Monday, July 30, 2012

Re-getting Grace

Let’s talk grace.

Completely undeserved gift, completely free, completely.

I remember a few years back understanding grace in a new and beautiful way. The phrase, “Free grace,” was what I lived under. The teachings through Galatians were what I sat under, and all the while a banner of unmerited grace was flown high for any and all to see. Those were some amazing months.

Since then my understanding of grace hadn’t grown too much.

There’d been no further study or understanding of grace. No other facet of the diamond of grace had been shown to me. Nothing had pushed it forward in my brain.

But I can’t say that anymore.

Again, and differently I’m seeing grace and re-understanding the verse at the top of this blog. Knowing myself to be wretched and undeserving but God to be in total control and loving. But I want to be in control of the grace being given to me…

Weird. I want to concretely know that grace will be there tomorrow and the next day and forever. I want to ration it out to myself. I want to be so sure of it that I can hold on to it. But I can’t hold on to this free gift – it holds on to me.

So here I sit, lavished by grace, undeserved and beautiful and scary too.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Friday's Thoughts

1) Playing a show thing tonight with one of the roomates. Come on down. I'll actually sing... by myself.  (Shudders)

2) I've craved Chik-Fil-A more times this week than ever before. I mean I read the name and drool. How is a boycott suppose to work if everytime you say you hate something you just want it more? I don't know how that's gonna last.

3) Words are the only real magic we have. If they're not free then we might as well be ignorant, mute, and dead.

4) I started re-arranging my basement yesterday then saw a spider. I calmly walked upstiars, got the bug spray, and straight killed that thing dead... then sprayed the whole house.

5) Saw Batman. Lost a bet.

6) I petition we have all state border signs read, "Welcome to Kansas. Home on the Range. Known to the Greeks as Hades. Known to everyone else as Hell."

7) Started "The Goblet of Fire."

8) My post from Wednesday is, in my mind, an always rant that I want everyone to know about.

9) Brian Regan is always funny. ALWAYS.

10) I'm eagerly waiting for my paycheck so I can buy The Gaslight Anthem's new record "Handwritten."

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Dangerously Important

"Be assiduous in reading the Holy Scripture. This is the fountain whence all knowledge in divinity must be derived. Therefore let not this treasure lie by you neglected." Jonathan Edwards

Scripture that blessed gift of God to man wherein he reveals himself to us, he teaches us the gorgeous reality of the gospel and the shameful existence of our depravity. Giving flight to the life which was yet unknown under the safety of his wings.

This book which is too often misread and misused and disposed of. This book which ought never to, “be applied to us,” yet rather we ought to always be applied to it.

We are not the solid line or are we the consistency to which it must be judged. No, the plum-line is not we it is itself. Scripture, this we know yet forget to do, is the interpretation of Scripture.

It’s a book about God.

He is the main character, the main actor. Scripture is the story of God to man.

Far too often we see it as the story of men to men. No, it is the story of God redeeming his Church. Yet to read the Bible and think solely of man is to read Harry Potter and think only of the Weasley twins, or to read Lord of the Rings and think only of the Shire, or to read The Hunger Games and think only of Katniss’ mom or to read The Chronicles of Narnia and think only of what was happening in London.

Do you see the point - the point of missing the point? The reason for Scripture is not to give us helpful hints and models to attempt to be like, no, the reason for Scripture is to teach us all that God has revealed to us.

All we can know of God is within its pages. This does not mean we’ll know him completely, it means we’ll know him partially, but the part that we’ll know is exquisitely beautiful.

And yet the quote from last week’s post is still wonderfully true, ““We have scarcely begun to see all of God that the Scriptures give us to see, and what we have not seen yet is exceedingly glorious (John Piper).”

Friday, July 20, 2012

Response to the Colorado Theatre Shooting

How should a Christian respond to the dreadful shooting in Colorado?

As Christians, as people, there ought to be a sense of urgency about life. We don’t know when it’ll end. But we should also not be hardened by this fact.

Should we feel pain for the people who’ve lost? Yes. Should we pray for the man who did this? Yes. Should we weep? If called to, yes. Should we despair at the plight of the world and the evil we see all around us and in us? No. A firm and resounding no.

Why should we feel pain for those who’ve lost? Because they are our fellow man; we inhabit the same time, though we don’t know them they should be shown compassion.

Why should we pray for the man who did this? Because by God’s grace he needs God. There was no discrimination at the cross for murderers, thieves, adulterers and deniers. We, the Church, have been shown grace beyond our understanding and therefore we should show grace beyond human reason. (But to hate the act, the sinful act, is to share in God’s hatred against sin.)

Why should we weep if called to do so? Because we ought to have hearts. Compassion yes, but more than that, we should have love. Which means that in our love for God we see his glory spat on in sinful acts (our own included). We should weep for the brokenness of the world and the devastating nature that the fall has brought about. We should weep because we see vividly the failures of men.

