Mysterium Tremendum et Fascinans

Sitting at Panera with my bride on a Saturday morning blogging away…

I’m reading a book by RC Sproul called The Holiness of God – considered to be a modern day classic. He introduced me to this term that I used for my blog title and I was intrigued by it.

Mysterium tremendum et fascinans (“fearful and fascinating mystery”) is a Latin phrase which Rudolf Otto uses in his book The Idea of the Holy to name the awe-some (fascinating and full of awe) mystery that was the object common to all forms of religious experience. Essentially it is the term he used to describe God’s holiness.

Fearful, fascinating, mysterious! I like that. In talking about Isaiah’s encounter with God in Isaiah 6, Sproul says this:

“He saw the holiness of God. For the first time in his life Isaiah really understood who God was. At the same instant, for the first time Isaiah really understood who Isaiah was.”

I know that I have not encountered the holiness of God as Isaiah did. I know that I need to. I need to be gripped by the fearful, fascinating, mysterious God who reveals Himself as The Holy One! I’m pretty sure that until I am I will never have the kind of walk with God that I want nor the kind of influence in ministry that I desire.

Still another way for you who are reading this to pray for me.

Life Verses Part 1

If any one were to ask me if I had a “life verse” I would say no – but I do have a life passage. It is these verses from Philippians chapter 1:

20I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 25Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26so that through my being with you again your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me.

From time to time I will use this blog to unpack why these verses mean so much to me. Today I want to comment on the first 3 words: “I eagerly expect…”

I have always been optimistic – a glass half full kind of guy rather than half empty. But I’m not sure that I have eager expectations the way that Paul did. I want  there to be an eagerness in the way that I approach life.  A hungry anticipation of what is to come. One of my favorite quotes is by William Carey – generally thought of as the father of the modern missions movement. He said:

“Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God”

Eager expectation will be followed by courageous attempts! That’s the kind of man that I want to be. Living with eager expectations and acting courageously. I’ve got so very far to go to get there but by God’s grace maybe one day. If you want to pray for me this would be a good way to start. I’m going to eagerly anticipate the transformation.

Birthday Photos

So here are a few pics from the birthday get together last night. We met at Chili’s at Triangle Town Center in Raleigh. (By the way, in case you are not aware of what the birthday boy’s plans are – he is in the 2+2 MDiv program at Southeastern Seminary and hopes to be overseas in a few years.) We had a great time. Linda and I are still getting used to relating to our kids as adults and not as children. But we are enjoying the learning process.

My Son's Birthday

It is appropriate that the first post on this blog falls on my son’s birthday.  Scott is 23 years old today. Tonight our family will celebrate with him at Chili’s in Raleigh. Always fun to get together with the 6 of us. It seems that it happens less and less now that everybody is pursuing their own lives. I am very blessed to have a wife, 3 kids, and a son-in-law who all love God and are following after Him and seeking to live God honoring, gospel centered lives.

Scott, on your birthday I just want to let you know again how glad I am to be your dad. You are a wonderful son and I am proud of the way that you are pursuing God and seeking to have His purposes fulfilled in your life. If things go as you hope they will go then I know we only have a few short years before you are living a long long way from here. I’m already praying that God will give clear direction as to where you will be – and I’m already excited about coming to visit you. Here are a few observations that I have about you:

  • You have always made choices based on what you want to do and what you believe God wants you to do. You have never tried to be a people pleaser.
  • I am amazed at your discipline. When you decide to do something you give it your all.
  • I am also amazed at your hunger to know God and His Word. Your thirst for knowledge puts me to shame.
  • You have a great sense of humor – I especially notice it in your tweeting.

I love hanging out with you. I wish we got to do it more it often. I am hoping that your beloved Thunder have an awesome year and that KD wins MVP and that Carolina gets back on track in b’ball and mostly that “the joy of the Lord is your strength!”

I can’t pray for you any better than Paul prayed for his Ephesian friends when he said:

“14For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

20Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

I love you!!

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