who walks in the darkness does not know

Speechless. The former queen of horror a believer? The former writer of, for all intensive purposes, quiet erotica a sister in the kingdom? First a member of Korn, and now Anne Rice? Next you'll tell me Wes Craven and Stephen King were spotted at a Promise Keepers rally.

I'm not surprised in the power of God to redeem anyone. I'm perfect proof that even the lowest of the low can see the light. What's surprising is for those who dwell in darkness as a living to turn from the shadows. Many revel in the shadows as a way of identity. And to be able to escape that from which you have had terrible success -- a grand lesson in the power to save.


into one the children of God

"Serving Together" {Phil2:2}
* Base: All are ministers
- Are family
- Need each other
- Are more effective together
* Trust
- Be faithful
- Be confidential (opposite of gossip)
- Be loyal {Prov17:17}
* Empathy
- Slow down -- speed misses details
- Ask questions
- Show emotion
* Accommodation
- Of needs
- Of differences
- Of faults
* Mission-oriented
- Like the roots of mighty redwoods -- tangled


among you as the one who serves

Strange enough to wake up and find yourself grown. Stranger still to be aware of the growing, conscious at the instant of growth. That next level, I didn't even know it existed. Perhaps like donning combat gear, the preparedness steels the nerves; the stepping into the role activating abilities reserved for the occasion. More likely, simply a reflection of the path to the plateau, complete dependence. And the moment of growth simply an outpouring of the closeness.

On the growing, it is one thing to work to make the self the better. It's completely terrifying but wondrous to feel that need and that desire to make the other the better. Going to have to get used to these sandals. They have been upon the feet of many far greater.


take these things away

Interesting. Even more hints of thievery. Surprised? Of course not. Liarsons always go back on each other, mixing their howlings. Imagine a work of pulp meant to appeal to people's antiGod sides making it big. And then later being found to be a construction of stolen cliches.

Revel in that pile of mammon, Brown. See you at JDay where the only thing you will be writing is your name on a ticket to the Lake.


appeared to them as nonsense

Don't even bother reading this. First, it purports to answer questions about Heaven, which is impossible speculation. Secondly, rather than actually answering any questions, he begins almost every answer with an "I think" or "I suppose". Why bother writing a Q&A if you have no definitive A? Most egregiously he answers the most important question about Heaven completely wrong:

33. How do you get to Heaven?

This is the most important question anyone can ask. The answer has already been given: It is free. "Let him who is thirsty come, let him who desires take the water of life without price" (Rev. 22:17). Faith is the act of taking.

It sounds crazy, too good to be true. But it makes perfect sense. For God is love. Love gives gifts, gives itself. God gives himself, his own life, membership in his family. We are made "partakers of the divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4). For God is pure love, and pure love has no admixture of stinginess in it.
You quote Scripture without saying anything about the Son? And you even say it is the most important question and yet list it 33rd? Really, why even bother, luke? Why even bother?


the way where I am going

This interview is worth reading, if only because of his answer to the third question. Great phrase used -- "it is the Jesus thing to do." Touches on the whole WWJD thing. I think what has always turned me off about that whole movement was its fadishness, and the effeminate bracelets, and the pop culture mentality. But what's clear about movements like a Saddleback focus on the poor for the sake of His name is that it is no fad to follow His command to love like you've never loved before. It is, in fact, the whole point.


on the road, while He was explaining

Saturday's post probably warrants some explication. Other than variety for variety's sake, the image came to me during prayer. I titled the piece "Solid Answer". The chosen images are all there for a reason:

* The three squares at the bottom parallel to the one rectangle across the top represents the Trinity, three in one
* The rectangle across the top and the two squares at the bottom are actual cross-sections of a stone wall, signifying a firm foundation
* The third square, bottom left, is a white rock, representing our Rock, with the white representing His holiness
* The three nails have obvious crucifixion significance
* The nails point to the cross, the solid answer
* The center rectangle is a blown-up version of the cross above it, cropped to focus on the intersection of the beams; its resemblance to a crossroads is not coincidental

Next one, yours to interpret.


who gives us the victory through

It would be really easy to let liar make moments like this into causes for sin. But this is more victorious than self-congratulatory. He tells you to take His hand upon those waters, but in waters that choppy, trust me, getting to that hand is no moment of backpatting. Rather, reaching the other side indicates not your success but His, and being that close, you see that.

