Wednesday, September 29, 2010

So I guess I'll see you all tonight!

How to stay
            safe in the World today!
Where IS the
            Safest Place?

            Avoid riding in automobiles
because they are
            responsible for 
20% of all fatal

2. Do not
            stay home because 
17% of all accidents occur in the

3. Avoid
            walking on streets or sidewalks 
because 14% of all
occur to

4. Avoid
            traveling by air, rail, or
because 16%
            of all accidents involve 
these forms of

5. Of the
            remaining 33%, 
32% of all deaths occur in
So, above all else, avoid

But. .

            will be pleased to learn that only .001% 
of all deaths
            occur in worship services in church, 
and these are usually
            related to previous physical
            Therefore, logic tells us that
            the safest
place for
            you to be at any given point in time is at

And . . .
            Bible study is safe too!

            percentage of deaths 
during Bible study is even

and read your
            YOUR LIFE!

How much love?

Wednesday Morning 9/29/2010

Holy God,

  From the beginning of time you have spoken in different ways.  Your voice has boomed across the watery chaos and arisen from a fiery bush.  You have spoken from the whirlwind and through prophets.  You have given us the Word, in Jesus Christ, and left the Word in Holy Scripture.  From age to age you speak words of delight and rebuke to your people, calling us to live in faithfulness to you.

  You speak, Lord, and yet I seem unable, unwilling to listen.  My stubborn ears block out the sound of your voice, and my restless heart leans toward so many other voices.  My life belongs you to, yet I keep trying to put a 'for rent' sign on it, that the world may know I am easily bought. 

  Speak, Lord, to this sinful heart, that I might turn once more to hear your voice calling me into the future you have set for me.  Speak, Lord, that tears of joy might flow from a grateful heart, knowing that your mercy continue to form me into a new being each and every day.

I love you, Lord.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Scots Confession, Chapter XVIII

The Notes by Which the True Kirk Shall Be Determined from the False, and Who Shall Be Judge of Doctrine

Since Satan has labored from the beginning to adorn his pestilent synagogue with the title of the Kirk of God, and has incited cruel murderers to persecute, trouble, and molest the true Kirk and its members, as Cain did to Abel, Ishmael to Isaac, Esau to Jacob, and the whole priesthood of the Jews to Christ Jesus himself and his apostles after him.

So it is essential that the true Kirk be distinguished from the filthy synagogues by clear and perfect notes lest we, being deceived, receive and embrace, to our own condemnation, the one for the other. 

The notes, signs, and assured tokens whereby the spotless bride of Christ is known from the horrible harlot, the false Kirk, we state, are neither antiquity, usurped title, lineal succession, appointed place, nor the numbers of men approving an error. For Cain was before Abel and Seth in age and title; Jerusalem had precedence above all other parts of the earth, for in it were priests lineally descended from Aaron, and greater numbers followed the scribes, pharisees, and priests, than unfeignedly believed and followed Christ Jesus and his doctrine . . . and yet no man of judgment, we suppose, will hold that any of the forenamed were the Kirk of God.

The notes of the true Kirk, therefore, we believe, confess, and avow to be:

(1) first, the true preaching of the Word of God, in which God has revealed himself to us, as the writings of the prophets and apostles declare;

(2) secondly, the right administration of the sacraments of Christ Jesus, with which must be associated the Word and promise of God to seal and confirm them in our hearts;

(3) and lastly, ecclesiastical discipline uprightly ministered, as God’s Word prescribes, whereby vice is repressed and virtue nourished.

Then wherever these notes are seen and continue for any time, be the number complete or not, there, beyond any doubt, is the true Kirk of Christ, who, according to his promise, is in its midst. This is not that universal Kirk of which we have spoken before, but particular Kirks, such as were in Corinth, Galatia, Ephesus, and other places where the ministry was planted by Paul and which he himself called Kirks of God. Such Kirks, we the inhabitants of the realm of Scotland confessing Christ Jesus, do claim to have in our cities, towns, and reformed districts because of the doctrine taught in our Kirks, contained in the written Word of God, that is, the Old and New Testaments, in those books which were originally reckoned canonical. We affirm that in these all things necessary to be believed for the salvation of man are sufficiently expressed.

The interpretation of Scripture, we confess, does not belong to any private or public person, nor yet to any Kirk for  pre-eminence or precedence, personal or local, which it has above others, but pertains to the Spirit of God by whom the Scriptures were written. When controversy arises about the right understanding of any passage or sentence of Scripture, or for the reformation of any abuse within the Kirk of God, we ought not so much to ask what men have said or done before us, as what the Holy Ghost uniformly speaks within the body of the Scriptures and what Christ Jesus himself did and commanded. For it is agreed by all that the Spirit of God, who is the Spirit of unity, cannot contradict himself. So if the interpretation or opinion of any theologian, Kirk, or council, is contrary to the plain Word of God written in any other passage of the Scripture, it is most certain that this is not the true understanding and meaning of the Holy Ghost, although councils, realms, and nations have approved and received it. We dare not receive or admit any interpretation which is contrary to any principal point of our faith, or to any other plain text of Scripture, or to the rule of love.


  The debate here is how we tell the true church from one that is not faithful to Christ.  The authors of the Scots Confession argue that it has three attributes:  faithful preaching from the Word, administration of the sacraments, and church discipline rightly administered.

  But how to tell if these things are truly happening?

  It takes time.  We'd like to have a label on the outside of the church, telling us if these things are truly happening.  But instead, we have to dig in, to discover if the Word is truly driving the church, if the sacraments are helping the people fall in love with God all over again, if we are being accountable to one another.  And it takes discipline on each individual's part to commit to reading the Word and seeking the will of the Holy Spirit, for how is one to discover what is or is not present at a church if one isn't seeking to have God present in one's own life?  How easy it is to let others do the work for us...

