11:54 PM

On Legalism

I've been thinking this week about a lot of different things, one of which is how we think of legalism. For now I'll leave it at this and see what you think ~

Example of NOT legalism: Not working on the sabbath.
Example of legalism: Making up rules about how many miles you can walk on the sabbath before it's considered "work".
Example of NOT legalism: Not lusting in your heart.
Example of legalism: Making all women cover their entire bodies with gunny sacks so that no one can see at all what they look like.

7:10 PM

Totally Forgot To Mention My Theory

I have a new theory. I know, I know - I have a lot of theories and it can tend to get kinda ridiculous. But this one is good and I think it's got some merit - and it mostly came to me without me thinking! That I can actually use that phrase - "without me thinking" - is itself progress.

Ok, so here it goes.

I think Shane & Shane music has a motif, and it's the note progression from "The Answer" - which just so happens to be my favorite song that isn't a hymn. But that's beside the point. The point is that in the background and in instrumental interludes, I think I hear it.

I thought that was important to note.

Obviously I'm tired to the point of delusional...

6:59 PM

Like Whoa

Hey kids. Just wanna toss in a thank you for reading my blog. :)

This weekend was full of fun times with family and friends in the Noke, and I am consequently plumb tired. My parents and brother were in the Carolinas to hang with my sister and so down I drove this afternoon to see them for about an hour. Now the city they were flying out of is definitely an hour and a half away from here, so I was gone for about four hours. I am tired. I have a lot of things I should be doing, like blowing my hair dry and reading for class. I am not doing them.

Instead I am vainly attempting to figure out a way to take a nap before my stupid lab at 9. Of course it won't work. The math just won't work. I know this. But I am stubbornly refusing to do anything else.

I hate stupid lab, by the way. Just thought I'd share.

Ok, I'll quit whining and tell you how excited I am that there are only 7 days left in february after this before MARCH. And let me say I am SUPER-PUMPED about March coming, because March 1st is the first day of Lent and I have some killer-awesome Lent plans. (That sounds so weird.) And to beat all, folks, it affects YOU if you actually read this thing at all regularly. Which is why I won't be reporting my plans on here yet. Suspense is an art form.

I probably should do something that resembles productive things now, since I have a whopping 20 minutes before I have to get out of here...

5:07 PM

Hurry! Quick!

alright. you ready for marching orders? i thought so.

go to www.sandramccracken.com and buy some cds. i recommend them in this order, but you really can't go wrong: best laid plans, gypsy flat road, the builder and the architect, the crucible. you can also get them at www.grassrootsmusic.com and www.goodtheology.com.

right now i'm revelling in the fact that i again HAVE best laid plans (which i lost) and really enjoying her new album, which is basically hymn lyrics with new music. alot of it will be familiar to you if you are into indelible grace, as she has written a large amount of their music.

if you have heretofor been deprived (oh the suffering incurred by unfamiliarity with sandra's music!), you probably don't know that she's married to derek webb, formerly the bald guy from caedmon's call, but now just a solo bald guy with a very amazing wife.

i marvel at the depth and richness of the hymns she revives. "Thy mercy, my God" and "the love of Christ is rich and free" and "i boast no more" and "awake my soul" to name a few.

heavens. i love it.

1:03 AM

Jesus Pounced

there is nothing so beautiful as when the love of Jesus pounces on you and you get carried away in it's overwhelming flood...

1:45 AM

I Have an Announcement!

Ladies and gentlemen, I am excited to announce something very important and thrilling and earth shattering all at once.

This is all my hope and peace: nothing but the blood of Jesus.
This is all my righteousness: nothing but the blood of Jesus.

That is freakin' out of control!

4:10 PM

The Hound of Heaven

He's after me. Not that He hasn't been for years, not that He hasn't already captured my heart. He so has. But He seems preoccupied with chasing me "further up and further in," as CS Lewis would say. Thought I'd share some of what He's been teaching me.

It's amazing because I know that He has been faithfully telling me the same things over and over again for YEARS through my parents and a few friends, through songs and hymns and stories and the occasional sermon. But recently - as in the past 72 hours - things have started clicking that I never had the slightest grasp on before.

Okay, enough delay.

