Friday, March 07, 2008


This is just another reminder to everyone that reads this blog on google reader or another method. Logos made flesh has moved to

Thursday, March 06, 2008


As of today I've moved to Wordpress. You can now find all past, present and future posts at

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Is the Shack True?

"I think it's a true story." my friend said. He had been talking about the Shack for the last several days, reading portions, and raising a number of interesting conversations. When he told me he thought it might be a true story, my curiosity was peaked all the more. "I thought it's fiction," I responded. He replied, "you're just going to have to read it for yourself."

After I finished the book I realized what he was talking about. William Young, the author, places himself as a character in the book. He's a friend of the main character, Mack. Young also appears in the forewords and afterwards, speaking in the first person as if the events described in the book are true. This tying together of a real author and the events strongly suggests that the events are true.

There's nothing wrong with this approach. It makes for a good story. Who hasn't told their kids a made-up bed-time story while placing themselves in it. And William Young isn't trying to deceive anyone. He makes it clear in the book and elsewhere that the Shack is a work of fiction.

But the blending of the real and unreal, truth and fiction, is at times within the Shack very hard to distinguish. More than simply making himself a character, Young makes the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit charters as well. And they speak a great deal more than him. It was in their conversations with the main character that I had the most difficult time distinguishing truth from fiction. Clearly Young does not regard the words he places on the lips of Papa, Jesus, and Sarayu as untrue. Young has a point in writing and he uses God, as a character, to make it. I believe Young had the purest of motives in writing this book. But the way in which it is written leaves little room for differing views. The book's warm personal approach leads us to nod our heads in agreement at everything that the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit says though it's really William Young who says it.

In this manner Young touches on a number of controversial subjects. For instance at one point in the book Jesus tells Mack that he's not a christian. While this is technically true, Jesus is not a follower of himself, Jesus goes on to say that he doesn't care whether or not someone is Buddist or Muslim, he'll meet them where their at. Although Young is not to specific on what he means by this some could understand this to imply that Jesus is really the end goal of every religion. All will be saved in the end. Since reading the book, I've had people say to me "Jesus isn't a Christian" as if it was Jesus who said it and not William Young. Is it true? This is first and foremost the question that needs to be addressed.

John tells us in 1 John 4:1-3 to test to see if something is true.

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the Antichrist, of which you have heard that is coming, and now it is already in the world.

I used this quote, not because I believe that William Young is the Anti-Christ. As I have already said I believe William Young had a good and godly heart in writing this book. Instead I quote from 1 John to remind us that not everything that appears to come from God is from God. So remind yourself always to "test the spirits."

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Blog News

Trevin Wax at Kingdom people has justed posted a link to the Longing of Man. Kingdom People is ranked in the top 1000 baptist websites. Thanks Trevin for you support. You can find the original posting of that video here.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Spiritual Gospel - From Blindness to Sight

This is part one of a nine part series on the mystery and meaning in the Gospel of John. If the video doesn't play you can find it here.

The Spiritual Gospel - From Blindness to Sight

Each lecture is a chapter in a book I'm working on of the same name. If there's anybody out their who wants to write a book with me, I could sure use the help. Enjoy.

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Trouble with Devotions

A number of years ago, as a youth pastor, I delivered a challenging message to the youth of my church. The occasion: immediately after a particular stirring time of worship. The students had just finished singing songs, professing their love for God. As I stood in front the room, the spiritual feeling that only true worship brings was still evident in the air

"I have a word for you," I told them. "I felt it as we sang. I don't think this youth group loves Christ enough. There's a lot of half hearted people in this room and it needs to stop. So from now on you need to make a commitment to come every Wednesday night. if you can't come every Wednesday then don't bother coming at all."

The students sat stunned in their chairs. All except for one. From the front row I could here Trista agreeing with my every word. "Amen, amen," she said.

I continued. "And I'm tired of seeing people only raise one hand to the Lord in worship. If you can't raise both hands than you're half-hearted. From now on raise both hands or don't raise them at all."

I could see students start to clam up. But good old Trista there in the front row kept right on saying, "amen."

"You need to bring you're bibles to Church. How can you say that you love God if you don't love his word."

Students started shaking theirs heads and I heard some quietly say "no" And there Trista was "amen, amen, amen!"

"No!" I said. I had been playing and sweet hearted Trista had walked right into the trap.

What I wanted to demonstrate is that rules breed rebellion. When told to do something are immediate reaction is to respond, "the hell I will." But all to often our devotions to the Lord, things like prayer, worship and reading the bible, turn from something that we desire to do into a rule that must be followed. And the devotions that we started as a simple demonstration of love for our Lord become something we despise.

This is the trouble with devotions that good things started with right intentions become a burden to bare rather than a blessing to share. This is the struggle that Paul finds himself in in Romans 7
But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of covetous desire. For apart from law, sin is dead. Once I was alive apart from law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death...

God's commandment's when brought against our flesh breeds rebellion in us. This is a trap from which it seems we cannot recover. "What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?" Paul asks in verse 24.

But Paul has the answer and its the very reason he writes the letter to the Romans. We find this answer in Romans 8 - one of the greatest, if not the greatest chapters in all the Bible. It's worth quoting in full.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.

Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.

You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.

Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation— but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs— heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all— how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died— more than that, who was raised to life— is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered. No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

God his great gift of love in Jesus Christ, God has taken away the commandment and given us a new spirit which cries to God out of a heart of love and thankfulness for what he has done. Next time you sit down to express your love for Lord examine your heart and ask yourself if you truly want to. If your time with the Lord is not coming from a heart of love. Don't do it because you have to. Do it only because you want to.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Update: The Shack on God and Evil

Just wanted to give those who might have missed it a heads up. Since I began "The Shack on God and Evil" sometime last week, it appeared as if it was older than some of my more recent posts. It is in fact my most recent posting.


Sunday, February 10, 2008

Psalms 90: "Teach Us to Number Our Days"

After offering some brief thoughts on our experience of time (here and here) I found Psalms 91 speaking volumes to me about God's eternity and the limits of my life.

1 You have been our dwelling place in all generations.
2 Before the mountains were born Or You gave birth to the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.

3 You turn man back into dust And say, "Return, O children of men."
4 For a thousand years in Your sight Are like yesterday when it passes by, Or as a watch in the night.
5 You have swept them away like a flood, they fall asleep; In the morning they are like grass which sprouts anew.
6 In the morning it flourishes and sprouts anew; Toward evening it fades and withers away.

7 For we have been consumed by Your anger And by Your wrath we have been dismayed.
8 You have placed our iniquities before You, Our secret sins in the light of Your presence.
9 For all our days have declined in Your fury; We have finished our years like a sigh.
10 As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years, Or if due to strength, eighty years, Yet their pride is but labor and sorrow; For soon it is gone and we fly away.
11 Who understands the power of Your anger And Your fury, according to the fear that is due You?
12 So teach us to number our days, That we may present to You a heart of wisdom.

13 Do return, O LORD; how long will it be? And be sorry for Your servants.
14 O satisfy us in the morning with Your lovingkindness, That we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.
15 Make us glad according to the days You have afflicted us, And the years we have seen evil.
16 Let Your work appear to Your servants And Your majesty to their children.
17 Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us; And confirm for us the work of our hands; Yes, confirm the work of our hands.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Another Meditation on Time

The equal markings and consistent tic of the clock teach us to think about the future as something added to the past. Every moment that occurs is a moment added to a series of equal moments. In this we regard time as a pile of beads consistently added to a string. So why does our experience not correspond? Why do we feel time is speeding up? Why does a year at the age of thirty feel shorter than the one at the age of three?

For us time is not equal because we lack proportion in our experience. The present is not a bridge between our future and past. It is always and forever our end. Every moment of everyday our experience of time is in constant completion. I've heard it said, “today is the first day of the rest of your life.” But it's more true to say “today is the last day of the life that we have lived.” Our experience of time is unrelated to what is yet to come. It's defined only in what has been.

Only by knowing the end from the beginning could we ever experience the consistancy of the clock. For only then could we come to a true sense of proportion. But because our experience of time grows in time we are continually remembering the past as longer than it is. Only God knows the objectivity of the clock. And it is thus thinking of our lives in terms of this instrument that we yet again claim to be Him.

Our time is not the clock and the clock is not our time. So instead of thinking of our lives like beads added to an infinite string we should humbly think of our lives as a pie ever-dividing, recognizing that our life is always coming to an end. The clock suggests we can look outside ourselves and see the future as it is. But a pie's continual wholeness recognizes the fullness of that which has been. In the analogy of the pie we see that each passing moment is shorter than the one before. And thus it accuratly reflects our experience. Time, for us, is indeed speeding up.

Monday, February 04, 2008

13 Life Goals

If there is one thing to admire about Benjamin Franklin its his focus and determination. At the age of 20, He wrote down 13 life goals that he would follow for the rest of his life. According to at least one author he was partially motivated by Philippians 4:8 "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." The list he made was as follows:
  1. Temperance: Eat not to dullness and drink not to elevation.

  2. Silence: Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself. Avoid trifling conversation.

  3. Order: Let all your things have their places. Let each part of your business have its time.

  4. Resolution: Resolve to perform what you ought. Perform without fail what you resolve.

  5. Frugality: Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself: i.e. Waste nothing.

  6. Industry: Lose no time. Be always employed in something useful. Cut off all unnecessary actions.

  7. Sincerity: Use no hurtful deceit. Think innocently and justly; and, if you speak, speak accordingly.

  8. Justice: Wrong none, by doing injuries or omitting the benefits that are your duty.

  9. Moderation: Avoid extremes. Forebear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.

  10. Cleanliness: Tolerate no uncleanness in body, clothes or habitation.

  11. Chastity: Rarely use venery but for health or offspring; Never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation.

  12. Tranquility: Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.

  13. Humility: Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

After making the list he committed to practicing one virtue a week. Following this plan he was able to focus on each viture for 4 seperate weeks throughout the year. He tracked his progress by using a little chart, marking a dot at the end of each day next to the virtue he failed to maintain. Obviously the goal was to make no marks at all. And in time he did enjoy a certain level of success.

I'm now 30 years old, ten years past the age in which Benjamin Franklin began to follow the little list. I know it's not too late to start.

Father, I pray that you might give me the focus and determination to live my life in the manner worthy of your Son.