Posts Tagged ‘Stephen Nichols’

Well, I have just preached through Mark 13 which contains the Olivet Discourse, a prophecy by Jesus of the end times.

Last evening I wanted to give our congregation some help when they read prophetic sections of Scripture (and there is a great deal of it).

I shared this article in part with them from Stephen Nichols over at the Crossway blog:

Many of you have your Bible and your reading plan all set for 2012. However, there are undoubtedly some passages or even books that more difficult to understand than others. InWelcome to the Story, Stephen Nichols gives us some pointers on understanding the prophetic texts:

You should keep the big picture of hope in view. It’s easy for us to get lost in the details. We are tempted to run down rabbit trails of trying to decipher minutiae and looking for some secret insight into the details. Is Ezekiel’s “wheel within a wheel” some sort of UFO? Are the locusts in Revelation Huey helicopters of the US Air Force?

Remember the big-picture reason why God reveals the future to us. He wants us to know what will happen so that we can have a real and abiding hope. God wants us to know what will happen so that we will trust in him that despite appearances, he controls the future and we need to trust and rest in him. He wants us to know what will happen so that we will work until he comes.

As you journey through these prophetic passages of Scripture, you can easily lose your way. These questions serve as guideposts to help you navigate these texts. Begin with trying to capture the big picture of restoration, and then work from that solid ground to sorting through and understanding the details.

Questions for reading prophetic passages of Scripture:

  • What does this passage teach about the grand narrative of creation, fall, redemption, and restoration?
  • What does this passage specifically teach about the coming restoration of all things?
  • What have I learned from this passage about the future that I can put into practice now?
  • What do I need to change in my life based on what I have learned about the future?
  • How does this passage offer a different perspective on life, as compared to the perspective offered by our surrounding culture?

Learn more about Welcome to the Story by Stephen Nichols.

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Nathan Bingham begins his article on “The Sinful Tragedy of Boredom” this way:

How many times have I heard one of my girls say that? And how many times has that statement been a cause for my patience and self-control to be tested?

Why do such cries test my patience? Because I know what my children are saying to me beneath the words, “I’m bored.” Firstly, they’re telling me they’re not satisfied with what I’ve given them. They want more, whether that’s more stuff or more stimulation. Secondly, they’re inadvertently telling me that they’re blind to what I’ve already given them, and what’s at their disposal. They have enough toys, books, dress-ups, etc., and they have that secret ingredient…imagination. Yet, they fail to see what’s there before them, and they cry bored.

A Problem We Don’t Grow Out Of

If you’re a parent, then you probably nodded in agreement to much of what I wrote above. You’ve heard the cries of boredom, you’ve experienced the frustration. But do you hear the same cry in your heart?

The desire to cry out “bored!” is not only for children. It’s also a far more serious issue than being between a child and a parent. Boredom effects adults too, and it occurs between Christians and their Father in Heaven.

The Parable of the Bored Life

This afternoon I began reading Welcome to the Story by Stephen Nichols. In his section on creation he shares the following parable:

“Most of the time, Timothy was bored. As a kid he seemed to care little for the things around him and even less for the people around him. Timothy’s mom would send him out to play and he would be bored. He didn’t explore. He didn’t imagine. He didn’t even look up at the birds and the clouds or down at the caterpillars and spiders (he is a boy). At school, his mind thought about play. At play, he could only think of everything he didn’t have to play with, only thinking of all the toys he didn’t have. Eventually Timothy became an adult and carried his boredom with him. At his job, he could only think of play and fun. When he wasn’t working and out trying to have fun, he could only think of everything he didn’t have. On his way home from work he didn’t look at the clouds in the sky. He missed sunrises, and he shrugged at sunsets. Timothy yawned through his childhood, school, work, family, and friends. Timothy yawned through life and right on into death. Let the reader understand the meaning of the parable. Timothy had no sense of wonder whatsoever. Timothy squandered a precious gift from God, the gift of life, by caring little for God’s gift of creation. Timothy and his boredom is not just a parable, however. And, sadly, Timothy’s not alone.”

What a tragic life Timothy lived. What a tragic life many of us live.

Nichols will go on to describe our culture as one “adrift in a ship of boredom.” While the sad irony is we’re actually in a ship “floating in a sea of wonder.”

If you want help for your own life or teach your children how to respond to boredom biblically, keep reading here.

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