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.
Started off the day with a great workout at the gym. I’m really feeling much healthier after going to the gym for even just a few weeks. Scott and I did well together and saw Luke there. We ended up talking to a very cool guy named DJ. He’s from Irving, TX and has a wife named Nneka (?). I’ll try to keep an eye out for him. He sounded like he was open to visiting churches, but they haven’t settled down anywhere. They were childhood sweethearts, but only married for 5 (?) years or so. So not sure exactly what their real religious background is. Anyways, fun guy to talk to. Nice to run into people at the gym who are willing to talk to you. Scott is great at striking up conversations with people like that. I enjoy observing him and hope to get better at that as well.
I am a bit worried about all the early mornings that are coming down the pipeline. I will need to work to keep my sleep schedules at a healthy place.
I ran over to the grocery story, ate some breakfast, and studied 1 John 5. Some notable highlights that I walked away with:
- John is obsessed with people acknowledging Jesus, the man, as Christ, the God. This is in response to Gnosticism, so it makes sense. It just goes to remind us that, for all his talk about love in this book, it does us no good if we haven’t properly known and believed in the claims of Christ that He made.
- John says that obeying the commands of Christ is not burdensome. They are not burdensome for everyone born of God overcomes the world. In other words, we get supernatural assistance. It’s not to say that Christian commands are easy, but that as we run into things to be overcome the Lord will help us through them. That’s why his yoke is light, even though it does place demands on us. He doesn’t ask us to do anything He’s not prepared to equip us to be able to do.
- John says that we are both those who have overcome the world and we are those who overcome the world in verse 4. What a great picture of how we are already justified and secured in our faith, and yet have something to strive for. Beautiful language.
- John had a weird phrase that Jesus came by “water and blood.” I’ll be honest that at first I wasn’t sure what this was referring to. Commentary came in really helpful here. John is responding to gnostics who said that God came upon him during his baptism (water) and left at his death (blood). By saying that Jesus Christ came by both, he is leaving no doubt about his position that the God-man, Jesus Christ, really died on our behalf. Crazy to think some would want to think otherwise, since this is where our hope is found!
- John equates the Holy Spirit to God. He says the Spirit, the blood, and the water all testify on Jesus’ behalf (and by so doing fulfills the OT necessity of 2-3 witnesses) but then later says that this is God’s testimony. John’s interchangeable language here shows that he is totally comfortable with the Spirit as fully God and the testimony of the Holy Spirit is the testimony of God. Some people say that the doctrine of the Trinity is not clearly outlined in Scripture. They’re technically right in that there’s not a passage dedicated to it. But they’re wrong that all the components, including passages like this, consistently show us the truth.
After studying here, I moved into my Monday working routine. Nothing too crazy to talk about there. I was working from home, which was nice after my workout that morning. I did get a text from Andrew Goode who was asking about Hebrews 6:4-6. Honestly, kind of humbled that I came to his mind when he had a question there. I hope I answered it well. I won’t break down that whole conversation, but we both read the language there as someone who can through corporate community of the church understand and see the presence of God. This is in opposition to individual reception of the Holy Spirit and is a guarantor of salvation that cannot be broken. If you want a parable that help understand this, I suggest reading Mark 4 with the Parable of the Sower. It gives parallels to people who can experience the seed without truly bearing it into flourishing. If that person then rejects that, after knowing the truth, Romans 1 comes into effect and God gives them over to hard minds that approve and love the darkness and they become unable to repent.
After working through some lunch, I ran over to Mama Carmen’s to work with Luke Stanton. He has a new remote job and we’re exploring working together every so often and hanging out. Will be fun to periodically have a brother to spend time with as I work. There was some conversation, but also lots of work, which is good. My instinct is to talk, but I’ve got dolla bills to make! He was having trouble with a chat feature his new company has. Hopefully that all gets figured out and there’s no more issues there.
Came home and doing many odd tasks that need to be done. Starting rough draft of Lesson 8 for Living Sacrifices and watched the 1st half of the Duke vs. Miami game. Duke is so good. If they’d play much defense they’d blow everyone out of the water. As it is, every game seems a nail biter!
