A family man and former professional pitcher with posts about the Gospel. By Grace alone, through the gift of Faith in Jesus Christ alone, we are saved, justified, and sanctified. It is a vintage gospel we believe and it's truths never change. Reformation brings us back to scripture alone and away from man-added religion and moralism.
I had a very intriguing article that came across my desk
at work.One co-worker was looking at
commencement speeches a couple of months ago and saw this one from a Wall
Street Journal article from 2008.He
then gave a print out to another co-worker.I saw it lying on his desk and gave it a look.What I found was a man who understood his
failures under the law, but he had no answers to fix it or heal it.He had no hope.The speaker was a well-known liberal author
and columnist named David Foster Wallace.He made this speech in 2005 to Kenyon University.As you read some outtakes from it, keep in
mind that Mr. Wallace committed suicide by hanging himself three years later.
There are these two young fish swimming along, and they
happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says,
“Morning, boys, how’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and
then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes, “What the hell is
This was the beginning of his speech to the college
graduates.The illustration paints the
picture of a set of young naïve fish.This will be tied up better at the end of his speech.
…The fact is that in the day-to-day trenches of adult
existence, banal platitudes can have
life-or death importance. (Yes I had
to look banal platitudes up.It means: a
trite remark or mundane occurrences.)…Everything in my own immediate experience supports my deep belief that
I am the absolute center of the universe…We rarely talk about this sort of
natural, basic self-centeredness, because it is so socially repulsive, but it’s
pretty much the same for all of us, deep down.It is our default setting,
hard-wired into our boards at birth.
…if you want to operate on your default-setting—then you,
like me, will not consider the possibilities that aren’t pointless and
annoying, but if you’ve really learned how to think, how to pay attention, then
you will know you have other options.It
will actually be within your power to experience a crowded, loud, slow,
consumer-hell-type situation as not only meaningful but sacred, on fire with
the same force that lit the stars—compassion, love, the sub-surface unity of
all things….You get to consciously decide what has meaning and what
doesn’t.You get to decide what to
In the day-to-day trenches of adult life, there is
actually no such thing as atheism.There
is no such thing as not worshipping.Everybody worships.The only
choice we get is what we worship.And an
outstanding reason for choosing some sort of God or spiritual thing to worship
is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive.If you worship money and things—if they are
where you tap real meaning in life—then you will never have enough.It’s the truth.Worship your own body and beauty and sexual
allure and you will always feel ugly, and when time and age start showing, you
will die a million deaths before they finally plant you.
The insidious thing about these forms of worship is that
they are unconscious.They are
default-settings.They’re the kind of
worship you just gradually slip into, day after day,
This is a
huge realization for this guy.He is
touching on what Christians know is true because of Sin that started in the
Garden of Eden.The lie that Satan
brought is that we can be our own god.
section I am going to share shows Mr. Wallace trying to figure out what needs
to be done to alter this Default Setting or find freedom from it.
It’s a matter of my choosing to do the work of somehow
altering or getting free of my natural, hard-wired default-setting, which is to
be deeply and literally self-centered, and to see and interpret everything
through this lens of SELF.
difficult to stay alert and attentive instead of getting hypnotized by the
constant monologue inside your own head…a much deeper, more serious idea:“Learning how to Think” really means learning
how to exercise some control over how and what you think…It is not the least
bit coincidental that adults who commit suicide with firearms almost always
shoot themselves in the head…(we are) supposed to be about:How to keep from going through your
comfortable, prosperous, respectable, adult life dead, unconscious, a slave to
your head and to your natural default-setting of being uniquely, completely,
imperially alone, day in and day out…(It is really important to find freedom
from it)…The really important kind of
freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and
being able to truly care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and
over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day.
that everything this man is saying is true.He, by God’s Just and Holy sovereignty, never found the answer.He never got the Gospel.The Gospel of God’s grace in Jesus is the
only way to find Freedom from this natural default sinful setting in us.Knowing that the Holy One loves you and gave
Himself up for you when you were still a sinner, let’s you know that you have
everything you need from Him who is the true “center of the universe.”Looking through life from the lens of the
gospel instead of the lens of self will allow you that freedom that Mr. Wallace
yearned for, so that you can truly care about others and sacrifice for
them.You’ve been given ALL that you
need by grace, so you can now give everything for others, to His glory.This is so radical from our natural state
that we have to preach it to ourselves all the time and every day.Mr. Wallace talked about this being something
you can find from within to alter the setting or you can choose to do the work
to free yourself from it.This is a
self-salvation project that will fail in the end.You cannot find an “inner Christ”.It has to come from outside of you.We find it, by grace, at the foot of the
Cross of Jesus.Our little idols we
create in our hearts are little ways to find comfort from the sin inside of
us.We look elsewhere even after we
become Christians.This is why it is so
important to be in the Word and hearing God speak through scripture.Mr. Wallace also talks about “learning how to
think”.This also makes sense to
me.The gospel gives us a renewed mind,
a new way of looking at our life and a compassion for other fellow sinners in
need of grace.
that this article caught my eye first because the title was David Foster
Wallace on Life and Work.These are
questions that the gospel answers.Then
when digging deeper, I see the “default-setting” statement.That is a phrase I have seen in Christian
written articles like this one by Tullian Tchividjian:
We've all become pretty adept at establishing these rules
and standards that we find personally achievable. Legalism therefore provides
us with a way to avoid acknowledging our deficiencies and our inabilities.
