NRH+

Until Christ comes again, he has left us with his word. And so we, God’s people in the “time in between,” attend to it. We preach it. We proclaim it. We meditate on it. We share it. We do all this because God has put his almighty power in it. In its proclamation souls are saved, hopes are revived, sagging spirits are strengthened.

Saleska, T. E. (2001). Third Sunday after the Epiphany, Year C. In The lectionary commentary: theological exegesis for Sunday’s texts, volume one (p. 256). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

How we have blemished and scarred that body

Yes, these questions are still in my mind. In deep disappointment I have wept over the laxity of the church. But be assured that my tears have been tears of love. There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love. Yes, I love the church. How could I do otherwise? I am in the rather unique position of being the son, the grandson and the great grandson of preachers. Yes, I see the church as the body of Christ. But, oh! How we have blemished and scarred that body through social neglect and through fear of being nonconformists.

A tragic misconception of time

I have just received a letter from a white brother in Texas. He writes: “All Christians know that the colored people will receive equal rights eventually, but it is possible that you are in too great a religious hurry. It has taken Christianity almost two thousand years to accomplish what it has. The teachings of Christ take time to come to earth.” Such an attitude stems from a tragic misconception of time, from the strangely irrational notion that there is something in the very flow of time that will inevitably cure all ills. Actually, time itself is neutral; it can be used either destructively or constructively. More and more I feel that the people of ill will have used time much more effectively than have the people of good will. We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.

Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will.

…I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

Mornin’

I once asked a Lutheran pastor why we needed the sacraments if the grace given by simply believing in Jesus is enough for ultimate salvation. He said, “Because Nathan, God wants to give you more than enough grace—grace upon grace!”

God didn’t just save us and heal us, he pours out his Spirit upon us so we can have life, and life abundant.

I am excited to preach about the extravagant, over-the-top love of God tomorrow morning!

Pray for me.

I have been really loving Spider-Man on the PS4!

My little Missouri Meerchaum Morgan pipe looks comically huge here because because of the angle, but it’s actually tiny and light. A great pocket pipe and nice when you need to go hands-free.

Brilliant discussion with renowned New Testament scholar N. T. Wright on the historical Jesus, the destructive potential of ultra-conservative Christianity, and the implausibility of an “epistemological Switzerland.”

I read this week about the miracle at Cana, when Jesus turned water into wine.

His mother Mary didn’t demand a specific solution to the problem at hand.

She simply and humbly told Jesus “they’ve run out of wine” in faith that he would do whatever was best.

If only I had that confidence and humility in prayer.

Got some news today that was—initially—quite disappointing.

But I was reminded that because of Jesus there’s nothing to fear, even if things don’t go the way I thought they would.

God is always present, and always loving.

Scot McKnight talks infant baptism and the New Testament. Solid.

🍿 Finally saw Bumblebee yesterday afternoon with Amber and really enjoyed it. As far as Transformers movies go it is certainly the best so far—it manages to add genuine heart and solid pacing to the franchise’s trademark robot action. Plus, you know I loved that 80’s nostalgia.

Sermon inspiration.

Just deleted Reddit from my phone 😱

EDIT: replaced with Pocket.

“The Cross has the final word!!” Loving this song. Will be a great Lenten reflection.

This is Edit.

A simple piece of paper to write on as needed. It opens instantly, ready to capture whatever you’ve got on your mind.

It includes a word counter, light and dark themes, the ability to quickly select all text, and sharing via the iOS share sheet. Everything you need in a mobile writing app and nothing you don’t.

Many of my emails, blog posts, lists, have been drafted first in Edit. It’s my favorite space on my phone to start writing.

Reminders

PLAN THE WORK WORK THE PLAN

⌨ Writing. Soundtrack: David Baloche.

Nana’s Pie from Isa’s is one of my favorite slices in Phoenix

Martin Smith of Delirious? fame is at the height of his vintage Bono/U2 channeling ability on his project from 2017, Army of Bones.

I flipping love it.

A little bit of Sutliff Christmas Spice during the downtime before tonight’s Epiphany Party at church.

My wife, Amber, has flown to Texas to be with her family as they grieve the loss of her Nana and celebrate the beautiful life she lived.

I enjoyed helping Amber pack (I am a bit obsessed with packing) and was especially pleased that she opted to borrow one of my light backpacks and go carry-on only instead of checking a heavy bag. I like to feel like I’m helping her in this difficult process in some way.

I’ll miss her tomorrow at church; it’s never the same without her. I know she was so looking forward to the Epiphany party we have planned. That won’t be the same without her either.

The kids really miss her already. I let them all stay sleep in the same room since they asked and it seemed liked a comforting idea to them. Jensen gladly made a comfy pallet on the floor to sleep in between his sisters’ beds.

I taped a list of stuff to the door not to forget in the morning rush to church: bakery-bought cakes (they will be great, but I will miss Amber’s French-style King’s Cakes…plus I know she loves to make them) my guitar (helping with the music tomorrow), my backpack (with the music I need) and laptop (just in case).

And the kids, of course.

Book: Celebrating the 12 Days of Christmas by Chris Marchand » It happened: the book is funded! — Kickstarter

GREAT news. I am excited to be a part of this project.