rick & 1j13
Thursday, July 31, 2003
Good new CD purchase yesterday - Todd Agnew, GRACE LIKE RAIN. Just my opinion, but he's got a Creed meets Hootie & The Blowfish kinda sound/vocals. Good stuff. Found the guitar chords - I'm gonna have to check this one out.
More on SHREWD:
- Saul on the road to Damascus?
My thoughts on God showing himself a "wrestler" to the perverse...the first thing I thought of was the pain of conviction. I'm certain "the perverse" experience the agony of the Holy Spirit convicting them (us, as well). And in this sense, the Lord "wrestles" with our spirits. There is no peace.
I have a friend who has been blessed with great, great joy, and her witness is that God is a Joyful God. This keeps with this verse, too.
I don't think of Jesus being "sneaky" to reveal one truth by showing another. In my mind, it's almost the way we parents speak to our children when we're trying to explain why it's rude to point, or things like that. In my mind, it seems as if Jesus was speaking to us in "layman's terms," if you will. "Coming down to our level," as it were. Not necessarily "getting past" us, but putting it in a way we would hear. Just a matter of word choice, though. I believe the basic idea is the same.
But yes, I do believe it's within God's character to "outwit" the wicked. The story of the Pharisees and the adultress (John 8).... They were attempting to outwit Him, but he--for lack of a better word--"outwitted them," in the end. So in this context, I agree.
- Loved your reference to Paul on the road to Damascus - great example; that one hadn't come to mind yet, but with the RASSLIN' motif, Jesus knocked him off his horse, right? You're right - I think it's semantics and the way we're each looking at the topic. My thoughts on parables being "sneaky" come from Dallas Willard: "... seen in His well-known use of the parable - which, from its origin in the Greek word *paraballein, literally means to throw one thing down alongside another. Parables are not just pretty stories that are easy to remember; rather, they help us understand something difficult by comparing it to, placing it beside, something with which we are very familiar, and always something concrete and specific" (DIVINE CONSPIRACY, p. 107). Like I wrote earlier, I think this was done well by Nathan in His rebuke of David, too (2 Sam. 12).
He'd turn them around and aim the "test" back at the questioners - He's my hero :). Who'd want to "outwit" the One who has ALL the wits? Hmmmm?
One more thing on conviction: Are we convicted when we discover a certain activity/heart-sentiment is WRONG? Or is it when we realize that while we've known it was wrong all along, we now know that we're not fooling God or anyone else? Probably a both/and situation, but I thought this was probably the kind of conviction David felt when God wrestled with Him through Nathan.
Wednesday, July 30, 2003
When you find us, give us a hug :)
I am ubergeek:
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Not a bad day at work today. Our portion of the company does software/consulting for the financial sector, most specifically insurance companies around the world. And while everyone in the economy's had their downturn, we've been going through the same things. But it seems to have levelled out a bit, at least from my peon perspective. I've spotted a few "old friends" over the past few days, people I've worked with in the thirteen years I've been here.
Just reminiscing - I've been on four different teams. That's not many, considering some folks probably change teams/loyalties every year or so. I started with one group in 1990, stayed there 'til that customer went belly up. Then I transferred to a base group - team that worked on developing the base product, not directly with customers. That was a time when the company was going through major changes and lots of people left on their own. I transferred to another group, doing what I basically do now - working on print solutions for a particular set of customers. That group folded and some of us ended up in another sector, working on a different set of smaller companies/customers.
All that time, all those teams - so I've got a few friends still scattered around the building and across the state. That's cool - bumping into someone after a long time, asking how the kids are, what's going on, etc. And we move on, keeping our memories of the past, re-living them from time to time.
Continuing our SHREWD thread:
When we think of someone being "crooked" in the context of Psalm 18, we think of an evil person, a cheat, a criminal, a liar. All these things fit the context, and they have at least this one thing in common: A crooked person's mind is wrong. There is deception there; it's "crooked" because it thinks one way when truth is going the other way. And the problem with being deceived in your thinking is that you can't figure out that you're deceived, because you're deceived. You think you're right, right?
How do you tell someone they're wrong, in a way that show's their wrong-ness and points them to right-ness? You have to be sneaky, a little at least. Jesus did this well with parables - using stories filled with truth on one subject that shined a spotlight of truth on another subject. By removing your eyes from yourself, you can see truth for what it is, and then you're forced to apply that truth to your own condition. Nathan's story of the rich man and the servant's sheep did this very well (2 Samuel 12), taking the king's eyes away from his own deception, and then smacking him in the mouth with the force of real truth.
Where else did God wrestle in the Bible? An angel wrestled Jacob, the ultimate conniver, and won by breaking his hip (Genesis 32:22-32). This blessing and breaking go well together, and that's where my mind settles on the thoughts of God's shrewdness. He wants to break us and to bless us; in His ways, the two go together. Broken of our own self-sustaining ways, blessed in holding onto Him with all we've got.
Next time, I'll try to look at NT examples, places where God wrestles with you and me today.
Tuesday, July 29, 2003
It is so hot today. I know the temperature's only at 90F, but then there's the humidity, the damp moist sweaty humidity. Right now, 58% humidity, a heat index of 99F, and an ineffective breeze from the SW at 5 mph. All that to say: when you step out from your A/C'd home, or A/C'd office, or max-A/C'd car and into the brighy sunny day, it feels like you're stepping into a warm bowl of soup. Eeeww, it's hot.
Here's some discussion as we look at SHREWD and how it's used in Psalm 18:25-27:
- Carlos wrote: "i got this quote from this website: A person's idea concerning God is a fair index of his relation toward God. "To the pure He will show himself pure, and to the froward He will show himself froward." (Ps. 18:26.) does that make sense to you? it does to me!"
- I wrote back: "Makes sense, but I don't like it. So nyaah. The passage doesn't say that God looks like He's shrewd, but that He *shows Himself* shrewd to the crooked. It doesn't look quite as passive as the quote above would lead."
- And Ailina replied: "I'd have to agree with you, Rick. I don't believe God's as passive in His action as the quote would lead. This would mean His appearance is dependent upon us human beings, and that doesn't seem right to me."
25 With the kind Thou showest Thyself kind,
With a perfect man showest Thyself perfect.
26 With the pure Thou showest Thyself pure,
And with the perverse showest Thyself a wrestler,
27 For Thou a poor people savest,
And the eyes of the high causest to fall.
-- Ps 18:25-27
Showing Himself as a wrestler is definitely not passive (caught part of WWE Raw last night, so this is fresh). In the NAS, it is rendered "show Yourself astute", which has a more intellectual quality to it than the other two. The Hebrew word here is "PATHAL", meaning to twist, to wrestle - to the crooked, God will show Himself "twisted"?
The next question, if this isn't a passive thing concerning how we see Him though our own preconceived notions, is to ask WHY God would want to be shrewd or "twisted"? My first thoughts are that He wants to be recognizable to people with that bent, but what about this: can He out-shrewd the shrewd? Would it be within His character to be able to outwit someone who lives by his/her wits, a schemer and conniver? I don't think God would "trick" anyone, but would He be able to maintain truth, mercy and integrity while "wrestling" with someone who just wouldn't get it any other way?
