For it is by grace you have been saved...

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

It's Not About Me...or You for That Matter

I’ve admitted here before that I’m a bit slow.  I’m not nearly as tech savvy as many, if not most, of my friends.  They are all texting and tweeting on their Droids, and when I hear that I’m still thinking of Sylvester and Tweety Bird somehow meeting up with R2D2.  I just want my cell phone to make phone calls, you know?

Actually, doing this blog is my way of trying to act like I know what’s going on, that I’m “up” on things, etc.  And in fact I do try to read several other blogs, try to keep up with things, try not to be left too far behind.  However, I’m regularly reminded that with all the information out there, with the onslaught of (often) really good resources available, I’m just not able to keep up.
Case in point.  I know about the Reformation 21 guys, at least somewhat.  I’ve read their blogs from time to time, enjoyed much of it.  But again, I’m just a bit slow, and so when I saw a book by Carl Trueman (of Westminster Seminary and a Ref21 blogger), I thought it looked like something I would enjoy reading.  Especially when I saw the title:  Fools Rush in Where Monkeys Fear to Tread: Taking Aim at Everyone.

Obviously a little satire going on here, and I like that sort of thing, so I got a copy for my Kindle (hey, does that make me hip and happenin’?).  Imagine my surprise when it turns out the book is just a collection of essays and articles that Mr. Trueman had posted on the Ref 21 e-magazine.  Even more to my surprise, though I’ve read several things there, I hadn’t read any of these.

All this is just an introduction to what I’m trying to get to here.  I’ve been enjoying these articles, and one article in particular has been on my mind.  In April of 2010 Mr. Trueman wrote and article entitled “An Unmessianic Sense of Non-Destiny.”  Again, many or most of you may have read it.  I hadn’t.  But it’s great and worth the read.

In short, he is reminding us that in the church, it’s not about you.  It’s not about the individual.  Yes, God saves us individually and has an individual plan for each of us.  But the overall plan of God focuses on the Body, not the individual.  Yet, we in the church, especially in America, have this sense that it is indeed all about me.

In fact, much of our problems in the church stem from this “messianic” self-portrait; the idea that I’m at the center of God’s plan, that I’m special,  that He has some amazing destiny just for me, and the rest of you are just along for the ride.  This individualistic approach leads to all sorts of division and dissension when it rubs up against a host of others in the church with the same mindset.  We need to be reminded that it’s all about Christ, not about me, not about you.

Again, I’m not saying God doesn’t care for us individually, that He doesn’t have specific plans for us, etc.  It’s just that we need a good dose of perspective, one that comes from thoughts like these from Mr. Trueman:

My special destiny as a believer is to be part of the church; and it is the church that is the big player in God's wider plan, not me.  That puts me, my uniqueness, my importance, my role, in definite perspective… the world turned for thousands of years before any of us showed up; it will continue turning long after we've gone, short of the parousia; and even if you, me, or the Christian next door are tonight hit by an asteroid, kidnapped by aliens, or sucked down the bathroom plughole, very little will actually change; even our loved ones will somehow find a way to carry on without us.  We really are not that important.
Of course, I’m aware of the oxymoronic fact that I’m using the somewhat narcissistic medium of a personal blog to share these thoughts, as if anyone else cares what I think. But it’s helpful for me to put these things in writing, to remind myself if no one else.

Mr. Trueman’s entire article is well worth reading, as is the book collection for that matter.  Maybe if we all caught a better glimpse of this simple truth, that it’s not about me, or you for that matter, the church might be a bit more unified and effective in the task we’ve been called to.  Indeed, Soli Deo Gloria.

Friday, May 25, 2012

He's Coming...Who's Going?

I’ve been studying a bit about eschatology/end times stuff lately.  I’m finishing up a couple of years preaching through Luke’s Gospel and we’ve come to that point where Jesus speaks of the end, the coming of the Son of Man, and so on.

