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.