Monday, September 6, 2010
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
This is a Special November 1st Edition of Three things:
1. I am adopted. And if you know Jesus, according to Ephesians 1:4-5, so are you. Mrs. Underdog and I love the picture of the gospel that is contained within the act of adoption. And although we do not currently have plans to adopt (take a deep breath Mom and Dad!), we have a growing passion to help people that want to adopt.
So, with that in mind, I will be running a half-marathon to help raise funds for families that want to adopt. Slow, unathletic dude running? Adoptions? Seems pretty disassociated, right? Not if I am going to run in the Marathon for Adoption (http://www.marathonforadoption.com/) that is coming up at the end of October!
So, I can hear you asking, how can I help a middle-aged jogger reach his Chariots of Fire dreams and help orphans at the same time? Glad you asked! I don't know yet. I will have more details in the next couple of weeks.
Until then, pray for my training. I had planned to run a race at the end of November and this accelerates my schedule by about a month.
2. Just to prove that our family is really deep, here was the line of conversation at the dinner table tonight:
This chicken is really good.--->Can chickens smile?--->I wonder if these chickens were related?--->Are chickens emotionally stable animals?--->Are all chickens anti-death penalty?---->If chickens had a theology, what would it look like?--->Where would the farmer figure fit within chicken theology?
We are deep thinkers, I tell ya.
3. And finally, it is nearly impossble not to laugh at this clip. Make sure you turn the sound up....
Marriage is not mainly about prospering economically; it is mainly about displaying the covenant-keeping love between Christ and his church. Knowing Christ is more important than making a living. Treasuring Christ is more important than bearing children. Being united to Christ by faith is a greater source of material success than perfect sex and double-income prosperity.
So it is with marriage. It is a momentary gift. It may last a lifetime, or it may be snatched away on the honeymoon. Either way, it is short. It may have many bright days, or it may be covered with clouds. If we make secondary things primary, we will be embittered at the sorrows we must face. But if we set our face to make of marriage mainly what God designed it to be, no sorrows and no calamities can stand in our way. Every one of them will be, not an obstacle to success, but a way to succeed. The beauty of the covenant-keeping love between Christ and his church shines brightest when nothing but Christ can sustain it.
---- John Piper
Monday, August 30, 2010
Friday, August 27, 2010
In a lot of evangelicals circles there is an underlying premise that we give to God in a way that adds to Him in some fashion. That by singing praises to God, we contribute to His glory. That our generosity in giving helps God in achieving His purposes. And although this sounds great, it is a dangerous line of thinking that ultimately leads to really bad theology. The point that I was trying to make is that God did not make us out of any sort of deficiency or need. Act 17:25 says that "God is not served by human hands as though he needed anything, for he himself gives to all men life and breath and everything." The Trinity was completely fulfilled and satisfied without us. God is glorious in every possible way. He needs nothing. Ever.
Our worship is important because God commands and desires it. But He does not demand our worship because it fills some void in Him. Worship is for our benefit, because it re-orients us towards what is True and Pure and Good, towards What is Eternally and Completely deserving of praise. And even our worship originates with Him as He gives us spiritual eyes to see Him.
I hope this makes sense. I fear it may be clear as mud. :)
Here is the quote from the sermon that initiated my thoughts on this:
We were created continuously outpouring. Note that I did not say we were created to be continuous outpourers. Nor can I dare imply that we were created to worship. This would suggest that God is an incomplete person whose need for something ourside himself (worship) completes his sense of self. It might not even be safe to say that we were created for worship, because the inference can be drawn that worship is a capacity that can be separated out and eventually relegated to one of several categories of being. I believe that it is strategically important, therefore, to say that we were created continuously outpouring - we were created in that condition, at that instant, imago Dei.
---Harold Best, Unceasing Worship, Biblical Perspectives on Worship and the Arts via Mark Driscoll
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Monday, August 16, 2010
Friday, August 13, 2010
2. I read a post about an incredible cheeseburger. I consider myself a conissseur of sorts. But Peanut Butter on a cheeseburger? Really? Guess I will just have to try that.....
Thursday, August 12, 2010
The old couple entered the room and took a seat in the second row. They stood out to me because the rest of the crowd consisted of ambitious twenty somethings. As I spent the morning at Wycliffe Bible Translators, I found that just about everybody was younger than me. Except for this couple.
