December 3, 2015

Hello & Goodbye.

I have been planning this post for so long – the last Theology in Heels and first This Is My Life Now post. But stuff keeps getting in my way, and the new blog isn’t pretty and exciting yet. So many of the things that I have to say really belong on the new blog, and I’m sick of waiting to write them. SO… here we go.
Stephen and Lauren Engagements B&W-27My life right now is really beautiful. I have an incredible husband who is compassionate and patient and understanding and kind and fun and insanely attractive. He loves Jesus and he loves me. He’s wicked-useful in the kitchen and around the house; anything I don’t know he does, which is awesome. And he’s really nice about it, too.

I have five nieces and nephews, and all of them live within a 45-minute drive of me. They are super-fun and adorable.

Us with the kids

Y’all, they are almost 9-months older and EVEN CUTER THAN IN THIS PICTURE. Both the girls are walking and saying “Mama” and at least sorta know who Aunt Lauren is. 

Their parents are pretty great too – I have a fabulous sister and an amazing sister-in-law and all three of us hang out sometimes. And my brothers-in-law are smashing and make everything more fun. We love to play games with them, and they are both totally into board games, so that works out well.

me with both sisters

Me with both of my sisters. I’m not normally the short one…

But my life right now is also challenging – painful and hard (my health sucks), sometimes lonely (see preceding), with a steep learning curve (turns out a lot of things I know jackshit about). And more than anything, it doesn’t look like I expected. I had all these ideas about being an excellent housewife, but it turns out 1) it helps to know how to actually do housewife stuff, 2) it also helps if you’re physically competent to take care of business on a regular basis, and 3) it takes FOREVER to do this stuff if you are learning. My body is a freaked-out mess.

So what is this new blog going to be? Exactly what everyone says a blog can’t be – a mishmash. It’s gonna be recipes and hilarious stories about my housewifery mishapsand registry-item reviews (because I still am scared of slicing things in the food processor and I’m going to learn FOR YOU); it’s gonna be theology and ethics and Christian living and philosophy and musings and book reviews; it’s gonna be health-stuff and rants about the weird diet I’m gonna have to go on and thoughts on being a sometimes-invalid wife; it’s gonna be newlywed stuff and ridiculousness and drama.

The template of this blog will change. Probably a lot of times. I will figure things out, but in the meantime, I will be writing. Tell your friends.

November 5, 2015

The Power of Color – and My First Give-Away

So I got my “colors done” – which, in actual English, means I had a color consultation with the marvelously talented Karen Blanc of House of Colour. This was not my mama’s color party from the 80s (although it turns out I am, like she, a winter).

I’ll be honest with you – I was a little disconcerted about sitting in front of a mirror and looking at myself for a couple of hours. By the end, though, I was feeling really excited about what I had learned, pretty in a way that felt natural, and even appreciative of how God made me.

I found out that I am a fairly unique winter, as I have colors that stun and colors that droop in all four of the subcategories. We’re calling me a “wintery mix.” It was so much fun. But guess what: an obscene amount of my wardrobe is yellow-based.

Karen said it’s important to respect what each person naturally has going on when it comes to color, and I get that now. I go back and forth now between peeking at myself in the mirror (with astonishment at how great I look, how much my eyes sparkle, how awake and fresh I look) and not feeling any need to look in a mirror because I’m confident I look better than fine.

Unfortunately for me, all those minty colors, most soft greens, turquoises, and teals I love just aren’t working for me, they’re working against me. Same goes for corals and tans and tawnies and browns. So I have a LOT of jewelry that I’m just not going to be wearing anymore – or that I haven’t worn in ages but was never sure why. If you want to see what I’ve got, check out the slideshow at the bottom of this post.

So here’s the other thing I’m up to right now – The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I’m not far enough into the book yet to do the formal selection of items yet, but I am doing a lot of preliminary work, based on my color analysis and what I know in my gut, on my wardrobe, from coats to athletic wear to jewelry.

This is a true statement, y’all: I am a mess. I manage to be incredibly tidy when I travel, but in my own space I am ALWAYS plagued with too many things and not enough places to put them. And here I am, at approximately 8 months of marriage (good gravy, how is that possible?) and ready to really purge our space of things that don’t bring us joy. (I’m going to even do this to my book collection – my father will be elated.) Hopefully this MariKon thing will help me improve my housewife game. (I have a WHOLE BUNCH to say about this, so stay tuned if you’re interested in how bad my housewife game is…)

Here is the slideshow of the jewelry up for grabs. Holler at me if you spot anything you want and we’ll arrange something. (I may ask you to pay for shipping, but the jewelry itself is free.) First come, first served. Oh, and there’s a very good chance I will keep adding pieces to this for a few days as my collection is whittled down.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Don’t ask me what is going on here with the formatting. I fought and fought with WordPress, and then I gave up. 

