December 31, 2009

The Close of Another Chapter

As I watch the last few hours of 2009 drift by, as I look back on the year closing out, 2009 has proven to be a year full.

Effective tomorrow, I start full time in ministry with a position at EvanTell as Chief Operating Officer. A journey that started two years ago with my retirement now moves off in a new direction. Ministry, not business, but a position that allows me to use 30 years of business skills to come alongside a ministry team and try to help them be better at what they already do quite well.

I have come to terms with the struggle I have had at seminary since I started in 2008. I am not a good student, at least I do not have good, student-like habits. I have been getting decent grades, but have not enjoyed the student-ness (I know that isn't a word but so what?) of being a student. I didn't in the 70's when I got my undergraduate degree; I certainly do not think a 30 year business career helped me hone my student skills. But I can accept that now and face my education with a better frame of mind.

As the year draws to an end, I am facing the fact that my Dad is dying and it is only a short period of time before he is gone. Given his alzheimers, in many ways I lost him some months ago. That is what is the most painful, watching what he has become while waiting until he is no more. A generation comes, a generation goes. All this as my niece is pregnant with the first child of the next generation on my side of the family, although my Dad will not get to be a great-grandfather as we may have hoped. All this as my Mom struggles with a situation in which she is soon to lose the man she has been married to for 61 years. I know I am blessed to have had both my parents for this long, yet the pain is there now. It will not be a good New Year's Eve for me. I will shed some tears tonight that I know.

Yet, 2010 is full of such promise and excitement. The Lord is sovereign, and I seek and struggle to walk alongside Him each day. There is pain in this life; I face it now, I have in the past, and know I will in the future. But I walk towards a future that will be joyous beyond the belief of the present world.

May you all have a blessed 2010.

December 19, 2009

The Suddenness of a Long Wait Over

("Behold, I am coming like a thief Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his clothes, so that he will not walk about naked and men will not see his shame.")
Revelation 16:15 (NASB)
I like the parenthetical nature of this passage, it is an aside to the reader, a warning directly from the Lord Himself. He is coming quickly, do not get caught with your pants down as it were, or you may trip and fall.

When I think about what He is doing in my life, I stand in awe of how suddenly He can make things happen, even if I think I an standing around in some quiet, dark place. It may feel I have been seeking Him and coming up empty, then I realize the quietness was Him preparing me for the task He had already decided. After what I think is some rather fruitless waiting, He enters into my focus with stunning suddenness. And I realize I have missed seeing things coming together. it was not quiet, I was deaf to the sounds of His preparation. It was not dark, I was blind to the growing light of His activities. Suddenly, He is captivating my awakening thoughts, honing my senses to His will. And it inspires a sense of awe in my life. He was always there, standing next to me, even the times I reached out and missed touching Him, maybe especially those times, for He wanted me near Him as He was near me.

Dear Lord, come quickly.

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December 12, 2009

A Colossians 1:18b Christmas

I just finished the Fall 2009 semester at seminary. Christmas is straight ahead with school in the rear view mirror for a month. A time to reflect on what the season means, a time to reflect on my Lord. And here turns out to be a great place to start:

and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.
Colossians 1:18b (NASB)

This is the Bible reference one of my professors for this term, Dwight Pentecost, put with his signature in a couple of his books (Things To Come and The Words and Works of Jesus Christ. Great stuff) I asked him to sign yesterday. Did not get to ask him why, I did not see them until I got home and school is done so it will have to wait. But it means something to him, enough to write it with his signature twice. And the class I took was a study of Hebrews, but no quote out of there (Another great book, Faith That Endures. I love reading him). Something about patient endurance or about let us go on, two phrases he used to summarize Hebrews yesterday. Or maybe this one:
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
Hebrews 13:8 (NASB)

I wrote my notes right in my copy of Faith, I have a bible study of Hebrews all lined out just by following what he taught us this semester. It was an incredible privilege to study it under him.

Getting back to Colossians, I will think about this verse, what it means to me, what it might mean to him. And his meaning will go way deeper than mine. after all, he has been teaching over 50 years, and ministering over 70. With a love of the bible that is awesome to see in a man in his 90's. I hope I remember to ask him next time I see him, which might take a while since I will not be on campus next semester as I am taking an online course.

Jesus is my hope and my assurance, my comfort and my strength. He has become the great constant in my life in a world that is ever-changing and more rapidly so as time goes past. Yes, it is the season of His birth, I need to meditate on it, and I have been pointed in a specific direction by a professor I admire deeply and have come to both respect and love. Thanks, Dr. P!

Let me know what you think of the verse and maybe I will come up with something pithy by the time I have to respond in the comments box.

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December 10, 2009

Time is Short

I just recently listened to this chapel service from Dallas Theological Seminary. It is a sobering message to say the least. If you have the time, give a watch.

It makes you think what we should be doing to be responsible citizens as well as responsible Christians. Given the current economy and our deficit spending that is only growing, you have to wonder when it reaches a breaking point. An interesting message to hear in a seminary chapel service, not the daily topic, I can assure you. Which makes it all the more intriguing to listen to.

All this was addressed recently in a chapel featuring Ethan Pope, founder and president of Foundations for Living, based in Dallas. Mr. Pope gives a lot of food for thought. As he says in the talk you may disagree, but what if he is right? Are you ready for the type of scenario he is depicting? Can anyone really be ready, or can we just be prepared to face it?

