Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Biblical Femininity 2009

I love pearls. I love pink. I love to cook. I love to dress up. I love to look nice and want my hair to be done well. I also love to wear sweats, not put my contacts in, not have to put makeup on, wear no jewelry, run, camp, hike, football and most sports.
What does that have to do with biblical femininity? NOTHING. Some of those things the world considers feminine.
This year, I am going to study (mostly) Biblical Femininity and how it is in contrast to what the world says is feminine. Are the two totally different - no? But, they are very dissimilar.
What did this come about? I started loving to wear pearls, lotion, and perfume earlier this year. Yes, I did wear them before - but I saw much benefit to wearing them now. So, I like being a girl. But, God wants me to be a woman after his own heart. So, I want to know what that is.
Someone said to me many years ago that I was not a gentle and quiet spirit. That hurt me more than that person will probably ever know. But, then not more than 2 months later, someone else said the thing they appreciated about me the most was that I had a gentle and quiet spirit. This week while home, things came out of my mouth that didn't reflect a gentle and quiet spirit. Rob Plummer mentioned in the sermon this weekend at Sojourn that Paul commands us to "let our gentleness be known to all. (Phil 4).
So, here are I go. Embarking on a year long journey of learning more about what it means to be feminine - according to God's standards.
Here is my list - 12 books that I want to read on this subject. I will read more - but these are in my library (do you have any that you think I should read)? Any topics you think I should study or concentrate on? I would love to hear your thoughts.
Don't know what I'll do with all this knowledge when I'm done with it. Hopefully be transformed by it - inside and out. Hopefully it will be reflective in relationships - not only with God, but with other men and women, family, strangers, church members.
Lord, help.
Faithful Women and Their Extraordinary God - Noel Piper
The Fruitful Life (fruits of the Spirit) - Jerry Bridges (thanks Timothy and Rayann)
Radical Womanhood - Carolyn McCulley (thanks Courtney)
Keep a Quiet Heart - Elisabeth Elliot (thanks Joy)
Called to Womanhood - Beth Impson
Queen Esther's Reflections - Ann Platz (thanks Lorie)
Woman After God's Own Heart - Elizabeth George
Esther and Ruth - Iain Duguid
Praying God's Word - Beth Moore
Beautiful in God's Eyes - Elizabeth George
BeAttitudes - Dorothy Patterson
Holiness - Rhonda Kelley

Note that none of these are specifically about being single, in ministry, married, a wife, a mother, etc. Our femininity is not based on any of those things. They are additives to it. The only things are femininity is based upon are: being created in God's image and the cross of Jesus.

Progressive Dinner Winter Part 1

Winter holds two progressive dinners for me. Last night was version 1. It was with Laura and David Dawkins and Beth and Wes Crouser. Such a fun time.
Started off with the salad course at my apt. This conversation was mostly about school, work, and random stuff.
Next was the Dawkinses' house. They had the main course and all was set out beautifully by Laura. She is such the great person for that! David opened up with a psalm about how God has faithfully and graciously withheld his wrath from us and offered us salvation. We enjoyed the food and shared our favorite Christmas memory from this past week.
Our dessert course was at the Crouserses'. Such a chic apt complete with a Roombie (a automatic vacuum cleaner). We got to make homemade fruit pizzas, have a contest for the best one (Wes won, but since it was his house, Laura took home the prize - a disco snowman snowglobe). We talked about New Years' Resolutions - if we would keep them or just wanted to do them.
It was great. I am looking forward to Winter Part 2 in 2 weeks!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Random 2009 Resolutions

As I was journaling last night, I figured why wait for these resolutions for 2 more days - start doing them now. Hopefully that will help me keep them throughout the year.
This will include random ones. My spiritual/reading one will come on Friday - be ready for it - it will be exciting (or least I'm excited about it). My food one (recipes, cooking) is at my other blog:
So, here goes...and like I said - I have already started working on these.
1. Run my first 5k. This will take place Feb 21 in Indianapolis, IN - that is only two hours away. It is called the Polar Bear Run. I started training yesterday - doing the Couch to 5K training. Anyone want to do it with me? I am excited for the challenge and the goal.
2. Take better care of my face and skin. This comes with getting older, but too often I go to bed with makeup on, or only wash my face but don't moisturize it. I need to be a good steward of the only skin I was given.
3. Try new things: food, sports, etc.
4. More piano playing. I took 8 years of this at LCS, but since I haven't done much with it. I am getting my uncle's very nice keyboard in March and I look forward to having it and playing more on it. Just so my parents won't think they wasted that extra money at Lakeland Christian and Mrs. Parrish will get some credit!
5. This is partly with number 1...lose 30 more pounds. Since April I have lost 31 lbs and I need to lose another 30. So, I'll just keep pushing along and get 'er done (as some of my friends would say)

