Today is supposedly World Introvert Day. As midnight approaches, we could say the party is nearly over … and, as an introvert, I should be okay with this. I’ll happily sit here in the dark of our apartment and write up a few thoughts regarding introversion.
— 30 minutes later —
Well, as I began to write and consider the introverted life, I found that I have some significant thoughts I need to wade through. Just like an introvert, huh? I’ve cut and pasted those thoughts into a draft post. They need to be sussed out, more deeply explored and more succinctly expressed. You’ll have to wait for those – and maybe a while.
For now, I can leave you with a few comics. Oh, introversion, what a wreck you can make of life – and what beauty.
P.S. The painted flower above is one of Aelah’s recent creations. Beautiful, right?
Entering 2016, I posted a list of where I wanted my attentions to be. I fell ridiculously short. Now, entering 2017, I’ve not even given much thought to such a list. However, the word create keeps returned to me. I’ll hold this word close as we live into a new year. I hope to play songs I’ve written and to write a few new … to journal, blog, write poetry … to take on more web development work and help others tell their story online … and to take up some other hobby that would allow me to craft beautiful things.
And, as I enjoyed the short-lived Instagram challenge of last year and have been recently inspired by an online friend at john.show, I want to take on a similar challenge this year. I will begin documenting each day with at least 10 seconds of video footage. I think my preferred medium for this will be (live) video via Twitter. If you want to follow along, you can connect with me @uamv or click Recent Tweets above.
Here’s a short clip from our time at The Works with the Meier family today.
We’ve known for several weeks, but have only just slowly been letting the news out. Adrienne had a visit to the midwife today and heard a healthy heartbeat of 157. A few weeks ago, after telling the kids, Simeon drew our family and, when having Adrienne label us, he pointed to the dot in her tummy as “another Isaiah.”
Drawing of our family w/ Pip IV by Simeon
This little one is at 12 weeks today with a due date of June 15. So, still too early to determine boy or girl (and not sure whether we’ll find out). I suppose we’ll start welcoming name suggestions.
Some of you know that we currently live in a small apartment. What does this mean for our living arrangement? I suppose something … though it’s still up in the air. We do know that adding one to the joyful chaos of three growing kids presses this issue to the forefront for us. We welcome you to come alongside us as we pray into this and we’ll keep you updated. Trusting God, we remain alert to the horizon and faithful to the task before us.
Join us again in praising God as He fills our quiver with this blessing of life.
Tell me you know those times when all you can do is keep yourself awake into the lengthening night – clinging to a vague expectation of something new. But, if you really awoke and spoke to yourself honestly, you’d find that it’s like waiting on snow in summertime. There is only One who will bring that new thing and it doesn’t come in the dead of night. There is only one who will bring awakening and it comes on the burning edge of dawn.
He is not slack regarding His promises. In eagerness and longing, even in despair may we wait, but He will come in the fullness of time … in His time.
We sang these words this morning…
For the glory of the Lord
Now o’er earth is shed abroad,
And all flesh shall see the token
That His Word is never broken.
Sometimes, it’s difficult to say where a year has gone. This one has come along so quickly. Here we are … fall. As a family, we’ve plenty to keep us on the move. As I was writing friends the other day, I began listing a few of the things we have to tend to over the coming couple weeks. Here’s a glimpse…
Our pastor’s last Sunday, before taking up his call in Illinois, is this weekend.
Initial interviews in our general director search begin.
Launching a new website for Camp Lutherhaven by the first week of November.
Re-theming of another website.
My top two wisdom teeth will be extracted next Friday.
Family in town for my 39th birthday and Isaiah’s 1st.
November challenge night at the Prayer League.
Enjoying of an historic World Series.
Usual day-to-day life with three little kids.
I trust that God has these days in His hands. He is good. Would you please join us in prayer – that God might keep us and strengthen us for the way? May we each find opportunity to slow ourselves enough to embrace the small moments – to capture a memory. May you be kept faithful to the people and place God has called you today and may your remain attentive to His moving in your midst.
