Friday, November 26, 2010

grant me this

"Whatever else Thou sendesst, oh, send this-
Not ecstacy of love or lover's kiss,
But strength to know the joy of sacrifice,
To see life deeply as with opened eyes!
Oh, grant me this, dear God,
Through tears of loss-
To know the joyous secret
Of Thy Cross."
-Ralph Spaulding Cushman

Sunday, November 14, 2010

christianity: the all-transforming principle

In the midst of writing a 20-page paper of on Athanasius I found an incredible quote from Johann Eduard Eerdman's History of Philosophy, Volume 1:

“Christianity shows itself as an all-transforming principle also in the field of philosophy. For, as far as philosophy could penetrate, without receiving an impulse from this new principle, so far it has succeeded in advancing, in a way that irresistibly brings before our eyes, as we look back, the course of many a far-famed stream. For in the first period we saw what had sprung from the most various sources, gradually drawing nearer and nearer; in the second all these branches had united into a great stream flowing along in majesty; in the third it once more separated into many branches, which seem to lose themselves partly in the sands of skepticism, partly in the marsh of syncretism, but which really nevertheless contribute sustenance to the ocean of Christian philosophy.”

It is often assumed--wrongly--that Christianity is a flimsy, few-stranded religion that molds to the wearer. It is not. Jesus Christ transformed history and continues to transform the lives of those who see him still--born and crucified in real history, savior of humanity, friend of sinners. I have appreciated again Socrates, Plato, Aristotle. All men who spoke as well as they could. But their thoughts could not save the Greek city-state from the encroaching might of Rome. Rome met one mightier, but did not know it by looking at him. His kingdom was not of this world. Philosopher and monarch alike were humbled by Jesus. They put their best foot forward and were tripped by his unexpected response. They did not fall by idea or sword, but by the reality of the cross were "sorrow and love flow mingled down," where God became man and entered the world.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

build on calvary

"O Young man, build your studio on Calvary! there raise your
observatory, and scan by faith the lofty things of nature. Take a
recluse's cell in the garden of Gethsemane, and wash your face
with the waters of Siloam. Let the Bible be your standard classic, your
last appeal in matters of contention. Let its light be your
illumination, and you will become more wise than Plato, more
truly learned than the seven sages of antiquity." - Spurgeon

Monday, September 20, 2010

saturday, sunday, monday

Saturday night I was up until 4am. Midnight brought the call you hope to never receive. "You're where? On a bridge and going to jump? Don't! I'll be right there."

Sunday afternoon I went to a going away party for a friend. She is leaving to study at the Mayo clinic in Arizona for a year. The party was hosted at her boyfriends house. The design of the house was creative. It was built rustic and livable with plenty of exposed beams and three decks. There was enough bushes and trees around the property, which is placed next to duplex-ville in Bremerton, to make it feel country. It was fall. The air had the lingering touch of morning dew and the sun shared space with the chill. It seemed very removed from the night before.

In the last three days I have finished Lewis's book The Great Divorce. Besides having an unfortunate name I can say that his writing has finally spilled over my trenches. That is to say, I admire him. You see, I have not wanted to. It seems like everyone defaults to Lewis. I will say that one of the most brilliant things about Lewis is that God gave him the ability to see outside of himself and to appreciate all of creation. His book Surprised By Joy tells of his early desires to try to capture joy when he felt it most profoundly. He tried to feel it to the greatest extent and to hold himself there (or hold joy to himself) as if to fulfill the wish of Peter on the Mount of Transfiguration. To his disappointment he could not hold joy (I believe that joy in The Great Divorce is tied inextricably to "Reality", and thus he could not hold the realest reality). Joy was not that moment or that feeling. The substance is in the object of desire. "Guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life!" Understanding can be tested by action.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


It does not good to try to catch-up when you have fallen behind blogging--life cannot be related that easily--so I will tell you about the last two days. Last night we had two boys stay at our house. One was 19 and the other 24. Both homeless. One dressed smartly with a vest, tie, and button up shirt. He likes to ballroom dance. The other has visible scars on face and arms to mark the battles he that his life has been. Both slept on a blow-up mattress that we have ready in expectation of having weekly guests. One upstairs and one downstairs. I am reminded as I go to bed that I cannot be a child anymore. I wake up with mouths to feed and a concern for their daily schedule. But I do not think this responsibility is the crown of moving into adulthood. There is no trumpet cry, cymbal clash, or cheering crowd to welcome you into eldership. For many it is actually marked by decline or disappointment. It is marked by loneliness and unattainable expectation. A child is taught to pray, "Dear Lord, help me be small well and grow up strong." The adult is expected to learn from experience. If you adult were to pray, "Dear Lord, help me be big well," what do you think the response would be? Listen. Perhaps Jesus is asking you to come to the garden and simply be with him for a time. Perhaps the stress of attainment or responsibility is too much for you alone. Let us not forget that we can learn and listen again that He ready to help the humble and willing...even grown-ups.

Friday, September 3, 2010

helpful words

I found Oswald Chambers very helpful today:

"He would not drink it, but poured it out to the Lord —2 Samuel 23:16"

"What has been like “water from the well of Bethlehem” to you recently— love, friendship, or maybe some spiritual blessing ( 2 Samuel 23:16 )? Have you taken whatever it may be, even at the risk of damaging your own soul, simply to satisfy yourself? If you have, then you cannot pour it out “to the Lord.” You can never set apart for God something that you desire for yourself to achieve your own satisfaction. If you try to satisfy yourself with a blessing from God, it will corrupt you. You must sacrifice it, pouring it out to God— something that your common sense says is an absurd waste.

How can I pour out “to the Lord” natural love and spiritual blessings? There is only one way— I must make a determination in my mind to do so. There are certain things other people do that could never be received by someone who does not know God, because it is humanly impossible to repay them. As soon as I realize that something is too wonderful for me, that I am not worthy to receive it, and that it is not meant for a human being at all, I must pour it out “to the Lord.” Then these very things that have come to me will be poured out as “rivers of living water” all around me ( John 7:38 ). And until I pour these things out to God, they actually endanger those I love, as well as myself, because they will be turned into lust. Yes, we can be lustful in things that are not sordid and vile. Even love must be transformed by being poured out “to the Lord.”

If you have become bitter and sour, it is because when God gave you a blessing you hoarded it. Yet if you had poured it out to Him, you would have been the sweetest person on earth. If you are always keeping blessings to yourself and never learning to pour out anything “to the Lord,” other people will never have their vision of God expanded through you."

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


This morning I was reminded by an article a poem written by a man centuries before mine, broken before God:

"You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart,
O God, you will not despise" - Psalm 51:16-17

Why is this what you want God?