The subject of Christ’s return sure has a way of getting folks stirred up.  Timothy Paul Jones points out in the Rose Guide to End Times Prophecy that “Studying the end times is a dangerous business.  Once you begin exploring this subject, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”
He says, “A well-intended overemphasis on the end times has been known to drive people to sport prophetic placards on street corners, to stare at bar codes in search of that mysterious mark of the beast, to publish faulty predictions of the world’s end, and to engage in a host of other behaviors that are likely to result in lots of blank spaces in social calendars.”

Well, I don’t want to delve into all those controversial issues or predict any certain dates.  What my study of the subject has done is raise this question:  If we truly believe Christ is returning, whenever that might be, how concerned are we that others are prepared?  Obviously, the first issue is to be sure of our own readiness, to be sure that our own salvation is secure in Christ.  But beyond that, do we really care who is going?

Now, of course we say we care.  We say we want our friends and family and neighbors to join us in heaven, or at least most of them, anyway.  (It’s a joke, people!)  But do our lives match up to our mouths?  If we really care about whether folks are heaven bound, what are we doing about it?

We have so many people in our churches expending a great deal of energy fighting over this or that issue, worrying about this or that in-house church matter, etc.  We fight about music styles, and young vs. old, and dress codes, and who gets to do this or that job, and who gets credit for this and that, and on and on.  Meanwhile, our community continues in its sin, and if Christ were to come today (which I truly believe He could), the great majority of them would go to hell.  What if all our energies were spent in proclaiming the Gospel instead of stirring the pot?

Now I know we can talk all day about God’s sovereignty in all that.  I’m a thoroughly reformed Baptist in my theology, and I know that God’s sovereign plan will not leave out any He has ordained to come to Him.  But the point is, while God knows, I don’t.  And because I don’t, I ought to be about the business of pleading with anyone and everyone to come to Christ, and to come now!

I’ve really been convicted through this study that my focus has been a little off.  I spend so much time putting out this and that fire, worrying about making this and that person happy, that I haven’t spent nearly enough time and energy telling others about salvation in Christ.  Sure I preach it every week, but what about Monday and Tuesday and so on?  

What really got to me was sitting and listening to a little Keith Green in my office.  While my musical tastes run a bit “louder” for the most part, I’ve always been particularly moved by Green’s music.  It’s so passionate.  In fact, Keith Green is responsible for more songs  that make me cry than anyone else.

One song in particular is called Song to My Parents, or I Only Want to See You There.  It’s a passionate plea to his parents, apologizing for his own weakness in sharing and exampling Christ, acknowledging his imperfections, but reminding them that the reason he keeps after it is because he only wants to see them there.  There, meaning heaven, of course.

Is that our passion for our own family and friends?  Can we say that we’ve done all we can to preach Christ and Him crucified, to truly call men, women and children to repentance; that we really do passionately want to see them there.  Our Lord is indeed coming, today or tomorrow, we don’t know.  But He’s coming…who’s going?  And do we care?  

Here’s the Keith Green song.  As you listen, prayerfully think of those to whom God would want you to go and preach Christ.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

God, Country and our True Citizenship

I just recently picked up the latest cd offering from John Schlitt, best known perhaps as the lead singer of the legendary Christian rock band, Petra.  I’m thoroughly enjoying it, but one song has got me thinking a little bit.

It’s a patriotic song of sorts called Faith and Freedom, and it simply states that with faith and freedom, we’ll make it through all adversity, etc.  I like those kinds of patriotic thoughts and feelings, but it’s the very first line of the song that really got my attention.  He starts out by declaring that he is not only American, but a citizen of heaven, too.  That’s a very crucial truth. 

There has been a lot of talk in the last couple years about immigration laws and what it takes to be a citizen of this nation.  The reason it’s such a big deal is because being an American citizen is such a big deal.  This is the greatest nation on earth, I truly believe that.  And I understand why so many would want to be a citizen of this great country. 

But as great as that is, it’s secondary to our true citizenship.  In Philippians 3:20 Paul reminds us that “our citizenship is in heaven.”  I know we know that, but I’m not sure we always think of the implications.

