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Vandercar

Faith. Family. Writing. Music. Code.
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Subterranean

Some time ago, I began following @danwhitejr on Twitter. I don’t recall how we connected, but I’m happy we did. Soon after I followed him, I realized that he would be publishing this book. His tweets are dripping with wisdom, so I was excited to read a full work from him. The book delivers. So, should you read this book?

  • If you’re questioning the state and direction of the church …
  • If you’ve become disillusioned with the church or Christianity in the West …
  • If you could benefit from a swift kick in the spiritual butt …
  • If you wonder what it means to follow in the way of Jesus …
  • If you’ve forgotten the purpose of the table …
  • If you’re wondering how to best communicate truth …
  • If you consider your home and neighborhood as a space for missionary living …
  • If you think conversation is a lost art …
  • If you think you’ve no time for the practice of patience …
  • If you’re okay with your life being interrupted …
  • If you aim for greater availability and vulnerability amongst those around you …
  • If your contentment has been ransacked by idealism …
  • If you desire a home of sacred hospitality rather than protective security …
  • If you wrestle with the idols of image, information, ingenuity, or impact …
  • If you question the dichotomy of church attendance and church presence …
  • If you long for the restoration of rootedness …
  • If you desire to live from fidelity …
  • If you’re doubtful or ignorant of the post-Christendom manifestation of church …
  • If you have no good reason not to …

… read this book.

As I read through Subterranean, I tweeted highlights in reply to the following tweet. Click through to read short excerpts from the book.

Read reviews and purchase the book online from the publisher or Amazon.

When you do read it, let me know your thoughts.

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Bedtime Stories 📖😴

At the outset of this year, I put down a list of intentions. Number one on that list was to continue regular blogging. It seems the year has taken me by some other path. I’ve written little. And yet, I’ve read much more than I often do. A good portion of that reading has come in the way of bedtime stories. For a good long time, when putting the kids to bed, we would leave them with a nightlight and a few books. Sometime around the new year, they began keeping one another awake after we’d leave the room. Since then, after prayers and a Bible story, Adrienne or I will read from a chapter book. Most often, they do well to listen. We really appreciate that they love books. I was encouraged by Uncle Ed’s advice on Facebook:

I will remind everyone of my single piece of parental advice I always give new parents… that i knew was not going to fail me, and I attribute most of my kids performance to… Reading to them every night until they ask you not to. I swear, if there was one single thing you could do for your kids, that is it.

And, though, we don’t always read until they ask us to stop, we have worked our way through numerous books. Since the new year, Adrienne has been read through a portion of the Little House series. I have read through Hittie: The First 100 YearsPippi LongstockingA Bear Called PaddingtonCharlotte’s WebLittle Pilgrim’s Progress, and Stuart Little.

Recently, if I’ve the choice, I most often would pick up non-fiction to read. So, personally, this time has been a nice return to the art and adventure of fictional story. Any suggestions for what we might read next?

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Jesus Fully God

At Bethel, we have just begun to embark on a journey through various scenes in Revelation. Last night, I read the following words of Jesus:

Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and Death. Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this. They mystery of the seven starts which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches. — Revelation 1:12-20

This is not the Jesus we know. This is One who speaks with Authority. This is One to whom the angels answer. It is Him who is Mediator and Judge. This is the Sovereign One — reigning over a Kingdom that shall endure. This is Jesus Divine. John is overwhelmed and slain in His presence. Yet, amidst the awesomeness, we glimpse the humanity of the Christ.

When I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid…”

We get a glimpse of Jesus in His humanity even here in Revelation. The Alpha & Omega, the Holy One, the Almighty even here reaches to touch John — to lay on His right hand. This intimate physical touch is assurance to John. He knows this One. He knows this Jesus and this Jesus knows him. Then we hear Jesus speak with all authority and of things that are beyond the realm of mortal man. It is a striking reminder that He is not of this world. This is a glimpse of Jesus fully God. Glory, all glory!

Do you know Jesus as Friend? Do you know Him as Lord? Do you know Him as God? O, that we might fall down before Him — joining the heavenly chorus:

Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing! Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sites on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever! Amen! — Revelation 5:12-14

Jesus, reign in us! Amen.

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Thy Great Redemption

What does it mean that our Lord has redeemed creation? I read this little booklet months ago and have been stuck on a stretch of non-writing. I’ve had these quotes sitting here ready to be published, but haven’t gotten around to adding my two cents. I think I’ll pass on doing so this time in the interest of trying to kickstart this little project again. I have still included some devotional reflections at the end. So, without further ado, here are quotes from Thy Great Redemption.

