August 31, 2010

The Never Ending Post - Part III

Why do we try to go it alone when there are those who would help us along the way? We can seek out advice and sort out answers if we only stop and ask those who have our interests in mind and care enough to share their thoughts with us. Proverbs 24:6 states you need many counselors for victory.

Is it that you cannot win on your own? Or is it not victory unless you share it with others? Or are you just not smart enough to do it by yourself? Or is it we are to seek out others so that we learn also to seek out God? It seems the more I speak to others the less I realize I actually know myself. Some form of victory comes from being humble enough to know what you do not know.

But who to ask? I cannot believe victory comes from seeking counsel from those who are no wiser than myself. Maybe it comes form listening to people who do not always tell you what you want to hear, the wisdom of knowing in your heart what you hear is right even though you fight it in your head. (Here is an interesting sidebar. I went for my annual eye exam this past Saturday, convinced I needed a new prescription. I told the eye doctor that I felt my vision had changed quite a bit. When you have worn glasses as long as I have, you know when you have to move your head to get clear vision more than usual. The exam yielded no change of any significance, no change in prescription strength. I was puzzled, so was the eye doctor. Until I told him about the nose pad I had lost a month or so ago that I never got around to replacing. Seems the glasses were not sitting on my face quite the right way. Victory in an abundance of counselors. Duh.)

Maybe the victory comes over self, over realizing the limitations one has, which are often fogged from view by the mists of pride.

It is not enough to be smart enough to hear, you have to take that step to listen to what you heard.

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August 30, 2010

Time Will Come

When the Word of God is ignored and violated, divine judgment sooner or later is inevitable.
John F. Walvoord (from his commentary on Daniel)
I put this quote up on my Facebook status last week, and I have been thinking about it on and off ever since. I am reading this commentary as part of my seminary class, but for some reason, this sentence keeps coming around to the front of my brain, or at least to the front of my thinking.

Judgment. Inevitable judgment.
And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment
Hebrews 9:27(New American Standard Bible)
We are all going to die one day and face judgment as individuals, but until that day comes for each of us, will we face judgment as a nation? I look at how our society is moving forward, how far we seem, each day, to drift away from God's will and way. On the good days we seem to drift, the bad days we seem to run in the opposite direction from Him. As if running away works, it doesn't, just ask Jonah. If you do not think God punishes a nation, look at Israel in the Old Testament when the nation turned from God, look at the nations that attacked or invaded Israel. None fared well. Even when God used one nation to punish Israel, that nation didn't make out well in the long run. There is not a good long term record in defying God.

I always get concerned when people speak of America as if we are God's chosen. We are not, the nation of Israel is. And look how they got treated when they strayed from God. Not sure the average American wants to deal with that type of treatment. The more God gives a nation, the harder the judgment that seems to come against them. Something about to those who are given much, much is expected comes to mind.

There is an inevitability to God's pronouncements of judgment, after all, God is God and that is that.I wonder if we are all ready, as individuals and as a nation, for the judgment we will face. And face it we will, for the Bible says it is so.

The only way to face it is to trust Jesus as the only way to your salvation.

Then whatever comes will be tolerable in Him, and Him alone.

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August 29, 2010

Sunny Sunday afternoons are just about perfect. Who can doubt the existence of a Creator on a day like this? This is a day He has gloriously made!

August 28, 2010

Blogging at 160 characters at a time will be a challenge, I will have to limit use. More to come. Someday. Maybe. This has been a test - what do you think?
I think I may try mobile blogging again but it seems quite limiting an application. However, it might be nice to share while walking The Narrow Road.

August 27, 2010

Paths and Choices and Seasons

I read last night of a friend who decided to shut down her blog, maybe permanently. She started roughly the same time as I did, we have only met on the internet, I have enjoyed her blogging and hope she has enjoyed mine half as much.

And we are not alone in revisiting why we started to blog. I have watched as a couple of other blog friends have gone through a similar journey. Maybe there is such a thing as a two year itch in blogging.

It is interesting for me to think I went through quite a dry spell this summer and have only recently seemed to enjoy blogging on a more consistent basis. Many times I thought I was through but something kept the spark alive. So I labor on, with one less friend to read as I walk down my own road on this journey.

What keeps one doing this? I am not sure, but hopefully there is a purpose to the time spent doing this. Those of us who blog may never know the majority of people who read our posts; may never know who those posts touch, who they encourage, who they make stop and think. Every once on a while I get some affirmation, and it surprises me to think anyone is not only reading me, but actually taking in what I blog about occasionally. The tree is not always falling soundlessly in the forest.

