Archive for November, 2008
November 26th, 2008 | 2 Comments | Posted in » Just For Fun..., My Life / Family, Pictures
Okay… you see the picture. It’s one my wife sent me via multimedia messaging earlier.
Now… who is it?
Yep, you’re right. It’s one of the wise men from the Little People Nativity Set. We purchased one of these several years back so that our kids could learn about one of the pivotal moments in history through playing (the entry of our Savior, Jesus Christ, into our world). We’ve taught the Christmas story many times. We’ve acted it out. We’ve explained what each person did. We’ve explained its significance.
But according to my daughter, Jenna?
This is “the mean guy who wanted to eat baby Jesus”.
No kidding. I can’t stop laughing.
Worse? She said she learned that at Cubbies (the young kids’ Awana program she attends at church on Wednesday nights).
Obviously, we’ve still got some work to do.
(Not to mention a serious talk to have with a certain pastor about his kids’ program!)
November 25th, 2008 | 4 Comments | Posted in » Christian Living, Devotions / Bible Studies, God at Work, My Life / Family
Yeah, I know… I haven’t blogged in a while. And I know that some of you are curious what’s going on in my life, given the brief snippets you may have seen through Twitter.
Basically? Two words describe the circumstances: busy and trying.
Work has been busy, but it’s been among the least trying of my concerns. My schedule has been crazy recently, especially factoring in family and personal matters… I’m looking forward to a full day in the office, actually… it’s been almost a week now with everything else going on.
Family? Probably the most trying of concerns. My grandmother had a stroke last Wednesday, and is not doing well. So my family has struggled a bit with the thought that her life here on earth may end soon, after 92 full and fruitful years. While her health concerns have not come suddenly (she’s struggled for a while), the latest blow was much more severe, and did come as a bit of a shock. Prayers would be appreciated!
As for me? My ear problem has been diagnosed… cholesteatoma. Basically, it’s a tumor that has spread all throughout the middle ear and into the porous mastoid bone (directly behind ear). It’s not cancerous by any means, but it has left me with around 50% of my normal hearing, and will require surgery pretty soon (Monday, December 8th). The procedure will clean out the tumor completely, but will not restore hearing… that occurs at a follow-up surgery about 9-12 months later, when they’ll reconstruct the bones of the middle ear. Pretty involved stuff, but all outpatient (barring complications). It’s good to know what this is, and I’m actually looking forward to getting the surgery done.
So… that’s life… busy and trying, at least at face value.
It’s interesting, though… since Friday, I’ve had a deep sense of peace about everything. I can’t explain it except to say that it’s something that can only come from God. I know that He’s in control, and I can trust that… I know that whatever the outcome of all of this, it’s all working to His glory, according to His plans.
Scripture is the only thing that can describe it clearly (it takes a whole chapter’s worth, but trust me, it’s worth reading and contemplating!):
Romans 8 (NIV)
Life Through the Spirit
1Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. 3For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, 4in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.
5Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; 7the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.
9You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. 10But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.
12Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation — but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17Now if we are children, then we are heirs — heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
18I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. 20For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.
22We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
26In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.
More Than Conquerors
28And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
31What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all — how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died — more than that, who was raised to life — is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36As it is written:
”For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
You see, no matter what happens in this life, God is not surprised. He never loses control of events, and moreso, never allows anything to happen that He does not use for the good of those who love Him, who have been called for His purposes… those that have placed their faith and trust in Jesus.
I have done just that, so I know that I have a relationship with a Holy and perfect God. I know He accepts me as an adopted son… not because of anything I’ve done, but because of the faith in Christ that He has enabled in my life. He sees me, not as the sinful imperfect person I am, but as a perfect, spotless, righteous person, whose sins have been covered and forgiven by the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross. So I have hope… hope that whatever comes my way, He is working. Hope that in all things… His purposes are accomplished. Hope that simply cannot and will not die. Hope that, oddly enough, grows stronger in times of trial and difficulty.
So, yes… these times are a bit trying. But my prayer is not so much that God removes the trials, but that God enables me to be true to Him in the middle of it all.
I pray that, should you be struggling with anything similar… that you’ll find the same hope in Christ that I have, and the same peace and strength that only He can enable and provide.
November 19th, 2008 | 4 Comments | Posted in » In the News...
Check this out… the U.N. Human Rights Council, tasked with strengthening well, human rights around the globe, recently showed its wisdom by spending $23 million dollars on a mural on the ceiling of a room at the U.N.’s European headquarters.
