Now I know in part...

Progress

March 31st, 2016 at 10:33 am | Posted in Books, Thinking biblical | No Comments

Receptivity is not a single thing; it is a compound rather, a blending of several elements within the soul. It is an affinity for, a bent towards, a sympathetic response to, a desire to have. From this it may be gathered that it can be present in degrees, that we may have little or more or less, depending upon the individual. It may be increased by exercise or destroyed by neglect. It is not a sovereign and irresistible force which comes upon us as a seizure from above. It is a gift of God, indeed, but one which must be recognised and cultivated as any other gift if it to realise the purpose for which it was given. Failure to see this is the cause of a very serious breakdown in modern evangelicalism. The idea of cultivation and exercise, so dear to the saints of old, has now no place in our total religious picture. It is now too slow, too common. We now demand glamour and fast flowing dramatic action.

A generation of Christians reared among push buttons and automatic machines is impatient of slower and less direct methods of reaching their goals. We have been trying to apply machine-age methods to our relations with God. We read our chapter, have our short devotions and rush away, hoping to make up for our deep inward bankruptcy by attending another gospel meeting or listening to another thrilling story told by a religious adventurer lately returned from afar.

The tragic results of this spirit are all about us. Shallow lives, hollow religious philosophies, the preponderance of the element of fun in gospel meetings, the glorification of men, trust in religious externalities, quasis-religious fellowships, salesmanship methods, the mistaking of the dynamic personality for the power of the Spirit: these and such as these are the symptoms of an evil disease, a deep and serious malady of the soul.

For this great sickness hat is upon us no one person is responsible, and no Christian is wholly free form blame. We have all contributed, directly or indirectly, to this sad state of affairs. We have been too blind to see, or too timid to speak out, or too self-satisfied to desire anything better than the poor average diet with which others appear satisfied. To put it differently, we have accepted one another’s notions, copied one another’s lives and made one another’s experiences the model for our own.

A.W Tozer, 1948.

We’ve come a long way.


5 questions to ask at the end of a book

March 10th, 2016 at 3:51 pm | Posted in Thursday's child | No Comments

I love questions. Without them, progress is virtually impossible. To reflect is to ask, and information without reflection is a wasteful use of my time. Anything i’m reading needs to land somewhere – I don’t enjoy it enough to class it as relaxation, and with limited time I need full value for it.

So for every book I read/finish I need some questions. They need to cover my person and my responsibilities, have tangible application and be measurable.

I’ll tweak them as I go but these can make for a good start.

Personally

  1. What has it revealed to me about myself?
  2. How am I going to respond to that? and how can I measure it?

Leadership/Responsibility

  1. What has it taught me about leadership/my leadership?
  2. How am I going to adapt my leadership in light of it?
  3. How will the affect be felt by those I lead?

Thursday’s child

February 13th, 2016 at 12:02 pm | Posted in Thursday's child | No Comments

Thursday’s child is an experiment; to do something i’ve never done before. To get smart. To get (a little) more serious. Serious about where i’m going. Serious about pursuing God-created and gifted potential. Serious about discipline and living the calling, position and responsibility i’ve been given. I’m 33, an elder, ministry leader, preacher and influencer, yet i’ve shirked, skirted and hesitated; resisting adulthood as if Peter Pan. Child-likeness is a huge strength, Jesus said so, but you can’t live in the sky. Despite internal resistance I need to pick up his shovel and shift some dirt, walk the earth and leave some footprints.

Thursdays will be my coming down – a window of time set apart for deliberate purpose.

I’m going to read, plan, do necessary admin and pray, and purely for my own sake and discipline will track the steps I take.


Made for more

July 4th, 2015 at 10:48 am | Posted in Books, Thinking biblical | No Comments

If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.

C.S Lewis – Mere Christianity

 

One day soon we will round a bend in the road, and our dreams will come true. We really will happily ever after. The long years in exile will be swept away in the joyful tears of our arrival. Every day when we rise we can tell ourselves, my journey today will bring me closer to home; it may be just around the bend. All we long for, we will have; all we long to be, we will be. All that has hurt us so deeply will be swept away

John Eldridge – Epic

 


Psalm 16

March 19th, 2015 at 11:33 am | Posted in Thinking biblical | No Comments

Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
I have no good apart from you.”
As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones,
in whom is all my delight.
The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply;
their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out
or take their names on my lips.
The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
you hold my lot.
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.
I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.
I have set the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
my flesh also dwells secure.
For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
or let your holy one see corruption.
You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.


Picking daisies

November 17th, 2014 at 4:13 pm | Posted in General blah, Things that make me me | No Comments

If I had my life to live over,
I’d try to make more mistakes next time.
I would relax. I would limber up.
I would be sillier than I have on this trip.
I would be crazier. I would be less hygienic.
I would take more chances, I would take more trips.
I would climb more mountains, swim more rivers,
and watch more sunsets.
I would burn more gasoline. I would eat more ice cream and less beans.
I would have more actual troubles and fewer imaginary ones.
You see, I am one of those people who lives
prophylactically and sensibly and sanely,
hour after hour, day after day.

Oh, I have had my moments
And if I had it to do over again, I’d have more of them.
In fact, I’d try to have nothing else.
Just moments,one after another.
Instead of living so many years ahead each day.
I have been one of those people who never go anywhere
without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, a gargle, a
raincoat, and a parachute.

