Sunday, December 30, 2012

Starting a trip thoughts

1. I think I packed enough underwear.

2. This is the first time I've been to the same overseas place for a second time.

3. 48 hours of traveling & 12.5 hours time difference. Fun.

 4. Bacon & beef for dinner before the trip, good planning on my part.

5. 2 weeks of not seeing my nephews. Poo.

6. Pray no one gets sick. Cause that would suck. Any and all prayers would be appreciated.

 7. I'll need a job when I get back. Would love any and all recommendations.

8. "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."

9. Tons of curry and tylenolPM. Mmmmhmmm.

10. I don't doubt that Taylor Swift will be comfort music. 

Thursday, December 27, 2012


1) Birdy can sing. Straight up.

2) Saw Les Miserables. Thought about crying. So good.

3) Writing the next series of blog posts. These should be good and interesting. Prieview: "The aim, or the end, of Christian living – the goal, if you will - is not to be the pastor or even a pastor."

4) Leaving for India on Monday!

5) Because I'm leaving on Monday it may be a couple weeks before the series gets posted. Maybe.

6) I have a mantel clock. It's beautiful and chimes and tick-tocks. The chimes are three hours off.

7) Kat has to know I'm leaving soon, she is getting super cuddly.

8) Taylor Swift and I should grab coffee.

9) Job hunting. If you have recommendations let me know. Por favor.

10) Thinking about changing the name of the blog anyone have any suggestions?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Having a Cold Thoughts

These are the thoughts every bearded man has had to think at one point or another. This could be a perspective changer for some folk.

  1. The mustache part of my beard is filled with snot
  2. Everytime I blow my nose I need four kleenex.
  3. I washed my beard today... then sneezed and washed it again.
  4. Waking up in the morning can reveal interesting beard-omenon.
  5. My facial hair covers up the kleenex rash - for the most part.
  6. If I take a shower I won't need a kleenex for a few minutes and my beard is cleaned too.
  7. If I shove these two kleenex up my nostrils then I won't need to blow my nose and can avoid point #2.

Here are some normal people cold thoughts:
  1. Vitamin-C and toothpaste don't mix well.
  2. I'm sure I'm producing enough snot to fuel my car - someone should harness this energy.
  3. Cough drops give me a distinct slur.
  4. Sleep aids = from God.
  5. Water, water, water, water... pee.
  6. If I lay a certain way at night my nose won't leek everywhere.
  7. I feel like a zombie.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

This God of the Mundane

I finally got my copy of The God of the Mundane in the mail on Friday. Theoretically I should be done reading its 73 pages by now – but I’m not. There’s too much to it. To read this tiny book quickly would be to miss the point.

I remember a time in my life when I would read at least three books a week, and we’re talking 200-300 page puppies. Then came the first short little book that took my life wrapped it around a tree and sent it in another direction, Henry Scougal’s The Life of God in the Soul of Man.

This book now, this God of the Mundane book, is compiling thoughts, conversations, and personel wrestles that have been warring in my soul for some 18 months and making them spoken, no, making them written - which is more solid than the fleeting fluttering words of the mouth. And others are reading these words too.

My dad and I have a saying about good books, that their introductions are usually worth the price of the book - that's the case here.

Here’s a snippet,
“So many pastors today, famous and otherwise, are asking young people and everyone else if they are willing to give it all and go overseas as a missionary. It’s not a bad question to ask. There is no question in my mind that this question needs to be out there. But they – or someone – also needs to ask, ‘Are you willing to be numbered among the nameless believers in history who lived in obscurity? Do you have the courage to be forgotten by everyone but God and the heavenly host? Are you willing to be found only by God as faithful right where you are? Are you willing to have no one write a book about you and what you did in the name of Christ? Are you willing to live and believe – in stark contrast to the world around you – there is a God of the Mundane?’”
Rich Mullins is playing the background; I made cookie dough tonight; and there is a God of this mundane moment where I’m just another broken hearted kid aiming at loving that God of the mundane and extraordinary with all this little heart can bare. So I’ll go read Lord of the Rings and pray for my future family because God is here.

Friday, December 14, 2012

When Children Are Killed

My phone lit up this morning with a notification about the CT shooting. An elementary school, really? Oh no... Innocent kids, the ones men should stand up to protect gunned down by a "guardian." There are no stories or realities more tragic than little children murdered.

First my mind rushed to hate & anger. Then it scurried to attempting to imagine a parent's pain. Then to thinking about my nephews - I'd kill to keep them safe. Last my mind ran to sin.

One time in lit class we watched Othello, something about that Shakespearian play terrified me. How Iago plots and plans for the death of his closest friend (who he considers to be his bitter enemy). It's conniving, it's cruel, it's sinful. What scared, and still scares me is knowing the same beast lives in me, I'm capable of such wanton cruelty.

The sinfulness of others - no matter how shocking, evil, or twisted - is the same sinfulness that dwells in each of us. I'm not saying we've all killed children, I am saying we've all hated (which Jesus says is just as damnable); I'm not saying we're all whores, I'm saying we've all lusted (which Jesus equates to adultery).

At the bottom of this all what I am saying is that we are all sin filled.

