Monday, December 29, 2008
Since this is also the 500th anniversary of John Calvin's birth we plan to spend some time in his writings, using this book.
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
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Faith and DahDah using her new art set
Zeke and Faith playing hoops
A wild bunch
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
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
Monday, December 22, 2008
In this video (found on many blogs), an atheist makes a similar point.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
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
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
"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
Sunday, December 07, 2008
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
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
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
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
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
Hear the rest of Dr Ferguson's sermon (#8) from a recent parenting conference. It's very encouraging.
"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.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
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
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
Thursday, November 13, 2008
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.
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."
Pray that Christians may do their little bit towards widows and orphans and call others to do their little bit until it is enough.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
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
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
Sunday, November 09, 2008
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
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
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)?"
[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"
[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."
"The most potent form of evangelism and discipleship is adoption."
"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!"
"God adopts transracially; He has crossed the boundaries"[...so should we].
"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."
"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."
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
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
Sunday, October 26, 2008
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.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Sunday, October 19, 2008
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
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
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
Thursday, October 02, 2008
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
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
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).
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
"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
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
Game Duration: 10 minutes
# times you were hit: 46
# opponents you hit: 9
# shots you fired: 222
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.
Saturday, September 06, 2008
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
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
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
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
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
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.