Monday Morning Musings for 06.05.17

  1. David Brooks began his column yesterday by comparing the ways in which different international leaders view the world. It was fascinating, but the question of "worldview" is not just for world leaders. We all have one. The question is: do we have the right one? This was exactly what the two disciples wrestled with as they walked the seven miles from Jerusalem to Emmaus in Luke 24. Jesus has been killed, there are rumors of resurrection, but they didn't know what to make of it. They didn't "see." When Jesus encounters them, they basically ask, "Are you the only one on the planet that doesn't know what's going on?" We do this often. When we are confused or pained by life, we will often ask God, "Don't you know what's going on down here? Do you not know how bad this is?" We see it through our lens instead of His. It is rich with irony. We who are blind trying to explain life to the only One who can see. What we need is what Jesus did with those two disciples. He moved towards them. He "encountered" them on the road of life. How comforting to know that Almighty God pursues us as His own. Jesus then helps them reframe their worldview – He helps them "see" their world through the right lens. He opened up the Scriptures and said, "Look, this is the story that frames everything, the story in which you find ME" – and when He did, He lit a fire in the hearts of those disciples even as God did on the day of Pentecost. Their hearts "burned" with the reality of God's revealed presence. Such revelation then leads to pure joy. The disciples ran the seven miles back to Jerusalem because of the joy that had been poured into them through the risen Christ. Their circumstances hadn't changed. Persecution and suffering still awaited, but their perspective had changed. They finally understood the story behind the story - the redeeming work of Christ playing out in the whole of life. May God allows us those same eyes that we might see Him at work in all things.
  2. How people "see" the world is being revealed in spades through ongoing world events. Something happens like the President's decision on the Paris Climate Accord and people lose their minds. Granted, climate issues are extremely important, so yes, it matters. However, we overreact to such things when we live out of the wrong story. If we derive our hope or security based on what does or does not happen in the world, we will always be disappointed. Engage the issues. Be ambassadors. Serve where God calls you, and then, Trust Him. Trust Him. He's writing the story, the story revealed in His Word, and we know the end to which it leads!
  3. Kathy Griffin's behavior has been inexcusable, and she only made it worse by trying to turn herself into the victim. It was yet another symptom of our overall cultural problems, one of which is our inability to take responsibility. Nothing is ever our fault because there can't be anything "wrong" with me. Thus, we deflect and lay blame, but we don't ever own our stuff. Apologize. Bear the consequences. Learn and grow through it, then come back. I find people are amazingly forgiving when we do that.
  4. Sure sign of old age "setting in", is when you hurt yourself bowling. Yep. During our Memorial Day family bowling outing, I stumbled as I prepared to roll it and pulled something in my back. At work the next day, I struggled to get out of chairs. People would ask, "What happened?, to which I replied, "I hurt myself bowling."
  5. The better part of my Memorial Day was watching three hours of HBO's Band of Brothers with my sons and my father-in-law. I've done this for the past three years, and I always come away awed and grateful. The fact that so many men who were not even 20-years-old demonstrated such courage and utter perseverance is mind-blowing. It is certainly one of the finest hours in human history, and I pray we will continue to do things to pass that history to future generations.
  6. STUDY LEAVE REFLECTIONS: I spent the better part of the past two weeks organizing my preaching for the next fifteen months. The first week, I organize the plan and map out each Sunday. The second week I spent reading different books related to what I will be preaching. I am tremendously grateful to the church for allowing me this time as. It allows me uninterrupted space with the Lord to reflect, pray, read and write. This year, I spent the second week at the beach which always causes me to feel very small and very humbled. Standing before the ocean, I am overwhelmed by the size of the planet and the very small space I occupy. I am also overwhelmed by the magnitude of God's being, the One who created not just the earth, but the universe in which it sits. Then, when I consider that this eternal, Almighty God who has brought all this into being loves and pursues little, tiny, insignificant me? Well, that's just…transforming.
  7. I will never, ever, under any circumstances, wear a men's romper.
  8. Publix commercials often wreck me, and the newest one is no exception. A couple works in the kitchen preparing their anniversary dinner. Things don't seem to add up given their age, but at the end, they are a gray-haired couple who have grown old together, savoring the moments.
  9. PARENTS: If you are not aware of the Blue Whale (Suicide Game) that is gaining social media popularity, you need to do some research and talk to your kids. Researchers say many assume it's "just a harmless game", but it leads students to take part in increasingly more dangerous games, culminating in suicide. Be aware and be informed.
  10. A week from today, June 12, I will kick off the Reformed Seminary Summer Lecture Series celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. I'll be speaking at 7 p.m. on "The Reformation of Preaching" in the chapel at FPCO – join us!