Friday, December 10


I read an article recently that blew my mind. I do not think I had ever heard this said before and it turns a lot of things pop-Christians are saying (and things I have been thinking) upside down.

These are the parts that jumped out at me:
All this talk about engaging culture and being missionaries to your culture is a contradiction of terms, and, I believe, is why evangelicals tend to lose sight of the value of art and creativity and why, now, they’re desperately trying to get it back. But as long as this reclaiming of culture is done under the auspices that we have to somehow engage with culture, it’s a long way off.
So, what’s the problem with this view? It has become so pervasive to talk about culture as some thing that Christians are outside of and that we need to interface with, that we miss the obvious: we are a part of culture. Culture is not a freestanding institution that we plug into, rather it is something we create, shape, and move. Certainly there are things about our culture that we don’t like, but we don’t fix culture by creating subcultures, or by engaging culture, but by living inside culture: making art, writing words, playing songs.
... a lot of evangelical theology (until recently) tended to ignore the two thousand years of church history that preceded it, so too does this movement to bring art into the church forget that art has always been a part of the church. And, that is because the church is a major part of culture.
This is why I bristle at statements like this, found in the mission statement of an online Christian magazine: “We oppose our culture, not out of juvenile nonconformity, but out of acceptance of the fact that Christianity is countercultural to a world populated by the half-hearted, the double-minded, and unbelievers.”
We can’t oppose culture! We are culture!...
... Missionaries go to different cultures and, often, their greatest challenge is fitting in to the culture and thus gaining the trust of its participants. There are countless stories of this attempt to engage other cultures going horribly wrong, and egregious acts being committed in the guise of missions. The same is true when Christians imagine that we must engage our own culture. We become hostile outsiders.
Wow! "We can't oppose culture! We are culture!" This throws "in it, not of it" into a new light for me.

P.S. Mark Driscoll is incidental to this post. I have no beef with the guy.

Saturday, November 27

RE: The Baptist Faith and Message

First, check out the Baptist Faith and Message.

I more or less agree with all of the tenets of faith laid out in the Baptist Faith and Message. However, the following two passages I am not sure about yet.
"At the moment of regeneration [the Holy Spirit] baptizes every believer into the Body of Christ."
Regeneration is defined in the section on salvation. When I first read it, it sounded like cheap grace, but I re-read it and saw that was not so. This idea of regeneration by the Holy Spirit, as the first part of salvation through true repentance of sin and genuine faith in God sounds right--cheap grace does not.
"An adequate system of Christian education is necessary to a complete spiritual program for Christ's people."
As a practical person, I think education is important, and as a Christian person, I believe that when it is sought it should be sought whole-heartedly as an act of service to God. But I don't know if I believe that "secular" education (which is what this seems to be addressing--see the section on education) is "necessary" for a Christian.
"The church should not resort to the civil power to carry on its work."
This is, essentially, why I am a political conservative in matters of big government, welfare, healthcare, etc.

I guess this makes me a Baptist.


Sunday, October 31

Paper Aeroplane

I spilled the ink across the page
trying to spell your name
So I fold it up and I flick it out
Paper aeroplane
It wont fly the seven seas to you
Cause it didn't leave my room
But it awaits the hands of someone else
The garbage man

Got to say mmm
mmm mmm
Got to say mmm
mmm mmm

So he opens it up and reads it out
to all his friends
Amongst the crowd a heart will break
and a heart will mend
He walks on home tired from work
The letter falls from his hand
He reaches out only to catch the sky
Its gone with the wind

Got to say mmm
mmm mmm
Got to say mmm
mmm mmm

I spilled the ink across the land
Trying to spell your name
Up and down there it goes
Paper aeroplane
It hasn't flown the seven seas to you
But its on its way
It goes through the hands
Then to someone else
To find you girl

Got to say mmm
Paper Aeroplane by Angus and Julia Stone

Friday, July 16

(A Double Header!)

This one’s for the beaten down
The ones who lost their rock and roll
Rise up you lost ones, claim your crown
You were born to rock inside your soul

Welcome misfits, orphans, all
The ones who feel they don’t belong
You were made to rock, so stand up tall
Go rock the world and prove them wrong

Rock what you got
Rock what you got
Don’t ever let them make you stop
Rock what you got
Light up the lot
No one can rock the way you rock

This one’s for originals
Who strike out towards the great unknown
Fear not the missteps, take the falls
The rock you find will be your own

This one’s for the beaten down
Who gave up on their rock and roll
Lift your eyes from what drags you down
You were born to rock inside your soul

Rock what you got
Rock what you got
Don’t ever let them make you stop
Rock what you got
Light up the lot
No one can rock the way you rock
- Rock What You Got by Superchick
Follow the leader, stay in the lines
What will people think of what you’ve done this time?
Go with the crowd, surely somebody knows
Why we’re all wearing the emperor’s clothes
Play it safe, play by the rules
Or don’t play at all – what if you lose?
That’s not the secret, but I know what is:
Everybody dies but not everyone lives

I’m gonna ride like I’ve got the cops on my tail
I’m gonna live my life like I’m out on bail
I’m gonna be out front, gonna blaze a trail
I’m gonna cross that line

Everybody freeze – don’t step over the line
Don’t stand up, they’ll shoot down the first one who tries
Try to change the world, they’ll think you’re out of your mind
Revolutions start when someone crosses the line
They want us to lie down, give into the lie
Nothing has to change, and no one has to die
That’s not the secret, but I know what is:
Everybody dies, but not everyone lives

I’m gonna ride like I’ve got the cops on my tail
I’m gonna live my life like I’m out on bail
I’m gonna be out front, gonna blaze a trail
I’m gonna cross that line
- Cross the Line by Superchick

Wednesday, July 7

Isaiah 30

It has been a few day since I spent time in the word and I was feeling the lack of it so before going to bed I sat down and read Isaiah 30. On the first read-through all the words went right by me and my mind was in another place, so I read it again and it began to resonate with me.

Dr. McWilliams talked about this particular time of Judah's history in my Old Testament class last semester. As I remember it, Assyria had successfully invaded Israel (the Northern Kingdom composed of ten tribes of Israel), so Judah (the Southern Kingdom made up of two tribes of Israel) was concerned about their own safety and they were entering alliance negotiations with the Egyptians. But YHWH wanted the Kingdom of Judah to rely on Him, and not on the Egyptians, so He commanded Isaiah to deliver the following message.
1"Woe to the rebellious children," declares the LORD,
"Who execute a plan, but not Mine,
And make an alliance, but not of My Spirit,
In order to add sin to sin;
2Who proceed down to Egypt
Without consulting Me,
To take refuge in the safety of Pharaoh
And to seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt!
3"Therefore the safety of Pharaoh will be your shame
And the shelter in the shadow of Egypt, your humiliation.
4"For their princes are at Zoan
And their ambassadors arrive at Hanes.
5"Everyone will be ashamed because of a people who cannot profit them,
Who are not for help or profit, but for shame and also for reproach."
6The oracle concerning the beasts of the Negev
Through a land of distress and anguish,
From where come lioness and lion, viper and flying serpent,
They carry their riches on the backs of young donkeys
And their treasures on camels' humps,
To a people who cannot profit them;
7Even Egypt, whose help is vain and empty
Therefore, I have called her
"Rahab who has been exterminated."
8Now go, write it on a tablet before them
And inscribe it on a scroll,
That it may serve in the time to come
As a witness forever.
9For this is a rebellious people, false sons,
Sons who refuse to listen
To the instruction of the LORD;
10Who say to the seers, "You must not see visions";
And to the prophets, "You must not prophesy to us what is right,
Speak to us pleasant words,
Prophesy illusions.
11"Get out of the way, turn aside from the path,
Let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel."
12Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel,
"Since you have rejected this word
And have put your trust in oppression and guile, and have relied on them,
13Therefore this iniquity will be to you
Like a breach about to fall,
A bulge in a high wall,
Whose collapse comes suddenly in an instant,
14Whose collapse is like the smashing of a potter's jar,
So ruthlessly shattered
That a sherd will not be found among its pieces
To take fire from a hearth
Or to scoop water from a cistern."
15For thus the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, has said,
"In repentance and rest you will be saved,
In quietness and trust is your strength."
But you were not willing,
16And you said, "No, for we will flee on horses,"
Therefore you shall flee!
"And we will ride on swift horses,"
Therefore those who pursue you shall be swift.
17One thousand will flee at the threat of one man;
You will flee at the threat of five,
Until you are left as a flag on a mountain top
And as a signal on a hill.
18Therefore the LORD longs to be gracious to you,
And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you
For the LORD is a God of justice;
How blessed are all those who long for Him.
19O people in Zion, inhabitant in Jerusalem, you will weep no longer He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when He hears it, He will answer you. 20Although the Lord has given you bread of privation and water of oppression, He, your Teacher will no longer hide Himself, but your eyes will behold your Teacher. 21Your ears will hear a word behind you, "This is the way, walk in it," whenever you turn to the right or to the left. 22And you will defile your graven images overlaid with silver, and your molten images plated with gold You will scatter them as an impure thing, and say to them, "Be gone!" 23Then He will give you rain for the seed which you will sow in the ground, and bread from the yield of the ground, and it will be rich and plenteous; on that day your livestock will graze in a roomy pasture. 24Also the oxen and the donkeys which work the ground will eat salted fodder, which has been winnowed with shovel and fork. 25On every lofty mountain and on every high hill there will be streams running with water on the day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall. 26The light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be seven times brighter, like the light of seven days, on the day the LORD binds up the fracture of His people and heals the bruise He has inflicted.
27Behold, the name of the LORD comes from a remote place;
Burning is His anger and dense is His smoke;
His lips are filled with indignation
And His tongue is like a consuming fire;
28His breath is like an overflowing torrent,
Which reaches to the neck,
To shake the nations back and forth in a sieve,
And to put in the jaws of the peoples the bridle which leads to ruin.
29You will have songs as in the night when you keep the festival,
And gladness of heart as when one marches to the sound of the flute,
To go to the mountain of the LORD, to the Rock of Israel.
30And the LORD will cause His voice of authority to be heard,
And the descending of His arm to be seen in fierce anger,
And in the flame of a consuming fire
In cloudburst, downpour and hailstones.
31For at the voice of the LORD Assyria will be terrified,
When He strikes with the rod.
32And every blow of the rod of punishment,
Which the LORD will lay on him,
Will be with the music of tambourines and lyres;
And in battles, brandishing weapons, He will fight them.
33For Topheth has long been ready,
Indeed, it has been prepared for the king
He has made it deep and large,
A pyre of fire with plenty of wood;
The breath of the LORD, like a torrent of brimstone, sets it afire.
- Isaiah 30 New American Standard Bible -

Reading this passage, the righteousness, grace, and steadfast love of God for Judah stood out to me. Although He is a jealous God who will not abide His children depending on anyone weaker than Himself, He is also a gracious and loving God who always takes His children back when they repent. The image of God blessing the Southern Kingdom and spewing His wrath upon the Assyrians to protect His children is a very beautiful one.

Saturday, July 3

Loving A Person

Loving a person just the way they are, it's no small thing
It takes some time to see things through
Sometimes things change, sometimes we're waiting
We need grace either way

Hold on to me
I'll hold on to you
Let's find out the beauty of seeing things through

There's a lot of pain in reaching out and trying
It's a vulnerable place to be
Love and pride can't occupy the same spaces baby
Only one makes you free

Hold on to me
I'll hold on to you
Let's find out the beauty of seeing things through

If we go looking for offense
We're going to find it
If we go looking for real love
We're going to find it
Loving A Person by Sara Groves (and Gordon Kennedy)

(I'm not totally sure I've got all the lyrics here)

Monday, June 28


Fading memories ignored
I crawl across the forest floor
Pool reflects an orphan child
Dirty, lost, alone and wild
Fatherless and nameless still
Fallen heart and broken, will
there ever be a place where I belong

I cower ‘neath the monster trees
And try to stand on tired feet
But gravity knocks me to the ground
Where I give up, and tears roll down
I claw the dust and beg the end
Curse the day that I began
to hope there’d be a place where I belong

I hear a sound I recognize
You lift my chin and seek my eyes
Song of love You sing to me
I ache to sing it back to Thee
"Father Love prepares a place
Brother Jesus leads the way
Follow to the place where you belong!"

How did I miss this wondrous song?
The forest sang it all along
"River rinses all your shame
Father offers you His name
Father Love prepares a home
Brother Jesus leads you on
Follow to the place where you belong!"

"Father Love prepares a place
Brother Jesus leads the way
Follow to the place where you belong
Follow to the place where you belong!"
Belong by Chris Rice

Friday, June 25

Love the LORD Your God

26He said to him, "What is written in the Law? How do you read it?" 27And he answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself."
28And he said to him, "You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live."
- Luke 10:26-28 English Standard Version -

15For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.
21So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.
- Romans 7:15-25 English Standard Version -


Here I am
One more day of not
Loving Him the way He asks
In fact my heart is singing praises to the things
that make me feel alright

So I’m sinking fast like a stone heart should
And on the way down
I’ve done what I could
To try and try to turn this stone to flesh

I’m haunted by my God
Who has the right to ask me
What by the nature of my rebellion
I cannot give

So I beg for you to move
I beg for you to move
I beg for you to break through

So here I am
Got my deeds for the day
All my cute little words about
How I am saved
Am I saved?

Could I love you with my mouth like a church kid should
At the end of the day
My words get burned as wood
Oh, but I was good.

I’m haunted by my God
Who has the right to ask me
What by the nature of my rebellion
I cannot give

So I beg for you to move
I beg for you to move
I beg for you to break through

These songs are noise
In your ears
A clanging drum
You want my love

So I beg for you to move
I beg for you to move
I beg for you to break through
"Beg" by Shane & Shane

Thursday, June 24


In the silent hour I can hear them
I pray to the mother
But the mother doesn't love my soul
In the blackened earth lay my secrets
The hounds of hell know everything
At the moon they howl
I cut away, I get away,
I hide away from the light
Still they smell my fear, and they will hunt me like the animal I've been

Cut cut cut a hole in the night
The voices of the innocent are coming to life
Cut cut cut a hole in the night
The voices of the innocent are coming to life

In a graceless world, I was graceless
I'm just a murderer cause murder was my only chance
Though I'm wretched, I am not faithless
The ears of God hear everything
And He hears them still
Every cry, every breath
In every land that have slain
Just to save myself
How can God show mercy? I was merciless to them

Cut cut cut a hole in the night
The voices of the innocent are coming to life
Cut cut cut a hole in the night
The voices of the innocent are coming to life

"Your greatest sin is not the abortion that you've asked forgiveness for, or the adultery, or whatever it is that you did in your life, in the past, that you're ashamed of, that keeps hounding you -- your greatest sin is not that; your greatest sin is not believing God's word when He says that you're forgiven! You wanna' repent of something, friend? Stop repenting of sins you've already repented of, and repent of your unbelief!"

The voices of the innocent are coming to life
"Voices" by House of Heroes

Things I Don't Understand

I keep thinking that I'm beginning to get things figured out, and then God shows me more scripture. I was reading the beattitudes this morning and saw some things I just don't get. Then I read 1 Corinthians 5 and my entire Christian attitude dynamic was thrown for a loop.
Matthew 5:8 NASB: "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."
They shall see God... with their eyes? They will go to heaven and be in His presence? What does He mean when He says "they shall see God," anyway?
Matthew 5:3,10 NASB: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
"Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
What is the Kingdom of Heaven? Is it the presence of God? Is it "heaven" as most Christians tend to think of it? This white place that we "go" to worship God after we die? Thus far in Matthew, Jesus and John have each said "Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near." So what is the Kingdom of Heaven?
1 Corinthians 5 ESV: 1It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. 2And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.
3For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. 4When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, 5you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.
6 Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
9I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13God judges those outside. "Purge the evil person from among you."

Romans 14 ESV: 1As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. 2 One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. 3Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. 4 Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
5 One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. 8For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. 9For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.
10Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; 11for it is written,
"As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,
and every tongue shall confess to God."
12So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.
13 Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. 14I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. 15For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died. 16 So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. 19So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.
20 Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. 21 It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble. 22The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. 23But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.
Looking at Romans 14 again I see that it's a different context -- eating unclean foods, rather than sinning sexually -- but I'm still a little confused. While it is obvious to me that sinning sexually is unacceptable -- Paul frequently condemns sexual sin in his letters, and Jesus told the adulterous woman to "sin no more" -- I am not sure that I understand how it is that some of the old law, like circumcision and unclean foods, are no longer necessary, but other parts, like sexual purity, are still necessary.

I understand that holiness is a must for Christians. Does 1 Corinthians 5 change how I react to my friend who claims to be a Christian but is living with her boyfriend? What about someone who claims to be a Christian and says she is a lesbian as well? I know I'm supposed to love them, but Paul seems to be saying that love towards a sinning Christian is not always "nice." He tells the Corinthian church to exile a man for his sin! I see that it is so that "his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord," but it seems so harsh to me. Am I making it more complex than it needs to be because I'm reluctant to accept a difficult teaching?

Does his council even apply to me, since the friend who is living with her boyfriend is not part of my church community? The Corinthian church was made up of all the Christians in Corinth. Does this mean that my "church" is made up of all the Christians in my logistical community?

I'm not looking for an answer from human reason, but from scripture. I am sure that there is an answer and that I will find it eventually. I apologize for asking so many questions without offering many answers.

Tuesday, June 22

Loved By A Relentless God

I am so thankful that God never lets me go.