  How hard it is to accept the challenge of discipleship and accept Christ's Lordship over ALL aspects of life.  The church struggles with this as well, and we grow comfortable, allowing our life together to be driven by comfort, or laziness, rather than the hard call of discipleship.  May those within the church be faithful to Christ in all areas, and may we form a community that invites others into the life-giving relationship that can be found only in Christ.

Tuesday Morning


As clouds pile up outside, I am reminded of your glory. In the days of the Israelites you came to earth in a cloud, that you might talk with Moses. How wondrous that must have been, to see the cloud descending and know that God was in the cloud! May these serve the same purpose, to remind me of your presence, of your glory, that I might offer a word of thanks, a life of thanks, out of gratitude for your eternal love.


Monday, September 27, 2010


Monday Morning 9/27/2010

Dear Lord,

Grant that my faith might be child-like today. May I trust in you and recognize that I cannot obtain peace through my own efforts. Teach me that my hands are to serve as vessels for you, that my feet are best used when you are leading them, that my soul cannot survive for a moment without your grace. You are love unexplainable, and yet in Jesus Christ you have revealed the depth of your passion for us. Teach me once more, dead Lord, how to pray, how to live, how to love, how to worship.


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Straight No Chaser

Last Thursday Rachel & I went to see Straight No Chaser in concert. They're an acapella group out of Indiana, and while I will freely admit that the concert was completely Rachel's idea, I will say I thoroughly enjoyed myself. They put on a great show, and the second half of their concert was one of the more entertaining shows I have attended.

After the concert, we got to talking about how enjoyable it was to know that this group was filled with very talented musicians, especially in this day and age, when most musicians seem to be manufactured, thanks to very talented computer mixers and expensive equipment designed to make them sound better than they are. How can one know who is actually a very talented singer and who is simply a product of an excited music industry?

I kept turning this idea over in my head, thinking about the importance of authenticity. Is it any different in the Christian world? We see so many carefully manufactured and managed personas that often we aren't even sure who is authentic. But then we run across those people who have complete integrity, who are the real deal, who walk the walk as well as talk the talk, and we appreciate them so much more because of the rarity of this trait.

In a world crying out for authenticity and integrity, may the Christians of the world have the boldness and courage to stand up and be counted, to live the discipleship we proclaim, to admit our wrongdoings but always strive for, as Paul says, the more excellent way.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Thursday Morning

Holy God,
You have appointed a time for everything. You know my days and my hours, and you continue to set opportunities before my eyes. Create in me a heart in love with you, that the life that is before me might not be wasted on the things of this world, but rather might seize the chance to fall before you in worship, to be set down before my brothers and sisters in service. Help my feet to follow the path you long for me to choose, that I might arrive at my end with the knowledge that I have sought to serve you faithfully.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wed Morning

Teach me this day. My heart is so often turned from you, focused on what the world has to offer. Slow my pace, that my heart might quiet itself long enough to hear the soft, still voice of the Spirit speaking into the darkness. The light shines, Lord, but my eyes have grown so accustomed to the dark that it pains me to look upon the light and realize how far I have yet to go. Forgive my wayward thoughts and idolatrous mind, Lord, and kindle in me once more a passion for your Word, a love for your Son, and a desire to serve your people, as you did in Christ Jesus our Lord, as you serve us today.


Friday, September 10, 2010

Revelation Song

I love this song.

Friday Morning 9-10-2010

Dear God,

  On this morning, I come to humble myself before you.  You are a great and awesome God, mighty and holy and majestic.  You have carved the earth from the chaos and bring forth rain from the clouds.  You have breathed life into my being and surrounded me with your beauty and love. 

  And in return, I have loved myself more than I have loved you.  I have worshiped the things of this world rather than the God who loves all people.  I have not served my neighbor.  Forgive me, Lord, and set a new heart within me, that this life might be lived for the glory of others, that these hands and feet might be used for your service, so that, when this life is over, others might see you through my efforts.


Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Light and the Glory

  Last night I finished up The Light and the Glory, a journey in American history by Peter Marshall and David Manuel.  The book was focused on God's plan for America from 1492-1793.  I was pleasantly surprised at how much history I remembered and how interesting this 450 page jaunt through the settlement of the country was.  We begin with Christopher Columbus' journey westward and end with George Washington's descent from the presidency.  If you've been itching to delve into American history, or want to explore it all over again, this is a good place to start.

  This book is the first of three in a series called God's Plan for America.  The intent of the authors is not merely to write a history book, but rather to discover how God was at work in and through the early discoverers and settlers of this country.  What was God's plan for America, and how was God using early individuals to accomplish this plan?  And, in every case since Eden, how were we resisting and deviating from that plan?

  I think the authors do a commendable job at balancing the highlights and the lowlights.  They do not shrink from some of the atrocities committed by those who first reached these shores from Europe, and they often point out that the violence we brought to these shores was often followed by tumultuous times for the settlers.  They are very open with their bias, and they are searching for God's hand in history--some periods force them to search a little harder than others!

  The over-arching theme of the book, and the thing I take away from it, is that those who were leading were, most often, Christians who were not afraid to spend entire days in prayer to discern God's will for their lives and the country.  I am humbled by the amount of prayer described in this book--and I am challenged.  If this country, and the small part of it I inhabit, is going to follow God's will for us, we have to begin on our knees, in prayer, both admitting our faults and seeking God's voice.  The writers often lament the current state of the country, but they are always hopeful, for God doesn't give up on us!  But we must first be humble, and in all things be prayerful, and only then are we ready to be led.  For centuries that was the guiding ritual in this country--can it be so again?