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Dear Sam, Ben and Tyler,

I want to write you and let you know that I am not perfect. I think it is important for you to know that upfront. I am your Dad and sometimes you can only see the sides of me that I want you to see. But I am not the man I always seem to be. Sometimes when I look the most together, I am actually falling apart inside. Other times when I appear calm on the exterior, fear and shame are gripping coldly to my soul.

I want to write you and let you know that I am not perfect. I can not sing, I can not speak eloquently, I most likely will never hold an important office, I will not be rich and famous, I can not play basketball, softball or baseball as good as the other dads do. I am not the athlete type. I do not always work with enthusiam and at times I am downright lazy and wallow in procrastination. My brain can be scattered in one hundred directions or so finely focused that I forget the other things in my life.

I want to write you and let you know that I am not perfect. This may seem like a weird thing to say. No one likes to admit their weaknesses, especially to their own children. Just like any other Dad, I want to be your hero. I want to be the guy that you can count on and that you always know will be there for you no matter what. I want you to know that my love is unconditional and flawless for you. I want you to see home as the place that love becomes a reality and fear, failure and regrets are left on the front doormat along with the mud from your shoes.

I want to write you and let you know that I am not perfect. And even though I am not perfect, I know the One who is. He is my heavenly father. All my faults find perfection in him. My weaknesses show His strength. My stubborness shows His patience. My tiredness shows His strength and power. My frustrations shows His perfect plans. My damaging actions show His healing responses.

So I want you to know up front that I am not perfect and never will be. I want you to know that I am a mere reflection of the heavenly Father. I am here to be your guide and mentor but ultimately He is the one who will best call you child, son or daughter. You are His, just as I am. It pains me somewhat to say that. To come to the realization that you belong more to Him than to me. Yet you are His.

Dear Sam, Ben and Tyler know that my prayers for you are groanings to Him. He hears them and will answer them according to His will. I pray day and night for you and I realize that between all the things we have going on, life can get in the way sometimes. Know that I love you and cherish you more than the breath that enters my lungs and blood that pumps through my veins. May He take you and mold you. May His plan always trump yours and may your heart always be more in line with His than with any other man, woman or thing.

I love you and I am proud of you…

Love, Dad

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Not really a life changing post here, just wanted to tell about a steal I got on an ESV bible yesterday. I was at Mardel’s (Christian Booksupplies store) and cruising the bargain bin when what do my wandering eyes peruse upon but an ESV Black Genuine Leather Wide Margin Reference Bible. Of Course, I thought “oh on sale, it will still be like $50 bucks”. So, I pick it up and it has a blue sticker on it which means ….(drum roll)…$15.00!!!

That’s right this Bible that normally resales for $70, I got for $15.00! I rejoiced with great rejoicing at finding such a great deal.

Conversion , to me, simply involves the turning from one way to another. In general terms this could mean within my mundane, everyday life. For example, changing my mind on whether I like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches one day and then simply appalling them the next. In effect, I have had a conversion of thought and belief on my stance of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. What I used to like, now no longer has any meaning to me and is actually something I do not want in my life at all.

In regards to my faith, conversion may follow the same line of thinking. Conversion is the process whereby I exchange my own ideas of living for those of God’s. In a sense, one could say conversion involves a change of appetite to what one desires to feed the soul on.

Conversion for me also involves the idea of reform. When I converted to Christianity, I instantly experienced the grace of God and received salvation. However, the process of being fully converted to Christian beliefs and practices was not fully ripe. I had growing to do “in Christ” and “with Christ”.  This growing or coming to fruition in Christ is the reform/reformation part of conversion. It is during this conversion phase that Christians begin and cultivate the spiritual life. Henri Nouwen says that “Such a conversion may be marked by a sudden inner change, or it can take place through a long, quiet process of transformation.” The important message of that statement by Nouwen is that a reformation of the mind, heart and soul is a key factor or indicator in conversion. While one person may do this instantly and dramatically, for others (like myself), it is something that must be molded and shaped and grafted into us by God Himself.

So, for me conversion is both instantaneous and progressively reformational. It is instantaneous at the moment of salvation. In that one decision, we decide to throw off the old self and become a new man in Christ. It is progressively reformational in the fact that when we become that new man, we must relearn who we are. This is done in the cultivation and renewing of the spiritual life.

Okay, so normally I would not advocate using Tom Petty as a source for deep theological meaning, but I do believe God can use the most unlikely ways to make the world hear His message in new ways. One of the best ways has always been through music (at least in my opinion). Check out these lyrics by Petty. The song is called ” I won’t back down”.

Well I wont back down, no I wont back down
You can stand me up at the gates of hell
But I wont back down

Gonna stand my ground, wont be turned around
And Ill keep this world from draggin me down
Gonna stand my ground and I wont back down

Hey baby, there aint no easy way out
Hey I will stand my ground
And I wont back down.

Well I know whats right, I got just one life
In a world that keeps on pushin me around
But Ill stand my ground and I wont back down

Hey baby there aint no easy way out
Hey I will stand my ground
And I wont back down
No, I wont back down.

This sort of sounds like sanctification and perseverance of the saints to me.  How beautiful for the believer to echo the same thoughts in his own walk. I won’t back down even if the gates of hell are thrown open and every demon comes at me. I won’t back down and be turned around by a world that works so hard to drag the believer down. Drag him down through materialism, sin, idolatry, adultery, lies, cheating, lust, laziness, etc. (Romans 6:12-13)

Just like the lyrics say we have only one life and because of the presence of God’s Holy Spirit, we know what’s right. We are to write God’s commands and precepts  on the doorposts of our life and meditate on them day and night. Teach them to others and live them out; even in the midst of a world that strives to demean and undermine them. We won’t back down. (Deut 6:6-9)

But we do back down all too often. Life ain’t easy as Petty says and we sacrifice God all too often at the pleasure of our own wants and needs. Is it wrong to want pleasure and joy? Absolutely not. If it was than Christianity would have no adherents and we would have no reason to rejoice over the salvation of Christ in our lives. It would not be good news but rather bad news! What is wrong is desiring our will more than God’s. What is wrong is desiring our pleasure more than God’s. Life ain’t easy and that is usually the biggest obstacle to persevering in the faith.

Lastly (or more correctly, firstly) we persevere because God enables us too. The song above is entirely man centered. Petty says he will make it because of what he can do and because of his willpower and his determination. The Christian is God centered. If we continue and work out our salvation it is because God is doing it for us and because God gives the willpower to us to do it and because God predestined us unto salvation. (2 Cor 3:18; John 6:38-40; Ephesians 1:4-6)

And in light of that wonderful, glorious truth we should all be bold in the Gospel and shout triumphantly “Hey I will stand my ground. And I wont back down.No, I wont back down.”

For Christ’s sake and His name,

KTG




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Short and sweet. Discipleship….

61 But your hearts must be fully committed to the LORD our God, to live by his decrees and obey his commands, as at this time.  1 Kings 8:61

KTG

In starting the new blog I hope the greatest thing I will gain is the knowledge that I am the student and Christ is the teacher. Discipulus is latin for “student”. I can think of no greater description for a follower of Christ than that of student.

May the glory of God through Christ be the focus of my life. May my words and actions bring honor and glory to the One who deserves the praise forever.

IHS,

Keith

What I’m Reading

The Jesus Way: Conversations on the way that Jesus is the Way ~~Eugene Peterson _________________________________________ Let the Nations be Glad ~~John Piper _________________________________________

In the “Q”

Francis Schaeffer - True Spiritually ______________________________________

Bible Study / Devotional

Romans 1 ___________________________________________