Monday, November 26, 2007

The real Faith

In public our daughter Faith is very shy. But this is an alter ego. At home her true identity emerges. She follows us around the house and cracks us up with her antics, words, and especially her facial expressions. Tonight I grabbed the camera and now have documented evidence of the real Faith.

Friday, November 23, 2007

It's beginning to look alot like Christmas

The snow on the ground brings to mind a question for you. What's your favorite Christmas CD? Each year we buy a new Christmas album to enjoy in December. I haven't purchased one yet, but I'm leaning towards a collection of carols played on hammered dulcimer sold by Ligonier.

To answer my own question, in hopes you may be interested, I look forward to this time each year when I dust off my copy of Georg Friedrich Handel’s famous work Messiah performed by St Martin-in-the-Fields. With the words in hand and the headphones on I'll awaken my soul in the morning before the others are awake.

On a lighter note, our family has enjoyed Sovereign Grace's Christmas album from last year so much that we've listened to it year round. I recommend it.

So back to my original question, what's your favorite Christmas album? I need to select this year's soon.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving Meditation

A few words of Thanksgiving to God for his promises to me, my family, and all his people. Adapted from David's prayer of gratitude in 1 Chronicles 17:16-27

“Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far? And this was a small thing in your eyes, O God. You have also spoken of your servant's house for a great while to come, and have shown me future generations, O Lord God!

And what more can I say to you for honoring your servant? For you know your servant. For your servant's sake, O Lord, and according to your own heart, you have done all this greatness, in making known all these great things. There is none like you, O Lord, and there is no God besides you, according to all that we have heard with our ears.

And who is like your people, the ones on earth whom God went to redeem to be his people, making for yourself a name for great and awesome things. And you made your people to be your people forever, and you, O Lord, became their God.

And now, O Lord, let the word that you have spoken concerning your servant and concerning his house be established forever, and do as you have spoken, and your name will be established and magnified forever, saying, ‘The Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, is Israel's God,’ and the house of your servant will be established before you.

For you, my God, have revealed to your servant that you will build a house for him. Therefore your servant has found courage to pray before you. And now, O Lord, you are God, and you have promised this good thing to your servant. Now you have been pleased to bless the house of your servant, that it may continue forever before you, for it is you, O Lord, who have blessed, and it is blessed forever.”

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

My devotional picks for 2008

The new year is almost here so now's the time to plan and purchase what you'll need for personal devotions in 2008. Kristin and I have been very pleased with D.A. Carson's For the Love of God. This is a Bible reading plan and commentary that covers a chapter in four different books of the Bible each day. That can be too much some days and this plan easily allows for scaling back.

The best prayer help, in my judgment, is still The Valley of Vision. It's a great way to start your prayer time each day.

Tabletalk is always a good resource for devotions. They plan to cover Matthew in 2008.

The Ancient Christian Devotional also looks interesting and I've heard good things about it from folks I respect. If you give it a try let me know.
Whatever you choose, don't wait too much longer to plan it out. Add a present for yourself to your Christmas list.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Safely through week 1

With help from my friends I memorized Colossians 1:1-4 last week. Now it's on to verses 5-8. But while I'm feeling good about this plan, here's a reminder to me and my helpers for when things get tough.

Q: Why memorize something you're just going to eventually forget?
A: Because memorizing Scripture is what God exhorts me to do ("thy word I have hid in my heart", "let the word of Christ dwell richly in you") and the Spirit of Christ will use the Word of Christ in me to make me more like Christ.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Happy 8th, Grace!

We've all heard about a daddy's protective love for his daughter--and you better believe that I have it! Grace is such a sweet little girl who seems to grow kinder and more lovely every day.

I need to pray more for her future husband because I cannot imagine any man worthy of her hand. Happy Birthday, dear Gracie!

"Indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful." (Col 3:15)

Tonight I realized in the clearest terms what is meant by the body of Christ. Some recent examples will help explain what I have come to appreciate so much about God's calling us into one body. In the row in front of us during worship this morning parts of three families sat intermingled to help the little children learn to sit through the service. A retired couple spend time tutoring and loving my oldest child several times every week--they have become his surrogate grandparents. The photos of the kids building birdhouses are from this weekend when a really great couple in our church showed how they love us and our children.

How beautiful is the body of Christ. I am thankful.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Until it is enough

Family Life is doing a series of broadcasts on adoption (it's National Adoption Month). They recently interviewed a number of individuals who have been involved in orphan care ministry in their local churches. You’ll find this video very moving and challenging. We hope to do our little bit towards orphan care and call others to do their little bit until it is enough.

