Wednesday, February 20, 2013

DPC Youth Retreat



The DPC Youth Group enjoyed a great retreat last weekend.  Pictured here is the group of awesomeness.

"Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity."

~The Apostle Paul





Sunday, February 17, 2013

Done with Death Forever

"All life is surrounded by a great circumference of death; but to the believer in Jesus, beyond this surrounding death is a boundless sphere of life. He has only to die once to be done with death forever."

~James Hamilton



Saturday, February 16, 2013

When You Have To Use Your Last Resource


Yesterday's post was an introduction to the life and character of John Paton (1824-1907), whose story I will be telling (in small part) tomorrow morning at DPC.

Here is another favorite moment from his autobiography that I won't have time to tell tomorrow... and probably shouldn't, even if I did have time.

Some time after he left home for school, he ran out of money.  He had just written a letter to his parents telling him that he must soon leave the university to find work elsewhere -- or return to the village and work in some trade there for the rest of his life.

But this was a great grief and disappointment to him -- as he knew it would be to his parents -- so he didn't send the letter right away.  Rather, he left it on the table and went for a walk:

"Passing through one short street into another, I marched on mechanically; but the Lord God of my father was guiding my steps, all unknown to me.  A certain notice in a window, into which I had probably never in my life looked before, here caught my eye, to this effect — 'Teacher wanted, Maryhill Free Church School; apply at the Manse.'"
Paton took the job.  But the headmaster warned him that the school was a wreck.  In fact, of the three most recent teachers who had taken this job:  one left after being physically wounded, one had taken his own life, and one had gone insane.

After warning Paton that coarse young people from the mills and coal-pits would challenge him in class, abuse him in front of the other students, and ruin the educational opportunity for all, the headmaster laid a thick, heavy cane on Paton's desk:  ""Use that freely, or you will never keep order here!"

Paton put it aside into the drawer of his desk, saying, "That will be my last resource."

A friend actually enrolled in the school, just to try to keep Paton from injury.

Here's how Paton described the defining moment of his first week:
"A young man and a young woman began to attend the Night School, who showed from the first moment that they were bent on mischief. On my repeated appeals for quiet and order, they became the more boisterous, and gave great merriment to a few of the scholars present. I finally urged the young man, a tall, powerful fellow, to be quiet or at once to leave, declaring that at all hazards I must and would have perfect order; but he only mocked at me, and assumed a fighting attitude. Quietly locking the door and putting the key in my pocket, I turned to my desk, armed myself with the cane, and dared any one at his peril to interfere betwixt us. It was a rough struggle -- he smashing at me clumsily with his fists, I with quick movements evading and dealing him blow after blow with the heavy cane for several rounds — till at length he crouched down at his desk, exhausted and beaten, and I ordered him to turn to his book, which he did in sulky silence. Going to my desk, I addressed them and asked them to inform all who wished to come to the School, — That if they came for education, everything would be heartily done that it was in my power to do; but that any who wished for mischief had better stay away, as I was determined to conquer, not to be conquered, and to secure order and silence, whatever it might cost. Further, I assured them that that cane would not again be lifted by me, if kindness and forbearance on my part could possibly gain the day, as I wished to rule by love and not by terror. But this young man knew he was in the wrong, and it was that which had made him weak against me, though every way stronger far than I. Yet I would be his friend and helper, if he was willing to be friendly with me, the same as if this night had never been. At these words a dead silence fell on the School: every one buried face diligently in book; and the evening closed in uncommon quiet and order."
Old school.

But, as we'll see tomorrow morning, this experience was only preparing Paton for far more daunting challenges to come...



Friday, February 15, 2013

A Father's Love... & Prayers



This Sunday at DPC I'll be telling some of the story of John Paton (1824-1907).

This is the man who -- when he announced that he would be taking the gospel of Christ to an island inhabited by cannibals -- was furiously told by one of his elders, "The cannibals! You will be eaten by cannibals!"

And, in fact, that was a real possibility.  Only 19 years earlier the first missionaries to set foot on these islands were indeed killed, cooked, and consumed immediately after their landing.

