Hey, welcome to the conversation. You're listening to Andy Mason, and this is Authentic Conversations around the messy intersection of faith, family, and business. And I've got a special guest with me today. We got introduced by Ken Fish and I have with me Dr. Craig Keener, who is the professor of Biblical Studies at Asbury Seminary in Kentucky. Now he prefers to go by the name Craig. So I just love the humility already. And Craig, it is such a pleasure having you with us today.
Dr. Craig Keener (00:36):
It's great to be with you, Andy. Thank you so much for having me.
Now, for those that can see this, it looks like we're in a basement or in a warehouse of books in your background with tons of files and cabinets. Where are you?
Dr. Craig Keener (00:52):
This is my home office. It's where I do most of my work. The file cabinets give away my age because nowadays it would all be on a flash drive.
Oh, so cool. So how long have you been at Asbury Seminary?
Dr. Craig Keener (01:08):
Years. Okay. Oh wow. So 12 years there. And for those that don't know, there was just some wonderful happenings there at the start of this year. Quick side question. What's happening right now at Asbury? Update presence of God renewal?
Dr. Craig Keener (01:26):
I'm on sabbatical this semester, so I'm not actually on campus much, but just before the semester began, I got to spend time with the student leaders who would be leading the Bible studies in the book of Acts in the dormitories at the university. And they were fired up and ready to go. And I shared with them something that melty shared with me that when you have an outpouring of the spirit, that's not the end. I mean, you may have been praying for it for years, but that's not the end, that's the beginning. So God is equipping us and preparing us for more.
I agree. And thank you. Thank you for that. So if we just dive right in, Craig, when you were 15, I heard this story that you had wanted to be an astrophysicist. So for anybody that you're not aware of that, that means he's got a super brain and you're an atheist. How does an astrophysicist pursuing a young man end up being not only a devoted follow of Jesus, but a renowned theologian? What happened to you?
Dr. Craig Keener (02:44):
Well, astrophysics, I guess if I'd known what I was talking about, astrophysics should have led me to the Lord. But you've got Hugh Ross and others who use astrophysics to talk about the Lord, but I didn't know what I was talking about. So anyway, it was actually, I had some cousins who were praying for us, but they couldn't witness to us because a certain member of the family said, you let our kids alone, you don't talk to 'em about God. And so they just kept praying for us. And I think I was a thoroughgoing, empiricist naturalist on one side of my brain. But in the other, when I was about 13, I started reading Plato. Plato talks about the immortality of the soul and his arguments for it. I didn't find that convincing, but his questions really got me thinking like, whoa, the odds of my own existence as this sentient being, I mean, what are the odds that I would even exist? And also I had a beginning and therefore I'm going to have an end. If there's no infinite being to give me infinite life, then I'm done for my life will be over real quick and then the universe will go on and no more me. So I started saying, if there is a God, please show me. And eventually some fundamental Baptists stopped me on the street, and they were fundamental Baptists. I didn't know the difference from one kind of Christian to another.
I said, well, at that time, 80% of the people in the US claimed to be Christian, but I couldn't tell by how they lived that it made a difference in their lives. So I thought, they don't take it seriously. Why should I? And I kind of didn't differentiate much between the really committed Christians and the people who just called themselves that. But anyway, these guys stopped me in the street, asked me if I knew where I was going to go when I died. I thought they were taking a survey, and I joked around with them for a little while, but then they shared with me what the Bible said about how I could have eternal life, how Jesus died for me and rose again. And I said, look, you guys are showing me this from the Bible, but I don't believe in the Bible. I'm an atheist, so you have any evidence you can give me. And they weren't trained in apologetics, they also weren't trained in paleontology. I said, if there's a God, where did the dinosaur bones come from? Which is a really irrelevant stupid question, but I thought it was smart at 15. And so I asked it, and you ask a stupid question to get a stupid answer. They said, the devil put them there to fool us. Oh, no. Yeah. So I said, okay, you guys, I'll see you later. They also weren't trained in friendship evangelism. Exactly. They said, you are going to hell.
