Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category

Keeping my own promises

October 20, 2007

It’s been a month since I said I was back. That is amazing reliable blogging, no?

There’s a long list of serious reasons. I won’t go into most of them. I wasn’t sure I’d come back to blogging at all; I won’t bore you with  all my reasoning for attempting to start again.

But there are three things I want to say, for anyone who might still be reading:

1. A huge sin problem in my life is pride. One aspect of this is the temptation to live well in the applause of others — to draw my identity and my sustenance not from the gospel but from its opposite; not from God’s glory lighting up my face, but from my own glory, reflected in the esteem of others. This sin goes to the root of The Fall, and has been the occasion for mighty falling in my own life. I have lived it out in preaching and pastoring and leading — and I found this blog an unexpectedly powerful furtherance of that temptation.

A blog goes worldwide in a short time. It’s a rocket-blast of people reading, and thinking about, your thoughts. Intelligent interaction on a global scale, and it’s your writing that has caused it. I got a few responses from people that disagreed with me, but an over-whelming response from people saying, “Good work! Well said! Right ya’ are! We need more of this!”

Those of you that pastor; you have people that complain about you, and people that applaud you. Have you ever noticed how ready you are to classify them as those that “don’t get it” and those who “do”? The people cheering you on are especially perceptive, aren’t they? Reliable and godly, salt-of-the-earth types. They must be, because they like you.

Take that foolishness and apply a measurable scale to it, that you can check daily. Watch your blog stats climb. You can actually look at a line-graph of readers’ perception of your greatness! And, with a young blog, that line graph is almost always climbing! See how often others refer to your words and help build your esteem! Finally, the globe is waking up to my significance! At last, the dream is alive!

And of course it’s only ego that’s alive. A sluggish idol has been revitalized. A run-down pagan temple is getting a spruce-up.

And the poison is seeping into the soul once again.

I’ve been in that prison-house of a temple before. I’ve felt its destruction; I’ve visited that destruction upon others. I’ve drunk the poison deeply, and then vomited it up on those who loved me.

I don’t want to do that again. Not ever.  This blog started alarm bells ringing. I didn’t want to come back to it until I had some accountability mechanisms in place, some clear thinking, some strong gospel reminders ready to ring and keep ringing whenever I looked at the blog.

2. Back in August, Justin Buzzard posted “7 Reasons you may want to stop reading my blog.” It was a great list, although I didn’t stop — if I only read a few blogs in a day, his is always one of them. But that kind of thinking has always made me wonder if my blog is really worth the time and mind-space that it costs me, and costs you.  More, I want to “restrain the rant” — when ranting is the most popular form of blogging (and is often totally warranted).  Blogging is an expensive enterprise (I refer, mostly, to time spent); is it a worthwhile investment for me?  I wonder.

And blogging implies some sort of responsibility to the reader; if you’re going to check my blog every so often, I should probably put something up on it.  Of course, there’s no such contract, and no sin in disappointing the reader — but how often do you read, “Sorry I haven’t posted more”?  It’s easy, especially for the people-pleasing prideful like me, to feel the guilt.  Especially in a blog about “Promises Kept.”
So I wonder some more.  Is it worth it?

3.  But that’s the last thing:  if, by God’s grace, I can be disciplined, accountable, and above all gospel-focused in blogging, it’s good for me.  I’ve seen the value in blogs, in my own heart, and in the souls of others.  It’s good for me to keep at my journal, to examine my inward life, to think about implications of what I read and hear.  It’s good for me to talk about heart-motives and the promises of Jesus Christ, always and every day.  It’s good for me to have a blog that drives me to be Christ-centered and gospel-rejoicing and promise-saturated, every day.  So this blog is mostly good for me, and so I’ll continue.

You’ll have to decide if it’s any good to you.

And congratulations for reading this far, and holding on this long waiting for the writing to come back.  Thank you.

He’s baaackk

September 24, 2007

Well, it’s nearly Tuesday…weeks after I expected to be back. But things should finally be in place to pick it all up again. If anybody is still out there….thanks for your patience, and we’ll resume regularly scheduled programming shortly.

Back at…

September 7, 2007

Several emails asking what’s up and when this will be back.  Nothing critical, just a time-consuming concern, but a definite end in sight following the weekend.  I’ll shoot for Tuesday for first post back.

I’m amazed at the continued interest in gospel-centered blogs, and thankful.  Grateful for the concern shown.  And, Lord willing, we’ll be back up soon.

