Wednesday, October 29, 2008

27 Dresses

I've been housesitting this week so I have access to movies that aren't mine (I love people with great movie collections). I hadn't seen this movie, had heard some good things about it, and wanted to check it out.
But, I also learned from Bruce at Southeastern to always watch movies with a critical eye - looking for the worldviews in it and how it differs from God's worldview that He gives us in Scripture. So, I sat down in the lazyboy with my steno pad and pen - and pressed play.
This is what got on paper:
- weddings are more important than marriage
- woman minister in one of the weddings she was in - this denies a complementarian viewpoint and you could also see that in some of the relationships in the movie and random comments.
- Competition and sex is what it boils down to
- They mocked 1 Cor 13
- Kevin (Malcolm) actually had the divorce rate correct - which is also sad.
- True - marriage isn't always easy
- The girly notion of number 1 and longingly looking at the wedding annc page in the newspaper
- Guys - its all about getting laid
- Women try too hard to win the guy's hearts (and again, we are back to the complementarian thing about men leading in relationships)
- Relationships are built on lies (however, this comes to light before the wedding takes place - one redeeming quality, although not in the way she does it)
- Wallow in self-pity
- "rebound" dating - using the other guy
- Love is all sentiment - love is an action and choice
- Getting drunk always helps, and dancing on bar tops, which understandably leads to sex (hint of sarcasm)
- "Last legal form of slavery" - what happened to the marriage for the glory of God?
- Destroying someone else doesn't make you feel better
- It isn't always better being someone else
- Girls take lead in commitment (again, complementarian is completely wrecked).
I hope this inspires you to think more about the movies you watch. I love chick flicks with the best of them. But, I know they are so not a picture of the real world. I read once that chick flicks are female porn. Maybe not porn for guys (sexual) but porn for women - we want the sweep you off your feet, bring me roses, call me right away, talk to me for hours, drop dead gorgeous guy who buys me things - and watching chick flicks makes us want that - instead of maybe what we do have - or what God has planned for us.
Do I still watch chick flicks - yes, but now I watch them with an eye for what is false and hope to pick out something redeeming in them.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Jesus is So Much Better

Ah - the things I think about. Sometimes I just write what I'm learning at church or in my quiet times. This is one of those times. Not a deep critical thinking thought or a well-researched idea - or one that is highly controversial - just the goodness of God still talking to his daughter.
Yesterday was a good day at Crossing and a convicting day at Crossing. That is what happens when you hear the Word being preached, and are forced to constantly examine your life in light of the gospel. I love taking communion every Sunday and pray that it will never become "habit" for me.
I try to prepare for church before I go. Sounding all spiritual to myself and my reasonings, I do it just before I leave - but really its because other things are more important (running errands, cooking, football). So convicted of that as I sat down with Hab 2 before church yesterday. So, in repenting of that, I get the joy of spending time on Sundays with God - first thing - so that is my focus on Sundays and not just having most of the day free to do what I want.
Then, realizing that there will always be people who are better than me at everything. I am not going to be best at anything I do. There will always be better greeters, singers, cookers, bakers, thinkers, talkers, dressers. People who are prettier than me, skinnier than me, lose weight faster than me, exercise harder then me, etc. The list believe me could go on.
But why do I strive to be the best at those things - and why does it make me so discontent when I realize that I'm not the best. Because I put my worth in those things. I put the value of who I am in those things. That is not where my value lies. Should I strive to do good in all things - yes. The Word clearly says to do all to the glory of God. But, my worth is not based in what I do. My worth is based in 2 things: I am a daughter of the King created in His image and the blood of Jesus was spilt for me.
Thinking also today about dreams. We all do have them - hopefully. Goals, dreams, whatever you want to call them. Should we pursue those - yes - as long as they are God-given dream to enable us to give more glory to Him. But, if they are for our own gratification and glory - then we need to rethink those - and put those under the authority of God's Word.
And in all of that - from yesterday's sermon and service, to today's blog world - I know that Jesus is so much better than anything I could be, the best dessert I could make, the best voice I could have, being the skinniest or prettiest, have a great marriage or the most well-behaved kids. Better than having the best job in the world - the one I've always wanted. Better than speaking to the largest women's gatherings every weekend. Better than having the cute little house that I can decorate and a big kitchen so I can bless people with cooking. Better than having the most incredible ministry in the area. JESUS IS SO MUCH BIGGER (and BETTER)!
And how do we know that if the things we want are taking over Jesus' #1 spot - because we want those things more than we want the companionship of Jesus.
Two verses on being satisfied from the Psalms:
Ps 81.16 - "But he would feed you with the finest of the wheat, and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.” Honey doesn't come from a rock. Wheat takes work. Even in the hard times of God's discipline or our times when we think nothing is like the way we dreamed our life to be - GOD WILL SATISFY!
Ps 90.14 - I learned this verse a few years back from John Piper - "Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days". This is the Thing to rejoice in!
May this encourage you today - that even in times where you may not have everything you dreamed of, or you realize that other people are better at you at certain things, or at times when you have everything you dreamed of - JESUS IS SO MUCH BETTER!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Gender Roles Pre-Marriage