As the chapel service began, this elderly man and his wife were asked to come to the front of the room. They slowly rose from their seats and half-walked, half-teetered to the podium. The president of the school introduced them and then presented them with a plaque. The plaque was to recognize 50 years of mission work translating and teaching the Bible in the small places of the world. Despite their hunched backs and slow pace, their countenances were bright and filled with the kind of indescribable contentment reserved for battled tested saints.
As they received the award and the applause that erupted, the president asked this question: "There are many young people here training to go and translate the Scriptures. What advice do you have for them?"
"Don't give up", said the gentleman with a grin.
The president waited for more, but the longer the silence continued, it became apparent the answer was complete.
"Uh, could you expand on that a little?"
The missionary gave this reply, "Never give up. God brought us together at the University of Michigan and we fell in love with Wycliffe. The idea of working with languages and translating was appealing to both of us. So we went into the field. In the early years it was often just the two of us in a village with very little field support. And the translation work was slow. And we got sick. We have raised children and both of us have beaten cancer. It was often very difficult and the devil said to us, 'You don't need this. Go home and enjoy the rest of your life.' But we stayed. And looking back at all that God has done with us and through us, life contains no regrets. Never give up because you don't know what God is doing."
I later found out that that couple was a key component in four complete Bible translation projects where there was previously no written language. They also taught basic Bible study methods to new believers in over 50 countries.
Never give up.
Monday, August 9, 2010
Friday, August 6, 2010
Me: I think I would like to be a villian someday.
Wife: And your name would be?
Me: Probably something like.....General Armpit.
Wife (already laughing at her own joke): First name Harry?
Me: General Harry Armpit. Sounds good....
Car conversation #2
Me: I think there is such a thing as a dumb question.
Wife: Like what?
Me (holding up a coffee cup):Like....Is this a banana?
Me: Or....Do you believe in ketchup? Or...Are you a fruit?
Wife (slightly worried): Have you been thinking a lot about this?
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Saturday, July 31, 2010
The last form of prayer that I do daily is prayer with my wife, Kathy. About nine years ago Kathy and I were contemplating the fact that we had largely failed to pray together over the years. Then Kathy exhorted me like this. "What if our doctor told us that we had a serious heart condition that in the past was always fatal. However, now there was a pill which, if we took it every night, would keep us alive for years and years. But you could never miss a single night, or you would die. If our doctor told us this and we believed it, we would never miss. We would never say, 'oh I didn't get to it.' We would do it. Right? Well, if we don't pray together every night, we are going to spiritually die." I realized she was right. And for some reason, the penny dropped for us both, and we can't remember missing a night since. Even if we are far away from each other, there's always the phone. We pray very, very simply - just a couple of minutes. We pray for whatever we are most worried about as a couple, anyone or anything on our hearts that day. And we pray through the needs of our family. That's it. Simple, but so, so good.
Have mercy on me, Lord Jesus.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Monday, July 26, 2010
Saturday, July 24, 2010
1. I have been experimenting with invisible tattoos. I have given myself a few including a great, fierce tiger on my forearm. The benefits of invisible tattoos is that you get to be trendy and cool without spending a lot of money. And alhtough no one can really see them that well, invisible tattoos don't age poorly. In forty years my tiger will not resemble a bloated striped walrus.
2. We have these "pay by the ounce" frozen yogurt places going up everywhere. The concept is that you fill your bowl with allow the yogurt and fruit or candy toppings you desire and they charge you by weight. They use the soft serve machines with the lever that you pull and the yogurty goodness emerges from the spout below. I have secretly had fantasies about just putting my mouth under the spout of the peanut butter yogurt machine and letting the perfect yogurty goodness run over.
And yes, I used the phrase yogurty goodness twice (uh, three time now). I may get an invisible tattoo of myself gorging myself on Peanut Butter frozen yogurt.
3. Does it make me a complete wuss that I got misty at the end of the movie Dreamer last night. Yeah, it does. But that horse won that race against incredible odds and saved the farm and helped so many people deal with their dysfunctional family issues. Doesn't a horse story like that deserve a few man tears? I think that I will probably get the corner of my man card clipped for this.....
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
1. It is easy to exchange God centered-ness for church centered-ness or family centered-ness or Bible study centered-ness or marriage centered-ness. All of these things are intended for our santification, but none are a substitute for God Himself.
2. On a lighter note, my parents didn't like the movie "How To Train Your Dragon". Maybe it is because they saw the title and were expecting a documentary?