September 21, 2015

Are we arrogant and judgmental? Do we subtly (or overtly) teach our children to suspect anyone ‘other’? Do we put mainly defensive spiritual tools in our kids’ hands, fostering an ‘against them’ rather than ‘for them’ posture? Do we emphasize behavior over character? Because good behavior won’t guarantee anything. If they don’t love Jesus and people, it matters zero if they remain virgins and don’t say the F-word. We must shepherd their hearts, not just their hemlines.

Jesus operates beyond the tidy boundaries of good behavior. Rather than simply enforce His rules, we should show our kids His kingdom. That’s where they’ll discover a Savior to fall in love with. Out where life is messy and relationships are complicated. Where the poor struggle and grace is a lifeline. If we want to raise disciples, we’d better take them to where Jesus is working, because they’ll discover His appeal more quickly in the field than in sanitized church classrooms or on behavior charts.

– Jen Hatmaker, For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards, 89-90.

A good word, not just for parents and other adults who care for young people, but also for all who want to be disciples ourselves.

Notice the “this and more” language – it’s not that morality doesn’t matter; it’s that it’s insufficient. “Being good” sucks as a motive, and is tantamount to viewing our behavior as a source of justifying righteousness. Y’all. If we rely on our righteousness for our identity or salvation, we are sunk, even if we’re “nice people.” Being good is also insufficient as a way of life. It’s not that we shouldn’t be good, but love is so much bigger than “behaving,” and it is a life of love we are called to as believers, not a life of moralism. I’m thinking of 1 Corinthians 13 and how useless all sorts of good things (even really flashy spiritual gifts) are if their possessor lacks love. These things are deeply connected. In John’s first letter, he writes a great deal about love,* paying special attention to the love of one’s neighbor. Then, at the end of his letter, he writes, “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments.” So in case we were thinking, “Cool – love God and love people, and all that law stuff takes a back seat,” we are headed off at the pass. Love and obedience. Love by obedience.

Let’s stir up love in our hearts and pursue righteousness by chasing Jesus Christ, the Righteous, Whose Name is Love.


* He also writes a lot about sin and lawlessness. That 1 John 5 passage is hardly the first time the righteous living issue comes up in the letter.

September 14, 2015

Thoughts on Life’s Little Ironies

Well, friends, I finally updated my “About” page. In the process, I finally admitted to the world something I’ve been wrestling with for some time now. With a blog like this, I’m finding it hard to fess up, but I owe it to you, gentle readers. So here it goes.

I don’t really wear heels anymore.

{massive exhalation}

It all started when I was really sick (June 2012-August 2013). I mean, I really did balance better in heels back in the old days, but I barely walked for a long time. Flats were my jam, man. I think originally I balanced better in heels because my brain had to concentrate a little harder on what was happening at the end of my legs. True fact: the time I gave up heels for Lent I wiped out like 5 times. It was sad. But when I was sick, even when I could walk a reasonable distance I had to move slow and was in a lot of pain – I couldn’t afford to concentrate on anything extra. I guess you could say my brain was reprogrammed when it came to walking.

THEN, y’all, I met this really amazing, attractive, godly man who pursued me and we fell in love and the fact that I am three inches taller than he is didn’t bother us at all. And the incentive to wear heels diminished even more – it was indubitably in my best interest to remain within kissing distance. It’s not like I was making any kind of sacrifice; it just kind of happened. I didn’t squash down a facet of myself. I didn’t change myself to please him.* [My husband likes for me to wear heels – he likes for me to wear whatever I want.] I’m just not in the heel-wearing season of my life anymore.

When I was trying to come up with names for my blog originally (back in 2010), I was just smitten with this name a friend of mine came up with. I had a WordPress theme made on Fivrr specially for it. (It was super-scandalous originally, y’all – I had to ask the graphic designer to scale back the sexy-factor about 60%.) So naturally half of it would become kind of irrelevant. Naturally.

