Monday, October 10, 2005
It just seemed worth commemorating.
Posted at 01:51 pm by longnailsareok
Monday, October 03, 2005
How do I know the power of his risen life?
Posted at 07:24 pm by longnailsareok
Sunday, September 25, 2005
I miss the desert like the desert misses rain.
I went hiking today and it reminded me a lot of our Sahara expedition this summer. It's weird to think that I survived one of the harshest environments in the world at the hottest time of year. A lot of lessons learned came back to mind. Remember Terah's mistake: don't stop on the journey to Canaan and make your son have to finish for you. Remember Abraham's nobility: have simple faith in the one who calls you. Take him at his word, and don't try to educate him how it will work. As miserable as parts of that week were, the Father still has much wisdom to offer us from the dry wilderness.
God sends his servants to the desert to teach them his truth.
Posted at 12:25 am by longnailsareok
Saturday, September 10, 2005
I saw on CNN.com that they have several large pumping systems set up to help drain the New Orleans area. They said one pump does 27,000 gallons of water a minute. They estimated that it would take about 80 days for the city to be fully drained.
So, doing a little bit of math, that means that one pump will disperse about 3,110,400,000 gallons of water by the time the city should be drained. Thats about 23,576,832,000 normal bottles of water. If you tried to drink that by consuming two bottles a day, it would take you 32,297,030 years.
Posted at 03:48 pm by longnailsareok
Thursday, September 08, 2005
Vocab & Composition, Weeks 1 & 2
I want to know God...Do you believe me?
Posted at 12:47 am by longnailsareok
Sunday, August 28, 2005
I went over the ocean with a definite agreement to the theological concept of coming and living and working over here. There was no question in my mind as to the validity and necessity and orthodoxy of it. But being thrown a week in the desert, and olives in every dish, and lacking basic conveniences like Western bathrooms, I found a lot of evil, stubborn unwillingness to actually go myself. Whether or not it’s the right, wisest thing for me to do wasn’t the question; my refusal to consider it with an open heart and unclenched hands was.
I kept believing it was right and necessary. After all, the kingdom of God is not maintained, it is advanced. We’re aiming to hasten the arrival of the Son, and should be living all of life under that Great Conviction. But, I asked myself, “If I’m persuaded of the necessity of it, and go myself – but begrudgingly – would it be worth it? Would it even be pleasing?”
In terror of living a life in unwilling, unsubmitted service, I started asking him to change my heart, and gave myself to meditation on texts about His heart for the world. The command to ‘bring his Sons and Daughters’ from afar, and the promise that all the nations he has made will come and worship at his feet were my food and preoccupation for these last few weeks. And now, he has mercifully changed my heart. I’m now excited about the prospect, and have learned of a lot of ways and organizations by which to make that happen.
To sum it up in one statement: We’re all servant sons of the Most High God. So, the issue isn’t living in the desert or in Dallas. The issue should be, that whatever He says and asks of you, that you’ll say YES.
Posted at 07:47 pm by longnailsareok
Thursday, August 25, 2005
I suppose I should at least say that I'm back, and alive. How do you digest 3 months of trial and predominate failure?
How do you explain the feeling of being one of forty Christians in a city of 160,000 people?
How do you go to sleep at night knowing there's one Christian worker to every 1.8 million people in the Arab world?
How do you know it's not a cop-out to live in America the rest of your life?
Just what kingdom am I working for? "For here we do not have an enduring city; but we are looking for the city that is to come."
I read Ben & Aaron's update from Highland, and they said something that shook me. "But, even more, we all know full well that America is no paradise on earth, so thanks even more the for the everlasting kingdom that we have membership in through Your Son!" I started weeping when I read that. It is no paradise, but my flesh finds such comfort and repose here. Will I work for permanence and remember that this world will be destroyed, and only my work for Christ's sake will last? This is no enduring city. I want to live in light of that.
This is no enduring city.
Posted at 05:10 pm by longnailsareok
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
This could quite possibly be the only post I make in this blog from a foreign country. So, here it is. Fresh from England.
The stalls in the bathroom are really nice here. Maybe I'll post a picture.
Posted at 03:41 am by longnailsareok
Thursday, May 12, 2005
We don't need to fix the Gospel. We don't need 'better methods'. The message of Jesus and the Apostles is good enough for me.
