1) Every day will be a new devotional. I have enough devotionals for every day for three years
2) Also as I can, I'll be posting on my new political blog (see bottom of page).
Some other housecleaning:
A) If you'd like to just get new postings sent to your email, just submit your address in the box on the left just below. There's just one possible downside, though. Occasionally I'll add a music video at the end that's relevant to the devotional, and you won't get them in the email sent to you. If I add a video though, I'll make sure to mention in the posting, so you'll know to come to the site to see it if you'd like.
B) I actually finished writing new blog posting for the TAWG at the end of 2016. So what I'm doing now is at the beginning of every month, I'll move the earliest month from 3 years ago ahead so that a "new" posting appears every day. That's why you won't find any postings for January 2014, for example.
C) When I started this Blog, I was using the 1984 edition of the NIV, and that’s what I linked to on the Biblegateway site. However, in 2011 Zondervan updated its edition and thus reworded a lot of the NIV translation. Therefore, all the links which went to the 1984 edition now redirect to the 2011 edition, which often has slightly different wording. Thus, part of my editing process has been to update my Scripture quotes in my postings. But I might have missed some, in which case you might see my quote in the posting as a little different from what comes up when you click on my citation link, since that redirects to the 2011 edition on the Biblegateway site. It's a good thing that we realize that the work of translation never ends, but it can be a kind of a pain on a site like this. If you see any difference in verbiage between my quote and what shows up as a link on the Biblegateway site, or if you hover over a link and it has "NIV1984" at the end of it, please notify me and I'll correct it.
D) I can't believe I have to say this, but here goes. At the end of every posting is a suggested short prayer that has to do with what we discussed. This is actually what I've prayed when I finished writing it. In no way am I asking you to pray the exact verbiage of my suggested prayer. It's just a springboard for your own prayer, nothing more. Quite frankly, I've never been a fan of praying rote prayers written by someone else. As with everything else I do here, to the degree it helps, great; to the degree it doesn't, chunk it.
As always, thank you so much for reading, even if it's to read one post. God bless.
[Oct 17]--Welcome to Athens!
Well, we finally reached the passage in Acts I’ve been waiting for with the most anticipation. We’ve seen lots of speeches/sermons in Acts, some to Jews and some to God-fearers. We’ve seen one made to pure pagans (chapter 14), but that was pretty short. I submit that the sermon/presentation in today's passage is incredibly relevant for us today if we want to have any hope of reaching the Post-Modern world.
Before we get to that, I need to provide a short primer on Modernism vs. Post-Modernism. If you’re already familiar with these terms, I apologize, but we really need to make sure we understand both the world we live in and how it got that way.
Modernism, as the term is commonly used, started around the middle to late 19th century. That was the time of the Industrial Revolution. Slavery was abolished in most of the western world (including the last major holdout, America), and both living standards and life expectancy were steadily rising. There was an explosion in technical innovation, and we made quantum-leap strides in chemistry, biology, mechanics, medicine, etc.
Modernists believed that we were on the verge of making our very own utopia. Science was going to lead the way into a Paradise on earth. Of course this would have to be preceded by a wholesale rejection of myths like Christianity which hold us back. If we could do that, then we could take steps to really evolve to new heights. Humanity could be tinkered with like a machine to eventually make the perfect man. We could, on our own, figure out how to rapidly improve our lot, and we certainly didn’t need any mythical “God” to help us.
Modernism took a body blow when World War I came on the scene. Sure we have wonderful advances in technology, and we used them to kill each other much more efficiently: poison gas, the machine gun, airplanes, etc. Then the death blow came with World War II: The indescribable inhumanity--not only in the battlefield but in death camps--should've shattered the notion that we’re basically good people who just need a little tweaking. The Nazis were everything the Modernist supposedly wanted. It looked like science couldn’t be our savior after all.
Out of the rubble of World War II came Post-Modernism. Of course, there are a lot of Modernists walking around, but the new zeitgeist became dominant in the West. Simply put, this was a wholesale abandonment of objective truth. It no longer matters what someone believes, as long as they don’t try to “impose” their beliefs on anyone else (usually which is another term for actually trying to convince someone of something). There's no objective truth, so whatever “works” for you is to be commended.
Let me illustrate the difference with a simple test case. Say you’re trying to share the Good News with someone who’s not disposed to accept it. A Modernist will try to convince you that the Bible is just full of myths and is incompatible with logic, reason, or science, like Christopher Hitchens or one of the other "New Atheists." A Post-Modernist will likely pat you on the back and tell you “That’s great that you’ve found your truth."Their slogan might well be “What’s true for you might not be true for me.” If someone loves to point out that they’re a “spiritual” person, that’s a clue.
That’s why this sermon is so important, because there are some parallels for us here. Athens was not only the capital of Greece but was considered the center of learning and philosophy. Please note two things which Luke mentions about the city.
First, it was full of idols. There were statues all over which depicted yet another god. And no one would mind adding another one to the mix. In fact, this is what eventually got Christianity officially in trouble with Rome. Not that Rome wanted to get rid of Jesus, but the exclusion of all other gods was just inconceivable to their minds. They'd be perfectly happy to provide a place for Jesus, as idol # 3443 right next to idol # 3442.
That’s in perfect sync with the Post-modern mind. If you claim that Jesus has made a huge change in your life, that’s fine. But when you get to the part about how everyone everywhere needs to believe in the same Jesus you do, then the sparks fly.
Second, the Athenians were supposedly the most open-minded people on earth. Note the last verse: “All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas.” They were always looking for something new, something fresh. Anyone spouting new ideas could get a hearing, at least in theory.
Again, this is eerily similar. Post-moderns pride themselves on having an open mind. And this theoretical openness was seen by Paul as an open door to the Good News about his Savior. And he was going to take advantage of it.
Lord Jesus, it gets really frustrating to talk to people like this. But I know you love them, and I should love them too. Help me to speak the truth in love, please.