Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Monday, December 29, 2008

Devotions for 2009

Kristin and I are enticed by Tabletalk's plan for devotional readings in 2009 and plan to follow along. They'll be going through the Apostle Paul's first and last epistles (Galatians, 1 and 2 Timothy, and Titus).

Since this is also the 500th anniversary of John Calvin's birth we plan to spend some time in his writings, using this book.

Good Audio

Mars Hill Audio's latest edition looks interesting. Here’s a quick rundown:

Maggie Jackson (Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age), on how attentiveness is central to human flourishing and why it’s getting harder to be attentive

Mark Bauerlein (The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future), on how the social experience of young people renders the larger contexts of culture and history increasingly irrelevant

Tim Clydesdale (The First Year Out: Understanding American Teens after High School), on how teens spend the first year of college learning to become efficient managers of their lives (and thereby ignore the content of classrooms)

Andy Crouch (Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling), on the material aspects of human culture and why theories of culture aren’t enough

Jeremy Begbie (Resounding Truth: Christian Wisdom in the World of Music), on how our understanding of music can grow so that music can become a way of understanding the world and its Maker

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Images from Christmas Day

It was a fun day! Stockings were opened at 7 am; presents at 9 am once the grandparents arrived. This is the first year the children also gave presents, which made for some hilarious moments. For an example, Isaiah's gift to me was a sponge for cleaning the bathroom (sweet).

Faith and DahDah using her new art set
Zeke and Faith playing hoops
A wild bunch

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Nativity Story

A film we enjoy watching this time each year.

Christmas stories

The wonder of Christmas has dawned on Faith this year. Last Sunday she was still saying "Happy Birthday" to people when we delivered gifts to them. But she is starting to adjust to this new reason for giving and receiving gifts.

Yesterday at the commissary she was excited to see the employees wearing what she called "Merry Christmas hats", and she clearly wanted one of her own. Why not?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The storm before the calm

We all know the line from the children's Christmas story, "Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring not even a mouse."

But what was it like the day before?

Monday, December 22, 2008

An awful subject, but necessary

I had lunch on Friday with a small group of co-workers who poke fun at all sorts of things, and this time, they made fun of religious people, especially those who believe in Hell. What I should have said to them (but didn't) was to ask for their advice. What should a person do who believes that the Bible is true in its teaching on Hell; wouldn't it be unloving not to warn someone? I'm sure many do this in unloving ways, but isn't there a right way to discuss an awful, but necessary subject?

In this video (found on many blogs), an atheist makes a similar point.

Friday, December 19, 2008

"Tickle for a Nickel"

Times are tough; the economy is in the tank. But, it's Christmas, and the family needs presents. To raise a little bit of money for stocking stuffers Isaiah and I have entered into a business arrangement. Tickle for a Nickel! 5 seconds for 5 cents! Step right up!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


I was 24 years old and being re-assigned from Texas to New Jersey. Kristin and I convoyed our two cars, coordinating our stops over a cheap set of walkie-talkies. She struggled with drowsiness along the endless miles of interstate, but we thought nothing of it. We finally reached "The Garden State" and within a couple of days discovered we were expecting our first child.

We have vivid memories of the delivery; it didn't go well. I was jarred into the realization that Kristin might not make it through labor. Suddenly, the medical staff whisked her away into an operating room and by the time I was prepped for entry the c-section was almost complete.

Hard to believe that was 11 years ago. It's harder still to believe that it will be another 10 years before our youngest child gets to this point!

Kristin's parents joined us tonight (after a week in freezing Alamosa, CO) to watch Eli open birthday presents. The big hit was the lava lamp! Somehow its slow motion action kept the older children mesmerized the rest of the evening.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


We've hit a big milestone in teaching the children the shorter catechism. Grace was the first to memorize the first 50 answers! The list of questions she can handle is below. Eli is right with her at 49, Isaiah is coming on strong at 37, Faith is off to a good start with the First Catechism, and Zeke enjoys answering the questions in "tongues". (As soon as we find an interpreter for him we'll let you know how many he knows.)

