Drinking Deeply

Monday, March 30, 2009 at 5:55 PM

Calling vs. Career

Over at 22 Words, Abraham Piper put up a fairly provocative post on calling vs. career. Since his posts are short, I'm going to quote the whole thing -

God wants policemen and preachers, mechanics and missionaries.

Nevertheless, one category seems like ordinary work, while the other is a calling.

Why?

Lots of good comments there, posting against the physical/spiritual dualistic mindset. But I went a little against the grain and threw out this thought -

I agree with everyone above, but I wanted to throw something alongside what everyone’s said before. Yes, God calls us to obedience in whatever field we do. Yes there is not a difference (brownie pointswise) between “ministry” as a pastor and “ministry” as an engineer.

But alongside that, I think there actually is something good in using the term “calling” rather than “career” for pastoral positions. This isn’t fully fleshed out, but some basic thoughts -

I think the term “calling” actually is a biblical reflection. The OT prophets were “called.” Paul was “called” to be an apostle. In order to raise up elders, they prayed and laid hands on them, so there certainly is something special there.

I think we do want to maintain an emphasis upon the seriousness and soberness with which our preachers labor - that they are shepherds and going to be held accountable as teachers. I think using the term “calling” is helpful for that.

Any thoughts?

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Sunday, March 29, 2009 at 6:33 PM

Proverbs 20:6

Came across this verse in my reading today.

Proverbs 20:6 - Many a man proclaims his own steadfast love, but a faithful man who can find?

Sometimes I feel like some of the contemporary Christian music songs are fulfillments of that verse.

You Are Worthy of My Praise (Various Artists)

I will worship (I will worship)
With all of my heart (with all of my heart)
I will praise You (I will praise You)
With all of my strength (all my strength)
I will seek You (I will seek You)
All of my days (all of my days)
And I will follow (I will follow)
All of Your ways (all Your ways)


I will give You all my worship
I will give You all my praise
You alone I long to worship
You alone are worthy of my praise


I will bow down (I will bow down)
Hail You as king (hail You as king)
And I will serve You (I will serve You)
Give You everything (give You everything)
I will lift up (I will lift up)
My eyes to Your throne (my eyes to Your throne)
And I will trust You (I will trust You)
I will trust You alone (trust You alone)


I will give You all my worship
I will give You all my praise
You alone I long to worship
You alone are worthy of my praise

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Friday, March 27, 2009 at 4:29 PM

"Natural" explanations are pretty mindblowing

As I was driving through Nebraska and Iowa, I managed to end up driving right in between two spring storms traveling east. I had been chased out of the western half of Colorado by the first one, and it passed over me while I slept and I awoke to no rain and drove for the entire day (approximately 14 hours altogether, lots of breaks) without hitting a drop until the end of the evening. Much of it actually was fairly sunny. I felt like I was being ushered along by the gentled hand of God. Godspeed indeed!

As I was driving I realized that the naturalist would probably chuckle at my "reading into" everything this supernatural explanation. And then it struck me, a "natural" explanation for God's providence is far more mindblowing. God doesn't need to stop the winds or push clouds around in defiance of the natural laws, "all" He needs to do is to plan everything from the beginning of time of where I will be, where the winds will be, and what is going on, so that at those exact hours I would not need to worry about the winds or the rains.

And He has done that every day since the dawn of creation. Caring for and providing for His children in just exactly the right ways day in and day out. Sometimes by the miraculous, but all the time by general provision.

"Supernatural" is a misnomer. All of creation is not natural. It is sustained and preserved by the sovereign hand of Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 1
3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009 at 4:23 PM

Fighting sin

I had the opportunity to read a bit of John Owen on Indwelling Sin. He gave three helpful points in disciplines against sin, which I will summarize (from Owen's Overcoming Sin and Temptation, ed. Kapic and Taylor)

Meditate of God with God - When we think of God's excellencies and goodness and glory, we do so in a manner speaking toward God, to give God the glory and fix our mind upon God and humble ourselves before Him.

Mediate on the word with the word - Words are not meant merely to be read over or repeated, but meditated upon. We look to God for help in interpreting and granting us wisdom as we read it.

