Thursday, July 31, 2008

When People Are Big and God is Small - Welch

When I first picked up this book - many months ago - I had only heard great and wonderful things about it. And to be honest, the first half of the book is just that. Really convicting and helpful. Then the second half just fell short to me. I felt it was a mixture of psychobabble (not necessarily a negative term), a John Piper sermon (definitely not negative), and Gary Chapman books. I loved the concluding chapter - especially the part on Luther and Daniel. Here are some of the quotes that stood out to me:
"The praise of others - that wisp of a breeze that lasts for a moment - can seem more glorious to us than the praise of God. John 5.44." (p 40) Speaking in Gary Chapman terms - wholehearted, true words of affirmation are certainly important to me - one of my love languages. But, it is often hard for me to take a compliment - especially in areas where I feel weak.
"We spend too much time wondering what others may have thought about our outfit or the comment we made in the small group meeting." (p 40). Appearance is always important to girls. But, harshness comes when I am put down for my thoughts in a class or a small group - by someone I really admire or of whom I want approval. Maybe that comes from living in an educational world for so long - more than a fashion world (think The Devil Wears Prada vs Dead Poets Society). I grew up going to a small church in Plant City, FL. Everytime someone would have a new outfit on I would compliment them on it - or at least ask if that was a new outfit. No one ever said it to me, ok, hardly. My Mom would always cry over that with me - or for me. She knows encouragement and edification is one of my strong gifts - and hated it when it was never returned to me.
"I think that the application of Scripture to the details of our lives is great. My observation, however, is that these principles are not always embedded in the fear of the Lord. The result is that our goal can be self-improvement rather than the glory of the Holy God." (p 96) Wow - this is only hidden inward sin that most people hope no one else will ever see.
"The problem is not that we desire love, the problem is how much we desire it or for what purpose we desire it. Do we desire it so much that it overshadows our desire to be imitators of God? Do we desire it for our own pleasure of for God's glory." (p 149) Again, such a convicting statement - whether a person is single or married. Just was talking to a friend yesterday about contentment in different areas of life: single, married, kids, no kids, working, stay at home. We are never content. And as a paraphrase of CS Lewis - we will never be content outside of heaven.
"Self-serving needs are not meant to be satisfied - they are meant to be put to death." (p. 162)
I read Scripture with new eyes now. I read it and underline ways that the "actors" lived in fear of man rather than the fear of God - especially in the gospels. It happens so often - and also so often in our lives.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Football Season is coming!

Yes, the calendar is about to roll from July to August on Friday. When I was younger the most exciting thing that happened during the month of August was getting my supplies list from my classes at Lakeland Christian and hitting the stores! I had to have it all ready before I got to class the first day.
But, now, I have another reason, and definitely more important reason, to enjoy the month of August. It is the start to FOOTBALL SEASON! Whether it is NCAA or NFL - I can't wait. Of course the NFL doesn't really get going until September, there is pre-season. Most people like one or the other - but I definitely like both!
So, after looking here, I wanted to give you my news stories or random thoughts for the NCAA season that is almost upon us!
1. Of course I'll start with my team...GO GATORS! I am up here in enemy country - 1 hour from Kentucky and 4 hours from Tennessee. Oh, well - life goes on. We will see if Tim can have an amazing year, if Urban can still be a successful coach (maybe Tim will be successful in winning him to Christ), and if injuries and surgeries can heal properly so we can have an amazing running game and strong defense.
2. The other team I like and cheer for...TARHEELS! The two best blues are Gator Blue and Carolina blue! Now that Butch Davis has some recruiting under his belt - let's see what he can pull off this year. Maybe there will be a winning season for UNC in sports other than basketball and baseball.
3. Will the former SEC winnings of the UT asst coach come in handy at Duke? Will there actually be people pulling for the Blue Devils in their own stadium for home teams? We will see if the habits of the SEC can help the ACC.
4. UGA looks pretty good this year - they do indeed sit on top of many preseason bowls. We will see what happens come Halloween Weekend and the biggest tailgate party. But, I do have to say, I think Mark Richt is an amazing coach.
5. Oklahoma - how can I not pull for Bobby Stoops - amazing coach and former Gator! Always gotta cheer for those (even for the Fighting Illini).
6. The SEC again dominates the top 25 pre-season. Always a tough conference.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Hosanna - He Rules Them (Us, Me) By His Word