The first 50 questions from the Westminster Shorter Catechism
What is the chief end of man?
What rule hath God given to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him?
What do the scriptures principally teach?
What is God?
Are there more Gods than one?
How many persons are there in the Godhead?
What are the decrees of God?
How doth God execute his decrees?
What is the work of creation?
How did God create man?
What are God's works of providence?
What special act of providence did God exercise toward man in the estate wherein he was created?
Did our first parents continue in the estate wherein they were created?
What is sin?
What was the sin whereby our first parents fell from the estate wherein they were created?
Did all mankind fall in Adam's first transgression?
Into what estate did the fall bring mankind?
Wherein consists the sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell?
What is the misery of that estate whereinto man fell?
Did God leave all mankind to perish in the estate of sin and misery?
Who is the Redeemer of God's elect?
How did Christ, being the Son of God, become man?
What offices doth Christ execute as our Redeemer?
How doth Christ execute the office of a prophet?
How doth Christ execute the office of a priest?
How doth Christ execute the office of a king?
Wherein did Christ's humiliation consist?
Wherein consisteth Christ's exaltation?
How are we made partakers of the redemption purchased by Christ?
How doth the Spirit apply to us the redemption purchased by Christ?
What is effectual calling?
What benefits do they that are effectually called partake of in this life?
What is justification?
What is adoption?
What is sanctification?
What are the benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from justification, adoption, and sanctification?
What benefits do believers receive from Christ at death?
What benefits do believers receive from Christ at the resurrection?
What is the duty which God requireth of man?
What did God at first reveal to man for the rule of his obedience?
Where is the moral law summarily comprehended
What is the sum of the ten commandments?
What is the preface to the ten commandments?
What doth the preface to the ten commandments teach us?
Which is the first commandment?
What is required in the first commandment?
What is forbidden in the first commandment?
What are specially taught by these words [before me] in the first commandment?
Which is the second commandment?
What is required in the second commandment?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Backstage at the Nutcracker

Grace enjoyed her performances at the Nutcracker; thanks to many of you for coming out to watch the show. Here are some backstage pictures.

What Faith said

"I have my Elmos on the table."

"Faith, those are called elbows," instructed Grace.

The object of life

CNN.com posted a commentary by Chuck Colson today about the Illinois governor and corruption. Colson presented his Christian testimony clearly and included this great quote which was new to me:

"Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who wrote from the gulag, 'Bless you, prison, bless you for being in my life, for there, lying on the rotting prison straw, I came to realize that the object of life is not prosperity, as we are made to believe, but the maturing of the human soul.'"

What a great perspective! Live not for prosperity but for the maturing of the human soul! Kudos to CNN for posting this.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

How to have a good day

I got to hold a one-day old baby today. No matter how rough a day you were having before that, everything is great with a newborn son of the covenant in your arms.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

A Remarkable Discovery

One of the great joys of having a mess of young kids is the daily variety show of budding personalities being expressed and the interactions with other young personalities in the house. Sometimes this is painful, sometimes it's hilarious, but sometimes it's also very helpful.

Lately, we're enjoying Zeke's budding charisma. He's quite the cut-up. But our pediatrician has been a little concerned about his lack of speech development; we recently had an initial appointment with some specialists to look into this.

Last night, however, Nana made a remarkable discovery. She found a way to make the boy talk. Zeke can now pretty much say anything you want him to. The trick?


The way to get Zeke to talk is simple. You ask Faith to ask Zeke to say it. He has enough respect (fear? anxiety?) for his big sister to do whatever she says. Before this trick was discovered all Zeke would say were a few mumbled syllables, but last night, under big Sis's beck and call, he would say as clear as a bell whatever we asked (through Faith).

Saturday, December 06, 2008

When I look at your heavens

I spent one night this week outdoors in the unspoiled Oscura mountains of New Mexico. I was there to witness some tests for work, but what I was really doing was gazing into a vibrant starfield and working on my Scripture memory for this week, which was Psalm 8. Talk about a memory aid! Imagine standing at the edge of a mountain cliff after nightfall looking over the basin floor stretching out for miles below and an endless starfield above and letting these words etch themselves into your memory:

O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
Out of the mouth of babes and infants,
you have established strength because of your foes,
to still the enemy and the avenger.

