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.
Well, Saturdays will hopefully be sauna days most the time, but it was not to be today. Luke Stanton got caught up in the Atlanta airport after missing a connecting flight, and had to fly home overnight! He’s home safely now. Scott was still a bit sick and also noted the severe 18 degree temperature this morning. I didn’t think it was so bad, but he’s from Texas and I’m from Nebraska. So we may view cold somewhat differently. But once we had decided not to go, we both agreed that our comforters were the best alternative for the morning! So it was nice to get a longer and deeper sleep into the late morning.
After waking up, I studied our lesson for Sunday School tomorrow. It’s the Road to Emmaus story from Luke 24:13-35, and the doctrine we are studying is the Illumination of Scripture. I tried to read it with that concept in mind and found this to be an incredibly intriguing piece of Scripture. Even now, I feel like I mostly understand it, but also feel like there were connections I wasn’t quite making, which may be ironic considering the doctrine is on the Illumination of Scripture. But I feel that there were some things I started to notice as I read it, particularly with how the Lord goes to work in our lives:
- Jesus appears on the road to the disciples and they do not recognize Him. In many ways, this is theologically in line with one of the hardest doctrines we so often have to swallow. Regneration has no root in man-made efforts. The Lord, through the Holy Spirit, shows up in our lives before we even recognize that He’s present. This takes a lot of humility to really embrace that we did nothing without the aid of God, but as I’ve matured this has also started to become one of the more beautiful doctrinal confessions we Christians make.
- The disciples show extreme doubt. They call Jesus a ‘Prophet’. They don’t deny He was of God, but they had started to question if He was actually God — the Christ, the Messiah, the Annointed One. They use past tense verbs and their faces are downcast. They didn’t need another Prophet. They needed a Christ, and He seemed lost to them. Man, those must have been dark days for them. It is understandable that, though the women told them that they had found an empty tomb, they assumed the empty tomb signified terrible loss – not eternally radiant hope. Remember, these disciples do not yet have the Paracletes, the Holy Spirit. They’re in poverty, spiritually speaking, at this time. Yes, they’ve had Jesus, but we’re very foolhardy if we don’t recognize that we’re extremely gifted in what Jesus has given to us in our current days as Christians.
- Jesus begins to instruct them with Scripture about how ‘Moses and all the prophets’ testify to the fact that this Christ must come to suffer and die. The fault is not with a prophet who failed to be the Christ, but with disciples who were failing to realize that Christ had done exactly what He intended and was prophesied to do!
- Jesus playing coy on the road is my favorite thing in the world. But here’s the glorious thing! These disciples, thought they are downcast and in a moment of despair, actually do exactly what Jesus told them His disciples ought to do! John 13:35 says that the world would know that we are His by how we love one another. Jesus is making a play to move on and leave them. They seem to aggressively ask Him to stay. Yes, part of this is because, as they say later, ‘were not our hearts burning as He taught us Scripture?’ But part of this, I think, is just that, even in a moment, they show they are still faithful. They extend hospitality. They invite someone in they (think they) hardly know. How like Jesus is that?! They’re despondent, tired from walking, and feel like all hope is lost. Yet they stop and let this man into their home. I think that it’s a beautiful picture of faith even when we don’t feel like we have any.
- Then, finally, the disciples really recognize Jesus is when He breaks the bread. Now, I may be taking this passage in a way that is not its main point, but I still think it is a valid point. We see the Lord’s Supper as the renewing oath-sign of our new covenant into the faith. I think this is important in seeing that Jesus is finally recognized as the family meal is sat down and handed out. In some ways, it is like He is saying ‘What we had has not ended, but now must be continued. Join me in covenanted union once more.’ Just two chapters earlier, Jesus had broken the bread saying, “This is my body broken. Do this in remembrance of me.” Now He does this to help them realize that His body has been broken not in condemnation, but as the glorious initiation of the new covenant’s coming. With this act they are encouraged and their eyes are opened to realize who it is they worship and the journey is completed in this narrative.
- One final point though that I love and I think is easy to lose site of; the disciples had just walked about 60 stadia, or 11ish kilometers and 7ish miles. That’s not an insignificant walk. Now, they have met Jesus again and are so excited about it, that they immediately scurry on back to Jerusalem and tell them all that has gone on! This is in the middle of the night. People get beat up, robbed, and killed (See: Parable of the Good Samaritan) all the time on those roads. They just don’t care. They run back and tell. Do I get this excited about the Gospel that my feet will just go literally anywhere? I ought to.
Anywho, we’ll see if my predictions on where this text are going are confirmed tomorrow or if I learn crazy different things as we study it.
After studying that, I read and lazed about for a bit. Some Jerle Shannara and Total Money Makeover gave me some reading material. One ironic twist on Total Money Makeover is that he is ardently against debt. I think, in general, he may be very wise with this but have been contemplating if the rules he sets should be as extreme as they are. Well, today, my brother called me with a car opportunity out of the blue! He and my dad both seem to think that it is a really good buy, but it is almost as if God is throwing this question at me way earlier than I expected it. He seems to be pushing the issue of whether I want to accept this advice or not. This narrative is to be continued and I’m not really sure what I think yet on whether this is a move I want to make.
I then decided that I should clean up a bit of my apartment. So did some dishes, folded clothes, and sprayed down some counters. I had a moment that I regretted today as I did this. The church member who lives at my apartment was coming by. I had offered to take him to the Verizon office today to try and get his phone fixed. He came by a bit earlier than I had told him to come by. I felt inconvenienced by that fact and did not get up to move right away and did not make a move to answer the door. By the time I got to the door, he had moved away and I could have gone after him but figured he would come back. Since his phone doesn’t work, I couldn’t call him. I wish I hadn’t so selfishly felt inconvenienced and just gone to the door. I did think he would come back, but he didn’t by the timeframe we had set. I do think that setting boundaries is going to be important here, but more on that later.
