Monday, March 29, 2010

Hebrew Anyone?

I found a really great resource for an introduction to learning Biblical Hebrew:

Any takers to learn with me?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Jesus Still Has a Body

Our pastor reminded us of this fact on Sunday night. It's a lovely thought to me and is helpful in many ways. Specifically for me, it makes prayer easier. I think prayer is intensely not feel like I'm 'thinking out loud' or 'talking to myself' but actually engaging with the Living God of all creation. Jesus having a body simply puts real ears and intercession to my prayer efforts. It also reminds me of a living hope. There are so many dark and heavy things in this world, more specifically, our lives. Jesus having a body, for some reason, reminds me of a living, active, tangible hope. Jesus is the hope for broken government. Jesus is the hope for limping churches. Jesus is the hope for depression. Jesus is the hope for...

Monday, March 22, 2010

Basement Walls

Crash Helmets

"On the whole, I do not find Christians, outside of the catacombs, sufficiently sensible of conditions. Does anyone have the foggiest idea what sort of power we so blithely invoke? Or, as I suspect, does no one believe a word of it? The churches are children playing on the floor with their chemistry sets, mixing up a batch of TNT to kill a Sunday morning. It is madness to wear ladies’ straw hats and velvet hats to church; we should all be wearing crash helmets. Ushers should issue life preservers and signal flares; they should lash us to our pews. For the sleeping god may wake someday and take offense, or the waking god may draw us out to where we can never return.”

Annie Dillard, Teaching a Stone to Talk (New York, 1982), pages 52-53.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Crappy Start to the Workday

So I have about a 10-minute walk to work which is usually very enjoyable, especially on crisp, sunny mornings such as this one. I was most of the way to work when I noticed a considerable amount of birdcrap on the sidewalk. This surprised me a bit because there were no shrubs or low, full trees around. You know the kind; the ones that you park under unwittingly when you go shopping, only to smack yourself in the forehead three hours later as you discover your car has a new paint job called 'blackberry marble.'
So I began pondering why this might be. No fence, no bird feeder, no bushes, no low trees. These things perplex simple minds. I began to be bothered enough to investigate further. As I lifted my eyes heavenward on this glorious morning, an interesting thing occurred. Time seemed to decelerate as if in a matrix-like state. First my eyes focused on the high branches, 50-60 feet up in the air. Still leafless from the winter, branches sparse as they thin toward the top, slightly waving in the morning's light breeze. Then my eyes focused 20 feet lower. Descending toward me was a slightly wavering bit of matter, unrecognized at first. Then the matrix-time process began occurring in my brain. "Move," it said. Then it said, louder and more urgent this time, "move quickly." The brain-nerve-motor connections screamed with indecisiveness as I tried to process everything faster than gravity could act. As motor skills clicked in and cognition finally came upon me, I felt the distinct ping of something smacking me directly in the forehead. Still trying to reconcile this less-than-a-second sequence, I instinctively reached my hand up to my forehead where I felt for (what? what was I feeling for?) what I hoped would be nothing. It was probably one of those spring buds from the tree that had sprung loose as new growth pushed through. So in my head, I was feeling for nothing. But when I brought my hand down, there was a brown and white smear, notifying me that it was not, in fact, a bud that had struck me in the forehead. I looked back up, now for a different reason than before. I looked up to internally curse the masterful pooper with impeccable aim. There he sat...perched as if nothing had happened, though in my heart-I knew he was laughing, sneering really. I had not caught him before in my first quick glance up, but he was now most assuredly there, confirming that the sidewalk art was his doing--the whole reason I had slowed in the first place.

Yep, right in the forehead.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Spiritual ADD

So yesterday, my time with God was really spot on. I literally had a moment of clarity in thinking about the miraculous where I thought to myself, "For God, refilling my cup of tea and making it boiling hot right now would not even require effort, and I would consider it miraculous." I seriously had that thought. I didn't pray for it or anything, but it was really clear to me that things are not hard for all. He does as He pleases - effortlessly.

*Disclosure statement: There really was a twinge of me that was hoping to see a full cup of steaming tea in front of me when I opened my eyes.

Jump to this morning. I literally had about 3-second bursts of prayer before my mind was wandering to really asinine things. Seriously...3 seconds might be generous. And I was trying, too.
Moments of clarity with God really are a gift of grace.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Worry Cure

"But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?" - Matthew 6:30

I have always tended to think of this passage from the perspective of my needs, specifically those mentioned in the full passage from Matthew 6, namely food, drink, and clothing. The very direct practical application is not to worry; God will supply all my needs.

This morning, the passage struck me in a different way as I read:

"...your heavenly Father knows that you need them all." (6:32)

By grace, different nuances of this passage were opened to me. Though this passage deals very specifically with food, drink, and clothing, the implications are much more far-reaching. God knows what I need, or put another way; God knows what is absolutely necessary for me today.

If work goes awful for me today, it must be necessary and good.

If Christy and I argue constantly with each other, it must be necessary and ultimately good (not to discount necessary repentance required by our sin).

If progress halts on our house building project, this is necessary and good.

What is the confidence for this assertion? Our heavenly Father knows...

It became more clear to me than ever this morning that worry in any form is an affront to His character and ability. And it also became clear to me that He can meet needs however He chooses. Miracles are not miraculous to Him.
The passage was beautiful this morning because it was finally more about Him than me.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Nothing Satisfies Like...

I have found that I get most fired up by people understanding the gospel/grace more than they did the moment before. This, of course, includes myself.
I even get physically jittery when conversations or events like these happen.
And I love it when my wife is the conduit for my understanding of grace, even (especially) when she is unaware.