$23 MILLION DOLLARS. For a mural. On a ceiling. Check out the story.
How sad, especially for an agency tasked with making a difference in the world. Imagine what $23 million dollars could have been used for…
Buried deeper in the article, we find that the U.N. is going to spend a total of $2.9 BILLION dollars on renovations for their European and New York offices. That’s BILLION, with a capital “B”. So they’ll have nicer facilities.
Can you imagine what a difference $2.9 BILLION in infrastructure could make in third world countries, where fresh water is scarce? Where health care facilities are non-existent? Where people’s average wages range in the tens of dollars per year?
November 17th, 2008 | Comments Off | Posted in » Christian Living, Devotions / Bible Studies, My Life / Family
No one likes the unknown. It’s so, well… unknown. Uncertain. Difficult.
I’ve got an unknown of my own I’m facing right now. As many of you know, about two months back I got some great news from my doctor… when going in to check out some severe ear pain I was having, she took her scope, looked in, and said, “Ew… that’s nasty!”
My eardrum was ruptured.
So I’ve been seeing a specialist for the past month or so. After two months and five different antibiotics, the infection that caused the ruptured eardrum has finally started to clear… but my hearing has not improved. Friday, he planned to lance the eardrum and drain it (fluid buildup generally causes the hearing loss), but decided against it, because it appeared there was some sort of abnormal growth behind the eardrum.
In describing it, he used a lot of medical terms for possibilities (including that rather ominous word, “tumor”), most of which were rather incomprehensible to me. The bottom line though? He just didn’t know. So he’s ordered a CAT scan to find out what’s going on.
So, later this week the unknown will be less uncertain (hopefully).
As for now? There’s one fact I can definitely hang my hat on:
As with our entire lives, God knows and holds the future. In Christ’s Sermon on the Mount, he taught:
25Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
28And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
I have nothing to worry about. Even if that unknown growth turns out to be something awful.
November 10th, 2008 | Comments Off | Posted in » Baptist Issues
We’ve heard a lot about “change” recently.
As webmaster of sbcIMPACT, I thought it was time for some “change” there as well.
Check out the new look when you get a chance! I’m REALLY pleased with how things turned out.
Big time thanks to my friend Micah Fries for his help with graphics!
November 4th, 2008 | 4 Comments | Posted in » In the News...
… who’s anything but conservative… with a Congress to match.
May God help us.
It’s a good thing God is sovereign over all, and that my trust is in Him rather than our governing authorities, ’cause I sure don’t see how this can be anything but bad news.
November 3rd, 2008 | 1 Comment | Posted in » Christian Living, God at Work, My Life / Family
Ever had a “YES!” moment? You know… one of those moments where everything makes sense, or where something happens that makes everything worthwhile, or where something just incredibly awesome occurs?
Nancy and I did tonight.
As parents, we often wonder whether anything we’ve been trying to teach our kids is actually sticking. I mean, we know it does… but sometimes you just wonder, you know?
Well… we’ve been trying hard to teach our kids about our faith. We’ve taught from devotions on a wide variety of topics. We’ve helped our kids memorize Scripture. And we’ve taught the plan of salvation.
Tonight, I was quizzing Jeffrey on the meaning of a Scripture passage he is memorizing for Awanas:
For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.
In elaborating on this passage, Jeffrey and I had a long exchange of questions and answers… just a great conversation about the basics of our faith. I asked him what laws are, what makes God’s laws special, what breaking God’s laws means, what the consequences for sin are, about what we should do when we sin, about what Jesus did for us, and about how we get saved.
Man, it seemed as though I was talking to a seminary student with a six year old’s voice. Jeffrey really gets it! YES! He KNOWS the basics of faith we’ve tried so hard to teach!
I’m SO proud of my son!
The humorous part of all of this?
I asked Jeffrey where he learned all of this. I quizzed him… from school? From church? From Awanas? His answer was priceless:
I just know. From getting in trouble so much!
Nancy said it was the first time she’s ever been glad he gets in trouble.
You see, when I punish Jeffrey, I’ve tried to make an effort to point out that disobedience to Dad is not the root reason he gets punished, but that his disobedience is sin, and that it’s God’s rules that he is breaking… that punishment is how we try to teach him to obey, not just for the sake of obeying us, but in the bigger scheme of things… to obey God. In doing so, we’ve had a great many opportunities to teach him about God’s ways and plans.
It’s obviously stuck… and I’m so proud of my son that I can hardly stand it.