Steve Jobs, Eternity, and Compassion

With the death of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, a number of Christian writers have published tributes on the web today (John Dyer, Greg Thornbury, Mike Anderson, Al Mohler, Justin Taylor, and Joseph Gorra, to name a few). For me, Jared Wilson’s thoughts are particularly sobering:

This morning I tweeted “What does it profit a man to change the world but lose his own soul?” I was taken to task by two (so far) people for lacking compassion. But the opposite is true.

It is a hollow compassion to mourn the loss of a man’s products and creativity and set aside the potential loss of his soul as not as important, even if what we just mean is that it’s not as important at this time. Nobody I have seen is denying Jobs’s incredible impact and artistry. But Jesus’ words in Matthew 16:26 point us in the direction of greater grief, deeper grief.

A grief that mourns the loss of a man’s worldly accomplishments but feels no anxiety for his eternal destiny is upside down. A man’s worth lay not in his achievements or success but in his being made in the image of God. Setting aside for the moment the state of Jobs’s eternal destiny — because none of us can really know for sure — let us just be real about what is at stake in this life. It’s not fame and renown, it’s not the fulfillment of our gifts and talents, it’s not the altruistic good we can do our fellow man — it is eternal life and eternal death. All else is treasure that rusts.

I encourage you to read the whole post here.

Book Launch: Beyond the Law – Where Grace Abounds

Beyond the Law - Where Grace Abounds

If you are in Auckland on Saturday 4th September you may be interested in attending the Launch of a new book from Hope 2 Overcome Publishers by author Mike Butler.

Launch Info:

Saturday 4th September @ 7pm
Encounter Christian Centre
495 Rosebank Road Avondale
RSVP – Myan Subrayan / 021 507 149
Light refreshments will be served

NZ Release Date – 4th September 2010
RRP – $25 / Trade Paperback / 181pages
For all enquiries contact : Myan Subrayan
Tel: 021 507 149;

Backcover Blurb:

The Christian life can get pretty busy with many activities. Sometimes that busyness can lead to undue stress and pressure, even leading to the point where we feel:

• Burnt out in our Christian walk,
• Overwhelmed by church activities,
• Frustrated and hurt because we don’t measure up to someone else’s idea of what a ‘Christian’ should be.

In this book Michael Butler explores these difficult issues and brings a new perspective on how the demands of the Old Testament law should operate for believers who live under New Testament grace.

Beyond the Law – Where Grace Abounds is an insightful book that will help you discover liberty in your Christian life.

I highly recommend this book to all leaders and Christians seeking their identity and purpose in Christ to live ‘spirit filled’ lives.
Brent Douglas Senior Pastor Encounter Christian Centre

This book is a tremendous tool to help Christians make the transition from guilt- ridden, works-driven legalism, to a Spirit-empowered life in Christ.
Ken Legg, Senior Pastor – New Beginnings Christian Church Gold Coast, Australia

I encourage every Christian to read and understand the message of Kingdom reality that is so powerfully captured by this book.
Charles Kandregula, Retired Bible College Principal, Auckland, NZ

The Bible is clear that Jesus came to set us free. As Christians we have associated this freedom solely with being set free from sin – there is more to it. Yes, Jesus did come to set us free from sin and I am in no way doubting that. But there is more to the freedom that Jesus gives than meets the eye. Jesus also came to set us free from religion or legalism, which has crept into the Church.

His biggest “battles” were with the religious people at the time – the teachers of the Law. These religious people were known as the Pharisees and Sadducees. They were so religious that they debated whether swallowing their own spit on the Sabbath was work. Jesus did not take kindly to this lot and referred to them harshly: hypocrites, fools, vipers, blind guides.

About the Author:

Michael Butler was born and educated in London, but has lived in New Zealand with his wife Kay for over 35 years. They have three grown children. Michael has pastored, taught in Bible schools and travelled extensively. His passion is for teaching on the increase of God’s Kingdom.

The gospel can do for Haiti what the media coverage cannot

Dan Cruver on the Gospel Coalition blog:

“One of the great dangers of living where I live is that I can easily adopt a hobbit’s way of thinking: “Well, it’s none of our concern what goes on beyond our borders. Keep your nose out of trouble and no trouble will come to you” (hobbit Ted Sandyman to Sam in The Fellowship of the Ring). In the face of that ongoing temptation, the media’s coverage confronts me daily with Haiti’s ongoing crisis, and for that I am grateful.

But the gospel does what media coverage cannot. It doesn’t merely awaken us to humanity’s need; it moves us out to meet it. We move out to meet the needs of others because God first came down to meet ours.

Long after the media coverage fades, after our nation’s attention has turned to other things, the gospel will still be moving us toward Haiti’s need. Therefore, it is critical that we as believers feast upon the gospel every day. It’s the only thing that will make what goes on beyond the borders of our own little Hobbiton our active concern. The gospel does what media coverage cannot: it mobilizes for long-term engagement.”

Read the whole thing here.

Proclaiming what God has done in space and time

This is why those churches that have banished pulpits or are “getting beyond” the truth question are going beyond Christianity itself. The proclamation of the New Testament is about truth, about the truth that Christ who was with the Father from all eternity entered our own time. As such he lived within it, his life, like ours, marked by days and weeks and years. He lived in virtue of his unity with the Father, living for him, living as the representation of his own people before the Father, his very words becoming the means of divine judgment and of divine grace. But in the cross and resurrection the entire spiritual order was upended, his victory reached into and across the universe, and saving grace is now personalized in him. The world with all its pleasures, power, and comforts is fading away. The pall of divine judgment hangs over it. A new order has arisen in Christ. Only in this new order can be found meaning, hope and acceptance with God.It was truth, not private spirituality, that apostolic Christianity was about. It was Christ, not the self, who offered access into the sacred. It was Christ, with all his painful demands of obedience, not comfortable country clubs, that early Christianity was about. What God had done in space and time when the world was stood on its head was Christianity’s preoccupation, not the multiplication of programs, strobe lights, and slick drama. Images we may way, entertainment we may desire, but it is the proclamation of Christ crucified and risen that is the church’s truth to tell.

David Wells, The Courage to Be Protestant, (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2008).