December 31, 2008
I think I will try to close out 2008 quietly. My wife and I have never been a couple that goes in for the noisy New Year's Eve celebrations. May you enjoy the last few hours of 2008 and be ready for all that the new year will bring.
May it all be good.
OK, the picture is a bit melodramatic, but 2008 was definitely a year of transition for me. I had not thought about it in too reflective a manner until I read the post on Red Letter Believers entitled, Taste and See,Reflections of 2008.
As though of you who read this blog know, I left the corporate world in late 2007 and embarked on a seminary education in the summer of this year.
God has blessed me with retirement from a career that allowed me to pursue deeper study of His Word. God blessed me by breaking me of a corporate mindset and giving me a ministry mindset. God blessed me by taking a 30 year business career and giving me the heart to use that experience and knowledge (and hopefully a bit of wisdom as well) for His kingdom purposes.
God blessed me by stretching my mind so that it begins to focus on an eternal perspective. By making sure I know I have oh so far to go. By changing my priorities and my focus.
God blessed me by letting me know how much He loves me. By clearing some of the trash off the path so I could more easily follow His Son. By putting a task in front of me too big for me to even start on my own so that I knew from the very first step He was with me.
He has a tough act to follow to make 2009 equal 2008, but He can do it.
December 30, 2008
I have just started the book, so I have not gotten into the major points that Packer makes yet, but I sense it is going to involve some blending of the theoretical and practical aspects of theology, but going beyond the usual to reaching new levels with God, and with knowing God and of God.
As I think of myself, and others I know I can see the value in that. Being in seminary, it is way too easy to get bogged down in book learning only. Scholarship for scholarship's sake only is for, well, scholars. And quite frankly, it should not be so for Christian scholars for as Paul says to the Corinthians, knowledge puffs up. Those of us who plan to do something in ministry need the practical as well as the the theoretical. But those who say "Just give me Jesus", and ignore the theological aspects of their faith, content in the more emotive aspects are going to miss something as well. Theirs will be a faith that does not have the depth to stand up to concentrated, reasoned attacks in a articulate manner.
You may not agree with me, but I believe you need a strong theological basis to your faith, it will only strengthen the worship you give God, it will only embolden the witness you take to the world.
Are you a balconeer or a traveler? I think I want to be someone who falls out of the balcony, lands on the road and starts walking the journey of life with Jesus by my side. But until I fall out and land, I think I am going to both profit from and enjoy reading Packer.
December 29, 2008
and said, "Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:3 (NASB)Chambers talked about the need for continuous conversion, even after the point at which we have accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior. Boa talked about doing what is right in God's eyes. Jonah was angry that God saved the people who we the tormentors of Jonah's people. Instead of joy at the glory to God shown by this change of heart, Jonah was filled with self righteous anger. Jonah needed some of the continuous conversion that Chambers talks about.
But it greatly displeased Jonah and he became angry.
He prayed to the LORD and said, "Please LORD, was not this what I said while I was still in my own country? Therefore in order to forestall this I fled to Tarshish, for I knew that You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and one who relents concerning calamity.
"Therefore now, O LORD, please take my life from me, for death is better to me than life."
The LORD said, "Do you have good reason to be angry?"
How many times have I been angry that God's plans do not line up with mine? How many times have you? Probably planty for both of us. If we call ourselves children of God, how can we be angry when the Father is glorified? How can we be mad when the sacrifice of the Son is fulfilled in some way before our eyes?
Yet constantly we need be reminded to have a child-like faith in Jesus. Because we are proud, and self righteous, and oh so much better than others.
December 28, 2008
I did not make these up, I got them off weather.com. This is what we deal with, weather-wise. Makes for an interesting time. This is what last week looked like. From the 20's to the 80's and heading back down again. (Today is in the 50's)
I could live with either end of the temperature spectrum, but is it too much to ask for some consistency?
Apparently it is.
"If you will return, O Israel," declares the LORD,
"Then you should return to Me
And if you will put away your detested things from My presence,
And will not waver,..." Jeremiah 4:1 (NASB)
Hear the word of the LORD, You rulers of Sodom;
Give ear to the instruction of our God,You people of Gomorrah.