3. I am taking the boys to their first Major League Baseball game next week. One of my readers has a way to upgrade from outfield seats to luxury suites. Any tips for us, Miss Igarashi?
Friday, July 16, 2010
Whenever people's sense of assurance of salvation is expressed in the first person, something is amiss. When the question "How do you know God will accept you?" is answered by "I have Jesus in my heart, " "I asked Jesus into my life, " "The Holy Spirit is in me, " and so on, the real gospel basis for assurance needs to be reviewed. We rejoice when the answer comes in the third person: "God gave his only Son to die on the cross for me, " "Jesus died, rose, and is in heaven for me." When the focus is on the finished and perfect work of Christ, rather than on the yet unfinished work of the Spirit in me, the grounds for assurance are in place.
- Graeme Goldsworthy, Preaching the Whole Bible As Christian Scripture: The Application of Biblical Theology to Expository Preaching, 95
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
2. I had trout for lunch. And I think I might be able to get my two year old to eat trout if he thought it was dragon. He is a big How To Train Your Dragon fan at the moment. (If you haven't seen that movie, I recommend it highly. Better than that overrated Toy Story 3, I tell ya.)
3. Finally, take a moment to read this post. This is one of the best pieces I have read in months. I can't get it out of my head.
Monday, July 12, 2010
1. Like a slow working poison, my finely honed talent for being a timely smart alec is fading into....maturity. I feel terrible about it. It is effecting my blogging. I am reading more complicated books. I have tried everything: Looney Tunes, The Muppet Show, hanging out with teenagers, etc. But without some sort of intervention, Smart Alec Me will soon perish.
2. I am reading a biogrpahy about Warren Buffett. He is a really interesting guy, partly because you would not suspect the richest guy on earth to be humble. In the first chapter, he tells his biographer, "If I give you one version of a story and someone tells one that is different, include the less flattering one in the book."
3. I am more convinced that ever that the publishing of too many "Christian" books is doing more harm to the church than good. We need fewer people speed reading many books and more people concentrating on going deep with few books. Too many people rely upon the authors they read to do their Scriptural meditation for them, instead of thinking deeply about the things of God.
"[Our failure] in our duty to study God's Word...is not a lack of intelligence or passion. Our problem is that we are lazy." --- RC Sproul
And I am the worst of all men at dithering about in the shallow end of the pool.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
On Resurrection Letters Vol II
Thursday, July 1, 2010
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Friday, June 25, 2010
2. Totally different subject. While Mrs. Underdog was out tonight, I decided to watch the post mortem concert video they did for Michael Jackson called This Is It. I know, I am a complete loser. A couple of observations. That man had charisma that was off the charts. Jackson took the talent he had and maximized it in a way like no other entertainer has to date. That said, it is also obvious that god-like status had destroyed him and sapped the meaning from life for him. Mr. Jackson meet King Solomon. Oh yeah, and that series of shows in London they had planned (there were 30 concert dates) would have been unlike any thing ever done before on stage. Endless funds make for amazing effects.
3. I want to read a book sometime. Just one. And something not authored by Dr. Seuss.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
27 million – Number of people in modern-day slavery across the world.
800,000 – Number of people trafficked across international borders every year.
50% – Percent of transnational victims who are children.
1 million – Number of children exploited by the global commercial sex trade, every year.
70% – Percent of female victims who are trafficked into the commercial sex industry. This means that 30% of female victims are victims of forced labor.
4 - Age of the youngest victims in the global sex trade.
I am not trying to convince anyone to get involved in abolition*. But, if you are a Christian, get off the sidelines and get in the game. Abortion. AIDS. Slavery. Prison. Addictions. Opportunities abound to get in the fray.
Do something to fight evil. Give money. Give time. Pray.
* This blog provides a good list of organizations that are on the front lines of the modern day abolition movement.
I am afraid that my blog writer's block continues, but read the following article today and I am going to post it in it's entirety.
You're either going to go out like Judas or Jesus—that's how your life is going to end. You're going to go out like Jesus, faithful to the end, whatever the cost, or you're going to go out like Judas, prematurely, tragically, rebelliously, shamefully. I want you to keep your boots on, finish strong, run your race, see it through to the end, be a completer, a finisher, a closer of the things God has given you to do.
