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Posts Tagged ‘RC Sproul Jr’

I have been pondering the relationship between singleness and widowhood (or widower-hood) for about a year and a half, maybe more.  Several friends have lost spouses and been willing to share bits of their post-marriage life with me.  My grandma has way less experience with singleness than I have, but entered it when my grandpa died over a year ago.  In some ways these people can mentor me.  They can look on single life with the wisdom of more years than I have.  In other ways I get to encourage them, with the perspective of someone who’s had plenty of time to think about the consequences of singleness.  I can point them to finding their identity in Christ rather than in their relationships.  I can share with them that I know relationships with every other single person suddenly got more complicated.  I can pray for them as they seek God for what to do with their new-found time.  I can pray for them as they wait on God for remarriage (if that is what He is leading them to do), just as I pray for my single friends waiting for God to bring them their husbands or wives. 
 
One way or another, there is more commonality between widows and single people than between those who are married and single people.  We always-been-single people have less acute grief, but, if we desire marriage, still have a sort of long-term sadness over the years we have been alone. 
 
A year ago, teacher and author RC Sproul, Jr. lost his wife to cancer.  He’s been blogging on and off about the experience since then.  Today he said this: “The wait that I have has now multiplied, because I am without her. This past year has been not just the hardest, but the slowest of my life. I wake earlier than I wish, and lie awake at night while wanting to sleep. The things I once looked forward to no longer appeal. Isn’t half the blessing of a blessing having someone with whom to share it?”  And as I read that I thought that he was well expressing something that I’m coming to understand.  Maybe he noticed it because it was a change from what he was used to, and I have not noticed it so clearly because I just gradually came into experiencing life this way. 
 
But life and waiting seem expanded because the waiting itself keeps me awake, distracts me.  Time is going slowly for me – but too fast when I look backwards.  I’m grateful my days are full.  Grateful that most of the time waiting doesn’t distract me completely from living.  I’m grateful even for the earlier mornings or the later nights when I am praying about the loneliness and the waiting. 
 
I don’t think that it is wrong to notice that some activities aren’t as appealing when you’re single.  It isn’t necessarily discontent – though it could be, and it is worth guarding against! 
 
This is the life that God has given me.  Let us rejoice and be glad in it!  Let us be honest about what it is and isn’t.  Let us present to God the desires of our hearts.  Let us not grow weary in doing good.  Let us embrace waiting, and fully grieve things that are truly sad.  Let us celebrate the things that are true blessings! 
 
Two of my bestest friends got engaged this month.  The two friends who honored me by allowing me to be a bridesmaid in their weddings have each come to Colorado to visit recently.  These circumstances are giving me opportunity to rejoice in the blessing RC Sproul, Jr. talks about: the double blessing of sharing a blessing with someone else.  I’m the voice of “awww!” when a husband holds a door open; when a fiance chooses something that her beloved prefers even though it isn’t her favorite; of celebrating the good plan of God in bringing people together and building love and unity between them.  I’m laughing and giggling and sharing with them my perspective of the value marriage has.  I know marriage is hard work, but it is a privilege.  It is a work of faith in a trustworthy God.  It is rewarding.  It is mysterious and amazing! 
 
This practice, of encouraging my almost-married and newly-wed (relatively) friends, may be rubbing off.  It may be hard for me to stop noticing love and forgiveness and cooperation and complementing gifts and servant-heartedness and fruitfulness – and pointing them out: amongst longer-married people, and between friends, and in the Church.  I’m excited!  God is revealing to me more and more that He desires His people, His image, to be recognized in our love for one another!  I pray for it and seek it and delight in it!   
 
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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In my review of Family Driven Faith, I think I mentioned wanting everyone in my church to read the book.  They would be exposed to new ideas, and I wouldn’t have to do all the explaining and defending.  My idealistic vision was of friends and leaders with changed understanding of church. 

Today I’m reading No Little People, a collection of essays by Francis Schaeffer.  The same thoughts are coming to mind.  Earlier this week I read the essay “God’s Work God’s Way.”  To me the points exactly contained evangelical Christianity.  We want to do God’s work, but instead of looking for biblical directions, we take our corporation-based programs and modify them for church.  Or we adopt the evolutionary view of education that is used in the public schools and implement it in our discipleship.  We see what is effective for the entertainment industry and we make our “services” more attractive. 

Last night I was listening to a sermon entitled, “My People Perish,” by R.C. Sproul, Jr.  He argues against adopting the world’s goals.  We don’t raise up children to be missionaries so the kingdom will increase.  We raise up children to increase the kingdom.  I think he’s saying first things first.  Our goal is not to take back Harvard or Hollywood, but to serve Jesus Christ and bring Him glory. 

A friend was telling me about how God is teaching her about money.  She’s being sanctified a little bit at a time.  At this point she’s trying to take God’s perspective that money is not the object.  He embraced sacrifice, and calls us to, as well.  The question is not, “Can I afford that?” or “Is it in my budget?” or even, “Have I set aside money for God first?”  The question is does God’s Spirit call your members to hand over money for more clothes, for Pizza Hut pizza, for a coffee or a soda, for a cd, for that concert? 

If our lives are going to be radically faith-led, shining brightly in a world of darkness, we have to be different.  We can’t put a Christian icing to a worldly practice. 

All this to say that this week conditioned me to pull the above applications from their respective situations.  I felt the force of No Little People to be sanctification and faith (not sight) because of where I am and how I read.  I’m willing to heed every word when I can.  It may surprise you, but as a writer I know that most of the time the words we use are not just fillers in between bold-faced headings.  We have something to say. 

As evidence, I turned to the contents page of No Little People to find a note scribbled there over twenty years ago, I’d think, when my parents were in college.  I think it was Mom who wrote “good – about waiting for God’s timing” next to the “God’s Work God’s Way” chapter.  She had a very different perspective on the author’s intended application. 

Even when interpretation is not subjective, for the force of a book to fall on someone, they have to be thoughtfully reading the words.  In a way they must be interacting with the text. 

This reminds me of a revelation I had this month.  I watched a film production of Cyrano De Bergerac.  I could imagine the actors delighting to speak the lines and play the parts.  There were twice as many characters as listed in the play, because I was allowed by the staged medium to consider the fictional players in the story as well as the motivations and feelings of the actors portraying them, and how they all interacted.  Later I was delighting in Wives and Daughters, Pride and Prejudice, and other films so well done that you are sure the actors are the literary heroes and heroines.  But really they are not.  In fact they are only able to give in their performance one interpretation of what the author was originally saying.  But I can pause these movies and talk for five minutes a frame about what is being said in an expression or a gesture or a muttered comment.  Do books have such depth?  Imagine approaching a book so engaged that on every page you subconsciously ask the text and yourself: If I were Mr. Darcy (for example), what would I be thinking and feeling?  Why did I come?  Why do I speak?  Why don’t I speak?  What do I see? 

Perhaps long ago when books were read aloud for entertainment and individuals prided themselves at their skill in doing so, the reader was forced to ask those questions, and so instantly come to a more vivid comprehension of the story. 

Thus I have every intention to read a classic piece of literature in that way.  I will keep you informed on how it is going. 

To God be all glory.   

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