Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Tuesdays' Grace

Tuesdays, by far, are going to be the best and the worst day of my week this semester. My first class is at 8:00 am and the last one ends at 9:30 pm. It's a long day to go. To add to the length of the day, I also have both my worst and best classes on Tuesdays-- in that order, mind you. So I will definitely need a lot of grace to be able to get me through the Tues-day.

Klyne Snodgrass, my professor of Romans, said "Grace is the perimeter within which Christians live." As Christians, we are called to live lives that are within God's grace (not that it runs out), and that we fully rely on His grace on our lives. I can say it is pertinent that I remember this as I continue to work out my faith, as a baby begins to walk. It's not that we stay down after we've fallen (read: "sinned"), but that we have the courage to stand back up again. God doesn't stop loving us because we've sinned, but continues to pour out His grace on us, so that we can get back up and walk.

Tim Keller puts it this way, "God loves us, because he loves us." God doesn't love us because of what we've done, or who we are, He loves us, because He loves us. There's a circularity in that and there's no way around it. But it continues to show that we have not earned his love, nor can we earn his love, nor can we lose his love because we didn't do right. God lavishes his love and his grace on us because. And those of us who call ourselves Christians are called to live in that grace and extend it to those around us.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Have Some Class

A new semester of Seminary has started again. So far, I've only had one class and it's been good. It's the professor's second semester here at North Park, so no one's really sure what to expect, but I've only heard good things. Plus he's really interesting to listen to; he's Scottish. And other than him not wearing a kilt, nor having read hair, it's kinda like have a Bible class taught by Grounds Keeper Willie. I'm looking forward to him getting really excited about something.

For the record my classes this semester are as follows: New Testament 2; Heaven, Hell and New Creation; Pastoral Care and Counseling; and Romans. All should be at least beneficial. I've never had a class with the Pastoral Care professor, but I know we stand on opposite sides of the proverbial aisle--so pray for that. "Hell" should be interesting. The professor I had last semester for Worship is teaching it, but with its name and the fact that it's at 8 in the morning, you should be praying for me. Romans is a class that I've been looking forward to since I got here and I'm finally in it. It's a thick book and the professor's probably the best here, so it'll probably kick my butt--again pray for that.

Why don't you just pray for me in general? That'd be nice. I definitely need it.

Grace and Peace.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Photo Phriday

Here's my contribution. I got a D80 a few days ago. Just been shooting and shooting and shooting. This is a thermostat. That's all I got.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Just when you thought...

...it couldn't get any worse.

Make sure you don't miss that last line.
It puts it all into perspective.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Piper Prays

John Piper prays his sermon.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Don't Get Hungry

This week I've been taking an intensive course over Isaiah. It's great, but it's keeping me very busy. But so you don't get hungry, I serve you this:

What Can Brown Do for You?

Click Me.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

This Is Going To Get Much Worse

I'd really only done it a couple of times before tonight-- always started in the middle. Really only with friends and at the peer pressure of others. I'd bought some over break, but hadn't used any yet. But what I think I'm now addicted to, many others already are. I could only be talking about:

Euphonic Satisfaction

About the only genre of music that has been fully satisfying my tonal desires recently has been jazz. I flip through my iTunes library until I find that right syncopation of trumpet, guitar, bass, and drums. Sometimes, it's a trombone that slides up and down or fingers that twiddle the keys of a piano, but it's always about the music.

Last Sunday night I had the pleasure of getting to see my first Jazz concert. My buddy Tyrel, my dad and I headed down to the Tulsa PAC to a surprisingly packed crowd to hear Chris Botti. I was a little apprehensive about signing us all up, since my affinity lies more with the likes of Coltrane or Marsalis-- the finger-flying, passing out sort of jazz, that has been immortalized in Jack Kerouac's On the Road. But when he talked about the influence Miles Davis had in his playing, I knew I would be in for a show. He played some ballads and mixed it up with some jumpier tunes and was more than I had expected. Moreover, his band was excellent. His guitarist tore up the neck; the drummer's sticks disappeared in a rhythmic flurry; his bassist played stand-up. Plus he had a phenomenal vocalist and his pianist was 19 and won the prestigious Thelonius Monk Award. It truly gave me what my itching ears were wanting to hear.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Foto Friday

I love the cool things you can do with cameras. Like using your zoom to zoom out on a picture and getting the light to explode. I didn't use a tripod, like you're supposed to, but hey do I normally do things you're supposed to do? I call this one, Christmas Tree Explosion.