December 8, 2009

Busy in Prayer

I have not been blogging much of late, but I have been quite busy the past month. Visiting family for Thanksgiving, trying to wrap up the semester at seminary. I have also stepped into a full time ministry position at EvanTell, joining the team there in the past week as Chief Operating Officer. I am excited about my role there, and what the future holds for the ministry and me.

I have also been in prayer, for my role within kingdom work, for on going support for the ministry I am now joining, for the planning of new year at my church. As I have watched my schedule grow fuller and activities escalate, I have come to realize I need to be in prayer more often.

The busier life is, the more to need to stop and come before the Lord. It is clear that there may never be enough time to do all I want, but there is never too much to do that I cannot stop, thank Him for His blessings, ask Him for His strength and acknowledge that His will, not mine, be done. The danger of a busy, productive life is in thinking that one is the prime mover in it, not God.

So I look to Him in prayer and thanks. For giving me opportunities, for filling my day with reasons for joy, for giving me what i need to do what he wants. A new role awaits me in 2010, one I would not have thought of as I entered 2009. But the comfort I have is the fact that He may have surprised me, but I am doing just what He planned.

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November 29, 2009

I Am Starting To Feel Bad

About my lack of posting lately. But, apparently not bad enough to start up actively and semi-regularly. I am not sure why this is, if it is an extension of my blog hiatus of the summer, making the activity of September to November something of a dead cat bounce. An interesting comment given the picture of the pooch. Whatever, it is an extended dry period. And the picture is designed to elicit some comment, even if not about the blog topic itself.

In any event, it is not for a lack of activity in my life, there is much going on. Maybe it is for a lack of time to devote to blogging and musing over topics. It is not due to any crisis of faith that I am not blogging, I am going as strong as ever and seeking the Lord daily.

I am just not in the mood or right frame of mind to write about it. I apologize to anyone who enjoys seeing my posts (it is possible you know). I will spend some time in prayer, thinking about why I am off the grid for so long. And I will pray for guidance to start writing again. Your prayers are appreciated too. But whatever I do, I give it up to Him to guide me in my faith.

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November 12, 2009

Keeping Busy

As you might have been able to tell from the frequency of my blog posts lately, I have been busy and it has cut into my blogging time quite a bit. The old me (the pre-summer blogging hiatus me) would have obsessed on this, the new me says, it is what it is, and that is all it can ever be.

Having been retired for nearly two years now, it is a novelty to feel as if one's schedule is full, and still filling. Lots going on, but there is a definite peace to it. I attribute a good deal of it to my focus on listening and waiting on God. People and projects are not filling my schedule, He is. And I am OK with that, even more so, this is what I wanted.

The study we have been doing at 121 Community Church on Experiencing God has helped me really keep one thought in front of me.
So I do, waiting for His direction and guidance. And waiting contains a control issue, as in giving up control of your life to God. I have never been much of one to wait on things. But that is what I am doing now, waiting and allowing Him to work His will.

It can feel incredibly fruitful and productive to wait on God, because waiting on Him means just that: waiting for God to move, waiting to follow where He is going, trying to keep up. What can be better than that? Chasing after God's heels because He is out in front with your captured heart in His hands. But waiting for Him to start that heart of yours racing.

So I wait, busily wait, doing what I think He wills, waiting for the next God sized program He will have me pursue with Him. And soon I get to do this with a two week break from classes and a wrap up of another semester at DTS. (Not sure the credit load I am taking qualifies as a semester. Semi-mester is closer to the truth).

Meanwhile, I am learning to enjoy being engaged and waiting at the same time.

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November 9, 2009

Channeling My Steam

I seem to be having a problem lately keeping up with all I wish to do. It appears to be a problem of directing my energy, my steam in several directions, that are going off in different ways. I think as I get older I need more focus. The problem is that it is all stuff I am feeling called by God to do. Makes for steam on a cloudy day. Hmmm.

So I go back to the one word God spoke to me several weeks back as I was working through the Experiencing God study at my church. Wait. And as I think about it another word comes to mind. Control. I have to wait to let God control what I do. So I will. The waiting is to be quiet, listen for His direction, locate where He is in and around my life, and then to move to the center of that point. I will keep moving forward on the various things I am doing to see when God points me at one specifically. Then I will pursue it, because chasing after God is the only way to be close to Him. And if it is that I am to keep my steam moving in many directions. That's OK by me as well.

It's His stream to channel, my steam to move along as He sends it. Steam on a clear day, that's all I want, whever He chooses to send it.

November 4, 2009

The Anvil In Our Lives

Last eve I passed beside a blacksmith’s door,
And heard the anvil ring the vesper chime;
The, looking in, I saw upon the floor
Old hammers, worn with beating years of time.

“How many anvils have you had,” said I,
“To wear and batter all these hammers so?”
“Just one,” said he, and then with twinkling eye,

“The anvil wears the hammers out, you know.”

And so, thought I, the anvil of God’s Word,
For ages skeptic blows have beat upon;
Yet, though the noise of falling blows was heard,
The anvil is unharmed – the hammers gone.

