Skip to main content


Showing posts from May, 2009

great memorial day action

Just found out that my mother -- along with the many female WW2 pilots -- are now eligible to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor.

remember the cost

thinking about

our summer trip to our favorite beach.

parental pride

And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased." (Matthew 3:16-17) Last night we had the Gravitate study at our home with about fifteen 20-somethings in attendance. Great cookout & then discussion on Matthew 3 & 4. The passage above struck me in a new way. It's wonderful to hear parents speaking this way of their children. It's part of our love for them, and we see it at the soccer field or recital: "that's my son and I'm so proud of him" ...or, "that's my daughter, isn't she fantastic?" But, it's so... human. We are accustomed to people speaking this way. But God? If we were to make up the gospel story, would we think to put in such a thing... that God the Father -- and on more th

journalling this week

with a Bexley 802. This is a modern American-made fountain pen. Filled with Noodlers Borealis Black ink. Very sweet.

view from the pulpit

I like this sheep photo. The sheep are very attentive, even apprehensive. Then I notice their long wool, and the sheepdog in the top left of the picture. Aha, I bet it's shearing day...

Parker 21 mark II

Took the day off and caught up on stuff. Made a trip out for errands and stopped by an antique store I visit regularly. Made a serendipitous purchase ($10) of a Parker 21, Mark II model with trough-style clip. This began production in 1951, and went through the mid-60s. It features a hooded octanium nib, a more popular-level (=economical) than the very popular Parker 51, of which I have two. This pen has a blue barrel, and a lustreloy cap. I needed to adjust and smooth the nib, then gave a good cleaning, and polished the barrel and cap. It's now writing beautifully!

task of an elder

Jack Arnold on the work of an elder: The first, the primary, and the most important task of an elder is to shepherd the flock . This may be done in many ways, so an elder has a many-faceted ministry. He is to have charge over the flock. “But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction” (1 Thess. 5:12). He is to teach the flock (1 Tim. 5:17). He is to admonish the flock (1 Thess. 5:12). He is to labor among the flock (1 Thess. 5:12), and lead the flock. “Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the outcome of their way of life, imitate their faith” (Heb. 13:7). He is to oversee (supervise) the flock (Acts 20:28). The elder is to watch for the souls of the flock. “Obey your leaders, and submit to them; for they keep watch over your souls, as those who will give an account” (Heb. 13:17). He is to protect the flock. “Holding fast the faithfu

Kinds of service

"...shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock." (1 Peter 5:2-3 ESV) Richard Foster in his Celebration of Discipline (25th anniversary edition) made a comparison between "self-righteous" service and "true" service (pp 128-130 in the 1998 edition). Paul Robbins in Leadership Journal, 1988, p 146, summarized these characteristics and cast them as "self-focused" and "Christ-focused" service. In paraphrased form, this becomes a most helpful evaluation for us... Self-focused service is concerned with impressive gains. It enjoys serving when the service is titanic or growing in that direction. Christ-focused service doesn’t distinguish between small and large. It indiscriminately welcomes all opportunities to serve. Self-focused service requi

working on the sermon

the work of the Spirit

"For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, 'Abba! Father!' The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs- heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him." (Romans 8:14-17 ESV) I'm reading the letters of Jack Miller, former professor at Westminster, pastor, and director of World Harvest Mission. In one letter he writes about "why our hearts resist the work of the Holy Spirit"... "Why, then, is the Holy Spirit not leading more of us into a maximum Christian life? The answer is that we are letting Him have only a minimal control of our life choices, both as individuals and families. We do not want Him to lead us too far along the paths of righteousness for fear

that God is true

"No distrust made [Abraham] waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised." (Romans 4:20-21 ESV) “Let us also remember that we are all in the same condition as Abraham. Our circumstances are all in opposition to the promises of God. He promises us immortality: yet we are surrounded by mortality and corruption. He declares that he accounts us just: yet we are covered with sins. He testifies that he is propitious and benevolent towards us: yet outward signs threaten his wrath. What then are we to do? We must close our eyes, disregard ourselves and all things connected with us, so that nothing may hinder or prevent us from believing that God is true.” ( John Calvin, Commentary on Romans , Chapter 4:20) This year is the 500th anniversary of John Calvin's birth. He was born July 10, 1509.

