Dé Máirt, Meán Fómhair 27, 2005

The Clean Sacrifice

I don't do devotions everyday. The time between the varies, though it's normally not much more than a few days. I do on the other hand make it a habbit to read more than just a few verses of so. I like to read larger passages, and have time to think about them before I return to read somthing else. A few days ago I read thru the book of Malachi. It's the last book of the Old Testement (OT), and towards the end seems to become rather prophetic in nature. Normally this is enough to catch my eye, but this time around it was a passage that I've read before but never was able to link together in my mind. The first half of the book is God telling his priests and the people how unhappy he is with them. It seems that the priest especially had been offering up sacrifices that were blemished, animals that where blind or had broken legs or were diseased. Earlier in the OT God gives a command that sacrifices should be pure and spotless, and that this was the only sacrifice that He would accept. These priest, a thousand years later, are offering animals that do no come close to meeting the standard that God set. What seems worse is that they then refer to Gods table, the alter on which the sacrifice was laid, as being contemptible. The priest don't seem to recognize what they are doing as wrong, and when confonted with the problem, they out rightly ask the question, "How have we shown contempt for your name?" But I was left wondering about the sacrifice itself.

After I had read this, I immediately was reminded of Romans 12. In the first verses Paul urges us to lay our own lives down as living sacrifices, instead of the dead ones of the past. Now, knowing the break between these two passages, the sacrifices of Christ who became the world spotless lamb and subsequently the lose of reason for daily sin sacrifices, I was left with the question of what kind of sacrifice should we be? We sing in our churches "come as you are," but in Malachi we are told to bring a correct sacrifice. What does it mean to become a living sacrifice, daily laying down my life to do the will of God. Is there required a time of preparation before we lay ourselves down? I see this as a "post-cross" act. I still believe that before we come to Christ there is no way in which we can cleanse ourselves, but that God thru Christ and the Spirit makes the initial preparation for us, and stoops to our level so that we can take from his hand the free gift of life that He is offering, and we like a timid dog, unsure of the intentions behind this, slowly, ears down and back, take what we are given, but quickly retreat. What if after this, we are meant, thru the help of Christ, to work in our own cleansing before we can truly lay down our lives on God's alter. I guess I could ramble into a Calvinist/Arminian arguement, but I hate that arguement. It does do anyone any good. But I can't help think that there is something much deeper here.

While I'm not Arminian enough anymore to say that I have much of anything to do with my redemption; I'm not exactly Calvinist enough to say that free will is bunk. Should we atempt to cleanse ourselves before we lay down on the alter of God? Should we seek to be the clean sacrifices that He so richly deserves and demands? Were we clean from the first drop of Christ's blood? Maybe I'm over anaylizing again; I seem to be doing that a lot lately. But maybe, just maybe we're missing somthing. Maybe our Christian walk isn't as easy as we make it out to be. Maybe it's more a long distance trek, somthing we need to prepare for. I'm not done thinking about this. I could be coming from a completly backwards direction, and the only connection is in my rather deranged mind. Tell me what you think.

Dé Máirt, Meán Fómhair 20, 2005

I've been thinking about a lot of things since my last post. There's the Lewis that I'm reading, and the thoughts that he provokes. There are ideas that I want to write about, and I will eventually. There are so many things that I could probably write about, but last night on my drive back things where put on hold, as they often are, by a song. Music has long been my inspiration, and yesterday I came across lyrics and a melody that struck a strong chord in my heart. The spoke what I've been feeling in my soul lately and I felt the need to share them with you. So there's no philosophy, no literary comment, no life update, but more simply a cry of the heart put to music.

"I Need You"
by The Swift

My heart is restless in me
My wings are all worn out
I'm walking in the wilderness,
and I cannot get out.
I need you, oh I need you.
Blessed savior come.
I need you, oh I need you.
Fill the every longing of my soul.

Oh, how I need you Lord.
I need your perfect word.
With tearful eyes I see the sin that afford.
I need to weap and pray
for all the thousand ways
that I have failed you just today

My bed is soaked with sadness.
My sadness has no end,
a downward spiral of despair
that I keep falling in.
I need you, oh I need you.
to you my soul shall fly.
I need you, oh I need you.
Yahweh how I love you more than life.