Am I broken? I am.

But why this? What about this brings you pleasure?

God delights in the the healing of the innermost parts of us. He does not work from the outside in, but from the inside out. Before the world began the salvation story started with the hope and glory of Jesus being able and willing to be everything, meet every need, and be all satisfying forever.

God if what you want is my brokennes, then here I am.

I don't know how to not be despised for that brokenness, because I have despised it in myself.

But this is your treasure when I present it to you.

A vessel willing to be pieced back together, mended, and filled.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

some men

I am thankful that God helps other men see me.

"There have been men before now who got so interested in probing the existence of God that they came to care nothing for God if the good Lord had nothing to do but exist! There have been some who were so occupied in spreading Christianity that they never gave thought to Christ" - CS Lewis

Saturday, July 31, 2010


In the midst of studying for a sermon on the attributes of God I ran across an essay by Albert Camus titled "The Unbeliever". Camus added to a philosophy called absurdism, which opposed nihilism, but to no distinct end. The soul of Camus had longing and that gave him a small boat to ride above the sea of nothingness that was nihilism. He was certain that there was meaning, but could give it no specific name. He, like the woman at the well, only knew that they did not have the ability to personally draw eternal water themselves. Camus wrote this as a speech to present to a group of monks that asked him if he would tell them what, according to his view, Christians should do or do differently. Here is part of that response:

“What the world expects of Christians is that Christians should speak out, loud and clear, and that they should voice their condemnation in such a way that never a doubt, never the slightest doubt, could rise in the heart of the simplest man. That they should get away from abstraction and confront the blood-stained face history has taken on today. The grouping we need is a grouping of men resolved to speak out clearly and to pay up personally. When a Spanish bishop blesses political execution, he ceases to be a bishop or a Christian or even a man; he is a dog just like the one who, backed by an ideology, orders that executions without doing the dirty work himself. We are still waiting, and I am waiting, for a group of all those who refuse to be dogs and are resolved to pay the price that must be paid so that man can be something more than a dog.”

Hold out the hope you have. Speak in love and speak loudly.

Monday, July 5, 2010


"No man can stay alive when nobody is waiting for him. Everyone who returns from a long and difficult trip is looking for someone waiting for him at the station or airport. Everyone wants to tell his story and share his moments of pain and exhilaration with someone who stayed home waiting for him to come back" - Henry Nouwen in Wounded Healer

Tonight is my last night in Savannah, Georgia (imagine me saying that with a southern accent. It catches on very quickly). A wedding yesterday of two people that look forward to each other. He was stable and strong and she commanded his attention with sweet glances. The parents exchanged prayers over their new children and the pastor shared some words about the parents prayers over the children being answered. With only a few words my mind was find with thoughts of how my parents have always and still do pray for me. Prayer is true and I will be proof. The grooms family made me one of their own many years ago and I am included me in their family photos. Savannah has made me new in many ways. Verse for the week was Philippians 4:6-7 "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." We cannot be dishonest with this verse. It asks for complete trust. The kind of trust that holds the heart in the fire long enough for shaping. We feel the desperate heat, but do not known what shape it will take. By God's grace these wound will heal to become a tool for the healing of others. Lord, I pray for grace in the shaping and songs in the night. And sometimes known, often unknowingly, all along Joy holds us.

Went alligator hunting for the bachelor party...

Friday, July 2, 2010

to perceive and live

"No person can consistently live in a manner that is inconsistent with how he perceives himself. You must see yourself as a child of God in order to live like a child of God." - Neil Anderson

Monday, June 28, 2010


Here is an article from Kitsap Counties homeless newspapers edited by Sally Santana. The article was written by Major Baker, a good friend who is the charge staff of Bremerton's Salvation Army.

From “Conan” as told to Major Baker

His parents were heavy drinkers and pill takers.
They abused him sexually, mostly through his
mother’s insistence and threatened to kill him if
he told authorities. His mother loved to manipulate
people. She would beat him with bamboo canes
until he was bruised from mid-back to his knees,
causing severe back problems. They made him feel worthless. He was terrified of authority because all authority was abusive in his eyes.
He began drinking at age 10 and got into drugs at age 12. He ran away from home
three times. When he was 15 his parents said if he tried it again he would be dead because he “embarrassed them.”
He was sexually molested by men when he was a 14-year-old runaway and again when
he was 23. At 18 he moved to Oak Harbor lived with a brother. He washed out of Navy boot camp because of a near nervous breakdown. Meanwhile his brother was trying to convert him to Christ through threats, manipulation and “holy roller” style preaching. He stayed four years trying to gain his brother’s approval and feeling brainwashed. He got married during that time but the relationship was mostly physical and immature. It ended when he discovered that she had been cheating.
At 23 he got deeper into drugs and alcohol. He would get jobs and then quit abruptly
and hitchhike to another town and another job. He drank and used drugs heavily for 30 years to medicate and quiet the memories.
As a homeless person he was constantly looking out for the cops and for the “jocks,” who liked to beat up “bums.” He has been shot at, robbed and molested. “The world is full of sharks,” he says. “[On the street] you cannot show any weakness. There is no security at all.” To survive he sold drugs or had a “sugar momma” or did fortune telling.
He learned how to set up a campsite from Vietnam vets. He kept his camp clean, had a
large backpack, 6’ x 6’ brown dome tent, fire pit, latrine and quicklime. He always bought food with his food stamps and never sold them for drugs. He only stayed in a campsite 3 weeks, because the cops would find it by that time.
His father died 5 ½ years ago and he was torn up. He loved his father because his
father taught him many work skills that enabled him to get jobs. But his preacher brother did not even call to tell him his father had died until two days before the funeral – not enough time to attend.
When his mother died of cancer, his only wish was that she had died more slowly.
“Conan” has made some good choices over the years. He used to steal but quit because
he knew it was wrong. Although he can’t hold a job he has never wanted to go on disability. He prefers to volunteer rather than ‘take.’ He has quit drinking and taking drugs because now he wants to face his demons instead of medicating them into oblivion. He is eating healthier and living better. And maybe, just maybe, he will be able to finally exorcise those demons.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

taste and see

On a closed road beside the Coffee Oasis drive-thru we hosted the first annual Coffee Oasis Block Party today! It was hugely successful. Beautiful people of all shapes, sizes, looks, and colors came and ate together, watched together (3-on-3 basketball), listened together (very gifted rap artist from Seattle), and played together (traditional street games). In the music and conversation I heard Jesus spoken of and shared. I would guess around 350 people tasted the delicious BBQ.