This blog post has been in the thinking process for a few days now. But last night, conversing with a friend, something came out of my mouth that put in all into perspective for me.
First to the ladies: Ladies, especially single ones, we need to be living out biblical womanhood now, while we are single. God did not create us as married women - He created us as women - and desires for us to live as women who model biblical womanhood (that's why He gave us women in the Bible, and the writings of Paul). If you need two books to read on this subject - I would recommend Did I Kiss Marriage Goodbye - really a book on how to live out biblical womanhood while you are single (Prov 31) written by a single woman, Carolyn McCulley. The second would be RBMW - Piper and Grudem - what was known as the big blue book when I was coming through seminary. Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood is not named Council on Biblical Husbands and Wives. Because that is not where the character is rooted. Our character and qualities as woman are honed by God in our lives prior to us getting married. So, don't be saying to yourself, one day, if I get married, I'll do this...and be this way... Start living the way God would want you to live now: care for the men in your life as brothers in Christ, keep your home, be hospitable in your home and in your church, love your neighbors, learn from older women on how to do these things, mentor the younger women in your life, live by grace, focus on your walk with God - being who God wants you to be as a woman of God.
Married Women - two more books (besides the two above): Biblical Womanhood in the Home (ed by Nancy Leigh Demoss) and Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney. I have read both and re-read both and couldn't recommend books more highly on the subject than these. Love your husbands, respect your husbands, keep your home. First priority in your life, outside of your relationship with God, should be your husbands - then your children and home. That is not to say that you can't work, go to school, hang out with other women - but as Prov 31.12 says - she is to do her husband good all the days of her life. That is going to look for each couple - but our first priority should be our husbands.
Pastors/Godly Leaders - I love the older (or younger) godly men in my life - am so thankful that God has allowed us to be friends. Please shepherd the young men in your keep to be biblical men - to love the women in their life (all of them) as sisters in Christ. Keep setting the bar high in your churches for your men to love Christ, love their wives, show us single women what biblical husbands should be - so that we will know what to look for in our future husbands.
I speak for several single women - we want biblical leaders, masculine, Christ-like men as our husbands. Pastors - please teach this. We crave it and desire it.
Prov 31, Eph 5, Gen 1-2, 1 Peter, 1 Tim 1-3

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Big Bone Lick State Park

Yes - there is such a place, but I am in KY - right?

Up northern KY about 20 minutes from Cinci there is a state park with this name. It is 6 miles off I-71 so we decided to go. Little did we know we weren't the only ones going to this park this weekend.

At the Big Bone Lick State Park - there was a Salt Lick Festival going on. I know the Azalea Corn Festival, the Strawberry Festival, and other ones - but come on - a Salt Lick festival - with parking dudes and cops?