Those are my top 5 resolutions. My reading and study list will come on Friday.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Season 2008

Well, for me this is an unusual Christmas. This is the first time in 5 years that I haven't lived in either NC or KY and been there for Christmas Day, usually by myself or just sharing a meal with a close family. I've enjoyed colder weather for Christmas Day and no leaves on the trees. I've had a retail job for the holidays that have made life busy and hectic with hardly any time for Advent because I'm wondering if I'll make a good sale on knives or pots or see anyone in the store I know.
This Christmas I am in FL. I am wearing short sleaves and hopefully will go bike riding this afternoon if it doesn't rain. It is 74 degrees out there right now - this morning I walked out and picked an orange from a tree in the back yard. Alan and Tywonn are camping in Charlie (their VW) on the Manatee River. Dad is over smoking mullet with Papa. Granny called and she is making sweet tea and wanted to know if we wanted a red plastic table cloth on - we'll pass we said. But, the tea should be good. Mom and I have been cooking for about 30 hours now: pecan pie, lemon cake, apricot sugar cookies, cauliflower au gratin, steamed broccoli, sweet potatoes, cinnamon raisin bread, fruit salad, applesauce, sour cream biscuits, cornbread pudding. all for one meal along with some meat. And I love doing it all.
There have been arguments as we try to not get stressed and communicate well - what else is new. I'm learning when to just shut my mouth and not feel the need to say everything and be in control.
What I have loved about this Christmas season is the preparation - the Advent. I've been enjoying the sermons at Crossing and the music and art at Sojourn to help prepare for Christmas. The song Glory Be, Hosanna in the Highest, Amen Amen. All these have been great. God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman is so focused on the gospel. Here are the words to Amen, Amen:
Let every creature rise and bring
Their grateful praises to our King
Angels descend with songs again
and Earth repeats a loud Amen, Amen
Amen, Amen
I found my life
I found my life in Him
Amen, Amen
Peace like a river from His throne
Will flow to nations yet unknown
His word a light where all hope is demand
All tribes unite to cry “Amen”
And in this Child we’ll find our rest
And all the meek and lowly blessed
An infant tongue could sing the hymn
of Hallelujah and Amen

Jesus - what a beautiful Name! Find my Rest in Him! Come Quickly Lord Jesus!