For example, if my true citizenship is not here but heaven, then this world is not my home. In Hebrews, speaking of our predecessors in the faith, it says that “they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth.”  They were aliens here; foreigners.  We read that same truth in several places in God’s Word.

Why, then, should we spend a great deal of effort and energy on the things of this world when we understand the truth that this is not our home?  We have a home waiting for us.  And we ought to be focused on that.  We ought to be thinking of our true kingdom.  We ought to spend more time and effort on the things of that kingdom than this.
But how often do we miss that simple little truth?  The way we spend our money, the way we spend our time, the way we focus on temporal things, people would get the idea that we thought this was our home. 

Furthermore, not only is this not our home, but it is not our master.  It is not our master in the sense that it is not the pattern for our lives, that governs our lives; and it is not our master in the sense that this world is not who we answer to.

Paul says in Romans 12:2 “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”  Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world.  Plainly put, we don’t think like they think, we don’t act like they act, we don’t talk like they talk; we don’ live like the world lives.  Again, something we all know, but something we often fail to live.  But if we are truly citizens of heaven, we must live according to a different pattern.

If we are citizens of heaven, it ought to show.  We spent the early years of our marriage and ministry on a Sioux Reservation in North Dakota.  When we moved there we stood out like a sore thumb.  We looked different, we talked different, we even thought different; because we were from two totally different cultures.  The Sioux culture and for lack of a better term, the white culture, are two very different things.  And it’s easy to tell who comes from where.

As Christians, we are the representatives of a different culture.  We are kingdom citizens and we should live our lives according to a different pattern than the rest of the world, because ultimately we answer to a different Lord and King.

Then, maybe most relevant in this election years, remembering our true citizenship reminds us that the world is not our hope.  We are citizens of heaven and that verse in Philippians goes on to say that we are eagerly awaiting a Savior from there.  We are looking forward to the day when He will return and He will make all things right and He will give us glorious resurrection bodies that will live forever in the presence of God.  That’s our hope.  That’s what we’re living for.  This world has nothing to offer that even comes close.

Now, let me put this in perspective.  We should be engaged in the world around us.  God has left us here for a reason.  The Savior we are awaiting has not returned yet for a reason.  There is still work to be done here.  And we should be about that work.  And while we’re at it, we ought to be the best citizens of this land that we can be.  Part of our testimony to the world is in being exemplary citizens, which means being part of the political process.

But we have to be careful in not getting too caught up in that. If we get too caught up in that, we begin to believe that our hope is in this world, or in this nation, or in this or that candidate.  And if that’s the case, we’re in pretty poor shape.  You know it’s bad when people discuss the presidential choices in terms of the “lesser of two evils.”  Sad, indeed.  (Of course, why vote for the lesser of two evils when you can vote for “Goode” – as in Virgil Goode, the Constitution Party candidate, but that’s another post!).

If presidential politics were to be my focus, I’d be feeling pretty hopeless.  But, folks, this world is not where our hope is.  It doesn’t matter who the President it, Jesus is still King.  God is still God.  I like the way Voddie Baucham put it.  In his book Family Driven Faith he writes, “God is God.  He’s not running for God, and He doesn’t need your vote (or mine).  He was the only one around when the votes were cast, and there will never be a recount.  God is God.”

He is the King of Kings and Lord of lords and His rule will never end.  That’s where our hope lies.  Not in this world.  As much as I support our troops, and as much as I support the war on terror, and as much as I get involved in backing this legislation or opposing that legislation, I know that none of this is my ultimate hope.  Ultimately, this world has nothing lasting to offer.  Our only hope is in Jesus Christ and His grace.

