Thursday, April 30, 2009

Thoughtful Thursday: Carolyn Mahaney

"The commands found in Titus 2 have been given to us for an all-important reason that transcends time and culture. That reason is the gospel of Jesus Christ. These virtues are not about our personal fulfillment or individual preference. They are required for the sake of unbelievers - so that those who are lost might come to know our Savior. How exciting it is to think that we can actually commend the gospel! As verse 10 says, we can adorn the gospel with our lives. To "adorn" means to put something beautiful or attractive on display - like placing a flawless gemstone in a setting that uniquely shows off its brilliance. The gospel is like the most vaulable of jewels. It is the pearl of great price. Make no mistake, by adorning the gospel, we are not enhancing or improving it. The gospel cannot be improved! But by cultivating the feminine qualities listed in Titus 2, we can present the gospel as attrative, impressive, and pleasing to a watching world."
Feminine Appeal (p 26, 27)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Lauren Winner on the Gender Gap

What an important topic and article for today: in education, the home, single life, and the church. At the outset - this article does not apply to everyone I know. Many of the married men I know, both younger and older than me, are incredible guys and their wives are equally great. But, this does apply to a lot of the women I know (who do everything and are great), and a lack of male leadership in churches, dating arenas, etc - who can live up to those standards. The real reason I was drawn to this article is I know so many great, wonderful, smart, beautiful, over 25 single women who want to be a wife and mother. All of our married friends say: "There are no good guys out there that I would even want to set you up with. They aren't caliber enough."
Anyway...Lauren Winner is an author. I found this article on Boundless, an online ministry to singles done by Focus on the Family. I found it very compelling and true - not needing an apology.
And one more thing before I get started: I'm thankful for knowing men who defy this article and are training men they know to also go against the odds in this study. Thank you for setting the bar high!
I'm not going to rehash the whole article, but pulling out the highlighted portions from my reading:
"Regardless of what we say we think about women and leadership, when it comes to college-aged and 20-somethings, women are leading in all sorts of areas." I so wish this wasn't true. Yes, I think it is great for women to go to college, get a degree, serve in their churches, be involved in the community, love on others. But, if we do it all - the men are going to continue this slide into non-involvement. Just because there is a lack of male leadership, doesn't mean we can usurp the authority of the Word of God and be the leaders (especially in the church and home).
"What's going on here is not just volunteering or service, but real lay leadership. I'm thrilled to have so many active, vibrant women working with me, but I do wonder why the guys are so slack. And I probably perpetuate things, because now, when I really need something done, I often don't even think to ask any guys. I go to the women who I know can get things done." Unfortunately, this way of thinking is happening in many churches - and is the inevitable outcome of my thoughts on the above portion.
Winner attributes some of this to the amount of time 20-somethings spend playing video games, exercising, sleeping, and watching TV. I agree with her partly on this - but I think there are far more important reasons than these. These are just the outworking of lack of leadership and discipline. "Men devote far more time than women to playing computer games, exercise more, and watch more TV, and are more likely to oversleep and miss class."
She goes on to talk about the formative years in late elementary school all the way through college. Even now, as I walk past the gym or go work out, I see an overwhelming majority of men (even in ratio to the amount of men who outnumber the women at this school) playing basketball, ping pong, watching ESPN, or chilling with friends in the school cafe, or playing frisbee on the lawn. These are important - community, exercise, "down time" - but not the exclusion of doing the "hard things" (as the Harris brothers have said in their book).
Here are three main points about this study that I want to make:
1. Parents - please train up the future generation to not play video games all the time. Ok - its not the fault of video games. Train, especially your boys, to grow up to have leadership, responsibility, caring, assertive, integrity, work ethic. Instill in them a sense of right and wrong when it comes to being lazy. Laziness is all over the Proverbs as a destructive trait.
2. Pastors - Don't let this happen. Be on the lookout for 20-somethings in your church who are just slackers. Teach them how to step up to the plate and take control of things - serving, being men, having leadership roles early in their lives within the church.
3. Men - (Single). Step up. Be a man. God gave you leadership roles in the church and home. Don't be a wuss. (Married). Live this out - bring single men under you to mentor them - don't be a wuss.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Kate Perry and Psalm 1

I read many blogs. I like doing it. It is a way to stay in touch with the world. I read just beginning of a fitness one and found this:
"I tried to dislike Katy Perry for a long time. "I Kissed a Girl" was so over the top and supposed to be shocking and scandalous that it irritated the heck out of me. Plus, she routinely includes watermelons in her wardrobe. I love fruits, but come on.
And then I started humming the darn song. On a few occasions, I accidentally listened to it in its entirety while in the car. Then it somehow ended up on my iPod. Before I knew it, I was giggling with Erin over her signing the ditty to her dog when she'd kiss her on the head. It was only a matter of days before I repeated the act with my own dog. (Yes, we're those kind of dog owners.)"
I think this is the epitamy of Psalm 1:
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.
In the above illustration, this lady found a very ill song (very Jane Austen way of putting something) to be "shocking, irritating, and scandalous". Then she started humming it. Now she has it on her iPod and laughs at it.
See the progression of: walks, stands, sits"...
I love it when the world is screaming Scripture and doesn't even know it. Think biblically folks!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

