Monday, December 8, 2008

Unfortunately I Can See Myself Too...

The following is an article by C.J. Mahaney from the Sovereign Grace Blog. Read and see where it hits you. I needed to reflect...and repent.


Sovereign Grace Blog

C.J. Mahaney's view from the cheap seats
& other stuff
The Sluggard
by C.J. Mahaney 03/12/2008 09:13:00 My study in the book of Proverbs began shortly after my conversion in 1972. And it wasn’t long after this that I began reading and learning from Dr. Derek Kidner’s little commentary. For decades now Dr. Kidner has been one of the scholars holding my hand, leading me through the book, and helping me to discover what he calls “the neglected wealth of the Proverbs” (p. 9).

One of the most distinct features of the commentary is his brief subject studies. In these summaries he covers the topics of God and man, wisdom, the fool, the sluggard, the friend, words, the family, and life and death (see pages 31–56). I wish all Christians could read these brief and pointed studies and experience the grace and wisdom I have derived from them.

When I began my Christian life, I held to a narrow and limited understanding of laziness. Then I read Kidner’s subject study on the sluggard.

I’ll never forget it.

As I began reading, I saw my face in the picture. My definition of laziness was expanded, and its subtlety was exposed. I discovered that I could be—and often was—a sluggard.

Here are the words I read:
“The sluggard in Proverbs is a figure of tragi-comedy, with his sheer animal laziness (he is more than anchored to his bed: he is hinged to it, 26:14), his preposterous excuses (“there is a lion outside!” 26:13; 22:13) and his final helplessness.

(1) He will not begin things. When we ask him (6:9, 10) “How long…?” “When…?”, we are being too definite for him. He doesn’t know. All he knows is his delicious drowsiness; all he asks is a little respite: “a little…a little…a little…”. He does not commit himself to a refusal, but deceives himself by the smallness of his surrenders. So, by inches and minutes, his opportunity slips away.

(2) He will not finish things. The rare effort of beginning has been too much; the impulse dies. So his quarry goes bad on him (12:27) and his meal goes cold on him (19:24; 26:15).

(3) He will not face things.
He comes to believe his own excuses (perhaps there is a lion out there, 22:13), and to rationalize his laziness; for he is “wiser in his own conceit than seven men that can render a reason” (26:16). Because he makes a habit of the soft choice (he “will not plow by reason of the cold,” 20:4) his character suffers as much as his business, so that he is implied in 15:19 to be fundamentally dishonest…

(4) Consequently he is restless (13:4; 21:25, 26) with unsatisfied desire; helpless in face of the tangle of his affairs, which are like a “hedge of thorns” (15:19); and useless—expensively (18:9) and exasperatingly (10:26)—to any who must employ him…

The wise man will learn while there is time. He knows that the sluggard is no freak, but, as often as not, an ordinary man who has made too many excuses, too many refusals and too many postponements. It has all been as imperceptible, and as pleasant, as falling asleep.”

-Derek Kidner, Proverbs (IVP, 1964), pp. 42–43.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

What's Up...

I've been away from blogging for a good long time. It's not that I haven't had anything good to say, it's just that I haven't taken the time to sit and actually write it. As with most of my deep thoughts, something else gets in the way...usually my desire to do something else. It's amazing how much I let get robbed from me by not just following through with my passions. I read something just a few minutes ago about this that scares me. Perhaps more on that later...

I've been doing some serious mental retooling of how I think about youth ministry and sort of recasting the vision to myself. I learned in college that Jesus led by example and that therefore, relationships were key. I spoke very highly of this when in view of a call at various churches which I have served at. But somewhere along the way, my relational time shifted and gave way to more program based ministry...It happened subtly and I didn't notice it until one day I looked up and realized that the majority of my ministry time was spent preparing lessons and messages and not actually doing ministry with my students. I have taken immediate steps to rectify this situation and continue to do real, meaningful ministry, just like my first year here. As youth ministers, we must not get caught up in gathering a large number at the expense of the small. It seems that what I have been suspecting is true: some of the best ministry happens in one on one types of settings where you can really invest in someone's life.

I'm sorry that this blog has fallen by the wayside a bit. I've had a lot going on and have been sick for a few days. Hopefully I am on the mend. I've been jamming to some Christmas music of late. I've also been wanting to read more. It seems that this is always a desire but most times it stops at desire. It's time to put my money where my mouth to speak.

Bethany is doing as well as can be expected under the given circumstances. We have another doctor's appt. on Tuesday. In the interest of conserving my time off, someone else will take her to it. This isn't optimal but it will help us save my paid time off from school for when the baby actually comes. We're getting things ready for Christmas. We have a good old cedar tree up in the living room with all the trimmings. I have most of the shopping done and have just a few more things to pick up.

I've been catching up on the new season of Friday Night Lights online and really liking most of it... (spoiler warning) I don't like what they have done with Lila's character and I was hoping that Riggins would finally straighten out. I am also really bummed about Saracen getting benched.
I watched the Mark Walberg version of Planet of the Apes today and though it really was not good, I would still like to see a sequel. They left it so open.

Since I've been laying in bed sick, I got out the old Gameboy Advance and played some Final Fantasy I. That is still one of the greatest video games ever. I also checked out U2's new Christmas single on YouTube. As you might imagine, I had plenty of time to cruise the net as well as talking with a good friend to round out the day. I'm feeling a little better and I think I'm going to try working tomorrow. I feel like a big bum for missing church today but it was better for me to be in bed and try and rest the sickness away.

Well, there you have it...your update. For those of you who have been waiting...pretty much just Dave and Jed...(and their legion of protesters)... I hope you have enjoyed... See you next time.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Still Kicking...

I've been gone from this blog for almost two months.