Mom and I just drove by, took a picture, and turned around. I guess even people in really small towns need something to do on the weekends!

General Butler State Park

I will probably go back to this state park - but for now Mom and I just did a drive through on an absolutely gorgeous day.
This park is a resort park about an hour from the Ville. It has a lake, bball courts, tennis courts, hiking, cabins, conference center, falling leaves, etc. It was a nice curvy drive back to the conference center itself. It has an observation point as well which is very pretty looking down over what I would assume to be Kentucky River - but who knows?

Parents, Cincinnati, and Worship Styles

Wow - what a busy couple of days. God is so gracious in having my parents up here for a few days. They came up Wednesday afternoon just in time for dinner with the Weldys. It was great hanging out with them and eating some delicious food cooked by Lindsay! Such a precious couple to me. I learn so much from them that I can apple in my life - both now and in the future if I ever get married.
Thursday was lunch with Brandi. Mom cooked some great taco soup and then we had pumpkin muffin cakes for dessert. I'm glad Brandi got to hang out with my folks. Dad came to chapel with me too. Then he left to head to Cincinnati and Mom and I got a few more days to hang out and do girl stuff.
Thursday night we shopped and Friday night we shopped. Saturday we ate at Lynn's and then explored the road between Louisville and Cincinnati. We went to General Butler State Park (see other post) and some Wal-marts looking for shoes (to no avail). Side note: while Mom was getting her hair done, I strolled down to W-S where I've worked the past 4 Christmases. This year I'm not working there because I really wanna go to FL for Christmas. I walked in and totally felt a freedom from materialism and needing everything in that store. Thank you Jesus!
Saturday we went to IKEA for Mom to get some frames that we are going to work on while I'm at home during the holidays. Then we joined up with Dad to head to Montgomery Inn down on the Ohio for dinner. Then we watched some football, hung out on FB, and Dad slept.
We woke up early on Sunday, grabbed some Cracker Barrel for breakfast, then headed off to a church service at Cincinnati Primitive Baptist Church. A song service of about 5 hymns, all without music, then two sermons by Justin Huffman (asst guy at Cincinnati) and Thomas Mann (from VA). I loved one thing he said from Is 46: God used a man from afar to free us from captivity and offer us the chance to go back home and worship. Sound familiar? God used a foreign king who didn't know God at all to do this back then. Later - He would use Jesus to do that very thing. What a great prophetic word.
Then tonight got home and was so ready to go to Crossing. So thankful God has brought that church into my life. They rock out in worship. But, you know...
Worship really isn't about style. I learn this very slowly. Yes, I love the new worship styles in chapel at Southern. It is more free and more contemporary, so to me, it is more conducive to true worship. That is just me. Then this morning singing hymns, sitting down, no music, all verses...the truth was still in those hymns. Then tonight - Eddy and Phillip and guys rocking out to songs - all done for the pleasure of Jesus and there was truth in the lyrics that we were singing. The truth is found in worship. I pray God will continue to work on my heart when the style isn't necessarily my type - that He would allow me to come boldly before his throne in awe-filled worship of Him -joyfully!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Small Changes for a Better Life - Elizabeth George