It’s great to love our land, and sing of its virtues, and celebrate our freedom and so on.  As long as we keep things in perspective.  As long as we remember that ultimately, this world is not our home; it’s not our master; and it’s not our hope.  Instead, our citizenship is in heaven. And we “eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.”  (Phil. 3:20-21)

May our lives be different.  May we live each and every day in a way that honors our true King and country.  And may He receive all the glory. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Love, Truth, and Gay Marriage

Ever since the president made his statement about approving of gay marriage, the discussion has really exploded.  I especially enjoyed a series of articles over at the White Horse Inn, the first of which simply pointed out that in a world full of sin, where our worldview is warped away from God, we shouldn’t be surprised at all by this sort of thing.  In fact, it was pointed out, from that warped worldview it even makes sense.

I shared this article with some folks and one well meaning friend responded by simply noting all the places in Scripture where we are told to “love one another,” “bear with one another,” and so on.  Apart from the fact that some of those texts were out of context and really had no application at all to gay marriage, the underlying thought was this:  shouldn’t we in love just let our homosexual friends be.

Of course, the problem with that statement, among other things, is that it misunderstands the concept of love, especially the biblical concept.  We have this idea of love that just focuses on happiness.  I love you, so I want you to be happy.  Which is true, I want my loved ones to be happy, but not at the risk of truth and their spiritual well-being.

The command to love one another is not a mushy love.  Not an emotional response based on happiness that quickly leaves when the happiness is not evident.  Instead, it is an act of the will.  It is a conscious choice to serve one another, to encourage one another, to forgive one another, to seek the others highest good, and to bind ourselves together with one another though all things.

Given that idea, when my brother is in sin, when he is harming himself or others, when he is living outside the will of God, I will in love speak the truth.  And really, if we inserted any other sinful/immoral behavior into the argument, we wouldn’t have any trouble.

For example:  My friend is a porn addict.  He’s happy.  Shouldn’t I in love just let him be?  Shouldn’t I seek to normalize his behavior so he doesn't feel ostracized, etc.? 

Or how about:  My friend is a drug addict / alcoholic / adulterer / whatever…  He’s happy.  Shouldn’t I in love just let him be?  Shouldn’t I seek to normalize his behavior so he doesn't feel ostracized, etc.?

No, in love I will go to my brother, point out his sin, point him to the love and forgiveness that is in Christ, and pray for his spiritual well being.  The same is true of my homosexual friend.

Somehow we’ve equated love with tolerance/acceptance of behavior.  We don’t allow that with our children.  I don’t, because I love them, just allow them to do whatever they want regardless of the consequences.  If I let my children do what is harmful and immoral I would be accused of neglect or even abuse.  But somehow that idea of love changes when we’re talking about homosexuality.

Never mind that it is biologically an aberration; never mind that sociologically it’s never shown itself to be beneficial; never mind the myriad of other practical arguments against the behavior.  The truth is, God calls it sin.  Not just in Leviticus/Old Covenant as some argue.  But in the New Testament as well as the issue of sexual immorality is repeatedly discussed, as Romans addresses the issue of our sinful desires, etc.  

And so the loving thing to do is not to look the other way, to tolerate or accept the behavior, let alone to normalize it through gay marriage.  In love we should desire the highest good for one another.  That highest good is to seek Christ and His will, to seek to be delivered from our sinful passions, whether they be homosexuality, pornography, adultery, substance abuse, or anything else.  

Love is not based on tolerance, it’s based on truth.  More specifically, true love is based on God’s truth.  A sinful world will always refute that.  But our goal is not to please or placate a sinful world.  Our goal is to please God, to preach the Gospel, to see men, women and children’s lives changed for eternity.  And that’s the most loving thing we can do. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Presentation is Important

We all like to laugh at the occasional typo, made more common in this day of fast paced messaging, facebook responses, etc.  The other day my mom missed one key and said “I must be hereditary.”  Well, yeah, of course.  Another friend talked about how busy he was with “patenting.”  Unless he got a job in a patent office I don’t know about, I think he meant “parenting.”  

Those are quick action typos.  To be expected.  It’s a little less expected, and honestly a little more fun when you see them in a printed book, magazine, newspaper, etc. where editing was supposed to take place. For example, real headlines like Deadline Passes for Striking Police, or Squad helps dog bite victim.  If they had just re-read those... (this has been fodder for Jay Leno and his ongoing “Headlines” bit for a long, long time).

