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 was a fun day, if very active! I woke up and went to the gym. Did some epic leg and kettlebell workouts. Scott was still sick, which is unfortunate. I managed to remember to call Terry Irwin. He’s been wanting help reading his Bible and has been really faithful to respond to phone calls from Scott and, if he doesn’t call, myself. So I called him and I hope that it helped him get into the Word this morning.
I ended up studying Amos 5 this morning. Some things that really ended up sticking out were these thoughts:
- Man, how complete is the destruction of Israel. The Virgin has fallen. The land that has never been really plundered or taken finally falls as their sin overtakes them. And it doesn’t matter whether you live in the great cities or the smaller towns. You find yourself part of the coming slaughter. It is a fearsome judgment coming upon them.
- The Lord says “seek me and live” and juxtaposes this with the default running to Bethel and Gilgal. You won’t find God by ritualistic running to the altars. God won’t preserve you there, unless your heart has truly been turned back to affection for the Lord.
- The Lord is concerned with how we treat the marginalized and the oppressed. I think that part of this is because how we treat the least of these reveals the theology we have towards what it means to be a man or woman. They are made in the image of God. So to treat them as if they lack basic respect and dignity actually reveals what we believe about the Creator — God. That’s why it matters. You’re never just interacting with a human. You’re interacting with the object of creation, and how you treat the created reveals about the respect you give towards the creator. The Lord will deal with you if you defy Him. Fear the Lord, oh you people! Fear the Lord, oh my soul!
- The verbs for the abuse of the poor has two different movements. One using objective, passive verbs indicating a widespread sweep across an entire nation and another indictment with personal verbs indicating that all the individuals of the nation are responsible for this problem.
- How great is our God! Sing with me how great! He makes the constellations and he stores up the waters in his Heavenly storehouses and it is His grace that pours them out over the Earth and waters our Earth. This is our God!
- The lord cannot stand assemblies and despises our sacrifices when they’re trite, superficial things. You’re better of not even bringing them! Oh, my heart. When you serve the church, when you disciple people, when you go to high school conferences — check yourself! You are not doing this to serve your own felt needs and glorify your own name. You’re doing it to glorify God. If you do it for any other reason, then you will be rejected.
- Also, in the vein of our assemblies being unbearable, that’s actually a very sensory word. God is saying in the original language that He cannot bear the odor of them. How sensory is our God? I don’t think of Him this way. If I am honest, I so often treat Him as a detached being who just objectively views and looks at things. But he feels, touches, smells, and in all other ways — many of them sensory ways of experiencing I may not even be capable of — experiences them. This is a personal God we worship! He’s emotionally invested in this world. That’s why we can grieve Him. That’s why can anger Him. He’s not emotionless. He has great capacity for feeling, and we would do well to remember that. But also we should be comforted by that, because it is reinforcing that God feels and experiences what we go through with us. He’s there with us in so many sense of that word. He is actually experiencing what we’re going through more accurately and acutely than even we are. So next time we complain about our suffering, we’d do well to remember that God doesn’t revel in it and goes through it with us. If He is willing to do that, we ought to be humble enough to recognize that He’s orchestrated suffering, pain, and evil for a reason. He allows them to happen according to His will, and this is not an action that is taken lightly on His part.
After I did that, I tried to touch up some brief work items. I did some W9s and adjusted some ads and such. But largely, I cleaned up the apartment and cleaned up before I left for the Ready conference with our high schoolers.
Around 12:15, I went to Taco Bell and got a big lunch since I wasn’t planning on eating the rest of the day. I was a bit worried I’d be an unpleasant car companion on the trip, but that actually didn’t happen.
I got to church and we took about 4 vehicles out to the Ready conference. Matt Gumm, Morgan Montgomery, and myself were in a van with Cooper and Jack Martin, Gideon Sutterfield, Joshua Hutchins, Will Hendricks, 2 Gumm boys (I need to remember their names), and Will Trantham.
