by Todd Wood
I like to be dazzled.
Someone in my church family placed on my office chair section D of USA Today (July 16, 2007). I picked up the paper and stared at a road pedal bike made by KGS Bikes in San Antonio, costing $22,180.96, twice the amount I could round up even if I sold both of my cars. Here is just a small portion of the components: (1) a Parlee frame—$5,950, (2) Lew Racing full-carbon wheels with ceramic bearings—$6,495, (3) a set of Orion carbon brake calipers—$1,475, and (4) a Garmin Edge cycle computer with customizable display, GPS-based altimeter, cadence counter, and heart monitor. The bike is state-of-the-art. The paint job alone cost $800.
I like to be dazzled by God as revealed in His creation.
I am into bikes, especially as I am training with a Christian brother for the LotoJa Classic coming up September 8, 2007. It’s the longest one-day bike race in America—206 miles from Logan, Utah, to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. But even more dazzling than pedal bikes, only a simple creation of man, I am astounded by the beauty of mountain passes we have climbed. Who can create such spectacular wild flowers, alpine meadows, pristine lakes, high ridges, and deep gorges?
Let me ask you this: Have you been camping this summer? If you haven’t, you need to. You need to be dazzled by the Creator in his panorama of general revelation. Though I disagree with the lopsided emphasis of the book Saving God’s Green Earth (Norcross: Ampelon Publishing, 2007) by Tri Robinson, I thoroughly enjoyed some of the quotes this Idaho pastor tucked into his book.
“The power of God is present at all places, even in the tiniest leaf … God is currently and personally present in the wilderness, in the garden, and in the field” (Martin Luther, p. 15).
“The initial step for a soul to come to knowledge of God is contemplation of nature” (Irenaeus of Lyons, p. 69).
“Listen to the sermon preached to you by the flowers, the trees, the shrubs, and the whole world. Notice how they preach to you a sermon full of love, of praise of God, and how they invite you to glorify the sublimity of that sovereign Artist who has given them being” (Paul of the cross, p. 133).
“The little birds singing are signing of God; the beasts cry unto Him; the elements are in awe of Him; the mountains echo His name; the waves and streams cast their glances at Him; the herbs and flowers praise Him. Nor do we need to labor or seek Him afar off, since each one of us finds (God) within himself, inasmuch as we are all upheld and preserved by His power dwelling in us” (John Calvin, p. 143).
I liked to be dazzled by God as revealed in the Bible.
I don’t understand how some are more dazzled by their personal performance and technology than by the God of the Bible. In his book Positively False: The Real Story of How I Won The Tour De France (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2007), Floyd Landis talks about the boss he used to work for:
Lance [Armstrong] always had to have the most cutting-edge equipment, set up precisely to his liking. Before every ride he’d go over his bike meticulously, and still he’d stop and change his seat height three times during a single ride. I understood his interest in technology and training methods, but the bike fiddling seemed excessive to me. I could go an entire ride with my seat height a half-inch off and fix it later. To me, it wasn’t even worth worrying about. But Lance was Lance. “There, that’s much better,” he’d say after moving it one millimeter (p. 52).
Lance Armstrong was obsessed with winning Tour De France races rather than with glorifying God. But sadly, so became the story of Floyd Landis, his successor. The author wrote about how he grew up Mennonite under the mantra, “Glory goes to God, not to self.” In his childhood, he went to church twice on Sundays, sometimes on Wednesdays, and even with regular prayer meetings stacked up on top of that schedule (p. 3). But then he confesses, “I thought so much about the Bible and how the literal interpretation didn’t seem possible, and the more I analyzed it the more confused I got” (p. 15). So he left it.
Struggling with the sufficiency of Scripture, he has not yet rested in the glorious sufficiency of the one true God manifested in the Father, Son, and Spirit.
I borrow the phrase “Dazzled by God” from Frank Hamrick. I met this man for the first time at the God-Focused Conference at Red Cliff Bible Camp June 11-13. He did his best to lift me upwards to the heights of God’s glory, and I appreciate that. Here are a few thought-provoking highlights from Frank’s workshops:
“What is the greatest need in ministry today? Passion for God.”
“Passion isn’t something that is ‘worked up’ from the outside. It is something I can’t help because of what is happening on the inside!”
“We need to bask in the sunshine of God’s glory (we need to be Son Burned)!”
“[God-Focused] leaders recognize that the purpose of the Bible is primarily to reveal the glory of the Godhead and is only secondarily to teach men how to live! We are Cardiologists, not Behaviorists (John 5:39, Rom. 10:1-4). The Bible is not simply a life manual, but primarily a revelation of the majesty of God (Gen. 1:1, Rev. 1:1).”
“Our preaching must be exaltational, not just expositional, doxological, not just pedagogical.”
“[God-Focused] ministry isn’t a relationship-centered ministry, an activity-centered ministry, a soul-winning-centered ministry, a behavior-centered ministry, a character building-centered ministry. A God-focused ministry is one in which both the goal and the methods are designed to magnify the majesty of God to such a degree that believers develop a passion for God that governs every aspect of their lives.”
“Past providence gives present courage.”
“We are to read and study God’s Word, looking for two things—God’s glory and God’s grace.”
“If we study the Word of God, but fail to see the God of the Word, we have not accurately studied the Word of God!”
“If we focus on God, we will become like Him.”
Friends, in light of the upcoming 490th anniversary of Martin Luther’s theses, I plan to write 95 propositions in regard to God’s glory and grace. I plan to submit them to my community in the intermountain West alongside the I-15 corridor within the 24/49 window. Why don’t you join me? In each specialized corridor in America and around the world among the SI readership, let’s all submit 95 theses to SI as October 31, 2007, approaches. Sound good?
I hunger to be dazzled by God.
|Todd Wood is pastor of Berean Baptist Church (Idaho Falls, ID). He received his B.A. in Missions, M.A. in Theology, and M.Div. from Bob Jones University (Greenville, SC). But more than anything he hungers for the A.I.G. degree affixed to Apelles (Rom. 16:10). He also operates a blog called Heart Issues for LDS.|