Author Unknown

A good friend of mine read this poem in a sermon he preached a few months ago. I listened to it recently and loved the imagery of the poem, as he spoke of the Word of God, the Bible. People have been hammering out the Bible for years and years, going way, way back in time. How many have worn themselves out. It is true, it has held up, it is the Word of God. Would you expect anything else?

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November 2, 2009

Jesus Wept

Every once in a while, I feel the need to lay down something that vaguely resembles a poem. Here I go again. I am never sure when this all will show, but only that it comes from when I spend time with the Lord thinking about Him and His Word. This one comes from meditating on John 11:

Jesus Wept

Tightly bound within my sin,

No earthly struggle set me free.

Cast down in sinful gloom,

No earthly light reached within.

Jesus wept to see the sinner that was in me.

A mind so clouded could not think,

Of anything but life lived yet lost.

Darkness the blanket that covered me,

Weight too heavy to overcome.

Jesus wept to see the sinner that was me.

Calling forth, He burst the bonds,

Sunlight’s shaft cleaved my tomb.

Rock split wide, prison released,

Sin is no longer spellbinding.

In gladness now my own tears fall,

Because Jesus wept and died and set me free.

A. Coticchio - 11/09

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October 31, 2009

I am OK with Halloween

I have to admit, I wasn't thinking about it, but reading a blog buddy like who am i? made me realize that there is a debate out there regarding Christians participating in Halloween. Guess I have to start reading the news, thanks Barry, for the conviction!

I am OK with Halloween, I even felt good about adding this self portrait. I understand the issues and concerns around participating in Halloween, but I feel we can be in the world and not of it. We can participate in a great American pastime, the overindulgence in sugar (like Americans need a special reason to do this), and try to use it as an opportunity to share our faith while we are supercharging the neighborhood kids (as I have no children, I will sleep well when the doorbell stops ringing). It is an opportunity to engage with neighbors, strike up conversations, and show community and goodwill in a thoroughly Christian manner. All good activities, time well spent. It is what we are recommending at our church. And I think the avoidance of any demonic rituals is possible.

So, I am OK with Halloween. Whatever you do, whichever side of the debate you are on, I pray you engage in your response with the spirit of Christian love.

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October 30, 2009

Faith vs Loyalty

Therefore Thomas, who is called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples, "Let us also go, so that we may die with Him." John 11:16 (NASB)

A passage from John leading up to the miracle with Lazarus, it is the response of Thomas to Jesus' intention to go back into Judea even though there were men there looking to kill Him (the apostles were right but did not yet understand). As I read the statement of Thomas, I wonder what is in it: is Thomas faithful or is he loyal? He is clearly willing to follow Jesus, to loyally go into the jaws of death (at least that is what he says here, future events would argue otherwise). But is he faithful, does he believe that what Jesus is proposing is the will of God, and that the outcome will be as He wills? Does he believe what Jesus is proposing to do is right? What is his declaration of willingness to die with Jesus based on? Faith? Loyalty? Resignation?

To me loyalty is not necessarily faithfulness. We can do an action out of a loyalty to something and yet not believe in it deeply in our hearts. Is that possible to do with God? Can we be loyal to follow act of some feeling of obligation or duty, but not truly believe in faith? We know the doubts Thomas had about a resurrection appearance of Jesus, was he truly trusting Christ in faith before he experienced Christ himself?
After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, "Peace be with you." Then He said to Thomas, "Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing." Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him, "Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed." John 20:26-29 (NASB)
OK, enough about Thomas, his motives and heart. What I see a need to do think about my own behavior, to always check my response to God, to ensure I am moving forward in faith first. For if I do, the loyalty to Him will surely follow along. To say you follow the Lord requires faith to be sincere.

Are you sure you are just not appearing loyal to the eyes of men, but are truly faithful to the heart of God? I think I need a gut check on this daily to keep me on The Narrow Road.

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October 28, 2009



1. a breaker or destroyer of images, esp. those set up for religious veneration.
2. a person who attacks cherished beliefs, traditional institutions, etc., as being based on error or superstition.

Sounds like a fun job. But it sounds like one that can land you into some hot water:
The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And He found in the temple those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. And He made a scourge of cords, and drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen; and He poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables; and to those who were selling the doves He said, "Take these things away; stop making My Father's house a place of business." His disciples remembered that it was written, "ZEAL FOR YOUR HOUSE WILL CONSUME ME." John 2:13-17 (NASB)
Yes, our Savior demonstrated some very iconoclastic actions over the course of His ministry, actions that ran Him head into the religious and political power structure, which then conspired to see Him crucified. It did not have the effect the power brokers wanted, but the one He wanted:
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28 (NASB)
It took the courage of His faith in His Father to pursue the course of action He did, to be iconoclastic to the point of His death. And at His death, the ultimate iconoclastic action, the establishment of His kingdom, which will overcome all man-based, sin-influenced attempts to replace the "Living God" with a "god proud men can live with".

So I look to be an iconoclastic, but one for the Lord. Looking for error and superstition, to replace it with His truth, not mine. And to do it with even the merest fraction of the boldness and confidence that Jesus did. A tall order, being iconoclastic.

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October 26, 2009


We all have choices we need to make, decisions that must be made with less than perfect information with which to make them. Not a surprising circumstance, given the fallen state of the world around us and the desperate need the world has for the saving grace of Jesus. But even those of us who call Him their Savior have to deal with choices. Choices in this life; often choices that impact the next. And that part can be truly daunting if you stop and think about it for any length of time, with any depth of soul and mind. Forever lasts forever. Think about that for a few minutes.