Here is a effort at hymnody that I wrote today:

Jesus, Savior of the trembling hearted
Needing to hear Thy voice again
Daylong nights and dirty passions
Left too weak to love renew

Jesus, God in flesh abiding
Walk not by my sinking heart
We hold dim vision of Thy coming
But what Thou has none other can impart

Jesus, insatiable joy of man’s desire
Creation groans to release Thy name
Infant laugh and aging fondness
Morning dawn to evening flame

Jesus, Savior of all who call upon Thee
These rescued now proclaim
Infinite praise to King Immortal
Be celebrated now into eternity!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

renew me

This life affords many strange feelings, strange experiences. One of those is the feeling of having to constantly catch-up, as if life has left you behind. Writing a blog affords that feeling. There are a thousand stories I have not spared the time to share and there is no way to regain them for you. Perhaps one day when someone goes through the scraps of our lives they will put the pieces together and tell the story, but no late night, sniffly nose, surveyed landscape, or humbled sinner waits for camera crews. Real life shared is irreplaceable. So I will try to share more with you, share with me.

The lesson of the past blog-less months has been: renewed holiness. Though I was an athlete my memories of high school are not lettermans jackets and American made muscle cars. I remember holiness. A commitment to keep myself from worldliness. I knew I could not invent holiness, I simply must obey. And I enjoyed it immensely. Renew to me joy, O Lord.

Upon his brothers voyage to Peru Jim Elliot wrote his mother: "Remember we have bargained with him who bore a cross....Our silken selves must know denial. Hear Amy Carmichael:

O Prince of Glory, who dost bring
Thy sons to gory through the Cross,
Let us not shrink from suffering,
Reproach or loss."

Monday, June 7, 2010

more again soon...

O blog how I miss thee!
Thou raiment is of threaded word,
and thy path along a pleasant brook.
Mayest I walk thine way again?

I am studying for a 15 page paper that is due in...11 hours! I must begin! Wanted to write and thank Mr. Lewis. I have read nearly 11 books and 7 journal articles--thousands of pages--for this paper and find in Jack's writing more clear thinking than most other Christian and non-Christian sources. God bless that man! I do not agree with everything and that is part of the beauty. We are both worshippers. That is evident in the way he writes and the way my minded-heart works.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

lain there

"It is a delusion to seek a sort of ready-made perfection which can be assumed like a garment; it is a delusion, too, to aim at a holiness which costs no trouble, although such holiness would be no doubt exceedingly agreeable to nature. We think that if we could discover the secret of sanctity we should become saints quickly and easily. We shall the rest of our lives be making new and fresh discoveries of plague spots in our nature upon which the Cross must be laid." -Francis de Sales and L.E Maxwell

Sunday, April 4, 2010

easter, homesick, peter, me

I find it the case too that "we have to feel the universe at once as an ogre’s castle, to be stormed, and yet as our own cottage, to which we can return at evening...Christianity was the answer to a riddle, not the last truism uttered after a long came into the world firstly in order to assert with violence that a man had not only to look inwards, but to look outwards, to behold with astonishment and enthusiasm a divine company and divine captain. The only fun in being a Christian was that a man was not left alone with the Inner Light, but definitely recognized an outer light, fair as the sun, clear as the moon, terrible as an army with banners...[this] Christian optimism is based on the fact that we do not quite fit in…I had heard that I was in the wrong place, and my soul sang for joy, like a bird in spring. The knowledge found out and illuminated forgotten chambers in the dark house of infancy. I knew now why grass had always seemed to me as queer as the green beard of a giant, and why I could feel homesick at home.” – G.K. Chesterton

Related closely with Peter on this Easter. Tired of my many personal denials of the Savior I love. Homesick.

Last Monday I started classes at Fuller Theological in Seattle. Working harder than ever before to preserve hours of time to study. Pray that I have a guarded mind. I never intended to use phrases like "the older I get," but find it a simple and true explanation (if not the only one that I understand). However, there is much more available to me now that I am older. Sin I talked clearly about in my youth I can now see tempting me. None of us are exempt. What will can be done? I cannot face it alone, neither can you. We must meet with the Lord in prayer. Prayer has not been easy lately. I love it more than ever, but find it hard to kneel. I even find great pleasure remembering the stories of people I have met or missionaries that I have read of that prayed instead of amusing away their days. And when the band of soldiers and pharisees come to capture Jesus in Gethsemane they find me sleeping, unprepared and unready to fulfill any vow I have made to stand by my Lord. But that Easter for Peter and this Easter for me only carries power if it is about the Lord. If the first Easter were a story of Peter it would have been quickly forgotten. The failure of a fallen man casts no shadow on the long awaited Savior. Regardless of me Christ will bring healing. Praise God I cannot hold Him back. What claim have I on a man that death could not contain and to whom angels adore? The Easter story is not about my claim, but about the claim He made on me.

Jesus, I thank you for not overlooking my stupidity. You addressed it, and I felt ashamed that you would take notice. I do not pretend to understand the cost you made. You know that I do not. Even more, You have seen the way that I have continued to take Your grace for granted. I am sorry. I have done so many things to limit the effect of Your good love on my life. I want to be a willing bride, but find my love constantly so weak, so unworthy. Is it not demeaning for you to love me? Is it not foolish of you to continue calling me your brother? Your wisdom is confirmed by a power greater than I understand. You will not be limited by philosophy or dissected by science. These tools were made only for us to praise certain parts of your creative expression. You want a relationship and that is exactly what I am bad at. Please help. I would love to be closer to You.

your unworthy, Daniel

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

pleasured by whom

"There is a pleasure in philosophy, and a lure even in the mirages of metaphysics, which every student feels until the coarse necessities of physical existence drag him from the heights of thought into the mart of economic strife and gain. Most of us have known some golden days in the June of life when philosophy was in fact what Plato calls it, 'that dear delight'; when the love of modestly elusive Truth seemed more glorious, incomparably, than the lust for the ways of the flesh and the dross of the world. And there is always some wistful remnant in us of that early wooing of wisdom. 'life has meaning,' we feel with Browning--'to find its meaning is my meat and drink.' So much of our lives is meaningless, a self-cancelling vacillation and futility; we strive with the chaos about us and within; but we would believe all the while that there is something vital and significant in us, could we but decipher our own souls. We want to understand; 'life means for us constantly to transform into light and flame all that we are or meet with'; we are like Mitya in The Brother Karamazov--'one of those who don't want millions, but an answer to their questions'; we want to seize the value and perspective of passing things, and so to pull ourselves up out of the maelstrom of daily circumstance. We want to know the little things are little, and the big things big, before it is too late; we want to see things now as they will seem forever--'in the light of eternity.' We want to learn to laugh in the face of the inevitable, to smile even at the looming of death. We want to be whole, to coordinate our energies by criticizing and harmonizing our desires; for coordinated energy is the last word in ethics and politics, and perhaps in logic and metaphysics too. 'To be a philosopher,' said Thoreau, 'is not merely to have subtle thoughts, nor even to found a school, but so to love wisdom as to live, according to its dictates, a life of simplicity, independence, magnanimity, and trust.' We may be sure that if we can but find wisdom, all things else will be added unto us. 'Seek ye first the good things of the mind,' Bacon admonishes us, 'and the rest will either be supplied or its loss will not be felt.' Truth will not make us rich, but it will make us free." - Will Durant in The Story of Philosophy

