Monday, July 27, 2015

Prince of Peace

by Rob Hendricks

The peace of God is such a beautiful thought that often brings tranquility and silence to my restless heart. However, we often attribute the peace of God to a sense of carefree happiness and to be a shield for life’s troubles. The concept of God withholding the inward and outward trials of life could not be further from the truth marked throughout God’s Word. In fact, by giving our life to Christ, two things in particular happen: first, we receive justification from our condemnation as sinners, and second, we are adopted as sons of the Father and brothers of Christ in God’s family. As adopted sons of God’s family, we are infinitely loved and cared for by the Creator of the universe. But, much like our earthly fathers (and even more so), God the Father, in love, uses discipline and trials of all kinds to achieve His purpose of making us holy, growing more in the image of Christ. In his book Knowing God, J.I. Packer says, “The clue to understanding all [of God’s] dealings with [His children] is to remember that throughout their lives He is training them for what awaits them, and chiseling them into the image of Christ.”

In the book of Hebrews, the author says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when He rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and He chastens everyone he accepts as His son…[Discipline] produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:5b, 11).

With these truths about the hardships of life established, it is important to move past a concept of God that views Him as a giver of earthly prosperity and relaxation. Jesus even says, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). What is the peace of God then, if it isn’t about prosperity and earthly blessings?

It is not as much the “peace of God” as it is “peace with God.” According to Packer, the primary ingredient of God’s peace isn’t the “power to face and to live with our own badness and failings” or “contentment under ‘the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.’” Rather these are products of God’s peace. The main component of God’s peace is in fact the pardon and justification we received when Christ died on the cross for our sins. At the root of the Gospel lies the sacrifice of Christ to bridge the gap between sinners separated from a perfectly righteous God. Through Christ’s sacrifice, God “[reconciled] to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through [Christ’s] blood, shed on the cross” (Colossians 1:20).

Thus, as Packer illustrates, “the peace of God is first and foremost peace with God; it is the state of affairs in which God, instead of being against us, is for us…The peace of God, then, primarily and fundamentally, is a new relationship of forgiveness and acceptance.” Through this peace of God found in Christ’s sacrifice and our subsequent pardon, we can find rest in our reconciliation with the God of the universe. By finding unwarranted acceptance into God’s family, we find hope and strength in the promises of God which allow us to say with confidence: “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content in whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:11-13). Daily, we can approach our God, casting our anxieties and troubles on Him solely because the grace of God provided us peace with God through Christ on the cross.

Just as the lyrics of Hillsong United’s new single “Prince of Peace” so eloquently illustrate, when my thoughts wage war and fear comes knocking, God has provided peace and rest by adopting us as sons through Christ’s sacrifice. What a beautiful gift.

All Bible references taken from the New International Version (NIV).

Rob Hendricks is a rising junior government major and a member of the sprint football team who has a passion for sharing the Gospel through spoken word, law, and sports.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

What I Learned From a Serial Killer

by John Nystrom

The other night I started watching a show called Dexter. It wasn’t a particularly great show in my opinion (no offense to anyone who disagrees), but it wasn’t horrible either, and I found myself intrigued by the show’s premise. Let me briefly describe the show’s plot for anyone who has never heard of it:

Monday, July 13, 2015

The Gospel's Culture War

by Andrew Shi

David Brooks, a widely respected conservative social commentator, observes in his New York Times column that Christianity is destined to lose the culture war around sex (if you haven’t yet, I strongly encourage you to read the Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage). Mr. Brooks urges Christians to direct their social conservative views more towards visible service such as caring for the underprivileged rather than towards defending traditional dogma. Given Mr. Brooks is a man who practices and writes on spirituality, I find it surprising that he thinks faith will win over culture if it simply picks and choose its fights. For one, I’m not even sure that as a Christian I am called to a movement that will win over the culture. That may be the purpose (and end goal) of any minority movement, but is it the purpose of the Church today? What’s more, it disturbs me that the overtone of this piece is that religion’s role in our society should be a tool for peace.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

We should be proud – but not too proud – of America

by Kristy Perano

This past Fourth of July we celebrated the 239th anniversary of the United States declaring independence from Great Britain, then the world’s most powerful empire. The United States is now the world’s most powerful country and a symbol of liberty and justice. There are some things about America that we can be proud of, both from our history and from our current civic life. America was the first constitutional republic when monarchies were common. It was a place for people who wanted freedom and a chance to work hard and make their way to come and start a new life, and the US is still a place of refuge and opportunity for the many immigrants who continue to come here.

Football and Faith

by Rob Hendricks

The lights. The fresh grass. The crisp autumn air. And…God? Nothing in my life has spoken Christ and the Gospel into my life quite like the gridiron. From fear to depression to pain to idolatry to the Gospel, God has used football to move me through inward and outward trials to His surrounding, covenant love. Through football God has shown me that (as Andy Mineo raps in “Never Land”) “the way up is down; stay low to the ground and you close to the clouds.”

Monday, July 6, 2015

The Community Alongside Me

by KK Yu

In graduation season, we are immersed in speeches and congratulations. We are reminded of our accomplishments as academics and scholars. We recognize ourselves, but we also recognize others. We see our fellow classmates walking the same path across the stage, and know that we could not have succeeded without their help. Family and friends visit, and we are reminded of the support they gave and continue to give. I am blessed to recently have had a chance to express my gratitude to the community around me, and I wanted to share that here.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Fisherman

by Avery Hasenauer

At a young age I was a restless child. Officially I believe it is diagnosed as the middle child syndrome, but I was always seeking attention and wreaking havoc on my other siblings. I recently watched a home video from when I was 5, and my parents literally threw a tennis ball off of a wall until I was tired enough to go to sleep.