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.
Today started out with the gym. Good to get in with Scott. Feeling solid after doing some squats, chest, triceps, and some cardio to kick off the day! Do that and then eat some eggs and other protein. You feel real good after that. The soreness is awesome. We had some good discussion as well around all things church, and that’s always enjoyable.
Had a call with Cedric Fonville and his company. They want to incorporate me into their business operations more and more as a contractor. So, that’s cool! It might mean incremental revenue. It kind of blows my mind that it seems more and more people are wanting to work with me. I’m praying Colossians 3:17 and 3:23 that I’ll be faithful to my work and honor the Lord and commend the Gospel the well as I try to steward these opportunities.
After he called me, I spent some time studying Amos 3 as I read Amos 3-6 in preparing for our sermon this week. Some notable thoughts that stuck out to me:
- Verses 1 and 2 prove that if we forget what God has done for us, that He is the one who “led us out of Egypt” and forget that we are His called people then judgment will not pass over us. There’s so many people that I want to shake and point them to this passage. It’s not enough to call yourself a Christian. The Spirit of God is not satisfied with nominalism. If you have Christ and the Spirit, then your life must reflect that. Otherwise you should be bugged and take a long look in the mirror. I think this is an especially critical lesson for people who grew up in Christian homes or were possible baptized at a younger age. Our spiritual “inheritance” of family does not extend to us. We too must turn our hearts to Christ if we do not want this to come on us. This isn’t legalism. This is love for the Lord, and it matters that we express it in word, thought, and deed.
- God clearly demonstrates that things don’t happen on accident with the series of rhetorical questions He asks. Everything, even catastrophes, have a purpose. Sometimes we don’t know all the minute details that our in a catastrophe. This is why, for example, we don’t pin things like 9/11, hurricanes, etc. to a specific sin in our world. But we do know that the Lord has not done anything that He hasn’t informed us of what we ought to know. So, for example, when a hurricane comes we can see the Lord in it. A force that is so dominant that even a great city like Houston is overwhelmed. Earthquakes that swallow people. These are both reminders of a fallen world around us as well as a minor depiction of God’s power and ability. They’re precursors to the final judgment the world will go through. We’re meant to behold them and be reminded them how small we are and look for refuge. God has revealed that in His word, just as He did not bring things upon the Israelites without revelation. God is a God who means to be worshipped and glorified and this means that He is an active God in our world who is communicating to us. Let’s listen for Him in the quiet whispers of a gentle breeze and the howling winds of the hurricane, metaphorically speaking.
- God is a God of order. We see Him always striving for order and bringing about an organization of the chaos that we humans and this world naturally want to push towards. So it is not surprise that the nation of Israel after rejecting God is experiencing “great unrest.” How like this is America? Is there any peace in any faction anywhere? Our politicians are in scandal. Our economy always seems to be on pins and needles. Every event seems sensational and pointed towards doom. Neighbor has no love for neighbor and hates them for differing opinions. Man, the book of Amos just makes you dread for what America is. As I read, I am grateful that my hope is not in America because if it was I’d be screaming for the hills right now. I don’t see a lot good here.
- Just take a look at the line “They do not know how to do right, declares the Lord, who hoard plunder and loot in their fortresses.” Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, once more, America. My goodness. Doesn’t this book just make you want to rethink every element of American culture that is in you? I’m not saying hate the country. It’s a wonderful gift that the Lord allows us to live in such a fine country, but let’s not mistake that with the Lord’s pleasure. Because everywhere around me I can see examples of hoarders. I mean, there is literally a TV show — or at least there was at one point — about people who hoard. And people watch it! I think that has oodles of social commentary in it, if we’re willing to look at it. This is in sharp contrast to 1 Timothy 6 where contentedness, not cleanliness, is next to Godliness. If we have food and clothing, that will be enough. We brought nothing into this world and we can take nothing out of it. Lord, make me content and not one who hoards your wealth. Let me be wise and save it, but let me save it so that I might be a blessing to my neighbors as the Good Samaritan was.
- I love when the Bible references itself. It just paints these beautiful larger narratives. I absolutely love that about the Bible. It has no problem letting you know how beautiful of a book it is. The verse about the horns of the altar being cut off references back to 1st Kings where Adonijah runs to the horns of the altar and grabs them. He has made himself a false king instead of Solomon and when he hears that Solomon is now king, he flees to the altar and won’t let go. He demands to not be harmed before he lets go. I love the tenacity and audacity to ask that he not be harmed. I think God likes this when we finally realize that we must go to his altar and boldly call upon what we desire. God wants to give it to us. But we must not forget that the only reason this works is because Adonijah comes out and bows down to Solomon, just as we must to God. Of course, he later tries to overthrow him again and is struck down. And this time his accomplice Joab runs to the altar and tries to do the same trick and won’t come out and is slaughtered at the altar. Let’s not abuse the altar of sacrifice, upon which our Lord was on. If the wrath of God is appeased and we come out and bow the knee, let us keep the knee bowed. In some ways, this is like Hebrews 6:4-6. Those who seek to crucify Christ again after partaking and sharing in the blessings that come from living amongst a community where the Holy Spirit resides and spit on that blessing will have no place in the kingdom of God. There will be no second repentance for them.
