AC/DC on Father’s Day, A Beautiful Reminder of Grace

On Father’s day we went to Branson for dinner. The restaurant was overwhelmingly loud with the combination of diners talking, dishes clanging, and the multitude of televisions broadcasting sports and music and cooking shows. One thing that stood out above all the others was the music channel. 

The music was a variety, to most of which I said, “I don’t know that one” or “That’s not familiar to me.” At one point, AC/DC’s video Highway to Hell came on the screens. My wife looked at me and said, “You know that one.” Since I had previously shared with my kids my pre-Christ devotion to AC/DC, and how I’m still challenged not to get sucked into their music if I hear it in public, I wasn’t embarrassed by her comment. In fact, it provoked my interest, perhaps in a weird way. As I pulled out my phone, I said, “I saw them at Reunion Arena in the early 80’s.” Then I proceeded to Google “AC/DC Reunion Arena” to see more precisely when I had seen them. Google instantly reminded me that it was February 2, 1982 that I saw AC/DC in concert. I sat on the mezzanine level, stage right, and thought it was the greatest thing ever when Angus Young dropped his shorts and mooned the crowd. What can I say? I was lost.

As I looked over the setlist for that concert and saw “Highway to Hell” (number 11 on the setlist), it suddenly occurred to me that the very next month, Jesus rescued me from the highway to damnation. I’m so thankful for God’s grace and those who patiently shared that with me. I’m thankful for a classmate who had been inviting me to church for a year; for a church youth pastor who didn’t run this lost kid away because of his concert choices; and a preacher who clearly connected the gospel to my heart.  

It’s been 40 years of God’s grace, and it’s only the beginning. “He is no fool who gives up what he can’t keep, to gain what he can’t lose.” 

Proverbs 28:3

A poor man who oppresses the poor

    is a beating rain that leaves no food.

Proverbs 28:3 ESV

The visual language of “a beating rain that leaves no food” is intended to convey to the reader a sense of destruction or harm and uncertainty. It is used to arrest the senses of the reader. To get a reaction. But what is it that is this beating rain? Answer: “A poor person who oppresses the poor.”

How can a poor person oppress another poor person? This question is worthy of consideration. The most obvious answer is by stealing from a poor person. But, there are other ways within human interactions or relationships that any of us can oppress another. One of the challenges we have in wrapping our minds and hearts around this verse is the perception that oppression is always a big and obvious action on the level of slavery and human trafficking. Among the homeless there can certainly be a hierarchy of power, through which one poor person abuses another. That struggle may be for resources or over a profitable corner in the city. One does not have to be wealthy or a government official or an employer to abuse the poor. Poor people can abuse each other.

An Eternal Perspective

Let not your heart envy sinners,
    but continue in the fear of the Lord all the day.
Surely there is a future,
    and your hope will not be cut off.

Proverbs 23:17-18

Here, the writer encourages his reader to take the long, eternal perspective. The natural tendency is to desire that which we can see. And in this case, the implication is to chase whatever it is that sinners have or are doing. Maybe it’s wealth. Prestige, perhaps. Whatever it is, the writer says, Don’t long for that! It’s here today, gone tomorrow. It’s temporal (see Ecclesiastes 1:3-4, Hebrews 11:24-25).

In contrast, we are encouraged to continue trusting, by faith, in the Lord.

The New Testament shares this same theme:

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

Hebrews 11:1

Hebrews 11 continues, “By faith …

  • we understand that the universe was created by the word of God
  • Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Can
  • Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death
  • Noah built an ark
  • Sarah received power to conceive
  • Abraham offered Isaac on the altar
  • Isaac invoked future blessings on Jacob and Esau
  • Jacob, while dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph
  • Moses left Egypt
  • the people crossed the Red Sea
  • the walls of Jericho fell …”

What is to be gained for those who fear the Lord rather than envy the sinner? A hope and future that will not be cut off (Proverbs 23:18).

Questions:

What do you envy about sinners, in general, or a specific sinner?

Why is that, whatever it is, more inviting than a future that will not be cut off?

The Fourth Man (Dispatches from the Front Episode 10)

The announcement of the latest release in the Dispatches from the Front series, Episode 10: The Fourth Man is welcome news! (Available from Westminister Bookstore by clicking the title link above.)

Among the very best missions video series available is  Dispatches from the Front by Frontline Missions International (follow FMI@Twitter). The intention of the video series is to bring “viewers up-close with sights and sounds from distant corners of the Kingdom.” Why? Because believers “everywhere desperately need a renewed vision of Christ and the unstoppable advance of His saving work in all the earth.”1 To this end, Dispatches from the Front succeeds in every way.

The sights, sounds, and reflective narration are informative, encouraging and challenging because they provide an inside look at real ministry done by real people in real places around the globe.

In this 10th installment in the series, Tim Keesee takes the viewer into new territory: The Middle East.

“He is risen!”—three words that change everything. This wonderfully good news that was first announced to the women at the Empty Tomb is still being declared boldly in the Middle East by the Risen King’s messengers! Dispatches from the Front goes into this region of centuries-old darkness and division that is now overshadowed by the fierce violence of ISIS terror. Yet, the Gospel is powerfully at work in the Middle East, and Christ is building His Church there just as He said He would. Neither the gates of hell nor the gates of Islam can withstand the work of our Risen King! From mega-cities in Arabia to refugee camps left in the wake of ISIS terror, The Fourth Man goes beyond the headlines to showcase the Gospel’s power to save, the mercy and love of believers, and their abiding joy as Christ walks through the fires of persecution with them.2

I have personally watched all of the previous episodes multiple times and have included them in the curricula of my college and seminary missions courses. So, add my name to the long list of enthusiastic endorsements, which include, among others, Tim Challies, Mark Dever, John Piper, Carl Trueman, David J. Hesselgrave, and Justin Taylor.

It matters not whether you are a seminary or Bible college student, a missions pastor, or a lay member of your church that knows nothing about missions, you can benefit from this series.

Dr. Craig A. Dunning, PhD
Lead Professor of Intercultural Studies/Missions
Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary
#GoBBCLife Change U!

The video clip below will give you an idea of what’s inside episode 10.

1 http://tinyurl.com/m4sgstg
2 http://tinyurl.com/l22meyh

Happy Birthday, Colleen

Colleen, Grace, and Zach making Christmas cookies, December 20, 2015.

Colleen, Grace, and Zach making Christmas cookies, December 20, 2015.

Today is a special day because it is Colleen’s birthday. There are many things I appreciate about my wife, but today, I want to focus on one.

I’ve been blessed with a wife who loves being a mother and homemaker. She loves family time and doing things together, whether that is playing a board game or Uno, hide-and-go-seek or treasure hunt, or walking through the neighborhood or the park. She’ll even agree to go to Six Flags together.

Proverbs 31:27-29 describe Colleen well:

She looks well to the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and bless her;
Her husband also, and he praises her, saying:
“Many daughters have done nobly,
But you excel them all.”

Happy Birthday, Bear. I love you!

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