Pride? No. More like a recognition that He is proud of you.


the pillar and support of

"How We Help Each Other Grow" {IThess5:11a}
* Intro: Heartbreak Hill
* By accepting each other in humility {Rom14:1}
- Especially w/ disputable matters (for ex: style of worship, translation of Word, style of preaching)
* By admonishing each other in love {Col3:16}
- For purpose of restoration, not just righteousness
* By praying for each other's growth {Jam5:16}
- Character more imp to Him than comfort
* By encouraging each other's obedience {Heb10:24-25}
- Role is to stimulate obedience and good deeds

Note: Going to disagree on the examples listed for disputable matters. I'd argue that style of worship is not negotiable (all your heart or not at all). I'd argue that translation of Word is not disputable (either literal and true or not at all). I'd argue that style of preaching is not disputable (either true to Word or not at all). You want disputable, discuss favorite foods. Getting closer to Him is not disputable.


the Spirit of truth comes

If I have not done it yet, it is because I failed to capture it here. But rest assured it has danced within my head before. So really, I'm correcting a notion I have yet to utter. In any case,

sometimes the simplest advice is the richest, deepest, and most difficult path.

It is an easy recommendation to state that the answer to every ill is time in the Word and prayer. It is, in fact, the automatic response to almost all occasions for many believers. I have (mentally) derided these action steps as simplistic, overly so.

Simply wrong.

In reality, these are practical steps to the real solution: getting right with God. Through these steps, you will be conversing and interacting and in the end being. Case in point: memorization of Scripture. Seems like something best left for classes or quizzes or board games.

No, no, and no.

The delving and the committing to mind is all part of the getting right, getting close, drawing closer. And it will feel different at first. It will be difficult, in fact, liar and all being who he is. It will feel ridiculous. Similar thoughts, I have had all. But there comes a moment where you see, yeah, this isn't so bad, this is in fact what He wants, this helps every which way.



that Jesus had silenced

It's not always calmest before the storm. Sometimes it's the loudest. The buildup continues and the noises are becoming more vocal and being given more opportunities. But the thing is, it doesn't seem to matter. Not so much the front and center as the sideeyes this time. Either this indicates a wondrous focus I never knew I had, or it indicates the leaning, a complete dependence for strength on the fount. Clearly the latter.


is a difficult statement; who can listen

Worth commenting upon. But not in the praiseworthy way you may think I should. I hear you, little bits of God are a good thing; you never know what will stick once the Spirit is at work.

No doubt.

Here's the thing: why care about the complaints? Why not be completely overt rather than subtle? Afraid of a loss of some sales? The other side doesn't care. You know how many church boycotts are called for against Disney, or Proctor & Gamble, or particular movies, or other such products? And the response? Not a whiff of change in corporate policies supportings gays or antilife causes. Because those boycotts don't work because the bride doesn't band together on anything. You think the lovers of darkness will unite against your statements of faith and boycott you or something?

Remember, He hates the lukewarm. Don't be afraid.


by force to make Him king

Been dying for a Lost reference, so here goes. In the pilot, Jack discusses his tactic for handling fear. It's a simple count to five after which he does not allow fear anymore time. That is a perfect picture of the struggle of faith. It is listening to God for direction. It is letting Him remove all of the potential distractions. It is then making that countup to faith before cowboying up and not letting liar have any more time with you.

You can talk about free will all you want, because it's an integral part to faith. Having the choice on whether or not to subject that will to His will is what it is all about.


would be fighting so that I would

"What Destroys Relationships and What Builds Them?"
* Pride destroys relationships {Prov13:10}
* Humility builds them.
* Selfishness destroys relationships {Jam4:1-2}
* Selflessness builds them.
* Insecurity destroys relationships {Gen3:10}
* Love builds them.
* Resentment destroys relationships {Job5:2}
* Forgiveness builds them.

I don't know about you, but these neutered sermons meant to appeal to the masses is killing me. I don't need flashcard antonyms. I need a sincere struggle, a wrestling that will snap my hip forever. I suppose the idea is to bring them to the watering hole and hope for a sip. But at this rate, when will they ever be ready for the flow?


what will happen when it is dry

Matt12:43 is perhaps the most frightening v in all the Word. You can take your Rev v's and their visions of the burning and the gnashing. But 12:43 paints the image of not just the spoken to unclean spirit, but also the unsaved spirit. And its fate is a restless, always seeking, waterless place. That eternal rest is in Him. That answer to your soulneed is Him. Thirsty? Living water, friend. John Calvin need not boom from on high about the fire and the brimstone. This single line and its painting of a barren picture, a barren soul in a barren future -- if I weren't already among the beloved, I would be running running to the nearest kneerest for help.

with you now and to change my tone

No matter how often it occurs, when the world hits the Spirit and the world folds, it's still striking how quickly the Spirit speaks through the world's mouth. Take this for example. The Godspeak coming from a Baldwin's mouth shocks my ears to no end. I mention this not in a bad way at all. I hope the shocking continues. I never want to be at the point where the power of God to completely flop the world ceases to amaze me.


who had sneaked in to spy out

The scary thing about Matt13 and the tares parable is this realization: those tares are NOT nouns but pronouns. Those stumbling blocks are people. Those seeds from the liar are people. Those obstructions to salvation for others are people. Liar can send the howlers. Liar can send the lions. But liar can also send people. You're not always looking for the wolf in the sheepfold, but for another sheep sent by the wrong one. Alot harder to spot the liar's worker when he's sitting across from you with a smile and a latte.


you did not choose

Ethics question: when choosing sloth over diligence is paired with love over apathy, what then? On one hand, you have the idea of managing time so that these choices are paired. On the other, when the spirit moves you, falling down is not the option. You can make the case that there are 24 hours in the day. You can also make the case that love is the greatest of the attributes.

