Text Tuesday: Engulfed

I am away from my office desk and without Mounce’s text for this week’s Text Tuesday post. Instead, I am working on sermons for the remainder of our Jonah series this month.

As I work through Jonah 2, I’m struck by the language in Jonah’s prayer. Verse 5 says,

“The engulfing waters threatened me,

the deep surrounded me;

seaweed was wrapped around my head.”

Jonah uses a familiar term “engulfed” (Hebrew: afafuni) to describe his experience after being hurled into the ocean. This word is used by the psalmists to describe drowning, which fits the theme of the first part of Jonah: descent. Jonah goes “down, down, down,” to Joppa, to the bottom of the ship, to the depths of the ocean, and into the depths of the fish.

Perhaps you’ve experienced the panic of being under water longer than you anticipated, how the immediate dread spills over one’s mind when the air runs out. Jonah felt this on a couple of different levels: physical and emotional, I’d expect. He was surrounded; there was no way out.

In that place, he poured his heart out to God in what is, for the most part, a penitent and thoughtful prayer. When we are surrounded, we tend to say the most honest prayers.

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Vonnegut Quote on Community

What should young people do with their lives today? Many things, obviously. But the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured.

Share The Best Stuff

Here is my daughter, Avery (10), crushing Latin homework on a Thursday morning and enjoying the “Pink Drink” from Starbucks.

On a visit to Starbucks, Avery usually gets one of three drinks, the Pink Drink being one of them.

From the backseat of the car, Avery exclaimed, “This is the best Pink Drink I’ve had!”

She would know. She gets them all of the time.

The next thing she did stunned me. Avery asked her brother and I if we’d like to have some.

Instead of hoarding the best stuff, Avery felt compelled to share it.

Deep down, we know we ought to share the best stuff.

Technique Thursday: Streaks App

Thursday’s are for practical, pragmatic, techniques for everyday living. Today, I wanted to share about an app that is keeping me on track: Streaks.

Streaks keeps track of any goal, any frequency that I have. Currently, I have 5 goals in Streaks and it gives me the daily reminder to continue what I started.

It might be my personality, but I like a scoreboard and I like to keep adding to a score if I can. Streaks gives me that extra motivation to add to the progress that I made yesterday.

Check it out. It might be just what you need to get over the hump on that challenging task or discipline.

Wright or Willard Wednesdays: Scripture

Each Wednesday, I put a thought from one of my two sages, NT Wright and Dallas Willard, for the sake of sharing a ideas from them that have encouraged me. Perhaps they will encourage you, too.

Today, a passage from NT Wright from his Scripture and the Authority of God.

The whole of my argument so far leads to the following major conclusion: that the shorthand phrase “the authority of scripture,” when unpacked, offers a picture of God’s sovereign and saving plan for the entire cosmos, dramatically inaugurated by Jesus himself, and now to be implemented through the Spirit-led life of the church precisely as the scripture-reading community. “Reading” in that last phase is itself a shorthand for a whole complex of tasks to which we shall return. But the emphasis I want to insist on is that we discover what the shape of the inner life of the church out to be only when we look first at the church’s mission, and that we discover what the church’s mission is only when we look first at God’s purpose for the entire world, as indicated in, for instance, Genesis 1-2, Genesis 12, Isaiah 40-55, Romans 8, 1 Cor. 15, Ephesians 1 and Revelation 21-22. We read scripture in order to be refreshed in our memory and understanding of the story within which we ourselves are actors, to be reminded where it has come from and where it is going to, and hence what our own part within it ought to be.

Text Tuesday: (Be, Make) Heavy

On Tuesdays, I scour Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament words to find some extra insight into the biblical text. Today’s word is “heavy,” or “to be/to make something heavy.”

In the Hebrew Old Testament text, “heavy” (kabed) means “to honor.” This is an interesting Jewish idiom that we use today. When someone powerful or important speaks we often say, “Her words carry a lot of weight.”

In the Greek New Testament, “to be made heavy” (lype) has a different meaning. It carries the idea of grief or sorrow, a person experiencing a heaviness because of a loss of a loved one. The action of grief exhausts someone and they feel heavy because of it.

The two, distinct meanings in the two languages reminds us that reading the Bible is complex, for the same word “heavy” in English has two different meanings in the text. We get to do the tough work of hearing the ancient voices in order to understand the text.

 

Technique Thursday: Work + Rest

I saw this talk over the relationship between work + rest that I have been trying to implement into my work routine. I thought I’d share the gist on Technique Thursday.

This technique simply tries to get the most out of our work by planning rest periods. I try to follow this basic formula: Stress + Rest = Growth

If we could see work and rest on a wavelength, we can see how a daily work period might be planned:

Without planned rest, we are tempted to try to have a flat line of production, sporadic work/rest or even to try to keep our production at a high level until we exhaust:

Instead, try to build a rhythm or ratio for work and rest. The one I’m working with is 90 minutes of work followed by 20 minutes of rest.

During the 90 minutes, I try to leave my phone away from my desk so I can concentrate on the task list that I have.

When I rest for 20 minutes, I usually get up and away from the desk so I can fully rest.

Give it a shot. Let me know what you think.