Monday, January 26, 2009

wonderful musts

"Absolute sovereignty is what I love to ascribe to God. But my first conviction was not so." - Jonathan Edwards

"For God, praise is the sweet echo of his own excellence in the hearts of his people. For us, praise is the summit of satisfaction that comes from living in fellowship with God." - John Piper

For all who periodically check this blog for ministry updates, I apologize that many of the recent posts have been distinctly theological. I hope that it does not discourage your reading. To be theologically correct, internally consistent, and completely honest, my first reason for writing is to glorify God--to declare His excellence. That He is "fairer than ten thousand" all multiplied together (as the updated edition of Song of Solomon would enumerate). I also love to write. If I did not love to write I would probably spend my time praying that you would pray, rather than writing reminders. I believe that God hears our prayers and that we and others are changed by His work in and through them. Please pray continually for Bremerton, for the large Frederick family, for the Coffee Oasis family.... It is for illustrative power that the scripture calls Satan a roaring lion. A friend of mine just visited the zoo and said that though he missed the lions roar the mere rumbling of his powerful breath was enough to stall the heart. There are many who live terrified and totally bound by their stalking enemy. Please pray for their release. Pray that they will become freed by the love of the Lion of Judah, greater than all other lions, with flaring nostrils and flaming hair. Listen to this: "Without faith it is impossible to please God. For whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he is the rewarder of those that seek him" (Hebrews 11:6). We "MUST believe that He...rewards those that seek him." The Christian life cannot survive without an expectation of wonderful reward. Jesus IS coming for those that long for his appearing--like a bridegroom rewarded by a kiss on the long-awaited wedding day. There WILL be a day when we sit by waters more sparkling than any wedding band and more fresh than summers first dew, in a city lighted by the radiance of the all-revealed God. We MUST believe it or else we are not Christians. Set your hearts on him and pray for others to feel share these wonderful "musts."

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Thou hast made me whole

"Jesus, I am resting, resting
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.
Thou hast bid me gaze upon Thee,
And Thy beauty fills my soul,
For by Thy transforming power,
Thou hast made me whole." - Jean Sophia Pigott (1845-1882)

I wish I could write more but am too tired. Some very sweet thoughts throughout the day on Psalm 46. Rarely and barely could I make it beyond the third verse without feeling the choke of emotion and would have to stop. Sometimes I am overwhelmed by my God--Him who is my "ever-present help...." In Song of Solomon (ha! I always feel scandalous quoting from such a richly romantic book) the wife asks the husband where he pastures his flock so she might meet him during the day. It is a beautiful love. She want to be with him NOW! Somedays I really just want to go away and be with Jesus. The wonderful, wonderful thing is that He welcomes it.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


"I hear the Savior say,
'Thy strength indeed is small;
Child of weakness, watch and pray,
Find in Me thine all in all.'

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow." - Evina M. Hall, 1865

He held my hands so strongly, both of them, that I could feel the dirt. I didn't care about that though, I could wash my hands later. What was more strange was the way he looked into my eyes. There was no need for shame any longer. Shame was like a creed that he had come to live by. I am sure that he supposed if he learned to live by it, then he would not have to die by it. There is shame in being homeless. I would say, "trust me," but I don't really know how it feels. I do know how his hands felt and how firm those eyes searched mine, though they knew not what they searched for. Perhaps they searched for a small glimpse of understanding that he was normal too. Beneath all the dirt and weather-leathered skin, he too was just as normal as everyone else. Maybe he just "had a few bad breaks," as people like to say. Maybe he just likes being "out-there". People say that too. People say a lot of things. But what is true about his homeless man? Do you wonder that? I did as I held his hands for minutes to pray. He prayed too. With his eyes looking straight into mind. He talked to God and to me, and to all three of us (himself included) at the same time. Before I started to pray he assured me that my prayer would sound much better. I assured him that God just likes us talking to Him, which is something I would never say in a theology class. If I were to teach on prayer I would talk about how we should enter the presence of God--like entering the presence of a king, only bigger and greater. But him and I talked to God together and looked very simple doing it. I am sure the weeping women kneeling at Jesus feet with a broke bottle of smelly perfume, stuff that made the whole room stare, looked pretty disheveled and desperate. People sure do a lot of talking. People talked about that women and decided that she was crazy. The Bible tells that wherever the Gospel is shared people will talk of that women. There is something greater than talking. Something greater than figuring out how to get prayers answered or how to approach God. I think that while some talk, few actually approach. They are brave and titled crazy, different and serious, people "who the world is not worthy of" (Hebrews 11). There comes a point when you are desperate and don't care about holding someone hand or breaking perfume in crowds. I think we know so little of the true Gospel because we are not desperate people. So we begin talking again: how do we become desperate? Do you see it? We cannot talk about desperation or we will end up like the crowd that surrounded that women and talk righteousness crazy. To be honest I want to feel dirty hands like those I felt today more often. Maybe next time I can wash those hands or stoop to wash the feet of one who people feel ashamed to even look upon. It does not make that man feel loved if I only tell you about him or convince a group of lawmakers that he should be treated humanely or convince an evolutionist that he is more than a weak species. I think he will only feel loved if I am desperate for him. Let us pray.