Not trying to defend anything. Trying to be proactive when the choice is presented again.


for you, that your faith may not fail

Often it's the howlers preventing the rest with the nagging in the head. But apparent that some cases can be the Spirit gushing like a fount. In cases like that, get up. Passed along wisdom:

In John 11, Martha meets Jesus as He arrives in Bethany and is angry with the Lord, angry. And she basically accuses Him of letting her brother die. Similar to our disappointment when we don't see or understand the Lord's decisions, Satan can use that confusion, hurt, and anger against us. But what is remarkable is Martha's response shortly after her accusation of Jesus. It's pure faith, and acceptance that she knows who He is, and that His will be done. For us, the answer to our anger toward God is a reminder that He is still who He says He is, and that the walk of faith is about not letting our non-understanding of Him and His will interfere with the walk.

Praying for you. For your walks of faith to not stumble.


according to God's gracious choice

Always plenty of examples of the haters of good in these pages, and not enough of the inspired ones. Either that scarcity represents my Hobbesian outlook, or the scary scarcity of reality. In either case, not scarce today.

Man of principle, indeed. Giving up a job, giving up security, giving up for the Lord is always rewarded. Choice of prayer or the road, and he chose the road. Choice of God or man, and he chose Him. Great football coach? Who knows. Great teacher in the classroom? Who knows. But he taught his kids something that will live with them for potentially all eternity. In the choosing, always choose up.


or covetous man, who is an idolater

Envy is a sin and all, but check out number nine. What's egregious isn't that he appears on the list; as the most famous of the evangelicals, as a striking man of God, there is plenty to envy. What's egregious are the reasons listed for the envy. Bestselling author (read wealth)? Pastor of a large church (read wealth)? 90% income giveaway (read wealth)? Meaning behind his job (read purpose).

You want purpose, hardheart? You want wealth? You can have both by softening up that stone and accepting His free gift. But if you'd rather have the earthly temptations, get to it. There are others on that list more deserving of your sin.


in pairs ahead of Him

"Reaching Out Together"
* Intro: We are wired to be with others. God created man alone but said it wasn't good.
* Pray together: Make a group prayer list.
* Appeal to common interests
* Reach out in love
- Ask for a deeper love for others.
* Tell your story
- Everyone has a testimony. Every salvation is its own miracle
* Nurture friendships
* Expect Him to act
- Faith is believing what He says about Himself is true. It is believing that He will do what He says He is going to do. It is trusting that He will answer your prayers.
- Never give up on anyone.
* Represent Him with your life


one of these little ones

You're no stranger to these pages. You tell me why this doesn't get more press. No, it's not because of Katrina and Rita coverage. No, not because of the Roberts hearing. No, not even because of ongoing Middle East crises.

It's because it's clear that science doesn't regard those in the womb as lifeless masses. It's clear that those in the womb are living beings deserving of the best medical care possible. It's because the media doesn't want to budge from its unholy alliance with the left.

Keep looking for reasons to bury your heads in the sand as far as infanticide goes. Just as science can see those in the womb, the Lord can see those sins hidden in the deep darkness. All exposed before the throne, wrong ones.


through the foolishness of the message

"Word Wars" was an entertaining look at the professional Scrabble circuit. One of the protagonists in that movie was GI Joel Sherman. In a recent interview he says the following:

Did you know that you are listed alongside Hank Greenberg and Sandy Koufax on this website of Jewish American sports figures? How does it feel?

I must admit I did not know that. It would be bragging to say I'm alongside those great athletes when I'm clearly listed in a separate category among a handful of others *most* people still have *not* heard of. Several other North American Scrabble® Champs have been Jewish and they're not listed, presumably because the Wikipedia contributor who compiled that list found my Jewishness mentioned in "Word Freak" and the same info is not readily available about them. I won't "out" them because I don't know how they would feel to share that listing as well.

My own feeling is ambivalent: it's nice to be noted, but I'd rather my born religion was not the criterion for my inclusion, as I have been an atheist since even before my Bar Mitzvah, and have militant aversions to all religion/hypocrisy/mind control.