I am about to get rid of most of my high heels (which was the majority of my shoes for a long time) because I just never wear them. So if you wear a women’s 11 or 12, hit me up and I’ll let you know what I’ve got to give away.

___________________
*There’s nothing wrong with changing some things about yourself for your spouse or a friend. For example, thanks to my friend and former roommate Nancy, I now make the effort to consciously put the toilet paper on the holder the *right* way.

September 5, 2015

Double Imputation FTW

I do love me some soteriology. This isn’t surprising, especially for a Calvinist, but I just can’t shut up about it. The way God saves sinners like me is important, obviously, but also fascinating. And my favorite bit is something theologians like to call “double imputation.”

One of the classic formulations of the Gospel makes use of the very biblical analogy of sin as debt. Basically, it goes like this: the plight of the sinner is basically a massive accrued debt due to, well, sinning. The standard is perfect personal obedience, and we don’t have that to offer. It’s a debt we owe and have no chance of paying. The penalty of failing to meet this standard is death.

And then the Lord Jesus enters the equation, dying an atoning death and changing everything. Because He was perfect, His death was not payment He owed. He endured the punishment on our behalf, exhausting the justice of God, so that we are who are united with Christ no longer carry this debt.

But wait. The standard is perfect, personal obedience, and while this debt-business explains an essential aspect of our salvation, it doesn’t explain how we GAIN the credit we need to be right with God. It’s as if we went from being in the red to having an account balance of zero. But we don’t just need to be out of debt – we need to have the credit of perfection in our lives.

Jesus’s perfect life accomplished this for us. Not only did it mean that we could have our debt canceled, our punishment justly meted out; it meant that we could be right with God.

This is double imputation. It means that Christ was credited with our wickedness and we were credited with His righteousness. It’s beautiful.

July 25, 2015

I Swear This Isn’t Turning into a Wedding Blog…

…but that’s not going to stop me from posting stuff about my wedding, etc.

Don’t worry. Posts about books, the Benedict Option, and the importance of double imputation are forthcoming.

But I want to share three of my favorite memories from my wedding day, which, interestingly enough, both involve tiny children. (My wedding, since it started at 8:30 pm – thanks, Spring Break week – wasn’t exactly small children friendly. Which is weird, for me, but we did what we had to. Planning a wedding in about three and a half months is no mean feat.)

One is the moment my sweet nephew Brad came to the hotel lobby, where I was waiting for my ride to the Perot Museum, and realized the lady in the big white dress was Aunt Lauren. He got his “I KNOW YOU! I LIKE YOU! YAY!” smile and wanted to bury his face in my dress and sit next to me on the bench and just be close. It was the sweetest thing, y’all.

Brad, with Nemo

Brad, with Nemo

________________________________

Once we got to the museum, my job was to go to the bottom of the escalators and ride up to the fourth floor for a slow-reveal first look. There were still loads of museum patrons around at that time, and one little girl just couldn’t contain herself as she watched me practically trot down the entrance ramp to the museum lobby.

“Are you a princess?” she asked.

I stopped immediately and bent over.

“Nope, I’m something better than a princess. I’m a bride, and today I get to marry the man I love.”

In other news, I am a total cheeseball. But I hope that little girl remembers that there are things you can be that are more important than whether you’re a princess.

_________________________________

After we did our first look pictures and some portraits together, we rounded up the whole extended family for family pictures. (We wanted the littles to be able to leave whenever worked best for their various watchers, and to be free to melt down without causing parental angst.) I remembered to ask for a picture of me and Steve with just the nieces and nephews. And y’all, I’m so so so glad I did. It was a sweet moment of stillness, and isn’t this a great picture?

We now have a 4-year-old nephew, a 3-year-old nephew, a 2-year-old nephew, a 10-month-old niece, and a 7-month-old niece. We are rich.

We now have a 4-year-old nephew, a 3-year-old nephew, a 2-year-old nephew, a 10-month-old niece, and a 7-month-old niece. We are rich.

April 26, 2015

3 Things I’ve Learned in (Almost) 7 Weeks of Marriage

It’s freaking awesome, by the way. Being married, I mean. At least, to this husband it is. He is so amazing, y’all. But there’s a definite learning curve. Here are some of the things I’ve learned.

1. Sometimes, you think you’re picky and you’re actually laid back. The reverse is also true. 

As it happens, my “I’ll eat anything” love is quite picky. A few weeks ago, I made a delicious raspberry-balsamic glazed pork tenderloin. Turns out, he doesn’t like fruit with meat. Or balsamic vinegar. Or pork tenderloin. Oh, he was a good sport and gamely tried – and affirmed the deliciousness of – everything, but it was not his thing. Too bad; it was probably the best thing I’ve made since we’ve been married.

