Where He Leads Me as sung by Willie Nelson (accompanied by sister Bobbie Nelson on piano).
The path of self-righteousness is lined with knowledge of who Jesus is, but not knowing how much we personally need him.
When we reach that point of need then we have a Saviour that we don’t just offer to others, we have a Saviour that has met our very personal need.
From Rebecca Reynolds:
My high-school years were an underworld, a terrible season of losing my orientation and losing myself. But in that chaos, I began to grasp my need for a gospel that could be carried to the darkness. If I had been able to jump through every religious hoop perfectly when I was a teenager, I would have stepped into adulthood with an inaccurate picture of my own righteousness. I wouldn’t have known how much I actually needed him. In fact, I might have thought that I was doing him a favour by standing up for him. Instead, during those four years, I saw what darkness I was capable of chasing. I learned that I didn’t just have a Saviour to offer the world – I stood in profound need of him too.
Rebecca K. Reynolds, Courage, Dear Heart, Navpress, 2018, pgs 166-167.
Listened to some albums by The Vespers today.
They seem to have disappeared, which is a bit of a shame, they have a very inviting sound.
Sisters And Brothers is the title track of their third album.
Leading With The Sermon is a new book on preaching by Will Willimon.
This taste demonstrates why I’m looking forward to it.
Preaching is at the center of pastoral work not only because in preaching a pastor is with more members of the congregation, in a more intentional and focused way, than in any other pastoral activity, making the pastor’s unique role visibly, definitively evident. Proclamation is at the center because of who God is and what God is up to. We know the truth about God only because of the proclamation of the one true preacher, Jesus.
The pastor who pleads, “Though I’m not much of a preacher, I am a loving, caring pastor,” is lying. There’s no way to care for God’s people as pastor without loving them enough to tell them the truth about God, what God is up to in the world, and how they can hitch on.
Christianity is a “revealed religion”; it happens when humanity is confronted by a loquacious God. We are unable to think about a Trinitarian God on our own. The truth about God must be revealed, spoken to us as the gift of a God who refuses to be vague or coy. It is of the nature of the Trinity to be communicative, revelatory—the Father speaking to the Son, the Son mutually interacting with the Father, all in the power of the Holy Spirit, God speaking to God’s world.
I’ve been aware of The Avett Brothers for years without really getting into them.
Songs like Tell The Truth are why they are so interesting.
(I can make my mother, my father, my sister, my brother, my lover, my neighbor, my friends all happy
Give of myself whatever they ask
But without this single truth it is only emptiness that I cast
A happiness that will not last
But I’m not here for that for what does happiness help without this single truth given to thyself)
I was the coward
I strangled your heart
I wanna make amends, but where do I start?
Tell the truth to yourself and the rest will fall in place.
The human goal of fulfilling ourselves demands that our efforts to do so are invested in that which we can achieve; but anything that we can achieve is not enough to satisfy our souls.
The Christian believes their fulfilment is not based on what we achieved, but on who has come to dwell within us.
From Rebecca Reynolds:
Almost every day we are told to believe in ourselves, to follow our hearts, to trust our gut, to do what feels good. Most of the movies we watch, most of thecommercials we see, most of the self—help advice that we are given relies upon this ethic. What’s the underlying drive here? While physical pleasure might seem like the big allure, there’s in fact a pull stronger than hedonism at play. The more intoxicating promise is safety — safety that we can guarantee without having to trust anybody else.
I get the appeal of this promise. At several points in my life, I have been so disappointed with the church, with my relationships, and even with my faith, that I have wanted to hide inside myself forever. Yet, this has never worked because an insular body of water grows stagnant. Disappointment becomes bitterness; bitterness becomes cynicism; and cynicism is the booby prize of a fallen world a sad, small bounty.
Examine the “believe in yourself” doctrine closely, and you will find Eve longing for a forbidden piece of fruit — not because one pear can ever be as lush as an entire garden, but because one pear is tiny enough to clutch in the palm of one small hand. This single pear represents all self—trust, an eternal folding inward, an eternal reduction.
What does a rejection of self-belief look like? Well, it certainly doesn’t mean that we must embrace the “I am a worm” mentality that pervades too many pockets of Christianity. Our identity is changed when we receive Christ, and once we are a new creation, indwelt by the Spirit, it’s not healthy to buy into ugly lies that hold us back. A Christian’s conﬁdence doesn’t reside in “I’m great” but in “Greatness lives in me.” We don’t withdraw trust but transfer it to what is trustworthy. Theological grounding in our new nature helps skepticism die because it rescues us from the double dangers of stagnant self-confidence and paralyzing insecurity.Rebecca K. Reynolds, Courage, Dear Heart, Navpress, 2018, pgs 116-117.
I’d actually intended to post another version of Softly And Tenderly, but then noticed this one by Glen Campbell.
It’s wonderful. Heartfelt and unaffected.