The Shadow Forest

Sunday, October 28, 2007

A Prayer

Last Tuesday, at Home Group, Philip asked us to write a psalm, or a prayer. The Lord was incredibly sweet and merciful to me. Over the past few months, I have been reading Psalm 119, Job, and now Jeremiah.

I have not blogged in a while, so I was worried about how to put up all the amazing things the Lord has been mercifully showing a wretch like me. I think in one night, He let it all come out in this prayer. Almost all of this prayer is scripture. There are a few places that are my own words, or that I have changed. These are taken from the NASB.

This is my cry to Him.


My soul cleaves to the dust; revive me according to your word. Remember the word to your servant, In which You have made me hope. This is my comfort in my affliction, that your word has revived me.

O Lord, do not let me wander from your commandments. Do not hide your commandments from me. My soul is crushed with longing after your ordinances at all times. Your testimonies also are my delight; they are my counselors.

My soul cleaves to the dust. Revive me according to your word!

You are one, the Lord my God, and you formed me from the dust of the ground, and breathed into my nostrils the breath of life.

Oh, Lord, my soul cleaves to the dust; revive me according to your word. This is my comfort in my affliction, that your word has revived me.

At midnight I shall rise to give thanks to you, because of your righteous ordinances. Make me a companion of all those who fear you, and of those who keep your precepts. The earth is full of your lovingkindness O Lord; teach me your statutes. Do not let me wander from your commandments. Oh, Lord, my soul cleaves to the dust, revive me according to your word.

Your hands made me and fashioned me; give me understanding, that I may learn your commandments.

The Lord has disciplined me severely, But He has not given me over to death.

I know, O Lord, that your judgments are righteous, and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me. O may your lovingkindness comfort me.

Sustain me according to your word, that I may live; and do not let me be ashamed of my hope. Uphold me that I may be safe, that I may have regard for your statutes continually.

Oh, Lord my soul cleaves to the dust, revive me according to your word!

I cried with all my heart; answer me, O Lord! I cried to you; save me!

Let my eyes anticipate the night watches, that I may meditate on your word. Hear my voice according to your lovingkindness; revive me, O Lord, according to your word.

Oh Lord! Who are you? Who is like the Lord our God?

Who humbles Himself to behold the things that are in heaven and in the earth? You raise the poor from the dust, and lift the needy from the ash heap. Not to us, O Lord, not to us, But to Your name give glory! You will bless those who fear You.

You are unique. Who can turn you? What your soul desires, that you do. You perform what is appointed for me, and many decrees are with you.

Therefore, dismay me so that they do not dismay me. I am terrified of you.

You have made my heart faint, and you, the Almighty, have dismayed me, but I am not silenced by the darkness, nor deep gloom which covers me.

For where can wisdom be found, and where is the place of understanding? Man does not know its value, nor is it found in the land of the living. The deep says, "It is not in me." And the sea says, "It is not with me."

Where then does wisdom come from? And where is the place of understanding? You understand its way, and you know its place. You saw it, and You declared it. You established it, and also searched it out.

And to man You said, "Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding." Oh, Lord, my soul cleaves to the dust, revive me according to your word!

The storm comes. Let me listen to the thunder of your voice, and the rumbling that goes out from your mouth. Under the whole heaven you let it loose, and your lightning goes to the ends of the earth. After it, a voice roars; you thunder with your majestic voice, and you do not restrain the lightning when your voice is heard. You thunder with your voice wondrously, doing great things which we cannot comprehend.

You say, "Dress like a man, and get out here!" Where was I when you laid the foundation of the earth? Where was I when you set its measurements? Who enclosed the sea with doors when bursting forth, it went out from the womb, when you made a cloud its garment, and thick darkness its swaddling band, and you placed boundaries on it, and set a bolt and doors.

And you said, "Thus far you shall come, but no farther; and here your proud waves shall stop!"