As you read this, maybe you're like me, you may wonder, "What happened to these guys?" We know in the Bible, they went forward. Some of them were cowards, but they toughened up. The resurrection put some steel in their spine. They preached, they taught, they planted churches. John wrote five books of the Bible, Peter wrote two. These guys did get some stuff done, but the Bible doesn't tell us how they finished—for that we've got to go to history. Did they die with their boots on? Here are some of their stories from Foxe's Book of Martyrs. It was first written in 1559, and it's fantastic. Gotta love the Puritans.
Wonder how James died?
The first apostle to suffer after the martyrdom of Stephen was James, the brother of John. Clement tells us when this James was brought to the tribunal seat, he that brought him and was the cause of his trouble, seeing him to be condemned and that he should suffer death, was in such sort moved within heart and conscience that he went to the execution and confessed himself also of his own accord to be a Christian. And so were they led forth together, where in the way he desired of James to forgive him what he had done. After James had a little pause with himself upon the matter, turning to him he said, "Peace to thee, my brother," and kissed him, and both were beheaded.
"Thomas preached to the Parthians, Medes, Persians, Carmenians, Hyrcanians, Bactrians, and Margians. He was killed in Calamina, India." Most of these men died murderous martyrdom. You know what? Mars Hill Church would be much smaller but much holier, more effective, more fruitful, I think, if we had a little bit of suffering. Can't make it happen, I've tried. But what happens is when people start giving their life for the cause of the gospel, all of a sudden those who are playing church stop playing. They either step up for Jesus, and go from "come and see" to "go and die," or like Judas, they just walk away and go do something else.
"Simon, brother of Jude and James the younger who were all the sons of Mary Cleophas and Alphaeus, was bishop of Jerusalem after James," Jesus' brother. "He was crucified in Egypt." Crucified. Dietrich Bonhoeffer said it well: "When Christ calls a man, he calls him to come and die." Come and die. When Jesus says, "Pick up your cross and follow me," that's what it means to be a disciple, that you go the way of Jesus. You give your life for what he gave his life to, the glory of God and the good of others for the church. "The other Simon, the apostle, he was also crucified."
"Bartholomew is said to have preached in India and translated the Gospel of Matthew into their tongue. He was beaten, crucified, and beheaded."
Andrew, Peter's brother, was crucified. Bernard and St. Cyprian mentioned the confession and martyrdom of this blessed apostle. Partly from them and partly from other reliable writers, we gather the following material:
Whereupon Andrew replied, [and this is an amazing line] "I would not have preached the honor and glory of the cross if I feared the death of the cross." He was condemned to be crucified for teaching a new sect and taking away the religion of the Roman gods. Andrew, going toward the place of execution, and seeing the cross waiting for him, never changed his expression, neither did he fail in his speech. His body fainted not, nor did his reason fail him as often happens to men about to die. He said, "'Oh cross, most welcome and longed for, with a willing mind, joyfully and desirously I come to you being the scholar of him which did hang on you because I have always been your lover and yearn to embrace you."
"You boys want to crucify me? There's a good spot, go for it. I belong to Jesus."
"Matthew wrote his Gospel to the Jews in the Hebrew tongue after he had converted Ethiopia and all Egypt. Hircanius, the king, sent someone to kill him with a spear."
"After years of preaching to the barbarous nations, Philip was stoned, crucified, and buried with his daughter."
The first of the ten persecutions was stirred up by Nero about 64 A.D. His rage against Christians was so fierce that Eusebius records, "A man might then see cities full of men's bodies, the old lying together with the young, and the dead bodies of women cast out naked without reverence of that sex in the open streets." Many Christians in those days thought that Nero was the Antichrist because of his cruelty and abominations. The Apostle Peter was condemned to death during this persecution. Although some say that he escaped, it is known that many Christians encouraged him to leave the city and the story goes that as he came to the city gates, Peter saw Jesus coming to meet him. "Lord, where are you going?" Peter asked. "I am coming again to be crucified," was the answer. Seeing that his suffering was understood, Peter turned around, returned to the city where Jerome tells us he was crucified upside down at his own request, saying he was not worthy to be crucified the same way his Lord was.
"The second persecution began during the reign of Domitian, the brother of Titus. Domitian exiled John to the island of Patmos." It's an actual spot and I've been there. "But on Domitian's death, John was allowed to return to Ephesus in the year A.D. 70. He remained there until the reign of Trajan, governing the churches of Asia, and writing his Gospel until he died at about the age of one hundred."
