Discipleship

They Did Not Thirst

“This season is very revealing…” This has been my sentiment as we continue through 2020 full of her pandemic and racial tension. When shaking happens, things are uncovered and our deepest hopes, bias, and perspectives are revealed. This has been a significant reality in the church and while it does not make for the easiest relationships or partnerships, it is good.

I brought this reflection to my reading this morning and Isaiah 48’s recounting of the refining of Israel. It is essentially God retelling the ways he has used circumstance to chisel away at the hearts of his people. To reveal their disobedience and to show the way of trusting his will and way. “Oh that you had paid attention to my commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea;” Isaiah 48:18

There was hope for them still and it was in recounting the faithfulness of God.

Go out from Babylon, flee from Chaldea, declare this with a shout of joy, proclaim it, send it out to the end of the earth; say, “The LORD has redeemed his servant Jacob!

They did not thirst when he led them through the deserts; he made water flow for them from the rock; he split the rock and the water gushed out.” Isaiah 48:20-21

I was talking to a few pastors just yesterday and they mentioned the “battle weariness” of this season of ministry and I can relate. Simple things are not simple anymore and rapid transformation in the church is not only exhausting, it is like the fires have been set to be quite a bit hotter.

Yet we, like Israel, can recount the faithfulness of God in the midst of the refining. We can return to him in repentance and reliance on his grace and power. We can live “hydrated” by his Spirit as we, ministers and the rest of us, persevere through the unknown of tomorrow.

Some of us need to take some breaks; get off of social media and replace the time with Scripture. Some of us need to have more real conversations where gospel reminder is the end point. Some of us need to keep being bold where voices have been absent. And some of us just need to get away, to a place of solitude to be with the Father.

All along the way my prayer is that we would look back on this year and say we did not thirst as we journeyed through this desert, that the Lord’s provision was gushing out. Will you pray that with me?

Worthwhile

Worthwhile December 6, 2019

We are toward the end aren’t we? Another year wraps up, a decade comes to and end. And we have more than enough opportunities to read, hear, and see what everyone has done, enjoyed, or transformed from over the last years, or ten as it might be.

I should probably get to work on my year fine’ manifesto… maybe later.

Today I want to share two such lists, and a great article about Keller. May your calendar be full of healthy reflection and significant anticipation of what is to come!


Jared Wilson is a great dude. He writes a ton and has strong opinions. All gospel rich. He has shared his top ten books of 2019 (ones he has read this year.) It’s a worthwhile list.

Of the books on his list, I read Virgil Wander earlier this year and immensely enjoyed it and really want to read On the Road With Augustine by Smith.

Check his list here.


In the same vane. Andrew Wilson is an avid (if that is even the right word) reader and he has formed his best books of 2019 list as well. His list of books read is long, maybe enviable.

Of his list, there are a number I want to read, and his top book, Dominion by Tom Holland is on my self ready for a free moment… maybe my first book of 2020.

Read what he read here.


Lastly today, if you haven’t already seen it, Pete Wehner has a new entry in the Atlantic on Tim Keller’s Moral Universe. Wehner interviewed Keller and he shares the formation of his faith and how he processes life and lands on Christian responses to the issues of our day.

Keller is among the most valuable authors and pastors of a generation so all of us should take noticed when he speaks. One quote that is being shared to no end on social media hits the nail on the head when it comes to what professing Christians are consuming:

“most Christians are just nowhere nearly as deeply immersed in the scripture and in theology as they are in their respective social-media bubbles and News Feed bubbles. To be honest, I think the ‘woke’ evangelicals are just much more influenced by MSNBC and liberal Twitter. The conservative Christians are much more influenced by Fox News and their particular loops. And they’re [both] living in those things eight to 10 hours a day. They go to church once a week, and they’re just not immersed in the kind of biblical theological study that would nuance that stuff.” Too often, he believes, there’s no relationship between a proper Christian ethic and the way it translates into political and cultural engagement. It’s not the doctrine that’s at fault, Keller would argue; it’s the way people are taught and interpret it. It’s a failure of imagination and hermeneutics.”

Spot on. I shared in a recent talk on politics to pastors that the people in our pews hear us for 40 minutes a week and consume more tv news than they do Bible by at least 100 times. It is sad but true. So we persevere and teach, get excited about theology, and create culture that looks like that described in Scripture rather than the news.

Read the insightful article here.


Tonight we are celebrating Winter at the kids’ school. Hope you have some refreshment and enjoyment planned for your weekend! Onward friends. Aslan is on the move…

Uncategorized

Celebrating the Ween Christianly

When it comes to Halloween many in the church have adamantly opposed celebrating it. We keep the lights off and settle in as any good curmudgeon would. Or better yet, we rebrand the holiday for our own benefit. Much like Christian music we say “if you like the sugar rush and flavors of Halloween, you will love our Harvest Festival!” It always made me chuckle how we year after year coincidentally celebrate “the harvest season” on the same day that everyone else was doing Halloween!

The opinion of some and lots of experience aside, I think we can celebrate Halloween as those looking to be a redemptive influence in our culture and communities. So if you are going to jump in and hand out high-fructose corn syrup what should you do? Here are a few clues:

  • Meet as many people as you can. Chances are you barely know the people you live next to, let alone those down the street. If you have kids there is no better expected way to meet your neighbors. Go to every house, say hi and introduce yourself as your kids get handfuls of candy. Dare I say invite some people to church! At the least, try to remember their names so next time you see them you can start a conversation.
  • Give out the best candy. Of all the people on the block, the Christians should be the most generous. So if you don’t give out the full bars of king-sized candy then at least be engaging and kind when you give out what you have.
  • Enjoy the day. Just smile more, laugh at costumes, be thankful that your neighborhood is abuzz with joyful activity.
  • Don’t be evil. Leave the ghoulish to the strange neighbor. Reject the evil of Halloween and redeem what’s good. The community, the kids, and oh my goodness, the candy!

There you have it. Go for it. Celebrate Halloween Christianly. And if you aren’t convinced, that’s cool. Follow your conscience but don’t be surprised when others are getting a sugar high. And here is Matt Chandler making the point (if you need a pastor with more cred).