You have to love Paton's response to his elder:  "Mr. Dickson, you are advanced in years now, and your own prospect is soon to be laid in the grave, there to be eaten by worms; I confess to you, that if I can but live and die serving and honoring the Lord Jesus, it will make no difference to me whether I am eaten by Cannibals or by worms; and in the Great Day my Resurrection body will rise as fair as yours in the likeness of our risen Redeemer."

How does a man grow into such courage?  Where does a man learn such love for Jesus?

Read this and weep:


Here is Paton's account of the memory when he left home to go to Glasgow, where he would pursue graduate studies.  It was a 40-mile walk from his home to the train station.  From the train station to the school would be a long, long trip.  Who knew whether or when his family would see him again?

Forty years later, Paton would describe the scene:


My dear father walked with me the first six miles of the way. His counsels and tears and heavenly conversation on that parting journey are fresh in my heart as if it had been but yesterday; and tears are on my cheeks as freely now as then, whenever memory steals me away to the scene. For the last half mile or so we walked on together in almost unbroken silence - my father, as was often his custom, carrying hat in hand, while his long flowing yellow hair (then yellow, but in later years white as snow) streamed like a girl's down his shoulders. His lips kept moving in silent prayers for me; and his tears fell fast when our eyes met each other in looks for which all speech was vain! We halted on reaching the appointed parting place; he grasped my hand firmly for a minute in silence, and then solemnly and affectionately said: 'God bless you, my son! Your father's God prosper you, and keep you from all evil!'
"Unable to say more, his lips kept moving in silent prayer; in tears we embraced, and parted. I ran off as fast as I could; and, when about to turn a corner in the road where he would lose sight of me, I looked back and saw him still standing with head uncovered where I had left him - gazing after me. Waving my hat in adieu, I rounded the corner and out of sight in instant. But my heart was too full and sore to carry me further, so I darted into the side of the road and wept for time. Then, rising up cautiously, I climbed the dike to see if he yet stood where I had left him; and just at that moment I caught a glimpse of him climbing the dike and looking out for me! He did not see me, and after he gazed eagerly in my direction for a while he got down, set his face toward home, and began to return - his head still uncovered, and his heart, I felt sure, still rising in prayers for me. I watched through blinding tears, till his form faded from my gaze; and then, hastening on my way, vowed deeply and oft, by the help of God, to live and act so as never to grieve or dishonor such a father and mother as he had given me."
Paton's faith was built upon the blessing of a godly mother and a godly father.  

He writes that his father would go into a closet and pray three times a day -- after each meal.  

Paton writes this of the impact of his father's prayers:

"Though everything else in religion were by some unthinkable catastrophe to be swept out of memory, were blotted from my understanding, my soul would wander back to those early scenes, and shut itself up once again in that Sanctuary Closet, and, hearing still the echoes of those cries to God, would hurl back all doubt with the victorious appeal, 'He walked with God, why may not I' 
How much my father's prayers at this time impressed me I can never explain, nor could any stranger understand. When, on his knees and all of us kneeling around him in Family Worship, he poured out his whole soul with tears for the conversion of the Heathen world to the service of Jesus, and for every personal and domestic need, we all felt as if in the presence of the living Savior, and learned to know and love him as our Divine friend."


The family had to walk four miles to church every Sunday, and Paton says that in 30 years his father missed worship three times.  Once he couldn't make it through the snow.  Once the ice was so great he couldn't make it up a hill.  Once there was a cholera outbreak.  

Fathers... there's a lot about the story of John Paton's father that we just can't imagine doing.  It was a different time and a different place.  But we could do this.  We could raise our children so that they never miss the worship of Christ.  

Paton grew up in a family where Christian faith was always filled with intellectual freshness.  He was taught to love God with his heart and with his mind.  

The trip to the train station is one of my favorite scenes in Paton's life.  I won't have time to mention it on Sunday, but I mention it here.

Tomorrow I'll mention one of my other favorites... 







Thursday, February 14, 2013

Have you prayed for the DeMars lately?

I don't know exactly how, but DPC members/missionaries Sean & Amber DeMars were able to get this sent out even after they departed for the jungles of Peru... 


By Sean & Amber DeMars
We are doing this one a little differently because we can't get access to our newsletter website right now. One of our best friends is sending this out for us.

