Friday, August 31, 2007

Knowing God

As anyone who frequents my blog will know, I spend considerable time wondering about how I might know God more. I want to be excited about Him and have a passion like Jeremiah where I can't help but talk about Him. However, I also want to make sure that I do this in a gracious way. I think that my past year of being somewhat dry has helped to prepare me to enjoy Him, but in a way that doesn't come across as quite so obnoxious.

I think that a problem I've had is that I tend to pursue feelings. Yet when I mentor students I keep emphasizing that we know God primarily through Scripture. I have dismissed some things in seminary because I didn't want mere head knowledge. However, last night I started learning about some things in my Old Testament class that got me excited. This helped me to realize that head knowledge counts too as long as it fuels a deeper love and appreciation for God.

What was this? We did a survey of the Torah last night. It turns out that the English word "law" doesn't do the word "Torah" justice. Torah is really more about instruction than it is about law. Yes, there is law in the Torah, but we have to understand that all of the narrative, poetry, and law exists to instruct. Note this in Joshua 1:

Jos 1:7-8 ESV
(7) Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go.
(8) This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

"This Book of the Law" refers to what we call the Pentateuch. I didn't realize this, but the Pentateuch is meant to be one very long book. I also learned that there is a unity to the book, though of course not uniformity. What is interesting is that there is a pattern of narrative, poetry, and then prologue. You can see this in places like Genesis 2 and Genesis 4. But it gets even cooler when you look at Genesis 49, Numbers 24, and Deuteronomy 31-32. There is a consistent theme about how a king is going to come from Judah. Note the scepter references too.

In other words, this just speaks to the fact that the Pentateuch is not just a collection of stories. It's not just put together from fragments of documents. It doesn't just document the evolution of Israel's theology. No, it is a very long book written by Moses under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

I think this is very cool and it increases my awe and wonder at who God is. I've decided I'm going to let go and start marveling at learning about God's Word. I'm kind of excited to be home.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Comedy of Errors

I had a unique opportunity to shine today because I got to work on the Bank president's blackberry. I had done this process twice before and I thought that I had ironed out all the kinks. Unfortunately, all the things that could go wrong did. What's worse is that most of the problems were caused by me not thinking things through. I'm glad that he is one of the most gracious executives that anyone could possibly hope to work for. I don't know if he's a Christian, but he sure seemed like it.

As I finished what I thought was my last interaction with him I hung up the phone and thought, "I'm glad that I don't care about my career here." It just felt like one of those career limiting moves today.

I'm on call this week and it also happens to be my first week of classes. As happened last year, I got paged during my Greek class. I was very glad for a coworker who was able to check things out for me until I got home. It was also good that we didn't do much in class and I got home early. I'm still dealing with this problem, but at least I'm home to address it.

While I was going through the technical problems this morning I prayed for things to go well, but if they didn't that I would learn what I need to learn through this experience. I'm still waiting to figure that out.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Blue Like Jazz

I finally got around to reading this book and, frankly, I liked it a lot. I can see how it is part of the drumbeat of the Emergent Movement. I'm sure that many of my Reformed brothers would have little good to say about this book, but I liked it for a number of reasons.

The most important is that it speaks very much to the problem with our American church culture today. We have turned Christianity into a laundry list of dos and don'ts. Now of course there are some things we need to be careful about. Watching our language seems to be a natural result of applying:

Eph 4:29 ESV
(29) Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.


Eph 5:4 ESV
(4) Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.

This is just an example. The point is that we have set up a structure in our churches that turn us into little judging machines. I think that we like to judge each other because it makes us feel good and important. After all, we have truth on our side, so let's smack people with it, right? Basically, we become spiritual bullies.

I think that the book does a good job decrying that. As I've written before, I don't think that you can box Jesus into a political party. I also think that this book does a good job of defending Reformed Theology for the most part, whether it means to or not. I hope to have a discussion with Amanda about that sometime.

The book certainly is not perfect. I think that Miller has maybe swung a little too far on the orthopraxy side and ignored some of the orthodoxy side. It's laudable that he has had all these great experiences of God from being challenged in so many ways, but it's also kind of disturbing to read his confession that he has never read the Bible cover-to-cover. I still maintain that God reveals Himself to us primarily through Scripture. Romans 1 tells us that we all have a sense of Him, but we need His special revelation to truly know Him.

