Thursday, October 13, 2011

Day after Day they Pour Forth Speech

Landscapes: Volume Two from Dustin Farrell on Vimeo.


Well, it's a been a few weeks. . . . I'll let Jody continue to hit home runs on her blog with everything about the adoption. She says it all better than I can. I'm sure I'll drop in some things from time to time, but suffice it to say, Dorcas is a great kid, and we're very humbled and grateful to be her parents. It was a life changing trip, and we're all hoping Jody and Dorcas can come home soon.

On to the lynx. . . . .

--This post makes me go, Duh?! But, it's something I fail at daily with my kids (and my wife). Basically, I confuse alot of people. I confuse them often. :) I need to grow in this area. But, strictly from a parenting perspective, this is gold, although it should be obvious.

--Steve Jobs died while I was in Africa. It was interesting hearing the reaction from there. I certainly respect his technological genius.

Some reports are coming out about the way he led his company, though. And, they hit a little close to home with me, since I've been under leadership like this before. I think it's silly basically. Yes, if you're good enough (like Steve was) you get stuff done. But, at what cost? Pragmatism leads high-talent folks into some really abusive and ridiculous behaviors. Of course, it's easy to throw stones when you aren't that talented, . . and it's easy to be the armchair quarterback who hasn't accomplished much. But, when do those people (me) get a hearing? Why does achievement and success equal infallibility (in a leadership sense)? Why do super-talented people cut off their effectiveness at some level. . by shutting out dissenting voices? Most who lead this way are not as talented as Steve anyway (who was?), and still think it's the only way to do things. I just don't know why the story usually ends this way with very influential people. It doesn't have to.

--Justin Taylor has a great post about victim's mentality. I think it's really good, . . and it's coming from people who have been through alot. Controlling our thoughts and reactions to circumstances is very important. Our culture would argue with that last sentence, but the bible tells us to "test everything, hold onto the good". Why wouldn't that apply to our own thoughts? Why shouldn't we evaluate ourselves and how we're reacting to things? It's a great post.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Dogs and Cats, . . and Kids can smell fear

Last week must have broken some un-official record for great parenting posts on the internet. There were quite a few. I linked to one last week here. But, this one from Kevin DeYoung is really close to my heart.

I find that so many parents, most notably myself, are sometimes absolutely blind to the behaviors that they, themselves, are bringing out in their kids. As parents, we can take a situation that is a 5 on the stress scale, and make it an 8 very quickly.

One of the main ways we do this is by re-directing our own "stuff" towards our kids. If we had a bad day, they're about to have a bad day. Ain't Momma happy, . . ain't nobody happy. . as the wise saying goes.

Well, if Dad ain't happy, Mom ain't happy, and the spiral spins downward. Thanks to Kevin DeYoung for the confession, and the encouragement here. This is worth 5 minutes . . .if you're a parent, you should read it.

The Wrong Person

Challenging article from Tim Challies. . . . but I'm fully on board with the way he thinks about this. Most of my difficulties in marriage don't come from actual differences and conflicts, but from my lamenting the differences, and blowing the conflicts out of proportion. Hopefully this article is a kind of antidote to that. God is using your spouse in your life for something much greater than immediate happiness; namely, becoming more like Himself. Oh, and the myth that some other couple has everything together, never fights, and are "better" for each other. . . .it's just that; A Myth. Great Wisdom here.

So did you marry the wrong person? Yes you did. Embrace it and thank God for it. Her wrongness is just right in God’s eyes.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


“Faith . . . unites the soul with Christ, as a bride is united with her bridegroom. From such a marriage, as St. Paul says, it follows that Christ and the soul become one body, so that they hold all things in common, whether for better or worse. This means that what Christ possesses belongs to the believing soul, and what the soul possesses belongs to Christ. Thus Christ possesses all good things and holiness; these now belong to the soul. The soul possesses lots of vices and sin; these now belong to Christ. . . . Now is not this a happy business? Christ, the rich, noble and holy bridegroom, takes in marriage this poor, contemptible and sinful little prostitute, takes away all her evil and bestows all his goodness upon her! It is no longer possible for sin to overwhelm her, for she is now found in Christ.”