I have been encouraged by others over the past two plus years to continue this; and I must say it feels right to continue. It feels right. There are days I am sure I will never think of another thing to blog, but it feels right.

So it comes down to paths and choices. It comes down to seasons of time and what we do during them. Hopefully we all make the right choices, walk the paths without stumbling, enjoy and adapt to the seasons in our lives. I know that as long as I follow hard after Jesus, the right choices will come to me. Because in my faith walk, that is what paths and choices come down to. Following hard after my faith in Christ, in Him alone for my eternal future.

I know my friend made the right choice to stop and at the right time, because her faith in Christ is strong, and she follows it.

So really there is not much to decide in paths and choices and seasons ahead of us if we follow His will.

And that is what I will seek to do each day as I go down The Narrow Road.

August 26, 2010

Be Real

Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles? And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.
Matthew 7:21-23 (New American Standard Bible)
While we are all standing around waiting and doing, I think there is one thing we all need to remember. Be real. You can fool others. You can fool yourself. You can fool some of the people all of the time, all of the people some of the time. But you can never, ever fool the Lord. He knows and always will. He knows and always did. You cannot fool someone who knew you before you were.

Authenticity is relationships is a key to a meaningful life here on earth. Authenticity in a relationship with Jesus is the key to an eternal life. As you are moving through this life, keeping a focus on the Lord and how he would have you live it is the key to a satisfying life. I know that when I am moving in His will (or at least toward His will), I am more content, more at peace with myself and my surroundings, more aware of how He is moving in my life and the lives of those I come into contact with.

If I am not doing real, He cannot give me all He wants, because I get in the way. I know I have to work hard to be real before the Lord.

Then being real with the rest becomes easy.

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August 25, 2010

Off To A Good Start

Started class today, Daniel and Revelation, started with the Book of Daniel. We made it almost all the way through Daniel 1:1 before class ended. A great start.

Seriously, a great start because of all the background we did in Deuteronomy 28-30 (on the blessings of Israel, on the curses on Israel, on obedience and disobedience. You can guess which one gets you the blessings and which one doesn’t). A bit of time on Ezekiel 10 and 11 (the call for repentance of the nation and the departure of the Shekinah glory from the Temple) and a little side detour into 2 Chronicles 7:14 (for a biblical concept of repentance - humble yourself, pray, seek His face, turn from your wicked ways).

I am not feeling that great today, but those 50 minutes were quite the boost. If only the rest of schoolwork jazzed me up like the lectures do, I’d be working on my doctoral dissertation right about now (the second or third one, that is).

It is going to be fun in class, whatever the rest may hold!

School Redux

Today I start class again at Dallas Seminary. I say class because I am taking one class this semester, that is all I can handle while working full time and all the assorted other stuff that has attached itself to me like so many magnetic mines over the course of the past 30 years or so.

I am doing well in class, at least when I contract for a grade that can be classified as doing well. But I have been struggling as a student since I got here, being a student has not changed all that much for me since the 70’s. I really do not like it all that much.

This is a great institution, I just do not like student-hood. I view it as a negative form of childhood I guess. I will soldier through, I have a plan mapped out in my head that gets me to a desired end in a time frame and frame of mind I can live with. I am working the plan and getting it done.

I will enjoy this course, it is on Daniel and Revelation and is taught by Dwight Pentecost, a favorite for me here at DTS. I hope I will be educated enough over the semester to be in a position to share some of it with you.

Details to come.

Now it is off to school, where’s my lunch pail?

August 24, 2010

Be Ready and Doing

Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming. But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.
Matthew 24:42-44(New American Standard Bible)
Just because you do not know what the future holds, you should not wait your way into the future; you should do your way into the future. You wait for the Lord, but you do life. A work has been begun in you in Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6), so God is clearly working on you, and in this life, you need to continue working for Him. You are waiting for Him, but you are not waiting for life. It is happening around you and there are people in your life (careful or you may trip over them) that so desperately need to hear the good news of Jesus Christ.

Scripture speaks of doing a servant's work (Matthew 25:14-30), of doing works of mercy and love in His name (Matthew 25:40). Scripture speaks of waiting for the return of Jesus.

Scripture speaks of waiting, but I do not see anywhere where it says to wait around doing nothing.