"Do you not fear me? Do you not tremble in my presence? For I have placed the sand as a boundary for the sea, an eternal decree, so it cannot cross over it. Though the waves toss, yet they cannot prevail; though they roar, yet they cannot cross over it!"

Oh, Lord, my soul cleaves to the dust. Revive me according to your word!

Have I ever in my life commanded the morning, and caused the dawn to know its place? That it might take hold of the ends of the earth, and the wicked be shaken out of it?

Oh, Lord, who am I?

Let me stand in the ancient paths, and consider the wonders of You! Make us know! Make us know your power and might! And let us know that your name is the Lord!

Cursed am I if I trust in mankind, and make flesh my strength. Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose trust is the Lord. My heart is more deceitful than all else, and is desperately sick! Who can understand it? Oh, Lord, you search the heart, you test the mind. I am nothing but clay in your hands.

Oh Lord! My soul cleaves to the dust. Revive me according to your word!

Give me a heart to know you! Let me seek you with all my heart, soul, mind, body, and strength.

Oh Lord! Let me plead the cause of the afflicted and needy; is not that what it means to know you? Let me fear you, and plead the cause of the afflicted and needy.

Oh Lord! My soul cleaves to the dust. Revive me according to your word!

Let me stand in your council and announce your words to your people. And let them turn from their evil way, and from the evil of their deeds. Let me stand in the court of your house, and speak to all those who have come to worship in your house all the words that you have commanded me to speak to them. Let me not omit a word! Let me seek the peace of my city.

Oh Lord! My soul cleaves to the dust. Revive me according to your word!

Let the dread of you be in me, and dismay me, so that I am not dismayed by them. You have broken my yoke, and tore off my bonds, Oh Lord, let me serve!

Is this not the fast I choose, to loosen the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of yoke, and to let the oppressed go free, and break every yoke? Is is not to divide your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into the house; when I see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide myself from my own flesh?

Then light will break out like the dawn, and recovery will speedily spring forth. Your glory will be my rear guard. Then I will call, and you will answer, I will cry, and you will say, "Here I am."

If you remove the yoke from my midst, the pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness, then light will rise in darkness, and the gloom will become like midday. And you will continually guide me. You will satisfy my desire in scorched places, and give strength to my bones. I will be like a watered garden whose waters do not fail.

Oh Lord! My soul cleaves to the dust. Revive me according to your word!

For I have seen a limit to all perfection: Your commandment is exceedingly broad. I cannot do this. My soul cleaves to the dust. I am a worm before you.

But I will not die, but live! I am not silenced by darkness, nor the deep gloom which covers me. I will not die, but live and tell of the works of the Lord.

For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last, you will take your stand on the earth. Even after my skin is destroyed, yet from my flesh I shall see God. Whom I myself shall behold, and whom my eyes will see and not another. My heart faints within me!

Oh Lord! My soul cleaves to the dust. Revive me according to your word!

Fix my hope on you, and purify me, just as You are pure. Remember the word to your servant, in which you have made me hope. This is my comfort in my affliction, that your word has revived me.

Oh Lord! My soul cleaves to the dust. Revive me according to your word!


Scripture taken from: Psalm 119, Genesis 2, Psalm 118, Psalm 113, Psalm 115, Job 23, Jeremiah 1, Job 38, Job 28, Job 37, Jeremiah 5, Jeremiah 16, Jeremiah 17, Jeremiah 18, Jeremiah 24, Jeremiah 22, Jeremiah 23, Jeremiah 26, Jeremiah 2, Isaiah 58, Job 19, 1 John 3. This is roughly in the order they appear in the prayer, not showing repetition.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Why Are We Embracing Accusation?

The following is a letter written by my friend Geoff Ashley. I am so thankful to the Lord to walk with this man everyday, and to know him as a brother in Christ.

An Open Response to Recent Criticism
of The Village Church’s Use of
“Embracing Accusation”

On the weekend of September 15th and 16th, 2007, Michael Bleecker, Worship Pastor at The Village Church, introduced the song, “Embracing Accusation,” originally written by Shane Barnard and recorded by Shane and Shane. After giving a brief overview of the Biblical context of the song, Michael asked the congregation to be seated and allow the worship team to sing it over them.