Reading before church and then going to a great church with great music - all go hand in hand. I'll start with my reading before church. Preparing to go in and meet with the presence of the Living God and to take communion - in honor and remembrance of the true meaning the gospel - good stuff.
The past few days God has been teaching me about my sin of discontentment - and yes - that is a sin. Not that we really like to call it that - but we must start calling a spade a spade - or a sin a sin. Christ died for my sin of discontentment. Oh, my...many areas of discontentment in my life. Being content does not mean that we got complacent. It means we are striving to please God in every thing we do and wherever we are in life - and are satisfied with Who He is for us and in us. It is when we realize that the things we don't have will not make us happy - only Christ will satisfy.
So, I picked out Psalm 61-63 to read, very convicting psalms to read in this area. Here is what I underlined...
61.2 - "Hear my cry...when my heart is faint." As I sat down to read the Word, I really didn't even want to read it. Sin is a heavy burden - and the sin of discontentment has weighed heavy this week.
61.3 - "for you have been my refuge" - my safe place, my place to run and be when I don't feel like doing anything else, when nothing else is safe and right, when emails aren't working, or facebook is down, or there is nothing on tv.
61.8 - "So I will ever sing praises to your name, as I perform my vows day after day." - Some Phyllis always said to me, even when I don't feel like it - read, pray, worship. Obedience and faithfulness even in trials or times of struggle.
62.5-8 - "My hope is from him, He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress, I shall not be shaken, On god rests my salvation and my glory, my mighty rock, my refuge is God, Trust in Him at all times, o people. Pour out your heart before Him. God is a refuge for us." - Oh the truth and goodness of that verse. I have come back to it time and time again. He listens to our hearts - He made our hearts - He knows our very longing - even those ones that continue and never seem to go away - He knows even those.
63.1 - "My soul thirsts for Him, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water." I was telling someone else today about a lack here in the ville - but God, you will never be my lack. Let me thirst for you - that is a cry and a prayer. Help it to be true of me.
63.3-4 - "Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live, in your name I will lift up my hands." - Love that song. Sang it with the college choir at the Summit. But, again - choice and obedience - faithfulness.
63.8 - "My soul clings to you, your right hand upholds me." - When there is nothing else...God is right there. Even in the lonely and hopeless times.
I also read in the Valley of Vision - wow, what a book, composed of Puritan prayers...
"Teach me to believe that if ever I would have any sin subdued, I must not only labour to overcome it, but must invite Christ to abide in the place of it. He must become to me more than vile lust had been, that his sweetness, power, life may be there. Though now I have his graces in part, I shall shortly have them perfectly in that state where thou wilt show thyself fully reconciled and alone sufficient, efficient, loving me completely, with sin abolished. O Lord, hasten the day."
What in the world does it look like (in practical terms) to have Christ live in place of my sin? It is preaching to myself the gospel every day. Oh, God - live in place of my sin. Your death paid that price.
Then, I got to church. We sang "O Great God" by Fernando Ortega and "Hosanna" brought to us by Hillsong. Man - great great songs! :) One of the lines in O Great God says he rules them by His Word. The song is talking about creation and all the things in it - but God also rules me by His Word - and I am thankful He chooses to speak!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Taylorsville Lake and Tom Sawyer

Here's the beginning of a new adventure!

Taylorsville Lake State Park: Only 40 minutes from Seminary. Pretty drive (once you get off the interstate). Reminds me of Marion and Lake County in FL. The lake is well marked of course. But, nothing else is. The lady at the campground registration wasn't that helpful. So, I walked about 20 feet and turned around. This would have been a good park to have someone else with to just explore off beaten paths...

Tom Sawyer: This one is in Louisville Metro. It wasn't as quite, but it was well-marked. It had everything from cornhole playgrounds, regular playgrounds, ball parks, soccer fields, a guy in an acrobatic plane, and a nature trail. I enjoyed that one.