But at a hundred, he may have had a lot of scars on his body, because before they exiled him, they tried to kill him. They boiled him alive, and he lived through it, so they exiled him for a while. He got out and wrote books of the Bible, as a boiled old man.
We're glad you come and see. You need to go and die.
Father God, I pray for us as a people. We're in a day where we get a lot of come-and-see. There are free sermons on the Internet, classes, training, Christian music, radio stations, radio preachers, church events, mass crusades, services, small groups. It seems, Lord God, like there are more come-and-see opportunities than any people have ever been offered in the history of the world. And God, we rejoice in the come-and-see opportunities. We rejoice that people come to hear the Bible and see lives change through Jesus.
But God, I pray for the grace of the Holy Spirit and the hearts and minds and the lives of our people, that they would respond to your call to become Christians, that they would respond to your call to persevere as Christians, that they would give like Christians should give, that they would serve like Christians should serve, that they would suffer like Christians should suffer, that they would testify like Christians should testify, and Lord God, I pray for the grace of the Holy Spirit on us as a people that we wouldn't just be a come-and-see people, that we'd be a go-and-die people.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
First, this reader refuses to visit us in Texas and now this relentless exhortation to being writing blog posts again. I mean, its hot here in Texas, not moderately cool like, say, you know, Joplin. Its so hot that to get tomato soup, we just go to the garden, pick a couple of tomatoes, and cut them in half.
And you expect me to blog under these conditions?
And keep in mind that humidity makes me incoherent. I'm not that good at the English thing to begin with, but then you pile on humidity and I might as well be typing Tweets with my toes while blindfolded.
Oh, yeah, and I can read your mind as you read this post. I am not complaining. I have advanced beyond that. I whine.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
1. If a Father had a fun fund to fund, how much fun could an underfunded, unfunny fun fund fund?
1a. I'm sorry.
2. I think the difference between solitude and loneliness is having someone to go home to.
3. I have to go to Washington DC next week to man a conference booth. The theme of our booth is hope and change. I bet it will make us a very popular booth at first. But when the masses realize we have no plan and no ability to deliver on a single thing we promise, we will become annoying and irrelevant. At that point, we will just spend like drunk sailors and when problems arise we will just talk about how "complicated" things are. I think thats what everyone does when they go to Washington DC, right?
Saturday, June 5, 2010
And we will have to take on a car payment again. What really bums me out is that we had just paid off our credit card balance. We had plans to attack paying off the family van. We had just donated some money that we felt led to give. And then Blue goes kaput.
I am not complaining. I know families that are in pretty dire straits with husbands that want to work and cannot find jobs. But there is a sense of irony in the timing of Blue's death. The over arching question of life is front and center once again. Through circumstances we could not have foreseen, God is asking "Do you trust Me?".
2. I am also sad about the death of John Wooden. He was a good man. His basketball accomplishments will rightly receive a lot of attention. But the man off the court was an outstanding example of a husband and father. Read the following about his wife, Nell:
Junior high school sweethearts, they were married 53 years until Nell died in 1985. To this day, he writes her a love note every month and sets it on her side of the bed. He has never kissed anyone else.
I once asked him if we could write a book together about how to make love last. He agreed—until the day we were to start. I'd been waiting on his porch for half an hour when he finally opened the door, tears streaming down his face. "It's too soon," he wept. And Nell had been dead 15 years by then.
I want to love like that.
3. List for the day:
- Pray that God will provide the right car at the right price.
- Clean the kitchen and garage.
- BBQ (at home) tonight with my wife for date night?
- Sneak in a nap.
Not neccessarily in that order....
Thursday, June 3, 2010
----From Michael Kelley's blog
1. I now have 10 people officially following my blog. This made me feel important until I understood that one was a waterfowl and another did it accidently and couldn't figure out how to undo it. Fame is such a burden.
2. You know the summer is going to be hot when people in Southern India tell you it is hotter in Texas than it is where they live. We might see 105 degrees this weekend. In June.
3. I really want to buy a television just so I can watch Planet Earth and Life DVDs in high definition. I mean, look at this trailer and tell me you don't want to see that frog tongue in high def. In other news, Father's Day is right around the corner.
Friday, May 28, 2010
Thursday, May 27, 2010
2. Every time I have played golf in the past ten years, Tiger Woods ineveitably comes up sometime during the round. I played in a golf scramble and Tiger was never mentioned. His reputation is in complete ruins.
