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 Living Sacrifices and, man, what a morning. It did not go the way I wanted to go starting out. I got there and the doors to Fellowship was locked. I was a bit flustered, but decided that Heritage would work great again. Thank the Lord for many buildings to use at my church.
But then I got over there and I was trying to make coffee and, just to be honest, I have no idea what I’m doing on those drip coffee makers. Somehow it started leaking and spitting out coffee and grounds and, oh my, it was just about enough to break me. I knew today was going to be a hard day of work, and I was just not in a great place to deal with this going poorly and I hadn’t even gotten up and taught yet.
But I was able to take a breath and decided that kind of attitude was exactly what Satan would want out of me. So I resolved that he would not have his way and ruin the opportunity that I had with these men this morning.
So we got started with no coffee and less men than normal. Many of them had either mismanaged time and sleep, or just didn’t show up. But the men I did have — we had 2 new ones today! — were there for a reason and so we got a good testimony from Luke Stanton and then I taught. Our meditation was on letting the Lord control all aspects of our life. That comes from Romans 14:23, which says:
“But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.”
Man, just when you think Paul can’t get any crazier than he already has, he goes and says things that make you realize you’ve got a lot of work to do. Everything that does not come from faith is sin.
This is why, even on those days, where you think you haven’t sinned much, you’re still totally condemned. All it takes is an idle action that was rooted in self-centeredness. One little word that flowed from a poor heart. You’re doomed. This is why our hope is not in our own righteousness, but in Christ’s.
Anyways, that’s not really what I taught on. My main point was this:
In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that much of the reason you might be struggling with sexual impurity could be a direct result of your apathy towards being faithful to the Lord in the mundane things of life. So, brothers, today I’m not going to use this verse to challenge only your sexuality. I’m going to challenge you to be conscientious of this verse all week and hold up this standard against all aspects of life. But really, I’m not challenging you to do this. Our Lord challenges you to do this in Luke 16:10
“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.”
And later, I followed it up with this:
Sun Tzu is quoted as having said:
“When an army has penetrated into the heart of a hostile country, leaving a number of fortified cities in its rear, it is serious ground.” And again later, he says:
“Ground on which we can only be saved from destruction by fighting without delay, is desperate ground.”
Friends, we have came into enemy territory today. Christ invaded this world when He came in the flesh of a baby and established a kingdom and He’s asked us to continue the invasion while he prepares the finishing blow.
Let’s not be warriors who leave enemy fortresses behind us when we can destroy them. But let’s also realize that no matter how many of them we tear down, we are ensnared. Sin wants to destroy us, and to delay the fight is destruction. The only way to save ourselves is to fight without delay in the name of our Lord.
I added to my script a metaphor I liked — the Spirit was gracious enough to give it to me in the midst of the lesson. But God tells Cain that sin is crouching at his door and he must resist it. Well, what I wanted the men to know today is that what most of us do with our sin is that we see the big ole sins. We throw our shoulder against the door and we really do genuinely mean to fight that sin.
But when we don’t fight all sin we can identify in our life, what we essentially do is leave the windows, back door, and doggy door open. These small sins come in through all these smaller entrances and nip at us and nip at us until we get so weak that the sin at our door barges in and devours us. We might rally a few times from this. We might shove sin back out the door, but we never close the windows! So we fall again. And again. And again. And again. The cycle gets numbing. Then one day sin comes in, takes up roost in your home, and never leaves as you lie vanquished on the floor without any energy or even desire to rise again.
Our spiritual lives are ones of toil and sin must be met with all out declarations of war! We’re not weak. Christians aren’t weak. I think it is time we remembered that and started living like vassals of the living king!
Anyways, that was helpful for me and we tried to talk about how the mundane things in life actually set the tone for letting the Holy Spirit get to work and equipping us to be faithful to take care of the larger sins that come into our lives.
After that, I left and went to work with my largest client. I had a lot of trepidation about what would happen because this client has recently gotten into a rather hairy situation. He, myself, and a 3rd-party vendor (which I technically am as well, but I hardly feel that way) had a good conversation. It was honest, frank, and led to some good action items. I think the CEO was worried that the bad situation had happened because we were not being proactive about the account, but the truth was the situation actually happened because we got too aggressive and were trying to react. And we had other campaigns launching and just lost site of some KPIs for a few days that caught up with us.
But all that said, I think it helped get us onto a better page and actually spurred us on to a really good day of work. I also think it is going to spark all of us into a status of high performance work. I felt really sharp today at work, which was probably because my body, on some level, knows it needs to be sharp!
But I busted through a lot of work. I did take a break with Cole Penick to get our weekly lunch. He was very happy that I got an entire Slim’s plate with cayenne ranch and parmesan garlic. It’s not what I get every time, but I admit that I see the merits of switching up some of my dipping sauce choices. I think his greatest accomplishment in my life so far is helping me see the variety that can be enjoyed at Slim’s. Ha! I’m sure he enjoys much more than that, but it was a good time.
