Random Thoughts for the Weekend

1. I think the power of the gospel lies in its power to change us in ways we can only see in hindsight. Superficial change can often be seen in a moment but true lasting change is a long work of the Holy Spirit as we continually walk through this world in faith.

2. I’ll be eating meat cooked over fire repeatedly this weekend. So I’ll be feeling kinda like you do when you go to Disney World.

3. We went from Austen and Dickens to Dirty Dancing in less than 200 years. I don’t think our politicians are the problem.

4. Have I mentioned how good the new Chris Stapleton record is?

5. (Riding in a car)

Parent: You should really look up from your phone and look at the world through your window.

Child: (looks up and and strains to read bumper sticker) I…love…my…ta-tas 

Parent: Look at your phone.

6. I know those memes and gifs of politicians, et al. are funny. But as believers, are we thinking deeply enough about the dignity of those made in the image of God? My incredulousness over Christians endorsing a man like our President stems from the same. A man who once owned strip clubs and sees women primarily as sexual objects is who so many Christians have endorsed and applauded. But making fun of him with clever insults drowns the depth of thought required to help others see how politics naturally degrades and defines others only as functional means to a powerful end. 

7. The Cardinals are playing uninspired baseball. Hard to watch, really.

8. The perpetual incessant outrage on my Twitter timeline makes the insipid memes on Facebook seem life-giving.

9. My spiritual gift may be breakfast.

10. Finally that time of year when I get to see Bethany in a bathing suit on a regular basis.

Random Thoughts in the Middle of the Week

1. There are times when you wake up in the early morning and the Gospel of grace is easily believed. There is no dust to be removed. It’s just right there. Those mornings are a gift. Those mornings are rare.

2. Reserve your outrage for yourself.

3.  As my fantasy team improves, the Cardinals struggle. Selah.

4. The new Chris Stapleton was made for vinyl.

5. Let me repeat – there are an infinite number of ways to fall off the head of a pin.

6. I’ve been listening to R.E.M. a lot lately. Actually it’s been about a year now that I’ve been revisiting their catalogue . Most of it is what I enjoyed in High School and college. A friend kindly leant me some DVDs of their live performances on MTV and while watching those it dawned on me why I’m still listening. There was a lot of comfort in those albums for a kid that didn’t feel like he fit the mold. Southern tones with abstract lyrics. Banjos and electric guitars. Intensity and weightlessness. I understood all that and in a very real way felt understood by these guys from just a state over.

7. My kids are almost done with school. Which is good, because I’m tired of doing homework…

8.  A kingdom for my commentaries.

9.  I’m pretty convinced the damage done to the one who only posts the happy moments repeatedly on social media and the damage done to the reader is incalculable.

10. It’s bittersweet when my wife finds a good book. Sweet because it makes her happy. Bitter because she disappears.

Random Thoughts for the Weekend

1. The older I get the more I appreciate the hard passages in the Bible. Some are hard because they confront my failures. Some are hard because they challenge the culture I imbibe. And some are just hard plain to understand. All of those get more comforting as I grow older because they are reminders God is not only unlike me but unlike everybody else.

2. I wish I had included a chapter in my book on “Vocational Shame.” I talked about this phenomenon in Sunday School and maybe I shouldn’t have been shocked at how many people deal with this but I was. So if you do, you aren’t alone. If  Paul is right in Roman 6 and we are dead to sin because we are united to Jesus. Therefore death no longer has dominion over us because it has no dominion over him. Death is the ultimate effect of sin. And so if the ultimate effect of sin can no longer rule us then neither can all the effects such as “Vocational Shame.”

3. The other day I was thinking about why financially successful, famous people so often end up taking on a cause. You rarely hear about them giving themselves to a cause on the way to being famous and wealthy but once they are, then their fame becomes a platform. My guess? The thing they longed for wasn’t enough. Money, fame, respect, sex, drugs – none of it fit the bill. But doing something bigger than themselves gets them closer to filling the hole. I also assume, it’s the reason guys like Cobain and Cornell take their lives. This isn’t to say Christians can’t get there too. They can. And they fly into the arms of the One with 10,000 charms.

