“. . . if I miss him in Christ, I shall hit him in Adam!”

Let brotherly love continue.

– Hebrews 13:1

Such a short verse, but so full . . .

Here is a bit of Coffman’s commentary, saying it far better than I could:

Our brother! He stands before us, like ourselves, made in the image of God, an heir of eternal life, and a beneficiary of the blood of Christ; and our love should reach out to him with all of the emotional thrust of which the heart is capable. Like me, he is compassed with infirmity, tormented by temptations, pressed with the cares of life, frustrated and defeated in many of his fondest hopes, seeing those eternal realities which he so passionately desires to believe, as through a glass darkly, being oppressed daily by the confusion and darkness that becloud man’s mortal journey, and caught up like all other people upon the escalator of time moving him inexorably to the terminus of his pilgrimage. Mortal? Yes, but immortal too, destined to live forever in joy or in remorse, needing our encouragement, our love, our aid at every step of the way, standing to benefit by our loving prayers, and to be strengthened by the handclasp of our brotherly affection. Who can withhold his love from a brother? Only the reprobate (1 John 2:11). And who is my brother? Not him alone who belongs to my little circle, but the “stranger,” as taught in the next verse, that man we may never have seen before, but a man in extremity, needing love and compassion in a world that has little of either, such a man as that befriended by the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:33) – and all this, of course, is but another way of saying all people. Every man is my brother; for, if I miss him in Christ, I shall hit him in Adam!

New to the Bloogroll

. . . Tales from Middle Earth, which is blog written by a church planter and humanitarian worker who has utilized the neat trick of referring to the places where he works by Middle Earth names.

And it’s just good writing and a neat Kingdom attitude. A taste:

I arrived in Edoras in Rohan in 1996. There were a couple of guys working there already. They had a big fight that Spring. I didn’t know much about it. There was some girl named Finuel who had accepted Jesus and wanted to follow Him as Lord and Saviour. The rub came in that her parents found out about it and refused to let her meet with any foreigner or study the Bible. Young Short Term guy said forget the parents meet in secret and teach her anyway. The Team Leader said no. Finuel’s defining characteristic was rebelion. If Jesus had made a difference in her life then we dare not encourage her to continue to be rebellious. I didn’t know her or what to think so I did something truly remarkable. I kept my mouth shut.

Young Short Term guy left after a few months. Spring turned into a blisteringly hot summer. 115 or so in the shade, and precious little of that. There was only one building in town that had air conditioning and it was a fancy hotel built by Southrons and then abandoned. The local authorities picked it up and it was a decent place to hang out. It was cool and quiet. I found a guy who worked there and we did language lessons a few times a week. Yes, in spite of all appearances I am not a complete fool.

One day as I was standing in the hotel lobby waiting for my friend to come in, a beautiful woman came up to me and started talking to me. I was concerned for two reasons. One we were in a hotel and a strange beautiful woman that I had never seen was suddenly talking to me. I was concerned what my friend would think if he walked up just then. Secondly, the first thing out of her mouth was, ‘Do you ever feel that God has left you?’ Rohan is not like Gondor, where I live now. They are very hostile to any display of any faith. So, I said something insightful like, ‘I guess maybe.’ Then as she began to pour out her troubles I suddenly realized that this must be Finuel. I didn’t know her but since there were only four expatriot families in town (Edoras was around 600,000 folks) she could easily guess who I was. My brain kicked in then. I listened to the Holy Spirit. Spoke words of encouragement and even got to pray for her before my friend showed up. I saw her one time more before I left Rohan the next year.

So, what happened? Well, her parents were astounded at her transformation. She was obedient and respectful. After a year they allowed her to study the Word and meet with a few Christian women. Much later some in her family came to faith also. A house church was started. Another house church. Then she got married to a Christian man and they felt called to go to Mordor.

Read the rest. It’s good.

[Hat tip: Brian over at the BHT]

Four days off!

Sorry for my absence – I’ve been working like a galley slave on the next version of Bloo. It’s got some cool stuff in it. Of course, it’s mainly cool only to me. But cool ne’ertheless.

There’s a possibility that I might release this new version over the next four days*, which, by the way, I have off from work. Weekends are cool. So is Martin Luther King day. So is PTO, which I’m taking on Tuesday. So is the fact that the Wikipedia article I just linked to is the first one I’ve ever written. I wonder if they’ll keep it out there?

