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.