They’re good kids in a lot of ways. On the way though, we did have a discussion about the type of music that we play. I let one of the boys DJ music and he chose an Eminem song that had curse words in it. I decided to make him skip it, but then decided that I should not be the kind of person that should just do that without explaining. So I made them pause it and helped explain why we be sensitive with what we play. I ended up talking about how it is honoring and respectful of other people. I think it was helpful to try and make people aware of what they do and how it impacts others around them. We can be such thoughtless creatures. But I also wish I would have made it more personal and immediate for them. Perhaps I’ll get a chance to discuss that more. But Ephesian 5:4 says that obscenities, foolish talk, and coarse joking are out of place amongst God’s holy people. I can’t define exactly what that means for everyone, but we all ought to have a definition for it. God expects us to in the wisdom of the Holy Spirit and to the best of our understanding of His will revealed through Scripture avoid those kind of things. So we must have a definition, even if those definitions don’t agree. And we need to respect the least common denominator definition to be honoring to our brothers and sisters.
We ended up getting to the Ready conference and heard some seminars from John Mark Yeats. It’s getting late, so I’m not going to hit all the notes and such from those seminars. But here’s a few samplings of lines that stuck with me. The speakers are all helping walk through Colossians and answering major questions of the faith for these students to think through.
John Mark Yeats talked about the fact that God has spoken to us and what that means to us. A few quotes:
“How can you expect to function as a believer, when your soul is starving” (This is in reference to those who do not pick up their Bibles and seek God’s will)
“Take that pride and kill it.” (This refers to the part where seeking God’s will produces fruit in Colossians 1:10)
Then Owen Strachan got up and presented on whether Jesus is Lord or not. A couple great quotes from him:
“Jesus will fight for you when nobody else will fight for you.”
“If Jesus ceased to exist, John 3:16 wouldn’t stop being true. But the entire Universe would cease to exist.” (this in reference to Jesus being the word of God and the one who upholds and sustains all things.)
“The universe didn’t start with a big bang, but a big Jesus.” No explanation needed.
Great talks and I think very helpful. I found the worship segment of this event very disappointing on many levels, and hope that we can offer some feedback on that. But the speaking seminars were amazing! The only thing I would say for improvement is that Yeats talked about how we were built for community and I wish he would have taken it further. I wish he would have not only said that we were built for community, but that when we are saved we belong to the body of Christ and must be joined to that body through a local extension of that body in covenanted fellowship with local believers. But maybe he felt like that point would be contentious and distract from his overall point. I’m not sure, but felt like the students would have benefitted from a more robust working out of that point.
After the speaking sessions, there was a Tedashi conference. I had never heard of him before. Overall, it was loud, I didn’t understand him much, and I actually thought some elements of it were not as Gospel-centric as I would have liked. But it was also a concert and the kids were having fun. It was interesting watching one group of high schoolers who did not seem to be engaging in a Godly way. Some of the females were, ahem, moving their hips quite actively and around fellow men who frequently had their arms around them. I’m not sure what all was going on, but they were also turning around and almost leading the people behind them (they were also elevated on some speaker that was there) and so it seemed like they were hardly thinking about the Gospel message that was present in the concert. Our high school students enjoyed themselves but in a more befitting manner, I thought.
I was thankful that Tedashi’s message was inspiration in terms of how he came to Christ. It’s a cool story and the person who shared Christ with him was very bold and unafraid. Man, Lord, open my mouth so I might declare the mysteries of the Gospel for which I am an ambassador in chains.
On the way to the hotel we got lost by the other cars. They all drive faster than our car and our driver. And I respect that he’s trying to keep to his convictions and go a good speed limit. Man, it bugs me when those in a convoy don’t think about being sensitive to the least common denominator (remember what I said about Christians trying to honor one another earlier?) in the group. If you convoy, just go the speed limit. You can be sure that you’re not pushing anyone’s convictions to be faithful to Christ and you’ll also just hep it stay together and ease the anxiety of traveling together, especially when none of us had exact directions to anywhere we were going.
We went to Freddy’s afterwards and ate a bit of food. Fun to be on these trips. These kids are fun to be around and laugh with. They help keep me young and they push me to be intentional and deliberate and serve people for no benefit of my own. That’s good for me, and very refreshing for my soul.
At the hotel — we’re staying at a very nice Embassy Suites — Daniel Watkins came in and we chatted about some things of God and what’s going on in our lives recently. It was fun seeing at one point the kids come in and we ended up working together to hopefully pour into their lives, share some stories, and push them to be and do more for Christ. I hope something stuck in the questions we asked and the things we got to share with them. Those moments are why I came on this trip, and I’m trying to be intentional to foster them.
Now it is time for bed. I’m reading Exodus 19-21 real fast to keep up with my daily plan, then lights out. Goodnight world. Thank you, Lord, for a faithful day. I love you.