The following week Michael in particular received some intensely negative feedback regarding the song. Not only did the discouragement include questions of the validity of the message, but even questioned Michael’s maturity and theological prowess in choosing such a song.

The lyrics to the song are as follows:

Father of lies, coming to steal kill and destroy
All my hopes of being good enough
I hear him saying, “cursed are the ones who can’t abide”
He’s right, halleluia, he’s right
The devil is preaching the song of the redeemed
That I am cursed and gone astray
I cannot gain salvation
Embracing accusation
Could the father of lies be telling the truth of
God to me tonight?
That if the penalty of sin is death, then death is mine
I hear him saying, “cursed are the ones who can’t abide”
The devil’s singing over me an age old song
That I am cursed and gone astray
Singing the first verse so conveniently over me
He’s forgotten the refrain.

As a friend and co-worker of Michael’s I thought I would offer up the following defense, though I am quite sure it is unnecessary. The following are simply my thoughts as to the validity of singing such an apparently controversial song.

1. The message is Biblically-accurate
2. The method is Biblically-established
3. The minister is Biblically-faithful

1. The message is Biblically-accurate

The song is derived from Galatians 3:10-13 which reads:

For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, "CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO DOES NOT ABIDE BY ALL THINGS WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF THE LAW, TO PERFORM THEM." Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, "THE RIGHTEOUS MAN SHALL LIVE BY FAITH." However, the Law is not of faith; on the contrary, "HE WHO PRACTICES THEM SHALL LIVE BY THEM." Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us--for it is written, "CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE"

Satan is indeed the father of lies (John 8:44), who has come to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). No man will ever be good enough and so all such hope is no hope at all (Romans 3:20).

Does Satan literally sing and preach accusation over us? No, but it is a song and that involves poetry and symbolism. We do know that Satan is the accuser (being the Hebrew term for it) and even that he is said to constantly make accusation against the brethren day and night (Revelation 12:10).

The fact is the law brings forth a curse and that all who rely upon this law are therefore under the curse. Since none of us are able to stand up to the law’s demands, we are worthy of the curse and unworthy of life. If that is the accusation leveled against us by Satan, then he is right. We are not worthy of anything but wrath!

Just because he is the father of lies, that doesn’t mean that everything he says is a complete falsehood. Rather, he masquerades as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14) and perverts and corrupts the truth to suit his malicious purposes (see Genesis 3). He twists and bends the truth just enough.

The song tells a truth. All truth is God’s truth. Truth is good.

2. The method is Biblically-established

Some complaints hinted that a song which focuses so much of the text upon Satan is therefore a song chiefly concerned with Satan. However, the fact that we sing about something doesn’t mean that we are praising the thing about which we are singing. Furthermore, don’t a vast number of Psalms direct a great many words toward speaking of the unrighteous and the enemies of the Psalmist? Would singing that Psalm therefore indicate a perverse praise of such enemies? Hardly! The Scriptures are replete with examples of a similar method of using the enemies of God to contrast the righteous and using examples of sin to establish the faithfulness of Christ’s triumph over it.

One expressed concern involved the fact that Jesus was not explicitly mentioned until the end of the song. However, such concern is unwarranted for a couple of reasons. First, the gospel is founded on the inability of man to fulfill the law. Without the bad news, there is no good news. We must start with a problem before a solution makes sense. Second, the nature of biblical revelation is explicitly progressive. The Bible starts with the goodness of Eden, but it takes some thousands of pages until we again get to perfection. It takes an entire Old Testament before we explicitly meet the Son of God and an entire gospel before we find its heart, the slaughter and resurrection of Christ. The Bible utilizes the literary method of suspense to dramatize the uniqueness and power of salvation. The song should not be faulted for doing a similar work.

