311.
[3] John MacArthur, Revelation 12-22 (Chicago: Moody, 2000), 263. Emphasis original.
[4] Randy C. Alcorn, Heaven (Wheaton: Tyndale, 2004), 265.
[5] Ibid., 266.
[6] John also sees a prostitute “seated on many waters,” which represent “peoples and multitudes and nations and languages” (Rev. 17:1-315). So abundant waters—like those that constitute seas—have already appeared as symbols in Revelation.
[7] See also Ps. 77:16-20114:1-6.
[8] G. K. Beale, The Book of Revelation: A Commentary on the Greek Text (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans , 1999), 1042-43. Emphasis added.
Dennis E. Johnson is professor of practical theology at Westminster Seminary California and associate pastor of New Life Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Escondido, California. He is the author of Triumph of the Lamb: A Commentary on Revelation (P&R, 2001).

Wednesday, January 28, 2015


Some good thoughts for leadership from Hugh Halter . . . 
I’m about a quarter century (crap) into entrepreneurial missional ventures. 10 years with Youth For Christ, 2 church plants, and I am again considering a brand new vision. As I consider another ‘new work’ I realize that God is recycling me through a very similar process, one that I believe He does with every leader He intends to keep using.
We know a good majority of leaders eventually punt, tap out, or take the looser limp and drag themselves off the field, but some make it. Some stay pliable. Some press in further and listen harder and actually get better.  Some come clean, and cloister up with like-minded and like-hearted comrades who are going to commit come hell or high water to let God use them in fresh ways. These are the leaders of 2015-2020.
Leaders need time with leaders to remain leaders. Conferences deliver 10% of this, your own staff retreats deliver another 10% but many leaders I’ve talked with desire a fraternity of brothers, outside their context that can help them get to the next level.
Here are four proven realities about whether or not you will be a leader 2, 5 or 10 years from now.

1. Leaders hit their most effective stride after 2-3 significant ministry seasons.

It doesn’t seem to matter if the first ministry seasons were successful or not. What matters is what God does in the life of a leader along the way. Clarity of calling is a constant widdleing down, and knowing who you are, where God is most powerful in you and where you suck and need to stop trying to be good are essential points of clarity you need for the next leg of the journey.

2. Leaders learn best when they are away from their context.

When you are home, the tyranny of the urgent always delays or dwarves fresh revelation from God. That’s why even getting away for 2-3 days can be the most powerful and practical use of a leaders time and money.

3. Leaders listen to God better when they are with other seasoned learners.

No matter the level of success, we are all insecure and unsure whether what we hear is from God or from the bad pizza we ate the night before. Being with others, who have no stake in your personal ministry, are often the safest people to help you discern true revelation.

4. Leaders need down time as much as they need God time.

Why do most tap out? One thing. Exhaustion! In my life, the moments where God actually broke through the haze was when I have been with some friends, laughing, enjoying great food and wine, and letting myself loosen the perennial grip of ministry.  I’ve now learned party is true sacrament and a gift God gives to keep us not only in the Spirit but in good spirits.
If you’re interested in a unique environment where these four realities come together join Caesar Kalinowski and myself at my ranch.
Missional Leadership at the next level… The things you’ll wish you had talked about 10 years from now–TODAY!
Hope to see you,
Hugh and Caesar
Check out the video here:
Full description and Register here:

Monday, January 26, 2015

The Corporate Nature of Grace

To the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father. (Col 1:2 ESV)
The organic metaphor for the church used by Paul absolutely negates this conception by asserting that grace is conveyed through the body of Christ along horizontal channels as well as through the vertical relationship of each believer to God. No individual, congregation or denomination of Christians is spiritually independent of the others. . . . Therefore, ‘the normal Christian life’ is not simply a function of an individual believer’s relationship to God. If he is isolated from Christians around him who are designed to be part of the system through which he receives grace, or if those Christians are themselves spiritually weak, he cannot be as strong and as filled with the Spirit as he otherwise would be.
—Richard Lovelace, Dynamics of Spiritual Life: An Evangelical Theology of Renewal (Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 1979), pp. 167-168.

Friday, January 23, 2015

All Things New: God’s Bringing Creation to Its Glorious Destiny

I am signed up for articles that have anything to do with eschatology at Academia and got this in my mailbox this morning.  Great article, good information for my upcoming series on Colossians, and reinforces what I have been thinking and teaching for years about our future destination . . . 

I grew up in Kingston, Jamaica. In high school, my best subject was art. I loved sketching, painting, sculpting.  But my parents explained that to consider art as a career would be unrealistic; I wouldn’t be able to make a living doing thatThe argument from my church was different. Some pious Christians told me that art wasn’t a “spiritual” pursuit so it wasn’t a worthy vocation. “You’re a young man who loves Jesus,” they said. “Clearly, you should go to seminary.” So at eighteen I enrolled in the Jamaica Theological Seminary, an undergraduate institution in Kingston. But on the way to earning a BTh degree, my life was changed. It started with a theological paradox that affected me existentially.