Yes, the actions done today are atrocious; yes, I feel an intense anger towards the man who kills kids (or any man who isn't a man); yes, I want to see justice done in this life & the next upon him; and yes, this is a devastatingly terrible thing (it's fitting today is cloudy & rainy in Wichita). But this should be a call to repentance from our own personal sins. The beast that dwelt in the gunman dwells in us all, we're all affected by the fall, sin is in us all.

So what now? After trying to understand the depravity of us (you, me, we), where do we go? To the only One who has always been free of sin, to God. To the center of history, to Jesus. To Him who fought the beast in us all and won, won for all who call him Lord. That's where we go today, the day when children were recklessly murdered.

Friday's Thoughts

1) The Hobbit! I saw it!

2) There were tons of young ones there, I was shocked. Maybe I'm getting older?

3) Took Lil Loren to the Zoo yesterday. We ran all around cause no one was there (well he only ran around for half the time before his tiny legs got tired). And saw the tiger *rawr*

4) I finished classes and promptly slept for 10 hours.

5) Does anyone else use the armrest as a coaster rather than an armrest?

6) Going to India in a couple weeks. This trip could not be timed better. Adventure!

7) I've not been this chill in a long time.

8) I'm in that love-is-fake part of the break up stage... My cynicism loves it.

9) Continually relearning this, "O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord." I doubt I'll ever get too far past this, if at all.

10) It's nice to know everyone knows about the resignation, no more guessing or tip-toeing around. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Two Weeks of Thinking

It’s been a little over two weeks since all my responsibilities at the church ended. Sure the announcement was just this last Sunday but it was a scheduled announcement so there was a bit of waiting around not being able to say anything for a while. In other words, I’ve had a bit of time to digest this stuff – to think about what should be said, how to say it, and what’s the safe way to communicate the problems encountered…

In the end it’s just fine to talk about weaknesses; to discuss the realities of depression – the need for a medication and a counselor; to talk about the constant wear of attempting to function in an area of gifting you’re not gifted with; to be real about the pain of singleness in the ministry and the damned desire to be helped and cared for.

In the end it’s safe to honestly open up about the constant drudge of being barely able to have the faith of salvation let alone the apparently necessary overt faith of a pastor, to say that I can’t run off someone else’s passion any longer.

In the end it’s okay to tell people that the only way it was possible to fall asleep at night was to try to remember what it was like in another land, when war raged all around; to listen to mix CD’s from years ago while clinging to your Bible and weeping for want of a returned hope.

In the end… In the end it’ll be right to say that the darkness was necessary and the sun shown more brightly; to remember the sting of losses and know them for what they really are - bits that had to be pruned.

Sure there’s a plan and a hope for the future, but the plan can’t be the hope. Yes, there’s a past full of wishes for something different, but wishes don’t change the past just like my future shouldn’t change my hope.

So when the time comes to bid the Shadowland goodbye, it shouldn’t be from desires for a different life or from the failed dreams I once held, but it should be from the standpoint of knowing my hope-filled-anchor to be hidden with Christ on high and thus my hope is my future and my present and my past – that is to mean in weakness, and drudgery, and fear cling to Him who does cling to you.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Pastoral Resignation

This morning I read a letter to the church I worked at and help start over the past three years. In that letter I announced my resignation from being a pastor. It was and has been a difficult time for me to process through much of the weight, emotions, frustrations, and worries that have come with and been a part of this decision – a decision that has been developing over the past six months.

In short it is time for me to rest.To remember the gospel which for the past six years of my life has been either a semi-professional or professional job for me. But the gospel isn’t a professional calling. No, it’s so much more and less than that. It’s more because it’s what doctors and lawyers and bankers and moms and dads and college students and grad students and nurses alike cling to for hope and joy and peace. And it’s less because it’s the simplicity of child like faith and awe; because its burden is easy and yoke is light; because it’s the symphony of grace and mercy. The gospel isn’t some ware to be pervade or sold; it is the treasure in the field for which we sell all out of joy.

Many sleepless nights and desperate cries to the darkness (and my steering wheel) have filled my life these past months. Talks with family, friends, a counselor, my doctor, and the elders as well as the impressing leading of God have brought me to this grueling decision. It hurts to – for this next season - lay down the pastoral role. Do I still feel a deep and abiding calling? No, I feel a deep and abiding passion for proclaiming the gospel. Callings are good, they give a sense of direction, but it’d be better put to feel a burning passion for the gospel rather than a call for ministry. While a call to vocational ministry is desired, before any of that who-haw can be true there must be a love for the gospel of grace of which I am a partaker and chiefly in need of. That though my sins be great, my God is greater. That while my treachery runs deep, His love runs deeper. That in the midst of loss Jesus is my comforter.

            Thus I am no longer a pastor at a church.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Friday's Thoughts

1) Go buy this book. My former boss wrote it. It's good. You need it.

2) Finals are almost over! 1 more paper due next week then sleeeeeeeeep.

3) Played with torches on Wednesday night after building a fire then had a churchy-talk while sitting by a lake watching the stars. Fire, torches, churchy-talk only thing missing was beer then it could've been just like the reformation... okay maybe not, they were all in pubs.

4) Le house is decorated for Christmas. But it doesn't smell like it yet. Must needs cinnamon.

5) Seriously have been considering playing a show. You know singing and strumming the guitar in front of real people, not the fake ones in my head or the Kat.

6) A week from now my mind will have exploded from seeing The Hobbit.

