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.
Let myself sleep in a bit. Thursdays are one of the few days I don’t have to wake up at the crack of dawn and so a bit of sleep is nice for the old eyes. I woke up around 8:15 and ate a quick breakfast before turning to the Word for study.
Today found me in 1 John 2. An interesting book as it is very short, very concise, and very pointed. A book primarily interested in answering what to do with false teachers, especially those who are seeking to become partners. In the New Testament context, teachers were usually ones who had houses opened up for them and were cared for during their stay while they would minister to a local church. This, specifically, is a practice John felt was being abused by false teachers and was writing to give instruction about them. Some things that stood out:
- John starts off his letter referring to himself as “the elder” which is intriguing since he is an apostle. I think it is actually cool to remember that these men were surely great men and the Lord allowed His Spirit to work powerfully through them. But he comes to this letter as just one who has experience Christ enough to be imitated. A reminder that what we find in the apostles is repeated with the very notable exception that the Holy Spirit will not be operating through us to add to any more revelation. But other than that (which is a big that!), these were not supercharged Christians who did things we are incapable of.
- John interesting refers to churches as a “chosen lady.” I suppose he may be specifically referring to a specific lady both in his own church and in another (referring to the “chosen sister” at the end of the book), but that seems unnatural as a reading of it.
- John goes further than Paul who normally would say “Grace and peace…” in his letters. John says “Grace, mercy, and peace to you.” I may be doing more with the text than it was intended, but what I liked is that while Paul may have said “Grace and peace be yours through Christ Jesus…” or something similarly, we find John clearly linking why both the Greek and the Jew have hope. The Greek who seeks grace and the Jew who seeks peace both find unity in the mercy bestowed upon them by the “truth” that John and those who believe know in verse 2. Cool stuff! Lots of theology can be packed into the opening of letters, so I think it is good to try to read them with a critical eye instead of skipping ahead too quickly.
- John says that many “deceivers” and “antichrists” have gone out. This is consistent language across the books John writes. It just strikes me how aggressive the tone is against these people. Paul writes disparagingly of the Judaizers in the book of Galatians and in 1 Corinthians says have nothing to do with an immoral “brother.” I think that this just reinforces that the people Christians deal most harshly with are those who profane the name of Christ deliberately in an attempt to lead others astray. I think this is one of the rare instances that anger can, and maybe should, build up in our hearts. Of all people in the world, the “deceiver” is most vile.
- One thing I wonder about is what does it practically look like today to not offer your support to someone who is deceptively claiming Christ, but teaching falsities? Lots of things there in terms of facilities and such. Hypothetical that crossed my mind today. Say I was to meet as a pastor of a Southern Baptist church with a gay, female Episcopalian preacher for lunch, would using your church’s ministry card be a sign of support? I’m not sure about this and think different people may even come to different conclusion in faithfulness, but I think John wants us to be clear about marking off those who we clearly do not partake in the Gospel with. And this does matter. This is always one of the strikes against Billy Graham when he partnered with Catholic churches. The Gospel that Protestant churches teach and the Gospel that Catholic churches teach are fundamentally different. To partner with them in evangelistic efforts seems like the kind of thing John may well have written against. That is not to decry Billy Graham in any way. He did many marvelous things, but we can all realize he must have had his imperfections.
- John puts down the paper and pen and says he has much more to tell them when he comes in person. A reminder that in a day of cell phones, use that thing to get together in person and spend some time in prayer and love one another well. Don’t let your love for one another only be digital or from a distance. Make it tangible when you meet in person. Lord, may my personal meetings be laced with love, prayer, and Scripture coursing through my every interaction.
After studying the Word, I went about working with one of my bigger clients all day. We identified a few variables that will, Lord willing, pick up the performance of that account a bit! We’re trying to keep moving. I’m also trying to implement better revenue tracking and reporting for his company. Tedious stuff getting reporting going, but will be better once it is all set up!
I also had a lot of paperwork to get done for the U of A Global Campus so I can do a speaking event there next month. Their process is insane. I mean, completely unnecessary from what I can tell. But Seth White was a good friend and helped print stuff off since my printer doesn’t work. That was a gift from God. Always grateful for friends who come through in a pinch, and you can hardly do better than Seth!
I ran some quick groceries after I picked up the printed materials. Got some gas because it helps my car run better. That may seem like a duh statement, but it actually starts running weird when it gets to a 1/4 of a tank or less. I don’t know why, but it’s good to fill up. I also picked up some extra fajita supplies since Chaz Miller is coming over for our weekly cooking and hangout time!
I went back and did more work for the afternoon with a little bit of reading of Antrax thrown in to break things up. I was at home and my brain was getting fatigued. Sometimes a chapter or two can really refresh things.
Eventually, I cleaned up just a hair to prepare for Chaz and got things ready for him to come over for dinner. My apartment neighbor stopped by and said hi. He got his phone fixed and it is almost like dealing with a completely different person sometimes. I need to try to schedule something with him eventually to keep developing that relationship.
Chaz showed up around 7:30 and stayed until around 9PM. He’d just come from working out. We talked about lots of life. Some heavy weeks for both of us with different sources of pressure, but also evidences of God’s grace in them. I suppose that sums up most the Christian walk, doesn’t it?
Anyways, it is always a sweet time to get together with him and my cooking prowess (hopefully) continues to grow! Fajitas are easy and I can nail those every time I cook. It makes me love having people over! Lord, thanks for a home, pots and pans, and the finances to be able to provide for others as we share in fellowship together. It’s more than I deserve by far.
After Chaz left, I decided to munch on some white chocolate chips and peach iced tea while I finished Antrax. Now I’m done and writing this up. About to head to bed. Going to read Genesis 45-47 before I close my eyes.
Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
Children’s prayers often are so powerful, aren’t they? Why do we abandon them as we age? Our souls would likely be better places if we paired our Christian maturity and knowledge with the powerful childlike faithfulness we once possessed better. Perhaps not. But I’d love to hear more adults sing “Onward, Christian soldiers…” sometimes. I’m contemplating having that be a Living Sacrifices song because it can be a simple but bolstering song in the face of evil times that face us.