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Archive for November, 2008

Bird Day at the Wilsons

November 27, 2008 2 comments

Bird Day has arrived! Winter and the Holiday season here!

This Thanksgiving is officially our fourth Thanksgiving since we got married, but it is our first all by our lonesome.

In previous years, we have always spent Thanksgiving back in Texas with our families or in Louisville gathered around the Bruce family’s massive table.

Since we couldn’t be in either place this year, we decided to share our first Bird Day with all of you!

Cue the videos:

(45 minutes later . . . )

(1 hour later . . . )

Happy Bird Day!

(If you are still waiting for the report of the rest of our Louisville trip … we haven’t forgotten, that will be posted soon.)

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the point of wrestling with writing

November 26, 2008 Leave a comment

whenever I start writing a paper for class, there is always a little part of me that wonders if all the work and frustration of wrangling with words is going to be worth it.

penpaperit almost always is.

i just finished a paper that is probably one of the most challenging papers I have written in a while.  it was only 8-10 pages, but I had a lot to say and it was an extremely controversial and taboo subject relating to sexual ethics, so it took a lot of work to pack everything in and stay on point.

when you write papers about hard things the process is for yor benefit – it stretches you to think deeply and clearly.

when you write paper about controversial things it is for the benfit of others – you battle with the controversy and come out better able to explain and serve.

when you write papers that require a lot of wrestling to make sure that what you are saying is right – you honor God because you have labored to submit your thought to his greater wisdom and authority.

now if only I could learn to be more diligent, less lazy, and not procrastinate so much…

“seeing but not seeing”

November 24, 2008 Leave a comment

We all have eyes.brokenglasses

We, all, are blind.

I should be spending the time it takes to write these words on finishing my paper on sexual ethics, but I found myself distracted by thinking about my time at City Fellowship Church here in Jackson yesterday (Sunday).

I love Pastor Russ, he is a man I look up to very much and whose insight I thank the Lord for with some frequency.

In Matthew 13, Jesus’ disciples are baffled by their rabbi’s use of parables to teach the people of Israel.  In their confusion they come to him and ask him to explain himself. His response:

“To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand” (v11-13)

The crowd could see perfectly well, but they could not see what was right before their eyes – clear as day and in their face.

They missed it.  Sound familiar?

We are no better than they and, like the disciples, we desperately need Christ to interpret and explain everything to us.

We think we understand.  We think we’ve got it down.  We think that our eyesight is crystal clear and our reasoning, infallible.

We are wrong and, as Russ reminded the church that gathers at the little yellow building on the corner of E. Main and Royal, we have blindspots.

We have blindspots as individuals.  We have blindspots as a congregation.  We have blindspots as movements of like-thinking and like-living Christians.

That leaves me with three thoughts rolling around in my head:

  • Who is in the car with me, sitting with a different vantage point so that their blindspots and my blindspots don’t line up and become our blindspots?  Who is travelling with me who can see around the corners and identify sin and danger that I will easily overlook?
  • Is my study of the Scripture, which is infallible, left up to my own understanding, which is not? Or, do I constantly submit myself in utter dependency upon to One who is all seeing, all hearing, all knowing, and all merciful to share His perfect wisdom with me?
  • And, lastly, here is Russ’ question that may help us to peek around the corners to see things we may currently by blind to: “Where has our culture/family/history/experience given us an unthinking sense of ‘normalcy’?

Well, let’s not leave that as a rhetorical question.  Please, if you have any, I would love to hear your thoughts about blindspots – personal, cultural, religious, or whatever.

4 minutes fast: the letter ‘w’

November 21, 2008 4 comments

While we were in Louisville I caught wind of a funny idea for a youtube game.

Here’s the story.

Ben Dockery (director of Alumni Relations at Southern Seminary, if you are interested) received a text message from Joe Garner (director of awesome music by he, himself, and his band) to the following effect:

Have you ever repeated the letter “W” as fast as you can for 4 minutes?

So Ben gave it a shot and said that it was pretty wild – you ended up saying really ridiculous stuff and laughing hysterically.

Sounded like fun to me, so I decided to give it a shot, video the results, and post it on the blog:

Here’s my project for you:

Give it a shot, take the “4 minutes fast” challenge.  If you want, start with the classic “Letter W” like I did, or branch out and try something different.

