Men's Retreat Part III

 This past weekend I attended the third annual men's retreat hosted by the Baptist Campus Ministry at Syracuse University (my church!). It, as usual, was totally awesome. (The above picture was taken from the top of Mount Baker.)

We left Friday afternoon and arrived at the Lake Placid Baptist Church, which might I add is a church that God has his hand on bigtime. Now I say that with absolutely no regard to numbers or size of the congregation or anything...it is rather small in comparison to modern-day megachurches. LPBC rather is a vibrant, loving, praying, community of Christians that has never failed to encourage me and give me a better picture of what the local church is supposed to look like. Makes me want to remain in a small church...

Anyways, the teaching theme of the weekend was based off of 2 Timothy 2:2. I would summarize the exhortation of the weekend as this: "Make disciples: teach them to teach, and teach them to preach." I gave a short talk on discipleship. My notes are available here if anyone cares for my thoughts on 2 Timothy 2:2 and discipleship: Discipleship Notes

On Saturday a bacon blanket was weaved. Though you might think that nothing could possibly top this...

We went curling. It was awesome. I had two shots that were complete miracles on ice...you had to be there. Curling can be very competitive. Later that night we had some epic spaghetti for dinner and then played body-body. If you don't know what that is, it is basically a live action version of the more commonly known party game "Mafia". I may or may not have given someone a bloody nose in an overzealous execution attempt...

Overall it was an absolutely fantastic weekend and now I am rather tired and going to read my Bible and relax, for tomorrow is the first Monday in a long time that I will be unemployed.


A Gospel Poem

Not what my hands have done
Can save my guilty soul
Not what my toiling flesh has borne
Can make my spirit whole
Not what I feel or do
Can give me peace with God
Not all my prayers and sighs and tears
Can bear my awful load

These guilty hands are raised
Filthy rags are all I bring
But I have come to hide beneath Your wings
These holy hands are raised
Washed in the fountain of Your grace
And now I wear Your righteousness
- Horatious Bonar, Not What My Hands Have Done

(via firstimportance.org)


Reflection on Spurgeon's Morning Devotion for Dec. 30

Ecclesiastes 7:8 "Better is the end of a thing than the beginning of it."

The diamond is hewn from a rock of uncomely stature, it is carved from the plainest stone. That which is precious is carved away whilst the jeweler regards no loss for he is creating that which is magnificent. So are we carved; we lose that which may be precious in our eyes but it is necessary to be carved away so that we may be made glorious. The master jeweler is Christ, we are the stones. Where will our final home be? We will be placed into the crown of King Jesus to be a prism shining forth a single glorious beam from the source of light of the King. Until we are placed as diadems in the crown of the King it is necessary that we must undergo the fire of refining in this life.

Note: I have a number of blog posts that will be up in the future, but I have been terribly bogged down with work (read: too lazy) to post all I have written. Look out for some in the future my imaginary readers!

Oh and I totally wrote this on my iPod. Technology win. Typing efficency fail.


We are beggars: this is true.

"We are beggars: this is true."
"If there's one thing I know in this life; we are beggars all."

The former quotation is the last written words of Martin Luther, scrawled on a scrap of paper shortly before his death. The latter, an inspired lyric by Dustin Kensrue of Thrice. Check out the above song for a thoroughly musical and lyrical conviction of your truly poor state in all things.

I cannot claim even my own name. I cannot keep my heart beating while I sleep. I cannot keep the atoms that compose my body from succumbing to the second law of thermodynamics, to utter chaos and entropy. What would this mean for how I view the world? What does my pitiful and humble state do to all my actions? This acknowledgment should cause deep concern and thought even in the mind and heart of the most staunch atheist. This thought should melt the heart of the Christian. This thought will likely pass by millions as they cling to pride and a sense of self-control. The question remains: What is man to do upon realizing his state as a cosmic, poor, beggar?

Perhaps gratitude would first blossom. This is perhaps the most common affection that grows from the beggar's soul. Gratitude can be fleeting, insincere, and mere lip-service to an unseen God who acts as a cosmic vending machine...or it could change the beggar's life. The beggar might fall on his face and thank God for all that he has bestowed on him, for "In him we live and move and have our being", [ Acts 17:28 ]. Perhaps the greatest conclusion and joy the beggar might come to is this: the exaltation of a very powerful and giving God by the very weak, created human. And then man would rejoice in God. For the one who is in Christ, God is for 100%. 100%. Cancer is for the Christian's good. A loving wife is for the Christian's good. Persecution is for the Christian's good. "For those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose" [ Romans 8:28 ]. All things. The needy Christian is supplied with all that is needed from God, who gives all things graciously and mercifully.

When the time comes that you forget your humble state Christian, ponder this: What can you claim as your own?