After reading Amos 3, I just did random Monday work things. Lots of reporting, negative keywords, and auditing to see how things are running. It’s a good way to start the week and normally fuels the rest of my week with the things that seem highest priority to get done. Still have clients that are bouncing back, but am hopeful that many of them will continue returning shape. All I can do is be faithful, and I believe that I am genuinely doing my best to do that. The Lord must do with that what He wills. I’ll trust Him with my financial future.
I did get an email last week about someone who was at a speaking event of mine, and might make some money there! Hey, it’s not all about money, but when you can do 10 hours of work and pay a month of rent, that’s a month of rent saved or paid towards debt to get me closer to my financial goals!
I didn’t get any lunch today as I spent much of my lunch finalizing my Tuesday morning handout and lesson so that I could go print it off early in the afternoon. Got that done. Saw Bev Loos and it was good to see her briefly. She’s the lynchpin to our ministry. Without her, we’d never have the right materials prepared in time for Tuesday morning.
After printing that off, I went to work at Mama Carmen’s. I got on a call with a fellow Julian, who I am working on a new apartment complex account with. That was a helpful call and we aligned much of our expectations and fixed some miscommunications, which was a very good thing! I’m excited to start having some conversion tracking on this new account, which we are very close to! We’ll see how the ads are finally running. Always a good moment, even if it means you scale back in some places. I’d rather know where we’re deficient than keep spending money fairly blindly.
Justiss came and we chatted at 2:30. He’s working towards more faithfulness, just as I am. I’m impressed that more and more he is going to Scripture and taking it up for himself. He’s memorizing a lot. I gave him a suggestion that might be counterintuitive. He’s been memorizing at a rapid pace, which I almost loathe to slow down. But I think sometimes we can overmemorize Scripture and not actually meditate and treasure it. So I encouraged him to maybe pick longer passages that are meaningful to his current struggles and memorize them and really make them stick into his daily life. Not something that he merely has stored up in his brain, but something so preeminent on his heart that uttering those words to himself is like breathing. That’s not to say we should only memorize 1-2 passages of Scripture. But I think there’s a kind of, shall we say, digestive process we need to really let Scripture go through. That’s part of why I spend so much of these blog posts on those thoughts. It helps them stick and makes them pop out in my memory much more. Scripture is much richer because I want to contemplate what I just read.
I went from that meeting to meet with Wendy Poole. She’s rebranding and is a client of mine. It was a rushed meeting as she had a client coming, and I didn’t get what I wanted to accomplished there, but that’s fine. We’ll keep working towards her goals.
Then I went to UBC and saw Guy Wilcox briefly as we discussed the Ready conference. I’m looking so forward to being with the High Schoolers this weekend! Then Ryan Martin and I discussed recording our audio for Living Sacrifices tomorrow. Really pumped to get started again tomorrow! Lots going on this week in the life of Jacob.
After that, I went home and made my infamous Kielbasa skillet. Since I didn’t have any lunch and did a big workout this morning, I was starving. Plus it was cold and windy, so warm food sounded great. I wonder how my characters in Fantasy books manage to be okay with cold food when things go miserable and they’re on the run. I guess you do what you have to, but I’m thankful I can eat warm food. I told my mom that I added a few ingredients to the recipe and I think I broke the universe.
Well, after eating I read It Is Well and the focus was how Christ died to condemn the flesh. There is condemnation, but the question is will you accept the condemnation that Jesus endured and was raised from? Or will you decide to bear that condemnation yourself? I pray my own soul will day by day be broken again and again by the One who loved me so deeply and so fiercely that it was compelled to take willing action to be nailed to a cross — one of the most unimaginable ways a God-man would be killed. It really is not a typical “hero” story. This one wasn’t written by mankind, folks. I promise that. Take the hand He’s reached out towards you. It’s the only way you’ll be raised up. I know from personal experience.
I went after that to grab some coffee for Living Sacrifices. Kept the receipt so I can get reimbursed. I don’t drink coffee, but most the men do and if it helps them stay awake while I talk (no easy feat!) then I will be thankful the Lord gives us some caffeine to help us arise in the morning to take in His word.
I’m going to start heading towards bed. It’s 9:40 and I want to get more sleep with these early mornings piling up on me. I’m going to read a bit of a book by R.C. Sproul called Chosen By God and then Exodus 7-9. Then I’m hoping to get about 6.5 hours of sleep before waking. 6.5 is a solid amount that I can operate efficiently on. Lord, let me give in to your ordered creation. Part of your order is rest and while it seems that being disciplined is waking up early, the true discipline comes in allowing ourselves to sleep and rest at the times we ought to. Waking up early has no discipline if the rest was pathetic. Help me to remember that and seek after your good design for my life. You do not need me to awake and want me to rest humbly knowing that my rest is a sign of my frailty and need for true rest in the Vine, of which I am but one small branch.