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Becoming The Monster In Your Closet (via J.D. Vance)

A discomforting point of clarity from J.D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy.
Vance’s complex and ongoing relationship with his mother had been marred by her addictions and psychological disfunction.
As an adult in his own relationships he was noting a tendency.
And it caused him great fear.

…I’d scream and I’d yell. I’d do all of the hateful things that my mother had done. And then I’d feel guilty and desperately afraid. For so much of my life, I’d made Mom out to be a kind of villain. And now I was acting like her. Nothing compares to the fear that you’re becoming the monster in your closet.

Hillbilly Elegy; J.D. Vance; William Collins, London; pg 224.

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The Crucifixion Is God Setting A Ruined Creation Aright (via Fleming Rutledge)

The Crucifixion is not simply about forgiveness, but about a creation that is profoundly ruined being remade by the power and action of God.

“The Messiah came, not to a purified and enlightened world spiritually prepared for his arrival, but rather to a humanity no nearer to its original goodness than on the day Cain murdered his borther Abel. Indeed, the barbarity of the crucifixion reveals precisely that diagnosis. From beginning to end, the Holy Scriptures testify that the predicament of fallen humanity is so serious, so grave, so irremediable from within, that nothing short of divine intervention can rectify it.”
Fleming Rutledge, The Crucifixion – Understanding The Death Of Jesus Christ Eerdmans, Grand Rapids MI, 2015, pg 127.

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Growing By Grace Where We Are

“The Great Master Gardener, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, in a wonderful providence with his own hand, planted me here, where by his grace, in this part of his vineyard, I grow; and here I will abide till the great master of the vineyard think fit to transplant me.”
Samuel Rutherford, The Loveliness Of Christ: Selections From Samuel Rutherford’s Letters, Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 2007, pg 1.
As quoted in The Imperfect Pastor, Zack Eswine, Crossway, 2015, pg 86.

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Kiss The Wave

Charles Spurgeon, as quoted by David Cook in a sermon this afternoon:
“I have learned to kiss the wave that throws me against the Rock of Ages.”
The subjective experience of adversity brings us into contact with the objective experience of God and his gracious love.

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Led By One Songleader (via Sinclair Ferguson)

Tomorrow’s song leader, wherever God’s people gather to worship:

“We come for worship to be led by one Songleader, our Lord Jesus Christ. Which, incidentally, is one of the reasons you ought to be singing. Shame on me if I am silent when I am standing at the shoulder of my Lord Jesus Christ singing His heart out in praises to His heavenly Father.
Shame on me if I am in His choir and I am silent when He is urging me to sing the praises of this magnificent God. It is a marvelous incentive to sing that you know that it is Jesus who is leading your singing.”
– Sinclair B. Ferguson. “True Spirituality, True Worship.” Lookout Mountain, GA: Covenant College, 2004.
Audio CD. As quoted in Ron Man, Proclamation and Praise: Hebrews 2:12 and the Christology of Worship (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2007), 80-81.

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Obscurity And Greatness Are Not Opposites (via Zack Eswine)

I’m looking forward to reading all of Zack Eswine’s The Imperfect Pastor.
Here he writes about the way that aspiring to the work of a pastor is a long-haul commitment that cannot succumb to the temptations of haste or instancy:

…imagine loving God and others through the desolations of life. Desolation cannot easily endure an accelerated pastoral pace. This explains why many of us have no patience for pastoral care. Broken bones and minds are not hurry prone. Burned skin or victimized souls have to get to the miserable itching in order to heal, and we who wait by the bedside must wait some more. Death, grief, loss, recovery from addiction, as well as emotional or physical trauma, parenting special-needs kids, adjusting to chronic illness, depression, disability, or disease — all of these desolations are handled poorly when “efficiency” and “quantitative measures” are required of them. To the important pastor doing large and famous things speedily, the brokenness of people actually feels like an intrusion keeping us from getting our important work for God done. I write that last sentence, and it undoes me. Reread it. Then fall with me, won’t you? Fall to your knees with me before the Savior. He is the lifter of our heads. We need this gracious lifting, for we haven’t even spoken yet of how words like instant and impatient offer us no resources to handle the mattering thing of loving our enemies in ministry. And make no mistake: eventually you will have to learn this hardest of neighbor loves too.
As a rule then (and this often surprises us), haste is no friend to desire. The wise man says so, because “whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way” (Prov. 19:2). His point is clear enough. Haste has a habit of not coming through on things that truly matter.
In a crisis it can help. But when it comes to understanding, sorting out, and fulfilling the desires of a human soul, haste constantly and legitimately gets sued for malpractice. Haste offers immediate promises to our desires for a mate or ministry or work or our kids, but haste actually can never deliver on these promises for what is most precious to us.
The point I’m now making is this. Our desire for greatness in ministry isn’t the problem. Our problem rises from how the haste of doing large things, famously and as fast as we can, is reshaping our definition of what a great thing is. Desire greatness, dear pastor! But bend your definition of greatness to the one Jesus gives us. At minimum we must begin to take a stand on this one important fact: obscurity and greatness are not opposites.
Zack Eswine, The Imperfect Pastor, Crossway, 2015, pp 28-29.

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One Evidence That God Is With You (via Dale Ralph Davis)

“Sometimes the clearest evidence that God has not deserted you is not that you are successfully past your trial but that you are still on your feet in the middle of it.”
Dale Ralph Davis, 1 Samuel, 2010, p. 200