Friday, April 27, 2007

"What can be done for an old heart like mine?"

My eyes are dry,
My faith is old,
My heart is hard,
My prayers are cold.
And I know how I ought to be
Alive to You and dead to me.
But what can be done for an old heart like mine?
Soften it up with oil and wine.
The oil is You, Your Spirit of love.
Please wash me anew with the wine of Your blood.
I'm so thankful that Keith Green wrote this song. What an honest depiction of a common experience in the Christian life, and yet it's hopeful--though I am like this much too often, God is willing and generous to pour out grace to change me.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Deep Thoughts from Katie

Here's picture of Katie I took today out on our balcony. Obviously, she was very deep in thought. Right now, she is obsessed with airplanes and with being outdoors, especially today since airplanes were flying everywhere for Thunder over Louisville.

Catching up

So, I think the fact that I began blogging the week that Katie was sick and sleeping 6 hours a day caused me to overestimate my ability to post frequently. So...please adjust all expectations to a much lower standard. I don't have much mental energy to blog about anything super-meaningful tonight so I think I'll just give a nod to the members of the KJM Fan Club. Here's a video I shot over a month ago, but it's still cute! Enjoy! Hopefully you'll hear more from me later this week!

Photo Sharing - Upload Video - Video Sharing - Share Photos

Sunday, April 8, 2007

A different kind of Easter

This was definitely the most unique Easter Sunday I've ever had.

Katie's been sick now for 5 days. Thankfully, she hasn't thrown up or had it out the other end in over 24 hours. But she is so sleepy--yesterday she took three 1.5-2 hour naps (usually she only takes one 2 hour nap). It's like having a newborn again! Hopefully today is the last day of it...the doc said that this virus runs about 5 days.

Anywho...because she's sick, I did not go to church today. It was weird not to be in church on Easter Sunday. All day I longed to be with the people of God, rejoicing together in the resurrection of our Savior. I hope to blog about this experience in a future post and talk more about what I've learned about the significance of the local church in the life of believers.

Another thing that made this Easter so unique was the ridiculous weather! It is freezing here in Louisville (and snowing apparently in Richmond). Growing up my mom would point out that it always stormed on Good Friday. I think I usually rolled my eyes at her, but over the last few years I've noticed that there usually is some kind of storm on Good Friday. Kind of neat. Well, this year's Good Friday storm was something I'd never experienced--for about 20 minutes it was like an all-out blizzard. It came out of nowhere and then it suddenly stopped. Unbelievable.

Thankfully, I did get to escape the sick ward here at home for a few hours on Friday in order to attend our church's Good Friday service. The elder who preached challenged us not to let this Easter go by as just a blip on the radar. We should not wake up Monday morning and think the same way as we did the previous Monday. We should remember that because of the resurrection, everything is different! So, in an effort to heed his exhortation, I'm hoping to post each day a little meditation on why Christ's resurrection matters. I don't know why the resurrection so easily slips to the back of my mind, but this should not be! I'm praying that this little series this week will cause the resurrection to be forced back to its rightful place in the front of our minds.

Want to hear it?

So, I found a sound byte of the Sandi Patti song online. Click here to listen.

Was it a morning like this?

I woke up this morning with these words to an old favorite Easter song in my head. Yes, it's from a Sandi Patti album from 1986...but praise God my mom listened to music like this! It obviously made an impact on me if I'm waking up with it in my head 11 years later.

(I wish you could hear the music for this is so triumphant!)
He is risen!

Verse 1
Was it a morning like this
When the Son still hid from Jerusalem?
And Mary rose from her bed
To tend the Lord she thought was dead...

Was it a morning like this
When Mary walked down from Jerusalem?
And two angels stood at the tomb
Bearers of news she would hear soon...

Did the grass sing?
Did the earth rejoice to feel You again?
Over and over like a trumpet underground,
Did the earth seem to pound, "He is risen!"?
Over and over in a never ending round,
"He is risen! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!"

Verse 2
Was it a morning like this
When Peter and John ran from Jerusalem?
And as they raced toward the tomb,
Beneath their feet, was there a tune?

Friday, April 6, 2007

What's so good about Good Friday?

That's the question that was at the top of my mind when I sat down for my devotions this morning. So, I spent my time seeking the answer to it. I read through the account of Jesus' trial and crucifixion in Luke (22:39-23:56). As it turns out, there are a lot of reasons why Good Friday is good. I'd like to focus on one. We call the day that Jesus died 'good' because what God accomplished through it was for my greatest good.

