Monday, February 28, 2011

Caitlin is "FWREE!"

Three years ago today, a brand-new, never-before-seen, beautiful little image of the indisputably inexhaustible God made her way into this world. And ever since that day, we've been reveling in the joy that she is to our family.

These days this princess with the smile-bedimpled cheeks, the brown dot kissy spot, the wild-woman hair and the eyes that I still can't figure out enjoys...

Coloring with one foot kicked up in the air...

Making milk with the special secret ingredient that we'll never, ever tell...

Shaving with Dad...





Playing dressups with her Kitty Tat...



















And telling stories that involve pink Neigh-Neighs and Princesses...

















Caitlin, my prayer for you on this birthday is that just as you've been nurtured in Christ, you will always walk in Christ. I pray that your life will be rooted in him and built up in him, like a tree planted by streams of water -- yielding fruit in season & prospering. I pray that you will be established in the faith: abounding in thanksgiving, and delighting in the law and in the love of your Lord.

"Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving."
~ Colossians 2.6-7

"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.
He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish."
~ Psalm 1


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Superbowl Segregation

DPC recently hosted a great superbowl party that Stu & Lory put together for us.

The only problem was the seating arrangements. The Cheese Heads had this nice, state-of-the-art set up, with comfortable tables & chairs & all sorts of refreshments...



Pretty cool, huh?

Meanwhile the Steeler fans had to make do with this:


You see the problem? What's the matter with these people? Have they never even heard of Charlie Daniels?

"...You just go and lay your hand on a Pittsburgh Steeler fan and I think you're gonna finally understand..."

from "In America," 1980



Wednesday, February 23, 2011

the other side of humility


In the post below this one you will find some thoughts on humility that I ran across while studying for some recent sermons in Matthew 20. And those quotes are very helpful in thinking about one aspect of humility. But there's something else here that we need to think about as well...

It's very possible to stop there in our understanding of Christian humility. We remember our moral unworthiness before God, our desperate need for God's grace, we remember the vast chasm between what we deserve and what we actually receive from God's hand... & there we stop.

And it's all absolutely true. We dare not let our hearts escape the awful truth about who we really are before God and the almost-too-good-to-be-true truth about who God has really made us to be in Christ.

But if I stop there, I'm not yet a truly humble person.

This is true with all the Christian virtues. For example, the greedy person will not become un-greedy by telling himself a thousand times to stop loving money. To lay the axe to the root of greed he must also begin to practice sacrificial generosity. Then he will begin to put greed to death. And we could extend this principle to every Christian vice and virtue we could name.

But it's just so with humility. True humility is not merely telling yourself not to be proud. There's got to be a "positive" aspect of humility as well. Telling ourselves we're unworthy sinners (which we are!) is just the first step.

What's the next step toward true humility? Sacrificially Serving Other People. Engaging other people as "their servant." (see the verses quoted at the bottom of this post)

Here's the deal:

For every hundred people who are sitting at home thinking bad thoughts about themselves -- and perhaps even becoming proud of their lowliness, their sinfulness, how undeserving they are, how "broken" they are in all of their shortcomings and need for God's grace -- there is one who is accepting all the inconvenience, all the trouble, all the pains, and all the thanklessness of regularly, daily, hourly doing good for other people.

One version of humility is still "self-centered." And the other is "others-centered."

If our humility doesn't express itself outwardly in service, then we're just fooling ourselves into thinking we're humble when we're really not. We're just talking a good humility, not living it.

In the Bible, Jesus never allows his disciples to think of true humility merely in terms of an inner state or a mental attitude. True humility is "others-centered."

That's why the "first" and the "greatest" in the Kingdom of God -- the Lord Jesus Christ -- is the most humble servant of all.

"Whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave." -- Matthew 20.26,27

"What we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake." - 2 Corinthians 4.5

Saturday, February 5, 2011

humility

"Humility does not consist in having a worse opinion of ourselves than we deserve."
-- William Law

"I am always very glad that my slanderers should tell a trifling lie about me rather than the whole terrible truth."
-- St. Teresa of Avila

"For thus says the One who is high and lifted up,
who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:
'I dwell in the high and holy place,
and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit,
to revive the spirit of the lowly,
and to revive the heart of the contrite.'"
-- Isaiah 57.15

Friday, February 4, 2011

Which is better?

I go back & forth in my personal practices between reading a handful of chapters of the Bible at a time and reading only one chapter at a time and then spending some quiet moments re-reading & reflecting upon what I read.

More and more I'm finding that greater joy and benefit come from the latter practice than the former.

Consider this quote from Peter Toon (he's summarizing the teaching of the Puritans on these things):

(Note first of all that the word "meditation" in Christianity does not mean the same thing as it means in other contexts. In some religious contexts meditation means emptying your mind -- moving to a state of mental passivity. In the Bible meditating is very different. It mean to fill your mind with God's truth & turn it over & over in your mind, taking it all in. It's a state of mental activity, not passivity. It means immersing your mind in the Scriptures & thinking deeply about how those truths are to be understood, applied, and prayed into your life.)

But here's the quote from Peter Toon, summarizing the Puritans:

"To read the Bible and not to meditate was seen as an unfruitful exercise: better to read one chapter and to meditate afterward than to read several chapters and not to meditate. Likewise to meditate and not to pray was like preparing to run a race and never leaving the starting line. The three duties of reading Scripture, meditation, and prayer belonged together, and though each could be done occasionally on its own, as formal duties to God they were best done together."

On the Nightstand Table





Wednesday, February 2, 2011

An Important Lesson That Applies to All of Life



"Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist.
Children already know that dragons exist.
Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed."

G.K. Chesterton