Martin Luther, quoted in Alister E. McGrath, Christian Spirituality: An Introduction (Oxford, 1999), pages 158-159.

HT: Ray Ortlund

Friday, September 16, 2011

Mouth. . . meet foot.

After a few fairly serious posts. . . . I thought I'd leave you with this clip. Over at the Gospel Coalition they're talking about sermon flubs, so after you listen to that discussion, check this one out:

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Presence of God and Worship under the New Covenant

There's alot of great worship music out there today. . . I get many requests to do songs. . some of them good, and some of them not so much.

Some of them have lyrical issues, and I'm kind of a stickler for lyrics and for us to know what we're singing about. Recently there's been a trend in alot of corporate worship music to ask, plead, welcome, and be desperate for the presence of God. Sometimes you can tell what the author is trying to say, but other times, it's not so clear.

The problem, as I see it, with these lyrics is that they are not recognizing the glorious reality of the new covenant we have in Christ. Here are some passages of scripture that speak of the new covenant:

Jeremiah 31:31-35
"Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more."

Ezekiel 11:19-20
19 And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, 20 that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God.

Colossians 1:26-28

26 the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. 27 To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Acts 17:24-25
24 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else.


Suffice it to say. . in these and other examples, I believe scripture teaches that Christ is now here, among us, in our hearts, speaking through his Word, and active by the Holy Spirit.

Old Covenant worship was built around the Tabernacle/Temple system, and the Children of Israel could actually locate the presence of God on earth (over there in the temple). To be sure, there was an awareness of God's omnipresence:

Psalm 139:7-8

Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!

But, there was a definite sense of the place they had to go to worship God, where He would "show up", and seeking his immediate presence.

In the New Covenant, as Christians, the Holy Spirit dwells in our hearts, and Jesus, who is the Emmanuel "God with us" is our advocate before God.

So, when I see songs that say, "waiting here for You. . . . desperate for You. . . come and fill this place. . . .rend the heavens and come down. . . . we welcome You with praise, etc. . . " It's hard for me to use alot of them when we sing together as the church. Because, among other things. . God is here. He is among us. We are not desperate for His presence. (if we define desperate properly. . as being in need of something). We might be desperate to recognize His Presence. . but we should say it that way, then :).

Some of these songs are quoting Old Testament Scriptures. And, that's great. . but we have to remember which covenant we're living in, and if that reality is being reflected in the lyrics.

Now, I know in most of these cases the author of the song is trying to get across the idea of asking God to "show up" in a special way, . .speak in a fresh way. . . "arrive" so that we all recognize His work, etc. . .

And, that's fine. . but we should say it that way. We should recognize that the problem is not with God being there or not being there (because He is there), but that we are not recognizing His presence and/or we are not concentrating on prayer, or on His Word, by which He speaks to us.

So, how about "Help us to hear your word today" or "We know that You're here" "thank You for your presence among us".

I know the heart behind longing for God's presence. And, to be sure, we "wait on Him" for many things and for many reasons. We do not ever "wait" for Him to arrive, though(unless we're singing about His second coming at the end of the age). And, I think, unless you take some time to explain those lyrics in the service. . it would be hard to understand them any other way. There's a sense where those songs connote "You're not here, . . please come. . . You're here now, You weren't here before". Many people have told me "I never think those things when we're singing". So, I don't want to be a stick in the mud. But, perhaps our thoughts can be as simple as "I need to hear something new from God that I can't hear until we're singing this song". That's not good either.

So, let's declare His Presence, celebrate, and wait on the Lord. . . in the context of the New Covenant; whereby He has given us His Spirit, and in Him we "live and move and have our being".

ps. a straw poll of the 5 readers of this blog. . . .would you rather me get back to blogging about silly things, or sports things. . or shall I continue to dive into technical theological matters which perhaps no one but myself is even thinking about. :)