These problems notwithstanding, I think I would recommend this book to anyone who is not afraid of a little challenge. If nothing else, the stories are pretty entertaining.

Why I Enjoy Baseball

I almost titled this "Why I Love Baseball", but I realize that might be a bit too strong. As things stand right now the Indians are trying to fight off the Tigers to win the AL Central. On Sunday they learned that the Tigers had already beaten the Yankees before their game ended. Things were looking dire as they were down 3-2 in Kansas City. They were wasting another great pitching performance with no offense. After two quick outs in the ninth it was up to Grady Sizemore.

Sizemore got down in the count 1-2. As the 1-2 pitch came in you could hear a cheer start through the crowd, but Tom Hamilton called it, "JUUUUST a bit high...2 and 2". He took another ball and then looped one into left center in no-man's land. The center fielder dove for the ball, but couldn't come up with it (more great Hammy drama there too). I don't know where the left fielder was, but before the center fielder could recover and get the ball in Sizemore was on second. The next batter was the rookie infielder Asdrubal Cabrera who promptly lined the first pitch for a base hit which tied the game. Apparently the pitcher just wanted to get one over and Cabrera was ready for it. He advanced to second on the throw home, but Hafner made the last out to end the inning. Nevertheless, the damage was done.

The Indians scored 2 in the 11th, starting with Hafner's RBI single. Borowski miraculously made quick work of the Royals in the bottom of the 11th and the Tribe maintained their 2.5 game lead over the Tigers.

I like how baseball doesn't have a clock. As I think about it, I'm pretty sure that baseball and tennis are the only sports where it is always possible to come back. It may not be likely, but it is possible. I like how the Indians kept playing until they made 27 outs. It gives me some hope that they may hold on for the playoffs after all.

Yesterday they turned a 5-4-3 triple play. It helps that the catcher was batting, but it was still a nice one. Going all the way around-the-horn is not trivial.

Monday, August 27, 2007

A Rocked World

I participate in the meetings that involve moving groups of associates because I am responsible for the printers. We have the office split up into different virtual networks (VLANs), so I need to coordinate on the print server when we move a printer with the department. This is actually a pretty easy job and it also has its perks. It's kind of fun to be in the know about who is moving and when.

Our company has had to change the hardware used to build the cubicles. The new standard offers less privacy, but it does allow for more passage of light. People no longer have individual caves, because the walls between cubes are now only about 4 feet tall. There is still a tall border in between rows of cubes.

As part of this hardware change they are swapping out some of the old hardware for some new. They still use the old hardware where they can. The group across the hall from me got theirs changed out over the weekend. This group includes some of the grumpiest support people in the Bank.

I expected the Unix support folks to have problems with it. They tend not to like anything. However, I was surprised by how poorly the mainframe guys took it. You'd think that we have them working in a courtyard in their underwear the way they reacted. One guy was slamming boxes around and making sounds like he would quit if it weren't for him being so close to retirement. One known talker was so upset that he became speechless. It was an incredible reaction.

Some of us indeed tend not to like change. I still don't like sitting in my "fishbowl" cube, but I've made the best of it. I'm just glad to have this job.

Sunday, August 26, 2007


Our pastor is going through a series called "How to be a Christian Without Being Religious". I think it is a great idea and he is doing a good job of it. I know that it smacks a bit of Emergent, but so far I think we're still on the side of truth. Last week he introduced the idea of "RTDs" which stands for "religiously-transmitted diseases". Obviously he's having fun with some plays on words.

Today's topic was on what he called "affluenza", which is about our greed. He said that this year's Christmas offering is going to go toward digging wells in the Central African Republic. His vision is that our church could make it so that everyone in that country has fresh drinking water. It is indeed a laudable goal and one that we can get behind (though I do wonder where the gospel gets shared in this). To accomplish this he challenged everyone to step up their giving.