7) I'm now the proud owner of a scarf that has the family plaid on it! Time to eat some haggis and throw a tree - a real little tree, maybe just a twig or two.

8) I've taken to leaving my phone in the kitchen at night. The lil tart can't wake me up now.

9) "When all around my soul gives way he then is all my hope and stay." Yea, that's easy to write and say. Maybe I'll believe it more when I'm older? Fight to believe it now.

10) If I get one more request to play farmville on Facebook I'm gonna call up Mark Zuckerberg and word-punch him. Stupid game.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Kinda Nostalgic

I started The Lord of the Rings again this last Saturday. It's like walking down an old familiar path from my youth, in a way nostalgic and in another remindful - remindful about the person I once was and who I am now, which is revealing of the changes that've taken place.

Do you remember the things you got excited about as a kid? For me it was Star Wars for a little while then it was Lord of the Rings. I had action figures of both - the Lord of the Rings ones are still in my closet at my parent's house, I gave the Star Wars ones away. Remember the way we'd get caught up in our fantasy worlds of wherever we'd imagined?

Part of it was innocence and part of it was ignorance. Innocence in that we'd never lost love before, never been betrayed before and never known uncertainty. Ignorance in that we didn't know how the wide world operated, we didn't know the time demands or the way our dreams would be warped or killed.

But at the same time growing up has been an experience I don't want to trade for anyone else's. The lost loves, the time demands, the way my dreams have been shifted or changed or even killed (I suck at math therefore the dream of astronaut was a lil far fetched) it's all served a purpose, a plan, to bring me to where I am today. Does that mean it's all figured out? Definitely not. Does that mean every aspect of my life is the way it should be? No. It just means that I'm content with the adventures God has placed in my life - even though some feel daunting.

I underlined this in my book yesterday,
"I wish it need not have happened in my time," said Frodo.
"So do I," said Gandalf, "and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to do is decide what to do with the time that is given us. And already, Frodo, our time is beginning to look black. The enemy is fast becoming strong. His plans are far from ripe, I think, but they are ripening. We shall be hard put to it. We should be very hard put to it, even if it were not for this dreadful chance."

Friday, November 30, 2012

Friday's Thoughts

1) There's been some rather large changes in my life. Posts to come - if finals don't make my mind mushier.

2) One week of finals down, one to go. A 20-page paper will be owned. Like a boss.

3) The Uncle is in town from Idaho. I like spending time with him. Scotch and great conversations.

4) The Lord of the Rings is calling my name to be re-read. Well technically it's always calling my name, it's just stronger now.

5) I HAVE MY TICKET TO SEE THE HOBBIT! Opening night, at midnight, be jealous. (Nerd moment)

6) T-Swizzle and I have had some quality musical interchanges this week. We should meet.

7) India in a month!

8) "Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation." Isaiah 12:2

9) Ironic how the Country's finical issues were supposedly great before the election and now we're at the "Fiscal Cliff"-of-doom.

10) I'm glad the end of the world is set for after when The Hobbit comes out. Now I just need to see Coldplay and U2 before the 21st to be golden... BTW is the end of the world at 12 midnight on the 21 or 12 noon, I feel like this will be a drastically important distinction.

(Those are little shrimps wrapped in bacon dipped in BBQ sauce in the picture. Yes, the were heavenly.)

Friday, November 23, 2012


1) "Terrible Tuesday" was given new meaning this week.

2) I'm naturally scared of confrontation. I talk a big game.

3) My grandma has called me every morning to just check on me. I love her.

4) My boss/friend & I can yell at & cry with each other.

5) I plan on running after this'n.

6) Tomorrow is Thanksgiving for the Morris clan

7) That moment when you're praying and you know God is replying to you. Yea, that's true comfort. It's like Scripture in a conversational manner.

8) Started painting my first painting this week. Dark colors.

9) I'm a cynical-mind-speaking mess. If I offend you... Well then... Oops?

10) In the end, no matter what happens I must must must say, my God is in control... Because it's all I've got.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Friday's Thinking Thoughts

1) The glorious moment your professor tells you the 20 page paper that was suppose to be due in five days is now due in two weeks.

2) Was able to interview the franchise holder of Chick-fil-A. I reminded him that my boss and I called four years ago. They're late, but here so it's okay.

3) The next year of grad classes are planned. No more 12-hour semesters. Yes, I learned a valuable lesson - listen to your mom/dad/boss/girlfriend/friend/kat.

4) Leading worship this Sunday at Journey the Way. Kinda nervous and excited.

5) Reading "The Horse and His Boy" it's my favorite Chronicles of Narnia book.

6) Psalm 23

7) "'Pull over!' 'No, it's a cardigan, but thanks for noticing.'"

8) The next three weeks will be filled with fun! And by 'fun' of course I mean papers, projects, presentations, finals and the like...

9) When you laugh so hard you cry with your roommates. Good times.

10) Maybe it's true; that the thing you rail against and hate the most is the thing you're most prone to fall into. For me I hate the idea of a theology centered on man. Where God is forgone for feeling or emotionalism. When God is seen as a vending machine not as the terrifyingly majestic and gracious God he is.
Yet, it is true, I'm prone to fall into feeling and emotionalism when God should be centered on me and my wants. When the beginnings of my thoughts with God are not, "Be my Shepherd," but rather, "This is what I want, so provide it, now."
I hope you see the juxtaposition. While in my mind I serve the law of God, that of who he is as revealed in Scripture and in my heart I serve the law of my flesh. Romans 7 is being written again in my life by the actions and inactions of a heart and mind at war for the supremecy of Jesus in my life. So, like always, this verse must be the reigning peace over my heart, "O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God - through Jesus Christ our Lord."