Here are some pictures. Don't know which one is next - maybe some in Lexington since I'm going there in mid-August.

The Homegoing of a Faithful Servant

My Dad said it right last night - "When He made her, He broke the mold."
Dad called last night to tell my that my "aunt" Gladys had passed away. She is really my cousin, because she is my Dad's cousin - you would think after doing genealogy for 6 whole months I would know how everyone is related to me.
I remember days of traveling to Alabama to see my Dad's family. Aunt Gladys had a farm, with a hay loft, june bugs (they were pretty and Alan and I always chased them). She was up every morning in the 4am hour to milk the cows, make the biscuits, get breakfast ready for everyone. Her entire family lived near her. Alan and I would climb up into the hay loft and play for hours. It was back in the simple times.
She has been sick now for many years, but she was well into her 80s. She wanted to rest peacefully at home instead of in a hospital. My Dad has gotten to spend some time with her this past year, so that has been good. She knew Jesus. That is all that matters.
She loved her family - her family was everything to her. She worked and served her family to show them that she loved them. And I guarantee they knew that.
My prayers are many:
1. First, that the family would be comforted that Aunt Gladys is in no more pain and she is more importantly worshipping Jesus.
2. Second, that I might have a family to serve one day. Ok - so I don't think I'll ever have to milk cows - (even though my Dad always threatened me that I would marry a dairy farmer because I didn't like to get up early) - but I pray I can serve my family in some capacity at some point.
God - thank you for the example of Gladys Dyson. Thank you for her servant's heart, her ability to love and serve faithfully her family all these years. Thank you for taking her to be with you. Good and faithful servant. Amen.

Friday, July 25, 2008

New mission: Kentucky State Parks

My brother and sister-in-law and Justin Myers, a friend here at seminary, inspired this new mission. Alan and T love taking trips too. They visit state parks in FL and lighthouses (T and I just had this conversation a few weeks ago). Justin and his wife, Bonnie, love to travel as well. Justin and I were just talking about Tennessee state parks last week before my trip to E TN.
So, here it is. Since Kentucky isn't that big (and I mean that big, its not as big or long as the state of FL)...I would like to get to every state park.
These are some reasons why:
1. Free entry - only thing I have to pay for is gas.
2. Enjoying different aspects of God's creation.
3. Something to do that gets me out of Louisville
4. I won't sit in my apt and watch Food Network on Saturdays or Sunday mornings (since I go to church at night).
5. I love to camp if I have someone to do it with - any takers?
6. It'll be good exercise (to walk the trails, and varies from Cherokee and the parks here in the ville).
7. Because I can.
8. I love to travel
9. I love scenery pictures!

All of them are here:
Can't wait. This weekend is Taylorsville Lake State Park. It is about 30 minutes away. It is the second closest - and I don't have a ton of time since I have to work on Sat morning.
I'll be posting pictures - so be on the lookout!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

"I Kissed a Girl" and O'Reilly Factor

Ok - so really - what is up with culture? It is a culture that is falling deeper and deeper. Satan is the prince of this world as Scripture tells us.
I've been watching the O'Reilly factor. Tonight:
1. Obama in Europe - really putting down America in some way shape or form. Yes, watch the same broadcast on CNN and you'll get a totally different story. But, Europeans can't vote. Who cares?
2. Muslim dad who kills daughters - all for being too western. Do all Muslims kill their daughters - of course not. Do American Dads kill their daughters - it happens. What really is lacking is men being men and teaching their daughters about how to be women of God. But, that would mean that the Dads would need to know Jesus. Of course, a personal relationship with Jesus doesn't usually happen in Muslim culture. And it really doesn't happen too much in American societies either.
3. Katy song of "I Kissed a Girl". Dumb song, yes. Well sung song, no. Stupid video, yes. Reflective of the culture - in many ways. Here is how so:
a. We lie in relationships. (She wants to make her boyfriend jealous.)
b. Its all about us anyway - pride is huge!
c. Most of culture wants to "experiment" when it comes to their sexuality.
Bill and his guests were talking about what this song means for culture. It doesn't worry one of them. One wonders if parents will be nervous of their kids and what they listen to on the radio.
Now, is country music any better? No. There are all these songs out there about sexual acts or fooling around or bashing in headlights and keying a truck because the boyfriend cheats.
I think parents should be worried about what their kids listen to. I'm not even saying to "only listen to Christian music" - some of that has bad theology.
What I am saying is that parents should be active in their kids lives. Know what they listen to, watch, etc. That is what parents do. Parents are there just to dole out allowances and scrapbook. Parents - stand up and be parents. Christian parents - point them to Christ!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tennessee and Friends (and mini LCS reunion)