"What are your multiplied sacrifices to Me?" Says the LORD.
"I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed cattle;
And I take no pleasure in the blood of bulls, lambs or goats.
"When you come to appear before Me, Who requires of you this trampling of My courts?
"Bring your worthless offerings no longer, Incense is an abomination to Me
New moon and sabbath, the calling of assemblies--I cannot endure iniquity and the solemn assembly.
Isaiah 1:10-13 (NASB)
The first is from Oswald Chambers - My Utmost For His Highest. The second from Ken Boa - Handbook To Leadership. Both struck me the same way as I read the comments both authors made on the Scripture verses. Our battle is inside us first. Coming before others and battling our sin, calling on God does not work. Coming before God alone and facing our sin in the darkness of our hearts, seeking His help, His victory over our sin is the way to approach it. Win with God before God, call to Jesus alone in your own desert, then come out and face the world.
It is not that I think I will sin no more if I have done that. It is that I know if I face my Lord alone and face up to my sins, I can go forth confident that I will overcome the struggle in the world. I have to put Christ deep into my heart before I can put Him on display in my life before the world.
Living in the world is a struggle, but the real battle is fought and won (or lost) within us. You have to fight it in the dark by yourself until the Light breaks through.
December 27, 2008
I want to ask them as a parting comment, "And Just Who Do You Think You Are?", because it is pride getting in the way once again. There is no humility here ("I am not good enough'), there is pride ("I am so bad I have stretched myself beyond the reach of God"). There is also a good measure of ignorance, a lack of understanding of the true nature, the infinite presence of God.
I know, I was there until just a few years ago myself. I can still hears the echoes of the crunching under the Lord's feet of my brittle shell of pride, as He broke it and broke me, to Him. I know whence pride cometh, and that it goes before a fall.
Do not let your pride stand in the way of the joy He has for you. You know you are not good enough. He knows you are not good enough (and He knew it long before you did). Get over it.
Pride will come before a fall. Make it a fall into His arms for eternity, not a fall from grace forever.
December 26, 2008
Ran across this the other day. It says a lot about how someone feels about people in general. While I think the number of "Nobody Cares" is quite high, it cannot be the whole world.
Because some people do care. And some people are doing something about the fact that they do care. me personally? Not doing enough, and I care about THAT. Have to work on that in 2009.
This is meant as humor, but this is a message in it. Those of us who do care are probably not all doing enough to show it to the rest of the world. I have been doing some stuff on the 12DoCC, but not enough. I am serving in church a bit, but not enough nor with enough of a servant's heart heart.
My hope for this Christmas season is that the population of "Nobody Cares" becomes a ghost town, or at least severely underpopulated. My wish is I do my part to drive people out of town.
December 25, 2008
December 24, 2008
Is a life cut short really possible? It implies that God is not in control.
We all live a lifespan that fits His plan, not ours. We may not understand why people die when they do, but He does.
I have seminary professors, teaching well into their 80's and 90's, I have friends who have lost babies in pregnancy. I cannot tell you why either happens, but He could.
A good part of faith is accepting God, and accepting that His plan is not always something our finite comprehension can get our minds around. When that happens, and you do not have faith, you usually here a statement that begins with something like "How can a loving God.." or "How can you believe in a God who...".
I never try to answer that other than to say I believe in the God of the Bible, I believe in Jesus as my Lord and Savior.
A large part of faith is accepting that He loves us, that His plan and timing are perfect. A large part of faith is accepting that both of these facts are true, whether we understand the particular circumstances in our lives or the lives of others.
No one comes late, or leaves early, we are here for just the amount of time he wants us to fulfill His purposes. Will I ask Him all the "whys" of my life when I come face to face with the divine presence for eternity? I tend to think not, because in the joyous presence of deity, it will not matter.
And if it will not matter then, what does it matter now, other than the faith in Him, and the love He has shown us?