Monday, December 15, 2008

O Come O Come Emmanuel

Yesterday morning at Crossing we sang this song. How many times have I heard it - and heard it - and turned it because I had heard it too much? Yesterday, as the sermon started, this song was still fresh in my head, so half of my sermon notes are on this hymn (don't worry, Dustin, I can multitask)
I am very blessed this year to be in a church that puts so much emphasis on advent (and going to another church at night that puts equal emphasis on it). In the past I've been in churches that talk about advent and Jesus' birth and preach about hope, peace, love, etc...and how to deal with family during the holidays, spending too much money, etc. But...this year it is very different and it is taking root in me more this season than past.
Not only are the songs we are singing the typical Christmas songs maybe arranged a little differently, done to a different beat or tune - but we are also still singing songs focused on the Cross of Christ and His return. You already have gotten a glimpse into "Glory Be!" - my fave this holiday season. But, now you get a chance to get some thoughts on another one (and maybe even another one or two before the season is through).
This is a familiar tune to most of you reading this blog:
O come, O come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel - His coming brought freedom from bondage (as we saw in part at the Exodus, freedom from captivity in the OT, and we will see in completion at the end of time). But, for day to day purposes - His coming, His "being with us" allows us to battle the things that hold us bondage: addictions, sin, people-pleasing, laziness, etc.
O come, thou Wisdom from on high, who orderest all things mightily - With so many things going on in politics and the economy, even down to the Heisman Trophy winner and prices of plane tickets and how my biscotti or brownies or steaks turn out this week - Jesus, the personification of Wisdom dwelling among us, orders all things. He just doesn't order the big important things - He orders the daily, mundane things - all for His glory and our good.
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night, and death's dark shadows put to flight - Holidays are very tough for people who have lost loved ones this year. In a way this season at home will be a little sad because my brother and sister in law are leaving for 4 years to go to Cameroon to magnify Jesus. I won't see them except maybe once or twice during that time. But - Jesus came and was God with Us so they could go to Cameroon, help people medically, and magnify Jesus through counseling missionaries. There is no reason for gloom!
Make safe the way that leads on high, and close the path to misery - this is actually the line that I wanted to write down while I was singing it. Earlier in the day I had to make a conscience choice to accept God's provision and shield of a LACK of a good thing in my life (Ps 84.11) instead of dwelling on what I didn't have that another had received. Then as I thought about this line in light of that - some would think the road they are on is misery (like sometimes I think). But, some times the "path to misery" is for our sanctification. He does not always close that path. While Jesus was "with us" He experienced so much misery and pain - He never said we wouldn't have - contrary - He definitely said we would face trials and troubles. But, in those trials and troubles: financial, family, relationships, jobs, indwelling sin, etc - He is "God with us".
O come, Desire of nations - This is still probably my favorite line in the whole song. He is the Desire of all the nations! As St. Augustine said this thing about our hearts being restless till they rest in Thee. They just don't know it yet. All were created by their Maker. That Maker is their Desire. We have an obligation. I know in the coming year this will happen in SE Asia, Central Asia, Cameroon, Louisville, RDU, St. Aug, etc. Where will you go to make Him Magnificent? 2 enlarge of the glory of God through Jesus like Mary did (see, Dustin, I was listening).
And as the refrain says - may we REJOICE because our God is with us - Emmanuel - and praise Him He is coming again - Come quickly Lord Jesus

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Baking Fun with Friends

One of the fun things about the holidays is getting to bake with friends. I have many great friends here in the ville who love to bake and cook - and I get to learn from their expertise and share some of the things I know about cooking and baking.
Last night was the first of this type of party I went to. Object of Brandi's Baking Party was to bring a favorite holiday recipe, all the ingredients to make it, and share the finished product with the other ladies.
I only knew one other of the ladies other than Brandi - Sarah, a girl that goes to Sojourn and the Seminary, came to Crossing way back in the day when I first started going there - and is a great cook!
Brandi was a very gracious host in ordering pizza, making sure everyone had what they needed before making her own, gave us a tour of her very pretty and well-decorated house.
We had a lot of fun and it was great just to unwind with others while baking at the end of a very stressful week. Now - I am glad it is Saturday!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Advent 2008.9: Guilt, Sin, and Creation

This time of the year (from Thanksgiving till my birthday) is the hardest time for me to try to be healthy and lose weight. It is cold, gets darker quicker,, busy, everything revolves around food, etc. I already have had a defeatist attitude today about it. But, many friends have reminded me to be wise with my eating, try to get in exercise, don't be gluttonous, and January 9th will be here before I know it. The parties and dinners and eating out seem never ending - but they are right.
As I read the advent reading in Piper - He talks about Jesus conquering Satan for HIS glory. He reminds us that we are not held in bondage to sin or guilt - but our freedom has been paid for! Hebrews 2.14-15: "Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery." I love the hope and empathy that are found in these verses.
"The death of Jesus nullified the damning effect of sin for all who trust in Christ. The weapon of soul-destroying sin and guild is taken out of Satan's hand." (83). I find more hope in this as well. What I also must remember is just because Jesus has done this doesn't mean I can berate myself, be down on myself, be a glutton, be lazy - or anything. First of all, because I am created in His image and He loves me (that's what the other advent reading today was talking about). Also, Rom 6.1-4 (amazing powerful verses) say: "What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Advent 2008.8: Suffering and Answered Questions

How often do I question the care of God in my life? I have learned over the last couple of years how to be thankful in life. But, I remember many times when I wondered how I was going to pay for this and do that and be able to go there - all the things that really (don't?) matter in life. He has all these needs covered - and I have seen His goodness.
But, I shouldn't have even had to "worry" about this because He gave me something to complete my joy in Him - the Savior. Not only did He come to walk through life, enter into our sufferings and trials - but He came ultimately to die. Phil 2.8.
Bethlehem wasn't the end - we must not be just Christmas Christians. We have to remember Good Friday - Easter Sunday! In that act - all our needs are met.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Advent 2008.7: Humility, Poverty, and Family

