Saturday, July 29, 2006

Transformation

So I'm reading 2 Chronicles. The stories there of the kings of Judah are fascinating despite their redundancy -- so often the kings start off ok, but end badly.

Repeatedly, many of the kings of Judah do good things, Godly things, initially, but later in life they choose to go off on their own, ignoring God, ignoring prophets he sends to warn them, ignoring the lessons of their fathers'. Its like whatever faith they had initially, sort of petered out. It didn't have a long term impact on the way they lived their lives.

And so I find myself wondering about my own faith.

I do ok sometimes. Right now I'm in the Word most days, if only for a few minutes, and I'm trying to pray a few times a day. I pray over my kids at night. But I don't feel like I have a rock-solid faith, one that changes my actions very much. Except when I'm actively worshipping God in song, I typically feel like my faith is less in my heart, and more in my head.

I've also just started reading Bob Roberts' Transformation. Here's hoping that Roberts has some tips for me that will help drive my faith from my head to my heart.

Interesting quote from the introduction to the book:
I believe the basis of this transformation is a combination of the early church's example in Acts with what is emerging in the Eastern church. It is in startk contrast to the Western approach to discipleship, namely, the transfer of information through curricula. This approach results in educated converts who may grow churches, not necessarily radically transformed disciples who will change the world. --Bob Roberts, Transformation

Friday, July 28, 2006

The Shape of Anger

Celeste and I had an interesting conversation last night about anger.

You see, we have two small children. Both work to test us on a regular basis, pushing the boundaries, seeing how far they can go. Intentionally disobeying, throwing fits, you know the drill. And Piper, at her present age, is particularly good at this, in that she can actually articulate her rebellion. "NO!!!"

So I was praying about this on my way to work this morning, praying for Celeste and me to have peace as we respond to our kids in those times. It occurred to me as I was praying for peace that the anger itself is not really the problem, its just the shape of the anger.

Did you know that anger comes in many shapes? It comes in the shape of an enraged face. It comes in the shape of harsh words or shouting at the top of our lungs. Sometimes it comes in the shape of something leaning toward violence -- spanking a child in anger, when the parent out of control, is not healthy, nor is breaking something, or punching the wall. (I had a friend in high school that punched a brick wall in anger; he broke several bones in his hand! Not healthy.)

But anger itself isn't a sin, and it's not unhealthy. Jesus got angry sometimes. God gets angry -- I seem to recall seeing the word 'wrath' in the Bible, attributed to God. Look it up!

But as we strive to be like the Father and the Son, I think we have to figure out ways to ensure that our anger is shaped by love. After all, the scriptures say that God is love -- as my friend Stephen points out, love isn't something he does, or something that describes him, it's what he IS.

So what in the world does love-shaped anger look like?

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On a side note, if you don't read the blog entries of Patrick Meade ... you should. He had a great line the other day: "Jesus did not go to Calvary so I don't have to go to the movies by myself." Want the context? Read his blog! :-)

B

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Faith

If you missed it, guest speaker Toby Slough had a great lesson last night on Faith. He explained that Faith isn't simple belief, and -- pointing to the Faith chapters in Hebrews and particularly the story of Abraham sacrificing Isaac -- he defined faith as tenacious obedience to God, even when we don't know how things will turn out.

Its a lesson I needed to hear.

I've found myself thinking today of the impact this definition of faith might have on some other scriptures. I've replaced the word faith or faithful with tenacious obedience. (I know, there's more to it than this, but it might help to apply what Toby was saying.)
  • Matthew 13, Jesus '... did not do many miracles there because of their lack of tenacious obedience.'
  • Matthew 25, 'Well done, good and tenaciously obedient servant! You have been tenaciously obedient with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'
  • Matthew 17, Jesus explains: I tell you the truth, if you have tenacious obedience as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.
  • Matthew 25, 'Well done, good and tenaciously obedient servant! You have been tenaciously obedient with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'
  • Luke 18, when the Son of Man comes, will he find tenacious obedience on the earth?
Thoughts, anyone?

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Odds and Ends

Two things:
First, it's pronounced 'mic - CAIN'. Not 'mic KEEN', and not 'mic KEE un'. 'mic-CAIN'. Long 'A'. Rhymes with McBrain ... or it would, if McBrain were a word. Normally I don't really worry about how it's pronounced, but someone at my office with an unfortunate, nasal voice (her natural voice, unfortunately for her) just called me 'brahn mic KEE un' and something inside me ... just ... snapped.

Second, I've waited long enough. Well, sort of. I've decided that I have another option in the old 'wait and see' game that I think God's playing with me. While I'm waiting, I think I'm going to get my MBA. Along those lines, it looks like I have to take the GMAT. Any tips, suggestions, comments?