College town

There's no place like a college town to experience the change of seasons, especially from spring to summer, or summer to fall. They say the two best days in Blacksburg are 1) the day the students arrive, and 2) the day the students leave. We are fast approaching the second of those days. Our town and church are so closely tied to the university community and its rhythm. There's an amazing slow-down in life that takes place after exams and graduation in May. Less traffic, more parking spaces, shorter lines, relaxed atmosphere in downtown restaurants, more tables available at the coffeeshops. Still a lot of students, but not 27,000 of them. There are wonderful summer programs and concerts, and time to walk around the duck pond or horticulture garden in the evenings... That's life in a college town -- summer is for the townies.

NDOP quotes

"Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance? Who has measured the Spirit of the LORD, or what man shows him his counsel? Whom did he consult, and who made him understand? Who taught him the path of justice, and taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding? Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as the dust on the scales; behold, he takes up the coastlands like fine dust." (Isaiah 40:12-15 ESV) Quotes, for this National Day of Prayer: "God presides over the destinies of nations." (Patrick Henry, American Revolutionist) "Remember that God is our only sure trust." (Mary Washington, George Washington's mother) "While we give praise to God, the supreme disposer of all events, for His interposition on our behalf, let us guard against the dangero

My thoughts exactly

Faith is...

Reckoning God's Word to be true . Trusting God and his goodness . Having confidence in his promises . Living in dependence upon his power . Receiving his gifts like a child. Acting in faithfulness upon his commandments . Seeing him who is unseen.

Madness in their hearts

We often hear that religion is the cause of much war and brutality. I cannot argue with that, but it involves a very selective editing of the casualties. A fairer reading of the statistics would impress us also with the brutality of secularism: Adolf Hitler, Germany. Kill tally: Directly responsible for the deaths of over 46 million Europeans as a result of the Second World War. Benito Mussolini, Italy. Kill tally: Over 400,000 Italians killed during the Second World War. At least 30,000 Ethiopians killed during Italian occupation of Ethiopia. Heinrich Himmler, Germany. Kill tally: Directly responsible for the deaths of six million in German concentration camps. Collectively responsible for the deaths of over 46 million Europeans as a result of the Second World War. Joseph Stalin, Russia. Kill tally: Approximately 20 million, including up to 14.5 million needlessly starved to death. At least one million executed for political "offences". At least 9.5 million mo

church softball

The church soccer team was eliminated first round from the tournament by a team called "black" something. Not sure what to make of that. Softball was to begin today, but will be cancelled due to rain. Here's my kind of baseball, from a 1960 Peanuts strip...

The God who beautifies

The center of Jonathan Edwards' theology is not God's sovereignty, but God's beauty. His oft-repeated term was the "excellence" of God, which the believer is drawn to. And that drawing involved having a supernatural sight (or taste) of this beauty and weightiness (glory) of God. One of Edwards' favorite metaphors for God is the fountain. Like bubbling waters God overflows with life and goodness. In a paper presented in Budapest last year, Sang Lee notes that... "...for Jonathan Edwards, God is not only the most beautiful being but in his nature the beautifying being, one who makes other beings beautiful, and thus, as Edwards says, 'the fountain of all beauty.' According to Edwards, God is a disposition, a power to communicate his beauty to other beings. God is in his essence a beautifying disposition or power. (Yale 13:277-78)" (Sang Hyun Lee, "Edwards and Beauty" in Understanding Jonathan Edwards , Gerald McDermott, ed., Oxf

Bear-step & Dad

When we were stationed at the AF Academy in Colorado, 1958-60, my dad studied silversmithing under Dick Spencer, chief of the Cherokee Bear-step clan. I recall his Indian name was Shatka, not Shapka, as cited in this article. We loved visiting his shop, and my dad learned to make silver and turquoise pieces of jewelry, many of which we still retain in the family. Dad, then a major with J/AG, is seen in this photo with Bear-step.