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They want God.

They want God.


 It is God with whom we have to do. People go for long stretches of time without being aware of that, thinking that it is money, or sex, or work, or children, or parents, or a political cause, or an athletic competition, or learning with which they must deal. Any one or a combination of these subjects can absorb them and for a time give them the meaning and purpose that human beings seem to require. But then there is a slow stretch of boredom. Or a disaster. Or a sudden collapse of meaning. They want more. They want God. When a person searches for meaning and direction, asking questions and testing our statements, we must not be diverted into anything other or less.

Eugene Peterson, Working the Angles.

Who Stands Fast?

Who Stands Fast?

From Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, by Eric Metaxas:

"Who stands fast?" he asked. "Only the man whose final standard is not his reason, his principles, his conscience, his freedom or his virtue, but who is ready to sacrifice all this when he is called to obedient and responsible action in faith and in exclusive allegiance to God–the responsible man, who tries to make his whole life an answer to the question and call of God."

This was how Bonhoeffer saw what he was doing. He had theologically redefined the Christian life as something active, not reactive. It had nothing to do with avoiding sin or with merely talking or teaching or believing theological notions or principles or rules or tenets. It had everything to do with living one's whole life in obedience to God's call through action. It did not merely require a mind, but a body too. It was God's call to be fully human, to live as human beings obedient to the one who had made us, which was the fulfillment of our destiny. It was not a cramped, comprised, circupsect life, but as life lived in a kind of wild, joyful, full-throated freedom–that was what it was to obey God. must be more zealous to please God that to avoid sin.  (p. 446)





I was reading Tim Keller's newest book King's Cross and came across this following passage that completely undid me:

Follow the thread. You say, "That sounds pretty hard," and you're right. How can we possibly follow the thread? It's simple but profound. Jesus himself does absolutely everything he's calling us to do. When he called James and John to leave their father in the boat, he had already left his Father's throne. "He left his Father's throne above, so free, so infinite his grace." And later he's going to be ripped from his Father's presence, on the cross. It's going to look as if your thread is taking you into dead ends, places where you'll get bloody, where the only way to follw the thread looks like it could crush you. But don't try to go backward. Don't turn to the left; don't turn to the right. Jesus Christ's kingship will not crush you. He was crushed for you. He followed the thread to the cross as you can follow yours into his arms. (p. 25)

Get this book and read it.

Introduction to Books & Resources by Timothy Keller from Redeemer City to City on Vimeo.

City Forum::Work

CityForum Work from Mark Grapengater on Vimeo.

I put together a video for City Church's forum on work using Brad's D7000 for time lapse. It starts on February 2nd on the 30th floor of the Laclede Gas Building (720 Olive) downtown St Louis at noon. Make an effort to come out. Some of the topics will be:

  • Does my job matter?
  • Finding fulfillment in work?
  • Can I be a difference maker in the work place?

Hope to see you there.

Urban Dwelling

Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce.  Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease.  But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.

Moving anywhere has its challenges.  Foremost, at least for me, is just the act of moving.  Packing up, finding boxes, realizing how much stuff you have, leaving some behind, realizing you shouldn't have left your smoker behind, no matter the smoke bowls are rusted through– how now am I going to make bacon?!  Obviously leaving your friends is difficult also.

But once you get to the new city there are new challenges.  Getting a grasp on the pulse of the city, having to drive everywhere, finding new places eat.  For me a big challenge has been trying to find good places to buy food.  Farmer's Markets, delicatessens, meat shops, coffee roasters.  I know they're there, but I'm still trying to find the ones that I like.  Trying to set up my apartment has been a challenge too.  For the most part, I'm moved in, but my pictures haven't been hung yet.  My bedroom isn't perfectly arranged or picked up.

All of this is made more difficult with the prospect of living in Saint Louis for only one year.

How much effort do I want to put into finding the perfect place to buy coffee?

Is it worth my time and effort to build relationships with where I buy my meat?

Jeremiah seems to think that it is.

The passage above (Jeremiah 29:4-7) the Lord instructs Israel while they're in exile from Jerusalem to live in the city.  "Plant gardens, build houses, give your sons and daughters in marriage."  These are all major time commitments.  Gardens have to be tended.  Building houses seems pretty permanent.  Giving sons and daughters away in marriage means meaningful relationships have been established.  In others words, be a part of society.  All of those commands are long term even when Israel didn't want to spend more time than they had to there.  But in doing so, they will be blessed.  In seeking the welfare of the city, they will find their welfare also.

As Christians, we often overlook the place where we are now preferring to think it'll all burn up in the end, rather than the biblical picture of a renewed heaven and earth (see Rev. 21:5).  It is important for me to build relationships with those here in Saint Louis as if my call were a long term one.  Why does it matter that I may only be here a year?  How much more would my time here be blessed if I involve myself deeply in Saint Louis, investing in those around me, building relationships with my neighbors, eating at neighborhood joints, and immersing myself in Saint Louis' culture?  The promise that the passage gives is that my life and the life of the city will be blessed.

Of course, I'll never be a Cardinals fan.