Measuring Days

My heart became hot within me. As I mused, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue: "O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am!"

11 December 2008

If you're still reading this blog or getting the feed, be herewith informed: I am somewhat officially, semi-permanently switching to my tumblr blog. It's more fun and better looking. I'm going to leave this site up for reference sake, but if you're interested, feel free to dig the new blog.

28 October 2008

My internet fast: reflections and resolutions

I've been back from the internet fast for a while. Here are some thoughts and applications.
  • My relationship to the internet is definitely more love/hate than ever
  • The internet is a powerful tool and should be wisely used for great good by God's people
  • The internet is a powerful tool and can be wickedly used for great harm by anyone, God's people included
  • A month away from the incessant drumbeat of more information isn't enough to get me back to thinking more deeply. I need to read more books and less snippets.
  • James was right (1:14) -- Temptations come from within, whether laziness or impurity or otherwise. The internet, especially through anonymity, only fans the already-present flame. To think otherwise, to think we can avoid temptation by swearing off this or that, is foolish.
  • However, though temptation is unavoidable, wisdom will lead us to avoid it as much as possible
  • For now, I have decided to only read blogs of people I know personally. There are lots of great thinking and posting being done right now, but I simply can't keep up and am tired of trying. I have too many wonderful and powerful and proven books to read to wade through the good, bad and ugly of blogging. But I do want to keep up with friends and family!
  • I am officially quitting youtube...unless someone sends me a link to something worthwhile. Really, it's just a time waster and my schedule needs surgery right now.
  • I'm not sure if I'm going to keep blogging or not. I like the idea of a pastor being able to do a little more teaching and writing in a medium accessible to the congregation. But I'm not sure that I have a lot to say right now. As topics come up in my life and reading, I will likely still use the blog to attempt a small helpfulness to others.
  • I have decided to start a tumblr blog for my own sake: here I intend to post quotes, news stories, pictures, etc., that might be helpful in future lessons, articles or sermons. Feel free to follow along, but don't feel you need to. I'm using tumblr instead of blogger for this project because it is more user friendly and the tagging system is a little more intuitive.

16 September 2008

An experiment

An idea has grown out of the soil of frustration: I am going to try to go without the internet for a month (I'll still do email, see my rules below). Why? Two main reasons:

First, I think (don't know, though) that the internet is changing the way I think. See here and here. Simply put, for my life's calling, I can't afford the short attention span this interweb has developed in me. I can't afford to think in blog posts and headlines; I need to get back to essays and books and talking to people.

Second, the internet is changing the way I work and not usually for the better. I realize the incredible resource this is, especially for research, but I need some time away to learn better to separate the wheat from the chaff, to figure out what I really need and what is wasting my time.

Caveat: my little experiment is really designed for me and shouldn't be taken as a condemnation of the internet or as an example to follow. This experiment is designed to combat my own weakness in self-discipline. When my wife and I first got married, we lived in a place that had cable. I learned then that I would either watch way too much t.v. or I would keep the television in storage until I really had something to watch. So I'm putting the internet in storage for a little while.

My rules: email is still in, because it's a necessary part of my work as a pastor. Financial interactions (paying bills, making necessary purchases) are in, but online window-shopping is out. Also, if someone adds me as a friend on facebook, I'll accept, but only to avoid hurt feelings. Finally, there are one or two couple small tasks for which I use the internet; I'll continue those.

So, no blog posts. No twitters. No news. No youtube. No wikipedia. No drudge.

Ultimately, I'm headed back to the stone age in an attempt to get enough perspective to discern what parts of this internet are worth keeping around in my life.

09 September 2008

On Modesty

Modesty is a must, everywhere and for everyone but perhaps never more so than in our increasingly proud and licentious society. How does this practically work out in the family? In your family?

Fathers are responsible for what goes on in their home and family; this includes the clothes your daughters wear! My daughter is not yet old enough to need rules and guidelines but I've already tried to think through some, mostly on behalf of the families in our congregation. It's actually a very difficult thing to do. So I appreciate the wisdom of these four guidelines from Michael Hyatt, who's the CEO at Thomas Nelson [of course, I don't endorse much of anything that Thomas Nelson publishes]. But first, a friend sent me a good preamble to keep us from diving off the other side:

Recognizing that God has designed women with beautiful features that should not be covered like the muslim women, consider these guidelines...
  1. If you have trouble getting into it or out of it, it is probably not modest.

  2. If you have to be careful when you sit down or bend over, it is probably not modest.

  3. If people look at any part of your body before looking at your face, it is probably not modest.

  4. If you can see your most private body parts or an outline of those parts under the fabric, it is probably not modest.
A couple thoughts: this list smells like Biblical wisdom to me and I appreciate that it doesn't claim a proof text for each rule, which is a dead giveaway for legalism. If you (ladies) or your wives/daughters (men) don't like it, I'd be interested in hearing why not and what guidelines you use toward modesty.

Finally, it's worth remembering that modesty isn't for women only. Anytime we pridefully draw attention to ourselves-whether it sexual or otherwise, whether it's tight clothes or prominent piercings-we are being immodest. So let's not forget to teach our sons about modesty, too.

02 September 2008

Science, Scripture, and the people stuck in the middle

Recently, I had a conversation with a fellow believer, who's also a scientist, about creation, evolution and the many gray areas in between. One thing he said stuck out to me, so I thought I'd toss it out for discussion:
When the Bible and science disagree, the Bible is always right. When Christians and scientists disagree, scientists are usually right.
Do you agree? Why or why not? What the implications?