Oh how I need you Lord
I need your perfect word
With tearful eyes I see the sin that I afford
I need to weap and pray
for all the thousand ways
that I have failed you just today

Your silence is like death to me
so won't you hear my desperate plea

Today my soul is soaring
way over mountians high
though I can see the valleys
there all just passing by
it's not that I am stronger
look at my feable wings
but I've been lifted higher
Yahweh's lifted me in His own strength

Oh how I love you Lord.
I love your perfect word
with tearful eyes to see the God, who always will endure.
Now I will celebrate
for all the thousand ways,
that you have shown me grace
And made my heart in grace to stay
make my heart in grace to stay
Lord make my heart in Grace to stay

I need you, Lord I need you...


Déardaoin, Meán Fómhair 15, 2005

Somthing new and interesting...

Yesterday marked my baptism by first in to the music life of NPC. Kids Choir. Now I'm going to be honest here, not that I'm normally dishonest when I write here, but little kids worry me. I'm not comfortable around them at all, so putting me in the middle of of a group of about 40 of them is not exactly my ideal situation. I'm just not good with young kids, I'm not that good with older kids, but at least they won't start crying just because you looked at them. And no, I'm not making scary faces. I'm being very conscience about smiling, and not looking to serious. Maybe the facial hair throughs them off, I don't know. Yesterday went well, but it was still a rather uncomfortable hour for me. There was one little girl there, who didn't quite want to be there to begin with, but I don't think I helped the situation any. Whenever I would look over toward her and her mother, she'd bury herself even more into her mother's side. I eventually sent Kelly over to see if she could help at all, I knew that I was just aggravating the situation and a kinder looking face would probably help. I made myself as scarse as I could, and eventually the little girl, Lilly was her name, came and stood by Kelly's side untill the hour was up. So all was eventually well, no thanks to me. It was an interesting little time. I've got another little voice to teach if I want. I have three so far, but there all younger than I would like them to be. Hopefully after monday I'll have students more of an age that I like. It's hard to teach voice lessons to young kids because there voices haven't changed at all and there isn't much you can do since all of that training won't help them much after there voice has changed. But we'll see what happens with that. I'm heading back up to the Christian school on monday to work with the choir there so I should have a few students come out of that.
I found it very interesting yesterday, and a little scarry to be honest, how mature many of these kids sound. These were 1st to 5th graders, and I don't mean the cute kind of rote maturity that all little kids get after a while, but an actual maturity. Maybe maturity isn't the best word here. There was a display of expressions of mature disgust when name tags weren't found for returning kids. An attitude of impatience when answering questions that normally only comes after long hours of study or the power mindset of think you know much more than the person asking the question. This really disturbed me, most of the kids where really good don't get me wrong, but just seeing how the life style that their parents live was being instilled in them was upsetting. It was somthing I'm not used to, and while they were still kids they we're also more sullen, especially the guys, then at least I thing that they should be.
Over all things are going very well here, I just got paid so that brighten my day considerably. It rain here, something that it hasn't come close to doing since I started here over a week ago. The weather has been gorgeous, and I've been trying to enjoy as much of it as I can while it lasts. The leaves are starting to change, so the whole of Indiana can kiss my white behind. Any state that cuts down almost all of it's trees to level it off, plow it under, and grow miles and miles of corn instead has officially gone insane. I love Autumn. It's probably my favorite season, and I'm looking forward to spending my first autumn in five years one the east coast. If you've not seen it your missing out big time, and should plan to come visit. I suggest the mountains of Pennsylvania, but then I'm partial. I'm hopefully going to Yale tomorrow. There's going to be an open discussion on Faith and Justice, and I've heard that the Justice that the president has tapped might be there. I want to make it over there anyway but this would be to good of an opportunity to pass up. I'd also like to get into the city sometime this weekend. I've not been down since I got here, and it's past time I think. So...theres a lot on the plate today. I've got choir tonight, a jr. high choir to start up, and a voice lessons to plan are among the things I need to do or start today. I think it's going to be a good day, a long day ( I won't leave here until close to 10pm), but a good day. I pray that all of my friends out there are doing well, and I hope to hear from you soon. And I think, If I can work it out, I've got a proposition for you guys come Christmas time. Oh yeah, Combs is working on a plan...Booyah.

