Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Friday, November 26, 2010
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Friday, November 19, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
A very interesting article here on productivity. This is probably the five-hundreth time/place I've seen said advice. Is it a mandate? No. Is it inexpressibly helpful? I'd guess yes. Don't worry, getting up early is not a panacea. The bottom line though is for those of us (myself included) wishing there were more hours in the day, there are. If you're like me, you tend to use them to sleep more. Ease into the early routine, try it on. You may find it fits you better than you could've imagined.
Enjoy the rest of the article, including tips on getting started HERE
I don't even think I need to say anymore! It's getting mad hectic over at B3ar Fruit, no? Zae Da Blacksmith gettin it in with the next installment of teasers for the upcoming project. How often do we consider the Fruit of the Spirit? For myself until now, it wasn't all that often. Obviously my consideration of it doesn't stop the Lord for working them out in me, yet....
In a disciplining moment between my son and I, I was better able to express some of what the Lord means to do in His people by referring to the fruit. Self-control is actually the fruit he and I were discussing, and I found myself moving from it to the other fruit as well. Reflecting on the goals the Lord has revealed as His in Scripture doesn't cause the goal to be reached in ourselves. However, it DOES prompt us to look to the ONE who met every goal on our behalf. As I consider the fruit of the Spirit, I think of Jesus, who never lapsed in the exercise of any of them. He's my Savior, and through Him, I'm compelled to B3ar Fruit!!
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
There's loads of knowledge to be found, but wisdom is a rare commodity. Why? Because wisdom is one of sin's first casualties. It's hard to admit, but true none the less: sin reduces all of us to fools. And the fact is that no one is more victimized by your foolishness than you are.
You see the empirical evidence of the foolishness of sin on almost every page of Scripture. For example, you see foolishness in full operation in the tragic story of David and Bathsheba. This is why David says, "Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place" (Psalm 51:6 NIV).
You read the story of David's sin, and you say to yourself, "What was he thinking? Did he really believe that he'd get away with this? Did he completely forget who he was? Did he think that God was going to stand idly by and let this happen?" But David is not some extreme case of foolishness gone wild; you see evidence of the same foolishness in each of our lives daily. People could say of us again and again, "What was he thinking? What was she thinking?"
What does foolishness look like? Here are four of its most significant aspects.
1) The Foolishness of Self-centeredness
We were created to live for something, someone bigger than ourselves. We were designed to live with, for, and through the Lord. God is meant to be the motivation and hope of everything we do. His pleasure, his honor, and his will are the things for which we are meant to live. But the foolishness of sin really does cause us to reduce our lives to the size and shape of our lives.
Often our living has no greater purpose than self-satisfaction and self-fulfillment. Does this sound harsh? Well, ask yourself, "Why do I ever get impatient with others?" "Why do I ever say things I shouldn't say?" "Why do I get discouraged with my circumstances?" "Why do I give way to anger or give in to self-pity?" The answer is that, like me, you want your own way, and when things don't go your way or people are in your way, you lash out in anger or you turn inward in discouragement.
2) The Foolishness of Self-deception
We're all very good at making ourselves feel good about what God says is bad. We're all very skilled at recasting what we've done so what was wrong doesn't look so wrong to us. I'll tell myself that I didn't really lash out in anger; no, I was speaking as one of God's prophets. I'll tell myself that that second look wasn't lust; I am simply a man who enjoys beauty. I'll tell myself that I'm not craving power; I'm just exercising God-given leadership gifts.
Foolishness is able to do something dangerous. It's able to look at wrong and see right. Had David been able to see himself with accuracy and if he'd been able to see his sin for what it really was, it's hard to imagine that he would have continued to travel down that pathway.
3) The Foolishness of Self-sufficiency
We all like to think of ourselves as more independently capable than we actually are. We weren't created to be independent, autonomous, or self-sufficient. We were made to live in a humble, worshipful, and loving dependency upon God and in a loving and humble interdependency with others.
Our lives were designed to be community projects. Yet, the foolishness of sin tells us that we have all that we need within ourselves. So we settle for relationships that never go beneath the casual. We defend ourselves when the people around us point out a weakness or a wrong. We hold our struggles within, not taking advantage of the resources that God has given us.
The lie of the garden was that Adam and Eve could be like God, independent and self-sufficient. We still tend to buy into that lie.
4) The Foolishness of Self-righteousness
Why don't we celebrate grace more? Why aren't we more amazed by the wonderful gifts that are ours as the children of God? Why don't we live with a deep sense of need, coupled with a deep sense of gratitude for how each need has been met by God's grace? Well, the answer is clear. You'll never celebrate grace as much as you should when you think you're more righteous than you actually are.