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Last Battle

“The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning.” ~ C.S. Lewis

I finished reading The Last Battle on Saturday morning. I’d begun it towards the end of the summer in preparation for a sermon, but had left the last chapter unread. It’s the chapter wrapping the entire Chronicle of Narnia series up; bringing it to a close with one tremendous repeated line, “Further up and further in.”

It’s easy to loose sight of the goal, the aim. Through curves in the road and the tall hedges, mountains or the sea, we don’t always have a clear view of the end. But there are times when we see it, when we know exactly where our aim is and why it should be there, when all of life falls into place and we run further up and further into the plan and glory of God.

But the opposite of this is true too. When we don’t see. When we don’t desire God. When we have tried to replace him with title, lovers, family, events and the like. When our defining point is an unsettled heart. Even still we are traveling further up and further into the plan and the glory of God, though it might feel like a trudge rather than a run.

Yet we aim to be satisfied by God. No. We earnestly hope with a longing expectation to be satisfied by God.

We know this is the dream, and the night is far-gone. We know a new day will come and shine out all the brighter. We know the term is far spent and the freedom of the holidays is upon us. But they are not here yet and thus we fight the good fight of faith. Thus we lean upon our band of brothers, those fellow Christians, to carry us down the road just a little further to see both the beauty of the Savior and what we’ve been saved from.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Friday Thoughts

1) Sorry this is the only post this week.

2) Kat farted Wednesday morning and it was loud. I was in shock. Has anyone else ever had a cat straight up fart?

3) Watched V for Vendetta on Monday. We had eggys in a basket before. #legit

4) The Election happened. Facebook told me. So did Twitter. And all the complaining Christians. Guess the world just fell off God's map there didn't it?

5) Planning international flights is stressful, thank God for help.

6) I want to meet Charles Koch. Just 'cause I think he's neat.

7) Last week I bought all 8 Harry Potter movies for half the normal selling price. Groupon.

8) The Beard is garnering a lot of compliments this year.

9) Budgeting. And sticking to it.

10) Remember all that stress I wrote about 3ish weeks ago? Well it's gone. Still doing all the same things, but something about the greatness and the goodness of God being, or supposing to be satisfying has gotten a hold of my heart. Like my 2-year-old nephew being carefree in everything should a Christian be in life. "Papa, He's got it." (Says the Community Group) I only wish I would've believed in the midst of depression that God is good even still - but He forgave me that too. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Friday's Thoughts

1) Mumford & Sons "Holland Road" don't overspiritualize it, just listen to it:

2) It's going to be 85 degrees today in Wichita. It's Novemeber 2. Dumb. (Read that as a tiny rant.)

3) The Senior editor for The Wichita Eagle taught my class last night. We got out early.

4) Some of the kids who trick-or-treated at my house had costums that scared me.

5) Kat tried to climb the curtains to catch a moth just after she jumped on someone's stitches. She spent the rest of the evening in the bathroom - you know, in timeout.

6) Hey, creepy old fat guys talking about going to Twin Peaks - you're gross.

7) Taylor Swift's new CD was okay. Wasn't as enchanting as the last one (see what I did there?)

8) Cleaver and clever are dangerously similar in spelling... It's possible I didn't send a text because I couldn't figure out which was what.

9) Boil it all down and away and every Christian ever knows only two things - whether mature or immature, smart or stupid, strong or weak - we all know we are sinners and that Jesus is Savior. That's enough.

10) Name your blessing - count them one-by-one. Stupid cliche, but Oh so necessary.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Personal Post

There was a time a couple of months ago when I was heavily impacted by this statement:

"There is a God-enthralled, Christ-treasuring, all-enduring love that pursues the fullness of God in the soul and in the service of Jesus. It is not absorbed in anthropology or methodology or even theology - it is absorbed in God. It cries with the psalmist, 'Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you! Let the nations be glad and sing for joy.... Sing praises to our King, sing praises! For God is the King of the earth (Ps. 67:3-4; 47:6-7). There is a distinct God-magnifying mind-set. It is relentless in bringing God forward again and again. It is spring-loaded to make much of God in anthropology and methodology and theology. It cannot make peace with God-ignoring, God-neglecting planning or preaching or puttering around." ~ John Piper

I first read this leading a small group of junior-high boys six years ago. Then it set something off in my heart that has lead me to where I am now.

Now I pray it again.

To be a God-centered man, not a man-centered man. To be a God-honoring man, not a man-honoring man. To be a God-fearing man, not a man-fearing man. To look at past failures and pains and know that by the grace of God he has lead me to where I am for his own sake and therefore to breathe grace and forgiveness in the same manner I have been shown it. To be forgiven my sins of man-centeredness and man-fearing, of future-worrying and past-atrophy, of making much of man, methods and books but forgetting God.

May it be that freedom reigns, freedom which was purchased at the highest of costs to cause this once bound and dead soul to live and move finding all it's being and hope in the God of the miraculous and mundane. The one who both spoke the world into existence and taught my soul to know there are acres of hope in him because there is none like him, none.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Friday's Thoughts

1) It's nice to have a game plan.