Monday, July 28, 2003
Maybe he was planning a trip to the mountai..... Um... nyahh.
CNN.com - Bob Hope dead at 100
Thanks for the memories....
To the faithful you show yourself faithful, to the blameless you show yourself blameless, to the pure you show yourself pure, but to the crooked you show yourself shrewd. You save the humble but bring low those whose eyes are haughty. You, O LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall. As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him. For who is God besides the LORD? And who is the Rock except our God?
- Psalm 18:25-31 NIV
How does God reveal Himself to us? As this passage starts, we think of course God is faithful; of course He's blameless. But shrewd... how does God appear to be shrewd? Why would He want to be shrewd "to the crooked"? And why would this be a "good" thing?
That's where I'm going to be studying/pondering this week. Any thoughts? I think I'll start with a word search of SHREWD - offhand, we know that we're to be innocent as doves and shrewd as snakes, right (Mt 10:16)? In the NIV, the word also shows up in Exodus 1:10; 2 Samuel 13:3, 22:27; Psalm 18:26 (our passage above); and Luke 16.
There's not much traffic on the 1J13 Email list lately, so I thought this kind of weekly Bible study might be good to at least keep it moving over there. And I'll crosspost here, giving another venue for me to spout and others to comment. Does this feel like an okay plan, a word/topic/passage study each week maybe, digging together (as much as anyone wants to discuss) into what God is revealing as He continues to call us to Himself and to kingdom-life? As we kick off this new direction, I ask for your prayers and thoughtful participation :).
Feel free to jump in anytime this week as we look at how God is SHREWD, and how we might be able to follow His example.
Sunday, July 27, 2003
I know my household doesn't want to hear this, but we've only got a couple of weeks left before school starts back. My wife, the high school drama teacher, starts back this Friday 08/01, and the kids head back next Thursday 08/07. Me? I didn't get summer vacation, so what do I care? :) Just kiddin'. It's been a long summer for my sweetie, keeping the kids busy and trying to get some "rest" herself. They'll take a couple of day trips this week before heading back to the day-to-day school calendar. Woo hoo.
We had a good morning at church. The video series on the 10 Commandments hit on #7 - No Adultery. After the 30-minute video, we talked about how important it is for each spouse to cherish the other. I recognized that no one in the room was currently with his/her spouse - other husbands and wives were doing other various things this morning, and everyone here was watching this video "alone". So I played on that - while our spouse is elsewhere, how can each of us cherish him/her more? Then, my wife came in, and suddenly I'm the only one in the room with my mate. As the conversation continued, she told me later that she was amazed at my insights, my discussion, my points for those congregated (it's usually either "amazed" or she's shaking her head, so I was pretty pumped). I pray that her perception of me is that I cherish her, that I seek her well-being above everything else in our relationship.
Pastor continued talking about The House God Is Building. Too often we've focused on the mansions that Christ is preparing for us, but we neglect to consider the living stones being used to build Christ a place to dwell. Does it bother us at all that Christianity is falling apart, that "this temple" is a laughing stock? We take better care of our own homes, our jobs, our possessions, our look than we do our inner man's spiritual growth, spiritual transformation, spiritual challenge. I know that's a generalization, but this is one area where we all fall short of the mark.
Either going to spend this evening reading or catching a flick on the telly. Then - work work work. Hopefully, this week will be busy enough to go quickly, and light enough to not wear me out. And in the midst of it all, I've got to find time to hit Starbucks. Woo hoo.
Saturday, July 26, 2003
I've written maybe two posts tops on the subject, and I still get most of my search engine hits from folks looking for AJ Golf. And there there's one looking for a papasan couch, the perfect place to lounge while watching the AJ Golf DVDs.
Ok, I need a suggestion on what piece of fictrion to read next. I just finished the latest Coupland novel, so I don't think I'm in for a strictly dialogue/journal piece like that one right now. I'm also still reading Dallas Willard's DIVINE CONSPIRACY, so a little escapist fiction might be right up my alley. I'm about halfway through AAoK&C, so I might pick that one up and try to finish it (took a twist that I'm not fond of, so no big if I don't finish it right now - might save it for next flight). I've got a thick paperback with a collection of stories from Flannery O'Connor that I've tried to get into before, and there were a few suggestions last time I threw this question to the blogosphere that I might be able to pick up tonight at Barnes&Noble. I'll keep you posted.
UPDATE: Picked up 2 new paperbacks from B&N this evening (CNN.com has a great article on how the publishing world's still in a commercial slump) - I'll keep you posted:
From the "Too Much Free Time" file:
CNN.com - McCartney joins KFC protest
Say, say, say - one has to wonder if this woulda happened if Michael Jackson didn't own all the rights to the Beatles' library. Such angst, such travesty, and such anger towards processed chicken. When asked for a comment, Ringo said, "huh?"- as he wiped a drip of oily juice from his chin after taking a bite of Original Recipe(tm) dark meat.
Friday, July 25, 2003
Just finished reading HEY NOSTRADAMUS, by Douglas Coupland. Good book. Very thoughtful in it's portrayal of the four main dialogues. Very sharp perception of Christianity, what it means to "be saved" to people still looking for meaning. It's not a "christian" novel - but it is very eye-opening to consider what Christians and Christianity looks like from other points of view. If it's all about loss, coping with death, finding and losing and finding meaning - this has been worth the reading time. I enjoyed LIFE WITHOUT GOD, and I've never been able to keep enough attention in another of his books until now. So if that's a "good review" - well, there you go. I wouldn't recommend it to everyone, but there are a few folks who wouldn't read it who should.
Follow-up: I've got a little time here at work, and I wanted to post something related to the earlier "too mature" post.
A friend wrote me to ask about the flipside of what I'd written. If I was getting hacked off at our tendency to sit there like bumps on logs, not growing and yet still feeling like we're "mature" with the mental assent to whatever we've been taught but no real lifechange - then what about the opposite, where everything we hear pushes us to change, only to find that we can't be that perfect, that there's too much to change, that we're still falling short on so many different levels, and thereby failing to change by being overwhelmed instead of being underwhelmed as before. That about catch it?
Basically, folks like me *think* too much, rationalizing this or that or the other thing into whatever we need. Falling on this "opposite" side is so easy when confronted with how much in me still needs to change in order for real holiness to reign. But I've found something that seems to at least keep me from depression and painkiller addiction: Focus on Christ. By letting my attention get caught up in Him, instead of my own shortcomings, I at least have a better view of a destination, right? Yes, there's always much to do, much to change, much to lay aside. Focusing on that stuff won't help - but faith in Christ leads to good work, real love leads to real labor, and hope inspires endurance to the end (1 Thes 1:2-3).
It's easy to put some mantra (remember Jabez? - thanks ABA) together that will lead you to bliss in ten easy steps. But real life doesn't work that way. We fall, and we get back up, only to fall again. Focusing more on why we're getting up, instead of focusing on the frequency or obstacles of falling down, is the only way to keep pressing on...
