Archives For Longings

Here is a Tim Keller sermon that will feed the soul of people in our day. This sermon will help you understand some of the reasons you think like you do. And it will show how Christ can set you free. In terms of interacting with the cultural waters in which we swim, it is one of the most profound sermons I have ever heard.

Watch, listen, and be nourished.

Justin Taylor summarizes:

Tim Keller speaking at chapel for Wheaton College (November 11, 2015), explaining that our culture repudiates as oppressive the idea that someone else names us and gives us an identity, but that when you trust Christ you have the only identity on earth that is received instead of achieved.

Keller goes on defend a form of individualism as inescapable but to critique expression individualism (the idea that you must look inside and then express them outwardly no matter what anyone says). He offers five critiques: it is  (1) incoherent; (2) unstable; (3) illusory; (4) crushing; (5) excluding.

We are social beings who need recognition and naming from outside—someone whom you love, approve, and esteem—to speak to you.

See also:

Communicating Truth in Our Late Modern Moment


Why I Am Thankful for Nurses

Chris —  October 1, 2015

Screenshot 2015-10-01 09.35.49Stories like the one below illustrate the love people demonstrate even to strangers. So many nurses excel in showing love to those they barely know.

As a pastor, I spend more time in hospitals than most people with the obvious exception of health care workers. One group of people I am so thankful for is nurses, volunteers, doctors, and many others who show compassion when caring for people.

Last night, NBC news ran the story of a lady, Amanda Scarpinati, who was severely burned as an infant in 1977 when she was only 3 months old. A photographer took a picture of a nurse caring for baby Amanda.

Anyone who sees the picture can recognize the love the nurse is showing for a baby she had not previously met. The nurse is caring for this little baby like you would want someone to care for your baby if she was badly burned.

Because of her burns, Amanda went through many operations. Other children were mean to her. But, even as a child, she was comforted by the picture of the nurse caring for her.

Yet, she did not know the identity of the nurse. Only recently did she show the picture on Facebook and ask for help finding the nurse.

You can read the rest of the story on NBC’s web site.

Our “inconsolable secret”

Chris —  July 31, 2011

Cornelius Plantinga in his highly recommended, Engaging God’s World (page 7):

Our “inconsolable secret,” says C.S. Lewis, is that we are full of yearnings, sometimes shy and sometimes passionate, that point us beyond the things of earth to the ultimate reality of God. And summer mornings on which we awaken to “stabs of joy” are clues that this is so.

See also, “Feeling Down at the end of Christmas Season” and

Thom Rainer (President and CEO of Lifeway Christian Resources) reflects on the race of life:

When my son, Art Rainer, began work on the book we co-authored, Simple Life, he spent a good bit of time in a cemetery.

That’s right. A cemetery.

He found a cemetery near his home in Boca Raton, Florida, and simply walked from grave marker to grave marker. Listen to his simple explanation for this strange type of research.

“I came to this cemetery to gain perspective. I could not think of a more inspirational location than to be surrounded by those whose earthly story had come to an end. If they could, what would they tell us? Now that their lives are over, what wisdom would they want to pass on? What were their regrets? Where did they get it right? Though the sands of time in my life’s hourglass are still running for me, with every breath I breathe, I am moving toward my physical closure.

“My body will become like theirs.

“On each grave marker is a dash between two years. The dash is time, and that is where we are, in our dash. And before there is some year placed on the other end, we need to figure this thing out.”

The Dash Hits Home

This past week was tough. My older brother, Sam Rainer, had open heart surgery. The surgery went well. The road to recovery looked great. But two days later he had a stroke.

As I sat next to him in the intensive care unit, I reflected about our family. Our parents died years ago. Our sister died as an infant. In our original family, it’s just the two of us. And there he was with a newly repaired heart dealing with the aftermath of a stroke in the intensive care unit.

The dash got really rough for him this week. . .

Read the rest here.

If you find yourself longing for a better church, or marriage, or somehow feel that your career is not what it should be, then read this post from Daryl Dash (click here).

Be careful that you don’t dismiss the post because you see that it focuses on pastoral ministry.  Daryl’s central thought is profound.  And, it’s well illustrated via a story about C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien.

The more I read , the better I like it.

I know it’s not Christmas – – but, this all has to do with what the German’s call “sensucht.”  You might also take a look at this post.

One of my favorites, Rudyard Kipling reminds us that our time on the New Earth won’t be spent sitting around doing nothing. . . On the contrary, it will only be than that we can Continue Reading…

I think the reason many are depressed over the holidays is because they do not know how to interpret the yearnings of their soul.

I don’t suppose that there is anyone who has not experienced yearnings or longings of the soul – Augustine said that he experienced them when he read Plato – –  he felt as though he was looking at a peaceful valley from a wooded ridge – –  a nostalgic feeling — that there was a beautiful place that he couldn’t quite access.

Continue Reading…