Thursday, February 26, 2009

Nathan's Crushing Blow

In the tagline of this blog, it says it's better to be crushed by truth than to be coddled by error. This can only be true if our desires are really set on growing. Must of us really want to be coddled in some sense by error. I want people to stroke my ego and tell me I'm great more than I want them to tell me my speech borders on gossip. I want people to be wowed by my teaching more than I want to be told I've taken some Scripture out of context...but if I want to grow, I need to be lovingly crushed by truth. So often, God brings that through His agents, our brothers and sisters.
In 2 Samuel 12, Nathan tells David a parable that makes David livid with anger at a certain man. Nathan then drops the bomb, "David, you are the man!" Most of us guys love hearing, "You're the man!" but in this context, it would have been a crushing blow--that David just admitted his own sentence in his eyes: he deserved to be put to death.

Nathan crushes David with truth.

1. Do you have people in your life that are honest and loving enough to crush you with truth?
2. How do you respond when someone that loves you crushes you with truth?

I'm thankful to have people in my life that are willing to crush me with truth.

In the same breath, I am sorrowful that often my response to being crushed by truth is not so thankful...or even receptive.

If you have people you'd like to 'publicly' thank...leave a comment.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Enigma of David's Sin

Oh how the story of David's sin always makes me so wary of my own weaknesses. David, dubbed by God as "a man after God's own heart" walks with God through so many intimate years of dependence, love, sorrow, and victory. Yet when he sees a beautiful woman bathing on a rooftop, the impending turn of events is staggering: adultery, lies, cover-ups, plot of indirect murder, inciting drunkenness, carrying out of a murder plot...all this after years of tasting and seeing that the Lord is good.
Then to witness, through Nathan's counsel, his (key:honest) repentance and sorrow over what he has done and the restoration of joy in his fellowship with God.

How easily we fall even after being on mountaintops with God.

By grace and by mercy may we be kept from falling...let us never think ourselves to be so spiritual that we are 'beyond' our stumbling, but let us cling ever so tightly to His grace which sustains us.

"Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it--prone to leave the God I love. Here's my heart, O, take and seal it. Seal if for Thy courts above"

Friday, February 20, 2009

What's Your Story?

C'mon folks...let's make this a little more interactive... :)

1. How would you define your spritiual environment upbringing?
2. How has that shaped your thinking on spiritual issues today?

Let's get this blog party started.

The process or the Prize

I had a great conversation that led to a good reminder for me. It was a good reminder because I'm so tempted as a self-righteous reward seeker to place my satisfaction and delight in the completion of an exercise over my satisfaction and delight in the Person of Christ. It is baffling how easily we are deceived, once we've tasted and seemingly almost tangibly experienced His Personhood, to return to a merit-based system of 'gaining' His approval, as if we can gain anything by our efforts.
Simply put...programs fail if they lead you to an achievement rather than a person. 40 days of...anything... may make you 'feel' like you have more direction, but if you do not truly savor Christ more with a voracious appetite as a result, it is fleeting and ultimately worthless. Fasting from food may make you feel like you've achieved discipline, but if it did not fiercely channel your appetite toward a hunger for Christ, you're still hungry for more. Are you catching my drift? These things are not bad in and of themselves. In fact, they can be holy and wonderful. But if our disciplines (even if started with pure motives) subtly get turned toward the 'goal' and 'accomplishing,' our god becomes our achievement, and our pleasure is our own strength.

Think with me. If I set out to fast for 3 days, and the first day my fellowship with the Almighty Christ is consuming, sweet, and soul-stirring...what happens if the 2nd day is a floundering desert, so I eat the third day because my focus just won't return...have I failed? If my goal is completion, and my god is my effort--yes, I have failed, and I will feel like a failure. If my goal is Christ, I have much delight that He graced me with His presence that first day...He has succeeded in me.

I admit, I would struggle feeling like a failure, because my battle is with self-righteousness.

Oh, that our goal and aim would be Christ and Christ alone, the gift from the Father. I find Him richly dwelling in His Word and in His Church, the Saints. When I delight in the process more than the Prize, I rob myself.

May you find Him dwelling richly in His Word and in those saints you fellowship with.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Thoughtful Input Desired

I read a quote a moment ago:
"If there was anything upon which the Christian apologist C.S. Lewis preferred not to dwell, it was the divisions that existed in the Christian Church."

