Tuesday, January 31, 2006

On our way

We are slowly but surely on our way to a completed web site. There are now new pictures of our boys on the site. There are also some links to video.


Monday, January 30, 2006

It is well

Thursday morning I received a phone call that changed my life. A family from the church had a 3 month old little boy die in his sleep at home. I rushed to the hospital with much fear - not knowing what to say in a situation such as this. I cannot imagine the grief they must be facing as they are now without their little boy. This tragic event has rocked the church family and ultimately given God glory.
The funeral was held this morning and the gospel was clearly presented to hundreds of mourning listeners. At the end of the service we stood and sang It is Well with My Soul. What assurance!

When peace like a river attendeth my way
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot Thou has taught me to say
It is well it is well with my soul

Though Satan should buffet though trials should come
Let this blest assurance control
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate
And hath shed His own blood for my soul

My sin oh the bliss of this gorious thought
My sin not in part but the whole
Is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more
Praise the Lord praise the Lord O my soul

And Lord haste the day when the faith shall be sight
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll
The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend
Even so it is well with my soul

It is well it is well with my soul
It is well it is well with my soul

Friday, January 27, 2006

The long awaited moment

Well friends the time has come. It is a momentous occasion. It is something we as Americans will never forget. This is like sliced bread, the automobile, electricity, short pants and easy bake ovens. We have been waiting for this moment for a long time. I can't even describe the feelings we have as a family about this event. It's like the first man on the moon. Words cannot contain it!

Asher's Umbilical Cord

Thursday, January 26, 2006

A Listen Down Memory Lane

Last evening I hopped in my car to travel to the church for a meeting. I was surfing through the dial on the radio when I happened upon the "chunk ke chunk ke chunk" of Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana. I stopped the dial there and listened to the screamings of Kurt. I parked my car in my normal parking space at church, turned off the car and listened to the entire song. It was a listen down memory lane.
After my meeting I walked across the dark parking lot singing "...with the lights out, it's less dangerous..." I turned the key to start my car and the memories continued. Eddie was belting out words to Evenflow. What a good evening of memories from the early 90's. Thanks Kurt and Eddie.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Lessons Learned

What makes a good teacher? I have often thought about the great teachers I had in high school, college and graduate school. The one thing they all have in common is their ability to tell stories. In high school I had a history teacher who kept my attention because he often taught history in the form of a story. He personified the historical figures and acted as if he were in their shoes. In college one of my favorite professors also had the knack of telling phenomenal stories. Not every story had a purpose but many of the stories he told fit right into the lesson plan of the day. In graduate school I had a professor that not only told great stories but also acted out parts of stories with a variety of voices for different characters. The ability to tell a good story is engaging for the audience and aids the listener in their understanding of the concepts being taught.

There are many cults and religions that do not claim the deity of Jesus. They say he was just a good teacher. I read Matthew 18 today and realize that these cults and religions are absolutely half right. Jesus was an astounding teacher. The half they are leaving out is the fact that he is also God.

In Matthew 18 there are stories of children, amputated limbs, sheep, kings and slaves. Unlike my college professor Jesus had a purpose for his stories. In the case of Matthew 18 Jesus discusses humility, describes the seriousness of sin, explains the love of our heavenly Father and challenges believers to forgive - all through the use of stories. He was a good teacher!

I wonder why we don't discuss such deep issues in the form of stories?

There once was a man who came home from work to his beautiful wife. She was in the kitchen whippin' up some good eats and looking mighty beautiful. She turned to the man and said, "dearest husband, let me remind you that the apples are ripe for pickin' and the law states that the apples must be harvested before sundown. Not only that my dearest husband but it is not safe to have the apple tree dropping apples - especially now that we have two young children." She was so beautiful that the man gazed at her beauty for many minutes. He gazed and gazed and gazed until finally the wife had to remind the man of his task at hand. The man nodded in agreement and as he nodded her beauty caught his eye one more time. He could not help but to gaze at her beauty once more. Yet again, the wife reminded the husband of the law of harvested apples. The wife was so beautiful that the husband did not want to take his eyes off of her even though the apples were ripe for pickin.' It was not that the man did not want to pick the apples, but that he would have rather gazed upon the beauty of his wife.