I also watched the entirety of MLK’s “I have a dream” speech. I’ve never watched it fully before. It’s an amazing speech. I can’t find a fault in it. None worth pointing out. It rings true (both in a societal and spiritual sense). It’s technically amazing oration and writing. One line that really stuck out to me was when he was talking about the “fierce urgency of now.” (emphasis mine). He talked about bewaring the perils of “gradualism” and I thought it was brilliant ideology both for our society and for our Christian faith. Let’s not look to tomorrow to secure our hope and take action towards the dreams we have. And he talked about the “coming of the day” a lot. This had overtones of the day of the Lord, and, as His agents Earth, we should be desiring to help redeem this world towards what His kingdom will be. That will won’t end until He returns, but we can aspire to it. So as we quickly usher in the day that MLK dreamed of — and we should desire to usher that day he talks about it in! — we also should realize that we should do it in faithfulness and help usher in the day of the Lord, which is at the center of much of MLK’s message.
Also, impressive. His call to not “drink of the bitter cup of hatred” is so impressive. Compare to that almost any political entity that exists in today’s society and, whether or not there is violence, hatred seems to run so rampant. Might we all learn something from King so that hatred in our hearts might never be the motivation for words, actions, etc.
My apartment neighbor came over tonight before I left for Michael Gaddy’s house for a book study. I had some things that I was about to leave for soon, and they had no other purpose but to tell me things I couldn’t help them about with their phone. Because of this, I decided not to invite them in and try to establish that I’m not always available. I’m not sure if this is right. It’s a really hard situation. But because I think this is a situation where there is no limits to the amount of help this person would take if I gave it, I have to show some level of discernment, right? I hope I’m being wise and loving here.
As mentioned, I went to Michael Gaddy’s house and we discussed a 9Marks book Church Elders. It’s a good time getting to know and pursue being a mature brother in Christ with those men. Terry Irwin, Brock Daniels, Jake Adel, Kyle Smith, Chandler Abbott, Korey Vaughn, Daniel (?), Scott Bielienski, Andrew Nunn, and Sam Knecht were all there. We were missing some regulars in Chaz Miller and Evan Hegel, but we tried to survive without them.
We discussed modeling Christian maturity and what it looks to strive for that place where Paul was able to say “Imitate me” in so many places. We confessed places where we’re weak and need to grow. We also encouraged and identified places we may already have grown quite a bit. We always try to walk away with applications to learn what it means to be a better Christian brother and be someone who so naturally seeks and aspires the role of an Elder that at some point a church can hardly avoid conferring that role onto you. I think that’s a great way to approach it. How healthy would churches be if they had all their men just naturally doing Elder work because being an Elder meant they were relishing in the presence and joy of Christ and loving others well from that place?
Justiss Tartaglia called me after I got home and we talked for half an hour and we got to catch up and do some discipleship. One thing we made a point of was that Romans 13:14 says “Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” Terry Irwin really helped me remember this verse, but it is a fantastic point that so often we spend our time worrying about how to avoid the sinful parts of our lives but we haven’t done the first step that is necessary for equipping us to actually fulfill that part. We have to put on Christ Jesus. We have to relish in His sacrifice, in His promises to us. We have to partake of His Spirit, the Holy Spirit, who is sent out at His beckoning to call us unto Him. We secretly want to fix ourselves and then clothe ourselves with Christ Jesus as a meritocratic possession. But that point never comes and we find our sinful nature winning over and over and over and over again. It’s deadening. Give up, soul. Stop looking for the victory you haven’t even properly prepared to claim. Rather, put on Christ Jesus and then make no provision for the flesh. Justiss and I both need to do a better job of this.
You know, people give phones a bad rap. Sure, they can ruin people. I see it all the time. But there a mighty tool for the Kingdom of Christ if used well. I am able to pray more effectively and diversely because I have it and help hold brothers accountable in ways I would have never had the opportunity to, if I didn’t have it.
I’m moving off to bed. Going to read some Jerle Shannara and Genesis 38-40 before bed. I don’t think I’ll get any other reading in tonight. May grace and peace flow eminently from Christ unto my soul and all those I come in contact with in the coming days. Amen.