Friday, August 30, 2013

day no. 12,730: resurrectionest‏

John 20:19-20
 
19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.
 
Lazarus had died from an illness. He likely was sick and then just closed his eyes one day, like he had a thousand times before, but this time they did not open again.
 
There was no mistaking that he was dead.
But he was peacefully dead as it were.
An open casket wake for sure.
 
Jesus was tortured, beaten and punctured mercilessly.
His corpse was not merely void vessel.
 
It was barely recognizable as a human being, let alone Jesus of Nazareth.
 
It is not to say that Lazarus’ resurrection would have been less amazing in essence, however in presentation it is dwarfed by observing the man days before brutally murdered now walking around and eating fish like He's celebrating Lent.
 
To see that Man alive would have been a cause of terror and wonder.
 
 
To see anything you saw die now alive would be remarkable.
To see one not only die, but destroyed now alive and glorified would be beyond remark.
 
Jesus is alive.
 
He is not a walking corpse.
He is a living Christ.
 
Revelation 5:6

And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing,as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth.

When you see that, you worship.

Revelation 5:8-10

8 And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.9 And they sang a new song, saying,
Worthy are you to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God

from every tribe and language and people and nation,
10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
and they shall reign on the earth.”
 
We reign because He lives.
We live because He reigns.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

day no. 12,729: UPDATE

Team Van Voorst is now 6 persons strong!

Baby girl got born.

6:07 pm
7 lbs. 13 oz.
20.5 inches

Everyone is happy and healthy.

day no. 12,729: toil, et, ette‏

Toil – labor
Toilet – crap box
Toilette - The act or process of dressing or grooming oneself
 
Ecclesiastes 2:24
 
There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God
 
In other words:
 
“it is a gift from God to enjoy your job.(VVCSV)
 
Not everyone gets to enjoy their work.
 
Some because they do not like what they have to do in order to feed themselves while others because they do not like having to do anything that only a person paid to do it would do.
 
There is a reason employers pay you to do some things
 
No one would do them without a paycheck.
No one “feels called” to do them or fills up their hobby-time in the evening doing them.
Some crap would never get flushed if someone was not paid to do it.
 
Even these, however, can be enjoyed by the grace of God when clothed in Christ.
 
Not in the same way, but by the same God who grants joy in doing that which we desire and in doing less than desirable tasks while in Him whom we desire.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

day no. 12,728: an early birthday present

I just found out that on my 35th birthday (Oct. 24th, day no. 12,785 Deo volente) I will have the opportunity to preach and teach at SALT Cedar Falls over Philippians 3:12 - 4:1.

I am so excited.
I am very humbled.

I have imagined getting the chance to teach again someday. 
I've seen myself worshipping and waiting with expectation sitting there nervous with my notes in prayer.

I've imagined looking out over rows of people and thinking about the privilege it would be to get to speak about the Bible to others and wondered when and where and if that would ever happen again.

Lord willing, I will get that chance soon.
And it worked out that it is on my birthday to boot!

Please pray for me to speak rightly and effectively using the gifts God has given to me.
I want to use them to help others love and obey Jesus.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

day no. 12,727: a default desire for strange fire‏

I’m like a badger.
Once I sink my teeth in, I’m hooked.

Leviticus 10:1-3


Now 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.2 And fire came out from before the Lord and consumed them, and they died before theLord.3 Then 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.

I love that some translations render this “strange” fire as though this is absurd, bizarre, unheard of, and ridiculous in light of Christ, God’s glory.

Yet, by nature, we desire unauthorized fire.
However, if we bring our fire to God, we get burned.

We discover that fire is real, but ours was just a play thing in comparison.

Our candles provide no light when engulfed by the light of day.

It reminds me of several C.S. Lewis observations:

“…as a candle flame which becomes invisible because someone has pulled up the blind, thrown open the shutters, and let in the blaze of the risen sun."

Even the light we reflect of Christ in this life will be consumed by His light.

The light we have is borrowed.
Borrowed to be given back.
On loan to be shown to others.

This reminds me of a verse from the hymn“O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go”

O light that followest all my way,
I yield my flickering torch to thee;

My heart restores its borrowed ray,
That in thy sunshine’s blaze its day
May brighter, fairer be.


Back to Mr. C.S.

“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”

We see everything only because we see Jesus.


“A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic canput out the sun by scribbling the word 'darkness' on the walls of his cell.”

We cannot cancel His light by our darkness or desire for it any more than we can fashion lamps from the darkness we find within.

I hope this is encouraging you as much as it is me as I meditate and appreciate the light of Christ on our behalf and in our lives.

