Thursday, December 29, 2011


To mortals death is a paradox. It is both awaited and postponed. It is completely contrary to life, but it is intimately involved in the complete living process. “Though man’s nature is mortal, God had destined man not to die,” says the Roman Catholic Catechism. It is not that man does not know how to die; he does not know how to do it well. Scharz reminds us that “there is no good death, as the term ‘euthanasis’ (meaning ‘good death’ in Greek) intimates. Death is always ambiguous; it can be a release from suffering, but it is always the loss of life.” We do not know how to die well because we do not know how to preserve life (not speaking merely biologically)—that which we have always striven to maintain. Jean-Paul Sarte saw death as a loss of meaning, but it is only so if life already lacked meaning. If we see life only being healthy vital signs then death is simply a period marking the end of life. But that would fail to acknowledge any meaning in the actions that have been lived. It would be the same as saying that there is no difference between breathing and laughing or that a runner has no more meaning because the course was is completed. The Apostle Paul speaks in the same metaphor revealing the only way to actually die well: “For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Tim Tebow and Faith

I tend to not take part in such drama filled issues, but I have been particularly impressed by Tim Tebow's sincere and unashamed faith in Jesus Christ.

Can't help but be reminded of Paul's words in Romans: "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: 'The righteous will live by faith.'"

Tim Tebow and Faith’s Place in Football | NewsFeed |

'via Blog this'

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

wiebifferick christmas treeing

For those who have not yet purchased your Christmas tree, here is a little guidebook to help you be successful on that adventure...

Christmas Tree.mp4 - YouTube:

'via Blog this'

Monday, December 5, 2011

remembering atonement

"We shall not cease, dear brethren, in our ministry, most definitely and decidedly to preach the atoning sacrifice; and I will tell you why I shall be sure to do so. I have not personally a shadow of a hope of salvation from any other quarter: I am lost if Jesus be not my Substitute. I have been driven up into a corner by a pressing sense of my own personal sin, and have been made to despair of ever doing or being such that God can accept me in myself. I must have a righteousness, perfect and Divine; yet it is beyond my own power to create. I find it in Christ: I read that it will become mine by faith, and by faith I take it. My conscience tells me that I must render to God’s justice a recompense for the dishonor that I have done to His law, and I cannot find anything which bears the semblance of such a recompense till I look to Christ Jesus. Do I not remember when I first looked to Him, and was lightened? Do I not remember how often I have gone as a sinner to my Savior’s feet, and looked anew at His wounds, and believed over again unto eternal life, feeling the old joy repeated by the deed?

- C.H. Spurgeon

Monday, November 21, 2011

don't have anywhere to go!

"Gentle" is usually the first word that comes out of someones mouth when my friend approaches. He is massive, but proportionately so. My friend has autism so he is sometimes forgets the advice. Every day it is the same. At least his power is released in suffocating hugs. Often I feel my back crackles as he effortlessly picks me up off the floor. My feet dangle like loosely hanging autumn leaves. He sets me back down again and pats me on the back twice for good measure. At least to him they are pats. I brace for their jarring force. But I don't mind. Really I don't. He wants to show his affection. My friend "aged out" of foster care at the age of 18. Now he is given money to live on his own. He has done surprisingly well. He budgets and invests. Perhaps the investments would not be considered wise according to a scrutinizing eye. His purchases are what any 18 would buy. The important thing is that he is investing.

This afternoon I wandered downstairs. My head was spinning with a variety of tasks and I wanted to spend time with the youth. Their raw energy can be refreshing. Before I knew it I was wrapped up in a bone-grinding hug. As I was gently returned to the earth my friend told me that it was his birthday on Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving. Actually what he told me is that he would be missing class that day (he takes classes at the local community college). I think he wanted me to scold him for not taking school seriously enough. He laughed and explained the rest. "I am glad you'll be spending Thanksgiving with your family," I chimed. "No. I'm coming back that night," he replied. I felt dumb as he offered a few excuses for his family. "But it's okay, the pastor of my church is having a dinner for people who don't have anywhere else to go..." Don't have anywhere to go! My heart hurt.

"...I was a stranger and you invited me in." - Matthew 25

Monday, November 14, 2011

not our own

"We are not our own: let not our reason nor our will, therefore, sway our plans and deeds. We are not our own: let us therefore not set it as our goal to seek what is expedient for us according to the flesh. We are not our own: in so far as we can, let us therefore forget ourselves and all that is ours. Conversely, we are God's: let us therefore live for him and die for him. We are God's: let his wisdom and will therefore rule all our actions. We are God's let all the parts of our life accordingly strive towards him as our only lawful goal." - John Calvin

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Keith Green - (talk about) The Sheep And The Goats (live) - YouTube

Tomorrow I will be preaching on Matthew 25:31-46. Below is a link to a video of Keith Green talking about the same verses. It is a reminder of my early faith. Pray with me that the word will come strong and clear tomorrow. Pray that by God's grace we will have vulnerable hearts to hear and that the Holy Spirit would empower us to DO.

Keith Green - (talk about) The Sheep And The Goats (live) - YouTube:

'via Blog this'

Monday, October 10, 2011

the pillar of the cloud

by John Henry, Cardinal Newman (1801-1890)

Lead, Kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom,
Lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home --
Lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene, -- one step enough for me.

I was not ever thus, nor pray'd that Thou
Should'st lead me on.
I loved to choose and see my path; but now
Lead Thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will: remember not past years.

So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still
Will lead me on,
O'er moor and fen, o'er crag and torrent, till
The night is gone;
And with the morn those angel faces smile
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

unless we listen

3rd day in Basque Country. Drove from San Sabastian (northern Spain) into France across the Pyranees Mountains today. Hours upon hours of small villages, delicacies, and winding road. It is one of the most beautiful places on earth (though my heart cannot let go of the romantic mountains that form the Olympic peninsula). The people are beautiful. God is using them to shift the plates in my heart. I think that "missions" has traditionally sought to find out what is wrong with a people group and then offer specific suggestions on how Jesus can meet a need or fulfill a purpose. Completely beside my own intentions I found myself searching for a hidden sin or glaring fault so "Jesus could meet every need." The Basque people are have very few faults. They are delightful and enviable conversationalists. I have never been to a city were I have seen more laughter. The streets are filled with people simply being together. At the same time they are a people of 3.5 million that have no national church. Only an estimated 100 Basque people claim Jesus as Lord. Where is the disconnect. Studying this evening (yes, it is 12:45 in the morning in San Sabastian and I am studying for school!) I read a John Stott quote that was helpful: "Unless we listen attentively to the voices of secular society, unless we struggle to understand them, unless we feel with modern men and women their frustration, their alienation, their pain and even sometimes, their despair, I think that we shall lack authenticity as the followers of Jesus of Nazareth." I judge to well and love to little. Father forgive us for mistaking our role as sheep. My heart has been in turmoil over the whole matter so please continue to pray for us as we continue on in Basque until September 12th.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Do you understand forgiveness?