As those headlines prove, sometimes it’s not really a typo, it’s just an odd phrasing, or an odd juxtaposition of words.  I was recently checking out some bargain books at an online Christian bookstore.  Once section was reserved for “slightly imperfect” books.  You know, books that have dents or dings, bent covers or pages, anything that would keep it from being considered a truly new, mint condition book.

Now, the whole section is filled with books like this.  It has a devoted “button” to go to this section.  But for some reason the site lists the words “slightly imperfect” next to each title, as part of each link.  I know they just want you to know what you’re getting, but let’s face it, this makes for some very interesting book titles.  Here are some real examples from the site:

The Love Of A Godly Mother (slightly imperfect)

Bill Gaither - It's More Than The Music (slightly imperfect)

God's Great Big Love for Me (slightly imperfect)

God Gave Us You (slightly imperfect)

Biography of Billy Graham - Slightly Imperfect

Born Again - Slightly Imperfect

Of course, sometimes the added words can really help you with knowing the content of the book.  For example:

Your Best Life Now - Slightly Imperfect

Anyway, all of this just reminds me of one thing.  Presentation can be important.  How we present things, especially the Gospel, can either help or hurt.  We all make mistakes sometimes, ala typos, those spur of the moment things that just come out.  But in our thought out, planned presentation, we ought to be more careful.  
I can’t help but think in terms of these two applications.

1.  The Church.  I’ve ranted and raved on this site for the last few years about the ridiculous gimmicks some churches use to try and “draw crowds.”  Everything from prize giveaways to “risqué” sermon series titles/topics, etc. has been used again and again.  Have we really stopped to think about what this “presentation” indicates about the Gospel message?

Apparently we believe the Gospel isn’t powerful enough on its own, doesn’t carry enough “umph” to stand alone, so we need to add all these gimmicks.  That may not be our intent, but that’s often the logical implication many will take away.  In many ways it’s an “odd juxtaposition” to put Gospel and gimmicks side by side.  They look wrong together and they send mixed messages (and in many cases they are as big a joke as anything Leno every came up with).

Maybe the church could do with a little better “editing” before we throw these things out there.  Stop and realize how ridiculous this presentation of the Gospel is.   Again, we may “miss” a few keystrokes on the fly, but when we’re planning things, let’s keep with the “style and form manual” of the Bible.

2.  Our Personal Lives.  Talk about “odd juxtapositions,” how about some of the strange things we do in our own lives.  People who claim to be Christian, who claim to be different than the world, changed by God’s Spirit into a new creation; and yet we walk, talk, act, dress, think, and entertain ourselves just like the rest of the world.  What do you think that does for our “presentation?”

We could point to the big and obvious kinds of things: the preacher who gets caught in an illicit relationship, the church treasurer arrested for embezzlement, the church leader imprisoned for immoral acts, etc.  And these should rightfully be condemned; they are an abomination and an affront to the Gospel.

But let’s face it folks, our friends and neighbors don’t know those people.  They do know us.  They know what we profess.  They know we claim Christ.  And they also know how we then live, how we spend our time, how we treat our family, etc.  They see our daily lives and how much they truly match up with our Gospel profession.  

Now, let me just say that I know we are all fallen sinners (of whom I am chief, to borrow a phrase).  We all can be labeled “slightly imperfect” at the very least.  Yet, that’s no excuse for not pursuing holiness, for seeking as Paul prays for us, “to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Col. 1:10, ESV).  

