Sunday, June 29, 2008

"ON AFFLiCTiON" [puritan excerpts]

Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word. I know, O Lord, that Your judgments are righteous and that in faithfulness You have afflicted me [Psalm 119.67, 75].
  • A sanctified person, like a silver bell, the harder he is smitten, the better he sounds [George Swinnock].
  • Poverty and affliction take away the fuel that feeds pride [Richard Sibbes].
  • We often learn more of God under the rod that strikes us, than under the staff that comforts us [Stephen Charnock].
  • When I am in the cellar of affliction, I look for the Lord's choicest wines [Samuel Rutherford].
  • It is said that in some countries trees will grow, but will bear no fruit, because there is no winter there [John Bunyan].
O people in Zion, inhabitants in Jerusalem, you will weep no longer. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when He hears it, He will answer you. Although the Lord has given you the bread of affliction and the water of oppression, He, your Teacher will no longer hide Himself, but your eyes will behold Your Teacher. Your ears will hear a word behind you saying, "This is the way. Walk in it." [Isaiah 30.19-21]

Thursday, June 26, 2008

before I go to be with Jesus, I'd love to

  1. Go to Montana.
  2. Go to Seattle.
  3. Go to Europe.
  4. Live to see my grandkids.
  5. Give a Waffle House waitress a $100 bill for a tip.
  6. Take Sara to the Grand Canyon.
  7. Write a book.
  8. Make a record.
  9. Buy a tandem bicycle for me and Sara.
  10. Take Charlie Boyd to Waffle House [he's never been and that hurts me very deeply].

Saturday, June 21, 2008


Stephen Colbert is a sarcastic Catholic from South Carolina who sticks his neck into politics and social odds and ends. He has his own show on Comedy Central. He just interviewed Tom Wright. It's fun to watch their wits interact.

balance doesn't eliminate passion

I often see the following paradigm applied all over the place. When it was first said, I believe it was strictly a spiritual analysis, but I think it can be pressed further.
Empty souls tend toward extreme opinion
You know, like guys flying planes into the sides of buildings and saying that they did it for God. Or people who will bet their whole soul that Jesus will come back on this or that date.

I might be stupid, but I feel like I also see this in the way people eat, vote, treat their family, and spend their money. I know it's not the case for everyone, but I promise you that I see it everywhere.

I guess I just really want to be balanced and not culturally knuckle-headed. I only want to see rigid allegiance and integrity in the way I live. This will have to be by grace. Holy Spirit, please help.

predestination ponderings

  • If you're a Christian and believe the Bible, you believe in predestination. Actually, you get to believe it. It's in the Bible. God has revealed it. However, what you believe about it is another story altogether.
  • As far as how the NT readers and writers understood it, it was never an issue of contention or debate.
  • In the NT, the doctrine of predestination is grounds for praise. Ephesians 1.3-14 is one huge sentence in Greek that praises/blesses God for his electing love and grace.
  • In the NT, the doctrine of predestination was a comfort for Christians. When Paul gets to the height of his discourse in Romans 5-8, he explains that present suffering and tribulation bow in comparison to future glory. He then says that this future glory is based on God's predestinating love. Cherishing this brought peace to Christians, not ignorant anger or arrogant apathy.
  • Obviously it leaves us now with tons of unanswered and unaswerable questions [the two are different you know]. We seem to collapse because we can't have every conclusion served on a simple, silver, intellectual platter. This is partially due to the fact that you are a product of Western post-Enlightenment thought. Why can't we just accept that the parts of this we don't understand that are intended by God to grant us great humility. This is of course easier said than done.
  • Lastly, the doctrine of predestination is not fair. Not a single one of us who are His deserve to be His. Our pride is so thick, our lusts are so strong, our minds are so bent, our passions are so misplaced. We all deserve terrible judgment, which He would be just and holy to give. Why He chooses to love anyone is not fair. We are pretty rotten, but He is rich in mercy.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


"If you can't communicate something in a way anyone can understand, either you don't understand it or you don't believe it."

"He that but looketh on a plate of ham and eggs to lust after it hath already committed breakfast with it in his heart."

"Course he isn't safe, " the Beaver replies. "But he's good."

the sacrificial softball version of RUDY

I didn't cry, but I was emotionally moved. It's five minutes well-spent. Go ahead, hit play and feel cheesy that you actually did.

Monday, June 16, 2008


I have begun. I've started Ezekiel. I've read it before, but I feel like I've got a better grip on naked Isaiah and imprisoned Jeremiah. But our friend Ezekiel who cooks his food over cow dung, he has eluded me. I'm in chapter 8 or 9 and already I know I'm in over my head, but I see consistencies that prod my spirit and give me more hope for understanding what in the heck he is saying.

Here are several things I've noticed so far.

Ezekiel says often that he sees or experiences the glory of God. This is likely the glory related to the Temple. This seems to be a helpful reference point. Also, God tells him to go to an obstinate and stubborn people and tell them, "Thus says the Lord." I love the authority behind that. Another repeated phrase is God explaining that he does things so that a certain person or persons "will know that He is YHWH."

I'm trying to see how all of this ties together to the post-exilic people of God longing for their Messiah's kingship. I know the New Covenant and Ezekiel's Temple-theology are pretty important to keep in mind as well. If you have any Ezekiel pointers, I'm all ears.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Aside from the blazing average heat index of about 103 recently, G-ville is quite a nice place in the summer. Go see more pretty pictures here. The Silver Chair is cool too.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

prayers and thanks

I feel as though my prayer life as of late has consisted of only gratitude. We have two Hondas that are nearing 600,000 miles as a dynamic duo [neither have AC at the moment either]. We just bought this house and still have many more nights of labor to put into it. We have no clue how to fix it all either. The funds are tight. The days are long. The summer has already promised to prove itself chaotic as far as calendars are concerned. And the best part of all of this though is that I am convinced it's normal.

Everybody has stuff on their plate. Relationships. Finances. Jobs. In-laws. Schedules. Church. Kids. Whatever. Who am I to complain or act like some victim. I must be and I get to be grateful. At first I was really mad/sad that I wasn't praying as much for others or ministries or whatnot. Actually, I still am. But.... God has so brought peace to me when I realized that this season of appreciation-saturated prayer is a wonderfully humbling thing.

I love what some of the old Puritans used to say about prayer. They were known for this lovely axiom: "Pray until you pray." Meaning, be with Him until you are no longer thinking about it and concentrating on it, but you just are. You're thanking Him. You're pleading with Him. You're trusting His word. You're confessing. You're happy in Him. That's what I see when I read the prayers of Paul. That's how I long for it to be for me too.

"Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" [1 Ths 5.16-18].

NT Wright prying into the mind of a 1st century Jew regarding the kingdom

What then is central to the understanding of the kingdom? That which we saw a moment ago: the Jewish expectation of the saving sovereignty of the covenant god, exercised in the vindication of Israel and the overthrow of her enemies....

If Pilate was still governing Judea, then the kingdom had not come. If the Temple was not rebuilt, then the kingdom had not come. If the Messiah had not arrived, then the kingdom had not come. If Israel was not observing the Torah properly, then the kingdom had not come. If the pagans had not been defeated and/or flocking to Zion for instruction, then the kingdom had not come....

Most modern scholars who have attempted redefinitions of the kingdom have considered such essentially Jewish ideas to be already moribund, and have passed them by on the other side, anxious to avoid contamination as they hurry to worship at the shrine of intellectual respectability.