3. The minister is Biblically-faithful

Some complaints, as mentioned, questioned the maturity or wisdom of Michael in choosing such a song, concerned that there is no process by which songs are filtered for theological content. As to this concern that Michael acts as a Lone Ranger in choosing songs, with no oversight whatsoever, there should be no apprehension. A number of times, I and other pastors have received phone calls and/or e-mails from Michael as to the theological content of the songs which are sung. I have hardly heard a single new song introduced which has not been adequately thought through by various pastors.

In addition, Michael is a true student of the word. So passionate is he for teaching God’s truth that he leads his team in regular meetings in which he works through the doctrines presented in Grudem’s, Systematic Theology. Not normal fare for a worship pastor, I am sure.

To be perfectly honest, I have yet to meet another worship pastor (not that there are none out there) with an equaled passion for doctrinal purity and for using the media of song to teach the beautiful truths of Christ to the church. I am ever thankful that I can rest easy in trusting that Michael will not lead the hearts or minds of the flock away from the Shepherd.


I certainly understand that some people did not enjoy the song, but my hope is that we will all recognize that dislike alone should not open the door for criticism. Hopefully all who have concerns will recognize that the issue is not one of wisdom, but personal preference. True, the song is not inerrant (not much is), but it did not violate Scripture. Furthermore, the congregation wasn’t even led to participate in singing the song. Rather, truth, in a creative manner, was sung over the audience. We were told to listen and absorb. We must keep in mind that not all share our preferences and desires.

Lastly, I thought I would mention the fact that a number of congregants were deeply touched by the message. Tuesday morning I received an e-mail from a friend speaking of the depth of worship he experienced in having woken up the night before with the words of the song in his mind. As he pondered the words over and over, he realized not only the validity of the message, but also his own frailty in having bitten the bait so often. Just this very evening I came home to find one of my roommates listening to the song. When I asked him his thoughts on it, he shared that he had been meditating on the message for the past couple of days. Over and over he listened to the song while praying that he might remember the refrain. The gospel demands that we not only remember that Jesus saves, but that we remember from what it is that we are saved (notice all the commands to remember throughout Scripture).

The truth is that we all have our own feelings and preferences. Some people were ambivalent toward the song, some people were frustrated, but others were broken, encouraged, edified and taught by it. It is painfully clear that no person, no church, no church service and no song can please everyone. We are all different and God has wired and gifted us in different ways. These distinctions should be embraced.

Let us not fall victim to judging people or things by a yoke which is not justified. The fact is that Michael chose a song which violated neither Scriptural truths nor principles. Let us remember the lies and, ultimately, the truth which sets us free – Jesus saves!


-Geoff Ashley

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A Long Remembrance, A Thankful Heart, And A Blessed Hope

This is a long remembrance, the cry of a thankful heart, and the shout of a blessed hope:

The door shut behind me. This apartment was nice. I looked out over the balcony. Before me a mountain range sloped across the sky, and aspen trees rustled in the wind's embrace. This was Colorado. I had always wanted to move, to just go away, and be by myself. This was my opportunity. This was my time to be a man, and not need anyone, to be strong. In the end, I would show everyone that I was tough, and that I could make it on my own.

There was nothing in the apartment but my bag, backpack, and computer. Mom was shipping my boxes to me. I stepped outside on the balcony, and sat down on the chair I brought with me. I lit up one of the black and mild cigars that I hoped would bring comfort, but there wasn't much there for me. I put on my headphones and dived into the soundtrack from LEGENDS OF THE FALL, and for a moment, I was caught up in being the wild one who won't ever let life hurt him again, who won't ever, ever make that mistake again. There was no resolve.

I went inside, sliding the balcony door behind me. I opened up my laptop, and put in, THE LAST SAMURAI. A movie. A movie will always soothe me. I will take my comfort in this. Surely, surely, this. Nothing.

I sat back on the bare floor, in the empty apartment, with my broken, lonely soul. And I cried. I just sat there and cried. There was nothing else to do.

That night would come again a year and a half later in a different place, but the new night brought a change. I started pleading with God.

