Tuesday, April 24, 2007

My Roving, Distracting Passions

Where-e'er My Flatt'ring Passions Rove
by Issac Watts (1674-1748)

Where-e'er my flatt'ring Passions rove
I find a lurking snare;
'Tis dangerous to let loose our love
Beneath th'eternal fair.

Souls whom the tie of friendship binds,
And partners of our blood,
Seize a large portion of our minds,
And leave the less for God.

Nature has soft but powerful bands,
And reason she controls;
While children with their little hands
Hang closest to our souls.

Thoughtless they act th'old serpent's part;
What tempting things they be!
Lord, how they twine about our heart,
And draw it off from thee!

Dear Sovereign, break these fetters off,
And set our spirits free;
God in himself is bliss enough,
For we have all in Thee.

(Thank you to Dr. Bauder who brought this one to my attention in the latest issue of The Nick)

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Please pray...

While I didn't know Brent in a very personal way except through business contact buying books and a brief email interchange about his education at Bethel, my heart grieves for this brother in Christ. Please keep he and his brother's family in prayer. Ask that God would use this in their lives to deepen their joy in Him and that others would see the strength that only comes from Him.

Here is an update I received yesterday afternoon from him:

From: C. Brent Cloyd
To: fuller_paul
Subject: Update my Niece - Virginia Tech Tragedy
Date: Tue, 17 Apr 2007 16:31:43 -0500

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

My family and I are so grateful for your prayers. hundreds of you responded to let me know you were praying and I can assure you I read each note.

I just recieved word from my family in Blacksburg that they have posititvely identified the body of my niece Austin Cloyd.

Please be in prayer for my my Brother Bryan and his wife Renee and their son Andrew. This is a terrible tragedy for all people involved. It is very personal when it is one of your own. In times like this we need a savior. It is good to know that in times like these we have a savior. I will be going to Blacksburg soon. Please pray for all of us.


Saturday, April 14, 2007

16 years ago today...

16 years ago it was a Sunday. It was the evening service and we were sitting in the back row of the balcony at First Baptist in Danville. There was "Mr. Walther" and "Mrs. Walther", that annoying (at-the-time) little Jared, and then Audrea and I. We were sitting there trying to pay attention to the sermon (yeah, right) and I was fidgeting in my seat. I kept looking over at her and trying to open my mouth to whisper a question to her. I remember wondering if she could see my lips moving trying to spit out some words...

It had been only a few weeks since we started talking more together. Her most recent "boyfriend" and I were pretty good friends (who got in trouble way too much with the other brother, but that's for another post someday). I hadn't really noticed her so much before. I was a sophomore (and yes, a very wise fool) and she was in junior high.

Her mom and my mom frequently worked in the nursery together. One Sunday morning things were pretty hectic in the nursery and both of our mothers had asked us to help. After a while, I began to connive my way into working in the nursery when Audrea was going to be there. And I remember a specific time sitting in the rocking chair holding some newborn and looking across at her thinking, "You know, she is really a pretty girl. She doesn't deserve to be with that other guy!"

At the time, my music interests were about 3 decades ahead of my age. I had a strange interest in southern gospel and was enthralled with listening to groups like The Cathedrals and Gold City. Every year, the local southern gospel group (Homeward Bound) had a big concert deal at Danville High. This was going to be my second year to go and the strangest thought occurred to me--I want to take a girl to the concert. After all, girls my age love southern gospel, right? (I'm still not sure why it didn't occur to me that most of the people who like that music were about 40 to 50 years older than my 15!) My first thought was towards Audrea. I got up the nerve and called her house and asked her mom if Audrea could go to a concert with me. "Mrs. Walther" informed me very quickly that I would have to ask her father. So I got the gumption up again later that night to ask her dad. His reply: "I don't think so." So that didn't pan out. My next option was my friend, Jon's sister--Sally Zajicek. I feel bad because I can't really remember whether she said yes or not...

Anyway... a week or so went by and a youth activity came up that we were able to go together. Then a Sandy Patty concert came up (Oh yeah, I had wild crazy music tastes back then! I was an outright rebel--that's for sure.) This time it was her parents who asked me if I'd like to go along with their family and Audrea's friend, Carmen Taylor. Well, of course you know what my answer was!

I believe it was the Sunday evening after that Sandy Patty concert that we found ourselves sitting in the balcony together during that exciting sermon. Actually the only thing on my brain was those deep poetic and romantic words I had rehearsed all afternoon. I kept repeating them to myself in my head and imagining myself asking her. I was the epitome of lovesick. So it must have only been a few minutes into the sermon and only a few silent practice runs that I was able to begin my eloquent and heart-capturing question:

"Will you go with me?"

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Paul David Tripp on Accurate Self-viewing

It seems lame and/or lazy to outright copy someone else's blog, but seeing as most individuals would not go and read it if I put a link out here, I will copy it verbatim for you to read. Here are some eloquent anthropological insights from Paul David Tripp:

Sin lives in a costume, that's why it's so hard to recognize. The fact that sin looks so good is one of the things that makes it so bad. In order for it to do its evil work, it must present itself as something that is anything but evil. Life in a fallen world is like attending the ultimate masquerade party. Impatient yelling wears the costume of a zeal for truth. Prevented lust masquerades as a love for beauty. Gossip does its evil work by living in the costume of concern and prayer. Craving for power and control wears the mask of biblical leadership. Fear of man gets dressed up as a servant heart. The pride of always being right masquerades as a love for biblical wisdom. Evil simply doesn't present itself as evil, that is part of its draw.