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?

Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under his feet,
all sheep and oxen,
and also the beasts of the field,
the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,
whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

More friends adopting

We're excited for the Nielsens (a family from Grace and Isaiah's school) that leave tomorrow to pick up their new daughter. Also, we learned today of another family from the same school that has been matched and leaves this week to pick up a new son. These are both Christian families, meaning we have some new kingdom kids. Both families are adopting from the same agency in Alabama that placed Faith and Zeke with us. There's a great need for more families to open their homes to these little homeless ones.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

It's time to make a plan

With 2009 just a month away it's crunch time! A question needs to be answered in the next few days that will affect every day of your life in the coming year; what will you use for private worship? Husbands, this is the time to plan together with your wife so that you can encourage each other to keep at it when you hit tough times.

Kristin and I talked about it yesterday; we'll either stick with D.A. Carson's For the Love of God (a Bible reading plan and brief commentary that takes you through the whole Bible once a year and the New Testament twice) or we'll see what Tabletalk is going to cover next year. Carson's devotional is reliably good and at times exceptional; I wish volume 3 were available! I like Bob Pod's idea to use Matthew Henry's commentary too; it'd be even simpler if someone would divide them up into daily portions.

Whatever you choose, choose quickly, January 1 will sneak up on you.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Pocket tools

Now that Thanksgiving is over some of us have found that it is possible to give thanks without a thankful heart. Extra time around family can reveal new layers of selfishness, often resulting in sinful anger. I've made use this weekend of a great tool for dealing with sinful anger in my life and recommend it to others for its very simple yet powerful help. This booklet is a summary of the Puritan Richard Baxter's writings on anger; it's small enough to easily fit into your pants pocket and laid out clearly enough to direct an angry temper towards peace.

One of the common complaints of reading the Puritans is the length. The Pocket Puritans series puts their power of exposition and application easily within reach.

Other topics covered in the Pocket Puritan series: lust, faith, heaven. It could be the best $3.60 you ever spend.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The only things we create that will last forever

"As parents the only thing we ever create that will last through all eternity is children. Your children will be there before the judgement seat of Christ. And these dear children that I see week by week growing up are going to last for all eternity. They're going to last forever and forever and forever. That means the most important thing in my existence is how I bring my children to Christ."

Hear the rest of Dr Ferguson's sermon (#8) from a recent parenting conference. It's very encouraging.

The last great change of all

From this morning's prayer in The Valley of Vision:

"Every new duty calls for more grace than I now possess,
but not more than is found in thee.

Do thou be with me, and prepare me for all
the smiles of prosperity, the frowns of adversity,
the losses of substance, the death of friends,
the days of darkness, the changes of life,
and the last great change of all."

Yes, Lord, while my country talks about its "change", remind me of the last great change of all, when You will make all things right--and may it begin with me.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Actions, Habits, Character

Have you ever thought you knew something only to meet someone else who shows you all that you're missing? That's what Whyte's book on the characters of Pilgrim's Progress is doing for me and has done for many through the years. In the past I enjoyed the urgency of Christian's journey and the characters he encountered along the way. But I missed the fundamental point; where do I show up in each of these characters and what will I do about it? Whyte's book illumines and helps, pointing out that actions lead to habits and habits become character. So does this sermon based on Whyte's book. If you need more godly character in your life I recommend both!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Tripping over the tiles

I accompanied my pastor last night on a shepherding visit. The older man we visited lives in a retirement center and joked with us about how before we arrived he tripped over some tiles near the dining hall and entertained the other residents with his quick footwork trying to avoid a painful fall. It sounds like the residents receive great and regular medical care, but we'd all prefer if he didn't need it.

As I reflected on this enjoyable visit while driving home a parallel between the retirement center and the church hit me. Residents in a center like his are frequently in need of physicians and medical attention. They are frail physically and want good doctors that will care well for them. Likewise, as members of a church we are spiritually frail--prone to trip over the tiles if you will--and frequently in need of a physician of the soul. I'm thankful that our church has a good one.

