Archive for the ‘Quiet Time’ Category

Quiet time

January 15, 2012

Hi,
Decided to share a couple of photos from my walk today. I started slightly downhill from Covenant College and followed the trail to Jackson Spring. It was about 30 min each way and the weather today was perfect: sunny and crisp. I hope to explore a few more trails in the near future and will share any photos or fun anecdotes that may arise. The spring was a little robust thanks to all the recent rain. Hope this comes out ok, doing it all on my phone…

All in the timing

May 9, 2011

Well, I took a week or so off from the blog as our house should now be on the market. Needless to say, the last week has been very busy and tiring. So, this strip came in on Saturday’s e-mail, but I liked it better than today’s. Don’t we wonder about trying to be in the right place at the right time? Do we often blame circumstances on the failure of some venture? If I had only done this, If I had only ____… you name it. We think that if we had changed one of the variables that things would have worked out differently…

There are a few billboards throughout Nashville that proclaim May 21, 2011 as the day of the second coming of Christ. They point to some Old Testament references in which specific people were aware of events that were going to happen. Probably the most interesting example was that “Noah Knew!” And thus we are somehow supposed to be able to know things as well? In Genesis 6, “13And God said to Noah, “I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth.” There’s a pretty good reason that Noah knew what was going to happen, God told him. Now this group proclaiming the end times may say that God told them about this date, and I take issue with that. (There are many other passages of scripture that they butcher as well, but this could go on forever). At the beginning of  the letter to the Hebrews, it is written: 1Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.” It is clear that God spoke directly to men in the past many times and in many ways. What is also clear is that the whole “package” of Jesus is not only God’s word to us, is the last word that God spoke. Think about it. To paraphrase a favorite hymn “What more can God say to us than what He has said through the life, death, and resurrection of Christ?” If we find ourselves looking for more than that, for looking for direct words from God, then we will find ourselves either frustrated by the lack of response, or believing that whatever we want to do must be a message from God. [much of this train of thought was introduced to me by a recent guest lecture by David Garner]

Jesus, prior to the triumphal entry, was commenting on the second coming. Mark 13:32-37:  32“But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come. 34 It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake. 35 Therefore stay awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning— 36lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. 37And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.”

If Jesus tells us that the second coming is not for us to know, I think we should take Him at His word. I think that Calvin’s idea from this strip does have some merit when thinking about how to truly be prepared. His theory seems to jive with what Jesus said. The right place for man is leaning only in faith on Christ. If that be the case, then you’ll always be in the right place no matter the time.

Things Fall Apart

April 26, 2011

In College, I was asked to read Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. To say that I remember anything about this book other than the title and what the cover of the book looked like would be a stretch. Nevertheless, we find Calvin and Hobbes starting another meeting of G.R.O.S.S. and right off the bat, things take a turn for the worse. Hobbes is taking an approach of doing what feels right, whereas Calvin is sticking to his guns and trying to run the meeting per the proper protocol. Does this have any application to us? But of course!

We read in the Westminister Confession of Faith (Chapter 21 paragraph 1): The light of nature showeth that there is a God, who hath lordship and sovereignty over all, is good, and doth good unto all, and is therefore to be feared, loved, praised, called upon, trusted in, and served, with all the heart, and with all the soul, and with all the might. But the acceptable way of worshiping the true God is instituted by himself, and so limited by his own revealed will, that he may not be worshiped according to the imaginations and devices of men, or the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representation, or any other way not prescribed in the Holy Scripture.

An illustration as to this principle in action is the story of Aaron and his sons. In Leviticus 9, Aaron and Moses are seen offering a sacrifice to the Lord as they were directd. What follows is” 24And fire came out from before the LORD and consumed the burnt offering and the pieces of fat on the altar, and when all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces.”  We see God accepting their sacrifice. Shortly thereafter in Leviticus 10:1-3, we see a different story ” 1Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it and laid incense on it and offered unauthorized fire before the LORD, which he had not commanded them. 2And fire came out from before the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD. 3Then Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the LORD has said, ‘Among those who are near me I will be sanctified, and before all the people I will be glorified.'” And Aaron held his peace.”

