Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Prostestantism without the Reformation

What would life be like without the Reformation?
Would we have Bibles in our homes, in our language? Would we have songs of praise in our own mouths and services? Would marriage be honorable? Would we know that all vocations are to be holy? Would we know our righteousness before God does not rely on works of self-salvation, but is by grace alone through faith alone by Christ alone?

Dietrich Bonhoeffer described American religion as "Protestantism without the Reformation", which is a sad but true assessment. The Reformation is largely unknown among evangelicals today; almost all take for granted the wonders of the providence of God in these events. But for a few, on this day, we rejoice in the recovery of the essentials of the gospel and join together in the refrain, "Sola Scriptura! Sola Fide! Sola Gratia! Solus Christus! Soli Deo Gloria!"

Monday, October 29, 2007

Must remember this when the kids are awake

The importance of patience in parenting...

Children are on a journey in which they are learning self-control and other features of wisdom. Some children pick it up quickly; others learn it gradually after years of creative and patient parenting. Parents know that wisdom does not come immediately, so they are patient with the process of change.

If the child seems untouched by swift discipline, consider what might be more effective in the future. At the child's next explosion of blind rage, if previous discipline didn't help, choose to do nothing at the moment. Handle the situation when calm prevails [when he is open to wisdom].

Edward T. Welch, The Journal of Biblical Counseling, Summer 2007 [not available on-line]

Sunday, October 28, 2007

30-second book review

Why God sent me to read the great books in our church's library that have never been checked out?

The Bruised Reed is one of the absolute best writings of the puritans. It's short (~125 pages) and in it Jesus will appear lovely to the reader's eye.

The book is a meditation on Isaiah 42 about the bruised reed and the faintly burning wick. These are metaphors for the Christian who feels some misery from sin, and he is humbled to see that he is not an oak but a reed. It is then that we realize, "there is more mercy in Christ, than sin in us."

Sibbes, like the best of the puritans, excels in writing. This book will swell your love for Jesus and fortify you with profound wisdom. It's available for check-out in the church library.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Colorado Springs

I took a class this week at Peterson AFB and we turned it into a mini-vacation. We visited with family in chilly Alamosa and the next day drove into C-Springs. We stayed in the TLF (which was very nice and affordable) and I could walk to my class. Meanwhile Kristin and the kids saw the sights: Focus on the Family, Olympic Training Center, Garden of the Gods, the zoo, and on the last day we all went to an amusement park near Pike's Peak called the North Pole. We had a great time*.

* Fine print. We inched through a blinding snow storm on the drive up. A rock cracked our windshield. Zeke refused to sleep through the night. Kristin and I took turns staying up with him every night. I got sick one day. (I just want there to be truth in advertising.}

Friday, October 19, 2007

Boy Scout Trip #2

The pack meeting this month was on the Railrunner! We started north of Albuquerque and got off 20 miles south of town. All for $2 for adults and free for kids under 10. It's a very nice, new train, and fun for boys of all ages.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Dealing with old age

I had the opportunity recently to spend some time with an older couple who believe they are near death. The experience changed the way I think about evangelism and the effects of aging. Since this couple hasn't been involved with a church for a long time and doesn't seem to have a healthy personal relationship with the Lord, I wanted to be sure to speak clearly with them about the Gospel.

The Lord certainly opened a door when the husband started out our first evening together by loudly declaring that, "My ways aren't your ways, and I'm too old to change now!" I was taken aback by the sudden outburst, but I came to realize that he was only talking about alcohol (he wrongly assumed I'm a teetotaler), and not the larger matters of the Christian faith. After a few evenings together we were able to have a good discussion about the essentials (Holy God, sinful man, Christ as substitute, and your response to these truths). I believe there may be some fruit of regeneration in this couple's life.

What I took away from our time together is a more sensitive understanding of old age. Many times I would be asked the same question repeatedly within a short amount of time, like "Did you borrow my keys?" When sharing the gospel with the aged (if there is dementia involved) we must be patient and be unperturbed by sudden "resets and replays" in the conversation.

We should also be sympathetic to the annoying physical burdens of advanced age. At the close of one day, the man I was speaking with again apologized needlessly for sipping whisky in my presence and said with some measure of exasperation, "walk a mile in my shoes!" His daily pain and weakening physical abilities should bring out empathy in us, but also an urgency in our appeals to look beyond the grave.

Do we firmly believe that without Christ there is no hope? If so, we must labor in prayer and conversation with those who are obviously very soon to face that reality.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Professional Photo Shoot

Yesterday we arranged for a photo shoot to update our family pictures. Below are some of my favorite proofs.

It was near the end of the photo shoot and Zeke had had enough.

It's been a good 36 years

Friday, October 12, 2007

Little brother gets married

Grace and I enjoyed a brief visit back to my homestate, South Carolina, to attend my brother's wedding. Being a typical male, I didn't take any pictures of the bride and groom together.