Nice job comparing religion to hypocrisy and mind control. Get this straight, though. Hypocrisy is not inherent to religion, but to man. Religion in and of itself is not the issue, but rather man's corruption of it. As for mind control, this from a person who spends more than half a day playing with tiles, memorizing obscure words, and chasing after a dream of a living through a board game. There is an illusion there of your mind being in control, but it is not truth.

It is a mental talent to pluck words from the ether and make them score. But just another example of how mental prowess does not equate to intelligence in the least.


so loved the world

I hope I don't live to the day where The Verse, where John3:16 makes me feel any less yearning. In its simplicity lies eternity. In its simplicity lies the mind of God. In its simplicity lies the answer for every emptiness.

Everything else, the other wrestling is all about comprehending the little details, because the greater message has already been answered in perfect simplicity.


better for him to have a heavy

The thing about weights in weight-lifting is that it's never enough even though it's often more than enough. The goal apparently being to make it so enough that the question of whether it's enough is more than apparent. But what if those weights are millstones large enough to weigh down a soul? Would the desire still be there to weigh enough that the soulweight is more than apparent? Answering before the throne is full of the tremblings in every which way. And to seek more of an answer than you are prepared for is faithstepping all the way, boy I tell you.


now a certain man was

This isn't for you; it's for me. This is my release. There are voices left and right and front and back but the one dead center, that's me, that's me. I fought myself every day this year, yes, and most days I won.

I came here seeking my own thoughts in ways that make sense to me. Still do. Hardheart, I condemned you with the best of them. But my real desire is for your Darryl to be child, stone to soften.

I don't promise anything for as long as this takes me. I don't imagine the sensemaking struggle ever lessens. But the best part of the wrestling is that He responds. He called me, and I answered. He called again, and I took down a message for you. Jesus called. Call back...

is here and is calling for you

Darryl, huh? Names and how they stick to you are funny that way. It's rare that one gets to choose one's own name. And when they stick to you, for positive or for negative, they often stick for longer than you may care.

There is one area where your name, your identity is your choice. And that is the appellation "Child of God." The Bible says in John 1 that "to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name." That choice is yours, friend. All those other names? None of them will stick to you before the throne. And unlike Darryl, modeled after one of earthly fame, this name is from the creator of all.

All who see you, and call you by name? None of them offers you all eternity. But when you pass from this world to the next, the one who calls you by name, He'll call all His children, all children of God, and offer them that eternity.

Will you be one?


for the unholy and profane

Has got to be the most tasteless ad ever. Actually, not tasteless as much as stupid. And it's not the Jesus gambling thing that has me irked. Still unclear on the Christian thought on gambling. Because it treats luck as a god? Because it doesn't depend on Him for provision? Or simply, like alcohol, the association of the Savior with activities deemed unseemly?

No, the atrocious part of the ad, the actual blasphemy, is the mixing of anything less than complete awe and love at the Last Supper. The most intimate of setting, where He displayed His love and foresahdowed the Saving, and instituted the Remembrance. No other rituals in Christianity, just this one.

Nothing touches this sacred event. That is the ghastly part. You could have had them singing instead of gambling, or cooking instead of gambling, and the result is the same. Utter, utter blasphemy.


His disciples were together

"Why We Need each Other" {Rom12:5b}
* Need others to walk with {Eph4:16}
- Community God's answer to aloneness
- Community not the same as crowd
- Reading about not the same as living out
* Need others to work with {Eccl4:9}
- Community is God's answer to fatigue
* Need others to watch out for {Phil2:4}
- Liar bigger threat than crooks, terrorists
- Community is God's answer to defeat
* Need others to wait and weep with {Rom12:15}
* Need others to witness with {John13:35}


You were born entirely in

Finally back to the NT, and you can physically feel Him returning to your soul. Must be a reason the howlers block your OT trek. The OT focus on the Father instead of the Son is something, so I can understand the blocking of a means of exploring His mind. But the saving comes from getting closer to the Son anyway, so to me that seems backward.

In any case, quick contrast. Luke1 focuses on the birth of John and the soon-to-be birth of the Savior. Contrast that to the intro of John where v12-13 discuss your birth in Him. One gospel is all about the One and the leading up to how He came to be; the other is all about you and the One, and the leading up to why you came to be.

See it's this type of interlocking that will make the next month simply wondrous. Welcome back.

faithful in the use of unrighteous wealth

Congratulations. No, seriously. Well done. But don't think that will be followed by good and faithful anything. That success of yours is only of this world. And you might be very proud of that, but I tell you this. On the throne, He isn't finding that wondrous. Maybe you've heard of the silos and the storing. None of that carries over into eternity. All of you spending all your time ensuring that it continues to grow into imponderable sums will find the price of a ticket to eternity is still too too far away. And you all are going to find that trading that logo and your soul for worldly success was one of liar's biggest successes, not yours.