Why I Read Dead Men

Because people don’t write like this anymore:

If God glorified one attribute, and not another, such manifestation of his glory would be defective; and the representation would not be complete. If all God’s attributes are not manifested, the glory of none of them is manifested as it is: for the divine attributes reflect glory on one another. Thus if God’s wisdom be manifested, and not his holiness, the glory of his wisdom would not be manifested as it is; for one part of the glory of the attribute of divine wisdom is, that it is a holy wisdom. So if his holiness were manifested, and not his wisdom, the glory of his holiness would not be manifested as it is; for one thing which belongs to the glory of God’s holiness is, that it is a wise holiness. So it is with respect to the attributes of mercy and justice. The glory of God’s mercy does not appear as it is, unless it is manifested as a just mercy, or as a mercy consistent with justice. And so with respect to God’s sovereignty, it reflects glory on all his other attributes. It is part of the glory of God’s mercy, that it is sovereign mercy. So all the attributes of God reflect glory on one another. The glory of one attribute cannot be manifested, as it is, without the manifestation of another. One attribute is defective without another, and therefore the manifestation will be defective. Hence it was the will of God to manifest all his attributes.  – Jonathan Edwards

I pray this blesses you as you reflect on your glorious God who greatly manifests Himself!

Galatians 6:11-18 & My House

First time: the closet smelled. The carpet was soaked. The bathroom ceiling was bubbling up. Mold had grown. Driers, flans, dehumidifiers were moved in for weeks. The house was intensely loud. Then came the day for them all to move out, but…

Second time: I flushed the toilet. Water erupted from said toilet as if I had struck oil. I grabbed the wet dry vac immediate, but alas immediately was too late. The toilet evidently was ingeniously placed right above the kitchen light fixture by an assassin plumber. The ceiling was wet and the driers, dehumidifiers, and fans came to reside in our home again. Then all was quiet. Repairs were being done. The house was quite. The ceiling was due to be painted the next day then…

Third time: I skipped church because all the plumbing in my head decided to mutiny against me. Water was shooting out my eyes in a manner to similar toilet incident mentioned above. I prepared for some much needed sleep. But a potty break was necessitated before such rest could commence. I left the restroom only to immediately turn around at the sound of running water. The toilet strikes again. I immediately grab towels, five of them, they are soon soaked. I run for the wet/dry vac only to see the kitchen light fixture dripping with water.

Despair struck my heart.

I will not glory in my house. It will fail me. Plumbing will need replacing. Paint will chip. Carpet will wear. Wood will rot. Foundations will crack.

To boast in such temporalities is to open yourself to heartache. They will all fail you.

There is only one boast worth having. Only one real foundation upon which to build you joy. Only one joy eternal. Only one glory unfading. This boast is the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Galatians 6:6-10 & Peanuts

I grew up on a peanut farm. I hate peanuts.

People seem flabbergasted by this?

It begins by sowing them. I would drive a truck, with a trailer. Upon this trailer were sacks. The sacks contained peanuts. You wouldn’t want to eat these peanuts because they were coated with poison. The poison limited the number of peanuts that rodents and such might consume. Dad would drive a tractor. There would be a device that put the poison peanuts in the ground attached to said tractor. I would drive the truck to the tractor, open sacks, and fill bins on the poison peanut injector. It would be hot, lonely, dry, and boring…I hate peanuts.

Then you would water them. Peanuts are like thirsty little camels that live under the ground. Think about it, they have two humps, soak up the water, and love sandy soil. They are the camel of the plant kingdom. You would water them twice a day. There would be a big pipe out in the middle of the peanut field with wheels on it. You would move the pipes, hook up hoses, and start a pump to push water out the mighty sprinkler system. I would get up early to help my dad do this…I hate peanuts. The only reward is when a rodent would be in pipes and get shot through a sprinkler. Sometimes you would have to fish out part of him with a piece of wire.

Peanuts take approximately five months to reach maturity. This means you water and cultivate them during this long period…I hate peanuts.

Then you would harvest them. If you were unfortunate you may have to put them into potato sacks. Dirty little peanuts would be eaten by a machine that deposited them into a bin where you would manually put them into sacks. You would soon have enough dirt in your ears to pot a plant…I hate peanuts.

Most of the time I either put big blankets on top of trailers that the peanut eating machine would drop the nuts into or drove the tractor pulling the peanut eating machine. my friend Ty and I would climb on top of the mountain of peanuts, have a war throwing them at each other, and then spread the blanket over them to keep them dry and bid them adieu…I hate peanuts.

You reap what you sow

I hate peanuts. But I did love growing up on a farm. I love everything that it taught me, hard work, patience, and imagination. I would not trade it for anything. I didn’t like it when I was awakened at six in the morning. I didn’t like it when I got in late at night. But I thank GOD that I did the things I didn’t like, because I love what they birthed in me.

Galatians 5:26-6:5 & The Chronicles of M & M and Superman

You may remember a few stories (such as the ultimate poo story) about my friends from seminary Matt and Mark. These twin brothers are the extravagant rock star type personality. This means lots or personality, lots of drama. So one day we are outside the church after services with a mixed crowd. We are all making fun of one another and I think someone made a rude comment toward me that Matt found hysterical. So to add some drama he fell on his back laughing. His pants ripped approximately four inches in the act. Now a good friend would politely hint to avoid, or cushion further embarrassment. I am not a good friend. I blurted it out loudly so that all laughs would turn from me, to Matt.

Paul’s advice in this text is really hard for me to live out. How does it work?

I watched Superman Returns last night. I was let down. Superman committed fornication. How do I confront him about this? Do I just ignore the issue, this is my default mode? Privately I will tell myself how much better I am than him. I may ignore or talk to him less. This fails in two ways: 1) it makes sin to be a small ignorable matter; 2) it cranks up the pride dial on my sinful heart. Hey, this is Superman, if he could fall to temptation, so could I. I should gently seek to restore him. I think that the more I ignore this sin in others while culturing sin in my own heart, the more susceptible I will be to the very same sin, or at least sin in general. Ironically I fail to see the granddaddy of all sin, the thread that runs through all acts of iniquity, pride, is consuming my life.

“Hey ‘Supe’…I look up to you, I consider you so much better than myself in so many ways. You genuinely love and sacrifice for others. But you have really messed up. But Christ is greater that all your sin. And He is at work to make all things work out for good. You need to marry this woman. Buck up and be a dad. Tell Lois the truth. This would be true superhero conduct.”

The gospel is why these actions must be taken. We make light of the gospel when we fail to seek our brother’s restoration.

Galatians 5:16-25 & I Do but I Don’t

Things you want to do, but don’t want to do:

  1. Eat a donut or five
  2. Go to the dentist when you have a toothache
  3. Restroom stop when driving the church van to camp
  4. Read your Bible
  5. Homework
  6. Apologize
  7. Do laundry
  8. You add to the list…

All Homo sapiens have conflicting desires at times. We battle with what will make us happier at times; to finish the homework, or put it off? Often in seeking happiness we only prolong our misery. We are foolish creatures. For Christians this does not cease, rather it intensifies. We do not simply deal with a moral conscience, but we have two natures. One wars against the other. Both are promising happiness.

All men seek happiness. This is without exception. Whatever different means they employ, they all tend to this end. The cause of some going to war, and of others avoiding it, is the same desire in both, attended with different views. This is the motive of every action of every man, even of those who hang themselves. – Blaise Pascal

God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him. – John Piper

Secondary Dessert

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?

Tasted that?

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.