And it was exactly what I needed. This morning, while everything went well, was just tough. I had a lot of things go south and was trying to put everything in order. It was nice to stop and eat some good friend with an even better friend. And just talk. I feel like I’m breathing when I talk about the Gospel lived out in church and our lives. That’s what we talk about often, and I’m very excited to continue walking in life with Cole. He’s become one of my dearest friends despite the fact that I have no kids and there’s really no reason we should have ever run across each other’s paths. But isn’t this the beauty of the Gospel? That I love people I would otherwise not have loved? I find it great!
Went back to work with the client and just kept going until around 6PM. A long day of work. But I’m training a few girls there at work, which will make my job much better. The more competent they get, the more they can help make sure that things aren’t slipping through the cracks. I want to teach them. I suppose I could hoard the knowledge, but I feel like a firefighter when I work with clients. I’m taking care of everything that has to get done and I have very little time to get to the future of things. So we’re trying to set up weekly meeting where we talk about whatever tests and updates we need to roll out on ad copy and landing pages. They can make sure that we’re never stagnant and then I can just help manage, equip, and drive things forward with vision setting, which is what I think I’m best at.
Anyways, we’ll see. For now I felt like I left the client in a good place. But it needs to have good days and weeks of work ahead to make that happen.
I am trying to back out of a speaking engagement on the 21st that I took on awhile ago. It’s one of those things that, as I think more on it, it just doesn’t make much sense right now. I’ve got a client who needs a lot of attention, I have a trip to Nebraska I wasn’t originally planning this weekend, and I have 2 other side projects that I don’t normally run that I need to get to.
All in all, I just don’t think I can do it justice and I feel it is best to try and recuse myself. I don’t think many people have signed up, so I’m hoping we can either cancel or reschedule the event. I’ll see what they say in the next few days. If they decide I need to do it, then I’ll do my best. I just don’t want to teach poorly and risk leaving a worse impression on them than I’d like to. But I’m not sure I’ll get a ton of time to really make this go off well.
I’ve bit off a bit more than I can chew very well right now. It’s a busy season of life. Part of this is church stuff. It’s true that if I took that out, I imagine I’d be much more capable of pulling this off. But church is priority. It takes precedence over my work life insofar as I can be faithful to the Lord with work while still pursuing ministry opportunities.
I came home and read some Chosen by God by Sproul. I daresay I’ve slowly becoming a Calvinist. He was talking about Double Predestination today. It is interesting contemplating the hardening of Pharoah’s heart in Exodus. Sproul, and I agreed with this before I even read it — I have the note in the book to prove it — says that when God hardens his heart it is not an active influencing of Pharoah to sin. This would not line up with James 1:14 where none of us can say that God is tempting us.
But instead, God does remove His restraining influence of common grace that is upon all of us and allows our already evil desires to become even more cold and foreign towards God. I think that’s a great explanation.
It would be dangerous — to the point of being heretical — to say that God predestines people by causing them to sin. Now, the hard part is that we still do have to admit that God chooses some to be saved and some He chooses not to save.
I think the thing man hates about this thought, and trust me I am not overly fond of it myself at times, is that God is not interested in saving everyone. I know the God so loved the world and such. He does. He loves all of us. He does not desires even the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 18:32, 33:11).
But there’s something else God desires even more. And that is for the nations to know that He is God. And if He saved everyone and made us all into Christians, then the glory of God is restrained. We as humans really are only able to comprehend His mercy precisely because we know those who His mercy does not go upon. This is similar to the argument that light would have no meaning to us if we never knew any darkness. But because we know darkness we cherish the light.
Yes, God could save us all. And He would know that He was merciful. But God already knows that He is merciful. He didn’t have to create us to feel good about His mercy in action. He could be content to know that it is so.
But He is a God worthy of worship. And for us to properly worship Him, that requires some to be patiently endured as objects of wrath. God does not take pleasure in this. He’s not sadistic. But God is persistent in obtaining the worship that we, the created, owe to Him, the creator.
I then rode the introduction to Eusebius’ Church History. I imagine I won’t read this every night and it won’t be a fast read, but I want to get back to older texts and start knowing more history, especially as it regards church fathers. They have so many great texts and we must keep reading them, so I’m endeavoring on this journey.
I’m finishing up watching the Warriors vs. Thunder game. The Warriors are getting killed. I’ll watch a bit of the 4th quarter and then go to bed if it doesn’t get interesting. As I’ve been watching, I typed the lesson for next week’s Living Sacrifices. I was happy with how it came together! I think there’s some good thoughts and I was really happy with some of the imagery that the Lord gave to me as I was writing. So we’ll see how it goes!
don’t think that this is something I can always expect, but I am please that often the Lord, once He has granted me a bit of a path to follow in Biblical knowledge for teaching, seems to let me write pretty stream of conscious. I don’t get bogged down in writer’s block, and that’s encouraging as I’m sure manuscripting and coalescing thoughts is not always a given for people. Perhaps I’ll experience that more as I mature in my pursuit of ministry.
On the reading docket tonight before bed is Leviticus 11 & 12.
Lord, thanks for being a God who brings peace amidst chaos like you did today. I don’t want to trust you, but when I do you prove that there are reasons to trust you after all. Please help me remember that in the days ahead.
I love you, oh Lord. Amen.