The Chair and the Desk, 12/9/15

From the chair:

25 And when you come to the land that the Lord will give you, as he has promised, you shall keep this service. 26 And when your children say to you, ‘What do you mean by this service?’ 27 you shall say, ‘It is the sacrifice of the Lord’s Passover, for he passed over the houses of the people of Israel in Egypt, when he struck the Egyptians but spared our houses.’ ” And the people bowed their heads and worshiped. 

-Exodus 12:25-27

This is the first holiday that God commands in the Old Testament, the Passover feast the would yearly commemorate God’s wrath “passing over” the homes of God’s people to deliver them from their oppressors.


It’s Christmastime. There are traditions everywhere, some worthwhile, some not so much. However, God exhibits some real parental patience in this passage. It suggests that for multiple years, a child will participate in Passover without understanding, until one year when he or she finally asks–not just ritually, but also really–“What do we mean by this?” Sometimes we do before we understand, and that can be ok. Sometimes our doing before understanding sets us up to understand and feel more deeply once God does reveal his truth to us. Then we can join the generations of saints who have bowed their heads and worshipped.

From the desk:

“Our hope and prayer is that you will go forth from here to fulfill a ministry of astonishment. To preach and teach and minister so that commas are turned back to periods, and question marks into exclamation points. Congregations long to have the thunderbolts brought down from the attic and loosed in their midst. They are starving for a word from God.

Go and astonish a church. Go and astonish the nations. Go and astonish sinners and saints alike. Go and astonish your generation. Go and astonish those who no longer even believe that they can be astonished.

Go and preach as one who has authority. Just remember always that the only true authority for ministry is biblical authority. May we always be mindful that the only authority that matters is God’s authority, and that God’s thunderbolts are what we must fear . . . and what we must seek.”

-Al Mohler, “As One Without Authority,” online here.

Mohler takes the title of this commencement address from the 1971 book by Fred Craddock of the same name. However, Mohler comes to the opposite conclusion: Rather than trading authority for interest (by preaching simply engaging sermons), we must search and preach the word that has authority, which will not only interest the people but also declare the truth of God.

“The chair” is the one Annie aptly chose for the corner of our living room, and it’s where I am committed to daily hearing from God’s Word–the Word I above all else hope to speak to others. “The desk” is the one by my coffee grounds and spare charger (if I get to the library early enough); it’s where I have the privilege of reading and thinking all day, where I intend to learn for others’ sake.


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