2) Really want to see Cloud Atlas (perhaps tonight?).

3) WSU president Dr. John Bardo taught my class last night. It was stupid cool. We got out early.

4) My family is the best.

5) Had a chat with my advisor on Wednesday, she laid out some handy things for next semester.

6) Went to jail yesterday - they let me leave like 45mins later.

7) Sometimes, sooner or later, you just got to ask for help.

8) "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us."

9) Found a CD of bagpip hymns. Talk about inspiring and soul music and good - allatthesametime.

10) There is but one thing to do when one doesn't know where to go or what to say - it is to drop to kneel and let the groaning of one's inward being (that being one truly is) come forth. For in that moment words are not enough and would merely cheapen the depth of the brokenness one feels. To let, as it were, God, though knowing all, see in one's groans the pains of sin, the depravity of the world, and the utter reality of it all which is now seen itself within the unveiled eyes of the one who groans. It is to confer with the almighty in a way, which is nearest to how it was in the garden - that is to say it is a deeper understanding of what the Other in the relationship sees and knows.

Yet it does not end there, for while one is capable of seeing and knowing - in part - the sin which besets one's soul God has not left him there. Though at the point of rock bottom, though unable to stand because of the shattering effects of the fall, though the groans communicate revilement and the understanding of just damnation, though one feels like anything else in all of creation should seperate one from the love Christ Jesus, He - the One from the cool of the garden, the One from the firey bush, the One from the cross, the One who indwells us says, while picking us up from our stupor,

"Who shall seperate you from my love? Shall tribulation? No. Shall distress? No. Shall persecution? No. Shall famine? No. Shall nakedness? No. Shall danger? No. Shall sword? No. No, in all these things you are more than a conqueror in me, because I love you. Be sure of this: neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate you from my love. Nothing."

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Confession: This Semester

Before I get into this’n it’s been freeing to say, “I was wrong.” At the end of the summer I planned out the semester, 12 hours of classes didn’t seem too bad. I’d taken a couple grad level classes before in undergrad so it seemed like it’d be doable. Mom said it was too much – she was right, I wasn’t.

It’s safe to say this has been one of the most difficult semesters I’ve had. Sure some undergrad semesters were hard, and when finals came they were really gross, but this one is taking the cake in the realm of stress, tiredness and changes. There’ve been a few breakdowns.

Taking the workload from school, the job at the church, fostering a new relationship and the normal things of life all together has been rich and difficult. Rich because there’s much to learn and much to be humbly amazed by; difficult because I’m prideful and thought I knew it all and this has been three months of being wrong. (In some ways I feel like a raw blister - hyperaware of failures.)

Yet there are three thoughts, which have made this semester more bearable:
1) Bear your burdens well.
Sure they’re heavy and sure they’re daunting, but they’ve been given to you by God to bear, so bear them well. Be emboldened by the simple fact of knowing God – for his own reasons – planned this.
 2) It’s good to be carefree.
When the moments of relaxing come, take them. Whether they’re on Skype, a phone call, staring at the stars from my front porch, in a book, with the roommates, or holding a sleeping nephew whenever and wherever learn to relax in a moment. 
 3) (This has been the most difficult to remember) your biggest problem has been taken care of by Jesus.
This one is beautiful. At the end of any day you can lay your head down on your pillow and remember it’s not your education that saves you, your job that saves you, your interactions that save you, but it’s Jesus’ death on a Roman cross two-thousand years ago that has saved you.
Sure I don’t remember all of these all the time. But at the end of my life – whenever that may be – this semester will be just a simple dark place in the patchwork of life – the dark tiles of a mosaic without which the picture is lost. You see it’s a perspective thing seeing life from the vantage point of farther along.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Friday's Thoughts

1) Got an email from my prof on Wednesday, the first line read, "Due to an accident ... I broke both of my wrists." Is it bad I thought this was the beginning of a joke?

2) Yesterday was a dust storm. Needed a 1930's soup line and it would've been a replica picture.

3) Alright, can we have Thanksgiving break next week? Cause fall break was nice, but I'm still tired.

4) Anybody else's phone been dropping calls? Super frusterating.

5) It's possible I know when T-swizzle's new album is coming out - gonna buy it.

6) This has been the week of non-sleep. The 4 hours I got Wednesday night was partcularly stupid. Also, being tired makes my thoughts sound like Anthony Bourdain - angry cynic.

7) Evernote is a phenominal app just start writing and it's on all the devices (soundin' nerdy).

8) Tomorrow is Saturday!

9) Admission: taking 12 hours of grad-school was a terrible idea. We're half way through the semester and it feels like I've done 2 back-to-back... Crap. (Mom was right.)

10) Went for a walk to my tree the other night. Something about sitting under a massive living thing makes one feel comforted. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Friday Thoughts

1) It's lookin' like rain! (Heard thunder)

2) Felt a wee under-the-weather yesterday - you know, more than normally (Ha, meteorology joke!).

3) If the answer to a short answer question has these requirements: 1-2 pages, Arial, Single-spaced, size 12 font can it really be called a "short answer?" No. No. It cannot.

4) Next week is fall break, but it feels like it should be Thanksgiving.