But you know what? That's probably what I needed at that point. Yeah,
A little bit of stick and carrot. You need to know there is some finite happenings going on,
Dr. Craig Keener (06:06):
And yeah, it's wager. What are the stakes if you're wrong? And so I walked home so convicted by the Holy Spirit. Now, I knew so little about Christianity. I was walking by the local Catholic church and I was afraid that the Trinity was looking down on me from the steeple. I knew Christians believed in the trinity and gargoyles, but I got home. I was so overwhelmed by the presence of God. I mean, I'd studied different religions, but this was different. I actually heard the gospel, the paleontological part wasn't right, but the gospel, they gave me the gospel, and I was so overwhelmed by the presence of God right there in the room with me. I'd be an idiot to stay an atheist when God is in the room with me.
Yeah, I love that. I'd be an idiot to stay an atheist when I'm experienced the presence of God with me. Now, you had no grid for the presence of God, and now you'd say that was the presence of God, but how would you, for someone listening and watching this, what was that?
Dr. Craig Keener (07:19):
God was in the room with me. His presence was as palpable as if somebody human, my mom or somebody else had been in the room with me and talking with me. His presence was more intimate than that, just filling the room. And I was like, okay, God, I don't understand how Jesus dying from me and rising from the dead saves me. But if that's what you say, I'll believe it. But God, I don't know how to be made right with you. So if you want to do it, I need you to do it yourself. And all of a sudden I felt something rushing through my body I'd never felt before. Now I know it doesn't happen to everybody this way, but I jumped up, scared out of my mind what just happened. I'm like, either God just came inside of me or he said, you've been an atheist too long and threw a gargo into me. I mean, I knew something happened. So a couple days later, I walked into a church and I told the pastor that I had gotten saved. He said, are you sure you did it? And I said, I don't know. I don't know if I did it right. So he led me in prayer.
Dr. Craig Keener (08:35):
And it was the same thing as a couple days before, but a couple days before, I didn't know if I was doing it right. So anyway, I felt the same overwhelming sense of God's presence, and I wanted to thank God for revealing himself to me. But it was like, there's no way I can thank him enough unless he gives me the words to do it. And God knows lots of languages. So it started coming out in another language.
Dr. Craig Keener (09:00):
And this went on for, I don't know, an hour or two hours, just worshiping God. And there was this deep laughter that came out with it. This was 1975. I had never heard any of his stuff.
Yeah, you got no grid. No grid. And the Baptist, the fundamental Baptist. They certainly wouldn't have been. Yeah. Maybe they thought there was a gle.
Dr. Craig Keener (09:23):
Yeah. Well, I caught up with them about a year later because they were part of a Baptist Bible college in town. And so I went to the college and said, do you have any idea who may have been out in the street in October 31st, 1975, sharing Christ with people? And so they gave me the names of Paul Ball and Ron Varney and where I could contact them. And so when I met with them, they were like, well, you were one guy we thought would never get saved. And we were getting really discouraged. It seemed like nobody was getting saved, but it really encouraged them because in the year in between I'd led like 10 other people to Christ. Oh,
Dr. Craig Keener (10:09):
And so they were encouraged to, even though they weren't. I mean, Pentecostal wasn't their ideal. But anyway.
So if I remember rightly listening to another podcast, you went on this rapid journey. I mean, like what you said, what 13 year olds reading Plato or understanding languages, and I mean just that desire, I love this, that you can be super intelligent and pursue Jesus and be fully overwhelmed by his presence. You do not have to switch your brain off. Actually, it switches your brain on even more. Tell me about your journey. Up until that point, you hadn't read the Bible. What happened then?
Dr. Craig Keener (10:55):
Yeah, it definitely had to humble me because there are atheists who were more tolerant and then there are mean atheists. I'd been one of the mean ones. I'd made fun of Christians, so I had to go around and apologize everybody because they were right and I was wrong, and my arrogance just got me in trouble. But I thought my brain, I thought, okay, from now on, I'm just going to trust the one who's smarter than I am and take his word for it. And so the little kids in Sunday school knew more about the Bible than I did. So to try to catch up with them, I started cramming and reading 40 chapters of the Bible a day.
