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23rd-Jun-2009 06:58 pm - Two articles:
There’s something humbling about weather. It’s impossible to see footage of a tornado that takes the roof from someone’s house and then think “I’m powerful.” Weather can show up and rearrange everything in your world, by ruining it (because you’ve planned a barbeque for forty people on the same day that the first thunderstorm in three weeks happens), or improving it greatly (because you hate going to barbeques, but don’t want to disappoint people who invite you). In our area, a farmer’s welfare can rise or fall on a hailstorm.

Jeremiah, in the Bible, knew this well. When faced with a group of people who refused to listen to God, he explained to them that this God “is He who made the earth by his power…when he utters his voice there is a tumult of waters in the heavens, and he makes the mist rise from the ends of the earth. He makes lightning for the rain, and he brings forth the wind from his storehouses.” When people didn’t think God was worth worshipping, Jeremiah said that this God makes lightning. Elsewhere in scripture, it is noted that the earth trembles when God looks at it. When we see dramatic displays of the power of nature, such as a tornado, or a massive snowfall, we might feel fear, awe, irritation that the just-vacuumed house now has dust all over it - but the most important way to react to weather is by humbly acknowledging the God who created it.

How should we respond to God in view of the weather, exactly? Fear is not a bad place to begin. Not fear because God is evil, but rather because He is so much bigger than us – in the same way that we would fear being face to face with a lion – the lion isn’t wrong, he’s just clearly in charge. As well as fear, though, we can rest that this God is in control of things – He’s bigger than the weather, and even promises that he works all things for the good of those who love Him – even a devastating storm can be used by Him for our good.

 Finally, this God not only creates the weather, but He created you. As 1 Corinthians says, “you are not your own.” You did not suddenly appear, you were made, and by the same powerful, sovereign, caring God that brings devastating tornados and beautiful sunsets. And so perhaps the best thing to do, when we see great displays of nature’s power, is to wonder: “how will I answer to the God who can do that?” Maybe you’ll explain that you did better than some people, or that your intentions were good most of the time, or maybe you’ll do what Paul calls “boasting only in the cross” – that is, admitting that there is nothing good about you but rejoicing that because Jesus lived and died better than you did, His life counts for yours.

Or maybe you don’t care about any of this. Fair enough… but the next time this paper blows into the street from your porch, or you marvel at the beauty of the mountains with the sun behind them, ponder the fact that the same God that made you, spoke those things into existence.


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As you approach graduation day, there is one question I know you are tired of answering: “what now?” Perhaps you've got a path figured out, or you have no idea, or perhaps you make up a different answer every time someone asks, just to keep things interesting. As much as we'd sometimes like it to, the Bible does not include “The Book of Your Next 60 Years, In Detail,” but it does give us some very helpful insights, and some of the most interesting come from a guy named Solomon.

Solomon was a king of Israel, and so was granted pretty much anything he wanted. He was the wisest man of his day, and had every kind of pleasure – the biggest houses, best gardens, and his own lane on Highway 14. He lived his whole life seeking every good thing in the world, and what did he find? The book of Ecclesiastes documents his pursuit, and there we find these thoughts:

 

On wisdom: “What happens to the fool will happen to me also. Why then have I been so very wise?”

On food: “All the toil of man is for his mouth, yet his appetite is not satisfied.”

On work and possessions: “Then I saw that all toil and all skill in work come from a man's envy of his neighbor.”

On being the best: “Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and chance happen to them all.”

On life in general: ““I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, everything

is meaningless, a striving after the wind.”

 

Solomon discovered that everything we pursue fails to satisfy us. If you've been paying attention so far in your life, you've noticed this, too. Your dream car won't stay running for more than a month. The job you were so happy to get came with a grumpy supervisor. Solomon was right. So what do we do with this? The apostle Paul noticed the same things, but had some helpful words: “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him[God] who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.”

God allows the world to be broken so that you would realize that it is not your final home. God wants you to spend the rest of your life eagerly wanting to be with Him. He wants you to realize that you can't find any lasting joy in the world by yourself, so that you'll run to Jesus, who, by His death and resurrection, allows you to be forgiven, and find a purpose in life that will actually last. So yes, go to school, get a good job, raise a family, and enjoy it all, but realize that the only ultimate lasting joy comes from knowing Jesus. Solomon said that if your joy is anchored in Christ, you will hardly remember the days of your life, and that is the kind of life I pray all you who are graduating would have. And then the next time someone asks “what are you planning to do now?”, you might be able to say with the apostle Paul, “I decided to know nothing...except Jesus Christ and him crucified.”



