March 14, 2017
One of the most significant passages in one of the most significant books for the church in the last fifty years is this:
What were we made for? To know God.
What aim should we set ourselves in life? To know God
What is the "eternal life" that Jesus gives? Knowledge of God. "This is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true god, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent" (Jn 17:3).
What is the best thing in life bringing more joy, delight and contentment than anything else? Knowledge of God. "This is what the Lord says: 'Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me' " (Jer 9:23-24).*
This statement resonated deeply with me when I first read J. I. Packer's Knowing God decades ago, and it still does. What could be more integral to our life and being than this?
Packer makes clear he is not talking about possessing mere information about God so we can pass some kind of celestial entrance exam. No, this is deep relational knowledge that comes from encountering a person, The Person.
Miraculously, God wants to be in true relationship with us. He wants to have a deep union with us. We--fragile, fallen, finite human beings--are worth his time and attention. Lent is an appropriate time to meditate on this and on all that the Father has done in Christ through the Spirit to make this possible.
Yet over the decades, as I have let this sink into my soul, as I have continued to read his Word and pondered his ways, a further dimension of knowing God has impressed itself on me. It is encapsulated in what Jeremiah said to the king of Judah:
"Does it make you a king to have more and more cedar? Did not your father have food and drink? He did what was right and just, so all went well with him. He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 22:15-16)
People who have love and reverential respect for God, who do his will, who follow his ways, these are people who truly know God and his heart. If we do not act in accord with who God is, can we say we actually know him? So we might also add the following to J. I. Packer's list of what it means to know God:
What does knowing God look like? Obeying God by defending "the cause of the poor and needy," as well as of laborers, widows, the fatherless and foreigners (Mal 3:5).
Knowing God is intimately tied to salvation and forgiveness of sins which makes it possible for us to be reconciled to God. Knowing God is equally tied to matters of obedience and justice which make it possible for us to be reconciled to each other in Christ.
Knowing God is not either-or. It is both-and. It is both of the Greatest Commandments--to love God and our neighbors. We show the one by doing the other.
Lent is also an appropriate time to meditate on whether this a missing element in our lives.**
February 15, 2017
I told them it was okay to be mad at God. Afterward I got a phone call.
I spoke to over a hundred college students about the book of Ruth. After Naomi's husband and two sons died in Moab, she told her daughters-in-law (Ruth and Orpah) not go back to Israel with her "because the LORD's hand has turned against me!" On her return Namoi told the women in her hometown, "Don't call me Naomi. . . . Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter" (Ruth 1:13, 20).Continue reading "Getting Mad at God"
November 9, 2016
One evening in June 1991, Michael Weisser and his wife, Julie, were unpacking boxes in their new home in Lincoln, Nebraska, where he had become the new Jewish Cantor at a Jewish congregation. The phone rang, and they answered it. "You'll be sorry you ever moved in, Jew boy," the caller said and hung up.Continue reading "Fighting Hatred in an Unexpected Way"
August 16, 2016
Throughout my life I have attended worship services in a variety of traditions, but they tended to have one thing in common--they began with praise to God and then moved to confession. This is an appropriate model to follow with much merit. When we see how holy and good God is, we see more clearly by contrast that we are not, and so we confess.Continue reading "Prophetic Lament"
Posted by Andy Le Peau at 10:15 AM
June 23, 2016
My sister died because of a vaccine . . . a vaccine she never received. On a September morning in 1952, at the age of seven, Lucy Rae Le Peau contracted polio and died that afternoon. The vaccine that would have saved her life would not be developed for another year. It was a vaccine my grieving mother prayed for desperately, especially because her three other children, including me, were still vulnerable to the terrifying disease. Every year thousands of children across the United States were struck with it, peaking the year my sister died with over 57,000 cases, of whom 3,145 died.Continue reading "The Vaccine Hero"
Posted by Andy Le Peau at 9:58 AM
February 2, 2016
Tech savvy, design savvy, globally savvy, multiethnically savvy, networking savvy and professionally savvy--in my previous post that's what I said editors will need to be in the future.Continue reading "The Future of Editing 3: Flexibility"
September 4, 2015
Leadership and Self-Deception is one of the most unusual business books I've ever read. It's a parable or fictional story, but that's not what made it different. A number of business books have taken that approach in recent years.