4. Chris Stapleron’s new album is wonderful if you’re looking for songs that sound like the waning summer heat and the moon punching through a hazy evening.

5. I look forward to pizza the same way you look forward to vacation.

6. The New Testament writers wrote and advised the church as if the most important stuff in their lives was happening in the churches and not in the halls of governmental powers.

7. Part of the glory of baseball is how it hums constantly in the background throughout most of the year.

8. You know, I’ve always thought it was weird when people were being applauded and they responded by saying it “humbled” them. I always thought it would conceit me. But I think I kinda get it now. Not because I get applauded a lot but because of my Sunday School class. Far from giving me a big head, it scares me a little nearly every week that all these people come to hear me teach. Okay, actually it freaks me out if I stop and think about it. The weight of that is humbling. Pastors know what I mean.

9. My front yard, which everyone sees, looks terrible. Dead grass. Dirt patches. Terrible. But my backyard? Lush green. This too is part of my sanctification.

10. I have a really good marriage. Songs like the one below are a good reminder of why.

Random Thoughts for the Weekend

1. I’ve been studying Romans 6 for weeks now for the SS class I teach. One thing I realized about the power of grace is this – you can resist grace by sinning but you can also resist grace by not believing you are forgiven by God for that sin.

2. Last night I was talking with my friend David and we talked about how we expect the live experience of a band or singer to be better than the album. Maybe that’s why I often don’t listen to an artist’s studio albums as much after seeing them live. Because so often the studio album is so much less.

3. The steadfast love of the Lord is better than cars without the check engine light on all the time.

4. My son bought a fidget spinner this week with his own money and I’m wondering what your kids will next be obsessed with that my kids will have to have two weeks later.

5.  Have you ever booked your family vacation and then later on the same day gotten what I like to call “expensive news?”

6. Tacos.

7.  When you are going through a season of suffering but you know change is coming and it be will over, you can continually remind yourself, “Remember. Remember you are almost done with this. You will be free.” For the Christian, this is always true. When hardship comes, you can always say to yourself, “Remember. Remember you are almost done with this. You will be free.”

8. I never tire of gathering with friends.

9. One month till the new Jason Isbell album. Three months till the show in Huntsville. And five months till the Ryman show. Listen carefully to the the song at the 28:00 mark of this interview.

10. Last weekend was Bethany’s birthday and this weekend is Mother’s Day. A good season to be reminded of the tangible grace I’ve received in her.

Random Thoughts for the Weekend

deathly hallows

1. Church history yawns at our worries over the machinations of politicians who are but a vapor in this stretch of redemptive history, reaching into the known future of the One, who spoke into all into being and sovereignly rules over even the least of our breathings.

2.  One of the great things about reading back over my Facebook memories is seeing how God has worked in my life and the lives of others over the years. It is oftentimes hard to see how unkind I could be on Social media. Judgmental and snarky, I could be devastating in my assessments of others and so very kind to myself. Recognizing that is a grace too.

3. It is so hard to believe that our union with Christ involves not only being to dead to sin but being dead to all those outworking of sin that creep into the crevices of our heart. Dead to fears of failure. Dead to anxiety over finances. Dead to vocational shame. Those no longer have dominion over us though they wage a guerrilla warfare against us.

4. A lot of time artists and singers are described as “fearless” and I just wonder what one afraid of their own self would sound like or look like?

5. Again, as I slowly finish the Deathly Hallows, I am amazed at the literary quality. This is my 7th or 8th reading and I am always seeing new sentences that simply transcend the writing of the vast majority of writers.

6. There are an infinite number of ways to fall off the head of a pin.

7. Politics will not destroy western civilization. But what entertains us may.

8. I don’t listen to a lot of Christian music anymore for a number of reasons. But this morning I listened to Robbie Seay Band’s Better Days for the first time in years and I was encouraged. And I needed a hell of a lot of encouragement. Wait, that didn’t quite sound right.

9. Every news outlet makes money off your fear and the King says, “Do not be afraid.”

10. There are few lines that move me like “Come ye sinners, poor and needy…” I can rarely sing that one audibly.