December 23, 2008
Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
Even there Your hand will lead me,
And Your right hand will lay hold of me.
If I say, "Surely the darkness will overwhelm me,
And the light around me will be night,"
Even the darkness is not dark to You,
And the night is as bright as the day
Darkness and light are alike to You.
Psalm 139:7-12 (NASB)
God sees all, the sacrifice of Jesus is sufficient for all. There is no where that the Light of God cannot pierce. Even in the darkest part of a heart stained with sin, He is there if you will only turn to Him. The darkest night can be the brightest day by His presence in your life.
I am reminded of the story of Jonah by these verses:
Jonah went down to Joppa. (1:3)
Jonah went down to the ship. (1:3)
Jonah went down into the ship.(1:5)
Jonah went down into the sea. (1:15)
Jonah went down into the fish. (1:17)
Jonah went down to the roots of the mountains. (2:6)
The Lord still found Jonah, no matter how far down he went to get away from God. And what happened?
Jonah was brought up from the pit by the Lord. (2:6)
Jonah was brought back onto dry land. (2:10)
Jonah saw the darkness in his heart, a darkness he still struggled with after the Lord had redeemed him from the sea. But the Lord could pierce Jonah even at the very roots of the mountains of the sea. Jonah could not get any lower, but he could not get underneath God. God took drastic measures with Jonah, because of Jonah, not because of God.
Then the LORD commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah up onto the dry land. Jonah 2:10 (NASB)
So before you try to out limbo the Lord, check your heart, search its darkness and realize that God has not turned from you, you have turned from Him.
And do something about it before He has to turn you into fish puke.
December 22, 2008
A good site to see more info on it is here. It is well worth looking at as we move through this Christmas season. And the information included is more than just the birth of Jesus. it talks also about the skies above Him at the time of His crucifixion as well. It is amazing to see what was going on in the heavens above us during these events that have so much impact on the world below them.
He sent me another Bible.
And this one will have a special place in my heart. It is from my friends at the Kanakuk Institute. Even has that embossed on the burgundy leather front cover. I have had the privilege of meeting the staff and students at the Institute over the past few years and a more impressive bunch of young men and women you would be hard pressed to find. Don't bother, you will not, you just can't.
This Bible is a New Inductive Study Bible - New American Standard Bible. Yes, a NISB NASB. What makes this one dear to my heart is that the students penned thank you notes for our support and they are inserted on notecards all over the Bible. often the students included a verse reference and that is where you will find that particular note sticking between the pages. I read them quickly so I could see them all the first time. I will have to go back and read more slowly again in the very near future.
I have it placed on my Franklin library stand in my office. I'll see it every time I go in there, which is more than I can count daily.
I will treasure the thought that went into each note, the thought that made them send it to me and what it represents: a new generation of men and women eager to share the Gospel.
With people like this, I do not expect the following to happen too easily:
All that generation also were gathered to their fathers; and there arose another generation after them who did not know the LORD, nor yet the work which He had done for Israel. Judges 2:10 (NASB)
December 21, 2008
I know a lot of people who talk about showing Jesus to the world through their actions, of how they interact with others, showing the love of Christ. I think that is great, but often they do it and want to do no more. They do not want to talk about Jesus to the world.
And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Matthew 29:18-20 (NASB)I know most times The Great Commission is shown as verses 19 & 20. I like to add verse 18 because it shows clearly by what authority this commission generates. This is something God the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit is behind.
We are called to be witnesses, not silent servants. Modeling Christ in behavior is fantastic, and extremely difficult, given the high standard He set for us to follow. But that is not enough. That is the silence of one hand clapping. We need to behave in that way and share the gospel as well.
This is a big task and needs both hands. We should celebrate those who share, but we should also use our hands to do and not to just clap. I want to thank Shane and Laurie for putting this video up for me to see.
December 20, 2008
They were a very nice couple, with a darling 18 month old daughter. We got to talk a bit about how they met, and came to be in the United States, how they are adjusting to life in a new country (they have been here since early July), what they do for work, a little bit about where they came from. The husband has been learning English by studying a Chin/English dictionary, and his English is way better than my Chin, since I do not know even a single word.