3. I never watched the LOST series. But I am amazed at the hope that was invested in a tidy, clean, meaningful end to the show. But in our post-modern age, I think it was foolish to believe that there would be a satisfying conclusion. No, our stories are no longer as interested in ending with truth as they are in creating pointless conversations.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
But I wanted to post this today.
If this doesn't make you laugh for joy, you need help. Seriously.
There’s a story told, from Civil War days before America’s slaves were freed, about a northerner who went to a slave auction and purchased a young slave girl. As they walked away from the auction, the man turned to the girl and told her, “You’re free.”
With amazement she responded, “You mean, I’m free to do whatever I want?”
“Yes,” he said. “And to say whatever I want to say?” “Yes, anything.” “And to be whatever I want to be?”
“Yep.” “And even go wherever I want to go?” “Yes,” he answered with a smile.
“You’re free to go wherever you’d like.”
She looked at him intently and replied, “Then I will go with you.”
Jesus has come to the slave market. He came to us there because we could not go to him. He came and purchased us with his blood so we would no longer be a slave to sin but a slave to Christ, which is the essence of freedom.
And now there’s no freer place to be in life than going with him—with the One who is himself our true liberty.
- Tullian Tchividjian, Surprised by Grace: God's Relentless Pursuit of Rebels, 182
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Monday, May 17, 2010
Sunday, May 16, 2010
In other news, pastors in Haiti are preparing for an influx of homeless, hungry people when the seasonal torrential rains obliterate the tent villages that went up after an earthquake destroyed their entire country.
I HAVE AN IDEA! Maybe the FBC Dallas people could "make do" with their already beautiful campus and give the $115 million to help people in Haiti stay alive.....
Gotta have that green space, you know.
And multi-level parking.
You should avoid seeing this movie. Unless you like stuff that is horrible beyond words.
Friday, May 14, 2010
Every once in a while, I hear in a song something of the endless grace that is and that is to come. Songs with the gravity of spectacular Truth. Often, that song is by Andrew Peterson. Here you can hear a new song called "The Reckoning" from Andrew's upcoming album.
Praise Jesus for songs that remind us of who we are and who we will become.
"The things I thought were so important - because of the effort I put into them - have turned out to be of small value. And the things I never thought about, the things I was never able to either to measure or to expect, were the things that mattered." --Thomas Merton
"Jesus came to raise the dead. He did not come to teach the teachable; He did not come to improve the improvable; He did not come to reform the reformable. None of those things works." --Robert Farrar Capon
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Jesus commands bread to reproduce and it does.
Jesus commands water to become great wine and it does.
Jesus commands water to become solid beneath His feet and it does.
Jesus commands a sightless eye to see and it does.
Jesus commands a demon to leave a man forever and it does.
Jesus commands the weather to change and it does.
Jesus commands a fig tree to die and it does.
Monday, May 10, 2010
Richard Wurmbrand tells a story that illustrates the necessity of believing God for good, unseen purposes, when all we can see is evil and frustration:
A legend says that Moses once sat near a well in meditation. A wayfarer stopped to drink from the well and when he did so his purse fell from his girdle into the sand. The man departed. Shortly afterwards another man passed near the well, saw the purse and picked it up. Later a third man stopped to assuage his thirst and went to sleep in the shadow of the well. Meanwhile, the first man had discovered that his purse was missing and assuming that he must have lost it at the well, returned, awoke the sleeper (who of course knew nothing) and demanded his money back. An argument followed, and irate, the first man slew the latter. Where upon Moses said to God, “You see, therefore men do not believe you. There is too much evil and injustice in the world. Why should the first man have lost his purse and then become a murderer? Why should the second have gotten a purse full of gold without having worked for it? The third was completely innocent. Why was he slain?”
God answered, “For once and only once, I will give you an explanation. I cannot do it at every step. The first man was a thief’s son. The purse contained money stolen by his father from the father of the second man, who finding the purse only found what was due him. The third was a murderer whose crime had never been revealed and who received from the first the punishment he deserved. In the future believe that there is sense and righteousness in what transpires even when you do not understand.”
---(100 Prison Meditations, 6-7)
Maybe a better question: I wonder if this could happen in me?