My Dad is a genealogist. Most of you reading this will know that it has something to do with family and the history of families. I tried doing what he does in 2007, but it just wasn't for me. Not that I don't think its interesting, it just wasn't for me.
But, it has been neat learning all growing up where I came from, who my family is, the lineage that we are as Davidsons and Hatchers. But, how do I mirror or look like my eternal heritage? do I put on Jesus every day to mirror him to the nations - just as He put on flesh in the incarnation to show us Jesus.
I was very convicted about my lack of Jesus last night. I was sitting in a church service - one of the missions of this church is to reach its community around the church building. Germantown is not an affluent part of Louisville to say the least. Where I was sitting there were a couple of people walking by more than once who definitely were not of the churched variety. They were unkept and smelled of smoke.
Now, I should have been ecstatic because they were coming, the church was fulfilling its mission, they were hearing of the gospel of Jesus. But, I wasn't. I was too prideful. I was irritated because they were getting up and down, I was holding my nose as they walked by because I don't like cigarette smoke, etc. You get the picture of my pride. It is not pretty. Jesus humbled Himself and became poor - born in a stable, not looking like the King He was, not looking like the priests he had opportunity to talk to.
I want to look more like Jesus - my eternal co-heir under God our Father. "Truth itself was the stumbling block. And so the only escape for the enemies of truth was caricature and half-truth. Jesus is a glutton and drunkard. That is why he eats with tax collectors and sinners. But beneath the ugliness of calumny is the glory of compassion. Why did he eat with tax collectors and sinners? He gave the answer - 'those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick." (65)

Advent 2008.6: Wisdom and Payment

Piper focuses in on the wisdom of Jesus, the Son today. I work at a seminary - tons of brilliant men teach here. When I was in seminary, I was amazed at how the men I learned from could quote books, have memories that recalled most things they had ever read - they could discuss any topic at the drop of a hat - and sound intelligent. I can maybe do that with a limited number of topics: cooking, college football, some spiritual topics - but I still want to "study up" before I have to talk.
Jesus doesn't have to study up. He is all-knowing - because He is one with the Father - He is God. One thing He knew before coming to earth was that He was coming to earth to die. That was the purpose of His mission.
Two things that stood out to me: "He knows God perfectly." (60). Jesus knows God perfectly because He is God perfectly. I often want to know God better, but take little steps and often put off doing things that will enable me to know Him more. But, I will only see dimly till I reach Heaven. "He knows all our thoughts before we express them." (58). Psalm 139.3, 4: "You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether." JD mentioned a while back - in the presence of Jesus is the safest place. As I was driving to Sojourn last night I was in a hurry, fussing at the people who were blocking St. Catharine Street and making me late, irritated at the people constantly getting up and walking in front of me. Jesus knew I was thinking these thoughts. Best thing: I have the ability to confess them - and still hope in Grace and ability to stand in His presence because of the Gospel! Forgiveness and grace.
And what about purchasing all these gifts at Christmas time. We spend so much time standing in line, surfing the net, laying down our credit cards, cash, are ATM cards. We search for that perfect gift. We were purchased already by the blood of Jesus - to set us free from the things I mentioned above - sin - and free us to worship and live on mission with God. 1 Corinthians 6.19b-20 "You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body."