Monday, November 17, 2008

"What then will this child be?"

My Bible reading plan has me in the beginning of the Gospel of Luke and so I get to enjoy one of my favorite parts of the Christmas story, the birth of John to Elizabeth and Zechariah. I especially enjoy the squabbling over what to name the child. Elizabeth proposes "John" to which the extended family and neighbors (!) scoff since no one else in their family has that name. They turn to the mysteriously mute father for his ruling. Zechariah asks for a tablet and writes "His name is John." Immediately his tongue is loosed and he speaks blessing God.

The extended family and neighbors, outgunned by Providence, respond in wonder and fear asking, "What then will this child be?" Again, Zechariah has the answer, which I will give in short here, "this child will point others to Jesus."

That doesn't sound too unusual; why, we can all do that. Perhaps that is why Jesus says of John, "the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he." So I take up the words of a man's newly loosened tongue and pray for my soon to be 9-year old daughter. As she "grows and becomes strong in spirit" may she "give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God."

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A dangerous journey together

We're just about one week from the start of our study of the greatest book besides the Bible. I look forward to taking the journey again, this time with my friends from church. Don't forget to pick up a copy of The Pilgrim's Progress if you don't already have one.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I'm thankful my wife is "busy at home"

From today's Air Force News...

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. - A childcare center on Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque may close at the beginning of the year unless a government sponsor steps in soon.

The Shandiin Development Center's previous sponsor pulled out after base security said marijuana and drug paraphernalia were found in the cars of three workers last month.

Those workers were immediately fired, and the remaining teachers tested negative for drugs.

In distress

AP/Jerome Delay
Protegee, carrying her sibling on her back, cries as she looks for her parents through the village of Kiwanja, north of Goma, eastern Congo on Thursday Nov. 6. A fragile cease-fire in Congo appeared to be unraveling Thursday as the U.N. said battles between warlord Laurent Nkunda’s rebels and the army spread to another town in the volatile country’s east.

"Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world."
James 1:27

Pray that Christians may do their little bit towards widows and orphans and call others to do their little bit until it is enough.

HT: Amy

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Good news to go

All the audio from the conference I attended recently on our Adoption in Christ and what it means for orphans is now available for free download.

I especially recommend these two messages:

Rick Phillips - “The Good News of Adoption

Carl Robbins - “Adoption and the Multi-Ethnic Family of God

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

To those worthy of our thanks

"Two Fridays ago musician Steven Curtis Chapman met Corpsman Thomas McBride. He had been wounded in action in Afghanistan and tragically had lost part of his leg. Steven was deeply moved by this man and the sacrifice he had made for this country. In response and with gratitude to Corpsman McBride and all who have served America, Steven penned a new song, “Thomas McBride.” It’s Steven’s great privilege, that this song was delivered this week to Corspman McBride by the President of the United States, George W Bush.

On this week that marks Veterans Day 2008, we pay tribute to the service and sacrifice of the men and women who in defense of our freedom have bravely worn the uniform of the United States. To mark the week, Steven is making available, via streaming audio, this simple demo he recorded of the new song."

Hear the New Song By Steven Curtis Chapman, Thomas McBride

HT: Michelle's Blessings

A strong sense of yieldedness to God

They can keep their horse-drawn buggies, but I'll take their "profound ability to absorb adversity" any day.

HT: Christ is deeper still

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Rules for Dating (according to a 10 yr old boy)

Eli was recently "promoted" to the next higher Sunday school class. Today they studied one of the best love stories of all time, Isaac and Rebekah. The denominational curriculum we use took this opportunity to discuss some principles for dating. Eli, putting his mind to this subject for his first time, came up with some additional rules for dates.

Don't kiss anybody
Don't dance; just go out to eat.
Dates can be embarrassing so go in disguise.
If you are out to eat close your eyes when anybody kisses anybody else.
When anybody talks about dating plug your ears.
TOP SECRET: don't tell any girls you like them.
Never make eye contact; look away.
At school sit in the back row so nobody can look at you.
If you send a valentine card don't put your name on it.
Never give a girl flowers.
Never go to weddings.
Close your eyes when people kiss in movies.
Never spy on girls unless it's your sister because if you're caught you are in big trouble.
Never get behind a girl in the lunch line.