1. If your life were a movie, what would the title be?
2. What songs would be on the soundtrack?
Styx, CORNERSTONE project
3. Would it be a live-action film or animated? Why?
Combination, as the story flows
4. Casting: who would play you, members of your family, friends, etc?
Me: Bradd Pitt
Wife: Jennifer Aniston
Kids: Spy Kids
Pastor Mike: Yul Brynner
Toymaker: Sylvester Stallone
5. Describe the movie preview/trailer.
Building music - heavy strings and tympani, into chorus of "Come Sail Away". Quick shots of our home, our cars, our dawg. Shot of the car pulling out the driveway, ominously driving.... to church. Quick shots of praise and worship, juxtaposed with crowds screaming at Final Four, Super Bowl and Tour De France. Climax of music, shot back to me (Brad Pitt), muttering to myself, "crap."
Thursday, July 24, 2003
Does it ever surprise you just how much time we waste doing things that don't matter? You know what I mean: sit down in front of the TV and you're going to be there for a few hours. Sit in front of the PC, and you might as well bring a pillow for the evening. And if you're surfing through blogs? Puh-lease - hours can just fly by. In the mean time, I find myself feeling tired and rundown through the day, relationships with "real people" are tense more often, and we lose touch with ourselves and with the Father. It's no wonder that there are from time to time folks who take a sabbatical from their blogs, or who fast from the PC altogether, or who make resolutions to read the Bible and nothing but the Bible for a period of time.
Whether I want to admit it or not, PC time takes away from my family time, my prayer life, and sleep. TV time does the same thing, and has a dumbifying effect, too, doesn't it? So what do I do with this? Turn off the TV, let the screensaver take care of the desktop, and sit on the couch with my wife and the radio on. I started this year trying to read more, so it's not going to be that hard to de-digitalize myself and pull myself away from the tube. But just making that decision and following through... that's where it hits the fan, isn't it?
Wednesday, July 23, 2003
CNN.com - Bill Clinton on Bush uranium line: 'Everybody makes mistakes'
It takes a big man to say something like this, huh?
Are we too mature?
I don't ask this question loosely, and I'm not asking it sarcastically. I know that if we were to discuss this matter, most of us would argue that we all still have much to learn, that we're growing, that we are mere babes when it comes to knowing anything about Christ or the Kingdom. So I don't think I'm talking about the mental/philosophical question: "do we already know everything?"
Instead, I'm asking how our level of maturity actually plays out in our day-to-day lives. While mentally we might understand there's much to learn, we as Christians live each day as if we already have all the answers. I can spin it religiously with "Jesus is the Answer," and since I know Jesus I have all of my answers and *your* answers, too - making it sound like I've got a lock on the ultimate theory of life, the universe and everything (isn't it still "42"?). Usually, in this frame of mind/understanding, we are unteachable and unable to grasp conflicting information. Anything that goes completely against the grain is rejected outright; the only "new stuff" that passes is what looks vaguely familiar already, or has a different spin on something we already understand.
Case in point: most people know the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15). They've heard a few sermons on the passage. There might be notes in the margins of their bibles, telling of the younger son's "coming to his senses" and the father's open arms as he runs home to be a worker in the household. There are notes about the older brother, how he represents the pharisaical outlook of the religious leaders, and how his bitterness probably means he's just jealous that the younger brother got to have fun first. Most people already have all of this figured out, right? Or at least, they've got the major principles down because they've heard most of this before.
Now, teach something new, something that's blatant in the story, that fits into the context of the three parables (all of Luke 15), but that no one has ever heard of or thought of before. As the Spirit leads, bring out this new truth - like how the prodigal son was just lavishly reflecting a portion of the lavish character of his prodigal father, or how the older brother is a son who's enslaved in his mind while the younger brother comes as a slave and is welcomed back as a son, or maybe how the presence of a fattened calf meant that the father fully expected to have something worth celebrating soon, etc etc etc - and watch everyone suddenly get more mature. We'll listen; We'll take notes. We'll nod and shout "amen", and we'll shake our heads and say "ouch". And when it's all over, we'll be more mature for having heard and understood - while not having to apply any of it to our actual lives. We've listened, but we haven't allowed ourselves to be taught, to be changed, to be challenged, to be transformed.
In most cases, the subconscious thought that "we're getting it"... actually becomes a hindrance and obstacle to getting it for real in our lives. Our "maturity" reveals our lack of maturity, and our lives go on day after day, week after week unchanged and ineffective.
Just me rambling..........
CNN.com - The cat worth a billion dollars: Comic strip 'Garfield' at the center of empire
Garfield was probably my first favorite subversive cartoon. Right now, Bucky in GET FUZZY could take on Garfield any day, but I think the lasagna would win - both felines stopping with munchies.
Watched 13 CONVERSATIONS ABOUT ONE THING yesterday. Good movie - I like dialogue movies that have something to say and make you think. The "one thing" is happiness, or it's possibility in real life, it's reliance on luck or fate, etc. Various things happen to various people that interconnect over this common theme of happiness and the meaning of life. And what I really liked was the way time was never linear, but jumped back and forth seemingly randomly so that the interactions and form all made sense. The movie actually ends in the same place/time as the second scene - and it works. Thumbs up here.
Tuesday, July 22, 2003
this is your life
are you who you wanna be
this is your life
are you who you wanna be
is it everything you dreamed that it would be
when the world was younger
and you had everything to lose
- switchfoot, "this is your life", the beautiful letdown
How I met my wife over the newspaper's Jumble wordgame:
It was a dark and stormy night. July 5th, 1976 - the day after the large bicentennial celebrations in the City. I was standing in the subway newspaper kiosk, dripping puddles from my raincoat and galoshes, reading the business section of the NYTimes, waiting for the 9:53 to Hampton Heights, watching Uncle Sam revellers slosh drunkenly across the platform. It was then that I first noticed her. A vision of loveliness, innocent and untouched by the grime of the city, well-groomed amidst all of the after-party junk still floating through the atmosphere down there; relatively dry, too, having spent her entire day underground courageously helping poor parochial school children find their way through the city's maddening labyrinths of mass transportation, back to their schools of learning and pin-the-tail-on-the-new-kid. I caught her eye - gently catching it before it hit the ground, a lovely glass bauble with a dazzling twinkle that charms my heart to this day. And as I handed it back to her, our hands touched...
She smiled. I melted. She re-coagulated me, and thanked me profusely for retrieving her eye. I told her she was welcome, on the condition of joining for dinner at my favorite little bistro. We walked, hopped, skipped and jumped up the subway stairs, to the delight of most of the City's citizens, and to the obviuos disgruntlement of a few lawyers and busybodies. Making our way across the street, we slipped into the Nipponese Pig Sty - a nationwide chain, the first BBQ and Sushi bars to hit the states. And sliding into "my table," the waitress took our drink orders. Iced tea for her, a flat Coke for me (sodas don't keep well around raw fish and mustard-based sauce for some reason). And I pulled out my paper.