5) I carved a pumpkin for the first time on Monday. (I'll brag) It was a pretty awesome looking first-time-carving-pumpkin. I also got way too excited about it.

6) Imaging what each of the professors should be for Halloween, here's what I've got: The costume lady from the Incredibles, Franklin the Turtle, Crocodile Dun-Dee, and a witch.

7) Reading Man in the Iron Mask for my fiction book. It's good to be back in a Dumas.

8) Barth sums up unrighteousness and ungodliness like this, "We confound time with eternity." Essentially meaning, we supplant God with ourselves. Scougal would say it like this, "We feel not the truth which we pretend to believe."

9) Ordination is this weekend.

10) My first cup of coffee on Tuesday was at 7pm. Needless to say I paid attention really well in my last class. (The other class... well, I was there for it.)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Reading Excited

So, been reading Karl Barth's "The Epistle to the Romans" and lovin' it. Something about this book has me excited and, as of yet, I can't tell you what or why for.

There was a time, when I was a freshman in undergrad, that I'd go to class then to Starbucks and just sit and read Scripture. That was it; the pure excitement of reading the Bible was enough to keep me busy – and happy - for at least two cappuccinos (back then I packed ‘em with sugar, now it’s straight black unadulterated beautiful coffee).  The book of Romans in that Bible is unreadable; there are too many notes, too many different colored highlights, too many tearstains and underlinings.

Then I jumped into reading and rereading dead guys Spurgeon, Edwards, Calvin, Luther, and Scougal these men were my closest friends in those days. Friday nights would be spent at a table outside Starbucks with some old book and tea or coffee rather than a party or the movies. If it was written I read it, if it was preached I listened to it, if it was blog-able I tried to write about it (this blog has been around since those days).

But sometime after those days the excitement of reading was lost – it’s not that I stopped reading, it’s that I just grunted through it. But I didn’t know I’d lost it until a couple weeks ago… That was a difficult Thursday evening realization.

Feeling the lack of enthusiasm to want to know God. Not really feeling ‘big enough’ to handle deep theology. Condemning myself for the legalism of my faith and seeing the practice of my faith as false. But God answers those ‘feeling small’ prayers.

He answered in two ways. One was a dear friend’s recommendation and the other was a ‘chance’ meeting on a plane. Two men, two identical recommendations, one a Bible-study leader and the other and Elder at a PCA church, “You should check out Karl Barth.”

So I ordered a book and watched the tracking number like a freakin’ hawk. And I’m terribly glad I did.

“Let their peace be their disquiet and their disquiet be their peace.”

“He who knows the world to be bounded by a truth (the gospel) that contradicts it; he who knows himself to be bounded by a will that contradicts him; he who, knowing too well that he must be satisfied to live with this contradiction and not attempt to escape from it, finds it hard to kick against the pricks; he who finally makes open confession of the contradiction and determines to base his life upon it – he it is that believes.”

“Jesus Christ our Lord. This is the gospel and the meaning of history.”

Friday, October 5, 2012

Those Weekly Thoughts

1) I promise I can still write more than lists of 10.

2) Cold weather! Jacket time - not hammer time.

3) Karl Barth's "The Epistle to the Romans" came yesterday! I was the nerd checking the tracking number every spare moment I could.

4) Kat is super cuddlely now that it's chilly.

5) You can call me worst-case-senario-thinker. I'll do it everytime it seems like.

6) Started using the "Reminders" app, it's a peice of genius that's been on my phone since I got it. Might be turning into a fan of lists. Crap.

7) There's always that one professor you just can't figure out.

8) The travel bug has officially nested in my brain.

9) "Jesus Christ our Lord. This is the gospel and the meaning of history." ~ Karl Barth

10) Tomorrow my house will be deep cleaned.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Not With Haste

Not too often do I think a song encompasses what is going on in life.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

After Vaca Thoughts

1) I don't want to be back cause it'd be safe to say it was one of the best weekends I've had in quite some time.

2) Saw real dolphins for the first time (not like on the TV but in the real life wild)! They were jumping out of the ocean!

3) Ate my way around a city.

4) Shook hands with many lovely people.

5) It's really hard to order a pizza when you a) have no idea which store to call, b) what the closest major intersection is and c) aren't from that city.

6) Indians, the PCA, and a small child who fancied Angry Birds where my travel companions on the flights home.

7) Jumped straight into life when I got off the plane, hellooo life.

8) 'We're the wretches in need of grace; we're the beggars in want of mercy..."

9) The Atlantic Ocean, it's big.

10) My cousin is probably one of the coolest guys I know. Fact.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Going on Vacation Thoughts

1) I'll see the Atlantic Ocean for the first time (Well for the first time not from the sky).

2) The one class I was going to miss was cancelled.

3) Cousins living in other places is a nice advantage.

4) I'll be ignoring email, facebook, twitter and the 'do not disturb' feature on the iPhone is sure to be used.

5) Finally going to read, "The Life and Diary of David Brainerd"

6) It's weird to pack and then think, "O wait, if I forget something I can just buy it there."

7) I called TSA the other day - told 'em I'd been working out.... JK, just asked a question.

8) Pre-flying jitters. Happens everytime.

9) The new Mumford & Sons shall be playing.

10) See ya later!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Understanding Failure

Sunday's sermon was two things for me: 1) it was refreshing to hear things that I love preached; 2) it was hurtful to see – in my own life – my failure to be those things.