What surprised me was that I found nothing in this book about strategy, tactics, mission statements, creativity, disintermediation, Hedgehogs, BHAGs or getting the right people on the bus. It didn't talk about innovation or being customer focused or how we live in a totally new normal.Continue reading "An Un-Business Book"
Posted by Andy Le Peau at 9:13 AM
May 9, 2014
"But," said Chris, "if I felt one way and acted another, I'd be a hypocrite." You've probably heard from others what I heard from my friend. In our therapeutic society, feelings are thought to be the most essential, most authentic aspect of who we are.
If I'm upset and don't express it, I'm a phony. I'm sugar coating reality. I'm not being true to myself. If I stuff my true feelings, I'm engaging in unhealthy suppression.
Luckily, George immediately saw through to the core of the issue.Continue reading "True Hypocrisy"
Posted by Andy Le Peau at 1:11 AM
December 30, 2013
Jim Hoover has given us the sad news (for us) but the good news (for him) that December 31, 2013, will officially be his last day at IVP. I could try to measure the contribution Jim has made in number of books edited or pages published in his more than thirty-five years with IVP, but that would be wholly inadequate. He has been a work horse, but much more. He has been our sheet anchor of wisdom as we have faced innumerable decisions and quandaries over the years.Continue reading "Farewell, Jim Hoover"
May 8, 2013
Dallas Willard went to be with his Lord this morning. Many people will miss his strong, gentle wisdom, remembering him as someone who was soaked in the presence of Christ. He was a beloved friend and writer to many. We enjoyed publishing a number of titles by Dallas (1935-2013), especially one of his signature books, Hearing God.Continue reading "Remembering Dallas Willard"
August 7, 2012
In a recent column, David Brooks recommends a wonderfully healthy form of personality disorder. While he begins a bit humorously, Brooks works his way to a serious conclusion when he suggests that we embrace two very different views of ourselves at the same time.Continue reading "Two Views of Ourselves"
April 12, 2012
"We used to do that with a slide rule."
Blank stare. "What's a slide rule?"
"It's a device they used before calculators to do division, multiplication, square roots, squares and trig functions."
Blank stare.Continue reading "Slide Rules and Blank Stares"
December 23, 2011
Gift giving at Christmas is a wonderful tradition which comes to us from the wise men. They visited Jesus, and gave him gifts that honored and recognized him as king. When we give gifts to show our love and respect for each other, we follow their path.
Yet gift giving can be difficult--and not necessarily because we lack generosity. Sometimes it's simply hard to know what to give. When so many of us are awash in material goods, it is a challenge because it seems everyone has everything.Continue reading "Following the Wise Men"
Posted by Andy Le Peau at 8:28 AM
September 28, 2011
Technology tends to consume and absolute technology consumes absolutely.
I was at a conference recently where often, when there was a break, the participants tended not to get up, stretch, get a cup of coffee, chat with those nearby or even go to the bathroom. Instead they sat there. They were not mesmerized by the presentation they had just heard. They were mesmerized by their screens—handheld or laptop—checking email, tweets, Facebook, news feeds and more.Continue reading "Consuming Technology"
January 18, 2011
I have two sons in Tucson. Dave and Phil have been deeply touched by the recent violence that rocked that Southwestern city. Such tragedies have hit our country before. With all their heartbreaking similarities, each is unique. For my sons, this one felt different. Closer to home. They, as I, have many times driven by that Safeway and been in the McKale Center where the memorial was held.Continue reading "I Have Two Sons in Tucson"