She noticed that I had been looking at the comics section, and that my Jumble puzzle was unfinished. She smiled a curious smile, as if to say from deep within her heart, "My gracious, you're an idiot - anyone could get that word." But she didn't say that - only, "Here, let me help you with that." And delicately reaching across the table, she took the wayward pen from my hand and filled in the blanks - C-H-E-E-S-Y.
The rest, as they say, is history.
It's going to be a wet couple of days around here, and we're already in the middle of the wettest July in a long time. The US southeast has been in a drought for much of the past decade or so, but the ground is fairly saturated right now, so there's a good bit of flooding and standing water on the roads. Not good - we can't drive in the snow, and we definitely can't drive in heavy rain either.
Anyway, this is one of those days when I'd rather be at home in our "playroom" - where the vinyl windows can be slid down to screens, the breeze can blow through a little, the rain can fall on the metal roof while I kick back on the papasan couch and read-snore-read-meditate-snore. The thunder can roll, the lightning can flash across the horizon, and when the power goes out, we can light the candles and oil lamps, let the house get really quiet - and not too warm, please, since the A/C will be out, too! - and play games until bedtime.
Good times, good times. But for now - back to work.
Monday, July 21, 2003
CNNSI.com - Disturbing behavior: Coddled existence can skew an athlete's perspective - by Phil Taylor
I thought this was a good article on the Kobe Bryant episode. Whether he is guilty or not, he's in a position to "reality" get really skewed for him. For me, I've got too many questions. Why does the public want to exonerate him so fast now that he's admitted to adultery but not to forcible rape? Cheating on your wife brings your integrity into sever doubt, I would think. And like with the Sammy Sosa corked bat incident (Sammy coulda been using that one bat for weeks - how would you know until it splintered like that?), how does anyone know this hasn't happened before with Kobe? This young lady is the only/first/last one to cry foul; but have there been others? Has he cheated before? Can his wife ever be sure? My wife said that she might've sat with me at the news conference, but someone would've had to cut her boney hands from around my crawny neck. I've got nothing against forgiveness and mercy, but is justice going to be withheld in the interests of the media and the Lakers' upcoming schedule?
Foggy morning, but hopefully a sunny day later on. We've gotten alot of rain around here, so the soggy ground could do with another day off from the big thunderboomers moving through the area. But it was nice this morning - got up early enough to make coffee, check email, blog a little, and still get to work thirty minutes early. Woo hoo, so easily amused.
Had a good day yesterday. Church was good - even though I started the day behind the clock by about thirty minutes (hopefully making up on that today, huh?). We normally stay in service for around three hours, but we were closer to two hrs yesterday - not complaining about the length of time, just saying that we're used to it so don't change it too much or we'll get used to the shorter time :). Anyway, lunch at California Dreaming, followed by a wonderful nap and an evening viewing of WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT? - ever notice that movies you watched as a kid were "dirtier" than you remembered? More off-color language than I usually allow for my kids, so we did fastforward a good bit through the DVD. After the kids went to bed, we curled up on the couch and watched HOW TO LOSE A GUY IN 10 DAYS - chick flick city, but I like Matthew McConaughey and it had decent dialogue (way better than LXG the other night). Anyway, we can ship those two discs back to Netflix and see what's coming next.
All in all, a good, restful weekend. Now - back to work (Col 3:23).
Saturday, July 19, 2003
TheState.com - Columbia and Cayce to share Bantu families
This is an update to yesterday's post - and this article makes our happy little hamlet of Cayce look even more assinine and classless. Columbia has agreed to help with the resettlement of Bantu Muslims, taking some of the *burden* from Cayce, where most of our citizens appear to not want anything to do with them. I think it's summed up best by comparing a couple of quotes:
- "We have people here who are in need of help," said Vince Ford, Richland 1 school board chairman [where some of the Bantu families will be re-located]. "If you have a child who's hungry or sick or has given up hope, what does a test score matter? We will do all that we can to assist these families and provide them with a quality education. We're excited to have them."
- "I still feel that 60 is way, way too many," Cayce Mayor Avery Wilkerson said, noting Columbia is 10 times the size of Cayce.
- Columbia City Councilwoman Tameika Isaac said the capital city "definitely embraces diversity" and will do whatever it can to welcome the Bantu. She said educating the public will be necessary. "We need to let them know this is not going to put a strain on our resources," she said.
- As for Lexington 2, [District Superintendent Barry] Bolen emphasized the district has never been opposed to educating the Bantu students. "This resettlement was something that no one had any experience with and we had few details on who was going to assist us with providing the services to them," Bolen said, noting the district first heard about the resettlement in June. "We had already set our budget and we got very few details on when we would get the first families and how many."
Friday, July 18, 2003
I've been watching the displeasure building towards the Lutheran Family Services and the coming exodus of Bantu families. Most of the letter-authors are correct - we're not uncaring and mean. We're just selfish. We've staked an enormous amount of time and effort and tax dollars on building up our community and subdivisions for our children, our grandchildren, and our nicely manicured retirement villas. We're already helping too many people on the public dole, but at least they speak English and don't need specialized McDonald's menus.
We would love to offer help to the Bantu, but this consideration should be spread out amongst all of the Columbia Metro area. By my calculations, everything would be fine if the Columbia NE area took 30%, Irmo gives help to antoher 30%, downtown Columbia gives shelter/aid to 40%, and the last 30% comes to Cay- no, wait. Well, that works.
Seriously, the opportunity to aid another people group and to learn from another culture outweighs the concerns of the citizens of Cayce. We're not worried about property values when our neighbors' old beat up '75 Ford is rotting in the driveway. But when you're moving in new people who just need a helping hand and a fresh start to escape the tyranny and bondage of their homeland, then everyone's up in arms. They have been in refugee camps for the past ten years or so. I hope coming to Beautiful Cayce won't remind them of home.
Thursday, July 17, 2003
TheState.com: A mirror image of himself - From the right or the left, 12-year-old can get the job done
Can you say "college tuition", boys and girls? Can he accept from a scholarship from the Gamecocks at 12-yrs-old? Just checkin'...
It's going to be tough when school starts back and I've got to get the kids to school on time before getting to work myself. I'm getting spoiled - rolling out of bed as early as I want, hitting Starbucks on the way, getting in for a good parking space. Just lazy this morning, heading downstairs around 6:30a to let the dawg out and make coffee. My wife came down a little later, and we enjoyed the peace and quiet and aroma - for about ten minutes, before Thing1 and Thing2 came barreling down teh stairs to start their day of destruction.
I'm reading THE PURPOSE DRIVEN LIFE by Rick Warren with an email discussion list. I must admit, I'm not taking it in too well - just don't like his style towards me as the reader, kinda talking down, as opposed to his voice in P-D CHURCH, which I remember enjoying pretty much. Anyway, yesterday's chapter opened the first "purpose" - to worship the Father, to bring Him joy. One of the things he writes is that we are to be worshippers, that we're wired to worship, and if the object of worship isn't God, we'll find something else, usually ourselves. So this is what I'm pondering (haven't read "today's" entry yet): in light of the call to let everything I do be done for Him, not for men (Col 3:23), what in me still needs to just "practice His presence" every moment of every day? Because it's more than just "I'm doing this for God, not my boss." It's about the relationship, working alongside, realizing I'm bringing Him joy in doing this for my boss well, etc. I am doing it "unto the Lord" if I'm focused on His presence right here, practicing His presence in prayer, meditating on Him being here.
