Posts

O Lord God, In that Wondrous Exchange..." 5 December 2021

Image
  O Lord God, though you are unlike us in your very being, unlimited by space, unrestrained by time, untouched by mortality, unmarred by sin; yet you made us to bear and reflect your image that we may be able to be in communion with you! And then, after our open rebellion you became – in that wondrous exchange – as full-bloodedly and full-bodily human as we are to bring us back into communion with you! What an astounding thought! O Lord, we adore you and thank you! And so, in communion with you we plead with you for the world and the Church. Look upon the nations of this world, including our own country, with all our spite, insurrections, commotion, mayhem, war, drought, flooding, wild-fires, government-approved barbarity, orchestrated impoverishments, socially sanctioned human, sex, and drug trafficking, as well as tribal and racial bigotry. We implore you to steer, steady and stabilize the nations; to restore and renew sound justice; to bring substantial relief and help to the orphan

"Complete Starter Guide to Whittling" by Fox Chapel Publishing. A Quick Review

Image
  Fox Chapel Publishing has compiled several short articles and instructions from various authors and presented them in a glossy 96-page softback, "Complete Starter Guide to Whittling: 24 Easy Projects You Can Make in a Weekend". This manual is ideal for starters and newbies, experimenters, and those who have launched out on their own and spent some time attempting whittling and carving.  This manual begins with the basics. It covers safety, four types of carving/whittling cuts, sharpening knives, and the different cutting-edge pitches that distinguish normal knives and carving knives. I enjoyed this part since I didn't realize that there are different pitches of cutting edges. It helped to explain why I was having difficulty when using my normal pocket knife. Though most of the book is for using simple pocketknives for whittling/carving, yet some of the projects clearly used other carving tools. The 24 projects in the book range from extremely simple to a bit more advanc

"Forgetful of Past Ill Will" - Letter to My Congregation

Image
  The following is what I wrote and sent to my congregation this past week: Many years ago, an Anglican churchman compiled a spiral booklet that has supplemental seasonal prayers that focus on missions, evangelism, service, and giving. It’s titled “Spend and Be Spent”. I doubt it’s still in print anywhere, but I have an old copy that I have used for about 15 years.   The supplemental prayer for the First Sunday in Advent is drawn from an ancient 5 th Century liturgy and is attached to passages from Romans 12: “ Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality ” (12:9-13).   This supplemental prayer addresses God’s love, and how that should impact our interactions. I feel like this prayer is p

"Enter His Gates with Thanksgiving" - Thanksgiving and Prayer for Sunday Evening - 28 November 2021

Image
  “ Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth! Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture ” (Psalm 100:1-3). Joy-filling LORD, Creation-making Lord, People-preserving LORD, it is to you we pray, O Lord, hear our prayer. First, we give you our thanks for upholding us through this last year. We specifically give you thanks for ( think of definite things to give thanks for here… ). May our whole lives be serving you with gladness. O Lord, hear our prayer.   Further, Lord, we implore you to look on those who don’t know you. To take notice of those who don’t know that you are God. To watch over and restore those who have forgotten that you made us, and we are yours (…). Bring them into your sheepfold, call them all by name. O Lord, hear our prayer.   We also ask you to govern our nation, with all of its present strife. We have a long histo

"The Church as a Culture of Care" by T. Dale Johnson Jr. A Short Review

Image
  In "Diary of a Country Priest" by Georges Bernanos, the story unfolds as the young, idealistic priest meets grace that impacts and confronts both priest and parishioner. Very much like Chaucer's medieval parson, who cared for his flock at great cost to himself. This pastoral sense is what lies behind a new 168-page softback by T. Dale Johnson Jr., Executive Director of The Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC) and the Director of Counseling Programs and Associate Professor of Biblical Counseling at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. The whole premise of the volume is soul-care should be reclaimed by church leaders, and how the congregation can be the healthy environment for such soul-care. In a nutshell, the book is primarily focused on pastors and ministers returning to the biblical role of " prayer and the ministry of the word " (Acts 6:4). The ministry of the word includes preaching and bible teaching, but also formal and informal counse

Our Deliverer - 21 November 2021

Image
  O Lord Jesus Christ, who lovingly has given yourself for our sins, to deliver us from this present evil age, to deliver us from the dominance of the devil, and to deliver us from the fearful bondage of death, thank you! And as our great High Priest you regard the humble prayers of all who call upon you, all who call upon you in truth. Incline your ear and hear. Look upon your Holy, Universal Church which you are sanctifying, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, including this church and Southern Baptist Chapel, Southern Hills Baptist, Southpointe Church, and Southwest Baptist Church. Straighten out, O Lord, and have mercy upon all us ministers, pastors, elders, and overseers of your Church: aid us to shepherd the flock of God that is among us, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as you would have us do; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in our charge, but being examples to the flock (1 Peter 5:2-3). Remember

A Prayer In the Impossible (Isaiah 36-38)

Image
  Sometimes something just hits you. Or maybe it’s more like the surprise of the sunrise that suddenly bursts over the horizon. At other times, that something comes along like a well-flavored chili that has sat in the refrigerator for three days, slowly permeating the sauce and meat with seasoning. Well, as I was reading my Bible this morning, a story I’ve read many times gave me courage to pray for some very difficult situations with a bit of refreshed hope.   First, I need to quickly explain the story, and then I will move to the prayer.   In the Hebrew Scriptures there is a story told three times by three different authors (2 Kings 18-20; 2 Chronicles 32; Isaiah 36-39), which alerts us to its deep significance. It’s the tale of Hezekiah, king of Judah. In the Isaiah account, comes the king of Assyria, plowing up nations, demolishing countries, and defeating enemies. He has effectively shut down God’s people, toppling many cities and towns in Judah and has laid siege to Jerusalem