June 28, 2011

What the church needs


hen I was in college, I loved intellectual conversations! I loved to sit around the flagpole in front of Jackson Hall and discuss philosophy and theology with my compatriots. As I look back on my life, I realize that my best friends have always been those who spurred me on to deeper thought and who made me consider things from a new perspective.

In those days I began to read the writings of Francis Schaeffer [Wikipedia | L'Abri Fellowship]. I began to devour the publications of Intervarsity Press. I developed an intentional world-view.

Nowadays I don’t know who is impacting the intellectual exercises of our young people. I love to read John Piper, Voddie Baucham, Alistair Begg, Nancy Pearcey, and others in their style. But I don’t know if young people are interacting with them. The Pyromaniacs blog is another potential forum for intellectual conversation. Hopefully, these conversations are taking place.

Here’s an excerpt from one of my favorite early intellectual mentors, Francis Schaeffer, more true and important today than it was when I first read it in college in the early 1980s:

The church in our generation needs reformation, revival, and constructive revolution.

At times men think of the two words, reformation and revival, as standing in contrast one to the other, but this is a mistake. Both words are related to the word restore.

Reformation refers to a restoration to pure doctrine; revival refers to a restoration in the Christian’s life. Reformation speaks of a return to the teachings of Scripture; revival speaks of a life brought into its proper relationship to the Holy Spirit.

The great moments of church history have come when these two restorations have simultaneously come into action so that the church has returned to pure doctrine and the lives of the Christians in the church have known the power of the Holy Spirit. There cannot be true revival unless there has been reformation; and reformation is not complete without revival.

Such a combination of reformation and revival would be revolutionary in our day—revolutionary in our individual lives as Christians, revolutionary not only in reference to the liberal church but constructively revolutionary in the evangelical, orthodox church as well.

May we be those who know the reality of both reformation and revival so that this poor dark world may have an exhibition of a portion of the church returned to both pure doctrine and Spirit-filled life.

Francis Schaeffer, Death In the City, p. 12

June 27, 2011

Striving for contentment


have ADHOLS” said the status message I read yesterday on Facebook. “ADHOLS, what is that?” you may ask, as I did. And so I read the comments under the status message. Eventually the syndrome’s acronym was spelled out... Attention Deficit Hyper Oh Look Shiny. Yep... I have that one too.

I’m rolling along, feeling pretty good about how things are going, and then I think I see something shiny and my focus immediately shifts. Not a good thing!

1 Timothy 6:6

But godliness with contentment is great gain.

I have found that when I focus on Christ and on other people my mental attitude stays buoyant. When I think about the awesomeness of our God, gratefulness wells up inside me. When I consider the blessings I and my family have been showered with, I want to shout for joy.

But when I think about the things that aren’t going as well as I wish they would, I begin the downward spiral to unhappiness and depression. When I think about how I wish things were (always, it seems, focused on how those changes would theoretically impact me), the world begins to seem to be a very heavy place.

So then, I need to maintain my focus and not get distracted by things that, as it turns out, are not so shiny after all.

“The gospel of Christ is the fountain-head of contentment. In the gospel we have access to infinite blessings. But if we don’t drink often we will always be thirsty. The moment I feel the saltwater-like thirst of discontentment, I need to plunge again into the gospel. I need to stop and stare and wonder and laugh at the goodness of God in the gospel. I need to spend time working on my gospel math, calculating the infinite distance between what I deserve and what I’ve received. To marvel that a prodigal like me could be embraced by the Universe Maker as a son. To imagine the gutter of misery I would by lying in if Christ had not rescued me. If I want to overcome discontentment, I need to spend time wallowing in the gospel.”

Stephen Altrogge, The Greener Grass Conspiracy, p. 70

June 26, 2011

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I took the picture of this adorable little girl getting her face painted last week at Front Royal’s Celtic Festival. The face painting artist was her mom.

June 12, 2011

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I took this picture of beautiful bonzai trees at the Delaplane Strawberry Festival last weekend. The trees were gorgeous. I wish I had taken more pictures of them.

June 10, 2011

Crossroads - Don McLean

Can you remember who I was?
Can you still feel it?
Can you find my pain?
Can you heal it?
Then lay your hands upon me now
And drive this darkness from my soul
You alone can light my way
You alone can make me whole... once again

We’ve walked both sides of every street
Through all kinds of windy weather
But that was never our defeat
As long as we could walk together
So there’s no need for turning back
’Cause all roads lead to where we stand
And I believe we’ll walk them all
No matter what we may have planned

June 07, 2011

Time for a vacation

These are scenes from the New Zealand locations where Lord of the Rings was filmed. I would love so much to visit this gorgeous place (with my camera).

A gift for your friends (or you)


ne of my favorite blogs/web sites is The Sacred Sandwich—a fun, tongue-in-cheek parody of topics related to Christianity.

I thought I’d share one of their advertisements to get your interest up.

Introducing PoMo, the Bear:

June 06, 2011

Am I a tree hugger?


’ve always produced great consternation for those who have tried to pigeon-hole me. My more liberal-leaning friends consider me a right wing nutjob. My conservative friends think I’m a bleeding-heart liberal. My non-religious friends think I’m a religious fanatic. My fundamentalist Christian friends worry that am too accepting of different people’s lifestyle choices. This is nothing new. I don’t think I try to be a cause for consternation, but I am not willing to be false. If I think it—I’m likely to say so. If I feel it—it is likely to come out in some way.

So when our neo-conservative friends find out that Kim and I like trees and would prefer that they be left standing, they express shock and dismay. We have even seen friendships dissolve when we had the audacity to say that we liked the trees that blocked some of the view of such beautiful scenery as the highway or the black-top parking lot. Go figure.

But we have never experienced a neighbor who would go to these lengths to kill trees on our property. We’ve had landlords who would do it. Um, excuse me... We’ve had landlords who did it regularly. But the property belonged to them so their antipathy toward vegetation on the property was not truly our concern. But when this neighbor poisoned this woman’s tree, he reached a new low in un-neighborliness.

Read for yourself: Man accused of poisoning neighbor's tree through root on his property.

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Memorial Day 2011 at the pool. It was massively hot and it was the first day the pool was opened. So the place was packed out. But it sure felt great to be in the water.

Our friends Tiffany and Stephanie are on the right side of this picture. The others are friends of theirs.

June 01, 2011

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It’s June! Almost halfway through 2011. It’s hard to believe.

I took the photo of this couple holding hands and walking through the town of Front Royal, Virginia, last week. I’ve always had a strange fascination with hands and with human touch, so I often take photos of couples walking hand in hand.

Since my camera took a dive off the top of my car at 25 mph the day after I took this photo, it may be difficult to come up with a whole lot of new blogheaders in the months to come. But I have a few waiting in the wings.