You'll never understand sin's slight of hand until you acknowledge that the DNA of sin is deception. Now what this means personally is that as sinners we are all very committed and gifted self-swindlers. I say all the time to people that no one is more influential in their own lives than they are because no one talks to themselves more than they do. We're all too skilled at looking at our own wrong and seeing good. We're all much better at seeing the sin, weakness, and failure of others than we are our own. We're all very good at being intolerant of others of the very things that we willingly tolerate in ourselves. The bottom line is that sin causes us not to hear or see ourselves with accuracy. And we not only tend to be blind, but to compound matters, we tend to be blind to our blindness.

What does all of this mean? It means that accurate-self assessment is the product of grace. It is only in the mirror of God's Word and with the sight-giving help of the Holy Spirit, that I am able to see myself as I actually am. In those painful moments of accurate self-sight, we may not feel as if we are being loved, but that is exactly what is happening. The God who loves us enough to sacrifice his Son for our redemption, works so that we would see ourselves clearly, so that we would not buy into the delusion of our own righteousness, and with a humble sense of personal need, seek the resources of grace that can only be found in him.

In this way, Psalm 51 is both the saddest and most joyous of all the Psalms. It is sad that David has to confess what he must confess, but at the same time, the face that he is accurately seeing, and fully acknowledging his sin, is a cause for celebration. Only Jesus can open blind eyes. Whenever a sinner accurately assesses his sin the angels in heaven rejoice, and so should we.

Saturday, April 07, 2007


See for yourself the latest dance move that will become the craze of the nation!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Update on home and job

Just an update on our life...

On Sunday (the 1st) we had an open house. We've never heard of anyone selling their house based off an open house, but our realtor said he has had some success in the past. He ended up having 3 different visitors come through and the last was very excited about it. Our realtor told them they should have their realtor schedule a showing so they could walk through it with him. Then on Monday they did schedule a follow-up showing but since that showing we have not heard from them. But, even as I was typing this post, I got a call for a showing this afternoon. So the good thing is that there is a lot of traffic on it, but so far nothing more than that.

On Wednesday I found out that due to some major changes going on at the company I work for in Green Bay, they are not 100% sure that they will have work for me when I get to KY. We are pursuing several customers that I could potentially work for. Please pray that Skyline will be able to line up a good assignment for me so that they can retain me as an employee. This was not entirely a surprise to me, but still put me off balance for a little bit. The Holy Spirit reminded me that morning that everything is in His hands and that I need to trust Him to provide for my every need.

This afternoon we're heading over to Wisconsin to spend Easter with Audrea's parents. This will be our first time in 10 years to celebrate Easter someplace other than our home church. It's kind of sad, but will be relaxing since I am not in charge of coordinating a slew of special music and order of worship nor preparing a message--it'll be Sunday worship with the Body without all the pressure!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Daddy, does Kentucky have... ?

Ever since we told Savannah that we are moving to Kentucky, she has been asking some brilliant questions. In our homeschooling curriculum we use, she frequently studies other cultures and learns about how and what they worship. It is not atypical for her to ask us about what kind of idols certain countries use.

So the other day did not take us by surprise but instead we saw it as truly insightful when she asked us, "In Kentucky, Daddy, do they worship different idols or gods?" I love those kind of moments of life! The truly funny all mixed up with moments to bring the gospel to bear. So we were able to talk about how people all have idols and even in America we have idols that may or may not be visible.

The funniest moment, though, was when we first told her about the move, she asked us, "Daddy, do they speak a different language in Kentucky?" I had to laugh because I wanted so bad to say, "Yes, love, they do!"

I'm going to tread the waters of political-incorrectness here (like that's unusual for me!) and probably offend somebody. But I submit to the readers (all two of you, including my wife) a question: Is this man below a native of Kentucky?

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Monday, April 02, 2007

Life, liberty, and the pursuit...

I started reading Desiring God by John Piper this morning. In the first couple of pages he quotes Pascal regarding man's innate passion for seeking pleasure:All men seek happiness. This is without exception. Whatever different means they employ, they all tend to this end. The cause of some going to war, and of others avoiding it, is the same desire in both, attended with different views. The will never takes the least step but to this object. This is the motive of every action of every man, even of those who hang themselves.--Pascal's Pensees (Thought #425)

Further down the page, Piper quotes Lewis:We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased. --"The Weight of Glory" by C.S. Lewis

The chief aim of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever—We all desire to be happy and since the dawn of time man has tried to find ways to make himself happy or satisfied. The Bible teaches that in ourselves we glorify God the most when we find the end of our pursuit of happiness in Him alone. He is the source of true fulfillment and joy in life. Jesus said, “I give you water that will satisfy your thirst forever.”
God is glorified when His excellence above all things is put on display. We find satisfaction for our souls when we put Him on display in our lives, when we aim for Him as the objective of our target, when we drive hard after seeing Him revealed to us, when we taste of His goodness and revel in that.

The opposite of tasting of the goodness of God is feeding on the ashes of idolatry (Isaiah 44:9-20). In that we give no glory to God. And in not giving glory to God there is no ultimate, lasting satisfaction. Like the desert than never relents, the cravings of your sinful heart will never bring you the happiness you think you will find.

I find it so amazing that while I know this and preach it, even to myself, I am so quick to slip back into my old patterns of sin--finding my joy in other things. As I said before, the stuff of life so quickly distracts us so that we find ourselves gazing on and praising the created instead of the Creator. Keep your eyes focused on Him alone and the things of earth will grow strangely dim; but get distracted for just a second, and the allure quickly blinds you.