This past weekend I took a trip to Eastern TN. It was great fun (except seeing Neyland stadium). Had a blast. This is who I saw:
Lisa Moseley - my best friend from high school. Stayed with her and her husband on Friday night. We got her hooked up on Facebook and watched some stupid race show and had fantastic cinnamon rolls and fruit for breakfast!
Jeremy Dollar - friend from Southeastern who is preparing to go to Las Vegas as a church planter. Pray for him.
Anthony and Rachel Tucker and all their 5 boys! This was unexpected but such a treat. Anthony owns Clumpy's ice cream in Chattanooga - so if you are there - go!
Jen Sagraves - my twin from high school, we sang together our Senior year and just did a bunch together. Her family (except for Steven) were all at church too. We met up with some of her friends from church and went to Barley's and the TN Riverfront. Had a blast!
Joe McKee - a friend from LCS. Joe's brother, J.O., was in my class. Joe came to hang out with us.
Randy Doss - a guy I graduated with and we went to LCS all the way through. Good to see him. God's grace is amazing. He is teaching and just got married.
Chad Ridner - he graduated a year ahead of me at LCS - has 3 kids and is working in Knoxville.
Seriously, I think we should hold our next reunion in TN.
Then on Monday, I saw more friends from Southeastern - Christina, Marcus, and little William. he was wired from sitting in a car. But, he had fun in the sprinklers and we all got to talk!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Humiliating Worship

What a title? But, I'm going to use the word humiliating in a different way than most commonly used.
I went to Cornerstone Church of Knoxville this weekend - part of Sovereign Grace Ministries. While the preaching was ok - the worship in music was great. I knew the songs (or most of them) - and there was a sense of freedom in a church that I rarely find outside of the Summit and ABC. in fact, I haven't had freedom like that in a church up here. Where you are free to worship as you choose and there is a large enough congregation (several hundred) where you don't feel like people are watching you. I know, that sounds a little like the fear of man - but its the truth.
During the singing - I looked over and saw a friend of mine from high school, clapping, lifting his hands in worship, singing (which he never would do in high school). That glimpse of God's amazing grace and the song we were singing (don't even remember what it was) dropped me to knees. I was - for the first time in a long time - on my knees in front of the God who is good enough to give me a glimpse of Who He is and what He can do.
I have long judged some of the people I went to high school with because you wonder what they are doing and hope they have changed, etc. But my life reflects just as much of a need of a Savior as their lives do. I am no better than they are. I was in awe of seeing classmates worship. God is so much bigger than what I did in high school - and He forgives my gossip, judgmental attitude toward them (both then and through the years).
Aren't you glad we serve such an amazing God? Even one that will allow us to come before Him on our knees with our hands lifted high in worship of Him
We must lose sight of ourselves.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Walk - Michael Card

