Monday, May 10, 2010

New Blog - Moved

I attached all my blogs to one! How exciting.

This Whole Life

All the blogs on here are on there. So, follow it, google feed it - do something to keep up to date!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Day and Night

Something new...being obedient to all the Psalms that command us to meditate both day and night on the Word.
Psalm 1 is a good place to start.
Well, I am finally obeying it. In his strength, for His glory in my life, mind, heart, and then eventually hopefully in the lives of others, in my writing, and in the world...the Word takes root.
Here is the plan: simple. I read a Psalm before going to bed - helping me rejoice in the day and worship the One who made it. A proverb before going about my day - wanting wisdom, practical ways I can live in obedience today.
Random ways this has been good: day 1 I was able to text a verse to a friend who is praying through many different options for her life right now. It was a good verse for her - Prov 1.33. Psalm 1 helped me remember why I needed to do this in the first place. Ps 3 - last night I fell asleep on the couch and I dreamed about people being able to break into my screen door from my porch. I woke up, went to bed, reading Ps 3 about dwelling in safety and Him providing sound sleep. God is wonderful.
This morning: feeling horrible from my Italian dinner last night both in mind and in body - I read Prov 3. I thanked God for his mercies, grace, forgiveness, and a new day. Here are some wys that is evident to me in that proverb:
1. Do not forget teaching (mind, I know what I need to eat, not eat to live my body in a way glorifying to God), but heart keep commands (but I crave in my heart things that aren't good for me). But I need to remember that the heart is deceitful and above all desparately wicked.
2. Steadfast love and faithfulness need to be how I relate to everyone I come in contact with: to find favor and good success with men.
3. If I turn away from my own wisdom (and worthless rationale) and seek the wisdom that comes from God (which is found in this Book), then it will bring healing to my flesh and refreshment to my bones. Do you take the Word literally. Most people claim that the Word has nothing really to say about health and our bodies and what we do we them or how we treat them by what we intake. We live this out in most of our churches actually. In most of our homes. But, this passage: Prov 3.7-8 speaks to just that. If we turn away from seeking our own wisdom and evil things (over eating, indulgent and seeking our worth in food) then it will bring healing to our bones, refreshment to our bodies. I love that promise!
4. Honor the Lord with your is a recapture of Mal 3. God is blessing me in many ways and I've seen the truth of this played out in my life. Neat how God says He will reward obedience - and He really does. When He tells us to "test him in this" (Mal 3) He actually will come through. That is the amazing God we serve.
5. Do not grow tired of His reproof: I even was so glad He gave me an upset stomach this morning and wiggly vision last night (after eating so much white pasta and white bread). This is part of his reproof in my life for overeating and not heading my body and how He has made it. I want to be obedient in this way. I desire the Lord's correction in that.
6. He blesses the dwelling of the righteous. This last proverb in chapter 3 brought to mind two others. Often times we'll see signs that "Bless This House" - sorta the welcome sign on most southern doors. But, do we think about this verse. He blesses the home of the righgteous. I think in light of Proverbs and preceeding verses he is talking about those who make righteous choices and seek wisdom and understanding. But, also and most importantly...our righteousness is found in Christ - we must abide there. If we abide there, part A will come.

Do you meditate on Scripture day and night - do you see it impacting your day?

B90x Update

Some of you may recall that back in January I started B90x - a reading plan from Elevate Church in Charlotte for reading through the entire Bible in 90 days. Started off well, like most New Year's Resolutions and Bible reading plans.
March is where I really slacked off - as I was preparing to move, pack, late nights, working much - it was tough - I was sinful and lazy in forgetting this daily need.
Well - here is my update. I finished the OT the end of April. I start the NT. Hopefully the NT won't take me as long as the OT took. I doubt it.
Here are good things about the B90x reading plan:
1. It makes you prioritize the Word. It takes about 50 minutes each day to read the allotted segment. I'm not a fast reader.
2. It helps to give a bigger picture to the Word. One thing I dislike about most reading plans is that you get 2 chapters here and there in 4 different places. I like seeing complete pictures. It helps me follow story lines better. One day I think I read the whole story of Abraham from Ur to death. Joseph followed a day later. It helps when all of Genesis is done in 4 days. You see the connectedness of Scripture.
3. Themes. It also helps because you can draw out themes or words that help in preparing Bible studies or seeing the Big Picture of the Word of God. This was probably my fave part.