Helen Whitney on Forgiveness and Hopes | Forgiveness: A Time to Love and a Time to Hate | PBS Video

The Voice of Justice

The Voice of Justice on Vimeo

An excellent example of how easily we become confused between the sly riddles of temptation and the offer of true hope.


An excerpt from a book that I am reading on the development of adolescents (or "middle adolescents") in high school. The book is titled HURT:

"The loss of meaningful relationships with adults has been the most devastating to developing adolescents. Because mid-adolescents have not had enough life experience to understand fully the accompanying sense of loneliness and isolation they feel, few could articulate their experience specifically as 'loss' in my study. But the reality of the experience oozed out of nearly every student. And in discussion with mid-adolescents across the country, not one disagreed with this bleak assessment. When feeling safe enough to admit, every student I talked to acknowledged that loneliness is a central experience. In decrying the panic in the lives of young girls in the midst of contemporary culture, Mary Pipher provides a wake-up call with her poignant summation of how parents are viewed by adolescents: 'To paraphrase a Stevie Smith poem about swimming in the sea, "they are not waving, they are drowning.'" And just when they most need help, they are unable to take their parent's hands.' They feel this way about all adults who are not there for them."

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

know the worth

At the end of over forty-five years of ministry E. Stanley Jones wrote:

"You don't know the worth of your Christian faith until you have compared it with others and subjected it to life....I've put my faith out before the non-Christian world and have said: 'There it is...if you can break it, break it. For I cannot live in a paradise if it turns out to be a fool's paradise'....So the keenest minds and the most philosophical of the world have smitten upon my faith, night and day for over half a century. Result? Broken? There are scars on my faith but underneath those scars there are no doubts. The song I sing is a life-song. Not the temporary exuberance of youth that often fades when middle and old age set in with their disillusionmnets and cynicism. No, I'm eighty-three and more excited today about being a Christian than I was at eighteen when I put my feet upon the Way....Now by seasoned, tested, corroborated experience I know that this is not a way, but the Way."

Videos: Healthy Tomorrow Winner, July 2011: Coffee Oasis - Kitsap, WA | Kitsap Sun

Videos: Healthy Tomorrow Winner, July 2011: Coffee Oasis - Kitsap, WA | Kitsap Sun

Thursday, July 21, 2011

mary oliver

Here is an article written by Mary Oliver titled "The First Requirement for Writing Poetry." Oh drat! I have probably bored you already. That title has so many reasons to stop reading. The word first is like when a teacher or pastor says "But we'll get to that later," which makes the listener assume it will be a very long discourse. First makes you assume there is something else to follow. Requirement is no less friendly a term. Requirement is not an easy house guest. It always seems to ask you to cater to its needs and then judges you when they are not met, whether or not you have agreed to their terms (The very reason men don't read instruction manuals or road maps). Writing and poetry is also a sale stopper. It is the scary territory of mixing discipline and mysticism. Poetry is not satisfied repeating the old jargon. Poetry is always squinting its eyes to see clearer. It would stand on its head if it helped. Poetry finds the unwritten lyrics to the tune everyone is humming.

Anyway, imagine the essay below is describing our rendezvous with God. It hurt my heart to think how cheaply I treat my relationship with him. But let us now wait at that same spot for renewal...

"The First Requirement for Writing Poetry" by Mary Oliver

"If Romeo and Juliet had made appointments to meet, in the moonlight-swept orchard, in all the peril and sweetness of conspiracy, and then more often than not failed to meet — one of the other lagging, or afraid, or busy elsewhere — there would have been no romance, no passion, none of the drama for which we remember and celebrate them. Writing a poem is not so different — it is a kind of possible love affair between something like the heart (that courageous but also shy factory of emotion) and the learned skills of the conscious mind. They make appointments with each other, and keep them, and something begins to happen. Or, they make appointments with each other but are casual and often fail to keep them: count on it, nothing happens.

The part of the psyche that works in concert with consciousness and supplies a necessary part of the poem — a heart of a star as opposed to the shape of a star, let us say — exists in a mysterious, unmapped zone: no unconscious, not conscious, but cautious. It learns quickly what sort of courtship it is going to be. Say you promise to be at your desk in the evenings, from seven to nine. It waits, it watches. If you are reliably there, it begins to show itself — soon it begins to arrive when you do. But if you are only there sometimes and are frequently late or inattentive, it will appear fleetingly, or it will not appear at all.

Why should it? It can wait. It can stay silent a lifetime. Who know anyway what it is, that wild, silky part of ourselves without which no poem can live? But we do know this: if it is going to enter into a passionate relationship and speak what is in its own portion of your mind, the other responsible and purposeful part of you had better be a Romeo. It doesn’t matter if risk is somewhere close by — risk is always hovering somewhere. But it won’t involve itself with anything less than a perfect seriousness.

Various ambitions -- to complete the poem, to see it in print, to enjoy the gratification of someone's comment about it -- serve in some measure as incentives to the writer's work. Though each of these is reasonable, each is a threat to that other ambition of the poet, which is to write as well as Keats, or Yeats, or Williams -- or whoever it was who scribbled onto a page a few lines whose force the reader once felt and has never forgotten. Every poet's ambition should be to write as well. Anything else is only a flirtation.

And, never before have there been so many opportunities to be a publicly and quickly, thus achieving earlier goals. Magazines are everywhere, and there are literally hundreds of poetry workshops. There is, as never before, company for those who like to talk about and write poems.

None of this is bad. But very little of it can do more than start you on your way to the real, unimaginably difficult goal of writing memorably. That work is done slowly and in solitude, and it is as improbable as carrying water in a sieve."

Wednesday, July 20, 2011



I encourage you to try your hand at this very realistic poverty simulation game. In you frustration you might think exaggerates the difficulty of living a low-income life. Hang with me a day and you'll hear a few words that might check your heart. Today I thought about the audacious claim we often make about knowing the heart of the Father. He likes the guy in the ditch. The uncomfortable people. Is that our heart or do we just like holding the banner? Are we prepared for God to fulfill our prayer, "break my heart with what breaks yours"? In God's mercy may he help us shed our masks.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

who am I?

Here was a poem written by Dietrich Bonhoeffer during his days of confinement under the Nazi's during WWII. He would be be hanged a few short weeks before the war ended:

Who am I? They often tell me

I stepped from my cell’s confinement
Calmly, cheerfully, firmly,
Like a squire from his country-house.
Who am I? They often tell me
I used to speak to my warders
Freely and friendly and clearly,
As though it were mine to command.
Who am I? They also tell me
I bore the days of misfortune
Equally, smilingly, proudly,
Like one accustomed to win.