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August 23, 2010

Be Ready and Waiting

I have been thinking of the post I put up on Thursday last, of being ready for the Lord. Maybe I should expand that to be ready and waiting. For He calls us to wait (part of the maturing our faith that enables growth in our relationship to Him). I started thinking about this on the drive home Friday night, when while flipping through the dial (OK, pushing the arrow on the steering wheel) I came across Layla by Derek and the Dominos. If you do not know who Derek is, I cannot help you. There is only so much I can do.

This classic became a staple of FM rock stations in the 70's and my favorite part of the song was what I think of as the bird tweet at the very end. You had to wait for it (I said it was at the very end, did I not?). I mean, the song runs 7:04 and the tweet is at around 6:59. If the DJ started talking too soon, it was cut off by talk. So I get hit with that tweet at the end and start thinking about waiting for the good stuff.

And that is what Jesus calls us to do. Wait for the good stuff. A life here, one of sin and struggle, but it can be one that ends in salvation and safety in the arms of a loving God. But we have to wait for it. In faith. Maybe impatiently, maybe anxiously, maybe peacefully or joyfully. But waiting nonetheless. In the song above, the tweet only has meaning for me if I listen to the lengthy instrumental passage (about 4 minutes) that precedes it. It only has meaning if I wait for it. You cannot rush the good stuff.

We do not know the day we will face the Lord, but face Him we will. For now, each of us is waiting.

For those who wait in faith it will be glorious. For those who do not wait in faith, please, wait in faith.

It is going to be way better than the tweet. I would say trust me, but you need to trust in Him.

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August 20, 2010

The Never Ending Post - Part II

I feel a poem coming on, have actually felt it for several weeks now but it just will not come out of me onto the page (actually, onto the PC). It is a frustrating feeling because I know it is in there, lurking in the shadows, waiting to see the light of day. It was fueled a bit the other day seeing my brother in Christ Barry at who am i? post one himself. It wasn't a feeling of jealousy or envy; it was like - there, someone else had something come out and when is it my turn? There is a poem in there, I am sure of it.

So what else is trapped within me, within us all. Imagine the untapped potential, the bottled creativity, the dreams and plans and wishes. Is it sad or hopeful that this is all in there with no foreseeable means of escape.


Oh well, no use worrying about something I really cannot control.

But maybe it is, for quite frankly, I do not know how much I am responsible for the cranial blockage I sense is going on inside me. But since I have no idea how to unstop myself it is not going to help thinking too much about it. Maybe I need to completely forget about the problem and it will self correct (In that case, blogging about it is not going to help one bit; I sense an ending coming on).

But really, what is stored up inside us that would totally blow our minds if it came pouring out, blow the minds of all who happened across our paths in that bright blast of intellectual energy. Super nova. Explosive. Astounding. And it could be inside of each and every one of us.

Ah, the possibilities. Guess it is time to go grab a bite. Got the idea of addressing my belly instead from reading my sister in Christ Laurie over at Beauty for Ashes this morning.

I love it when a plan comes together.

August 19, 2010

Be Ready

Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming. But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.
Matthew 24:42-44(New American Standard Bible)
Today would have been my Dad's 89th birthday, he passed away at the beginning of the year. So as I started to think about him today, I guess my thoughts came around to my own stay here on earth. We are all here for what turns out to be such a brief time, the years fly by, and especially so if you take an eternal perspective on things.
I think about being prepared for the day I will face my Lord; maybe when He comes back, maybe when He calls me home. The point is, I do not know the day so I need to live my life as if it will be tomorrow.

Be ready for you know not the day.

I make decisions each day and must live with them, with the consequences of my actions or inaction. I need to do it in a way so as to be ready for Him, for how He chooses to have me face Him in that day.

Be ready for you know not.

I know what He holds important, for I have read the book He wrote for us. I am sure I do not always live as He would have me. I am grateful that He is a God of grace and mercy; I am going to need it. Yet even with that, I know I need to try harder each day to strive for obedience to His will. It is a struggle each day; not because what he asks is unreasonable, but because I am a sinner in a fallen world.

Be ready.

August 18, 2010

Be Radical



1.of or going to the root or origin; fundamental: a radical difference.

2.thoroughgoing or extreme, esp. as regards change from accepted or traditional forms: a radical change in the policy of a company.

3.favoring drastic political, economic, or social reforms: radical ideas; radical and anarchistic ideologues.

