Friday, July 30, 2010


I've been thinking a lot lately. In less than a month I will (if things go to plan) begin my last year of College. So I have roughly a year to "figure out what I'm going to do" with the rest of my life. It's kind of daunting when you think about it, which is probably why I haven't very much. I've been wanting to enjoy myself and not get stressed out with all that future stuff. But now I have to. It's either that or graduate directionless, which is not a particularly attractive option.

So lately I've been thinking a lot. And you know what? It's really not as bad as I thought it would be. It has been quite beneficial actually. I've found that it's much worse to think about thinking about things than to actually think about them. Effort is always better than non-effort, regardless of how well-meaning it pretends to be. That being said, I am starting to get some direction and feel much better about the future and things are generally better all around. Thumbs up.

This got me thinking about why it took me so long to start thinking and about how much better off I could have been months and years ago if I had just had a little more diligence and foresight. Why did I settle for existence (an albeit, most likely, above average one) when with a little more effort I could have thrived? The simple answer is laziness. It was easier to make decisions that required the least amount of effort to yield the results I could live with, rather than put in the hard work and risk failure. Bad choice.

So now I'm thinking and I would encourage you to do the same. More on this later.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Some Thoughts (More like a pre-blog)

Almost two weeks ago I got back on here and announced the new blog name and some of the things I wanted to do with it now that it's resurrected. Since then I've had several (relatively) good thoughts and have had some cool experiences and have read some good books and have seen some good films. Trouble is though, I haven't taken many notes. Apologies.

I've just started recently using a journal I purchased longer ago than I care to admit, but notes are in it and I plan to be adding to it regularly. I also have a notebook for creative ideas (stories and the like). That hasn't seen new ink in a month or so, but during my week off of work I was inspired again and plan on adding to that soon.

That's about it for now. I wanted to get something out there cause it makes it that much easier to put writing off the longer I do it. I don't want there to be months and months in between my posts, but I also don't want to churn out half-hearted blogs that are only partially-formed ideas. I'll do my best to write down good ideas when they come to me and will get to working on reviews for some of the great stuff I've read and watched over the summer. Not sure if anyone will be reading this, but I think it will be good for me to do the work and the writing.

Be back soon!

Monday, July 5, 2010

New Name, New Beginning.

I've been meaning to do this and get back into the blogosphere lately, but I've been busy and procrastinatory (look it up!). But, for a reason that escapes me, I am unable to fall asleep tonight, and I figured an introductory post would be a good idea before I begin (hopefully) regularly posting again.

I didn't plan it this way (promise), but I am very pleased to have a blog with a name that is simple, descriptive of my intentions, and an alliteration! How great is that?! I changed the name for a few reasons. I liked the old one and I very much intend to do posts dealing with my theological views and biblical discoveries. However, I don't want to limit myself to solely commenting on the grand aspects and truths of life to the disregard of the simple and subtler areas. I also did not want come off in a way that unnecessarily put off people who are not in the same theological boat as myself. Yes, my core beliefs are nonnegotiable, but I don't want that to mean that I only ever have things to say that apply to people who share those beliefs. Another reason is that there is much in our culture and world at large that I find fascinating (the "big" and important ideas and happenings along with the fleeting and nonsensical) and feel like commenting on, and I really don't want to be the guy with multiple blogs. I'd much rather keep it simple. I'm sure there's more that could be said but those are the main points.

So there it is, I'm back. Hope to have a real post within a few days. Not sure how many people will actually be reading this, but if there's something you would like to see me post about or a question you'd have me answer just reply or message me. Glad to be back.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Nuggets of Glory Pt. 2

Having been home for a day or two, things have already began to fade in my memory. When I go over my notes they are not as fresh as they were the last time I did. However poor my memory may be, I will do my utmost to remember what was said and the impact it had on me.

There was one thing I left out of the first Q & A time that I wanted to share before I moved on, so I'll mention that and get on with it.

  • The last question that was asked in the Clavin mini-conference, if my memory and notes serve me well, was something along the lines of "What was the highlight (for each pastor on the pannel) of Calvin's work/life for you personally?" There were many similarities in answers and most common was Calvin's devotion to God as a preacher, but something Al Mohler said really struck me. He made the comment many other men made, about Calvin's example to his congregation as a preaher, he added that he (Calvin) pushed his congregation to be thinkers and learners, and then added something especially profound in its simplicity. "Calvin didn't retire...he died." I was momentarily dumbfounded. That simple statement has exceptional relevancy, not only for people aspiring to ministry, but the Christian in general.
  • The first time R. C. Sproul taught it was tough for me to take notes. Not because I was drowsy, like many of the audience at that point (due to the back-to-back-to-back nature of such short conferences), but because I was captivated by the man's vision of our Holy God. His first message was simple. It was titled "I Am the Lord, And There Is No Other." It was essentially a message/lecture on God intrinsic, transcendent uniqueness. I couldn't list out his points. I'm sure he had some sort of a formal outline but the unique nature of his topic was such that all the "points" flowed seamlessly together. I came out of that session with two things. One, I learned the term "asciety." It indicates God's self-sustaining, self-existant, eternal nature. Two, I came away with a renewed sense of awe and wonder of the holiness of God. The fact that His nature is completely apart and above us is something to vast to even begin to grasp, but as Dr. Sproul aptly pointed out: "We must try."
  • Since I've titled my blog(s) on the Holiness of God conference "Nuggets of Glory," the contentious part of my mind would tell me to skip over the next "message" due to my general dislike and disregard for the majority of what was presented. R. C. Sproul Jr's task was to tackle the issue of God's Holiness in regard to the family with an emphasis on raising up children. "Useless" would not at all be the best way to describe it, but if I was asked to evaluate it in one word and was not given much time, that might be the word I recklessly grab for. A better way to put it would be that I felt it missed the point of the conference and crossed over into the side of being too preachy, and opinionated. There were two important things I did get from this session though. First, the husband/father has an extremely important spiritual role in his family. He is called to be like Christ in relation to the church and be his family's example and intercessor. Second, Sproul Jr. aptly used the C. S. Lewis quote, "Our problem is not that we are too difficult to satisfy, but rather that we are too easily satisfied," to demonstrate that when handling such an important responsibility it is necessary to strive for excellence and "man up" and admit it when we drop the ball.