Am I then really all that which other men tell of?
Or am I only what I myself know of myself?
Restless and longing and sick, like a bird in a cage,
Struggling for breath, as though hands were
compressing my throat,
Yearning for colors, for flowers, for the voices of birds,
Thirsting for words of kindness, for neighborliness,
Tossing in expectation of great events,
Powerlessly trembling for friends at an infinite distance,
Weary and empty at praying, at thinking, at making,
Faint, and ready to say farewell to it all?

Who am I? This or the other?
Am I one person today and tomorrow another?
Am I both at once? A hypocrite before others,
And before myself a contemptibly woebegone weakling?
Or is something within me still like a beaten army,
Fleeing in disorder from victory already achieved?
Who am I? They mock me, these lonely questions of mine.
Whoever I am, Thou knowest, O God, I am Thine!

D. Bonhoeffer
March 4,1946

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

give me...

"Give me a man in love; he knows what I mean. Give me one who yearns; give me one who is hungry; give me one far away in this desert, who is thirsty and sighs for the springs of the Eternal Country. Give me that sort of man; he knows what I mean. But if I speak to a cold man, he just doesn't know what I am talking about....You are surprised that the world is losing its grip? That the world is grown old? Don't hold onto the old man, the world; don't refuse to regain your youth in Christ, who says to you:'The world is passing away; the world is losing its grip, the world is short of breath.' Don't fear, for thy youth shall be renewed as an eagle." - St. Augustine

Saturday, July 9, 2011

mr. and mrs. michael auerswald

Notes from sermon spoken at Mike and Ami's wedding ceremony, July 9, 2010:

In the book in the book of Song of Solomon 8:4 it says, “Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.” But what will we do when it awakens? If you are at all familiar with children stories you will now that there are certain consequences for waking up things that have long been sleeping. There is a fearful awe that comes with not knowing exactly what form something will take when it wakes up. What will love look like when it is awakened?

Today you have the opportunity to see the form of love. For you witnessing the wedding you might respond, “I know, aren’t they such a cute couple!” But let me tell you this, if the form of love is just the way your wife or your husband looks, love will look very different in the morning with disheveled hair and morning breath! And yes, they are cute, but cuteness is not the true reality of awakened love. Consider this illustration: imagine you gone to listen to the Seattle symphony. The whole time one particular violin player has caught your attention. At the end of the performance you approach this violinist and complement them on their playing. Without hesitation the violinist points you to the conductor of the orchestra and says, “Thank you for your complement, but it was work of that man that allowed me to perform my best alongside other great musicians.” Walking over to the conductor you praise him for the evening’s performance. Humbly the conductor of the whole orchestra bows and says, “I only carried out what the composer wrote in the original music.”

This is the deep reality of marriage. In marriage we hear the melody of the original music composed by the Creator of the world. From the beginning Mike and Amy have known that a marriage is not defined by dresses and limousines. Whenever things became stressful for the wedding Amy would remind us that she was absolutely content to get married in shorts. The reason we dress up and celebrate is not to keep up with fashion. It is that we are learning to sing the song written by the original composer and learning to express in both word and in action how special that, as Genesis 2 says, “a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” In marriage we find a relationship in which two separate people—stubborn, selfish and silly people—submit to each other, out of love for each other, from the love they have been given by God. It is in this act of commitment to faithfully love each other that Mike and Amy strike the tune that first overcame Adam as he watched God walk the first bride, Eve, down the aisle; much like God the Father walked Amy down the aisle today. When you love each other your best you are playing the music of God, the Grand Composer, well.

For Mike to receive Amy in marriage today is to claim with conviction that Amy is a gift from God. And that all the things that God has in store for you, Mike, He also has in store for her. Likewise, Amy today you are declaring God has joined you inseparably to Mike through both the summers and winters of life. Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” God is helping each of you complete the good work that he has intended for the other person.

What this practically means is that Mike, you are a gift from God to Amy to help her raise Raven and Christina, to love them and father them as your own. For Amy this means supporting Mike as he learns to be the father and husband in an already busy home. Together you are facing unique challenges entering the first year of marriage; however, today you are taking in the faith the promise that God has given you a unique gift in each other.

Now as part of Mike and Amy’s desire to express their absolute faith in Jesus Christ and His love expressed to them on the cross enabling them to love one another, they are going to share the pour unity sand and take communion together. As you will see, there are three sands being poured together—one symbolizing Mike, one symbolizing Amy, and the third symbolizing Jesus Christ. This shows that though these three lives were once separate they are now united inseparably. Just as it would be impossible to separate the granules of sand from each other, we pray that this marriage, united in Christ, will be inseparable. Likewise, during the last meal Jesus shared with His disciples before He died, Jesus said to them, “This bread represents my body which is for you, this cup represents my blood which is poured out for the forgiveness of your sins”. Mike and Amy will take communion together to remember and hold in their hearts Christ’s love for them. As often as we take may you always say, when you have loved well and lived long, “I have only sung the song that the creator first wrote!”

Thursday, June 30, 2011

a great gift

"What a great gift it would be if we could see a little of the great vision of Jesus – if we could see beyond our small lives! Certainly our view is very limited. But we can at least ask him to call us out of our small worlds and our self-centeredness, and we can at least ask to feel the challenge of the great harvest that must be gathered –the harvest of all nations and all people, including the generations of the future."
- J. Heinrich Arnold

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

the over-heart

Above, below, in sky and sod,
In leaf and spar, in star and man,
Well might the wise Athenian scan
The geometric signs of God,
The measured order of His plan.

And India's mystics sang aright
Of the One Life pervading all,--
One Being's tidal rise and fall
In soul and form, in sound and sight,--
Eternal outflow and recall.

God is: and man in guilt and fear
The central fact of Nature owns;
Kneels, trembling, by his altar-stones,
And darkly dreams the ghastly smear
Of blood appeases and atones.

Guilt shapes the Terror: deep within
The human heart the secret lies
Of all the hideous deities;
And, painted on a ground of sin,
The fabled gods of torment rise!

And what is He? The ripe grain nods,
The sweet dews fall, the sweet flowers blow;
But darker signs His presence show
The earthquake and the storm are God's,
And good and evil interflow.

O hearts of love! O souls that turn
Like sunflowers to the pure and best!
To you the truth is manifest:
For they the mind of Christ discern
Who lean like John upon His breast!

In him of whom the sibyl told,
For whom the prophet's harp was toned,
Whose need the sage and magian owned,
The loving heart of God behold,
The hope for which the ages groaned!