Friday, December 05, 2008

Advent 2008.5: Floods and trees

People often laugh at me when I sady I miss hurricane seasons in FL. This year, here in Louisville, we got a taste of Ike that left me w/o power for a week. But, as I stood out in the street in front of my apt on that Sunday morning, watching the wind as it took down trees, I remember even more missing the hurricanes of Florida.
I miss them because I see such amazing awe and strength in the storms that Jesus Himself is commanding. It is often fear-bringing and beautiful at the same time. My Dad will stand out and video as hurricanes come right over our house in central Florida. My brother and I love to sit out on a porch and listen to the rain. I loved living in St. Augustine watching the storms come in off the Atlantic. Breath-taking.
This morning, it was crisp, Carolina-blue skies here in the ville. I was out driving East of town and watched as the sky turned an amazing pink - becaue of the sun - another reminder of the faithfulness of God.
Piper talks about this today - Jesus' command over nature - the very thing He was the agent of creation for. And during Jesus' incarnation here on the earth - many people were witness of that: water into wine, bringing back the dead, calming the storm, miraculous catches of fish. God is so cool to let His Son come to show us and be a display of the almighty power that is in the personhood of the Trinity.
Job 37.9-16a: "From its chamber comes the whirlwind, and cold from the scattering winds. By the breath of God ice is given, and the broad waters are frozen fast. He loads the thick cloud with moisture; the clouds scatter his lightning. They turn around and around by his guidance, to accomplish all that he commands them on the face of the habitable world. Whether for correction or for his land or for love, he causes it to happen. “Hear this, O Job; stop and consider the wondrous works of God. Do you know how God lays his command upon them and causes the lightning of his cloud to shine? Do you know the balancings of the clouds, the wondrous works of him who is perfect in knowledge?"
In Christ in Me, the subject was bearing fruit, being close to God. Often when I'm out watching the weather, hiking, being on the beach, in the mountains, experiencing literal storms - that is one way I feel very close to God. I love standing out in the rain and having it just drench me. It is very refreshing. We are definitely more aware of God's presence when we are spending time with him every day - and we are more able to be a light for others when we have been near the LIGHT.
Enjoy the weekend being light, enjoying the cold winter weather - wherever you are - we are supposed to maybe get some snow!

Advent 2008.4: Indestructible Joy and Cell Phones

I'm loving seeing how God works these readings into the very things that I experience on that day. Today's readings are no different.
JP refers to the gladness or eternal joy of Jesus. "Jesus himself - and all that God is for us in Him - is our great reward, nothing less." (41) Jesus is so far above anything of the want, worry, destruction, horrors, failures, miseries of this world. But, you know...He is also far above any of the rewards, the joys, the happiness in this world. As JD always uses the pointing finger and dog analogy in sermons. I can't focus on the gift - anymore than I can get bogged down by the bad things that happen. This morning, I received an email from a person who just resounds the gospel to me. Actually, 2 of them. They have, just in who they are, spoken the gospel into the situations in my life.
"The glory of Christ is his infinite, eternal, indestructible gladness in the presence of God." (43). But, then JP goes on to write that He wept with the weepers, he mourned, he was tested, he was tried. But, his infinite joy was not moved. That is how I long to be. That is can be moved by these trials in life, not be immune to them - but knowing that even through them I have a greater joy.
Hebrews 1.8-11a "But of the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.” And, “You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands; they will perish, but you remain."
Then, in the other reading...the illustration of calling closed stores is used. How God and his listening to our prayers - He is never closed. Last night as I got home from band practice after 11, heavy heart, sat down and rambled on the blog before this one, tried to go to sleep. I kept looking at my cell phone, wondering whom I could call who would still be awake and not be put out by my phone call. I couldn't sleep. My stomach was empty, my head and heart were full. I was focusing on the situation instead of the Answer to the situation. I was more focused on the problem instead of comforting myself and calming my spirit with the Words of the One who has all the answers. I ended up not calling anyone and finally falling asleep. God is good.
What it would have been like to walk beside Jesus, hear Him pray, know His burdens, know that He had all the answers. But, really...I'm thankful for living in the post of the "beautiful scandalous night."