First, it was refreshing because as single men we need to learn to grow up and be responsible. To take hold of our decisions and be able to say, “Yes, I did that,” and if it was wrong to take the right blame and be repentant in our confession of failing; and if it was right to not gloat it over the heads of others.

To learn what it is to pay bills and keep and manage a budget while working a job and learning about who you are in God. Aiming to see Him glorified in all of life in work and responsibility as well as fun and relaxing. Then, by the grace of God someday bring and woman into that, to learn to love her well – in a God-fearing, God-trusting, God-exalting, Jesus-clinging way.

Second, this hurt like a ton of bricks dropped on my heart. “Passive” is scary word to me; I hate passivity – yet that is exactly what I’ve been in almost every dating relationship I’ve been in. Sure it’s one thing to take the lead when the person on the other side of the phone or the other side of your cup of coffee doesn’t know you deeply, but it’s something else entirely to tell a woman, “You’re not trusting Christ the way you need to be," or, "I've sinned against you by making you my idol."

The gut-wrenching reality is I’m not trusting Christ the way I need to be. Rather than knowing my mantra  (“My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness”) to be true, I look into her eyes and I’m more worried about making her happy than seeing God 1) honored, 2) glorified, 3) followed.

So what’s a single man to do? (Time to speak to myself in a third person kind of way.) He should aim at being so committed to God that a girl cannot and will not sway him from seeing God glorified in his life. He should be believing the gospel for all his passed failures and future screw ups. He should be praying, “Make me a better man, one to love my God, one to follow him, one to be in Jesus. To – one day – love a woman, to raise children, to be a leader-follower. Help me be a better man; to leave my wants for hers, to leave my needs for hers, to look to you for comfort and peace. Make me a better man for your glory.”

Friday, September 21, 2012

Friday's Thoughts

1) The Kat tries to eat birds through windows - it never works.

2) "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Easy to say when you feel strong. Necessary when weak.

3) Updated my phone, ipad, and macbook yesterday. It took a combined 7 hours to do it all.

4) Restore to me the joy of my salvation.

5) Had a Gradma grandson date. I ate a lamb.

6) Class on Tuesday night felt like falling into the rabbit hole. We communicated about communicating for the communication of theory in communication - yea, that's about right.

7) Hello allergies. Die, die now.

8) I get to re-do the presentation which went so horribily because, "I don't think you knew exactly what I wanted." Check.

9) I watch movies in chunks now. Never one whole movie at a time. But one movie over 2 weeks.

10) NEEDTOBREATHE has an EP out. It's lovely. Here's a tune.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Re-defining Hope

A couple weeks ago I wrote about re-defining goodness, perhaps there’s a series of posts inside this “redefining” theme – or not. There’s at least this one.

"Hope," it meant something different to me as a kid than it does now.

You see, now I bank all I am on a hope. Then I would’ve hoped to go to Disney World, or whatever.

We hope for eating Oreo’s for dessert and having a good day. We hope for finding the one we love and marrying them. We hope for children who grow healthy and strong. We hope to see a good movie. Does that demonstrate the diversity of the word? Hope. (I’m not a big political guy, but I do know Obama used hope as a campaign slogan in 2008.)

Yet if we redefine it then it ought to be understood something like this, hope: an earnest expectation.

There’s a reason the symbol for hope is an anchor. Because our hope is the foundation of faith (perhaps), it will not be put to shame. It is the earnest expectation that God will do what he has promised to do and save our souls. It’s knowledge of the factual reality that God will make all things new. It’s the feeling persuasion of spiritual things. It’s what we bet all of life and all of love and all of all against that God will be God and we will be men and this is for our good.

My anchor holds within the veil.

So hope isn’t just a want or desire for something to happen or change – no – it’s an expectation that it will change and it will happen. And the expectation is of such a fervently firm nature that we are willing to plan the rest of today (cause that’s all we’re semi-sure of) and dare to plan 80 years of life upon.

My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Thinking Weekly

1) After four weeks of classes I think I have my routine down. Bout time.

2) I held my newest nephew yesterday for the first time. I was stupid giddy the rest of the day.

3) Every year I forget how much I like fall until it shows up again.

4) At one point this week I was looking forward more to reading about communication theory than going to class. It's official I'm a book-nerd, not a class-nerd.

5) It's possible Angry Birds was played for a short time in a class when the professor ranted about global warming. Maybe.

6) "For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin." Romans 14:23

7) "The affinity of our hypothesis with mathematics will be noted whenever possible." Well crap.

8) There's that.

9) Broke out the old man slippers!

10) Older song, but great video.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Nephew's Uncle

I’m an uncle again!

It was a hairy weekend, with all kinds of realizations, thoughts and fears all tossed into two days.

My second nephew was born via emergency c-section four weeks early. In a moment thoughts of, “if this doesn’t work things won’t be good,” and, “Dear Lord, I don’t want to preach a funeral with a tiny casket…” went pouring through my head. You can imagine the fear, but still more I think of my sister and brother-in-law, the thoughts running through their minds, the fears of their hearts.

I broke down at one point – you know the “nasty crying” kinda break down. Classes seemed to be more than what could be handled; at the time, there was no idea of what was happening in that cold hospital room, and I’d just sat in an all day conference. Emotionally drained, physically exhausted, mentally sleepy that was Saturday night.