I know that was only three points but the next three sessions were on the "individual" members of the Holy Trinity and I did not want to split them up and I do not have the time to adequately handle them at the moment.

I hope some of the things God used to work in me this past weekend are able to be of some benefit to others!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Nuggets of Glory Pt. 1

Yesterday was Day 1 of the 22nd Anual Ligonier's Holiness of God Conference in Orlando. It was extraordinary! Yesterday and today I heard enough to keep my spiritually and mentally busy for quite some time. I have been taking furious notes but feel like there's a lot has still gone over my head. Even though there's much I'm sure I've missed, there's tons that I was thankfully able to grasp, and wanted to share some of the highlights thus far. I'll try to expound on them a bit in the future, but felt like I should get some out while it's still fresh in my head.

  • The first half day of the conference was a "mini-conference" that focused on the life and legacy of John Calvin. Ligon Duncan spoke first and his focus was "Calvin and the Christian Life." What stood out to me more than anything else was his (both Duncan and Calvin) view of piety. Because of all the history and tradition that has come before me I have always kinda viewed the idea of piety with more than a small ammount of skepticism and have frequently just disregarded it (as what I percieved as Pharisaical religion). Calvin however regarded it as one of if not the utmost virtue, and Duncan follows suit. However, he defines it as an experiential love of God as the Father combined with a reverential fear of God as Lord. This is something I would absolutely deem worthy of our constant effort, and believe that if we disregard this we do so to both our temporal and eternal detriment.
  • Thus far my favorite speaker, hands down, is Sinclair Ferguson. Other than his fascinatong accent that makes him so enjoyable to listen to, he has a love for God as LORD and a love for the revealed knowledge of God that is contagious in his preaching. During the Clavin mini-conference he was the one given the task to tackle the Doctrines of Grace. He did it with such simple eloquence that I felt a bit dazed when he was through. "Wow!" I thought to myself, "that was so great." I look at my watch and can't believe so much time has passed, but in the same breath I didn't want it to end! Now there's not much I can add to his teachings on the Doctrines of Grace, but one of things that Ferguson said that just caused me to respond with great joy was the statement he made when he was talking about the perseverence of the saints; "[Jesus] did not come [and die]to make salvation possible, he came to save!"
  • The next session what struck me most was not a statement made by the speaker (Steve Lawson) or even a passage of Scripture, but it was the example of John Calvin's life and dedication to God. This man was regenerated and saved at age 24 and wrote the first edition of Institutes of the Christian Religion at age 25!!! This was incredibly encouraging and, at the same time, exceptionally convicting. I want a life and legacy like that!
  • The first Q & A session was focused primarily on Clavin and the love for him that the men on the pannel has was extraordinary. One of the things they kept coming back to was the balance between scholar and pastor/teacher. He loved plumbing the depths of the glory of God in Christ and in Scripture but Clavin didn't stop there! He had an unquenchable passion to share his vision of God's glory with the body of Christ and primarily his largely ungrateful congregation in Geneva. AND something that needs to be remembered about Clavin was that while he absolutely believed in and preached a wholly sovereign God he was all about evangelism and missions! He launched all sorts of international missions and encouraged the people who came to his congregation from without to go back to their home (whereever it may have been) and preach the God of Scripture!

Those were the highlights from the Calvin mini-conference and it's getting late, so that's two good reasons to wrap this up and return later.

I am loving this conference and am exceedingly grateful that things worked out so I could make it. Would love to hear any thoughts or responses!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Chapel and a Strip Club Sign.

Unfortunately in the area I live there are several strip clubs and "adult" stores. Depending on which route I take to school, which only lasts twenty minutes tops, I pass two or three of these types of places. The other day I was on my way to school and while I was stopped, waiting for the light to turn green, a billboard of one of these establishments caught my eye. It read: "It only seems kinky the first time." This caused me to reflect. "Wow," I thought to myself, "that's absolutely right, and exceptionally unfortunate!"