"I think there is no suffering greater than what is caused by the doubts of those who want to believe. I know what torment this is, but I can only see it, in myself anyway, as the process by which faith is deepened... What people don't realize is how much religion costs. They think faith is a big electric blanket, when of course it is a cross... You arrive at enough certainty to be able to make your way, but it is making it in darkness. Don't expect faith to clear things up for you. It is trust, not certainty." - Flannery O'Connor

Both these paragraph are quoted in full to hopefully splash more than a little water from the ocean of truth onto you. I do not quote them to endorse everything written in them. Both of these writers wanted to point at something that they saw from afar. Jesus said that even Abraham "rejoiced to see [his] day," though he saw it only by way of a hopeful excitement that comes from understanding a clear promise. Will Durant writes in another place: "when genius speaks to us we feel a ghostly reminiscence of having ourselves, in our distant youth, had vaguely this self-same thought which genius now speaks, but which we had not art or courage to clothe with form and utterance." This is the beginning of healthy admiration. It is the far from verbal feeling you might have when you see a elderly couple walk hand-in-hand under the quiet repose of a spreading spring sky. I believe it is their bravery we admire. Seeing their "togetherness" we admire it because of the sure assumption that they have through enduring love and faithfulness won the ability to understand and appreciate each other. What keeps us so long only testing the waters of truth with our toes? Why do we not jump in and be immersed in everything true, feeling the press of pure reality on every part of our being? Durant, Bacon, and the others quoted are helpful travel guides, but are limited where everyone, without exception, is limited in understanding the "infinity within and the infinity without" (Pascal). It is revealed in the text that both Durant and Bacon misquote, Matthew 6:33, "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." Durant and Bacon are still playing the philosophers game of Marco Polo when the text speaks clearly concerning not just the "what" but "WHOM" we must seek. We hide behind the most beautiful words and courageous expressions. You may think that this is limiting. Perhaps you are at the point of thinking the whole blasted thing is limiting--philosophy, the mind, Christianity, me, yourself. If I where to tell you that the whole law and prophets could be summed up in two commands, loving God and man, then you would be skeptical. It is the answer that a child could give. Where is the wisdom and genius in that? The game of mocking begins. "if you are the Christ, then come down from the cross," was the favorite of those who watched a defeated man perish. Under the current pressure of health care reform, economic depression, and the coming of spring how can how is it not pithy or limiting to say "Seek first God." How is this important when you may be jobless, heartless, homeless, hurting? On top of that Flannery O'Connor adds that you should by no means "expect faith to clear things up for you." There is a yes and no to her statement. It is correct that faith will not give what the self-absorbed individual what they want, which is complete control of the present and understanding of future events. If this is what you are expecting than faith will most certainly seem narrow and uneventful to you. I say, narrow me down and confine me to the love of Christ! I love wisdom--that fleet fox chased through the ages by the ever pursuing hounds of philosophy--in all her proverbial glory. But understand that all men alike have great unexplainable deafness to her constant call (Proverbs says that she "calls aloud in the streets"). The limit of mind is not due to build-up of greenhouse gases or the way we were treated in our childhood, but because our spirits are blind and have lost all attachment to Home. We are in the sad place that we do not understand our own longings. The philosopher and scientist apart from grace will always distrust God because of this, like a lost child distrusts every approach. We are trained in the art of distrust. The most wonderful arguments that are beating back the ranks of militant "New Atheist" of our day will never substitute for the handful of dirt and spittle that Jesus used to open the eyes of the blind man. Even while we can point to a miraculous, singular beginning to the universe that produced strategic and irreplaceable natural laws allowing life to thrive on planet earth, we can never by these same means explain the wonder, excellence, and vulnerability of tender love. Confine me to Christ! Faith in the Father, seeking His kingdom first, feeds our sense of wonder, because we are not just discovering more about a "what" or an "it" but the knowable WHOM who sits enthroned above it all; through whom, for whom, and by whom all things were created and find the meaning for their existence. Jump in!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

may you be made to wonder

"It was a marvelous night, the sort of night one only experiences when one is young. The sky was so bright, and there were so many stars that, gazing upward, one couldn't help wondering how so many whimsical, wicked people could live under such a sky. This too is a question that would only occur to the young, to the very young; but may God make you wonder like that as often as possible." - Dostoyevsky in White Nights

Please pray for fresh, true, excited thinking this week as I lead and teach a group of college students during their spring break vacation.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

"Why I Write"

"I am not able, and I do not want, completely to abandon the world view that I acquired in chiildhood. So long as I remain alive and well I shall continue to feel strongly about prose style, to love the surface of the earth, and to take a pleasure in solid objects and scraps of useless information. It is no use trying to suppress that side of myself." - George Orwell, "Why I Write"

Sunday, March 14, 2010

titus is two and a following church

Titus's second birthday today! He can now identify by name all the train and freight cars on Thomas the Tank Engine. Because of a whooping cough none of his small friends were invited so it was only the family that enjoyed the milestone event.

