Friday, August 29, 2008

Is your heart mortified?

It's been a good summer for reading. By God's grace, I've managed to finish off 3 books that I've been working on for a while now. This last one, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs, is one I highly recommend, especially for anyone with a melancholy streak like me. I have quoted it several times already on this blog, but for something written 400 years ago, it is very readable, has tons of great insight, and surprisingly a lot of great illustrations. Here's one last quote: "Let afflictions and troubles find you with a mortified heart to the world, and they will not break your bones; those whose bones are broken by crosses and afflictions are those who are alive to the world, who are not dead to the world. But no afflictions or troubles will break the bones of one who has a mortified heart and is dead to the world; that is, they will not be very grievous or painful to such a one as is mortified to the world."

1 John 2:15, "Do not love the world nor the things in the world..." Now do I mortify my heart with a shotgun or a knife?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Outside town...

We decided to be brave and ventured outside of Emporia yesterday. We went to a little town called Cottonwood Falls. It seemed like a quaint little place with the oldest working courthouse in Kansas in the background.Here we are on "busy" main street. This was just about the whole town.
For some reason, Emery closed her eyes and told me, "Daddy, you look dark." In this picture, she's also wearing her current favorite shirt. She calls it her letter A shirt. Every letter is the letter A right now...

Monday, August 25, 2008

Is it broken?

Apparently, diagnosing a fracture, especially in a child is a fairly imprecise science. According to the orthopedic surgeon, Andrew may have a break or he may a bone bruise. We'll know for sure (Lord willing) in 2 weeks. Regardless, Andrew could care less because he got a dinosaur cast! This is pretty much the best thing that could have happened to him.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Oh the monkey bars!

Yesterday afternoon, we got an unexpected call from school. On Andrew's 3rd day of school, he fell from the monkey bars (on to a wood mulch surface). He was not himself so we took him home. But instead of getting better, he continued to be very much not himself so we took him to the doctor. The x-ray did not show a fracture in his bones, but the doctor said he may have a fracture in his growth plate in his left elbow. We're going to see the orthopedic surgeon on Mon as Andrew continues to be in pain and his arm is quite swollen now.
He was very proud of his splint and is doing fine. I guess God wanted him to slow down from all of his many activities...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Hudson Taylor

I just finished Hudson Taylor's autobiography. And while it wasn't the most comprehensive summary of his life and ministry (it's only 159 pages), I do recommend it. It gives a glimpse into the life of a man who had incredible faith, prayed as if his life depended on it, and had amazing devotion and compassion for those who were lost without Christ. It had lots of great stories of God's provision, and it didn't hurt that it's an easy read too. Here are a couple of snippets.

In speaking of a time soon after his conversion experience, he writes, "How in the gladness of my heart I poured out my soul before God; and again and again confessing my grateful love to Him who had done everything for me...Well do I remember, as in unreserved consecration I put myself, my life, my friends, my all, upon the altar, the deep solemnity that came over my soul with the assurance that my offering was accepted.

The presence of God became unutterably real and blessed; and though but a child under 16, I remember stretching myself on the ground, and lying there silent before Him with unspeakable awe and unspeakable joy."

Taylor also talks about his philosophy of not collecting an offering after his missions presentations on China. He writes, "My wish was, not that those present should be relieved by making such contribution as might there and then be convenient, under the influence of a present emotion; but that each one should go home burdened with the deep need of China, and ask of God what He would have them do.

If, after thought and prayer, they were satisfied that a pecuniary contribution was what He wanted of them, it could be given to any missionary society having agents in China...but that perhaps in many cases what God wanted was not money contribution, but personal consecration to His service abroad; or the giving up of son or daughter - more precious than gold or silver - to His service.

I added that I thought the tendency of a collection was to leave the impression that the all-important thing was money, whereas no amount of money could convert a single soul; that what was needed was that men and women filled with the Holy Ghost should give themselves to the work: for the support of such there would never be a lack of funds."

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The first day of school!

What an exciting day! Matthew and Emery started their first day of pre-school here at home with mommy. Andrew started his first day of school at Emporia Christian School. He is in the 1st grade and his class is a combination 1st and 2nd grade with about 15 students.He looks excited, doesn't he? He really is though, trust me.We decided to celebrate the great day for everyone. Praise God for a great start to the school year.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Andrew's first soccer game

I think it's been a good year for Andrew. He learned how to swim; he started really reading; he starts 1st grade on Wed; he rode a 2 wheel bike for the first time. And now, he played in his first soccer game. He may not kick the ball much, but he tries hard and runs as fast as he can...
video
On a separate and completely unrelated note, here's our little girl napping.That looks comfortable, doesn't it? It's a wonder she gets any sleep at all.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Are you humbled by God's mercy?

Lately, I've been meditating on God's infinite mercy in my life. And thank God it is infinite. Jeremiah Burroughs writes about the evils of complaining. He points out that after the Israelites experienced the miraculous mercy of God to be saved from Egypt and crossed the Red Sea, the first thing they did was complain. They complained about food, so God gave them manna. Then they complained about meat, so God gave them quail. Then they complained about water, so God gave them water.