It was a nice visit and hopefully went some distance to deepening the relationship between the family and our small group. Time will tell, but our group leader is committed to staying in touch and seeing how we can help them adjust to their new life. They live in an apartment complex that has many from their country living there, so there is a sense of community and support in place.
I think we all left feeling blessed by what the Lord has provided us in the way of a lifestyle and resources, but also blessed that we can reach out and share some love with people from around the other side of the world from where we are (Myanmar, not New York City. I am from NYC, and that is around the world in the other direction from Texas). I am hoping the next visits can allow us to exchange more about our cultures as language will vbecome less of a barrier over time given their desire to learn the language of their new home.
I am enjoying this Christmas season so.
If you do, stop by the resource center and ask for AndyC, I'll be milling around before and after the first service and before the second.
Yesterday my wife and I did some Christmas shopping for a refugee family from Myanmar that our small group at our church adopted for the Christmas holidays. Today, I hope a bunch of us will be able to go visit with them, to drop off the presents, and spend a little time getting to know them better.
It felt good looking for Christmas gifts like this with my wife, I enjoyed the opportunity to do some ministry for others with her as my partner. Looking back on the past year, I do not think I seized enough opportunities to minister as a couple as we should, for we are partners in life, and partners for life.
It has bothered me greatly for years the emphasis placed on gifts during Christmas, for I felt it was always more about what you get than what you give. This group of gifts is about what we are going to get, but this time it will feel right. Because we are going to get love and appreciation back from this family, not material presents. Although they may get some immediate needs met by our gifts, what they will give us will be truly lasting, the type of treasure one can store up in heaven. And as a result, I pray we give them back some of that treasure as well in addition to some nicely wrapped presents.
God has given me much knowledge over the years, He has also given me Jesus as Savior. What I pray for now is that He gives me even just a smattering of wisdom so I may cherish the other gifts He has lavishly bestowed on me in love. And today His love for my wife and I has given us the privilege of sharing that love with a family we would not even know existed if He did not put them squarely in our path.
December 19, 2008
And it is only in the low 70's in the Dallas area. Not quite beach warm so we will not see any Santas running on the beach. And since there is no ocean in the Dallas area, that is a very good thing.
Jack Frost nipping at someone's nose, and tasting sunblock. Not quite that bad, but it is Christmas time in the Big D.
It will be nice to relax over the Christmas holiday, do some visiting, do some festive celebrating, and do some reading that is not on someone's syllabus with a required date to finish.
It will be nice to get away from the routine of life and enjoy an extended period of I-really-do-not-have-to-be-anyplace-special-right-now-so-I-think-I-will-just-do-whatever-comes-into-my-mind-to-do.
Like this. I have a wireless mouse for my laptop. It has two buttons on the side that I thought were used to navigate between web pages. I am not sure, as I never use them. So, I pressed them today, throwing caution to the wind. This is what happens:
♠ This the symbol is what I get when I press what I thought was the forward button.
♦ That is the symbol I get when I press what I thought was the back button.
Nothing else seems to happen. Now, these symbols popping up in a blog post seems well, pointless. I must be missing something here. Unless I am going to try to incorporate some form of video Blackjack into my blog, what am I going to do with ♠♦ anyway?
I probably need this break more than I realize.
December 18, 2008
The gospel of God creates the sense of need for the gospel...The majority of people think of themselves as being completely moral, and have no sense of need for the gospel...But God cannot give until a man asks. It is not that He wants to withhold something from us, but that is the plan He has established for the way of redemption. Through our asking, God puts His process in motion...But once Jesus Christ is "lifted up," the Spirit of God creates an awareness of the need for Him...
We ask for redemption on faith, He clearly places the need for it on our hearts and delivers it to us as a most gracious God. We do not even know the depths of our need until He has delivered the gift of our salvation. How amazing is that?
