Monday Morning Musings for 05.23.16

  1. What a joy it was to have Bishop Allen T D Wiggins preach for us yesterday. It was a fantastic reminder of what the Spirit can do when Christ's Church comes together, but as he said, it MUST begin with The Church. We'll never change our community - and we'll never change our city and beyond - until The Church is changed - until we are empowered by the Spirit to be fully committed to God's Kingdom work. It was a great vision of what the church can be as she transcends every cultural or social barrier! I also loved that our church got to hear a good friend and one of our most effective community leaders in regard to neighborhood transformation.‪#‎leadership‬ ‪#‎comeHolySpirit‬
  2. After spending last week in a quiet place by myself for five days, I realized - again - the need to be with the Lord in a non-anxious way. Too often, I am reading the Word or praying, but I am doing so in a hurry - or to prepare - or to complete the list of things I need to tell the Lord - but rarely do I create space to listen. He told us in Matthrew 7:7, "those who seek, find...." God is not trying to be hidden. He WANTS to be known, and we know Him most intimately and most deeply when we find silent spaces in which His voice can be heard. I got up each day with the dawn, and I had no place to go - nothing to rush to - and I got to simply be in HIs presence. What a gift.
  3. People were asking yesterday about what I read, so I'll give you a few of the highlights: I read two biographies - one on J.I. Packer and the other on Billy Graham. I read an incredible book by Tim Keller called Preaching. For anyone who does that on a regular basis, I cannot recommend it highly enough. I read The Cross and The Crescent by Colin Chapman, an excellent book on Islam and Christianity. I also read Charity Detox, Lupton; Essentialism, McKeown; Catching Ricebirds, Marcus Doe; The Allure of Gentleness: Defending the Faith in the Manner of Jesus, Dallas Williard; BUT HERE IS THE ONE YOU NEED TO READ: The Book That Made Your World: How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization by Vishal Mangalwadi. It is a little academic at points, but it is worth the effort. The author is India's leading Christian scholar and he connects the dots between the thought and reason of the Bible with the development of our Western culture - and how the loss of our Biblical foundations will likely be it's demise.
  4. Speaking of our culture's move towards individualism and away from God, read this and see if you can guess who wrote it: "For two hundred years we had sawed and sawed and sawed at the branch we were sitting on. And in the end, much more suddenly than anyone had forseen, our efforts were rewarded and down we came. But unfortunately, there had been a little mistake: the thing at the bottom was not a bed of roses after all; it was a cesspool full of barbed wire....It appears that amputation of the soul isn't just a simple surgical job, like having your appendix out. The wound has a tendency to go septic." George Orwell, 1940
  5. Out of 130 college football teams heading into the 2016 season, my SMU Mustangs are ranked 122nd. Then again, we Mustangs are adept at enjoying football season even without a winning team! ‪#‎onlyonewaytogo‬‪ #‎cantfallmuchfarther‬ ‪#‎PonyUP‬
  6. Congratulations to FPCO members Jennifer Prechter, Chaplain at Arnold Palmer Children's Hospital and Brad Staton, Executive Director of The Heart of the City Foundation, who passed their final examinations on the floor of Presbytery and were approved for ordination in the EPC. Well done!!
  7. THIS WEEK'S SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE: Texas Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor punched Toronto Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista last week, landing a square blow with his right fist to Bautista's jaw. It was widely hailed as the best punch ever thrown in a baseball fight, earning him an 8-game suspension. Naturally, a sports memorabilia shop in Dallas invited Odor to come in and sign pictures of the punch. All 500 tickets to the event sold out in 90 minutes. ‪#‎dontmesswithTexas‬
  8. I was distressed to see the article on the number of teachers in Florida either quitting their jobs or moving to other states because of the adverse working conditions. One teacher said he made 37K as his starting salary and nine years later, he was at 42K. it's tough to work so hard and make so little. My Mom taught public school English for 30 years. I love teachers. What they do is essential. We are entrusting our children to them. Our society had better start learning to value them as we once did.
  9. MMM will take a break next Monday as it is Memorial Day, one in which we should pause to thank the families of those who gave their lives for our freedom. It will also be a day after the wedding weekend for our son, JD Swanson, who marries Caroline Maddox on May 28. ‪#‎cantwait‬‪ #‎whentwobecomeswan‬