At my church, we have been going through the study Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby. There is one point that keeps ringing out for me. I need to stop, see what God is doing around me, what He is doing in my life. And then I need to join in His work. If necessary, I need to wait quietly for Him to enlighten me. That's the choice I need to make. Not about what I want to do, what I would like to do, but what He would have me do. Looking and listening. For the soft, sure voice. For the door opening (or another closing). His work. His will. His way. Not mine.

So choices are truly easy if you know where to place your faith. Do you have that assurance in your life? If you say it, do you act (and react) as if you really mean it?

The choices are clear to me. God's way is the only choice.

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October 23, 2009


the quality or condition of being humble; modest opinion or estimate of one's own importance, rank, etc. lowliness, meekness, submissiveness. pride.
The above is a dictionary definition of humility. It focuses on self. But here is a definition we discussed last week in seminary in a class that covers angels, man and sin with Dr. Lanier Burns. Humility is God centeredness. Humility is living with God as the focus of your mind. Jesus was humble but bold in His actions. He was submissive to the will of the Father but boldly went about His ministry. You think not, try the following:
And He found in the temple those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. And He made a scourge of cords, and drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen; and He poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables; and to those who were selling the doves He said, "Take these things away; stop making My Father's house a place of business." John 2:14-16 (NASB)
The apostle Paul was humble in Christ but fierce in proclaiming the Gospel. You think not, try the following:
But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having won over the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead. But while the disciples stood around him, he got up and entered the city. The next day he went away with Barnabas to Derbe. Acts 14:19-20 (NASB)
You do not go into a building in the center of town in broad daylight with a whip, you do not get left for dead outside of town and head right back in if you are not focused on God and His purposes. True humility is making the Lord the center of your life. You do not have the strength, the courage, the passion to do so without His presence in the center of your life.

October 21, 2009

Never Ending

One of my professors at seminary this semester, Dwight Pentecost made a very simple but very powerful statement in class the other day:
The wealth of Scripture is inexhaustible.
It was made in the context of his reviewing a passage in Hebrews and how he now views it, how his thoughts about it have changed, and changed for the better in his opinion. For the purposes of this post, it really doesn't matter what the point he was making is (another story for another day). The point is the power and grace and faithfulness we get from a loving God when we seek Him in awe and obedience. A seminary professor since 1955, 94 years old, and God, through patient and devoted study and reflection, is revealing a little more of His truths on a daily basis. Incredible how loving and patient with us our Lord is.
God will never tire of revealing Himself to His children
How lucky I am to serve such a wonderful God.

October 19, 2009

I Passed A Stone The Other Day

A milestone that 500th blog post. I just realized it and it made me think about where this blog is going. I still do not know, but I feel the need to keep moving and seeking the Lord's face continually.

As long as the ruminations of this blog keep allowing me to do that, I will keep blogging. I guess that is progress; from writing about what I want to seeking Him and writing what He wants. Huge progress. I feel that this is no longer just my blog, but it is becoming His as well. I know I will have really begun to make progress when I feel it is no longer mine at all but His alone. I feel that then the journey on The Narrow Road can truly begin. Imagine, it took 500+ posts to begin to realize, understand and accept that.

I look forward to passing that next stone.

October 16, 2009

A Thought For The Day

I attended an Igniter Lunch at Evantell yesterday and heard Dr. Stanley Toussaint from Dallas Theological Seminary give a talk. As usual, Dr. Toussaint was on top of his game, and deep into the Word. Some of the thoughts he conveyed:

  • The Cross is 3 dimensional: up and down, across and out
  • When you think of the Cross, the about sin, God and people
  • When you think of sin, think about our redemption; we are bought by the Lord, it is permanent We are never back out on the market to be bought again.
  • When you think of God, think of propitiation; God is satisfied by what Jesus was done
  • When you think of people, think of reconciliation; we need to turn back to God. It is one way, God never turned from us
He summed it up nicely in what I like to think of as a thought for the day:

  • Sin is paid for
  • God is satisfied
  • All that is left is for people to turn to God in faith
He also gave what I thought was a great point from his first year of seminary. If someone has trouble accepting that Jesus died for all of their sins, past, present and future because how could He die for our future sins; ask them how many of their sins had they committed before Jesus died on the cross. Great way to think of the sufficiency of His sacrifice, the atonement is still working 2000 years later.

Dr.Toussaint packed a lot into a short talk, so glad I went.

October 15, 2009


Recently I was struggling with a problem, tying myself up into knots over it, it involved a couple of friends who are on opposite sides of an argument. Let's just leave it at that. Hearing both sides, seeking what is the truth of the situation (define that what is God's will in the particular set of facts and viewpoints before me); alternately wanting to solve the problem or just wanting it to go away. it was really getting to me.

Praying about it one morning, I heard it softly, yet firmly in my mind. Wait. That was it. Wait.

And the tension bled away from my body and I felt a peace. Wait. Nothing changed about the situation but something changed about my ability to deal with it, to try to solve it. I could not do it, not by myself. Wait.

OK. He has got it, God is in control. Wait. For His timing, for the solution only He can provide.