Preached on Colossians 2:8-15 today. If I could pause time I would. Not for selfish reasons, mind you. I would like to stand in front of the church at the Coffee Oasis and see all the people without speaking or singing (what I usually do when I am in front of them). The last several weeks we have had a growing number of kids from teen night coming to church. We also have a growing number of young professionals that come from healthy homes. I would estimate that 75% of the women in the church are single moms--most of which have gone through painful divorce. We also have healthy young marriages as well as aging ones that have not stopped blooming. It almost goes without saying that we are a group that needs each other--in a very healthy way. On days like today I feel like I am more affirmed and supported in my calling as a minister of the gospel than I am able to encourage. A day does not go by that I am not learning, but I also do not doubt that I am loved along the way. Someone might come in and ask how this happens, what is our "church model"? I could probably not explain it better than Paul could in Acts, Titus, or Timothy. This is not to say that we are THE Biblical model. I believe that a people led by God can take on many forms. It could be the hip church down the road that has as many televisions and "helpers" as the local Best Buy; the Spirit could be found in the Church with a steeple and bells who look like they are waiting for Paul Revere to ride again while they go on singing the same hymns that warmed the souls of those stepping off the Mayflower; I do not doubt that the Spirit can inspire the group of 10+ who gather for Christ-centered teaching in a cozy home where the women have risen early to bake bread and the sons memorize verses while milking the cows. Yes! The world is greater than my experience and the Holy Spirit more active than my imagination. Ha! Does that surprise you? It should not. I believe God was only getting started when He created the world. His creating does not stop there, He goes on to create praise in His people--people from every nation, tribe, and tongue. What is not optional is Christ being preached and taught in a way that honors and glorifies Him. If you were to marry a girl (ha! I am obliged to speak from theory at this point) my best guess in knowing how to honor her would be to seek to understand her. Being close to her would give me an idea of what she likes and dislikes. I would hear what she said and think of loving ways to respond to it (to be sure it is that easy, ha!). For example: if she liked chocolate you might think of surprising her with a spur-of-the-moment trip to Switzerland to try their exquisite dark chocolate (or you could just take her to Poulsbo). There is much in the Bible that concerns the pleasure of God. I find that instead of doing the obvious, we, like Cain, offer whatever we desire and then get grumpy because it was not accepted as worthy praise. Did we forget that our hearts are viewed. This is not to say you can go to your local bookstore and find a book on making your church purpose driven and then "wallah!" God gave a beautiful variety of personalities and I believe he can redeem them in different and peculiar ways (hence the difference in appearance between a godly Quaker and a godly emo kid). It reminds me of Jesus' last words with Peter in the book of John, after Jesus had explicitly told Peter the way his life would be used: "Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. When Peter saw him, he asked, 'Lord, what about him?' Jesus answered, 'If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me'" (John 21:20-22).

“My idea of God is [a limited idea.] It has to be shattered time after time. He shatters it Himself. He is the great iconoclast. Could we not almost say that this shattering is one of the marks of his presence? The incarnation is the supreme example; it leaves all previous ideas of the Messiah in ruins. And most are ‘offended’ by the iconoclasm; and blessed are those who are not.”- Lewis in A Grief Observed

Thursday, March 11, 2010

and he wept

I will not give you his name. It is a short two letter name. Easy to remember, but few remember him. He moves to often. Today he pulled me aside, asking me to talk for a couple minutes. So we walked down the only hallway in the coffee shop, leaned against the wall, and talked. I knew only a little bit of his story. The truth is that he only has a history that looks like a thrift store puzzle. He asked to talk because just today a little more of that story was taken from him. "In the last year I have lived at 5 different homes." He is only 18 years old. Registering that my face was drawn in disbelief he elaborated, "Oh that is nothing, by the time I was 13 I had lived in 28 different foster homes." 28 homes! And he was being honest. After years of working at the Coffee Oasis I can tell the difference between a gloating tale, the knotch-in-the-belt type, and a tragedy. This was the second kind of story. "Today I found out that the last guy who had the house I last stayed at burned my stuff. About a thousand dollars worth of stuff. I can get that back, but not the two pictures of my mom. I have never seen her before, and I only had two pictures." So he told me his story and I listened. The man who burned his belongings was once his foster-parent. After this man abused him physical and emotional my friend was again moved, but since he was taken at school he was unable to retrieve his belongings. He is taking two extra years to finish school because he has never been at one school for a whole year. "I know my mother's name," He continued to tell me, "but the place for my father to sign on the birth certificate was left blank. I know what it is like for a guy to need a father figure. I just don't know what it is like to have a man in my life." I will not try to make my friend look impressive. He is small and has a quirky personality. Sometimes at school, he say, kids taunt him calling him gay because of the way that he acts. I asked him if we could pray together. So in that one hall in the lower-level of the coffee shop, with people periodically passing us to use the toilets, we prayed. I would like to say I cried, but I did'nt. He cried. While his heart was a little mended after talking I left thinking that I want my heart to heal a little more by breaking a little more for guys and girls like him. If you have not read the last post, take in the quote by Lewis. It is easier for me to keep from hurting if I do not care. I want to notice and to care.

Jesus wept.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

easy for the doer

A friend of C.S. Lewis's was once asked, "is it easy to love God?" and he replied, "It is easy to those who do it."

"Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket--safe, dark, motionless, airless--it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation." - Lewis

with joy, with fear and trembling, love. It is both the "greatest of these" and the divine calling of humanity.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

enjoying it all

I will try to make Sunday evening posts a tradition for as long as I live (or as long as the internet is the primary means of communication, though it would be my desire to be a better correspondent with paper letters). From between the parenthesis to now I had a short conversation with my roommates and decided to title this post "enjoying it all." None of the letters in the titles to my posts are in caps for good reason. We expect things to be a certain way and when they are not it sometimes makes us wonder. I desire, like every person should, to live a full life. I did not say a long life, but rather a full life. Let God not merely be our witness, but our guide in a life that is lived fully in this world. We are bound for another world, but are very purposefully in this one right now. Why? Off-handedly one could arrive at an assortment of options; perhaps the most predictable (and perhaps concisely true, with a small addition) is: we are here to love God by glorifying Him and enjoying Him forever. If you have understood this, then get to it. You may be stuck in a state of paralysis, this one goal may vex you; even if the first question in your mind is not, "is it worth it?" but rather, "how do I honor such an enduring, perfect, and limitless being with my few days, limited understanding, and weak will?" Your heart may want--one might say "dream"--of enjoying fulfilling a beautiful request, but find your own actions or desires to be shortlived and unfulfilled. I would even further suspect that many of us do not live faithfully right now not because of what is present, but because of what is unknown and future. What I mean by this is that because we do not have hope, we do not have faith. Romans 5 reads like a heroic speech to us before battle, "We exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us." Paul is not a writer of romance though. Read him and ask if anyone looked so honestly within himself. Romans 7 continue, "For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate."

Perhaps this post sounds redundant: first purpose, sin, grace, hope.