“The evening meeting connected with the Bible conference began January 6th, in the Central Church [in Pyungyang], with more than 1500 men present. . . . After a short sermon, . . . man after man would rise, confess his sin, break down and weep, and then throw himself on the floor and beat the floor with his fists in a perfect agony of conviction. . . . Sometimes, after a confession, the whole audience would break out into audible prayer, and the effect of that audience of hundreds of men praying together in audible prayer was something indescribable. Again, after another confession, they would break out into uncontrollable weeping and we would all weep together. We couldn’t help it. And so the meeting went on until 2 A.M., with confession and weeping and praying. . . . We had prayed to God for an outpouring of his Holy Spirit upon the people, and it had come.”
--- Eyewitness account, quoted in Young-Hoon Lee, “Korean Pentecost: The Great Revival of 1907,” AJPS 4 (2001): 77. (Source)
Come, Holy Spirit, and make me see.
Sunday, May 9, 2010
2. I saw a t-shirt a couple of days ago that I thought was pretty clever. It said: "Sin is like chocolate covered feces." Sounds about right.
3. Mrs. Underdog will be in bed for the next five days straight. At first that sounds pretty good, getting to nap whenever you want and having a handsome, spectacularly intelligent gentleman wait on you hand and foot. But I guess that after 48 hours, being stuck in bed is like a little prison.
Friday, May 7, 2010
Thursday, May 6, 2010
Then the Lord said to (Moses), "Who has made man's mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord?" (Exodus 4:11)
As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" Jesus answered, "It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him." (John 9:1-3)
To be clear, God's sovereignty doesn't mean he merely permits disability. These verses show us that he sovereignly intends it, both for his glory and for our good—"that the works of God might be displayed." (Source)
I struggle that I struggle with this truth. But God's glory is often magnified through circumstances that we would not choose. And God works all things for the good of those that love him and are called according to His purpose. So that not even suffering is not outside His sovereignty, but is central to His purposes.
Whether I like it or not.
1. It is based on a sermon series that I thought was very good.
2. The book is free, a price most people can afford.
3. The church needs people that recognize that The American Dream has more in common with the Prosperity gospel that it does with the commands of Jesus.
If you are ticked off at that last comment, you should get the book and then get back to me. Here is the link to get a free copy of David Platt's book The Radical Question.
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
C. S. Lewis, quoted in R. L. Green and W. Hooper, C. S. Lewis: A Biography (New York, 1974), page 115.
I need to get a pipe, I think....
Monday, May 3, 2010
Parents, especially young parents, aren’t you tired of trying to get it all right? Aren’t you tired of trying to discipline your kids by the book? Aren’t you tired of trying to match up with other families? Aren’t you tired of trying to do A + B and never getting C? Let’s admit it. There’s only so much we can do. God must do the rest.
So let’s be faithful in what we can do. Let’s sow the seed of the gospel. Let’s teach it. Let’s live it. And let’s pray it for our kids. And when the day is done, let’s rest. Let’s rest well.
After all, that’s the wonder of the gospel! As John MacArthur says, “you sow the seed, you go to sleep, and it grows” (Mark 4:27).
I have argued for quite some time that the value of most "parenting" books is almost nil. The sum effect of most is to make parents feel like they will never measure up to the style or schedule or adult kids of the "uber-parent" that felt compelled to share their success with the masses. I usually feel like C- middle school kid getting lectured by the Ivy League of parenting studs.
Despite our best attempts at parenting, I am more and more convinced that it is a miracle that any child does well in life. I have seen kids from "good" families go "bad" and vice versa. It think that the key to parenting is embedded in paragraphs above. Preach the gospel, pray for your kids, and trust that their Heavenly Father loves your kids more than you ever will.
God will give grace for your poor parenting decisions and humility will inevitably follow any good parenting decisions. Jesus will gently lead sheep with young sheep:
(Jesus) will tend his flock like a shepherd;
he will gather the lambs in his arms;
he will carry them in his bosom,
and gently lead those that are with young.
Sunday, May 2, 2010
Thursday, April 29, 2010
What struck me in watching the Goth/horror film group was how much they seemed to delight in the morose and evil. They were passionate about these films about depravity and sickness and death. Just by watching you could tell that there was a strong sense of community for these vampirish guys around their common interest.
2. The most surreal thing I have seen in my entire lifetime was a Goth guy that accidently walked in an entrance to the hotel and through the Grand Ballroom filled with investment types. After about ten paces, he knew he had come in the wrong set of doors. What made the scene surreal was the object that the guy had draped over one shoulder: a full size stuffed sheep wearing a confederate flag knit sweater.
3. Finally, this: