Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Introvert in Me

My family is all asleep. I love the quiet hours at night after the kids go to bed and the quiet hours in the morning before they all wake up.

I am an introvert, which is to say, I am rejuvenated in the alone time, in the quiet time. I can handle the social and get along with others well, but the quiet is where my batteries are recharged.

My bride is an extrovert. Her batteries are recharged in social settings (where mine are easily drained).

I am heading to bed soon, however. We're leaving in the morning on a trip with my parents and some of my brother's kids--11 of us all together in one place for a few days.

The introvert in me will have to get creative to find some quiet alone time. My dad and I are both taking flashlights if we need them to read while the rest sleep.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Deceived about God

Man is often guilty of creating God in his own image, assuming that the Christian God as portrayed in the Bible is off-base in various ways. But God has a word for such people.

These things you have done and I kept silent; you thought I was altogether like you. But I will rebuke you and accuse you to your face. (Ps 50:21 NIV)

Unfortunately, if they do not repent, they will find that it is they themselves who are off-base.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Bildad on Job's Situation

Job has just lost everything--his wealth, his health, and all 10 of his children!

His friends come to mourn with him; then after a week, they try to get him to see the light as to why all this has happened to him.

Bildad's opening counsel includes the following bit of helpful perspective: "If your sons have sinned against Him, He has cast them away for their transgression." (Job 8:4, NKJV)

When I get to chapter 9, I'm sure I will read Job saying something like, "Ahh, thank you, Bildad. I was wondering why they all died. But, of course, they were such hideous scoundrels. Thank you, friend. I feel much better."

[Side Note: What's interesting about the friends' counsel is that sometimes they get it right, but they misapply what they get right to Job. Indeed, some of their counsel reads as if it were ripped right from the Psalms. But even the Psalms have to be applied correctly. (Example: Exactly what does Psalm 91:9-10 mean?)]

A few verses later, Bildad is more prophetic than he realizes: "If you were pure and upright, surely now He would awake for you, and prosper your rightful dwelling place. Though your beginning was small, yet your latter end would increase abundantly." (Job 8:6-7 NKJV, emphasis added)

Comparing Job 42 with Job 1, Yahweh doubled all his possessions, and he once again had 7 sons and 3 daughters. On Bildad's take of things, then, Job was "pure and upright," but the horrible trial happened anyway!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Husbands Really Are the Spiritual Leaders

Robert Lewis keyed into something today (in Men's Fraternity) that Dobson first clued me into a few years ago when I read Bringing Up Boys: The husband is the spiritual head of the home.

That's not just a "I wish it were true" statement. It is true, at least in most homes. As goes the father in the home, so goes the family.

Lewis cited a study that produced the following results:
  • If 100 individual children start attending a church, around 20 families will eventually follow.
  • If 100 individual wives start attending a church, around 20 families will eventually follow.
  • If 100 individual husbands start attending a church, about 97 families will eventually follow.
For God has so wired homes.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

9 Memorable Concerts

  1. Three Mo Tenors
  2. David Sanborn
  3. Victor Borge
  4. Myron LeFevre and Broken Heart (4 different concerts, I think)
  5. DeGarmo & Key (at least 2 concerts)
  6. Fort Wayne Philharmonic & some renowned trombonist (Finlandia by Sibelius one of the featured numbers)
  7. Dave Brubeck with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic
  8. Newsboys (dueling drummers ... in the air!)
  9. Ken Medema (blind pianist; composes really good songs using 3 random notes and 3 random words from he audience)

Bonus: 3 of Sara's memorable concerts

  1. David Sanborn
  2. Rich Mullins
  3. Whiteheart

More Books That Probably Won't Be Written

A friend of mine clued me in to some more books that will never be written:
  • Everyone Is Going To Hell Except Me - John MacArthur
  • There’s No ‘U’ in Ministry: A Woman’s Guide - Mark Driscoll
  • God’s Most Glorified When We’re Most Calvinified in Him, by John Piper
  • This Book Looks Longer Than It Really Is - Rob Bell
  • 10 Keys To The 8 Steps To The 3 Paths To The 1 Way to God (TM) - Rick Warren
  • How to Fall in My Presence - Benny Hinn
  • Hippie Christianity for Ordinary Rednecks - Shane Claiborne

To see the whole list, click here.

To see my list from last year, click here.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Hidden Idol Uncovered

The Holy Spirit has unearthed an idol in my heart in recent weeks. Its name is Security.

It manifests itself in a reluctance to take risks, in a desire to preserve the way things are, in a fear of exposing myself to the possibility of disrupting my comfort.

The unearthing process has been slow and tedious (much like an archaeological dig, I imagine). I think my mind had been set on the reality of this idol some time ago when I read John Piper's Don't Waste Your Life, but I'm not sure I recognized its presence in my life at that time.

But God has shone his light on it in my heart in various ways recently, including some passages we recently studied in Sunday School.

And as for us, why do we endanger ourselves every hour? I die every day—I mean that, brothers—just as surely as I glory over you in Christ Jesus our Lord. (1 Cor 15:30-31 NIV)
Now I'm not the apostle Paul, but I am to follow his example. But here I am not following his example. I shy away from things that endanger me in one way or another (not that we shouldn't on occasions; do not fear, those of you who like me--I'm not looking, like Origen, for martyrdom).

Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. (1 Cor 15:58 NIV, emphasis added)

"Fully" gets me. "Always" does, too. There are times when I give myself fully, and there are times when I don't. Forgive me, Lord, and help me.

Another tool the Lord has used in revealing this idol in me is reading about my brothers and sisters in Christ around the world who are boldly sharing the gospel where doing so often incurs imprisonment, fines, torture, repercussions against family, and martyrdom.

Then I read this today in John Stott's The Cross of Christ:

Yet we still regard security as our birthright and 'safety first' as a prudent motto.... Where are the Christians who are prepared to put service before security, compassion before comfort, hardship before ease? Thousands of pioneer Christian tasks are waiting to be done, which challenge our complacency, and which call for risk. Insistence on security is incompatible with the way of the cross. (p 288)

Friday, March 13, 2009

Philosophy

To do is to be. --Sartre

To be is to do. --Camus

Doobe doobe doobe doo. --Sinatra

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Purifying Persecution

"It must be understood that there are no nominal, halfhearted, lukewarm Christians in Russia or China. The price Christians pay is far too great. The next point to remember is that persecution has always produced a better Christian--a witnessing Christian, a soul-winning Christian. Communist persecution has backfired and produced serious, dedicated Christians such as are rarely seen in free lands. These people cannot understand how anyone can be a Christian and not want to win every soul they meet."

--Richard Wurmbrand, Tortured for Christ

Monday, March 9, 2009

Another TV Trend, but What Does It Mean?

Eleventh Hour, The Mentalist, and now Castle.

They're all about women cops who are being helped with their crime-solving by men with other talents.

So what's the message?

"Better if their mothers had aborted them"

Yesterday morning I was reading from John Calvin's Sermons on the Book of Micah. During the course of his sermon on 2:4-5, he stops to make "several points." Below are two of them that caught my attention. They may or may not catch yours.

"Third, although the world's rich hunger to be honored, and countless people applaud them, and even revere them as gods, we must not be astonished. Why? Because our Lord will change all their honors into shame and will show them how truly they abused God's gifts. Indeed, it would have been better if their mothers had aborted them, than that they should have become so ungrateful concerning God's blessings, which they rejected when God set his gift before them.

"Above all else, we must prize this singular grace that God has given us: to be able to live in a place where we are free to worship in his Church. That, I repeat, we ought to prize above all the world's highest goods."

--preached in Geneva, Switzerland, Nov 25, 1550

Saturday, March 7, 2009

9 Ponderisms (Not Original with Me)

I used to eat a lot of natural foods until I learned that most people die of natural causes.

Garden Rule: When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant.

The easiest way to find something lost around the house is to buy a replacement.

Have you noticed since everyone has a camcorder these days no one talks about seeing UFOs like they used to?

In the 60's, people took acid to make the world weird. Now the world is weird and people take Prozac to make it normal.

How is it one careless match can start a forest fire, but it takes a whole box to start a campfire?

Who was the first person to look at a cow and say, 'I think I'll squeeze these dangly things here and drink whatever comes out?'

Who was the first person to say, 'See that chicken there? I'm gonna eat the next thing that comes outta its butt.'

Why doesn't glue stick to the inside of the bottle?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Genuine Salvation Goes to the Roots

Salvation must include a judicial change of status, but what is overlooked by most teachers is that it also includes an actual change in the life of the individual. And by this we mean more than a surface change, we mean a transformation as deep as the roots of his human life. If it does not go that deep it does not go deep enough.

--A. W. Tozer, The Divine Conquest 37

God Heals Vans

With the transmission leak I was getting nervous. I had to fill it a few times over the last few months.

But before I got it into our mechanic, we got a flat tire, and that had to be replaced (and the cheap tires aren't as cheap as they used to be). But we had the money put back to cover that, anyway.

So I scheduled an appt. with John (our mechanic) for an oil change and a look at the transmission. I was nervous about the transmission end of things. '95 Caravan transmissions aren't known for their heartiness, especially at 163,000 miles.

But before our appointment, the heat went out.

So I got the van into John (our mechanic). Oil change, fine. Transmission leak, fixed a couple clamps, no problem. Heating, there's our problem.

"It's not the thermostat. Got to rip off the dash, and I don't do that. I'll take it to a guy I know." So he did.

Labor estimate alone: $200, plus then fixing the problem, which they don't know what it is until they get under the dash.

Ahhhh. "I'll think about it." Later, to Sara, "Spring's almost here; we can make it for now without heat." To the Lord, "Lord, please heal the heat in the van. Would you make it work again?"

Then the cold snap hit. Too cold for Sara and the kids. Even too cold for me. So I was telling Pat that we were going to get it fixed. Sheila was right there and told me about a co-worker who likes to do that stuff and does it cheap.

So I went to see him on his break yesterday. On the way: "Lord, please let this be fixable and relatively inexpensive." Jim had it fixed in less than 5 minutes!

Driving away: "Lord, you are amazing! Thank you so much!"