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Posts Tagged ‘Kentucky’

“One may steal your thunder, but the lightning is always God’s.” – my family (a collaborative quote, in which we were stealing each other’s thunder)

Several weeks ago – this post is way behind, so sorry – my brother gathered a group of our friends who, along with others of our acquaintance, have independently sensed the call to do something with our knowledge and fellowship.  We are so good at parties, but we lose focus.  So many of us have been wondering where God wants us to act.  My brother gathered us to pray and share Scripture, seeking God for where He wants us to serve, why, how, who, etc.  It must be a God thing, or it is nothing. 

Last year for a few months I attended a young adult Bible study and worship time in which I sensed that most of us were passionately eager to serve God, to have a part in His work, but He hadn’t told us where to go.  He has been building faith in a young generation, like armies in waiting.  And we gathered to wait on Him, to encourage our readiness, and to seek God’s marching orders.  Some days I think there are so many causes, that I wonder why it’s difficult to find mine.  And then I remember that God has us waiting.  Until God speaks, I can wait. 

Karen Hancock’s allegory, Arena, is a vivid description of Christian living.  At one point all those “saved” are waiting, studying and training, in a well-provisioned safe haven.  They must wait for the exact moment at which God will give them a sign to move out and cross the enemy-infested lands to the portal to home.  If they leave too early or too late, they will run across lines and camps of enemies and be lost.  So they wait.  So we wait. 

But we believe God is at work.  Over Memorial Day Weekend I attended the New Attitude Conference in Louisville, KY.  Put on by Sovereign Grace and featuring Josh Harris, Eric Simmons, Mark Dever, Al Mohler, CJ Mahaney, and John Piper as speakers, the young adult conference attracted 3,000 soldiers in waiting.  I was surprised, though I shouldn’t have been, to find most of them as directionless as me.  Ok, most of them had college degree or career goals, but spiritually we weren’t sure where God wanted us.  Some of us, in the midst of waiting, felt like the fight to keep heads above water while treading was all we could do.  Maintaining a devotional and prayer life, passionately worshiping God and memorizing His Word were high orders. 

Then John Piper spoke on William Tyndale, who most certainly had a calling and was not about to waste his life.  He translated the whole New Testament and several Old Testament books into English for the first time.  And he wrote books and campaigned for the Bible to be printed in the common tongue and made available to the people – at the risk and cost of his own life.  The challenge went out and resonated with the three thousand in attendance. 

Why does it resonate?  Because God is at work, in the grassroots, you might say, reviving our faith in a big God.  Twenty-something Christians, though comparatively immature in our marriage and childbearing rates and economic productivity, are getting excited about the truth, about a God bigger than themselves.  Rejecting the shallow self-help and entertainment-driven church culture, they are reading up on Jonathan Edwards and getting excited about William Tyndale, singing theology-rich God-centered worship songs like Chris Tomlin’s How Great is Our God, or Isaac Watts’ hymns. 

This is the subject of Young, Restless, and Reformed.  Collin Hansen took a tour of the country to find out about this multi-rooted movement of ‘young Calvinists.’  He did a great job of filling pages with information about theology, denominations, organizations, authors, and what’s so exciting to us about God’s sovereignty.  Grace, a consistent description of the world, a God worth worshiping – we have lots of answers, lots of paths that are bringing us to become part of the revival of Calvinism in the West.  Why is God doing this?  We wait to see. 

Not only are our discoveries and conversions to Calvinism different; the lifestyles and trappings in which we couch our belief in the sovereignty of God also run a spectrum, which Collin Hansen (a writer for Christianity Today) describes with excellence: from liturgical and traditional presbyterians to charismatic and modern Mark Driscoll and CJ Mahaney.  Then there’s the unusual mix of Baptists and Calvinism (which for the moment describes me, though I find myself pretty much in pieces of everything).  On of the most interesting parts of Young, Restless, and Reformed to me was the chapter on the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Al Mohler’s Calvinist makeover of the college.  So that’s why my friends at Elect Exiles are Election-affirming and Baptist.  I’m from a church that, in my observation, has been more typical of 20th century S. Baptists: in between Calvinism and Arminianism and reluctant to debate the issue.  The tides are turning.  I’ll confess belief in a big, sovereign God was a prerequisite for me to vote for our current pastor. 

This is a book I will recommend to pretty much everyone.  The only disappointment I had was that the chapter on New Attitude, titled “Forget Reinvention,” didn’t say much about the conference.  If you want to know about that, the New Attitude website has plenty of info to get you hyped about next year.  I read the book in a few days, and told everyone I know about the book for the next several weeks.  Read it, talk about it, and be encouraged by all the others God is calling.  Keep waiting. 

