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Pursuit of Glory: May 2006

One of the greatest privileges and advancements of believers, both in this world and unto eternity, consists in their beholding the glory of Christ.

-John Owen, The Glory of Christ

Why "Pursuit of Glory"

I have often wondered about the purpose of blogging and I have 100 different thoughts/opinions about why I write here. Yet I feel like blogging for me is a chance to reflect upon my own thoughts and sharpen them. Writing a post takes me a lot of time because I write and rewrite as I learn how to communicate clearly and concisely. Funny enough, there are still many times where I have no idea what I was trying to communicate about X, Y, or Z.

This brings me to the title of this blog. I love the word glory. The word in and of itself screams of something great. I have looked it up many times in dictionaries only to be disappointed at the lack of depth those definitions hold. When I see the word glory I often think of Christ. I have come to love Him dearly yet he still seems like a huge mystery. So here I have this Man who is far and away the most amazing person ever to live, based on what I know about Him, and yet there is still so much that I don't know. He is truly Glory personified. As I live my life I have come to believe that the more I know about Christ the ugly layers of sin will fall away. In the presence of greatness our hearts, too, desire to be great. Just like when we watch a movie about war heroes or sports legends we often walk away resolved to show more, courage, strength, fortitude, etc. Since we have been commanded to follow Christ I have realized that I will not be successful unless I am actively engaged in the pursuit of Glory.

Uncomfortable Situations

I can be one of those people who like to avoid uncomfortable situations. It is often so much easier to hope that someone else will take care of that awkward situation. Maybe it is talking with a loved one about something hard, or something that they could find offensive. Maybe it is stepping out and welcoming someone who doesn't look like they will mesh with out own personality or belief system. For teachers it could be making that hard phone call to a student's parents. It could be parents admitting personal fault to their children. We all have them, they are those situations where you come to the point of decision and you will look for anything else to do besides dealing with the "elephant in the room".

Whatever the uncomfortable situation might be, it is often those situations that are exactly in the center of God's Will for us at that moment. It is in those situations that we are forced to rely upon the Lord for strength that goes much deeper than our own. Oh Lord, for the strength to lead boldly.

Reflections of Glory

I stumbled upon this post titled "What Do I Want to Do?" by Wes Fryer. I encourage everyone to take the time to read it for a small example of, what I believe to be, faith in the "real" world. Through Wes's blog I am always encouraged to pursue God, even though his posts are not always about spiritual issues. Regardless of what he writes about it is obvious that he gives his job a great amount of effort. It is apparent that he believes the work he is doing will help people. I love how he serves the education community freely and faithfully, so that when he does speak of his faith he in essence becomes a reflection of glory for the Lord in his field. As Christ came into this world not to be served but to serve. Wes seems to be a classic case of a Genesis 12 fulfillment who has been blessed with much (skills, knowledge, etc.) so that he can be a blessing (educating, leading, etc.). I don't know Wes aside from a few emails back and forth but I am sure the work he does allows him to have many conversations about the things in life that mean even more to him than his job.

As our Sr. Pastor is on sabbatical and studying "Spirituality and Work" I found myself asking this question, can everyone complete the tasks of their daily jobs with a sense of purpose that is greater than what they are actually working towards? I don't want to convey the common thought that we go to work so that we can be a witness for the Lord and that there is nothing greater than that. But is it possible to do our jobs so well because we see that there is a motivation in the jobs that we do above just completing the task or creating opportunities for conversation. That motivation being an attempt to do our best to reflect the person of Christ. I don't feel like I am making a lot of sense here, let me frame it in a different way. I would have really liked to sit in a chair that Jesus made or eat at a table He had made because I am confident that they were probably really good pieces of furniture, made with all the passion that Christ had for the job He was doing. I can't see Christ working half-heartedly at anything. Is there a way for every person to work at their jobs with the same passion that Christ poured into his work, study and teaching.

Here are my last questions that I have yet to answer:

Can we all live our lives and work at or jobs with the passion for making things good and serving, like we see in Wes's post?

If we can but we cannot at the job we work at currently, will it require a change of attitude or change of job so that we can?

Can you imagine a world of workers who delight in what they do and believe that their work is essential to the forward progress of all those around us?

The Great Race

Well on Sunday April 23 Scott and I ran a race that I look forward to running again next year (Right Scott?). It would be fun to run the entire circuit but I don't think I could survive a summer of these races! I am just now feeling like I have my legs back from this one. It was labeled as an adventure triathalon and was put on by Blue Hills Adventures out of Manhattan. Here are a few pictures for your enjoyment.

Scott had before mentioned that this was his first "real" competitive race outside of swimming. And I hadn't raced since Jr. High. You can imagine the shell shock I had when we see all of $1500 + bikes and loads of gear that people had laid out in Transition Area 1 (TA1).

