Luther on the Cross-- Mark Driscoll

Martin Luther towers over Western history as one of the most important people who has ever lived. He lived from 1483 to 1546 during the amazing period of history that included the revolution wrought by the printing press and men such as Copernicus, Henry VIII, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, John Knox, Christopher Columbus, and John Calvin.
The copper miner's son was born in Eisleben, Germany, which is about 120 miles outside of Berlin. Luther's keen intellect was apparent from a young age. He began studying law at the university when he was only thirteen; he finished both his bachelor's and master's degrees in the shortest time period allowed by the university.
I Will Become a Monk
At the age of twenty-one, while traveling home during a severe thunderstorm, Luther was nearly struck by lightning. Fearful, he interpreted it as a sign from God and cried out, "I will become a monk."
Living in Terror of the Wrath of God
As a Catholic monk Luther lived in terror of the wrath of God and sought by every means available to make himself righteous in God's sight. This included a life of prayer, severe fasting that caused him intestinal problems later in life, sleepless nights, freezing cold, and even beating his own body to the point of considerable pain-all in an effort to pay God back for his sin.
All of Luther's self-denial and pain were the result of poor theological instruction. Simply, he had been told that the world is filled with good people and bad people and that God lovingly saves the good people and angrily damns the bad people. Therefore, the only hope a person has is to essentially save themselves by doing righteous things to make themselves holy.
Entirely Born Again
While pursuing a doctorate in Bible, Luther began to see the gospel rightly through devoted studies of the Psalms and book of Romans. Speaking of that time, Luther said, "At last meditating day and night, by the mercy of God, I . . . began to understand that the righteousness of God is that through which the righteous live by a gift of God, namely by faith. . . . Here I felt as if I were entirely born again and had entered paradise itself through the gates that had been flung open."
Righteousness Through Faith
By God's grace through the teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit, Luther rightly came to see that righteousness is not a state that a sinner merits for himself or herself. Instead, righteousness is a gift that God gives to the sinner who simply trusts in Jesus Christ alone for salvation. The great biblical truth of justification by faith alone through grace alone by Jesus Christ alone was liberated and the power of the gospel was unleashed to reform the church.
The Ninety-Five Theses
The conflict over the nature of the gospel started with Luther studying Scripture and gained momentum on All Saints' Eve in 1517, when Luther publicly denounced the sale of indulgences. Indulgences were sold by the Catholic Church for the living to purchase-for themselves or their dead relatives suffering in the mythical purgatory-relief from the punishment for sin. Luther called for a public debate on this and other theological matters that he rightly saw as incongruent with the teachings of Scripture, outlining his complaints in the now-legendary Ninety-Five Theses.
Here I Stand
Luther's criticisms of the church gathered enough support that in 1521 he was required to stand before the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, at Worms, Germany. Great pressure was exerted on Luther to recant of his teachings, which caused him much anguish. In the end, Luther boldly said, "Unless I can be instructed and convinced with evidence from the Holy Scriptures or with open, clear, and distinct grounds of reasoning . . . then I cannot and will not recant, because it is neither safe nor wise to act against conscience." Then he added, "Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me! Amen." Luther was subsequently denounced as a heretic, declared as a "demon in the appearance of a man," and forced into hiding for ten months. The remainder of his life was essentially lived as an outlaw on the run.
Luther's Heritage
Nonetheless, Luther translated the entire Bible into German, wrote the great hymn "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God," published many books and pamphlets totaling some sixty thousand pages, and published both the Larger and Smaller Catechisms, which have been loved by Lutherans as well as other Christians ever since for their clear teaching of essential biblical doctrines, despite his own wishes that "all my books would disappear and the Holy Scriptures alone be read."
By the end of his life, Luther knew most of the New Testament and large sections of the Old Testament by heart as he clung to the Scriptures for guidance in tumultuous times. Eventually, Luther simply burned out after years of exhausting work that included extensive preaching; he died in 1546 at the age of sixty-three.
For Further Reading
For those wanting to benefit more from Luther's amazing insights on the cross of Jesus Christ, Alister McGrath's work Luther's Theology of the Cross is very helpful. Furthermore, his insights on a theology of the cross as contrasted with a theology of glory are timeless. Also, everyone who preaches and teaches should read Luther's Lectures on Galatians. Whereas his Commentary on Galatians can be polemical about the papacy as it was for more of a public audience, his lectures on Galatians were for his congregation and hold some unparalleled gospel insights.
Today the influence of Luther's theology of the cross is often echoed in the teachings of Tim Keller and can be read in the amazing book The Cross of Christ by John Stott, in which he explores the many rich sides of the cross from a classic Reformed perspective. Everyone who wants to more fully appreciate the cross should take the time to carefully and prayerfully read this book.