I started saying, "If you really exist, if you really care, will you help me? Or, will you make it to where I never wake up again? Please do one of these. Please. I can't go on. I give up. I've done every possible thing I know to do in life, and I quit. I don't have any more strength to fight. I am dead. Take me or help me. Take me or help me. Take me or help me. Please help. I'm so scared."

He did both.

He reached down and grabbed me, and threw me into a place I still don't fully understand. He broke me, scattered me into specks of dust floating in the wind. Then he gathered the dust up, and breathed life into me. He revived me according to His word. (Psalm 119) In faithfulness He afflicted me, and His lovingkindess comforted me. (Psalm 119) He heard my voice according to His lovingkindess. (Psalm 119)

"The right hand of the Lord is exalted;
The right hand of the Lord does valiantly.

I will not die, but live,
And tell of the works of the Lord. (Let it be Lord! Send me out for Your Glory!)
The Lord has disciplined me severely,
But He has not given me over to death

-Psalm 118:15-18 NASB

"This is my comfort in my affliction,
That Your word has revived me."

-Psalm 119:50

Jesus saves!

By His will, by His power, for His glory, He brought me to the Village, and He opened my eyes to see strength, to see what being a man is--a shape of dust in need of a savior. A soul completely dependent on Jesus.

He opened my eyes to see that I am nothing but a soul that cleaves to the dust. (Psalm 119) My very nature reaches for the dust I was crafted from. I am hopeless without Him. I am dead in my trespasses. I should be dead right now.

But He saves! Jesus saves! He revived me according to His word. All those years ago, He took the dust from the ground, formed it, and breathed life into the first man according to the power of His word. Then man tasted death. How will this dust live again?

It will live according to His word!

"Revive me according to Your word."

-Psalm 119:25

Breathe on us Lord. Do not leave us to death and despair. Do not let us return to the dust we came from. Revive us according to Your word! Amen.

I am thankful. From such places of loneliness and despair the Lord has saved me. He has taught me other things about being a man. A man needs help from friends. A man is not strong by himself, he is dead. A man needs help.

I don't understand the friends I have. I don't understand the community I live in. How could I, for who can fully know the ways of the Lord? Because it is the Lord that has crafted the community I live in. IT IS NOT MAN! It wouldn't make any sense if it was man. Only our merciful Lord could establish something like this.

A letter of encouragement. Dinners with great food, and deep conversation. Dedicated nights of affirmation and challenge. Rebuking. Prayer. Comfort. Sympathy. Empathy. Laughter. Movies. Trips. Study. Music. Swimming. Fun. A shoulder, and a hand. A hug, and a kiss. Help.

The Lord is mighty. The Lord is to be praised.

I am thankful. Most people live their whole lives without a whole week of this community, much less years. We have been given a miracle in our midst.

Why? For His glory, for our joy, and for others. This must go out. It cannot, cannot, cannot end on us. We must not turn a deaf ear, or a blind eye to those that are hurting around us. We cannot be closed, but open, seeking out those who were like us--hurt, confused, lost, and in despair. May He bring them to Himself, and may He use us to be His hands and feet in this broken world. May He open our eyes to see the lost.

I am thankful. He has shown me what friendship can look like. He has shown me a concern that is not built on selfish gain, but on the outpouring of a love for Jesus. A care that is not worried about what it will receive, but what it can give. A deep, earnest desire to serve, rather than to be served. A life of sacrifice, not selfishness. May it be!

I am thankful. God's word is so heart-wrenching. But it is full of hope. It is real, and it is hard, and His ways are not our ways. There is a passage in Job that grabbed me today, and ultimately became the whole motivation for writing this passage.

It is a story of pain, grief, and loss, but it's a story of friends too. Of how God will use broken, dust-filled men to comfort His children in community.

