Daily Diary – 1/8/18

Why I Write These:

This is an initiative I started in 2018 to begin documenting my life better. It’s meant to be a snapshot of a day both for public disclosure of what is going on, both good and hard things in my life. It also serves as a record that I hope to be able to look back on in future years. This concept was inspired by my grandfather, Leon Milton Buttermore, who has a memory that I am envious of, and I hope that by doing this I am able to be the kind of man who starts to treasure the things given him.

Daily Highlights:

Today kicked off with an epic workout with Scott Bielinski at the gym. Man, it’s fun to have someone to go with. Since Seth White and I stopped going, I’ve just gotten worse and worse at going to the gym. I’m feeling really motivated to get some of my strength back again and, hopefully, with my new desire to cook more I can stay in good shape for the years ahead.

We had great conversations about the sufficiency of Christ and other things while we pretended to still be strong. But I’m sure in time we’ll actually get some of our old strength back. Scott seems like he’ll be a good work partner. Interested in people, but also wanting to actually, you know, workout at the gym. That’s a nice combination.

My muscles are sore though. I’m not sure I can really move.

Afterwards, he invited me to his house for some quick breakfast. He made me an omelet with some spinach and cheese in it. It was great! Very thankful that he’s willing to love a brother like myself well. I tried to convince him why he should think the new Star Wars movie was terrible, but we differ on how bad it was and that’s alright!

I then ran home to take a shower and study the Word before work. I read 1 John 3 today. It was a good time, although much of it is still sinking in. Some thoughts to flesh out:

  • We will be made into the glorious image of Christ. Even though John says we don’t fully know what that will be like, we do know that it is our hope and we should look forward to it. Christ has a real body like that of a person that is glorified and it is also our promise to be like him in that way.
  • It should be my prayer that my life would not be characterized by sin, but instead would be characterized by righteousness. I say this because John tells us clearly that righteousness should be the general marker of a Christian. We have the ‘seed’ of God planted in us. This ‘seed’ word is the same one that would be used of childbearing and the paternal elements that would be given unto a child through genetic inheritance. Similarly, just as God is without sin and He is our spiritual father, His ‘seed’ will work its way through us. This is one method that we have for knowing we are saved. Our growth in Christ is evidence in and of itself of authentic faith that is living – not dead.
  • But we should also beware oversensitive consciences if we do sin or feel condemned by our hearts. John tells us that if we are loving our brother – and God’s love is completed when we love our brother and sister in His name – that we can actually draw comfort that it is only through the Holy Spirit and God’s grace that we are really capable of truly loving another. Many people think they disagree with this, but I doubt most people really recognize the difference between selfless love and selfish love. So many love people because of how it makes them feel. What they might get. Other such things. That’s not really what the Bible defines as love. When we love it is out of place of selfless sacrifice just as Christ loved us enough to selflessly sacrifice at no gain. We had nothing to offer Him. He loved us anyway. So when we find ourselves doing this work of love, we can quiet an accusatory conscience through observing evidences of grace throughout our lives where we are faithfully following Christ’s commands.

I went from studying the Bible to my typical Monday morning routine – working on my AdWords accounts. Did some negative keywords, looked for optimization things that needed to get in the afternoon, and updated my reporting spreadsheets to look for new trends. Overall, things are rebounding with 2 clients at least. A 2nd one looks on the way, but needs more attention, and 2 more have yet to really see the signs of productivity that I am hoping for.

We’ll have to keep grinding and plodding forward. I did get an email from a client – a counselor – who had 3 appointments come in 3 phone calls today. She seemed happy and I at least played some part in that. That always feels nice to see things succeeding. Marketing isn’t a science, although there are some scientific elements to it. Every client is unique and requires attention. Keeps me on my toes, I suppose.

I went and met Jon Cadieux for lunch at Old Chicago. He’s a pretty smart guy. Has been around the business world for quite some time. We work on a joint client account together, and were brainstorming things that might work for him. Good to catch up. Jon seems like a good non-church relationship to try to keep up with from time to time. Not sure where it will lead, but I should continue reaching out. I do wish I had tried to drive the conversations more towards spiritual things. There were some opportunities, but I either was too timid or too slow to seize the opportunities. I do think, though, that I was able to get to know more about him. He has a son who is a Sophomore in college and seems to be doing well and we started venturing towards more topics of human nature. Maybe there will be opportunities in the future? I hope so.

