One to One Bible reading

The four most important words in a Bible discussion are often “What do you think?”

Helm, David. One-to-One Bible Reading (Kindle Locations 206-207). Matthias Media. Kindle Edition. 

 

I am sure you can think of many other words which are more important than these four, for example the actual words of the text, but take an hour and read through this short book. I highly recommend it.

The Psalms

This is a helpful look at the role the Psalms ought to play in both our individual and corporate worship.

Neste, Ray Van, and C. Richard Wells, eds. Forgotten Songs: Reclaiming the Psalms for Christian Worship. Nashville, Tennessee: B&H Academic, 2012.

Page: 9

The analogy between manners at the breakfast table and the life of faith is fairly straightforward. Left on our own, there are all sorts of things we would never choose to say to God. “Thank you” and “I’m sorry” are near the top of the list. Thus, the reason worship leaders should challenge us to say and sing words we are still “growing into” and may not “feel” presently is that this is a potent means of spiritual growth.

Page: 13

In the American church Christians have traditionally categorized worship services as either “traditional” or “contemporary.” But the longer I work in the field of worship, the more I am convinced that a much more telling and instructive dichotomy is between worship that is merely expressive and that which is both expressive and formative.

Page: 27

One of the main functions of Scripture is to instill in the people of God a proper grasp of the world’s true story.

Page: 28

The psalms employ rhetoric to achieve their end of shaping the worshippers’ inner life. Rhetoric is the way someone presents his ideas, in a way that moves people to feel the way he wants them to. In the hands of the unscrupulous, rhetoric can be a tool for manipulating; but in the service of virtue, it can move its audience to do what they know to be right.

Page: 78

Seek Christ in the psalms and then measure everything else by what you find there. When selecting and writings songs, we should ask, Is it psalm-like? An honest answer will enable you to rise above the inappropriate and tread on the high places of the earth.

Page: 137

The psalms are lyric poems that obey the ordinary rules of lyric poetry about which we learn in high school and college English courses, and whatever other use we make of such poems, we should at least read and ponder them in our private, devotional worship.

Page: 146

God’s psalms have a robust, rough-hewn character that can give backbone to a person’s faith, as well as muscle tone and stamina.

Page: 146

The biblical psalms are not “nice.”

Page: 150

Singing imprecatory lament psalms is dangerous activity because it is not innocent “special music” or a concertized solo testimonial. Psalm-singing is quoting God back in God’s face, invoking God’s presence to do justice on our troubled earth. No self-righteous, naïve persons should apply. But when a communion of repentant sinful saints covered by the blood of Jesus Christ chooses to do it because they are deeply disturbed by Incorporated Evil and the principalities in the world laying God’s creatures to waste, then we can come to know a little of the depth and riches the Lord has provided for us in God’s Word.

Page: 212

In the psalms it’s as if we pass on the glory of God from one generation to the other. As one of the psalms itself declares: One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts. On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate. They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds, and I will declare your greatness. They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness and shall sing aloud of your righteousness. . . . My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord, and let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever. (Ps 145:4–7,21)

The Inbox

Here are a few things that have made me think, smile, or laugh over this past week:

Quote:

Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clean to the bone. Dorothy Parker

Photo:

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Video: JJ Heller: At My Table

This video has been on loop in my mind over the past weeks.

 

Estar en Babia

There is a phrase some Spanish children hear all the time in school, “¿Estás en Babia?” It is our equivalent of, “Are you daydreaming?”

“To be in Babia” became an easy way to describe someone who was someplace else mentally. The phrase goes back to the kings and queens of Spain when they would leave their castles and political responsibilities and head for the mountains. They would disconnect in the silence of nature. Babia is a comarca (larger than our counties, but smaller than our states) in the northern mountains of Spain, about an hour and a half north of us.

We visited for a few days, wanting to escape and “estar en Babia.”

Shrill and opinionated

I had worked for many years with rickety logic: religious busyness is the same thing as spiritual maturity. The more you do, the more you love Jesus. I’d never have put it this tactlessly. But it was the air I breathed, the water I drank. It was an undisclosed and unexamined conviction that drove and colored everything I did. But I started to notice that religious busyness tends to make those of us caught up in it not deeper, wiser, kinder, but more shrill, more opinionated, more judgmental.

Skepticism

One of the many interesting thoughts from Wilde, Oscar. The Picture of Dorian Gray

“You are a sceptic.” “Never! Scepticism is the beginning of faith.”

I greatly appreciated my first time reading through this book. There are many things to disagree with, but his presentation of guilt is not one of them. This is a powerful story of the death of the soul in the secret life.

Celebrate Life Day

There is a time to weep, and a time to laugh;

a time to mourn, and a time to dance…

Today we do both! It is our annual Celebrate Life Day and it is full of tears and laughter. We thank our good and gracious God for another year to walk beneath this sun. Each March 10th is a reminder to us to both squeeze all we can out of this fleeting life, and also to hold our very existence loosely for it is a vapor.

The finite nature of our life reminds us we are fragile, and the lovingkindness of our God reminds us that we are safe. Weep and laugh. Mourn and dance.