Here is the article I mentioned Sunday about Joel Osteen.
(HT: Between Two Worlds)
In Sunday school we were talking about various plans to read through the scripture. Some people opted for the verse a day plan. This must be because they are so spiritual that they see the depths of every verse like few people do. i found varying results for the number of verses in the bible but it ranges from 31,102 to 31,174. Lets just round it off to a nice 31,000. Divide that by 365 days and you get 84.931 years. So it will take you approximately 85 years to read through the scriptures on the verse a day plan.
1) This is not beyond the scope of human life as some suggested this plan would take thousands of years.
2) it is too late for anyone in our class to begin this plan so you better start looking for another.
Might I suggest the “intense plan”. It is said that the bible can be read aloud in 70 hours. So just take three days off from work, fast, get a big tub of water and a straw and read. After three days you will be done for the year; probably not with the bible, but for life. So maybe its not about quantity – one verse isn’t enough, and the whole bible at one sitting might be a bit too much. Maybe we should shoot for quality instead.
We drive through Pittsburgh, Texas every time we go to visit Bethany’s parents. It is there that we pass this spectacle.
In case you are unaware this is Bo Pilgrim of Pilgrim’s Pride. I personally think it is horrible advertising. His big head is on everything, even the tractor trailers have his huge noggin painted on them. Why does he think that this will make people want to eat his chicken—any chicken?
Tulsa, before you think bad of Pittsburgh, remember the praying hands?
I never connected the two before but now I have come to realize…there is a giant praying pilgrim trapped inside the earth. I bet there are a giant pilgrim feet somewhere in Kazakhstan.
In case you are terrified…relax.
[Bo photo by Olaf
Hands photo by Dustin M. Ramsey]
Some of you may know that Katie received the opportunity to conduct a phone interview with the figure head of the rock & roll extravaganza known as the David Crowder* Band. I was invited to tag along for moral support.
So we headed to Tulsa world and it was everything I expected it to be, unkempt cubicles, little lighting, and wonderfully interesting people with an apparent intimate relationship to the coffee bean. We waited for an authority figure named Barbara to guide us along the path. Alas she was nowhere to be found. So a nice lade with most spectral purple/maroon [?] hair told us to have a seat and instantly the phone rang…it was he.
I was hoping for speaker phone, a conference room, maybe even a video feed; I was devastatingly disappointed. I sat in a chair watching Katie relish the sweet dessert of a phone conversation with ‘the Crowder’. She laughed, she smiled, she affirmed, she probed – I sat. It was as if a rich chocolate cake with melted chocolate filling was right there, and I had to watch someone else enjoy it.
I wonder if we do this with God? If we just take all of our Christianity in second hand? We hear other people talk about how amazing HE is and we nod in agreement because maybe we tasted something like that one time. We listen to an elder speak of the glory of Christ and it sounds great, but have we, do we regularly taste Him ourselves?
This guy named Brother Lawrence wrote a classic in the 17th century called The Practice of the Presence of God. In it he basically said:
I have had such delicious thoughts on God that I am ashamed to mention them.
Ever been there?
When was the last time you talked to God? Was it second hand through another person?
So as Katie concluded I was allowed a brief hello/goodbye. I wasn’t sure what to say, my words fumbled. Surely Crowder now knows that it will be nothing spectacular to say he knows and once talked to ‘the King’. I wonder if we do this with God as well? We finally talk, it’s embarrassing. We aren’t sure what to do. So we put it off once again. This God is too great, completely alien to my lowliness and humanity. How could we ever be intimate friends?
But Jesus came, took on our humanity and revealed Himself to us, firsthand. And that is the way He still likes it today, firsthand.
Talk and listen to Him today.
Katie I forgot to ask his answers to two of your questions, please do tell:
1) How he stays active in church with all his band duties.
2) If he is working on any new books.
In Sunday School we talked about Jesus’ prayer in John 17. One of the most intense, deep, and beautiful sections of scripture. Justin Taylor blogged about it today and helps to bring out some of the intricacies of the prayer.
I started reading this book by D.A. Carson titled The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God. People today see nothing difficult about the love of God. God loves everybody. And that is just the problem. The love of God shocks no one. The love of God is normal.
We are like Nermals, the kitten on Garfield that constantly proclaims how cute he is (I know, I always thought he was a she too, consult the ‘W‘). How could God not love us, we are so cute. Sure there are some despicable people in the world, but most of us are ok, and our faults, they’re cute – right?