Fade, pomp of dreadful imagery
Wherewith mankind have deified
Their hate, and selfishness, and pride!
Let the scared dreamer wake to see
The Christ of Nazareth at his side!

What doth that holy Guide require?
No rite of pain, nor gift of blood,
But man a kindly brotherhood,
Looking, where duty is desire,
To Him, the beautiful and good.

Gone be the faithlessness of fear,
And let the pitying heaven's sweet rain
Wash out the altar's bloody stain;
The law of Hatred disappear,
The law of Love alone remain.

How fall the idols false and grim!
And to! their hideous wreck above
The emblems of the Lamb and Dove!
Man turns from God, not God from him;
And guilt, in suffering, whispers Love!

The world sits at the feet of Christ,
Unknowing, blind, and unconsoled;
It yet shall touch His garment's fold,
And feel the heavenly Alchemist
Transform its very dust to gold.

The theme befitting angel tongues
Beyond a mortal's scope has grown.
O heart of mine! with reverence own
The fulness which to it belongs,
And trust the unknown for the known.

- John Greenleaf Whittier

Monday, June 20, 2011

the historical adam

My dad handed me a provocative article from the magazine Christianity Today discussing the growth of the theistic evolution movement led by Francis Collins, the director of the National Institute of Health and director of the human genome project. The article was not written to persuade, rather to inform. I was informed. We naturally live within the world that is at our arms-length. Often it feels like my world, the world of homeless youth and family and finishing school, orbits around a different sun. As I read the article, which rose above the typical bickering that often distracts from substance in articles concerning both science and faith, I wondered again, "What is man that you are mindful of him?" (Psalm 8). One of the most important questions that needs to be asked is "what is lost if we deny the existence of a historical Adam and Eve?" Even more, are there certain limitations or blindspots that scientists and theologians harbor? What saves? What heals? Science will never understand a miracle. It cannot reproduce it. The God of the Bible is not limited to natural laws. "Who can hold back his hand or say to him, 'What have you done?'" (Daniel 4). God will never be proved by science, because he will never be dissected. God is not informed by natural laws. Christians should not forget that the earth is not a throne, but a footstool (Psalm 2). It is a plaything in the hands of God. None of these things discredit science. Science helps us understand the physical laws, which helps with and endless list of things like growing food, delivering babies, and building bombs. This is their domain. Do not ask them to write poetry or describe the events that led to the civil war. There is always the danger in discovery to regress. To gain the whole world and lose your soul. I think we will find in the end that it is not science that has the final word in describing what makes humans unique, it will be a tender Word, "This is my beloved son, with whom I am well please."

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


if...the praise of man elates me
and his blame depresses me;
if i cannot rest under misunderstanding
without defending myself;
if i love to be loved more than to love,
to be served more than to serve,
then i know nothing of Calvary love.

- Amy Carmichael

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

It’s Not About You -

It’s Not About You -

On June 5th I am giving a baccalaureate address to the graduating class of Bremerton High School. The article above helped confirm what I have been thinking about writing, pondering on my pillow the last few nights what advice I would have given to a younger me. I think hope you find this article as helpful as I did. I am aware of the fact that my generation is walking into a river of restlessness. The soul of my generation is lost in itself. When you walk into a river it allows you to boast and feel confident while the water plays at your ankles. Let it rise to your knees and the tables turn. With the slightest push you will fall. We are wading dangerously deep into the ambiguities of pluralism. We allow everything to change us because we have stepped away from firm land. Let us pray with urgency and speak with tender, strong voice. God save us from ourselves!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Francis Schaffer: Personal Spiritual Crisis

An excerpt from the preface to Francis Schaffer's book True Spirituality:

"In 1951 and 1952 I face a spiritual crisis in my own life. I had become a Christian from agnosticism many years before. After that I had become a pastor for ten years in the United States, and then for several years my wife Edith and I had been working in Europe. During this time I felt a strong burden to stand for the historical Christian position, and for the purity of the visible church. Gradually, however, a problem came to me--the problem of reality. This had two parts: first, it seemed to me that among many of those who held the orthodox position, one saw little reality in the things that the Bible so clearly says should be the result of Christianity. Second, it gradually grew on me that my own reality was less than it had been in the early days after I had become a Christian. I realized that in honesty I had to go back and rethink my whole position.
We were living in Champery [Switzerland] at the time, and I told Edith that for the sake of honesty I had to go all the way back to my agnosticism and think through the whole matter. I'm sure that this was a difficult time for her, and I'm sure that she prayed much for me in those days. I walked in the mountains when it was clear, and when it was rainy I walked backward and forward in the hayloft of the old chalet in which we lived. I walked, prayed, and thought through what the Scriptures taught, as well as reviewing my own reasons for being a Christian.
As I rethought my reasons for being a Christian, I saw again that there were totally sufficient reasons to know that the infinite-personal God does exist and that Christianity is true. In going further, I saw something else which made a profound difference in my life. I searched through what the Bible said concerning reality as a Christian. Gradually I saw that the problem was that with all the teaching I had received after I was a Christian, I had heard little about what the bible says about the meaning of the finished work of Christ for our present lives. Gradually the sun came out and the song came. Interestingly enough, although I had written no poetry for many years, in that time of joy and song I found poetry beginning to flow again--poetry of certainty, an affirmation of life, thanksgiving, and praise. Admittedly, as poetry it is very poor, but it expressed a song in my heart which was wonderful to me."

Monday, May 16, 2011


When was the last time you heard someone speak about their destiny? Or should I say, speak correctly about their destiny? Destiny is not "what you make it." Destiny is a blessing beyond your power to achieve alone. Destiny is a story written by the hand of God. It is Ephesians 2:10" "For you are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago." What is your destiny? Know God's plan should fill His children with hope. It is your destiny.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

two funerals

Just this week I have been to two funerals. This post does not reflect on the lives of those who past away. It is merely a few thoughts on death and forever. What I find is that death and the hereafter is often reduced to a few nuanced statements, "It is more about the life in your years, than the years in your life", "[name] would have not wanted us to cry, they want us to be happy", " they are here with us", "we miss you, but will see you soon." In Ecclesiastes 7:2-4 it says, "Better to spend your time at funerals than at parties. After all, everyone dies--so the living should take this to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, for sadness has a refining influence on us. A wise person thinks a lot about death, while a fool thinks only about having a good time." Most funerals I go to now encourage us to forget death as soon as possible and to party, because somewhere out there that person is partying right now too. And so we fashion heaven however we would like it to be, forgetting about hell entirely. I think hell is only old fashioned in a culture where obeying your parents is old fashioned. We are more interested in being comforted and abandoning tears for a good laugh. Back in the days when England burned martyrs a small boy was seen walking home from Smithfield in England. Someone asked that little boy, "My boy, why were you there?" To this question the boy replied, "I want to learn the way." This boy was not morbid. At a young age he realized that there was much to be learned from a man willing to die because of a conviction. The man knew what he was dying for. He had watched the man live and realized that the martyr was no fool. His martyrdom was not a glamor stunt, nor was it a means for a greater reward. The martyr accepted the flames because he would not deny Christ. "To live is Christ and to die is gain" is the true christian anthem. This should not just be the composure of a dying Christian, but a living one as well. Paul was prepared. It used to be written on the gravestones of the Puritans momento mori, which translated means "remember your mortality." I went for a run before the funeral today. Near my house is a forest preserve. I ran alone and sifted through the thoughts in my head that seem to come out of hiding once I lace up my running shoes. Over and over I thought of Paul's statement, "I consider all things loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus." If you are reading this I want you to consider, in light of eternity, what exactly life is. What is your life? Do you say that it is your life or is it truly your life? Is this something that is worth living for in light of eternity?