A Hierarchy of Vocations?

On the one hand, the faith that I learned both from church and seminary was that ordinary matters in the “world” (including the physical and social worlds) were of less importance than “spiritual” matters. So if you really wanted to serve God and be utterly faithful to Christ, you needed to do some form of pastoral work.
But I knew that pastoring was simply not my calling.
By the age of twenty I had discerned that my gifts lay in teaching. I was interested in ideas; I wanted to make sense of the world, including the world of the Bible. And I could communicate what I was learning—to other students who were struggling with course material, in small group discussions and Bible studies, in topical talks at youth group meetings, and in sermons I preached in different churches.
But the pastorate? Absolutely no interest, no sense of calling; and I lacked the relevant gifts, except for teaching.
The result of absorbing this hierarchy of vocations (which was simply in the air) was that I began to feel like a second-class citizen in God’s kingdom in comparison to my fellow students who were planning on the pastorate or some other form of church work.

Creation and Incarnation

Yet, in contrast to this hierarchy, I was discovering the Bible clearly teaches that all people are made in God’s image and commissioned to rule the earth as his representatives (Gen. 1:26-28). And when God finished creating the universe, he looked at all he had made and saw that it was “very good” (Gen. 1:31). There was no hierarchy of better and worse in God’s world.
This realization led me to study the Bible with an eye to understanding its worldview.
It became important to me that the Creator who made the world “very good” had not given up on the world after sin. Instead, God became incarnate in the man Christ Jesus, thus affirming the value of the created order (even the material world)!
And Jesus lived as a Galilean peasant for thirty years. For most of his adult life he was simply an artisan, who worked with his hands—which speaks volumes about the validity of ordinary, earthly life.
I came to realize the sacred/secular distinction was bogus.

The Cosmic Scope of Salvation

But beyond creation and incarnation, there was atonement. I had always known that the blood of Jesus was shed for sinners (and that included me). But then I noticed Colossians 1:20 spoke of God’s intention to reconcile “all things” in heaven and earth to himself through the blood of the cross.
And, I was amazed by the vision of Romans 8:19-21, that the groaning of creation in its bondage to futility is accompanied by its anticipation of sharing in the same glorious liberation that God’s children will enjoy (described in verse 23 as the “redemption of the body”).
During this time I went on a hiking trip to Blue Mountain Peak, the highest point on the island. After a night on the Peak, a group of us got up early to watch a breathtaking sunrise at seven and a half thousand feet. After some minutes of silence, my friend, Junior, commented wistfully, “This is so beautiful; it’s such a shame that it will all be destroyed some day.”
I still remember the dawning awareness: I don’t think it will be. It did not make sense to me that the beauty and wonder of earthly life, which I was coming to embrace joyfully as part of my growing Christian faith, could be disconnected from God’s ultimate purposes of salvation.
By the time I was ready to graduate with my BTh degree, I had become utterly convinced that the Bible consistently teaches that God intends to bring creation to its glorious destiny—a destiny described in the New Testament as “a new heaven and a new earth” (Rev. 21:12 Pet. 3:13).
So I had to cringe inwardly when at my graduation, a wonderful older lady from my church (a true “prayer warrior” grandmother figure) congratulated me on my newly-earned degree and exhorted: “Richard, I don’t want to hear when we get to heaven that you ever worked in a secular job.”
Well, I graciously thanked this loving woman for her prayers and support over the years and gave her a big hug. And then I proceeded to ignore her advice.
Not only was I planning on a “secular” job, but I no longer believed in “heaven” as the final destiny of believers.
Ever since then the Bible’s vision of the renewal of creation has grounded my teaching and research. And I have been personally invigorated by God’s intent to make “all things new.”
J. Richard Middleton is professor of Biblical Worldview and Exegesis at Northeastern Seminary in Rochester, New York. He has written books on the Christian worldview and biblical studies including his latest, A New Heaven and a New Earth: Reclaiming Biblical Eschatology. His blog, Creation to Eschaton, suggests the wide range of his interest! Follow him on Twitter.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Jesus, The True and Better

I saw that I had missed the words so here they are.