Grace is the plea of sinners. Mercy is the hope of the wicked. Acceptance is the prayer of those who know that they could never do anything to earn it. But the foolishness of sin makes me righteous in my own eyes.
When I tell my stories, I become more the hero than I ever was. I look wiser in my narratives than I could have been. In my view of my history, my choices were better than what they actually were. Often it isn't my sin that keeps me from coming to God. Sadly, I don't come to him because I don't think I need the grace that can be found only in him.
Here is what all of us must face, sin really does reduce us all to fools, but happily the story doesn't end there. The One who is the ultimate source of everything that's good, true, trustworthy, right, and wise is also a God of amazing grace.
You don't get freed from your foolishness by education or experience. You don't get wisdom by research and analysis. You get wisdom by means of a relationship with the One who is Wisdom.
The radical claim of the Bible is that wisdom isn't first a book, or a system, or a set of commands or principles. No, wisdom is a person, and his name is Jesus Christ. When you and I are graced into acceptance with him, we're drawn into a personal relationship with Wisdom, and Wisdom begins a lifelong process of freeing us from the stronghold that the foolishness of sin has on us. We aren't yet completely free, but there will be a day when our every thought, desire, choice, action, and word will be fundamentally wise!
It makes such sense then, that a repentant man (David) would reflect on his need for wisdom. Sin, in reducing us to fools, causes us to do foolish things, even though we think we're wise. And for this we need more than information, education, and experience. We need exactly what we find in Christ—grace.
Wisdom is the product of grace; there is simply nowhere else it can be found.
Ouch. And Amen.
B3ar Fruit is GOING ALL THE WAY IN!!! 11/23/10, Keep your eyes peeled family! Here's yet another banging installment in what is shaping up to be a monster of a compilation. Straight up, with the mix of rhyme and song that has been seen with these snippets, I'm in anticipation mode for the final product. Anyway, peep Trip's contribution, and go HERE for the rest of them. Enjoy!
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Many pastors and Bible teachers hunger to handle the Old Testament with more confidence—in the same way that New Testament writers handle it, in a way that understands how and why the New Testament writers treat the Old Testament as they do, and so arrive at Jesus and the Gospel. We might have begun by working through a number of New Testament passages where the Old is quoted, but we decided to start at the other end.
This way we may hope to model how a selection of Old Testament texts might be taught or preached—all in the hope of better learning how to teach and preach the whole counsel of God, how to become workers who do not need to be ashamed as we handle the Word of truth.
Paige Benton Brown
K. Edward Copeland
Keith and Kristyn Getty
R. Kent Hughes
C. J. Mahaney
R. Albert Mohler, Jr.
Kathleen B. Nielson
This has the makings of a doozy of a conference. Not just because the speaker list reads like a who's who among Gospel-centric preachers/teachers in America today either. The REAL dooziness (patented coinage of term) of this conference is in the subject matter being addressed. Namely, preaching Jesus and the GOSPEL from the Old Testament!!! Reading Graeme Goldsworthy has definitely whet my apetite to hear/learn more about what is the central theme in all of Scripture. I am AT THE VERY least, excited to hear the sermons online that originate from this conference. AT THE VERY MOST, however, my wife and I will be front and center. Looking at the scheduled workshops is also real reason for us to find ourselves in Chicago in April. I don't know what your plans are for April 12-14th but if the Lord wills, and our plans converge me and my bride will see you there.
Friday, November 12, 2010
I smell a flavorful compilation cooking!! B3ar Fruit (@b3arfruit on twitter, www.b3arfruit.com on the net) has been putting out acapellas from various artists for the past week or so, and all signs point to a compilation! At the end of each artists' work, there is the slogan "11/23/10, Keep your eyes peeled" (pun, I'm sure, intended). As B3ar Fruit easily segues into discussion of the Fruit of the Spirit, each artist has thus far artistically represented one of the fruit. Sounds/looks like there will be a concept album around just this, and I can't wait! Every one of the videos up to this point has been stellar, and this is the latest one. They can all be seen here http://vimeo.com/b3arfruit/videos
I can't say positively what will happen on 11/23, but based on what I've seen so far, I'm ready to support. Enjoy this and all the vids in preparation for the "unveiling."
Grace and Peace!
Thursday, November 11, 2010
I’m a product of the instant gratification generation.