Monday, August 26, 2013

day no. 12,726: something i found myself saying‏

“God will work all things of those hidden in Christ to their good and to His glory. He is more committed to both of those things than we are. So if you go in that, you cannot fail for the object of your desire is faithful.”

I recently wrote this in an email to a brother in Christ encouraging him to bravely go about the business of being alive in the course of uncertainty in the certain future held by God.

Psalm 37:4
 
Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.


See the order?

Delight in God.
Receive your delight.

But this is not a quid pro quo sorta dealio.

We do not have to conjure up affection in order to receive right affections.

The psalm merely means to encourage us in the promise of receiving that which we long for if we long for the salvation that is of the Lord.

2 Timothy 2:11-13


11 The saying is trustworthy, for:

If we have died with him, we will also live with him;
12 if we endure, we will also reign with him;
if we deny him, he also will deny us;
13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful

for he cannot deny himself.

Do we know how each and every detail of our lives is going to work out?
Nope.

Do we know how faith in Jesus works out?
Yeppers.

Sorry.
Yesh.

If God is faithful, faith will prevail, because He said so.

Friday, August 23, 2013

day no. 12,723: the torches that you have kindled‏

Isaiah 50:10-11
 
10 Who among you fears the Lord
and obeys the voice of his servant?
Let him who walks in darkness
and has no light
trust in the name of the Lord
and rely on his God.
11 Behold, all you who kindle a fire,
who equip yourselves with burning torches!
Walk by the light of your fire,
and by the torches that you have kindled!
This you have from my hand:
you shall lie down in torment.
 
The opposite of canDeo is “can do.”
 
As in a “can do” attitude.
 
If canDeo means “I shine” and the I is understood to be Christ alone, “can do” is the constant warring against that says, “No, I shine! (without You)”.
 
Those who strive to light their own fires and equip themselves with light inherit torment.
 
We must urge people to resist the spirit of the age’s invitation to find a spark of light within one’s self. It is heresy!
 
There is no inner light.
 
There is Christ and there is darkness.
 
Two categories.
Mutually exclusive.
 
Isaiah states some seek to equip themselves in order to see and interpret the world around them, to see life, to see salvation.
 
The author of Hebrews states the saints are equipped by the light of Christ to accomplish His glory, their good and the wisdom for living worthy lives in the light of His provision.

Hebrews 13:20-21

20 Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant,21 equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
 
He equips.
He works in us.
He shines.
He does it all.
Through Jesus.
 
And then He looks at us and has the audacity to say, “Well done, good and faithful.”
 
He makes us pleasing in His sight and then credits us with Christ’s accomplishments.
 
That will preach.
 
That will produce a response in kind that shouts, “to Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!”
 
I love CanDeo.
 
I love that the name alone communicates the richness of Christ and the poverty of men, the light of God and the darkness of good enough, the anchor of hope and the failure of fostering flames by the feats of our fingers. If you bring unholy fire to God, you get burned. If you walk by the light of His consuming fire, you discover salvation.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

day no. 12,722: rhetoric can't raise the dead!

It’s no secret that I like Mars Hill and the teaching and music they produce. I found this video of Dustin Kensrue of The Modern Post doing an acoustic version of “Grace Alone”
 

  This led me to realize that Dustin Kensrue was the lead singer for Thrice, a band I have known about for some time, but never before really got much into for whatever reason… until now!
 

I love Kensrue’s live acoustic stuff which has introduced me to several Thrice songs which include some awesome lyrics such as: “It's true that you could snap my neck, I trust you'll save my life instead,” from Anthology.

Reminds me of Romans 5:10, “For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, then how much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved by His life!”

We were enemies and God’s response could have been to put down the resistance finally and forever with one death blow. He could snap our necks. But the same power and authority He has to punish sin, He used to offer a hope of salvation. The very same power and rule He exerts over our situations in sin, He can intercede into our situation for salvation.

I also love the line, “Rhetoric can’t raise the dead,” from Artist in the Ambulance.

This reminds me of Philippians 3:7-11, “But everything that was a gain to me, I have considered to be a loss because of Christ. 8 More than that, I also consider everything to be a loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Because of Him I have suffered the loss of all things and consider them filth, so that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own from the law, but one that is through faith in Christ—the righteousness from God based on faith. 10 My goal is to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 assuming that I will somehow reach the resurrection from among the dead.”

All our accomplishments and arguments as to why we should be accepted and resurrected to life by God will fall flat if not for Christ.

So, in summary. I’m getting into Thrice lately and Dustin Kensrue specifically.