This is not how the husband should respond to his loving wife when she asks him to remove the dog poo from the back yard. He should not procrastinate nor make excuses for his laziness for this is not pleasing to the wife.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Home sweet home

I am a proud new father so you have to bare with all of the pictures. I don't have our web site up and running yet so this is where I will post pictures.
Ezra holding Asher, Clive licking Asher, Kirsten monitoring the situation
Ezra with new John Deere tractor

Daddy with Asher at home

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

First Pictures

Mommy with brothers Ezra & Asher
Daddy & Asher
Mommy with AsherMommy's first look at Asher
Ezra more interested in window and 70's curtain
Our boy Asher Tobias

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Asher Tobias Black

We praise God for the safe and healthy delivery of Asher Tobias Black. Mother and baby are doing well.

Asher - blessed
Tob(ias) - good

Psalm 34:8 Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!

January 16th, 2006
10:34 PM (1 month early)
7 pounds 3 ounces19 inches

Friday, January 13, 2006

Up, up and away

Yesterday I journeyed by plane from North Dakota (yes, there's an airport) to Chicago. On the first leg of the trip I sat next to a 40 year old man called Terry from Willliston, ND. He was flying to Minneapolis to catch a connecting flight to Vegas. He was headed toward a weekend with high school buddies to, in his words, "drink lots of beer and stay up late." I wondered, Terry does your mom know about this? Anyway, the small talk ensued. "Where ya from?" "What brought ya here?" "Where ya goin'?" "Why?" I explained to Terry that I was going to Chicago to speak at a retreat for a high school youth group. I also explained that I now work at a church in ND. I could tell he knew nothing of church so I kept our discussion mostly on the small talk. After a bit of silence he turned to me with a puzzled look and asked, "so...are you like the church manager or supervisor?" I don't know that I had ever heard of that position but I was certain that if there was such a profession it would most certainly be held by God Himself. Trips by plane in America are interesting places for one hour conversations.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Anniversaries - Red and Yellow, Black and White

V&K - 6 Years

J & C - 7 Years

K & L - 1 Year

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

We are no longer strangers...or...

As of January 1st I now have North Dakota plates on my car. I suppose I am now a resident of ND. Many states have plain license plates because they have not invested the money it would take to have something creative printed for all to see. Someone has spent some creative energy to come up with the North Dakotan landscape design for our plates. Unfortunately, most of the plate is sky because that's about as scenic as it gets. Near the bottom of the landscape you see (if you squint) a few bumps and a lone buffalo. Notice, however, that the buffalo is larger than the bumps in the horizon. That buffalo has been drawn to scale.

There were two other events that happened this week that indicate we are now residents of North Dakota.

On Monday it was 24 degrees and there was a dusting of fresh snow on the streets and sidewalks. I came home from work and rushed to lace up my running shoes. It was finally warm enough to go for a run. You may not think that is all that strange - but, I also took Ezra and Clive with me. I strapped Ezra into his stroller and away we went. Ezra enjoys riding in his stroller much more than Clive enjoys running beside me. Clive has put on some winter weight and has not been running for quite some time. The outside temperature was below freezing and I thought that was fine weather to take my year and a half old son running. We are no longer strangers.

On Tuesday morning I was driving to work at 8:17 AM and it was still pitch dark outside. As I drove I listened to 'Morning Edition' on NPR. It was interrupted by a weather bulletin advising drivers of freezing fog. Neither the blackness of the sky nor the freezing fog crossed my mind as strange - we are no longer strangers...or maybe we are strangers but we fit right in here in North Dakota.