Edit (October 31, 2016): To this list you can add all that needs to be dealt with after having your vehicle rear-ended. Thankfully, all the kids seem well. Adrienne has some aggravated back pain. Assessment on the vehicle is still out.
The mystery of sanctification is ‘Christ in you, the hope of glory.’
Over and over and over again, it is this one point to which Oswald Chambers brings us — sanctification (i.e., the making holy of our lives) is no thing for which we strive and no thing to which we might reach out and grasp; rather, it is the life of Christ Himself which indwells His beloved children – a brilliance in which we are bathed – a living reality in which we partake. To look at it another way: to follow Jesus is not to “live up” to an example, but to “be led” by a holy spirit – the Holy Spirit.
Do you strive? Do you aim after a holy and pure life that might glorify the name of Jesus and yet often find yourself failing – frustrated? The best thing you can do is give up and give it over to God. It is not your work to be done – it is a work that has been done. It is not your life to live – it is a life that has been lived. Surrender yourself. Lay it down and bask in our brilliant heritage.
Do I desire holiness more than any other thing … that my motives, heart, life, everything in me, should be as pure as God wants it to be?
Do we long for holiness? Are the deepest desires of our hearts Godward?
Whenever Paul speaks of sanctification, he speaks of it as an impartation, never as an imitation. Never!
Father, in the Name of Jesus, baptise me with the Holy Ghost and fire until sanctification is made real in my life.
Some of us have never allowed God to make us understand how hopeless we are without Jesus Christ.
Sanctification means that we are taken into a mystical union which language cannot define.
It is one thing to realise in speechless wonder, when the heart is attuned to an impulse of worship, what the claim of God is and another thing to tell God that we want Him to realise His claim in us.What the heart of Jesus wanted most was God’s glory, and sanctification means that that same desire is imparted to us.
Our Lord never pried into His Father’s secrets, neither will the saint.
1 Timothy 3:16, Colossian 1:12-17,27-29
for the light of His love and life.
that He has shed His grace upon you.
your self-striving to “live up” to His example.
that His Spirit might overwhelm you.
What practices might help posture us to know His presence as reality?
What is the meaning of life? This is the primary question that Oswald Chambers addresses in The Highest Good. Our conceptions of all things are meager, at best. Our perceptions of reality are finitely bound. At its core, faith is a simple thing.
How long does it take us to know what the true meaning of our life is? One half second.
So, what is the meaning of life? Consider these thoughts. (Click the tweet to read on Twitter or click to reveal the excerpts below.)
Whether we live for the Highest Good does not depend on our understanding, but on whether we have the life of the Highest Good in us.
The one great enemy of discipleship to Jesus Christ is spiritual obstinacy, the emphatic ‘I won’t’ which runs all through.
Preaching precepts while we ignore the Cross of Jesus Christ is like giving a pill to cure an earthquake.
We laugh at the Bible idea of righteousness; our god is the conventional righteousness of the society to which we belong.
To stand true to Christ’s point of view means ostracism, the ostracism that was brought on Him; most of us know nothing whatever about it.
The reason we do not see the need to be born from above is that we have a vast capacity for ignoring facts.
Our Lord centred His most scathing teaching [around] money & marriage, because they are the two things that make men and women devils or saints.
Jesus saw in money a much more formidable enemy of the Kingdom of God than we are apt to recognize it to be.
The more we try to reconcile modern principles of economy with the teachings of Jesus, the more we shall have to disregard Jesus.
It may be hard for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven, but it is just as hard for a poor man to seek first the kingdom of God.
We won’t accept the responsibility of life as God gives it, we only accept responsibility as we wish to take it.
[Jesus] thoroughly realized, from first to last, that He had a work to do, so accurately arranged and fitted to the length of His life that every hour had its own part of the whole to clear off, and He was not allowed either to anticipate or lag behind. —James Stalker
If we try and live the life Jesus Christ lived, modern civilization will fling us out like waste material.
Jesus Christ will not water down His teaching to suit our weakness.
The Lord can never make a saint out of a good man, He can only make a saint out of three classes of people—the godless man, the weak man, and the sinful man, and no one else.
Men living in sin don’t know anything about it. Sin destroys the capacity of knowing what sin is.