I also think I shouldn’t bank on future opportunities to share the Gospel too much. Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed us, and if I was a bit more bold I’d be able to get into meaningful conversations more often. I’m really learning on that front in so many ways, especially when it comes to business connections. There’s a seeming balance where taking care of business is honoring to the Lord (Colossians 3:23) and I want to conduct it well and address the real needs we have before us. But the most real need is a person’s need for Christ. It’s not an either/or situation, but right now I’m more in that camp where I lean away from the conversation for fear of distraction. That’s not right of me, and not Biblical. I pray that I’ll learn to be an ambassador in chains more often and whenever I open my mouth, I might make known the mystery of the Gospel more clearly (Ephesians 6:19-20) 

I then plopped down at Mama Carmen’s to work a bit for the afternoon. Just the standard client work. Reviewing Analytics and abandoned cart rates for a client, for example.

I did this until 3PM and then Justiss Tartaglia and I caught up after the holiday break. We typically meet on Mondays, but his work schedule changed. So we’ll be meeting at this new time going forward. We had a great time talking about our ups and downs over the holiday season. He’s got some battles, and I do too. But it’s good to see him taking up Scripture and turning to it more and more as his refuge and shield against temptation. That’s one of the largest factors in taking sin and turning it upside down and letting righteousness pour in.

Be praying for both he and I that God will restore unto him the joy of salvation and renew a steadfast spirit within him. I do really enjoy getting to sit down and just talk about Scripture that is meaningful to our lives. It not only is a chance for me to encourage a brother, but I get encouraged! I talked a few days back about how I’m not sure Philemon 6 pertains to when we share the Gospel with non-believers (although I’m not convinced it doesn’t pertain to that), but I am positive that this is an example of the partnering and fellowship of faith that encourages not only the other person, but myself.

If you’re not discipling someone or being discipled by someone, you’re missing out on a fun and rewarding part of the Christian walk! And if you don’t know what ‘discipling’ means, then I’ll just tell you this. Get together, read Scripture, and ask questions about what it means to the other person. Maybe finish by praying for each other before you leave. There, you’ve discipled someone and it really is that simple in its practice!

I left from there to grab some groceries because Kim Hagar and Kristin Pankey were coming over for dinner. They’re old JBU friends and we catch up every once in a while as schedules allow. I made kielbasa skillet for them and we had some cornbread as well as fruit to put it all down. Good stuff! We sat and watched a very drab Alabama v. Georgia game for the FBS National Championship for football. Lame. I couldn’t care less about a football game in college unless somehow Bo Pelini ended up playing Bill Callahan for the Meineke Car Care Bowl (is that still a bowl? If not, they should resurrect it so this can happen.) I actually read 2 chapters of The Hobbit while they played after Kim and Kristin left.

We also talked about funny attempts to set us up on blind dates as well as the holidays and upcoming trips. Kim is going to Rome! I suppose that would be quite the trip to take! Right to the epicenter of where a lot of western culture took shape. I’ll be interested to hear more about that in the future.

Ellen Burns, Melinda Kisor, and Haley Wheelis gave me a wonderful blessing today! For 2017 I planned a lot of monthly activities for people to participate in our ABF more. Recently, it’s been logistically harder for me to get out calendars and try to figure out ideas. So I’ve been hoping to try to get some other people involved and take over more of that ministry to the body, or at least assist me. Well, Ellen texted me today and they had worked out a nice little plan! It sounds fun and I’ll help communicate it. It’s a wonderful feeling to see them start to try to step up and take that over and help out.

Our ABF is up to 20+ people in class and that’s with people attending a special ABF and whatnot. Wow! When I first started going there, I strongly disliked my ABF and almost stopped going to UBC entirely. Thank the Lord he kept me from leaving. There was maybe 3 of us on an average day and it felt… dead. But now to see it taking life and having energy and seeing people get out of their comfort zone makes me grateful to the Lord for a body that loves Him. It’s not a solo effort where I’m carrying the weight of a class. We’re a body. We all have roles. I love seeing it come together so we can love each other more passionately and effectively. I give thanks to the Lord for that nice gift today!

I’m about to call it a wrap. Early start to the morning combined with some work and intentionality in discipling combined with making dinner and everything else made for a great day, but a tiring day. Going to read Total Money Makeover a bit and then Genesis 23 & 24 as my reading plan. Hopefully my muscles feel a little less worked out tomorrow. Or maybe they feel more that way? I don’t know what I want. But I know the Lord was kind to give me use of a healthy body today. Lord help me to use it to advance your kingdom in doing the good works you have prepared for me to do in advance tomorrow. Help me to be faithful out of my love for your Son, Jesus Christ, who died for me at Calvary and paid the debt that was mine, but is no longer. If you’ve got student loans, mortgages, car payments, etc. then you know debt. It’s not fun, is it? Nobody really likes debt as much as they like being out of debt. Well, you owe one debt you might not think about regularly. The debt of your sin against God. But someone has offered to pay it for you. Eternal life. Given freely and graciously, if you will accept the giver as king and ruler in your life. Will you take it? Or will you arrive at death’s embrace still owing it? To quote Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: “Choose wisely.”

 

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