15th-May-2009 07:35 pm - Setlists for Steph's Grad Party
I figure two fifteen song sets will fill up about 2 hours with a 15 min break in between to give us a chance to say hey to people and catch our breaths. Two songs I'll just do acoustically (Wonderwall and Good Riddance), but that's more a function of us not having ever practiced them than anything, I think they'll go down well.

1. Out Of Control
2. Haze
3. Summertime Blues
4. Just Hold On
5. Lean On Me
6. You Can't Always Get What You Want
7. Backizzle
8. Waiting For The World To Wake Up
9. Wonderwall (Just T acoustic)
10. Bargain
11. Shout
12. My Generation
13. Another Destination
14. Amanda
15. Out Of This World

-------------------
1. This Is Better
2. Pinball Wizard
3. Stuck
4. Play It Safe
5. Don't Dream It's Over
6. Close My Eyes
7. Overboard
8. She's Electric
9. Never Ending Battle
10. Outdated
11. All Along The Watchtower
12. Good Riddance (T Acoustic)
13. I Fall Down
14. 20 Flight Rock
15. It's The End Of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)
9th-Mar-2009 09:59 pm(no subject)
"Play It Safe"

Something that's been said, when asking for directions
Is "any way from here is going the right way"
People look ahead, with hasty conclusions
And an elevated fear that won't let them stay

So settle down and take off your number
You can't win a race without an end
When I come around, I hope you remember
That you can't take this with you, you're only what you meant

And it's all but over now, all this storing up is using time that's meant for living
But you'd rather wait around, you say "you don't know what you're missing if your life's not all planned out"
Are you too scared to put on the brakes?
Have you got what it takes
To play it safe

Don't believe the lie that there's a price for freedom
What's no longer for sale has already been paid
I have to wonder why you're still trying to be someone
'Cause everyone I know has got too much in their day

The hardest thing to do is surrender
But it looks like you'd rather despair
Man I hope you shake this before November
You know, you're not that far ahead if you're half dead when you get there

And it's all but over now, all this storing up is using time that's meant for living
But you'd rather wait around, you say "you don't know what you're missing if your life's not all planned out"
Are you too scared to put on the brakes?
Have you got what it takes
To play it safe
6th-Feb-2009 08:33 pm - Serving as a problem?
I haven't read Michael Horton's "Christless Christianity" yet - I haven't had time and I'm not usually a fan of books (or blogs, or pastors) that just hold up all the things we know are wrong about the church and go "so there!" ... I know the problems, I labor day in and out to make sure that I'm not leading myself or those I'm responsible into them. But anyway.

Besides, writing a book just to say that Osteen and McLaren don't get the Gospel is a bit like writing one that just says "that James Blunt...he's a bit gay sounding."

Reading one of the amazon reviews, however, it seems that one of Horton's points is that the atmosphere of needing to "serve" in church has created a problem. If you think of church as primarily a place where you go and serve, you might go away feeling like you've done your bit for the Kingdom, but you might have missed the whole point. Do we not gather together to be collectively changed by God through songs/preaching/etc? Just what is the command to encourage and build up one another in Hebrews (which, let's be honest, is one of the more clear parts about what's supposed to happen at Christian gatherings, the NT is frustratingly vague on that front sometimes) about?

It's an interesting thought. How many people come expecting God to show up and turn their lives upside down? And how many come with intentions of serving others... a noble thought but ultimately only one piece of a much larger whole.

Something to meditate on.

T
13th-Jan-2009 10:47 am - echo...echo...echo...echo...
It's funny how these sorts of things work - people ostensibly start blogs to let their thoughts out, but as soon as the little community that reads said thoughts breaks down, such thoughts no longer need to be let out.

The last few months have been pretty busy but without much real accomplishment. Survived peak at UPS - 1am-5pm is not a schedule I would wish on anyone, but it was only for a couple of weeks. As a result, managed to finish the year in a much better financial situation than I started it in - only outstanding debt that remains is to CSU, which is being paid off at an ok pace I suppose, so I don't feel too bad about things.

Church is an interesting beast - there's about as many upsides as downsides lately. It seems like in some ways we're seeing God move and continue building His kingdom through us, and then in other ways it all feels hopelessly dry. Sunday night is still where my heart is and that service continues to be the most encouraging part of my week, if only because there's no pretending.

