Archive for July, 2003
We had a great time renting a house boat. We cruised around Chitek Lake and picked up a few fish along the way. Great people, great conversation, and all around great time. More pics to follow.
Why I like the Cabin
Yesterday Jeremy and Rae Lynn showed up. As we gathered around a late night fire to engage in some Jesuit prayer action Jeremy asked me why I like the cabin. I like the cabin because it is a place of peace, contentment, and rest. Up here I have no timetable, no worries, no anxiety, and very little stress.
I am in much agreement with guys like A.W. Tozer. God is found in quiet solitude. I enjoy walking with God much more than sitting or standing. There are many hiking/ATV/snowmobile trails up here and one can hike for hours or days. The majesty of God’s creation is present as one gets about a kilometer from town. It is quiet, nothing to hear but the wind and birds. I get a sense of God’s vast creation and how small I am in it. I reflect how alone I am yet I still have the warmth of God inside me, walking with me, talking with me, comforting me. I usually come up in winter and hike when its 15 degrees below 0.
Tozer says that if we truly want to pursue God we must determine to find him and follow the way of simplicity. God is as near to us as we want Him to be. We must first truly want Him near. Next we need strip ourselves of all that hinders and all that clutters our heart and mind.
So very few people and interested in joining me at this cabin on my winter retreats. Those that join me slide in to default forms of spirituality like bible study and prayer. No one can discount the value of prayer and bible study. I do a fair bit of both when I’m up here. Now that I’ve experienced the spiritual disciplines of solitude, silence and meditation I wonder how people are satisfied with just prayer and bible study.
I would recommend everyone to take a 3 day weekend once a year and get away to a place of solitude and rest. Sleep lots, eat well and live in contentment. It will do you far more good than almost any program or conference you can go to.
Tozer on Receptivity
How does one gain a sense of the presence of God? How does one plug in to the powerful work of the Holy Spirit. We must cultivate our receptiveness to God. In the following quote A.W. addresses the lack of spiritual receptivity in his era.
It [receptivity] is a gift of God, indeed, but one which must be recognized and cultivated as any other gift if we are realize the purpose for which it was given.
Failure to see this is the cause of a serious breakdown in modern evangelicalism. The idea of cultivation and exercise, so dear to the saints of old, has now no place in our total religious picture. It is too slow, too common. We now demand glamour and fast-flowing dramatic action. A generation of Christians reared among push buttons and automatic machines is impatient of slower and less direct methods of reaching their goals. We have been trying apply machine-age methods to our relations with God. We read our chapter, have our short devotions and rush away, hoping to make up for our deep inward bankruptcy by attending another gospel meeting or listening to another thrilling story told by a religious adventurer lately returned from afar.
The tragic results of this spirit are all about us: shallow lives, hollow religious philosophies, the preponderance of the element of fun in gospel meetings, the glorification of men, trust in religious externalities, quasi-religious fellowships, salesmanship methods, the mistaking of dynamic personality for the power of the Spirit. These and such as these are the symptoms of an evil disease, a deep and serious malady of the soul.
For this great sickness that is upon us no one person is responsible, and no Christian is wholly free from blame. We have all contributed directly or indirectly, to this sad state of affairs. We have been too blind to see, or too timid to speak out, or too self-satisfied to desire anything better than the poor, average diet with which others appear satisfied. To put it differently, we have accepted one another’s notions, copied one another’s lives and made on another’s experience the model for our own. And for a generation the trend has been downward. Now e have reached a low place of sand and burn wire grass and worse of all, we have made the Word of Truth conform to our experience and accepted this low plane as the very pasture of the blessed.
It will require a determined heart and more than a little courage to wrench ourselves loose from the grip of our times and return to biblical ways. But it can be done. Every now and then in the past Christians have had to do it. History has recorded several large-scale returns lead by such men as St. Francis, Martin Luther and George Fox. Unfortunately there seems to be no Luther or Fox on the horizon at present.
It still amazes me that this stuff is 5 decades old. I can just imagine what Tozer would say today.
Ford missed their true calling
I found this old TV at a rather run down farm. I took special note of the logo. Ford could mean so many things. Perhaps it means Found On Run Down farm.
This blog entry is Tried, Tested and True! Go Chevy!
A.W. Tozer wrote the following words almost 55 years ago in The Pursuit of God”.
Every age has its own characteristics. Right now we are in an age of religious complexity. The simplicity which in Christ is rarely found among us in its stead are programs, methods, organizations and world of nervous activities which occupy time and attention but can never satisfy the longing of the heart. The shallowness of our inner experience, the hollowness of our worship and that servile imitation of the world which marks our promotional methods all testify that we, in this day know God imperfectly, and the peace of God scarcely at all.
If we would find God amid the religious externals, we must first determine to find Him, and then proceed in the way of simplicity.
It would be safe to say that religious complexity is still very much a part our current spiritual landscape. Today we are taught how to employ spiritual principles to improve our quality of life. Tithe and get more money back. Pray the prayer of Jabez and watch God expand your borders. The Christian marketing industry gives us a ceaseless stream of messages promoting products and services designed to enhance our spiritual lives. It seems benign on the surface but, like secular marketing, Christian marketing needs to subtly convince us that we are not spiritual enough without their product. In the same way Covergirl ads tell women they aren’t beautiful enough, religious marketing tells all of us we aren’t fulfilled enough. Next we are called to experience God and fulfillment through marriage encounters, evening services, worship seminars, and church leadership conferences. The Christian life can easily become an overcrowded insanity of principles, products and events.
Tozer would argue that this complexity says something about us. We really don’t want to connect with God. We want a product, a principle or an event, but not God. All of our running is an attempt to run around God, not to Him. If we would find God we must first determine to find Him, and then proceed in the way of simplicity.
Made it to the lake
I made it just in time to see the local phone guy. If I hadn’t been here he wouldn’t have been able to run a new wire in to the cabin. As we quickly discovered the wire to the phone jack was only about 4 feet long and not quite long enough to make to the wall. I asked the phone installer what I could expect for speed the phone companies dial up internet service. He told me 26.4 or 28.8, and I thought that would be ok. When I finally connected I got 48! Wahooo! Its not broadband, but surfing and blogging will be relatively painless. 48kbs isn’t too bad.
What to do next. I think I’m going to start off with some A.W. Tozer!