Hopefully I’ll get back to posting soon. In the meantime, check out one of my other blogs, Thinklings. It’s enjoying a mini rennaisance these days, partly because nearly a month ago I stabilized it by [crass commercial] converting it to Bloo from WordPress. For some reason, it was running like a dog in molasses under WP, and crashing lots. It’s better now [/crass commercial], but thinklings is hopping more these days mainly because Bird is back! Man I’ve missed that guy.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

* Provided a miracle happens. There is a lot left to do on this one . . .

Unshakable

At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken–that is, things that have been made–in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.

– Hebrews 12:26-29 (ESV)

“When, in accordance with the divine promise, this cosmic convulsion, takes place – when (in Dryden’s words) the last and dreadful hour This crumbling pageant shall devour – the whole material universe will be shaken to pieces, and the only things to survive will be those that are unshakable.”

— F. F. Bruce

The “Five(ish) Things I’d Like to Know About You” meme

As seen on Jollyblogger (not that he tagged me. I’m just poaching) via that pungent pub across the alley:

0) What’s your name and website URL? (optional, of course)

Call me Bill. http://outofthebloo.com/blog or http://thinklings.org, among others.

1) What’s the most fun work you’ve ever done, and why? (two sentences max)

In ministry, working with students in general and working with the student worship bands for seven years in particular. In regular work, developing software in general and, in particular, developing Bloo

2) A. Name one thing you did in the past that you no longer do but wish you did? (one sentence max)

(Maybe) working with the worship bands or being in a worship band?

B. Name one thing you’ve always wanted to do but keep putting it off? (one sentence max)

COMPLETING MY NOVEL!

3) A. What two things would you most like to learn or be better at, and why? (two sentences max)

1. Writing, 2. Reading and understanding ancient Greek

B. If you could take a class/workshop/apprentice from anyone in the world living or dead, who would it be and what would you hope to learn? (two more sentences, max)

The obvious answer is learning from Jesus about how to be a disciple, and the honest answer is that that scares the crud out of me. If not Jesus, I’d love to learn how to write from C.S. Lewis.

4) A. What three words might your best friends or family use to describe you?

responsible, smart, and kind of nerdy.

B. Now list two more words you wish described you…

introspective and overly self-conscious Oops! I missed the “wish” and was just continuing on with my list of traits.

Now that changes things . . .

Fearless and unashamed.

5) What are your top three passions? (can be current or past, work, hobbies, or causes– three sentences max)

Easy: Jesus (as in “learning to follow”), Computers (as in “programming”), and Music (as in “playing”)

6) Write–and answer–one more question that YOU would ask someone (with answer in three sentences max)

Q. What trait do you most wish you had? A. Fearlessness Already answered in 4.B above, now that I’ve actually read the instructions.

Here’s my new answer:

Q. What do you want to be doing when your life ends? A. Something brave and God-glorifying.

I’m supposed to tag five people, which will be difficult because my blog only has three readers. But, here goes:

1. Jared of The Thinklings

2. Blest at Blest With Sons

3. Phil at Brandywine Books

4. Ellen at MzEllen & Co.

5. Eric at The Fireant Gazette

6. And, because hope springs eternal, and because I think he might even exist, Blo of The Thinklings

Chronological Bible reading plan

For those of you who might be interested, I’ve put a link to the ESV Chronological Bible Reading Plan in the Navbar, under the daily verse.

Out on the ESV blog there is a cool post that visualizes the various Bible reading plans. For example:

The Through the Bible reading plan is about as simple as they come: you read one passage each day from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament, starting in Genesis and Matthew in January and ending in Malachi and Revelation in December. Here’s how it looks:

For comparison, here’s the text from the blog and the image for the Chronological reading plan:

The Chronological Reading Plan from Back to the Bible lets you read the Bible in the order in which events occurred. So, for example, you read the account of David and Bathsheba in 2 Samuel on the same day you read the parallel account in 1 Chronicles. The next day, you read the psalms that David composed related to the events in the historical books.

Several trends become apparent when visualizing the reading plan this way:

1. The antiquity of Job.

2. Parallel passages in some of the Old Testament historical books.

3. The wide historical distribution of the Psalms and the Minor Prophets.

4. Parallel passages in the four gospels.

If you’ve resolved to read the Bible more this year, check out the rest of the post; it will give you a good overview of the different reading plans you might choose from.