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Heaviness and Tears

I am definitely not a person who cries a lot over much of anything - unless its a sappy movie or Apollo 13 (the 4 minute wait or reentry) or Anne of Green Gables when Gilbert Blythe is dying...oh, movies.
But, tonight, something is really just heavy on my heart. For the most part I can't even really put my finger on it.
It has been a long day but that has really nothing to do with it.
During our prayer time tonight, hearing prayers of humility and lowness of heart, of heartfelt worship, or prayers for healing, marriages to be restored. When I was driving home, texting, then glancing up and seeing the beautiful moon - knowing and being gripped by the holiness and faithfulness of God.
More than any of us - God is the picture and standard, the plumb line, of faithfulness. This world knows so very little of faithfulness. It is something I long for in relationships. It is something I long to be in who I am. That is something I want people to say of me. Faithfulness - it is so hard to see a picture of outside of Christ. We are sinners - we all fall short. But, faithfulness. Even in little things - like the moon - or the sunrise that will be here tomorrow morning. Jesus gave us a picture of that when He came to earth and He was faithful in everything He did. God is so good. Jesus is so good.
He heals, He is Everlasting Father (that shows faithfulness). Our world is so marred by sin - so scarred by the unfaithfulness of ourselves and others. Why is this so heavy? Why are broken marriages so weighty to me right now. Even in the church we are not immune to Satan. The Spirit is so strong. God is so amazing. But, we are still sinners.
What can be done about it? I'm so at a loss for what can be done to strengthen marriages. It is a deep sigh coming out of me that is never ending. Yes, I do see some wonderful marriages. But, its almost more often than not that I see ones hurting. This is such a picture of Christ and the church - and the world sees such a skewed picture - almost a out of order paint by number - of marriage.
Each time I hear of one more marriage failing, or hurting - I wonder why in the world I would ever want to get married. What makes me think I am any better than anyone else who struggles in their marriages or in their relationships. This has been such a weight on me today.
The other weight is the issue of pride. How I shut down when I'm not in control of something. Or when I get called out on something. Its like "multiple personality" or something - and I really am completely kidding on that. But, seriously. I don't take criticism well - even though with all I've been getting I need to get better at it. If I'm not the strongest personality or if I am outnumbered in anyway, I tend to shut down, be quiet, let others talk. Its almost an all or nothing thing. Or if I am unsure of something or fearful of criticism - then I tend to shy away from stuff.
Ok - so this is really just a rambling blog. I am thankful that I am going to bed tonight - knowing that God is still on His throne - He is still faithful - He is the mighty healer. He will continue to break me of sin. He will continue to draw men unto Himself. God - thank you.
Anyway - if you read this...thanks, hope something was in it for you. But, more than anything, it was a way for me to talk to myself and let my fingers catch up to my brain.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Advent 2008.3: Contrasts

Piper talks in this chapter about Jesus being both Lion and Lamb. Two sentences really stuck out to me - then we'll see how it relates to the other book...
"His sovereign dominion over the world was clothes with a spirit of obedience and submission." (35). So, when Christ came to earth as a little baby - He was still King of Kings and Lord of Lords, He was still the Lion of Judah and the Lamb that was Slain. All of this is His eternal nature. But - he also put on obedience and submission in a form that we could understand it. He had to be obedient not only to His Father (God) but also to His earthly parents: Mary and Joseph. He had to be submissive to the governing earthly authorities. He gave up His divine nature to be God with skin on (more on that later).
"This glorious conjunction shines all the brighter because it corresponds perfectly with our personal weariness and our longing for greatness." (37) Today, I was so glad to have the grace of Jesus. That grace was displayed in other people who have authority in my life. That grace was lavished on me by friends and people who care about me. But, there are also days when I need discipline in my life and need a word of correction. I like those days too actually - because I know the love of Jesus in that. I am grateful to have both sides of my Jesus - my companion, my warrior, my faithful High Priest, and the Answer to my every prayer. All these beautiful contrasts! I love the complexities of Jesus.
The other book talked about skin. How our skin is and what it does for us. Jesus put skin on - as Younger Lifers say "be Jesus with skin on." Well, Jesus was God with skin on. He came to show us the glory of the Father - and what did we do - we rejected the light. We cast Him out. We crucified Him. We rebelled against Him. And yet - He is still close with us, as close as skin - even closer. He is in us in the form of the Holy Spirit.
I am thankful for all the ways of Jesus and that He loves me and wants to be near me - because I am his.

Advent 2008.2: Slave, Satisfaction, Surrender

Today Piper focuses on the Deity of Christ. I think before we can understand fully the Incarnation - we have to understand the Personhood of Christ. Christ is above all and agent of Creation (Col 1), the radiance of the God the Father and the worshipped of Heaven (Heb 1). He is the I AM as He tells the Jews in the gospel of John. All these things - yet He considered Himself nothing and took on the form of a servant - the slave of a cross (Phil 2). That is remarkable. That throughout time (Alpha and Omega) Christ knew the day was coming that He would have to give up His eternal nature and take on bodily form in the womb of a teenager and live among people who would eventually nail him to a cross and mock him and spit on Him. Did He have an "advent countdown" like we do today. No matter what else - we know as Hebrews says that He endured the cross for the joy that was set before Him. As Piper starts out - that Joy was the glory of God the Father - and that is where our satisfaction must be found. I am not satisfied as I right this. There are many things I'm disappointed with in life - even just right now. Father - let me know and find my satisfaction in you - and in the Son that you sent on my behalf - that I would find my complete joy in You!
CIM talks about our citizenship. I think about Christ's citizenship - how He was a "citizen" of another "country" and He gave up those rights and freedoms (God-ness, Phil 2) to come dwell among us. And I also think of the many people I know who are out in other countries, who live and dwell in dark places, all to tell those people about this one who became a baby and died for them on a cross. These people in dark places worship other things and other gods - they don't know (or mostly even want to know) to truth of this Incarnate and Sacrificial and Glorious Jesus.
This is why we celebrate the Incarnation - because we know the other side of the Cross and what that means for the world.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Advent 2008.1 - Light, Glory, Thrill