Hang on. Did you guys catch that 40 chapters a day and you were 15 years old?
Dr. Craig Keener (11:47):
Now I haven't done that all my life, but I had to catch up somehow. Right. So doing that, you can get through the New Testament once a week or through the Bible once a month. And so what happened initially when I was converted, they gave me some Bible verses to memorize, and that was good, but it was like, okay, the Bible is this repository of important verses with a lot of blank space in between. But when I started really reading it and seeing, oh, it all fits into context, and wow, this is, and then I could start remembering better where things are because I'd remember the flow of the text.
You got the whole,
Dr. Craig Keener (12:29):
Yeah. Yeah. And the way God gave us the Bible for the most part was one book at a time. So seeing how anything within one book of the Bible fit into that whole book of the Bible and how tracing the themes through it and so on. I mean, that didn't happen overnight, but in time as I kept immersing myself in it. But I was still thinking, even though I was immersing myself in the Bible and realizing, boy, I want to get it in Greek. I want to learn biblical languages.
Hang on. This is still as a 15, 16 year old, I want to get in Greek
Dr. Craig Keener (13:11):
15, 16, 17, somewhere in there. It was definitely between 15 and 17
Was this unusual, I don't know any 15, 16 year old that would read that much or want to study the Bible in Greek and learn Greek and Hebrew to better understand the Bible.
Dr. Craig Keener (13:34):
I guess I was used to being weird. I mean, I've been weird. When I was younger, nobody would play with me. I was weird. But anyway, but it was, yeah. So I'd invested all that in wanting to learn physics and things like that, which is great. But now it was like, okay, what I wanted to find is truth. Now I know God has revealed himself in a special way in scripture. I want to immerse myself in that. But I was still thinking, okay, my mind led me astray. And so try to just, I thought I was just trying to get the revelation I thought in my spirit, and the Bible says, the spirit bears witness with your spirit. I hadn't paid attention to the fact that the same chapter, Romans eight talks about the mind of the Spirit and the Romans 12, the renewing of the mind and so on.
And so one day when I was praying, the Lord just blasted all those texts into my mind and my heart and said, no, you need to use your mind to learn for God. So that took a while to get the back. And also I wanted to be led by God's spirit. And so sometimes it would be God's spirit leading me. Sometimes I think it was what I had for lunch or whatever it was. So I'd witness to people feeling like, okay, I'm supposed to go up to this person, share with them. And the Lord was in that. But I got to the place where I just had this craving to hear from God. And even though I already had experienced some other things of the spirit, I didn't know God actually spoke to us in words. I guess I sort of did. I knew about the gift of prophecy in the Bible. It's hard to read the Bible and not find it
Dr. Craig Keener (15:39):
But one day as I was walking, I was walking, I was praying, and I just felt God sparked faith in my heart that whatever I asked for he would give me. And he knew what I wanted most of all. When he did that, it was I just wanted to hear him. I wanted to hear his voice. And he opened my ears to hear his voice kind of with the gift of prophecy in a way, but just began to speak to me personally about his love. And it was the first time I'd ever been in love. And I guess you get kind of mushy when you're in love. So the first time anyways, and so one day I said, God, how much do you love me? And he said, my child, look at the cross. Look at the nails in Jesus' hands. Look at the nail in his feet, the spirit in his side, the thorns in his brow.
See the blood, my child. That's how much I love you. And of course that's in the Bible, but I eventually learned there's multiple ways to hear God's voice. And one is that prophetic way. Another is obviously in scripture, hearing it in context. And another way is feeling God's heart. I mean, the fruit of the spirit is love. And if you help somebody, because the Bible says to you, that's good. If you help somebody because the Lord tells you to, that's good. If you help somebody because you have God's compassion in your heart, that's good. Those are all God's ways of speaking to us.