We wonder why a world can turn its back on Jesus after what He has done through His death and resurrection. But yet, we who have accepted Him did not truly know how unredeemed we were until we did. We accepted the need for redemption in faith before He proved it to us in fact.
Would anything but divine love make our God show such mercy and understanding?
I do not think so.
December 17, 2008
All in all I have about 20 volumes of Bibles. I have to scratch my head to remember where I got all of them from. Which do I use? At seminary I use the NASB for class, the NET for chapel. Not sure why the dichotomy. At home the NET for morning reading, although I am going to work through my new ESV Study Bible in 2009 as part of one of my small group reading plans. My wife has been using the same Bible for years, same version, same volume, NASB. I admire her consistency, but I cannot do it myself. Not sure what it says about me.
Given my 2009 reading plans, it means I am probably in the market for a travel sized ESV. (Have you seen the size of the ESV Study Bible? They do have size restrictions on carry on luggage for air travel you know)
And I might likely need more shelf space soon.
Do you have a favorite version? Do you hop around like me? If not, how long have you been faithful to the version you are reading?
December 16, 2008
This is what I have left to do for the fall semester before I go on break until the spring semester starts in January. I can plan on having a nice Christmas holiday.
Actually, the cartoon is misleading. It shows the crossing off of nothing, meaning there is something left to do. It should show the writing down of nothing to be accurate as a state of affairs.
There is nothing left, unless checking out grades in a bit is a something. But it is all over but the shouting at this point. I mean, the grades will get posted whether I look or not. (I'll look) While I am not looking for the grade to be the accomplishment, all my training in finance drives me to see a measurable result.
A sense of accomplishment, yes. A sense of relief, yes. A sense that I can get around to getting ready for Christmas, yes. And the best part of it is that the break will be long enough for the hunger to build up again that I am ravenous to start classes again in mid-January.
It is a nice feeling to have.
That doesn't surprise me.
For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
Philippians 1:6 (NASB)
For I am a work in progress as I stand here before Him.
Why should I expect a finite, imperfect mind to understand an infinite perfect God? Why should I expect a sinful being to fully comprehend a holy God?
It doesn't surprise, but it is not something I am happy about, because He deserves more. But it is more than I can give because I am broken before Him, and need Him to save me. So I cannot fathom all His purposes, and I struggle with that from time to time. But not enough to shake my faith, for that after all is what faith includes, accepting that which you cannot fully understand because you know it is true.
December 15, 2008
If you take one away from infinity, you still have infinity. God is infinite with or without me or you. If I never came before Him to accept Jesus as my Lord and savior, God would still be infinite in His being.
Jesus died as a finite human because of the infinite love of His deity.Our sin grieves Him, but does not diminish Him nor His glory. He is the same without us, but it pleases Him for us to come to Him.
The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9 (NASB)
God wants us all to Him out of His love, not for any need for His glory to increase. He cannot be lessened by what we do (or do not do). He wants us out of love. We should want Him for the glory of God that comes into our lives.
We cannot lessen the infinite nor can we increase the infinite, we can only gain from it.
December 14, 2008
It is a very interesting way to face life. Strip away the unnecessary and get to the answer that is simplest. I know I am butchering the definition (AndyC's cleaver) somewhat, but it is an elegant approach to employ Ockham's Razor in viewing life's questions.
For me it works in this way. The simplest way to explain the world is with an omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent God. The simplest way to explain how such a God would want to love me is through grace and mercy. The simplest way to manifest that in the world is Jesus Christ.
I can explain my brokenness, my redemption, my willingness to try to be obedient to God's Word even knowing I will fail by the fact of Jesus Christ. Plain and simple. Eternity does not work for me, I do not fit into eternity given my failings without the atoning, substitutionary death of my Lord and Savior upon the Cross. Cut away all the rest and you come down to Jesus died for our sins and rose from the dead. Basic Gospel in simplest terms. Seems right to talk about on the Lord's day.
This may not be what William of Ockham had in mind but it works for me. And since it is my blog, that is how it goes this time around.