If I start watching a video online and it takes more than three seconds to load, forget it. Who’s got that much time on their hands? Not this guy. Thankfully, Google now has instant search. Now I save at least a half second on every web search, giving me three seconds more free time every day.
I don’t like to wait for things. Ever.
Unfortunately, this instant attitude can cause me to have really unrealistic expectations when it comes to doing ministry for the Lord.
Serving the Lord is a slow, long-term project, and fruit is often a very long time in coming. The fruit of parenting isn’t seen in a week or a month, but over the course of years. The members of your small group will probably change over the course of five years, not six months. The fruit of your efforts in children’s ministry probably won’t show up until many years later. That’s just the way it works when it comes to serving the Lord.
That’s why Paul says,
What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. (1 Corinthians 3:5-7 ESV)
If we look too closely for fruit we’ll probably end up feeling discouraged. We can’t evaluate fruitfulness based upon a single small group meeting, or month of family life, or sermon series. We need to have a big picture, long-term mentality when it comes to serving the Lord.
Sometimes we’ll see fruit, which is a wonderful experience. But other times we’ll just be watering, which is just as pleasing to the Lord. We’re called to be faithful to the task, not faithful to create fruit. God creates the fruit, not us.
If you’re feeling discouraged about a perceived lack of fruitfulness in a particular area, take a step back and look at the big picture. God will produce the fruit. You just need to keep watering.
Do you ever find yourself discouraged by a lack of fruit?
+photo by Darwin Bell
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Be encouraged, Family. There is a blessing within this short article. :)
Friday, November 5, 2010
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
This is poignant. As often as we see Jesus hammering legalism in (among others) the Pharisees, we'd do well to think through the implications of THE GOSPEL. Death to legalism by the Spirit and Grace of God.....
PS, Peep the Plumbline Collective and their latest work HERE. Christ-centered music for the win.
So, here at Drops of Thought, I just learned something valuable. Namely, to forward my domain name without masking. What's masking, you ask? Well, simply put, it allows you to type in "Dropsofthought.com" and go directly to my site without the ".posterous.com" appearing in the address bar. What's the difference? Well, unfortunately as I just found out, when I mask the URL, I am unable to link you directly to a page in my blog. This became problematic because whenever I wanted to link someone to a particular entry, it would take them to the homepage regardless. This is annoying, since visitors interested in one post must then scroll until they find it. Well, I've removed the masking. Henceforth if there's a post you like and want to link others to, you may do it unimpeded. I hope you find such freedom as helpful as I do. This is really important when it comes to some of our most enjoyed posts, like THIS ONE With masking on, it took a bunch of people a bunch of time to find it. It took me a while to understand what was happening and why (I'm not domain genius). Now that I know, however, I pray Drops of Thought will become increasingly relevant, and useful to you. Thanks for reading, and feel free to comment anytime on any post. Grace and Peace!
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
I’m a Pharisee. And I’m a Calvinist.
Those things should not go together. But they do in far too many instances. The Calvinist should be the last to become a Pharisee. Our theology should keep us humble. Or, so we’re told.
But I’m a Pharisee. And I’m a Calvinist. Which means I’m a bad Calvinist.
Here’s the first reason I’m a Pharisee and Calvinist, or, one reason why those two things happen together far more often than they should. The Pharisee and the Calvinist are both exacting persons. They care about precision, about “getting things right.” They care about the letter because each believes getting the letter correct is important. And it is.
So, there is this “bent” toward intellectual things. There is this tendency to live in our heads. And when that meets with a theological tradition as rich and robust as the Reformed tradition, sparks fly–in our heads. Add to that a pinch of argumentative spirit and out comes the Pharisee.
But you know what’s lost? The spirit, or the Spirit. Sometimes both. The letter kills. That’s what happens with us Calvinist Pharisees.
In my particular case, the letter became pretty important once I realized I had spent a few years of my life giving praise to an idol. Once I realized I had believed a lie and bowed to a god who was not God, well getting things correct theologically became desperately important. Who wants to “get it wrong” in the things of God? I certainly didn’t any longer.
I didn’t know it, but I began the Christian life with this impulse that could either help me grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, and/or push me into peevish, narrow, gnat straining regard for “getting it right.” I’ve experienced both in my Christian life. The difference is made by where you’re aiming: those who aim at knowing Jesus escape so much pharisee-ism; those that aim at “getting it right” become so much more Pharisaical.
