Thinking. Loving. Doing.

23 Jun

In my last post I mentioned my recent read of Thinking. Loving. Doing. I wanted to share a little more about that book with you.

A few take aways from this book:

The Christian life is more than mere consent. It is more than thinking but it isn’t less than thinking. We need to be intellectual in our faith, but not stop there. “Christian existence is irreducibly thinking, loving, and doing – mind, heart, and hands” (15). This quote is  the central message of the book and is a good reminder that all of these aspects are included in a life of faith.

Christians get a bad rap for not thinking and for just relying on “faith” feelings. Feelings should come as a result from truth and knowledge otherwise we have a blind faith. The book quotes Dennis Prager who said, “One thing I noticed about evangelicals is that they do not read. They do not read the Bible, they do not read the great Christian thinkers, they have never heard of Aquinas… I do not understand that. As a Jew, that’s confusing to me. The commandment of study is so deep in Judaism that we immerse ourselves in study. God gave us a brain; aren’t we to use it in His service? When I walk into an Evangelical Christian’s home and see a total of 30 books and most of them best sellers, I do not understand. I have bookcases of Christian books, and I am a Jew. Why do I have more Christian books that 98 percent of the Christians in America. That is so bizarre to me” (16). As a new believer, I remember a similar charge being levied to my peers and me in an archaeology class. Ami Mazar was lecturing to a bunch of Bible students and asked us where we could find a specific Old Testament story in the Bible. Everyone kind of looked at the floor or played with the pages of their Bibles. One of us was brave enough to say, “Genesis, I think.” He then asked what chapter. Someone else replied “Maybe chapter ___.” “Genesis you think? Maybe chapter ____? Are you students of the Bible or not?” I was a new believer but that sunk deep. I knew the charge was justified. Another Israeli archaeologist, Gabi Barkai, made a similar comment to another group of students I was with at Tel Gezer.

“Christian existence is multidimensional. We are summoned to think and love and do, all to the glory of God in Christ, and not diminish any three” (18). I appreciated the authors of this book talking about doing. I think with the goal of promoting the gospel and to squash an earning mentality, some in our generation have lost the importance of doing. I think too that sometimes we think if we do the right things that the heart and mind don’t matter. Others still believe that as long as your theology is right, nothing else matters, but your theology can be right without it affecting the heart and your life.

I also appreciated the concept of worldview in the book. “This concept recognizes that the only way cognizant, aware human beings can operate is in a complex of thought that does not require us to rethink everything all at once, all the time. We operate out of a set of beliefs, principles, and axioms of thought that make sense of the world and allow us to make our way sensibly within it” (59).

Impactful quotes:

“If you were to pray as much as you worry, you would have a lot less to worry about. Don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything” (31).

“To be a disciple means to be a learner. All leaders mut first be disciples, So leaders must first be learners. Tehe moment you stop learning, you stop leading” (32).

“Because of the intellectual devastation brought about by the fall, we are under obligation to think about thinking. That is why Christian discipleship is also an intellectual activity” (58).

“How hard do you think about people? How hard do you think about loving your fellow Christians? And how hard do you think about the lost?” (104).

“God you can’t let these people go to hell. I love them, Lord. I love them. Do something, please. I know I can’t do anything for them ultimately. But you say that the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective, and so I want all the sin out of my life. I want to be as righteous as I can. I want you to hear me and save these people” (106).

Questions I have:

One of the contributors speaks about how some are naturally great thinkers and some are naturally great doers. I don’t know what I am. I don’t know which I am more prone to, which is weird to me.

Unworthy and Loved

18 Jun

I’ve been thinking a lot this summer about how flooded I am with love of friends and family. It baffles me. I know I don’t deserve it. I know that the people I love the most often get the brunt of my sin and are affected by my failures and yet, they continue in my life. Some of them have to (my family) but they don’t respond to me in a we-tolerate-you manner, they lavish me with love and tell me I’m their favorite sister or daughter (Yes, I am their only sister or daughter 🙂 ). This kind of undeserved love is a blessing, but it is also a challenge for me. I want to be deserving. I want to earn their love.