Here we are at the briefing where they tell us that the course is minimally marked and you can see most of the checkpoints from the race route. After this they told us we would start with one person on a bike and the other running. The person with the blue mark was the lucky one here as they were able to start on the bike. Darn the luck. After finding this out we proceeded to the start line where they handed us a rope. Many of the experienced racers began chuckling. I did not. It turns out that not only was I running first but I was going to be tied to Scott as he rode his bike.

We fell to the back of the pack fairly quickly as I am not a good runner. After a little less than a mile or so of running next to Scott we arrived back at TA1. From here we started a long run around the Rocky shore of Tuttle Creek and around a few trails. It was at this point that we began to pass people fairly consistently. Though we were passing a few teams I lagged behind Scott. I would like to blame it on the fact that I had already run a ways, but I am sure the quality of shape I was in had something to do with it as well.

From here we arrived back at TA1 were Scott and I started a 2-3 mile kayak in the open water of Tuttle Creek Reservoir. Not much to note here. With a higher combined weight we did not do so well in the kayaks falling behind again. At this point of the race I got my first paralyzing cramp in my right calf, not a good thing, in a tiny inflatable kayak! After the Kayak the race took on a new look for us, transitioning to the bikes was a great thing.

Biking was our strong point. We passed several people as we navigated down the highway that led to a road east of Tuttle. Upon arriving at Rocky Ford Fishing area we had our first technical challenge. Scott and I had one hand tethered to each other and then was forced to balance a tennis ball on a board balanced with our other two hands as we navigated an obstacle course. It took us twice but we did not lose much time. From here we did a little off road biking.

Eventually we came to the spill way where we ran up to the actual flood gates and had to gather ten letters from school boxes and then unscramble them to spell "floodgates". This combination of sprinting and thinking was extremely hard at this point in the race. After running back to our bikes we had one check point left and it seemed as though we were home free and in the top ten, possibly. With about a half to full mile of biking to go downhill most of the way we figured we were in good shape to finish well. Until Scott yelled the bad news from behind, "Flat Tire!". I hopped off to go help and instantly both of my calves and quads cramped up leaving me in a world of pain. We watched as several teams passed while we fought the tire. In the end we finished 16th place with a time of 3:54:35. If was a great time!

A Few Thoughts

As I prepare for an upcoming VBS I am fascinated by the Jewish context in which Christ lived. For a good chunk of my Christian life I have viewed Judaism as a "bad" religion both past and present. Yet as I gain a better understanding of history and culture I am realizing that our Jewish heritage is very rich. Many Jewish students have the Pentateuch (first five books of the bible) memorized by age twelve and if they show promise in the scriptures will continue on and often have the entire old testament memorized in the ball park of 18 years of age. I am 24, and I would be lucky to claim to have 5 consecutive chapters under my belt.

Now I realize that there is a difference between reciting and becoming a disciple of Christ. Yet, do we as Christians invest the time that God desires us to invest in knowing Him? In what disciplines should that time be invested?

The more I know, the more I realize I don't know.

Honda Cog

I spend a lot of time on computers and I think it is very amazing to see what they can do. Yet, in a world where most of what we see on TV or in magazines is constructed in a computer it is refreshing to see something that was still completed in the old fashioned way of trial and error.

Here are a few screen shots from the two minute commercial.

In addition to the pictures here are a couple of articles that explain the authenticity of the commercial from Snopes and the Telegraph.

Now for the Movie:

Edit: It is probably noteworthy to mention that this is a few years old. The sound on the video I posted is a little off which makes it look a little hoaxy, but if you google "Honda Accord Cog" you will find some high quality videos of this commercial.

Favorite Sign

I had this picture sent to me today and it is officially my favorite sign.

I am thinking about getting one of these for the children's wing of Faith.

Led By God

What does it mean to be led by God?

As I was talking with my wife tonight we were talking about why I had taken on a specific responsibility. She asked two things:

1.) Was it something that I was doing to look good?
2.) Did I feel led to do it by the Lord?

The second question caught my attention and as I talked with my wife a few different pictures came forward in my mind.

1.) Is being led by God comparable to an owner walking his dog on a leash, determining the direction the dog will go? Thus, conveying an idea that being led by God is straightforward and clear to the one being led. If this is the case then I would say that I am not led that often, but it is a powerful experience when I am.

2.) Is being led by God comparable to an owner walking with his dog, without a leash, allowing the dog to go in the direction he chooses, while being influenced by all that his owner has taught him? Thus, being led by God is a matter of our own choosing as it relates to our understanding of the Master desires. If this is the case, I would say that I am led more often, but am often less confident about my leading.

Time to see what the bible has to say about this. If you have any bible verses that might help here, let me know.

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