20 August 2008

Maybe the show doesn't need to go on

I just read that LeRoi Moore, the brilliant saxophonist for the Dave Matthews Band, died from an ATV accident. The band went ahead with their scheduled concert last night.

One concertgoer asserts "they knew it was the right thing to do and LeRoi would have wanted it."

A thought that I've had before but never published: when I die, I don't want the show to go on. I want people to stop the regularly scheduled programming of life and think about deep things like life, death, love, hate, Jesus and salvation. I want people to be uncomfortable.

Is there anything more typical of a culture that shudders to think about death, that refuses to measure their days, than the ridiculous notion that the "show must go on"? The dude at the concert (and he certainly was a dude) even said it was the right thing to do--it was a moral obligation to keep the party going. We live in a world that takes every opportunity possible to push death to the shadows and boundaries of life. When death comes close, we keep the concert going when we should stop and consider, "unless you repent, you will all likewise perish."

30 July 2008

Aloha-or, how Hawaii kills push ups

While many of our friends went to the RP conference at Calvin college, we went to Hawaii. They're back and we're back. But we're more tan. Plus, we swam with sea turtles. The downside, though, is twofold: I hear we missed a lot of great preaching and fellowship. And it turns out that it is physically impossible to stay on the push up routine in Hawaii. So, for all my push up buddies, I'm a week behind, maybe two. I'll let you know.

18 July 2008

pushups and other

(for my push-up buddies) I wasn't able to start the push-ups until Wednesday...let me assure you that doing them three days in a row is killer. I've only been able to max a little above the minimum.

Someone asked if we could get together at the RP international conference -- alas (for you, not me) I will be in Hawaii tomorrow evening, Lord willing. This providential trip to Hawaii has cancelled our attendance at the conference. But we'll be praying for God's blessing on you who are going!

12 July 2008

The 100

Here's my push-up project update--First week is completed with no snags. After the 5 sets each day, I maxed at 15, 15, then 21. How about you?

10 July 2008

Praying for Pastors, even Spurgeon

I received a kind note the other day that included this from Charles Spurgeon on praying for pastors; I pass it on for the sake of your pastors, that it might encourage you to pray for them.
"Brothers, pray for us!"
--I Thessalonians 5:25

Today I want to remind you about the importance of praying for your ministers. In the most earnest way that I can I ask every Christian household to grant this request of the Apostle Paul on behalf of every minister of the Gospel.

Brothers, the fact is that our work affects the eternal benefit or curse of many; the souls of men are our eternal business. A very heavy responsibility rests upon us, and we strive to be innocent of the blood of all men.

As officers in Christ's army, we are the special point of attack of those who hate Christ. They watch for us to fall, and work to trip us up in any way they can. Our sacred calling requires us to endure certain temptations from which most are exempt. We see some go back into a life of sin, and we see millions dying without Christ. We long to be useful both to saints and sinners.

And so, we ask you, pray for us! Your spiritual blessings come from God, and not from us; and yet, how many times has He given those blessings through His ministers. In our behalf, please pray that we may be the humble jars of clay into which the Lord may put the treasure of the gospel. On behalf of all those who are called to minister the Gospel today, I ask YOU to "Pray for us."

09 July 2008

Because we don't kill babies for no reason

George Grant has started a new blog exposing the genocidal legacy of Planned Parenthood. It's worth plugging into your Google Reader, if only to be reminded more regularly of the ongoing homicide bloodying the hands of our nation. This historical reminder is from a recent post:
...dark and malignant seeds were already germinating just beneath the surface of the new century's soil. Josef Stalin was a twenty-one-year-old seminary student in Tiflis, a pious and serene community at the crossroads of Georgia and Ukraine. Benito Mussolini was a seventeen-year-old student teacher in the quiet suburbs of Milan. Adolf Hitler was an eleven-year-old aspiring art student in the quaint upper Austrian village of Brannan. And Margaret Sanger was a twenty-year-old out-of-sorts nursing school dropout in White Plains, New York. Who could have ever guessed on that ebulliently auspicious New Year's Day that those four youngsters would, over the span of the next century, spill more innocent blood than all the murderers, warlords, and tyrants of past history combined? Who could have ever guessed that those four youngsters would together ensure that the hopes and dreams and aspirations of the twentieth century would be smothered under the weight of holocaust, genocide, and triage?
(thanks to Jeff for the link)

06 July 2008

Quote, unquote

If you go into the future, there are evil robots. If you go into the past, they don't have toilets. So, why bother?

-Meg Morton on the philosophy of time travel

05 July 2008

Happy Independence Day

A day late, but hopefully not a dollar short, here's a great version of our national anthem.
May God see fit to bring this independent nation into her rightful dependence on King Jesus.

03 July 2008

100 push-ups project

100 push-ups is a popular strength-training program that seems quite simple to do.

I linked to it last week and asked if anyone wanted to have a go with me. Check it out if you haven't - the idea is that everyone will be able to do 100 consecutive push-ups at the end of the program, regardless of where they start.

Anyhows, it seems a couple folks are interested, so here's the plan: if you want to do the program together (well, as together as we can be over the internet), take the
initial test sometime today or tomorrow and reply to this post with your initial level (I'll put a comment with my level later today - we're all friends, so there's no shame here). Then I'll post my progress once a week and have everyone participating use the comment section to post their progress as well.

The more folks participate, the more fun we'll have!