We headed to the jungle yesterday at 2pm. So, this is it. We have a new address where all packages can be sent:

Sean and Amber Demars
Castilla Postal 188
Iquitos, Peru

Since leaving a ton of people have been wanting to send us packages. As it turns out it is a lot easier to get packages here in Iquitos. So we are now glad to 
receive them. Here are some things that we would be interested in:
- Gatorade powder (they don't have it here)
- Beef jerky
- Seasonings (chili, fajita, taco, ranch, etc.)
- Sweets (double stuffed oreos and the like)
- Good books... "good" being the keyword.
- Amber would like an electric shaving razor (with batteries not cord). It makes things a little easier.
- Multivitamins
- And...Sean needs another pair of Jordan Shorts. His were torn pretty badly. He wears XXL.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

OPEN YOUR EYES + A Study In Hospitality



The 2013 DPC World Missions Conference
starts TONIGHT!

"Open your eyes, look at the fields!"

We are privileged to have Al & Elaine LaCour join us this year.  Come and get to know these gifted servants of King Jesus.  You need to be encouraged in the joy and fullness of what it means to bear the living and powerful name of Christ.

Saturday, February 9:
5:30-6:15pm - Dinner!
6:30-7:00pm - Look at the Fields:
"A Vision for your HOME: Making Room for the Lord"
6:30-7:00pm - a missionary movie for children
7:00-7:30pm - Dessert & Discussion

Sunday, February 10:
8:30-9:15am - Breakfast!
9:30-10:30am - Hospitality Seminar
Practical Training on Becoming a More Welcoming Church
10:45 - Worship
Sermon:  Look at the Fields:
"A Vision for the WORLD: The Lord's Work in the World (Next Door)"

One of the themes that Al will be speaking about will be hospitality... something today's church needs to give much more thought than it presently does.  

...let me encourage you to read through 
this quotation-study in hospitality... 

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
~St. Paul~

Hospitality means primarily the creation of free space where the stranger can enter and become a friend instead of an enemy. Hospitality is not to change people, but to offer them space where change can take place. It is not to bring men and women over to our side, but to offer freedom not disturbed by dividing lines.
~Henri Nouwen~

A compassionate open home is part of Christian responsibility, and should be practiced up to the level of capacity.
~Francis Schaeffer~

True hospitality is marked by an open response to the dignity of each and every person. Henri Nouwen has described it as receiving the stranger on his own terms, and asserts that it can be offered only by those who 'have found the center of their lives in their own hearts'.
~Kathleen Norris~

The maid told him that a girl and a child had come looking for him, but since she didn't know them, she hadn't cared to ask them in, and had told them to go on to Mers.  

"Why didn't you let them in?" asked Germain angrily. "People must be very suspicious in this part of the world, if they won't open the front door to a neighbor."  

"Well, naturally!" replied the maid. "In a house as rich as this, you have to keep a close watch on things. While the master's away I'm responsible for everything, and I can't just open the door to anyone at all."

"That's a mean way to live," said Germain; "I'd rather be poor than live in fear like that. Good-bye to you, miss, and good-bye to this horrible country of yours!” 
~George Sand~

There is no place in God’s world where there are no people who will come and share a home as long as it is a real home.
~Francis Schaeffer again~

That boy is your company. And if he wants to eat up that tablecloth, you let him, you hear?
~from the book To Kill a Mockingbird~

At first the word ‘hospitality’ might evoke the image of soft sweet kindness, tea parties, bland conversations and a general atmosphere of coziness. Probably this has its good reasons since in our culture the concept of hospitality has lost much of its power and is often used in circles where we are more prone to expect a watered down piety than a serious search for an authentic Christian spirituality. But still, if there is any concept worth restoring to its original depth and evocative potential, it is the concept of hospitality.
~Henri Nouwen again~

Although we often think of hospitality as a tame and pleasant practice, Christian hospitality has always had a subversive, countercultural dimension. ‘Hospitality is resistance,’ as one person from the Catholic Worker observed. Especially when the larger society disregards or dishonors certain persons, small acts of respect and welcome are potent far beyond themselves. They point to a different system of valuing and an alternate model of relationships...People view hospitality as quaint and tame partly because they do not understand the power of recognition. When a person who is not valued by society is received by a socially respected person or group as a human being with dignity and worth, small transformations occur...Many persons who are not valued by the larger community are essentially invisible to it. When people are socially invisible, their needs and concerns are not acknowledged and no one even notices the injustices they suffer. Hospitality can begin a journey toward visibility and respect.
~Christine Pohl~

