Monday, October 29, 2007

How to Unveil and Apply Grace to my Spouse's Soul

I often find that life is just busy ... busy feeding people, washing clothes, teaching lessons, feeding more people, washing more clothes, etc. I have a desire to live intentionally but sometimes it feels like I am "just getting by."

When I am just 'getting by', one of the first things I neglect is my relationship with Brian. I have a special husband but I don't always intenionally nurture that relationship. The Family Room has a great article today about how to unveil and apply grace to my spouse's soul. Go read it.

Here are some questions (from the 'Family Room' article) to think about with your spouse. (The questions written were directed towards the husband, but many apply to the wife as well). My prayer is that these questions will be stepping stones which will cause us to intentionally share the grace of Christ with one another.

"What circumstances are challenging or troubling you right now?
What decisions that need to be made are most weighing on you?
How are you currently experiencing temptation? This week? In this season?
Are you more aware of your sin or how Christ is at work in you?
In what ways do you most need my leadership?
Where do you need me to provide more spiritual direction/nurture?
What passage of scripture would you like us to meditate on together? As a family?
How can I help you set priorities?

In what area do we need to be more unified?
Do you know where I most need your help/input?"

Oh yeah - by the way, baby girl is already 6 months old...

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Welcome to the World Baby Girl!

My newest niece was born this past Tuesday! My baby brother now has 3 precious little girls. Perry Catherine is the newest little baby and her big sisters, Caroline and Emily, are so excited! I can't wait to meet you Perry Catherine! We love you guys!
Perry Catherine

The Family

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Pumpkin Farm

On Saturday we went to the local Pumpkin farm. We had such fun playing together! There were big slides, animals, horse rides, a hayride, and pumpkin pickin'! The only downside was the DUST! Since we hadn't had any rain for about 6 weeks, dust and dirt were everywhere! It was all over our clothes, in our noses, and we could even feel it on our teeth - yuck! But the kids didn't seem to care...
Coleman, Emmie and Calvin

Baby Ellerie - always in the stroller!

Calvin and Daddy!

Emmie climbing the tires.

Riding the barrel car.

Feeding the animals.

Riding horses.

All in all, a special day together making memories!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Shepherding a Church's Culture

Church matters is discussing an interesting topic today. Jonathan Leeman writes:

I have a question I'd like to pose based not on an email, but on a phone call received from a pastor several days ago. I'm going to generalize his situation because I think the principles apply in a number of similar situations:

In conservative, theologically minded churches like ours, members or newcomers will sometimes take strong stands on issues that are not directly touched on by the statement of faith. Several examples that I have heard about lately include homeschooling, keeping your children in the service (anti-children's church), biblical counseling vs. psychology, the perennial issue of alcohol, and I'm sure we could all add more to the list. This pastor who called in was troubled by a family who was considering joining his church, but who took a strong, even militant, stand on one such issue; and he was concerned, based on past experience, that they would seek to promote their values in a way that could create a "serious Christian" and "less serious Christian" dichotomy in the church's culture. In spite of Paul's instruction in Colossians 2, it seems we Christians are always trying to create categories for "better" and "worse" Christians based on the basic principles of this world. (I, of course, never do this, and I despise everyone who does!)

Actually, just the opposite is the case. Recently my wife and I heard about a couple who planned to keep their young children with them during the times of corporate gatherings, and we had to talk about the sinful temptation in our hearts to want to do the same in order to prove that "we take family worship seriously too! We're hard core too!" Now, let me say, this couple was NOT trying to prove or promote anything. The problem in this situation was with our own lack of faith in the justifying work of the gospel.

But the question this pastor wanted answered is, how do you respond practically to these various cultural movements that take hold among conservative evangelicals? How do you prevent factions (I know of people leaving and churches dividing over such issues)? How can we shepherd people individually, and how can we shepherd them from the pulpit?

As I was thinking about this issue today, I decided to ask my husband to respond to the questions above. He has a great deal of wisdom and insight in 'church matters'. (Ba-da-ching). Seriously, read his thoughts and feel free to share your own on this subject.

Brian says:
I think individually we can shepherd folks by modeling for them what it means to hold to a set of biblically informed convictions. Can't we have convictions in certain areas of our lives that are played out differently within the body of Christ and still have true fellowship and unity? We can if we handle those convictions with humility and love. Based on my study of 1 Corinthians 8-14, love has to rule any biblically informed conviction we have and how we express it in the life of the congregation. Maybe chapter 13 of 1 Cor. could've been written to also say, "If I homeschool my children and have not love...If my children behave well in the worship service at the age of 2 but I have not love...If I can defend all 5 points of Calvinism but I have not love..."

Also, it may, at some points, be necessary to provide correction for folks when we have tangible evidence that their convictions are expressed in unloving ways, causing hurt feelings and tension within the body. Some examples of tangible evidence might be their visible treatment of another person or words they have spoken in our presence regarding the matter or our observations about how they have handled certain situations.

Every situation is different and so it is harder to shepherd from the pulpit so as to provide leadership in every situation. I believe that we can model this in the pulpit: what matters are of primary importance and what matters are of secondary importance. Where do I concentrate my teaching on a text - on the vital doctrines of the faith found in the text or on other tangent issues that the text may lead to. I think it is acceptable and sometimes necessary to go to the tangent issues, but am I taking a tangent issue and making it into an area for possible application or a matter of gospel truth authoritative to every individual universally? Am I pushing my own leanings and my personal convictions on to the congregation or am I presenting the truth of the text of scripture without apology? I also think that from the pulpit people should be given a perspective or impression of a true spiritual reality that is God-centered and not man-centered. When this happens, these secondary issues are given their proper perspective and importance in the life of the congregation. When the congregation is given a perspective and impression of reality that is God-centered then I believe healthy conversations and discussions over issues of secondary importance will occur and the diversity of viewpoints and applications of biblical principals within the congregation will edify the body and not lead to tension.

I think another key to shepherding both individually and from the pulpit is to model this in your own life. Are you militant about secondary issues? Do you force your own views and the application of biblical truth regarding certain matters upon the people in your congregation? Do your biblical convictions come across in such a way that brings about clarity and conviction in others or does it just bring about tension with those who disagree? If my life is modeling the rule of love in regard to these secondary matters then that is a form of shepherding on an individual basis and from the pulpit.

Saturday, October 13, 2007


Last weekend, PawPaw and Granny took us to visit Jamestown, VA. We had a wonderful time exploring the park and visualizing history. It's incredible to live near these historic places.
Coleman and Emmie on the ferry ride.

Coleman and Emmie

We rode the ferry for the first time.

Coleman and Emmie in the 'inside' museum (where there was some AC).

Calvin trying on a costume.

Coleman's turn.

Emmie 'skinning' an animal.

Jamestown 2007

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Sovereignty of God

“Every truth that is revealed to us in God's Word is there not only for our information but also for our inspiration. The Bible has been given to us not to gratify an idle curiosity but to edify the souls of its readers. The sovereignty of God is something more than an abstract principle which explains the rationale of the divine government: it is designed as a motive for godly fear, it is made known to us for the promotion of righteous living, it is revealed in order to bring into subjection our rebellious hearts. A true recognition of God's sovereignty humbles as nothing else does or can humble, and brings the heart into lowly submission before God, causing us to relinquish our own self-will and making us delight in the perception and performance of the divine will.”

-A. W. Pink - "The Sovereignty of God"

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Has It Been That Long?

Wow! It's been a while since I've posted... I guess it's just been busy! Hopefully I'll get something substantial written sometime soon.

Until then... here's a picture of Ellerie. She's already 5 months old ... and look at those cute little curls sticking out the side of her head!