I still do not know how it will all play itself out, but it is playing even as I write this, even as I wait.

God is in control and that is good because He is good and great.

Wait. I really do not mind it, when I know I am waiting on the Lord.

October 13, 2009

What I Found Important

Just got back from a quick road trip with my wife. The place was not important, the purpose was not important. At least not for the purposes of this post. What was important was breakfast. 3 days on the road, 9 meals, and 6 of them were breakfast. Yesterday was an all breakfast day, the beauty of the American road trip is the inalienable right to eat breakfast all day long, with nobody giving you grief for doing it (my wife is great!). I had 4 meals on the road, all of them breakfast (my wife eats a more normal diet, trust me), all of them courtesy of the fine folks at Cracker Barrel, which has become our road meal of choice. They all look the same (very pleasant), the menu is the same (very consistent) and has lots of options, the best of which is all day breakfast availability. They always seem to be open when we are traveling and hungry, which is most of the time (hungry, not traveling). And the wait staff wear aprons with 1 to 4 stars on them, giving the meal a military feel (always good to feel safe on the road), you feel quite special when a 4 star comes up to you.

However, one sweet and sour note. We stopped for a drink and a rest break at a Burger King (drinks only, no meal) and I got served and paid for a senior coffee (that's what they call it, and I didn't realize it until I had paid and left and puzzled at the low cost of two drinks. The slowness of uptake might have been part of the reason for the sale at senior prices. Who knows?). Ah, to be humbled with a simple cup of coffee. But I am going to get old anyway, might as well start scoring one of the senior perks (no pun intended) on the road, reduced price coffee to keep us old folks awake and between the white lines. I guess I had it their way this time.

But lots of breakfast on a 3 day traveling holiday weekend. I tip my hat to the American breakfast on the road, a truly great meal.

October 12, 2009

A Trinitarian Worldview - Part VII: Love and Forgiveness; Time and Space

The last part of my worldview review deals with areas that can tie you up in knots because of what can appear to be contradictions. But as we have stated before, can we really expect as finite beings to fully fathom the infinitely divine?

Can a perfectly just and holy God forgive? Yet we know Him as a merciful and gracious God. How can He maintain His holiness and yet extend us such grace? If He is holy and just He cannot forgive, but if He is merciful does He lose His moral absolute?

for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
Romans 3:26 (NASB)

He is God and He is both the just and the justifier of those who believe in Him. He can do it because He has chosen to do so. Rather than question, I would have us be thankful. For quite frankly, the alternative is none too encouraging to entertain.

God is both within and outside of time and space. He was before time and space (that is, he was before the creation that He Himself created). He created all, but His participation and sustaining of creation means that in the end, it has no end, because He has deemed eternity for us.He has entered into history of His own choosing and as such, can give us the everlastingness we need for eternal existence. There can be none without Him.

Can you think of other points you and I need to ponder about the glorious God we serve?

He is the biggest of ideas and well beyond even that. In the scope of all history, He is the metanarrative that makes a short story out of all else.

October 11, 2009

A Trinitarian Worldview - Part VI: The Imago Dei in Relationships

How does the Trinity impact our worldview of relationships? How are we to take the attributes of the Godhead and candle our actions within our spheres of activity?

Looking at three areas: family, church and society you see some commonalities that enable you to develop a trinitarian worldview in a way that can be used consistently across your relationships.

Starting with family, you need to start with marriage. The marriage relationship most closely models the Trinity of all human relationships. You seek to make the other partner known within the context of the marital bond, which should be the strongest of all human bonds. You look to communicate with each other in the most intimate, honest and vulnerable of fashions. You enjoy each other in companionship, fellowship and friendship. You make audible expressions of love, expressions of pleasure and make known your desires to please each other. You give honor to your mate, you give gifts.You work with and for each other, you seek to submit yourself to your partner knowing the same is being done for you. You become part of each other, learning to trust and abide in each other during good times and bad, pleasure and pain, success or suffering.

You see in the marriage relationship all these coming through when one honors a partner the way the Three within the One give honor to each other. As you step into familial relationships, these become writ large on a family unit, you may lose the marital intimacy between a man and wife, but these actions are still there in a God honoring family situation.

As you move to the church setting you continue to stress the honor of others, less intimate perhaps, but with a continued mutuality. In providing glory to God and a witness to a Christian walk, these continue into societal relationships in general.

In all of these you look to avoid headship abuse, a leader must have a servant's heart, an attitude to servitude in order to effectively model biblical leadership. There should be willing submission to leadership not hostility in having to submit. If the honor and trust inherent in the Trinity are showing forth in human relationships, that should not be a burdensome ask. There should be an honoring of biblically based law and orderliness. Anarchy is not God glorifying.

As you look at your relationships, are you modelling these behaviors. Are you willing to take the first step towards a trinitarian view of how you can be a part of a bigger whole in joy and peace with God?

October 10, 2009

A Trinitarian Worldview - Part V: Being Relational

Our personaity, or who we are, is grounded in who God is. We are persons, we are relational because God is a personal, relational God. You have heard it said that you are what you eat. It is more appropriate to say we are who He is:

26Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."

27God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

28God blessed them; and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth."