And Aaron held his peace. Wow. Most would say that Aaron would have every right to be mad at God for what just happened. I think Aaron had a more appropriate appreciation for the Holiness of God. The heart of the matter and how this relates to today’s comic is in the Regulative principle of worship. This is clearly stated in the passage above from the Confession which is drawn from scripture. (I freely admit that my knowledge of the Confession and the Regulative principle come from Chad Bailey and Matt Bradley). Simply put, God has ordained the ways in which we are to approach and worship him, we are not to use the “imaginations and devices of men” to think that we can somehow worship God better than He has prescribed. The consequences for Nadab and Abihu were dire and you can bet that Calvin and Hobbes will soon come to blows as well.

Batter up!

April 23, 2011

If at first you don’t succeed, set the bar lower.

Today’s strip reminds me of when I was in Little League. I played 5 or 6 seasons at most and was not very great. Evidence of this is that I vividly remember the only triple I ever hit and the one inning I pitched (No runs, 1 walk, No errors, 1K). My most clear memory was in the bottom of the 9th, 2 outs and we’re behind. I am on deck and the best player in the league is pitching for the other team. At that moment, my greatest fear wasn’t losing the game, it was being the final out. I prayed with all my might that my teammate would get an out so that I wouldn’t have to step up to the plate. I don’t remember how it happened, but my prayer was answered. I was not the scape goat. Funny, my lack of baseball skills has not diminished my enjoyment of the game. Hope y’all have a wonderful Saturday!

No Regrets

April 22, 2011

Anyone have any regrets? Anyone living in the past? I crossed paths with a guy in the Summer of 1998 named Dave Hoover. He was a man of few words, but when he chose to speak, he usually had something profound to say. One lasting quote is: “As Christians, our past is forgiven and our future is secure. We are free to live in the precious present.” Now I might have remembered it a little off, but that was the heart of it.

Today is Good Friday. Let us remember that the work of the cross is finished. We no longer need dwell on what has past. As a side note, I will actually post something that has to do with what “The Mixons” are doing soon, I’m going to try to upload some new photos soon!

Calvin and the Passover

April 21, 2011

Today is Maundy Thursday, when the Christian Church traditionally celebrates the Last Supper of Jesus and His disciples. The story of the passover is recorded in Exodus 12 and contains very graphic imagery. This was such a monumental event in the history of Israel that it became a tradition to observe this yearly. The passover meal has distinct, very symbolic language and actions, all of which hinge on the deliverance of Israel through the sacrifice of the passover lamb. Included in the meal are 4 cups of wine that are passed around, recounting promises made and fulfilled by God (Exodus 6:6-8): (1) “I will take you out of Egypt”, (2) “I will deliver you from Egyptian slavery”, (3) “I will redeem you with a demonstration of my power”, and (4) “I will acquire you as a nation”. A fifth cup is poured, but the wine is not consumed by those observing passover. This cup is reserved for the Messiah, the redemption of humanity. All passover info above came not from in depth study, but from a few internet searches. Please feel free to correct me if that is incorrect.

It is clear in the New Testament that Jesus came to be the ultimate passover lamb. If you need scripture proofs of this, please let know, but a serious review of the New Testament will prove this point. Prior to his arrest, in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prays about the cup that is placed in front of Him. Taking this cup is symbolic in that it is his blood (wine) that will be shed, but it is also a metaphor for the path that was prepared for Him. (An additional, simple synopsis can be found here). So, how does this (probably not very good) synopsis of the Passover and Last supper relate to today’s Calvin and Hobbes? What did Christ accomplish on the cross? He bore the entirety of our sin past, present, and future and thus recieved the punishment for that sin. What that must have looked like is incomprehensable. Jesus took the thermos half -full of milk, jelly sandwich, and banana that is our sin and he didn’t just choke it down.