The point is, people won’t hear our message if they are busy laughing at our typos and awkward titles.  To mix metaphors a bit, we tell our kids to be careful with their penmanship when doing their homework because, “it doesn’t matter if you have the right answer if I can’t read it.”  Presentation is important.  May we faithfully present the Gospel in our lives and in our churches, and to God be the glory.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

O God of Wonder, God of Grace - A Hymn

Just some words of praise for this Lord's Day

O God of wonder, God of grace
How bright your glory shines
Throughout your world, in time and space
Creation’s grand design

O God of glory, God of love
All ‘round we see Your Hand
Look out, look down, and up above
From stars, to seas and sand

O God of mercy, Three in One
Your glory shines its best
As You gave us Your Holy Son
Sent to bring peace and rest

O God so Holy, Pure and True
Our sin would be our end
But through Christ’s death, and life brand new
Our vile hearts You did mend

O God of kindness, Lord of Life
In us your glory shines
Once sinners dead, but now alive
May all the praise be Thine

copyright 2012, Servantheart Music, Used by Permission

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

C. S. Lewis’ Take on the “Just Like Me” Church

A few weeks back I shared a few thoughts about the efforts in the church to produce “clique” churches.  We say we’re reaching out to the “culture,” but I argued we’re doing nothing more than surrounding ourselves only with people just like me; and that’s not healthy.

This is the natural outgrowth of the whole “church shopping” mentality to begin with.  The whole idea of looking around until we find the “right fit,” either where we fit in, or they fit us, or whatever.  It’s a self-centered approach; the very opposite of the biblical model of looking to bring unity out of diversity, each one looking to use his gifts to serve, not to be served.

Well, recently a picked up a “repackaged” version of C. S. Lewis’ classic Screwtape Letters.  It’s called Paved With Good Intentions: A Demon’s Roadmap to Your Soul.   When I first read the publishers descriptions, I was lead to believe this was somehow a new collection of writings; a sort of “Further Adventures of Wormwood and Screwtape,” so to speak.   It’s not; rather it's merely a re-organizing of the original material into a new format.  

My disappointment aside, I’ve been enjoying reacquainting myself with this old story.  If you’ve never read it (and let me just say “shame on you” if you haven’t), it purports to be a series of letters from a senior demon, Screwtape, to his nephew and junior tempter, Wormwood.  It’s a series of instructions on how to tempt, irritate, frustrate and otherwise lead astray his assigned human charge; to keep him from the hands of The Enemy (God, of course).

What has astounded so many over the years is the very insightful look into the inner workings of the human heart and the very effective means through which our true enemy has sought to infiltrate and discourage the church.

What I found most interesting in light of my recent posting about the “Just Like Me” church and the idea of shopping to find the “right fit” is that this is the very advice that Screwtape gives for keeping a man from truly growing in Christ.  Let me just give you his words:

Surely you know that if a man can’t be cured of churchgoing, the next best thing is to send him all over the neighbourhood looking for the church that ‘suits’ him until he becomes a taster or connoisseur of churches.

The reasons are obvious.  In the first place the parochial organisation should always be attacked, because, being a unity of place and not of likings, it brings people of different classes and psychology together in the kind of unity the Enemy desires.  The congregational principle, on the other hand, makes each church into a kind of club, and finally, if all goes well, into a coterie or faction.  In the second place, the search for a ‘suitable’ church makes the man a critic where the Enemy wants him to be a pupil.

Ouch.  So, the best demonic advice Lewis could imagine was for folks to shop around until they found a church that “suits” them.  To find a group that wasn’t built on unity of place in spite of differences, but rather built on similarity of likes; making it more of a club.  Hmm… sound familiar to anyone.

A posthumous thanks to C. S. Lewis for helping me make my point.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Homeschooler Moment #11

I know I just did one of these homeschooler things, but it seems lately they’ve all been about the youngest, so I thought I’d share a little on the oldest.  Besides, this was just fun.

I guess we’d file this under “the apple doesn’t fall far…”, or in this case maybe it’s the “nut” that’s falling. Anyway.  Around our little homeschool reading has always been a central focus.  All four of our children are avid readers; almost obsessive, actually.  And while we all may have a little different genre that we’re drawn to as a favorite, we all seem to like fantasy.  Especially the Tolkien and Lewis variety.  We actually went through the Narnia books as part of our family worship time for several months, since those stories have such strong biblical imagery.  And The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy are obviously required reading.