Perhaps you’re like me. You’ve had some experience that’s left you zealous for getting it right. You love the Book in part because you love parsing things, dissecting them, weighing them, identifying what is wanting, tossing the chaff and holding onto the wheat. There’s a joy that comes from discovery–and refutation. Soon, you’re proud you’re not “one of those publicans” that explains the Trinity in loose language, that balks at giving various views of the atonement, that’s read the latest book from one of “those authors.” “Lord,” you pray, “I work to get it right. I avoid mistakes. I protect your word. I’m not like those who ‘happily’ accept ‘weak’ doctrine.”
Truthfully, it isn’t our theology that keeps us from the self-righteousness of the Pharisee. Our theology, and the smugness of “Reformed” correctness, are part of the problem. Oh, I don’t mean we have aberrant ideas mingled with our theological outlook. We’d never have that. I mean all this heady truth barely lights our hearts. Our theology becomes the handmaid of our pride and our empty orthodoxy. Our fine theological theorems too seldom ignite liberty, joy, love, or anything else that accompanies the Spirit. Honestly, how often does your theology leave you with Jesus?
I know. The Lord reveals Himself in and by the word. The Spirit and the word belong together. Pharisee.
Do you remember that time when you were free? No, I mean happily care-free in your walk with the Lord. When there was lightness to everything?
Do you remember when you could share with others something God was teaching you, perhaps with imprecise language and a lot of enthusiasm, without first hesitating to make sure you were saying it “correctly”? Perhaps you were too liberal in assigning your enthusiasm or ideas to God, but you were happily excited about the possibility that indeed God had done something in you, for you, through you. Do you remember that?
I do. It was before I was self-consciously “Reformed.” I didn’t have a label then, other than “Christian” or “Baptist.” Even those I held lightly. I was label-less, free. And I felt free. I did dumb stuff. I said dumber stuff. But people knew what I meant. Then I discovered what I meant, and knowing what I meant seemed to replace experiencing what I meant.
Now, “experience” is a bad word. Pharisee.
Yep. That’s me.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m a “Calvinist” because what we popularly call “Calvinism” or “Reformed Theology” looks a whole lot like what I understand from the Bible. I think that’s what the Bible teaches, and that’s what I believe. So, I’m comfortable with the label–if we have to use one. I’m just not comfortable with the self-righteousness I see all too often in my heart and life. I’m sure I was self-righteous before; after all, I was an adherent of the world’s largest works-based religion. Pride and self-justification have always been there. Yep. Certified Pharisee here.
But here’s the bottom line: As long as my inclination toward detail ends with “getting it right” and not with getting more of Jesus, I’m going to be a Pharisee. Our theology doesn’t keep us humble. Jesus keeps us humble. I think there are a lot of Calvinist Pharisees out there, like me, who push deeper into the theology trusting the next truth to abase them before God. But we keep getting “puffed up” instead. Why? We settle for knowing more rather than knowing Jesus. We don’t stop to sit at Christ’s feet, to adore Him, to commune with God the Spirit. Far too often, that’s not the goal we have in mind.
My grandmother couldn’t cite you two theological terms if you paid her. She probably never heard of the theological “giants” of church history, and certainly never read them. You know what she did? She “had a little talk with Jesus, told Him all about her troubles. He would hear her faintest cry, and answer by and by.” With all her “little talks with Jesus,” she had infinitely more than I’ve gotten from my books. She walked with the Lord about like Enoch.
I know. Books are not the enemy. Books are our friends. Communing with the saints is important. That’s how we get it right and avoid mistakes. I know. I know. Pharisee.
There was another “Calvinist” (speaking anachronistically, of course) who won his bout with his inner Pharisee. He wrote: “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Phil. 3:8). I want to be more like that brother–gripped by the greatness of knowing Jesus.
Lord, let us know you and cease the pretension of Pharisees.
Almost a year ago, Thabiti Anyabwile began a series, in essence, that confessed areas of his life that were Pharasaical. It ended up being a five-part series that is full of reflection, truth, and conviction for the honest reader. I was just turned on to this series yesterday, and am thankful for its honesty, and quite frankly its comprehensiveness. Thabiti tackles the Pharisee in himself, a measure of transparency more needful in our time. Though while addressing himself mainly, I believe this series to do what all Christ-centered writing should do: namely, point those of us who fail in areas of life to the Cross as our only hope and remedy. I hope you enjoy the same smiles AND frowns (and perhaps different ones depending on your stage in the walk) that I did. The first one I'll post in entirety, the links to the other four follow:
Part 3: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/thabitianyabwile/2009/12/23/calvinist-confessions-3/
Part 5: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/thabitianyabwile/2009/12/29/calvinist-confessions-5/