This is required reading in one of the classes here at Southern. So, once I heard a rave review about it - I thought I would pick it up as well. This book is mainly about discipleship - and living life together. And since that is my biggest heartbeat for the church, especially for women and for the ladies in my life - I really enjoyed it. It is also a quick read of 150 pages.
"Of all that makes our faith unique and true, one feature especially stands out: the Incarnation of Jesus of Nazareth" (22) One of the famous Young Life quotes we used in ministry was "be Jesus with skin on". Jesus was God with skin on - for us - to see the very face of God. No, none of us were there while He walked this earth, but we have very clear and true pictures of that life on earth from Scripture.
"Discipleship is peripatetic" (23)- I learned a new word. But, this just means living life - walking - with someone. This whole book is about a relationship between Michael Card and his mentor, Bill Lane. They modeled this - through the ups and downs of life, and eventually, even through Bill's death from cancer in 1999.
"You must develop a lifestyle of listening" (67) This is one of the things I struggle with most in life. I multitask so much in my life that when I am just sitting having a conversation one on one with someone (especially over the phone) - my mind wanders. I either think about how to help them (if they come to me with a problem) or I think about what I'm going to do when I get off the phone, or I think about what I'm going to say next (its all about me - see a problem).
"Trust His sufficiency" (86) This was indeed one of my profound statements in the book. Jesus is my sufficiency. I don't need knowledge, lots of friends, a busy schedule, a great job, great cooking skills, speaking engagements, a wedding ring, kids, long life...I just need Jesus.
"Let the excellence of your work be your protest" (96) Another aspect of my life that I don't like to admit to most people is how critical I am. I am critical of myself, of churches, of others, or situations. My Dad called me out on this not too long ago - and I know exactly from where it comes - but that is no excuse. So, instead of being critical of other things or people - I need to shut my mouth and let my life live out loud in response to what I see. Hopefully, others will see God's goodness and grace through me - and not here criticism always coming out of my mouth.
"Deeper down in a more selfish place, I am afraid of what my world will be like without him in it" (110). He was talking about his friend Bill here. But, this resonated with me today for some reason. It may be that I live far away from many friends and family who are very dear to me, but community with them is slightly harder now that I live so far away. It may be because my brother and sister in law are going on the mission field shortly and won' t just be a plane ride away. It may be because my parents are on vacation, so I haven't been in constant email communication with my Mom. How true, that even in death, we are selfish.
"Have a value system founded on God's Word" (143). My first mentor, Phyllis, taught me this more than anything else. The 3x5 cards in her house, on her walls. Journals everywhere of her prayers for her family (and thankfully me). Her mornings filled with the Word. This is where I learned to love the Word. I pray that this is one of the things I gave my girls - those who I have had the privilege to walk beside over the years.
Are you in a Paul/Timothy relationship with someone? If so, thank God for them and continue that. If not, pray God would lead someone to you or vice versa.
Great book.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Feminism and Language

This has been a topic I've been thinking of recently. No matter what stage of life you are in as a woman - this applies to you (and to me).
How important is our language? I'm mostly talking about words and tones here - not body language (that is a whole different topic).
Why does it offend me more when I hear women using cuss words or speaking of sexual topics?
Why does it sadden me when I hear women arguing with or defaming their husbands or other male leaders in their lives?
This is what I am NOT saying: I am not saying that women can't talk about tools, cars, football, etc. I am not saying that women can only talk about babies, tea, shopping, baking, decorating, and makeup. As many of you know me - I love football and seldom talk about makeup. That kind of language is not what I am referring to.
I am more referring to warrior terms, battle terms, pastoral terms (pastor role in a church), cussing, language that tears down others, sexual language that is not meant to be talked about outside of a bedroom of a married (male/female) bedroom (and sometimes not even then because it belittles and secularizes the act of sex that God meant for our good as a husband and wife).
Why does it make me just a little uneasy when I hear of women going and fighting in the wars? Why do I cringe when I hear a woman in the pulpit? Why do I hate watching movies where women are in bars or gossiping about things that they shouldn't be talking about?
I think there are a couple of reasons:
1. We are not obeying Col 3.16: Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
2. We are not obeying Prov 4.24: Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you.
3. We are not obeying Prov 5.3: For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil. (We are being the forbidden woman.)
4. We are not obeying Col 4.6: Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.
5. We are not being like the P31 woman in that we do not follow these three traits: The heart of her husband trusts in her,and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life and she opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue (Prov 31.11, 12, 26).
So, how can we change this disobedience to obedience?
1. Build up the men in your lives. Encourage them in their masculinity, in the roles that God has created them for, in their walk with Christ. This applies to a Dad, husband, pastor, boss, and your brothers in Christ.
2. Think about what is going to come out of your mouth before it actually does.
3. Watch and read with eyes wide open. Engage your world with a biblical worldview.
4. Encourage other women in your life (your younger women) to be setting the example in speech (as 1 Tim 4.12 says).