The Lesson: Some of the things we thought about ourselves are wrong. Who knew? Not us, not till now. (Pretty sure this trend will continue till we die.)

2. Not everybody eats with butter knives. 

When I was a kid, we never used steak knives. How often did we eat steak? I would guess at least 2-3 times a month. But we sawed away with our (mildly serrated) butter knives and were just fine, thank you very much. (I imagine this was largely so my siblings and I – probably especially I – wouldn’t hurt myself. When I came to be of an age when one might trust his daughter to mow the lawn, I was not permitted to, because I might run myself over with the lawn mower. I confess, these concerns are not entirely ridiculous. I may be a bit clumsy.)

Fast forward 20 years, and I am married a man who literally cannot understand how a person like me thinks since I didn’t register us for everyday steak knives. In his family, if there was meat on the table, there were two knives on the table.

This is, for me, a new level of “not everyone grew up like you, Lauren.” I had a good dose of that in college, when I learned that none of my friends grew up eating Hamburger Helper, and that one was raised leaving butter out on the counter, and that in some families you wear only skirts to visit more conservative relations. But being married has meant that silly little expectations we didn’t realize we had are being blown apart in new ways. Not only do we have to realize the differences; we have to come up with our own way to be. In this case, we got steak knives. (It turns out, belated wedding gifts are a blessing.) Tonight we used them. It was good. Steak knives FTW.

3. Someone is here to point out what’s on my neck.

As I was sitting here, writing this post while he works on his own laptop, I asked him something. He looked at me and was like, “Babe, what is on your neck?” I reached up, nervous about coming in contact with some behemoth of an insect, and finding only something a little grimy. “I think it’s chocolate,” he said. “It looked like a bug at first, but I think it’s chocolate. You’d better go look in the mirror.”

It turned out to be chocolate. LOTS of chocolate. Like, holy cow, are you bleeding chocolate? I had no idea those caramel-centered drumstick ice cream cones could bleed chocolate like that. If I had gone out to walk the dog, I bet you $100 someone would have thought it was dog poop, which is GROSS and beside the point. Bottom line: there is someone here who notices stuff and lets me know about it. He is all up in my business. That is a good thing.

April 6, 2015

Sometimes, a Blogging Hiatus Means Good Things…

2015-03-14_KraigJohnsonWedding_McWhorter2265edit

October 5, 2014

GOD IN HEAVEN

It was never meant to be this way.

When the first human beings, Adam and Eve, ran from God, they broke his heart and his world – and tears and sickness and pain and death came in.

God made his world to be our perfect home. But sin has spoiled everything. We have made a terrible mess of God’s world. We lost it all!

Did God abandon us? Did he just look down from heaven at the mess we made?

No. He didn’t just look down. He came down. God himself came down.

Not as a judge to punish us, but as a Rescuer to save us.

– Sally Lloyd-Jones & Jago, Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing, 31.

August 2, 2014

In which my seminary background pays off in unexpected contexts…

Internet dating is weird. I’ve done my share, and oddly enough have had the most success connecting the right sort of men on okCupid. Of course, there are creepers and weirdos and all kinds of not-the-right-sort-of-men, but it’s been easier for me to identify those guys there than anywhere else – and to find likely candidates who ARE of the right sort.

If you have ever read this blog before, it will not surprise you to learn that my profile includes a “not interested in premarital sex” statement as well as a declaration of my love for Jesus, the Church, and Reformed theology. I get all kinds of responses in my inbox. Sometimes I get “What kind of freak are you?”  emails (I kind of think I already told you exactly what kind of freak I am, actually). Sometimes I get pretty hilarious pick up lines. (“You are the most beautiful animal I’ve ever seen. Are you domestic or wild?”) Sometimes I get guys trying to pick fights. (“What problem do you have with free will?”) Sometimes I get middle school yearbook messages. (“You seem awesome don’t ever change!”) And sometimes I get theology questions.

Yesterday I got a message from a fellow who has recently bought a Bible and is about to start reading it for the first time. He said he’d grown up in the Catholic Church, but had not ever really done the work of reading and interpreting the Bible himself. (I know that he’s not the only one – many people who grew up in all kinds of denominations have that same story.) He wanted my advice, especially on what helps are out there to aid interpretation.

