Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Life in Pictures

A few pictures
that recap the highlights
from the last few months.

Vacation to Tulum, Mexico. One year anniversary!! :) Thu and Van's shower. Monica graduates Berkeley!! After a year of medicine and some other things, Julia starts the 2nd year of residency, and the 1st year of anesthesiology. Random visits by Clifford.....always a treat!! (Literally, he brings us cookies and pecan pie!) Monica visits Houston en route to DC, her next new home. We celebrate her birthday, but forget to take pictures. So we substitute with cute baby picture (see left). Phuong's bachlorette party in Cozumel. More fun in the sun for Julia. Vanessa's baby shower!! Lots of pink, yummy snacks, and a diaper cake. Danny gets engaged!! Congrats to Danny and Katie!! Harriet and Chuck get married!! Congrats to the newlyweds!! Eric and Fiona visit, and we have the 2nd annual crab fest at the Crab House in Kemah. Julia's Birthday! Dan made me add this picture. We've been buying a lot of baby presents this year, but Dan's proudest present is the one below: Baby Air Jordan's for Baby Alex. :)

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Lord Jesus Christ, Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity (Part 3)

Hurtado notes two important features of Jewish monotheism:

"First, in addition to refusing to accept and worship any of the other deities of the Roman religious environment, conscientious Jews also maintained a distinction between the God of Israel and any of the exalted figures who could be seen as prominent in God's entourage, such as principal angels or revered human figures like Moses or Enoch. This distinction was most clearly maintained in discouraging the worship of these figures; and devout Jew insisted that worship was to be given to God alone".

"Second, the Jewish monotheistic stance forbade apotheosis, the divinization of human figures, and thus clashed with a major theme in pagan religion of the time. "

-pg 95

Friday, September 14, 2007

Lord Jesus Christ, Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity (Part 2)

Hurtatdo's 4 historic forces/factors that initiated and formed an early Christ-devotion:

1) Jewish exclusivist monotheism
2) The impact of Jesus, particularly the polarizing effects of his career (people either loved or hated him)
3) Revelatory religious experience that communicated that Jesus had been given heavenly glory and that it was God's will for him to be given extraordinary reverence in their devotional life.
4) The encounter with larger religious environment, particularly the dynamics of countering Jewish polemics and of differentiating and justifying Christian devotion over against the dominant pagan practices. [1]

[1] pg.78

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Give God the Glory for Our White Garments

The call to be faithful to Christ is no small matter. For instance, John writes in Revelation 3 about Christ's word to the church in Sardis (Asia Minor):

Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you. 4Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. 5 The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. (Revelation 3:2-5)

In these verses, Christ warns some Christians to repent in order to avoid judgment (v.3) and commends others, who have not "soiled their garments" (v.4) and thus will be receiving the benefits of walking with Christ in their white garments (v.4-5) and having their names never blotted out of the book of life (v.5) It's interesting to note that these white garments are later described as having been washed in the blood of Christ (Revelation 7:13-14) and made up of our faithfulness (righteous deeds) that will allow us to be properly covered and dressed for the presence of Christ (Revelation 19:7-8) [1]

13Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, "Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?" 14I said to him, "Sir, you know." And he said to me, "These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. (Rev. 7:13-14)

7Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory,for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready;8 it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure"— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. (Rev. 19:7-8)

If our righteous deeds are necessary to make ourselves ready for Christ's presence, how should we go about doing them? I think Piper said it best:

We do our righteous deeds, and therefore it is fitting that heaven cry out: "The Bride has made herself ready." But we do not do them in our own strength. They are a gift from God—prepared before the foundation of the world that we might walk in them (Ephesians 2:10). And therefore it is even more fitting that heaven cry out, "Give God the glory." [2]

[1] The connection between Christ's blood and the empowerment towards righteous deeds can also be seen in verses like 1 Peter 1:17-19, 2:24 and 3:18

[2] Sermon by John Piper, "Worship God", Revelation 19:1-10

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Lord Jesus Christ, Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity (Part 1)

There are some scholars who believe that worship of Jesus Christ did not originate with the original Jewish-Christian groups but appeared later, after a long period of time, in a more Hellenistic-Christian groups.

In Larry Hurtado's book, "Lord Jesus Christ, Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity", he argues against the idea above by making 3 points [1]:

1) Early stage of devotion to Christ
2) Unparalleled and intense devotion to Christ
3) Devotion to Christ was made in the context of strict Jewish monotheism

[1] pg 2 and 3

Expectations For John and Jesus

Zechariah's expectations:

1) Israel's redemption (Luke 1:67) through the house of David (v.69)
2) Saved from our enemies (Romans/Herod?) (Luke 1:71,74)
3) Fulfillment of Abraham's covenant (Luke 1:72)
4) Allow Israel to serve God without fear but in holiness (v.75)
5) God's return to Zion (v.76)
6) Forgiveness of sins (v.77)
7) Peace (v.79)

Mary's expectations:

1) Jesus will be the Son of God (Luke 1:32) and receive the throne of David (v.32)
2) Jesus will reign over the house of Jacob forever (v.33)
3) Save Israel from their sins (Matthew 1:21)

Wise Men's expectations:

1) Jesus as the king of the Jews (Matt.2:2)
2) Jesus as the shepherd of Israel (v.6)
3) Jesus as worthy to be worshiped (v.2)

Simon's expectations:

1) Consolation of Israel (Luke 1:25)
2) Jesus will be a light to the Gentiles (v.32)
3) Jesus will be for the glory of Israel (v.32)
4) Jesus will be appointed for the falling and rising of many in Israel (v.34)

Anna's expectation:

1) The redemption of Jerusalem