He challenged those who aren't giving to start. He challenged those who give irregularly to give regularly. He challenged those who give regularly to make sure that they give cheerfully. And he challenged those who give cheerfully to stretch themselves if possible. He did make the good point that we will often stretch ourselves to put our kids in private school, start a business, etc, but we won't stretch ourselves to give. Fair enough.

This is something that Amanda and I feel like we've dealt with over the years. We feel like we give to the point where it hurts a little bit. Now we're to the point of deciding what we could potentially get rid of in order to raise $1000 toward this effort. Amanda has already put in $100 of her allowance money that she hasn't used. We're going to sell some books. I'm considering selling our pool table that I almost never use. We have some ideas. Now it's just a matter of making some decisions.

We don't believe that God has called us to live as ascetics. However, we also know that we are blessed beyond measure compared to most in the world. Mike listed some interesting statistics. The mean household income in the US is something like $43K/year. In our town of Cary it is $77K/year. In the Central African Republic it is $240/year. God didn't give us this so that we can enjoy more comforts. He gave us this so that we can serve His kingdom.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Missing the Cold

As I wrote in the other blog, it is crazy-hot today. I like to think of myself as being someone who can handle some extremes in temperature. After all, I lived in Florida for 3 years. I also grew up in Ohio. Now we've been here in the South for about 4 1/2 years. We understand that the summer of 2003 was particularly mild and rainy, so we got eased into Southern heat. The past 3 summers have had more intense times. We've come to expect a week where the highs are around 100 every day. This is one of the two weeks we've had like that.

I suppose it's easy to say when the weather is extreme, but I do miss living in a colder climate. I thought about that as I got in the car and actually started to sweat more than when I was walking in the sun. I have no idea what the temp was in the car, but it had to be well over 100. Fortunately, the air conditioner works very well in the Camry, so it is only a matter of a few minutes before we get some cold air relief. Nevertheless, it does take a while for the air in the car to change, so you end up with cold air blowing on you while the rest of the car is sweltering.

I think back to times of getting into a really cold car. I remember when the temp was below -20 for two consecutive days in Columbus. They actually canceled classes that second day, which is not something that OSU does lightly. I remember going to pick up my roommate's girlfriend's sister at her job. My car had this habit of starting great the first time, but once it got warm I had to use a pen to prop open the choke on the carburetor. I remember how my fingers got cracks almost immediately upon touching the cold metal on the clips to take the air filter cover off. Still, looking back, I think that is more bearable than getting into a really hot car. I feel like I have an easier time warming up than cooling down.

I have to remind myself that one of the great joys of North Carolina is that I can go running year-round. Ice storms are the only thing that will slow me down. This isn't the case in Ohio where snow can linger on untended sidewalks for weeks. I also think of the shady spot in the lawn where there would be a patch of ice until just about Easter, or so it seemed. I need to keep reminding myself of how nice the spring, fall, and winter is here because summer is just brutal.

I suppose that this is a good reminder too:

Psa 118:21-24 ESV
(21) I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation.
(22) The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.
(23) This is the LORD's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.
(24) This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Friday, August 24, 2007

9 years/5 years

We celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary on Wednesday. Actually, we merely observed it with cards. We'll celebrate it tomorrow night with a nice dinner. Either way, it's quite a milestone. I think back to how rough it was during those early years. We both had ideas of what marriage should be and it turns out that neither one of us was completely right.

I'm also around my 5th anniversary of finding freedom from habitual sexual sin. There are still times when I follow a link to a news article that I shouldn't or see things that I shouldn't. Sometimes I even seek stuff out that I shouldn't. But I do still feel free. I certainly don't go looking for what the world would call "porn" anymore, and that makes me glad. It's amazing to look back and see what a part of my life that was. A little part of me misses the excitement of looking for the perfect image, etc, but now I realize that I have so much more in Christ. Why would I ever go back to my old life?

I do know that the last 5 years have been much better than the first 4. It's nice that we've now had more time married with me in freedom than in bondage. I know that I still have much growth to do as a husband, father, and as a Christian, but at least I feel like I'm on the right path.