So I wrote him this.


 

Dude,

This is a fantastic question. I am really glad you asked. Reading the Bible yourself is a really transformative thing. I am excited for you!

There are thousands upon thousands of books out there that intend to help readers interpret Scripture. Some of them are total garbage. Some of them are fantastic. Most of them are in the middle somewhere. I can point you in some good directions, but first let me give you some more general basics for first-time Bible reading and study.

1. Don’t start at Genesis and try to plow all the way through to Revelation. I recommended you start with the Gospel of John, and then hit up some Pauline Epistles like Ephesians and Philippians and Romans. Read these books before you open any commentary or book on biblical theology – get a feel for what they have to say before you start asking for other people’s opinions. From there, you can jump into most biblical books and have some idea of what is going on.

2. Find a legit Bible-preaching church and start going. If I were a single dude in Dallas, I would most likely go to The Village – their preaching pastor is probably the best exegetical (Bible text-based) preacher in the metroplex. But there are heaps of options, GOOD options: Park Cities Pres, Watermark, New St Peter’s, All Saints, Providence Pres, Northwest Bible, and Highland Park Pres are all solid choices, and I’m could list more. Here’s why I recommend this: 1) you’ll get a good sense of how the whole bible fits and works together, which will improve your understanding; 2) you’ll get to see how the Bible and its teachings are changing people, especially in the context of the church community (One thing you’ll notice big-time in John and the Pauline Epistles is how much the church community is a big friggin’ deal.); 3) you’ll be hearing Scripture interpreted regularly by a pastor who’s been doing this for years, wants his people to be reading and interpreting Scripture and so is intending through his sermons (in part) to equip them to do so well.

3. Pay attention to genre. Ok, so one thing that a lot of people suck at when it comes to reading the Bible is appropriately accounting for – or even paying any attention at all to – the genre of the part they’re reading. There’s not just one kind of writing in the Bible; there are bunch, and some of them overlap (for example, Revelation is prophecy, but it’s also an epistle). Here they are, in no particular order:

  • Gospels – These are historical narratives pieced together from either the author’s experience or the eyewitness accounts of people who were close to Jesus.
  • Prayerful Poetry/Songs – The book of Psalms is all this. It’s essentially a hymnal for Israel. There are other works in this genre, though, scattered throughout the Old Testament (and in fragments in the New) – for example, Mary sings a song of praise to God after the annunciation in Luke 1. That bit of Luke fits in this genre.
  • Erotic Poetry – Song of Songs. In case we couldn’t figure it out from the rest of Scripture, this book makes it abundantly clear that God is a fan of married sex.
  • Epistles – A good chunk of the New Testament is made up of these sorts of books, which are really letters. Personally, my favorite book of the Bible to read over and over and over again is Hebrews, which is an epistle. Its theme is Jesus > EVERYTHING, and it draws heavily on the Old Testament, quoting chunks of it and showing how Jesus is the fulfillment of every promise God makes, every accommodation He orchestrates so that He can have a relationship with His people. It’s so awesome.
  • Prophecy – There are some books that are straight-up prophecy, like Micah, but there are also a good number of books that are mostly this, but also other stuff. For example, the book of Daniel is about half straight-up prophecy, half narrative. The key to telling when you’re dealing with prophecy is when something “The Lord said to Moses” or “Thus says the Lord” pops up.
  • Wisdom Literature – Job, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes are the biggies here. Wisdom literature is not full of promises so much as it is full of descriptions of how things tend to work in the world. God, as its Maker, has arranged this so that if you pull a Proverbs 22:6 and “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it,” your kids will likely grow up to be responsible adults who love Jesus. Now, there are plenty of times that doesn’t happen. But the norm is that it does. You tracking with me? Another thing to keep in mind with wisdom literature is that it is philosophical. So even though Job is also a Narrative, it fits in the wisdom literature category as well because of all the deep issues explored in it like theodicy, why bad things happen to good people, and how to cope with deeply painful suffering. It’s interesting to note that in Job, it is incredibly obvious that these intense philosophical questions are 1) not divorced from Job’s personal experience OR his feelings and 2) not divorced from, but rather riddled with, theology. Also cool: God shows up and unloads some heavy direct revelation. So while it’s not predictive of the future, that portion of the book could fit into the genre of prophecy.
  • Narrative – The Gospels are a specialized sub-genre of this category, but the most common (percentage-wise) sort of narrative in the Bible is found in the Old Testament. (The book of Acts is another good example.) These books describe historical facts, and often do not directly offer commentary on whether or not what they are describing is good or bad. Just because David had lots of wives doesn’t mean God thinks that’s ok – in fact, in Deuteronomy 17:17, this is prohibited explicitly for future kings of Israel. So don’t think that just because some detail made it into the Bible and is not explicitly condemned immediately by God, God must approve.
  • Law – There are three kinds of law given in the Old Testament – moral law, ceremonial law, and civil law. The most famous, obviously, would be the ten commandments, but what most people don’t realize is that there is a lot of case law included in the rest of Exodus, Leviticus Numbers, and Deuteronomy. You wanna know about not committing adultery? There’s tons of stuff about not sleeping with your stepmom or a half-sibling or a random chick you think is hot, and recommended punishments. Part of the deal here is to help Israel figure out how to interpret and enforce the law in their civil government, but part of it helps US to learn better what God thinks about such things. The ceremonial law includes LOADS about the building of the tabernacle and the temple, which point forward to Jesus, Who came and lived skin to skin with us. Way better access than the Shekinah Glory hanging out in the Holy of Holies in the temple, where only the high priest could access just one time a year…
  • Genealogy/Census Data – Ok, so these can be tres boring. But there are certain things to remember about them and why they are cool: 1) after Genesis 3, those who believe in the promise of God to provide a “seed” of Adam and Eve Who would crush their serpentine enemy are looking for Him. Where is He? That’s one reason genealogies are important; 2) sometimes, they tell you how flippin’ enormous Israel has gotten (see: Numbers); 3) sometimes, they record who trusted God and was faithful and obedient to Him (see: Nehemiah); 4) sometimes, they just remind you that God cares about every single one of His children. So you don’t have a clue who Matthan was? Neither does anyone else in 2014. But God knows. God cares. Matthan was precious to God. (In case you’re curious, he can be found in Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus. He was Joseph’s grandfather, Jesus’s adoptive great-grandfather.)
  • Diary – I’m not making this up: Nehemiah is mostly the guy’s DIARY about rebuilding the city of Jerusalem. You can totally tell, too, because he says all kinds of weirdly personal stuff.