God commands all men everywhere to repent.
We don't see a lack of church growth because of outdated music or faded wallpaper. We see a lack of church growth because of carnal church members who don't share the gospel or pray. The difference between the success of Jesus' ministry and that of the Apostles wasn't methods or music, advertising or adjustment. It was power; the divine help and supply of the Holy Spirit.
And I don't think He'll suddenly surge into action because after 2000 years we've suddenly got our system right.
Posted at 12:28 am by longnailsareok
Friday, May 06, 2005
The Need to Think Great Things
I alluded in my last entry to what I've only been able to describe as 'soul-soaring' truths. There is a certain atmosphere which pervades some sermons from John Piper, or the books of J.I. Packer, or an all-night prayer meeting in its 6th hour, or in Romans 9. The atmosphere is the greatness of God. When you hear truth proclaimed (or promises claimed) and it seems like Heaven is in the room. When you hear proclaimed that all things are subject to the risen Christ, that God aims to achieve the redemption of his purchased people, and will not fail, and you have to pull over to the side of the road. When you read Deuteronomy 5 and tremble at your God, there is something different. Soul-soaring.
It is a tragedy when the importance of theology is trivialized (or worse, when people read complex, old books and yawn). As Packer says in Knowing God
, the reason that our worship is so flabby is that we are modern people, and modern people as a rule, while cherishing great thoughts of themselves, generally hold small thoughts of God.
Honestly, when was the last time your breath was taken away when you heard something about God, other than love? When was the last time you worshipped reading a book? You can be sure you know God when you worship upon reading about the foreknowledge of God. When was the last time you sprawled out on the floor overwhelmed by what Paul was telling you? There is a dangerous sense of triviality, flippancy, and overall irreverence in a lot of Christian gatherings I go to. When we sit down from worship, there's a lull in the service because of a technical difficulty, and somebody starts a rally clap, I wonder what kind of worship really happened. There is nothing jolly about people encountering God in the Bible. No games or gimmicks or cute illustrations or light-heartedness. It is serious
Our thoughts of God should be great. Paul's exhortation is for no one to 'think of himself more highly than he ought' (Rom 12:3). Why? To belittle ourselves? Because nobody likes a narcissist? No. Because in cherishing great thoughts of ourselves we become demonic. What else was Satan's offense, but to suppose to be God? Herod walked this path, and died for it, for not giving glory to God when he himself was honored as God (Acts 12:23).
How, then, do we cherish great thoughts of God? Well, use your imagination. Literally. Imagine Exodus 19.
Moses tells you to wash your clothes and take every measure to be ceremonially clean, and to not even touch the mountain, lest you die. He says God is coming. And he's right. Lightning and thunder erupt, and a haze of thick, woolen smoke envelops the top of the mountain. There is fire. Burning, sprawling, hungry fire. Thousands of feet away, but you can feel the heat of it. You tremble as the voice of God comes forth as thunder, and a trumpet blows. The mountain is burning. The ground shakes with thunder, and you're suddenly dizzy. The heat grows hotter still. The hair on your arms begins to singe, and there's a horrific odor. Your mouth becomes cotton, lips cracking in thirst, and you're desperate for water. You rock back at the lightning and the ground shakes again, and you faint, wholly depleted. There is the sound of rushing wind in your ears, and you feel and heart your heart racing in fear, while your body is ironically paralyzed. Behold your God!
Your side aches from your fall, and desert sand has filled your mouth, and stings your eyes in the wind. A kind woman helps you to your feet and gives you some water, and together you wait for a time until Moses returns. When he does, you and your people have one thing to say, knowing he bears a message from God.
You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die.
How often have you cried that to a preacher? Isn't it more common to check your watch? This is the God who can fascinate us, who stands alone among all the wise ones of the nations, and in all their kingdoms. There is no milquetoast, chummy, giggling fluffy bunny in the sky. Failing to treasure great thoughts of God is to happily align with Satan. Failing to tremble in the presence of the Lord, and at the truth which he's made known to us, is to prove an ignorance of God, fitting with the unbelievers who walk in darkness of mind and futility of thinking. What about your thought life is different from when you didn't believe?
Failing to think great things of God is to prove you don't know him; at least, not as you ought.
Posted at 01:43 am by longnailsareok