My Lahtidah and I had an unbelievable conversation the other night that really changed my heart deeply. She showed me the comfortable mechanism I've been using to try to exert control over my life and future. Refering to Anne Lamott's book Traveling Mercies, this is what she said to me:
"...God always shines the spotlight in a spot ahead of us, and our job is to step into the light. then we wait and He shines a new spot for us... and the miraculous thing is that each time we are following blindly, but in the end we realize we ended up exactly where we are supposed to be. that, my friend, is what you need to go with right now. you're trying to see into the dark and wondering what happens in the third step from now if God moves you to the right and then half a turn to the left. "
I've known for years that I am paranoid and that the way I try to exert control in my life is information. It's knowledge. It's wanting to make the decision each day that I will have wanted to make in 3 months or 3 years or 30 years. And while that kind of conscientiousness has a place, for sure, it has no place at all when it warps into the monster it has become in my heart. I get to know ONE step, and even taking that one step is faith. I've been saying for a long time that God only asks of us that we be faithful with what we have been given today, but I now understand what maybe that looks like. I certainly know it better.

One thing that never ceases to amaze me is how God is God in everything, and that He can use anything to make a point. A good example of this is the movie I saw with some friends last night, the End of the Spear. What struck me more than anything else about it was how monumental faith like Rachel Saint's and Elisabeth Elliot's was so beautiful and so holy. It was in line with who God is. To take your children and move into a village of people known for their brutality who had killed men you loved (a brother and a husband, respectively) because of the Gospel - that faith is deep and rich and wild and FREE. Yeah, it's free. It's what we were set free from sin FOR I really do believe - wild and dangerous life that skates on the edge of danger, but not for danger's sake. Those women were not interested in flirting with disaster, but in following Jesus. Their hearts had eyes for Him, and the rest of the world and their concerns paled in comparison to the richness of having Jesus and following after Him.

Anne made an excellent point about this kind of trust - that the worst thing that could happen to you is that you'd get to see Jesus. But you know what is amazing? The quality of that trust is not just for missionaries. It's something that I am called to. The quality of your trust doesn't change what God calls you to, be it working in a laundromat or taking a bullet for someone or nursing AIDS patients for your whole life. It just means you follow when He leads. I want that.

Post-End-of-the-Spear I of course had to bust out my copy of Jim Elliot's journals and start reading through them. This led to even more deep and profound understanding of the trust that God is teaching me about. Here's a few things I've pulled out:
"Christ, who emptied Himself, became preeminent over all." (p. 24) - this reflects God's 'backwards' economy; the first shall be last, the last shall be first; greater is He Who is in me (Who I cannot see) than He Who is in the world (who seems to be running the show).
"Joseph, the persecuted, is more fruitful than all." (p.25) - yikes. nuff said.

The biggie though brought to mind several conversations I've had with Kyle about seeds and crops and how though it's easier to eat the seeds we receive than to plant them and water and feed them and wait, it's completely missing the point. It also ties together alot of this stuff. Here's the Jim Elliot quote: "Bread: that which is prepared and ready to be of immediate use for my daily sustenance. [See, one step at a time.] Seed: that which must be sown that it may die and produce fruit. [Like his life.] Seed may speak to me of what God gives to me to be placed in another's heart [witnessing and ministry], or it may be that which I do not at first apprehend but is slowly made effectual in my life after some time having been sown." (p. 24) Growth takes time and requires depth (so that the seed is IN you) and death. That's scary. But it is rich. Oh I am so easily satisfied by shallow, vapid life. It is so much bigger and deeper and more wild and crazy and thrilling and full of abundance than I had ever dreamed.

With all that on my heart, of course I would walk into church this morning to hear a sermon on idols that realllllly hit hard. One of the idols Stuart mentioned was the ability to live in comfort and self-preservation. Good gosh. Isn't that what my fear of trust is all about?

Then there would be those choice song lyrics, like these:
"I'm living this life out of the ordinary; I'm opening wide for the extraordinary"
"Given, I've been given so much freedom; yeah, grace abounds and I'm the chief abuser"
"Like everyone else, you're scared of dying, but the power of death has been blown apart and you'll live forever..."

Christian, what is your only hope in life and in death?
That I am not my own, but belong, body and soul, in life and in death, to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with His precious blood, and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil. He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven: indeed, all things must work together for my salvation. Because I belong to Him, Christ, by His Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for Him." - heidelburg catechism question #1

3:15 AM


I'm bad at that. Waiting. I mean, if there were a class in it, I'd definitely have like a -12. Maybe I'm being generous. It'd probably more like -12000. The thing is that I try to use analysis (to figure out the world) to gain a sense of control over things. I am really really bad about that, and even worse than that is that I am very very untrusting of God. I like to have boxes with labels for everything, and I like to have my boxes cross-referenced and labeled again in the file box at the front of my brain. And if I don't, I switch into panic mode. Most of the people who would actually be reading this probably are fully aware of this fact - from ample experience.

