Monday, July 20, 2009


If anything is noteworthy about my practice of private worship thus far this year, I believe it must be that God has sustained a desire to memorize Scripture. I've learned 26 new passages so far, ranging from single verses to a couple of chapters.

I review a few memorized passages each day to keep them in mind and I've found that this practice continues to reap more and more food for my soul.

Today the words "on your heart" and "diligently" stabbed me like a poker as I reviewed Deutoronomy 6:6-7, which says:

"And these things that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children. You shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you go along the way, when you lie down and when you rise."

Is God's word "on my heart"? If not, I need not bother with others' souls since my own is in such poor health. If God's word is on my heart it will feed my soul and enable me to feed others.

But am I teaching my children "diligently"? I am diligent about a great number of things: in sleep, in eating desserts, in reading. Does my desire to teach my children the truth of God's word burn as brightly and persistently? Do I feel the weight that they will not know God apart from His Word and I have been especially charged to reveal God to them in all His glory?

Father, may your word be on my heart more and more and may I be ever more diligent in discipling the children you have entrusted to my care!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The making of split-P soup

Seeking a Better Country tells the story of 300 years of American Presbyterianism. From its beginning in 1706 until the present day there has been no golden age for the Presbyterian church in this country but instead a struggle, at times acrimonious, to define a Presbyterian identity and then to hold fast to it.

Most often the denomination has been split by a large group of Presbyterians neglecting the confession of faith and adopting the methods of the broader Christian Church (e.g. Revivalism), or it has all-together abandoned the historic Christian faith (e.g. Liberalism).

Sometimes the reason for splitting and forming another Presbyterian denomination doesn't seem to rise to the level warranted for such an action. And the longest lasting split to-date began largely over slavery and its abolition. The consequences of all the divisions leaves us with the split-P soup we have today.

The book itself is not dry, even though it is a denominational history. In fact, it explains and informs the major events and personalities in American Presbyterianism in an interesting and at times startling way.

To bring this post to an end, the book closes by identifying the three types of Presbyterians today: confessionals, evangelicals, and mainliners. The first two are found mainly in the "sideline" denominations (PCA, OPC, etc) with the confessionals emphasizing theology and the evangelicals focusing on activism. The mainliners (e.g. PCUSA) have, by and large, drifted far from confessional moorings. But the history of all three camps is a mix of folly and insight, failure and accomplishment.

Monday, July 13, 2009

They're back!

Kristin and Isaiah returned from Florida last night (direct flight!) after celebrating her grandfather's 90th birthday.

Grandfather Morey presented us with a self-published memoir of his life. It's very well done and a great way to pass on to the younger generations life in the early 1900s, his service in WWII, and how much things have changed. Another grandfather, who lived to 103, also left behind extensive memoirs of his life. What valuable insights and lessons learned these hold!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Me, too

Many blogs in the Reformed corner of the blogosphere are expressing thanks to God today for John Calvin who was born 500 years ago this day. This is my "me, too" post.

Kristin and I have been using Calvin's writings for our daily devotionals this year, and today's reading was especially helpful. It dealt with "the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak" passage where we are encouraged to watch and pray. When I'm home with the kids all day it doesn't take long for me to find that my flesh is indeed weak, no matter how badly I want to set a godly example before them. Calvin's comments encouraged me to go to Christ who knows my weaknesses and promises to hear and help in time of need.

Calvin's writings are still accessible today and a source of rich insight and encouragement.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Mom's gone until when?

Oh No! Kristin and Isaiah left this morning for Florida! It's just me and the fearsome four until Monday!

I predict these 4 days will be a mix of Survivor and Home Alone.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Family camp

We're signed up!

We hope to see our Providence friends there in August.

Let's go camping!

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Other lovers

Samuel Rutherford on soulmates:

I know that other lovers beside Christ are in suit of you, and your soul hath many wooers. But I pray you make a chaste virgin of your soul, and let it love but one. Most worthy is Christ alone of all your soul's love.

This soul of ours hath love, and cannot but love some fair one; and O what a fair One, what an only One, what an excellent, lovely One is Jesus! Put the beauty of ten thousand worlds of paradises like the garden of Eden in one; put all trees, all flowers, all smells, all colours, all tastes, all joys, all sweetness, all loveliness in one. O what a fair and excellent thing would that be! And yet it would be less, to that fair and dearest Well-beloved, Christ, than one drop of rain to the whole seas, rivers, lakes, and fountains of ten thousand earths.