4.forming a basis or foundation.

5.existing inherently in a thing or person: radical defects of character.


6.a person who holds or follows strong convictions or extreme principles; extremist.

7.a person who advocates fundamental political, economic, and social reforms by direct and often uncompromising methods.

Radical – it is an interesting word with many definitions, I took this off and cut off a number of them in order to more easily make the point I wanted in this post. When people think of radical, they often think of definitions 3, 6 and 7. But I find 1 and 4 very interesting. I do not often think as radical as basic, fundamental, getting to the root. But there it is.

Now if I apply this to the phrase one often hears, radical Christianity, I can think of getting back to basics (think the New Testament church in the Book of Acts) rather than being extreme.

And the irony of it is that if one were to seek to get back to this kind of Christianity, this kind of basics, one would be viewed in our culture as being extreme. Imagine living out your faith as the NT church did, praying, sharing, doing life in this fashion. Radical.

Go ahead.

Be radical.

It’s pretty basic.

August 17, 2010

Be Real

air guitar


an imaginary guitar played while miming to rock music

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009

Air guitar Christians. Do they exist? Are there people who play with an imaginary faith while miming along in worship? Ahh, you betcha. And a dangerous game to play with one’s eternal soul I should think:

22"Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' 23"And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'

Matthew 7:22-23 (New American Standard Bible)

Clearly Jesus knew there were many who professed to know Him but who were going to be surprised in the final judgment. Not good. Really. Not good at all, for then there will be nothing left to turn to, but an eternity separated from God.

Authenticity in your relationship with God. make sure you have it. Whether it be with the milk of the start of a walk in faith with Jesus, or with the meat of a full, maturing relationship.

Just make sure it is not one filled with hot air only.

August 16, 2010

Just Who Do I Think I Am?

Back in February of last year, I ran a Typealyzer on my blog to see what blog type that I was. I ran it three times over 2 days and came up with three different types. Just for kicks, I ran it again and came up with a fourth type. So now I add The Thinker to The Idealist, The Artist and The Mechanic.

It is amazing that I can keep myself straight. I guess the point is that these things ar
e fun to run, but not to take too seriously. Sort of like how I should treat myself as I go through life. Maybe I should do it again to see if I am The Joker, The Penguin or possibly even Batman.

I think I know who I am, it seems my blog cannot figure me out.

INTP - The Thinkers

The logical and analytical type. They are especially attuned to difficult creative and intellectual challenges and always look for something more complex to dig into. They are great at finding subtle connections between things and imagine far-reaching implications.

They enjoy working with complex things using a lot of concepts and imaginative models of reality. Since they are not very good at seeing and understanding the needs of other people, they might come across as arrogant, impatient and insensitive to people that need some time to understand what they are talking about.

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August 13, 2010

A Daunting Thought

We are living in our lives in the place (physically, spiritually and mentally) where God permits us to be. Make no mistake about the sovereignty of God, about His ability to move us into new situations, a new place, to permit our lives to go into new directions as He so purposes for us. God can do this with an ease we cannot really understand for He is divine and in complete control over our lives.

If you are not at that place where you want to be in your life, ask yourself these questions:
  • Are you seeking Him out, seeking His will?
  • Are you actively resisting the will of God?
  • Have you done things in the past that you know were in rebellion to God, so now He has permitted you to be in a place that is not where you would have wanted?
  • Are you learning anything about yourself from where you are in your life?
  • Are you growing closer to Him?
  • Are you still in rebellion?
I think God so loves us that He permits us to be in rebellion to Him because that is the choice we make. He allows us in situations that can harm us because it is where we have chosen to go in our lives. It doesn't mean He loves us any less; it means He loves us enough to give us the choice to come to Him or not.

If you are in a situation in which you would rather not be, it may mean God has something for you to learn, it may mean you are facing the consequences of your decisions; it may mean God is planning to use you in ways you cannot imagine, to His greater glory. And for the growth of your character and love for Him.

I am not saying life is always easy or fair. It is a fallen world inhabited by sinful beings, and not always pleasant to deal with. But He has a place for us in His mansion, a life to come so joyful we cannot truly comprehend it. And all He asks is that we turn to His Son for our salvation, that we trust in Him alone and no one else.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
Romans 8:18 (New American Standard Bible)
It might not make your world any different now, but it should make it a bit more bearable. Where you are is where He has permitted you to be, based on the purposes of His will and the choices of your life. A daunting thought.