December 13, 2008
For me, going to seminary is not about the grades, nor necessarily the degree. It is about an education I can use in ministry. Working with people, but working for the Lord. In my business career, I worked more for myself than for the Lord, sadly that was so to a large extent even after I cam to Christ. Now I am working for Him first, people second, and then me. I am doing some work now, it is all on a volunteer or pro bono basis. (The hours may be long, but the pay is great)
So I sit here taking a short break and wondering how I stay out of the old traps of studying just for the grades. I am amazed at the tidbits of information, or the mini-video clips of events of my past that still run through my mind with amazing clarity decades later. Some vital, important info; some useless and/or inane. The things that I remember, I wonder how long and meaningful is the list of that which I chose to forget over time.
I sit here trying to make my study about lasting value, about my seminary education, not my seminary grades. I try to make my study about my working for Him, asking that He make what I need to work for the glory of the kingdom sink in or seep in. But most of all, whichever way He puts it there, that it will stay in.
That which I choose to remember is that which He would have me remember.
I am assured this is all in good fun.
December 12, 2008
Get in touch with Robert at Middle Zone Musings if you want to play in this space. It is my first time and I am looking forward to seeing what comes out in a few weeks.
A lifetime of misfortune begs at temple's beuatiful gate.Go here to see the NASB version. It is much better.
A man's relief desired,
But heaven's prayer required,
Peter and John of mercy do lay all straight.
Mid afternoon time this all awaits.
By their faith riches not embraced.
Yet intensely caring,
By Jesus the Nazarene this matter graced.
His guiding hand on this was traced.
Amazement blooms by all human measure.
Leaping praise and wonder,
All bonds of misery asunder,
Thoughts of joy at one man's pleasure.
Prized sweetly on earth is heaven's treasure.
December 11, 2008
I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do. John 17:4 (NASB)
As I read what Jesus said to the Father in the high priestly prayer at the end of the Upper Room Discourse, I thought about what I do to glorify the Father's name, and how far short I fall of what Jesus did. He did it out of complete love for the Father, total obedience to His will, and completed the task. His was an atoning death, sufficient as a substitute for all of us, for all our sins.
My weak attempts always seem to have something of a selfish motive to it, it is always about me in some way, shape or form, never entirely about God. Jesus was all about doing the Father's will. While I try to model Christ, I am reminded of my inability to do so at His level of living, and dying. And in the reminder is the sweet message of salvation He offers in spite of my failures (or maybe because of them). What is amazing to me is the scope of this simple sentence, a few words detailing the love within the Godhead, first and foremost between and amongst the triune God and then with each of us, sinners all.
I cannot glorify the Father as did the Son, nor can I glorify the Son as is His due. But I can try the best I can and He will have whatever glory my effort yields as the harvest of my heart and soul.
December 10, 2008
1. Started your own blog (Really?)
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland (and Disney World)
8. Climbed a mountain (well, maybe it was a hill or a really large mound)
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo (In the shower only)
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb (a lamb chop)
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language (2 or 3 words of Russian)
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied.
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke.
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class.
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone.
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating.
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life.
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a mobile phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Read an entire book in one day
So, now you know a little more about me.
I wish I had a camera. It was one of those views in which you say, "Oh yeah, there is a God out there and He is a spectacular creator". (The sky, clouds and storm part, not the Dallas part)
Here I am heading off to seminary and seemingly heading towards my Creator. A great mental picture to start the day. I was not heading towards a storm, I was heading towards the heavens. I was not in my car, I was gliding towards Him.
And then I got to go study the Word.
It does not get much better than that as a way to start the day.
December 9, 2008
We are not forgiven because we are sorry, we are forgiven by the atoning death of Christ.
"Sorry just isn't going to cut it". That is what the seven year old son of a friend of mine said to his mom when she apologized to him for something. A budding philosopher and theologian that one.
God wants us to repent, we are called to repentance when we we come to Christ. Many are remorseful of their actions. But repentance and remorse is not what saves us, but the atoning death of our Lord and Savior. I think remorse and repentance are good, as is a sincere desire to sin no more. But Christ alone is necessary.
