Daily Diary – 1/31/18

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.

Daily Highlights:

Today I got up and went to a new reading/book study that I’m starting. It’s with some other people interested in doing ministry long-term and trying to flesh out our theology as well as thinking what that theology means for the local church.

It wasn’t what I expected, honestly. It’s a fairly large group. What I really want is to be poured into and trained up in how to do ministry. I do think it will be worthwhile, and I will enjoy going and fellowshipping with these men. However, I do think that what I really want is something a bit different. I may try to communicate this more passionately to my Elders. I think I can be a bit laid back in my presentation of this as I don’t want to seem to forceful. But at this point, I hardly have any doubt about what I’d like to do. What seems left, to me at least, is to figure out what to do with it. In that, I will try to submit to my Elders and love the body well and see where that goes. It’s something to just keep open and keep praying about.

I left from there to go to Puritan Coffee to work for the morning. I felt like I had some good success there. I did get distracted towards the end of the morning as I wrote a blog post that struck me. But generally, it was a focused morning that I felt like pushed me towards getting some real things done. Glad to have that kind of morning.

I left from there to go to lunch with Drew Hutchison at Hugo’s. That was really fun. I felt like we were able to connect. I’m trying to learn to be more bold in my conversations. I felt like I did a good job at asking questions and also even just using Scripture in conversation even with those who do not share the same faith as I do. I’m never sure if there will be any interest on the part of the person listening, but I always want the Gospel to be present in my conversation since it is the most important part of my life. That might make me awkward and might even drive some people away.

But I felt like I was able to be natural with it and just include it as part of my story and framed it as a “This is what the Lord does for me.” kind of conversation. If that turns into more, then God be praised! But if not, then at least it was known that He was the catalyst for why I do what I do.

Drew is a cool guy. I appreciated getting to know him better and want to keep reaching out. I genuinely enjoyed the conversation and we’ve been in some very similar situations and I hope to keep up with him as we move forward. Overall, just a really encouraging lunch!

I then posted up in the public library and did some work for a bit there as I got ready for a meeting at 3PM. Then I left and went to my meeting off the square with a client. Got some good action items and know what I need to do on that account. Always trying to keep things good on all my accounts. It’s a juggling act to make sure things are going well.

I often feel like I’m working 2 full-time jobs right now with what is going on with church. I’m trying to write more. I’m discipling people like never before. I’m preparing lessons that I previously hadn’t. Even things as simple as trying to intercede in prayer often and vigorously takes up time. That’s not a problem in and of itself. The Lord designed us to work. Perhaps even go through seasons of heavy work. But I also hope that this is not a permanent pattern. If it is, then so be it. The Lord’s will be done, not mine.

But I do feel like if this is the new normative pattern, then I’m going to need to optimize it. Whether it is actually having higher quality clients, but less clients or something else I’m not sure.

I then went and actually got to study Amos 8 after that as I waited for youth group to start. Here were some big takeaways that I found in the passage today:

  • The Lord for at least the 3rd time that I can tell makes a point of indicting Israel for their trampling over the needy and poor. We as Christians and churches ought to consider what we can do to take care for the least of these. I said this earlier, but it keeps striking me that how we treat the least amongst us says a lot about what we think about God. Because if we treat even the least among us as ones who possess dignity, we really understand them as image bearers of God and honor His creation and show that we understand the purpose of humans and this means that we demonstrate a greater understanding of the creator who made us. Now, let’s not be confused. Some people might love the poor and they show evidences of grace if they do, but they do not show regeneration automatically.
  • Oh, the breaking heart I experience when the Lord speaks of a famine. Not a famine of food or thirst. If only it were that. But He says that there will be no word. This is like living without our Bibles or even pastors to speak God’s word to us. My soul feels the despair of that situation. When Amos calls people staggering drunks as they search for the word, he’s getting at the fact that people apart from the word are incapable of functioning properly. How sad. And how daunting for us that we must not presume that God’s word is a given to us. It’s a gift! Hold it fast before the Lord for the Lord is not obliged to continue giving us faithful pastors and allowing us to come and read His Bible and, in His gracious Spirit, understand it. Cherish the Bible, oh my soul .

Those were really my two key takeaways. I think the rest of the chapter largely revolves around those two stanzas, at least as I understood it.

After reading this, I actually took a quick nap before youth group in the youth group building. I had parked at UBC in the morning and just walked everywhere downtown for the day to get to meetings, Puritan, etc. So I was just sticking around until it started. Got about 30 minutes. Felt nice to sleep a bit.

Youth group was awesome! We’re talking about cell phones. But really just talking about tools. And talking about how we like to be distracted by them. We humans think we love freedom. We think we love peace and silence. But we spend so much time filling up our time with other things because the truth is, and I’m roughly quoting Guy Wilcox here, if we ever have that moment and silence we’ll realize there’s a hole in our souls that we can never fill and that there is a thirst for something more that can only be quenched by God.

Wow. What a great thought. This is why, as Christians, one discipline we should pursue is times of stillness. It’s not just a peaceful meditation. It’s actually, in a certain sense, the opposite of peaceful. It’s a chance to stop and let your soul acknowledge what Romans 1 says it knows. It knows there is a God. It knows something is wrong. Our souls are screaming out for salvation and if we ever stop to listen, we’ll have an experience like Isaiah 6 where our souls are undone and we realize how empty we are.

But the peace of the Christian comes in because as we sweep the broad expanse of the cosmos looking for something, anything to come and save us, what do we find? Our eyes fix on a point in time where a God-man, Jesus Christ, stepped down out of Heaven and declared that He was dying so that whoever might believe might have life everlasting.

Is someone reading this? I don’t really track views and such. I don’t know. But I feel compelled to write to you if you’re reading this. When was the last time you let your soul be silent? Can you feel it? Can you feel the despair? The emptiness that rises in you as you scream out against the dark expanse that looks you in the face?

I have the most comforting words for you that I can ever think. They’re found in John 1:5

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

Jesus Christ is this light. He stepped down so that, like those Israelites back in Exodus 14:13, if we would just be still He can show up. When our eyes dart back and forth desperate for an answer, a light appears and it does not disappoint. It does not retreat from the darkness, but as we feel ourselves drawn to it we find it actually consuming the darkness and giving us the peace we’d actually hope for when we still our souls.

Alright, well I’m off to bed. Exodus 32-35 is up tonight as well as It Is Well and some Chosen by God before bedtime. Should be a good night.

Fair thee well, world. Let your soul be still this night as you go to bed and search for God. I encourage you to search for Him in His divinely revealed Scripture, but even if you don’t do that if you calm your breath and allow yourself to ponder your purpose in this world I feel comfortable saying that you’ll at least catch a glimpse of Him. He may want you to pursue Him in Scripture before you finally understand Him, but you cannot help but see Him in all things if you genuinely look.

I have no doubt of this. Goodnight, friends!

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