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Begrudging God's Generosity

Currently, I'm reading through Matthew in my quiet times. And how many times have I heard this parable - yet the faithfulness of the Spirit is quick to teach me new things from the Word.
Matthew 20 is the story of the laborers in the vineyard. Where the master hires workers at different times during the day, but each one getting the same wage. Here is the end response of the master after being questions by the workers who started at the beginning of the day:
"Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?"
I often do this - ok, no I don't want a denarius for working in the field all day. Here is how this applies to me.
I often wonder why I am not actively involved in a paid ministry position at some church - I have a seminary degree?
Why aren't I married? Other people are.
Why don't I...
The list goes on and on....
How I begrudge the generosity of God just a bit (at first) when I hear of friends who get pregnant or get a ministry job or are planning their wedding.
Why? I was created in God's image and what did I do with it - spat on it. Turned away from it.
And yet...God's generosity gave me His Son (Rom 2.4). Out of His Supreme Plan He chose me. Yet - I mock His generosity?
How do you begrudge the generosity of God?

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

My First Blog Interview

How cool is this! Alli has a great blog over at - and she was up here at Southern for an apologetics camp. Steve Wright at Providence had introduced us (thanks Steve and Facebook) so we got to eat lunch and hang out one day while she was here. Even through all the interruptions -
Alli - I appreciate your heart, your eagerness for learning and for the Word, for ministry to your friends and family.
Thank you - it was a privilege!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

John Adams - HBO mini-series

This movie (series) was much better than I thought it would be. Of course, I love American history - but this movie (as my Dad pointed out when he sent it to me) was more about John Adams' personal life and his involvement with history rather than merely history itself.
What a great insight. A Believer in Almighty and Providential God. A faithful husband to one wife of 54 years. A strong believer in his country. I loved the last line of this series something to this effect: If you do not take care to guard the freedom of this country - I will repent from above for ever having fought for it.
One thing that I also really liked about the movie is that Tom Hanks and McCullough and other folks in charge did not wish to paint his family life as perfect. His one son Charles died of alcoholism I would assume - he was an alcoholic and all the problems that went along with it. He didn't like his son-in-law after he made many mistakes - only to reconcile after his daughter's death. He was in charge of his family - but not always in a good way. He didn't have a great relationship with any of his children. He said after JQ had been elected President that he was the proudest then.
This is what I fear - and I do write this after crying much through the last DVD (as Leah warned) - that I would ever lose someone that I loved so much. But I also fear that I will never have the chance to love that much (as John lost his Dear Friend, Abigail). So...that is my final thought.
If you get a chance, take 8 hours of your time and watch this movie. It would be in America's best interest to get President's with some of Adams' qualities...but I fear there aren't too many left in the world like him.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Coffee & Church

Ok - folks, hear me out. This MERE OPINION. This is not a Biblical mandate, this is not a black and white issue. It is more of a cultural phenomenon.
Growing up in Strawberry country in Lakeland/Plant City FL, I never remember and I mean never - people bringing anything to drink into the service with them. Sometimes when my Mom would go to coughing, I'd have to go to the back closet room to the water fountain and get her one of those Dixie cups to drink. That is all. Even when I switched to a SBC church, I don't even remember having coffee/tea/water in the foyer... We had breakfast in SS but that was it - we wouldn't dare bring it into church.
In all of the churches post-high school that I have been a part of - no matter how conservative or contemporary - all have had coffee in their foyer/sanctuary. This is my thought:
1. Is the church hour no longer a separate time that we come in to God's presence, worship, fellowship - leaving the World out?
2. Are we so living in a Starbucks/Caribou/Java world that we can't do without it for not even 2 hours on a Sunday morning?
Great - have it in the foyer, mingle over it before the service starts - I think that is a great idea...but can't we do without our addictions during the worship service? Just a thought...