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
~Hebrews 13.2~

Why do we not observe that it is their benevolence to strangers, their care for the graves of the dead and the pretended holiness of their lives that have done most to increase atheism?...For it is disgraceful that, when no Jew ever has to beg, and the impious Galilaeans (Christians) support not only their own poor but ours as well, all men see that our people lack aid from us.
~Emperor Julian (AD 362), referring to early church Christians as atheists because they refused to worship the Emperor~

We will never believe that we have anything to give unless there is someone who is able to receive. Indeed, we discover our gifts in the eyes of the receiver.
~Henri Nouwen once more~

I believe that hospitality...means to give of yourself...(in) other types of services you can give of your talents or...skills or...resources...The tasks aren’t what hospitality is about, hospitality is giving of yourself.; If hospitality involves sharing your life and sharing in the lives of others, guests/strangers are not first defined by their need. Lives and resources are much more complexly intertwined, and roles are much less predictable.
~Christine Pohl again~

Hospitality, therefore, means primarily the creation of a free space where the stranger can enter and become a friend instead of an enemy. Hospitality is not to change people, but to offer them space where change can take place. It is not to bring men and women over to our side, but to offer freedom not disturbed by dividing lines...The paradox of hospitality is that it wants to create emptiness, not a fearful emptiness, but a friendly emptiness where strangers can enter and discover themselves as created free...Hospitality is not a subtle invitation to adopt the life style of the host, but the gift of a chance for the guest to find his own.
~more context to the earlier Henri Nouwen quote~

But in what does the nature of justice consist than in our affording to strangers through kindness, that which we render to our own relatives through affection.
~Lactantius~

In the church, the household of God, hospitality is a fitting, requisite, and meaning- filled practice. Hospitality is important symbolically in its reflection and reenactment of God’s hospitality and important practically in meeting human needs and in forging human relations. Though part of everyday life, hospitality is never far removed from its divine connections.
~Christine Pohl once more~

When Christians understand their life on earth as residing in a foreign land, where they are ‘strangers and sojourners,’ they can more readily recognize how uncertain their stay is. If Christians live ‘in a strange land as though in (their) home country,’ they build ‘extravagant mansions,’ and indulge in ‘countless other luxuries,’ wasting their substance on ‘inanities.’ Because, when forced to leave the land of their sojourn they will be unable to take their possessions and buildings with them, Christians should instead use their wealth to benefit those in need.
~from John Chrysostom (347-407AD)~

The will to give ourselves to others and ‘welcome’ them, to readjust our identities to make space for them, is prior to any judgment about others, except that of identifying them in their humanity.
~Miroslav Volf~

It is in the shelter of each other that the people live.
~Irish Proverb~

Our hospitality both reflects and participates in God’s hospitality. It depends on a disposition of love because, fundamentally, hospitality is simply love in action. It has much more to do with the resources of a generous heart than with sufficiency of food or space. Chrysostom described this generosity of love well: ‘If you have a hospitable disposition, you own the entire treasure chest of hospitality, even if you possess only a single coin. But if you are a hater of humanity and a hater of strangers, even if you are vested with every material possession, the house for you is cramped by the presence of guests.’
~Christine Pohl yet again~











Friday, February 8, 2013

The Book of Deliverance


If you're reading the Scriptures along with the reading plan discussed HERE, then you're in the midst of the book of Exodus.

This is a book of salvation; of rescue.  This is where we are taught the origins of Israel's status as God's covenanted people, the kingdom of priests, the holy nation in the ancient world.  This is where God's ancient promises to Abraham begin to take on a life of their own.

We read of Yahweh's revelation of his name; we read Moses' firsthand account of how Yahweh brought his people out of Egyptian slavery with a mighty hand, after 10 devastating plagues.

The institution of Passover.  The crossing of the Red Sea.  Then the journey into the wilderness, the confrontation with the Holy One on the burning mountain, the awakening realization of the glory of God, the giving of the Ten Commandments, the instructions for the Tabernacle, the centrality and holiness of worship -- in which offerings for sin are made and fellowship with a forgiving God is renewed... 40 chapters... 1,213 verses.

