Sonntag, Juni 03, 2007

How wonderful and sweet is our God

My friends, let me share with you some scripture I read recently in my time with God that has been nourishing my soul greatly. Jeremiah 9.23-24 says, "Thus says the Lord, 'Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things," declares the Lord."

Shoooweeeeeeeee! That is good! Our God is not impressed with how enlightened, or intelligent we are. He doesn't care about the number of degrees we have or how many clever euphemisms we can spout out.

He is not impressed with how strong we are. Last night I went to some amateur fights of the variety like you see on UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship). It is called MMA fighting (mixed martial arts), so it is a mixture of just about any fighting style. There was a lot of fights at the event, but one fighter was sixteen years old. Before last night he had been in and won four amateur fights. Last night he handily won his fifth. God doesn't care how strong or powerful we are. His delight in David was not in his skill at slinging stones or skill with any weapon in battle. God's delighted in David because David delighted in God and trusted in Him, and not his own abilities.

God is not impressed with how much money we have accumulated through toil, trade or treachery. I am not one to really think about money much, which has its up sides and down. But recently I opened up an account with a new bank. I discovered a bit more about myself as I found that I was much more concerned with the safe transfer of funds from my old account to the new one. What was I going to do if I lost that money I'd saved? I probably would have freaked out. But what would it have mattered? God gives and He takes away. Money is no great thing for God. The condition of our hearts in the matter of how we handle it is of importance to God.

No, God is not particularly focused on any of these things, wisdom, might, wealth, or a great many others, beauty, body shape, style, hobbies, popularity, wit, creativity, musical abilities and a great many other things that we constantly find ourselves and the rest of the world bowing down to in worship, consciously and unconsciously.

Rather our God is not on interested in and delights in, but also "exercises" lovingkindness, justice and righteousness! How awesome, sweet and wonderful, how trustworthy, beautiful and perfect is our God! Do things things not sing the most wonderful music to your soul? That the Almighty God would treasure and act out these things! And what is more, that He true desire for us, and the thing He wants us to boast in if we are to boast in anything, is that we KNOW and UNDERSTAND Him! This is His desire! That we know Him. That we understand Him. What could be better? What could be a greater reason for us to exist and from which to draw our meaning and purpose? What greater God could we serve?

And these are but two verses among so many from God's precious Word, which reveals who He is to us. That we may know and understand Him. That we may delight in Him, the one person, power and thing that is worth all of our time, energy, devotion, adoration and love. Dig into His Word! As Piper says, "swim in His Word!"

Samstag, Juni 02, 2007

Oh, the depths, twists, tunnels and caves that make up the catacomb of the mind!

Let it be known that after months of trying to remember a word, God has finally let me come to it! The word eluded me for some reason. It was a word I often heard in my literature classes but never really knew exactly what it meant. Then for some reason within the last couple of months I had some need to use it, but couldn't for the life of me remember it.

It came to me as I was talking with my two dear brothers Mike and Chuck. We were discussing several things of eternal value and the topic of justice came up. I was sharing that I've been thinking about the issue of late, and particularly that God is a God of justice. And often there is nothing that can be done to achieve justice in an unjust situation. All that can be done is to trust in God. As my dear friend John Piper said, "we must know the SUPREMACY of His justice. He will render ALL ACCOUNTS SETTLED in the end, in the universe, either on the CROSS or in HELL. NO injustice will remain, when Christ is finished with His supreme justice!"

But then there are times when God uses us to be agents of His justice. And when I said that, agents, it came to me. AGENCY! That was the word I'd been searching for these months. Let it be known, agency can mean this: (a) the state of being in action or of exerting power; operation: the agency of Providence. Or: (b) a means of exerting power or influence; instrumentality: nominated by the agency of friends (as defined by

Now go forth my friends, trust in God's supreme agency, be His agents of justice when possible and He guides you to be so, and use the term 'agency' to impress your friends, co-workers and fellow students of academia and life!

