If you have the time and you're looking for something really good to chew on, check out the videos from the recent Gospel Coalition Conference, which was held in Chicago April 21-23.
Featured speakers were, among others, Tim Keller, John Piper, Mark Driscoll, Josh Harris, C.J. Mahaney and D.A. Carson. I watched Session 1 this morning... a message by Tim Keller on discerning, exposing and destroying personal, religious and cultural idols... very eye-opening, thought-provoking and challenging.
I was planning to go to the conference but ended up not being able to... I'm so glad for the technology that allows such wide access to these sorts of events.
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
There are no guarantees in this world... check that... the only guarantee is that God will never leave us or forsake us... even when - not if, when - it appears that He has, He hasn't.
A few quotes...
[The Furious Longing of God, Brennan Manning]
"Is your own personal prayer life characterized by the simplicity, childlike candor, boundless trust, and easy familiarity of a little one crawling up in Daddy's lap? An assured knowing that the daddy doesn't care if the child falls asleep, starts playing with toys, or even starts chatting with little friends, because daddy knows the child has essentially chosen to be with him for that moment? Is that the spirit of your interior prayer life?" (44)
[a simple prayer] "Abba, I belong to You." [a powerful transformation] "The greatest gift I've ever received in my life in Jesus is the Abba experience. I can only stutter and stammer about the life-changing power of the Abba encounter." (46-47)
Thursday, April 23, 2009
This is an extremely difficult post...
This past Saturday evening Nicol began to have some issues related to the pregnancy, so we immediately went to the ER. I am terribly... saddened, disappointed, sickened, distraught and stunned to tell you that she has miscarried. I don't have it in me to share with you much beyond that right now, other than to say she is doing okay physically, aside from the effects of the natural process her body must go through.
I would simply ask, as I have so many times before, that you pray for us. We really need that.
This is a bitter pill to swallow.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
You probably didn't know this about Nicol and I...
Late in the afternoon on April 16, 2003, we got in the car and drove to the county clerk's office in Williamson County (TN), applied for a marriage license, asked for a recommendation for a justice of the peace (and got one, Ms. Mary Mills, a retired school principal), drove to her home in Franklin, and exchanged our vows.
Yep, we eloped!
Tomorrow we will celebrate our 6th anniversary... so hard to believe. I definitely married above myself and I often tell people that as talented as Nicol is vocally, she is a far better wife and mother. We have certainly been through a lot together in these six years and we have faced things neither one of us ever thought possible. I'm so glad she's my wife. She's given me an amazing daughter, a precious (and terribly missed) son, and the wonderful anticipation of yet another child. What gifts. She takes me as I am, all the quirks and flaws, and she loves me anyway. She has shown strength and faith that amaze me in the wake of losing our son. She is intelligent and gifted and she's one of the most humble and compassionate people I've ever known. She's a pretty amazing woman.
Solomon said it well... He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.
Happy anniversary Scoob... I love ya... thanks for everything you've brought into my life... you are a gift!
In the very early days after we lost Luke, we received a package in the mail that included a few books dedicated to the subjects of SIDS and grieving the loss of a child. We had no idea who this package was from, but it was helpful and we appreciated it even though we were totally numb from the shock of what had just happened.
Periodically, we have received additional similar packages from the same people who sent that first one. Their names are Ladd and Stephanie Williams and they lost their son, Jacob, to SIDS in January 2007. They also have a daughter, Abigail. You can read more about them and their ministry on their website, Tiny Handprints. They have been a tremendous encouragement to us and I know they have helped many, many families throughout the country.
I'm writing to let you know that this Saturday, April 18, the Williams and Tiny Handprints will be hosting their very first fundraising event, Strides for SIDS 2009 Mom-Olympics, at The Avenue in Murfreesboro, Central Park (in Tennessee). Please click here for more details, including a description of the event, a flyer, a map and directions, and contact information in case you have questions.
Nicol and I will be there and we are looking forward to the experience!
Saturday, April 11, 2009
M286 = Matthew 28:6 = HE IS RISEN!!!
We are still in SoCal and have had a great week... in San Diego this weekend... Nicol sang at Maranatha Chapel last night and this morning... definitely a church to check out if you live here or just happen to be in the area... this is the fourth or fifth time we've been to MC in the past several years and it's always a treat to be here... the people are amazing and San Diego, well, it's pretty amazing too.
Wanted to share these videos with you from Nicol's soundcheck yesterday afternoon...
And just for fun, here's Summer trying to get the elephants' attention at the San Diego Wild Animal Park... also a phenomenal place!
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Was remembering this morning a statement that a Catholic sister made to a friend of mine some time ago...
"The problem with you Protestants is that you're in too much of a hurry to get to the resurrection and you rush right on past the cross." (or something to that effect)
A similar statement from an Easter message we heard a few years ago in Chicago...
"You can't have the resurrection without first tasting death."
The point from both of these statements draws out one of the profound both/and's of our faith... lose your life and you'll wind up finding it, find your life and you will have lost it... but dying is so, so, so difficult... or maybe it's just me?... it seems to me that we are more willing to receive the "benefits" of resurrection power than we are to embrace the death-of-our-flesh part... and I think that God in His kindness understands... Jesus certainly seems to: "Father, if You are willing, take this cup from Me; yet not My will but Yours be done." (Luke 22:42)
And so He died...
Don't rush past the cross.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
We are in SoCal for the week...
Here's a pic of Summer, taken on Sunday (Apr 5) at the Crystal Cathedral. Nicol was singing there and Summer just HAD to have her make-up done like Mommy. Debbie, CC's make-up artist for the past 27 years, was kind enough to take the time to put a little lipgloss on her. She thought she was pretty big stuff! :-)
We had a great experience at CC. The people there are fantastic... everyone we met and spent time with was incredibly welcoming, humble, helpful and accommodating. Nicol and I did a brief interview with Dr. Schuller and then she sang "Resurrection." If you happen to catch the service on TV or the web, you will see Summer make a couple of grand entrances onto the stage... I'll leave it at that and let you see for yourself... she was pretty cute.
We spent yesterday (Monday) at DisneyLand and it was a lot of fun to see Summer there. We took her the last time we were out here, in October 2007, but she was probably too young at the time to really enjoy it (I think it was probably more fun for us) and she was certainly not old enough to remember anything about it. I got a bunch of pics and videos this time and will post some here when I get them downloaded.
By the way, Nicol is feeling good... not sure if I've already asked for this, but one of the things we have been praying for is a pregnancy that does not include severe nausea... with Summer and Luke she was sick 24/7 until about 18 weeks... ugh.
Thank you for praying.