If Jesus had not died (and risen!), I (and you) would face God's perfect justice. Given the fact that we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (which almost seems euphemistic sometimes when you think about how evil it is to rebel against a completely good God), facing God's perfect justice would mean nothing less than facing His holy wrath. (For those of you who might have trouble with what I just said, think about the fact that justice cannot exist without wrath. And by wrath I simply mean punishment that fits the crime.)

Amazingly, however, the fact that I (and you) completely and justly deserve God's righteous judgment, is given a caveat through Good Friday. Good Friday is good for us because when Jesus died, God poured out on him the punishment that I (and you) deserve. On the cross Jesus absorbed God's wrath completely and I can now stand before God without fear--not because I am any less sinful (though by His grace He is changing me bit by bit so that I am less sinful), but only because Jesus lived the perfect life that I could never live and died the death that I deserved. That is one reason why Christians call Good Friday 'good.'

So, to my Christian reader, I pray that you will praise the God who accomplished such good for you at such a great cost to himself. I pray that you will realize that the greatest gift has been given to you--not solely forgiveness, escape from hell, etc. But (as John Piper so beautifully explains in his book God is the Gospel), these things are good only because they get you to GOD--who is the most beautiful, glorious, heart-satisfying Being imaginable.

And to my non-Christian reader, the goodness of Good Friday is available to you as well. What is keeping you from receiving this great gift? Do you stumble over the facts of the crucifixion and the resurrection? Or do you have trouble with what these facts mean and what they are said to accomplish? I'm pretty sure that the only people who read this blog are people I know, so please, as one who loves you, hear my heartfelt request and consider the offer God makes to you this Good Friday. What is so worth hanging on to that you would turn down such an invitation from such a gracious God?

I'd love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to email me directly if you don't want to post your thoughts publicly (

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

The meaning of the title

So why the title "All Things Loss?"

1. I felt stupid just naming my blog "Mary McCulloch's blog."

2. It was available.

3. The real reason...
Philippians 3:7-11 has long been one of my favorite passages of Scripture. It's one of those that convicts every time I read it. Reading it is often like the first breath you take when you step outside on a very cold day. It kinds of hurts but it's also invigorating. I don't know how many times I have prayed and asked God to make this passage true of my life. I want to consider all things loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I wish I could say that I have suffered the loss of all things for his sake. I long to be able to say that I would count all things rubbish if I might gain Christ. This passage is an exposing one. It humbles me and through it the Spirit stirs up holy desires within me--desires that I would not have if left by myself.

But perhaps the best part of Philippians 3:7-11 is Philippians 3:12-14:
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."

Praise God for passages like that. Though I daily see that I am very far away from "becoming like Christ in his death," He has nevertheless taken hold of me. This is hope. And so I press on.

And I've just got to include the amazing verse 16: "Only let us live up to what we have already attained."

Thoughts anyone?

Monday, April 2, 2007

Intentions...and a confession

So why blog? Hopefully, that's question that every blogger asks himself at some point.

This question was actually part of the reason I hesitated so long in starting to blog myself! Was I just trying to be cool? Aren't blogs inherently self-centered? Is it prideful to think that enough people would actually care about my musings to make blogging worthwhile?

Clearly those issues haven't stopped me. They may all be true, but I've come to the conclusion that the advantages of blogging (at least for now) override whatever mixed motives I may have.

#1: Keeping in touch. Having a blog will serve to alleviate at least some of the guilt I feel in not keeping in touch with all the people I really love but fail to keep in touch with. This is also the reason I reluctantly joined Facebook (well, this reason plus immense curiosity).

#2: It's been a long time since I've talked (really talked) to many of my dearest friends from the past. A lot has changed since high school/college/China and I'd love for those who have so impacted my life to have a chance to know me a little bit better, notwithstanding years and miles.

#3: It's an easy way to satisfy the members of the Katie McCulloch Fan Club.

#4: I heard someone say one time that writing is the most refined form of thinking. I think this is true. So, in an effort to discipline my thinking, I will blog.

So...what can you expect from this blog? Pictures of Katie, stories about our life here in Louisville, and basically whatever happens to be on my mind. I do not plan on posting every day, but I do hope to post somewhat regularly.

And my confession: I greatly fear the potential of being misunderstood. So, if I ever write anything on here that you think is stupid or crazy, I ask that you please give me the benefit of the doubt. If such a time occurs, please email me instead of posting a hurtful comment. But do post comments!

So there they are. My intentions. And my second post.