Genesis 1:26-28 (NASB)

What does that mean for us? We hold certain characteristics as a result of being mad ein His image to rule over the creation He made. As a result of this we are:

  • Creative: we enjoy the visual and performing arts, we enjoy making things
  • Communication: we dialogue in community, speaking and listening to each other
  • Objective: we engage in the study of science and history
  • Emotive: expressing joy, sadness and anger
  • Mortal: Unlike an eternal God, we live through cycles of birth and death. But I feel we must in order to look up to the divine form our positions as fragile and mortal and in need of His protection
  • Friendly: we seek out and engage in community
  • Intimate: we look for and cherish romantic and sexual relationships. However, they can only reach the full potential designed by God if fulfilled in the man and woman marraige bond. This comes closer to the intimacy felt within the Trinity than any other human relationship can.
  • Just: we seek to exercise justice, but hopefully tempered with mercy
  • Discerning: we can distinguish between fantasy and reality (well, most of us can most of the time)
As we engage in these characteristics we are more or less like God in how we carry them out, depending on our individual characters and the circumstances we find ourselves in.

Are there one or more of these that really click with you as bringing closer in relationship with God because you feel you model them more as He would have you rather than less?

October 9, 2009

A Trinitarian Worldview - Part IV: As Long As You End Up at God

One of the things I have been thinking about a bit is the differences in trinitarian views looking at it from the western church or the eastern church perspective:

  • The western perspective is to view the Trinity with emphasis on the Oneness of God. Essentially looking at the Godhead from the unified essence that is God, looking out from the One into the Three.
  • The eastern perspective is to view the Trinity with emphasis on the three Persons of the Godhead and their relatedness to each other. Essentially looking at the Godhead more from the roles each of the three persons of the trinity take on in constituting the One, looking in from the Three into the One.
That has ramifications on what might get stressed in a worldview one would take. A western perspective would focus more on God's sovereignty and the predestination that is inherent in His sovereignty. An eastern perspective would focus more on human freewill and how it relates to God.

I have to admit there are parts of each view that I like. I like having a totally sovereign God that predetermines the course of events. it allows me to place the utmost value that affords me: my fate and future in the hands of a sovereign God who is merciful, wise, just and gracious. But I also like the focus to be on how I relate to God because it puts some burden on me to explore my feelings to and my obedience with the will of God.

However you approach it, you should wind up in the center with a Triune God, the God of the Bible, our God in all His divine glory. if you do not, I feel you are doing something off kilter.

As you view how you approach your view of God, do you feel more the western or eastern influences of the picture of the Trinity?

October 8, 2009

A Trinitarian Worldview - Part III: God Before Us or Without Us

One concept I have been pondering is the fact that God as a divine, eternal being, existed before Creation. Even before He created everything ex nihilo, out of nothing, He was.
Tertullian: “…before all things God was alone, being his own universe,
location, everything. He was alone, however, in the sense that there was nothing external to himself.” Adversus Praxeas 5

Tied into the fact of God's self existence is His self-sufficiency. He did not need us, yet He created us. I think it is testament to His love and grace that He would choose to share Himself with us. I wonder if given the chance to create out of nothing, we would do the same? I hardly think so.

It occurred to me that in His eternal existence prior to creation, the proper view would have been one of pantheism. God is everything and everything is God; because God is the only thing. Maybe unitheism? But I digress.

The point I wanted to make was that thinking about the fact that accepting that God always was, and was before creation, is a call to faith in the divine:

  • We really do not know how much we do not know about God
  • We must believe that, as a gracious and loving God, He has revealed all we need to know of Him as we live our lives on this earth
  • Whatever our conceptions about God, we probably color them with our human conceptions, and the divinely infinite can never be totally understood nor explained by the finite.
If you were to describe the reason(s) God created us, what would you say they are?

October 7, 2009

A Trinitarian Worldview - Part II: Some Groundrules

I'd like to lay out some of the basics of what it means to hold to a trinitarian worldview. At least, what it means to me. Here are a few of my thoughts:
  • You have to hold to the Triune God of the Bible. You need to believe in the Imago Dei (see yesterday's post) and that our basic personalities and the dignity of the individual are grounded upon the bedrock of the fact that we are made in the image of God. You have to approach the world believing in Christian monotheism.
  • You have to hold that God is the center of everything. I am not talking pantheism where God is everything and everything is God. But you have to believe in His sovereignty, His total control of Creation. If He is not your reason for living, you are missing something.
  • You have to hold that God is bigger than everything. He is outside of creation in His transcendence, He is within creation in His immanence, but He is not everything and everything is not Him.
  • You can never completely emulate Him, but you must not stop trying. We are to run the good race, we are to finish strong. God knows we cannot get there without Him, but He wants us to try anyway.
  • While God is the center of it all, our focus is on His Son. He saved us, we are to be like Him to the extent we can.
I'd like to hear what you have for some of the ground rules you may hold on a Trinitarian worldview; a view which I believe is the appropriate Christian worldview that one should hold to.

October 6, 2009

A Trinitarian Worldview - Part I: Imago Dei

I have decided to rerun a series of posts that I wrote for another blog I was writing for a bit but have since stopped. It is on my thoughts around a worldview revolving around the concept of the Trinity. I think it is would be worthwhile to re-engage some dialogue around this so over the next 7 days I will rerun the series, with some minor modifications. For those of you who read and commented on the series in the other blog, my profuse apologies, but this has been on my mind and I wanted to air it again. I beg your patience and pardon.