O pity, that Fairness hath so few lovers! O, woe, woe to the fools of this world, who run by Christ to other lovers! But O that men would once be wise, and not fall so in love with their own hell as to pass by Christ, and overlook him!

Read Rutherford's letters here.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Trinity Hymnal now on-line

Here's the link to a listing of all the hymns in the Trinity Hymnal. You can also click a button to hear the tune.

This will improve our family worship time!

Raising our view of the pulpit

Christ the Center interviewed Rev. Glen J. Clary on John Calvin as a servant of the Word of God. The high view of preaching taught by the Reformers would be medicine to the souls of God's people who humbly and obediently sit under it.

Listen to the Christ the Center podcast to learn about preaching as worship, the real presence of Christ in preaching, and union and communion with Christ through preaching. A high view of preaching will make Sunday your favorite day of the week.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Getting kids ready for Sunday

5 steps to master to get kids ready for Sunday from Stuff Christians Like:

1. The Pre-Game
You know Sunday is coming. It's been in the same spot on the calendar for as long as you’ve been alive, so don't act surprised when your head pops off that pillow and you think, "Oh no, I have to get the kids ready today." Pre-game the night before. Lay out bowls and clothes and shoes. Make sippy cups the night before. (I can't wait to retire the words "sippy cup" and "tinkle" from my vocabulary.) Prepare before the day actually arrives so that you're ready for the storm.

2. Sell it to your kids
One of your biggest jobs as a parent is to play the role of studio audience or laugh track. In the same way that a studio audience will laugh on cue to let viewers at home know it's time to find a particular scene in a show funny, your job is to back up whatever your husband or wife says with raucous enthusiasm. Here's what it looks like in my house:

My wife: "L.E. and McRae, aren't you excited about Sunday School?"
Me (Immediately after she says that): "Yay Sunday School! You'll get to see all your friends and have goldfish and make a craft. Yay!"

Before they have a chance to even think about putting up a wall of resistance I piggyback what my wife has said, adding details, amping up the excitement, laughing on cue if that's what the moment requires.

3. Hustle them to the bathroom like a SWAT team.
I can't prove this, but I think my children have entered into a silent pact with each other to see who can use the bathroom the least amount of times in any given week. Roughly 72% of my creativity/energy at home is expended trying to convince them to use the bathroom. So, to avoid this "no bathroom liberation front" my wife and I try to shuffle our kids to the bathroom as soon as they wake up. Before they can give each other a secret handshake or a head nod and remind each other "viva la revolucion" we've grabbed them right out of bed like a SWAT team and marched them into the bathroom.

4. Distract them with stories.
It took me years to learn this, but if I want to get my kids to do anything, and this is for those rare times when they are refusing to instantly follow my Godly, fatherly advice as the leader of the house, I'll tell them a story. It usually involves an animal. And the plot unfolds as they acquiesce to what I need them to do. For instance, "And do you know what your grandfather did with that bullfrog when he brought it home? Go ahead and take another bite of Cheerios and I'll tell you."

5. Use a series of aerobic moves to get them dressed.
Is it lying if you tell your kids that you want to see how high they can raise their hands in the air just so that you can slip a dress over their head? Is it lying if you made getting on tights a jumping contest in which you bounce them on the couch as high as you can all the while pulling the tights up? Is it lying if you make putting on shoes a fun race? I hope not, because otherwise, I'm a wicked huge liar.

On most Sundays my wife and I are the first couple to drop our kids off at Sunday School when the classrooms open. Then we go sit in the sanctuary for 20 minutes and have a "mini date."

How about you?

Do you have any tricks you use to get your kids ready for Sunday School?

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Eli's first business

This summer Eli started a pet watching service in our neighborhood. It's called "Eli's coming pet services" and business has been good. In the last couple of weeks he's watched a dog, two gerbils, one hermit crab, fish, a turtle ("Sonic"), and is scheduled to watch a cat soon. Even though he asks for only a small daily fee, people have been paying him a ridiculous amount of money. I guess it's a lot cheaper than a kennel!