Monthly Archives: December 2008

As the year ends…Part 1

As the year ends…


As this year comes to a close and I look back over this year, a lot has happened so here are the highlights that hopefully I’ll expand on soon:


Calvin Elliot Gentryimg_8310

What greater place to start than the growth of our family in Calvin. He was born on June 14th this past year and he’s a laid back, happy baby who doesn’t like to sleep, but loves to grab your face and smile. We name him Calvin after the theologian John Calvin and Elliott, after Jim Elliot, a missionary who was martyred while trying to take the gospel to the Auca Indians in South America.


The Gospel

As I think back about this year, the Lord has drastically expanded our understanding and our delight in the gospel of Jesus Christ. This has primarily occurred through dealing with the idea of Mercy Ministry, or ministry to the poor.


I have always seen the gospel as Creation (God made all things and they were good), Fall (We chose sin which disrupts our relationship with God, man, our self, and creation), Redemption (Christ came born of a Virgin, lived perfectly, was sacrificed for my sins to bring justice to God, resurrected to redeem our souls for eternal life in heaven). As I’ve looked at scripture, there is an aspect missing from that, the Gospel is all those things, but it is also Restoration or Renewal, which is where we are today, we are in the process of God making all things new (Rev. 21:5) and restoring all things under the reign of Christ Kingdom (Eph. 1).


The implications of this are many, but one giant one is that we are called to take part in Restoring all things to Christ’s reign and we will be judged by whether our understanding of the gospel leads us to participate in reconciling brokenness. This means ministry to the poor, feeding the hungry, caring for the outcast and immigrant are all as much a part of the gospel as a bible study. I have much to say on this that will come at another time.


The Gospel, Part 2 – simul iustus et peccator

This phrase has simply blown me away for the last 6 months. First of all, it’s in latin which makes everything cooler. But it means simultaneously saint and sinner, or simultaneously sinful, yet fully accepted. The sentence “We are far more wicked than we would ever dare believe, but at the same time more accepted than we ever dared hope” has really allowed me to enjoy the gospel and live out of joy instead of duty.


To think that when I sin, I don’t have to work it off like the prodigal son begs his dad to be able to do (Luke 15), and to be humbled by the reality that my sin is worse than I ever want to truly acknowledge, but that explains the need for the cross and the need for faith that Christ’s work is truly sufficient to satisfy a Holy God’s wrath against sin so that fellowship can be restored. Much more to say on this as well at a later date.


A new job

hntblogo1Back in August I started a new job. I’m still working as a Civil Engineer designing roads, but now I’m doing it for a different company and am enjoying it. I’m designing a lot of roads here in Austin that I will get to see built so that will be interesting. I won’t tell you which ones just in case they end terribly…


This is the first half. I’ll post more tomorrow…



1 Comment

Filed under Church Life

Colson’s explanation of Blagojevich

News coverage this past week focused on Illinois politics and specifically the corruption of the highest office in Illinois, as Governor Blagojevich was indicted for soliciting payment in exchange for political promotion to Obama’s Senate seat. He took office behind promises of reform in an area where corruption had become the norm and instead of creating a new culture of integrity, he ultimately conformed to the culture he promised to change.

These events revealed the temptations our leaders face, the errors that even our leaders can make because they, like us, battle the same evil that at times encompasses us. Chuck Colson knows all to well the tempations and failures corruption brings and his article on today couldn’t be more perfect.  It’s an amazing article where he explains the sins that led to his downfall and the work of the Lord in bringing him to salvation.

Here’s the article:

WASHINGTON (CNN) — If anyone knows how Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich feels right now, I do.

On Tuesday, the governor was arrested in a glare of publicity and charged with going on “a corruption crime spree,” as U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald described it — including alleged attempts to sell President-elect Barack Obama’s Senate seat.

Some 35 years ago that ugly glare of publicity was focused on me as I was charged with a Watergate-related crime, subsequently convicted and sent to prison. The governor hasn’t been convicted and is entitled to the presumption of innocence.

In the wake of Blagojevich’s arrest, many Americans are left wondering once again how intelligent people can do such stupid things — especially when they’ve achieved the pinnacle of power.

The answer comes down to pride.

At the height of Watergate, a dear friend of mine, Tom Phillips, then CEO of Raytheon, invited me to his home. As we sat in his kitchen, Tom read to me a chapter on pride from a little book by C.S. Lewis titled “Mere Christianity.”

Lewis wrote, “There is one vice of which no man in the world is free. … The vice I am talking about is Pride or Self-conceit. …. Pride leads to every other vice. … A proud man is always looking down on things and people: and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you. … Pride is a spiritual cancer: it eats up the very possibility of love, or contentment, or even common sense.”

Tom — who told me about Jesus Christ that night — didn’t know I was in utter despair over Watergate, watching the president I’d worked for flounder in office. I’d learned I might become a target of the investigation. In short, my world was collapsing.

That night I sat in a darkened driveway and in a flood of tears called out to God. I didn’t know what to say; I just knew I needed Christ. At that moment God took the White House “hatchet man” and turned me into a new creation.

I went on to serve seven months in prison. As lonely and demeaning as that experience was, I have never regretted it. I can honestly agree with Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who wrote from the gulag, “Bless you, prison, bless you for being in my life, for there, lying on the rotting prison straw, I came to realize that the object of life is not prosperity, as we are made to believe, but the maturing of the human soul.”

Which brings me to a second reason for Blagojevich’s fall: the culture of self.

Like me, Blagojevich grew up in a culture that taught the great goal of life was material success, power and influence. I grew up during the Great Depression; I thought if a smart guy like me earned a law degree and accumulated academic honors, they would enable me to find power, fulfillment and meaning in life.

I made a lot of money in my law practice and accepted a White House job. But by then, I had became very self-righteous; I was absolutely certain that no one could corrupt me. All my investments went into a blind trust. Whenever someone gave me a gift, I immediately turned it over to my chauffeur. And yet I ended up going to prison.

I now realize that every human being has an infinite capacity for self-rationalization and self-delusion. Those who serve in public life are faced with enormous peer pressure and don’t always take time to stop and think carefully about what they’re doing.

Sometimes — absorbed in accumulating political power — they’re not interested in stopping to think. But as I learned firsthand, self-obsession destroys character. It has to.

Tragically, America is continuing to rear its young to become not only self-obsessed, but obsessed with personal power. Quaint-sounding virtues such as courage, honesty and prudence — historically considered the elements of character — are no match for a society in which the exaltation and gratification of self becomes the overriding goal of life.

If Blagojevich is guilty, the best thing that could happen to him is to be tried and convicted. He’s going to have to reach rock bottom — just as I did — before he will be able to escape his own prison of pride, self-delusion and self-righteousness. But that’s a transformation we can never accomplish on our own. I can vouch for the fact that human pride is simply too strong.

Lewis was right: Pride is a spiritual cancer. And the only cure, for any of us, is to stop looking down and to look up. The cure can only be brought about in someone who has come to realize that the will and power to do good and not evil comes from God alone.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Charles W. Colson.



Filed under Life, Major News