Yet, there is hope. It came in the form of a question on Sunday night. “What get’s in the way of mission?” My priorities, my priorities are getting in the way not simply of mission, but of my view of God.

The three priorities of my life had become my gods. They’re good things, my priorities, things worth taking prior notice of often, but they will not save me.

There is an overarching greatness and goodness that ought to be viewed as better than those nifty things, which fill my time, he is the one who does sustain them after all, he is the one who created them.

So in a weekend full of fear a nephew was born (he’s doing great BTW) and was used to reveal the perpetual brokenness of his uncle’s heart.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Weekly Thoughts

1) Gave a presentation last night. Prof told me it wasn't what she was looking for. Wish she woulda let me in on that secret a week ago when I should her my plan... Needless to say felt dumb.

2) Voldemort is back... O said the name. My bad.

3) Bought Man in the Iron Mask, gonna jump into that after Harry Potter. Alexandre Dumas is my favorite literature writer.

4) Listened to this fella all day yesterday.

5) Rich and Difficult

6) Come on Autumn - or Fall, whichever you prefer.

7) This post gets quite a few reads. I like it, especially this week.

8) Was asked to write for a website - Not sure if I'll do it just yet.

9) "Come with what you do no have and buy what's underserved."

10) "Shall we doat on the scattered pieces of a rude and imperfect picture, and never be affected with the original beauty? This [would be] an unaccountable stupidity and blindness. Whatever we find lovely in a friend, or in a saint, ought not to engross [us], but elevate our affections: we should conclude with ourselves, that if there be so much sweetness in a drop, there must be infinitely more in the fountain; if there be so much splendor in a ray, what must the sun be in its glory!" ~ Henry Scougal

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Rich & Difficult


A lot.



Or else.

There’s a couple reasons for this post, sure one of them is grad-school - it’s nuts-o - the other is JtW, it’s going swimmingly and we’re all expecting God to do massive things, O and my personal life is just full of change. Yet still more, or rather in each of these, I’m learning.

"Rich and difficult."

That’s how I’ve been describing life to folks who ask how it’s going. Rich and difficult.

Rich because everything is new and different and – for now – beautiful, I hope that never changes, the striking reality of the real. I hope it always hits me new from week-to-week and night-to-night and morning-to-morning, that it’s all so much goodness I can’t stand it. Literally, I can’t stand it, it’s all I can do to kneel let alone stand.

Difficult because I’ve never worked this hard in my life for anything let alone three different things all at once. Yet I’m not doing the work - the bystander is being worked on again – still. Reading and writing and presenting, classes have never demanded more. Work is on the brink of God-only-knows, the scariness of the unknown is right there, right in our faces. Personal stuff is something of a strange covalence of tragedy and fairy tale (no movie can touch the living reality). It’s difficult.

Life is paradox.

There’ll come a time when I’ll be older (further away than tomorrow) and remember the late nights and early mornings, the books and the faces, the stretching and the resting, and by the grace of God thank God for giving me richness and difficulties.

Reacting To My Post

I wrote a post for Journey the Way yesterday about why singles should look forward to a listening through a marriage series. Here are the points:

1. Because we, most of us, hope to be married someday.
Whether the desire is in our hearts at this moment or not doesn’t really matter. Societal influence has told us since we were tiny that part of growing up is getting married. Sooner or later he/she will come over our horizon and we’ll get married. We need to be preparing for that eventuality. So it’s wise to sit in a marriage series.

2. Because we don’t know everything.
We’re young and dumb… at least that’s how I phrase it. We don’t know everything; we should not be arrogant enough to think a marriage series will not/cannot apply to us. Wrong. Learn to learn. Someday we’ll look back to this series and praise God for the grace it was to learn then as opposed to learn by failures. So it’s wise to sit in a marriage series.

3. Because we need to learn how to be biblical men and women.
Now is the time to become godly men. Now is the time to become godly women. Now is the time to learn our places and roles in marriage and aim at attaining the beauty of being men and women sold out for seeing God glorified in our marriages.

4. To grow up.
Rather than playing X-Box or gossiping over her makeup, we need to be mature. Grow up and believe the gospel. To have an aim, a mission, in life and be headed in that direction, to be able to look into our future spouse’s eyes and say, “I’m going there, after the glory of God, will you come with me?”

5. To see our future children love Jesus.
Oh, that our kids would love Jesus more than us their parents! Oh, that we would be singles praying earnestly for our unborn children to be fervently in love with the gospel! Oh, that our sons would aim at nothing less than God glorified! Oh that our daughters would be women who are lost in the beauty of Jesus their Lover!

It's true, I'm looking forward to learning about marriage even though there's still time before I get married. Every cynic I've spoken to who has a wife or husband is glad for the relationship, intimacy, and wholeness. So sure, there may be no need to be overly (sophmorically) excited about a sermon series, but there is a hope to care about what's said, and a wanting to learn.

"Learn to learn." (Probably one of the best lines I've written in a while and I'm sure someone else did it first.) If ever there comes a time in our lives when we aren't learning then we've missed something and are now the misguided and seemingly useless. Because one who isn't learning isn't helping.

Lastly, to my children - those little ones yet unborn - I've prayed for you since the day I believed the gospel. Those lines above - yea - those are for you. 

This should be a stretching couple of months. And it ought to be worth it.