Monday, February 16, 2009

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

I am a kinesthetic learner. I don't remember much of what I read on a first time through. I remember very little of the words I hear, no matter how often they are repeated. In order for me to really learn I have to interact somehow with the materials. It's part of the reason I am good with outlines. I used to take notes in my college classes and then rush home to outline those notes, color coding them for quick identification. That process was necessary for me to internalize the lecture. It's also the reason I preferred to write short essays for tests and skip the multiple choice altogether. By writing out my answer, I could synthesize why my answer was correct. It's just the weird way my brain works.

It makes sense, then, that just reading the study materials on exercise science that I'm working through wasn't enough. I highlighted, but that didn't really help. I started some flashcards, and that did permit soome of the information to stay in my head. But two-dimensional drawings in a book really didn't show me how muscles work and how the bones fit together to create four types of joint.

This morning I took myself to The Bodies, an exhibit of cadavers preserved in such a way that visitors can see up close and in context all the major functions of the body. It begins with skeletons and moves into muscles, cartilate, and ligaments. I spent much of my time in those halls, walking around each body identifying different muscles and how they attach to bone and how they work together to allow movement. This exhibit is unique because the bodies are posed in real life situations: hitch-hiking, playing ball, drawing, and a host of other things. It was fascinating to say the least.

Now I can picture how the muscles work and I can better remember the names of various muscles and bones. Just walking through the hall from bones and muscle, through digestion, respiration, and reproduction, to circulation made me recall the verse that tells how I was knit together in my mother's womb; fearfully and wonderfully made.

Psalm 139:13-16
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you

when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
16 your eyes saw my unformed body.

All the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

All That I Need

There's a song that I love from the group A Cappella called "All That I Need." It combines bits of a wonderful sermon by Dr. S M Lockridge known now as "That's My King" with lyrics about needing nothing more than Jesus. The song is part of my workout mix, partly because it has a steady rhythm, but mostly because it is a great distraction from tedium (on the treadmill), pain (running uphill), and breathlessness. It's wonderful to focus on the attributes of MY King instead of on my own energies.

Somehow I think the best thing to do is just share these lyrics:

[He's the ruler of righteousness
He's the authority of the ages
He's the holiness of heaven
He's the God of glory
He's the King of Kings
And he's the Lord of Lords
That's my Christ
And I want you to come and know Him
For yourself]

Living to please my Lord and Savior
Changing my life and my behavior
Making new choices that will favor Him
Looking above, my aim is higher
Trusting in Him is my desire
Making it day to day requires Him

All I ever wanted was truth
All I ever needed was You


All that I want is Jesus
All that I want is Him
All that I need is mercy
Making me free from sin
All that I want is Jesus
All that I want is Him
All that I need is mercy
Making me free from sin

[Do you want to know Him]

Knowing the truth no longer guessing
Every morning I'm confessing
Daily I'm thanking You for blessing me
Taking control He fills my yearning
Now that I know there's much I'm learning
Knowing my Lord will soon return for me
All I ever knew had no use
All I ever need comes from You

[You need to know Him]

All I ever knew had no use
All I ever need comes from You

Praise Him, praise to the Lord
All that I want is Jesus
All that I want is Him
Praise Him, praise to the Lord
All that I need is mercy
Making me free from sin

[He's the key to knowledge
He's the wealth of wisdom
He's the dawn of deliverance
He's the road to redemption
He's the highway to holiness
He's the gateway to glory
Don't you want to know him?
His love is limitless
His word is wonderful
His reign is right
His yoke is easy andHis burden is light.
Oh! I wish I could introduce you to Him adequately
But actually he's indescribably irresistible
He's invincible
He's incomprehensible
He's incomparable
Yes, you can live with Him But you can't live without Him
Yes, the Pharisees, they tested Him
But they found out they couldn't defeat Him
Pilate could not find any fault in Him
Herod couldn't harm Him
Death couldn't handle Him and
The grave couldn't hold Him
That's my Christ
That's my Lord and
That's my Jesus
Well, thine is the kingdom
The power and the glory
Forever, and ever and ever
And after you get through with all the forevers
You ought to be able to say

AMEN--even so, come quickly Lord Jesus!

For Dr. Lockridge's words and voice:

Song from A Capella All That I Need 1999
Scriptural Reference:
"So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6:31-34

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Back to Basics

2008 was a tough year in the life of our church. Growing pains seemed to point to a need for a capital campaign that turned divisive and it seemed everyone was focused on everything BUT growing in Christ-likeness. People worried about debt and who would get which space and whose ministry was more worthy. In the end, the pledges totalled half of what the leadership had determined was needed, and suddenly some serious soul-searching began.
Beginning 2009, our pastor began a series reassuring the congregation that God is sovereign, that HE knows the economic issues of our world, and that He will be faithful to meet our needs. It was a good start back in the right direction.
Today our pastor began a new series called "Jesus, the Son of God." Over the next several weeks, he intends to work through the gospel of Mark, reacquainting himself and the congregation with the One who calls the Church His bride. It is apparent that, as a large congregation, we have in many ways left our first love. It is time for a return to the basic elements of our faith and our convictions.
He began the series with a talk on baptism. Being a Baptist church, baptism by immersion is required for membership, although not for salvation. Baptism is, however, a command as a sign of obedience to the Father. Jesus was baptised, not because he had sin from which to repent, but as an obedient Son identifying with the people for whom He came. Mark's gospel also illustrates the truth of the Trinity as the Father speaks His pleasure in the Son who was baptised as the Spirit descended as a dove.
Something connected with the congregation. The story is familiar to most regular church-goers, but today's sermon had a powerful effect. After the sermon the pastor gave an invitation, but not a traditional altar call. He called for people to repent and be baptised immediately. He listed the church preparations (from towels to make-up) and addressed most of the excuses people give for not being baptised. As the congregation began to sing "I Have Decided to Follow Jesus," people began coming forward to declare their allegiance to Jesus and their intention to be baptised immediately. We sang all four verses of the song twice in the first service as people continued to move. The Holy Spirit's movement was evident in the faces of those who came forward. (One of the advantages of sitting in the choir is having a "pastor's eye view" of the congregation.) Men, women, and children came. Couples came together. The one that affected me most profoundly was a business man, dressed in his Sunday Business Best, fighting the tears halfway down the aisle before giving in and allowed the pastor to meet him halfway. He rested in head on the pastor's shoulder for just a moment and then let himself be led toward the baptistery.
The congregation remembered Jesus in Communion, and then the baptistery doors opened. 34 people were baptised at the 8:30 service, some of them (including the businessman) making first time professions of faith, and others obeying the call to baptism after have been believers for some time. Congregants stood for those they knew and wept even for those they didn't know.
Five services and multiple trips to Target for towels and other items, more than 200 people were baptised. No one could have anticipated the way the Spirit moved in church today. Wow. When God pours out His blessings, they are more than anyone could ask or imagine.
The church, all of us, now have the charge to walk with these who were touched by the Spirit, teaching them to "live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith...overflowing with thankfulness." (Colossians 2:6-7)