It's a dramatic book, and the main "actor" is none other than God Himself.  In fact, we "see" him appear at the three most significant moments in the book -- at the burning bush, on Mount Sinai, and in the Tabernacle.  

But we also get to know Moses -- the deliverer, mediator, & lawgiver, who prepares us for Christ.  And of course we get to know the people of Israel -- the seemingly incorrigible sinners who are saved, no thanks to any merit of their own.  (They, of course, prepare us to meet ourselves.  We marvel at God's patience with them.  And with us.)

We begin to understand more of the covenant, which is the heart of God's relationship with his people and the backbone of the Bible.
"Exodus is about a man, Moses, who sets all against the reality of divine sovereignty and measures all in terms of God's requirements.  Exodus is about a nation, Israel, moving from slavery in Egypt into freedom.... But ultimately Exodus is about the God of the covenant who has instituted a new relationship between himself and those whom he has called to be his people.  It is about how he introduces himself to them, acts on their behalf and shows them the real difference it makes that the LORD [Yahweh] is their God, and about the patience he shows as he leads them out of their grumbling, even outright rebellion, until he comes to dwell in their midst."
~John L. Mackay~
If you're a Christian, you will find in this book a shadow of your own story -- how God has delivered you from bondage to sin and slavery to death.  You too have been set free, that you might journey to the Promised Land.  And you too will have to travel through a wilderness to get there.  But... you too will know that God Himself is dwelling in your midst, as you live this new life with him.

This book prepares you to understand the person and work of Christ.  In dozens of ways.
"[The Exodus] cannot possibly be fictional.  No nation would be likely to invent for itself, and faithfully transmit century after century and millennium after millennium, an inglorious and inconvenient tradition of this nature."
~Nahum Sarna~
GENESIS POST.



Thursday, February 7, 2013

Open Letter to the Boy Scouts, from Harry Reeder



As an Eagle Scout, I've been very disappointed in the news coming out of the Boy Scout headquarters this last week or more.  This is a far cry for the sacrificial character of moral leadership in which I was once instructed.

Below is an open letter that Harry Reeder has written to the Boy Scouts of America.  Pastor Reeder serves Christ and his people at Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, Alabama.

*************************


February 4

I, along with many others who have appreciated the efforts and legacy of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) are deeply disheartened and dismayed by the proposed policy change from the National Leadership of the organization. As Pastor of a church in Birmingham, Alabama with a longstanding and effective Boy Scout Troop and Cub Scout Pack which also enjoys productive relationships with other like-minded Troops and Packs in Birmingham, I cannot say what our ultimate response will be if this policy change is enacted. That decision will be determined by the governing board of our church. However, I am fully aware that if the policy change does take place there will be a clear response based upon our ethical convictions and values which were once shared with the BSA and we hope will yet continue to be shared.

On a personal note, my disappointment with the National Leadership of the Boy Scouts of America can be summarized in three areas.

1. Contrary to the stated aims and historic practice of promoting principled leaders through the BSA, the proposed policy change betrays any notion of principled leadership. I am not immediately referring to the content of the proposed changes concerning the qualifications for membership and leadership but to the example of leaders at a national level who seem to have no abiding convictions as evidenced by responding to external pressures with a proposed policy which if enacted potentially exposes local leaders to both legal and social vulnerabilities by requiring them to make the decisions that the national leadership ought to make on behalf of the organization. It is staggering that an organization devoted to developing principled leaders is being lead by leaders who evidently not only refuse to lead but who willingly expose subordinate leaders to personal and organizational liabilities by requiring them to make decisions which should be made at a national level. By not providing principled leadership the local leaders and participants will be placed in potentially disastrous positions financially both personally and organizationally.

