Five Points Blog
- Steve Sullivan
- Mar 19, 2014
Teaching has existed at Oxford, England since the year 1096. Today, Oxford University is the oldest place of learning in the English-speaking world; it has been a school for 918 years. From its early days, Oxford was a center for lively controversy, with scholars involved in religious and political disputes. John Wycliffe, a 14th-century professor, campaigned for a Bible in the vernacular against the wishes of the papacy. During the Reformation in the 16th century, the Anglican churchmen Cranmer, Latimer, and Ridley were tried for heresy and burnt at the stake in Oxford. In the late 17th century, the Oxford philosopher John Locke, suspected of treason, was forced to flee the country. The 18th-century professor of geometry, Edmund Halley, predicted the return of the comet that bears his name, and John and Charles Wesley's prayer meetings laid the foundations of the Methodist Society.
It was at this historic wellspring of scholars that C. S. Lewis schooled, graduated, and later taught in its halls. He was the famous Christian apologist who helped steady the courage of the British people during World War II with his weekly radio program of hope and faith; the famous debater of his time who challenged the atheists with well-reasoned arguments for the truthfulness of Christianity; the author of many Christian-focused fiction and non-fiction books widely read today.
I was privileged to be traveling to this place last October to attend a conference on C. S. Lewis knowing full well that I did not comprehend the impact this school and its graduates have had on the world. I left a week later having had my brain crushed under the weight of trying to absorb a fraction of what was shared on Lewis, his life, his views, his faith, his thinking, and the heights of his intellect which call us upward to a God we will never stop knowing more fully. Among the speakers was Dr. Michael Ward, a research fellow at Oxford and author of The Narnia Code.
Each morning Dr. Ward shared a part of his amazing insight into how Lewis loved myth, lore, and stories of medieval literature (Lewis’ academic focus). One story of Lewis’ life that was shared was how before Lewis was a Christian, his friend J.R.R. Tolkien would share the gospel with him. One day as they walked together, Tolkien—remembering Lewis’ love of mythology—said, “What if one of those myths you love were actually true?” Tolkien talked to Lewis of the story of a person who so loved that he gave himself, so that others might live. Lewis knew this story—it was common in the ancient medieval myths. It speaks to a desire for virtue common to all people. This was the turning point in Lewis’ life, the day he began to realize, “What if one of those myths actually happened?”
Lewis went on to lecture and write on medieval literature in a new way. It was no longer mankind’s existential hope in virtue but now a foreshadowing of the true myth. Lewis would write about how we live in a “shadow land” that is only the weakest of images of what is waiting for us. We live now as vapors full of holes, but then we will be solid for the first time. We go to a reality that will not compare to this world, to a glory that has weight.
The mythological story form Lewis uses in his fiction enables us to identify, to feel, to experience more fully the truthfulness of ideas in our world in a way that speaks to our humanness. God makes us both rational and imaginative—by using both we can know God more fully.
Join us for a two-part event, “A Voyage into Narnia,” that will help you understand and appreciate more of C. S. Lewis, his world of Narnia, and how he intended for us to see God by breathing Narnian air. On Wednesday, May 28, Dr. Michael Ward will join us to discuss the imagery of Narnia that C.S. Lewis used to speak to our souls and draw us to God. And on Saturday, May 31, Joe Rigney, professor at Bethlehem College & Seminary and author of Live Like a Narnian, will apply Lewis’ Chronicles to our call to be and make disciples.
- Jennifer Darawi
- Oct 01, 2013
This question is often addressed to my husband, Makarios, or me, as we are in the process of becoming licensed as foster parents. While the reasons are many, the most compelling is a biblical one. There are many Bible passages that command God’s people to care for the widow and the orphan, which reveals God’s compassion for them.
However, Matthew 25:31-46 is most meaningful to me. Jesus tells us about how at the end of time, the King will come and separate the people into two groups. Those who are welcomed into the kingdom are those who served the King. He says, “For I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you visited me” (vv.35-36). The righteous people ask when they did those things for Jesus, so he replies, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me” (v.40).