Grace truly is amazing!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Bumper Sticker Politics

I saw a car today with about four stickers on the back of its trunk. One was round and had faded writing in the style of the old stickers for NOW. It read, "Keep Abortion Legal". Just to its left was a larger round sticker. The background was black and it had a large white dog paw on it with white writing. It read, "Save a life, adopt a homeless pet".

I don't think that this needs a lot of comment. It just seems completely absurd to me that this person values animals more than a human fetus. Such is the world we live in.

While I'm on the subject of politics, I want to make a brief comment on the upcoming 2008 Presidential election. I've decided that if Guilliani gets the Republican nomination I am going to have to pick a third-party. I can't imagine that the GOP would do that though. If they've been able to count on anything it's been Christians like me who feel boxed into a corner by the issue of abortion. Take that away and the Dems may be looking at a landslide win like some of FDR's elections.

Monday, August 20, 2007

More on Passion

I just came across this passage in my daily reading. I realize that Jesus had authority to speak this way, but it is inspiring anyway. To set the scene, Jesus is eating a Pharisee's house. The Pharisee was surprised to see that Jesus didn't do the ritual cleansing expected of a Jew. Jesus then goes on to explain the problem with Pharisees is on the inside and not on the outward appearance. This is the next paragraph:

Luk 11:45-54 ESV
(45) One of the lawyers answered him, "Teacher, in saying these things you insult us also."
(46) And he said, "Woe to you lawyers also! For you load people with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers.
(47) Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets whom your fathers killed.
(48) So you are witnesses and you consent to the deeds of your fathers, for they killed them, and you build their tombs.
(49) Therefore also the Wisdom of God said, 'I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and persecute,'
(50) so that the blood of all the prophets, shed from the foundation of the world, may be charged against this generation,
(51) from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, it will be required of this generation.
(52) Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter yourselves, and you hindered those who were entering."
(53) As he went away from there, the scribes and the Pharisees began to press him hard and to provoke him to speak about many things,
(54) lying in wait for him, to catch him in something he might say.

I love this boldness. The lawyer spoke as if to say that civility and politeness were the most important thing. Jesus took it as an opening to declare woe on them.

Frankly, I think that in the past I have looked for opportunities to speak like this to stroke my own ego. I suspect that many pastors deep down would admit this as well. When we speak the Word of God we speak with authority. I'm not sure if everyone else feels this way, but one of my most deep-seated needs is the need to be heard.

Keeping On

The longer I live the more I am convinced about how phony we all are as Christians and people in general. By that I mean how we react when people ask us "how you doing?". Of course, it is normally not meant as a real question, but as a form of "hello". Nevertheless, there are times when the question is genuine and expects a genuine answer. I think of how rarely I do give the genuine answer.

Truth is, I struggle at times. Lately I find myself sometimes looking at stuff that I probably shouldn't. It's easy to follow a link to a news headline that I shouldn't, for example. I know where this road goes, so I shouldn't even look at the street signs. There was a time when I wouldn't even think of it, but I am not quite as zealous as I once was.

As I deal with this, I consider how men around me must be. As with most churches, everyone looks great on Sunday morning. There just isn't time to talk about the craziness at work, the wife being sick for a while, the new alternator for the car, etc. This is the value of small groups, but I don't know how much of that we got in my small group either. We did get some, which I guess is pretty good considering it's all men.

Once again I am reminded of the need for deeper Christian friendships. Amanda is my best friend, but I also need some men to help pull me along. I'll be interested to see what kind of small group comes from the men's retreat. I think that I will do some things differently though. I think I'm going to be more visibly passionate about Christ and not hold so much back.

This is how I feel sometimes:

Jer 20:8-9 ESV
(8) For whenever I speak, I cry out, I shout, "Violence and destruction!" For the word of the LORD has become for me a reproach and derision all day long.
(9) If I say, "I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name," there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot.

I don't want to hold back!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Recovering the Passion

My seminary had its fall convocation on Thursday. One of my professors brought us a great challenge from Jeremiah 9:23-24. The point was that as seminary students we know a lot about God, but how much do we really know God? This was a great challenge for me and one that I needed to hear.