In the beginning of the fall semester of my Freshman year I began dating a beautiful young woman. This happened at a time when I had inexplicably ceased to study my bible or pray on a regular basis for several weeks straight. I tried a few times to pick the habit back up, but it never stuck and I spent the rest of the semester exhausting myself mentally, spiritually, and physically. I was not behaving as I should have and I was not walking with God. I remember once weeping in a worship setting and asking God where He was; begging Him to come back to me. It was not until after my girlfriend dumped me a week before the Spring semester began that I realized it was not God who had left me, but I who had left God. The day that my girlfriend dumped me I went out to the prayer garden near my house and got honest with God. I read Psalms 16 and 18 aloud and put all my hope in the God they spoke of.
1Preserve me, O God, for I take refuge in You.
2I said to the LORD, "You are my Lord;
I have no good besides You."
3As for the saints who are in the earth,
They are the majestic ones in whom is all my delight.
4The sorrows of those who have bartered for another god will be multiplied;
I shall not pour out their drink offerings of blood,
Nor will I take their names upon my lips.
5The LORD is the portion of my inheritance and my cup;
You support my lot.
6The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;
Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.
7I will bless the LORD who has counseled me;
Indeed, my mind instructs me in the night.
8I have set the LORD continually before me;
Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
9Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices;
My flesh also will dwell securely.
10For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol;
Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.
11You will make known to me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.
- Psalm 16 NASB -
1"I love You, O LORD, my strength."
2The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
3I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised,
And I am saved from my enemies.
4The cords of death encompassed me,
And the torrents of ungodliness terrified me.
5The cords of Sheol surrounded me;
The snares of death confronted me.
6In my distress I called upon the LORD,
And cried to my God for help;
He heard my voice out of His temple,
And my cry for help before Him came into His ears.
7Then the earth shook and quaked;
And the foundations of the mountains were trembling
And were shaken, because He was angry.
8Smoke went up out of His nostrils,
And fire from His mouth devoured;
Coals were kindled by it.
9He bowed the heavens also, and came down
With thick darkness under His feet.
10He rode upon a cherub and flew;
And He sped upon the wings of the wind.
11He made darkness His hiding place, His canopy around Him,
Darkness of waters, thick clouds of the skies.
12From the brightness before Him passed His thick clouds,
Hailstones and coals of fire.
13The LORD also thundered in the heavens,
And the Most High uttered His voice,
Hailstones and coals of fire.
14He sent out His arrows, and scattered them,
And lightning flashes in abundance, and routed them.
15Then the channels of water appeared,
And the foundations of the world were laid bare
At Your rebuke, O LORD,
At the blast of the breath of Your nostrils.
16He sent from on high, He took me;
He drew me out of many waters.
17He delivered me from my strong enemy,
And from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me.
18They confronted me in the day of my calamity,
But the LORD was my stay.
19He brought me forth also into a broad place;
He rescued me, because He delighted in me.
20The LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness;
According to the cleanness of my hands He has recompensed me.
21For I have kept the ways of the LORD,
And have not wickedly departed from my God.
22For all His ordinances were before me,
And I did not put away His statutes from me.
23I was also blameless with Him,
And I kept myself from my iniquity.
24Therefore the LORD has recompensed me according to my righteousness,
According to the cleanness of my hands in His eyes.
25With the kind You show Yourself kind;
With the blameless You show Yourself blameless;
26With the pure You show Yourself pure,
And with the crooked You show Yourself astute.
27For You save an afflicted people,
But haughty eyes You abase.
28For You light my lamp;
The LORD my God illumines my darkness.
29For by You I can run upon a troop;
And by my God I can leap over a wall.
30As for God, His way is blameless;
The word of the LORD is tried;
He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.
31For who is God, but the LORD?
And who is a rock, except our God,
32The God who girds me with strength
And makes my way blameless?
33He makes my feet like hinds' feet,
And sets me upon my high places.
34He trains my hands for battle,
So that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
35You have also given me the shield of Your salvation,
And Your right hand upholds me;
And Your gentleness makes me great.
36You enlarge my steps under me,
And my feet have not slipped.
37I pursued my enemies and overtook them,
And I did not turn back until they were consumed.
38I shattered them, so that they were not able to rise;
They fell under my feet.
39For You have girded me with strength for battle;
You have subdued under me those who rose up against me.
40You have also made my enemies turn their backs to me,
And I destroyed those who hated me.
41They cried for help, but there was none to save,
Even to the LORD, but He did not answer them.
42Then I beat them fine as the dust before the wind;
I emptied them out as the mire of the streets.
43You have delivered me from the contentions of the people;
You have placed me as head of the nations;
A people whom I have not known serve me.
44As soon as they hear, they obey me;
Foreigners submit to me.
45Foreigners fade away,
And come trembling out of their fortresses.
46The LORD lives, and blessed be my rock;
And exalted be the God of my salvation,
47The God who executes vengeance for me,
And subdues peoples under me.
48He delivers me from my enemies;
Surely You lift me above those who rise up against me;
You rescue me from the violent man.
49Therefore I will give thanks to You among the nations, O LORD,
And I will sing praises to Your name.
50He gives great deliverance to His king,
And shows lovingkindness to His anointed,
To David and his descendants forever.
- Psalm 18 NASB -

I felt pretty low for a while after our breakup. The whole thing was very negative and I felt very much like "a worm and not a man" (Psalm 22:6).

Looking back I can see the way that God allowed me to suffer through that fall semester to learn valuable lessons about life, relationships, and most importantly, myself. What I am truly thankful for, however, is that God did not leave me where I was. He has brought me back to Him and is continuing to work in me to redeem my story. He is so good to me, always.