This news of Christ's faithfulness--the story of Romans 8--is new every morning. I do not appreciate it every morning like I should, but the fact that I do not enjoy it every morning does not nullify the fact that it IS THERE. This past week I was told of two suicides and spent two night at locations were the police were called, because of the place God has put me in Bremerton. I am not romanced by the world those dark evenings. But a Saturday with 15 men "redeeming manhood" (the second monthly event!) trail running, jumping in the salt water, drying off by a bonfire and sharing testimonies of grace; yes, that speaks to me of something great. Being a man is not merely being physical (I should add that being a woman does not reduce to beauty and charm too), it is the ability to receive and give love to God and man. This fulfills the law. One question I asked of the men, it came from a Bible study that I did with some of them on Friday at Olympic College: what is graces desire for you? So many view their salvation like some sort of will-neutralizer. As though it does not make you good or bad, but merely gives you a clear perspective to choose whether you are going to serve God or not (the classic "free will" fallback). It would follow from this would be that grace did the work and now we do the work--separate and distinct. The fact of God's desire in the Gospel is much more relational than that impoverished view of God's desire. God desired you for a purpose, or we might say, "grace has a desire for you." "Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not be master over you. for you are not under law but under grace" (Romans 6:12-14). It desires that you no longer be bound. The saving grace of Jesus is not morally neutral and did not merely release you from your old life and wish you the best on the rest of your life's journey. Stay close to grace and by doing so you will never leave the side of Christ.

I will end my post here. Enjoy your days! Smell spring, sit in grass, frolic--see what the desire of Grace is for you this day.

I would also encourage you to listen to this talk by Ravi Zacharias titled "Is Faith Delusional?":

I have never heard such a convincing and reasonable defense of the Christian faith against atheism (and I have heard many!). He is a genuine man and a original thinker, not your typical parrot of ideas. You can tell that even in his old age he has never failed to see and marvel at the beauty, complexity, and meaning in the world. I value that in a person.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

a mind vacation

Check out this editorial on the Coffee Oasis in the most recent Kitsap Sun:

I cannot remember a weekend like this one: My mind seemed to be taking a vacation most of the time! It was extremely restful. I Plotted the course for next weekends "Redeeming Manhood" event (it is a secret), watched the first season of a Robin Hood program on a two week free NetFlix trial (Robin Hood is a childhood hero for me), hit rocks with with a metal bat into the sunset spanning across the Hood Canal at a friends house, and preached on Colossians 2:1-5.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

the story of severe mercy

Hello! The days have been full. I hope to share more soon. For now I will tell a quick story of severe mercy (not unlike the book, which fills me with one of the strongest experiences of sentiment that I have ever felt).

Am I sustained? Yes.

I would like to curb a few rumours concerning pastors and Christian leaders. People gasp when they hear about sins that remain in the lives of Christians and their mortal leaders. Our cholesterol-thick blood boils when we hear the unchecked, unbridled, and often unkind remarks of Pat Robertson, James Dobson, Mark Driscoll or whomever wears the jersey of another churches softball team.

Tonight I reflected on this driving home.

There are a foolish amount of people that do not think that I, Daniel Frederick, have bad thoughts or sinful urges or any number of shameful things of which the Bible bears black ink warning me against.

I do not say this lightly or in mock defiance. I am ashamed.

I will also admit--to my shame--that I am not always ashamed by this even though I should be.

When I was younger sometimes I had to sit in my room for several hours before I realized that it was bad to talk back to my parents. By mercy my salvation is not based up the durability of my desire and God did not wait for me to eventually "come to my senses." Isaiah 59 and Romans 3 tell us about God understanding what we never would admit, that without him we could never be right.

I thank God that the Bible does not tell me that God loves me only when I desire him with virginal purity and wild affection.

Jesus came for me--sick, hopeful, sinful, desiring, needy, wandering, wondering, full of questions, passionate me (Galatians 2:20).

He redeemed this broken child who longs for home.

Salvation happens and the story continues though. The theme of the continuing story is called sanctification. (Regretfully we are not swept off in flaming chatiots at the moment of salvation!) Many of us spend many years asking "how long, O Lord, must I wait of perfection/completion?" Kind David asked that too. However, I would not recommend wandering too long in the playfield of those unanswered questions. It is much like playing duck-duck-goose in a minefield.

The skeptic and agnostic of the age runs straight in like a maniac with no thought of coming out alive.

The Bible promises to be a sure guide to those that use it to light their way.

The Bible will lead us ONLY to Christ.

While this may be the expected answer, the "I've-heard-that-before," why then are so many stunned to find a cross? Why are we so surprised that so many things must die in our lives? It is as though we have expected salvation to open a door which reveals a shortcut to paradise.

On the contrary!

"I have been crucified with Christ..." and "whatever was to my benefit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ...!"

So why or how can a Christian and still experience imperfection, frustration, and/or depression?

First reflect that you and I are still growing up as a children of God! Even the spiritual fathers of this generation, who lead the church, will always and only be sheep of Christ, children of the Father and clay vessels molded by the Spirit. While they are called to be men above reproach, pray for them! They have not been yet made perfect, but, like you, press on to take hold of the prize that awaits all those who long for Christ (Philippians 3). I believe part of that longing comes not only from tiredness of separation, but also tiredness of frailty of the flesh.

Secondly, reflect on the longing that will only be fully satisfied in heaven when you are perfected. I believe this will deepen our worshipful reflection both on the character of God and the way he has made the world. God has left so many things to wet our appetite for heaven's fullness; many thing, I should say, that can be redeemed here on earth. Marriage love, mountains grandeur, children's laughter, and the greenness of green grass all are made for us marvel--echoing glory to Glory--and worship Him who gave them as appetizers for the wedding feast of Christ and his church.

Thirdly, remember while you are here that when we meet Christ at the cross we are not asked to only look at the world through the lens of these springtime events. Jesus asked his disciples what they expected the world to do to them since it treated him so poorly. The death of each of these things that embody life for us--marriage love, mountain grandeur, children's laughter, and the greenness of green grass--can also cause the greatest questioning in the world of our minds and hearts. Who could categorize and file away love grown cold, the falling of a mountain, the death of a child, or draught in a fertile country? God himself does not ask you to discard these fearful and trembling matters so lightly. It is only a faith coming by way of the cross that understands that this very impermanent world, that still claims so much of our joy and sorrow, did not recognize, but rather rejected and crucified, its own God. Being rejected, He tasted death for all (Hebrews 2:9), and became their Savior. "He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed" (Isaiah 53). Oh we have received a tender, severe mercy!