2. The content of the decision clearly embraces and affirms the sexual anarchy of this present age including the irrationality of assigning civil rights to sexual practices, preferences and choices. Therefore the longstanding legal and social benefits of a heterosexual, monogamous, marital ethic governing sexuality which is absolutely foundational to an ordered society will be undermined and ultimately abandoned in light of this decision. This response to political, economic and social pressure by those who embrace a commitment to culturally mainstream sexual chaos, promiscuity and perversion will be the demise of the organization as it presently exists and perhaps to its existence at all. Why would the national leadership embrace such a decision in light of these assured effects. The only conclusion possible is that the current national leadership has determined that its historical ethical values have a price tag. In a word ethical values are now for sale in the BSA for promised continued financial support. The end does not justify the means. The means will always ultimately determine the end.

3. The third reason is the short-sightedness manifested in not anticipating or caring for the multiple liabilities which the proposed policy change will assuredly produce. The Lesbian, Gay, Transgender Movement (LGTM) has no desire to be a part of the current Boy Scouts of America. It only desires to redesign and redefine its purposes and values at best and its actual destruction at worst. Those Troops and Packs in the organization who attempt to remain faithful to its ethical commitments and historic values will then become the new targets of a militant LGT Movement. This means they will also become targets for the media assault and significant legal and financial threats. In addition some of the Troops and Packs will determine that they cannot continue in an organization that will exchange ethical values for promised financial support and/or that they cannot trust a national leadership that has exposed them financially and legally. While leadership vulnerability in local organizations is troubling, even more troubling is the prospect of exposing the BSA participants at a highly impressionable life stage to the sexual anarchy of the present age. Finally the BSA will cease to exist as we have known and appreciated it for decades. It remains to be seen as to how many Boy Scout Troops and Cub Scout Packs will either withdraw to another organization or simply no longer exist.

I would simply request that first you consider the almost innumerable negative consequences which will inevitably accompany this policy change. Then in light of the threats being made by those who are opposed to the historic values and mission of the BSA, provide rational and courageous leadership for the long term viability of the Boy Scouts of America by recalling this policy change and reaffirming the tried and true policies and practices of this volunteer organization which have served you well for decades.

Respectfully,

Harry L. Reeder, III

Traditionalism vs. Tradition

"Traditionalism" 
~the dead faith of the living~


"Tradition" 
~the living faith of the dead~


The definitions come from Jaroslav Pelikan, who said this:

"Tradition is like an icon (not an idol or a token) that points beyond itself; we look at it, but also through it and beyond it to the reality it represents."

What a good and faithful and wise tradition -- passed down to us by our good and faithful and wise forefathers -- points us to is the Savior Himself.

Good tradition points beyond itself to Christ.  Traditionalism merely points to itself.
"Without a focus on Jesus Christ, the living fountain, without Him as the centerpiece of our mission and Him as the source of our motivation and strength, we will quickly become advocates of a dry, wooden, dead tradition.... When we drink from the Living Fountain, we will bear fruit.  When we stop, we will become barren."  
~Dr. J. Derek Halvorson, new president of Covenant College~

Thus says the Lord:
“Stand by the roads, and look,
    and ask for the ancient paths,
where the good way is; and walk in it,
    and find rest for your souls.
~The Prophet Jeremiah~

St. Augustine described God as a being of eternal beauty -- ever ancient, ever new.  His paths are ancient.  Yet they are new.  And they are full of shining purpose and abundant life.  

Let us walk in them and find rest for our souls.







Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Final Word From Sean & Amber (for a good while)...

Their Wedding Day

As my brother & friend (or "broseph," as he's teaching me to say) would smile to read, I have to quibble violently with his characterization of the "N/A" spiritual condition of a covenant child -- the recipient of so many amazing promises from God...

...but having mentioned that objection, I wholeheartedly encourage you to read this last note from the DeMars before they head out into the jungles of Peru, carrying the strong message of God's love for the wayward children of Adam in the redeeming work of Christ.

And if you wanted to see a last video they made for their church family at DPC, click HERE.


Last One For A While

Hey friends! We are all packed up ready to hit the airport. Our flight heads out from Lima at four, and we’ll be in Iquitos by 6:30. We’ll spend a few days there, and come Monday, we’ll be catching our barge and heading to our new home in the jungle. Since this may be our last update for a while, we wanted to give you guys a thorough view of where we are and how we’re doing. Here we go...

Physically
Amber and Patience are perfect specimens of human health. Patience is a little small for her age, but she’s as healthy as a horse. She’s walking and grabbing things...a lot. Yay! *sarcasm*. She can say 5-6 words now, and she’ll be writing her memoirs within the year. Amber is also the perfect health specimen.