We often sacrifice God’s attributes, His holiness, His righteousness, His sovereignty, His justice at the expense of His love. God is never divided in His attributes. His love never works against His righteousness, never undermines His holiness, and never negates His justice. This is why there is no love extended toward mankind outside of the cross.
This is why many hate the cross or want to reduce it to a simple display of affection. If the cross is vicarious penal substitutionary atonement; propitiating God’s wrath, reconciling us to an alien Deity, redeeming us from bondage to sin, and justifying us before a righteous Judge whom we have infinitely offended, then we are infinitely far from cute!
This is why God’s love should shock us! His love did not constrain Him to make atonement for our sins. God is not obligated to love us.
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person-though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die- but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. – Romans 5:6-11
His love is His sovereign choice to love the very not-so-Nermal.
No milk for my routine once again (April, 10). God is sovereign over all, especially the milk supply. I stop at daylight to grab some chocolate milk and kolaches, settle into my office to violate my normal routine of going straight into my quite time, reasoning that I need my energy and focus to be full upon the word of God. So I eat my nutritious breakfast and read some blogs (funny, I read few blogs until I started writing one). First stop desiring GOD and I read this – interesting!
So I click the link to read more of the story here – amazing!
Finally I go to the original source to get the long version – deeply convicting!
I live this way too often.
You live this way too often.
There is a Song playing, one that we were meant to be:
Swept up in
Left in awe of
We should dance to it, sing to it, rejoice in it, and fear our senses growing numb to it as they often do to our favorite song. Don’t you hate how the most amazing songs grow old? What song do you wish you could hear again for the first time?
“With or Without You”?
“I Will Not Be Silent/Make a Joyful Noise”?
“What You Want”?
There is no song like this Song. We were made to adore and worship beauty. No one should briskly breeze by the Grand Canyon without reflection. No one should fail to dance to the King’s Song.
This fits so perfectly with what we are going to talk about at the yoke next week.
Come; get swept up into the rhythm.
I bought my wife a Dyson vacuum for Valentine’s Day!
I know. How romantic huh? I really am the romantic between the two of us. I used to do the candlelight and flowers thing. I would receive a courteous “thanks”. Soon I was told to never buy flowers again; they just die. So I bought a label maker. She was ecstatic! Hmmm… maybe I’m on to something. Next, a paper shredder. Again, joy! Ah-mazing!
Frodo and Sam (our two shelties) shed an outrageous amount of hair. They give birth to several miniature furball versions of themselves that float around the house. Our vacuum inhales these little children and nicely collects the litter for us about once a week. In between our little Dustbuster that we received as a wedding gift is used to annihilate their offspring. It is now behaving like a cranky old man. It starts off slow, goes on a rant, and then shuts down in a nap. So I thought the Dyson would be the perfect gift. I was wrong. She was surprised. She loved my effort. But she returned the Dyson.
Now pretend that this was the perfect gift, in which I had poured my very heart and soul; so deeply that my very being was woven into it’s every part. To reject, abuse, mistreat, or return such a gift would be a horrid offense.
I wonder how many of us do this with God’s word? “Thanks God, but can I have some pizza instead?”
I read this sermon by Edwards this morning that gives warning to those who put on a show at church.
When persons thus treat God’s holy ordinances (ordinances in this context = ordained by God as a means of grace; i.e. prayer, worship, preaching, etc.) it tends to beget contempt of them in others. When others see sacred things commonly used so irreverently, and attended with such carelessness and contempt, and treated without any sacred regard; when they see persons are bold with them, treat them without any solemnity of spirit; when they see them thus commonly profaned, it tends to diminish their sense of their sacredness, and to make them seem no very awful things. In short, it tends to embolden them to do the like.
The holy vessels and utensils of the temple and tabernacle were never to be put to a common use, but to be handled without the greatest care and reverence. For if it had been commonly otherwise, the reverence of them could not have been maintained. They would have seemed no more sacred than anything else. So it is in the ordinances of Christian worship.
I really want to address just one problem I see in our group—bringing your bible to church. If a visitor comes to church and sees a group of students who bring their Bibles, dive into them when we read them, and mark their bibles up, perhaps they will see that the Scriptures are no lite thing. But if they see students who say they are Christians, who do not bring their Bibles or do not take them seriously, how can they take us seriously when we tell them what the Bible says?
Please, if you are not going to bring your bible, consider not telling the visitors that you are a Christian, you might breed contempt for the Word of God! Why tell someone you are something if you have no plans on acting like it? Or would you rather have pizza?
Lost* – that was what this weekend was all about.
Bethany was gone to TX…I felt lost. The remedy, watching a sinful amount of lost.