Everything that has been touched by sin and the devil has been redeemed; we are to live in the world immovably banked in that faith. Unless we have faith in the Redemption, all our activities are fussy impertinences which tell God He is doing nothing. We destroy our souls serving Jesus Christ, instead of abiding in Him. Jesus Christ is not working out the Redemption, it is complete; we are working it out, and beginning to realize it by obedience. Our practical life is to be moulded by our belief in the Redemption, and our declared message will be in accordance with our belief. If we say we believe “It is finished” we must not blaspheme God by unbelief in any domain of our practical life.

Redemption is not dependent on our experience of it. The human race is redeemed; we have to be so faithful to God that through us may come the awakening of those who have not yet realized that they are redeemed.

If you read no other quotations in this post, I encourage you to click through to read this chapter on the Christian’s greatest trust.

Eternal life in the Christian is based on redemptive certainty; he is not working to redeem men; he is a fellow worker with God among men because they are redeemed.

Experiences are always on the threshold of life, they are never the real center. Beware of not seeing that the experiences are nothing other than gateways home.

The abiding reality is God, and He makes known His order in the fleeting moments. Redemption partakes of God’s character, therefore it is not fleeting; but we have the power and the privilege of exhibiting the Redemption in the fleeting moments of our actual life. This is the real meaning of being born from above. Civilization is based on principles which imply that the passing moment is permanent. The only permanent thing is God, and if I put anything else as permanent, I become atheistic. I must build only on God (John xiv. 6) ‘Because God spoke to me once, I stick to that.’ You are a fool if you do. Stick to the God Who spoke to you. He is speaking the word all the time; it is only as we are trained by obedience that we can understand Him (John vi. 63).

The world embraces things material and things evil, things suffering and sinning. Think how narrow and bigoted the love of God is made when it is tied up in less than His own words; we make God out to be exactly the opposite of all Jesus Christ said He was. The breadth of the love of God, the agony of that love, is expressed in one word, ‘so.’ If you can estimate the ‘so,’ you have fathomed the nature of God. Our love is defective because we will not get down low enough. We must get down lower than hell if we would touch the love of God; we will persist in living in the sixteenth storey when the love of God is at the basement. We speculate on God’s love, and discourse on the magnificence of the Redemption, while all the time it has never been made effective in us.

The love of God is broader than the measures of man’s mind.

God recognizes Man’s rights. God has bestowed them and never ignores them. Man is not driftwood on the shores of Time. Man has a right to himself. And no man has any right to deprive his fellows of their rights. But our Lord has a right to ask us to give up our ‘right to ourselves’ to Him. And every true Disciple will come to say, ‘My Lord, my God.’

Reflect On Ephesians 1:7
Praise God for His redeeming work through the blood of Jesus.
Offer Thanks that God has enlisted you as a redeeming agent.
Confess the times when you’ve failed to live in the redemptive reality.
Ask God that you might fully trust in the riches of His grace.
Comment: What does it look like to live in the Redemption?

 

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Time & Place

On two occasions today (only minutes apart), I found myself at just the right place at just the right time.

Adrienne and I converse from time to time regarding our place and purpose within the Prayer League. Again and again, we conclude that this is where we are meant to be – for now, at least. I think we have been placed here with great intentionality. Recently, I accepted an invitation to join the search committee responsible for the selection of a new general director. Join us in prayer, that God might direct us in this process. May God continue to use and bless us in this place and may we remain attentive and obedient.

If ever you find yourself questioning where God has led you, look up. You will likely find that He has you just where you need to be. Let Him surprise you today.

 

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#ChallengerSky

As a young boy, I always wanted to be an astronaut. It was my dream to be the first man on Mars. It has thrilled me to follow and celebrate the recent accomplishments of SpaceX and Blue Origin. To witness advances in the field of space exploration is truly a wonder. Some months ago, Aelah and I packed and planned for a trip to the moon. The beyond still strangely captivates me.

Thirty years ago today, we witnessed a tragic event. I watched the video today and was so moved. You would think such an event would dissuade the dreams of a little boy, but it only fueled them. Today, we remember The Challenger and her crew. She lived up to her name and has been challenging our dreams for 30 years. In memoriam of this event, look up, post a photo of the sky and tag it #ChallengerSky. Godspeed today.

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