My kids know the words (read – the chorus) to “Down there by the Train” which is the closing song in his acoustic set from above. It’s a Tom Waits cover and it is AWESOME! It also includes some good lyrics. Check it out.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

day no. 12,721: tentmakers must be willing to forgo a measure of career achievement and private leisure for the privilege of gaining the prize

And for tentmakers to survive three full-time jobs (work, family, and ministry), they must also adopt a sacrificial lifestyle. Tentmakers must live a pruned life and literally find leisure and rest in the rhythm of serving Christ (Matt 11:28). They must be willing to forgo a measure of career achievement and private leisure for the privilege of gaining the prize (Phil 3:14). Many would like to be tentmakers if they could be wealthy and live a leisurely and cultural lifestyle. But the truth is that a significant ministry in the church and the community can only come by sacrifice. ~ R. Paul Stevens

It is a privilege to be prompted to surrender everything by God in gaining all the riches of Christ.

It is hard work.
It is exhausting.
It is wearisome.

It is an honor.

Matthew 19:29

And everyone who has left houses, brothers or sisters, father or mother, children, or fields because of My name will receive 100 times more and will inherit eternal life.
 
He didn't have to promise to bless it.
He could have commanded it.
He deserves it.
He alone is worth the effort and abandon.
 
But He is generous and grants us more than we can imagine in coming to Him with abandon.
 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

day no. 12,720: ollie ollie oxen free - the Gospel in a game‏

I wanted to know the etymology behind this phrase and found some good info HERE.

Do me a favor and read the following:

Olly olly oxen free (and variants: ollie ollie umphrey, olly-olly-ee, ally ally in free,[1] ally alley ocean free, etc.) is a catchphrase used in such children's games as hide and seek to indicate that players who are hiding can come out into the open without losing the game, that the position of the sides in a game has changed (as in which side is in the field or which side is at bat or "up" in baseball or kickball), or, alternatively, that the game is entirely over. It is thought to derive from the phrase "All ye, all ye 'outs' in free,","All the outs in free" or possibly "Calling all the 'outs' in free;" in other words:  all who are "out" may come in without penalty.[2] However, this may not be the etymology at all--"Olly olly oxen free" is suspiciously close to the German phrase "Alle, alle auch sind frei," meaning "everyone, everyone is also free."[3] Various calls used for such purposes have gone by the collective name of "ollyoxalls" in some places.[4]

Did you see it?
So much Gospel imagery in that description.
Didn’t see it?

See below:

John 12:36

While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.

1 Peter 2:9
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

Ephesians 5:7-9
7 Therefore do not become partners with them;8 for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true)

Romans 5:6-11
6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation

Does that help you see what I saw at all?

“(all) who are hiding can come out into the openwithout losing the game”

Everyone in darkness has opportunity while it is still light to believe.

If you believe now, you will enter into light with no penalty and be counted as one never having indulged in darkness.
It is lost in continuing to strive to impress the One upon it dying.

“the position of the sides in a game has changed “

God’s grace turns rebels into His righteousness.

“the game is entirely over.”

Entirely.
For good.
Forever.

“all who are ‘out’ may come in without penalty

1 John 1:8-9
8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

"everyone, everyone is also free”

John 3:16
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life

Monday, August 19, 2013

day no. 12,719 - and so it begins...

Today is the 12,719th day of my life.

I think I may begin documenting my blog to reflect the number of days that are passing before me.

Psalm 90:12

Teach us to number our days carefully
so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts.


Someday, my numbers will be in the books.

It would be interesting at that point to do this in reverse.

That is to to number the total number of my days and count backwards so that these blogs would be titled, "On August 19, 2013 with 13,413 days remaining in my life, I did...."

This would go all the up until the last day of my life.

On that day, I did...... and that was the last day I lived here on earth.

That is heavy to consider.

God, help me number my days.!

the most dangerous person of all is the one who does not emphasize the right things

“We have somehow got hold of the idea that error is only that which is outrageously wrong; and we do not seem to understand that the most dangerous person of all is the one who does not emphasize the right things.” -D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

What is wrong only matters as much as what is right.  True, right reveals wrong.  But focusing on what is wrong does not equal being anchored in what is right.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

anniversary

6 years ago today Paige and I tied the knot.

It's still tied today.

6 years may not seem like much of an accomplishment to some, but you can't reach your 50th anniversary without first having your 6th.

So here's to 44 more!

Friday, August 16, 2013

what's in a name?

The Cedar Falls church plant from Cornerstone Church of Ames is officially named: Candeo.

