Jared turned 12 today. He is our youngest. It’s so hard to believe how fast time flies with these guys. Joshua is almost 17. Josiah will be 14 in March.

We can’t be more proud of these three guys. Time passes us so quickly. We are so thankful for the time we get with these great guys. We have a lot of fun, too! This is how we “roll”… or “role”… or, OH, WHO KNOWS!

My “What Every Student Needs to Know About Being an Adult” Speech. (Part One…In Development)

Things I need to tell every student every semester for the rest of my life, probably…

Simple reality: JUST SHOW UP. Learning how to discipline your life to get to bed at a decent hour so you can get up at the right time will save headaches later on in life. Learn it now. Showing up will save worrying about “skips” in my class and then worrying over what you might have missed. Showing up will save you hundreds of dollars.

Harsh Realities.

1. You are an adult. This is tough. I am 41 years old and I still have to have this one slap me from time to time.

You are responsible for your life. You cannot blame your roommate, your family, your teacher, your job, your girlfriend or boyfriend. YOU are responsible for YOUR life. Excuses are sometimes helpful, but they do not play long in this life.

If you cannot get your sorry carcass out of bed in the morning, it is YOUR deal, not someone else’s fault. If you cannot get your assignment turned in on time and I do not take it, it will not serve you well to try and whine your way into getting that assignment into my hands.

YOU are responsible for your life. Know what is expected and then do it. Very simple rules of life. This one is key. You are an adult.

I like you. Liking you has nothing to do with you failing a class because you did not get your work in. Liking you does not cause me to overlook poor work and give you a passing grade. Liking you has everything with me telling you what is expected and then, oddly enough, asking you to live up to that expectation! I will like you if you pass the class. I will like you if you fail the class. Liking you has nothing to do with you being an adult.

“No one has ever been — no one can ever be — educated in school or college. The reasons is simply that youth itself — immaturity — is an insuperable obstacle to being educated. Schooling is for the youth. Education comes later, usually much later.” (Mortimer Adler)

I am realizing this more and more in my own life and in the lives of students I teach in college. In earlier stages of my life I thought I had an education. All I received at that time was information and knowledge. The importance of receiving that “schooling” cannot be underestimated. It helped form my education. My education has continued. Now, as I strive to finish another degree in seminary, I see education in my life. What I thought I had learned before I realize I was now applying it. Seminary has helped me realize the formation of a new education in my life. Yet, I sit with fellow students who are not yet in ministry. While they are learning the same things I am learning, they are only being “schooled” to a point because they do not have the same frame of reference. Their education in the church is still ahead.

At the college level, the students I have really have more to learn. This is part of my education as well. When I get frustrated with their lack of progress in common sense, I am reminded by a mentor of mine that when I was that age I thought I had it all together, too! My education continues. I must “school” the college students. I must prepare them for their future education.

Holiness. We do not have this concept fully in our brains. I use the collective “we” because I am guilty.

The past few weeks have seen some devastating spiritual losses in situations near and far. In the midst of spiritual victories we still battle with defeat!

From Ted Haggard stepping aside as president of the NAE as well as his megachurch, there is the new story of another Denver area pastor (another megachurch) who stepped aside because of homosexual encounters.

Closer to home, the school where I teach has had to deal with issues among student leaders, one of which is so horrifying there are possible charges pending against the young man. Sexual immorality again.

We have lost our way and the Lord is going through pruning away…again. We need to heed the call.

Fear God. Really. Tremble. He is HOLY. Do we have any idea what that means? Are we so lost in our own little worlds we just have no regard for the One who is “wholly other”? He is magnificent, and we treat him so shamefully.

May our hearts break. May MY HEART break…

Fear him. Know him. Take the time.

This is the God who DELIGHTS in us! He is so thankful for us, even in our sin! That thought simply blows me away. Our delight needs to be in him. Too often, our delight is in ourselves.

Break our hearts, O God.

The closer we get to spiritual victory the more roadblocks come our way. They are not big roadblocks for me. They are STUPID roadblocks. Things I watch out before, I just don’t see and all of a sudden I am dealing with things that never bothered me before. It’s embarrassing and frustrating.

These would be the times where I need to realize: HELLO! This is WAR! Get it in gear, pal!

We stand on the cusp of something great in our town and I allow little foxes to spoil the vine. Lord, I ask that you settle down my spirit! Let me BREATHE.