Hopefully after I get CSU paid off (July, looking like), I can go back and pick up something vaguely useful - a business degree of some sort, if I'm lucky. And then start seminary. I'm going to be in school until I'm like 90...ugh... haha.

And then there's this band I'm in. I saw a photo this morning from New Years Eve 08-09, and was sort of amused by how much we haven't changed at all... just for fun, the band, through the last 4 years... (apologies for the daft facial expressions on my part, I'm incapable of taking a good photo)

2005: ED - 2005

2006:


2007:


2008:

2009:

Life is pretty normal lately, there's just not a lot to write about. I've been hanging with Brian a lot lately, and that's been nice. Starting a middle school youth group again this Wednesday. Troy's been helping with that too, which has been a Godsend. I'm not as motivated as I should be, but we'll work it out. Youth group was pretty good last night, hopefully some of it stuck. Wish people would stop running backwards and forwards and then backwards again.

T


I'm deeply confused. This was supposed to be everything I ever wanted (or something slightly less cliche). It seemed like a good idea a year and a half ago when it was first proposed, but as far as I remember there were other people involved at the time. I don't know why I feel like this... it's sort of a combination of my own apathy and inconvenience... I'm hugely antisocial when I'm allowed to be, and now I'm in a situation where I don't have to see humans except for Sundays and Wednesdays if I don't want to... and it's sort of my natural inclination. 

But man... what happened? I've got great friends in Brian, Troy, Jess, Will, Mike, Nikki, Jayce, Chelsey... and do I expend any energy to go and see them? Nah, I sit at home thinking "this sucks, there's no one around." What an idiot. It's the same with pretty much every other thing - "the youth group is going to a weird place, need to be reaching more Ault high schoolers", he says, but then does he go hang out at the school and try to meet people and invest in their lives? I've been living in Ault a couple of weeks now, and the answer so far is "no." It's not just motivation either, I'm so dang tired all the time from the combination of 3am work and not being able to sleep during the day for some reason.

But it's mostly motivation. As much as I'd like to pretend otherwise, I'm a guy who needs someone breathing down his neck to accomplish anything. "So change!" Yeah, I know. Brilliant advice, I hadn't thought of that at all yet. Freaking...HOW? 

Ugh. I'm just in a bad mood I suppose. No, not I suppose, I really am. I don't even know why really... I just feel... alone. I shouldn't. But I don't pretend these things are rational.

T
25th-Aug-2008 05:03 pm(no subject)
Any youth group where a dog urinates on someone can't be all that bad, and in fact I think it was a pretty good night. Weird weather tho, I was hoping we'd got over the insanely hot days.

Also, one of the funnier moments of the night:
Jesso: Sorry I didn't make it to the show at Hodi's...
Steph: Eh, it was only the best show they've ever done....

And the strangest moment of the weekend

Saturday: "I'd like to take the high school group, change worship cuz you're doing it wrong, and teach a series from my notes from school."
                me: "we'll think about those things...."
                       : "well, some of it's got to change right away"
                 me: "ok, well here's a couple of other thoughts on things we could do as well..."
                       :"oh..., well, can we not do that for a while? I don't want to just walk in and start changing things..."
Sunday: "Actually I've decided I don't want to be involved at all."

Weird.

T
22nd-Jul-2008 05:02 pm - Lately.
Two months, since I last posted on here. Not for any particular reason, I just haven't really felt like it lately. In short, here's what's been happening:

Work - I'm a package monkey at UPS, for the time being. It's something I could never have seen myself doing, and I afterwards every day I spend a good five minutes sitting in the car in the parking lot, cuz it turns out after lifting heavy things for 5 hours, my body just shuts down the first chance it gets to rest. But it almost pays the bills, and it's looking like it's a temporary thing. The people that work there are really cool though - you couldn't do a job like that and not have a sense of humor. Except for Steve, my usual sup., who apparently doesn't understand the phrase "I'm fine, I don't need any help."

Oh! And we had more crickets again today. Haha. Apparently they eat potatoes, if you didn't know. Someone's been shipping boxes of live crickets, and last week one of the boxes came open and dumped crickets all over the center. The last two shipments have been better packed, thankfully, and each with a couple of old potatoes inside.

School - I'm finished! Kind of. I'm still paying it off, but with a little luck by sometime next year I'll have a real degree. Wooohoooooo. I'm considering a couple of further options, actually - I might head on to seminary by that time, I might go and pick up a business minor, it depends on a couple of things.