So for someone listening to this and they're already intrigued by your story, and they're either saying, man, I want one. What's the prayer? What am I going to do? I want to be all, I'd be stupid to stay an atheist. When I start to feel the presence of God, people are feeling the presence of God right now. Number one is inviting him in. How do I do that? Number two is you talked about hearing God's voice and how do I start those two things?
Dr. Craig Keener (18:03):
Well, in both cases it was really the same. It was just asking God for that. So saying, God, please take me, receive me, welcome me. He was so eager to do it. He gave his son to die for us so we could be brought back to him. That's how eager he is for us to know him. He's not going to jump through our hoops. I mean, you can't say, okay,
Dr. Craig Keener (18:36):
God, show us a sign from heaven. And then we'll, like the Pharisees did to Jesus, he's not going to jump through our hoops, but he's given us evidence if we're willing to accept the evidence he gives us. So sometimes that means humbling ourselves, like I had to eat humble pie, but he welcomes us. And as far as hearing his voice, Lord, open our ears to hear your voice. And he welcomes that.
I love that. I mean, I love Smith Wigglesworth. There famous historical plumber by trade, friend of God by occupation. And the quote, God wanted us so badly, he made the condition so simple, only believe, believe. And then you're just saying it's really as simple. Just ask. It's conversation. It's so good. Thank you. Thank you, Craig. So fast forward just in a quick summary. How did you end up being a theologian? And I mean, we're just looking at you. How many books have you read in your life now and you've written a bunch? I'm holding one here if you haven't got this. This book is called Miracles Today by Craig s Keena, the Supernatural Work of God in the Modern World. This is outstanding. You can get on Audible. It's full of actual verified miracles, both modern, recent, current and historical. And it actually unpacks scripture as into why miracles are for today. And it just debunks some of the myths and poor beliefs that undermine that outstanding book. You've got a bunch of these, Craig keener.com people find out more. Craig, how did you become a theologian?
Dr. Craig Keener (20:29):
Well, reading 40 chapters of the Bible a day,
You are a, yeah, you're not. You are born
Dr. Craig Keener (20:38):
This way. Yeah. But then also one day when I was praying, I felt God calling me to ministry. I mean, I didn't have the specifics on what that meant exactly at that point. I assumed it just meant continuing to share Christ with people, and I was going to still be an astrophysicist. But the scripture he gave me that day was from Psalm 119 and about the lighting in God's word. And then I just had such a craving to learn more.
And eventually I realized, okay, it was one day I was reading through Romans and I got to Romans one, seven, and Paul says, this is a letter to the church in Rome. And I'm like, whoa. I quote this verse over here and this verse over here, but this verse, Paul's writing this to the church in Rome that's just as inspired as the other verses that means I really need to take this seriously is a letter to the church in Rome. Or when Paul's writing to the Corinthians, he's addressing issues in Corinth. So what can I know about what was going on in Corinth? How does that inform what I read about the women wearing head coverings and the reading one another with holy kisses? And so I said, okay, I need to get the background so I can understand more. And I started getting this craving for background.
So I read one book on background. I thought, okay, that solves it. But then unfortunately I read another book and it contradicted some of the things in the first book. No, what do I do? And I asked one of my professors and he said, well, you'll just have to keep studying. And so I started reading the ancient sources themselves and working through those, the Jewish sources, some of the Greek and Roman sources, I'd actually read in translation. Before I was a Christian, I studied a lot of ancient things apart from the Bible. So now I came back to them with a new
All of it coming together. So this part of you astrophysicist, if I understand that astro being, it's the universe, it's physics beyond the physics of the body, it's the physics of the universe, the context. There's always something. And then you're saying be led by the holy redeemed cravings, like this desire God gives us the desire of your heart. You were born with this craving or desire to understand context and then biblical context. And it's just grown and grown and grown and grown. Yeah. Do you think that's just the way that God created you?
