Saturday, August 25, 2007

Vacation Pic

Just to not be outdone by Todd. This is us as we got out at Newaygo after a 3+ hour cruise down the Muskegon River on innertubes!

Kindling for Your Soul's Fire

Great read this morning from the pages of Piper's classic tome, Desiring God. Man, I love to read this book. (This is my second time through.) His chapter on Scripture is subtitled "kindling for Christian hedonism". That is a great subtitle. It draws a great image up in my mind, especially while on vacation. The campfire at the end of the day is a great highlight and it all begins with kindling.

But Piper's point is that the fire needs to be started at the beginning of the day -- probably an allusion to the cooking fires of a day gone by. As the day begins, we must stoke the fires of the soul and plan to keep it burning throughout the day. The utility of such a fire much be highlighted -- warmth, food, and security. Piper's call is to heaping the kindling on through the regular intake of Scripture.

"If you go without the kindling of Christian Hedonism [the Scriptures], the fire of Christian happiness will be quenched before mid-morning."

Of course in the pursuit of happiness, Piper is talking about the kind of soul contentment that the Psalmist sings of in Psalm 1. This kind of soul satisfaction brings forth fruit in its season and does not wither for it finds the kind of nourishment and irrigation that sustains it through the droughts and troubles of the trees lifespan.

1. What Scriptures are you heaping up in a kindling pile to get your fire rip roaring hot?
2. Who or what has really helped nail this truth home with you?
3. Have you thought about how to pass the fire along to someone else today? (Sing a verse of Pas It On here and think of the bonfire at camp!)

Burn brightly in your happiness friend,

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

In the Margins

Great quote read this morning, during some quiet time at the Lakehouse retreat we are enjoying, from my brother Oswald;

"I indeed was this and that; but He came, and a marvellous thing happened. Get to the margin where He does everything."

He was referring to the "I baptize with water but he will baptize with the HS" discussion that John the Baptist had in Matthew 3:11. My ministry is so pale in comparison with Christ himself. I must decrease and He must increase. The fact that I am striving for impact sometime is nothing more than me trying to "pad" my ministry portfolio and build my self-esteem as a minister. I really want to get people to the margins where He can take over and really do something extraordinary.

We have taken to calling them "WOW" moments at camp. The moments which are unplanned, unarranged, unprogrammed. Real moments is what Greg Stier of Ministry Mutiny calls them. I am reading this book on vacation. I couldn't put it down this afternoon. I was totally drawn into the discussion.

I just love being stretched and grown.
I want to go wider and grow deeper.
I want to be more in love with Christ than with the ministry of Christ,

Friday, August 17, 2007

Lead Us Not into Temptation

As Pastor Evans worked through the Lord's prayer (aka the disciple's prayer) on Wednesday nights, he came to this phrase:

"lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil"

He read a quote, by an apparently famous person that I should have recognized, but did not, about temptation:

"Temptation excites, gets the blood [and adrenaline] flowing, and enflames the imagination [and passions]."

Wow! No wonder we can't get anyone to resist it. It sounds great! But what is righteous living like? Is it not quite as good as temptation or sin? Is righteous living a drag? If it is then it's no wonder we can't get more people to buy into it!

Pastor Evans suggested that the prayer was a prayer for help; do not allow us to succumb to the temptations; do not allow us to play with sin; lead us away from temptation and its power. I need that kind of prayer. I need to pray the Lord's prayer every day -- maybe not as a rote quote, but in its principle. Will you pray it too?

Deliver me from evil's power,