Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Three things #106

  1. This was troubling: "In a separate report, Barna found that more than 6 in 10 born-again Christians say they are customizing their faith, not following any one church's theology. 'Americans are increasingly comfortable picking and choosing what they deem to be helpful and accurate theological views and have become comfortable discarding the rest of the teachings in the Bible,' the report notes."
  2. There is a good chance that Jesus was beaten twice prior to his execution. Pilate ordered a lighter flogging (a mastigoo) in John 19:1 and Luke 23:16. He orders a more severe flogging (a phragelloo) or scourging in Matthew 27:26 and Mark 15:15. It is thought that the pre-crucifixion beating given by the Romans were intended to increase suffering, but actually mercifully hastened death due to the massive blood loss.
  3. A Violent Grace by Michael Card is a book I return to every Passion Week. I cannot reccommend it highly enough.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Three things #105

  1. As I read about the way that the disciples deserted Jesus in the hours before His death, it struck me that these guys were His friends. Between the short snippets of teaching and healing that we see in the Gospels, there were millions of moments of conversation and playing and laughing and even crying together. Although Jesus was their Rabbi, there was a more intimate relationship. As I read through the account of the numerous betrayals, the parallels between Peter and Judas are brought to the forefront. Jesus predicts both of their betrayals. Judas is silent in response. Peter self-righteously defends his allegiance to the Rabbi. Judas leaves in the middle of dinner, Peter stays by Jesus's side throughout. Judas is active, leading a mob. Peter is inactive, leading slumbering apostles. Judas is damned. Peter is forgiven. I see both elements of Peter and Judas in my heart.
  2. While standing in line at Pei Wei yesterday, it struck me that you can make just about any Oriental dish sound like a fatal martial art with the right tone. "You make bad mistake, sir, for I am a master of PAD THAI!" "Prepare to meet your ancestors! I know MOO GOO GAI PAN!" "I will now unlease the fury of KUNG PAO!!" Although this does not work with Sweet & Sour Chicken.
  3. Don't forget to pray for Haiti.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Three things #104

Expect a lot of Passion Week oriented stuff this week:
  1. I read in one book this week that Jesus' prayers in the Garden of Gethsemane were unanswered. I think this is false. Sometimes, the Father's answer to our requests for relief is "No". And if Jesus' prayers sometimes received a no, I can be certain mine sometimes will too.
  2. My favorite moments right now are spent with the family at the park. Any park. Although it is artificial nature, it is what we have in suburban Texas. Speaking of nature, it appears that our birds from a couple of years ago are building a nest in the wreath on our front door again. Very cool.
  3. Speaking and thinking rarely take place at the same time.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Three things #103

1. I am on a lot of calls during the week to people all over the country (sometimes all over the world). I deal in hundreds of thousands of dollars in any given week. And yet there is something deeply soothing about the simplicity of putting my hands into the soil and putting little plants in the ground. There is an element of hope that goes into each of those little plants. My meager task of placing them in the ground and watering them will not produce any fruit unless God helps both the plant and the planter. There are so many illustrations that can be drawn from the small act of reaping and sowing. And every year I am reminded that Jesus loved to use seedlings in his parables.

2. Speaking of Jesus, I read this verse this afternoon and gained a new appreciation for what the Father and the Son have to do with the fact that we even exist: "...yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist." (I Cor. 8:6)

Think of it: You, right now as you sit reading this, exist for God. And, you, right now, exist through Jesus Christ. You are completely and utterly dependent, whether you recognize it or not.

3. Finally, people are never more open to the Gospel than they are during holidays. Holidays force us to remember God. So look for opportunities to ask people about their Easter plans. God will give you the words to say....

Friday, March 26, 2010

Three things #102

  1. From an article on Yahoo: "Scientists recently announced that there may be a billion more stars out there than they originally thought." Somewhere Father Abraham is laughing....
  2. Nothing is more abrupt than the breaking of a guitar string in the middle of practice. One moment you are calmly strumming away and the next you are staring at the coiled remains of an over abused, metallic former friend. And you just stare for a moment, in stunned realization that you are done playing for now. Done. Done. Done. And I often sense that it happens just before my greatest guitar epiphany is about to take place.
  3. I haven't had any interaction with Facebook in the past three days (on either my laptop or Blackberry) and life seems less frentic.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Three things #101

  1. If artsy boyfriend guy in Starbucks is annoyed by the stares, perhaps he might advise his girlfriend against hot pink hair, pale complexion, and studded leather jacket. Its just a curious combination, thats all.
  2. I keep thinking about the idea that praylessness is sinful. A lack of prayer is a subtle declaration of personal pride. Self-sufficiency. Jesus valued prayer more than sleep....
  3. John Piper had this video on his site. It makes me glory in the God who took away death's sting. I will die. And then I will Live.

The Story of Zac Smith from NewSpring Media on Vimeo.

A return to the ol' blog

I am back. I have gotten out of the habit of writing and the literary side of my thought brain has atrophied. It will be light on intelligence, but deep in overall mental depth.