Labels: , , , ,

Samstag, Mai 19, 2007

The Proposal Story: Warning, this is full on and has some serious detail

Due to popular demand, or demand anyway, I am finally going to share with those who have waited for it, my side of proposing to Abigail. So much seems to have happened since then it may take some work conjuring up some of the details, but I will do my best to get all the nit and grit.

I'm not sure I can point to a singular instant that I decided I knew it was God's will for Abigail and I to be together as husband and wife for so long as He blesses us with life. And as for love, that, too, I can not point exactly to, though a little closer than the other. I knew that I loved Abigail, when I found that I was constantly trying to convey to her that message, that I loved her, without saying those three words (my intent was to not say that to her until I was knew that I intended to propose). Nor did I want to tell her that I loved her from afar, but wanted to look her in the eyes when I said it first. And it seemed clear that God had designed our marriage union when a couple of things happened. One, all I could think about was being with Abigail forever. Two, all I could talk about with people that I loved and looked to for wisdom and Godly counsel was Abigail. Three, what counsel and insight they offered me pointed to one thing, directly or indirectly. Lastly, all that I heard from God through His Word, His Spirit, prayer and circumstances brought me to the same conclusion as the wisdom of my confidants: that if I did not ask Abigail to marry me I would have to be one of the world's greatest morons and mentally impaired individuals. Thus and thus I knew.

So it was that Abigail had the Spring Break vacation coming up and some time previously we had planned for her to come visit me here in Washington. But first I would come to Texas for my dear friend Stephani's wedding, which Abigail would attend with me, and then we would travel together to Washington. My challenge was that time was drawing near for her visit by the time I “knew”. And I did not intend to propose to Abigail without first talking with Jeff and Leabeth and asking for their permission and blessing. Furthermore, the one weekend open to me was the weekend prior to me going to Texas for Stephani's wedding. And some time previous to my heavily deliberating I had gotten myself enrolled into a scuba diving class that started on Monday and went through to the Sunday. However, it turned out that the folks teaching the class were very flexible and were willing to let me start the class, cut out when I needed to, and then catch up with another class later on and finish up then. So that is what I decided to do.

It was a long week. The classes started at 1800, just after I could escape from work, lasted until at least 2200, which put me at actually getting to bed about 2300 or so. Sometimes later because I had not read the instruction manual for the class like I was suppose to and was therefore squeezing that in as I could. And I had to be at work at about 0550. So I was a little worn out.

I had already written Jeff and Leabeth an email (I wanted to send them a letter in the mail but I somehow find it very hard to put a letter in an envelope, address it, put a stamp on it and drop it in a mail box, so email I used, eh). The intent of the letter was to give them some form of warning that, “hey, just to make sure you know, I'm-crazy-go-nuts-twitterpated-and-deeply-impressed-with-and-enjoy-to-no-end
-your-smoking-hot-to-the -point-of-incendiary-combustion-daughter.” That way when I arrived asking for permission to propose to Abigail it wouldn't be out of left field. So, letter written. They responded with basically, “duh, you'd be one of the world's greatest morons and mentally impaired individuals if you weren't feeling and thinking all that about Abigail.” They also said they looked forward to the next time I'd be in town so that they could get to know me better, and asked when that would be. “Funny that you mention that...,” I thought, and said, “because I'm actually wanting to come to town next weekend and could I talk with the two of you. And oh, by the way, would you please not tell Abigail that I'm coming in to town.”

So it was that I hopped on a plane and shot down to Texas right after work, getting into Dallas/Ft. Worth about 2300, getting a rental car by about midnight, linking up with one of my best friend's Zach, his new wife, my bro, his bro, and some other friends at a bar for a very brief visit. Zach was only visiting Texas and was about to leave for Iraq for a year-plus, so it was my last chance to see him before that. It was all-to-short an affair and not how I would have liked to done it, but it was all I was going to get. So then I headed to his brother's place for a few hours of sleep before getting up early enough to get into Nacogdoches in time to meet Jeff and Leabeth at our appointed time. Well, despite my sleep deprived and exhausted state, sleep was not surprisingly elusive. So I got up, slipped quietly out and headed for the Home of the Lumberjacks. I got in at about 7 or 8, crashed for an hour or two, got up, cleaned up, talked with my dear mum for a bit and headed into the lion's den.

When I arrived, the first thing Jeff asked me was, “well, is she worth all this trouble?”

“Yes, sir, she definitely is,” I responded.

So I told them I wasn't going to beat around the bush. I got right to it and told them that I loved Abigail, I like Abigail, that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her, and that I wanted their permission and blessing to do so. They gave me both, shockingly. No baseball bats were brought to bear on my head or knee caps. No pointy objects. Though I'm sure that Jeff would have really liked to do so, he refrained, for which I am very grateful.

But as I said, they were incredibly wonderful to me and I got to hang out with them for a while, drinking coffee (one of the surest ways to my heart) and they even gave me a tour of the little run down church down the street from their house that Abigail would actually really like to be married in. Unfortunately it's state is not very good for weddings right now, but perhaps others will get to experience it's charm in the future, if money is put together to really fix it up.

And ironically enough, throughout the time with Jeff and Leabeth, our conversation ultimately lead me down a path that I don't think Jeff really wanted it to. I did not have the ring yet, and I was not even intending to let Abigail know I'd been in town, but why the heck should I wait to propose a WHOLE WEEK! That would be unbearable! So I decided to bump up the proposal to that very day.

I must take a moment to give some serious credit to Anna, Abigail's sister. She had been my mole, giving me information on what kind of ring Abigail would want, how to contact Jeff and Leabeth, what I might want to say to them, when they would be available, etc. Without her assistance, it would have all been much harder to pull off. That being said, you know from Abigail's side of story her further involvement in the events that followed.

So when I showed up at Abigail's apartment after calling her and telling her I was coming over (to her surprise, as you know), she was happy to see me, but not aware of my intentions. I didn't have the ring yet, a small detail that I knew she wouldn't hold against me. But I did know how I wanted to propose to her.
So I asked her to sit down and read to her from John 13, the account of Jesus's last Passover with His disciples and how He washed their feet. He took the role of the slave and servant, elevating them above Himself, to their shock. And I read to her from Ephesians 5, where Paul talks about how Christ loved the Church by laying down His life for us and how must do the same for His wife. And that wives are to subject themselves to their husbands as we the Church subject ourselves to Christ. Then I washed her feet. Finally, I told her that I loved her and wanted to share whatever God had in store for both of us together, and asked her to marry me. And she said yes! Wooohooo!


Samstag, April 14, 2007

Lieutenant's log: Star Date 971005673.12.3... or something like that

So it was that Brett arose from his slumberous and contemplative slumbering and pondering on a fine Saturday morning. He ate a donut, chocolate to be precise, and decided it was time to post again. So now you're reading this, wondering what kind of information I would title with such a honorable title as to use a Star Trek reference. Well, somewhat indirectly related to Star Trek I did just rent the spectacular 1984 film "Dune" that starred the almost never again seen Kyle MacLachlan. Of course Sting, who also is featured in the film is still in the public eye. And much more importantly than Sting, the film was graced by the glorious presence of Patrick Stewart, who if you live under a rock, played the role of Jean-Luc Picard, who was only one of the greatest Star Fleet captains to ever live! And if that means nothing to you, you uncultured swine, then you should at least know him as the one and only Professor Charles Xavier, vigilant, stalwart, uber-powerful and virtuous leader of the X-Men, the coolest band of superheros to ever be contrived and manifested first in comic books, and now major motion pictures. I apologize for insulting anyone who was not aware of who this seminal actor is, and I apologize for insulting anyone's intelligence who did know of Patrick Stewart with that explanation.