Thanks to Sunday school teachers Haley and Dan for instilling a healthy fear of "the other" in my boy. I don't think I have to worry about Eli getting any dates for the next few decades!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

A face for interracial families

If I put aside politics, parties, and policies for a moment and instead consider the social effect of this election, it is truly worthy of wonder. Many commentators are remarking on the significance of electing our first African-American president and what it signals for race relations in our culture. Most of the attention focuses on a more accepting white community (without putting it in those words).

I, too, hope this is a lasting change, yet my hope is that both black and white communities will become more accepting of interracial families. When people look at my family, instead of seeing different races, will they instead draw a parallel to the upbringing of Barack? Before when people saw a white mama holding a black baby they probably didn't have a category for that, but now interacial families have a face--the face of a president.
A young Barack held by his mother
A young Faith held by her father

Saturday, November 01, 2008

A day-long dose of good news

I'm in South Carolina to consume vast quantities of pork BBQ (vinegar-based!) and other delectables that only Southerners really know how to make. I also came to see my mother and brother (and his wife) and, quite coincidentally, to attend the Together for Adoption Conference today in Greenville.

The "Together" refers in part to the conference speakers from various denominational backgrounds. Forgive me for bragging on my own "team" a little but the Presbyterian preachers (Rick Phillips and Carl Robbins) represented in force! I wish I could have heard these messages back when Kristin and I were first considering adoption--they were very stirring and biblically-insightful. I'll put up a link to them next week when they're on-line, but for now here are a few choice quotes.

"When you hear the word adoption, do your thoughts move to the horizontal (families adopting children) or do they move vertically (God adopting us)?"
Dan Cruver

[note: test question for whether our thoughts are biblically-calibrated]

"'Relationship with God' talk doesn't have much content to it unless you know what we've been saved to"
Rick Phillips

[note: while we may have a strong sense of what we're saved from we suffer from not appreciating what Adoption has saved us to]

"Our manner of adopting: we want white, blond-headed, perfect babies. But God adopted those who were his enemies and had no merits."
Rick Phillips

"The most potent form of evangelism and discipleship is adoption."
Rick Phillips

"Any denial of our togetherness with Christians of other races on the horizontal plane is a denial of Adoption on the vertical plane! And is working against Christ!"
Carl Robbins

"God adopts transracially; He has crossed the boundaries"[...so should we].
Carl Robbins

"The 'end' of our Adoption [in Christ] is not horizontal adoption but the ultimate goal is for earth to become like heaven. God uses us for this purpose."
Tullian Tchividjian

"God is not in the process of giving it [the world] all up but gaining it all back. Christians should engage the world and solve the orphan care problem."
Tullian Tchividjian

There was also a great group of exhibitors representing foster care and adoption ministries. I visited every table and will bring some materials to church with me for those that would like to see them.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Reformation Day!

For us Reformation-minded Christians, Oct 31 marks the 491st anniversary of Martin Luther ushering in the Protestant Reformation by nailing his 95 Theses to the door of the castle church in Wittenberg, Germany.

Why should you join in celebrating the Reformation?

  • The clarity of the Gospel was recovered: we are made right with God not by what we do, but by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone
  • The Bible was made available (Christians were allowed to have it) and accessible (in a common tongue)
  • The Bible was re-instated as the final authority for what man is to believe concerning God and for what duty God requires of man. This restored prayer, worship, Heaven, and Hell (to name a few) to the Bible's clear teaching
  • Marriage became honorable again
  • Lawful vocations (whether milkmaid, mom or minister) were esteemed as equally valuable in God's eyes when done out of love for your neighbor and love for God

For many more good reasons to celebrate the Reformation, head over to Challies for a Reformation Symposium.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Syncretism consists of the attempt to reconcile disparate or contradictory beliefs, often while melding practices of various schools of thought. Here's an example: family worship in Halloween costumes. I must be becoming a liberal (theologically speaking).