I've had a persistent gnawing at my soul that I need to feast more richly in Christ. As I've gone through the Psalms as part of my Bible in a year plan I have grown to appreciate them more and more. Of course, as someone who is not always delighting in the Lord they are a challenge for me. This whole thing has got me looking back a little bit at my initial days of freedom.

I remember when we first moved out to North Carolina. I was in my first year of freedom from sexual sin and I was starting to find freedom from gluttony and laziness. The idea of going anywhere near inappropriate images was completely foreign to me. I was on fire for the Lord and, frankly, was kind of obnoxious. I was in the "cage-stage" as a Calvinist. However, I was pretty happy about it.

I think in the past year or so I've definitely become more gracious in how I deal with others, which I think is a good thing. However, I think that this has come at a cost of some of my passion. I think that in my desire to be less of a jerk I have reined in too much of my passion. I feel some stuff sort of melting around my heart as I try to let some of this go.

I'm not sure how this will all shake out. I don't want to be as obnoxious as I once was since I think I was pretty insufferable at times. However, I also don't want to become emasculated as a Christian just so I can be easier to stand. I'll be interested to see how this all plays out.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Being Reformed

I find that it is tough to hold to Reformed theology these days. I suppose it's always been tough to some degree, but I'm starting to notice it more. I have some recent experiences that support this.

I was waiting to get my hair cut on Tuesday and I could hear a conversation between one of the stylists (I go to a cheap chain) and her customer. They were talking about someone who I suppose formerly worked at that store. They were discussing her recent nuptials in Las Vegas. This was the part that struck me:

Customer: "You mean it wasn't the guy she was living with?"
Stylist: "No, it was someone else. They've only known each other for about six months."

then later in the conversation...

Customer: "I'm happy for her. She's such a good person."

This is where I had to suppress a little laugh. Part of it came from calling an adulterer a "good person". Of course, we all have sin. And we all have sins that we probably know we should do something about but refuse to deal with them. The hard part of hearing this was the idea that anyone is good since we know from Scripture that no one is good, not one.

That was on Tuesday. Then yesterday I discovered that one of the security guards at the front desk of my building is a well-educated Catholic apologist. I realize that may sound like a contradiction in terms, but he really does know his stuff. He was raised in a Pentecostal Holiness church and said that he tried every protestant denomination before deciding that the Roman Catholic Church is indeed the one true church. He teaches the adult catechism classes. He loves to debate. We discussed both Mary and sanctification.

I'm afraid that I raised his hopes too much when I told him that I would love to be able to be Catholic. That is partly true. Mass really can be a beautiful event. The organization is rich with history and tradition, both good and bad. Unfortunately, I've memorized the book of Ephesians and just can't get past chapters 1 and 2. Besides, call me a wimp, but I like the idea of perseverance of the saints. I like having a hope in something sure rather than living with the fear that perhaps there is some mortal sin on my conscience that will send me to hell.

I just find that it is so much easier not to notice things like this. It's easier to be ecumenical and not care about truth. It's easier not to get into these discussions with people. However, I do enjoy just about any chance to talk about Jesus and the Bible, so I realize that yesterday was a divine appointment. I'll have to talk with him more later one. I just wonder if either of us will ever be convinced.

After all, I am a proponent of Calvinism which he describes as "heresy". I wonder if he means hyper-Calvinism and doesn't realize it? Time will tell...

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Staying Busy

Today has been an extraordinarily busy day for me while I work from home. I guess this is an answer to prayer as I really want to be more focused in how I work. I've stolen far too much time from the company over the past few months and need to produce more. Today has kept me hopping, but this is a good thing in the end, I think.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Killing Me Softly

I finally took the plunge yesterday and sprayed Roundup all over my yard. My dad was visiting last weekend and I finally let the shame of my terrible lawn overcome me. I think that part of me enjoyed being a little bit rebellious in having a messy lawn despite growing up with a beautiful one. However, in talking to dad it seems that I'm only looking at a few hours of work to revitalize the current lawn. Unfortunately, there is just too much nasty stuff in it and it is better to start from scratch. Hopefully by this time in October I will have the makings of some beautiful tall fescue.