"So one time after another as soon as they had received mercy, then they were a little quieted, but they were not humbled. I bring these Scriptures to show this, that if we have not been humbled for murmuring, when we meet with the next cross we will fall to murmuring again."

The key is being truly humbled by the afflictions. How easy it is for me to squander the afflictions with a constant state of murmuring. I need to humble myself more in the affliction so that I might savor the sweetness of infinite mercy when it dawns.

The great Reformer Martin Luther says this, "It is the way of God: he humbles that he might exalt, he kills that he might make alive, he confounds that he might glorify."

Burroughs also writes, "Usually the people of God, before the greatest comforts, have the greatest afflictions and sorrows. Now those who understand God's ways think that when God brings his people into sad conditions, he is leaving and forsaking them, and that God does not intend any great good to them. But the child of God who is instructed in this way of God, is not troubled; 'My condition is very low but this is God's way when intends the greatest mercy, to bring men under the greatest afflictions'...A little before daybreak you will observe it is darker than it was any time before, so God will make our conditions a little darker before the mercy comes."

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Laker fans for life

Even though I have done a little indoctrination, I promise I did not promote the posters.
Andrew wanted the poster with every team's logo in order to learn them all.
For some reason, Matthew wanted Kobe even though he's D. Fish when we play pretend games. Andrew is Kobe, and guess who dad is? That's right, Pau.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

You know your kids are from California when...

rain is a big deal. Although in this case, there was a small river heading down our street, and I think I may have seen the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria passing by. This storm was the second in a couple of days that combined, dropped some 6-7 inches or so. The ironic thing was that after all that rain, we temporarily had no water in our house this morning because a water main busted.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Kansas landscape

This post is for all of our non-Emporian friends and family. Emporia is about 5 square miles of small town, suburbs, and strip malls. But outside of Emporia is pretty much farmland. So as promised, this is what it looks like.This is a field of soybeans just outside of town.This is obviously corn (I think the other major crop around here is wheat but that was already harvested in June). And yes, it is that tall. Sandy and I played hide and seek in there for hours...

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Do you feel God's mercy?

This past couple of weeks, I have had the privilege to share the Gospel or attempt to share it with quite a few people. It has been humbling most of the time, but it has led me to appreciate God's mercy anew in my own life.

Reading Pastor John Piper recently and trying to share that glorious Gospel, reminded me of various Scriptures regarding what I deserve as I am a "child of wrath like the rest of mankind"(Eph 2:3), "under sin...accountable to God" (Rom 3:19), "hostile to God" (Rom 8:7), "having no hope and without God in the world" (Eph 2:12), destined to be cast into outer darkness where there is "weeping and gnashing of teeth" (Matt 8:12), and my future was the lake of fire where "the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest" (Rev 14:11).

Considering that Christ has rescued me from all of this because of His mercy, you'd think I'd be a little more joyful regardless of my circumstances which happen to be quite good these days. I was convicted even more when I read Jonathan Edwards saying this, "A man may meet with very great losses...his cattle may die...and all his goods consumed, and he may be brought from a comfortable living to a poor, low stricken state. This is very hard to bear, but alas, how little reason have such to complain if they do but consider how little this is, compared with that eternal destruction that we have been informed of."

Piper goes on to say this, "Ponder how you would react to things if you lived hour by hour in the heartfelt awareness that you are rescued from horrible death and eternal suffering, and that, in spite of deserving no help, you are lavished with mercy every day (even in the hard things) and willl be made perfectly and eternally happy in the age to come."

"Then add one more thing to your thinking. The one who rescued you had to die to do it, and he is the one Person in the universe who did NOT deserve to die...know your condition - the misery and the mercy. And let the horror from which you have been rescued, and the mercy in which you live, and the price that Christ paid, make you humble and thankful and patient and kind and forgiving. You have never been treated by God worse than you deserve. And in Christ you are treated ten million times better. Feel this. Live this."

Amen. If you need help feeling it, go to www.resolved.org and listen to CJ Mahaney's Resolved 2008 Session 11 on the bottom right of the page and listen to the scream of the damned. The misery is awful, but it makes the mercy all the more glorious.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The boys room and a potty training update

No, it's not LAX or the Emporia airport. But the boys do take off on many an adventure. And yes, Matthew does have a bed too. It's pretty much a mirror image on the other side.

And to protect the modesty of my little girl, I have not included a success picture of Emery. The potty training is going well. Many successes, just a few accidents, and no crying...by me - I think a first!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Potty training or a day on the town?

It was a day of contrasts today.While Emery and mommy worked on potty training...
Daddy and the boys saw a buffalo, deer, emus, llamas, a mountain lion, a bobcat, ducks, turtles, bald eagles, lemurs, prairie dogs at the very nice little Emporia zoo.
Not to mention we played on a tank...
And watched poor Luca Brasi as he slept with the fishes...