Anyone who knows me knows that I am a passionate person. And the list of things I’m passionate about is quite long. Often times I try to communicate this passion to others and it ends up coming across in only a few ways. Some might see it as lots of fervent exclamations. Loud fervent exclamations. And yet others may see it as lots of erratic hand motions that make no sense to the rational mind. Or. . .possibly both. However, some people catch my passion and understand it. And other people think I’m a ranting lunatic. Well. . . let’s be honest. Most people think I’m a ranting lunatic. But for those of you who catch and understand my passion, I’ll give you an insight into two things that I have become overwhelmingly passionate about recently.
The first thing is cultural reform. Not cultural reform in an “Let’s Return to American Ideals Because God is Always For America” sense, but cultural reform beginning by instituting the Lordship and Kingdom Christ. I am passionate about all of Christ in all of life for all the world. I am passionate about the Kingdom of God reigning on Earth as it does in Heaven (and not in some ethereal or sublime way but in a way that is grounded in reality that impacts real lives and real people). I am passionate about understanding the heart of God for our culture and what it means to live in the Kingdom right now. I am passionate about shaping my political views to those that are aligned with Kingdom principles. I am passionate about shaping my view on education to those that are aligned with Kingdom principles. I am passionate about shaping my view on money, sex, food, entertainment, technology, war, peace, and every other aspect of my life to those that are aligned with Kingdom principles. And I don’t want it to be lived out in a bubble, but I want to live it out in the world and in the culture. I don’t want to be the person that is so scared of culture that faithfully live out Kingdom principles but only in their cabin in Montana with their 13 children who make their own overalls and have built a very nice bunker that is fully stocked with canned goods so they can survive the Tribulation. I also don’t want to be the person that is so willing to accept culture that they abandon Kingdom principles and are quite intent on “modernizing” the Bride of Christ (even though such “modernizations” are consistently making her look more and more like the hooker in the red light district). I am passionate about building God’s Kingdom here in such a way that it reforms the culture. This passion actually leads me toward a post-millennial eschatology. . .on good days.
[Sidebar: If you are passionate about this like I am, I would recommend a few resources. My highest recommendation is for Doug Wilson’s blog, his teaching and preaching ministry, and the theological journal he helps produce. I really cannot say enough about Mr. Wilson. Tim Challies also has a great blog that I recommend as well. You can also find good stuff from Al Mohler and reformation21 as well.]
The second thing I am passionate about is understanding Jesus and the Scriptures in their proper cultural context. I can’t even begin to explain the feeling I get when I’m reading the Scriptures and find a connection between the Old and New Testament that the Holy Spirit has divinely weaved into the story. The sad part is so many modern American Christians miss these connections because they don’t understand Jesus in his culture. So many of us are content with our Swedish Jesus with feathered hair, inexplicable blue eyes, and purple sash. Not only is this wildly inaccurate, it’s also unfair. It’s unfair to a sovereign God who divinely placed Jesus in that particular location in the world, in that particular culture, in that particular time in history for a specific reason (Gal. 4:4). The more we sanitize and Americanize the New Testament story, the more we miss the point God had in mind. If we don’t take the time to understand Jesus in his culture, there are inevitable points of the story that we will miss. I am so passionate about learning more and more about this and allowing it to infiltrate and dominate my teaching. We need to be people who are passionate about the text and passionate about understanding it in the way that God gave it to us.
[Sidebar: If you are passionate about this like I am, then there are a few resources I would recommend. The absolute highest recommendation I could possibly give would be for Ray Vander Laan and his teaching ministry. I’ve met RVL a few times, attended his seminars, and even had the opportunity to travel to the Holy Land with him, but had to cancel because my wife found out she was pregnant. I hope to take him up on his offer one day soon. Lois Tverberg also has a great blog and wrote an equally amazing book that everyone should read. Another great resource is the Center for Judaic-Christian Studies that has some phenomenal articles. There are also some non-blogging authors out there whose books should be on the top of your to read list. People like: Ken Bailey, Brad Young, David Bivin, R. Steven Notley, Marvin Wilson, and many, many others.]
I believe that these passions were given to me by the Holy Spirit as I have delighted myself in the Lord (Ps. 37:4). I don’t know yet what ultimate path these passions will lead me down, but I am certain that I will follow them as the Holy Spirit leads me.
What passions has the Holy Spirit of God placed in your heart? What’s the thing that gives you erratic hand motions? What is it that you speak loudly and fervently about? What is that deep seeded thing that talking about it causes most people give you the, “Uhhh. . .are you okay, dude?” look? Will you chase yours with me as the Holy Spirit leads us?