I don’t know if I posted about this earlier this year, but I’ve thought a lot about friendship this year. First off, my boss, who is a good friend and doesn’t like to be called my boss, made me promise to pick up the phone and call her when I needed to. This came as a result of a mid-year evaluation where I asked if I could email her when stuff came up instead of always waiting until our scheduled meetings.  I told her that I had not wanted to bother her. Along with making me promise to pick up the phone or use my keyboard to contact her, she said, “Because I would think that kind of mentality would make you feel really isolated and alone.” At this point I was in tears.

Then, more recently, I had a friend ask me who I consider to be my closest friends. She also asked who I call when I have a bad day. I told her I pick up the phone to text three different groups of people but that I put the phone down because I realize in the grand scheme of things, it’s not that big of a deal or because I realize that I haven’t contacted those people enough on the good days to be okay with contacting them on the bad. After all, I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer. She challenged me in two ways. First, she said that I don’t trust others enough to believe the best about them. I don’t believe they are going to care about what’s hard for me. Secondly, she challenged me by showing me that I operate on a relational bank. I haven’t invested enough therefore I can’t withdraw. This kind of relational mindset is opposed to the gospel. My brother too has continued to work on this with me.

I’ve had all this in my head this summer while thinking about how blessed I am with friendships. I was really thankful for the following excerpt from John Piper and David Mathis’s book Think. Love. Do. This section is from a Q & A included in the back of the book with all the contributing authors. It is in answer to Piper being asked about how one should think about being honored after he was honored with the book For the Fame of God’s Name: Essays in Honor of John Piper. I hope you enjoy this reminder of the gospel being applied to life, relationships, and accomplishments as much as I did. May all things glorify God and lead us to worshipping our great God including the relationships and achievements He blesses us with.

Salvation is designed in a way as to cut the legs out from under all human boasting. It’s about smashing human pride and getting glory for God. That is the big picture, the wider angle.

The more focused angel is Christ crucified. The most important event in human history is the death of the Son of God. What’s the meaning of the death of the Son of God? It means I am unspeakably lost. It took that much – the death of God’s own Son!- to save me. Anybody that lives near the cross isn’t … going to brag about his stuff… He looks at that incredible horror- the Son of God on the cross – and sees it as a picture of how corrupt we are.

And the cross has another message – and it’s good news. That’s how much I’m loved. And it’s free. the biggest challenge theologically and experientially for us is to feel loved unworthily, to get up in the morning and be thrilled to be alive and to be thrilled to know God totally undeservingly. That’s the challenge, because we’re wired to want to feel thrilled because we got a book or had a conference or gave a message. There is the constant clawing at my ego to find my meaning and my significance in other people’s reckoning of what I’ve done…

[But] God is going to humble you whether you want him to or not. He’s lovingly going to flatten you. Our marriage may go into pieces. Or your kids might go whacko on you. Or you may get cancer, or lose your job – God will do whatever he has to do, even flatten you, so that you are desperate before him. And then, secondly, he works through books like this and movements and other people to get us a theology with him so massively at the center that it no longer occurs to us to put ourselves there. And then,  third, God takes us to the cross over and over and over again tot remind us how un-save-able we are apart from theat horrific crucifixion and how much we are amazingly loved (p.142-143).

Thabiti Anabwile then adds:

John, it is so freeing to hear you talk about being unworthy and loved, because when there is a sense of love attached to our worthiness, that is slavery – because then we find ourselves on this treadmill of trying to keep our worthiness up and at a level where we can fabricate the feeling of love. But to maintain that sense of being unworthy and loved, to be rightly abased, to have the idol  of self smashed, that frees us to rejoice in our unworthiness knowing that God loves us. That is so liberating. That is so wonderful (p. 143).

The End is Near

4 May

Once Year End Show Hits at TMC, you know graduation is close. Here was the final video of Year End Show. They filmed bits and pieces all year. Way to go, Chapel Media!