I used to read everything Elizabeth George put out. And, I still think she is a great and practical writer - I just think she is not "thick" enough for me. If I need a quick practical book - I pick her's up. Usually I find many things that I need to work on from reading her work. I picked this from my boss' shelf and gave it a quick read - yes, still convicting. The points (18) are her chapters, followed by some thoughts of my own.
1. Wisdom - we must ask for it. This is a book on how to live wisely in your world. Solomon, the King, had to ask for it and was granted it. We need to ask for it today.
2. Ordering Life. I have been doing a little better at this. I do so through meal planning and weekly calendaring - trying to get in relationship building, church, outside time, and me time in every week. I've learned there is much good that comes from this - more later.
3. Purpose. A friend of mine who will soon be 25 asked me if life ever slows down. I told him you just have to prioritize your life and what you do. My life isn't near as busy as I let it get when I lived in Durham - and I like that. I am more intentional about what I do - but I also know I don't have to do everything! That is SO freeing!
4. The Word - Dwell on it. She brings up the three different stages of reading the Word: "cod liver oil, shredded wheat, peaches and cream". How o Lord I want to always be in the Peaches and Cream stage. As my mentor has always said though - even when you don't feel like it, read it anyway! "You'll never hear me say I am Christlike, but you will always hear me say I desire to be Christlike." (chapter 4)
5. Prayer Life. This is one I lack mostly. My prayer life isn't a sit down and pray type thing - it is more of a throughout the day, pray without ceasing type thing. I don't know which is better? I struggle with it. But, I love being reminded of things to pray for throughout my day - and praying for people - even if not aloud - then silently under my breath - God hears either way.
6. Spiritual Growth. She says to "recognize sin and overcome spiritual laziness". I do my quiet times at night. Sometimes it is earlier than others. Then sometimes, I spend too much time watching tv or being out with friends, that I am too tired to spend time in the Word. I rationalize it and say I'll spend more time tomorrow, or God doesn't want my tired time. How foolish is that reasoning?
7. Manage Your Life. Learn to Eliminate. (see number 3). I am trying to always have Friday nights to myself. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't - but I try. That helps me usually to have a more productive weekend. I also look forward to Friday nights because of it. My brain is tired, but "being around people skills" are tired. I want to chill.
8. Live by a Schedule (see number 2). I want to do more of this if I ever have the ability to be a stay at home wife/mother. But, mostly now it is get up and go to work - then other things. I don't need to always plan my day.
9. Care for your home. I got a great compliment by my friend who stopped by the house the other day. And honestly, it wasn't even clean because I had been housesitting all week. She said "I'm glad to see you have made this into your home." And a friend of mine, Lindsay, is great at this. She loves to take care of her home. It is her place. Her husband loves her because of it (and for many other reasons of course). Everytime I go to their house, I find something new that she has done. She is a great inspiration! "Married or single, your home is an indicator of your spiritual maturity and a direct reflection of your care and character." (125) I actually agree with this statement now.
10. Invest in Your Marriage. Now, you may be thinking - how can a single woman invest in her marriage. I read books on marriage, I hang out with married people, I listen to sermons on marriage, etc. This is how I currently invest in my marriage.
11 and 12. Train and Love Your Children. I love being around families who do this well. Then when I see kids who aren't disciplined very well - I notice it. Dustin, in his sermon from Sunday, said when you see a child who isn't disciplined, you see a child usually who isn't loved.
13. Cultivate Inner Beauty. I've received two compliments that have meant a lot to me. One was back in seminary. A boss I worked for said the thing he appreciated most about me was my gentle and quiet spirit. And recently, a friend said he appreciated my joyful and gracious spirit. These two compliments make me strive more to God-please in this area! Thank you Lord for working it in me!
14. Tend to Your Appearance. I am working on this one for work every day - as I just told a friend who complimented my makeup.
15 and 16. Watch what you eat and eat just enough. This is definitely an area of growth for me - and one of constant struggle. I can eat whatever I want - but only in moderation - and sticking mostly with things that are helpful to my body - as it was given to me to be a steward over!
17. Grow in Discipline. Nuf said - from 1-16.
18. Work on Diligence. This is another one of my big struggles. God - continue to work in me in this area. I am weak in the flesh - but allow me to live by the Spirit.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