Within the realm of theological reflection and Christendom, if there is anything that you prefer not to dwell on, what would it be?

Theology for your edification

Here's a great website for your soul's feeding. Of particular interest on the left hand information bar...blogging through the Institutes. I have been reading the Institutes and find them to be refreshing nourishment for the soul in an overwhelmingly parched theological literary world.
Please enjoy.

Monday, February 16, 2009

This is Tank

Tank says hi. Tank wants to lick your face.
Come on, you know you want to make it your wallpaper...

Stop Doing and Start Enjoying

I've been reading through the Samuels in the Old Testament. I tend to pore over single passages for long periods of time, gleaning every bit that I can, and I love this kind of study. But in the Samuels, I've just been reading them like a novel...big picture storyline from a wide-angle view. It has been great. It is amazing to me that God worked in David's heart in such a way that he did not seek revenge on Saul with repeated opportunities...he did not seek the throne before his time though he knew he was chosen...he was a musician and a warrior (nice...reminds me of my brother-in-law). The thing that struck me this morning was the whole "I want to build you a house, God" interaction in 2 Samuel. In short, David was struck that God did not have a permanent dwelling, so he was telling God of his desires to build Him a house. One would think that God would be pleased, honored, and revel in the praise. God said no. David's son would have the job instead. I don't claim to know God's reasons for things. It would be nice sometimes, so I think.
David had been a busy man up until this point. If you read from 1 Samuel straight through to this point, you would see how many wars he has fought, personal and national. It's as if God was giving him liberty to rest. Stop doing and start enjoying.
Do I have the ability to stop trying to accomplish things for God and just enjoy Him? Do I think my enjoyment of Him (or His enjoyment of me) is contigent upon my accomplishments for Him? Bigger yet, what can I really accomplish for God? His involving me in His stuff is completely by grace and I believe is really designed for me to see more of His glory and goodness rather than me 'accomplishing' anything at all.
Today, at least for a time...stop doing and start enjoying...He can 'do' without you.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Good Preaching

Relationships, Marriage, Sex, Roles...I have been thoroughly convicted and encouraged by my pastor's series on the topics. Check them out here:
I attend Missio Dei church in Asheville, NC. Missio Dei is an Acts 29 Network church committed to advancing God's Kingdom through the gospel of Jesus Christ. My wife and I are privileged to attend as they hold to reformed orthodoxy without being stuffy, removed, trendy, or just plain dorky.

Friday, February 13, 2009


I was thinking this morning that we are to be imitators of Christ. Most of the time, I think in the philosophical realm...such as how he treated females, how he was associated with drunkards, or what the implications of his scathing words to Pharisees mean to us...but I shifted this morning to thinking about simple the kind kids do. Mimicking, more like. Like what does he DO. He gets up a couple hours before the sunrise to meet with the Father. He goes away from people that want to be with Him desperately to sit on a mountain to pray. He drinks alcohol with no peeking over his shoulder. He eats frequently with people. He enjoys large parties.
The first couple really convicted me...I want to stray far from legalism. Legalism would demand that I do these things to 'increase' my righteousness and would impose this on others as well. I'm NOT saying in posting these things that you must get up at 4 am to please God and have a 'fuller' relationship with Him...but I am wondering...did Christ have something wonderful when He knew 4 am brings no distractions...that quiet places in nature away from people seem to prompt worship...something for me to consider...taking into account that I have not mimicked these in quite some time.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Unlikely Couple

Take 3 minutes...we have One who is not like us Who anxiously awaits the day when our healing will be consummated by His hand.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Me in short

I'm a thirty year-old redeemed thankful one married to a wonderfully patient and lovely wife. The only possession that I prize higher than my wife is my relationship with God, and that has been wonderfully granted to me by Grace, not by my merit. I am struggling to learn how to love God with all my heart, strength, soul, and mind. Under that broad category, I am also struggling to learn how to love:

1. My wife
2. My (C)church
3. My family
4. My friends
5. My enemies

I name those very specifically and pointedly. I believe the toughest command to carry out in life is to really love people. It's often very easy to be nice to people, but to really love people? Difficult beyond my wisdom. Please ponder with me...have you loved much this week? ...or simply been nice?
Biblical love goes so much farther than niceness...and often culturally probably doesn't even look nice...but oh how enticing it is when you actually encounter it. I seriously lack in this area and I want it to grieve me much more than it does.