Wednesday, November 17, 2010


This probably should've been Derek Hunter's post, but I'm stealing it!

DH and DW and I got to attend a preaching seminar at Trevecca last week. Thom Long (a fabulous preaching professor at a big deal seminary, with a lot of credentials behind his name) was the speaker for the day. I don't think any of us had heard him speak before (shame on us), but Mark was excited about going (Baby Peter messed up his plans, but I don't think he minded) so we were looking forward to it. We just didn't know what we were getting in to, would it be boring and too academic, lots of theological rhetoric? We were pleasantly surprised . . .

Have you ever seen someone who is doing exactly what they were made to do? I don't just mean "churchy" stuff . . .I mean David Phelps singing (okay, so that one's churchy most of the time), Michael Phelps swimming, or Lauren Garrow Clement talking about hair design? (I know that seems random, but I heard Lauren talking to a customer in her shop one day, and I thought "That is totally her sweet spot!")

Anyway, Thom Long was amazing! We were immediately entranced by his natural style that was so good and rich, yet not at all initimidating. His eyes light up when he speaks and he honestly looks 10 years younger when he's on the teaching about preaching- his sweet spot. I know this up close because we got to sit at his table at dinner. He was so kind and warm to all of us there. Very engaging (even after teaching all day!).

So (the point of this blog), in the course of dinner, Derek Hunter talked about the fact that he didn't grow up in church with all of the Sunday School stories and he felt a little behind the 8 ball in his sermon prep sometimes because of that. He wanted Dr. Long's thoughts on resources (Derek is an avid reader and learner.) Dr Long made several suggestions, then added that as you do your sermon preparation and take that down all of the roads it leads you, "It will be manna". It will be enough.

What a beautiful word picture! How refreshing and filling and satisfying to my soul. (He wasn't even talking to me! But truth is truth!) As we turn to God, he gives us enough. Whether we need encouragement, or wisdom, or learning, or grace; when God sends it, it is enough! It is manna!

When the Israelites weren't satisfied with their manna, God sent them a lot of "blessing" at one time and it became something loathesome to them. The same would be true for us. God gives us what we need as we need it. We must not whine and wail about life being better in "Egypt", but we have to lean hard on God knowing that he cares for us completely. Even when we can't understand why things happen (I had a with God about that myself this morning), we have to keep on trusting and keep on walking. God's mercies are new every morning and that is manna!

Monday, November 8, 2010

A new way of thinking

I was reading an article by Rob Bell the other day and he mentioned about how God brought the Israelites out of Egypt, but that it was hard to get Egypt out of the Israelites. The Israelites did not know what to do with their new-found freedom. They had always, only known slavery and taskmasters. They could not comprehend what it meant to be "carried on eagles’ wings" and brought to One who would love and treasure them. (Exodus 19.4-5) They thought that rules were all about keeping them oppressed, rather than God's commandments giving them life. They would have never dreamed of taking their worries and complaints to Pharaoh; so it never occurred to them that they could take their problems to God rather than grumbling among themselves. They had left Egypt, but it stuck with them.

In the Bible, allusions to Egypt and the life of slavery there are often equated with our lives of sinfulness before coming to faith in Jesus. Unfortunately, it is hard to get "Egypt" out of us too. God forgives us and makes us his very own children and yet we continue to "wallow" in our past. We don't comprehend what it means to be totally and unconditionally loved and so we strive to earn God's favor that doesn't need to be earned. We push against the rules rather than living in freedom to love and serve. We grumble and complain to each other instead of boldly approaching the throne of grace with confidence. (Hebrews 4.16)

God, help us to take our places as your children and to live in the fullness of your love!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Incomplete Perfectionist

I stole this from a friend, but it describes me too well! I was thinking I should rename the whole blog "The Incomplete Perfectionist", but I'll just stick with this one post. I should've realized this a while back when it hit me that I procrastinate about things that I can't do exactly right or don't have time to finish . . .

So, I'm learning to get over it and to do what I can when I can, knowing that God loves me even if I don't get to all of the big plans in my brain and that my friends will forgive my shortcomings. I am trying to learn that a small good deed is better than a big good intention. And I am trying to learn that a short, small, silly published blog post is better than the deep, theological one that may still be floating around in my brain.

And I'm going to leave it at that!