Monotony or repeated delight?

August 31, 2007

The hardship that sidelined us for much of last week continues, so I’m still posting slower than I’d like. And this in a week when I’ve had so many visitors! Thanks for stopping by; I hope to pick up the pace towards normal by Monday.

As I was completing some “drudgerish” tasks today, I was grumbling a bit inside about the things that need doing day after day after day. And I remembered this quote from G. K. Chesterton, that has brought me much joy:

“The thing I mean can be seen, for instance, in children, when they find some game or joke that they specially enjoy. A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again,” and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun, and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we. The repetition in Nature may not be a mere recurrence; it may be a theatrical encore.”



August 28, 2007

I don’t really know who reads my blog, nor how many. I know of a handful; maybe there are more. So I don’t know if most of you are the type to have Brant Hansen’s Kamp Krusty in your Reader. You really should. He’s brilliant, humorous, and piercingly thoughtful. While I have seriously disagreed with him several times, I’ve never regretted reading his blog (except once, and we won’t go there). In fact, awaiting a new post is an anticipation to be savored.

And occasionally, he writes something like this, that should be seared into our souls as all the stories are told.

Go read it. Please.

The problem of justice

July 2, 2007

We come back to look at justice in the book of Job.  The problem of justice seems, at least at first glance, to be one of the primary challenges in the book.  Job is a just man — and that’s one of the reasons such calamities befall him!    Job’s wife perceives such calamity, coming from God, as unjust treatment of a good man, and so calls for curses upon a monstrously unjust God.  Job’s friends perceive such calamity, coming from a indisputably just God, as necessarily befalling an unjust man.  They spend their arguments asserting the justice of God and the consequent necessity of Job seeing, and acknowledging, some great sin.  Job believes in God’s justice, but he also believes in his own righteousness — not claiming total innocence, but claiming that he is innocent of such sin as would warrant such calamitous response.  So he doesn’t know how to resolve the tension he feels; at times he overwhelmed with the sense that God is unfair, but he is unwilling to end it there, and so remains in inward turmoil.

Note that under all three attitudes — Job’s wife, Job’s friends, and Job himself (Elihu we’ll look at later) — share this one, unchallenged assumption:  the world is meant to operate according to the principle that the righteous are rewarded, and the wicked punished.  Straightforward (it seems) justice.  A principle of retribution.  Job’s wife embraces the principle, and castigates God for violating it.  Job’s friends embrace the principle, and castigate Job for protesting his innocence in the face of the punishment only the wicked receive.  Job embraces the principle, but at the same time embraces his own righteousness and that of God, and so is left in frustrated incoherence when seeking to understand what is happening.

And all of them are wrong.

It is up to God to speak the missing truth.

More later.

Another reason to hate flying

June 28, 2007

Caught this on the web earlier. Are you old enough to remember when flying was an adventure to be anticipated, rather than dreaded?  6+ hours on the tarmac!  (HT:  My (Im)mortal Life)

clipped from

  blog it

Stammering the promises

June 25, 2007

This blog started as “Stammered Life”, taken from a Buechner phrase that “His holy story is stammering itself out in our lives”.  It seemed to fit, given all the fits of weakness in my life, and my interest in weakness itself as a “God-attractor” in the gospel story.  But I wasn’t easy with the emphasis on His story being revealed firstly in me, rather than the Word.  There’s truth in Buechner’s statement, but it’s not the truth this blog wants most to emphasize.

Truly, my heart’s greatest fascination is in the unfolding of redemption and the stunning work of our Great Rescuer.  This blog isn’t about me keeping my promises — to my shame, I haven’t done that — it’s about all the promises kept and fulfilled in Him.  Jesus Christ is worthy of all our delight and adoration and hope.

So we’ll concentrate on Him, and on the gospel.

I’ll still stammer. This blog will stammer. Irregular posts. Some ideas not always fully formed. Weakness in abundance. And it’s all cool, because that’s a mirror of my life, and because the Great Hobby is tracing out in Scripture and in experience how God shows his power in weakness and uses infants to defeat his enemies (Psalm 8).

If you’ve got the gospel all figured out, you won’t enjoy it here. But if every day you’re amazed at mercy, astounded at your own sin, humbled by grace, stupefied by the gospel, and blown away by Jesus… you’ve come to the right place.

Why not pull up a chair and stammer out your own story for a bit?