Julian Freeman

Freed to live through the death of another.

Tag: Paul W. Martin (page 3 of 3)

Start of the School Year

Well, another year is getting underway at TBS. As a result, I’ll be away for the next few days at a staff / student retreat up north-east of here. Kirk Wellum (or “kwellum” as the preacher likes to call him) will be preaching several messages to us from the word. I hope to post some reflections on my return.

Some Thoughts

It never ceases to amaze me how God works themes into our lives so that we keep learning the same lessons in various places and ways. This past Sunday the preacher was preaching from Romans 13 and the Christian obligation to submit to authority, since authority is established by God. One of the obvious points of application was obeying the speed limit.

While this may or may not prick your conscience, it sure got me thinking. I’ve always just thought of the speed limit as one of those things that no one really intends for you to follow. This Sunday, however, got me thinking about the type of heart that speeds and drives as aggressively as I have been known to from time to time. It’s not just a matter of obeying the letter of the law–it is a heart of rebellion. It’s a heart that wants to control its own destiny. It’s a heart that thinks where I need to go and when I need to be there is more important than where anyone else is going, or anyone else’s safety. That’s not a heart of submission at all–to God or to eathly authority.

Somehow this seems, in my mind anyway, to tie in to this next thought that a brother challenged me with a couple of days ago. Here is a quote from an article by Henri Nouwen:

But in the spiritual life, the word discipline means “the effort to create some space in which God can act.” Discipline means to prevent everything in your life from from being filled up. Discipline means that somewhere you’re not occupied, and certainly not preoccupied. In the spiritual life, discipline means to create space in which something can happen that you hadn’t planned or counted on. 

I’ve been working really hard lately at trying to be more disciplined in some little areas of my life, in hopes of reeping fruit in some larger battles within my heart. I’ve been working on a regular bedtime and waketime, developing a few spiritual disciplines that I have let slip, working harder, staying focused, etc. To me that seemed like good discipline; making everything rigid and scheduled, always planning ahead.

But then I read this quote and it got me thinking. What I tend to value is busy-ness and accomplishing tasks, rather than the pursuit and enjoyment of godliness. Often I get so caught up in my Christian chores (devotions, seminary work, church work, etc.) that I forget I’m supposed to be serving and enjoying God. It becomes more about the task than the experience of God, or the glorification of God that the task was intended to accomplish. That’s not discipline. That’s just being a task-driven person.

I suppose these things relate because in both areas I’ve seen God challenging me to slow down. But how do you slow down and not do less? The things that I do are not things that I would like to stop doing (nor is it God-glorifying to quit a course part way through).

Maybe it means I need to take on less. Or maybe it means I need to learn to manage my time better. Maybe it means I need to prioritize more. Whatever it means, I’m grateful that God is patient with me and my painstakingly slow sanctification and my slowness to learn what he desires to teach me.

Kerux’s Cleezer is… CUTE?!

So, you’d think a guy who blogs this much about his ‘manly’ truck would avoid referring to it as ‘cute’ wherever possible.

Well, Kerux is just full of surprises. The other day he called me to come help him put this cap on his truck, which I was glad to do. Afterward, however, I was quite surprised when we went inside and his wife mentioned that Cleezer just wasn’t quite as ‘cute’ with the cap.

That’s fine. No big deal. Women get confused about such things. They think all kinds of things are ‘cute’ or ‘fun’ that guys just wouldn’t describe that way.

The thing that floored me is that Kerux agreed! Which, of course, implies that he did indeed think his truck was cute before (and since it was more cute before, that implies that there is still some element of cuteness present)! To my even greater surprise, he was disappointed that his ‘truck’ (can we still call it that now?!) is no longer quite so cute, thus implying that having his truck be cute is obviously what he is aiming for.

Now that is disturbing. At least Derifter was offended when I referred to his little red S-10 as ‘pretty.’ Maybe Derifter needs to talk to Kerux.

