Corruption Points to Importance

Last weekend I attended the Valued Conference dedicated to the topic of sexual abuse and the church’s response to it in this cultural moment. There was much at the conference that was stirring and vital for leaders and the church as a whole.

They have posted video of the whole conference online and I commend it to you.

What struck me significantly during one talk leads me to reflect a bit more today. I can’t remember for certain who said it, but a speaker mentioned that the devil was at work spoiling or corrupting those areas in which there is the most revealed of the goodness of God, really things meant to glorify Jesus and his gospel.

Things so important, they are painting a picture of the glory of God, that Satan attempts to ruin them.

This was first in the context of sex. A beautiful and wonderful thing rightly expressed and experienced (from a biblical worldview in the context of a one man one woman marriage). The act of fully giving oneself over to the other. Sacrifice. Wholeness. Pleasure.

A God who gives himself fully over for us. Not seeking his own privilege but serving those he created.

Of course then Satan wants to corrupt this gift. He does it by attacking expression, direction, identity and other areas extending from it. He perverts and extorts the gift to sully it, to leave us at a loss, violated, hurt, torn covenants by the dozen. All so that we would miss the glory beyond the gift, what it is meant to point to.

But sex is not the exclusive territory under attack.

Authority, the benevolent and good-seeking kind. That serves, that wields power for those without it, that looks to help others rise. Satan taints it with domination, harshness, abuse and misuse.

The Miraculous. The spiritual work of the Holy Spirit in our world that gives a glimpse into the renewed world, restored life. But Satan inspires swindlers peddling snake oil, tempting even those that believe in the miraculous to look the other way rather than genuinely see the giver of tremendous gifts.

Even Fatherhood, meant to express God’s fatherly care for all of creation and especially humanity. That we could be loved this much. So Satan schemes to corrupt our view of fatherhood with destroyed images of harm over care, absence over involvement.

The list could go on couldn’t it? So much of life meant to point to the giver of life and it is attacked and corrupted to tarnish glory.

But God will not be robbed of glory. The gospel, Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection are proof of that. That every story is being redeemed, restored back eventually to what we were created for.

As I go then through life I am determining to recognize the corruption for what it is attempting to cover. The importance of God’s love for us. The beauty of his creation and the experience of his grace even in a world groaning for our true home.

Will you join me in working for redemption? Finding those areas of attempted corruption and in prayer and pursuit of justice turning them over to the Lord, for renewal, for his glory.

Let’s see the important things for what they are, glimpses of glory.

Pastor Daddy…

In one of my first classes at seminary I heard a student recite a psalm he had written and it has stuck with me ever since. He made clear that before he could be “Pastor Nathan” he had to be “Pastor Daddy.” This was not about having your children see you as some aloof pastor they don’t know but rather about leading your family well – pastoring you children before you pastor anyone else.

As I spend more time in ministry  it seems to take more of my focus. But this week I was reminded (by my daughter) that it was important for me to pastor her first of all. This is what I want to be about.

If you are a father – please father. Don’t be distant and a blur. Be present and a parent to your children. And if you are in ministry – let’s be about leading our families well as a reflection of Christ’s love.

(Don’t mind that fact that the picture indicates that I am carving an idol with my daughter…)