**Hopefully this is helpful and not overwhelming.**

4. This is going to sound weird, but… get your hands on a Jesus Storybook Bible and read the whole thing, preferably in one day. I did that, when I was in seminary actually, and it was so GOOD. It gives a big-picture view of the whole story of the Bible – indeed, of human history – which helps you see Jesus everywhere. And believe me, He’s EVERYWHERE.

5. Let the Bible tell you what it’s all about. One thing you may notice as you read John and some of those epistles is how much cross-referencing there with other parts of Scripture. Where the Bible tells us what some other passage means, we should take advantage of that interpretive help.

Ok, so once you are ready to start checking out commentaries and books on biblical theology, where do you go?

  • This article by Tim Challies (whose blog I love to follow) is very helpful.
  • Dale Ralph Davis is my guy for Old Testament narratives like Joshua, Judges, 1 & 2 Samuel, etc. He also has a commentary on a small chunk of the Psalms. He is so stinking helpful.
  • Anything The Gospel Coalition turns out is legit.
  • Find a preacher you like and go hunting in the archives of his church’s website for sermons on whatever book you’re reading. A lot of excellent pastors preach straight through biblical books most of the time, and it can be extremely helpful to listen to sermons while you’re working out or driving around town, or to read them if there are available transcripts.

The Bible is not an ordinary book. You can read all about Abraham Lincoln – read what we have of his personal papers, read his speeches, examine the testimony of people who knew him and interacted with him and worked with him, look at his administration’s actions and the way he led, read oodles of biographies, and at the end you will know a ton about Abraham Lincoln. But Abraham Lincoln won’t know jack about you. Your brain is now loaded with facts and opinions, but there is still a disconnect because there is no personal relationship there. However, when you read the Bible, you learn all kinds of facts about God (His preferences, His habits, what kind of God He is, what He’s done, what He will do) AND you actually meet Him in it. Your study of the Bible can be fruitful in a different way, a relational way. And the point of knowing more about God and what He is like is really, at the end of the day, to love Him more.

Well, hopefully your head hasn’t exploded from this long email. I’ll be praying that God reveals more and more of Himself to you as you open His Word.

 

Lauren