Then in chapel our speaker was giving a brief overview of Malachi and the principles for godly living that are found in its pages. After seeing the aforementioned sign, the point he brought out in Malachi 2:17 took on a more resonant application. It reads:

"You have wearied the LORD with your words. Yet you say, 'How have we wearied Him?' In that you say, 'Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and He delights in them,' or, 'Where is the God of justice?'"

The people in Malachi's day were living terribly sinful lives but were not met with immediate retribution so they figured God didn't care, or that He even approved their sin. This is unthinkable! However it can be very easy to fall into such a mindset. If we sin and don't confess and forsake it IMMEDIATELY, we are setting ourselves up for such failure.

This premise applies to ALL ares of sin. No matter what type of sin we struggle with personally, we need to lay it down before God and confess it and pray for an outpouring of His strength. With help from God, consistent time in and reflecting on His Word, and close fellowship with other believers, we can keep our sensitivity to sin strong and our desire for sin, while unable to be completely defeated in our mortal state, will subsequently diminish in light of the surpassing joy and delight found only in a right relationship with God.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

William Blake, The Punisher, and God.

I've had this idea for about a week or two, but didn't really have the time to flesh it out and I didn't want it to be super lame and disjointed.

Okay introduction time:

William Blake- One of the early Romantic poets. Wrote in the late 1700s and early 1800s. Most famous for his poetic anthologies "Songs of Innocence and of Experience."

The Punisher- Frank Castle. Marvel comic "hero." A skull-clad vigilante who has taken it upon himself to rid the world of people who he deems as evil.

God- The sovereign Creator of the universe who has personally revealed Himself in the Bible.

Now that intros are out of the way, I'll try to make this flow as coherently as possible, and not write anything unnecessary (I hate it when people just babble on their blogs).

At the beginning of the current school semester one of the first writers my Brit Lit class looked at was William Blake. He wrote several fantastic poems and in his "Songs of Innocence and of Experience" and many of them were antithetical to each other. The two that most stood out to me were the famous poems "The Lamb" and "The Tyger." Here is how they read:

The Lamb
Little Lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?
Gave thee life, and bid thee feed,
By the stream and o’er the mead;

Gave thee clothing of delight,
Softest clothing, woolly, bright;
Gave thee such a tender voice,
Making all the vales rejoice?

Little Lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?
Little Lamb, I’ll tell thee,
Little Lamb, I’ll tell thee.

He is called by thy name,
For He calls Himself a Lamb.
He is meek, and He is mild;
He became a little child.

I a child, and thou a lamb,
We are called by His name.
Little Lamb, God bless thee!
Little Lamb, God bless thee!

The Tyger
Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And watered heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

"Okay", you may say, "what does The Punisher have to do with these poems?" Well, I'm a big comic fan and I recently heard about this really cool Punisher story called "The End." It's set in a post-apocalyptic America, and just cause 90% of humanity is gone, it doesn't mean there aren't bad people for the Punisher to kill. Sounds cool right? And the next time I went into my comic shop I was pleasantly suprised to find a Punisher collection on the half-off shelf that happened to have "The End" in it. It also had two other stories: "The Tyger" and "The Cell." I can in no way recommend "The Cell" due to it's extreme and vulgar content, but "The Tyger" was quite an interesting read.

"The Tyger" is set right before Frank Castle makes his first kill as The Punisher, and as he waits he reflects back on one of the formative moments of his life. He thinks back to a summer many years ago that drastically altered his worldview.

Back then he was as innocent as a young boy growing up in New York could be. He had a sense of strength, but wasn't a bully, and he also had a very gentle side without being weak. Reading was his favorite passtime. He loved the pictures that expertly crafted words could paint, and that summer he found himself in a poetry class studying Blake. The teacher reads the poem and asks some of the students what they tought about it. When Frank is called upon to give his analysis of Blake's final words in The Tyger he replies that perhaps Blake was suggesting that it was not God who made the tiger. Perhaps it was made by some who "don't make things like lambs."

Both William Blake and young Frank Castle observed the variety and contrasts in God's creation and became confused. They couldn't fathom that a God so gentle and loving could create something so ferocious. While Blake was an unbeliever and Castle is a fictional character they both demonstrate an error in thinking that we, whether we know Jesus or not, can fall into.

As Christians, we serve a God that is wholly loving. We serve a God who is wholly just. We serve a God who is wholly wrathful against sin. AND IT'S THE SAME GOD! When we are inclined to doubt or effectually deny the sovereignty of God the deficiency is with us, not with Him. We need to search the Scriptures and get a bigger view of God than the jolly grandfather idea of God that many people have. Yes! He is loving, but His love comes from His perfect holiness, and His perfect holiness is not alright with the sin in our lives!

This is not to say, though, that we are able to make logical sense of everything God chooses to do. In Isaiah 55:9 God declares: "For {as} the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts." So, as believers, while we should always be filtering our thoughts through Scripture and trying to discern God's will, we ought to have the child-like faith that says " I don't understand God, but I trust you."

That's essentially it. I know it was a bit of a stretch, but when I was thinking back on reading the story I knew there was something good worth sharing. Hope it made sense and wasn't unneccessarily long.