Monday, June 2, 2008


My quick trip with the chickadees to my aunt and uncle's in east Tennessee was awesome. We waded up a sparkling creek in the middle of the woods to some beautiful little waterfalls decorated with dancing butterflies. Grace said, "It's like Narnia!"

While Becky was in Houston for her nephew's high school graduation, I remodeled our bathroom as a surprise for her. I put down new flooring, painted the walls, sanded the cabinetry and stained them darker, hung some new shelving, etc. I was up till 3 a.m. Sunday morning finishing it up. The very last thing I did was move a wall cabinet to another wall, and as I was hammering the screw anchors flush with the wall, a bottle of cologne bounced off the shelf on the wall behind me, plunged into the toilet, and cracked the porcelain bowl, leaving a nice little hole in the commode. So now we have a new bathroom with an unusable toilet.
Which means we'll be getting a new toilet and actually have an entirely new bathroom, I guess.

That disaster aside, it came out pretty well, and Becky loves it, so that made the whole thing worth it. (I was originally thinking I could do everything I wanted to do in one day and for $100. It actually took me 3 days and about $200, which is not bad for a radically different looking bathroom. And I am not handy. At all. So I really felt like I accomplished something.)

My friend John got to the surgeon guy Friday morning for his biopsy and the guy decided he didn't need it. The thing spotted by his general practitioner is apparently "normal." So that's a total "Thank you, God!" right there.

Last night at Element we continued in our Coffee Shop Theology series. In this installment I answered the submitted question, "Why does it seem like God is silent?" It was a pretty special service. Josh did a fantastic job leading us in music, and as part of my message, we showed our folks this video from Saddleback Church's HIV/AIDS initiative. It's pretty powerful and portrays the apex of pastoral ministry.
It illustrated one of my points, which is that God speaks through the manifestation of the gospel. By that, I mean to say that if the followers of Jesus actually lived gospel-driven lives, fewer and fewer people would feel like God is silent.

Two of my other points were "God speaks through creation" and "God speaks in Scripture," and the reason we don't hear Him in either of those ways very often is because we are unaccustomed to the rhythms of the wilderness and the contours of Scripture. We find both pretty uncomfortable, and I think our preference for "private little worlds" where we are inundated with the noise of our creations is connected to the reasons why, at a time when the Bible is now more available to anyone than ever before, we are now as a Church more biblically illiterate than any time ever before.

Next week the topic the series will address is "How do I die to myself and put on Christ?" (Yes, Element folks are Super Spiritual. :-) I will use that question as a jumping off point to talk about subverting the worldly and cultural rhythms thrust upon us by rebelliously embracing the kingdom's rhythms. This is stuff on the spiritual disciplines, etc. There will probably be some good blog fodder in there too.

Sorry for the random thoughts post. It's all I got right now on this Monday that finds me tired, drained, and fending off a nagging headache.

Word to your mother, blogosphere.


Brian said...

I'd have loved to hear your take on why God seems silent. And next weeks topic as well. I always seem to hear the question as "How can I try to do something which only God can do"? Is there audio available?

Anyway... we were also in East TN visiting relatives this weekend and took a walk in a cold mountain stream. Didn't see too many butterflies but there were plenty of crawdads. S3 actually held one but his older sisters were too skittish.

Hope you have a good week.

Jared said...

We played with some crawdads too! Awesome.

The starting point for my message last night was that God is always speaking. He seems silent because we aren't often receiving on the frequency he's broadcasting.

These were my main points:

a) God speaks through creation. We don't hear him because we are listening to the noise of our creations.

b) God speaks through pain. We don't hear him because our pain is great and we don't intuitively associate faith with brokenness.

c) God speaks through Scripture. We don't hear him because we are unfamiliar with Scripture, undisciplined, and prefer to wait on "special revelation" directly to us.

d) God speaks through the Gospel being lived out. We don't hear him because we aren't following him. We've settled for gospel information and not pressed further into gospel transformation.

e) God has spoken through His Son (Heb. 1), who is the Word of God incarnate. We don't hear him because we prefer something other than Christ alone, or we prefer Christ plus something else.

It was recorded for podcasting, as all my messages are, but the audio is not available yet.
Actually, we have a leadership team working weekend planned for mid July, during which I'm gonna write a couple of future message series and our technical director is going to catch up on 18 months of podcasts! There should be a lot of audio goodness available for those interested in about a month or so.

brandonmilan said...

My wife and I were in Western North Carolina visiting family last week, and it was really beautiful... you appreciate the beauty of the mountains so much more when you don't live there...

As far as your message on God being silent goes, I may steal some of your points there, my youth group has been asking a lot of questions dealing with that kind of thing...

Chanda said...

What? No "before" and "after" photos? We're just supposed to believe you actually did all this stuff?
I, as the reader, feel somewhat shafted. :p

Kenneth said...

Jared. You get left home with the kids. You go visit aunty, you keep the kids dressed, washed, fed and safe AND you remodel your bathroom. I have a bunch of guys here who have just had their wives spend the weekend out of town at a conference. I think they would love to have you visit Scotland and tell them how you did it!!

Thanks again for a great blog - I'm waiting for my 17 year old, just out of High School son to appear from his bedroom - (for lunch), so I can show him your post about kids raised in church!

Every blessing

Jared said...

Kenneth, much appreciated.

I could act like what I do is momentous and requires someone as spectacular as me to do it. ;-)
But I'm a shlub. God has blessed me with a couple of great kids and, more importantly, an incredible wife who's an incredible mom.

Brian said...

Thanks for the summary, Jared. It is much appreciated. I'm not big on the idea that God speaks through inner impressions(although he could) but I still believe that he communicates with us. What I seem to lack is the the language to actually express this but your list gives some good starting points.