Dé Sathairn, Meán Fómhair 10, 2005


I'm hiding in a Starbucks right now. Darien, you must remember, is a commuter town for the lawyers, wall street traders, bankers, and business men of New York City. So...yeah I feel a little out of place, but that happens when you all most run into the Benz that rolls out in front of you. The people are pretty nice for the most part, at least the ones that I've meet so far. I feel out of place, but except for the difference in pay and the facts that most of the houses around here cost over half a million to start, it's really not that different. I came to starbucks to read and talk on the IM with my friends, but no one is on. I forgot that the friends that would be on are at school, and that it's saturday night. Kind of a sad thing. I went out last night with Elisebeth, her boyfriend, and Kelly. We went ot this trendy little Japanese resturant in South Norwalk, got some Cold Stone and then came back to E.B.'s and played some games. So I really didn't feel like (translation: I'm broke) going out again to night, but Starbucks seemed like a good escape. So I'm here continuing my reading. I've been fervently reading C.S. Lewis' "The Screwtape Letters." Definatly an interesting and enlightening read. Written from the perspective of a chief tempter to a juior tempter Lewis gives us a perspective of the otherside and what it looks like to the followers of Satan. There are some very interesting ideas about what it truly means to be a Christian and the tactics use by the enemy to keep us from reaching that point.
So I'm hiding in Starbucks. Reading. Feeling...I don't know how I feel right now. I'm kind of board, but not that board. I'm a little lonely, but not really. I'm just kind of in that in between state that I hate so much. I'm not enough of anything to be content with what's going on. At least if I was content I would know what the problem is, but as of right now I've got nothing. I'm really just looking for a good conversation with someone whose got the time to sit down and have one, but so far that person hasn't been found. I'm busy, everyone else is busy, so I'll be happy with reading blogs and responding. I really don't like the techological world. There's way to little human contact. But right now there's not much else I can do. I've been watching the people over my book and laptop as they come through they lines. Everyone ordering what they want. Decaf this, latte that, each absorbed in what there plans dictate for them. Some of them are my age, so high school age, some middle age. Alone, or in a group. One studying. I wonder if any of them are hiding like me.
So...I'm hiding in Starbucks. Hiding from what I'm not sure, but that's definatly what it feels like.

Dé Máirt, Meán Fómhair 06, 2005

Lifting a glass to new beginning

So I'm sitting here listening to Beethoven's Romance no. 2. If you've not heard it I strongly suggest that you look for it. Hear it, but more importantly feel it. Beethoven's music is not simply to be heard, to truly understand and appreciate his genius you must feel his music in your very being. Otherwise it's pointless, and simply aesthetically pleasing. But that's not the point here. I'm sitting here, spending a few quite moments taking it all in. This is the last night that I'll be spending at this house for sometime to come. This marks the beging of a new life for me. Tomorrow I move to Connecticut to start my intership. I know what your saying, so what, for the past five years you've packed up for this same weekend and moved back to school, but it's different this time. There's a permanace to it this time that wasn't there before. That was school, that was familar and safe. This is a job, the chance of a life time, my first test as a college graduate. This is the point by which the rest of my life will be measured. Not in the sense failure or success, but rather how far I will go and the opportunities that I will have. This is my chance to set out and be the person I want to be, now is the time to change.

For five years I was a college student, unstable, imbalanced, yet solely focused on achieving my degree. Now, my focus has changed, though to exactly what I'm not sure. But as my parents reminded me earlier, as long as my focuse is truth I'll not have a problem. Right now the goal seems to be money, to a point, I've never been comfortable with that but bills need to be paid, self-improvement through whatever means are available, having some fun (it's New York for pete's sake), and of course planing the next step. The next step being grad school and the mission field, whether they come one after the other or both at the same time.

So right now the butterflies are going to make it hard to sleep, but tomorrow excitement will step in and take control. I'll say goodbye to my mom, and drive to my new home, my new job, and my new life. I've been give the chance of a life time, and I pray to my gracious Father above that I'll make the best of it. So would you lift a glass with me, as we listen to Vaughn Williams Fantasia on a theme by Thomas Tallis, and toast my new life. May you be as rewarding as my previous life.