Categories
Theology

Atheism Doesn’t Do Much for Beauty, Art, and Love

If there is no God, and everything in this world is the product of (as Bertrand Russell famously put it) “an accidental collocation of atoms,” then there is no actual purpose for which we were made–we are accidents. If we are the product of accidental natural forces, then what we call “beauty” is nothing but a neurological hardwired response to particular data.  You only find certain scenery to be beautiful because you had ancestors who knew you would find food there and they dsurvived because of that neurological feature and now we have it too. In the same way, though music feels significant, that significance is an illusion. Love too must be seen in this light. If we are the result of blind natural forces, then what we call “love” is simply a biochemical response, inherited from ancestors who survived because this trait helped them survive.

– Tim Keller in The Reason for God, p. 138

Categories
Life

StartMarriageRight.com

Most couples spend months–or even more than a year–planning for their wedding day.  Though it’s not proven through sociological research, I believe girls start sampling center pieces when they are 11.  What happens after the big day? A couple will spend the rest of their life together. At least that is the hope.  Does anyone plan for that?  

With divorce rates skyrocketing each year, it’s becoming clear to even secular Americans that something isn’t working with the way people do marriage in our culture. And if you’ve bought divorce insurance before your wedding day, I’m willing to bet you aren’t starting holy matrimony off on a good foot.

That’s where StartMarriageRight.com comes in.  It’s a website of Christian conviction and it’s goal is not for couples to have a glorious wedding event; it’s for them to experience a lifetime of covenant love together as husband and wife. What makes a marriage last? It’s not common interests, patience in hard times, and letting your wife pick your home decor (though that might help). It’s primarily about building your marriage on a secure footing: Jesus.

On their site you’ll find articles about various topics couples deal with, a Q & A page, the blog, and other resources. And on the front page, there’s a link to a “Love Language” quiz. If you don’t know what your love langauge is, I recommend you find out.  

Start your marriage right.  And if you have already been married for one year or 30, chances are if you are like me, you still have a lot to learn. 

Disclosure: The ideas, advice, books, ministries, and any other content found on StartMarriageRight.com might not necessarily reflect my theological convictions and practical opinions.

Categories
Life Theology

Saturday Morning Potpourri

Do you ever feel like you get so busy in life that you only work in your life and not on your life? In other words, how much time do you spend intentionally thinking about actions that need to be taken and then actually do them? Most of us, and I have felt this of late, simply react to what life brings.

Not a lot of intentionality — just reactivity.  Not a lot of preparation–just muddled busyness that general life brings.

I’m talking about spiritual things here. Killing sin, memorizing scripture, pursuing my wife, serving people, investing in men. These are the things that matter. These are the things I must be proactive about, because if I’m reactive, I will find myself in a heap of trouble.

There’s nothing terribly theological I want to say about this. I’ll leave it at this: I’m working on trying to work on my life.

As a quick update:

  • Carly will be 17 weeks pregnant on Tuesday. We heard the baby’s heartbeat a few weeks back. One-hundred and fifty-three strong beats per minute! We find out the gender on April 12. We both feel like it’s a boy. But Carly still knows that little girl clothes are cuter than little boy clothes.
  • Some of you know that I’ve been raising financial support to work in a pastoral training program, of sorts, at my church as an intern with our lead pastor. It’s nothing formal–in fact, our church has never had a pastoral intern before. It will be extremely experimental, but hopefully very formative for me, and helpful to our church. Alongside this practical training, I’ll be starting distance seminary in the fall (probably right around when our baby is due–yikes!). Our support is nearly finished, so I’ll be working at our church full-time in May.
  • As for personal study and reading, I’m working slowly through Romans–which you’ve probably noticed if you’ve been following the blog in the last few months. That has been challenging, but so beneficial. As for other books, I’m currently re-reading Desiring God by John Piper, and reading The Reason for God by Tim Keller, The Power of a Whisper by Bill Hybels, and The Valley of Vision by Arthur Bennett.

God has been so faithful. He is faithful to me even when I let the busyness of life intrude. He is faithful to keep my wife and our baby healthy during pregnancy. He is faithful when I don’t study the Bible as carefully and patiently as I ought. He has been faithful to raise my salary, through generous family and friends, so that I might begin preparing for what he has called me to do with my life.

And most importantly, God is faithful when I sin, which happens daily–probably hourly–and he continually points me back to his Son Jesus. It sounds crazy to the world to say that if I lost everything and still had Jesus I would have enough, but it’s true. What a precious and wonderful Savior to such an unworthy people!

Categories
Life

Happy Anniversary to My Wife

On January 16, Carly and I celebrated our first anniversary as a married couple. We spent the weekend in Kansas City. We probably could have done the same things in Omaha that we did in KC, but it was much more fun to drive for three hours together, get away from our “world,” and relax in a hotel because we didn’t have to clean up, make breakfast, or fix the bed.

It was a year filled with laughter, tears, triumphs, arguments, romantic moments, and a huge learning curve. To date, it was the best year of my life because I went through it with my best friend, my wife.  Carly, I love you more than any blog post can express. Thank you for loving Jesus, for loving me, for sharpening my character, and challenging me to be a godly man.

I don’t deserve you. That’s why I’m thankful for grace.

 

Categories
Life

2010 in Review

Goodbye 2010. Hello 2011.

In 2010, I adjusted to life in America after coming home from Africa in late 2009. The year started out pretty good for me: I got married to my best friend Carly on January 16. Over the next 12 months, I worked three different jobs. My wife and I lived in three different residences. We became members at our church and it became home to us. We completed Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University…twice.  (Therefore, we paid off thousands of dollars of student debt and paid off our car loan.) I read through the entire Bible. I started raising financial support to work at my church as a pastoral intern.

The list could go on, but I’ll stop for now. The common thread with 2010, as with every other year of my life, was God’s faithfulness and grace. His presence was clear, his comfort was gentle, his grace was sweet, and his rebuke was heavy. More often than not, the many species of pride in my life — self-pity, anger, bitterness, defensiveness, envy — clouded my view of these glorious things.

Happy New Year, friend. And it will be a happy new year, if you have God in your life. I think a recent Tweet by John Piper is appropriate:

God promises new troubles (Mat. 6:34), new mercies (Lam 3:23), and new hope (2 Cor 4:16) for every day this year.

The troubles will only make sense, and the mercies and hope will only be fulfilling, if Jesus is at the center of your 2011. I pray he is.

(If you want to see some stats from 2010 for this blog, click on the link below.)