Be sure to video yourself so you can see how ridiculous you look – and don’t be shy, post it on youtube.

Don’t forget to post a link in the comments below if you take the challenge.

I am already thinking of other things that I could try to repeat 4 minutes fast, what about you?

(p.s. – that’s Beth and my buddy Matt Elia laughing in the background)

Beth, big trees, beards, and baby

November 20, 2008 2 comments

I know, I am going a bit post crazy here lately, but we have been having a lot of fun lately and a lot of really good things have been happening in us and around us.

Because I love writing and I love that this blog gives us the chance to keep communication going with our friends, family, students, and even beloved strangers – I just cannot help but knock out a post or two when things come up.

Something simple but joyous came up.

There is this tree at the corner of our little street here in Jackson that is just gorgeous this fall.  It is really boring most of the year, but in the past few days it just exploded into a golden fire of yellow foliage.

I was stunned by its beauty when we were driving by it on the way home from work yesterday, so we stopped to take a couple photos and ended up shooting this little video starring Beth, the big tree, Lee’s beard, and baby Abby:

I hope you’re not bored, stay tuned for more things that are sure to come up (like more on our trip to Louisville this past weekend)

spotlight: the Bible and Brandon

November 20, 2008 Leave a comment

irruption

If you keep track of some of the Christian blogs out there in the wild and wooly worldwide web you will notice a lot of opinionating, theologizing, and less-than-riveting analysis.

I bring this up, not to bash or hate, but to explain why I feel that it is worthwhile to occassionally spotlight certain blog posts, emails, comments, etc. here at the rewilson blog.

There is something about my buddy J sitting down on a hot, dusty, flu-ridden day somewhere in Africa, openning his Bible up and being taught from the Scriptures by God’s Spirit.  There is something about that moment that is joy filled and sacred that just has to be shared, has to be passed on.

In much the same way, when I read my buddy Brandon Roger’s (of bbrogers.com fame, who also writes over at irruption) post about his time reading Mark’s Gospel, I just cannot help but spotlight it.

Read it, you might find yourself reminded that our Sovereign and Savior is no tame or tepid God.  You may be reminded why you love your Bible and love the Jesus who the Bible is written about.  You may find yourself thinking, “that’s not the Jesus I am familiar with” and you may find that it is time for you to meet him again – for the first time:

No One Could Subdue Him

I’ve begun a journey through the Gospel of Mark.

The norm, for me, for studying a book of the Bible is just to plunge in and hit it up verse(s) by verse(s) until I’m done. I did that with Matthew, 1 & 2 Corinthians, John, and Hebrews. I do feel, however, that it may have been the wrong way to start. How can I study something verse by verse without understanding the larger structure and over-arching themes of the book as a whole?

So I’ve begun studying Mark by just reading it through from beginning to end, which I’ll repeat a few times, figuring out what Mark’s structure and big picture is before delving into the minutiae. And this has been absolutely refreshing. It has enabled me to read Mark as literature (though not just any literature), enjoying the narrative and being amazed at the person of Jesus (a la Bret’s post about marveling at the Christ). I really like it when that happens. When I’m realizing the uniqueness, the power, the holiness, the wisdom, and the love of Jesus in a way that baffles me…I know I’m heading down the right path.

One of these instances happened this morning as I read about Jesus and the man with an unclean spirit in Mark 5. The story goes that Jesus steps out of a boat and is immediately (Mark’s favorite word) met by this demon-possessed man. He lived amongst the tombs, yelling and crying out constantly. The word says this guy was so overrun with demonic power that he could break chains and shackles apart. “No one had the strength to subdue him.”

Enter Jesus.

As soon as he steps foot on the beach, the possessed man bows to him as the demons shriek, “What have you to do with me Jesus, Son of the Most High God?”

“What’s your name,” Jesus asks.

“Legion, for we are many.”

And Jesus casts the legion of demons into a herd of two thousand pigs which subsequently rushed down a steep bank into the sea, drowning themselves. The man with demonic power whom no one had the strength to subdue, had been subdued by Jesus.

What else can this be besides a HUGE indicator that Jesus, King of the Universe, has come in power and rules over all? Even a myriad of demons can do nothing but beg for mercy from the one into whose hands all power has been given.

