Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Hast Thou No Scar by Amy Carmichael

Amy Carmichael -- Hast Thou No Scar?

Hast thou no scar?
No hidden scar on foot, or side, or hand?
I hear thee sung as mighty in the land,
I hear them hail thy bright ascendant star,
Hast thou no scar?

Hast thou no wound?
Yet, I was wounded by the archers, spent.
Leaned me against the tree to die, and rent
By ravening beasts that compassed me, I swooned:
Hast thou no wound?

No wound? No scar?
Yet as the Master shall the servant be,
And pierced are the feet that follow Me;
But thine are whole. Can he have followed far
Who has no wound nor scar?

One of my all time favorite poems.

Bible Reading Online

Another part of the Radical Challenge is reading my Bible daily - at least 5 days a week. For some it looks like reading the Bible through in a year. For others it is digging more deeply into a shorter section on a daily basis.

The problem for most North American Christians is that we don't do either. Anonymous survey's show that about 21% of church-goers actually read their Bible between Sundays. Some of this is understandable because finding your way around and into the 66 books of the Bible with little or do guidance can be a challenge.

Here are some Bible intensive websites that I think can be very helpful:

Bible Study Tools - I use 'Today's Bible Reading - NIV" emails from this website to keep me on track.

ooBible online The Infinity Bible online is just starting up and is currently based on the ESV. Great for iPhone and iPad users.

GloBible - wins the coolest new Bible award hands down. Very tech savvy - lots of good translations - nice smooth interface. But it costs $60.

Bible Gateway - is the current leader in simple, functional online Bible Study. I consistently use this one the most. It also offers several online Bible reading plans.

Which one do you use?

Online Prayer

Part of the Radical Challenge - is to deepen and strengthen your prayer life over the next 6 months. A key part of that is adopting the goal of having a regular daily prayer time at least 5 days a week.

Interestingly enough when I asked on my Facebook page for online prayer suggestions I got the response that if we found some that would not really be 'kosher' in a Christian kind of way - because they wouldn't be our prayers. Really?

One reason so many evangelical Christians find consistent fresh prayer times to be so difficult is that we have cut ourselves off from the historic practice of allowing the prayers of others to inspire and inform our prayers. Certainly we don't want to repeat rote prayers written by others and call it good. But neither do we want to ignore the incredible treasure trove of challenging inspiring prayers both from scripture and from the writings of exemplary Christians across the centuries.

So check these websites out and let me know what you think:

Operation World - Praying for every country in the world - one day at a time!

Global Prayer Digest - Praying for the Unreached People of the World.

The Divine Hours - Praying with the Historic Pattern of Morning Noon and Evening Prayers. (Nancy and I have used this for the past 4 years and love it!)

Sacred Space - Wonderful Celtic-based online prayers from Ireland

Upward and onward

The Radical Challenge

This summer I read the book Radical by Dr. David Platt. It rocked my world! I was inspired again by the reality that Christianity just doesn't work at anything less than full devotion.

Whenever I am functioning at anything less than 'all out' in my walk with Christ - things start to fall apart. I get discouraged way too easily. I am distracted by 'lesser things'.

So I decided to digest the message of Radical a while before saying too much about it to the congregation I serve. Someone once warned me against Pastoral Spiritual Bulimia. PSB happens when I don't digest something God is feeding me but instead barf it up immediately on someone else. Yuck!

After about two months of thoughtful prayer I served up some Radical ideas on Sunday last. The positive response was very encouraging. I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that I was speaking out of a deep place inside and not just repeating someone else's good ideas. I think.

Upward and onward