Hebrews 12:1-2

1Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

I don’t know why Susie continues to sit next to Calvin at lunch, but she rightly leaves at this point. Funny what Calvin notes: “Nobody likes my great ideas in action.” I bet there were a few times in the ministry of Christ when He could have said the same thing…

Shifting Blame

April 20, 2011

A lot of us blame things on our parents. I bet that my friends who are counselors and psychologists would endorse this as a common counseling issue. True, there is genetic material that ties us to our family, but Calvin’s response to his mother is really a low blow. Is it my parents’ fault that I’m overweight?

John 9:1-3 “As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.”

Maybe it’s because I don’t eat right and exercise. Maybe it’s bacause God doesn’t want me to be vain. Easier to blame it on genes.

Food For Thought

April 19, 2011

*NOTE* you might want to click on the actual strip above to see it better. For at least the last 5 years, the website gocomics.com has delivered a Calvin and Hobbes strip directly to my e-mail daily. Needless to say, this is usually the best e-mail in the inbox every day. I used to enjoy these for the humor and artistry, but now that I have a couple of boys, I find that I enjoy them all the more, especially the remarks made by Calvin’s dad. So onto today’s comic. Here we find Calvin contemplating the brevity of his life. How often do we really place things in this perspective? Do we ask ourselves the same questions that Calvin poses? Are these even the right questions to ask?

1. Is our quick experience here pointless? This is one that I’m sure a lot of people wrestle with. Was Forrest Gump right that we’re just floating, accidental-like on the breeze or is there a reason why we are here? I take comfort in Jeremiah 29:11 where we are informed that “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” There’s nothing in that statement that sounds pointless (or unplanned!!) to me.

2. Does anything we say or do in here really matter? This is the sentiment expressed in the opening of Ecclesiastes:

All Is Vanity

 1The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.
 2Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity.
3What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun?
4A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever.
5The sun rises, and the sun goes down, and hastens to the place where it rises.
6The wind blows to the south and goes around to the north; around and around goes the wind,
   and on its circuits the wind returns.
7All streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full; to the place where the streams flow,
   there they flow again.
8All things are full of weariness; a man cannot utter it; the eye is not satisfied with seeing,
   nor the ear filled with hearing.
9What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.
10Is there a thing of which it is said, “See, this is new”? It has been already in the ages before us.
11There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of later things yet to be
   among those who come after.

At the end of Ecclesiastes, however, the author comes to the realization that “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.” This would argue that what we say and do really does matter.

3. Have we done anything important? This question will bring into light what you value as important. Some people will quote “A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove…but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.” What is more important than the relationships we have and the community we build? Raising our children to leave the home, be independent, and confident in their beliefs is my most important task as a father. Building up my wife to be a picture of the church is my most important task as a husband. Looks like I have a lot of work, but I am convinced that God is not calling me to be successful, merely faithful.

4. Have we been happy? Ask those in the public eye if striving after happiness as an end is working out. This is the law of diminishing returns.

5. Have we made the most of these precious few footsteps? Ah, the unanswerable question. The what if… My answer for today is to go home and play with my kids.

So, are we too involved in ourselves to stop and stare at that crack in the sidewalk every now and then? Dwelling on this is not usually profitable, but perspective can help. If I comment on another comic strip, I doubt it will be this lengthy.

Must see

April 7, 2009

Jen and I joined Covenant Presbyterian Church here in Nashville about 6 weeks ago. Well before our coming here, they had a vision as a church to build a cathedral. Who does that anymore? I remember reading stories of cathedrals I saw in Europe that would take hundreds of years to build, but they have done it in a fraction of the time. This probably is due to much more efficient construction methods, but I digress. We had our first Sunday worship service there this past week and it is a beautiful house of worship. Lest we get haughty, this is a building that responds to and points to the glory of God. If you have a chance, stop by and see it. You won’t be disappointed. I couldn’t find a good picture of it to post, but you can navigate around their website.

Calm amidst the storm

January 13, 2009

Today is not particularly stressful, but it is nice to find a bit of calm. I am sitting in the NICU typing out a consult and in my focused state, I missed a young lady roll in with her harp. So, in the midst of the chaos that is an intensive care unit, I am treated to a soothing medley of live classical music. I can feel the stress melting away. It reminds me a little of the scene from Titanic where the band plays on in the face of certain doom. That movie otherwise made me nauseated.