What is the “Gospel” and what practical implications does the Gospel make in my everyday life?
The “gospel” is the good news that life in all its dimensions is good, beautiful, meaningful and enormously satisfying when lived in fellowship the Lord Jesus and his committed followers.
What is “sin” and what is so terrible about it when I do sin? And what is my motivation to not sin?
Sin has many biblical words and dimensions. A basic Bible dictionary identifies them. But basically sin is seductive. It seduces people to forget about Jesus and to forsake his way of new, full life. When they are seduced, sin enslaves them. In bondage to it, they are slowly, inevitably destroyed: their relationships, their integrity, their sense of meaning and self-worth, their joy and delight in life. Satan seduces people in order to devastate them and undercut Christ.
What is God’s end goal for this world, all humans of this world, and me personally? Where is He taking it and what does it look like for me to be a part of that goal, and how can I have a role and purpose in that goal, and find meaning, and value, and my joy in that goal?
Very simple! God wants people to flourish as his image-bearers. He wants them to reach their full potential as his creatures. This requires living in daily fellowship with him by reading the Bible, praying genuinely and daily, and being part of a spiritually vibrant church for worship, service, accountability, and encouragement. If God is our Father, a true church is our nurturing mother. If we live by this simple code, we discover increasingly that all of life—every part of it—is blessed and flourishing.
How can I, as a Christian who believes the Gospel and affirms orthodoxy, be compelled to genuinely desire God and the kingdom of God enough to become a true disciple, one who is willing to consider all things loss in comparison with knowing and loving Jesus?
By loving God above all and our neighbor as ourselves. That flame of love has to fanned daily by the Holy Spirit through the means noted in my response to number three. When we live to glorify God and serve others, we grow. In losing ourselves to God and others, we find ourselves. Life is rich, full, good, satisfying.
As a Christian, at the end of a long day (when I have done what I ought not to have done – and not done what I ought to have done) what are God’s thoughts of me when I lay down my head at at night and fall asleep?
He weeps for you. He still loves you. He waits for you to discover how you are robbing yourself of the good life. When you realize this and repent of your sins, rededicating yourself to him, he will embrace and bless you again.
What is God’s mission given to us and how do I fulfill it without it becoming a feeling of another thing I have to do for God? And based upon that, What is needed at the personal, and church level to shape culture and to be on strategic mission?
Through Word, Spirit, and genuine Christian fellowship, become the new person you are becoming in Jesus Christ your Lord.
Who is Abraham Kuyper and what drew you to him?
Though raised in a minister’s home and having become an intellectually brilliant minister himself, Kuyper did not discover the richness of new life in Christ until a young woman in his church “converted” him to authentic fellowship with Christ. Then he became a tireless advocate of spiritual renewal in all phases of personal and national life in the Netherlands. He founded a Christian newspaper, university, elementary schools, various social organizations, and became an effective Christian politician. He even became Prime Minister of the Netherlands for a term. What drew me to him was his vision of life, all of it, transformed in service to God and others.
What was the context in which Abraham Kuyper wrote these devotions?
Kuyper wrote a weekly devotional meditation every Sunday for over fifty years. Writing them was his special, personal, private time of fellowship with God by praying and reflecting on a Bible passage as he wrote. His meditations are often inspiring and insightful, even after more than a hundred years.
I find it so compelling and encouraging that a man of Abraham Kuyper’s stature, in addition to being an academic, a politician, a pastor, and Theologian, never lost sight of what really matters – from His thoughts in Honey From the Rock, what kind of man do you see?
A godly, inspiring Christian leader, but one with whom God was not yet finished. None of us is ever a complete, finished Christian this side of the grave. But what a wonderful adventure it is to keep on growing in faith, hope, and love.
What does Kuyper seem to major on? That is, what elements or truths of Christianity does Abraham Kuyper seem to overflow from his heart and hope that his reader will take on?
Worship, adoration, praise, daily communion with the Lord and his people, service to others, thankfulness, respect for others, insight into ourselves, delight in God’s goodness. He also really adored his children and loved and respected his wife.
What are the purposes of “devotionals”? Do they take away from our time we could be reading the Bible and in prayer? For you personally, what in Honey From the Rock took root in your own heart?
Devotionals are time with the Lord; they involve immersing oneself in the Bible and “taking everything to the Lord in prayer.”
For many of us, we read a passage in the Bible, or we might pray with our family, or we read an entry from a devotional, and then right after we have this sense of being “spiritual” – but so often the moment we put the book down, or the second we say “Amen”, it’s like the “spiritual emotional high” has left no sooner than it arrived… What can we do to combat this and really be carried along in our faith beyond just our “quiet times” and spiritual disciplines?
Kuyper actually has quite a lot to say in these devotionals about staying spiritually alive. He obviously worked very hard at that. All of life for him was a religious response to God, communion of fellowship with him. All of life lived with and in Christ is fellowship with God.
If you were to take up pen today and write a single entry for a devotional, what would it consist of? What would you highlight, what would you deconstruct, what truth of our faith would you call our attention to?
Exactly what I said in response to the last question!
For you personally, what has been the most compelling or powerful aspect of the story of the Bible that you delight in, has come to you fresh, and resulted in you loving God more and being excited to be a part of God’s story?
That in his work of restoring fallen creatures and a marred creation through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God will never leave or abandon me. I am safe in the everlasting arms of my Lord Jesus, forgiven, embraced, being restored to the person God wants me to become to his glory. As a favorite document says, “My only comfort is that I am not my own, but that I belong entirely to my faithful Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
For those who read this interview and get pricked of mind and heart; what can I do today, right now at this very moment (and beyond), that can result in the story of the Bible take root in my own heart and shaping me as it has you?
Don’t look at me as a model. Emulate Jesus. Turn your life over to him. Follow him without hesitation or reservation.