The series begins with the concept of the Imago Dei, the Image of God. Simply put, Imago Dei asserts than we are made in the image of God.

26Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule
over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the
cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that
creeps on the earth." 27God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

Genesis 1:26-27 (NASB)

I believe it is important to start with this fact because if we are created in His image, we should share some of His attributes, even if we are imperfect in our sinful nature. Our worldview should be shaped by who we are in relationship to God.

Who are we? In the broadest of senses we are:

  • Capable of thought, reasoning, voluntary activity. We are emotional, we can love, hate, grow angry, happy or sad. We are relational, we seek out others in community, we seek out our Creator in praise and worship.
  • Capable of creative activity. We look to learn, to build, to make new things out of old things. We fall short of being able to create out of nothing, but we are driven to create nonetheless.
  • Capable of dominion. We seek to control our environment, others and often at our peril, our God.
  • Capable of thought beyond this life, Unlike animals who are in the moment at all times, we can look beyond today and even tomorrow. We can plan and anticipate, and even ponder eternity.
These are attributes that mirror, although dimly, our divine Creator. But it is the very things He bestowed on us to make up be in His image that can be the root of our destruction. In our sin, we often think and act against God, taking the gifts He has given us and try to come out from under His sovereign will.

Are there other aspects/characteristics/attributes you see in us under the Imago Dei?

October 4, 2009

A Simple Message

I guest blogged this post on Worldprayr a few days ago. I participated in an evangelism seminar at my church yesterday. I thought this was worthwhile posting again here in my own blog. Here goes.

The Gospel of our Lord is a very simple message, and incredibly powerful in its simplicity:

  • Jesus died for our sins and rose from the dead

There it is in ten words. See, simple, really. If you do not believe me, check out what the apostle Paul has to say:

  • Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)

But in that message there is so much more we can say to those who do not know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

  • for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:23)

Yes, that means all of us, no exceptions. All of us fall short of the mark. (The Greek word for sin hamartia, comes from the root meaning to miss the mark). I am no better than you, with or without Jesus in my life. I am a sinner, and so are you.

  • For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

Yes, we are all sinners and earn the wages of our sin, eternal separation from a holy and just God. As sinners we earn that payment in full. So far, the message is not too hopeful. But wait, there is more.

  • But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

It is the divine escape clause. We cannot escape our sin, we cannot pay the penalty for it, but someone came who can. Jesus Christ.

  • For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

And the Lord gives us eternal life, gives us salvation, as a free gift because He loves us so. He loves us enough to send His Son to die in our behalf. And if you truly accept him as your Savior, if you tell Him you know you are sinner deserving of eternal punishment, if you tell Him you believe Jesus died for you and rose from the grave as the only way to your salvation, this gift is yours forevermore.

  • Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. (John 5:24)

No one can take form you what God has given you here. You have eternal assurance of eternal salvation. The gift of God cannot be shaken.

So you see it is a pretty simple message:

  • Jesus died for our sins and rose from the dead

It is a simple message. Coming from the despair of a sinful life to the hope brought by a Redeemer. Eternal salvation, eternally assured as a gift from God once you accept Jesus as the Savior of your life and the only way to eternal life. Ten words that pack the most meaningful punch that your life can ever experience.

If you want more, check out for more on as clear gospel message, and for free on-line evangelism training to help you share the message.

If you have some time, here is a short video to watch:

October 2, 2009


I have been working through the study Experiencing God my church is doing. I liked the lesson of yesterday, a message that I have been reflecting on for a bit:

The LORD appeared to him from afar, saying, "I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.
Jeremiah 31:3 (NASB)

I led them with cords of a man, with bonds of love, And I became to them as one who lifts the yoke from their jaws; And I bent down and fed them.
Hosea 11:4 (NASB)

There is incredible comfort knowing we are drawn to God, by the Father, that are relationship with Jesus Christ is a result of a nurturing Father bringing sinners to His loving Son. It took me until my late 40's to come to faith in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, and I am so thankful that the Father drew me in over the years, bending down to feed his child, hungry after years in the spiritual desert of unbelief. Drawing, ever drawing, He drew me in. Wow. I have been chosen, and that is good, for I could never choose for myself, nor earn what was given freely.

And as I thought about this, some lyrics from a song from a ways ago came to mind:
...Sometimes the light's all shinin' on me;
Other times I can barely see.
Lately it occurs to me What a long, strange trip it's been...
From Truckin' by The Grateful Dead
Not entirely true for me. There is the joy of knowing that His lights shines, and will always shine,
on me. And it blinds me, unless I am looking directly at the core of that light, seeking His face,
seeking it continually. What a wonderful trip it will be, for the strangeness is over and will in
time be forgotten as He wipes away every tear in His time.

September 30, 2009

What Is Your Workplace?

I retired toward the end of 2007, so I thought at the time that I no longer had a workplace.

I realize how wrong that was.

I was limiting myself to the workplace as defined by the physical boundaries of the office of my employer at the time. I still define my workplace as the office of my employer. But it is a vastly different scope now. In seminary, in ministry, in volunteer situations, I am seeking to do the will of God, to be His servant and to focus on His workplace.

That workplace is the world.