That's enough right there to make it attractive to us. But it's also appealing
to us in how it puffs us up, giving us the illusion … that we can do it—we can
generate our own meaning, our own purpose, our own security, and all our other
inmost needs. It's what Michael Horton
pinpoints as "the default setting of the human heart: the religion of
It's all so attractive because it's all about us.
Legalism feeds our natural pride. While abiding by our self-established
standards and rules, we think pretty highly of ourselves …. And what's especially
fine about being in charge of our situation (though we wouldn't admit it) is
that it's a way to avoid Jesus.
avoid Jesus.He is there.He is our Lord.He is the answer to what is making us ache,
worry, be angry, and fight against.Go
to Him, take His yoke that is easy, and find freedom.
This is my pitch for the
NY Yankees closer, Mariano Rivera, delivers a cutter in 2013, his final MLB season.
If we are all honest, the space between what we wish we were
and what we really are, and have become, is big.No matter how hard we try, we tend to focus on that gap and we should.When your focus is there, what do you
see?Do you see the letdowns, the
failures, and the struggles?Or do you
see the truth of what fills that gap.Everyone has this chasm in their reality.When we honestly come to the table as the
sinners we are, we see a growing chasm between our sinfulness and God’s
holiness.This truth is what really
causes either depression or thanksgiving or both in that order.Depression, anger, and resentment come from
focusing on an “empty” gap between the realities of our condition.Praise,
Joy, and Thanksgiving come from focusing on the GOSPEL filling that gap.A focus on the Cross filling that gap, because of the GRACE of a sovereign God,
allows us to live by a FAITH that produces joy and progress and renewal.
I think we first have to realize that this
has to come from an outward place, not an inward place of work and struggle.Believe what Jesus says in Matthew 9:13:Go and
learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to
call the righteous, but sinners.”If
Jesus tells us that He DESIRES to give mercy, and that He came to save sinners,
then why would we try to fix ourselves or hide that reality.I pray I get to a point where the mask can
come off and I can be real at all times with all people.I don’t want to paint a picture that I live
and find joy by my accomplishments and sacrifices.I want to be able to REST in Christ’s
righteousness and sacrifice for me.And
say with Martin Luther that when Satan
reminds me of my guilt, I find comfort because Jesus came to save the guilty and declare us innocent. This is exactly what that means.By Faith, you are free from the burden of
fixing yourself or focusing on an empty gap or the sin that remains.You are free to live IN CHRIST and know the fact that there is NOW no
condemnation for those He has adopted into His family.The CHASM is real (and it is real big) but the
truth of the GOSPEL fills it more than we know!
That is my PITCH for today.Go
and tell of this Good News!Amen.
“The fundamental matter at stake, for Reformation Theology,
is that consciences are sharpened by the Law and comforted by the Gospel.” –
A guilty conscience is when a past or present
sin/error/mistake has taken hold of your mind in a way that shackles your inner
being.Without hearing and experiencing
Grace, even Christians can get bogged down in this mindset.It is a slave mindset where you spend your
life trying to justify yourself with self-salvation projects.You try to make up for the mistakes in your
life, or the issues you struggle with, by finding comfort in things other than
Our Theology is so important.The first part of my life as a Christian was
spent listening to whatever a “higher authority” on the Bible told me.There was no theological review on my part or
enough personal bible studying.I had
the idea that I wouldn’t understand it, not realizing the power of the Spirit
of the Lord within me to help in this grasping of Scripture.
I recently received the quote up top via a Twitter
post.It made a lot of sense to me and
explains my growth as a Christian personally and towards others.The thought that the Law sharpens our
conscience is terrific.The Law is there
to show our sin.Once we are broken by
that, the Holy Spirit leads us to the Gospel to lift us up and carry us the
rest of our days.The Law shouldn’t
bring guilty conscience or shame; it should continually remind you of what
Jesus accomplished in your place.Therefore, the Law brings a sharpening and understanding of whom Jesus
is and His perfection for us.It makes
us aware of our need for a Savior while sharpening the distinction between Law
and Gospel.The day you get the Law and
you get a better picture of human depravity is the day the Gospel takes a hold
to show you a better picture of God’s Holiness and His radical grace in
unconditional love.There is no more
comfort than to know that the only One True God sent Himself to be human and
perfectly live according to His Law in your place.Out of this mercy, comes great transforming
power by the Spirit.
This sharpening allows us to love our neighbors without
judgment.Also, grace liberates us to be
forgiving and understanding towards others.It all comes from a better awareness of our own sin, through the law,
accompanied by a deeper understanding of the distinctions of the gospel from it.
So to reiterate some points, reformed theology provides a
better picture of the Holiness of God, the depravity of man, and a distinction
between Law and Gospel.All of this is
essential to the freedom Jesus came to deliver.Putting this growth into real life situations shows itself in community
and love where God has you.