Laura Lahti shook me up a lot by reminding me tonight that I only get to know one space - the one ahead of me. And even stepping into that space is - MUST BE - totally an act of trust that God knows what He's doing and where He's taking me. That must be enough for me.

Jesus is so bigger than all of craziness in my life. (Not that the craziness is bad - it's pretty fun, but I'm still trying to micromanage what I have no hope of even getting a tiny grasp on.) So right now resting and trusting are big in my prayer life.

"Wait for the Lord - be strong, take heart, and wait for the Lord!" - psalm 27:14 (even david thought it meant being strong to wait!)

"i will wait on You, i will wait on You... for i will trust in Your unfailing love. my heart rejoices in Your salvation. i will sing to the Lord for He has, He's been good to me..." - shane & shane

"He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also along with Him graciously give us all things?" - romans 8:32

"i wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in His Word i hope..." - psalm 130: 5

"we run on up ahead, we lag behind You - it's hard to wait with heaven on our minds. teach our restless feet to walk beside You, cause in our hearts we're already gone..." - point of grace

"though the days be laced with trouble, be the Stone o'er which i stumble
straight into the arms and stay
where You remain" - jennifer knapp

"o Israel, hope in the LORD! for with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with Him is plentiful redemption." - psalm 130:7

"'the Lord is my portion,' says my soul, 'therefore i will hope in Him.'" - lamentations 3:24

may my heart be so rooted in Jesus as to be unshakeable...

7:48 PM

Being Sick

i think being sick should be fired. i mean really - who needs this?

12:36 AM

Post-Its, Fun Books, Freedom of Speech, and Other Random Bits of Thought

So i got the free computer post-its trial online a while ago, and my free month is nearing an end. I use them religiously for scheduling, notes to self, great quotes, and brainstorming. I keep track of information on them which i may need to call up at a moment's notice. I think it may actually be worth the investment.

That said, i am afraid my computer is very tenuously holding onto what little life it has left, and if i lose my harddrive i don't want to have to pay again. It's not a very important conundrum, but it is on my mind.

Pleasure reading keeps me sane. So do my parents, a steady flow of dr pepper, RUF, music, my friends, and Jesus, but somehow i was wired to benefit extremely from working on a strictly for fun book outside of all my other reading. Right now the lucky book is Everyone Worth Knowing, by Lauren Weisberger. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, i read chick lit. Don't worry - i read alot more of alot of other things, most notably murder mysteries by such greats as Dorothy Sayers, P.D. James, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and theology by such folks as Elisabeth Elliot, John Piper, C.S. Lewis, and John Owen. And of course there's the assortment of Eric and Leslie Ludy books, Amy Tan novels, classics (like Dostoyevsky, Faulkner, and James), and occasionally a political diatribe by Ann Coulter. And that's not even taking into account all the online reading i do every day...

I am really intrigued by the latest in the rising conflict between "the west" and "islam." I am not really sure how fair i think either of those distinctions are, which is why they are both in quotes. But have y'all heard about this? Seriously sick stuff. Some political cartoonist in Denmark drew 12 cartoons depicting caricatures of Mohammed in various terrorism-oriented settings/garb, and the number of european newspapers running them keeps growing. There have been riots over these things, and now the nation of Iran is holding a "holocaust cartoon contest." Geez louise. Freedom of speech means you can say what you want - and that someone else can get ticked at you for it - what they cannot do is shut you up or hurt you for what you said. Apparently that message got missed...

My sister is 19 now - we had a super-fun time celebrating her birthday this weekend with no less than 2 sizey cakes and 30 different friends and family members - all in all a fabulous showing, especially since she's 16 hours away from home and hardly next door to me. She is so super.

I think it's very interesting how many people i know who are engaged or about to be. It's kinda like a tsunami of mushiness. Not that i'm complaining, because i'm surely not. Whoohoo for romance and true love and Christ and the church and such. :)

Oh, guess what? I said "and all that sort of rot" the other day in my British Romantic Poets class and my professor about died. It was hilarious. Though not quite bewilderment nor exactly distraction, for him it was certainly notable and rather bizarre. I'm sorry. I talk weird.

12:24 AM

Dear Me,

I promise to take better care of you for the rest of the week. I'll put on lotion and maybe even a little makeup, and I'll even let you out with jewelry on. I'll sleep more (as you hopefully noticed today, I am making major changes to ensure that) and I'll remember to give you vitamins every day. Thanks for putting up with my slacking.