We gloss over our Lord’s actions with our civilized conceptions and destroy the meaning of His Gospel.
Unfold a scheme, dream, theory, long-cherished recollection within the reach of a man who loves destruction, & he will reduce it to nothing.
Lord, let our soul’s life after all these years rise stronger, wiser, cleaner for its tears.
Are we postured in such a way to know this – to believe it? When Jesus says that the Kingdom belongs to the poor in spirit, do we yearn for such a poorness? The highest good can only be grasped by the humble spirit. This is the way of the cross – the way of all who would follow Jesus.
Overwhelmed. Grieved. It is in times like these that we might begin to grasp the depth of human depravity and the undeniable need of a Savior.
The nations suffer beneath the weight of broken and misguided hearts. Yet, stories and dreams tell of another weight – a weight unbearable and beautiful. So, we call upon the name of the Lord. Jesus, heal us, create anew. Oh, how we long to be found in You, where peace is to be had. Let Your glory rise – let love rise.
These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. —Jesus
Here is a song I wrote years ago. It came to mind as I surveyed the news last night.
Station to station, oh, the news is feeding us our daily fear. And in the papers, in the streets, they say, “The end is near.” But what do words mean, when images come clear? Oh, may we let the blood, the pain, & the tears draw near. Draw near …
Nation to nation, do we know our feet stand on one land? And heart to heart, oh, when will we start to love our fellow man?
The mourning echoes on, heard from day to day & year to year. But do we know our brother’s need & do we cry our sister’s tears? When love & hate collide, oh, may we take a look in the mirror. Then let Truth lead us on, from here to there, & there to here. Ohhhh.
In back alleys & backs of cars In city streets & village bars On planes & trains & banka boats In forests, fields, & mountain roads Oh, everywhere that money’s spent And where they can’t pay rent In orphan homes & prison cells ‘Fore altars & round empty wells In restaurants & hospitals With starving little boys & girls Oh, every place you’ve never been And right here, now, with a friend
When love & hate collide, oh, may we take a look past the mirror. Reflected images of blood, pain, & tears become clear. And lead us here to there, & there to here.
So, where do we go from here? Firstly, take heart and know that the light is still winning. Secondly, pray until all Life and Light breaks loose again in you. Then, radiantly go and shine. With every moment, every breath, every word – shine your little heart out. The light is winning. The light always wins.
The mighty one, God the Lord, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting. (Psalm 50:1)
The world is rife with opportunity to exercise fear … or courage. God does not say that disaster, turmoil, and trial will not touch His children. He does say that He is in our midst. He does say that we ought to remain alert – for we will face danger. Yet, He is with us. We take courage. In His strength, what have we to fear?
How is it that we have allowed fear to infiltrate the church? Have we turned from the assurance of His presence? Have we failed to trust His promise? Just as broken trust takes great care to build, the habit of fear, once rooted, takes great determination (and love) to destroy.
Oh, that we might let love rise – that we might let love reign. There is a way that brings peace and joy – it is in Christ – it is in love. If you are shackled by fear, I pray that God might meet you today. I pray that His word might speak life again. Love has called your name.
Jesus Christ’s entering in means absolute chaos concerning the way I have been looking at things, a turning of everything upside down.
It took some time, but I’ve made it through another. This book seemed to have less of a common thread running throughout, though the quotation above may capture it best. Reading again through my highlights, I see an exploration of the conscious and unconscious experience of faith. Oswald Chambers defines “the soul” this way:
Soul is the responsible expression of the ruling personal spirit.
It is the essence and expression of that which springs from the spirit that rules our life – whether that be the Holy Spirit or the spirit of error.
There is great depth to our being — far more than we can grasp. The redeeming work of God is for us in all our complexity. His grace not only takes hold of our conscious life, but also of the life into which we might never knowingly delve. He wholly saves.
I will leave you with passages I highlighted and a few devotional considerations. Many of these quotations have (or will be) posted in reply to the tweet shown below. If you prefer reading them there, sharing them socially, or conversing with me about any of the excerpts, click through to view on Twitter and respond. Otherwise, click to reveal the content below.