David Platt.Secret Church.The Cross of Christ

Birmingham. Good Friday.
And the Shofar blew.
David Platt brought it on Friday night. During Secret Church, he preached on the message of the Cross, we shared in communion, and we heard from a pastor in the Gaza Strip. Amazing stuff. 2000 people spending their Good Friday night by hearing what the holiday is all about. There were 100 pages of notes, I won't post all of them. I filled in the blanks and then had a notebook with my own thoughts written down. This is them:
First - I wanted to know what I was bringing into the evening - where was I starting. As I drove and was stuck in 280 traffic, I had time to think: I WANT: to be thin and tall, to be attractive, to be loved by a Christian not be like the Israelited who wanted a king so bad. These are honestly my heart's cravings tonight. But, I also want to see a glimpse of you in a fresh new way that all of these pale in comparison.
Here goes:
1. Because of the cross...Jesus commands my destiny. Because he conquered death and the grave, He can fulfill all my dreams in Him.
2. If your life isn't saturated by the cross - it will be wasted.
3. "The whole world in comparison with the cross of Christ is one grand impertinance." - Robert Leighton
4. We must have a God-centered view of the Cross. The Cross is not about me.
5. Since God is righteous - God is all RIGHT in all that He does. I have no reason or right or smarts to argue with a righteous God - because everything He does is right. Even the cross (it pleased the Father to bruise the Son)
6. The song I heard last year at New Attitude: All I Have Is Christ - by the NA band. Good stuff. Had it on my Easter playlist - go download it. Good stuff (again).
7. I think this is what hit me the most: the tension between Romans 2.4 and Prov 17.15 - how God is perfectly just in His wrath - yet ordained the Cross to set us free by the blood of the innocent. What a great mystery - tension everywhere. Something I will never fully understand - that is why there is faith and the Spirit.
8. Most Christian/gospel songs about the cross say something like - it was for us, I was on his mind, He was thinking of me, etc. John 12.28 says His main purpose in the hour of the Cross was to glorify the Father.
9. Sympathetic Resonance - the idea of a Great High Priest. Amazing how the Maker of the Universe and only sinless human being is my Great High Priest who knows and understands and sympathizes with everything I am going through.
10. Jesus' agony about the cross wasn't primarily about the pain of the thorns, heaviness of the cross, etc. It was knowing fully the wrath of God.
11. Knowing the wrath of God - studying it - knowing what it means for Him to be my substitute - makes the cross more real.
12. Jesus experienced the full wrath of God - when it was dark and he asked why His Father had deserted Him.
13. Christ endured the wrath of God because He was being obedient. "for the joy set before him, Christ endured the cross" - gotta love Hebrews.
14. We are saved from our sins b/c the Father and the Son were in complete unison. He took the cup full of the wrath of God.
15. "All (salvation) is of God. The only thing of my very own which I contribute to my redemption is the sin from which I need to be redeemed." - William Temple
16. God is omnipresent. even in hell. But the presence is the cursing of God. God is just not allowing His blessing to be there. I had to think through this one a bit.
17. Hosea 2. 13-14. Amazing book, love it, love the story. Don't think I ever saw the "therefore". Because of the fact that Israel was rebellious, Gomer was a prostitute, I am an idolater - God will pursue me. Praise God He is the pursuer I need - the only one.

Amazing night. Brain was full. I didn't stay for the last session, but they are eventually online, so I can fill in the blanks! The last session was on the intent of the Cross (L in Tulip) - limited atonement. Who is the cross for?

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Thoughtful Thursdays - Elyse Fitzpatrick

"The gospel teaches us that instead of focusing our ourselves and our closely clinging sing, we've got to focus on, to consider, Jesus. We've got to look away from our sin, whether because it's alluring and drawing us toward it or because it's condemning and pushing us into ourselves and away from our Savior. We must patiently focus all our attention on him. We've got to think on, ponder, or consider Jesus. Ever aspect of the gospel is meant to encourage us in our war against sin. Of course we should be aware enough of our sin that we seek to repent of it and are grateful for the cross, but that's not where our thoughts should settle. Our thoughts should be steadfastly riveted on what Jesus has done."
Comforts from the Cross - 49


