Thursday, September 27, 2007

Takes after his father...

So, as his little shirt says (handsome!), Samuel takes after his father. He's been smiling for us, so here's a photo of him laughing today. Also a shot of him with his Grandma Peggy, one of him wide awake (so you can see his pretty blues!), and one of him conked out after church. He is growing like a weed and starting to sleep better, for which we are grateful! And when he gets enough sleep, he is so fun and smiley during wake time. Our little "handsome" is quite the flirt!

Also, you can download a new video of Samuel looking awfully handsome . . .

Piper and Wright Clash - it's finally among us

On October 23rd John Piper's book attacking N.T. Wright's views on justification will hit the shelves. You can preorder it today if you'd like . . .

If you are interested, you can read a 7-part interview with Dr. Piper on this upcoming book.

Wright and Piper are two the most followed and prolific writers among the evangelical world. Many Piper-fans often follow Wright as well. It seems a line is being draw in the sand. Who will you trust for your theological guidance?

If you want to buy this book for me for Christmas, that would be great. I doubt I'll read it until my semester ends. But who knows, I do have a week break for Thanksgiving!!

job update - keep praying

I was offered a job yesterday at Target. The pay is minimal, and I doubt it could meet our needs. Yet, it's a job. Pray that God meets our needs. I have a few other job applications "out there" so there's still a chance I might land a higher paying job.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Job Insecurity

Prayer request:

I found out today the part-time job that was promised to me is no longer available due to a couple of issues within the grocery store. I was supposed to start last week, but now I am on the job hunt once again.

If you could, pray that a door would be opened that I could start working ASAP. I haven't worked since I finished up my youth ministry job August 1. God has met all our needs . . . glory to Christ!

spiritual constipation . . .

so, I am at seminary, falsely thought to be "devotions on steroids" for future pastors. It's rigorous academic work that takes time, effort and thought. At the same time, I am learning a lot about God, His word, ministry etc. When I was serving as a youth pastor, I'd teach regularly 2-3 times a week. So, I was constantly digesting things of God and then offering them to other audiences.

At this stage in my life, I am not teaching on a regular basis. My soul, brain and heart are being filled with all kinds of things concerning God, but instead of allowing these things to flow out, they are just being crammed into the "to be used later" section of my brain. This cramming or stuffing of information has created a feeling that I have labeled "spiritual constipation." The way God has wired me makes me love to give out information. I am a teacher and a preacher. When this is not happening on regular basis, I feel a little off.

but God is faithful. I have 2 big ministry opportunities ahead:

On October 5th I have the privilege of performing the wedding ceremony for my sister Heather and her fiance Jase. It's going to be fun to tell my older sister everything she needs to do to have a great marriage. (don't worry I'm not going to talk down on her like that)

November 16-18 I have the privilege of teaching at a jr. high/high school retreat for South Suburban EFC in Minnesota. I loves students and miss youth work big time. We'll have tons of fun that weekend!

I can feel the pressure of "spiritual constipation" lessening as we speak. Feels good!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Quote of the Day - Thomas a Kempis

"If thou dost more rely upon thine own reason or industry, than upon that power which brings thee under the obedience of Jesus Christ, it will be long before thou become enlightened; for God will have us perfectly subject unto him, that being inflamed with his love, we may transcend the narrow limits of human reason." - in The Imitation of Christ

Friday, September 14, 2007

My take on Romans 1:16-32

In my Greek exegesis course this fall at Denver Seminary, we are translating several passages from Romans 1-8. The first two passages included vs. 16-32 of chapter 1. This is a very convicting passage and theologically rich. It involves humans sinning and God actively responding by handing (giving) them over toward greater sin and destruction.

Here are a few key exegetical details I picked up on:

(Confession: a little knowledge of Greek is a dangerous thing, thus I confess these are only my understandings as of today and I admit they are elementary at best):

vs. 16I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
- The gospel is God's power!

vs. 17For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith."
- God's righteousness is revealed (made known, appears, arrives) in the gospel

vs. 18The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness,
- God's wrath is revealed (same Greek word, tense, etc.) against all the godlessness and wickedness of humans (unlike many English translations the Greek word anthropon is usually , and definitely in this usage, an all inclusive term for both genders).

vs. 19since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.
- Knowledge of God is not just knowable, but known to all men. That is God himself makes it known to them. Plainly!

vs. 20For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
- This knowledge makes all humans accountable to God.

vs.21For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.
- The proper response to God is worship and thanks. To not respond appropriately leads to God (the active agent) darkening the minds of humans (passive, receiving agent).

vs.22Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools
- Professing wisdom falls very short of the real thing . . . again humans are receiving action upon them from God . . . God makes humans fools.

vs 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
- This is the first of several uses of the expression that one party "exchanges" something valuable and true for something dishonorable, wicked and foolish

24Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.

- God's first response to humans exchanging His glory for earthly idols is him actively giving them over to impurity, a dishonoring of their earthly bodies. Makes sense doesn't it. If we fail to use earthly objects correctly (make them the object of our worship), they will become a snare for us. Who wouldn't agree that must of the Western world in the 21st Century made the human body an idol, and subsequently, we have brought degradation to the use of the body?

25They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

- The second exchange: give up God's truth for lies!

26Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones.

- God responds again by actively handing humans over toward shameful living! *Key issue: almost every well-respected English translation fails to fully express some of the following words. For the remainder of this passage, when Paul speaks of men/women, the better English translation is male/female. Vs. 26 should read, "Both their females exchanged . . ." Paul is using the same words the LXX used to translated Gen. 1:27, "God created them male and female." Paul is talking about the difference between anatomies in regards to gender!