What we come short of in evenness and constancy in our thoughts in these things, let it be made up in frequency - This one surprised me the most. I think he means that when we struggle to think of things to meditate upon, we ought to make up for that by thinking much and often of the same things, and the Spirit will give us new insights and greater understandings.

I found these helpful. Hope you can too!

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009 at 5:28 PM

Gideon and the 300

An email I just sent to my fellowship.

Hey all -

Just wanted to let you guys know that I got in safe to Naperville, IL
earlier this aftternoon. Thanks for all your prayers and
encouragement. It actually has been significantly easier than people
had told me. Praise the Lord. Lots of time for thinking, prayer,
singing (good thing no one else was in the car with me! =p), and
calling people.

I wanted to share a brief thought of encouragement for y'all. As I
was sitting in a motel in Sterling, CO, the Gideon Bible was sitting
on the desk next to my bed (Thank God for that ministry! They have
done such an invaluable service to the Kingdom just through the simple
act of distributing the Word of God.) and I was reminded of the story
of Gideon in Judges 7, specifically the Lord's point that Gideon
actually reduce the army of the Lord in order that they may glorify
the Lord because of His strength and they may not boast in their own
doing.

I had been thinking and praying for y'all as I had been driving and
remembered that you had been trying to invite more people and grow the
ministry. Keep at it, doing the work of an evangelist, but don't be
discouraged if the Lord should decide that He would rather pour out a
double blessing on half as many people in order to keep you humble and
Him magnified.

Another example -

My junior year we had _one_ small group of guys. It consisted of
myself, Xuan, Alfred, and John "fearless leader" Kang for most of the
year (James tried to join later). We always tried to bring more
people, and we prayed that God would grow us. And He did, but not the
way we expected. That year was a year of tremendous spiritual growth
for everyone there. I don't think any of the people in that group
would be half as involved in the church without that small group.
Praise the Lord.

So don't be discouraged with smaller numbers each Friday, the Lord may
have you be smaller yet before He will do His work. Continue in the
pattern of sound words that you hear each week on Friday and Sunday
and in small group, and the Lord will give the increase.

For His Kingdom!
Mickey

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Monday, March 23, 2009 at 8:20 AM

On the road (1)

I don't think I'm in Kansas anymore...

Thus far, I've been to Fresno CA, St. George UT, Grand Junction CO, and am now at Sterling, CO. Hooray for free internet at Super 8!

Some isolated thoughts, in roughly chonological order.

I finally got to sit down and have a talk with Allen on the car ride. I had always respected him a great deal and it was good to talk with him and hear how he's been doing, especially with getting married soon. That fact continues to blow my mind. The sophomores are growing up! Well, actually, they've already grown up, being as they're seniors now. But always sophomores in my mind =p.

I could definitely see myself moving to a small town and just enjoying the slower paced atmosphere. There was a distinct change in the mannerisms of people as I left the Bay Area. Something simpler and slower, can't put my finger on it.

It's cold at night! I couldn't actually find a place to stay at St. George, so I actually decided to keep driving. Started getting really tired so pulled over at a rest stop and fell asleep with a blanket. It had been really warm that whole day. Woke up at 2am, grabbed an extra blanket. Woke up again at 4am, grabbed another blanket. Woke up again at 8am, a bit chilly. Thankfully, the rest stop was one of the most well-maintained and cleanest stops I had ever seen in my life, didn't feel dangerous at all to be sleeping in a well-lit parking lot.

Utah is gorgeous! I couldn't believe my eyes how majestic and awe-inspiring the plateaus were. I could not take it all in they were so big! And yet somehow so sculpted. I think one of the strongest arguments for intelligent design is awe and joy. How can a person gain so much pleasure from just a visual picture of something he will probably never get to actually interact with?

Boo on Google maps for not properly leading me to Canaan Way. Just goes to show that I definitely needed Grace to lead me there. Thankfully, Grace's mother and a clear cell phone connection will do.