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A preacher's nightmare

Since our pastor is out of the country I preached today. Now that it's over I'll share a dream (a nightmare really) about the sermon from a couple of nights ago.

I dreamed that I arrived at church in a raggety t-shirt and shorts. Only 4 people came to church and I forgot my Bible. I borrowed one but when I opened it in the pulpit the letters were so tiny that I couldn't read any of the words. I squinted and stared at it long enough that people started whispering to each other and chuckling. So I borrowed another one. But this one was like a magazine; there were advertisements all through it and even though I feverishly searched I couldn't find my Scripture text any where in it. Now the congregation (all visitors in my dream) was cracking on me outloud and eventually I just gave up and left.

Before leaving the house this morning I double and triple checked that I had my Bible with me.

Doing their part

This video was on ESPN Gameday about Georgia head coach Mark Richt and his family. It focuses on two children that they adopted from Ukraine, including one that has a facial deformity.


Saturday, October 25, 2008

A Family Man

Illustrations set to the music of Andrew Peterson's song, "I Am a Family Man"

HT: Between Two Worlds

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Tale of a bad date night

If last night's date had been my first with Kristin I'd probably never see her again.

I'll put the good news up front; WE HAVE FOUND A GOOD BABYSITTER. This is an answer to prayer for us as I have shared with our covenant group.

Now for the rest of the story in which whatever Tim does goes wrong. Once the sitters (2) were settled I drove Kristin to my favorite Chinese place. Turns out it was closed for a private party. That's a wasted drive, but we quickly re-grouped because we were pretty hungry and there's lots of good restaurants in Albuquerque when you don't have kids with you. We decided on Greek (which the kids hate), so we drove to one we liked across town. We got there, parked in a riduclously small parking spot, went to enter the restaurant and found the door locked. It was closed for repairs which explains why there was an old, grumpy-looking Greek guy on the roof when I pulled up! I returned to the car, sat there and wondered how hard can it be to find an open restaurant in Albuquerque on a Saturday evening!

I made up my mind that I had had enough. We were near the university campus, hungry, and desperate. We saw a deli and were willing to settle for it. I parked the car (this time dusting off my parallel parking skills) and walked up to The Cheba Hut advertising "Toasted Subs". As we walked in I noticed some strange college-looking signs and posters but it didn't register until it was too late. This was a very pro-pot (as in marijuna) kind of place! No matter how much we stood out in this place, we were there and we were hungry. We tried to overlook the Cheech and Chong posters, Bob Marley photos, and other pot-culture fanfare. We opted to eat outside in case the cops decided to bust the joint during the dinner hour.

After quickly finishing off the sandwich, it was time to head to our next disappointment. We drove over to Justin's house, about 20 minutes away, to check on it (how romantic of me). After we pulled into the driveway I realized that the keys to his house were still back at my house. "Haa haa honey, let's go do something else!"

I won't bore you with more details but suffice it to say that other things we tried to do last night were either closed, broke, or broke while we were there. The Cheba Hut was the highlight of the evening. And I'm glad Kristin married me.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Mr. and Mrs. Sorice

Kristin and I attended a friend's wedding this weekend near Portland, Oregon. We had a fabulous time, thanks in very large part to a great couple that watched all of the kiddos while we were away!

My camera didn't do too well with the lighting, but here are a few wedding photos from yesterday.

The first kiss for Mr and Mrs Soricealt=""id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5256384953412089842" />
Presenting the Sorice family...
We also enjoyed catching up with Chris and Jennifer; he was the best man and she sang during the wedding.

Since the wedding was in the evening, that gave us the day (which was sunny!) for tooling around Portland. What a refreshing contrast to New Mexico's desert landsape! It was like waking up to spring after a long winter.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Tributes for a deceased brother

In what may be the best use of blogging I've seen, this week several friends have posted tributes to Brent and his family on the first year of his sudden death (here, here, here, here, and in the comments pages associated with those sites).