This Momentary Marriage - John Piper

This book, available at Desiring God, is amazing. There are few marriage books that I highly recommend for people to read before getting married - and this will definitely be on the list. This is a compilation of mostly sermons Piper preached at Bethlehem, some of which I had read before, but seriously - this is so good.
He talks about the seriousness of marriage and then what marriage symbolizes in the relationship of Christ and the church. Oh goodness - get this book!
"There has never been a generation whose general view of marriage is high enough" (19) Many of us think that if we could just go back to the "good ole days" things would be better with our marriages. But, just because people stay together doesn't mean their marriages are godly and gospel affirming.
"Let the measure of God's grace to you in the cross of Christ be the measure of your grace to your spouse." (46) Wow - that's hard to live by. I've been so convicted, even in reading this book, that I need to offer more grace to others - because I don't give it enough. Lord, make me more gracious.
Piper quotes many of Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Letters and Papers from Prison at the beginning of each chapter. This is one of them: "The wife should see her husband clothed in this dignity - head of the wife as Christ is head of the church" (30)
"Wives, let your fallen submission be redeemed by modeling it after God's intention for the church." (80). I think if we think about marriage in light of the redeemed church - our marriages (and my thoughts of marriage a single woman) would radically change.
"God promises those who remain single in Christ blessings that are better than the blessing of marriage and children - and he called you to display truths about Christ." (106) This is a measure of faith for me. No one in the world or in the church sees it this way. Marriage is so glorified. It is hard to be in a church and not be married. But, Lord - where my faith is weak - increase it.
"Have those attitudes and do those acts in your marital sexual relations that grow out of the contentment that comes from confidence in God's promises." (130) Since the bedroom has been so commercialized and publicized - many women (and men) find themselves overwhelmed with inadequacies and pressure to perform. Read this sentence and live by the gospel in EVERY aspect of marriage (and singleness).
"If it genuinely lies within you, by the grace of God, to throw yourself on the mercy of God for forgiveness, then He will free you from the guilt of the past. He will make a new, clear, sexual life possible in marriage." (132) I must offer grace and forgiveness. Who am I not to offer it when Christ has offered it through the Cross for all eternity.
So - go read this book. If you are married - it will help change your marriage - I would recommend reading it together (especially engaged couples) - they are short chapters (about 5-6 pages per chapter). And for singles - read it too - I don't think we can prepare enough. Whether we are to get married in the future, or whether we are to support our brothers and sisters in their marriages.
And speaking of marriage as a topic, I've been reading some great posts for wives over at the Girl Talk blog. This needs to go up as a reminder. Because even though I am yet to be married, it says all the days of her life: that means that even before I am married I need to be bringing my husband good all days of my life." That means I will guard my heart and my body and my mind - all for him - mostly for the glory of God!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Trip to Huber's

There are some good things about living outside the state of Florida. I know - I did just say that!
But, today was one of those days.
I love fresh produce - and you don't get much fresher than picking apples off of trees in a orchard. I picked 40 lbs of golden delicious (applesauce, pies, bread, fried apples, eating) and 20 lbs of winesap (mainly eating and salads). There were also fields of pumpkins and green beans. There aren't too many apple trees/orchards in FL (though there are plenty in W NC).
I went with my friends Lisa and Rayann. You can see some more pics on the food blog (see the link to the side). We left early this morning and got there by 9 because last week many friends went and said it was way too crowded. We knew if we got there early it would be fine. We didn't do any waiting (unless you count waiting for the tractor to return to get us from the orchards). We then ate at the family restaurant for some good "southern" cooking. It was an absolutely gorgeous day and I loved the weather. It was actually quite warm by the time we left (shortly after 12).
This is my third time at Huber's and I'll keep going. Probably won't go again until spring or early summer - that is when some good things come in! :)