My thoughts surmount these lower skies
And look within the veil;
There springs of endless pleasure rise,
The waters never fail.

There I behold with sweet delight
The blessed Three in One;
And strong affections fix my sight
On God's incarnate Son.

His promise stands for ever firm,
His grace shall ne'er depart;
He binds my name upon his arm,
And seals it on his heart.

Light are the pains that' nature brings,
How short our sorrows are,
When with eternal future things,
The present we compare!

I would not be a stranger still
To that celestial place,
Where I for ever hope to dwell
Near my Redeemer's face. - Isaac Watts

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Woman who died in stabbing was 19-year-old from Bremerton » Kitsap Sun

Woman who died in stabbing was 19-year-old from Bremerton » Kitsap Sun

Yesterday I spent 1.5 hours at Renaissance Alternative High School. The young girl that died went to Renaissance. We have a reason to share our faith. God desires that none should perish, but that all may have eternal life (2 Peter 3:9). What is our desire and how do we express it?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

vatican ii

I was grateful to have a wonderful conversation with a good friend who is the administration of a school that I visit. She is a Catholic. I brave and strong catholic that was delighted to let me know that her daughter is taking communion for the first time this coming Sunday. She explained to me her daughters great concern with dealing respectfully with the elements since, according to most Catholics, communion represents the true flesh and blood of Jesus. This made the little girl very nervous to drop the crumbs, lest Jesus be scattered on the floor. Her mother assured her that worse has been done to Jesus and that he understands. It is good to have a God who understands the respectful fear of children ("Unless we become like these..."). I do not agree with the Catholic view of transubstatiation, but this does not mean that I do not appreciate the sense of reality that the Catholics have held onto in action of taking communion. What I mean is that I do not think Jesus is was the physical temple because he compared himself with it, but he is explaining spiritual matters with concrete physical objects. In some way the evangelical church needs to work harder at maintaining the physical realities of Christ's physical sacrifice on the real wooden cross. After our conversation on the Eucharist we got to talking about other things, especially our concern for social justice and she mentioned the Vatican ii documents. Here is the first paragraph of one of these documents:

The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the men of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, these are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ. Indeed, nothing genuinely human fails to raise an echo in their hearts. For theirs is a community composed of men. United in Christ, they are led by the Holy Spirit in their journey to the Kingdom of their Father and they have welcomed the news of salvation which is meant for every man. That is why this community realizes that it is truly linked with mankind and its history by the deepest of bonds.

I enjoyed what I read. I pray this is true of all Christians, that the "joys and anxieties" of all humanity "raises an echo in [our] hearts." I want to be more tender. It is my opinion that evangelicals should converse more with catholics. After all, we do share one Bible.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Meditation: Day 5

Psalm 22

There is a billboard in town, down by the ferry that asks the question: "Do you want to be happy?" There is a picture of a man (presumably Jesus) that is laughing and tossing a child in the air. This is the same questions Socrates asks in his dialogue with Euthydemus and what Pascal is getting to in his Pensee, "All men seek happiness. This is without exception. Whatever different means they employ, they all tend to this end. The cause of some going to war, and of others avoiding it, is the same desire in both, attended with different views. The will never takes the least step but to this object. This is the motive of every action of every man, even of those who hang themselves." The question "what is worth happiness?" is an easy one to answer. Most of us will do anything for happiness. I think the more telling question is this: What is worth suffering for? The Bible is a strange text. It promises peace in a strange way. It is truthful in its retelling of stories. Any illustrated children's Bible seriously sensors itself. If it did not parents would be in an uproar about the lewd and indecent content. Not just graphically, but who wants there children reading Ecclesiastes, really? Happiness is the beginning of the story, but it is not the middle, and only for some it will be the end. This is not the laughable storyline you put on a billboard, but it is the truth.

Many feel like they can relate with King David because of his emotional highs and lows. In Psalm 22 we appreciate the honesty that the Bible does not hide, but includes. It is a man struggling with the apparent distance of God, "My God, my God, why have you abandoned m? Why are you so far away when I groan for help? Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer. Every night you hear my voice, but I find no relief" (Psalm 22:1-2). Have you ever felt this way? Well, so did another person who loved God passionately--King David. Does this help us make sense of God?

Two things help us: the end of Psalm 22 and Matthew 27:46. Psalm 22 end with praise. Is David just being crazy and recklessly believing God? I do not think so. His prayer is adamant, "Lord, do not stay far away!" I wish to go into this more, but I do not have time right now. Ask yourself: How is it possible that David could finish Psalm 22 the way he does?

In Matthew 27 we have Jesus crying the same words on the cross that David uses in Psalm 22. Luther was transformed by this. It shows that God heard David. God hears you too. Jesus is the answer. The man who "carried our weakness and was weighted down by our sorrows...but he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins...." Think of this: What does it fully mean to say, "Jesus is the answer"?