Dr. Craig Keener (23:26):
That's a good question. I mean, that's a good observation. I mean, I wanted truth and I wanted to be connected with what mattered. And once I was converted, I understood, okay, now I know the meaning in life. It all makes sense. It all fits together with God. The philosophy, the empirical data, it all can fit together. But once I had the Holy Spirit living inside of me, and I guess the gift that God gave me, not just the natural gift, but the spirit and powered gift, this craving for God's word and understanding it better and better and whatever I had to do to get there. So by the time I went to do my PhD, it took university, I think I had maybe 30,000 index cards of data because back then, again, we didn't have flash drives, sorry,
30,000. So there's little index cards on different subject matters, Rome context, head coverings.
Dr. Craig Keener (24:37):
And I filed them pretty much by scripture verse. And then by the time I finally was able to take notes directly on a laptop, I had a hundred thousand index cards. But what happened by the time I was finishing my doctorate, I was like, I've spent all this time trying to get the background. It is unreasonable to expect everybody before they go out and preach to spend 10 years or something getting background. But if nobody else writes it, by the time I get my PhD, why don't I produce a Bible background commentary that just gives you the background passage by passage? Of course, there's Bible encyclopedias and so on, but until the background, you don't know which background you need for which passage. And so I did the I V P Bible background commentary, and when I was getting ready to write that, I was really concerned because I couldn't understand the Lord had provided for my education year after year.
But now I was finishing my PhD. I didn't have a teaching position. I couldn't understand how that could be, and I figured out how much I was going to need to live on that year. And I was like, I trying to have faith, but I was like, oh God, what am I going to do? And within 24 hours of that InterVarsity press called me back and said, this book that you proposed to us, we want you to do it and we'd like to offer you an advance on the book. It was of the dollar what I decided the night before that year. And I read stories like that about people of great faith. I wasn't a person of great faith, but I'm a person who has a God of great faithfulness. I love that he was faithful to what he called me to do. And so I spent that year working on that. And then the next year I had a teaching position and on the side was able to keep editing on that book. And so I think so like 800,000 copies by now.
Wow. So that's how this has started. I mean, I love that quote. I'm not necessarily a person of great faith, but I have a God of great faithfulness. Yes. I love that. So tell us a little bit about what does your day look like as a professor at a seminary?
Dr. Craig Keener (27:07):
Well, again, this semester I'm on sabbatical normally.
Dr. Craig Keener (27:13):
Yeah. It actually depends on the day. On Mondays we have meetings and then office hours. And then I usually, I teach a New Testament introduction for master's students from six to 9:00 PM And then on Tuesdays I have some office hours and I teach from six to 9:00 PM doctoral seminar for PhD students. And then the other days, I mean there's also dissertation readings and things like that, but you can't predict when those things are going to come in. So on other days, for the most part, I'm researching and writing, except I take a day off each week a Sabbath.
But so that's for spending time with family. Sometimes that's for catching up on emails, which I never actually catch up on, but at least I catch up on more of 'em. I might read Christianity Today or something, but most days it's like as many hours as I can put in with the research and the writing, which I love doing. And I try to avoid so many good things to do, but I try to avoid doing more of those, the necessary so I can do the most important things where I can make the biggest contribution. I just learned over the years, you never run out of other things. And so
That leads to two questions that I'm thinking of. One, when you're 15, 16, you had this insatiable craving to know the truth. And when that hit, oh my gosh, God, it is truth, and then the context, and that led you down this trail so that in the context of you've grown in this and then there's so many good things that you could have gone down so many different avenues, especially with a craving for knowledge and understanding truth. It's just like that's an interesting topic today. So number one is do you still have that same craving and desire compared? And then secondly, and this applies to everybody watching and listening, how have you stayed true to what God has given you to do when there's so many other distractions that you could have gone down rabbit trail about all sorts of things?
Dr. Craig Keener (29:46):
Well, I do do some rabbit trails. I mean, that's what footnotes are for. But yeah, the rabbit trails, I try to limit 'em to what gives me context. So I love researching the background material. And so to some extent I've developed expertise in ancient Greek and Roman and Jewish sources. But there's always more. There's no limit to how far you can go. And we need specialists in each of the areas. But ultimately I want what's going to help me with my calling and understanding scripture.
