The Strenuous Life

I wish to preach, not the doctrine of ignoble ease, but the doctrine of the strenuous life, the life of toil and effort, of labor and strife; to preach that highest form of success which comes, not to the man who desires mere easy peace, but to the man who does not shrink from danger, from hardship, or from bitter toil, and who out of these wins the splendid ultimate triumph.— Theodore Roosevelt

Motherhood (by which I mean rearing children and raising up spiritual children/disciples) is by no means an idol that we serve, but rather an intentional gift God has strategically designed and given us so that we might see his glory and make him shine.

– Gloria Furman, Good, Kindle Edition location 788.

Another year older

A great joke in honor of my birthday.

“My wife and I were recently attending a church service.
About halfway through the service, I took a pen and paper and wrote a note
and handed it to my wife.

The note said:” I just let out a silent fart, what do you think I should do?”

My wife scribbled back: “Put new batteries in your hearing aid. ”

Source: A Prairie Home Companion.

Three Reasons To Consider Church Revitalization

The need for Church Revitalization is huge. The tasks seems daunting. Today at LifeWay Pastors Today blog I have a post giving three reasons to consider being involved in an intentional Church Revitalization effort.

Following Christ Costs

Following Christ costs.

34 And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? (Mark 8:34-35)

Grace is free but it is not cheap. Faith will demand everything from you and of you. Following hard after Christ demands everything when circumstances are good as well as poor. Surrendering yourself to Him demands trust and obedience when things make sense and when they do not. When your plans work and when nothing you plan works out. When you see how it is possible and when it looks impossible.
Following Him means removing myself from the center of my life and submitting to Him as my head. To live as He would have me. To love as He would have me. To sacrifice as He would have me. To risk as He would have me. To defend the innocence and vulnerability of the unwanted orphan, to defend and protect the widow in her grief, love my wife as Christ loved the church giving Himself up for her and much more obedience as a follower of Christ.

Grace is free but it is not cheap. It costs Christ everything. It demands everything of me.

Favorite quote from Moby Dick

Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping on the street, and methodically knocking peoples hats off – then, I account it high time to get to the seas as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball.[1]

[1] Herman Mehlville, Moby Dick 8th (C.H. Simonds, Boston Mass), 1922, 7.

This quote does in no way diminish or mock the seriousness of suicide. It is a recognition, written in a very different era, of the darkness that can overcome any person and the need to address it. In this case getting to the sea is a step to address it.