Cooking Tip #5: How to Crack an Egg

Cooking for Geeks coverNot so very long ago, a friend lent me a book called Cooking for Geeks.  This book was intended to explain, in precise and empirical language that a scientist like me could appreciate, exactly how to do amazing things in the kitchen.  Like fry an egg without causing an explosion.

I’m not sure it achieved its intended effect, but one message of this book has in fact stuck with me.  In one memorable section, this book called on all the laws of physics (i.e., it showed a picture) to compare the effects of cracking an egg on the side of a bowl versus cracking an egg on a flat surface like the countertop.  One of these methods is more likely than the other to result in egg shell in the resulting product.  Do you know which one?

Let me give you a hint.  Before I read this book, I always cracked my eggs on the side of the bowl.  (Now that I have read the book, I still crack my eggs on the side of the bowl.  Then, as I am picking out egg shells, I am reminded that I should have used the countertop.)

The other day as I was once again picking shell out of my egg (it takes a while, so I had plenty of time to think), I was pondering Martin Luther’s exposition on God’s Law.  (This is actually a more logical connection than you might think.  Really.)  Martin Luther said the 3-fold purpose of the Law was to act as a curb (to prevent us from going too far astray), a mirror (to allow us to recognize when we have done something wrong), and a guide (to show us what we should be doing instead).  There are times when we may not even realize we’re sinning until we bump up against that curb… until we’re wiping egg off our face or picking shell out of our omelet.  Maybe we said something we shouldn’t have said; maybe we did something we shouldn’t have done; but sooner or later we get a twinge of conscience.  We bump that curb, and we begin (step two) to reflect upon what we did.  (“Oh, I should not have done that!”)  That’s when the third purpose of the Law becomes manifest.  It’s not enough for us to know what not to do.  We also need to know what to do.  My cookbook tells me how to crack an egg.  God’s cookbook tells us how to live: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself (Luke 10:27).

None of us can do this perfectly.  We mess up – just like every time I forget and crack an egg on the side of the bowl.  But each time we do, God’s law curbs, reflects, and guides us back to Him.

No matter how hard we try, we will never be able to follow God’s Law perfectly.  We will always forget.  We will always crack the egg on the side of the bowl.  The truth is, when it comes to this analogy, we’re not the Master Chef.  We’re not even the sous chef.

We’re the egg.

The Fall in the Garden of Eden was far worse than anything Humpty Dumpty ever dreamed up, and we’re never going to be able to put ourselves back together again.  That could be the end of the story, but thank God it’s not!  God’s cookbook doesn’t end with the Law.  It ends with the fulfillment of the Law: Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ is the Master Chef.  He picks the pieces out of our lives.  He wipes the egg from our face.  He presents us as blameless before the Father.

When we try to live out God’s Law on our own power, we will always fail.  But when we place our lives entirely into the hands of Jesus, we are the most beautiful cracked egg of all. 

Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this Man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by Him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses (Acts 13:38-39).

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Free Hugs!

Yesterday as I was walking across campus I passed a small group of students dressed in red t-shirts with permanent black marker emblazoned across the front: FREE HUGS  =)

Photo of students with Free Hug Tshirts

Perhaps they were taking a page out of the book of the Purdue University Compliment Guys, or perhaps they were just trying to spread some cheer in the days leading up to Valentine’s Day.  As I walked past them, one young man came bounding across the sidewalk with his arms opened wide.

“Hi, there.  How are you?” He asked.

“Fine,” I said.  And then, as he continued to stand in front of me, “Are you going to give me a hug?”

“May I?”

“Sure.”

So he gave me a quick hug and then skipped back to his compatriots.

“Have a good day,” I called.

Student giving free hug Students giving free hugs  Student giving free hug

I love college students.  You never know what crazy, whimsical, or insightful thing they will come up with next.  Like giving away free hugs.

Have you hugged a stranger today?

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted… (Ephesians 4:32)

If Life Were Like the Super Bowl

This week at a Bible study, my pastor lead us through an interesting discussion beginning with the question, “If life were like the Super Bowl, what would our role be?”  I liked his analogy so much, I decided to share it.  Credit for this analogy goes to my pastor; any misrepresentations in my embellishments are my own!

If life were like the Super Bowl…

SuperBowl

We would not be the spectators.  It is not our role to simply sit back and watch.  We are not called to idleness, but to action.  We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies.  Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat. And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good (2 Thessalonians 3:11-13).

We would not be the referees.  We do not make the rules, nor do we enforce them.  It is not our place to judge the thoughts and actions of others.  There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor? (James 4:12)

We would not be the coaches on the sidelines.  We do not get to call the plays. A person’s steps are directed by the Lord (Proverbs 20:24a).

We would not be up in the press box.  We are not a neutral observer, hovering over the game.  It is not our job to analyze the stats and interpret the plays of the game for others.  No prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:20-21).

So what would our role be?