We also remember him fondly. Brent and his family convinced us to make Providence our home church. They didn't do this with words; I don't think they even realize that they had any effect on us. But they're the kind of people that once you meet them you can't help but to love them and want to be with them again, and hopefully, to become more like them. And that's what happened to us--it was the easiest church decision we've ever made!

I was visiting my mom in South Carolina last October when a somber phone call delivered the blow that he was dead. Through it all, his wife has rested on God and found Him faithful.

I can't estimate the effect that knowing Brent, even for a short time, has had on me and my family. But one Day I will know and will get to thank him in person.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

La Luz hike

Eli and I went for a hike up the famous La Luz trail today with some friends from his school. It was a beautiful, autumn day.

We started a rock slide (by accident) on the way down.

Two kingdoms

There's no better time than election season to become familiar with the historic church teaching of the two kingdoms (how to properly understand church and state). White Horse Inn has a good broadcast discussing how two senior leaders in politics (one a democrat and the other a republican) can share the same reformed faith. The guests are Dan Bryant (former Assistant Attorney General for the Department of Justice), and Neil McBride (a strategist for the Democratic Party). Good listening!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Been in trouble with the law

On the way home from work today a police cruiser side-swiped me. The collision smashed the passenger side of my car and blew out my tire. The police car's front was peeled off like a banana.

As I watched more and more police officers show up at the scene of the accident and overheard the driver of the police car (a young airmen) tell his side of the story again and again I started to worry about how this might turn out. Then the investigating officer came over to me and opened with the words, "We're not going to arrest you, but...". It looked like I was going to have to pay for the damage and receive a serious citation for "failing to yield to an emergency vehicle."

Thankfully, in God's providence, a friend showed up and recommended getting the legal office involved if they continued to try to pin fault on me when it was obvious from the impact point on my car who was at fault. That advice worked very well. Within an hour I was cleared from any blame and allowed to leave. After I replaced the mauled tire.

Kristin says the car is invisible because people are always pulling out in front of us. We were hit a couple of months ago by a truck pulling out of a parking space. The driver of the truck said he didn't see me.

So now I have matching damage on both sides.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Mid-course corrections

It was time for a mid-course correction. Prayer had atrophied to a rushed and thoughtless routine. I took time today to re-think my priorities and how prayer fits in. I revamped part of my prayer list and renewed my commitment to following it.

We all need mid-course corrections. Make this day a turning to prayer. Make some new resolve. Try some new venture with God.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


I returned yesterday from Scottsdale, AZ, the site of our latest Presbytery meeting. As usual it was a great time. At these meetings the elders of the churches in the area (for us, New Mexico, Arizona, and El Paso) meet to guide, pray, and hear updates on the spread of the kingdom throughout our area.

One highlight of this meeting was the attendance of Dr Lig Duncan (of Together for the Gospel fame). He was in town for Ligonier's West Coast Conference and came early to preach and meet with us.

He delivered an edifying sermon on preaching and then spent an hour of Q&A with us. We focused several questions on the role of women in the church, which he handled nicely, but to me the most helpful response he gave concerned unity in the PCA. You can hear both recordings here. (My goofy question to Dr Duncan is about 4:30 minutes into the Q&A session).

Evangelism Linebacker

This copy-cat video of the old Terry Tate commercials is adapted for Christians who neglect evangelism. It's pretty clever.

(HT: Christ is Deeper Still)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

State Fair 2008

Kristin and the kids recently went to the New Mexico State Fair. Somehow she managed to take some pictures.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I'm going (November 1st)

I got my ticket right here.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Bedtime routines

Pastor John Piper recently answered a question on how he handles spiritual training in the home. It's short and good, especially this part:

"And then when we put them to bed, we tucked them in, blessed them with

The Lord bless you and keep you.
The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you.
The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace,
and joy, and hope, and love, and a good night's rest,
and someday a godly husband. (Talitha will always laugh when I say this last line.)

And then I sing a song for Talitha. And then I give her a big hug. There is a very definite routine that we walk through."

Read the whole thing.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Parental High

I've never experienced the (mythical?) runner's high. Sitting on the sofa worn-out after a run this evening Kristin and I divided up the nightly routine of putting the kids to bed and the house in order. It was then that we realized that there is a "parental high".

