Needing a Savior

I was talking to my mother in law today about how many young people seem to either not take their faith seriously or just lose it entirely when they come of age. Many, not all, of course. Lots of anecdotal evidence feeds into this opinion, such as my eldest son telling me recently that he only has one friend who really prays (she’s a Godsend, by the way).

My MIL’s reply was very wise: “Maybe they still don’t understand that they need to be saved.”

So true. We live in peace and plenty, even in our current “hard times” (which are, historically speaking, still very mild).

Why accept the Lordship of a Savior when it’s so easy to remain your own personal lord and your own personal savior?

Pray for our younger generation. For my entire Christian life, I’ve heard Christian young people declare “we can be the generation that changes the world for Christ.”

It’s been a long while since I’ve heard that sentiment. May they, and we, wake up.

Hobbit News

This may be old news, but it was news to me. The Hobbit will be not just one movie, but TWO movies, as reported in this Empire article:

We spoke exclusively to both Del Toro and Jackson for our birthday issue, and they told us the latest, which is…

“We’ve decided to have The Hobbit span the two movies, including the White Council and the comings and goings of Gandalf to Dol Guldur,” says Del Toro.

“We decided it would be a mistake to try to cram everything into one movie,” adds Jackson. “The essential brief was to do The Hobbit, and it allows us to make The Hobbit in a little more style, if you like, of the [LOTR] trilogy.”

So there you go. The second film will not, as had previously been suggested, a film that will bridge the 60-year gap between The Hobbit and the start of Fellowship Of The Ring.

The one thing that will make me completely flip is if they bring back Ian McKellan as Gandalf (a cameo of Orlando Bloom as the ageless Legolas in the battle of five armies would be cool too).

Creator

My memory verse this week:

Of old you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands.

They will perish, you will remain;

They will all wear out like a garment.

You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away

But you are the same, and your years have no end.

– Psalm 102:25-27

I was talking to my uncle last week. He is educated in particle physics, subatomic particles and processes, the cosmos, etc. I know a little bit (but only a little bit) about that stuff as well. Frankly, it’s mind-blowing. At that level, we’re talking about things that exist in dimensions we can’t comprehend. For instance, did you know that if you take two subatomic particles and put a spin on one so that it affects the other (i.e., gets it spinning too), and then move them a few light years away from each other and change the spin on the first one, the second one will also change its spin?

I’m still trying to figure out how you get something that small spinning in the first place, and how you can tell which way it’s spinning, and if maybe the physicists are just making this stuff up to have a little fun with us.

But, all kidding aside, it’s natural to sink down in wonder as we learn more and more about the cosmos. I think that many of those who don’t believe in God find the cosmos, the vast distances, the incomprehensible age, and the whole jaw-dropping complexity and marvel of quantum physics, quarks, black holes, galaxies, somehow to be an assurance that God can’t exist. It’s all just too big. We’re too small.

I, however, am with the Psalmist. To a degree that the Psalmist probably couldn’t comprehend, and I certainly can’t either, our God is awesome. We have a God who is so big, so skilled, and so creative; the heavens really do declare his glory and show forth his handiwork. If our God is true – this great Craftsman, Designer, Programmer, Biologist, Physicist, Chemist that we worship – then he is beyond our comprehension. And yet he stoops down to comprehend, or, as the Bible would put it, know us, and allow us to start to know him.

In the Superman comic book, it’s interesting to see how the character of Superman evolved. Originally, when the character was first created, he could run really fast. If memory serves, that’s kind of how he flew; he just launched himself. He was impervious to bullets, and was really strong. But his powers grew with the telling, and it wasn’t long before he was portrayed flying and surviving in the vacuum of space, surviving nuclear blasts, and moving whole worlds.

Not so with the Lord. The very first line of Scripture establishes his power: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”. His tale doesn’t grow in the telling, both because it’s not a tale at all, but the truth, and because it’s already beyond our comprehension. He created all this vast complexity and beauty we see, and he will outlast his creation.

