Five Points Blog

A Visit to Oxford University


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.


Resolved: One Life


Please join us in praying for the Resolved: students on the Winter Retreat at Camp Barakel this weekend! Below is a summary of what they will be learning and the prayer aims for each session.

Only one life, will soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last

Introduction and gospel testimony [FRI PM]
PRAYER AIM: That everyone would get to know me a little. That Christ and His gospel would be magnified through my story of grace (Galatians 1:24). And many would “repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15)...throughout the entire weekend!

One Life: Then What? [SAT AM]
Text: Luke 16:19-31, Romans 5:8-10
HEART-TRUTH: Life is short. Eternity is forever. You will either enjoy God’s love forever in heaven (New world) or endure God’s wrath forever in hell.
PRAYER AIM: That the believers would rejoice with trembling over the eternal agony that they have been rescued from through the Cross of Christ!  That the unbelievers would flee the wrath to come and find eternal refuge and safety at the Cross of Christ!

One Life: Enjoy It [SAT PM]
Text: Ecclesiastes 2:1-11, Isaiah 55:1-3, John 6:35, Psalm 16:11
HEART-TRUTH: Flee the world’s ‘fading pleasures’ that temporarily satisfy and find in Jesus ‘forever pleasures’ that eternally satisfy.
PRAYER AIM: That the Father of glory would open our eyes to taste and see: that Jesus is 10,000 times better than the world. That Jesus is the eternal pleasure that the eternal soul was made for!  That to be saved is to be satisfied in Christ!

One Life: Lose It [SUN AM]
Text: Mark 8:27-38
HEART-TRUTH: Whoever tries to save his life for this world will lose it for eternity, but whoever spends his life in this world for the cause of Jesus and His gospel will save it for eternity.
PRAYER AIM: That the Father would cause us to hear and see Jesus as so irresistibly beautiful and powerful and glorious, that we gladly and daily deny ourselves and take up our crosses and follow King Jesus!

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21)

 


Thanksgiving Food Drive


In John 6, Jesus identifies himself with the manna God provided to the people of Israel as they were led through the wildnerness. Jesus says, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst." The manna in the wilderness anticipated Jesus. Just as the manna was God's gift of life in the wilderness, Jesus is God's gift of life from the sure death of sin. Jesus isn't talking about physical hunger or thirst; he is talking about finding eternal satisfaction and joy in him rather than in things that will leave us wanting.

As Thanksigiving approaches, partner with us in pointing people to the Bread of Life as we provide also for the tangible need of a meal. We have the opportunity this year to partner again with our food pantry, the House of Jacob, but also Mack Ave Community Church, a likeminded church in Detroit. We plan on providing a Thanksgiving meal to one hundred families.

The meals will go to families connected with the House of Jacob, and we'll also bring donated goods to Mack Ave, partnering with them in reaching out to families in Detroit. The items we are specifically requesting include: turkeys, canned green beans and corn, instant mashed potatoes and stuffing, cake mix and icing, jarred gravy or mix, and powdered drink mix (e.g., Kool Aid).

Items can be dropped off on the metal shelves at the back of the gym on Sunday mornings or during the week. We will be collecting items until Wednesday, November 20. Resolved: students and families will be assembling boxes of donated goods and taking items down to Detroit.

As you walk through the grocery store picking up items or before dropping the items off, pray with us for these families; pray that this would be the last Thanksgiving meal they eat apart from having been satisfied by the Bread of Life. 


Sent Into The Harvest


David Mathis wrote this blog post a couple years ago over at Desiring God. It seeks to take all of life captive under the banner of God's glory and helps us as Christians to think about and engage our neighbors during Halloween. He writes:

"What if we didn't merely go with the societal flow and unwittingly float with the cultural tide into and out of yet another Halloween? What if we didn't observe the day with the naivete as our unbelieving neighbors and coworkers?

And what if we didnt overreact to such nonchalance by simply withdrawing? What if Halloween wasn't a night when Christians retreated in disapproval, but an occasion for storming the gates of hell?"

These are great questions to think through over the next couple of days. You can read the entire post here.


Jesus, The Only Hope


In Tim Keller’s book, The Prodigal God, he writes about how Jesus is the only one who gives hope in the midst of ordinary human life… the only one who can truly help us face death with assurance, confidence and joy.

“Jesus, unlike the founder of any other major faith, holds out hope for ordinary human life. Our future is not an ethereal, impersonal form of consciousness. We will not float through the air, but rather will eat, embrace, sing, laugh, and dance in the kingdom of God, in degrees of power, glory, and joy that we can’t at present imagine.  Jesus will make the world our perfect home again. We will no longer be living ‘east of Eden,’ always wandering and never arriving. We will come, and the father will meet us and embrace us, and we will be bought into the feast.”

~ Timothy Keller, 104

If we truly believe that Jesus is the one who through his life, death and resurrection has brought us into His Kingdom, how can we go about our daily activities and not live our lives in light of his preeminence?  If we believe that in the end “we will be brought into the feast”, it will hardly be possible not to.


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