Beautiful morning

After a long silence in winter, spring is coming. It's a getting-up-erarly season, which of course has some more attractive features:)
I got up early yesterday morning. When I step out from dormitory, I was so excited to hear the melody of the nature praising him, though the components of nature in campus are simple. Magpie was singing on and on, while Crow flied pass-by disturbing her songs. Their hymns were just for Him and they danced without concerning human's response. Soft clouds and soft winds made my heart soft. At first, I just heard and watched. And then, I joined them praising Him. The morning was beautiful just because it was the morning we met Him, heard Him, and talked to Him. The birds, trees, clouds, winds exist from Him, through Him, to Him. So am I.
Do you smell a special aroma of this season so familiar to hibernant as well? It calls me to feel, to love, to follow, to give thanks. What a wonderful time! The greatest story I ever met happened in this season and continues, asking whoever realizes a coming step of life. Have you seen your weakness during the winter? Are you now indifferent or still hopeful? Are you trying to find a lost meaning of daily life and future? Two years ago I first heard His voice this season, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. Love is patient, love is kind. God loves you. That days are like these days, not just the aroma and beautiful sight of spring, but that love and the good news is still living in me, and to you.

1 Peter1:3, 4 Praise to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you.

1:8,9 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.



Christmas is coming! I'm so excited, not because it's a festival, but days to praise the new birth of Lord Jesus Christ and his death and resurrection which have been done for everyone of us .

" Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."
( LUKE 2:14)


A Date

Though the pictures have been showed before, I add the explanation today:P They are all about a date with Him on 12th, Nov. I have been in Beijing for more than three years but it's the first time I came to the Forbidden City. The order of pictures is just opposite to the order of time, which means the last one is the earliest photo. If you want to come with me, please start from the bottom. May you find His close presence as well!

Write down the words He told me^-^ I love writing!
The bread of life.

Can you feel Him?
In the afternoon, I came to a cafe to enjoy a quite time with Him. My first visit is during a retreat this summer. Its owner is also a Christian.
In fact, this is a joint photo~
inside( amazing light brightening the room of your heart)

outside(cannot show the true inside situation)

tree and summerhouse
I'm always moved when I met father and his child.

I would feel lonely when I saw the square of sky if He were not with me.
signs everywhere
Big bowl used to put off fire

Tai He Gate
Wu Gate(Er...don't know how to say in English...)

The first sight when I came out from the subway station. A day badly polluted and crowded.


I want to be a MOM.(by Bethany Patchin)

"How many of you want to be at-home moms?"

The question, from my tenth grade English teacher, was directed at the females in the room. We made up over half of the class of 25 sophomores. I proudly raised my hand, then waited for at least a few others to join me. The room was completely still. Everyone stared at me.

Four years later not much has changed. Marriage is closer than ever for my peers, yet only a few of the young women I come into contact with admit they would postpone a career for children. Those who do confide in me only after I’ve told them of my own feelings. They seem relieved to find a contemporary who doesn’t mock their desire.

When I finally got the nerve up to tell my adviser that I want to get married and be a mom after I graduate, I watched his expression go from surprise, to dismay, to disapproval. "I wouldn’t have expected you to be that type," he said, shaking his head and looking at me with great disappointment. "You just seem so — involved."

He paused, then asked in a hushed, sad voice, "Is it pressure from your boyfriend?"

A laugh escaped me before I could stop it — his tone was the same as if he had asked me if my boyfriend was abusive.

"No," I informed him, "I don’t have a boyfriend." Despite my desire to get married, I’m not at college to hunt down a husband. Marriage and raising a family will not be the epitome of my existence — I enjoy looking forward to them, but I’m not living in the future.

I do hope to someday serve as a wife and mother, and when God determines it is time for me to take on those roles, I will so do with a willing heart.