So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that our English major daughter thinks in Tolkien-esque rhyme from time to time.  And less of a surprise, perhaps, that dad is in complete sync with it.  As she prepares for finals this semester, she posted this little rhyme based on the dwarves song near the beginning of The Hobbit.  Not wanting to be outdone, I had to make a parody response as well.

What follows is her post, followed by the Tolkien original it’s based on, and then my response, likewise followed by the original.  Hope you enjoy our little father-daughter repartee. 

LoriAnn’s Status:
The campus steamed that afternoon.
The students heard the tramp of doom.
Within these halls to finals fall
Prey to testing, and very soon.

(With apologies to Professor personal version of one of the verses in the dwarves' song at the beginning of The Hobbit)

Actual Poem:
The mountain smoked beneath the moon;
The dwarves, they heard the tramp of doom.
They fled their hall to dying fall.
Beneath his feet, beneath the moon.
 My Response:
Far over the Ozark Mountains old
To dorms with heat when it should be cold
We sent away our daughter fey
To seek the famed degree of gold

She studied hard, made mighty grades
When finals fell, like sharpened blades
She didn’t sleep, but studied deep
And aced them all without an aid.

Now ancient king and mighty queen
With pride their faces glow and sheen
Their offspring passed, they know at last
When old, on her they now can lean.

Actual Poem:
Far over the misty mountains cold
To dungeons deep and caverns old
We must away ere break of day
To seek the pale enchanted gold.

The dwarves of yore made mighty spells,
While hammers fell like ringing bells
In places deep, where dark things sleep,
In hollow halls beneath the fells.

For ancient king and elvish lord
There many a gleaming golden hoard
They shaped and wrought, and light they caught
To hide in gems on hilt of sword.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

John Newton's Advice on Blogging

Just read an amazing article over at Desiring God.  You may have read it already.  If so, feel free to move along.  If not, I strongly urge you to check it out. 

As the articles says, Newton was technically a "blogger" but he was an avid letter writer; and what he says about the one translates well to the other.  These are wonderful tips and tidbits that all bloggers would benefit from.  

15 Tips on Blogging from John Newton


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Homeschooler Moment #10

If you haven't learned this by now, you should.  To some degree, all students are homeschooled.  That is, they learn at home for good or ill.  They learn from the actions of their parents, the words of their parents, the ideals that are held (or not held) in the home, etc.  They are learning many lessons, and not just about text books.

If you doubt me, just consider this.  It's no secret that living in Missouri we are pretty fond of Missouri sports teams, mostly St. Louis (ie. Cardinals, Rams, Blues), but also somewhat Kansas City (Royals, Chiefs).   Now, if you are a real fan, then you dislike the "rival" as much as you like your team.  In other words, all my children learned very early that if they ever rooted for the Cubs, they would have to move out (just kidding, folks, no need to call Social Services).

This is also true in the college realm.  As relatively big Mizzou Tiger fans, we "dislike" those teams from nearby states (Jayhawks, Razorbacks, etc.).  Honestly, we joke around about this kind of stuff, but nobody really takes it seriously.  At least I didn't think so; until recently.

We went to visit our oldest at her college (Go Bobcats!), and over dinner she told us about being invited to a couple of weddings.  She said they were both in Arkansas.  At this point, the seven-year-old interrupts and says, "If you go to Arkansas, you'd better beware."  We giggle, but he's serious.  "Beware of what?"  He leans over the table, and in a loud conspiratorial whisper he says, "Razorback fans!"  Of course, we all break out laughing, but he looks stunned.  He's totally serious!

So Dad learned a lesson that day as well.  The kids are listening and watching even when we don't realize it.  They are picking up lessons about life, faith, and yes, even sports loyalties, from our actions and attitudes every day.  I guess I need to be more careful.  But then again, maybe you do need to beware of Razorback fans!  (with apologies to Pastor Scott Lee)