I will keep going. His Word is important.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Community, Trinity, Love and DeYoung

Ever read one of those paragraphs...that you want to read aloud to whoever is in the room and it expresses a new way of thinking or a new way of understanding a complex thought? Sorta an "aha" moment.
Here is one:
I am reading Kevin DeYoung's book The Good News We Almost Forgot - Rediscovering the Gospel in a 16th Century Catechism. Basically, Kevin takes the Heidelberg Catechism and applies the gospel found in it to modern day. Putting this hard to read or understand or even say in a fluid pattern - something in paragraph form and explaining it. Quite good. More of that later though.

"The Trinity matters for relationships. We worship a God who is in a constant and eternal relationship with Himself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Community is a buzz word in American culture, but it is only in a Christian framework that communion and interpersonal community are seen as expressions of the eternal nature of God. Likewise, it is only with a Trinitarian God that love can be an eternal attribute of God. Without a plurality of persons in the Godhead, we would be forced to think taht God created humands so that He might show love and know love, thereby making love a created thing (and God a needy deity). But with a biblical understanding of the Trinity, we can say that God did not create in order to be loved, but rather, created out of the overflow of the perfect love that had always existed among Father, Son, and Holy Spirit who ever live in perfect and mutual relationship and delight." (p 52)

Love this. God didn't create us because He needed us. My friend, Sean Cordell, preached on this topic as well a few weeks ago at Treasuring Christ here in Raleigh: Pursuing Community. You can not know true community without the knowledge of the true Creator of Community.
We must know love and community only through an intimate relationship with the one who desires to be in community and sent Jesus to die to make that possible.

Book Review: Collaborate

In light of the title of the book, Collaborate is a collaborative effort by many ministers in the field of children, family, and student ministry to bring the best of the best of their ideas to the table. Chanley, at Southeast in Louisville, KY, put together these short chapters filled with excellent events you can do at your church to help bridge the gap that is evident in ministries and families across America.
Good things about this book:
1. Rob Rienow's chapter. I had read a bulk of the material for since I am familiar with Rob's writings, but it was a good reminder of WHY we do family ministry and WHY THERE IS A NEED for family ministry. The reason this chapter, for me, was the best out of this book is because it is the only one whose main focus was the theological reason behind family ministry. Others definitely drove Deut 6.4-9 into the ground and used that as an imperative for ministry - but Rob opened up the biblical mandate for Family Ministry and parenting and the church and the gospel. Theology, I know, wasn't the main point of this book. And Chanley and others definitely succeded in the aim of this book. (That's why there are multiple books out there, each with its specific niche.)
2. Rob Bradbury encouraged me by his list. Not only will this chapter be helpful as people sit down to plan out events - but he started with the most important, yet most often overlooked element. PRAYER. He listed prayer before advertising. How often to do plan, advertise, talk up, poster-up, get volunteers - even before we pray. At the church I serve, we have even noticed that this is not as big of a focus as we need it to be. So, we are taking many efforts to strengthen our prayer times in staff meetings or in our lives personally. Today, even, stopping in the middle of staff meeting to pray for a lady who walked through our doors during Joy Prom and said she had never (in 62 years, in the South) walked into a church. These are the things that need praying for.
3. Short chapters. I like books with short chapters because I feel like I can plow through a book without having to sit down and read for 2 hours straight. I like being able to end at a chapter, not in the middle of one.
4. Very practical. If you need ideas, or are stuck and uncreative (like I often am), this book will help bring some fresh new ideas from literally around the world to you.

One word of caution with this book: Picking up this book would lead some to believe that is all about activity - or events. Family Ministry is not event driven. It must NOT be. It has to be theology and gospel driven. God can and does use events to draw people to themselves (take Joy Prom for example, or youth camp, or VBS, or Family Fall night, but if it is event driven, we will just fill up a calendar and spend money. If it is gospel-driven - then hopefully God will use the church to make an impact in the lives of families. You can't get your people on board with events unless they know the why behind what you do.

That is my daily challenge. May it be your's as well.