Letters From Fawn Creek

Letters from Fawn Creek

Letters from Fawn Creek
by Jonathan B. Coe

Carson is a new Christian and graduate student who started an interdenominational men’s Bible study at the university he attends. Keith is the likeable and gifted doctoral candidate who becomes the de facto discussion leader of the study. Things are going well until it comes to light that Keith is leading a secret double life that involves illicit behavior. This revelation causes the group to enter a season of disappointment, confusion, and self-doubt, and leads Carson to call upon his uncle and famous former pastor, Aaron Joiner, for counsel.

Time magazine once listed Aaron Joiner as one of the one hundred most influential people in America, but tragedy and misfortune have caused him to become a recluse and distance himself from his former life. Yet, out of his brokenness emerges a gentle and illuminating wisdom through letters that promise to help the group arrive at their desired destination, which is to hear these words: “Well done, you good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:23, KJV).

260 pages – $14.99 (paperback)

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This book is also available for purchase as an eBook download.

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$10.99 (digital download)

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Instant Breakfast

“Always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.”

2 Cor. 4:10, ESV

Somebody has been pulling your leg!  There isn’t any provision added to your contract with the Father that releases you from “any pain or duress while acting as a disciple while in this dark world.”  This “rider clause” doesn’t work, it has no validity or legal precedent–it simply is not true.

Not everyone agrees with me on this point.  But becoming a saint is not an automatic or a painless process.  Discipleship is like being mashed until you are soft and gracious inside, and that my friend, takes a lot of time and tears, in equal proportions.  Painless Christianity and spontaneous sainthood is definitely fiction.  It is a lie, and a crooked one at that.

Just pour a little water on it, and presto-chango!  And stand back and watch it grow.

Perhaps our “hi-tech” culture gives us false expectations.  We have the microwave, high-def  TV, fast food places and the computer/internet (my fave.)  I guess that I’m trying to say is that we think that there is a corresponding effect into spiritual things.  But there isn’t.

Spiritual growth or discipleship is a definite growth process.  The incredible redwood forests of Northern California where all once tiny, vulnerable seeds.  But something happened!  They grew and grew.  It took centuries to attain their amazing heights.  We see them in the present, the “now” –and never what they used to be.

Unquestionably, the life-giving, Holy Spirit can accelerate growth.  But the standard set in the Word is more like “slow and steady.”  Even God’s favorites in scripture had periods of waiting and testing.  I suppose that’s where faith comes in to play. All too often we look for a formula when we should be seeking an obedience.  (But honestly, formulas are fun– and nice, and clean and quick.)

Formula-istic faith isn’t really real, we just insist that it has to be.  But the Father has different plans for raising his children.  No shortcuts or detours, we walk through the floods and then we take a lap (or two) through the fire (my theory, this is to dry us off after the floods, lol.)  Otherwise, he would have to write an apology to the martyrs that came before us.

But I beg, and plead for you, to accept the real terms of your discipleship.  You will only fool yourself if you think instant is better then real.  But to accept the foolish may seem to be faith to some; but to walk through the darkness with just a candle takes real faith.  I’m not a “palm reader,” but I predict you are going to face hard times and challenges that will “rock your world.”

“Paul and Barnabas preached the good news in Derbe and won some people to the Lord. Then they went back to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch in Pisidia. 22 They encouraged the followers and begged them to remain faithful. They told them, “We have to suffer a lot before we can get into God’s kingdom.”

Acts 14:21-22, CEV

Wendy & MaryInstant Breakfast

God’s Secrets Revealed to Us

“God is Spirit, and those who worship God must be led by the Spirit to worship him according to the truth.”

John 4:24, CEV

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When we come to a faith in Jesus, we often find we have to overcome a great deal of ignorance.  But at the starting point, we have got to understand that God is a Spirit.  He is not physical or material.  Things that can be seen or touched are simply not in His realm or circumference. He is Spirit.

When we come to Him in faith, we need to enter His presence under the amazing auspices of the Holy Spirit.  He opens the door, and gives us a royal entrance into the very depths of His presence.  We put ourselves under His control, and He escorts us into a deep communion.

