The Lost Thought

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I recently read some of the poetic works of Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) and found The Lost Thought and one more untitled gem with a similar theme (the Kindle version of her poems is free). I think everyone can relate to losing a thought or idea…

THE LOST THOUGHT.

I felt a clearing in my mind
As if my brain had split;
I tried to match it, seam by seam,
But could not make them fit.

The thought behind I strove to join
Unto the thought before,
But sequence ravelled out of reach
Like balls upon a floor.

UNTITLED.

A thought went up my mind today
That I have had before,
But did not finish, — some way back,
I could not fix the year,

Nor where it went, nor why it came
The second time to me,
Nor definitely what it was,
Have I the art to say.

But somewhere in my soul,
I know I’ve met the thing before;
It just reminded me — ’twas all —
And came my way no more.

Those who write can especially relate to not writing down that brilliant line or catchy rhyme. We may have a similar thought later, but it’s never the same. And then, it’s gone.

So, capture your thoughts and ideas by writing them down, or recording them on your mobile device. Just don’t forget where you keep them. I tend to scribble ideas everywhere, but that’s another issue.

How many thoughts have you lost?

“Rhythms of Grace” Review

I recently completed Mike Cosper’s book Rhythms of Grace: How the Church’s Worship Tells the Story of the Gospel and was able to sing along because he skillfully frames church worship, liturgy, and the gospel story.


Cosper inspires by retelling the story of worship starting before the beginning, through creation and the Garden, and on to the coming of the Son of Man. He ends his summary of gospel song this way:

“That’s the story of worship: God creates, sin corrupts, but Christ redeems. And all of us get to sing along.”

He goes on to break down worship into three parts:

  • One object and author
  • Two contexts
  • Three audiences

He writes, “God is at the center of our worship. He is the single most glorious thing in the whole universe, the One to whom we ascribe the greatest and highest worth…Worship is about God, from beginning to end.”

Cosper distinguishes the two contexts as scattered and gathered. When scattered we worship and spread the gospel individually. We represent Christ as He works and sings through us while we’re going. But when we come together, we sing the same gospel to one another.

“The gathered body teaches the Word and proclaims it together; we speak the truth in love as we sing, read the Scriptures, and remember the gospel together.”

He defines the three audiences:  God, the church, and the watching world.

“There is God, who is both the object of our praise and a witness to us as we praise him; there is  the church, which both participates in and witnesses the lives and gatherings of the people, and there is the world watching from the darkness.”

Cosper then challenges us with what goes wrong when we confuse these categories and overemphasize contexts and audiences. He tells the story of the church, provides excellent examples of gospel shaped liturgy, and beautifully reminds us:

“The gospel is what connects people – not music. Our differences are never so slight as they are at the foot of the cross.”

“If we’re gathering humbly, united by the gospel, we should be marked by a sense of thankfulness that brings us together, regardless of our stylistic and cultural decisions.”

“If music in the church is just about consumeristic preference, then my singing is motivated by personal tastes. If singing is about letting God’s Word dwell among us, then my singing is motivated by love for God.”

“We need to be willing to boldly challenge tradition for the sake of gospel clarity.”

What about you? Are you singing the gospel and worshiping with clarity, passion, and a love for God and other people? Are you willing to give grace to others who have different worship styles and preferences?

Encouraged by “You Can Change”

If you’re not interested in changing sinful behavior and negative emotions stop reading now.

However, if you desire change and want to grow closer to Christ I encourage you to read on and pick-up Tim Chester’s encouraging and practical book You Can Change: God’s Transforming Power for Our Sinful Behavior and Negative Emotions.  

Chester will challenge you with the gospel and God’s grace which is where change begins. We often hear (or think) that change begins with us, but it must begin with God’s grace and His transforming power working in and through us.

“You Can Change” is a good book to read with others in a one-on-one discipleship scenario, accountability group, or small group. The chapters are laid out with direct questions. For instance:

“What would you like to change?” Why? “How are you going to change?”

“When do you struggle? What truths do you need to turn to? What desires do you need to turn from?”

We all struggle with something (sin, fear of man, negative emotions, or not doing what we know we should). This book helps us identify what we need to change and helps us deal with it by focusing on the truth of scripture and God’s grace.

Chester reminds us to speak the truth to ourselves and “hold every thought captive.” He quotes the famous preacher Martyn Lloyd-Jones who said, “Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself.” We should constantly remind ourselves of the truth (which sets us free).

He gives us four life changing truths that we must consistently preach to ourselves:

  1. God is great – so we do not have to be in control.
  2. God is glorious – so we do not have to fear others.
  3. God is good – so we do not have to look elsewhere.
  4. God is gracious – so we do not have to prove ourselves.

Chester points out that “the number-one reason why people don’t change is pride, closely followed by hating the consequences of sin but actually still loving the sin itself.”  “Often we don’t change because we don’t really want to.” He states, “we avoid responsibility for our sin by minimizing it.” Yet, “true repentance grieves over sin, it never minimizes it.”

He goes on to write, “give up – give up on yourself. Repent of your self-reliance and self-confidence. Your second step is to rejoice in God’s grace – his grace to forgive and his grace to transform.”  This is so counter to our culture of  self-esteem and self-help and it’s a refreshing reminder that our hope and joy is in the Lord and not our ability.

So, what do you need to change? Are there areas of sin and pride that God is uprooting in your life? “What truths do you need to turn to?”

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