When a family fosters or adopts a child, they are able to do all of these things Jesus spoke about for one of the least of these. They provide food and drink and clothes, they invite in a stranger, take care of their illnesses—be it mental, physical, or psychological—and set them free from their personal prisons.
The Holy Spirit comforted me with verse 40 when I was feeling inadequate as a parent. God reminded me that whatever I do for a child, I do for him. My weak attempts to parent well, when done for the Lord, can be used by his grace to bless the child. Whether we have the privilege of fostering or adopting one child or more, for days or weeks or a lifetime, it will be in obedience to God’s Word.
We want to foster so that we can serve the children that are least wanted by most of society and to ultimately serve King Jesus.
This guest post was written by Jennifer Darawi, a Five Points member and mother of three.
- JJ Sherwood
- May 28, 2013
Dr. Bruce Ware spoke with Children Desiring God on how can parents and teachers can encourage holiness without teaching legalism. I was greatly encouraged by spending a quick 3 minutes watching this video. May the next generation set all their in God!
- Brett Toney
- Nov 16, 2012
For on the first day of the first month he began to go up from Babylonia, and on the first day of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem, for the good hand of his God was on him. For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the LORD, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel. — Ezra 7:9-10
As Israel's Babylonian exile came to an end, God raised up the priest Ezra to be a leader for the people. He was a seminary-trained, politically-attuned, culturally-aware shepherd for God's people. Even more important was the faithful, sovereign God had his back.
But why? Why would God bless this guy such that the Holy Spirit would inspire the biblical author to say that "the good hand of his God was on him"? The answer to this question provides insight to how every teacher of God's word should prepare for such a role.
The answer is not because of Ezra's status as a priest, teacher, or leader. It's not because he was holier than others or because he was better. Verse 10 says God had blessed him because he "had set his heart to study the Law of the LORD, and to do it and to teach" it. Ezra did not presume he could just read through a passage of Scripture and immediately get up to teach God's people.
No, God had blessed him because he gave himself to study God's word; he didn't consider Scripture to be insignificant, inapplicable, or trivial. He studied it. But he didn't just study it and then teach it, treating God's Word as an academic exercise. Instead, he did it first. It wasn't until after he had studied and engaged in the personal practice of Scripture that he was fit to open his mouth to share with others.
This is a fitting example for any who are called to teach the Bible to others. Whether you are teaching kindergartners on Sunday mornings, high schoolers during the week, your own children at home, or preaching at a worship service, you must study the Word, apply and practice it in your own life, and then share with others what God says.
So as you prepare for Sunday's lessons or for family devotions, consider Ezra's example that the good hand of your God might be on you. You might also consider these three questions from Trevin Wax aimed at preachers but applicable for all who teach.
- Brett Toney
- Aug 25, 2012
Fall is just around the corner and I am excited for the many different classes that will be starting up on September 9. Let me highlight for you some of the opportunities you will have to connect with others in digging into God's word.
We will continue with a full spread of Bible Study Hour classes for adults. Pastor JJ will be teaching a class called "God Saves: Studies in Jonah & Hosea" (Room I/J), highlighting how these often-obscured prophets clearly anticipate Christ. One of our elders, Mike Houston, will continue to partner with Eric Leiendecker in leading the College & Career class through the Letter to the Colossians (Room A). Another elder, Dick Mills, will be teaching an expositional or topical study in the Sanctuary. Cindy Verner will continue teaching the women's class in the Gospel of John (Room D). And I will have the privilege of walking through redemptive history, looking at how God is working to establish his people in his place with his presence by creating his kingdom through a covenant (Room C).
And while we will mainly focus on the deep truths of God’s word on Sunday mornings, we will consider how those truths impact our daily lives at our Evening Family Gatherings. Pastor Brent will be teaching a class titled, "Marriage: A Marvelous Mystery" (Sanctuary). Elder Mark Kakkuri will teach "Apologetics to the Glory of God" (Rooms I & J), and Ken Whitely will be teaching the class "The Fruitful Credit of Faithful Finances" (Rooms C & D).
And of course, classes for children and students will be held during the same times as well.
Consider joining us as we pursue joy in Christ alone through the study and application of his word together.