Thursday, May 19, 2011


A couple weeks ago I listened to Adrian Warnock interview Liam Goligher.

Liam: There is a magic that happens in the pulpit...

Adrian: *discusses words used for that: anointing, unction

Liam: It's the Holy Spirit taking up the preacher, it's the word coming in power, what Paul was preaching about: not in word only, but also in power.

They go on to talk about the role of the Holy Spirit in preaching. Later in the discussion Adrian and Liam talk about listening to preaching.

Liam: Even this note taking thing... I've gotta stop reading when somebody is reading the Bible to me and hear it the way it was meant to be heard. The Bible was meant to be read. If I'm taking notes I'm replicating a lecture hall... Calvin believed strongly this was a divine interaction taking place.

Last night, reading Spurgeon's conversion account, I was reminded of the interview:

Personally, I have to thank God for many good books; I thank him for Dr. Doddridge's Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul; for Baxter's Call to the Unconverted; for Allein's Alarm to Sinners; and for James' Anxious Enquirer; but my gratitude most of all is due to God, not for books, but for the preached Word,

He goes on to describe the snowstorm/country laymen sermon that brought him to Christ.

These are interesting thoughts for an educator like me. I am working on projects where I try to see how much music I can get out of young learners without introducing note reading. I want to find out how much music they can internalize before they need visual cues.

I've always been a more visual learner myself. But when I'm glued to music notation I'm not anywhere on the path to learning jazz. And if I'm copying down a powerpoint during a sermon maybe I'm missing part of God's personal message to me.

Faith comes by hearing, hearing by the Word of God.

We who, in the modern era, used to attend lectures on the weekends for kicks, now can't hear what someone is saying next to us for staring at our iphones. How much of the gospel is our visually overstimulated society missing? We have become dull of hearing in many ways.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Good link every Christian MUST read

Evangelize by loving Christians. A Biblical mandate Satan wants us to forget. Please take two seconds to read this concise but thought-provoking article!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Boy like me, Man like you

So, Jesus. You're from earth?

Yeah, but, you know; I'm originally from heaven.

Nope. Jesus wasn't like that. He was one of us. You know, it's not even like Jesus came over one day to shoot a few hoops to make us THINK he was one of us; he WAS one of us. Jesus didn't have to kiss babies or have his own family to show that he was down-to-earth; Jesus was from Hicktown, Galilee.

I started thinking about this when I was reading Hebrews 2 this week. I've always thought: 'Why do we talk about Psalm 8 and refer to ourselves' (What is man, that God is mindful of him, or the son of man, that God cares for him?); 'but then the writer of Hebrews uses Psalm 8 to refer to Christ?' (God has crowned him with glory and honor, putting everything in subjection under his feet.)

During Monday's reading God opened my eyes and I understood: this passage works because Jesus WAS a human being. Yes, God notices the human race and cares for us. And by honoring Christ in verses 7-8 God is in effect honoring or giving special attention to the entire human race, because Jesus came from us.

Of course I knew that's what Hebrews 2 was getting at and of course I've believed in the incarnation since I was 2. But this is a fresh look. In the great Super Bowl of the Universe, Jesus won and he is, in essence, from my hometown.

Those thoughts flashed through my mind during a hurried Bible reading Monday morning. I got to choir practice Monday night and God had incredibly planned for me to sing and meditate about God's provision for our race through the incarnation. Who could say it better than the Apostle Paul and then hammer into my system better than Handel and a good choir?

Since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.

By. man.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Books about snow that you should read to your child.

I'm very interested in reading to children, although I hope I don't overstep my bounds being the music specialist in my elementary school. I slip literature in whenever I can. Here are two snow-themed books that you should read to your children.

Snowflake Bentley tells the story about Wilson A. Bentley, the first person to ever photograph a single snow crystal. The story blends biography with storytelling well and although I think it might be most fitting for 2nd-3rd grade I was even able to interest my preschoolers with it for a few minutes. The artistic storytelling is enhanced by great artwork and pictures of snow crystals.

My mom read Treasures in the Snow to me. Patricia St. John sets her story about children and forgiveness in Switzerland. A small war of revenge between two children, Annette and Lucien, turns almost deadly when Annette's younger brother Dani gets in a life-threatening accident that is Lucien's fault. The concepts of guilt, forgiveness, and reconciliation come alive.

You can read the original 'chapter book' or, if you have a Sunday School class or teach very young children you can get the visual version. The third grade teachers at my school are reading the original version right now.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Who is this blue-cold child...

I read Flannery O'Connor's The Violent Bear it Away last winter, and I thought this section, in particular, was beautiful prose. I also thought it would be appropriate for Christmas, so I didn't blog about it right away. Here it is.

Context: Rayber, the agnostic schoolteacher has found himself taking care of his nephew Tarwater, who had been raised in the wilderness by his self-proclaimed prophet Grandfather. One day Tarwater gets a chance to go out and explore his new urban surroundings and is, as could be expected, drawn to a revival meeting. Rayber secretly follows Tarwater and is incensed to find that headlining the revival meeting is a small child.