"Maria?" "Yes, my love, I'm here."
"It hurts, O God, it hurts! I fear
The worst for me tonight." "Rest now
Dear Joseph, God will not allow
Your faith more pain than it can bear."
"Maria, are the children there?"
"The little ones have gone to stay
With Zechariah for the day.
The eldest keeps his vigil still,
And prays for hours on the hill
Behind the house. He's fasted for
A week now, Joseph, since before
The priest imposed the quarantine.
He loves you very much." "I've seen
His love. I thought two years ago
When we missed him in Jericho
And had to search Jerusalem
In anger, ready to condemn,
That he would be a callous lad,
But now at fourteen years the glad
And unassuming boy, who reads
The Torah late at night and pleads
For me in prayer, has run the shop
For these two years without a stop,
While I lie here and rot with some
Unknown disease. I've heard him hum
A Psalm of David as he changed
My stinking clothes and then arranged
My mat and sat me up to drink
Some broth that he had made. I think
That he's the greatest joy I've had,
Maria, though I'm not his dad."
"Mine, too, dear Joseph. It's as though
He bears it all. The children go
To him and cry when I am weak.
He sits them down and helps them seek
Their comfort in the covenants.
He wins complete obedience
For me, and brightens every hour.
He has a strange and winsome power."
"Maria, do you think that he
Could come and lay his hand on me
And use the power to make me well?
Sometimes I feel like I'm in hell
With these blind eyes and fiery pain.
And worst for me is all the strain
Of seven children you must bear.
Could he not heal me with his prayer?"
"He's praying now up on the hill."
"What does he pray? What is his will
For me?" "Pure love, my husband, love."
"And what is this pure thing made of
If not a father's health?... Forgive
Me, my Maria, as I live
I love the boy. But if the word
The angel spoke is true, we've heard
Messiah in our home for years.
And don't the prophets say that tears
Will all be wiped away when he
Appears: the blinded eyes shall see,
The deaf shall hear, the lame shall leap
The dumb shall sing and all who weep
Will shout for joy? And should I quell
The hope that he could make me well?"
"I asked him last week, when the priest
Had left, if he could not at least
Relieve your pain, or give you sight,
Or help you sleep well through the night."
"What did he say?" "He said in sum,
‘Tell Dad, my hour's not yet come.
The timing of the Lord of Host
Will make a widow and a ghost.'"
"Strange recompense for nurturing
The Son of God, the mighty King!"
"O Joseph, we have seen too much
Of God and grace to doubt that such
A Sovereign plans but for our good,
For he can heal and heal he would
If it were best." "What does he pray
Up there, Maria? Did he say?"
"He didn't mention much detail,
But only that your faith not fail.
He says there's something worse than death,
And loss of faith, not loss of breath,
Is what he fights. He's gotten slim
From fasting." "Would you please fetch him?
I want to say goodbye." "I know
The place; I'll hurry now and go."

"Your father wants to see you, son;
I think his life is almost done.
Come, hasten with me to his bed."

"He's here, my love, beside your head."
"I heard you in the synagogue
Once say that there's an epilogue
To life. And then you looked at me.
You knew. Already you could see
The last short chapter of my days:
The gathering dark and distant rays
Of dawn. And now I thank you, son,
That you fought for my faith and won.
Your intercession on the slope,
Your fasting and your love gave hope.
Nor do I doubt that you and I
Will meet again with God on high.

I bless the night that you were born!
May all the world that night adorn.
Maria, come, light him a flame.
Though darkness gathers, praise his Name!"

"Jesus," by John Piper. ©2014 Desiring God Foundation. Performed by Steven Bush.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Jesus, The True and Better Moses

I saw that I had missed the words so here they are!


A hundred-twenty years the friend
Of God! Heart flaming to the end.
And in the crystal eyes a fire
From what he'd seen of God's Desire.
An unabated strength of soul
Had kept his mind and body whole.
O, how he longed to lift his rod
Once more and watch the arm of God
Slice Jordan like a liquid snake
And make the serpent's tail a lake
And lead the tribes dry through the slice
Back to the promised paradise!

Could God appoint a man to guide
His people while the warriors died,
To stand and suffer their distrust,
And when for golden calves they lust
To intercede with God and spare
For them annihilation there?
Could God assign an athlete this:
To run for others, then to miss
The prize? Would he require a maid
To bring to birth what God had laid
Within her womb and while she smiled
Forbid that she should have the child?
Atop Mount Pisgah Moses sat
And for a moment thought like that.
The Jordan slithered far below
And did its best to overthrow
His faith: "Where has your life been poured?
It doesn't pay to serve the Lord.
He fills your life with many a hurt
And in the end treats you like dirt."
Then Moses took up the attack
And all the truth he wrote came back:
"Ah, wicked river, stay your hand
'Tis you, not God, that stole the land
From my inheritance on earth.
Had I not doubted his grand worth
'Tis I, not Joshua, who'd break
Your twisted back and gladly make
Your trail a bridge to paradise.
And do you think that your advice
For me has any weight as though
For any real estate I'd throw
Away my God? Think you, O fool,
That all my life's a vestibule
To that?" And Moses waved his hand
The full length of the promised land.
"Don't you recall that I have seen
The glory of the Lord? Between
Me and my hope the day I die
Lies not the river but the sky."
And then, his eyes still crystal bright,
Old Moses vanished in the Light.

God grant that we the same might see
As we light advent candle three.

"Moses," by John Piper. ©2014 Desiring God Foundation. Performed by Jaleesa McCreary.