So I'm not spending all my time studying Hebrew verb formation, or I'll look at ancient or eastern texts, but usually in English translation, the Greek sources, I can handle the Greek and the Latin sources. I'll look at the Latin and if it's Hebrew, I can look at that. But I don't try to do, yeah, there's so much more that people could do becoming a ologist or whatever, and those are useful tools. But my calling is to call God's people back to scripture. And that's where my heart is, where my insatiable craving is. And I'm sitting on so much so research now that at the rate I'm going, I think I would be a hundred by the time I publish all of it. So I'm glad I have students that I can pour some of this into and make it available to them.
I love it. Well, thank you. Thank you for doing that. I mean, just listening to you and for those you're watching listening to this and you're thinking, wow, who is this guy? Craig keener.com and jump onto his YouTube channel, Craig Keener. You'll find out there's a ton of stuff in there. There's audio books, there's actually audio books of some of those lectures that he has taught. And you can just grab them and listen. And I know one thing you'll grow in your own insatiable desire for the word of God and the God of his word. You'll meet God in those places. And secondly, you're going to grow an understanding context, which is just so good and so critical as we navigate today's challenges. So Craig, being a theologian, seeing what you do on a day-to-day, you're having conversations like this all over the place, plus you've got students that you're guiding, what do you see the doing in the U s A and or globally in our day?
Dr. Craig Keener (32:45):
Multiple things. I mean, ultimately God is always reaching out, seeking a people for himself. And like he says in scripture, people from every kindred and tribe and people and nation before his throne. And the good news of the kingdom must be preached in all the world before the end comes. So even over the last century from the year 1900 to the year 2000, the church I think in 1900 was about 75% western world. Now it's closer to 70% outside the western world because the church is growing globally so far. My wife is from Congo Brownsville, and in her country, the church was about 2% in the year 1900. Now it's about 80% of the country. Now, not all those are actually practicing passionate for Jesus Christians, but I mean that still gets a phenomenal growth rate. So we see that exploding around the world.
We also see a need to, God wants his bride to be pure and holy. You see the seven churches in Asia, mine are in the book of Revelation. And sometimes we look at somebody else's test. We say, I wish I had their test. Or like, oh, I could never survive their test. We don't get to choose our test. But all of them are called to overcome. And of these seven churches, you've got two that were being persecuted and they aren't told to repent. I mean, if they're going to stand for Jesus zealous, but the other churches are to varying degrees, compromising with the values of the same world system that's killing some of their brothers and sisters elsewhere.
Sometimes in the West we get too much like the church in De, I think de they thought they had it all going on. I mean, it was a wealthy banking community. They made their own taxols. They had their own pharmaceutical industry there and ancient Sia. And Jesus says to the church that it absorbed the values of its culture. You think you're rich, you think you're well clothed. You think you see, but you're really blind and naked and poor. What you need is from me. You need gold from me and clothing from me and isaf from me. There was one thing that the Laodiceans complained about and that was their water supply. It was gross. The ancient geographer strabo, the only nice thing he has to say about Laodiceans water supply is that the water in nearby haris tasted worse.
Jesus says, you guys, you make me sick. You make me want to throw up. You're just like that water you're always complaining about. So it their self-sufficiency, their failure to depend on the one who was knocking at the door and wanted to come in and dine with them and love them. And that's why he said, be zealous, therefore, and turned back to me. I think sometimes in the West we become so dependent on the gifts God has given us, and it's great we should make use of those gifts, but we put our eyes on the gifts and we forget the one who's given them to us. We forget to depend on him. And there's so much more that we could be doing, investing our lives for God's purposes and to take advantage of these gifts God has given us to use them for or what will count for eternity. And I think the Lord wants to wake up a lot of the church in the West. Sometimes we think that suffering will not come our way. And sometimes we see in the Bible that God will strip us of the things that we value so we can learn to value what really matters.