Just for the record, I think that The Cleez is a beauty of a truck that I would be proud to be seen in (as Kerux is, in this picture). This comment is not a knock on the Cleez as much as a question about her owner. 🙂

kerux noemata: Mainline Christianity is Dead: And Why that is A Good Thing

Kerux sounds in with some important thoughts–well worth the read. Enjoy!

Mainline Christianity is Dead: And Why that is A Good Thing

A Sad Sort of Irony

Here’s a post that a few of you may remember. I posted it a while back on my old blog. I read it today though, and thought it might be worth revisiting. So here it is, with a few minor revisions.

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Isn’t it interesting how God weaves themes together in the things we’re learning at given points in our life? At church my pastor has been preaching through Romans. In my biblical counselling course at school we’ve had to take a pretty in-depth look at Romans as well, along with Genesis 1-3.

Examining the ways of the heart of man and the origin of sin from those two books has been a fascinating study. Today I was reflecting on all that the Word of God has been teaching me and I couldn’t help but take notice of the wisdom of God together with the depravity of man in a sad sort of irony.

God created man noble and ‘very good.’ The world was created for his enjoyment, and enjoy it he did! Moreover, he treasured the wife of his youth–the woman God created from him, to be for him–flesh of his own flesh. They were naked–completely exposed, vulnerable, shown for all that they truly were–and they felt no shame.

But you know the story… along comes that crafty old serpent to mess everything up. He tempts the humans by saying that what they were wasn’t enough… they could be more. They should strive to know more and to be more. Though they had no sin or shame, he tempted them with pride, and they bought it.

They wanted to be what God was, to know what God knew… they had the commands of God, but thought, “We know better.” That was pride, and it did them in.

But where did pride lead?

No sooner had they become sinners then they sought coverings for shame. Pride had led to shame. And when God came looking for them, they were hidden. Why? They had become sinners, and had become what they were never meant to be. Their pride had led to a fall, and the fall meant shame.

Ever since then humans have been shame-driven creatures. Ever wonder what stops us from really getting close to other humans? We’re afraid they might get to know us. What stops us from confessing that we’re sinners? We don’t even want to admit to ourselves that we’re as sinful as we are, nevermind confessing it to someone else, or to God.

So we help each other out in this journey of deception by telling each other that what we really need is ‘self-confidence,’ which is in reality a justified pride. ‘Think good thoughts about yourself everyday,’ we say. The ‘little engine that could’ is somehow seen as a positive role model. The basic premise of course, is that there is something good inside of me that I should believe in… but there’s not. But we continually tell ourselves and each other that there is so that we can feel better about ourselves; we minimize the pain of our shame through pride.

Shame moves us to distract people from our real selves. We become someone we were never meant to be: we put on facades, we pretend we like things we don’t, we hang out with people we don’t like and we do things we never would, all so that no one will judge us for being who we really are, because we’re ashamed of who we really are.

Shame moves us to ambition. We pursue things we don’t want at costs higher than what we would like to pay just so we don’t look worse than anyone else… we cover our shame with pride. ‘Don’t fall behind or someone may figure out that you don’t measure up,’ we tell ourselves.

Shame moves us to religion. All the world religions continue to insist that if we work hard to do good, and if we just live like the good people we really are, whatever creator-being there is will be good to us as well. That’s pride… it’s not an honest evaluation of what’s in my heart. But that’s the wisdom of this world; the ‘wisdom’ God saw, when he said ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.’

How is it that Adam’s sin of pride led to shame for all mankind, only to have that shame end up resulting in pride? It pushes us further and further away from the God who said that he ‘opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’

In other words, acknowledge your shame. Say, ‘Yeah, when I look inside my heart I see that I don’t desire what God desires, I only want what I want.’ Humble yourself before God and say, ‘God, I’m not all you’ve made me to be and I need your grace to change my heart.’ But that takes humility.

Remarkably, however, in the wisdom of God, that humility (the undoing of pride) is the first thing required for entrance into God’s eternal kingdom. That’s definitely not the ‘wisdom’ of man.

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