"Here I stand. I can do no other. So help me God." - Luther

Monday, February 15, 2010


"I believe like a child that suffering will be healed and made up for, that all the humiliating absurdity of human contradictions will vanish like a pitiful mirage, like the despicable fabrication of the impotent and infinitely small Euclidean mind of man, that in the world's finale, at the moment of eternal harmony, something so precious will come to pass that it will suffice for all hearts, for the comforting of all resentments, for the atonement of all the crimes of humanity, of all the blood the blood that they've shed; that it will make it not only possible to forgive but to justify all that has happened." - Dostoevsky

A friend found out that she only has a certain number of years to live. Eternity makes a bold claim. Eternity claims all of us. All truth will there be told. And eternity will at that point not appear long enough to hear the words that come from the mouth that speaks only Truth. Paul writes, "if we only hope in this life, we are to be the most pitied men." Do not pity me. I believe that one day the sun that sets in this world will not rise. It will be replaced by Him who is light. All darkness will flee. There will be no need for metaphor or imagery. All will be real. The songs that we have only heard distant strains of, as if always coming from behind a far off hill, will erupt and be in full view. This future glory has not diminished my joy now or made me "otherworldly" in the pitiful definition of the term. I am only otherworldly in the extent that I really am otherworldly. One old writer wrote that physical hunger reveals that we are a race of people that repairs itself by eating. This does not guarantee that we will have food, but that we need it. Lewis called this his "inconsolable longing" or "joy." Joy is not always gratified, but it is the desire that lies in the deepest churning of our existence. Earth promises no completion, and in heaven we find consummation. Indeed what keeps my feet most firmly planted on this earthen surface is the anchoring "weight of glory" that only increases as the day approaches that all will be revealed. In Romans 8 we see all creation in expectations. Wait too. Be still, and know that He is God. Worship. This is our present joy and our eternal glory. "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive glory, honor, power, and praise forever!"

Spent the day in Bainbridge Island with a few friends today. Running in parks, eating beside the water, taking every advantage of a sunny Presidents Day. Applied for Fuller Theological Seminary (Northwest Campus). Cooked dinner for the parents. Prayer.

May the Lord bless you and keep you, and may He cause His face to shine upon you...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

hope arrayed in hymnody

Rock of Ages, cleft for me, Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood, From Thy riven side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure, Cleanse me from its guilt and power.
Not the labours of my hands, Can fulfill Thy law's demands;
Could my zeal no respite know, Could my tears for ever flow,
All for sin could not atone: Thou must save,
and Thou alone.
Nothing in my hand I bring, Simply to Thy Cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress; Helpless, look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly; Wash me, Saviour, or I die. - Augustus M. Toplady, 1740-1778

grace--timeless in nature, being in the very heart of God--was given to us right on time today in the form of a much needed grant from Boeing.  Last month we had a month that "you cannot have too many of if you want to stay in business," as our fearly executive director said.  As we expand the need only grows: people, funds, faith.  "Rock of ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in Thee."

I am in the process of planning a public forum with Campus Crusade for Christ and the Olympic College Atheist and Agnostic Club.  If all goes as planned I will be sitting on a panel with one of the members of the Atheist and Agnostic Club answer three questions: 1) how did life begin? 2) what is the meaning of life? and 3) what is the fate of humanity?  Please pray for strength, wisdom, and humility as we cohost the event with these school clubs and speak into a world that yells at God with plugged ears, upward shaking fist, and downcast eyes.

Saturday, February 6, 2010


Titus is going to have a brother.  It is official that Rebekah and Brian are expecting another BOY.  Danny and Ashley had their first last week.

Started reading Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and find her writing delightful.

Took a group of boys hiking today on the first monthly "Redeem Manhood Day."  We hiked, plunged into a swimming hole beneath a cascading waterfall, and returned to my apartment for a breakfast of biscuits and gravy.  "Blessed is the man who swears to his own hurt and does not change." Psalm 15.

Thursday, February 4, 2010


Tonight I watched the movie "Saved." It is not the spiritual heartwarmer that one might expect from the title. I enjoyed it like I might enjoy being slapped in the face--twice--for be uncaring and condescending. The movie was fictional, but carried a non-fiction tone. I do not advise watching the movie with kids, and be prepared to think, blush, and grieve. If you would like to talk more about the move you can email me @

You might ask why I watched the movie. I understand why someone would ask me that question. It is because I don't want to be fake. Life is to short to live unchallenged and safely kept within my own feelings. That is what faith is for many people--feelings and rules. It is not the foundation of the faith I have. It is also not the faith of the God of the Bible. What the movie pointed at and laughed at is what many rightly laugh at about Christians (i.e. the violent hand-raising, militant evangelism, and boring purity). If you read the New Testament Jesus is very different than the hollywood-styled churches of today. First of all people liked Jesus. People liked him at their parties. He did not follow the pattern of the religious folk, nor did he follow the pattern of the secular folk. He had a different set of rules. He "delighted to do the will of the Father." It was a relationship with God that he enjoyed as he walked on this earth. O this little earth, so loved by God. After watching this movie I realized how silly and trivial and offensive it can sound to people when I tell them that I will pray for them (this does not mean I will stop, though I might explain better in the future what it means). It is a tragedy when people hear they are being prayed for and they think " I'm this guys project!" It is not like that at all. Neither is it a form of judgement. C.S. Lewis once said, "I do not pray because it changes God, only because it changes me." Admittedly there is more to it than that, however he is onto something special here. We need to be changed and when we go to God in prayer it is beseeching the help of one who is already filled with mercy. His heart does not need to be changed. Jesus did not die expecting that after you were saved you would never hurt him again. It is the beauty of the plan and price of salvation--He did it in full understanding of our present and future unworthiness. That is the Gospel: He makes us worthy to be called...children of God.

Do I think the movie was completely correct? No. Still, Christians must admit it hit a bulls-eye too many time for us to finish unashamed of how we have misrepresented the name of Jesus.

I spent the morning talking to a coalition of business women and the afternoon playing volleyball with kids at Discovery Alternative High School.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


For the 13th birthday of his son CJ Mahaney asked some friends to write letters that would guide and encourage him as he approached manhood. Below is one of the letters. It is valuable to hear from older people who have given time to wisdom. Pray for me as I talk with guys daily about being men after the heart of God. Each Friday I am leading a study at the local college for a group of guys that could beat me in basketball. We get into Romans for an hour before my parking expires and I leave them looking shocked. God tells us incredible things and matches them with a promise. Pray that God will use our very lives to call faithful men.