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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I’m back from New Attitude, a cleverly-advertised conference that has slogans like “Forget Reinvention; Save the Wheel,” and “I *whale* New Attitude,” or “Yes, na.”  My mom asked what were the shapes on my wristband.  They were letters: almost shapeless letters. 
 
The conference had dozens of insights and applications that I may or may not share.  The one I thought about today at work was evangelism.  God always talks to me about evangelism.  And I don’t know how to respond.  What about gender roles?  Should I be at work?  Work is where I know people who aren’t saved.  But I don’t really talk to them about the gospel – or anything else.  How do I start a conversation at work?  Is it appropriate?  What about outside of work?  Should I witness to little kids or to women, or is it good to tell men, too?  Should I be sharing with every person, or wait for those special and obvious opportunities? 
 
Why do I have to do it alone?  Do I? 
 
Searching for answers in the Bible, I wondered about the early Christians.  The women were taught to be keepers at home, which shuts down access to non-Christians beyond your household.  But there was food that needed to be acquired.  Did they talk to their grocers?  If you’re a farmer, male or female, you probably spend entire days alone.  So you’re not spending your whole life evangelizing.  Is that an excuse or a motivation for someone like me? 
 
CJ Mahaney preached one night about talking to yourself.  He said it’s good as long as you’re intentional about telling yourself true things, like God’s promises, and what God’s done for you.  One way to do this is to sing Christian/true/worship/Scripture-based songs.  So at work over lunch I listened to some of RC Sproul Jr’s (and the Highlands Study Center’s) Basement Tapes.  On the way to and from work I listened to a Michael Card tape I have in my car.  About a decade ago he wrote the official song for that year’s National Day of Prayer.  “If my people will humbly pray, and seek My face and turn away from all their wicked ways, then I will hear them and move my hand, and freely then will I forgive, and I will heal their land.” 
 
Near the end, the prayer-song continues, “Grant us hope that we might see a future for the land we love: our life, our liberty.”  I was driving on a boring American road with fences and cement sidewalks, a few trees that were artificially located there.  The politics are less than hopeful to me.  I didn’t mind visiting Kentucky, and Chicago is my climactic and cultural home away from home, but the only hopeful and redeeming and loved thing about this country to me is the people.  I wonder how much longer the rest of it will last. 
 
That’s one of the things that contributes to my evangelism angst.  America is so lost, and as much as someone who barely talks about God to people can judge, fairly closed to the gospel.  I want to change the world (and be in community with those who change the world), but I don’t know how.  We watched a video about the Bible shortage in Uganda.  In a congregation of 210, there were ten Bibles.  Everyone was eager for a Bible, desperate to hear even one verse read.  Those with Bibles handed them off to unsaved neighbors who read it and got saved themselves.  Does that work here? 
 
I have a friend who is planting a church.  His family is a missionary family to Denver, Colorado.  They’ve studied the Bible and decided that the way to plant a church is to live out and preach the gospel in their neighborhood as they go.  I’m afraid or shy or lazy or doubtful, because I don’t see my neighbors as that open.  The questions come back: how many neighbors does it take to obey?  I only have to talk to one at a time.  And don’t I care? 
 
Amy of Humble Musing Fame writes about different callings, and her life.  She wants to raise her kids in a safer, less worldly place.  Is that wrong? she wonders.  Her answer is that she’s doing this out of faith, following what God has called her to do: raise a big family and blog and support her husband and talk to checkers in the supermarkets.  I hope, at least, that my calling is different.  Like I said, I want to change the world. 
 
It’s so much easier to love the apparently more-open people groups in Uganda, or in the Middle East where there is a hunger for the Bible and the gospel.  Does that mean I should go there?  Or should I do hard things?  Should I evangelize Denver?  Or should I meet my neighbors? 
 
The comforting, answer-part of the New Attitude weekend was its focus on and faith in the Bible.  The messages convicted me that if I were reading, studying, memorizing, and meditating on the Bible more, I wouldn’t be worried about all these questions.  My next step would be evident and my faith would be ok with knowing just that.  The answers would come up, and I would be peaceful.  My suspicion is that prioritizing Scripture would also make me a ready and passionate evangelist. 
 
So here’s what I’m doing: memorizing Psalm 37, and reading Genesis (along with Henry Morris’s The Genesis Record, I think).  We Christians, we’ve generally been let off the hook, bribed into daily devotions by the dangling offer of “all it takes is ten minutes a day.”  I have a feeling that is the wrong perspective.  From my own personal experience I know I waste way too much time, and that I am more peaceful, obedient, and close to God if I spend more time intentionally studying His Word.  Pray for me.  Join me.  See if it makes a difference in my blogging. 
 
To God be all glory,
Lisa of Longbourn

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