Friday, August 31, 2007

A Sojourner's Birthday

Today is a day of contemplation. Why? A good friend is turning 50.

We've been through a lot as brothers in our common village and church community and I really can't let the event pass without speaking gratitude into his life.

We've watched our kids grow up together. He and his wife were at the birth of each of our three boys and we have taken part in the lives of their kids, too. And against the consumeristic tide of our day, we have persevered to serve in a community called the church (the same local body) for more than 22 years.

He was there when I met my wife. He was there when we married. He was there when we struggled financially and with broken health. He was there in the ongoing process of restoration in Christ. Truly, he is a friend. You know, it may not take a village but it certainly is good to be a part of one- and even better to have a friend.

So, what follows is an excerpt from birthday wishes to him.

Dearest Brother, with the Psalmist, we can say, "I am a sojourner on the earth." And, this is increasingly recognizable as we progress, live, labor, and love. In fact, we’re getting older. We know this and it is a good thing.

God has crafted us for communion with Himself and to take our place in the progression of His story-His work of redeeming, restoring, and blessing His creation.
We are, in fact, partakers at his invitation and at His expense, in the eternal fellowship of the Trinity. Wow!

As a fellow laborer, partaker of life in Christ, and friend, I have to tell you that you are blessing and great encouragement to me. Please know that I genuinely delight in knowing you – my brother.

From another sojourner with a place in God’s redemptive history, we read:
So teach us to number our days
that we may get a heart of wisdom.
Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love,
that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us,
and for as many years as we have seen evil.
Let your work be shown to your servants,
and your glorious power to their children.
Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us,
and establish the work of our hands upon us;
yes, establish the work of our hands! (Moses; Psalm 90: 12; 14-17; ESV)
Blessings and peace and ....

Happy Birthday.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Always, Life is War

Whilst listening to a preview of “Indelible Grace IV: Beams of Heaven", I came across the following quote by John Piper and, given my present pastoral context, it is both encouraging and sobering. Why would we ever expect that the war has subsided this side of His Kingdom fully come? So it is. Thank God He, our Father, leads, reigns, and sustains.

“Life is war. That’s not all it is, but it is always that.” We are in a battle, but not against flesh and blood. Christ is our champion and we are called to follow Him as His kingdom advances upon the parasite kingdom of Satan. Our encouragement is His promise that the gates of Hell will not stand. - John Piper in “Let The Nations Be Glad”

Note: Indelible Grace IV features 15 hymns performed by Sandra McCracken, Matthew Perryman Jones, Matthew Smith, Derek Webb and a number of other folks who merit a listen. If you want, you can hear the preview the CD release here.

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