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.
I am wicked tired tonight. And frankly, this entire day is so much to process. I’m going to give a brief outline of events and just some of the most succinct quotes I can to help you get a feel for the day, then I’m out. If you want more — and there’s so much more to say about a day like today — then call me. Let’s chat.
I got up at 6AM today. I was insanely tired after a very short night of sleep. But I wanted the kids to wake and see that sleep is no substitute for the living word of God infusing my own soul with energy, wisdom, and power to make it through a day. So this was no day to be lackadaisical with my time. For some brief snippets from Amos 6:
- Luxurious, lazy indulgence that basks in its own greatness has no place except to be destroyed. It’s easy to see why gluttony is one of the seven deadly sins.
- God swears by Himself. There is nothing higher He can swear by. This tells us so much about Him. He is the ‘I am.’ An oath by His name is something you can take to the bank.
- If you are God’s enemy, do not move. Do not whisper. You dare not draw His attention. Do not mention His name. Do not even think of Him. You dare not even draw breath for fear that God will destroy you. The man who is trapped and desperate in His own house is a great illustration of this. Lord, thank you for not letting me be your enemy. I wouldn’t know what to do against such a force of wrath and justice.
- Amos’ wordplay in verse 13 is phenomenal stuff. The Bible regards itself in high esteem because of who it depicts and it pulls out all the best stuff to make sure it is known as being an exact depiction of the One who is an exact depiction of God.
After reading the word, I got a gourmet breakfast at the Embassy Suites. A great omelet and a chocolate chip pancake were among some tasty morsels that I partook in.
Then we headed off to the Ready conference for Day 2. We started off with worship. I won’t say anything more about worship today other than that I was frustrated with it. So frustrated. It felt like I was denied the opportunity to sing my guts out in praise to my Lord, and I deeply regret the decisions made towards how the worship was done at this conference.
After worship, Brian Key got up and delivered a message. He was an original member at UBC, so nice to see the body of Christ showing connection from Fayetteville to Kansas City. I’ll share a few morsels of what he said, and it isn’t enough by far. He answered the question of is Jesus savior:
- “Grumbling is the first step into sin.”
- “Forgiveness always cost someone something.” (He went on to say we should be willing to bear the costs of forgiveness in an imitation of Christ on the cross for us.)
- “Some people say they’re seeking. No, man, you’re dead. Dead men don’t breathe. They don’t seek. They don’t live.” (Rough paraphrase of the quote, but gets the point across. His overall point here was that we are unable to see Christ properly without first being saved from our inability to see Him properly.)
- “Jesus is worthy to be your savior and He saved to the utmost.”
- “How many of your trespasses did He forgive? All.”
- “Whatever we feel like is broken, we will do whatever we can to fix.” (His point is everyone is a dead man looking for salvation somewhere, we just don’t know how to find what we’re looking for.)
He was good. Really good. Had tears in my eyes. The Gospel was on full display.
Then we had a breakout session from the group. I ended up going to two different sessions. We had one on racial reconciliation in the United States. Some key thoughts there:
- Reconciliation is hard. Paul spends 3 chapters of Ephesians saying that we have division broken down, and then telling us how much of a struggle it is to realize that.
- We do not have good discipleship “programs” to tackle issues of one of America’s greatest sins – racism.
- Racism is anytime you remove the Imago Dei from a person (identity, dignity, and purpose/significance). Removing any of the 3 parts of that is racism.
- Don’t be “colorblind.” Enjoy God’s creation — the full spectrum. It’s like a stew (metaphor that I won’t explain here.)
- White privilege is the “privilege to look away.” This was powerful. Our privilege isn’t detestable. Jesus had privilege. He used it to help those trodden on. We should also do so.
- Understanding historical context of my local city as well as general American culture is important for understanding why things are as they are.
Then I stepped into a breakout session with Jared Crabtree who taught on Biblical Manhood. This was so good. He talked about some of the following things:
- Man sins first not by eating the apple, but by being right there when Eve first was deceived. Where was Eve’s protector, leader, and protector of the truth? He was silent. What a shame men now everywhere carry in our tendency towards passivity.
- God doesn’t come looking for Eve when He walks the garden. She ate first, but he looks for man. Our shame is more fully realized.
- Man enters into vicious cycle of blaming everyone besides himself. He blames God for giving Him this perfect woman he failed to protect, and he blames the woman for leading him astray. Our shame is too great as men.
- Men need to fight against these things. The world was created and needed a cultivator. God made men to be those who bring order out of chaos in a representation of what He did in creating the world. Just as woman is implemented with the divinely beautiful sustainer attributes of God, mankind is uniquely suited towards ordering and creating. There’s some overlap, but generally we are designed differently in this way. When we fight against disorder, we take up the image of God He intended men to have. This goes from things as simple as making your bed to helping men around you order their life into right relationship with Christ.