Easter Meditation: Day 4

Exodus 12:1-14

Throughout my years of college I made a habit of rereading books and stories that my parents had read to me when I was a child. Surprisingly I discovered that most of the stories contained vastly new meanings for me when I read them for myself the second time. I remember weeping when Aslan put the challenge to Lucy in the book Prince Caspian, "Even if no one else follows me, I still want you to come." Only upon experiencing a heart broken over a decision could I understand the weight of Aslan's request. When I read Wind in the Willows I sat up in bed and pondered for some time when Mole tells Rat of how terrifying awe can feel like. God is an even better story teller than these men who so perfectly crafted emotion and experience into words. God tells true stories that are not fully comprehended in the first sitting. They can be received by both children and adults and contain profound meaning for both. He does not just tell stories with words, but with all sorts of things like the rings of a tree or the perfect cradle in which our planet sits in the middle of a dangerous universe of twirling planets and hurtling objects. In the Passover we hear a story that is meant to be passed on from generation to generation, telling a story of God's faithfulness. The Passover did not just have meaning for the present, but also for the future. The Old Testament is impossible to understand (and many do not understand because of this) if it is not understood in this way. Hebrews 11:39-40 helps us understand this. After telling the story of faith through the life of several incredible individuals (the kind that make you think, "I could never be that cool!") it says this: "All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us." On Wednesday the community group that meets at my house celebrated the Passover together. Seeing it both in its original meaning and in its fulfillment. I am attaching a picture that we took replicating Leonardo Da Vinci's portrait The Last Supper (only we were wearing flannel, as you can see!). Do you understand that you are a part of the story?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Easter Meditation: Day 3

Matthew 25:31-46

Perhaps Matthew 25 seems like an odd fit for an Easter meditation. The reason why it is wedged in the middle of the week is because it is one of the long sermons that Jesus taught between the triumphal entry into Jerusalem and the crucifixion. What was on Jesus mind during that time. C.S. Lewis writes that the truth and falsehood of something is proved when it faces death. Jesus life perfectly represented the passion of God. God was not about standing far off and speaking rules. Few verses affect so continually as John 1:14, "So the Word became human and made his home among us." He lived here.

What we find in Matthew 25 is that He wants us to "live among" the people of the earth too. Not by assimilation, but by compassion. Jesus proved by his death that sin was the main issue that needed to be taken care of. Sin is the plague. But in Matthew 25 it shows that God does not neglect any of the personal needs he created us with. He wants people to be clothed and fed and cared for. When the end comes our life will not merely be review on the basis of what we say we believed, but, according to Matthew 25, by what we "did and didn't do."

Keith Green has always been a passionate reminder of this for me:

John 15

As you can see in my meditations on the Easter passage, I am impacted by the saints that have lived before us. I have lived my life in conversation, mainly through books and biographies, with many of men and woman who have lived well. One of these saints is a man by the name of Andrew Murray. Andrew Murray lived by John 15. It is impossible to find a book of Murray's that he does not present John 15. He lived an "abiding life." He understood that the only life for a Christian to lead is one that is absolutely tied to the life of God. We receive everything from him. Jesus life was a lesson of this very principle. "I only do what I see my Father do," was his only pattern. If this is the life of the Son of God, surely it is a good principle for us to follow.

"Who is my neighbor" is the question that introduces the story of the Good Samaritan. In John 15:13 we are mean to ask ourselves, "who is my friend?" and "what does it mean for me to lay down my life." I have shared this story before, but it often comes back to me forcefully, sitting by the water, watching the sun set over the Olympic mountains, asking God how to live and love. What should I do? "There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends." So often we ask ourselves the wrong questions. If we really looked at the way we treat relationships/friendships we would realize how unfaithful we are. How easily we break trust and friendship with people! It will never be easy for us to lay down our lives. How easy it is to only take good things from someone and abandon them when life is hard. The Christian should live by a different pattern of life. Learn from Christ! Learn this: "There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends."

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Easter Meditation: Day 2

John 12:12-50

"We understood from Scripture that the Messiah would live forever. How can you say the Son of Man will die? Just who is the Son of Man, anyway?" (12:34) What a strange man the man Jesus was! Some might have even considered him morbid, always talking about death. We will only see and understand the man Jesus unless we see his deep motivation--"Father, bring glory to your name" (12:28). Jesus did not come to hang-out or share a moments joy. He knew that unless "the wheat planted in soil dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels" (12:24).

We who struggle to get all the success and momentary avoidance of strife that we can still find crucifixion a mean thing. Jesus is asking a daring thing: find yourself in the shadow of the cross. Oh soul, do you fear going there. What will be exposed? Jesus fearless confrontation with and victory over death has made it so that we can approach fearlessly the throne of God. Do you find rest in the shadow of the cross or is it still something that you fear?

This reminds me of one of my favorite poems by G.K. Chesterton:

There fared a mother driven forth
Out of an inn to roam;
In the place where she was homeless
All men are at home.
The crazy stable close at hand,
With shaking timber and shifting sand,
Grew a stronger thing to abide and stand
Than the square stones of Rome.

For men are homesick in their homes,
And strangers under the sun,
And they lay their heads in a foreign land
Whenever the day is done.

Here we have battle and blazing eyes,
And chance and honour and high surprise,
But our homes are under miraculous skies
Where the yule tale was begun.

A child in a foul stable,
Where the beasts feed and foam;
Only where He was homeless
Are you and I at home;
We have hands that fashion and heads that know,
But our hearts we lost---how long ago!
In a place no chart nor ship can show
Under the sky's dome.

This world is wild as an old wife's tale,
And strange the plain things are,
The earth is enough and the air is enough
For our wonder and our war;
But our rest is as far as the fire-drake swings
And our peace is put in impossible things
Where clashed and thundered unthinkable wings
Round an incredible star.

To an open house in the evening
Home shall all men come,
To an older place than Eden
And a taller town than Rome.
To the end of the way of the wandering star,
To the things that cannot be and that are,
To the place where God was homeless
And all men are at home.

Isaiah 49:1-9

"I will make you a light to the Gentiles, and you will bring my salvation to the ends of the earth." (49:6). One of the most common questions that a pastor gets asked is: what will happen to the people who have never heard? I do not pretend like I know the answer to this or that this question is the focus of these verses. These verses, in part, help me understand a little bit of the answer. God loves all people (I will argue this fact with anyone, even the person who does not think God loves them...even the person who does not want God to love them). According to this verse God is not just concerned with what we can see or appreciate. God considers people from right here to "the ends of the earth." This is very hopeful for us who live across the seas from the Middle East. This verse is talking about us too. I am a gentile. But by God's mercy I have become a son, adopted into the family of God by the Redeemer, Christ Jesus. God's mercy helps me understand the big hard questions. I am learning to trust God. Not out of naivete, but because His mercy has been extended to me too. Even Paul calls himself "abnormally born." Paul was a murderer and still mercy rescued. Mercy holds the ink to the pages of scripture. We learn that the whole time God has planned, out of his love, to make a way that all people can be saved (do not confuse the "can" with "will"). A song that I find helpful is "Lover" by Derek Webb. It goes like this:

Like a man comes to an altar,
I came into this town,
With the world upon My shoulders
And promises passed down.
When I went into the water,
My Father, He was pleased.
I built it and I’ll tear it down
So you will be set free.

Yes, and I found thieves and salesmen
Living in My Father’s house.
And I know how they got in here,
And I know how to get ‘em out.
Well, I’m turning this place over
From floor to balcony.
Then, just like these doves and sheep
Oh, you will be set free.

