Dear friends,
 
You may have heard news lately of the fires in Colorado. Last year, the Colorado Springs community was shaken by the Waldo Canyon fire. We couldn’t have imagined that just shy of one year later, multiple fires would be raging across Colorado— some of them in our own backyard. As I write, several other wildfires have popped up across the state. Some are contained and almost extinguished; others are just beginning their devastation.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past couple months of home building, it’s that it takes a team to build a house! This experience has given us a great opportunity to connect with new people. We’ve met with designers, builders, and craftsmen who have helped us make all kinds of decisions, ranging from the layout of the rooms to the kinds of wood to use in the flooring. One cold morning, we brought donuts to the crew, and were awestruck at the manpower that went into the framing process. As we watched, it became clear that in every way, this has been a collaborative effort.  God works collaboratively, too.

Colossians 3:4 says,

 
“When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”
 
During my early years following Jesus, reading my Bible, and going to church I thought  “glory” was a place with a ZIP Code . . . kind of like heaven. You know, “I’ll see you in Glory.”

In Colossians 1 Paul says:
 
For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross…he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation (Colossians 1:19-22).

In recent posts, we’ve spent some time investigating God’s claims of uniqueness and distinctiveness and how it flies in the face of much modern thinking. When we turn to the New Testament, we find that Jesus Christ, the unique and only Son of God, is declared to have the same sort of supremacy.

Moses, one of the Old Testament figures that made it into the “hall of faith” in Hebrews 11, wrote these words near the end of his life: “Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other” Deuteronomy 4:39.

 
Again, there’s little doubt that these words smack of intolerant “exceptionalism” to many in our world today. I guess it is still in the heart of man to try to make God conform to our image and perception rather than accepting that He doesn’t always align with our picture of reality


In our day of pluralism and ala-carte spirituality, someone may say, “Of course idols are not gods! But still you must keep an open mind. I mean, there are more than seven billon people on planet Earth. You can’t tell me that there is only one God that is acceptable, that everyone must believe in? Come on!”

In the time of Isaiah, prophet of Israel, it was commonplace for people to create their own gods. Probably not much different than today! People would have household gods, regional deities, all carved with human hands.

Around the globe, two extremes can be seen in how people respond to social and religious differences: violent extremism and unexamined tolerance. At one end of the spectrum, we see unloving and violent insistence that one group’s ways are the only way and other people need to get in line or pay the consequences. On the other hand, a common present-day human philosophy is that every person has the right to choose their own path and that no path is any more valuable or right than any other.

 

The first car I drove after getting my license was a 1970 Ford Pinto Hatchback. You may have heard of them; they were recalled because of the gas tank exploding! When I went to college I took a well-used 1968 Ford station wagon. A few years later, I bought my first new car, a Ford Fiesta! I think you are getting the picture—my pocket book didn’t allow me to pick from the “top of the line” row at the dealership (the cars with all the extras). I don’t have a big problem with auto lust, but I wouldn’t mind taking a drive in a BMW or Audi sedan every once in a while!

 
When God made man, He didn’t hold back any of the options or extras.