Yesterday at church we talked much about Light piercing the darkness. We sang about it, we read about it (Light of the World, We are Listening, etc). Dustin preached from Is 9 (the prophecy of Jesus who would pierce their governmental darkness). The first chapter of Piper's book Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ is about that and the glory of God.
2 Corinthians 4.6: For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Yet - we fail to see this. Especially at Christmas time. I get wrapped up in what I'm giving (and how the getter will receive it), what I bake (and if people will like it), what parties I'm going to (and what I'm wearing). All these things are not important. This is how I "live out parables of depravity" (p 21) - Rom 1.
This is where we find healing - especially at this time of Christmas: "healing of the soul begins by restoring the glory of God to its flaming, all-attracting place at the center" (21). I don't need more things or more baked goods (definitely not to eat) - I need more of Christ.
Then - I finally saw a connection in the other book. We get so thrilled with these things (people, gifts, achievements...) that we miss Christ. I was talking to a friend today and was telling him that there has got to be more than football - because even though the Gators won a resounding victory against FSU, and however much I was excited for the game (and the game Saturday against the Tide), it was such a let down when it was over. It was over. No more. But, God and His glory are for my satisfaction for eternity. Do I get just as thrilled with knowing more of Christ as I do for watching football or finding great deals on smaller-sized clothes.
May I even tomorrow - be aware that Christ is all - and He came and dwelt among us (John 1.14) in the darkness - showing the light of the glory of God the Father.

Advent Readings

Holidays are special times because you can read things you might not otherwise read throughout the year. On Good Friday (or sometime around there) I've been reading The Cross Centered Life by CJ Mahaney each year. What a great reminder of the cross and living in light of the gospel.
This year for Christmas I want to do the same thing. Since today is December 1 - I thought was a great time to start.
So...the two books I am reading (in addition to my study in Galatians and reading through the Bible) are:
Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ - John Piper (focuses on who Chris is and how we can cherish him). I thought this would be great because we often get so wrapped up in the demands of the season: cooking, shopping, giving, traveling, snow, parties, being tired, music, etc. And we forget about the fact that Jesus came to offer us new life and freedom from this life (and all those demands if they have control over us). I'm looking forward to reading this again.
Christ in Me - Group Publishing. This is a litte gift book that came in a set I found in a trash pile. Who knows? Never read it. But, there are 30 readings of who Christ is for me. So...I have one about who Christ is and one for how His character applies to me. These are shorter readings but one I need to focus on.
I'll try to post my thoughts on these each day as we get closer to Christmas.
What do you do to keep your focus on Christmas - and not everything else?

Sojourn: Glory Be

Well, here it is...the favorite Christmas song this season. I know, I usually pick one or two new ones that I really like. This is it for this season (so far)... We sang it last night at Sojourn and even though I had heard it on the Advent CD, it is so much better in person:

Glory Be
It was the longest night, the world was waiting
Eager for the light, the world was waiting
O come, come Messiah
Sing for joy, all the earth, Messiah's come to set you free!
Join the angels in their song
Glory Be Glory Be
It was the longest night, my heart was waiting
Hallelujah, the Lord of life has come
To reconcile the nations to their God
Hallelujah, he's coming back again
To finish was began at Bethlehem
O Come, Come Messiah

Now what you don't get in the lyrics is the harmonies, melody, high notes, repitions, etc that make this song amazing.
What I like about this song: originality, scope of lyrics (not just about Christmas), freedom found in Christ, completion of salvation, joy that is brought to the whole world, our missions focus of Christmas (and not presents and food and Santa). The focus on the return and expectancy of Jesus.
Good stuff! You can find it at iTunes or