Continue your walk. I do, as I seek out my path on The Narrow Road.

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August 12, 2010

It's A Bird, It's A Plane, Better Yet, It's Mr. Softee!

Here is a blast from my past, there is now a Mr Softee truck making the rounds in my neighborhood here in DFW. Why they even have a Facebook page for the group here in Texas. I grew up hearing the sound of the Mr Softee jingle (it's the same) and seeing the Mr Softee truck parked in the neighborhood (the truck has to be different, but it sure looks the same) dispensing ice creamy goodness in cones, shakes and sundaes. Let me not wax rhapsodic nor euphoric. Let me not get started.

For someone who could lose a few pounds and then some, this is not a good thing. This is a challenge that will be met by a large measure of guilt, which is matched in silky seductiveness by a twist double cone. Ah yes, it is a great country we live in. I think Mr Softee is one of the major reasons we won the cold war and the Berlin wall came down in 1989. I'm just saying.

So here's to childhood memories, especially when they can be revisited as an adult and there is little any can do to stop the indulgence in said memories.

August 11, 2010


"A God whom we could understand exhaustively, and whose revelation of Himself confronted us with no mysteries whatsoever, would be a God in man's image, and therefore an imaginary God, not the God of the Bible at all."
J I Packer - Evangelism & The Sovereignty Of God
We cannot comprehend the sovereignty of God and the concept of human responsibility. Volumes have been written on it, and I will not even try to attempt to lay out an argument. God is sovereign but we are responsible for, accountable for, our actions. Go figure it out, I cannot (Nor can you).

I like how Packer takes it out in the above quote. Who are we to even think we can understand God? Do we even want a God we can fully understand? If we could, would not He be just one of us?

I for one am thrilled I cannot comprehend my God in all His fullness. I have faith in His character, that He is who He says He is and will do what he said He would. That is enough to comprehend.

And more than enough to live my life according to His will.

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August 10, 2010

The Never Ending Post - Part I

I have pretty much held to the belief that less is more in my blog posts. I am a short order cook, trying to hammer it out in 500 words or less. And I must confess that I have trouble reading long blog posts by others. I find that interesting, a guy who would often pick books by weight (somehow there is nothing quite like sitting down with the heft of a good book in my hands, sorry Kindle. And what good is it spilling something on a page if the screen just wipes clear? There is literary value in picking up a book and turning to the mustard smear on page 178. Now I am not saying I will never get an iPad, or a Kindle or whatever Podunk that will invented and marketed for a span of a week that will render all previous Podunki obsolete. It is just I have to get my mind around giving up the heft in my hands of a good book. There, I said it). OK, where was I?

So now, I start what will be a never ending post, and a more stream of consciousness approach will be taken (as you may have already noticed), between and within the posts. And I am still trying to decide if the plural of Podunk is Podunki or Podunks. Let's just hope that never becomes the topic of a blog post. But it will be a proper noun in any event. And before anyone says it, I know I am stretching the definition, at least as far as Wikipedia is concerned, of Podunk.

Whichever direction and howsoever a particular post plays out, I will try to have some point to it. And the point here is I think I figured out is that the Kindle type devices, designed to allow a plethora of reading material to be encapsulated into a convenient, easy to pack and to carry and to meet airline weight restrictions is missing one crucial thing. It has not the heft of a good book (now I know there are good books that lack heft, I am reading one now, Evangelism & The Sovereignty of God by J I Packer, that weighs in at 126 pages in the copy I have. Not hefty by any stretch, but I can still riffle the pages. And you cannot riffle a Kindle).
I will not be a slave to that which I crave,
I will not be bereft of things that have heft,
I will not let my mind cloud by being proud,
I will not be a punk about Podunk
And you cannot riffle a Kindle.

To be continued, somewhere down the line on The Narrow Road.

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August 9, 2010

Stay Out of His Way

"For it is not true that some Christians believe in divine sovereignty while others hold an opposite view. What is true is that all Christians believe in divine sovereignty, but some are not aware they do, and mistakenly imagine and insist that they reject it. What causes this odd state of affairs? The root cause is the same a sin most cases of error in the Church - the intruding of rationalistic speculations, the passion for systematic consistency, a reluctance to recognize the existence of mystery and to let God be wiser than men, and a consequent subjecting of Scripture to the supposed demands of human logic."
J I Packer - Evangelism & The Sovereignty Of God

Finished Pascal and started reading Packer. I find this much easier to wrap my mind around; I am almost relieved to be moving on. Need to finish this book before I start reading for the next seminary class. This quote struck me in that I have always been suspicious (since I became a Christian that is) of man's attempts to put God in a box instead of leaving Him in the book He wrote for us. I struggle in class at times with those theories and systems that seem all too man-made and not enough God honoring.

