butter light

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taking the war out of ‘worship wars’

I heard Matt Olson’s gracious resignation talk after the NIU board asked him to step down. So blessed to see a man who has been under fire from harsh critics respond in a gentle way and then to put the focus off himself and on God.

There were several things he said that are worth remembering. Here is one that sticks with me. I did a word wall of it since it is good for many other difficulties in life beyond his own at the moment.

Matt Olson quote

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You may have noticed that the word ‘unexpected’ is in a similar color as the words ‘worship’ and ‘praise’ and ‘thank.’ The ‘unexpected’ starts out darker and duller, but as we direct our focus toward God and away from ourselves our actions and attitude shift from remorse or grief to the joys of being in God’s presence.

I am reminded how often I fall short of this. Right, left or middle – wherever we stand on these issues – this response proves that we can navigate our differences with grace.

President Olson’s response to his dismissal shows he sees a higher value in grace over gotcha. And for that matter, the NIU Board shows grace by giving President Olson the chance to freely speak his parting words to their students. Most dismissal situations like this are often well choreographed or restricted to avoid further collateral damage, but this looks quite unusual in its gentle tone and ethos.

The text that serves as President Olson’s anchor is Romans 11:33-36:

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom

and knowledge of God!    

How unsearchable his judgments,    

and his paths beyond tracing out!

Who has known the mind of the Lord? 

Or who has been his counselor?

Who has ever given to God,

that God should repay them?

For from him and through him and

for him are all things.    

To him be the glory forever!


The NIV translation entitled this section as “Doxology.”



stories aren’t just for kids, say?

File:Norfolk Island Philip Island.jpg

from the Rabbit Room Jonathan Rogers says, “If you want people to build a ship, don’t give them a ship-building manual. Give them a longing for the sea. They’ll figure out how to build that ship.”

Jonathan is talking about stories – “…our children know it’s the story that does the work on us, not the disembodied precept.”

Stories, narrative, tales, myths (real or not real), parables, histories, dramas are what pull us into the Truth. The abstract lines of a truth may sound deep and academically layered, but they rest on the surface till told within their story. By themselves diamonds may sparkle, but they truly look lovely when they are set and worn.

Furthermore, some truths can only make their way into the secret dens of my soul by a powerful indirectness which only story is capable to muster.

No wonder most of the Bible is narrative of some kind or other.

It gets under your skin not just on it.

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said elsewhere – worth repeating

 “The word ‘Christian’ means different things to different people. To one person it means a stifFile:Baby on Tiptoes.jpgf, upright, inflexible way of life, colorless and unbending. To another it means a risky, surprised-filled adventure, lived tiptoe at the edge of expectation…If we get our information from the biblical material, there is no doubt that the Christian life is a dancing, leaping, daring life.”

Eugene Peterson

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Is God’s forgiveness planned?

“God’s forgiveness is a scheduled event; not a divine impulse to our failings.”


(Matthew 26:28) 28 for this is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many for the remission of sins.

(Ephesians 4:32) 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God also in Christ forgave you.

There is a blessed past tense in God’s forgiveness that fills the present with eternal peace.

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quote from Lane Craig’s essay:

“Imagine that you’re hiking through the woods and come across a translucent ball lying on the forest floor. You’d naturally wonder how it came to be there. If one of your hiking partners said to you, “Don’t worry about it! There isn’t any explanation of its existence!”, you’d either think he was crazy or figure that he just wanted you to keep moving. No one would take seriously the suggestion that the ball existed there with literally no explanation.

Now suppose you increase the size of the ball in this story to the size of a car. That wouldn’t do anything to satisfy or remove the demand for an explanation.

Suppose it were the size of a house. Same problem.

Suppose it were the size of a continent or a planet. Same problem.

Suppose it were the size of the entire universe. Same problem.

Merely increasing the size of the ball does nothing to affect the need of an explanation.”

(from Lane Craig’s essay:  ‘Five Arguements for God’

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New Moon – old problem

quoting God:

“Your New Moon festivals and your appointed feasts My soul hates. 

They have become a burden to Me; 

I am weary of bearing them.”


recorded by Isaiah (Is 1:14)


Twilight is when the Light is chased away and Darkness is ushered in.

Let us enjoy the Preeminent Christ instead for “He rescued us the domain of Darkness and transferred us to the Kingdom of His beloved Son…” (Col 1:13)