There is a great difference in excellency, usefulness, and comfort between people of clear, digested knowledge, and confused, undigested apprehensions. -Richard Baxter

Archive for November, 2007

Saturday Night….Life

Now that you may have tried your hand (your heart really) at Lectio Divina, it might lead you to consider this:

We tend to think of Saturdays and Sundays as air-tight compartments in the sense that they don’t have much relationship to one another. Saturday is Saturday’s business. Sunday is Sunday’s. But what if part of what it means to “do” Sunday properly entails a certain way of “doing” Saturday?

Here’s a quote from one of the Puritans, George Swinnock. He has something to say about preparing yourself as the sun sets on a Saturday for what is to come when it rises again Sunday. His words are so foreign to our sensibilities, I think. Read the rest of this entry »

For Christ’s sake, love your Mother

If you love Christ, you will love his word. If you love Christ’s word, you will love his church. We dare not mock or treat as dispensable that for which Christ died. As the church, we are the bride of Christ. Let us labor, therefore, to make it our own, since Christ himself has made us his own (Phil. 3:12).

Justin Taylor has a brief piece on the relationship of Christ to His Church.  It’s one more voice speaking against the increasingly fashionable choice to withhold commitment from a local Body of believers.  She’s your Mother, complete with imperfections, but the One for whom Christ died.

turning the Day of thanks into a Life of thanks

wherever you might be flying to, or riding to, it might help you pass the time to download and listen to this track, and add to your thinking and praying about the centrality of thanksgiving. (It’s free so long as you register with the White Horse Inn’s podcast; don’t worry, you’ll receive no emails).

And do let us know your initial impressions of trying your heart at that ancient spiritual practice of Lectio Divina we explored last Sunday. (Here and here are the front and back sides of the bookmark instructions we distributed). Anyone feeling the need to go through detox from your need for stimulus? Tozer’s words, written well before laptops or ipods, are even more relevant to our situation:

Modern civilization is so complex as to make the devotional life all but impossible. It wears us out by multiplying distractions and beats us down by destroying our solitude, where otherwise we might drink and renew our strength before going out to face the world again.

A.W. Tozer, Of God and Men

So, pause, reflect. Sit still.

May your attentiveness to His grace lead you to thanks that is real and abiding.

You, your cell phone: a match made in….

Last Friday there was a bit of a ruckus on our street.  A high school sits around the corner and when school let out that afternoon, a couple students took it upon themselves to provide a little entertainment for their comrades by getting into a rumble–at first nearer the school (the policeman’s use of all the features on his new-fangled siren package was apparently all he was interested in doing to break it up).  Undaunted, the warring pair relocated the festivities to our neck of the woods.

I’d seen fights before in public school, and the crowds they usually drew.  What was new about this one was how the spectators quickly morphed, whenever the combatants raised their fists, into citizen-journalists.  They, with one accord, all raised their camera phones to snap a shot or record a short video-byte of the ruckus.

Old scenario, new scenery–this time with technology encroaching a bit further into the lanscape.

We’ve pointed  you to Cynthia Rosen’s work before–previously about how the virtual realities we inhabit in the cyberworld might have an effect on our sense of actual reality.  She’s written several pieces about technology recently, the first of which we’ll point you to today.  This one’s about your cell phone.

pornography: a form of suicide

Pornography: ubiquitous, an inordinately lucrative industry, it’s very definition debated in the highest corridors of public discourse, and a devastation to innumerable relationships and careers.

This is an imagined story of what is probably an all too real experience, repeated more often that we’d care to know.


There was nothing particularly noteworthy about Richard.  He garnered neither many complaints nor many compliments.  He, like many his age, had parents who loved him, but they had their own marital problems-sometimes so severe their caustic words sprayed at each other like acid.  Richard and his siblings, while still children, had always felt paralyzed whenever their parents fought, desperate for them to stop the angry shouting but never knowing how to intervene.  As teenagers they resigned themselves to living in their parents line of fire and quietly retreating whenever tempers flared. Read the rest of this entry »

let justice roll down like water…

The Gospel is the announcement that God is both just and the justifier of those who have faith in Jesus (Rom 3:26).  God is the One who acts justly toward sin by meting out justice upon the Savior, and on behalf of those God simultaneously justifies–acquits of sin and restores one to favor–in satisfying His commitment to justice.

As you may have heard Gary Haugen, President of International Justice Mission (ijm.org), will be preaching justice to us this weekend.  You might prepare your heart and mind for what he has to say by having a look here at an essay outlining some significant and practical steps to doing the work of justice among those in some form of sex-trafficking–not only in distant places, but right here. . . along the mean streets of Dallas.

If justice features so heavily in the most important moment of history, riding the ripple of justice and, with the Spirit’s help, channeling it toward areas needing it most seems like work worth doing.

counsel of a different sort

This has been making the rounds in recent weeks. Perhaps you’ve seen it. It’s a MadTV skit featuring the side-splitting dead-pan, Bob Newhart, as a counselor. In light of our previous series on biblical change and counsel, it’s an opportunity to laugh but also to consider a feature of conventional wisdom when it comes to change–albeit in a satirical, straw-man-argument fashion.

Justin Taylor even ran this little skit by none other than David Powlison, a colleague of Paul Tripp’s (the author of Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hand). Here’s Powlison’s musings on what’s portrayed.

the fruit of the Spirit and its implications for marriage

They are now Mr. and Mrs. Brian Black (and, at their request, I presented them as Mr. and Mrs. Married-Filing-Jointly in a nod to their common profession of corporate tax), and they married last weekend.  They picked the text. I tried to link its implications to marriage.  The English Puritan, John Owen, said that no sermon (or wedding homily, for that matter) is fit for others until it has been preached to the preacher, himself.  I’m reading it again for my sake this morning.


22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self control, against such things there is no law.  24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh in its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. 26  Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

If you happened to be at the base of Mt Rainier or somewhere in the Himalayas, and you saw a man preparing to climb to the summit of either, outfitted only with a single rope and a granola bar, you might think for a moment that this man was brave and tenacious.

But it’s more likely that the outcome of his attempt to climb with only those items will reveal he was neither brave nor tenacious, but merely foolish.  The climb before him would be magnificent and worthy of the ascent, but it’s treacherousness would require a kind of preparedness he did not account for.

You’re stepping into something this day that is both magnificent and treacherous. Read the rest of this entry »