"Just" A Mom
Most people wonder why I am bothering to get a degree if all I want is to be a wife and mom. That question irks me.

I love to learn and want to have a wealth of knowledge to impart to my children. Why shouldn’t a housewife be educated? I want to equip myself and hone my skills to the point of craft.

My mother earned her degree in elementary education 20 years ago, and promptly became a housemom after graduating. Since then my brother, sisters and I have been her highest priority, but during the tight times she helped out by using her degree for substitute teaching. Though we didn’t like having her gone, she was able to carry some of the burden my father carried. I want to be able to do this for my own husband if the need ever arises.

I am at college because I realize there are seasons to life, and mothering will only be my summer. My mom, now 40, is the co-owner of my dad’s window dealership. In the last five years, as my siblings and I have grown up and her mothering duties have lightened, she has become intricately involved in every aspect of the company, though very few people are aware of it. Depending on God’s plan for me, I could be done rearing my children in 20 years like her. By age 30 I might even have enough time to do part-time illustration and writing during the day. I am thankful that technology has opened up even more avenues than my mother had available to her to accommodate home-based work.

"Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain that try to build it." If God gives you children, rear them with your whole mind, soul and strength. If He has given you the talents to be an engineer, the same thing applies. But I am dubious that He would ever ask us to be fully both at one time. There seems to be a perception among women my age that we will have enough time and energy to do and be everything — full-time wife, mother and career woman all rolled into one. I agree that God wants us to use and enjoy the talents He’s given us, but He never promised us inexhaustible resources. He created us with limitations and only placed 24 hours in a day. We cannot expect to juggle all the hats and be the best we can be at all of them. The reality is that if I choose to be full-time in a career, my husband and kids will only have me part time.

Danielle Crittenden makes an excellent observation in What Our Mothers Didn’t Tell Us — that quality time with kids can’t be scheduled into a day. Children want a mother’s presence, the knowledge that she will be there when they have a question or a story to tell — but quite often they simply want her to do her own work while they color and play with pals. And those memorable times — their first steps and words, their profound utterances of child wisdom, the moments of belly laughing together — happen at the most unexpected times during day-in, day-out living. The chances are much higher that a mother will miss out on them if she is working outside the home.

Money Can’t Buy Me Love
I can guess what most people think when they find out about my lack of career aspirations. They picture me in 10 years: dressed in sweats doing laundry for my four kids; my degree collecting dust somewhere on a bookshelf; living in a one-income-sized home; driving a used minivan.

They imagine my peers, however, utilizing their education to the fullest. They will maintain a measure of independence unfettered by familial life, thanks to daycare, public schools and extracurricular activities. They will naturally be rewarded with great financial and material gain — but at what cost to their spouses and children?

The Christian life is about sacrifices, giving up certain things for the sake of greater long—term benefits. I know there could be times of financial strain in my marriage. I know I might encounter tension with the majority of my married female peers because of my choice to stay at home. I know I will have to give up a lot of personal time — there will be nights that I am itching to read a big fat novel in one sitting instead of reciting Hop on Pop for the fiftieth time to the kids. I’m not saying that I’m going to derive pleasure from changing diapers and cleaning up burpy blankets. But its only by sacrifice that we understand what true love, commitment and maturity really mean. Jesus was the embodiment of this. Being a husband and father, or wife and mother, forces you to look outside yourself to the needs of others. As soon as I become a mother my children will become my career. What better way to utilize my time and talents?

I want my children to know that they are as important to me as a career. Because of the choices my mom made when she was little older than I, my three younger siblings are reaping the benefits of having a full-time mom, one who is available for conversation, hugs and laughs (and a healthy amount of arguments about chores) any time of day.

I want to give that gift to my own children. If it means I drive a beater car and shop at thrift stores for the rest of my life, so be it. Children don't know the difference between Goodwill and GAP. I certainly didn't. And if I have daughters, I will raise them with the knowledge that they have full abilities to be and do all that God wants, in their wholeness in Christ, in their education — and in the roles that may come with being a woman.