Dear Chad,
I am honored that your Dad invited me to write you on the occasion of your 13th birthday.
I just had my 56th birthday before Christmas, but one thing I’ve learned in all those extra
years of living is that there’s not that much difference between being 13 and being 56. Of
course lots of particular details do change as we first grow up and then grow old (good
looks and athleticism are sure to go!). But the most basic and important things remain
exactly the same. What is always true becomes deeper, and richer, and more necessary,
and more joyous as your life continues to unfold.
There are many things I could mention to you, Chad, but let me say only two. They are
so important to remember, and so easy to forget.
First, don’t ever forget: God is merciful to you.
Mercy is who he is. “The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow
to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” (Exodus 34:6).
Mercy is what he does. “If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare
his own Son, but delivered him over for us all, how will he not also with him freely give
us all things?” (Romans 8:31-32).
Mercy is what you need. “Lord, hear my voice…If you, Lord, should mark
iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with you, that you may be
feared” (Psalm 130:3-4).
God’s mercy is not a theory, a bunch of words, or stories from a long time ago. It
is the reality upon which your life depends. Mercy is a reality that anchors you into the
life and death of Jesus Christ. He has come for us. He has come for you. You need help
from outside yourself. Ask for help.
A small child who is well-loved knows this intuitively: “I trust in my parents’
love. I ask for help when I need something. I delight that they take care of me!” That
experience gives a picture of your whole life, even as you grow more and more
independent of your earthly parents. You’ll need help from outside yourself for your
entire life – from God himself (and, in a secondary way, from wise people who can be his
instruments of good, including your parents). But often in growing up, young adults and
full adults forget this. They don’t want it to be so. In blind pride they think that they can
take care of themselves. It’s a tendency in all of us, our most grievous tendency, and a
lie. We need God’s many mercies. We always need our greater Father to take care of us.
Because he is merciful, you look outside of yourself. Be willing to need help and
to ask for help.
Don’t ever forget, Chad.
God himself will never forget to be merciful. He cannot forget and deny himself.
Second, don’t ever forget: your whole life will be a work-in-progress.
This is so freeing. Your successes and graces (and may God give you many ways
to shine, Chad) will never mean you’ve arrived. These are good gifts of mercy, to be
received gratefully. Don’t take good things for granted, or view them as a basis for
identity or self-congratulation. At the same time, your sins, failure and sufferings (and
such things will happen, and may be painfully discouraging) never mean that there is no
hope. These are the weaknesses that make you realize your actual need for the wise
mercies of Jesus. Your life will shine as you realize that God has given you this life as a
lifelong holy experiment in becoming what a human being is meant to become. “He who
began a good work in you will bring it to completion until the day of Christ Jesus”
(Philippians 1:6). That will be so for your entire life.
Here’s something else about this that is very important. The particular struggles
you’ll face are going to change throughout your life. You’ve already seen this. What you
face is different, being 13, from when you were 8 or 4. You’ll face still different
challenges at 16, or 26, or 56, from what you face right now. That’s exactly where God
There will most likely be times – perhaps seasons of your life – when you
struggle with where to find your identity, or with feeling anxious, or with pride in your
gifts and achievements, or with holding resentment towards someone, or with wayward
sexual impulses, or with loneliness, or with grief at losing someone you love, or with
comparing yourself to others, or with feeling hurt when someone you trust betrays you.
You get the idea! There’s always something going on, because our Father is always
working on something in us. Everything you will ever face is important to God.
Everything can become an occasion for you to know him better, and to grow up as a man.
Don’t ever think that some part of life is outside his concern. Don’t ever think that
because you’ve grown in one area, there won’t be some new areas that your Father sets
about working on. He makes human beings (in his image). He saves human beings
(from all our sins and sufferings). He works in human beings (to teach us to love Him
and others). Jesus entered every part of human life. He will meet you in every part of
your life, for your whole life.
Don’t ever forget, Chad.
God himself will never forget to continue the good work he has begun in you.
Remember these things, Chad. Live them your whole life long. You will grow as a man
who is becoming what a human being is meant to be, a man after God’s own heart. May
our Lord’s face shine upon you. May you know that he is with you.
Your friend,
David Powlison

Monday, January 25, 2010

still in a fury

The week ahead will be flurry I can already tell. Tonight to plant my nose squarely in a few books I need to study I went to a coffee shop near my house. Little did I know that there would be a piano player that specialized in energetic soul music. He was also very effeminate. I only point this out to lead into the part of the story when he dedicated the song to me "You Are So Beautiful." This was only because I was jabbing him about playing a boy band song without back-up dancers. Needless to say, very little studying occurred and the night now wears again its familiar path on towards the morning.

Captivated by peace lately.

Pray for the ministry staff of the Oasis as we look towards a summit meeting where we standardize our intake, education, and encouragement of volunteers.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

responding to one

I have to apologize for how few and far between my writing has been. I will try to write more. The last few weeks have been enjoyable. I had the opportunity to speak to the faculty of a local alternative school and there is an exciting openness to having us be involved on there campus. Despite a coarse feeling in my throat (the feel of impending sickness!) I am feeling stronger phsyically and spiritually than I have in a long time. I am finding myself enjoying friendships in my life with the sort of deep-seated satisfaction that you would expect to have in old age. I am also realizing that the gospel is such a greater story than my own. But I am not lost in it; rather, it includes me. A writer once warned of responding to the "call of a lover less wild." O the tough and pleasant wonders of learning to respond only to one lover and thereby letting all others fade away.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

on the shelves

"If you cannot read all your books, at any rate peer into them...set them back on the shelves with your own hands, arrange them on your own plan so that you at least know where they are. Let them be your friends; let them be your acquantances." - Winston Churchill

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

how did you begin?

I met with a man for lunch who asked me to speak at his church. He had a thin white mustache and asked questions to make sure that I believed in Unconditional Election. He knew my grandfather, my dad's dad, who I never met because he had died before I was born. My grandfather was a man who straightened his hair because it was so outrageously curly and preached an unwavering gospel from the pulpit of a church that he built from rough-cut timber. As the conversation got to a meandering start I asked him how he got into "the ministry."
"Well, the first time I asked my wife on a date," came the unexpected start, "She had come into the bank where I was working and I thought she was so pretty that I got her name of the deposit slip and called her. She didn't sound interested in beer, but agreed on cup of coffee. So we went out. On that first date she told me I was going to hell. Ha! She was a real prune. But I guess I was too. So we got married. After noncommittally attending church for awhile I said a quiet prayer that the pastor recited every Sunday. I didn't expect anything to happen, but all of the sudden it did...I have been in full time ministry for over 40 years."

On the subject: my roommate is going on a blind date on Thursday to a restaurant. I think it is funny, but am very proud of him for making the call. I have prepared him with questions and I think he is ready! Ha! In all honesty I have been finding acres of joy in the deepening friendship between my roommates and I. Often in our lives we feel that we must compartmentalize laughing and praying--which is pure poppycock--our apartment has been full of both. The apartment has become a veritable green pasture, with the Puget Sound as my still waters and the Olympic Mountains a small reminder of Zion's grandeur. Zack, Nate, and I hunted our limit of clams last week and are having a informal clam bake tomorrow for dinner and all are welcome to join.

Friday we began to pass out the 200 Coffee Oasis hoodies that we received from Hos Bros. for Christmas. They have been very popular and now you can see kids walking all around the city sporting the same branded sweatshirt.