Or as I like to write it: canDeo.
That's not an official logo, that's me and Microsoft paint reaquainting ourselves after far too long.  But like good friends, we picked up right where we left off with amazing works of "art."
Besides, I like writing Candeo as canDeo because in addition to being a microsoft paint sandwich artist, I'm also puns o’ fun!
The word means, “to grow, to shine, to grow in brilliance.” “candeo,” in its conjugation literally says, “I shine” or “I grow in brilliance.”
This saying can only be said rightly by God Himself.
He is Light.
From Gen 1:3 to Rev 22:5 we see the theme of light being in and with God.
The sun and moon are not sources of light. We all know the moon reflects the sun. But we rarely acknowledge that the sun receives its light from the Son. That really was not intended to be punny. Jesus gives the sun light. Without Jesus, the sun does not glow, grow, shine or increase in brilliance.
So in that vein, I like to spell Candeo as canDeo to draw out the “Deo” which is Latin for God. In this sense the phrase “I shine” is reinforced as a statement originating in God Himself. He alone may rightly say, “I shine.”
He declares us righteousness and pronounces us the light of the world in His train. We do not glow. We reflect. We genuflect (it's a word, look it up). We receive light into us. It does not bubble up and out of us. There is no light to be found in us. Jesus does not simply do a better job of probing our depths than we do. We do not need Jesus to help us find our inner light. He is not simply better at fanning into flame our inner spark.
There is no spark!
There is no light!
He alone is light and flame and spark and fire.

There is Jesus and everything else.
And that to which He gives light grows in brilliance through, to, from and for Him alone.
Got it?
Good.
Bring it on Cedar Valley.
ollie, ollie oxen free

Thursday, August 15, 2013

do not yield to all traffic‏

Oz detailed the drama of our self-imprisonment this morning when he said,

. . . you are that one’s slaves whom you obey . . . —Romans 6:16

The first thing I must be willing to admit when I begin to examine what controls and dominates me is that I am the one responsible for having yielded myself to whatever it may be. If I am a slave to myself, I am to blame because somewhere in the past I yielded to myself. Likewise, if I obey God I do so because at some point in my life I yielded myself to Him.

If a child gives in to selfishness, he will find it to be the most enslaving tyranny on earth. There is no power within the human soul itself that is capable of breaking the bondage of the nature created by yielding. For example, yield for one second to anything in the nature of lust, and although you may hate yourself for having yielded, you become enslaved to that thing. (Remember what lust is— “I must have it now,” whether it is the lust of the flesh or the lust of the mind.) No release or escape from it will ever come from any human power, but only through the power of redemption. You must yield yourself in utter humiliation to the only One who can break the dominating power in your life, namely, the Lord Jesus Christ. “. . . He has anointed Me . . . to proclaim liberty to the captives . . .” (Luke 4:18 and Isaiah 61:1).

When you yield to something, you will soon realize the tremendous control it has over you. Even though you say, “Oh, I can give up that habit whenever I like, ”you will know you can’t. You will find that the habit absolutely dominates you because you willingly yielded to it. It is easy to sing, “He will break every fetter,” while at the same time living a life of obvious slavery to yourself. But yielding to Jesus will break every kind of slavery in any person’s life.


To what have you yielded?
To whom have you yielded?
 
We willfully submit ourselves to that which we then have no power later to rebel.
We are willing participants in the slavery of our will and affections.
We often develop Stockholm syndrome with regard to sin, Satan and self.
 
God is greater and He is stronger than sin, Satan and your self.

Yield yourself to Him.
Set yourself aside.
 
Purposely point yourself at His promises to find yourself free and found in forgiveness.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

now that’s puttin' the “LENT” in vaLENTine!

You only have 6 more months until Valentine's Day comes around again 



A Valentine without “lent” is simply vain with a obligatory extra British "e."

Better than ditching “a lent” and ending up with vines, I guess.

You can take the “Rita” out of the Puritan, but all you get is a pun.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

soulspank‏

My friend Travinci and I invented a band this morning.
It is my pleasure to introduce you Soulspank which derives its names from

Proverbs 15:32
Whoever ignores instruction despises himself,
but he who listens to reproof gains intelligence.
 
Being disciplined is of no value if it does not instruct the soul.
So that's the mission of our band.
To spank your soul.

Travinci and I finally have a platform from which to launch our long-talked-about song, “God hates divorce.”
 
When going through the book of Malachi at church a few years back, Travinci and I decided we should write a song based on themes directly pulled from the book we were studying.
 
We never wrote “God hates divorce” as much as mock-thrashed around and made many an allusion to this heavy metal ministry mashed-up monstrosity that was the product of our over-active imaginations and comedic sensibilities. It was less of a song and more just head-banging and screamo-ing “God hates divorce.” While God may “like” marriage, He HATES divorce! That was the subtitle of our first single. We thought it was funny.
 
Ah, remember these days.
Etch them on my mind and soul.
 
It has been so much fun to laugh and befriend brothers who love Jesus and His Word and a well-timed, poorly-executed pun or two.
 
What a blessing to be alongside men whom I love, who love me and love Jesus.