Reflections on Death

3 May

I thought at lot as a result of my trip to my grandma’s funeral. It was neat to reflect on her 91 years of life and her faithful ministry. It was not uncommon to meet people around town and hear from them about my grandma. Whether it was a grocery store worker or a hotel employee,  everyone spoke kindly about my grandmother talking about her sweetness and joy even though they knew she was in pain. My grandmother visited people in the Med. Center of her retirement home until practically the day she had to move in there because of her own failing condition. She would get on her little electric chair along with her oxygen tank and make her way down there to serve others.

Even Joan and Ted, the couple who were huge servants to my grandmother and grandfather, spoke of her uniqueness saying, “Most people get angry and nasty when they are in pain, but we would be in the E.R. with your grandmother and we would be able to laugh together.” They were at a loss of what they were going to do now because my grandmother had been such a large part of their lives. I told them they would continue to serve and others would fill their time. They responded, “No, there won’t be another like Hilda.” I’m confident they will continue serving regardless of if there is another like my grandma, but it was neat to hear them talk about her.

My grandma left a neat example for me to follow. She faithfully took her soul to task for 80 some years and the Spirit of God was at work in her so that while her physical body was deteriorating, her soul wasn’t. May that be found true of me upon my death.

Death of a loved one tends to make me evaluate life and I tend to be tempted as a result to  do, do, do. “I’m not measuring up.” “I’m failing at life.” “I don’t love people enough.” ” I don’t love God enough.” “I’m not where they are.” “I need to run harder.” While it is helpful to evaluate life and while death does help put into perspective what is important and what isn’t, it was good to have a friend remind me that there is a big difference between 28 and 91 years. That wide gap is made up of the day by day.  There’s no shortcut to being sanctified by the end of the week. I don’t need to do and achieve. Christ already accomplished what I never could in His finished work on the cross. If God has done that on my behalf, He’s not going to fail on the smaller task of sanctifying me. I need to run faithfully today and leave the bigger unfolding story to Him.

Noelle’s Shower

2 May

Last Saturday we got to honor Noelle as she prepares to marry JP. It was a nice time to be off campus together, to pray for her, to be reminded of the ways Noelle has reminded each of us of the truth of the gospel and how that changes the way we live life, and to be excited about the ways God is going to bring glory to Himself through Noelle and JP’s marriage. Here are a few iphone pics of the event:

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Make Your Mother Proud

1 May

…should be called make your RD proud because I was so proud of my Sweazy Daisies’ participation and creativity displayed in this event. Make Your Mother Proud is a dorm competition where your dorm decorates the dorm in a theme. This year it had to fall within the category of global. We did Sweazy Bought a Zoo and did four different regions: Arctic Adventure, Australian Walk-about, African Safari, and Asian Rainforest. We had a zoo lobby with appropriate music, balloons, popcorn, and lemonade for sale, and a ticket stand. We had live human animals including pandas, giraffes, lions, kangaroos, and penguins. We had sound effects and snacks for every wing. We had an aquarium in the Australian wing with finding nemo characters behind a glass saran-wrap wall with a bubble machine to boot :). We had ninjas that hopped out from behind the asian mountains and scarred the judges. We had pandas gnawing on bamboo who stayed in character and ate from the judges’ hands. We had fake snow that grows and absorbs water in the arctic  section and the best part was the judges stumbling upon the Chair of the Bible Department in Santa’s Workshop handing out cookies. It was a lot of work but a lot of fun. Here are some iphone pics that don’t do it justice.

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We’re from IOWAY!

30 Apr

I’ve had a lot of life to catch up on since being away for five days for my grandmother’s funeral. While the occasion was obviously full of mourning, it was good to be with family. My family makes me laugh. They have a very unique sense of humor and a lot of love for each other. It was sweet to get to road trip from Chicago to Iowa with my mom and Aunt Sue for one more time, to sing the Iowa Song as we crossed the bridge, and to laugh and listen to Greg Brown’s CD of Iowa Songs :). It was also good to be with people who were older than college students. It was good to hear their stories and to hear what they valued.

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