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.


Have you ever felt restless?

I have. And I do. I’m not sure why. I think it’s something that is just part of me, part of how I’m made.

Two of my favorite worship songs are You Alone from Passion ’98 and No Other by David Ruis. There’s an interesting juxtaposition that forms between these two songs. Let me demonstrate:

In You Alone I sing “You have given me more than I could ever have wanted and I want to give you my heart and my soul.” I love that line – I think it’s the story of my life. God’s grace sometimes blows me away. And it’s breathtaking to think of how little I really understand of God’s grace. When I really see the whole story will I even be able to stand, or will I collapse in a pile of thanks? God has blessed me in so many ways: I’ve been so blessed with my wife Jill, and our four children. I simply can’t imagine life without them. It’s indescribable to see my oldest son lead worship. He’s becoming a man so quickly. I”m listening to our second, our oldest daughter, as she absent-mindedly harmonizes to her favorite music mix while she does her homework. It’s beautiful (she’s a worship leader too). Our third child is also a teenager now and she amazes me with her leadership skills and her love for theatre arts, drama, and music. She’s such a dynamo. And then there’s our youngest, our eight year old soccer-star. Seriously, that kid’s amazing at soccer. And his team has a record somewhere in the neighborhood of 45 wins and 5 losses over five seasons. He’s a goal-scoring machine and a talented athlete (and a heck of a funny, good-natured, charming little guy).

And God has given me a great job that I’m good at, for my part. He’s blessed Jill and I to be part of our singles ministry at church. I’ve been so blessed to be part of ministries at our church through the years that have changed my life in ways I can’t explain.

And, of course, and most importantly, I have a Savior who died for me and has taken away all my sins. All of them – gone. And He has given me His Spirit, and the promise of new life, forever in His presence. There’s nothing better than this.

What more could I want?

Yet in No Other I sing “How long until I’m satisfied? I must have more of You!” and I’m reminded of this almost palpable emptiness that I feel sometimes inside. I’m not sure what it is, but I think it’s a longing to be what I was created to be. I feel it when I think about my brokenness and sin, or when I feel anxiety about whether or not I’m a good father, or when I’m wondering if our kids will have the wonderful futures we’ve prayed for. I feel it at work, as I stare into a computer monitor and wonder why I’m doing this work that sometimes seems so meaningless, or when I’m in an elevator alone riding the eight stories up to my floor and I lean back against the back of the elevator and close my eyes, in an effort to gain the motivation to go about the rest of my day. Jill and I talk about our frustrations as we wonder if the singles class is getting anything out of this ministry we’re attempting, or as we juggle the schedules of the class and balance that against the apathy we often encounter there.

It’s so easy to feel like a failure. Because in our fallen state, that’s what we are.

Yet we are more than conquerors too!

And so I feel the tension daily; the deep satisfaction of God’s grace balanced against the deep need of this broken sinner for the homecoming that I’ve been longing for all my Christian life.

Perhaps feeling restless is just part of the deal. And I’m good with that.

“As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness;

when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness.”
– Psalm 17:15

Three chapters, five verses

. . . The universe waited expectantly, although the LORD already knew . . .

Between Genesis 3:5 and 3:6 a fork in the road was chosen and trod; a choice and steps that could not be retraced. The entire history of our race has been one of trying to get back those footfalls. Our fig-leaf coverings and hide and seek games with God offer no remedy.

Only he can cover us, and only the golden expanse of the mercy seat sprinkled with his own blood can heal our brokenness and appease the justice and holiness with which he governs the universe.

Thank you Lord for not abandoning us to our self-inflicted catastrophe.

And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.

– Genesis 3:21

Some random thoughts

I’m reminded again that I positively love reading history. There’s something about knowing the “backstory” that fires me up. Hence my current reading list, including a book on the Peloponnesian War, a book in two volumes on church history, and the Silmarillion. Stephen King called the Sil a “clumsy, galumphing dirigible of an epilogue”. I disagree. It rocks.

I’m punchy. I’ve been working to clear one of the websites I manage of pesky distributed denial of service scripts. Hackers are the lowest form of evil nerd. We hates them! We hates them forevah!!!

Tomorrow Jill and I are meeting with our teaching pastor to see about a place of service in the discipleship ministry of our church. I haven’t been too quick to admit it, even to myself, but I’m going stir-crazy since leaving the Student Ministry in August. I did that for ten years and it’s been hard to let go. We’re excited for where God may put us next.

I have the day off tomorrow. Yes!

Our oldest son Andrew got his license last weekend! This is a major milestone for us: one of our children now can fly (well, drive) solo! Andrew is a great driver and we’re real proud of him.

I read a lot of carping and criticism against the church out there in the God-blogosphere. Of course, much of it is needed and almost all of it is well-written. But I just can’t feel negative about the church, even the much-maligned American Evangelical church. It’s just been too much of a blessing in my life. The Bride is beautiful.

P.J. O’Rourke once wrote “I have a body like a bag of gummy bears”. I’m not quoting that for any particular reason [Bill reaches for another oreo].

When you look in the mirror, do you make a “cool face”? I do.

Pray for my buddy Jared as he works on his novels, his house, and a thousand other things.

Sunday between services we went over to the Student building to pass some info on to our three oldest kids. While there I bumped into a former student band-member who had been absent from church a lot recently. I almost bowled him over I was so excited. I can’t tell you how much that made my day. During my seven years of working with student worshp bands I saw a lot of students lead worship. May they all, every last one of them, remain faithful all their lives. I want to rejoice with them ALL before the throne of our Father on that day, with no regrets. All of them! I want their lives of service and glory to the Lord to blow mine away.

That’s my fervent prayer.

Jesus is the King. He is beautiful. If you haven’t been made new by his grace through his atoning death and resurrection you are missing out on the most important relationship there is. Reach out to him today; he will answer.

My spirit’s goal is to glorify him forever. I’m waiting for my flesh to catch up.

Being an authentic believer takes courage. It’s what I need.

Goodnight, everyone.


Elijah went up to the top of Mount Carmel. And he bowed himself down on the earth and put his face between his knees.

1 Kings 18:42b (ESV)

Moments like this in Scripture strike me. The prophets of Baal have just been defeated. Elijah has just told Ahab that the rains are coming.

And there is this moment of interlude. All is quiet. The rains are gathering off in the distance, but they are so far away that they can’t be seen yet, not even from atop mount Carmel. Ahab, who is of the earth and has no ear for heaven, is off eating and drinking. Elijah has his knees to the earth, the blood of the false prophets staining his hands and robes even still.

He has seen the fire, even now remembers the heat upon his face as the fire that he called upon the Lord to deliver descended from the skies and devoured the offering. He closes his eyes and still sees the dazzling light.

The rains are gathering but around Elijah the air remains still. All is quiet. Elijah kneels. He kneels and trembles and breathes deeply to still his beating heart. It is the interlude. His servant stands quietly by his master.

Elijah will soon run in triumph all the way to Jezreel and, later, into the wilderness in fear for his life. And God will meet him there in the desolation.

But he doesn’t know that yet. He simply kneels, face between his knees, and breathes into his garments as he prays. It is an interlude, and the parched landscape waits expectantly.

The rains are coming.