Why should we not despair? Because God has won. The evil around and within us is to be defeated, indeed it has been. Jesus did not die just for the salvation of sinners, no he accomplished much, much more. He died to defeat, to solidly defeat Satan, sin, and death.

The effects we feel and see (especially here) but we must know and believe that God was not caught off guard by a maniac with a gun. Not at all. Is God sovereign? Yes. But asking why God didn’t stop this is asking the wrong question.

We must not ask why he didn’t stop it; rather, we must ask why he planned it. He’s not a tame God, don’t commit the error of thinking him a cuddly bear, but he’s good, he’s a terribly good God.

We must not think too small of God - ever.

(AP Photo/Barry Gutierrez)

Friday's Thoughts

1) I sat in a funeral for a 61 year old dad and grandpa yesterday. The entire time I thought of my parents and praised God for them and their belief in Him.

2) Death, it's all around us.

3) The Decemberists "After the Bombs" is an amazing song.

4) "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy ladden, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28 Amen.

5) "I'm a long time traveling here, I'm a long time traveling away from home." The Wailin' Jennys

6) This week has made me feel old - and tired.

7) Job 38- 41. Read 'em.

8) I choked on my spit yesterday in the funeral. Everyone stared at me. It could have been really awkward, but I'm a terrible judge of awkwardness.

9) It rained in downtown Wichita yesterday. The streets were dry 12 minutes later.

10) Another good song. ... and another

11) I saw Brave (twice), loved it. Bought the soundtrack too.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Old Phrase

“Infinite perfections.”

All those dead guys I love to read always use this phrase at some point or another to describe God.

Eventually Jonathan Edwards will drop it (…like it’s hot?) or Calvin will going on and on about how beautiful these “infinite perfections” are, still more Luther will cuss at you while telling you about your stupidity in not seeing the “infinite perfections" of God (Luther is my favorite).

But, I know our language, and I also know we probably aren’t quite sure what to make of a phrase like this.

When I first read it, it was just more words. But now, today, this morning even, they’ve taken on new meaning.

The infinite perfections of God.

He is from first to last utterly perfect. Not a part of his wrath is imperfect. Not a part of his justice is imperfect. Not a part of his grace, mercy, goodness, greatness, grandeur, glory, wonder, splendor, Kingship, wisdom, knowledge, gentleness, kindness, humility, zeal, passion, or love is imperfect.

Think about that. Every bit of every detail of every turn of who God is, is completely and totally perfect - infinite perfections.

Yet still more this quote is deeply true, “We have scarcely begun to see all of God that the Scriptures give us to see, and what we have not seen yet is exceedingly glorious (John Piper).”

Truly what we’ve seen is exceedingly glorious, but what we haven’t seen will add still more and more to the exceeding glory of the infinite perfections of who God is making all of life worthwhile because God is God and we are not.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Waiting for Dinner

"For the hope beyond the blue."

I'm a cynic. We're all of sure of it (all three of you who read this blog & myself). Good things happen and I'm the fella in the back going, "Just wait, you'll see...."

This has been shown pretty clear the last two days.

Good things: meeting new people and nice conversations. Questionable things: why would they respond that way, or is-there-really-been-a-change types, of questions. In all of them I've sat, or at least seen, from the view of the cynic.

I'm not quite sure this is wrong. It may be.

I'm sure we're probably supposed to see from a middle point, sometimes cynic sometimes pessimist. Looking onto both sides of things and saying, while seeing, the intricacies of both sides. (Or, at least, the possibilities therein.)

But this is still hard for me. (I'm just writing as it comes....)

I know people to be broken, to be faulty, to be sin filled. I know myself to be the same way, most definitely. I know not to put my hope in anyone, ever. But that doesn't stop me. I still return to doing it again, and again, and again... etc.

I know my hope should be in Jesus Christ and none other ("My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness."). And I know that my biggest problem (sin/damnation/the just wrath of God) has already been taken care of by Jesus.

But I also know that the point I made before is still terribly true - I'm a sinner.

The middle ground is foggy, and the ditches seem to be homey. I'm stupidly comfortable in the broken vessel I inhabit. I like to talk about me more than God....

But this I know with all my heart... his wounds have paid my ransom.

O my God. Thank God.

So whie I wait for dinner to finishing cooking, I'll look to the bloody, gory, beautiful cross by the grace and mercy of God.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday Thoughts

1) Late night conversations with roomates are what I missed most when living alone.

2) Kat the cat literally bounces off the walls around 10:45 every night.

3) Birdy has an amazing voice. She's 16, that's ridiculous.

4) Speaking at an event in Clearwater tonight!

5) "Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love." 1 Cor 16:13

6) Boondock Saints

7) From henceforth I shall be referring to my house as "Hogwarts."

8) The liklihood of one going into "Section 8 Government Housing" and not becoming A) addicted to drugs, B) selling drugs, C) Making Drugs, or D) Living in jail is terribly, terribly slim.