House - The Dunbar lease is up at the end of August, which means I'm moving. It's about equal between finding somewhere else in Fort Collins and moving back to Ault, but that all depends on

Church - Wowwww. It's been an interesting couple of months. Pat's settling in nicely as a pastor, and he's one of the most refreshing people to work with that I've seen in a church - mostly, because he seems to have the best balance of theology and theopraxy of anyone I've ever met. It feels more like going up a hill with a big bolder than running a race at the moment, but I'm sure this fall things will pick up steam. One option discussed has been moving into the parsonage and taking on the job full time, which would be an amazing idea provided the church is up for it.

Youth Group - I list this separately to 'church' because it is, really. Things are going ok, the summer lull is about like usual... We'll try to be more intentional about doing things this fall in a way that will foster growth both numerically and spiritually - there's things we can do that will work well, but right now it's a man power issue more than anything. I'm cautiously optimistic, and lest I be doomed to repeat the past by not learning from it, I'm fully aware that the main issue is to set about God-glorifying ministry, and rest in the fact that He has appointed the results.

Band - I thought, at the beginning of the summer, that it was dead. We've since tracked the entire rhythm section of the record, with just some guitars and the vocals to do, and we have a show on August 10th. Things are looking up again... I'm psyched. And the new album has 2 songs on it that we've never played live, which is pretty exciting to me - even at 20 I feel the necessity of movement as an artist, it doesn't take too many months of laurel-resting to become The Rolling Stones After Tattoo You. That, and it'll be nice for those who've followed us around the last 3 years to have something they don't already know by heart :)

Girls - this weekend, Kati came down to visit. It was as fun as it was frustrating. She's a great girl and I really like hanging out with her, but I'm just not sure where either of us want it to go. I feel pretty indifferent about it, although that's how I felt about Krystallin for the first week or so, and then I decided I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her, haha, so we'll see where it goes.

Walk - I'm never really sure how to write about where I am with God, because I'm sure we don't all operate in the same categories - what makes me feel like I'm making forward progress might be another person's spiritual desert and yet another's radical fundamentalism. I suppose if anything I feel as though head knowledge is expanding while whatever we might call "depth" is lagging somewhere in the distance. I might be able to exegete Romans 8 with one hand behind my back (and I say that sarcastically, I hope I'm not nearly that arrogant about teaching), but more and more I find myself saying things and learning things without the follow through that should be there. It comes back down to a community thing, really. But how many of us really do have people in our lives that will call us on things like how and when we're serving others, when we meditate on scripture, and how that besetting sin is doing...? For all the crap I give Frontier kids for being out of touch with reality (and I still insist that they are), they certainly have a much better handle on some aspects of spiritual discipline than the rest of us, because they're placed in an environment where it's demanded of them.

Ramble over, and I'll see you in 2 months.

T
28th-May-2008 02:16 am - I see red, I see red, I see red...
Weird couple of weeks. The last time I posted, I was, as is the norm, feeling like giving up ministry and jumping off a cliff, for a few reasons but mostly my own inability to do my job properly. For some reason I have this weird mental issue whereby whatever the situation, however serious or inappropriate, I usually go for a joke. Like yesterday at work - there's this big safety test thing today, and so they were reviewing the questions with me, and they said "do you know what the emergency evacuation alarm sounds like", and so I said "no, do I need to be able to do an impression?"

Not the brightest comment 4 days into the job. Anyway.

That occasionally bleeds into the church, and I end up joking around more than exalting Jesus, and that doesn't lead anyone to fall down in worship of God. That happened rather extremely, a couple of weeks ago, and I thought, if this is how it's going to go, then I can't do it. There's a seriousness about this that I don't seem to be able to communicate, probably because I don't often live in it myself.

And then, last week, things went better. Yeah, we had a good time, but Jesus was lifted up through the Bible, and that's the beginning and end of my goals every week. Studying Ecclesiastes the last few weeks has really led me to be convicted about this - the way the Bible says I can be the thing I was made to be is by loving and exalting Jesus, and pointing others to Him, which is a sometimes arduous task, but when I fall on my face and really blow it, my brief is the same tomorrow as it was today. God just says "I'm still here, it's ok, get up, go again," and that's how life is.

So do I rejoice that things went better last week? Heck yeah. But mostly, I rejoice in the God who was also there the week before. And I pray that I will by His grace continue to recognize that.

"when I fall down, I fall at Your feet."  .... indeed.

T


(I know quoting yourself is vain, but live with it this once haha)
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