Friday, January 1, 2010

Out With The Old...

I don't think there is a lot to say about 2009. My life didn't have any dramatic changes. The professional challenges that went with enduring the end of the worst market decline since the Great Depression and the subsequent setbacks to our small firm were met about as well as could be expected. My personal account was up 140% this year, which sounds really good, until one realizes that I was up 200% at the end of September and found a way to lose money each of the last 3 months of the year. My motto of "Finish Strong" which I first learned in high school cross country, and which translates nicely into my faith walk, was not experienced in my trading. 2010's goal is to be up 200%.

I had echoes of my original Mt. Calvary spiritual upheaval with my involvement in their Evangelism team early this year. Fortunately, another round of active interference and seeming indifference (one would think they would be mutually exclusive) from the pastor did not hurt my relationship with God. In fact, as I write this, I don't think my faith and my thirst for God has ever been stronger. It's nice to know that my sanctification is moving in the right direction as that has certainly not always been the case.

I think I have had a positive impact for Christ in more people's lives in 2009 than ever before. I am thankful for those opportunities and for finding my meaning and purpose in those moments. There is a lot more to do in that area and I think God will provide all I can handle in 2010.

I've got 4 goals written down for 2010. One was mentioned above. Others include reading the Bible cover to cover as I now have my new ESV Study Bible. I also have a physical fitness goal and am going to make a concerted effort to learn to play the guitar this year. I definitely want to keep simplifying my life and devoting my energy to those things that are truly meaningful. So far, I am off to a good start. Just 364 days to go.

As far as being 37 and single, I really just rest on a song that I sang as a young lad in our Midweek church choir practice:

Seek ye first the Kingdom of God
And His righteousness
And all these things shall be added unto you
Allelu, Alleluia

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”- 2 Corinthians 5:17

Thursday, December 31, 2009

From Mark Driscoll...

I was recently visiting a friend who pastors another church and he introduced me to an older pastor who has encouraged him for many years. This eighty-six-year-old preacher had lots of gas still in his tank, and speculated out loud whether he thought he could take me at racquetball. He was a genuinely happy man filled with joy and still dreaming new dreams for ministry.

At one point in our brief conversation, I asked him what the “secret” was to his lifelong ministry, good health, and joy.

Of course, the old preacher rattled off three points:

1.“Read the Bible every day.” I asked him how many times he had read the Bible, and he said he was finishing up his 358th reading of the entire Bible!

2.“Mumble prayers throughout the day.” He explained that it is vital to pray in the morning to connect with God and confess sin, but that we also need to mumble prayers throughout the day, talking to God about everything.

3.“Refuse to have any enemies.” He said that if you choose to forgive everyone of all their sins, then no matter who or what is against you, your heart will not become hard and bitter because you treat everyone like a friend.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Upcoming Blog Topics

The original purpose of this blog, which still mainly holds true, is to write down things that are on my mind in order to keep me from lying awake at night endlessly pondering. In keeping with that, I am just going to jot down some things swirling in my head that I would like to expand upon in the coming days.

- My occasional reluctance to pray for forgiveness immediately after sinning as if I am not worthy at that moment to seek God's grace after choosing something else over Him. God had something to say to me about that and one of Matt's sermons that I heard tonight brought it back up. As if God who saved us while we were still His enemies can't stand our failings now that He is married to us.

- The difference between knowing about God and knowing God and the implications for how we deal with life's punches and our eternal destination. How were you saved? The Holy Spirit capturing your heart or reciting a sinner's prayer and having very little else change in your life?

- Should I have written in a prior blog that Obama is evil? What is evil? What is the difference between a good person and an evil person? Is there a distinction like that apart from Christ? Maybe we should be careful of how we throw the word "evil" around since we are called to see everyone with the same unsurpassable worth that Christ sees them.

- I want to write a blog on the songs that I associate with different times in my life. It's interesting how strongly music can trigger memories.

- Heard a couple of good sermons recently that warned of false teachers from within the church - Acts 20:30, 2 Peter 3:16, the beginning of 2 Timothy 4. Worth delving into a bit.

- Then the other convicting teaching today which I did mention recently...namely, not relying on the teaching of others to know Christ but spending ample time in word, prayer and reflection with just myself and God in order that I may know Him personally and intimately. Part of that is done here as this blog is almost becoming a spiritual journal in some ways although the most private issues will go in an offline notebook. I have ordered up the ESV Study Bible and am planning to go through it all in 2010. That would definitely mean ample time with God and lessen my reliance to some degree on teaching from guys like Piper and Chandler...though I certainly want to keep them as a supplement.