Our dependence on the Holy Spirit shouldn’t be a hardship.  Think of Him as a ‘master of divine protocol.’  The Spirit’s presence with us will communicate an openness and a certain sincerity.  He authorizes us, and in a way ‘translates’ for us while we are deep in God’s presence. He makes things work for us.

John knits together the idea of ‘spirit’ and ‘truth.’  Truth will always carry with it “worship”.  As we begin to understand, we will begin to truly worship.  Often we have an invalid concept that our praise and worship are just happenings in a charged atmosphere.  But authentic worship pushes down its roots into what is true and real. And essentially, it is the ‘most real’ thing we could choose to do.

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Broken Dreams, On a Friend’s Suicide

This is a guest post from TheNorEaster, hope it blesses!

A TheNorEaster Post.

An old buddy of mine from high school recently committed suicide.

I cried myself to sleep the night I got the news, praying passionately and begging God to have mercy upon him.

John was the last person I would ever expect to take his own life. He always was quick with a joke, and his laughter was contagious.

When I got the news, I was fortunate enough to be with my best friend, who eventually asked, “How many is that?”

“Exposures?”

“And the people you were especially close to.”

“Mike shot himself, Ken’s two neighbors had some kind of ritual, Adrian stabbed his social worker to death to get shot by a cop, Judy’s killer hung herself in prison after beating her to death with a sledgehammer, Neal’s father-in-law shot himself, I don’t know how Kim did it, and then there was Britany, Terry, Nancy.

“And now, John. That’s ten, I think. It wouldn’t be so bad if there weren’t so many.”

Each new loss compounds the previous ones. And I kept wondering when it all would end, when my grief would finally pass — when I could, at long last, get on with my life.

As I write these words now, I realize these trials are my life. And that the only way anyone can ever avoid grief is pure apathy.

I grieve because I care. And I mourn because I have loved.

If there ever was a way to love somebody without ever getting hurt, or burned, even betrayed — Well, I sure wish somebody would put it in The Suggestion Box.

I’d be lying if I said that I am not angry at John. He left behind a wife. Two children. But, I also know, from what I know, that John covered his own wounds very well.

Until the blood of his wounds soaked through the bandage.

It has been said that America is “The Land of Opportunity.” And we are taught to pursue our dreams with ferocious tenacity — be it writing a book or making music or simply starting a family.

In the midst of it all, we sometimes forget that life is not, at all, fair. That those who live good and respectable lives come upon atrocious times. And that those who do achieve their dreams — even one as seemingly simple as starting a family, like John — do indeed have their own wounds with which to contend.

As I consider this, I cannot help but wonder — What is the purpose of a dream?

To achieve? To inspire? To be rich? Or famous?

“Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave — just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
~Matthew 20:26-28

God sure does everything backwards, doesn’t He?

So, is it just possible that the relentless pursuit of a dream is a symptom of our spiritual poverty? Doesn’t Scripture tell us to be content? And yet, how can we possibly be content if we always want to be where we are not?

I am very much aware that those questions do sound discouraging. And, in fact, they are discouraging — until we consider the truth behind Psalm 37:4:

“Take delight in the LORD,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

For the longest time, I thought that passage was some sort of trade off, that if I took “delight in the LORD” then my dreams certainly would come true.

But, I realize now that what I have wanted — and even what I still do want — is so very rarely what God wants.

And that is why, to be sure, that delighting in the Lord does not mean getting what we want, but instead means that God gives us desires in our hearts to serve Him — in humility, with gratitude, and, above all, out of love.

“Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant.”

And if my dreams must die that I may yet have a measure of greatness in the eyes of God, if I still must endure the terrible loss of my old buddy, if I need struggle with depression to run the race, if I must face my own foolishness in my fourth suicide attempt last year, if being broken is the cross I must carry in this life to see my precious Father face to Face…

…I’d say a few broken dreams cannot possibly compare to such heavenly glory.

“Sunset is Morning.”

Please check out TheNorEaster’s terrific blog at: http://thenoreaster.wordpress.com/

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