If I was still proud it would rankle that nothing I do can save me but trust in the finished work of Jesus. But I am broken and humble in my failure to redeem myself.
But God allows that failure and embraces me when I embrace it and Him. And He embraces me when I still struggle with sin every day of my life.
Sorry does not cut it, but grace does. I consider myself most fortunate to bow before a merciful and gracious God.
My 200th post. Nothing much happening.
Oh yeah, after a month of use on my Stargold card, I am at 17% of goal.
That is not good news. Way too much caffeine is entering my economy.
I may become the next poster child.
December 8, 2008
It is interesting that we have been to two Christmas shows this year, both in Texas, one in Ft. Worth, one in Richardson, both entitled Home for the Holidays. I guess it is a theme for the year.
I am all for faith and reasoning working together to increase one's knowledge and love of God. I agree that hermeneutics have philosophical underpinnings. I am not against doctrine and tradition of the Church or church if you would if it comports to Scriptures and the teachings of Christ. And for that you do need sound hermeneutics and philosophical reasoning to get down to the roots of.
But I believe Scripture is the bedrock all else is built on. Tradition, faith, hermeneutics can rest on Scripture but not alongside it with any intimation of equal importance or weighting. That is what I believe Jesus taught.
If that makes me a biblicist in the context of Fides Et Ratio, I am OK with biblicism.
December 7, 2008
I am back on Facebook as well, but I expect to be a lot less active than in the past. Basically, I will check it when I get a message that something has happened. Otherwise, I expect to do a lot less browsing. And Twitter is gone from my life for the time being. Cannot say I ever took to that.
It is good to sit in my office and blog again. We are creatures of habit. Unfortunately, most of my habits are bad ones.
How about you?
Twas the month before Christmas
When all through our land,
Not a Christian was praying
Nor taking a stand.
See the PC Police had taken away,
The reason for Christmas - no one could say.
The children were told by their schools not to sing,
About Shepherds and Wise Men and Angels and things.
It might hurt people's feelings, the teachers would say
December 25th is just a "
Yet the shoppers were ready with cash, checks and credit
Pushing folks down to the floor just to get it!
CDs from Madonna, an X BOX, an I-pod
Something was changing, something quite odd!
Retailers promoted Ramadan and Kwanzaa
In hopes to sell books by Franken & Fonda.
As Targets were hanging their trees upside down
At Lowe's the word Christmas - was no where to be found.
At K-Mart and Staples and Penny's and Sears
You won't hear the word Christmas; it won't touch your ears.
Inclusive, sensitive, Di-ver-si-ty
Are words that were used to intimidate me.
Now Daschle, Now Darden, Now Sharpton, Wolf Blitzen
On Boxer, on Rather, on Kerry, on
At the top of the Senate, there arose such a clatter
To eliminate Jesus, in all public matter.
And we spoke not a word, as they took away our faith
Forbidden to speak of salvation and grace.
The true Gift of Christmas was exchanged and discarded
The reason for the season, stopped before it started.
So as you celebrate "Winter Break" under your "Dream Tree"
Sipping your Starbucks, listen to me.
Choose your words carefully, choose what you say
Shout MERRY CHRISTMAS, not Happy Holiday
You may not agree with the sentiment, but I think we can quickly forget the meaning behind Christmas. Jesus is the reason for the season.
Jesus is the reason for all seasons.
December 6, 2008
Like the shepherd in my profile picture, as I age I like staying on my own territory. It is comfortable with me, I am familiar with it.
We are planning to spend the Christmas holidays close to home, having made our family visits back East this Thanksgiving. I enjoyed family, but this old dog likes being home, in his favorite bed, eating his favorite kibble.
What I realize is my home has a physical address, it is in Texas. My home has a emotional address, it is the love of wife, family and friends. My home has a spiritual address, it is Jesus. My Lord, my Savior, My God. It is the third that fuels the second, the it is the third that is the foundation of the first.
I am home for the holidays, spiritually, emotionally and physically. And I know what makes it so.
