Categories
Life

We Have A Daughter

Maybe one day, when my daughter is all grown up and ready to leave my home, I will wake up from this surreal moment and realize what I witnessed today.

Life. Nine ounces of life, to be exact.

A brain thinking and dreaming. A mouth sucking on a miniature thumb. Ears hearing my (mumbled) voice. A dime-sized heart steam-rolling along at 131 beats per minute. A spine housing a spinal cord which directs her herky-jerky movements.  Lungs expanding and collapsing each millisecond.  A hand giving her cheek a pillow to rest. A stomach filling and emptying on cue when she’s full.  Legs crossed like mine in my chair right now.  Feet kicking my wife’s tummy all day long.

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there were none of them. (Ps. 139:13-16)

Intricately woven. Knitted together. Made in secret. Fearfully and wonderfully made.

Yes, Lord. Let it be so. Be with this girl even now, and do the great and mysterious work of drawing her to your Son, so that one day she might know him as Creator, Lord, Savior, and Treasure.

And to you, O beloved princess of ours, to say that your mother and I are excited to meet you would be a mighty understatement. We anticipate that day with longing. Still, we cherish you in our eyes, yet have never seen you face-to-face. We hold you dear, yet have never embraced you skin-to-skin. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. And you are beautiful.


Categories
Life

6 Ways to Be Middle Class and Mission-Minded

Here are six straightforward ideas to challenge middle (and upper) class Americans to reject opulence and excess while building the kingdom of God:

  1. Keep your high paying job and give the majority of your income away by living in a small house (not every kid deserves their own room) and driving modest cars (Chevy gets you there just as well as Lexus).
  2. Use your vacation time to go on a short term mission trip with your church or missions organization.
  3. Host international students from the local college or university during weekends or holidays.
  4. Start or join an urban ministry reaching hurting families, particularly widows and orphans.
  5. Buy a house, car, or other useful items for missionary families to use while they are home on furlough.
  6. Cash in your investments, sell everything, leave your vocation, and serve as a missionary overseas (even if you have children!).

What are some others you have thought of?

Categories
Life Theology

Saturday Morning Potpourri

Do you ever feel like you get so busy in life that you only work in your life and not on your life? In other words, how much time do you spend intentionally thinking about actions that need to be taken and then actually do them? Most of us, and I have felt this of late, simply react to what life brings.

Not a lot of intentionality — just reactivity.  Not a lot of preparation–just muddled busyness that general life brings.

I’m talking about spiritual things here. Killing sin, memorizing scripture, pursuing my wife, serving people, investing in men. These are the things that matter. These are the things I must be proactive about, because if I’m reactive, I will find myself in a heap of trouble.

There’s nothing terribly theological I want to say about this. I’ll leave it at this: I’m working on trying to work on my life.

As a quick update:

  • Carly will be 17 weeks pregnant on Tuesday. We heard the baby’s heartbeat a few weeks back. One-hundred and fifty-three strong beats per minute! We find out the gender on April 12. We both feel like it’s a boy. But Carly still knows that little girl clothes are cuter than little boy clothes.
  • Some of you know that I’ve been raising financial support to work in a pastoral training program, of sorts, at my church as an intern with our lead pastor. It’s nothing formal–in fact, our church has never had a pastoral intern before. It will be extremely experimental, but hopefully very formative for me, and helpful to our church. Alongside this practical training, I’ll be starting distance seminary in the fall (probably right around when our baby is due–yikes!). Our support is nearly finished, so I’ll be working at our church full-time in May.
  • As for personal study and reading, I’m working slowly through Romans–which you’ve probably noticed if you’ve been following the blog in the last few months. That has been challenging, but so beneficial. As for other books, I’m currently re-reading Desiring God by John Piper, and reading The Reason for God by Tim Keller, The Power of a Whisper by Bill Hybels, and The Valley of Vision by Arthur Bennett.

God has been so faithful. He is faithful to me even when I let the busyness of life intrude. He is faithful to keep my wife and our baby healthy during pregnancy. He is faithful when I don’t study the Bible as carefully and patiently as I ought. He has been faithful to raise my salary, through generous family and friends, so that I might begin preparing for what he has called me to do with my life.

And most importantly, God is faithful when I sin, which happens daily–probably hourly–and he continually points me back to his Son Jesus. It sounds crazy to the world to say that if I lost everything and still had Jesus I would have enough, but it’s true. What a precious and wonderful Savior to such an unworthy people!

Categories
Life Theology

Do you avoid what is serious, controversial, and eternal?

This is an article from last year written by Greg Doyel of CBS Sports. Doyel writes about the so-called “anti-abortion” ad that Focus on the Family ran with Tim Tebow and his mother during the Super Bowl.

Basically, he wrote that it was wrong to run a 30-second “political” ad during the Super Bowl.  He writes, “Still, I don’t want to see. Not during the damn Super Bowl. And I’m not complaining about the ad because it’s anti-abortion and I’m not. I’m complaining about the ad because it’s pro-politics. And I’m not. Not on Super Sunday. If you’re a sports fan, and I am, that’s the holiest day of the year. That’s a day for five hours of football pregame shows and four hours of football game and three hours of postgame football analysis. That’s a day for football addicts to gorge themselves to the gills on football.”

Turns out, the ad really wasn’t about abortion at all. You can watch it here.

For a full disclosure, Greg Doyel rubs me the wrong way. He makes an the occasional appearance on a local sports talk radio show in Omaha, and more often than not, he’s rude and crude. The article brings out his true colors: the fact that he is more concerned about being entertained by football than talking about serious things.

My point isn’t to bash on Greg Doyel. My point is to expose an epidemic in America, and in the world at-large. The epidemic is that we want to avoid anything serious, controversial, and eternal. We want to make life a big Disneyland. I enjoy football, but football is not serious. It is not controversial. And it only lasts for four months of the year. Abortion is infinitely serious. It divides families and communities. And the decisions made regarding it will echo long into eternity.

Abortion is all that’s serious, controversial, and eternal. There are other issues. And until Christ returns, the epidemic that life is all fun and games will continue to spread and take millions of souls with it.

Categories
Theology

Calvin on Romans 1:11-12

Romans 1:11-12 says, “For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you — that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.

Here’s what John Calvin writes about these verses in his Commentary on Romans:

See to what degree of modesty [Paul’s] pious heart submitted itself, so that he disdained not to seek confirmation from inexperienced beginners: nor did he speak dissemblingly, for there is no one so void of gifts in the Church of Christ, who is not able to contribute something to our benefit: but we are hindered by our envy and by our pride from gathering such fruit from one another. Such is our high-mindedness, such is the inebriety produced by vain reputation, that despising and disregarding others, everyone thinks that he possesses what is abundantly sufficient for himself