Some one I was talking to over the break, while in Tulsa, mentioned that those who watch Comedy Central's The Daily Show and The Colbert Report are more informed than the average American. While I can't vouch for anyone else, his statement does not include me--I just watch the shows for cheap laughs.

Tuesday night's show had on Harry Frankfurt, a professor from Princeton. He wrote On Truth, which says that we can know objective truth in today's postmodern world--completely the opposite of most emerging types and secular postmoderns. Jon Stewart and Harry had a very interesting conversation...

Thursday, January 11, 2007


I really have no words for this. Bad. Just bad. Michael Jackson "Bad," even.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Gleaming Wisdom

About three or four weeks ago now, I finished writing my last paper of the semester, packed up enough crap to keep me clothed for a couple weeks and headed south. I got to Tulsa twelve hours later, ate dinner, slept, woke back up and kept going south. Finally another 4.5 hours later I got to the Big D--Dallas, well, Flower Mound/Highland Village really, but that's neither here nor there.

Back around the beginning of the semester, I started podcasting a guy named Matt Chandler at the suggestion, via podcast, of Mark Driscoll. Throughout the semester I listened to Chandler during sleepless nights, when I should have been studying or while I was on the treadmill. Always was I fed, rarely I didn't laugh, and I always heard the Gospel. I also heard a desire to plant more churches in the Dallas area. Since that was place I was already praying about and hearing Chandler's story how he got to The Village and it's incredible growth since he got there, I knew I wanted to get some face time with the guy.

Generously, Matt agreed to sit down with me and gave me around an hour and a quarter of his time. We talked about his "burnout," the church's structure, ministering to people "inoculated by the Gospel," and when we might be able to plant another church in Dallas. When I got back into my car, I jotted down a few notes before I forgot anymore than I already had. Here's what I got:

  • Everything falls into the vision of the church. If it doesn't, don't do it. Negatively: There are going to be a lot of people that want a lot of different stuff done. That doesn't mean you have to do it. Positively: Integrate everything into your vision. So if you run on a small group model, run on the small group model.
  • Put it in writing. Both Driscoll and Matt emphasize this. If you plan on doing something, it needs to be in writing. I've found this to be true just with the daily grind, how much more should we be planning out the big stuff for our lives, ministries and churches.
  • Conflict management and Staff Communication. There are going to be issues, prepare for them, deal with them and get over them.
  • Integration. This could be included in the vision category above. I found it incredibly smart the way The Village's missions are set up. All their Compassion kids are in Guatemala, so if you want to meet your kid, there are two trips there a year. They support missions in China; if you sent money there to build that school, you can take one of six trips there a year. Further, partnering not just with ministries (para-churches), but with churches in mission areas.
  • The unabashed preaching of the Gospel. What I have heard in the great preachers that I regularly listen to is the continual unashamed, unprotected, unprocessed preaching of the Gospel. John Piper, Mark Driscoll, Tim Keller, and Matt Chandler all preach the Gospel in a way rarely heard today. This is what is going to change people's lives, the community and the world.
*Note: The above picture is not Matt Chandler and was used without permission, originally found at http://flickr.com/photos/latitudes/274509499/

Friday is for Fotos, even on Saturday

The end of last week brought my cousin, her husband and their two little children. By Friday we had to think of something to kill time, so we went to the Jenks Aquarium. All I had was my phone, but I worked hard and got some great pictures of the sharks. And this fish--I have no idea what it is.