Must have seriously woke up on the wrong side of bed this morning. I'll first go with my day so far then I'll go to what I read this morning in the next post - thoughtful thursday.
Finally quit hitting the snooze at 6.51. I didn't sleep well. I think it was an odd temperature in the house, wasn't extremely tired when I went to bed at 10, woke up at 10:53 to answer a text, woke up at 3 to hear the garbage truck making its glorious entrance into our parking lot space, then finally just got up.
The scale went up .2 and I've been doing the same thing I've been doing the last three weeks when I've been losing on average 2 lbs a week. What's the scoop? But my clothes are fitting better - uck!
My Bible that I read my QTs out of was at the office so I didn't do my full quiet time, just read some in Elyse Fitzpatrick. Bemoaned the fact that I had gained .2. Contemplated a meeting I was having today and what I wanted to ask. Really caring about the lack of discipline in some areas, but things that were great in life as well.
Don't want to have a bad attitude about other things either - weight, being single, fact that people get engaged so young and only having known each other less than 6 months, I mean come on. Or the fact that others are so much better at things than me, or have more skills, or run faster, or bake better, or look better, or lose weight faster...or that fact that no one wants to marry me, or the fact that I'm not "gentle and quiet" enough or...the list could go on. I'm just not good enough. or that fact that life is such a daily struggle sometimes.
Ok - enough of my wrong side of the bed. Jesus is still on his throne - the tomb is empty.
Now, to the Thoughtful Thursday in the next one. This is why I have and am in desparate need of a Savior!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Bondage Remembered

The Old Testament is really a cool book. I like reading it straight through rather than hit or miss - bigger picture is at hand. Like I have mentioned, I'm reading it through with the Sojourn body and listening to their pastor preach through it in 2009.
Today's reading was found in Dt. 23-25. Good stuff. Mostly laws and regulations of worship, but then came little tid bits that Moses (through the Holy Spirit) put in there.
"but you shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed you from there" - Dt 24.18 (as well as many other places in the OT).
I love this. God writes his Law, gives it to his chosen special treasure possession - and then tells them to obey it. Not because He is a hard driving, egomaniac God (although He is just and jealous), but He wants them to obey it out of a remembrance of grace that He has poured out on their lives by rescuing them from years of bondage.
Same goes for us 4000 years later.
God has freed us from the bondage of sin and law (Rom 5-8) and has given us love and redemption and freedom. He gave us His word to obey and follow - because of this grace.
I was saved at an early age. I am grateful to God alone because of that. But, I still continue to live in daily sin. I am grateful for the Spirit for sanctification. But, I also know that if I didn't have the Spirit I would daily live in bondage to: food, performance, pride, fear of man, materialism, showmanship, fear of rejection, perfectionism, and many other things.
When I choose to live in those sins - I am crippled. When I choose to live in the freedom of Christ under His grace in the shadow of the Cross - then I am freed from the bondage of sin.
I am so thankful to know freedom and not have to live in bondage anymore.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Killing Detestable Things

I'm reading through the OT this year with Sojourn (as Pastor Daniel goes through his BC series).
Honestly - Numbers was probably the hardest to read, but great sermons from the book. Leviticus wasn't as bad as I would have thought. And really, I'm getting a ton out of Deuteronomy - (whoda thunk it?).
So here are three thoughts from my readings the past few days (and then I'll get to listen to the sermons this weekend as I drive to B'ham).
1. Deut 17.1 (NLT): "Never sacrifice a sick or defective ox or sheet to the Lord your God, for he detests such things." My question to myself after reading this (knowing I'm not bound by the law because Christ has set me free) - what sick or defective sacrifices do I bring before the Lord? Do I offer him the last of things or the first of things? Do I offer to him things that I really want or half-heartedly give him things that really don't mean that much to me.
2. Dt 20. 16-18 (NLT): "As for the towns of the nations the Lord your God is giving you as a special possession, destroy every living thing in them. You must completely destroy the ... (all the countries), just as the Lord your God has commanded you. This will keep the people of the land from teaching you their detestable customs in the worship of their gods, which would cause you to sin deeply against the Lord your God." Ok - so God hasn't given me lands to conquer or people to slaughter - but he he put me in a world that does some pretty awful things. And I think to myself - those things are good for me. But, what detestable customs have I picked up that I need to kill (better to go into heaven with one eye) so I can live a life more pleasing to the Lord out of a heart of right obedience?
3. Praise Jesus I don't live under the law anymore. I read these and each chapter it seems to be punctuated with "follow and obey all these laws so you will be pleasing to the Lord" - or something about full obedience. My full obedience came in the substition of Christ on the Cross on my behalf, His special possession, special treasure, chosen generation. I am loved by a God who doesn't see my sin anymore to make me right before Him - but sees the crucified and risen Jesus standing in my place. Oh, how sweet the substition of Jesus is on my behalf. And a great thing to think about come Easter this weekend.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Thoughtful Thursday: Jerry Bridges

On living a godly life: (from The Practice of Godliness, p 17)
"Only a strong personal relationship with the living God can keep such a commitment from becoming oppressive and legalistic. John writes that God's commands are not burdensome, a godly life is not wearisom, but this is true only because a godly person is first of all devoted to God."