Showing posts from August, 2011

There was no cleaning that mess up

We have a kitchen here in my building which is the source of no small amount of hilarity. We have a water dispenser in our refrigerator that I use to fill up a water bottle when I retrieve my lunch so that I can lay off of the soda. I have a tendency to turn sharply around corners in and out of rooms while I pretend in my head that I am being chased by Lex Luthor's minions. OK that part isn't true but the rest is. So, cutting the corner a bit sharply this day I ran into someone. The force of the collision caused me to spill no small portion of the contents of my water bottle onto the upper half of this person's shirt. I knew her very well and quickly apologized, but at the same time I noticed that the fabric that made up the shirt was very water-repellant. It was doing its job particularly well that day and there were at least 50 beads of water that were dancing like little diamonds at a debutante ball. Ok, so, what do I do? I just baptized one of my co-workers (against her

Inward...ever inward

If I am other-centered I will give and receive with humility and grace. I have always known that to be true but I had never thought of why that is the case. I am trying to wrap my mind around this so please bear with me. If I am graceful I will be continually reaching out to people in need in a way that is truly helpful. There is a self-serving way of offering assistance and I have been both the giver and the receiver of that, but I will not go into this here. Now, if I am self-focused I will be so absorbed in myself that I will not reach out to offer any assistance to anyone. When I flip this around I see another dynamic where I would be so self-focused that I would shrink from the acceptance of an offer help from anyone. It is both humility and grace to accept the gift that I do not deserve as much as it is grace to give to someone what they need. So when my ego gets in the way not only do I not reach out to others but I refuse help from them as well. This is good to know because now

Money is not an idol

I had a chance to preach at the Monroe County Jail last night and my message was centered around the concept of idols of the heart that is found in Ezekiel 14:1-8. On my way home from the service I got to thinking about idols in general. This may be a bit inarticulate (ok, what isn't from me) and not that well-developed (ibid) but as I thought I  something came to me: money, or anything else for that matter, is not an idol. Now I can stand to be corrected on this one but there is a reason that I am thinking along this line. When I fashion a god out of something, and I do because my heart is an idol factory, I am doing it because I am proud. I am attempting to depose God from His rightful place as Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer and place an object or person on that throne that is not a god. Money doesn't do that. My family doesn't do that. I do that. So where is my trust? It is not in money at all. In fact, it is in my ability to both choose and create a god So, where is t

I wasn't the worst she had seen...

So can't ya see me standing here I got my back against the record machine I ain't the worst that you've seen Ah, can't you see what I mean? - Jump, Van Halen Yes - I wasn't the worst that she had seen. And, thankfully, and for some reason, her "You'll do..." was given back to me as "I do." And for that I will forever be grateful. And more than a little stupefied.

God as road vs. God as destination

I was ironing my pants this morning (no they were not on my body) thinking about the three times I need to teach on Sunday (twice with the church and once at the Monroe County Jail) and I had a strange thought. I asked myself how much more effective I would be as a teacher if I prayed, much more than I do, about my messages and the people I will be teaching. Now, apart from the fact that this is a "duh" question it was quickly followed by a rebuke that I was thinking more about my effectiveness as a teacher rather than my love for God and neighbor. Basically, I was thinking about using prayer as a means to better myself as a teacher rather than one part of my communion with God. Then, almost as quickly, another thought came to mind. How many times to I use God as a means rather than the end? It is easy for me to see God as a way to respect, a good life, obedient children, and a hundred lesser things rather than the only person I would want with me if I was stranded on a deser

Is anything, ever, "all right"?