****Before I share the story, I think it is crucial to say that the friends in this story are rebuked by God, and that they cause harm in the end, which shows that friends can never be our ultimate hope. But I believe this short story illustrates a moment that God used broken, dust-filled men to comfort His child. And it's the way He used them to comfort in this moment that so intrigues me.****

This story is from the book of Job. Job has lost his possessions. He has lost his sons and daughters. He has boils from his feet to his head. He is scraping himself while sitting in ashes. His wife has asked him to curse God and die.

In this moment, Job's three friends come to see him. They have heard of all his adversity, and they want to sympathize with him and comfort him.

What will they do? In this moment, how will they comfort him? Here is what happened:

"When they lifted up their eyes at a distance and did not recognize him, they raised their voices and wept. And each of them tore his robe and they threw dust over their heads toward the sky. Then they sat down on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights with no one speaking a word to him, for they saw that his pain was very great."

(italics, my emphasis) Job 2:12-13 NASB

What did they do? In this moment, they did not try to give Job the wisest nugget of wisdom ever given to man. They did not try to fix anything. They did not curse Job, or laugh at him, or find fault with him. In this moment, they did something else:

"Then they sat down on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights with no one speaking a word to him, for they saw that his pain was very great."

For seven days and seven nights? Wow. Haha. That is amazing. Could any of us do that? Would any of us do that? I know I always want to give that one word of wisdom that will set things right, or tunnel down into the depths of the problem to find the answer. This is finally what Job's friends attempt to do too, but before their folly, they do something amazing. They just sit there with him. There are no words. There is nothing to say. They are just there with him, "because they saw that his pain was very great."

I think in this moment, we see one of the many ways community can work in God's hands. Sometimes, we just need to be there for each other. There is nothing we can do, and nothing we can fix. All we can do is be there. And by God's grace, I have friends that will just be there, because there is nothing else they can do. I want others to have this too. I have hope that they will.

I have a long remembrance of what it's like without this community. And I have a thankful heart for the community He has given now. More than anything I have a blessed hope, because my hope is ultimately not in community itself, nor in what God has done in my life, nor in what He is doing and will do in others lives, nor in my church, nor in my future. It is in Him. It is in the maker and sustainer of the universe, the Holy One of Israel.

In the end, I have A Blessed Hope,

"For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers."

-1 Timothy 4:10

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Three Short Stories

Reservation Road

I just finished watching these three short stories. I have no idea if the movies will be any good, but I know these trailers are. There is so much that scratches underneath our surfaces, and crawls in the darkness of our lives. May we not be blind and deaf to the suffering around us.

Thursday, September 6, 2007


Things I want to write about:

God is good. I want to write with passion. I want to live with passion. I hate the times when I internally try to rein myself in, instead of just being excited. I don't want to be that way. God made me the way he made me for a reason.

Oh! How I love hope! God has been teaching me a great deal about hope lately.

1 John 3:2

ἀγαπητοί νῦν τέκνα θεοῦ ἐσμεν καὶ οὔπω ἐφανερώθη τί ἐσόμεθα οἴδαμεν ὅτι ἐὰν φανερωθῇ ὅμοιοι αὐτῷ ἐσόμεθα ὅτι ὀψόμεθα αὐτὸν καθώς ἐστιν

Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. (NASB)

1 John 3:3

καὶ πᾶς ὁ ἔχων τὴν ἐλπίδα ταύτην ἐπ' αὐτῷ ἁγνίζει ἑαυτὸν καθὼς ἐκεῖνος ἁγνός ἐστιν

And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. (NASB)

These verses are amazing to me.

"Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be."

I mean, listen to that! My goodness. We have not appeared as what we will be. Oh, thank you Father! This means that when we fear things or people we shouldn't fear, when we have anxiety we shouldn't have, when we doubt when we shouldn't doubt, we have not appeared as what we will be.

"We know that when He appears, we will be like Him..."

What? Are you kidding me? We will be like Him. This is just incredible. All things fade on earth until death finds them, but He is eternal! We will not die, but live! Amen.

"...because we will see Him just as He is."

Oh, for that day Lord. Oh, for that day.