Here are a few experiences that can bring it on:
- Putting the kids to bed at night
- Having dinner together while a sitter watches the children
- Sleeping through the night
- No more diapers!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Space Cadet

The boys and I had a great time playing "extreme lazer tag" at Hinkle this weekend. At the end of the game you get a detailed print-out that shows how you performed in the game; here are a few of my stats:

Game Duration: 10 minutes
# times you were hit: 46
# opponents you hit: 9
# shots you fired: 222
accuracy: 4%

Apparently, I was a walking target board. Each time you're hit your gun turns off for 5 seconds. Since I was hit 46 times in 10 minutes, I was "off" for almost half of the game. Not too good. Or in Hinkle's rating: I'm a Space Cadet.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

No church, no problem? (pt 2)

I'm making a point of inviting more people to church, for two reasons. First, I'd like to see new people added to our number. Second, and more importantly, people need a church.

I've invited two families recently; neither have come (yet). What puzzles me is that both families profess to be Christians and much about their lives back it up. But neither attend any church in town, and they're okay with that. In a city this large with many church choices this strikes me as oddly inconsistent.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Sunday, August 31, 2008

The blessings of old age

In preparing to teach a class on "What is a good church?", I've used a Google search tool to pull together people's thoughts on this from across the blogosphere. One common sentiment that pops up among bloggers is that they want a church with lots of people their own age. They especially dislike churches that are elderly.

This brought to mind how my thoughts towards the elderly have changed. There was a time when I too avoided churches with older people. In fact, for years, a church I attended had no one over 50 that I can remember.

But this changed when I prayed with an old man in the sunset of his life. He has walked with God longer than I have been alive. His body is failing him, but His God has not. His faith has stretched across time and has lasted through adversity, and this gives me hope that I, too, will not fall away.

When we don't know our elderly fathers and mothers in the faith we miss out on one means that God uses to assure us of perseverance. Just as Jacob, when dying blessed his sons, leaning on his staff to worship (Heb 11:21), so too can our fathers in the faith bless us in their worship of God.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

A new job

On Tuesday I'll start my 12th job in the Air Force. That's 12 jobs in 15 years--I can't keep a job!

As work responsibilities have increased over the years, so has my satisfaction with the Air Force. This new job will be a bigger challenge than the last. And it's a good thing that we like Albuquerque, because my boss has requested that I stay here longer than a normal tour. We'll see what the Air Force Personnel Center thinks of that.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Christ the Center

Christ the Center is a fairly new podcast led by a panel of PCA and OPC pastors; I've grown to really enjoy learning more about the reformed faith this way. Here's a list of recent episodes:

The Eschatological Views of the Westminster Divines
Cultural Relevance, Mercy Ministry and the Social Gospel
The Pastor and the Academy
The Westminster Confession into the 21st Century
Recovering the Reformed Confession
Union with Christ and Twofold Grace
Reformed Church Growth
Reforming or Conforming?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Zeke's first word

A few weeks ago the kids watched the movie "Annie". The "Tomorrow" song stuck with Faith; she kept singing it for days. It even affected Zeke, who hasn't said anything other than a "momma"-sounding utterance when he's crying. But tonight at dinner he picked up Faith's refrain, and so his first word is officially "Tomorrow".

Does this word symbolically reveal anything about Zeke's laid back personality? Time will tell.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A General's Staff

Yesterday afternoon I found out that we had another tour to give at work today--we give lots of tours, many of them to high-ranking officers. But this one was different. The staff for this General Officer live in fear of him and they had me running in all directions. In 15 years of military life, I've never seen staff officers ping so hard. They took over my office, re-did the briefing slides many times this morning, asked me to call the whole building to attention when he walks in, and basically stayed on the verge of an anxiety attack the whole morning. To top it all off, one of the staff officers even had my hat for the whole visit, thinking it was his own. You probably have to be a military person to appreciate the embarrassment of missing your cover, especially with General Officers around. I was glad to see them leave, and thankfully I got my hat back.