stories


Sean O’Hagan spent 18 months following U2, from Fez to Dublin, as they recorded their album No Line On the Horizon.  At one point, O’Hagan asked Bono about the album’s last lines:
Choose your enemies carefully, ‘cause they will define you/ Make then interesting, because in some ways they will mind you/ They’re not there in the beginning, but when your story ends/ Gonna last longer with you than your friends.

Bono “Yeah. Yeah. They’re are going to be closer than your friends. They are going to shape you.”

SOH Are you singing from experience here?

Bono “In a way, I guess. I think one of the things that has set our band apart is the fact that we chose interesting enemies. We didn’t choose the obvious enemies – The Man, the establishment. We didn’t buy into that. Our credo was: no them, there’s only us. Think about it. Every other band was us and them. The Clash, our great heroes. Then U2 arrived and it was no them, only us. 

“What that means is that we picked enemies that were more internal – our own hypocrisy. The main obstacle in the way of our band we always saw as ourselves and our limitations. We never blamed the record company. We never blamed the radio [laughs]. You never heard that from us in 25 years. It was always, can we be better? Can we make the song better, the show? What you’re really dealing with then are the obstacles to realising your own potential. They are nearly always of a psychological, if not a spiritual, nature. The spectres that hold you back, they were our enemies. It was always, ‘You’re supposed to be in a rock’n’roll band. You’re supposed to be rebellious, but you don’t rebel against the obvious.’ And we’d go, ‘No, we don’t. That’s the point.’”

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Yesterday our senior pastor asked us to turn in our Bibles to the book of Habakkuk.  He just started a series on this book last week.  You could hear the pages flip as everyone tried to find it.  Meanwhile, Jaime turned to Emie, our 6 year old, and asked if she could find it.  About 10 seconds later she had flipped to Habakkuk and handed the Bible back to her mom.  I looked at my wife with amazement as I kept fumbling to find the book myself!  Emie had learned the OT books this year and had a big smile on her face knowing she had found Habakkuk before her Daddy!

Matt Perman is a unique gift to the church.  He was the chief designer of the Desiring God website and is now senior director of strategy at DG.  I’m blessed to call him, friend.  Along with Dustin Shramek and  Justin Taylor, Matt helped shape my understanding of God’s sovereignty during my college days with him at The University of Northern Iowa.

Karen Crouse, writing for the New York Times on Michael Phelps’ marijuana pipe:

This is what I find so striking: A man whose chest has been covered with gold medals, has achieved international fame, showered with awards, and blessed with an incomprehensible amount of money, still feels compelled to press his face to a bong.

C.J. Mahaney responds:

It was Augustine who said that the soul is restless until it finds its rest in God. So true. Only God can satisfy the soul. Only the gospel of Jesus Christ provides forgiveness of sin, and therefore it is here in this gospel that we find rest for our restless souls.

Study the unflattering picture of Michael Phelps to be reminded of the deceitfulness of sin and the superficiality of fame and money. But also study the picture to be reminded of the message of Christ and him crucified for restless sinners like you, and me, and Michael Phelps.

  • Read Crouse’s article, Phelps Apologizes for Marijuana Pipe
  • Read Mahaney’s article, Michael Phelp’s Bong

Because of the recent ice storm that hit Kentucky this past week, 93 of its 120 counties and 71 cities have been declared states of emergencies.  Many are still without power.  And while the first few days may seem fun for the kids, a week or longer is costly and terribly challenging for everyone.

Yet in all this God is teaching us.  He’s teaching us that we need each other.  David Whitlock, pastor of Lebanon Baptist Church, writes:

Isn’t it strange that we long for what we seem to dread: time alone with ourselves, our families and friends?

It may take hours for enough ice to accumulate on power lines before they are paralyzed. One may not notice the weight of ice on trees before they suddenly snap, and, as if in unison, ricochet like thunder rolling through the forest.

And so it is with one another. Over time we inadvertently create devices that distance ourselves from those we love the most. We don’t realize what is happening. At some point, we feel as disconnected. The power lines uniting us with others have been broken.

The power doesn’t have to go out for us to return to these things that make life with others meaningful and purposeful. We only have to take the time for the little things that bring us together and better ourselves. Corralling a family and friends from the tyranny of modern technology may not be easy, but it is possible. It can be done with forethought and deliberation. It might take planning and agreement with one another, but time together is possible.

One member of our church came up to me on Sunday and told me how the message I preached last week on doing life together could not have come at a better time.  Although her family was without power, she had witnessed the love of her church family in the way they opened up their homes and provided meals.

None of us would ever ask for an ice storm, but in his wisdom God gave us one.  So let us remember one another and remember these words from God’s Word:

By the breath of God ice is given, and the broad waters are frozen fast.  He loads the thick cloud with moisture; the clouds scatter his lightning.  They turn around and around by his guidance, to accomplish all that he commands them on the face of the habitable world.  Whether for correction or for his land or for his love, he causes it to happen.  Hear this O Job; stop and consider the wondrous works of God.  ~ Job 37:10-14

  • Read David Whitlock’s entire article: Lessons from the Ice Storm

Read the full story here.

We had a bunch of snow last night here in Kentucky and it made me wonder, “Why did God make snow?”  I think two reasons can be seen from Scripture:

  1. To show God’s power in creation (Job 37:1-6, 38:22)
  2. To show God’s mercy in salvation (Ps. 51:7, Isa. 1:18

I’ll add a third–not from Scripture, but personal experience.  My good friend, Lisle and I got into a little car accident today.  Everybody’s fine.  It was the other guy’s fault!  The interesting thing is that the snow actually might have kept his car from flipping over on its side and obviously causing a lot more problems.

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