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

State of the Economy

If you watched any of the 2nd Presidential Debate last night you know it was on the failing (and ailing) economy. Did either candidate change the other's view? Did many undecided voters make up their minds? Both are a resounding no. Each one said wrong things about the other one and even when a candidate says he's not going to raise taxes - chances are something will happen in his tenure as President and he will have to raise taxes. Taxes is not something I vote on because of this. So far, living in 3 states under 2 Presidents - I've seen taxes go up in each state - so no one can tell me any differently.
But, the economy I think is the worst that I've seen it since I've really known to look at it. Am I glad I don't have enough money to put in the stock market - yes. Am I glad I already have my college paid for - and yes, have the debt from that - yes. (I could do without the debt though). Am I glad I have a secure job - yes. I don't know what it would have been like to live on Black Friday and know the panic and dread and fear in people's hearts. I don't know what it would be like to live in Iceland right now who just declared the whole country bankrupt. I can't imaging being a business woman in Russia with no stock market open or trading till Friday.
But, one thing I do know. My God is in charge of all the world's monies and even Wall Street and the king's decisions (Ps 2). He knows what is going to happen and has complete authority over it all (Eph 1.19-23). And you know, that helps me sleep better at night, that helps me still go to the grocery store (even though I make a list and stick to it now), helps me not fear the gas prices (even though they have gone down here in KY), and I only had a slight panic this morning on my way to work wondering what would happen if I couldn't get my money out of the bank (but then remembered the above verses and knew that life would go on because my God is overall completely gracious and merciful).
I got in to work this morning and read this from John Piper:
I can smell it. It's like toast or steak or brownies. It doesn't just draw our desire, it creates desire. Deep drops in the stock market make many people salivate. They know it will rebound. They are sitting on cash. By year's end their pile could ride the recovery to riches. For such people I have a word from God. The word is: Don't desire to be rich. It will kill you. And in a world like ours many will probably perish with you. Paul's language is more graphic than mine:
There is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. (1Timothy 6:6-10)

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Parents and Childhood/Teenage Obesity

I stopped by Cracker Barrel in Berea for lunch on Saturday. I didn't bring a book in with me, and I had already lost at the little triangle stupidity game they have on the tables - so what else am I going to do while waiting for my food?
In front of me sat this family. A Mom (mid-late 30s, no wedding ring, phone in hand), a baby girl (still in the booster seat, eating whole foods, under 2), 2 teenage boys (looked like 13 and 15). Here are my thoughts just by witnessing their interaction for about 35 minutes.
Mom - every time the girl started to scream, she would put food in her mouth. The girl dropped her color page on the floor, Mom went to get it, girl threw it down again - it stayed there (for that I was proud). Mom was texting on the phone almost the entire time. Very little interaction with the boys.
Boy 1 (13 year old) - Badly needed a hair cut. Rather overweight. Chewed with his mouth open. On his plate: country fried steak, gravy, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, and steak fries. All starch. Wanted to talk to the older boy (brother) but that didn't produce much conversation.
Boy 2 (15 year 0ld) - Badly in need of a hair cut. Rather overweight. Chewed with his mouth open (see a pattern). On his plate: a house salad (only things gone were cheese and croutons and bacon (all veggies were still on the plate), steak, fully loaded baked potato. Phone in handing texting the entire meal. Didn't seem to want much to do with the brother.
So, after watching this family interact - I made these thoughts and some assumptions:
1. Lack of Father. I don't know if there wasn't a Father present at all - or just not at this meal. But there seemed to be no authority in this family (the mom was so small compared to these two boys that they weren't threatened by her at all - they could take her).
2. Lack of discipline. The mother just had to feed the girl to get her to stop screaming - so the daughter is in control of that relationship. The Mom didn't interact much with the boys and vice versa.
3. Parents have a role in their children's health and weight issues. Take it from one who was overweight all of her life (starting about 4th grade). Parents have the say-so. They can provide healthy foods for their children/teenagers and set good examples by their own eating habits. The Mom picked at her food (roast beef and gravy, corn, mac and cheese, cornbread).
4. So, what can be done for families like this in the world - this was only 2 hours away from me - and I know it happens in every neighborhood - so its not just an "out-there" problem?
4a. Parents - teach your children healthy eating habits. Make sure they get fruits, veggies, whole grains, calcium, lean protein - not just processed foods and high fructose corn syrup and Little Debbie snacks.
4b. Interact with your kids over meals. This is a perfect place to find out how their day was, tell them about your day, read a verse together, talk about how to incorporate God into their days, talk sports, teach them to be thankful for God's provisions, just talk!
4c. Teach your kids manners. I was talking about this with some ladies in the office today. But, kids need to know they don't wear hats at the table (guys), chew with their mouth closed, don't talk with their mouth full, don't berate the food, be thankful for what you have, don't burp or make other bodily noises, and any others if I'm forgetting any.
4d. Lead by example. Dads - these kids (especially sons) are going to watch how you eat at the table, what you eat at the table, if you are thankful for your wife's cooking (or any other) or if you complain about it all the time. Moms - if you do the majority of the cooking, learn to cook healthy - think about your kids 5 or 10 of 25 years down the road - think how your cooking will impact them and even their families.
I know I'm not a parent yet (maybe one day) - so who am I to talk? But, I can talk through experience. We didn't eat poorly by any means, we just snacked a ton on unhealthy stuff and didn't get enough exercise. I continued those poor eating habits even when I left home. Now we all try to eat healthy and cook differently. When I see men who have eating habits - it tells me a lot about their discipline or lack there of. Burping has never been and will never be cool, especially at the dinner table, in American culture - or just for me. I know in some different cultures it is a sign of respect - not in my culture.
Jesus - please do not let me raise unhealthy kids. Let me teach my kids good and healthy eating habits that will last them and make them healthy kids, teenagers, and adults. Lord - also don't let me be judgmental toward others who do not hold this conviction. Help me to show them grace and lead by example. If I ever have the chance to be a wife and a mother - let me love my family through my kitchen. Amen.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Travels in KY - Natural Bridge State Park