As I look at what I try to do now, working for His kingdom, seeking His everlasting glory, I realize how fleeting, how ephemeral all the treasures of the world really are. Seek the approval of humanity, and those treasures will vanish in the cleansing fire of divine judgment. Seek the Lord and treasures get stored up in heaven, treasures that will not rust, nor be eaten by moths, nor stolen away from you as noted in Matthew 6:19.

It is liberating to work for the Lord, creation is His workshop so you are never out of place doing His will anywhere. No boundaries are set if you are following hard after Him. And there is always plenty of work to do, productive work to please the Master.

How I wish I had expanded my mind to grasp this sooner, for I spent too much time in too limiting a place; the workplace of man as opposed to that of God.

Glad I have a new job now, one that offers true job security and the most unbelievable benefit package off the face of the earth.

So what is your workplace?

September 28, 2009

Be In and Of the Body

Yesterday morning, both my wife and I were a bit under the weather. In an act of self-mercy (as well as being merciful to others) we stayed home and watched our church services via webcast at the 121 Community Church webcast.

It was good to be able to participate in the worship service, to be able to hear the weekly sermon, especially since the whole church the study Experiencing God over a nine week period. Basically, you do the daily devotionals, come to church on study and listen to a message grounded in what was covered that past week, and then over the upcoming week discuss both the personal and corporate reflections in a small group setting. And we are doing it 1st graders and up. A pretty cool thing to do. (By the way, we have some good sessions on evangelism coming next weekend.)

But while my wife and I got to participate via a webcast, it drove home one point with crystal clarity: for us, there is no substitute for worshiping in person in the body as the family of Christ. It was good to be part of a service yesterday, but it was not what we would have chosen to do otherwise. Although it opens an avenue to worship when events require other than traditional, in person attendance, there is nothing like the genuine article. To open our church to others who may not experience our worship services is a great thing, but I pray it brings people in to worship with us in person when circumstances allow, I pray it drives a hunger to do so whenever possible.

There is nothing that strengthens a personal walk with God like spending some time walking it with others:

"and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near."
Hebrews 10:24-25 (NASB)

It was a good reminder in this age of burgeoning social media, where we can stay "connected" to others as never before, how alone we can truly become if we do not exercise that part of us that requires us to be social beings, in concert and connection with others on an intensely personal level. Do not be lulloed into thinking thatany connection is as good as being with people; being with people in heart, in spirit and in body.

Be in the body as well as being of the body; especially as you try to be be in the world but not of it.

September 25, 2009

Dead Bloggers Society

I did not blog during the period of June 28 and September 18, 2009. I found an interesting statistic during this time. The subscriptions to my blog stayed about the same, and on some days actually went up. More people were subscribing when I was not blogging. I am now about where I was before I took my hiatus. We will see where the subscriptions go from here, now that I am semi-active again.

It just proves that bloggers, like artists, poets, and the occasional president, are more popular when people think they are dead.

September 23, 2009

A Day in the Life

Looking at a page in my journal, the one that has room for thoughts on the same day over 5 years, here are the Bible passages that I recorded over a period of four years:
  • For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. - Romans 8:5
  • For whoever does the will of God, he is My brother and sister and mother. - Mark 3:35
  • O LORD our God, all this abundance that we have provided to build You a house for Your holy name, it is from Your hand, and all is Yours. - 1 Chronicles 29:16
  • For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil. - Ecclesiastes 12:14
What struck me about these as I looked back at what I wrote was that I could see a thread running through the thoughts I wrote down each year as a thought about the bible verse for the day, that same day.

To me, somehow it was a about having the mind of a steward but the heart of a servant. Tending to the Lord's work and will as if it were the job appointed to, but doing it with a heart desiring to serve Him who is my master. Doing something as if it is my occupation, but doing it as if it is also my vocation.

I will try to go through the days ahead with the mind of a steward, the heart of a servant and eyes firmly fixed on the coming kingdom of God.

September 21, 2009

George Swinnock

I have recently read some excerpts from the writings of George Swinnock called Trading and Thriving in Godliness. I found it an enjoyable and easily understandable read, not always the case with 17th century Puritans. While I enjoyed the whole book, there was one particular section that stood out for me, three excerpts from his book, Christian's Man's Calling, which is entitled The Value of Godliness. These excerpts all bear in their title the word great. here are a few of Swinnock's thoughts:

  • Our Great End - Now the great end to which man is designed by God, is the exercising himslef to godliness...Man is made of glass, to represent the perfections that are in God. A glass can receive the beams of the sun into it, and reflect them back again to the sun.
  • Our Great Weight - Now godliness is, amongst all man's works, of greatest weight...We must say of this work of Christianity, compared with all other works, what David said of Goliath's sword, "There is none like it;" (1 Samuel 21:9), this is soul-work, this is God-work, this is eternity-work, and therefore of greatest weight, and requireth us all to make it our business; such blows as these three are, one would think, might force fire out of flint.
  • Our Great Reward - The reward of godliness is of infinite worth, the end of holiness (as of hope) is the salvation of the soul, the eternal immediate enjoyment of God in heaven...And can we think the God of nature will give men to know him, as they are known of him...while they lie lazying on the bed of idleness?
So much more here, but just a taste towhet the appetitie of the inquisitive. He is our great end, our great reward, and worth the great weight we carry through this life, but which we only succeed in shouldering with His infinite assistance.