Tuesday, June 27, 2017

"Miracle of Dunkirk" Movie Opens 7. 21.17

The story of the evacuation from Dunkirk during World War 2 is one of the most riveting true stories that you will ever hear. It now is comingto the big screen July 21 - [Watch Trailer] It is a story of heroes, common and uncommon. It is a story of national valor and courage, and for that reason the story is beloved and cherished. What happened at this little fishing village in the north of France in 1940?... It was one of the most remarkable escapes in history prompting many churches in England to sing Psalm 124:

"...if the Lord had not been on our side when people attacked us, they would have swallowed us alive when their anger flared against us; the flood would have engulfed us, the torrent would have swept over us, the raging waters would have swept us away. Praise be to the Lord, who has not let us be torn by their teeth. We have escaped like a bird from the fowler's snare; the snare has been broken, and we have escaped. Our help is in the name of the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth."

The Miracle of Dunkirk is a reason why Americans speak English today rather thank German. It enabled the Allies to fight another day. And fight they did. When the Allies returned to the northern beaches of France on June 6, 1944, the tide was about to turn. Victory in Europe arrived ten months later.

Dunkirk opens in theaters July 21 - WATCH TRAILER  

America's Prayer Foundation

First Prayer at Continental Congress by Rev. Jacob Duche'
September 7, 1774
As we celebrate this Fourth of July, let us remember America was laid on a foundation of prayer. The Continental Congress, which gave us the Declaration of Independence in 1776, convened for the first time on September 7, 1774. The first legislative action taken was a motion to open this first session in prayer led by Rev. Jacob Duche'. He opened his Bible and read Psalm 35, which providentially opens with:

Contend, O LORD, with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight against me. Take hold of shield and buckler and rise for my help. Draw the spear and javelin against my pursuers. Say to my soul, 'I am your salvation.' Let them be put to shame and dishonor who seek after my life. Let them be turned back and disappointed who devise evil against me."

John Adams wrote that the passage electrified the Founders. "I never saw a greater effect upon an audience. It seemed as if heaven had ordained that Psalm to be read on that morning." Adams further noted that, quite unexpectedly, Rev. Duche' launched into a spontaneous and unscripted prayer that began"Be Thou present, O God of Wisdom, and direct the counsel of this Honorable Assembly; enable them to settle all things on the best and surest foundation; that the scene of blood may be speedily closed; that Order, Harmony, and Peace may be effectually restored, and that Truth and Justice, Religion and Piety, prevail and flourish among the people."

Duche' went on to ask God to preserve the delegates' health and vigor of mind, and to grant them "temporal Blessings" and "everlasting Glory in the world to come. He closed with,

"All this we ask in the name and through the merits of Jesus Christ, Thy Son and our Saviour, Amen." Adams writes that Duche's prayer "filled the bosom of every man present. I must confess, I never heard a better prayer, or one so well pronounced." 

Monday, June 26, 2017

Loving the People You Love to Hate

In the midst of my umpteenth re-reading of C. S. Lewis’s classic Mere Christianity, I came across the passage excerpted below and found it holding new resonance. Apply what Lewis is explicating below to any of the following:

  • Gossip
  • Church conflict
  • Relational jealousy
  • Sharing of news stories that confirms our suspicions about people on the other end of the political or cultural spectrum
  • The language that is used in clickbait links, soundbite videos, mocking memes, and exposé blog posts. We don’t say someone is “critiqued” or their ideas “debunked;” we say they were “destroyed,” “owned,” and so on. We use the language of humiliation or violence.
Here’s how you know if you hate something someone has done or if you actually hate that person, according to Lewis:

The real test is this. Suppose one reads a story of filthy atrocities in the paper. Then suppose that something turns up suggesting that the story might not be quite true, or not quite so bad as it was made out. Is one’s first feeling, “Thank God, even they aren’t quite so bad as that,” or is it a feeling of disappointment, and even a determination to cling to the first story for the sheer pleasure of thinking your enemies as bad as possible? If it is the second then it is, I am afraid, the first step in a process which, if followed to the end, will make us into devils. You see, one is beginning to wish that black was a little blacker. If we give that wish its head, later on we shall wish to see grey as black, and then to see white itself as black. Finally, we shall insist on seeing everything--God and our friends and ourselves included--as bad, and not be able to stop doing it: we shall be fixed for ever in a universe of pure hatred.

How about you? Is your hatred fed by confirmation bias? Do you dismiss correction of your critique because the corrections don’t fit your narrative?

Do you love to hate somebody? Do you hope for their failure and inwardly delight when it comes? Do you have the slightest inkling that your desire for justice has bled into desire for vengeance?

And if so: do you find any of that commensurate with loving your neighbor?

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
-- 1 Corinthians 13:7

By Jared C. Wilson is the Director of Content Strategy for Midwestern Seminary, managing editor of For The Church, and author of more than ten books, including Gospel Wakefulness, The Pastor’s Justification, and The Prodigal Church. You can