Sunday, February 22, 2009


"Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God...Oh, the fullness, pleasure, sheer excitement of knowing God on earth!" - Jim Elliot

Between melting skies and constant days God's faithfulness has been new every day. I feel like my faithfulness is only evident in the rise of hope that comes in mentioning the faithfulness of God. Where He goes I go. Sometimes willingly, sometimes by force. Some special items of prayer are for a new boys discipleship program that is underway. I am seeking to train boys in heart and hand to worship God. The vision is that young men will be mentored and trained in physical skills (i.e. construction, landscaping...) alongside devotion to learn and apply the word of God. Please pray for this venture as I know its success depends upon God's power and my standing. Pray for the numerous young men who are without jobs and without hope.

If you spend time with me long enough you will hear about people like keith green or jim elliot. I like hanging-out with the thick cloud of witnesses. I know they are all men who will laugh at me (big hearty laughs) when I am being dumb and grab me and throw my gaze back towards our Savior when I am down. I think few have followed those few because we look to them not with them. We have looked for inspiration rather with aspiration. Inspiration is easy achieved. We can seek it sitting down reading "Chicken Soup for the Christian Soul" or watching a warm film. Perhaps even stand close enough to feel the heat of their hearts. Oh God melt ours! Aspiration is when the road to Zion is paved is ones own heart (Psalm 84:5) and the going begins, counting all costs and considering it worthy of all my life.


Saturday, February 14, 2009

my Romance

I have been loved so deeply by God. His love stays the same through the day-filled ages. While I have to rekindle affection each morning, He is up before I awake to satisfy me with good things. He is tireless. He saved me because He delighted in me (Psalms). And I am so grateful to be loved in such a great way.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

first seminary post

For seminary I am asked to participate in weekly online discussions responding to a particular question and the answers offered by my online classmates. Here is my very first response (actually responding to a several responses) to the question: "What do you believe is the greatest obstacle to effective Bible Study?"

disclaimer: I talk about western Christianity because it was a distinction raised on the first post.

here is my eventual response:
"I want to continue with [my classmate's] comment on "thinking that it is important." While this is imperatively true--we must see the Bible as important--I believe that "western Christianity" can also be challenged for living too much for/in thought. As pastors/teachers we try to persuade minds and may at times even succeed, but there must be more than mind alteration for heart-thumping, page-turning Bible study. It is important to remember that even the inspiring and immortalized preaching of Paul put people to sleep sometimes (Acts 20:9). There is a need for the people to be awakened afresh by the Holy Spirit and inflamed with love for God. People will never move beyond seeing the Bible as a self-help book or at best divine philosophies unless they become lovers of God and from that love seek to do what he commands. This does not discount the usefulness of Biblical teaching. This love can be cultivated and watered. Teachers who cherish all the true details of God's word and breath them out onto their hearers, just as the word of God actually is--His very breath. So this goes beyond the "lack of interest" that as Mark first discussed. Someone could say the same thing about why their wife does not enjoy the Super Bowl. It is an issue of being Spiritually asleep, and I think this frustrates the "western Church" because we would like to treat it purely as an academic issue. We are not desperate enough to cry unto God like Rachel to Jacob (echoed later by John Knox), "Give me children, or else I die" (Gen. 30:1), yet we expect the birth of scripture-loving spiritual children."

There it is. Do I believe all that. Yes. I affirm it to my classmates and to any questioner, but what is the practice of that in my life. Do I live with that weeping unction? Give me children! I believe that is the heart of God. How do I share that heart? And I am talking about more than a polemic seminary answer. How many of us know the answers? True things about God and man and heaven and hell and forevermore. God want my heart not just my two cents.