Love signs in KY - point you right to where you need to go. On the other side of Winchester is the Mountain Pkwy - 30 miles to Natural Bridge. Red River Gorge had some wildfires that were filling the entire area with smoke (looked like fog). But Natural Bridge State Park was fully functioning. Got a great idea on which trails I wanted to go - a little over 5 all together - and 2.5 hours. The first 100 ft are straight up, then you bend, hop, climb, dip, raise your hands, turn side ways - all this to get to the top. Well marked trails. Pretty climb and great view. It was pretty busy up top but not that busy on the trail - so most people pay to ride the SkyLift (like Stone Mtn). But, I think half the fun (and burning calories and taking care of my body) comes in the hike. I took the Rock Garden trail back down and it was more steep then the way up and mostly rock. Not fun - but it got me down in time to grab some dinner and make it back for church. I'd go again - it was worth it, and under 2 hours to the ville.

White Hall

White Hall is a KY Historic Site of the home of Cassius Clay. It was run down - but then restored. It is right off the interstate in Winchester. Who knew they would grow tomatoes - so I picked 3: 2 I ate, and one was rotten so I threw it down.

Travels in KY - Pinnacles (near Berea)

I have gone to the small town of Berea several times since my friends Felicity and Kevin live there. This time, we finally hiked the Pinnacles. There are 2 hills (mtns for Floridians, speed bumps for mtn people). But, East Pinnacle is almost a mile up (4900 ft) and I don't know about West Pinnacle. It was very dry - but still very pretty. Coming down from the West Pinnacle it was pretty steep so I thought I would go down part of it on my backside - got a bruise on my arm to prove it. Dusty, thirsty (already drank one bottle of water), but the views were well worth that 2 hour walk! Thanks Felicity for the walking companion and then Papaleno's for dinner.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Worldliness - Sov Grace Guys (ed by Mahaney)