We would be the players, out on the field, getting muddy.  Each one of us would have a specialized job to do for the benefit of the whole team.  For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us (Romans 12:4-6a).

This does not mean we can’t do things outside our primary skill.  Only a fool would say, “Well, I could have intercepted that pass, but that’s not really my primary job so I left if for someone else to do.”  No.  There are times when we are called to do the work that is at hand, regardless of our comfort or skill. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might (Ecclesiastes 9:10a).

If we were players in the Super Bowl of life, there would be both challenges and victories.  Sometimes we would perform a spectacular block that saves someone else from harm.  Sometimes we would catch the touchdown pass.  Sometimes we would take a blow to the head and be carried off the field.  But no matter what was happening around us or to us, we would play with a foreknowledge that no one in the Super Bowl has:  We know who wins the game.  The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 11:15).

We have to play hard until the clock runs out.  That is our job.  But we can also play with the knowledge that when the final whistle blows, we are not left muddy on the field.  We are invited to the victory party of our Lord.  And if you thought the Super Bowl party was fun, you haven’t seen anything yet.

SuperBowl-Celebration

 Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:57).

MBI Founder’s Week

There are some powerful music and messages coming out of Moody Bible Institute’s Founder’s Week.  If you’re interested, you can listen online or find a broadcasting station at www.foundersweek.com.  Sessions will continue through Friday.  The theme verse is I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord (Philippians 3:8).

Founder’s Week is a week-long event at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and features preaching from a variety of Christian teachers, pastors and musicians.  The story goes that the founder of Moody Bible Institute, D. L. Moody (1837-1899), once walked into a classroom and announced: “It’s my birthday.  Classes are canceled.  Let’s go for a sled ride!”  February 5th has been special to Moody Bible Institute ever since, although some wish the school’s founder could have been born during a warmer season!

Founder’s Week was established in 1901 to commemorate D. L. Moody and has continued to grow into an opportunity for alumni and others to gather, share the Word, and worship together.Moody Bible Institute

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer (Acts 2:42).

An Important Theological Rambling

I used to think Christians believed this: God will cast into Hell anyone who does not believe in Jesus.

Wait, you might say.  That is what Christians believe.

Perhaps.  But there is a distinction that I think is critical. It’s not so much God casts someone into Hell simply because he or she doesn’t believe in Jesus.  God is not saying “Believe in my Son, or else.”  I think that’s sometimes the way the Christian message comes across.

What Christians actually believe goes something more like this.  We are already destined for Hell.  From the moment Adam and Eve went against the command of God, we have been separated from God.  There is nothing we can do to earn favor with God, to save ourselves, to make it into heaven.  For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).  Even the tiniest sin separates us from God.  “I say to you,” Jesus said, “that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire” (Matthew 5:22).  For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it (James 2:10).  Is it any wonder that at one point Jesus’ disciples cried, “Who then can be saved?” (Mark 10:26)

Christians believe that because God is holy, He cannot be in the presence of sin.  Because we are sinful, we can never be in the presence of God.  There will come a time of judgment and every one of us – on our own – will be found sinful and be cast away from God’s presence.

But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).  God did for us what we could never do for ourselves.  He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to live a perfect life and then sacrifice Himself for us.  God’s judgment and wrath were poured out on His Son when Jesus took our sins to the cross with Him.  On the day of judgment, Christians will say “God, I have sinned, but my sins have already been punished.  I gave my life to Jesus, and Jesus already paid for my sins.”  God will look and see that, indeed, Jesus already paid their price.  Their sins are forgiven.  Their debt has been paid.

But those who don’t accept Jesus as their savior will stand before God alone.  They will say, “God, here are my unpaid sins.”  And God will have no choice but to cast them away.

Belief in Jesus, then, is less like the ultimatum “believe or else” and more like a lifeguard casting a lifesaver to a drowning person.  The lifeguard is not saying “Take this lifesaver or I will drown you.”  No.  The person is already drowning, and the lifeguard is reaching out to save him.  Likewise, we are already drowning.  God is reaching out to us.

There is one problem with this analogy.  The best way for us to help a drowning person is to toss him a lifeline.  But God is omnipotent.  He doesn’t need to toss out a lifeline to save someone.  He could just snap His fingers and save them.  Why, then, doesn’t He just snap His fingers and save us all?  Why does He choose to send Jesus into the world instead?

The answer, I suspect, has much to do with free will and the presence of original sin.  But those are thoughts to pursue another day.  For now, the point remains, regardless of reason, that God did send Jesus into the world as our lifeline.  Jesus Himself declared, I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me (John 14:6).

Yes, Christians do believe that those who do not believe in Jesus will be eternally separated from God.  But it is our sins – not our lack of belief – that originally separated us from God.  Sin is the punishable trait.  The lack of belief, or the failure to accept God’s Lifeline, does not initially separate us from God; it keeps us separated from God.

God has cast us a lifeline.  Grab hold.

God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).