Wednesday, July 16, 2003
I'm surfin' the net, looking for preseason predictions on the Gamecocks' chances this upcoming football season:
- NationalChamps.net - picked to finish 2nd in the SEC East with a 9-3 record
- FoxSports.com and CollegeFootballNews.com have USC finishing 4th in the east, but that's only going 2-6 in the conference and 6-6 overall
- CNNSI.com predicts a tough season coming off of last year's 5-7 record: "Even with eight home games and an invigorated Holtz, it will take an upset or two for the Gamecocks to squeeze into a bowl game."
A friend of mine had to ask another older friend from way back to resign his post as Minister of Music at their church. That can't be easy, firing someone you've looked up to and respected, but who obviously has issues and is not complementing the vision of the church. I'm thinking of the bitterness this man must be dealing with, the unforgiveness that is still, after all these years, eating away at his life, his family, his ministry. And I can't help but think that under all of the deception and enemy's lies, there's got to be the realization that this ain't supposed to be like this, you know?
My friend will go on, and the Lord will lead another someone to fill the role of worship leader (not just music leader). But for my other friend - he's even older now (he was old as a leader in the church where we grew up, father to one of our friends in the youth group back then), and more entrenched in how things are done, how things should be, and like I said, his own issues. What will become of him? What's already become of his ministry?
Tuesday, July 15, 2003
Last Comic Standing just lost one of its funniest guys. Nothing against Dat Phan - I liked him alright on the openign show, but haven't been impressed much since. But Dave Mordal has been a riot - laid back and dry wit. I thought he was way funnier tonight in the head-to-head, but the obviously humorless fans thought otherwise. When it's all said and done, I look forward to seeing Dave show up somewhere on the popular circuit in the future.
I'm still reading Douglas Coupland's HEY NOSTRADAMUS. I like it, and I'm just about finished with Jason's story. In this one, his girlfriend (Cheryl Anyway, recording her thoughts in the first section posthumously) is killed in an '88 high school cafeteria shooting spree, and he and everyone else has to deal with the repercussion socially and spiritually. Anyway, it's keeping my attention, and I like the way Coupland disects relationships in this first person kind of narrative.
Right now, I'm in one of those moods. I have work to do, books to read, a laptop in the shop, projects to start, a haircut to endure. But I could sit myself down on a hillside somewhere. Raining, not caring, sitting on a huge hard bouder. Stream, waterfall cascading and singing below. Mountain panorama. I could sit there, and think about absolutely nothing and absolutely everything at the absolutely exact same time. No journal to write it down; no PC to blog. Just me and thoughts and God and creation and the rock I'm sitting on.
I'd be just fine after an hour or a week of that, ready to move on to the pressures and treasures that fill my daytimer.
Monday, July 14, 2003
Not a bad way to spend a Monday, working from the kitchen table. With my mom-in-law's accident over the weekend, I decided to hook into work from here and free up my lovely wife to not have to worry about kids while doing whatever she needed to help her mother. So I get to work on my project - another puzzle that's got us stumped - and watch PlayhouseDisney, too - woo hoo.
"As we know Jesus better, His divine power gives us everything we need for living a godly life. He has called us to receive His own glory [character?] and goodness! And by that same mighty power, He has given us all of His rich and wonderful promises. He has promised that you will escape the decadence all around you caused by evil desires and that you will share in His divine nature." - 2 Peter 1:3-4 NLT
The life of grace, while no longer *under* the law, is still going to reflect obedience to the law. The moral stakes are higher, but so are Christ's provisions for us to follow through. And as we look around and see absolutely no hope, we are still promised here that we will escape the decadence that's overcome the rest of the world. That's awesome, isn't it? Especially in a time when there looks like everything is going to the gutter ethically and morally - we're called to live above the fray by the power and promise of Christ in our lives. Just a thought - back to work and more cartoons!
Sunday, July 13, 2003
UPDATE: A couple of posts ago, I commented about my all-over-the-place musical tastes. This evening, I find this link from Annu @ VanillaForever - You probably think this song is about you ... - a study that says you can really get to know a person's character by going through his/her CD collection.
We got up this morning with a little different gameplan than most Sundays. My mother-in-law was in the hospital - her hip had popped out yesterday. Our plans were to get me to church early enough to make copies and do the normal setup, then V and the kids would come for Sunday School and she'd then head up to the hospital to help her mom. Good news: her mother had already been up and walking and had gone to the restroom, meeting the conditions necessary for her to come home today. When the kids and I left church for Grandma's for lunch, everyone was released and ready for lunch there, too. Our prayer is that this continued time of healing and hurting will have an impact on her life, drawing her towards the Father instead of inward, where she's able to do everything on her own without anyone else's help. That's a big hurdle to jump, finding out that you're not as self-sufficient as you've always believed.
It's funny how lazy I can be on a Sunday afternoon. Don't get me wrong - being lazy is a 24/7/365 way of life, but there's something about the thunder rolling through this afternoon and the couch pillows beckoning to me that led to a few fitful fifteen minute snoozes before finally getting up, making a pot of coffee (Gevalia Breakfast Blend), and watching the rest of the FOP movie with the kids.
Nothing on TV now, so the missus and I are enjoying the sounds of the lingering storms. She's catching up on some summer drama-teacher reading, and I'm bloggin' - go figure. The back door is open to our "playroom" - the room we enclosed over the deck that has a wonderful metal roof, perfect for rainy sleepytime rhythms. We've got the digital cable set to the classical music channel, piping through my new home theater surround sound system, chillin' out to the melodies of the string sections and the passing cold front.
So, what am I thinking? What's on my mind right now? For guys like me, that could be "nothing" or it could be "everything" - take your pick. But right now, I'm just kind of meditating on parenting. Our 10 Commandment video series this morning was on #5 - "honor your father and mother," Exdodus 20:12. Each of the commandments thus far in this series has been focused more on the relational aspects of God and man, not just the be-obedient-or-else law side of things. This one was no exception, and I was struck by the thought that the relationship I enjoy with my own parents shapes my own concepts of identity and purpose. In showing them respect and dignity and honor, which we too often classify strictly as "obedience," what I'm really doing is acknowledging who I am, the promises of God in them to me, and my own walk with God and with others. I think it makes more sense for me by adding the NT call to not exasperate my kids (Ephesiand 6:4) - that as a parent, I should be a person worthy of honor and respect, because I've shown my own children honor and respect as they grow up. In coming after the first four commands, this one is saying in effect that as I recognize God as the only God and seek to serve and honor Him alone, my relationships with others will change, too, and the first ones, or the most revealing ones, will be within my own family, and specifically in how I live towards my parents, and how I parent my own children and their subsequent relationship with me.