In the style of all other Mahaney books - this one is relatively short (a small in shape book) but packs a powerful punch. And ends like everything else does in Sovereign Grace life - with a proclamation of the gospel.
Five Sov Grace guys write in this - on different ways we are not to "love the world, or anything in the world" - from John's small letter toward the end of the Bible.
Mahaney starts with the intro of 1 John 2.15. "Whatever the reasons, this verse makes you uncomfortable. It invades your personal space. You're afraid if you get too close, these ten little words might come between you and the things in this world you enjoy. You're reluctant to discuss worldliness because then you might have to change." (18)
"What dominates your mind and stirs your heart?" (27) This is a good tell-tale sign of what you love.
This is what CJ comes back to in the last chapter (written by Purswell). "Worldliness does not consist in outward behavior, though our actions can certainly be an evidence of worldliness within. But the real location of worldliness is internal. It resides in our hearts." (29) I think the time I learned about this the most in my life was the 3.5 years I lived in RDU after graduating seminary. Right after seminary I had gotten completely out of consumer debt - it felt freeing and great! Then, I wanted to have more stuff, had some low-paying part time jobs, and still wanted more stuff. I got so far into debt I considered bankruptcy. God was telling me I had a materialism problem. But, even though graciously and mercifully I am out of consumer debt now, I know I still have a problem with it. That is why I do not own a credit card, I try to live on a budget, I periodically send my financial thoughts and standings to people who care about me - especially in this area - and I try not to go to places where I will struggle and have the temptation to want or buy. I rarely go clothes/stuff shopping - and even going over to peoples' homes prove dangerous because I live in a 800 square foot apt with all mostly used furniture. God is good and gracious to me in so many ways - I need nothing. I pray He continues to drive out materialism in my life.
"For sin carries with it the seeds of dissatisfaction and destruction." (33)
Craig Cabaniss writes next on our hearts and media in terms of worldliness. "The hazard is thoughtless watching. Glorifying God is an intentional pursuit." ( 40). I have also learned this lately. I could watch tv all day - there are so many channels. Now, unless I have something specific in mind to watch - I don't turn it on. It is too dangerous to me to just pick random things and watch nothing. Filling my mind with mindless things.
"Covetousness is a desire for something or someone that God has not provided." (51) This is another area it is hard for me. I look (especially at facebook) and see girls "in a relationship" and wonder why I'm not. Or listening to country music brings at these longings and desires. But, also being in church or seminary surrounded by godly men who are married brings out these desires. Having the desire to get married is not wrong - it is hopefully God given and will be God-fulfilled one of these days - but if I put too much emphasis on it - then it becomes the end - the marriage isn't the end - the Gospel is.
"If we're forbidden to speak with filthiness and crude sexual humor, we're equally prohibited from listening to it when we have a choice." (55) It is a heart matter - whether it comes out of our mouth or into our ears.
Bob Kauflin - worship leaders extraordinaire for SG - wrote worldliness and music (go figure). "Listening to music without discernment and godly intent reveals a heart willing to flirt with the world." (71) Note Bob doesn't say you can't listen to anything but Christian music. No, he says to discern why you listen to it and what desires it brings out in you.
Dave Harvey, who also wrote When Sinners Say I Do, talked about our hearts and stuff. "Gratitude subverts greed. It's an expulsive antidote to covetousness in the heart. Gratitude is not a feeling, and it isn't based on present circumstances. It is recognition of our dependence on God and others - an act of humility that battles pride in our possessions. Grateful speech takes the attention off ourselves and places it on another, whether that's the God of our salvation or the spouse who washes our clothes. Gratefulness is recognition that God is always good and always right in his dealings with us." (110)
CJ write on clothes - mostly of course for women, but he also hits on a few pages for Dads of daughter and husbands of wives. Our dress should reflect the gospel as well. A compliment that a former b-friend paid me one time was "I never have to worry about the way you dress." That was the highest compliment he ever paid me. Do I struggle sure - especially when my weight is where I want it - but God is good and gracious and wants me to reflect that to a lost and dying world. My dress should be different than the worlds. Our churches should be different in its dress than what we see on Saturday night out at the mall. Why isn't it?
Jeff Purswell, Dean of the Pastor's College, finished with our exhortation to love the world. Odd huh? We are to enjoy what God has given us for the reasons He has given it to us - to glorify Him and exalt His name throughout the world.
If you want a good kick in the pants (how's that for southern slang) - then pick this up and read it with a highlighter!