I worry about attempts to explain God too fully, which in my mind goes beyond our natural inquisitiveness and winds smack dab in the middle of a heart of pride. He is divine and incomprehensible to the finite mind; He is depths no one can fathom or plumb to their full extent. We try too hard to accomplish what we can never achieve - a full understanding of God. Fortunately, He has a full understanding of us and permits these feeble attempts without letting them diminish His love for us.

So I try to focus on Him rather than trying to master Him, I try to stay out of His way. I need to understand a good deal about God so as to understand how to live my life faithfully to His will, but I do not need to fully comprehend Him to do so. To try is the height of pride and foolishness.

As a result, it would be better to first approach a brother and sister in Christ looking for that common element of faith in Him; salvation through Him alone, trust in Him not self; than to try to haggle over those man-made systems and differences we throw out to defend our own prideful positions.

Get on The Narrow Road and stay out of His way.

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August 7, 2010

Oh, The Things You'll Never Know

I have been thinking a lot lately about how the amount of knowledge I actually have is actually shrinking. Well, not shrinking (except for the brittle edges of memory that now seem to crumble off into oblivion on a regular basis, as I forget things I once knew, and even forget that I once knew them), as an absolute amount, but as a relative amount.

There is a whole growing body of knowledge which I know little or nothing about. There are references Facebook friends make to people, or music, or whatever that causes me to go...huh? There are people high up on all the Twitter lists that I have no idea what they actually do. Products are being sold that I have no idea exist, let alone want to buy or would know what to do with them if I did. A whole world to which I am blissfully ignorant and happily clueless about.

And it is getting worse day by day. As time goes by, I become more increasingly irrelevant as it pertains to the current popular culture. More information requires a bigger container, one which we cannot keep filled up with our personal knowledge of things. That's the bad news. The good news is that I am not alone, it is happening to all of you as well.

All of you.

Even those that are with it in today's culture (and I am so far out of it, I do not even know what the current term to use is.My goal is to get so retro I actually become current again, if only for the novelty I bring to the table). Yes, even the young of body are just a step away from the slippery slope of cultural bypass brought on by being around long enough that a younger, hipper (another musty word I am most sure) model comes along. Welcome to the party pal.

But there is hope. With all the maturity of one's years comes the realization that it really doesn't matter. Let the young have their fads. We had ours and now realize most of them were pretty fleeting (can you say polyester leisure suit?) in impact and importance.

So how do I cope? By holding on to what has become important to me: my faith, the wisdom I have acquired mostly through the mistakes I have made, family and friends. And what can I do? Try to pass on the knowledge I have gained to those a little higher up the slope than me because they haven't slid as much yet. And realizing how much of what is taking up our time today will begin to fade tomorrow.

Keep the important things the important things. That's how I stay relevant.

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August 6, 2010

Crime Against Society

As I came down my driveway this morning, I was witness to the aftermath of some sick and tormented soul perpetrating a crime in my neighborhood. There across the drive were about a half dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts scattered about with a crushed box tossed aside. I stopped, and with tears in my eyes, I picked up and threw out the victims. I mean, some harmless little doughnuts, life snuffed out before they could serve mankind in a gesture of sweet goodness. Life can be so hard some days.

It wasn’t until I started driving down the block that I noticed the full horror in store for a waking neighborhood. More crushed boxes and scattered doughnuts. Down the block, around the corner, down the next street and up to the main road, probably 15 or so boxes in all.

Was it a gang fight (the Krispy Kremers, who have glazed icing and grape jelly as their gang colors) or an exploding delivery truck? A police shootout with the Krispy Kreme bandit? What devilry transpired on those quiet streets in the darkest hours of night, when respectable people were sound asleep, safe within their homes? I do not know, I’ll have to check the police blotter report in my local paper this week to mine out the details.

All I know is that I have the image of dozens of these precious doughnuts; scattered in driveways and across lawns, in the middle of streets. Some broken, some crushed, all lying lifeless and growing stale in the warm morning air.

Oh, the humanity!