It's bizarre that I keep looking out the window hoping to see grass withering. I'm not positive, but I think that the bermuda takes longer to wilt because it is so hardy in the warm dry months of the south. I suspect that I'll have a very brown lawn by this time next week. I hope to be able to seed on Labor Day. We'll see how that turns out.

I am reminded of this passage:

Eze 37:1-14 ESV
(1) The hand of the LORD was upon me, and he brought me out in the Spirit of the LORD and set me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones.
(2) And he led me around among them, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley, and behold, they were very dry.
(3) And he said to me, "Son of man, can these bones live?" And I answered, "O Lord GOD, you know."
(4) Then he said to me, "Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD.
(5) Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live.
(6) And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the LORD."
(7) So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I prophesied, there was a sound, and behold, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone.
(8) And I looked, and behold, there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them. But there was no breath in them.
(9) Then he said to me, "Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, Thus says the Lord GOD: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live."
(10) So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.
(11) Then he said to me, "Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold, they say, 'Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are clean cut off.'
(12) Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I will open your graves and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will bring you into the land of Israel.
(13) And you shall know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people.
(14) And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I am the LORD; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the LORD."

I think that my lawn will make for a great metaphor for salvation, assuming that it does come back. I know that the work of tilling the soil won't be easy. However, I know that it will pay off in a beautiful lawn. I don't want to one-up any of the neighbors, but I hate for my lawn to be a sore thumb in the neighborhood too.

Friday, August 10, 2007

A Real Breakfast

I had to break my fast at lunch today. When I got home from my small group I felt kind of funny. I wasn't exactly dizzy. I wasn't lightheaded either. I just felt kind of strange. I went to bed hoping that it would go away after having more juice today.

I had a glass of juice when I first woke up, a smoothie for breakfast, and more juice in the morning. I still felt pretty weird. The best way to describe it is to imagine balancing a baseball bat on its end in the palm of your hand. I felt like the bat. I talked to Amanda about it as well as another experienced mentor and we decided that it was good for me to break the fast.

I don't think I have anything else to prove. I have done this twice before. I was looking forward to the spiritual benefits that come from being really broken over this, but I guess those will have to wait. Amanda kept making the point that she needs me to be as close to 100% as possible. I certainly feel much better after eating a salad for lunch. I'm looking forward to our pizza for dinner.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Plodding Along

One thing I considered this morning is that fasting makes the days go by slower. However, this is a good thing because my classes start on August 22, which will be my first day of solid food if all goes according to plan. I really should be savoring these days. I need to keep reminding myself that I need to get the focus off of me and my discomfort and on to the cross.

In this week's teaching Mike Cleveland asked us to share a verse that encouraged us. Here is what I wrote. I hope that it is at least somewhat encouraging for you.

1Sa 22:1-2 ESV
(1) David departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam. And when his brothers and all his father's house heard it, they went down there to him.
(2) And everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was bitter in soul, gathered to him. And he became captain over them. And there were with him about four hundred men.

This refers to the people going to David when he was fleeing from Saul. However, as I read verse 2 I am reminded of:

Mat 11:28-30 ESV
(28) Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
(29) Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
(30) For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

I love it when I get a fresh glimpse of Christ while reading the Old Testament! Certainly this is not a perfect picture, but I do see it as a "shadow". Notice what happened to those who went to David. They came to him in various forms of distress, but he became captain over them and joined him. That certainly reminds me of coming to Christ in the distress of my sin and having the honor of Christ becoming my "captain".

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Holding Fast

I am going through the Setting Captives Free juice fast for the third time. I am currently on day 4 of 20, which means that I'm actually on my second full day of nothing but juice (out of 16 total). It really isn't a lot of fun, but I look forward to the spiritual growth this will lead to.

I've been trying to explain this to Lily. She keeps saying that she doesn't think it's a good idea, which is a sentiment her grandmothers would probably echo. This morning she said, "I don't see you going up to heaven". I had to explain that it is a closeness in my heart, not really going to God.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Making Sense of Minneapolis

John Piper wrote some of his usually great stuff in the midst of tragedy. Check it out here.

I plan to talk about this tonight at my small group. I hope that it helps.