I was listening to a lecture yesterday on my iPod and I heard a statement that I hear a lot and it got me to thinking. The lecturer was lamenting that it is hard for people to turn to God when everything is all right, but easier when there is a crisis. Now I know that this has (is) operated (operating) in my own life, but I started to wonder if anything is ever all right. Are all my family and friends saved and going to heaven? Am I making the absolute best use of God's money and the time He has given me? Are my responsibilities being fulfilled to the absolute best of my ability? Am I working out my salvation with fear and trembling? Is my thought life absolutely pure? Is my marriage as strong as it can be? Are my children as holy as they can be? Is my teaching as spot on and compelling as it could be? And the list goes on. It seems to me that there is always a ton to pray about and that it is only my limited perspective and attention span that does not have me praying my heart out

First things and incarnation

Yes, I have a favorite definition of incarnation and that would be enfleshment. I have written about pursuing first things and getting all that proceed from them thrown in as well as opposed to pursuing second things and losing both them and the first things. I have also written about my children being an incarnation , an enfleshment, of the love that my wife and I have for one another. Now, I see a connection between the two that I had not seen before. If I pursue my wife with all my heart and love her the way God wants me to I will, naturally, love the people and even the things that she loves. Now, this can mean anything from her feeling good about finding a bargain at the grocery store or respecting a time table that she has set for getting some projects done or leaving the house. That is just natural. How much more would I love my children if I truly set all of my love and affection onto my wife? Not only does she love my boys very much (more than a bit understated) but they are

Into the fray that heals

I am working on viewing my world, my life, more like a hospital than a resort. Now I can't say that I have ever been on a resort vacation (or even a cruise for that matter) but I understand that they are very nice. Very nice indeed. So nice in fact that if something is out of place it gets taken care of. And once it does one can go back to resorting (is that a verb?). I have a tendency to treat life that way. If something is out of place I have a tendency to want it to be taken care of so I can go back to life. I want it removed so that I can live my life the way I think it ought to be lived: from my magic barcalounger of remote control. There my travelogue can be completed on screen while being fully liked and profusely commented. Look at my photo album of my stay under the stars - they were happy to see me and I was loved there! But something is desperately wrong with me. Something so dark and sinister that I dare not leave the gurney that He has lifted me onto. I can barely walk

The dialectic and chronological snobbery

Arriving at the truth via the dialectical method (thesis, antithesis, and synthesis) is not an entirely bad way of doing things. This is especially true when the parties in the discussion are not absolutely committed to the positions that they are holding. One of the assumptions that is often engrained in the method is that the synthesis is superior to both the thesis and the antithesis. At some level (maybe a social/relational one) the synthesis is, far more often than not, superior as the new position is held by both parties and they can trot off, hand in hand, in mutual understanding and regard for one another. But, there is a danger in this assumption as it can lead to chronological snobbery. There are many people that will assume that if a thought, idea, or explanation of reality is newer it is, by fact of being newer, superior to anything (or most things) that preceded it. This is often implicit in people rejecting the Bible, for example, because it is so old. They know that ther

God, Father, and Dad

On my way home from Louisville last night I was listening to a podcast from Ravi Zacharias and I realized something. I realized that when I pray with my boys I always address God as "God" and never as "Father". Now, obviously, as a sentient creature addressing my Creator there is a certain, and very intimate, relationship that I am communicating as I address Him that way. What could be more amazing than recognizing that God knows every thought, sinew, and cell in my being better than I or any scientist could? Yet, God, it seems, wants me to go even further still. He doesn't want to me to think of Him merely as my Maker. He wants me to realize that I am His son and that it is an all-together different relationship than the Creator-creature one. That is one that I can grab a hold of much more readily as I think of the godly example that my own father set for me and how he consistently shows me how to love through loving me. Maybe that is one that my sons would lik

MY friend death (revisited)

I have written before about viewing death as the friend that he is to me. Since then I have been struggling a bit with "visiting" him in the ultimate sense. I know that I am called to put to death the deeds of the flesh and to die to myself. These things seem like correspondence (whether by email or even IM) with my friend rather than the flow-blown visit that I will have with him when God tells me that my time here is up. But the obvious question (at least to me) is this: If he is such a good friend, what is holding me back from that visit? Why not knock on his door and embrace him the way friends embrace: fully and completely? In thinking about this a bit more I got to thinking about an imaginary friend (erm, not that kind) in a far-off country like, say, India. No matter how good this friend is to me visiting him in India would require resource expenditures and commitments from me that would be irresponsible at this point in my life. There would be a time to visit him, but