Birth and Growth

Today is Tuesday, June 13, 2017. Day 21,642.

“I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.” ~ Thomas Jefferson, to Archibald Stuart, 1791
The Quotations Page

Today’s word of the day is humblebrag, a noun meaning, “a statement intended as a boast or brag but disguised by a humble apology, complaint, etc.”

Today is International Axe Throwing Day. Watch out!

I got back to work, yesterday, and was greeted by the news that we officially have to wear safety glasses out on the warehouse floor. This is nothing more than a “suck-up” move by management, because our client’s employees have always had to wear them, but we haven’t had to. As far as I know, the client never asked management to make us do it, either. So I have a pair of generic safety glasses, as well as some side guards for my prescription glasses, which I only need when I’m reading. So I’m constantly having to change back and forth. Anything to slow us down, right?

Other than that, the first day back was fine. I got to describe Oregon to several people, who seemed fascinated by how pretty it was. Then, after work, the girl behind the counter at McAlister’s Deli loved my t-shirt, which has the phrase, “The ocean is calling and I must go,” along with a nice picture of Twin Rocks. She was wondering if the phrase was from “The Old Man and the Sea.” I didn’t know. I looked it up. It seems to be a rendering of John Muir’s statement, “The mountains are calling me and I must go.” But it does have a bit of a Hemingway vibe, doesn’t it?

At band practice, I sounded like I hadn’t played in three weeks. Heh.

Nothing big happening today. We bowl again tomorrow night. I’m looking forward to that.

The Rangers are on another winning streak, having won four in a row, the fourth being last night against the first place Astros. The Red Sox pulled off a win against the Phillies in the eleventh inning. They are still in second place, four games out. The Rangers are in a virtual three-way tie for second, twelve games out.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)

Sing praises to the LORD, who sits enthroned in Zion! Tell among the peoples his deeds!
Psalm 9:11
May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, Selah.
Psalm 67:1
By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness, O God of our salvation, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas;
Psalm 65:5
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.
Luke 1:48-49
I give you thanks, O LORD, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing your praise; 
I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word. 
On the day I called, you answered me; my strength of soul you increased. 
All the kings of the earth shall give you thanks, O LORD, for they have heard the words of your mouth, 
and they shall sing of the ways of the LORD, for great is the glory of the LORD. 
For though the LORD is high, he regards the lowly, but the haughty he knows from afar. 
Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand delivers me. 
The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.

Psalm 138
O God, from whom all good proceeds:
Grant that by your inspiration I may think those things that are right,
and by your merciful guiding may do them;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God forever and ever. Amen.

The Prayer Appointed for the Week

(From Practice Resurrection)

Birth had to come before growth. On the other hand, growth must come after birth, or life does not go on. Peterson queries, “Is it an exaggeration to say that birth has received far more attention in the American church than growth?” As one who grew up in the evangelical culture, I can whole-heartedly agree. Evangelism always had much more focus than discipleship or growth. Winning souls always was, and still is, in some churches, the most important thing. As Peterson points out, the word “growth” is certainly used. We have “church growth” seminars and speak of “growing churches.” But guess what! Those are phrases that speak more of birth, of new Christians.

In biological life, birth is a joyous occasion. There are birth announcements, showers, and gifts. The details are always important: weight, length (for babies, it’s never how “tall” they are, but how “long” they are), the time of birth, the name, the sex. “The euphoria of birth lasts a few weeks.”

Although labor is sometimes long and painful, birth is generally relatively quick. but growth is “endless and complex.” The same is true for the Christian. Perhaps that is why so many churches only focus on birth.

I’m not much of an evangelist, myself. I’m terrible at talking to complete strangers about my faith. But I love talking to church members about growth, spiritual formation, and things like prayer. I mentioned yesterday that I have loved the Church for decades. My “ministry,” if you want to call it that, is to the Church, not the “world.” I have been given a desire to help the Christian grow, to, perhaps as Jesus truly commanded, “make disciples.”

Father, I pray that churches would become more balanced. I believe that the one we are currently gathering with has a better balance of birth and growth focus. We want to see new life in Christ for all people. We are also very interested in making disciples, in seeing people grow. Help me to develop my own work in this area. But first, help me to be a better disciple. Help me to grow.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.

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2 thoughts on “Birth and Growth

  1. With havin so much content do you ever run into any problems of plagorism or copyright violation? My blog has a lot of exclusive content I’ve
    either created myself or outsourced but it appears a lot of it is popping it up
    all over the internet without my authorization. Do you know any methods to help stop content from being ripped
    off? I’d definitely appreciate it.

    1. I haven’t really noticed anything like that, and, honestly, if I did, I wouldn’t mind. I don’t have any copyrighted material here, other than what I quote from the books I read.

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