9) Since when is it the Government's job to do the Church's job? Maybe since the chuch hasn't been doing its job?

10) I hope that last point stung.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Walks are thinking time (I'm pretty sure I've said that before).

A few nights ago I went walking through Riverside just because. Nothing was bugging me or needed to be thought through, it was just a walk for the sake of walking.

I found a neat little spot, one that looks over the golf course.

The sun was just going down and from my west-facing seat I watched the clouds play in the light of the setting sun, listened to the noises (summer bugs make super odd noises), and took a deep breath – then was sprayed by the sprinkler.

We can be too busy. 

Miss the small nuances of life, the veins of a leaf; forget to look at the sun setting by watching the sun but not seeing it. We don’t keep our eyes open.

In fact this has been a semester long theme for me. When I was India I kept repeating to myself, “Keep your eyes open.” When all I wanted to do at some points was close them (for sleep or because the site was too much. No. No keep ‘em open).

No. Don’t miss this. Don’t miss the God-ordained picture that’s painted right in front of your face. Don’t look through it to something else, see it for all it’s worth and let it inspire awe in the moment and the God who planned the moment and sustains it.

I don’t think this is self-help information, I think it’s just a practice to be used. Something that’ll point us to worship while at the same time helping us to see our business isn’t all we are.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Moving Forward

So, I've been working on this next series of posts (Check out a lil more on The What Nots page).

Thus, most of the mental capacity has been pushing in that direction and until that's written and being posted I'm not sure how many posts will be coming around. But there'll probably be these types of posts, ones chronicling my mind as I write this piece.

It’s a treaties I suppose. One wherein many of the feelings I’ve had for many years are finally being drawn out. Then it was about the prosperity gospel (If you want to read a terrible post from years ago, you can – but I don’t recommend it). Now it’s something much more.

Like I said, “for some years my mind has both raged against and worked through these issues and topics. Yet now, after years of intense learning (being a pastor will wreck you & build you) and the gracious development of God in my life and soul, I’m at a place to start writing.”

At least that’s how my journal reads.

I’ll need prayer, that’s for sure. ‘Cause I’m still young and still dumb. But I hope this next series is beneficial to all who read them, in any capacity at all.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Thoughts Again

1) There's two of these 'thoughts' deals this week. Am I lazy? ... So.

2) Check out 'The What Nots' page to see what's on its way.

3) I'm a sinner, Jesus is my Savior.

4) Tonight I will see Brave. #determined

5) After two months of planning and five years of writing, I'm ready.

6) Editors. Yes, plural.

7) Kansas, hot as hell and cool as... Well... Kansas, hot as hell.

8) It's going to be in the low 90's on Monday. I'mma need a jacket.

9) When I wear a hat I feel 12x cooler than I look.

10) Communication Masters or Theology Masters? I suppose that's a question.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

4th of July thoughts

1) Let freedom ring

2) Meat, beer, gunpowder... 'Merica.

3) Wichita is a war-zone on the Fourth. Like if there was murder anywhere, anywhere, no one would know until 3 days later. Shoot, a whole house could explode and neighbors wouldn't be the wiser.

4) I heard a loud bang while driving. Normally I'd think my car was going to crap. Yesterday I just looked up.

5) I like that tons of places are closed on the Fourth.

6) 2 words: mortar shells

7) What would happen if that fell over and shot in my direction?

8) Taught the nephew how to throw lil popers at people's feet... Judge not.

9) The day after the Fourth of July is offically (at least in my brain) fun sock day.

10) In completely unrelated news: I still want to see Brave.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Live & Die

This past weekend I was able to spend time with the leader and family of Love-N-Care Ministries.

Love-N-Care is reaching the people of India (as well as Germany and now stretching in South Africa) with the gospel of Jesus Christ while making disciples and calling others to make disciples. It was kind of intoxicating for me to be around them.

To dream.

About Wichita, about the world, about it all, about mission.

It’s a cliché word now-a-days, ‘mission.’ (I wrote a series of posts called ‘Rumored Thought’ about a pastor’s mission.) I hear it tossed around so carelessly, the meaning not really grasped.


He spoke of the tombs of missionaries in his country. Americans who had traveled to India to preach the gospel who never would return to America, they died there and were buried there. With tears in his eyes he said, “Thank you.”

My point is this: sooner or later we’re gonna die. Stop breathing and die. Get shot and die, car wreck, get old, bite the bullet, buy the farm, kick the can… Whatever, we’re going to die. And hopefully, by the sheer grace of God we’ll have lived for something worthwhile (the gospel).

Hopefully we haven’t spent our whole life on something pitiful. Even Aristotle got it, “The measure of good life is a life well lived.” Let’s just say this, a life well lived in the measure of eternity is the application and belief in the gospel.

Moms with their kids and dads with their wives and others whose call is to reach more than just a few folks: missionaries, pastors.

Some of us will be killed for the gospel. Others will die of old age having lived for the gospel. Both are the most admirable lives.