Signs of Strength

"There is no surer sign of extreme weakness of mind than the failure to recognize the unhappy state of a man without God; there is no surer sign of an evil heart than failure to desire that the eternal promises be true; nothing is more cowardly than to brazen it out with God. Let them then leave such impiety to those ill-bred enough to be really capable of it; let them at least be decent people if they cannot be Christians; let them, in short, acknowledge that there are only two classes of persons who can be called reasonable: those who serve God with all their heart because they know him and those who seek him with all their heart because they do not know him."
Blaise Pascal - Pensées
Pascal's claim here flies in the face of what our culture today would have us believe. It seems to be a more popular opinion today that being Christian is to acknowledge some sort of weakness of mind or character, some flaw of intolerance that runs through the Christian and flows out into a professed worldview that is not in synch with how the world runs today. This passage from Pascal will not be popular but it is a comfort to those who have embraced Jesus as their salvation; it takes a strength of mind to do so and be bold and open about it. To take a stand for Christ requires the strength of taking a stand with Christ; that is, a stand against a fallen world that so desperately needs Him as Savior.

My reading of the gospel accounts forms up a clear picture in my mind of Christ as an incredibly strong man. He took on the power elite of His day and did so without fear or concern of the consequences. In fact, He knew what would come of it. And He did it anyway for us.

I am weak, I need Jesus to save me or I would be doomed, I would be lost.

I am weak, and I am strong enough to admit it.

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August 5, 2010

The Devil Is In the Liverwurst

Not really, but I thought it was a title that might actually attract some attention. We just had a brown bag lunch discussion with our ministry staff and I had a liverwurst sandwich for lunch. Well, I actually ate it before the discussion because I was hungry and could not wait, plus I moderated discussion and wanted to be free for that. No, the devil did not make me do it.

The topic for discussion was how could Satan hinder our efforts and what could we do to combat that. I will not get into the specifics of what we discussed but there are certain themes that came across:

  • You don’t need to do it – a loss of focus or a distraction to keep you from doing what is important to do
  • You are not good enough – a sense that you efforts might not measure up ( to some unidentifiable standard perhaps), that others can do it better than you so why bother trying
  • You are doing the wrong things – a feeling that what you are doing or would be doing just isn’t the right thing to do

My solution, and the main line defense against these types of spiritual attacks?

Take it to the Lord in prayer my friend, ask Him to help you sort it out and get back on The Narrow Road that He has set for your life.

August 4, 2010

What We Must Learn Cannot Be Taught

In my last post, I talked about the need to teach, not just model a faith in Christ. Today I want to follow up that although we need to evangelize and disciple people; there are some things that just cannot be taught, they have to be learned. And that learning usually comes through experience.

You cannot argue someone into heaven. I do not know who said that, I wish I did. It is so true. While we are called to share our faith, it is the drawing of the Holy Spirit that brings someone to a saving faith in Jesus Christ. We bring Christ to people, we do not bring people to Christ. God does the hard part, He just asks us to share His Son with others as Jesus has been shared with us.

Everyone needs to experience the saving power of faith in Christ alone for themselves. It must be learned by each person, but it cannot be taught by any of us.

Take the burden off yourself by presenting Christ to someone who does not have that saving faith. Know that they will learn it by experiencing it for themselves through the agency of the Holy Spirit.

And pray daily that people will learn from you what you cannot teach them.

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August 2, 2010

Learning by Looking?

"...we do not become rich by seeing a rich stranger."
Blaise Pascal, Pensées
This is a piece of a passage in Pensées, a part of a sentence, but it made me stop and think. Somethings cannot be learned by observation, they need to be taught. I think this applies to how we live our lives and how we evangelize others as to our faith in Jesus Christ. Live to a Christian worldview, live in a Christ-like manner, most definitely. At least, to the extent you can as you struggle with your own sinful nature. It is how you would have others see you model Christ in your life.

But you cannot stop there. Watching try to be a better Christian is not going to help anyone else try to be a Christian. You must evangelize, you must disciple. You must educate and encourage. You must edify and exhort. (You must stop alliterating).

People can learn a lot about you from watching you live your life, but it is more likely going to make them curious as to how you how that inner calm and peace; how is it you get through life's struggles in a way that others watching cannot seem to do.

You need to stop being an object of observation and curiosity and start being a presenter of the good news of Jesus.

Teach by living, yes. But also teach by sharing what he has given you.

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