I also rented "Lonesome Dove," which is another great viewing experience. It stars Robert Duvall, Tommy Lee Jones, Danny Glover, Diane Lane, Robert Urich, Rick Schroder and Anjelica Huston. I watch this great tv-miniseries with my mom growing up, and it has been a long time since I've seen it. I've only made it through 1 and a half hours of its 6, but I've no doubt it will be worth the time. My only question is do water-moccasins actually move through rivers in swarms and then aggressively attack people on horseback riding through a river? I think this will probably be my only moment of doubt concerning the film, and I could be very wrong to doubt its accuracy in depicting snake behavior. But that seemed odd to me. I apologize once again for throwing in a small spoiler to anyone who plans on seeing it for the first time, but rest assured, that is not a major plot twist.

At any rate, as to things that really matter in life (despite the seriousness with which I tried to compose those previous words, I do not really think you are a swine for not know who Patrick Stewart is (though I do pity you)), Abigail and I are only three months to the day away from being wed!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If the first six weeks of our engagement were any measure of the slowness to expect in the passage of time for the next three months... well, it will probably feel like an eternity. Ah, such is the convaluding nature of love and how it warps the mind. Abigail and I have created a wedsite for our... I just misspelled 'website' as 'wed-site'... that seems fitting so I'll just leave it misspelled. Anyway, our wedding has a site that you can look at for all the details you are curious about, and then some. I have to confess that we did it almost as much for our own amusement as for we did to help folks get the information they would need. At any rate there is a link to the right that will take you there. Hope you enjoy. It will have some additions. I intend to register at Sears, so all you guys who want to make your wedding gift a manly one, just wait, I will hopefully get that done soon.

To all you fellow fans of the Trek, K'pla!

Labels: , , , , ,

Montag, April 02, 2007

"I wear my sunglasses at night"

Thank you all for your prayers. The surgery seems to have gone well. It may be several weeks until the healing is complete and that my eyes are at their full potential for seeing clearly.

The medications are working pretty well and I'm in little to no discomfort, of course that might change once the valium wears off!

I've got lots of audio books and plenty of sermons to entertain me and lots of time to pray in the week ahead.

And YEA!!!, Abigail is coming to visit me this weekend!!! I swoon at the thought of enjoying her company... or maybe that is the percocet... at any rate, I can't wait! (Well, actually, I have to wait. Time will not fortunately or unfortunately alter its passing based on my wishes. Of course I suppose Einstein might have something to say about the relativity of time... but I'm not smart enough to know what he would say... so I'll just say I must endure the constant agony of being separated from my Love).

Abigail and I will be creating a wedding website over the weekend, so stay tuned for that!

All my love to you my friends and family and perhaps occasional passer-by.

Labels: , , , , ,

My eyes!

Thanks to Uncle Sam, I'm going to be able to get my vision corrected! So please pray for the surgery and recovery. I'm going under the laser tomorrow morning around 9 o'clock. I'll be given the rest of the week off, so feel free to call if you'd like to catch up. No guarantee though on how alert I'll be based on the use of prescribed my desire to try and sleep through any discomfort I'll be feeling with my eyes.

I appreciate all your prayers! I'll try and put an update up as soon as I can stand to look at a computer screen.

Samstag, März 24, 2007

"Wove and mairwage is what bwings us togever..."

I apologize for taking so long to update this thing and let everyone know that hasn't heard yet that we've set our wedding date for July 14 in Nacogdoches, Texas.

We're trying to get all the details ironed out, but being thousands of miles away from each other presents a few challenges.

Please pray for us as we work on all the preparations for the ceremony and infinitely more important, that God would continue to prepare us for the rest of our lives bound together with Christ.

Okay, I know this is really short, but I gotz to go. Shalom.

Mittwoch, März 07, 2007

A Teaser

Okay, so I hate to do this, but the hour grows late, I'm short on sleep and I promised Abigail that I'd be good and healthy and rested for our time together next week. So, I'm off to bed for my beauty sleep, but before I go, I just want to world to know that I am engaged to the most wonderful, beautiful, lovable and lovely woman I know, Abigail Abt!!!

(So I'll post all the details from my side of the story as soon as I get a chance, but until then I hope you'll go and read Abigail's version of the story. Sorry, I'm not clever enough to know how to make a cool little link in the middle of my post disquised as her name or something... but a link is just over there on the side.)

Labels: , ,