Tuesday, June 15

Say When

I see you there, don’t know where you come from
Unaware of a stare from someone
Don’t appear to care that I saw you and I want you
What’s your name, cause I have to know it
You let me in and begin to show it
We’re terrified cause we’re heading straight for it, might get it
You been the song playing on the background
All along but you’re turning up now
And everyone is rising to meet you, to greet you
Turn around and you’re walking toward me
I’m breaking down and you’re breathing slowly
You say the word and I will be your man, your man

Say when and my own two hands
Will comfort you tonight, tonight
Say when and my own two arms
Will carry you tonight, tonight

We’re coming close and then even closer
We bring it in but we get no further
We’re separate, two ghosts in one mirror, no nearer
Later on if it turns to chaos
Hurricane coming all around us
See the crack, pull it back from the window, you stay low

Say when and my own two hands
Will comfort you tonight, tonight
Say when and my own two arms
Will carry you tonight, tonight

I come across you lost and broken
You’re coming to but you’re slow in waking
You start to shake, you still haven’t spoken, what happened
They’re coming back and you just don’t know when
You want to cry but there’s nothing coming
They’re gonna push until you give in or say when
Now we’re here, and it turns to chaos
Hurricane, coming all around us
Double crack throws you back from the window, you stay low

It all began with a man & country
Every plan turns another century
Around again, another nation fallen
Maybe God can be on both sides
Of the gun, never understood why
Some of us never get it so good, so good
Some of this was here before us
All of this will go after us
It never stops until we give in, give in

Or say when and my own two hands
Will comfort you tonight, tonight
Say when and my own two arms
Will carry you tonight, tonight
"Say When" by The Fray

Sunday, May 9

Musing on Loneliness - Written Amidst 9:30 Honors English

I could dwell so long in my own "loneliness" and make so much more of it than there is to be made. I could beg the question "Must I always be alone?" but then I would forget: I am not alone. I do not lack companionship and I do not lack love. Why do I long to be "On Fire" like one shivering without a blanket? I have a blanket, and I have a fire, a fire that consumes me.

What do I need a woman for?

Thursday, February 4

Questions About Prayer

Why do we pray for people?

How do we pray for people?

Maybe these sound like stupid questions to you, but I've been thinking about these two things quite a bit lately, especially the second. People often ask me to pray for them, but what exactly are they asking? Are we just to say "God, I lift Jimmy up to you," or more like "God, please be with Jimmy." Either way it seems kind of silly -- who are we to lift Jimmy up to God, and surely God is already with Jimmy; why are we asking Him to "be with" Jimmy?

Maybe we need to pray specifically for people: "God, please help Jimmy in his struggle with anger. Give him peace and calm and remind him that a man who can't control his anger is like a city without walls," or "God, please give Henry strength in his battle with temptation. Let him remember that lust is just as sinful as adultery in your eyes. Make him clean and pure."

Of course, that requires knowing something specific to pray about. What about cases where the request for prayer is private, and we can't be given any specifics? Perhaps the best strategy is to, as Dr. Nichols* puts it, "pray blessings upon" the person requesting prayer.
*one of the math professors at OBU, a dear old man.

So the next time you ask someone to pray for, be specific about what you want them to pray or about what you are struggling with. The next time you pray for someone, think of their situation and tailor your prayers to fit them. I'm sure machine gun prayers ("God, be with Jimmy. God, please bless Chris. God, be with Henry...") have some effect, but is that how we are meant to speak to our Father?

Monday, January 18

Psalm 19:14

"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer."
- Psalm 19:14 NASB -

Are the words of your mouth acceptable to God? God wants us to speak in such a way that we build others up and glorify His name. Ephesians 4:29 says

"Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear."

According to Google, "edification" brings about enlightenment or is uplifting. When we speak, we should be looking at the needs of the moment and speaking words that encourage and improve the people around us.

Grace is unmerited favor, and it is what God has given us. We have done nothing to deserve his Unconditional Love, but He has given it to us anyway. That's grace. Do your words give grace to those who hear them?

Are the meditations of your heart acceptable to God? Philippians 4:8 says:

"Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things."

That verse doesn't need any summary. We are to dwell on, or meditate on, things that are excellent and worthy of praise.