‘Cause I have always been a lover
From before I drew a breath
Oh, and somethings I love easy
And some I love to death.
You see, love’s no politician
‘Cause it listens carefully
So from those who come,
I can’t lose one,
So you will be set free,
Oh, you will be set free.

Go on and take My picture
Go on and make Me up
Oh, I’ll still be your Defender
And you’ll be My missing son
And I’ll send out an army
Just to bring you back to Me.
‘Cause regardless of your brothers’ lies,
Oh, you will be set free.

Because I am My beloved’s
And My beloved’s Mine;
So, you bring all your history,
I’ll bring the bread and wine.
Then we’ll have us a party
Where all the drinks are on Me
And as surely as the rising sun
Oh, you will be set free,
Oh, you will be set free.

The line that I find helpful is "Somethings I love easy, and some I love to death." I think this is the way it works. What we find predicted in the Old Testament and fulfilled in the New Testament is God's desire to "draw everyone to Himself" (John 12:32). This is the Redeemer, Jesus, who we are meditating on and celebrating this week.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Easter Meditation: Day 1

John 12:1-11

Oswald Chambers writing on this interaction between Jesus and Mary asked the question, "Have you ever been carried away for him?" The Christmas hymn sings "long lay the world in sin and error pining." Long the world has waited to be loved. The world doesn't think it deserves love, but it wants to be loved so badly. Who will love a broken world?

This is the story of the incarnation. God made the world. He has seen it grow from its natal stages to its old weather-worn state. He has seen it raped by war and torn by sins scarring knife. God loves the world and so he gave his Son.

Mary knew that she was loved completely. She felt safe. She was known completely, but still loved! How could she respond but to love in return.

Oswald Chambers goes on to write: "If human love does not carry a man beyond himself, it is not love. If love is always discreet, always wise, always sensible and calculating, never carried beyond itself, it is not love at all. It may be affection, it may be warmth of feeling, but it has not the true nature of love in it." Have you ever been carried away for him?

Was she aware of what she was doing? Was she aware that she was anointing him for burial?

Hebrews 10:1-18

How could a thing as complete and beautiful as the descent of God onto Mt. Sinai be called "a dim preview" (10:1)? The ten plagues, the magnificent deliverance in battle, the 10 commandments, the intricate sacrifices, these are all the previews--they are not the main attraction. Christ is the main attraction.

"You did not want...You where not pleased..." (10:5). We begin to learn worship when we offer God what he wants, not what we are willing to give. A questions that comes to mind is: so what did God expect from the people? Was it not him who gave them the law and the sacrifices? Even more than these things God wants man to trust him for his supply. "Those sacrifices actually reminded them of their sins year after year" (10:3). What a terrible thing to be reminded of sin. I think we often misunderstand God's lessons because we overestimate our ability to respond and be responsible. Wherever there is great supply (wealth) does not necessarily mean that their will be responsibility. We find in the life of Israel and in our own lives that we must be reminded of our need for a Savior. The moments that we feel most self-reliant, with an attitude of "why do I need God", we are farthest away from the reality. This is the place of a lost, sickly soul. Doubt will veil the mind of the unbeliever until they mock God. The sacrifices gave them a pattern for active reliance upon God. But this is not ultimately what God wanted.

God wanted intimacy with people. He did not want sin to separate. Just like a couple who are in love feel profound pain to be separate by a great distance. God knew the problem, and we felt the effect. Then..."I have come to do your will O God", God was in Christ Jesus reconciling the world to himself (bringing the relationship back together).

I think of the Old Testament as a "long-longing." You feel the pains of waiting throughout its pages. When will the relationship be restored; when can I feel the arms of God again; when will he walk among us like he did in the garden?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

CCDA Philosophy | Christian Community Development Association

I am currently in Chicago--the famed "windy city"--sitting in their towering downtown library (yes, I found it) on a short break from the hectic schedule of the CCDA (Christian Community Development Association) Immersion Conference. It is an awakening to the humbling fact that God is using more than the Coffee Oasis in the world and that I/we have much to learn. Dare I say, we are beginner. But I think we are blessed too. Viewing ministries within Chicago and speaking with organizations from across the nation and world I am growing to appreciate the depth of true relationship (I think what Francis Schaffer would call "True Spirituality") that I find in the Oasis community in Bremerton. I miss their presence and support while I am here (though they have assured me they are supporting me in prayer).

Here is a Chinese proverb that has been continuously repeated here at the conference and below that is a link to the CCDA philosophy:

Go to the people
Live among them
Learn from them
Love them
Start with what they know
Build on what they have:
But of the best leaders When their task is done
The people will remark "We have done it ourselves."

CCDA Philosophy | Christian Community Development Association

Saturday, April 2, 2011

to be human again

Victor Frankl, a survivor of the Nazi Death camps wrote in the preface to the 1984 edition of his bestseller Man’s Search for Meaning: “I do not at all see in the bestseller status of my book so much an achievement and accomplishment on my part [but rather] an expression of the misery of our time: if hundreds of thousands of people reach out for a book whose very title promises to deal with the question of a meaning to life, it must be a question that burns under their fingernails.... One day, a few days after the liberation, I walked through the country past flowering meadows, for miles and miles, toward the market town near the camp. Larks rose to the sky and I could hear their joyous song. There was not one to be seen for miles around; there was nothing but the wide earth and sky and the larks’ jubilation and the freedom of space. I stopped, looked around, and up to the sky—and then I went down on my knees. At that moment there was very little I knew of myself or of the world—I had but one sentence in mind—always the same: ‘I called to the Lord from my narrow prison and He answered me in the freedom of space.’ How long I knelt there and repeated this sentence memory can no longer recall. But I know that on that day, in that hour, my new life started. Step for step I progressed, until I again became human."

Friday, April 1, 2011

the dynamics of temptation and surrender

"The flesh resists this daily humiliation, first by a frontal attack, and later by hiding itself under the words of the Spirit (i.e., in the name of 'evangelical liberty'). We claim liberty from all legal compulsion, from self-martyrdom and mortification and play this off against the proper evangelical use of discipline and asceticism; we thus excuse our self-indulgence and irregularity in prayer, in meditation and in our bodily life. But the contrast between our behavior and the word of Jesus is all too painfully evident. We forget that discipleship means estrangement from the world, and we forget the real joy and freedom which are the outcome of a devout rule of life." - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Monday, March 28, 2011

lloyd-jones: on preaching

"Every preacher should believe strongly in his own method; and if I cannot persuade all of the rightness of mine, I can at least stimulate them to think and to consider other possibilities. I can say quite honestly that I would not cross the road to listen to myself preaching, and the preachers whom I have enjoyed most have been very different indeed in their method and style. But my business is not to describe them but to state what I believe to be right, however imperfectly I have put my own precepts into practice. I can only hope that the result will be of some help, and especially to young preachers called to this greatest of all tasks, and especially in these sad and evil times. With many others I pray that 'the Lord of the harvest may thrust forth' many mighty preachers to proclaim 'the unsearchable riches of Christ.'"
- D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones in Preaching and Preachers