Since my schedule was now free to do other things, I went to get my car oil changed. My normal place wasn’t open today, so I went to a place called Grease Monkey off of Mission Ave. Boy, they were fast! I was in and out within half an hour. Yeah, it cost $70 and I didn’t love that – but it may be worth it for the efficiency of that operation! I’ll keep them in mind for future oil changes. They did tell me my battery tested poorly. 😥 This Lexus is a great car in many ways, but looking back up at the previous financing issue I do wish that it didn’t have so many maintenance issues. In some ways, I wonder if maintenance costs vs. financing doesn’t kind of wash out? And the car I’m talking about buying isn’t that extensive of a financing operation. So maybe there’s something there. Not sure. I will need time to really chew on that proposition.
After I got done with that, I came back home and actually found the church member who lives in my apartment complex about to walk to Verizon. He was outside my apartment and appartently had almost given up on waiting after coming back much longer after we had agreed upon. Anyways, I saw him and was glad to have a second chance to do things with a bit more gracious attitude than beforehand.
We went to the Verizon store to figure out what was wrong with his phone and I was actually really impressed with the Verizon guy, Sam Curry, we talked to. He had racked up a rather large cell phone bill. I mean, rather large. But Sam was able to help out with that, and get him on an unlimited plan. At first, I was skeptical of the price point and thought to protect him from that increased plan. But as I saw his data overages for the last 3 months, I realized that he needs an unlimited plan. I’m not sure he would be able to get by with anything less than that without massive bills. They actually haven’t gotten his phone unlocked yet, but I’m glad Verizon actually has a method in place for catching people who have gone way over and giving them a chance in the middle of the billing cycle to back date their plan to the beginning of the month in order to prevent those kind of charges from eating them alive. He is frustrated by it, but I don’t think he realizes that if this doesn’t happen he has to pay the bill they showed us today. He doesn’t want that. Not at all.
He then wanted to go by McDonald’s after that and we went. He ordered food and said he didn’t have much cash. So I payed for him. Then he said he wanted an ice cream and asked if I wanted anything. I figured he could pay for that, but I said no since I didn’t need the calories. As it turns out, he didn’t have money for that either and I ended up buying him that as well. This gets a bit anachronistic, but this is just a good time to say that since I’ve been home around 6PM, he’s come by 3 more times knocking on my door with random requests and just stopping by. I have no idea how I’m going to establish boundaries here. I have to. I want to help him, but this is a very needy man, and getting sucked into his world could literally be a full-time job. I’m going to talk to Shelby Watkins, our Deacon of Member Care, and see what kind of things are being done for someone like him, if anything. The 2nd and 3rd time he’s knocked have almost been grating on me. I suppose in my head I’m hearing the 100th time he knocks and so on already, which is uncharitable of me. I need to figure out how to draw some lines in the sand while also reaching out and trying to love someone.
Lord, give me patience. Lord, give me wisdom. I don’t know what I’m doing here at all.
After my fellow church member and I got back, I dropped him off and went to workout. Did some sprint workouts and agility ladder drills over at Lewis Park. That was nice to get out and run. For a while I had just been sitting at home debating whether I should take a nap or go workout. Eventually I realized I was just arguing back and forth and slowly working towards doing neither as those faint tremors of sexual temptation that I’ve learned to identify so well started subtly building. So I decided I just needed to make up my mind and go do something. I went to workout, and that has set a nice tone for the rest of the evening.
When I got home from working out, I turned on a movie, Lost City of Z, which is a somewhat true story about Col. Percy Fawcett lost in the jungles of the Amazon in 1925 while searching for ruins that would establish there were ancient civilizations there before the English’s own civilization. I found the movie intriguing. The main character’s obsession and how that affected everyone around him, as much as it grated on me how stupid this father and husband was, was poignant and lifelike. It’s what the soul who hasn’t found Christ looks like. Meaning, establishment, identity. These things he sought, but he looked for them in all the wrong places and left behind a wife and two kids, while another son died with him in the jungle. Robert Pattinson’s character had a poignant exchange with him when Charlie Hunnam’s character said this when Pattinson’s character refuses to go on the 3rd venture: “You begin to doubt it’s [the city of Zet] existence?” “No, I just being to doubt that it contains all the answers you are seeking, my dear friend.” That pretty much sums up what I wanted to say to ole Percy. How sad. He was restless to find a city beyond anything he could imagine, but that city only exists in the Heavenly realm and patience and waiting are the hallmarks of those who would find it — not hotheaded and relentless journeying. But a good movie worth checking out. I will caution that there is some nudity when the tribal people of the Amazon are shown, so be cautious. But it is not tasteless or crass nudity and I did not find it disturbing myself.
I read a bit more of the Jerle Shannara and now am about to keep reading until I go to bed in the next hour or so. Tomorrow is Sunday and that is always a good day that I always look forward to. We’ll see if my church member who lives in my apartment complex knocks on the door again. I’m not sure if he will or not. I’m not sure what at all to do there.
I’ve got questions of finacing, questions of brotherly love, and questions of what I want to be as a father and husband, Lord Willing, some day racing through my mind. Lord, do you ever cease to stop sanctifying us? Do the questions ever stop being so big? My heart says no, they do not. Because we worship a big God! And that prompts within our hearts burning passion and seeking after him. So does he cease sanctifying us? The answer to that is, yes, He does on that day we face that wave of death and rise to meet Him fully known and our faith perfected. Until then, oh Lord, sanctify away. I’ll try to be a bit less of an ignorant buffoon tomorrow than I was today. I’m afraid that’s about all I’m comfortable promising!