I, on the other hand, seem to be dealing with non-stop issues. My knee injury (from the Army days) is still bothering me, I tore a muscle in my neck, and my stomach is just non-stop angry at me. All in all, though, we can’t complain. The Lord has sustained us and will continue to do so.

Emotionally
Amber is both excited and anxious. Excited to be moving to our new home, and anxious about the same. Patience is cold chillin’. She does usually take a little while to adapt to a new place, but after living in seven houses over the course of her one year, she’s getting used to the process. Thankfully, she won’t have to for much longer.

I’m a little anxious about stomach issues when we get to the jungle. Other than that, I’m ready to get everything going.

Spiritually
Patience: N/A (totally depraved) LOL

Amber and Sean: We’re doing well, I think, although we could certainly stand to spend more time in the scriptures. Constant moving makes it difficult to (see: gives you an excuse to not) keep up the spiritual disciplines. We’re both looking forward to getting back into a routine, both individually and as a family.

Financially
The Lord has been kind to us. He has provided and will continue to do so. In a situation like ours, one thing is certain: We are in constant need of a miracle. It just so happens that we serve a God who makes his name great through the miraculous.

OUR LIFE
 No burger king.

No Mc Donalds.

No Chili’s.

No Walmart.

No air conditioning.

No cold water.

No ice.

No clean water except for what you clean yourself.

No Reeses or Oreos

No ranch dressing.

No salad.

No steak.

No hamburgers.

No car.

No comfy couch to take a nap on.

No television.

No football.

No chex mix.

No break from the mosquitos.

No emergency room for when the baby has a fever.

No healthy church.

No family.

No Barnabas.

No Mt. Dew.

No going to the movies.

No youtube.

No Library.

No email.

No facebook.

No swimming pools.

No washing machine.

No dryer.

No fridge.

No dishwasher.

No 24hrs. of electricity.

No hot water, unless you heat it on a fire.

No gym.

No ITunes.

No iphones.

No words with friends.

No best friends.

No chinese food when you just don’t feel like cooking.

No comfy bed.

No english speaking friends.

No getting away from the spiders, snakes, cockaroaches, rats, etc.

No...

No...

No...

This will be our life. But maybe, by God’s grace, we’ll be able to add:

No wasted life.



Monday, February 4, 2013

Amazing Football Photography


This wasn't from the game yesterday, obviously.  This was a Patriots touchdown catch from late September, I believe.

Incredible shot... the end zone line... the smile... the eye contact... the lack of gravity...



Saturday, February 2, 2013

DPC Daddy Daughter Dinner Date



Last night several of the men and girls of DPC got all dressed up to enjoy a Daddy Daughter Dinner Date together.  It was a strong and beautiful thing to see so much evidence of the special father-daughter bond that our Lord has built into creation.


May our sons in their youth
be like plants full grown,
our daughters like corner pillars
cut for the structure of a palace.
Psalm 144.12



Think about that.  A corner pillar.  For a palace.  Something strong and solid, something that can support the weight of a massive structure while also adding immeasurably to its beauty and grace.

It's an image that speaks of a significant and absolutely necessary role in life and culture, something central, sturdy, essential, and indispensable... not something peripheral or gratuitous.

This view of daughters is so far removed from the trivializing "cute little thing" that seems to be the highest ideal the conventions of this world can imagine.

As a loving, wise father once said (his name is Shawn Smucker) :
"Although I am constantly awestruck by the physical beauty of my daughters, I will not encourage them to find their value in it. The years will tear at it. Others will objectify it. An accident could alter it. And in the end, death will destroy it.
I want to be part of a community that places an importance on our daughters, not because of their fleeting physical beauty, but because of their importance, their strength, and the absolute necessity of their presence."
Amen.

And... one more favorite "daughter" quote:
"The father of a daughter is nothing but a high-class hostage. A father turns a stony face to his sons, berates them, shakes his antlers, paws the ground, snorts, runs them off into the underbrush, but when his daughter puts her arm over his shoulder and says, "Daddy, I need to ask you something," he is a pat of butter in a hot frying pan."
~Garrison Keillor~