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Archive for April, 2009

One look at the youtube clip of Susan Boyle singing in front of Simon Cowell and the large audience in Scotland and we’re reminded why those who scoffed at her intially so suddenly burst into great applause: it’s the old refrain that we’re not to judge a book by its cover.

God says it differently in 1 Sam. 16:7: “for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

In our age of superficiality, where only the “beautiful people” can make it, I think deep down we long for the underdog, the person who doesn’t appear to have it altogether — to shine. And we realize that our world is badly missing the authentic.

Susan Boyle was being herself; when the audience saw her great singing talent, they accepted more than just her talent; they accepted her as a person: they realized that the woman is a real human being, with feelings and a desire to contribute, just like anyone else. And whether they could articulate it or not, I think the audience also realized that ultimately, God is no respecter of persons.

The Susan Boyle effect reminds us to return to simplicity, humility and genuine concern for our fellow human beings — and to get away from the empty “Hollywood Effect” that adds nothing to our lives.

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Here is a letter I wrote to my students a moment ago:

Hi students,

I just read something in my quiet time that really jumped out at me, especially in light of the way I constantly pray for you.

It’s found in 2 Cor. 11:2-3: “For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin.

“But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.”

Paul was dealing with a church not truly living for the Lord and hence they were doing some pretty crazy things. The previous chapter (10) demonstrates that they even rejected Paul’s apostolic authority in favor of false teachers. It’s no wonder they were so ripe for the devil to deceive them (the Greek word in v.3 for “deceived” means to completely deceive).

Apart from that simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ, we are immensely vulnerable to self-deception, deception from others and from demonic deception.

Please hear the heart of a pastor (and in back of that God’s heart) for you: I pray constantly that you would hunger and thirst for God in His Word, in prayer and worship. This is in large part what Paul means by simplicity and purity of devotion to our Lord. I’ve seen so many of you responding to this call lately, but I would that all of you reading this would do the same!

As you’ve no doubt heard me say so many times, nothing — absolutely nothing — is more satisfying! And more importantly, Jesus deserves everything we have and are. I was worshiping this morning to a song by Hillsong called “Higher/I Believe in You” and was greatly touched by this simple verse at the end of the song: “I owe You my life, and I will worship You forever; I owe You my life and I will live to bring You praise.”

Will you run this race together with me?

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