So here is my question: what does a man/woman of true and godly conviction look like?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

setting-up camp

I really enjoy it when people come in for resources at the coffee shop. The routine is that I sit down with them and ask them what they want and then ask what they need prayer for. Most of them don't know what they need prayer for and start praying with their eyes open before I can bow my head. It is like they remembered all of the sudden that there is a God who we can talk to and don't want to waste a second getting back in communication. I took a young man up for resources today that was my own age. He has been homeless before. He says it is always the same story: he gets a girlfriend and after a few months she kicks him out and leaves him with nothing. "It's the problem with adultery," he told me. I told him that I didn't know if it worked out tit-for-tat like that, and shared with him the story when Jesus talked to the Samaritan woman. Just the day before I had led a few of our interns through that same story as we study through the Bible and John Piper's "Bible-saturated" book Desiring God. Piper says that when Jesus asks the woman about her adultery He was opening a wound in her heart for the Gospel to enter through. Like a wounded stag she flees and He follows, but He doesn't seek to wound her again; instead He points her to heavenly pastures--a life of true worship. Please pray for this young man. I gave him a whole camping set-up (including a sweet coleman stove) and a promise to pray for him. He had a quiet and tender personality and I was a real joy to spend time with him.

Seminary started today!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

of different metal

"Have my blood. Have it all. Let it be poured out for the life of the world." - Jim Elliot

"The men who are signed by the cross go merrily into the dark." - G.K. Chesterton

I had many heroes as a child and still do; though they were not the ordinary kind (I learned that at a young age). My heroes did not spin webs or fly or have a genetic upper-hand on other men. The men that my heart prized were men of prophetic word and profound action. They had weak bodies and similar struggles, but made their bodies slaves and subjected them fully to Christ. All of them sang a similar song of singular affection for one God, exalting in all His three persons. The world was not worthy of them and knew them only by the names: heretics, Methodists, nonconformists, Calvinists, insane, rebels, dividers, demented, crazy, etc. It was their actions that marked them and puzzled people, making others uncomfortable. They had a happy reliance upon One who is powerful, yet unseen, and seemed to particularly savor their time alone as though walking with an invisible lover of unmeasurable worth. They freely gave their lives as though they had nothing to lose and everything to gain. While their thoughts and passions united in a common cause their actions strayed dangerously far from common-sense. Though I championed them I found it hard, especially as a very young boy, to understand their actions that at times seemed to have no regard for family or friend, for national or personal interest; rather they seemed to move along, rapidly and in one direction, as a small, rudderless boat would, driven by a powerful wind towards some final shore. What caught my boyish wonder was was that no other passion I saw on earth compared to theirs. You could read it in their prose and their poetry, in the lines on their faces, in the large craters they made in history, and in how they spent their time and conducted their lives. The world, not understanding them, made offers to draw them back to the mortal shores. Freedom was offered if they stop preaching, money if they conformed, comfort if they settled-down; but all had already been counted loss for them. Christ was theirs and that is all they wanted. I have been told that they were merely men made of a different metal (as if they were not descendant of Adam too--born from the dust and returning), but I don't think that was the case. I think they faced a similar world with very similar emotions, only they refused to be known as the sons of Pharaoh's daughter (Hebrews 11:24), in the land of their captivity, but rather longed for their eternal home and the revelation of their true identity--sons of the Most High.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

oh His goodness!

"It takes me a long while to realize that God has no respect for anything I bring Him. All He wants from me is unconditional surrender." -O.C.

What did God see when He called the newborn world good? I can tell you that He saw no bickering or gloom, there was no unrest (though He rested to leave an example for us who would need such beautiful moments of repose) or misunderstanding or death. But I don't think He enjoyed it because of the absence of all those sad thing. He saw something that had been affected only by Him. That is what is good: being affected by God for God. Everything worked beautifully (I truly cannot comprehend how incredible all the un-fallen functions of creatures might have been) because it knew only one voice to listen to--the voice of God--and every word was encouraging, " for...!" The earth knew only one song, and that song was praise. And He has called again, "Behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former things will not be remembered or come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem for rejoicing and her people for gladness" (Is. 65). Isn't it incredible? God is still speaking good for a world that has long abandoned the flawless design. His goodness is beyond compare! That He would think of our gladness and how to create it again in a destitute people. "How deep the Father's love for us / How vast beyond all measure / That He would give His only Son / To make a wretch His treasure / ...Why should I gain from His reward / I cannot give an answer..." Oh let us together be affected only by the voice of God that speaks good to us in the everlasting intention of the blood of Christ--to bring sons and daughters into unspeakable joy of sharing the eternal goodness of the Triune God. God has never ceased to speak goodness to this small planet placed among larger stars. I am awed by the fact that God plans on expressing His good love to us always. He will teach us the first songs again that only Eden heard as He walked, whistling along the garden paths. Oh He is so good to us!