- Young men should seek first self to be self-controlled (Titus 2:6). If we haven’t self-control, how can we ever expect to move on to the harder list of attributes that we should desire to possess in Christ (Titus 2:1-2). Men without self-control are not equipped to manage positions of authority in churches or relationships (with men and women) as they ought to.
We then went out to lunch. This is notable because I got great Kansas City BBQ for the first time in my life. We went to Arthur Bryant’s BBQ in Kansas City and I got burnt ends with fries. It was fantastic. Highly recommend to anyone stopping by.
We then went back for our final session with Jared Wilson. He brought it, man. Here’s his tidbits on answering how we can knowing if we are in Christ:
- “My sense of security was linked to what I had done or, more accurately, what I hadn’t done.”
- “Do you think an unregenerate heart lies awake awash in doubt of its salvation?”
- “Everybody in the world hates the consequences of sin.” (He said this in the context of a powerful point that one comforting identifier of being in Christ is we hate the sin more than the consequences of sin.
- “Everyone has some concept of Heaven they long for.” (He said this in context of saying that one identifier of someone in Christ is that they want Jesus more than Heaven. More specifically, Jesus is the centerpiece of Heaven. He is not an adornment or an afterthought, but the central piece of it.
- Take comfort that Jesus also identified with our anxious seeking after God on the cross as He quoted Psalm 22.
One random note is that I was struck at his talk that he talked about how his church told him about all the things that could give him demons growing up, and we laughed at his stories. Well, I didn’t laugh. I was bugged by it. We laugh at these things. But does God laugh at this? Does God laugh when His churches teach such poor theology? We should beware treating them like a joke. This is serious stuff and it is damaging. We should all feel the weight of our brothers and sisters who do this. It’s our burden to bear the way other churches interact, because even though I might primarily identify with my local body at UBC I do share a name with my brothers and sisters at these churches. It bugs me. I don’t know if we should laugh at this.
Anyways, these talks were powerful. Both moved me to tears. I love God. I love the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Lord, open my mouth to tell more people about you! They need to hear about you. Let me be an instrument of your grace.
After we left, we went to a place where we played a game called Whirlyball. Stephen Martin, my friends, is a picture of grace as he plays this game. You should see him in action. Morgan Montgomery, Daniel Watkins, and myself did stage an epic coup and manage to lead red team to their only victory when we drove for them! We won a tight match against some other leads 3 to 1. Phew! I was sweating from this by the end of things.
We then went to eat at Chipotle and get gas as we left.
On the way back, Matt Gumm and I talked a lot and I tried to bring in Jack Martin and Joshua Hutchins into intentional discipling conversations. We talked about why churches need to care about diversity and how a church’s definition of diversity is radically different than the world’s. Most notably, that the world wants to emphasize our similarities and say “Can’t we all get along?” in this ambiguous blog of greyness where nothing stands out. Christianity wants to — at least how it is presented by Christ in the Scriptures — wants to celebrate our differences and say “See how big and beautiful my God is? Let’s worship Him because He’s created all these beautiful things. ”
It was good talking with Matt and we got to know each other well on the trip home as talked about a plethora of things. I hope some of the students, if nothing else, got to hear Godly conversation that pushes us towards more knowledge and love of Jesus Christ.
My God is so big. So, so big. Even now He’s singularly focused on every single one of my billions of atoms and making sure they are held together. If He lost focus for even a second, I’d cease to be. But He never loses track of me.
This is why I can sing that song Give Me Jesus: “And when I am alone, give me Jesus.” Because when I am alone, I see evidences of grace by the literal millisecond in the fact that I still amazingly exist.
Whoa! I still exist. That thought is a miracle. The thought my brain actually fired synapses and delivered that message to me is a miracle. I can’t wrap my head around the mind-bending, amazing, awe-inspiring, beautiful nature of my God.
O soul, fall on your knees and worship Him. He is your creator, your savior, your redeemer, and your sustainer. You owe Him all, and even your all is not nearly enough. But it is the best you have to give. So hate your sin. You have His name. Make your Heavenly Father look down on you and beam with pride. Make Him point to Satan as He did Job and say, “See this one here. This one is mine. He’s just one of the many I’ve called to me who glorify my name.” Lord, love so amazing, so divine demands me life, my love, my all. Amen.
Seriously, whether you believe it or not, this is the short recap of the day. I was moved to tears twice today, and I wouldn’t have spent it any other way. I hope the high schoolers were encouraged by my presence. I hope the Lord revealed something to them through my going with them. And I am thankful for Midwestern State Theological Seminary putting this on. It was not only good for our students to be trained up in way of Christ, but they edified my own soul without even tailoring the content to my own unique place of life. Our God is so big that the way you would deliver His message to a high schooler is sufficient to move a 26-year old man to His knees.
Come and take me home some day, Lord. Take me to a place where the sun need not shine and I sit at your feet and bask in the love of my savior and all the saints for eternity!
Alright, I’ll stop because I am really fading towards sleep. Reading Exodus 22-24 and then bed. Goodnight, my soul. The Lord blesses you. Remember Him as you fall asleep and as you rise.