27In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.

- "In the same way the males abandoned natural relations with females . . . " Again Paul is stressing that gender confusion has occurred; gender lines have seriously been crossed. This IS a passage about homosexual sin/perversion.

28Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.

- This exchange involves humans not thinking it fitting to have knowledge in God; thus, God gives them "unfit" minds. There's a play on words with the English equivalents "worthwhile" and "depraved" having common word stems in the Greek language.

29They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless.

- This sentence (actually verses 28-31 is all one sentence in the Greek) relates back to humans not approving knowledge about God; they have been people marked by such vices. Many conservatives skip right past this verse thinking it's a description of homosexuals. NO! This verse condemns every human of sin. We are all slanderers, insolent, arrogant, heartless . . . we did not see it fitting to cling to our knowledge of God! Guilty.

32Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

- Humans do such practices, even though they know better. Most honest people will admit that they accept that fact that evil actions are worthy of punishment. Very few people in the world remain relativistic when you steal their car.

Translation used from New International Version.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Me as a Simpsons' character


I don't know how close I look to this but here you go . . . how I would look if I made it onto an episode on the 2nd greatest cartoon ever (no one beats Bugs Bunny)!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Meandering Thoughts from "the Wife"

Enter Mrs. Proctor. I hope no one minds that I'll be doing the family posts from here on out. Matt says he's retired from posting pics of the babe now that seminary has begun. So I'm taking over! Here are a few for your viewing pleasure. You'll see one of our new little Proctor family, one of the Odegaards from their visit over Labor Day weekend, one of three generations of Odegaards, and one of Samuel's sleeping smile. The most exciting news lately is that he is now giving out social smiles. Unfortunately we haven't been able to capture that on film yet.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Go Broncos!

So, I grew up in Iowa. It's a college sport state. We don't have an elite professional sports, unless the triple-A I-Cubs count.

Also, I grew up in a household with a father who cared nothing for professional sports. So, as I got older, I realized all of my peers had favorite teams and I did not. I never could decide on a team, and any time I got ready to choose a team, I recognized I was just a front-runner (the worst name-calling of all on 4th grade playgrounds)!

But all is different. When I was in the process of choosing graduate schools, I committed to become a loyal sports' enthusiast of whatever city (Minneapolis/St. Paul, Chicago or Denver) I ended up in. Oh, some of you will say that's just silly . . . but who really knows why an individual chooses one team over another. There's no science or structured rules (unlike calling for "shotgun" in high school) to choosing your teams. So, here I am in Denver, Colorado, proud that MY FOOTBALL TEAM is 1-0 after Week 1!! Their victory was beautiful and in stellar fashion. Yeah Baby! Go Broncos, Rockies, Nuggets, Avalanche, and the Mammoth of the National Lacrosse League, and the Crush of the Arena Football League. Hear that? We even got a professional lacrosse team!

Yeah, baby . . . no more fair-weather fan! I bleed Denver sports :)

On a sad note, my alma mater, Iowa State University, is 0-2 in their football season and it could be 0-12 in a few more weeks. Luckily, there's hope in their new coach!!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Dewey's decimals don't add up . . .

" is the the office of the school environment to balance the various elements in the social environment, and to see to it that each individual gets an opportunity to escape from the limitations of the social group in which he was born, and to come into living contact with a broader environment." Democracy and Education, John Dewey, 1916, page 24

John Dewey, the famed educator and atheist, went a little too far for me at the beginning of this classic work. For Dewey neither the home nor the church are the key places for an individual to flesh out their beliefs, ideas, goals, etc. Instead, Dewey places the final authority for "balance" and freedom from "limitations" in the hands of the school. It's no wonder that teachers and schools have been thought to push agendas for years; the father of modern education espoused this view and in fact, asked teachers to make it happen. It's also no wonder that parents have allowed this practice to occur (for they were indoctrinated by it through their own educational upbringing), and the home has lost its sacred place in the lives of students. Now it's the "balancing" environment of the school that teaches our children about values, sex, vocation, etc. The school--an institution free from the control of any church or belief system--is the source of our nation's morality/values/etc. That does not seem to make much sense unless one is a total utilitarian.

I pray that today we recognize that 100 years of reliance upon the public education system for the salvation of our country has not worked. I will send my kids to public school, support the school board (and offer my 2 cents), and encourage educators. BUT, I will not let the school provide the "values" and "standards" that will guide my child through life. Parents, train a child in the way they should go . . . then when they are older they will not stray from it. (see Proverbs 22:6 and Deuteronomy 6:4-9)

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

I woulda been . . .

In light of my class "Understanding the Gospels and Acts" taught by Craig Blomberg, I've decided hands down I would have been a Pharisee at the time of Jesus. These faithful Jews did everything in their power to honor God's laws to the point of sometimes snubbing some of their friends and neighbors. They were vigorous readers who would often get stuck on insignificant tangents and religious discussions that had limited value for the "people of the land". They made rules to go with their beliefs to "put up a fence" around their sacred Scriptures. They believed in God's power to bring about his predestined plan, but they felt it was necessary for them to help God's plan along by their own actions. Like these Phariees, I am given to a truncated theology and unloving practice all for the sake of being "right" or "orthodox". I don't want to admit it, but I think a Jesus-type figure would have been threatening to me too. I just maybe would have labeled him a heretic (or even worse a liberal!) I don't know if I would have asked for his life, but I probably wouldn't have minded if he was silenced. A life led by the Spirit instead of a life without rules can't be monitored by religious elite (thus, danger!).

Jesus free from this pattern of living and believing and invite me into your plan of redemption, love for others, and your new way of being.