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Grow

 Grow in the grace and knowledge

of our LORD and Savior Jesus Christ.

2nd Peter 3:18

That first word in that sentence is a four-letter word for many.

But the entire sentence is the kind of statement that’s a directive.

Like driving on the right side of the road in our country, and using your turn signal, and obeying the speed limit.

Some of us have paid extra tution to learn the importance of that last one, because we weren’t obeying the speed limit. I’ve feathered several municipal, county, and state nests when I was stopped while speeding. Or, “driving a tad rapidly” as I learned to call it. (Not making this up: my mom’s perspective on speeding tickets was “if you drive long enough, they’ll pull you over and you’ll get a ticket. That’s what happens to me.”) (Again, I’m not making this up.)

My simple point is that there are Rules of the Road. That’s even the title of the book which drivers in our state are tested on regularly.

One of the Rules of the Road for following Christ Jesus is simple and clear —

 Grow in the grace and knowledge

of our LORD and Savior Jesus Christ.

2nd Peter 3:18

A One Question Pop Quiz:

How are you doing this week

with that first word, Grow?

 

 

HAPPY HAPPY 35th BIRTHDAY, LJ4!!!

Another personal moment here, if I may —

Patty took this picture the last time we were able to go see him, pre-pandemic, which feels like eons ago now.

He’s doing stunningly well; very proud of him!

Engage the Scriptures, part 3

[QUICK REVIEW: Daniel Griswold is a colleague in South Carolina who seems to have had the phrase “credit your source whenever possible” woven into his life as much as others of us. Witness this citation: paraphrased from a podcast w David Watson on the doctrine of Scripture. And here’s what Watson offered, shared here with Daniel’s graciously expressed permission —

How should Christians engage the scriptures?

(1) Read everyday,

(2) Read the whole Bible, not just the pieces you like, &

(3) Listen to the wisdom of other believers – from today and the early church, avail yourselves of the wisdom of the church.]

Good stuff there from Daniel!

Given all of that, to what kind of “wisdom of other believers” do you and I pay attention?

Only those who think like us? Beware of living in an echo chamber.

Only those with whom we can disagree and argue? Beware of picking needless fights.

Only those who are our contemporaries? Beware of losing the richness of the work of those who came before us.

Only those who are the ancients? Beware of irrelevancy.

As business guru Peter Drucker writes, “Knowledge has to be improved, challenged, and increased constantly, or it vanishes.”

The goal for you and me as (hopefully) thinking Christians? To couple lifelong learning with our informed, growing, and experiential faith.

Daniel Griswold again: “Listen to the wisdom of other believers – from today and the early church, avail yourselves of the wisdom of the church.”

Who You are…& are Not

Kurt Cobain: “I’d rather be hated for who I am, than loved for who I am not.”

An old song by, ironically, The Who, asked, “Who are you?”

Who really knows you?

Who really knows the real you?

Who really knows the really real you?

The answers have been marinating since before the beginning of time in the love of God.

St. Paul: Now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. (—1st Corinthians 13:12, New international Version)

St. Paul, via Gene Peterson in The Message Bible: We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us! (still 1st Corintians 13:12)

Want some clarification and explication? Check out Luke 15…all three stories, but especially the last one.

And be thankful.

Ready to Quit? As in, Quit Everything?

He was all like “God! I’m done! So very done, God! Can’t take any more!”

He was ready to die.

Even asked God to kill him.

The divine response was a to advise a nap.

And food.

And another nap.

And then more food.

And he was renewed and chose to live.

Maybe that’s the exact same prescription we need.

Sure worked for Elijah in 1st Kings 19….

 

 

Busy All the Time?

“Feeling the need to busy all the time is a trauma response and fear-based distraction from what you’d be forced to acknowledge and feel if you slowed down.” — Lisa Nichols

No show of hands, but does that resonate with anybody?

Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly. — Christ Jesus, Matthew 11:28-30, the Message version

Again, no show of hands, but….

Yeah.

And Amen.

Don King Is. I am Not.

I had never planned on being a boxing promoter.

But that’s how it’s felt way too times since our current COVID-19 pandemic began.

Reading through the Comment sections of things I’ve posted social media about the virus and our restrictions, I’ve been struck by two things —

I love the diversity represented among my friends,

both in real life and online,

but

I wince frequently and want to ask,

“Why can’t we all just get along?”

— It’s the latter reality that brings me to my current position. The politicizing of the virus has not been helpful. The rancor has become contagious.

Going forward, I’ll try to withhold public commentary on what we should be doing re: COVID-19 and why. I’m happy to discuss any of this with you, but

To paraphrase what a friend astutely said several weeks ago, “I am now convinced that I have nothing to offer on the subject of this virus. Minds are made up.”

There are people far better qualified than I’ll ever be to help the rest of us with the myriad of complexities in which we’re swimming. Let’s listen to them.

But I’m afraid we’re drowning.

It’s never been my goal to sow discord. Part of my email’s e-signature for quite some time now has been “+ > ÷” meaning “addition is greater than division.” That’s part of my hope and prayer for us all going forward.

And in the meantime, I’m going to try and get out of the fight game.

I had never planned on being a boxing promoter. 

Another Nugget of Wisdom from a Nursing Home Bible Study

Teach believers with your life:

by word, by demeanor,

by love, by faith,

by integrity.

1st Timothy 4:12

“I’m told we might be the only Bible some people read,” he said in a Nursing Home Bible Study.

Silence as we all nodded.

“Scary,” he concluded.

Nobody laughed.

It’s a Monday: Progress!

Progress, not perfection.

— The 12 Steps

Engage the Scriptures — 2nd Sunday

QUICK REVIEW: Daniel Griwold is a colleague in South Carolina who seems to have had the phrase “credit your source whenver possible” woven into his life as much as others of us. Witness this citation: paraphrased from a podcast w David Watson on the doctrine of Scripture. 

And here’s what Watson offered, shared here with Daniel’s graciously expressed permission —

How should Christians engage the scriptures?

(1) Read everyday,

(2) Read the whole Bible, not just the pieces you like, &

(3) Listen to the wisdom of other believers – from today and the early church, avail yourselves of the wisdom of the church.

What parts of the Bible are “the pieces you like” and why?

 Once you’ve answered that, get a load of this

During my sojourn with some Presbyterians in a class on Preaching from The Old Testament, the instructor began by telling us to close our Bibles.

Had my attenion right there!

Then we were directed to turn our Bibles so that we were not looking at the spine of the book but at the opposite side, the edges of the pages of Bible.

“What do you see?”

And kaBOOM, for most us us the realization was that the New Testament pages were considerably more worn than those of the Old Testament.

Point made.

Once you’ve identified the “pieces you like” of the Bible, it’s obvious where to next dig in and savor “the whole Bible, not just the pieces you like.”

So what are you going to read this week?