Yeah. So I mean listening to that, Janine and my wife and I were just at church on the weekend navigating this very thing, and I was reminded of the 1834 him that everybody will know. My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness, and I think we've turned it in the West to my hope is built on nothing less than Jesus Christ, Jesus blood in the Second Amendment and on my pastor or on my bank account or on my ability to, and it's like, no, I'm Christ alone. So I just echo that. The most logical question is then, so as people listening to this conviction, we are hearing that we're feeling this. I mean, that was what Asbury the renewal that I got to experience there this year as well, is this drawing to repentance. So what is repentance and how do I do that?
Dr. Craig Keener (38:26):
The Greek word people up and point out it means a change of mind. But it's really more than that because it's echoing the Old Testament prophets calling Israel to turn back to God. So technically it just means to turn around. So you're going one way, you go the other way. You've been living for things that don't really matter in light of eternity. Now invest in what's going to last forever. Simple math, what matters more will last forever. And so in Romans chapter 12 where he talks about the renewing of the mind, he says, don't be conformed. And it's often translated to this world literally. It's to this age. We don't live for this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind in light of the new world to come in light of the kingdom age that's already broken into history with the king's first coming will be consummated at a second coming, make our decisions in light of eternity. What will count most thinking in terms of, and Jesus also puts it that way, giving up your life in this world for the sake of life forever. What is a prophet, a person if they gain the whole world and lose their own soul or their own life? But if you give it up for what's eternal, he's using the language there of business and investment. What investment can be greater than what lasts forever.
When I was, I think it was my first year of my PhD, I was talking with an undergrad at Duke and he had just bombed his calc exam. And so he was kind of down. But we got to the talking and calculus aside, simple math. I could tell he really loved his friends, but I said, you want to give your friends gifts, but what gift can you give them better than something that lasts forever, but you can't give them what you don't have. And tears came to his eyes. He eventually gave his life to Jesus and became, I think maybe the most fired up witness on campus. I mean, he was leading to Christ more people than I was because he wanted his friends to have what would last forever.
I don't think we can talk any further, but that which is the perfect place is what's the point? We're building business. I mean, we were going to talk about revelation that talks about the merchants that have lost their way in Matthew 24. Many will be led astray. The love of many will go cold. And you've just nailed it. It's like, what do we need to do? Repent, turn back, feel that conviction. It's a drawing. It's actually the kindness of God because we're spending our life on things that don't matter that are temporary. So ask this question of yourself. Here's the next step. Make your decisions in light of eternity. Is this thing that bothering me, getting me uptight? Does it really matter where I'm investing my time, my talent, my money? Does it really matter? Will it actually be of any value in 10 days or 10 years or 10,000 years?
And make your decision with those things in mind, Craig keener.com. You can find out more about Craig. Grab hold of these books. It's pretty hard to stay mediocre when you read about the Miracles today, the context. There's some resources I'm going to put down in the show notes. You can find out more of those links to find out more about Craig. But Craig, would you be just willing to pray for us as we wrap up this call? I just know that just even for me listening and just feeling, there's nothing like the word of God to sharpen us, and I just even feel sharpened by listening and communicating, having a conversation with you. So thank you, and I just release you to pray.
Dr. Craig Keener (42:54):
And I should add that living in light of eternity doesn't mean just being a preacher or
Something like, oh, yes, yeah, thank you.
Dr. Craig Keener (43:03):
There are different gifts in the body of Christ. We need them all, and we all have something to contribute. But Father, thank you so much for this opportunity to share your word that burns inside God, we love you because you first loved us. You taught us the meaning of what love is. You showed us your heart. And God, we pray you'll continue to reveal your heart to us, to make us all that you've called us to be. Open our ears to hear your voice, to know your heart, to find you in scripture, to see what you are like, the God who, yes, you punish us to the third and fourth generation, but your faithful love is that the thousandth generation so much greater is your grace than your wrath. Lord, make us what you've called us to be. Make us agents of your word in this world. We honor and glorify you, and we ask you that you will shape us. We yield ourselves, we welcome you to shape us and make us all that you've called us to be. We ask you these things knowing that what we're praying for is something that you, yourself are eager to do. We ask you these things in the name of your son, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, by whom you have brought us to yourself.