Whew. Enough for now - my little girl "can't sleep." WON'T sleep is more like it, but you pick your battles. She's down here now, too, listening to the rain and the violins, hopefully slipping off to la-la-land soon.
Saturday, July 12, 2003
I really tried to like PUNCH DRUNK LOVE. My wife has an aversion to all-things-Adam-Sandler, so I thought this would be the perfect flick to at least show her he might have some range as an actor. He does - it's not his fault that I didn't like the movie. But when you're a half-hour in and I'm already fast-forwarding the DVD, it just ain't working. At least now I know - one review said that it's a love it or hate it thing, but to know you've got to watch it. I didn't hate it; just didn't like it either. Quickest turnaround at my house for a Netflix rental, going back out the door today so we can get what's next in our queue: WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT?
Friday, July 11, 2003
Anyone else read Wil Wheaton's blog? It's cool to read about his adventures with a new book, and still get the feel that this guy who's been on TV and the big screen is still a normal guy living out his life like the rest of us.
I received this as an advertisement in a subscription email:
- * * * * * * * * * * * * ADVERTISEMENT * * * * * * * * * * *
FaithBid.com is the World's Largest Christian Trading
Community. Looking to sell something? Looking to buy?
Glorifying God! FaithBid.com.
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I'm going out on a judgmentally harsh limb here - but what are they thinking? That God is somehow glorified by a christian eBay? That we can promote the Gospel through an online barter system? Somehow, putting FAITH and BID together bothers me... like there's some other higher bid out there for faith, or worse - that Jesus hasn't met the reserve yet?
Just to give a glimpse into my musical tastes these days:
- I drove in to work listening to MORE SONGS FROM GLADIATOR, the remixes with soundtrack/dialogue clips
- I just finished listening to Mike Marshall & Chris Thile on RealOne's CD Listening Lounge - great bluegrass
- In my bag, I grabbed three CDs yesterday - Creed WEATHERED, Dave Matthews Band BUSTED STUFF and a Yo Yo Ma Artist's Choice from HearMusic
CNN: Marvel scraps plan for comic book Princess Di
um.... Good idea. Don't know that the Hulk vs. Di issue would've made a great summer blockbuster film like everyone would've hoped.
6:38a - hitting the snooze again
7:38a - rolling my lazy hiney out of bed
8:38a - booting up at work
9:08a - Friday Five
1. Do you remember your first best friend? Who was it?
The first "best friend" I can remember is John W. We went to middle school together, and I saw some of my first big kid thoughtful movies with him. I remember seeing TAPS with Timothy Hutton, Sean Penn and Tom Cruise, seeing him and his folks after me and my mom had bought me some new shoes. We asked if we could see it, and I wore my new shoes on the yucky theater floor. Don't know why that sticks out.
2. Are you still in touch with this person?
No. We went to separate high schools, and then I want to say his family moved to Maine. This was before email - if we'd had that, I'd probably send this post to him.
3. Do you have a current close friend?
4. How did you become friends with this person?
Got to know her by spending time with her. We used to read the paper together, do the Jumble puzzle. We went to movies, football games, the beach, and got married.
5. Is there a friend from your past that you wish you were still in contact with? Why?
Hmmmm... I have some friends that I wish I was in better contact with, but we haven't lost touch altogether. Well, maybe that's not true. After some of the things that have happened in our lives spiritually and ministry-wise, there are a few people from the more recent past who we just don't have any contact with at all, and that's sad.
Thursday, July 10, 2003
Strange Things Boredom Does to Your Mind
Did they mention BLOGS?
I'm involved in a few "writing outlets" that give me some room to jot down thoughts, questions, insights, goof-ups, etc. While this blog has taken over most of that duty, I still enjoy interacting with folks - mostly on email lists.
- There's the 1J13 List, where we've been writing back and forth over all kinds of topics for almost five years now. That's where I've fleshed out some of my ideas on sin, salvation, discipleship with people who have varying backgrounds. It's named for 1 John 1:3, just seeking to proclaim what we've seen and heard... well, read it. There's not alot of traffic there lately, and anything I think of to toss out is usually a re-hash of stuff we've already done. But it's good to know that there are still people looking forward to just reading what's on your mind, interested in being stretched and challenged together
- I also moderate the NKOC group, where we're reading the NEW KIND OF CHRISTIAN novels from Brian McLaren. We're reading the second one now, THE STORY WE FIND OURSELVES IN; almost done, and it's been a struggle to keep it moving on course. At the same time, I've enjoyed meeting so many new folks and getting their take on what it's all about
- Whew. I'm also on the ZBA list, once mostly for reading Zondervan books, but now open to anything, I think. We're reading Rick Warren's THE PURPOSE DRIVEN LIFE. Not bad - but I don't like his emphasis on the destination of heaven & eternal life over the aspect of living a kingdom-life right now, but HEY that's me.
- I also get to write a bit for the church blog - Javabeans. I'm hoping that more of our "team" will start writing over there, too
Wednesday, July 09, 2003
Well, so ends another birthday. Thirty-five of 'em - whew, I'm beat. But after a great vacation (my b-day was actually yesterday), and finally putting together my new home theater system, I sat down to watch one of my favorite movies of all time - FLETCH.
Best movie one-liners ever. 1985, high school. We used to leave campus after the last class/exam and go to a movie. That year, it was Fletch (I think that's right - the details are fuzzy after almost TWENTY years). I also remember taking in Indiana Jones one year. Anyway, this would've been at the end of my junior year. Those were the days. And as I'm watching tonight, I'm giggling like I'm sitting fourth row center again at the old Dutch Square Theaters. My wife's shaking her head, as Fletch says, "Ah, using the whole fist there, doc?"
Good times. Good times.
It's hot. Humid and hot. Damp, moist and hot. Like stepping into a hot bath when you walk out the doors. And my lovable BLACK Honda CRV with BLACK interior is waiting outside, patiently ROASTING, for me to leave work and drive the thirty-minute commute home.
I want to know this: when will auto manufacturers develop a way for cars to sweat? I don't want to use the radiator fluids, but somehow if the condensation from my A/C could be refunnelled around the car, cooling it somehow, dripping below to a containment vessel in the shade so it would be re-cooled and recycled... Somebody get on that, ok?
I shouldn't complain. It's usually worse here in the armpit of the state. Right now, according to WeatherBug - 94 F, with a heat index of 104. Whew. No coffee for me, thanks. The rest of the year is fine around here, being fairly mild, with little snow in the winter. But for July and August, and usually part of September, it's muggy and humid and hot.
And here I am, in the A/C, complaining.... must be the heat.
Tuesday, July 08, 2003
Someday, my kids' own pawprints will be in the sidewalk. Someday, they'll be animated stars.
Yellow and yellow. Pink and pink. You'd think we'd planned it.
Guess which one's the monkey?
In eight years, there won't be a runner under the car, and the steering wheel will work.
Whew. Back from vacation. And now I need a vacation. So I get to go back to work tomorrow. Woo hoo. I'll post photos later.