O God, make me desperate!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

hung to the nails

"Men return again and again to the few who have mastered the spiritual secret, whose life has been hid with Christ in God. These are of the old time religion, hung to the nails of the Cross." - Robert Murray McCheyne

This morning I met with my father for an hour to brainstorm and pray about what God is doing in us and through us. After we parted in prayer I thought up a little poem:

There is always doings to be done,
But ne'er is there grace to be won;
For when all the doing is done
I abide...
-as I always was-
with Jesus, a son.

Please pray as the days do not grow longer, but the lists do. But He who made the heart and mind is the one who keeps it and I am thrilled to be His yesterday, today, and all the tomorrows.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

ever eden

"Oh begin! Fix some part of your day for private exercises. You may acquire the taste which you have not; what is tedious at first will afterwards be pleasant. Whether you like it or not, read and pray daily. It is for your life! There is no other way; else you will be a trifler all your days, and a pretty superficial preacher. Do justice to your soul; give time and means to grow: do not starve yourself any longer." - John Wesley

I think we are hopeful dreamers because there remains all around us reminders of Eden. To a certain extent I speak in ignorance. I never tasted the first fruits of the trees that grew in Edens inspired soil, but I do know what a tree is. Ever since I was a child I have seen the same apple trees topped with flowers in the the spring, shed their snowy petals to sprout fruit in the late summer, and then drop their soggy, rain-laden leaves under persistent fall showers. We long for a time and a place--Eden--where the trees always bear their fruit in season. And that longing is shared in many areas of our lives: a beautiful relationship between the sexes, God waking you up from a deep sleep to present you with a gorgeous wife because He knew you needed one (ha!), labouring in fertile soil, a fun and intimate walk with God, the ability to ask God anything we want and have Him explain as we stroll through the garden. We dream of Eden, but feel the fall and see the fall all around us and it frightens us. Hope is frightened away by our carnal perception. Something changes for the Christian when hope first dawns across the horizon of their night-black heart. There is excitement and a promise that abides in the deep law and sure love of God the Father, and that hope becomes the hope of the Christian. It is a family hope that we are adopted into, and we begin to appreciate Eden all the more because of it. We love the way the Father and Son and Spirit meant the world to be and want it badly to be expressed in our lives. We want love to grow and pain to cease and intimacy with God to be sweetly ever-present. But it is hard because we have lived so long separated. We love beauty and badly want it to enfold our lives, but painfully do not understand it and the way the Father has always worked--in His time. You see there was a moment before time when God created this thing we call earth and thought of all the people and thought of you. Hairs were numbered and names were written and you were loved--before time began. Then sometime after time began a 33-year old Man walked decidedly towards a cross because "His time had come" to save the world that He had created. The preacher in Ecclesiastes reminds us that there is a time for everything under the sun. "Give time and means to grow" as Wesley said. Let us take time--this time--to grow up. Let us plant ourselves by the pure and ever-faithful streams of God's word and promises and flourish there, enjoying the perfect dream of Eden, because "He who promised is faithful."