“If the Bible were to completely fulfill its mission, our minds would be so transformed — so filled with thoughts and feelings of truth, love, joy and humility — that our lives would become one uninterrupted series of acts of grace and moral beauty. Every moment would be a miniature reflection of life in the kingdom of God.”
— John Ortberg
The Life You’ve Always Wanted

A prayer from Gordon MacDonald for Ted Haggard, his family, and New Life Church in Colorado Springs:

Lord and Father,
How sad you must be when you see the most powerful and the weakest of your children fall prey to the energy of sin and evil. There is nothing any one has ever done that we –each of us—is not capable of doing. So when we pray for our brother, Ted Haggard, we pray not out of pity or self-righteousness but with a humble spirit because we stand with him on level ground before the cross.
Father, give this man and his wife the gift of your grace. Protect them from the constant accusations of the evil one who will seek to deny them sleep, tempt them to talk too much to the public, arouse conflict between them as a couple and with their children. Send the right people into their lives who can provide the correct mixture of hope and healing love. Deliver them from people who will curry their favor by telling them things they should not hear. Restrain them from making poor judgments in their most fearful moments.
>Lord, be present to the leaders and people of the New Life Church. And to the NAE leadership which has to live with the side effects of this tragedy. And to people in the evangelical tradition who are wondering today who they can trust. What more can we pray for? You know all things. We so very little.

My heart is so broken over the loss of Ted Haggard’s ministry. There is so much we can learn, but over all, I am broken. One problem I have in my own life is that I am so busy I have no time to process all of this. I have no time to be truly broken. My heart really needs to grieve.

These words of Martin Luther speak of the absolute majesty of God. There is a hunger, there is a FEAST to which we are called. We need to TASTE AND SEE that the Lord is good! Lord, help us to be saturated, intoxicated, and captivated by WHO YOU ARE!

Now, since these promises of God are words of holiness, truth,
righteousness, liberty, and peace,
and are full of universal
goodness, the soul, which cleaves to them with a firm faith, is
so united to them, nay, thoroughly absorbed by them, that it not
only partakes in, but is penetrated and saturated by, all their
virtues. For if the touch of Christ was healing, how much more
does that most tender spiritual touch, nay, absorption of the
, communicate to the soul all that belongs to the word! In
this way therefore the soul, through faith alone, without works,
is from the word of God justified, sanctified, endued with truth,
peace, and liberty, and filled full with every good thing, and is
truly made the child of God, as it is said, “To them gave He
power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His
name” (John i. 12).

Martin Luther, Freedom of the Christian

Happy Halloween! I mean…Happy Reformation Day!

This from Wikipedia on what Reformation Day is all about:

Reformation Day is a religious holiday celebrated in remembrance of the Reformation, particularly by Lutheran and Reformed church communities. It takes place on October 31 and is an official holiday in many countries. It coincides with Halloween, the eve before All Saints’ Day. Many families in the Reformed tradition do not allow their children to observe Halloween because of various perceived Satanic associations (see Halloween).
On this day in
1517, Martin Luther posted a proposal at the doors of a church in Wittenberg, Germany to debate the doctrine and practice of indulgences. This proposal is popularly known as the 95 Theses, which he nailed to the Castle Church doors. This was not an act of defiance or provocation as is sometimes thought. Since the Castle Church faced Wittenberg’s main thoroughfare, the church door functioned as a public bulletin board and was therefore the logical place for posting important notices. Nonetheless, the event created a controversy between Luther and those allied with the Pope over a variety of doctrines and practices. When Luther and his supporters were excommunicated in 1520, the Lutheran, Reformed and Anabaptist traditions were born.
Within the
Lutheran church, Reformation Day is considered a minor festival, and is officially referred to as The Festival of the Reformation. Until the 20th Century, most Lutheran churches celebrated Reformation Day on October 31st, regardless of which day of the week it occurred. Today, most Lutheran churches transfer the festival, so that it falls on the Sunday (called Reformation Sunday) on or before October 31st and transfer All Saints’ Day to the Sunday on or after November 1st.
The liturgical color of the day is red, which represents the Holy Spirit and the Martyrs of the Christian Church. Luther’s hymn,
A Mighty Fortress is our God is traditionally sung on this day. Lutherans customarily stand during the hymn, in memory of its use in the religious wars of the Sixteenth Century.

Thoughts on Spiritual Formation from great examples who dare to go before:

The mountain is where one seeks to transcend ordinary human experience; the desert is where one enters it most deeply.

Belden Lane, The Solace of Fierce Landscapes

I have it in me so much nearer home to scare myself with my own desert places.

Robert Frost, from “Desert Places”

Go and pray to the Lord to command some struggle to be stirred up in you, for the soul is matured only in battles.

Abbot John the Dwarf in Thomas Merton, The Wisdom of the Desert

Precisely because our secular milieu offers us so few spiritual disciplines, we have to develop our own. We have, indeed, to fashion our own desert where we can withdraw every day, shake off our compulsions, and dwell in the gentle healing presence of our Lord.

Henri J. M. Nouwen, The Way of the Heart