I loved season one. when we were sure that we were going to move to Tulsa we started packing things up, and one of those things was that wicked dvr*. And so I was no longer able to watch lost. I lost Lost!
But now Lost has been found. Once we moved into our current casa the dish went up and the DVR resumed working its digital magic by recording season 3. Lost had been found. But I could not watch because I had not yet fulfilled the required prerequisite of Lost season 2. So this weekend I went to Hollywood* and found Lost season 2.
I watched it all!
In four days!
I have since repented of my excessive TV watching. It crazy how obsessed* we can become, especially when we have no anchor*. How everything else can seem less important.
Anyway there was this one powerful moment of worship within my viewing. Mr. Echo asks Locke if he knows the story of Josiah*. Locke says no. he tells how Josiah was a good king who followed the Lord. He wanted to rebuild the temple. To do this he would need money and gold. As this work was going on around the temple hellish finds a book. Do you know what this Book is?* Josiah read this Book and tore his clothes and wept. And it was with this Book, not money and gold that he rebuilt the temple.
The book had been lost! Can you imagine a church without a Bible?
I read this other book* about the effects of TV by Neil. He mentions two theories as to why books might be unread. The first one seemed to be a major threat during the world wars. It was the idea that books would be banned because of their content. Neil then goes on to show that the enemy has been much more subtle. He did not attack from without, but within. The scarier danger is not that books are banned, but that nobody would want to read a book!
And so we have lost the Book. Oh, we still have it, but it has lost its weight in our lives.
It is with this Book, not gold, money, or anything that it can buy that your life must be built on.
* Lost = Lost
DVR = digital video recorder
Hollywood= hollywood video
Obsessed = you must read ted decker’s Obsessed its a quick page turner
Anchor = Bethany
Josiah’s story = 2 Kings 22:23 & 2 Chronicles 34-35 – great story!
This Book = the Book of the Law
This other book = Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman.
In the hope and prayer of 2 Corinthians 7:10-11
So I come home after an exhausting day of work, and there is only more to be done around the house. I just want to get it all done and lay my head down and go to sleep.
“Honey, come here, I have to tell you something amazing.”
“Sorry babe, I have so much to do.”
“Could you just give me a hug and let me know that you love me and that you are still here?”
“I just want to finish this work. It’s not you. It’s not me. It’s this work; there is so much of it. Maybe one day things will slow down and we will have time to remember each other.”
Too busy? Please! To read a chapter in scripture takes less than five minutes. Too busy? When you lay your head down at night, sacrifice five minutes; to hard? Your call is not to leisure, or entertainment, or rest, but to carry a cross!
“There just isn’t any time GOD”
“I gave you time. I invented it. I own it. If you don’t want to use it to know and glorify ME, I think I’ll take it back…now!”
The scary thought is not that HE may take our lives, but that He may continue to allow us to live them as they are, walking deaths. Sin darkens, blinds, and binds. His punishment may be to let us fall into deeper sin, deeper darkness, and deeper bondage. He may allow our gluttonous feast on this world and self to continue so that we slowly eat ourselves to death. To busy…please!
It has been an exciting day, and there is more to come. We are going to have chicken parmesan and 24 comes on tonight.
“Honey, come here, I have to tell you something tragic.”
“Sorry babe, this food is so good, yummm! I don’t want to ruin this day. It has been too great, and 24 is getting ready to come on.”
Boring? Please! Do you exercise because it is entertaining? Oh, you may think the elderly man on the treadmill across from you with his quirky habits is entertaining, but the exercise itself, no. you exercise for joy. The joy of health, accomplishment, and fitness. Do you shower for entertainment? Yet there is often a joy that accompanies the feeling of being clean.
The Bible is not a novel. It was not meant to be read as a page turner. You were meant to meditate on it, pray through it. It is not here for entertainment, it is here for your eternal joy.
Maybe God is punishing us by allowing us to entertain ourselves to death. We may die to find out we never really lived. We just looked at other people’s fascinating lives on the “one eyed demon with a forked tail” and wished we were as spectacular as them. People that get out and exercise and shower are not boring. It is the 30 year old chap who still lives with his parents and plays video games all day. He is both scary and his life incredibly boring.
“Bethany, could you feed me. No better yet, that is too much work, could you chew it for me first. Birds do it for their young”
“1) You are not a bird. 2) You are not a young.”
As the bird grows it needs more nourishment and nutrition than its mother can provide. It must spread its wings and hunt. How embarrassing would it be for your mother to whip out the baby food at a restaurant and feed you? Church cannot be your only spiritual meal. You will rot and decay spiritually if this is the case.