December 5, 2008
Doing some final reading and listening to the last few lectures and one theme has been rolling around in my head, faith and reason. I am reading Fides Et Ratio - On the Relationship between Faith and Reason, an Encyclical Letter written by John Paul II. In class we are reviewing Christianity and the Nature of Science by J P Moreland.
Both hold similar theses. Faith and reason are not incompatible nor contradictory. In fact you use your reasoning to understand your faith. Similar to the saying by Anselm that I bloggd on earlier, "Credo Ut Intellegam".
In discussing Moreland we are even getting into how science relies on faith, just faith in different things than a faith in God. (I will not get into things like making an enumerative induction argument to prove a natural law, which requires some element of faith since the certainty of your argument is not absolute)
I like the fact that everything requires a level of faith even before we use our reasoning, as Jesus taught faith in Him is the right approach, then I can use my reasoning to understand what my faith has already come to know.
It just seems to be the right order of things.
December 4, 2008
So if you are a friend and cannot find me, that is why. If you receive a bizarre emal from me talking about a video and extolling the qualities of a certain part of your anatomy, I didn't intentionally or even consciously send it. That anatomy part may be as good as the message claims, I do not know nor care to find out. Sorry to burst your bubble but you will deal with it.
Now that we have that behind us, why are we creatures of habit?
I miss my laptop. I am sitting at a perfectly good desktop PC about 20 feet away from where I normally pound away on my laptop, but I miss it. It has the software I like to use loaded and awaiting me. My bookmarks are arranged just so. My resources for what I do at school and in the world at my fingertips arranged in the way on my fevered mind could conceive. I miss it.
That bothers me. Caffeine addiction I can deal with, this is not good. I do not want to be dependent on anything but Jesus. I am going to have to think about things once I get the old laptop (I have had it for over 6 months now) fired up.
I guess I kid myself into believing I have things knocked and something like this happens and I find myself knocked flat.
Let this be a lesson to me, prayer and worship be more heartfelt, reliance on the worldly be less desirous. I do not like knowing something as meaningless as losing a PC for a few days is enough to agitate me.
I am going to have to figure out a way to call myself on it in the future.
December 3, 2008
Here is a list of the blog posts I comment on today (in no particular order):
- The Assembling of the Church (duh)
- Caffeinated Thoughts
- His Work In Progress (new)
- A Boomer in the Pew
- Walking In The Spirit
- Church Whisperer (new)
This was a worthwhile endeavor and opened up some new doors for me.
I know I have offended, am offending and will offend God. By my sin and the inability to stop; by my periodic doubt of His love, mercy, grace and sovereignty when things are beyond my control.
But the thought that the things that sound humble to God offending others, or the things that sound humble to others offending God; I had not thought that one through at all.
Here is where I came out on it. When I think about human-sounding humility offending Him it is just an extension of my own sin and doubt. When I think about God-sounding humility offending others, it is just an extension of their sins and doubts. People are not offended by the concept of you or I being saved and sanctified, they are offended by the fact that you or I need to be saved and sanctified for that means they need the same. They are offended that our public declaration of our wretchedness forces them to acknowledge, address or ignore their own sorry state of affairs. Our actions are offensive in their inaction.
There are probably people I will offend by my professions of faith to Jesus. Look at the bright side. Since I also offend God daily; think of what great company you are in on any given day.
December 2, 2008
But You, O LORD, are a shield about me, My glory, and the One who lifts my head. Psalm 3:3 (NASB)As I look at what is going on in the world around me, what is going on in the world within me, I am not amazed by the calm that has surrounded me because I think of a verse like this one and I know from whom all that calm comes to me.
There is so much uncertainty today, so much fear. My only advice to people is that whatever is going on, God is still sovereign. It may be that things are bad as a form of judgment and rebuke (think Israel at times in the Old Testament), or of testing and trial to temper our strength.
But it all comes down to what he wants at this particular point in human history.
What the future holds, and when, I cannot begin to imagine with any specificity.
But You, O LORD, are a shield about me, My glory, and the One who lifts my head.That is more than good enough for me.