I got head-butted by a baby boy! My hostess (with the mostest!) also invited a young couple to dinner the same evening I was there. Tom had just recently graduated from Southern Baptist and we had a delightful time hearing his stories as a substitute teacher and other adventures. His son Asher (from Hebrew - Happy or Blessed; you can always tell the seminary grads =p) was this delightful little guy. While I was sitting on a couch and he walked up to me and looked up with these huge eyes. What could I do? I picked him up and set his feet on my lap. *tonk and he headbutted me! I was rather surprised and laughed. And he giggled and *tonk again. Now everyone was watching and chuckling. *tonk once more. Hello to you as well Asher!

Lots more, but I need to go before this storm comes through and really makes the drive rough.

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at 7:47 AM

On the road (0)

So here's an uncharacteristically personal post. I always want to post something serious but someone always beats me to the punch. I guess the only thing I have of value is to talk about me! So some isolated thoughts as I've traveled this far.

I'm currently on the road, (well, not literally). I departed from sunny Palo Alto on Thursday, March 19 with an eventual destination of cold Minneapolis with a stop off in Chicago for a week to see family. I've gotten accepted to go to Bethlehem Seminary and, Lord willing, will be starting in the Fall. My boss asked me to leave early or leave later than June, so I decided early. Why? Because of a special someone who also so happens to live in Minneapolis. Yeah, she also had an impact on my decision to apply there, but just a little ;-).

It's been an adventure. Last week I got my car checked out with the mechanic, and he suggested that since I was leaking so much transmission fluid, I should take it easy. So the 3 day trip turned into a 5.5 day trip. As a result, my brother, who I was planning to spend all 3 days evangelizing, couldn't join me. Alas!

Saying goodbyes was incredibly difficult. God has blessed me with more than my fair share of colaborers and companions in the faith, and it has been hard to say farewell to them. Some of them have been like Paul to me. Some more like Timothy. All of them have been treasured companions and partners (and some, co-conspirers =p).


I feel very much like Joshua might have on the edge of Canaan. Huge promises and exciting times ahead, but Moses is dead! How is he supposed to get by without his closest friend and confident? Not only so, but his entire generation has passed away in the last years. Thankfully though, none of my friends are dead and goodbyes are not forever.

As I've been trying to remind myself (sometimes through tears) -

All good things must come to an end, because God has far better things in store.

So, onward to a grand adventure and a gracious God!

Joshua 1:9

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

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Monday, March 02, 2009 at 7:00 PM

Book Review: What He Must Be


What He Must Be by Voddie Baucham is a book directed at Christian fathers sounding a call for biblical intergenerational relationships. Too often fathers have abdicated their responsibility for the proper care and protection of their daughters and today our generation suffers the consequences with broken and weak families.

Voddie Baucham lays forth a biblical foundation for fathers preparing daughters and sons for marriage. He describes four characteristics of a biblical husband (Christian, Servant Leadership, Christian leadership, A commitment to children) and a call for Prophet/Priest/King modeling (which he splits into Protector/Provider to continue the alliteration).

All in all, it was a good book. It was an easy read, laying forth a biblical groundwork and interspersing it with facts and examples drawn from his ministry. Many books in the same field set up nice ideals, but often leave the reader wondering, "but how do I go about doing something like this?" Voddie Baucham fills the book with personal examples that can help fathers see, "yes, this is how that verse can be applied in this life."

One of my favorite parts of the book was his final chapter on building a godly man, where he encouraged fathers to actively be involved in the lives of the men of the church, maybe not privately grooming someone for their daughter but encouraging discipleship and mentorship, not only to build the kingdom, but to prepare men for ministry. I thought that was just a phenomenal chapter and a call that everyone needs to hear.

If there was a weakness to the book, I think it would be that it is too short. A guy can read the book and think, "yes, this is what I want to aspire to," but may not have much information on how to deal with a father that doesn't have a vision for a relationship with a prospective son-in-law. A girl can read this book and think that she wishes there was someone performing the duties of a father for her, but wonder how she is supposed to deal with her situation. I hope for a follow up book that can help people in such situations deal with such "corner cases."

Overall, good book. Would recommend for people who have daughters and sons, and people who aspire to having a godly dating (or courtship, whatever you call it) relationship.

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