Saturday, March 19, 2011

on Christ and the Holy Spirit

Today I am turning in 40-pages of writing for my Systematic Theology class. Among that vast swath of papers there are two creeds that I was asked to write on Christ and the Holy Spirit. These are my joy and my conviction:

Christological Credo:

I believe in the Son

Equal and coeternal with the Father and Spirit—One God

Without beginning and without end

Through whom the world was created

Humbled Himself to enter limited time

This being accomplished through the means of a lowly birth in a manger to a faithful virgin

Relating with broken humanity in every way

Declaring a coming kingdom and Himself as the King

This being accomplished through the means of being cursed and dying upon a cross

The result of the cross was true physical death

The shame of the world was nailed there

However, death could make no claim on the perfect Son of God

On the third day He rose from the dead

Conquering death and the fear it had imposed on mortals

To ransom, save, and declare sinless once lost humanity

In his death and subsequent resurrection Jesus fulfilled the eternal plan of the Godhead

He was without sin, but took upon Himself the sin of the world

Healing the world by His own wounding

Of His own fullness we have receive grace upon grace

Now He intercedes on behalf of the church, His chosen Bride

Awaiting the time of His coming again

To judge the quick and the dead

To bring his children into the eternal glory shared within the Triune godhead.

And to be worshiped forever and ever…Amen.

Pneumatological Credo:

I believe in the Spirit,

Equal and coeternal with the Father and Son—One God

Who dwelt within the council of God creating the world

Breathing life into all the living

Always present in the power of God and the communication of true holiness

Inspiring the saints of old, speaking by prophets, and enabling godly kings

Showing humanity in diverse ways their need of a Savior

Present in the conviction of sin and longing for coming kingdom

Working miraculously in the virgin to bring the promised Messiah into the world of flesh

A reliable guide for Jesus throughout His mortal life

Instrumental in raising the Son in power

Introducing the world to salvation

Through conviction of sin and righteousness and judgment

Completing the work of Christ in the life of the all those who believe

Filling the saints with correct understanding of Jesus

And uniting them around this common confession

Declaring the work of redemption through powerful witness

Overflowing life onto all who would believe the Gospel message

Now guiding the believer as He once guided Christ

Bringing peace, conquering fear, and healing relationship

Freely giving gifts to the Church

Interpreting the believing prayer

Groaning in creation

Authoring all true worship

And bringing sad consequence to those who grieve him

But to those who obey a distinguishable and increasing growth in holiness

—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control—

Even now cultivating the soul for eternal communion with the Triune Godhead.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

caught the interest of God

Karl Barth wrote in his famous essay The Humanity of God:

“What is culture in itself except the attempt of man to be man and thus to hold the good gift of his humanity in honor and to put it to work?...Above all, the fact remains that man who, either as the creator or as the beneficiary, somehow participates in this attempt is the being who interests God.” (54)

What!!! We have caught the “interest of God”? I think this is correct wording, but how it makes me tremble! There is a fear that is talked of when you finally discover you are loved. And I feel something of that sort of emotion. The questions come: am I worthy? Can I love in return? What part do I play? He is very good at loving and he is so pure, will he continue loving me when he sees that I do not always keep my word? For some reason I do not know what to say and am strangely afraid when I hear that God is interested in me.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

on the existence of God

It has been a little while since I have picked up any material in philosophy. An article in the Huffington Press caught my eye today. The title of the article read: "A Reasonable Argument for the Existence of God." Since I would like to be considered reasonable I read it. The article was written by Rabbi Adam Jacobs. As it should be with reasonable things, the argument is not new. I am skeptical of new things. There is nothing new under the sun. The presentation might be different (facebook, video, etc.), but the content differs very little. It has been said that philosophers have come up with nothing new since Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. You might be surprised to read them. What I find most helpful about these articles is that it makes me dig deep again. The mind is a terrible things to waste! I am done with my preamble if you would like to read the article you can find it here:

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Where is the Life we have lost in living?

How would you respond to these opening lines of T.S. Eliot's poem "The Rock":

The Eagle soars in the summit of Heaven,
The Hunter with his dogs pursues his circuit.

O perpetual revolution of configured stars,
O perpetual recurrence of determined seasons,
O world of spring and autumn, birth and dying.

The endless cycle of idea and action,
Endless invention, endless experiment,
Brings knowledge of motion, but not of stillness;
Knowledge of speech, but not of silence;
Knowledge of words, and ignorance of the Word.

All our knowledge brings us nearer to our ignorance,
All our ignorance brings us nearer to death,
But nearness to death no nearer to GOD.

Where is the Life we have lost in living?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?

The cycles of Heaven in twenty centuries
Bring us farther from GOD and nearer to the Dust.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

the beleaguered city

The Beleaguered City
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I have read, in some old marvelous tale
Some legend strange and vague
That a midnight host of spectres pale
Beleaguered the walls of Prague

Beside the Moldau's rushing stream,
With the wan moon overhead,
There stood, as in an awful dream,
The army of the dead.

White as a sea-fog, landward bound,
The spectral camp was seen,
And, with a sorrowful, deep sound,
The river flowed between.

No other voice nor sound was there,
No drum, nor sentry's pace;
The mist-like banners clasped the air,
As clouds with clouds embrace.

But, when the old cathedral bell
Proclaimed the morning prayer,
The white pavilions rose and fell
On the alarmed air.

Down in the broad valley fast and far
The troubled army fled;
Up rose the glorious morning star,
The ghastly host was dead.

I have read, in the marvelous heart of man,
That strange and mystic scroll,
That an army of phantoms vast and wan,
Beleaguer the human soul.

Encamped beside Life's rushing stream,
In Fancy's misty light,
Gigantic shapes and shadows gleam
Portentous through the night.

Upon its midnight battle-ground
The spectral camp is seen,
And, with a sorrowful, deep sound,
Flows the River of Life between.

No other voice, nor sound is there,
In the army of the grave;
No other challenge breaks the air,
But the rushing of Life's wave.

And, when the solemn and deep church-bell
Entreats the soul to pray,
The midnight phantoms feel the spell,
The shadows sweep away.

Down the broad Vale of Tears afar
The spectral camp is fled;
Faith shineth as a morning star,
Our ghastly fears are dead.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Invisible Young

Invisible Young

Check out the trailer for a new movie coming out in 2012. We have worked a little with Steve Keller, who is both filming and producing the movie. The stories are true and give an accurate account of what life looks through the eyes of a homeless child.