"Listen you people," she said and flung her arms wide, "God told the world He was going to send it a king and the world waited. The world thought, a golden fleece will do for His bed. Silver and gold and peacock tails, a thousand suns in a peacock's tail will do for His sash. His mother will ride on a four-horned white beast and use the sunset for a cape. She'll trail it behind her over the ground and let the world pull it to pieces, a new one every evening."

To Rayber she was like one of those birds blinded to make it sing more sweetly. Her voice had the tone of a glass bell. His pity encompassed all exploited children - himself when he was a child. Tarwater exploited by the old man, this child exploited by parents, Bishop exploited by the very fact he was alive.

"The world said, 'How long, Lord, do we have to wait for this?' And the Lord said, 'My Word is coming, my Word is coming from the house of David, the king.' " She paused and turned her head to the side, away from the fierce light. Her dark gaze moved slowly until it rested on Rayber's head in the window. He stared back at her. Her eyes remained on him for a moment. A deep shock went through him. He was certain that the child had looked directly into his heart and seen his pity. He felt that some mysterious connection was established between them.

" 'My word is coming,' " she said, turning back to face the glare, ' " ' My Word is coming from the house of David, the king. ' "

She began again in a dirge-like tone. "Jesus came on cold straw. Jesus was warmed by the breath of an ox. 'Who is this?' the world said, 'who is this blue-cold child and this woman, plain as the winter? Is this the Word of God, this blue-cold child? Is this His will, this plain winter-woman?'

"Listen you people!" she cried, "the world knew in its heart, the same as you know in your hearts and I know in my heart. The world said, 'Love cuts like the cold wind and the will of God is plain as the winter. Where is the summer will of God? Where are the green seasons of God's will? Where is the spring and summer of God's will?'

"They had to flee into Egypt," she said in her low voice and turned her head again and this time her eyes moved directly to Rayber's face in the window and he knew they sought it. He felt himself caught up in her look, held there before the jugment seat of her eyes.

"You and I know," she said turning again, "what the world hoped then. The world hoped old Herod would slay the right child, the world hoped old Herod wouldn't wasted those children, but he wasted them. He didn't get the right one. Jesus grew up and raised the dead."

Rayber felt his spirit borne aloft. But not those dead! he cried, not the innocent children, not you, not me when I was a child, not Bishop, not Frank! and he had a vision of himself moving like an avenging angel through the world, gathering up all the children that the Lord, not Herod, had slain.

"Jesus grew up and raised the dead," she cried, "and the world shouted, 'Leave the dead lie. The dead are dead and can stay that way. What do we want with the dead alive?' Oh you people!" she shouted, "they nailed Him to a cross and run a spear through His side and then they said, 'Now we can have some peace, now we can ease our minds.' And they hadn't but only sasid it when they wanted Him to come again. Their eyes were opened and they saw the glory they had killed.

"Listen world," she cried, flinging up her arms so that the cape flew out behind her, "Jesus is coming again! The mountains are going to lie down like hounds and when He calls it, the sun is going to fall like a goose for his feast. Will you know the Lord Jesus then? The mountains will know Him and bound forward, the stars will light on His head, the sun will drop down at His feet, but will you know the Lord Jesus then?"

Rayber saw himself fleeing with the child to some enclosed garden where he would teacher he the truth, where he would gather all the exploited children of the world and let the sunshine flood their minds.

"If you don't know Him now, you won't know Him then. Listen to me, world, listen to this warning. The Holy Word is in my mouth!

"The Holy Word is in my mouth!" she cried and turned her eyes again on his face in the window. This time there was a lowered concentration in her gaze. He had drawn her attention entirely away from the congregation.

Come away with me! he silently implored, and I'll teach you the truth, I'll save you, beautiful child!

Her eyes still fixed on him, she cried, "I've seen the Lord in a tree of fire! The Word of God is a burning Word to burn you clean!" She was moving in his direction, the people in front of her forgotten. Rayber's heart began to race. He felt some miraculous communication between them. The child alone in the world was meant to understand him. "Burns the whole world, man and child," she cried, her eye on him, "none can escape." She stopped a little distance from the end of the stage and stood silent, her whole attention directed across the small room to his face on the ledge. Her eyes were large and dark and fierce. He felt the the space between them, their spirits had broken the bonds of age and ignorance and were mingling in some unheard of knowledge of each other. He was transfixed by the child's silence. Suddenly she raised her arm and pointed toward his face. "Listen you people," she shreiked, "I see a damned soul before my eye! I see a dead man Jesus hasn't raised. His head is in the window but his ear is deaf to the Holy Word!"

Rayber's head, as if it had been struck by an invisible bolt, dropped from the ledge. He crouched on the ground, his furiously spectacle eyes glittering behind the shrubbery. Inside she continued to shriek, "Are you deaf to the Lord's Word? The Word of God is a burning Word to burn you clean, burns man and chid, man and child the same, you people! Be saved in the Lord's fire or perish in your own! Be saved in..."

He was groping, fiercely about him, slapping at his coat pockets, his head his chest, not able to find the switch that would cut off the voice...

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas ramblings- begin.

And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Luke 2:7 is so understated.

Try reading it in context, pretending you've never read it before. You'll see.

God is funny.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Nothing to Envy

I highly recommend this book. The author, Barbara Demick, after spending years interviewing North Korean defectors, weaves each of their stories into an informative and even spellbinding documentary.