Sunday, July 06, 2003
There is such a diversity of Christians and Christian life in the world today. I know I'm biased in my perspective towards what the western world has called "church," but I hope I don't lose out on some of what's going on elsewhere in the world.
Anyway, I enjoyed our time together as a congregation this morning. There are those who do not enjoy church - I'm not one of them. There are people who hurt, others who don't "get it," and others who come for show and pomp and circumstance. But we're together, and there's something real and positive in that. We sing together, dance together, clap together, stomp together. We're challenged together - this morning, to consider the question "What Is Your Life?" from James 4:14. We give together, pray for people together, lay hands on others together. We ate donuts together, drank coffee together - amen?
I see folks hurting and offended and not going to church. It bothers me about the state of the church that will turn people off and turn them away like that. And I see folks who "don't do church" - it's just not their thing, not that big of a deal. that bothers me about the people and how they've been blinded to their need for time well spent with the people of God. And I see people... or don't see them enough... how let everything on the calendar come in the way of their participation in the life of a local body of the children of God. I hurt for these people, knowing that there's nothing short of real discipline and real trouble that will probably work in turning their hearts towards God and the rest of us.
There's just something about getting up and going to church. Something about seeing genuine smiles on happy people, and genuine tears on those who are mourning. There's a depth in seeing someone set free, and a challenge in opening the Word and hearing in the Spirit what the Lord is saying to us together.
Saturday, July 05, 2003
Which Character from Spongebob Squarepants Are You? (now with pictures)
brought to you by Quizilla
Well, it's Saturday, and I finally feel like I've got an "extra" day. Yesterday, the Friday 07/04 holiday, felt like a Saturday all day long. We spent the afternoon out on the lake - lots of fun, and I only got a little sun on my face and shoulders. We ate "the world's best hamburgers last night" - that's what Grampa called 'em, and they were pretty good. Today, a ministry opp at CWO, where we will pick up sidewalk trash up and down Rosewood Drive. Trying to keep it real this afternoon, too, with a trip to the bookstore for some more summer reading, or if it's not raining we might hit Frankie's mini-golf again.
It's a good long weekend, and there's alot on my mind. But not so much that I'm bogged down like I might've been last weekend. I'm looking forward to today. Amen?
Friday, July 04, 2003
Friday Five - while it's still Friday. I keep thinking it's Saturday and wondering why the normal weekend TV stuff isn't on - duh. Anyway, this one's on children's books - right up our alley.
1. What were your favorite childhood stories?
I really liked historical fiction in the WE WERE THERE books, like WE WERE THERE AT THE BATTLE OF GETTYSBURG, or WE WERE THERE AT THE FIRST AIRPLANE FLIGHT. I also loved the Hardy Boys (even before Sean Cassidy and Parker Stevenson) and had several original copies passed on from my dad. I read most of the Judy Blume SuperFudge books, as well as all of the John Fitzgerald Great Brain books. I remember having lots of Newberry Medal winners, especially in the boxed sets. Later, I read The Hobbit, but never quite got into LOTR until college or so.
2. What books from your childhood would you like to share with [your] children?
All of the above. Plus, I didn't read the Narnia books until I was in college, but we're sharing those, too.
3. Have you re-read any of those childhood stories and been surprised by anything?
I really haven't dug into any of them again, but hopefully soon. I think my son would like the Hardy Boys and WE WERE THERE books, and I'm sure there will be stuff that I didn't understand the first time around.
4. How old were you when you first learned to read?
I have memories of reading before I was in first grade, like street signs and stuff.
5. Do you remember the first 'grown-up' book you read? How old were you?
Hmmm... perhaps SHOGUN by James Clavell, after the mini-series showed on TV. It was a HUGE book, oer 1200 pages in paperback (but HP is still too big!). I also remember reading the SUPERMAN novel adaptation from the first Christopher Reeves movie, and I read GREASE in like one weekend.
UPDATE 07/05: We went to my folks' house last night, and I pulled out WE WERE THERE AT THE FIRST AIRPLANE FLIGHT and The Hardy Boys HUNTING FOR HIDDEN GOLD to bring home for my son to take a shot at. We read the first chapter of HIDDEN GOLD, and I think he actually enjoyed it - Frank and Joe are in trouble, though! We'll have to read chapter two to make sure they're ok!
Thoughts On Freedom:
- Galatians 5:1 - It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery
- Freedom - The condition of being free of restraints (from dictionary.com)
- The Freedom Forum - looks like they celebrate the freedom of the press by displaying front pages from all over the globe - cool, but where's The State?
- Psalm 119:45 - I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts
- Freedom In Christ Ministries
- Freedom In Christ Bible
- 2 Corinthians 3:17 - Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom
- We celebrate FREEDOM today in USAmerica, knowing that it has been bought with a price - the lives of many dedicated men and women who fought for this country. We also realize that our ultimate freedom is in Christ, and that He, too, paid a price. That price allowed for forgiveness of sin, and for power in living life to the full. This freedom is free, but it has not been cheap, and we are grateful
I get most of my search engine hits to this blog from AJGOLF. It's so funny - I can tell you when the infomercial just showed on the Golf Channel or something, because I'll have at least three hits from someone looking at Google or Yahoo! for AJGOLF. So I thought I might oughta have an entry on how/if the videos impacted my golf game.
The official website says that, "AJ [Bonar] has revolutionized the way to a better golf game through his years of experience..." I'm not one who normally does alot of impulse buying, but the infomercial got my attention and the price wasn't too bad. On top of that, there were DVDs, not just VHS, so I knew I just had to have them. The videos couldn't hurt my game, and it just might help.
Well, they didn't hurt. But I don't play enough to tell if they've helped at all. I get to play around three or four times a year, and would play more if my schedule allowed and it wasn't so dang hot here in the summer. But what I have noticed - I watched the DVDs once and haven't seen 'em since, loaning them to buddies - is that I don't think so much anymore. I just hit the ball. And I have hit it more consistently with that one thing probably. I still top the ball, but not nearly as much, and I think it's because I don't wait so long to just hit the thing.
My short game sucks, but I would still recommend the videos - except for the guitar and singing "Down On The Ball" at the end of the third session - skip that one.
Thursday, July 03, 2003
ESPN.com, Page 2: Divine Intervention
By Gregg Easterbrook
Sports and theology. There ya go.
Today is the official start to my FOURTH OF JULY VACATION.
- Mini-golf at Frankie's Fun Park
- Teaching on OBEDIENCE/SACRIFICE tonight
- Boating on the Lake tomorrow
- Grillin' out tomorrow night
- Saturday on the Lake - probably
- Church/Sabbath/Rest Sunday
- Charlotte/Carowinds/Discovery Place Monday & Tuesday
Sounds like a winner. I need the break from the mental stress at work the past few weeks. Just a couple of programming pieces that have been really difficult to get completely straight, like logic puzzles in college. So I'll be back in the office Wednesday, ready to jump through hoops again and get cranking on something new, I hope.