Before the Spirit of God can bring peace of mind He has to clear out the rubbish, and He has to give us an idea of what rubbish there is.
There is something infinitely more mysterious to the Psalmist than the great universe outside, and that is the mystery of his own heart.
The cry to realize ourselves is the cry to keep God out.
Are we sincere enough to ask God to search us, and sincere enough to abide by what His searching reveals?
We belittle and misrepresent the Redemption if we refer it merely to our conscious life.
We must beware of estimating God’s salvation by our experience of it. Our experience is a mere indication in conscious life of an almighty salvation which goes far beyond anything we ever can experience.
There are supernatural powers and agencies of which we are unconscious that can play with us like toys whenever they choose unless we are garrisoned by God.
There is only one Being to Whom we must yield, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ.
Sin is not measured by a creed or a society; sin is measured by a Person, Jesus Christ.
Beware of turning your back on what you know is true because you do not want it to be real.
It is a desperate thing to die if we have only been living in the conscious life.
The philosophy of life is based on the topsy-turvy reasoning of going into things in order to find out about them, which is like saying we have to go into the mud before we can know what clean water is. ‘I must know the world’—if you do, you will only know good through contrast with evil. Modern teaching implies that we must be grossly experienced before we are of any use in the world. That is not true. Jesus Christ understood as no one else has done, but He never ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Our Lord knew good and evil by the life that was in Him; and God intended that man’s knowledge of evil should come in the same way as it came to Our Lord, viz., through the rigorous integrity of obedience to God. It is only when a man is delivered from sin that the Spirit of God begins to give him an understanding of what sin is.
Iniquity means turning out of the straight. Whenever anything begins to turn you out of the straight, stop and get it put right, no matter what else suffers. If you don’t, you will grow in iniquity, and if you grow in iniquity, you will call iniquity integrity; sensuality spirituality, and ultimately the devil God.
If we have to find reasons for doing what we do, we should not do it.
Lust disputes the throne of God in us.
The basis of life is antagonism in every domain; physical, mental, moral and spiritual, we only maintain health by fighting.
How can we be of the slightest used to God if we are always whining about our own conditions? The compromise arising from self-pity is quite sufficient to extinguish the whole purpose of God in a life.
Never for one moment sympathize with anyone who says, ‘I don’t know how to get to God.’ There is no one in the world easier to get to than God.
Thousands of people are ‘losing their life’ for the sake of a cause; this is perilously wrong because it is so nearly right. Anything that rouses us to act on the line of principles instead of a relationship to a person fosters our natural independence and becomes a barrier to yielding to Jesus Christ. Have we recognized that our body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, or are we jabbering Christian busybodies, so taken up with Christian work that we have no time for the Christ Who started the work, no time for him the morning, no time at night, because we are so keen on doing the things that are called by His name? What we have to watch today is the competition of causes against devotion to Jesus Christ. One life yielded to God at all costs is worth thousands only touched by God.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ awakens an intense craving and an equally intense resentment, because it does away with any other ground to stand on than that of the Atonement of Our Lord.
At first we trust our ignorance and call it innocence; we trust our innocence and call it purity, and when we hear the rugged things Our Lord says we shrink and say, ‘I never had a heart like that.’
Beware of any belief that makes you self-indulgent; it comes from the pit however beautiful it sounds.
A repentant soul is never allowed to remain long without being gripped by the love of God.
God’s providence seems to pay no attention whatever to our individual ideas because He is after only one thing—’that they may be one, even as We are one.’ God has one prayer He must answer, and that is the prayer of His Son. It may look like a thorough breaking up of the life, but it will end in a manifestation of the Christian self in oneness with God.
That last image gives some pointed and convicting words. How do we measure our love for Jesus? Are we to measure love? Indeed, as humans, we have hearts that fail and wills that skew. It is in Jesus only that we find grace for today and strength for the way. Truly, whatever I need give up – if I’m left with Christ alone, I am left with enough.
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.
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 Years, Pippi Longstocking, A Bear Called Paddington, Charlotte’s Web, Little 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?
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
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.’