Worthwhile Wrinkles
There will always be women who scoff at me, who are disappointed because they think I let down our gender. There will always be the professors who sigh because I am not living up to their idea of potential. But I know what makes me happy and I’m slowly learning not to feel guilty about sharing it with people. I look forward to giving up my independence. The word dependency has come to carry negative connotations: "an unhealthy need for a person or substance, an addiction." But I see it as a positive reliance on others for companionship and love.

Mothering is a career choice that is rarely respected. We should recognize and affirm women who opt to invest time in their children. The Bible is clear that sons and daughters are among the greatest blessings we will ever receive.

A friend of mine once said his greatest desire is to create something beautiful and lasting. That stuck with me. I want to create a beautiful and lasting marriage with a man, and with that man I want to bear and rear children, which are the most exquisite and eternal creations we humans can take part in fashioning. Architects design buildings that will someday fall, programmers construct computer software that will eventually be obsolete — but fathers and mothers cultivate souls that will never die. How wonderful to experience just an inkling of what God feels as our Father.

When I am old and I look at my wrinkled hands, I want to know that the creases came from — among many things — years of playing music, reading books, drawing pictures and writing stories. But my greatest hope is that those lines will remind me most of hours spent washing my babies’ and grandbabies’ tummies, tucking them into bed and teaching them what I have learned.


My dear Esther, keep on going with Him

The day when she will leave is near and near. Though the city is so far away from Beijing, there is nothing larger than God's love and plan. We are the best friends and partners in one part of His eternal story, so we are the best friends forever.
One and a half months ago, we watched the paralympic games together, and I was deeply moved by a scene that two disabled Japanese athletes run attack the finish line almost shoulder to shoulder. The two were not perfect, who even could not do what common people can do, but they finally won through daily practice, sufferings and the fear when facing the battle. The most important, they won the game together, as friends, as partners, as ambassadors of the same nation. In the kingdom of God, I desire to have this kind of friends when I am running on His narrow and straight road. At that time, My heart was touched by the relationship between Esther and me. It is her that is who I desire.
From the combination of the two New Life small group, we have leaded the group together for more than half a year. What's so amazing the relationship between us! It is not chosen by us. It's chosen by God, our glory shepherd! I am so attracted by the relationship between God and Esther while her heart and soul is all belong to Him. I'm so happy that God is the biggest in her life, not me or anything else. Interestingly, I don't know why I am so special in her eyes. She often praised me for letting her see more character of God she never found before, but I didn't do anything special, just eating, speaking as normal. A good friend from God makes me know more about what I look like in His eyes. I always confused about so many lies from the world that I have no value, no beauty, even though I have been His child, and so on. But Esther is indeed one way He values me, loves me, and fights for me!
The days we was preparing together to go to Central Asia are amazing. The days we talked about Africa and family are encouraged me much to listen to the calling from Lord. The days we laughed and cried are always support me to face all circumstances. When you leave, my life seems to be dim. I admit, I really don't want you to go. However, God chosed me to stay with you when you face the choice. You have tried your best to seek the will of God and devoted yourself to Him, the one both of us love most. You are a shining star because you are the princess of the King, a princess knows so much about His love and loves Him extremely. When the star are pinned to the sky of another city, He calls me:" Shine, spread more light here." And His light becomes stronger and stronger that I cannot help praising for His great love.
Dear, come on! We are always together. and He is with you!

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside quiet waters;
he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff-- they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
--Psalms 23

I just want to be where You are

" I just want to be where You are
Dwelling daily in Your presence
I don't want to worship from afar
Draw me near to where You are

I just want to be where You are
In Your dwelling place forever
Take me to the place where You are
I just want to be with You

I want to be where You are
Dwelling in Your presence
Feasting at Your table
Surrounded by Your glory
In Your presence that's
Where I always want to be
I just want to be
I just want to be with You

O my God, You are my strength and my song
and when I'm in Your presence
Though I'm weak You're always strong..."
-- I just want to be where You are

My dear heavenly father, thank you so much for your daily presence bracing me. You are God who want to be where we are! Please give me more eagerness to know you more, to stand nearer to you. You granted my prayer everyday to bless me and enlarge my territory! Your hand is always with me and keep me from harm. God, you are so great, so merciful, so perfect! You are the Lord who called me out of darkness and into your marvelous light through Jesus Christ--your loving and only Son. May all people in all nations meet you!
God with us! In the name of Jesus. Amen!