Wednesday, July 02, 2003
And in the news:
- CNN: More dead cats found in Denver area - ... they're reporting this like it's a bad thing.... Just kidding... mostly. Gory and sick, but maybe he's just a dog person who's sick and tired and can't take it anymore.
- Wearable Tech: Coming soon to your closet: Clothing that changes color to match your mood - don't think I'd like to see that one that points out lust, pride and jealousy.
- CNN: Man gets life in prison for spitting - "His lawyers said they plan to appeal." - you think?
- Why Waking Up Early Is So Hard - they didn't like my answer for the study: "because I'm ASLEEP!!!!!!!!"
- CNN: A car stereo that can kill you? Cool - I've got to get out more...
More rough draft: I wanted to share some of the thoughts I've been hit with for this Thursday's POWERHouse - 7pm @ CWO. I was planning on a 2-week thing, but I think it'll work to get all of this topic in this week, and that way I can either still do something next week 07/10, or Pastor can jump back in the saddle again.
My first night was going to be OBEDIENCE IS NOT SACRIFICE, followed the next week by OBEDIENCE IS A PROMISE. But I think I can go for hitting all of it this week. In talking about obedience, we often linger on the Law and the thou-shalt-not's first, then the must-do's, then there's a feeling that some of the commands of Christ are good suggestions and we don't feel the compulsion to move on them at all. If we've been growing and maturing, though, and we've talked about this, that HAVE-TO turns into a WANT-TO. What I've been meditating on is how that happens, because I find myself obeying out of both HAVE-TO and out of WANT-TO. I'm convinced it's my flesh (buffet my body into submission, 1 Cor. 9:27) and my own mindsets of selfishness and laziness (every thought captive, 2 Cor. 10:3-5) that hold me back. At the same time, what in me spurs me on towards WANT-TO? It happened with my wife last week, and I'm still pondering the whole thing.
Long day, driving home on I-77, and all I'm looking forward to is to kick my shoes and socks off and put on some shorts and veg out under a ceiling fan. Vicki calls and asks me to stop at the store. Right there, my HAVE-TO wanted to whine, and my WANT-TO was sweating in my black interior CRV. But I didn't complain (much), and I stopped at the store. And here's why it was, in my mind, a SUBMISSIVE thing:
My motivation wasn't "get this done so that she won't nag me anymore and I can really relax when I get in the door". My WANT-TO was to make her happy, to serve her. I could never be motivated by "oh yeah, I WANT-TO stop at the grocery store right now - what a great idea!" But the motivation to love my wife and show her that love, that's what motivated me to do the thing for nothing more than a hug and her smile. There's a difference there, because the HAVE-TO of a particular task is a sacrifice on my part. But the WANT-TO of pleasing her is a fulfillment of the promise we've made to each other. One is focused on me and that thing I don't want to do; the other is focused on her and that thing that I've grown to enjoy. So, I went to the store, didn't gripe about it (much), and all was well in da house. I wanted to please her more than I wanted to serve self. Isn't that what God desires from us?
So, using passages on obedience and sacrifice (we'll spend time in 1 Samuel 15 where Saul disobeys God, and in Luke 15 where the HAVE-TO of the older brother robs him of living in his sonship), I'm finding that they're not the same thing, but that I often look at OBEDIENCE as a SACRIFICE, as a laying down of my life to do this thing I don't want to do. But in reality, OBEDIENCE is a PROMISE, both from Jesus ("if you love, you'll OBEY me", John 14:23-24), and from the relationship that's growing as I seek to please Him.
OBEDIENCE IS NOT SACRIFICE leads into OBEDIENCE IS A PROMISE. Jesus promised that if we loved Him, we'd be obedient. Once again, if my focus is on His promises, His love, His life in me, then I won't begrudgingly do something. I'll do it cheerfully. In sacrificing this way, I give freely - and in the NT, that means a living sacrifice that won't jump off the altar, since the focus is on Christ and not on what I'm leaving behind. And this is where I think Hebrews 5:8 comes in. Jesus learned obedience through suffering. What suffering? Leaving heaven, denying Himself, etc - and in that He wasn't sacrificing as much as He was submitting to the Father's will. The "suffering" was the choice to not dwell on His own desires/needs/wants/flesh, but to instead focus even to the point of loss on what the Father was doing...... How dis He learn obedience through that? Perhaps in discovering that YES, the Father did supply, and that YES, the joy in the relationship was sufficient/enough to go through the relative crap of this earth and human life. What do you think?
Tuesday, July 01, 2003
I'm preaching/teaching at CWO/PowerHouse this Thursday evening on OBEDIENCE. Starting with what it's not - Obedience Is Not Sacrifice - and ending up with what it is - Obedience Is A Promise. The goal is to use the time wisely in one night, but I can make it a two-parter if necessary. And right now, it looks necessary. So much of our mental make-up is set on Obedience and Sacrifice being wrapped up together - the WANT-TO of Obedience and the HAVE-TO of Sacrifice. But I see something different at work in the kingdom. Maybe the only acceptable Sacrifice is one flowing from Obedience, instead of looking at my Obedience as some sort of Sacrifice... I can flesh that out more. Anyway, come on by if you're in town, 7pm Thursday 07/03.
Right now, I'm going to use this space for a rough draft and some links I just Googled:
Things that make you go hmmmmmmmmm...
I just found this freeware tool, w.bloggar, through the LifeWithChrist blog hosting site. Might play around with it for awhile, might not. Looks like it'll give me a way to blog/post without having to be on the Blogger internet tool - which is having enough problems, isn't it? I don't want to move from Blogger - too much hassle for me. I don't mind the chinks if I can still archive what I've written and add a few bells and whistles as I go. But at the same time, I want to be able to post and not worry about what's actually going to the site. Hopefully this will give me some freedom to get it right more often, and I'll be able to play around a little more, too.
CNN: Study reveals how stress makes you sick
Well, I coulda told you that....
"Stunning....I think heaven is a Waffle House"......Michaela's back from her trip to Atlanta.
Crosswalk.com: Furthering The Fire - David McCreary
I'd heard about Dashboard Confessional from some of the Relevant message boards, and have a love/hate relationship with Carrabba's lead vocals (sometimes just right, sometimes grates my nerves). Got this plug in an article - I didn't know there was another band before, let alone a "Christian" band, Further Seems Forever. Have to check them out.
CNN: Funnyman Buddy Hackett dead at 78
Just saw him on NBC's LAST COMIC STANDING, and my wife and I were watching THE LOVE BUG last night. I've always enjoyed his work, except where he fell into the trap of having to be crude to get a laugh.
Hmmm. I feel better tonight than I have the past few days. Just more a part of things, not so much left behind like I did yesterday. Pastor Steve preached on The FAVOR of the Lord yesterday morning, and everywhere I turn today I see FAVOR in scripture. Going to have to do my own study on that word, dig into it a little bit.
Anyway, long day at work, but I feel good about it. And we've had fun here tonight, playing Super Monkey Ball 2 with the kids and reading together. Now if I could get the annoying dog off my arm and the annoying prank-caller off my phone, all would be sleepy time in da house.