If I had to do it over again, I would go places and do things.
I’d travel lighter than I have.
If I had my life to live over, I would start barefooted
earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall.
I would play hooky more. I wouldn’t make such good grades
except by accident.
I would ride on merry-go-rounds.
I’d pick more daisies.

Nadine Stair, age 85


Clouds – Zach Sobiech

October 31st, 2014 at 1:23 pm | Posted in Things that make me me | No Comments

I always liked this song but it’d been on my playlist for months before I stumbled across the back story.

Diagnosed with terminal bone cancer he recorded it a few months before he died. He was 18.

It changes how I listen to it.

Well I fell down, down, down
Into this dark and lonely hole
There was no one there to care about me anymore
And I needed a way to climb and grab a hold of the edge
You were sitting there holding a rope

And we’ll go up, up, up
But I’ll fly a little higher
We’ll go up in the clouds because the view is a little nicer
Up here my dear
It won’t be long now, it won’t be long now

When I get back on land
Well I’ll never get my chance
Be ready to live and it’ll be ripped right out of my hands
Maybe someday we’ll take a little ride
We’ll go up, up, up and everything will be just fine

And we’ll go up, up, up
But I’ll fly a little higher

We’ll go up in the clouds because the view is a little nicer
Up here my dear

It won’t be long now, it won’t be long now
If only I had a little bit more time
If only I had a little bit more time with you

We could go up, up, up
And take that little ride
And sit there holding hands
And everything would be just right
And maybe someday I’ll see you again
We’ll float up in the clouds and we’ll never see the end

And we’ll go up, up, up
But I’ll fly a little higher
We’ll go up in the clouds because the view is a little nicer
Up here my dear
It won’t be long now, it won’t be long now

Zach Sobiech – Clouds

Virginia Woolf apparently once said “someone has to die in order that the rest of us should value life more”.

Certainly true for me.


Søren Kierkegaard – The King and the Maiden

October 26th, 2014 at 1:28 pm | Posted in Thinking biblical | No Comments

Suppose there was a king who loved a humble maiden. The king was like no other king. Every statesman trembled before his power. No one dared breathe a word against him, for he had the strength to crush all opponents.

And yet this mighty king was melted by love for a humble maiden who lived in a poor village in his kingdom. How could he declare his love for her? In an odd sort of way, his kingliness tied his hands. If he brought her to the palace and crowned her head with jewels and clothed her body in royal robes, she would surely not resist-no one dared resist him. But would she love him?

She would say she loved him, of course, but would she truly? Or would she live with him in fear, nursing a private grief for the life she had left behind? Would she be happy at his side? How could he know for sure? If he rode to her forest cottage in his royal carriage, with an armed escort waving bright banners, that too would overwhelm her. He did not want a cringing subject. He wanted a lover, an equal. He wanted her to forget that he was a king and she a humble maiden and to let shared love cross the gulf between them. For it is only in love that the unequal can be made equal.

The king, convinced he could not elevate the maiden without crushing her freedom, resolved to descend to her. Clothed as a beggar, he approached her cottage with a worn cloak fluttering loose about him. This was not just a disguise – the king took on a totally new identity – He had renounced his throne to declare his love and to win hers.

Søren Kierkegaard – The King and the Maiden

Written as a modern day parable of the coming of Jesus.

Love can’t be forced. It’s given freely, or it ceases to exist; always leaving a choice to be received or rejected. But it must be that way.

God descended and appeared, to tell me and show me he loved me.

How will I respond?


Xander turned 30

October 14th, 2014 at 5:18 pm | Posted in General blah | No Comments

Fighting God

September 12th, 2014 at 2:32 pm | Posted in Things that make me me, Thinking biblical | No Comments

Evan Almighty’s a pretty forgettable film but there was a poignant moment at the end.

Without explanation God appears to Evan and is told to build an ark, in essence becoming Noah incarnate. He resists, runs away, denies it, fights the command and generally makes it incredibly hard for himself, but he’s eventually worn down and goes along with it.

It’s only right at the end, in hindsight that the explanation becomes clear, and had he known what he knew at the end, I can’t help but think he would have chosen to make the journey far smoother for himself.

Evan: You knew along, didn’t you? You knew the dam was unstable. If it hadn’t been for the ark, my family, my neighbours… [would have died]. I fought you every step of the way…
God: Yes, but you did it.
Evan: So, you had nothing to do with the flood? Like where the ark landed exactly?
God: I gave you a little shove at the end. Sue me…

I’m exactly the same. I fight God. I fight the circumstances he beckons me to walk through that I don’t understand. I throw regular tantrums along with the hand he’s dealt me back in his face. I tell Him he’s wrong; that he doesn’t know what he’s doing. I tell him I know best.

Deep down though I know I don’t. He knows best and I know it. He knows everything. The whole lot. Every detail. Nothing’s a mystery to God. He’s never surprised… and with hindsight, anything He calls us to do or asks of us will be justified and shown to be good, or at least to carry some sort of purpose or redemption.

Rarely does he oppress his will upon us harshly. Often he coaxes us gently. We kick and scream but He never loses patience. He knows how slow we are to learn and that our learning to trust him will be messy. I think we expect ourselves to cope far better than he ever does; when we struggle to accept what he’s doing in our lives he just loves us.