Quick Takes – 9/27/2008

R.C. Sproul answers the question: Does prayer change things? “Does prayer make any difference? Does it really change anything? Someone once asked me that question, only in a slightly different manner: ‘Does prayer change God’s mind?’ My answer brought storms of protest. I said simply, ‘No.’ Now, if the person had asked me, ‘Does prayer change things?’ I would have answered, ‘Of course!'”

Glenn Reynolds responds to reports of various political supporters losing faith in their candidates. “Don’t people wind up feeling this way every four years? Which isn’t to say they’re wrong. As for me, I haven’t liked a candidate enough to be actually disillusioned by one in … well, ever, really. The good news is that the guy you don’t like usually fails to live up to your fears almost as much as the guy you like fails to live up to your hopes…”

Ray Ortlund discusses our real problem. “The good news of the gospel begins with some really bad news. Our sins only provoke a bigger problem: the wrath of God. Our real problem is not our sins but God. He is angry, he isn’t going away, and there is nothing we can do about it. If God is against us, who can be for us? But here is the good news. God has made God our salvation. He did it at the cross. God has provided a way of escape from God: in God. We run from his wrath by running toward his grace in Christ. And if God is for us, who can be against us?”

Tullian Tchividjian quotes Cornelius Plantinga on human yearning and hope. “The truth is that nothing in this earth can finally satisfy us. Much can make us content for a time but nothing can fill us to the brim. The reason is that our final joy lies ‘beyond the walls of this world,’ as J.R.R Tolkien put it. Ultimate beauty comes not from a lover or a landscape or a home, but only through them. These earthly things are solid goods, and we naturally relish them. But they are not our final good. They point to what is higher up and further back…” (from Engaging God’s World, pg. 5-7)

Scott Nehring gives a great movie watching tip on the treatment of religion in film. “When you see a religious figure on screen, note how they’re treated, how they’re presented. Then look at the followers of that religion you’ve met in real life. Does the real people and their presentation in film match up? If not, if say the believers are shown to be violent, wild-eyed fanatics and the real people you’ve are generally good people not given to theocratic impulses, ask yourself why the filmmaker would create a disproportionate image of those people. Is the misleading image the result of bigotry or ignorance? This is good to do any time you see a specific social group presented in film.”

Jesse Johnson encourages believers towards lifestyle evangelism. “For Jesus, evangelism was a way of life. When He crossed paths with people, He seized the opportunities to preach repentance and the forgiveness of sins. In fact, much of Jesus’ evangelism took place in conversations with individuals … Evangelism in the book of Acts follows Jesus’ example. Peter, Stephen, and Paul did not stand on street corners and shout. Instead they seized whatever opportunities God gave them, and implored people to be reconciled to God. There are at least 15 examples in the book of Acts of Christians going about their daily activity, and then getting involved in evangelistic conversations with individuals with whom they came in contact.”

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