And this shatters my thoughts:

"And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure." This is hope--that we have our hope fixed on Him! In the end, all of the growth we experience, all of the joys we know, all of the friends we have, marriage, children, love, death, it is all trumped in the light of this hope. These are all wonderful gifts He gives us, but in the end, our hope cannot end on these things. His mercy to us is that our hope is fixed on Him. Oh Father, thank you. Please, we beseech you that our hope will be fixed on you, and nothing else. Amen.

So, lately I've been thinking, I don't want to be content with my growth in the Lord. I want to know Him more, to love Him more, to desire Him more, to be consumed by Him. In the end, I want my life to be like Paul's, or Spurgeon's, or Luther's.

But after teaching me about hope one night in 1 John, he taught me again in 1 Timothy 4:10.

1 Timothy 4:10

εἰς τοῦτο γὰρ κοπιῶμεν καὶ ἀγωνιζόμεθα ὅτι ἠλπίκαμεν ἐπὶ θεῷ ζῶντι ὅς ἐστιν σωτὴρ πάντων ἀνθρώπων μάλιστα πιστῶν

For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers. (NASB)

Why do I labor and strive to know the Lord? Why do I want to imitate my heroes of the faith?

"...because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers."

What peace and freedom this truth brings. What mercy he has shown us. Our hope is fixed on the precious name of our Lord Jesus, and nothing else.

I love you Lord. Thank you for letting me write. Thank you for letting me breathe. Thank you for letting me rest in You. Amen.

Dear Most Excellent Roommate Dude,

This Greek's for you.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


***Movie Spoiler Warning***

(The above means don't get mad at me for revealing the end of this movie if you keep reading this)

Last Friday, Geoff and I made some steaks, and sat down to watch a little movie we like to call, PREMONITION, with Sandra Bullock. We heard that it had a tricky ending, so we decided to play a game.

The challenge: after thirty minutes of story time, we write down the ending--basically, what's going on here in PREMONITION land?

So, twenty-five minutes in, I wrote this:

She (Bullock) truly has premonitions, but her reactions to her premonitions end up causing Jim (her husband) to die, when he would not have died if she did not try to arrange life around her premonitions.

This is somewhat right, but five minutes later I wrote:

Jim orchestrates the appearance of his death for his own personal gain and Sandra Bullock is straight up crazy.

This is still somewhat right.

However, I am proud to say Geoff absolutely nailed the ending! I'm still not sure how he did it, except that he must have read some spoiler before watching the movie, and tricked me into thinking he didn't know what would happen.

I've asked Geoff for permission to reprint his writing, and he has generously agreed to let me share his prediction with you. I must warn you, this is some of the best stuff I've seen out of the workshop in years. Brace yourself.

I present Geoff Ashley on...PREMONITION.

"Having contacted Dr. Emmit Brown, Sandra Bullock is taken on an excellent adventure with her old pal Keanu Reeves. In visiting Marty, they discover a lake house where things are not what they seem. Apparently Sandra has concocted a batch of crazy juice made from dead crow parts. This potion summons the Spirit of Brandon Lee who kicks some crazy tail. During the battle, Keanu races the Delorean in his own machine, a phonebooth. However, he dials the wrong number and ends up in the Matrix where Lawrence Fishburne attempts to fight him. When Keanu is backed against the wall he calls forth Brandon into the Matrix. Insanity ensues which is good for Sandra, who doesn't have to make any more crazy juice. Haley Joel Osment pays it forward by seeing the spirit of Sandra's husband, but Bruce Willis dies harder."

I'm still in shock over this, and I've contacted several agents on Geoff's behalf. Who really knows what will happen next in this epic saga of...Premonitions. Stay tuned.

The above is protected under all natural laws, and some laws in a few states that have different laws than the other states for some reason. What is up with those states? Any use of this premonition without express written consent of the author is prohibited, unless verbal consent is given, which is about a 60/40 chance depending on whether you feel lucky or not. Well, do you, punk?

Monday, August 13, 2007


This is nuts...