HT: Carolina Hope

Sunday, November 11, 2007

His life was like a hymn heartily sung

David Brainerd's short life (1718-1747) comes the closest to imitating the spirit and sufferings of the Apostle Paul than any other figure in history that I am familiar with. Here is an example for all Christians, but his life's story is especially suited for single Christians.

David Brainerd was a missionary to the American Indians in New York, New Jersey, and eastern Pennsylvania. Born in Connecticut in 1718, he died of tuberculosis at the age of twenty-nine. Despite his chronic illness, his melancholy nature, and his other weaknesses, it can truly be said that in his weakness God's grace was made evident. He lived for God and relished communion with God in a way that convicts me of being a pretender.

The Life and Diary of David Brainerd ought to be read — and read often — by God's people. I plan to read it every other year (this was my third time through it). Read it (or listen on audio) and you will be convicted, challenged, changed, charged. It has had life-transforming effect upon many, motivating them to become missionaries, evangelists, preachers, people of prayer and power with God.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Worship Preparation

This new hymn puts the emphasis upon the importance of hearing God’s Word preached. It makes for good corporate worship preparation. In days when so much criticism is levelled by some at modern hymnody - at times entirely justified, at others sadly prejudicial and unfair - here's an example of a good modern hymn.

These are the words:

Speak, O Lord, as we come to You
To receive the food of Your Holy Word.
Take Your truth, plant it deep in us;
Shape and fashion us in Your likeness,
That the light of Christ might be seen today
In our acts of love and our deeds of faith.
Speak, O Lord, and fulfill in us
All Your purposes for Your glory.

Teach us, Lord, full obedience,
Holy reverence, true humility;
Test our thoughts and our attitudes
In the radiance of Your purity.
Cause our faith to rise; cause our eyes to see
Your majestic love and authority.
Words of pow’r that can never fail—
Let their truth prevail over unbelief.

Speak, O Lord, and renew our minds;
Help us grasp the heights of Your plans for us—
Truths unchanged from the dawn of time
That will echo down through eternity.
And by grace we’ll stand on Your promises,
And by faith we’ll walk as You walk with us.
Speak, O Lord, till Your church is built
And the earth is filled with Your glory.

“Speak, O Lord”
Words and Music by Keith Getty & Stuart Townend
Copyright © 2005 Thankyou Music

Friday, November 09, 2007


Bella opened in Albuquerque today and we were able to get a sitter and go see it.
This pro-adoption themed movie has the potential to change hearts and minds on abortion and has opened solidly in a limited release in just 31 cities. Not bad for a movie with a $3M budget.

The film stars Eduardo Verastegui as a former soccer player who learns the value of human life and helps a pregnant waitress, played by Tammy Blanchard, appreciate the value of the baby she's carrying.

The movie has its flaws, but it's certainly worth seeing. The theater was packed tonight, and not with evangelical church-goers, but by a diverse audience. May this simple movie be another tool to save lives and strengthen families.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Begone unbelief!

We had the immense pleasure this evening of having a frontier missionary visit our home. He's the kind of guy that so embodies trust in God, love for Christ, and compassion for the lost that I am revealed for what I truly am, a spiritual wimp, a practical-atheist even.

I can't post any details or photos of him and his family because it might risk his ministry in the Muslim country he is returning to. This land is strongly anti-Christian and missions work has been forbidden for decades.

I am so delighted my children got to see him again and learn more of his work and life. I want my children to grow up exposed to risk-taking missionaries, especially those that will play checkers with Isaiah and graciously accept some very poor accommodations for the night.

Tonight I am feeling in desperate need for faith and action. But this feeling will pass too soon, like my friend.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

I need some help

A few months ago a couple of friends and I set out to memorize one of the greatest chapters in the Bible, Romans 8. We set our pace (4 verses a week) and checked up on each other a couple of times each week. We should have finished memorizing the chapter in about 3 months. We didn't. Things fell apart after the first 6 weeks or so, but it was a good attempt.

I'm ready to try again, this time with a slightly slower pace (3 verses a week) and a new chapter in mind, Colossians 3. I read through this chapter recently; not only is it easier and shorter than Romans 8, but the content is a real soul-feast. I've pasted it below.

Here's where I need your help. Will you join me in hiding these 25 verses in your heart, too? Accountability is a huge help to me, but what's really encouraging is knowing others are eager to memorize Scripture, too. If we start next week we should be able to finish around the end of next month.

If you're interested leave me a comment or shoot me an e-mail by Monday to let me know you're in. I'll share some more of the approach with you over e-mail.

An added bonus for my church friends is that you'll soon be hearing these verses preached upon by our pastor. I think those sermons will be especially powerful for those who have already meditated on this great chapter.

Colossians 3
Put On the New Self

1 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.

12 Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Rules for Christian Households
18 Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. 20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. 22 Slaves, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. 25 For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.