And he knows me, and lets himself be known. Praise be to God.

The Cost

The passage beginning in Luke 14:25 starts with these words . . .

Now great crowds accompanied him . . .

“Him”, of course, being Jesus.

I read this passage yesterday, kind of randomly. Every time I read it it hits me like a ton of bricks. I wonder sometimes if I’ll hear this on judgment day too, and be cast away. No, I’m not trusting in works to save me and, yes, I am trusting fully (desperately!!) in Jesus Christ as my only way to the Father. He’s my only shot.

But, still. Let this sink in:

. . . and he turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.

“Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is of no use either for the soil or for the manure pile. It is thrown away. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

– Luke 14:25-34

I suspect anyone who thinks Jesus is easy to understand (but then I wonder if this is terribly easy to understand – thus the terror) or soft and cuddly is either far, far deeper in the Lord’s service than I am or they don’t read passages like this. It’s been said elsewhere, and far better than I can, but Jesus here is speaking of being executed, of giving up everything for his sake. I wonder, I wonder . . . how can I call myself his disciple? Only by his grace. And only in a good-faith effort, by the power of his Spirit, to truly live that sacrifice. We must start with the small things. Help me Lord.

As a side note, it’s interesting how Luke continues, in the first verse of the next chapter:

Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him.

I suspect the “great crowds” in 14:25 had begun to slink away at his words, and tax collectors and sinners were filling the void.

May I too draw near to him.

The Bride was beautiful

Take a look at these pictures if you can. The Bride was beautiful.

Beautiful

Katie Kirkpatrick, 21, held off cancer to celebrate the happiest day of her life. Katie had chased cancer, once only to have it return-to clog her lungs and grab hold of her heart. Breathing was difficult now, she had to use oxygen. The pain in her back was so intense it broke through the morphine that was supposed to act as a shield. Her organs were shutting down but it would not stop her from marrying Nick Godwin, 23, who was in love with Katie since 11th grade.

Five days later, Katie died. She did not let sickness stop her from living, take away the hope or faith that made her believe she had a future. She had a lovely wedding and she had love and she gave love and love doesn’ t die. And that is how Katie beat cancer.

[H/T: Challies]

Top and bottoms

I put on a shirt and my pants. Why don’t I put on my shirts and a pant?

I’ve heard that it’s because “pant” refers to the pant leg, and there are two of those, hence the plural. Fair enough. So why don’t we call our shirts “sleeves”?

I could handle putting on my sleeves and my pants. At least that’s consistent.

And there is the added complication when discussing pajamas (I thought of this after posting the previous post): we don’t call them pajama pants. At least we don’t around here. They are called pajama bottoms.

But, darn it if we don’t keep that plural. Pajama bottoms. I can put on my pajama bottoms all day long. But I can’t put on my pajama tops.

English. It’s weird.

Friday

I’m looking forward to tomorrow – I get to take a rare telecommuting day. Pajamas are the clothing I was made to work in.

I’m so thankful to have a job. I don’t always feel that way when I’m there, but I know that’s foolishness. There is a real temptation to feel like the job is just a means to an end, and that life really doesn’t begin until I get home. Of course, there is a lot of truth there. What’s most important to me, humanly speaking, is at home: my family. But I know that there’s a calling for me at work too, and it’s more than just earning a paycheck (even one that I am very, very grateful for).

I’m working through this, and I pray I get it before I’m too old to make a difference where I’m at. Each day, no matter where one is, should be greeted with thankfulness, purpose, and rejoicing. Oh, to live that. Each day is a gift.

On a side note: My better half, eldest daughter and sophomore daughter, along with my parents in love, are going to Baylor to visit eldest son. I have to stay home. Wait, let me rephrase that. I get to stay home. I will get some one on one time with young Blake: time for Ci Cis, the Rockets game on TV, and to see him take to the field in a soccer match on Saturday.

I’m blessed.

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men

– Colossians 3:23

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.

– Philippians 4:4