The Trinity Changes Everything

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How The Trinity Changes Everything” was the subtitle of a recent book written by Wesleyan theologian, Fred Sanders. Understanding that the Trinity does, in fact, "change everything" is fundamental to Christians of all stripes. In our modern era of anemic evangelicalism, we have fallen into something of a minimalist pragmatism when it comes to theology. In other words, most of us are interested in theology that will make some practical difference for us the minute we leave the church. We want to hear doctrine that has immediate action steps, and if we can't put it into practice tomorrow, well then it's best not to bother with it.

It is progressively evident to me that many of us have come down with a bad case of, “Will this be on the test?” Of course, outright questioning of something like the Trinity wouldn’t go over well, and so our questions are framed in pious language, “Does this really matter that much? What difference does this doctrine actually make to a new believer?” Interestingly enough, the answer to these questions throughout the history of the church has been an emphatic, “YES” and, “all the difference in the world.

Evangelicals haven’t done a great job of communicating the critical importance of the Trinity, and it's centrality to our faith. Make no mistake; the Trinity is fundamental to everything that we do. A.W. Tozer famously declared, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” Christians of every branch and across all denominations have said that when we speak of, “God,” we denote the one true and living God, who eternally exists in three persons: The Father, The Son, and The Spirit.

It is the Father, who, by His eternally begotten Son, Jesus, (the Word) speaks the cosmos into existence, while the Holy Spirit hovers over the face of the deep to give form to that which was made (Genesis 1:1, John 1:1-3). It is this Triune God who declares, “Let Us Make man in Our own image” and the very same God in the Gospel who exclaims, “Let Us save man” (Genesis 1:26).

Our very salvation is a Trinitarian act: The Father predestines us, sends the son, and adopts us. The Son takes on flesh with gladness, makes atonement for our transgressions through sacrifice, and ascends to give gifts. The Spirit proceeds from the Father and Son to seal us in the work of Christ and testify unto us that we are now children of God (Ephesians 1,4:8, Romans 8:16.) Made in the image of the triune God, fractured by our wickedness, and restored by the very same Triune God into the image of Christ the Lord (Romans 8:29).

Contrary to popular opinion, the Trinity is not some embarrassing idea that Christians ought to sweep under the rug; the Trinity it is the fullness of God. Not a hindrance to real discipleship, but very the reason we become disciples. It is not an odd birthmark to hide, but a stamp on the soul of all to whom the Holy Spirit testifies of adoption through Christ to the glory of the Father. Christians are a gloriously Trinitarian people. Given this powerful truth, it’s time that our prayers, our songs, and our discipleship reflect the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Posted by Travis Lowe

On Written Prayers

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 The practice of offering up written prayers has fallen on hard times. In our present age of authenticity, there is a tendency to equate spontaneity with the truest version of our selves. When viewed through that lens, written prayers feel forced and awkward – something that stands in the way of us genuinely opening our hearts to God. We think, better leave behind the stuffiness of formality and pray, "from the heart". Of course, what we mean is, “It’s better to improvise and say whatever comes to mind than follow a formula.” To be sure, spontaneous prayers and praises are found throughout the pages of scripture. But, alongside them are also ordered prayers and songs with defined words. The Psalms were not meant as lyrical suggestions. Mary's prayerful response to the news of Jesus birth is modeled and shaped after Hannah's song in the Old Testament (Luke 1:46-55). Even the Lord's prayer has long been seen as more than a helpful offering; it is a model to follow (Matthew 6:9-13).

I recently had a conversation with a friend in which we were excitedly talking about a book we had both found beneficial in our Christian lives. We agreed that while the book hadn’t introduced any new ideas to us, it had given us words to articulate what we both had been feeling for months. In the same way, though they are not inspired and infallible, the prayers of Godly men and women of the past can give form to our longings and distil our thoughts into a cogent arrangement. They can put in our hands the words which we have been grasping for, but found just beyond our reach. At College + Career, we encourage those who lead prayer to incorporate written and spontaneous prayers, knowing that the Spirit blesses and honors both when offered in faith and conviction. With all that said, I'd like to post a prayer that was offered this week during our service in the hopes you might find it useful in your personal communion with God.

Eternal Father,

We are a woeful people. We know where to find truth. But we look not. We know where to go when we’re oppressed. But we go not. We start our days in debt to our schedules and priorities but forget the schedule and priorities you have set before us. Even if we make time to read Your everlasting Word we often neglect to feed our souls with it.

King David, a man after Your own heart, meditated on your word day and night. He delighted in Your Word. In Psalm 130, it reads that David waited for the Lord, indeed his whole being waited, and in Your Word put his hope. Jeremiah said that when he read of Your Word that he ate the words and they were his joy and his heart's delight. How far we are from being like David and Jeremiah! Forgive us God for our neglect. If only we honestly believed Your Word was active, then surely, we would turn to it in every endeavor.

How often we merely assent to the truth of Your Word but never press beyond belief. We have failed to apprehend Your Word, to make it a deep-abiding, all-satisfying, permanent residing place of worship in our hearts. Incline us to Your Word Father! Help us to cherish it above our own idols. Help us to open our being to Your Word and have it change us and sanctify us. Give us the ambition to wrestle with Your Word and not depart from its truth just as Jacob wrestled with You in the desert until You blessed him. Father, we are sorry, accept our confession, give us repentance, and help us to walk as a redeemed people.

Posted by Travis Lowe


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