J.I. Packer on Meditation

J.I. Packer is a proponent of biblical meditation. He writes, “How can we turn our knowledge about God into knowledge of God? The rule for doing this is simple but demanding. It is that we turn each truth that we learn about God into matter for meditation before God, leading to prayer and praise to God.”[1] For me, this was the most important principle of Packer’s approach to the study of theology. After reading this statement, I was inspired to incorporate the practice of Lectio Divina in my devotions and sermon preparation. This slowing down to soak in the truths of Scripture, taking time to think deeply about the text, praying through it, and contemplating God’s revelation has revolutionized my walk with God. Often, the time crunch of pastoral ministry causes anxiety and stress to build, but now I understand that taking the time and creating space for biblical meditation is key to fruitfulness and faithfulness in ministry. For God calls us to this knowledge of being still before Him and trusting Him to work on our behalf (Ps. 46:10).

[1] J.I. Packer, Knowing God, (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2021), 23.

A New Category Emphasis

If you’ve followed the blog any length of time, you’ve learned that I’ve always wanted to write a novel. The dream of becoming a published author began in third grade after my teacher selected me to attend the Young Author’s Conference. The young adult and children’s author Avi was the guest speaker that year. I was hooked. I wanted to write stories others would enjoy.

As I grew older, God led me down the path to vocational ministry, and I assumed my aspiration of being a storyteller was only a childish fantasy. After serving in ministry for several years, I came across a book called God as Author: A Biblical Approach to Narrative by Dr. Gene C. Fant Jr. It may sound nerdy, and maybe it is, but this book was a game changer for me. Although I had known the power of story, this book opened my eyes to the possibility of using stories to tell (or retell) the greatest story of all, the story of God’s redemption of humanity in Christ.

Why am I sharing this? Well, I’m wanting to concentrate a blog category here on writing (especially, fiction). I have rows of books dedicated to the craft of writing in my library, and I’m always gaining more, so I want to work my way through them, posting my thoughts along the way. The first book, you guessed it, will be Fant’s God as Author: A Biblical Approach to Narrative. It’s basically a theology of writing fiction, so it may be a little nerdy for some’s taste, but I think it will be a good place to start.

If you’re like me, I’ve often struggled with understanding how God can use fictional writing to further His kingdom. Of course, there were stories like Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia, and Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, but how could stories I create be used? This book helped me wrap my head around how God can use imaginary plots and characters to point people to the hope found only in Christ.

I invite you to come along on this journey with me. If you choose to, please let me know in the comments section. Also, be sure to grab a copy of Fant’s God as Author as Author if you follow along.

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Listen, He speaks.

It’s almost 9:00 p.m. The roar from a train downtown fills the air, as cicadas buzz and crickets chirp. There’s a sultry southern ambience to the evening that I’ve come to appreciate. I look forward to the peaceful closing of the day. Settled in the back porch swing, I’m reflecting on the busy day of calls, deadlines, and commitments. During the bustle, I tried to slow my pace to sense God’s presence. Like Brother Lawrence, I want to practice living in my heavenly Father’s presence. Not only is this my goal, but God also wants this too.

How often do we rush through life chasing fancies that never satisfy, forfeiting the chance to tune our hearts to heaven’s pleasure? Throughout the Scripture, God pursues communion with humanity. From the cool of the Garden of Eden to the current moment, God reaches out to have a relationship with us. However, although God’s voice can thunder, He all too often is soft-spoken. You must quieten your soul to hear the still small voice. Who knows, you may hear him in the passing of a train or calls of insects, but He’s there waiting, speaking. Listen.