Sure, I may have gone a bit crazy with the spotlights here lately, but I just can’t stand the thought of not sharing a couple of posts that were written by three people who mean a great deal to me and who have seen incredible works of God’s grace through his Word (thanks J & Brandon) and through his people (thanks for sharing Sarah).

I hope these spotlights were for your good and your joy in Jesus Christ.

spotlight: out of Africa

November 19, 2008 2 comments

This morning when I arrived at work, one of my best friends in the world had sent out a message from where he is serving as a  worker sharing the Gospel in a location that will remain undisclosed.

Lately, he has been having some hard times.

His boss’ home was broken into by a mob of theives while he and his family were inside sleeping.  He has been really sick, perhaps with the flu, for at least a week.  He is really lonely, having little work to do (in terms of planned out projects) and missing his beloved girl, Kelly Beth, like crazy.

On top of that, the man who had had devoted months to teaching the bible and discipling him to follow Jesus was fired from his job for breaking into an apartment and stealing money.

It has been hard and discouraging of late.

That is why this email was of such great encouragement to me – just hearing that J’s spirits have been lifted and encouraged by the Holy Scriptures.

Remember, as you read the email, that J is in a country that requires him to use secure language in his communications, so you will have to fill in a few blanks, but I think you can handle it:

j-and-lee-1What I read this morning that really brought me to my knees…

So after a long line of horrible kings and leaders, Hezekiah comes along as king of Judah.  He gets rid of all the false gods and high places, and follows the Lord and obeys him.  The king of Assyria starts threatening him however, and tells him he’s getting ready to come destroy Hezekiah and his people.  Hezekiah’s response is to humble himself, and pr@y.  Think about the pain and anxiety he must’ve felt – a nation has just come and told him he’s getting ready to kill him and wipe out his people.

2 Kings 19:20 “Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying, ‘Thus says the L, the G of Israel:  Your pr@yer to me about Sennacherib king of Assyria I have heard.'” I can’t even type those words without chills running down my spine.  The G of the universe, who created everything, sends a direct word to Hezekiah – a man – and literally tells him, “I’ve heard your pr@yer.”  Ok… fast forward to…

Luke 19:46.  J is ticked at what is going on in the temple.  He tells us, “My house shall be a house of pr@yer.” Ok… so what does Paul say about the temple?…

1 Cor 6:19-20 “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the HS within you, whom you have from G?  You are not your own, for you were bought with a price.  So glorify G in your body.” Wow.  So we are the living temple.  The temple is to be a house of pr@yer.  G literally told Hezekiah, “I have heard your pr@yer.” Ok…

Matt 7:7-11 “Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.  Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent?  If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”  (thanks Lee)

Not convinced?  How bout James 5:15-16 “And the pr@yer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the L will raise him up.  And if he has commited sins, he will be forgiven.  Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pr@y for one another, that you may be healed.  The pr@yer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” (thanks pops)

By the way, the story in Hezekiah.  It ends in chapter 19 with “And that night the angel of the L went out and struck down 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians.  And when people arose early in the morning, behold, these were all dead bodies.”  I love how simply put that was.  Perhaps Hezekiah had faith that Father would deliver him.  I doubt he thought he would do it without even requiring Hezekiah to even lift a finger.  I doubt he expected father to answer by literally send an angel to destroy his enemies.

Why do I pr@y in a box so often?  Is there any reason to doubt that Father does not hear our pr@yers?  Is there any reason to not have faith that when we pr@y towards his glory, that he will accomplish it?  Father doesn’t need you, but in his gr@ce he has predestined that we pr@y for that which we seek.  This is a blessing beyond measure.  Don’t let your heart be discouraged, father calls us to humble ourselves and pr@y.  And don’t let what you see with your own eyes become the only channels you see father working through.  He who used an angel to destroy 250,000, and he who told Hezekiah, “I have heard your pr@yer,” WILL answer in ways that seem impossible to our finite view.

To JC our L be the glory,

J

Bro, thanks for teaching me about the necessity of prayer, urgent prayer, and our need to trust in our Lord and God for everything – humbling ourselves before him, swallowing our pride, and trusting him in faith as we come before him in prayer.