Thursday, April 27, 2006

Ra De Eepeen

We have returned to Nearly, Canada from our Southern journeys. Ezra enjoyed riding the airplane (or "ra de eepeen"). He ate PEZ off of the floor, filled his diaper and drank ginger-ale out of a sippy cup but most of all he enjoyed looking out the window at the little cars ("lodo carz"). I wasn't about to explain to him that it was our altitude of 30,000 feet that made the cars look little.

Monday, April 24, 2006

The Meaningless Mighty Mud?

oThere are several aspects of parenting that I thoroughly enjoy - some aspects I expected and some are surprises. Yesterday evening Kirsten and I drove the boys down to the Mississippi River in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. As Kirsten held Asher, Ezra and I collected rocks to throw into the river. As Ezra hurled rocks into the river and laughed as each one ker-plunked into the muddy mess, Kirsten and I discussed the joys of children. Why is it so enjoyable to watch a child throw rocks into a dirty river? I don't know that we came to any conclusions but we did smile and thank God for our boys.

Solomon says that everything is meaningless (or passing away). He states in Ecclesiastes 1:7

All streams flow into the sea,
yet the sea is never full.
To the place the streams come from,
there they return again.

How could he say this is meaningless? He obviously never watched his boys throw rocks into the river because if he did he would have certainly known that this was not meaningless. Sure, rivers may constantly flow into the sea but that is not the only purpose. One of the main purposes of the river is to catch all of the rocks that are thrown from the hands of little boys. That is not meaningless.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Big City

The Family of Blacks flew to St. Louis this morning. Ezra enjoyed the ride on the "eepeene."

I forgot how much I missed city life. I went back to the Starbucks I managed and had coffee with the current manager (who was once an employee of mine). As I drove to Starbucks I noticed several other things that I have missed since living in Nearly, Canada.

1. There are leaves on the trees in April.
2. There are flowering trees (in April).
3. There are flowers (in April).
4. The grass is green (in April).
5. People are outside in something other than quilted down parkas (in April).
6. There are more than 7 radio stations.
7. There are more than 7 restaurants.
8. There are several Mexican restaurants.
9. Eight-lane highways.
10. Outdoor seating at cafes (in April).

I am content in Nearly, Canada. We have made a home there but we still miss the city. God is good - even in Nearly, Canada.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Modesty...Honestly? - Part 6

In October of 2005 Between Two Worlds posted a link to a sermon by C.J. Mahaney entitled "The Soul of Modesty." In this sermon Mahaney communicates the need for modesty in a loving yet straightforward manner.

Click below to listen to the sermon.

The Soul of Modesty (direct link to mp3)

The Soul of Modesty (link to Between Two Worlds where this sermon as well as 9 others by Mahaney are available)

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Modesty...Honestly? - Part 4

In a recent post series entitled "Fashion and Following the Savior" - the ladies at Girl Talk discuss the issue of modest dress. In part 3 of this series they ask "How can we know if pride is our fashion style of choice?" They respond with three arrogant desires that can often motivate the way we dress. I will only list number three in its entirety.

1. A desire to be selfish.

2. A desire to show off.

3. A desire to seduce.
This is the most serious of the three. While many women who choose immodest clothing aren’t literally trying to seduce a guy, in it’s infancy, there can be a desire for that lustful attention. We want to feel attractive and desirable. However, this is sinful, and a particularly virulent form of pride. It’s says: I’m worthy of the kind of attention that’s forbidden in God’s Word. It tempts men to sin against God’s holiness. If these three proud desires—to be selfish, show off and seduce—are lurking in our hearts, we must first admit to the ugly truth. Then we must repent and receive the forgiveness that comes only through Christ. And we must purpose to put on humility—first in our hearts, and then in our dress. For if immodesty is an expression of pride, then modesty is humility expressed in dress.

So how about you? Are you wearing humility today?

If you are interested in seeing the entire post click here.

Modesty...Honestly? - Part 3

Speaking about 1 Timothy 2:9, John F. Mac Arthur says,

How does a woman discern the sometimes fine line between proper dress and dressing to be the center of attention? The answer starts in the intent of the heart. A woman should examine her motives and goals for the way she dresses. Is her intent to show the grace and beauty of womanhood? Is it to show her love and devotion to her husband and his goodness to her? Is it to reveal a humble heart devoted to worshiping God? Or is it to call attention to herself, and flaunt her wealth and beauty? Or worse, to attempt to allure men sexually? A woman who focuses on worshiping God will consider carefully how she is dressed, because her heart will dictate her wardrobe and appearance.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Modesty...Honestly? - Part 2

This is another excerpt from Modesty Matters by Pam Hardy (read the entire manuscript here)

The great old Puritan preacher Richard Baxter said this, “You must not lay a stumbling block in their way nor blow up the fire of their lust. You must walk among sinful persons as you would with a candle among straw or gunpowder. Or else you may see the flame which you did not foresee when it is too late to quench it.” (A Christian Directory in Baxter’s Practical Works Vol. 1)

If there is anything in your dress that is sensual or suggestive you are inviting the men around you to go some where in their imaginations where they should not go. The sad reality today is that many times a man doesn’t even have to use that much imagination, because so much is already revealed.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Modesty...Honestly? - Part 1

The tundra is beginning to melt away in Nearly, Canada and the people have come out of their igloos. Yesterday the temperatures soared to a balmy 60 degrees and with the warm weather the warm weather clothing comes out of the wardrobe.

Yesterday I strapped on my running sneakers and headed to the out-of-doors to pound the pavement. As I ran I noticed that I was not the only one with this idea. There were many people of many shapes and sizes out and about. I noticed that the majority of clothing (especially women's clothing) is not made for comfort but for fashion. You cannot tell me that skin-tight anything is comfortable (or fashionable, in my opinion). As I ran I began to think about a conversation that occurred in our church last summer. The teaching pastor had a very frank discussion during the Sunday School hour about modesty in clothing. Later that week he gave those in the congregation the manuscript of a lecture presented to women at a well-known church in California. The lecture was entitled Modesty Matters (the full manuscript can be viewed here).

Over the next few days I will post a few key points from this manuscript. Again, this was a lecture presented to women by a woman. This instruction is not coming from me - although if I was a woman (and I am not) I would certainly speak these same truths.

We, as Christian women, should look different from the world. What does it tell us in Romans 12, verse 1, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God…and do not be conformed to this world” [Romans 12:1-2]. We are not to dress like the women of the world, but we are to be “transformed.” The women of the world don’t know any better. When I go to the mall I don’t expect to see modesty, but when I come to church I do. But I am sad to say that too many times, when you see a group of girls
standing around, there is very little difference in dress between those who profess to know Christ and those who don’t.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Front Door or Side Door?

I just finished reading Ministries of Mercy by Timothy J. Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian Church. I highly recommend the book for a great perspective on reaching out to the needy.

In one of the final chapters of the book he recognizes two categories of outreach that a church can have.

...A front-door church has cetripetal force, drawing non-Christians in by attraction. In a front-door church, the main emphasis is on programs and methods of getting non-Christians to come to worship services. It is after they come that evangelism, follow-up, and nurture can occur.

A "side-door" church, however, has centrifugal force, sending its members out to contact the non-Christians in the community through various ministries. The unbeliever is ministered to and (often) evangelized outside the church services, and only later does the prospect come into the church services for further evangelism and/or nurture and follow-up.

You may know my bent...what is yours?

Conjoined quintuplets

This story is taken from a respected Peep research facility.

"One of the great mysteries of the Peep species is that these creatures are always born as conjoined quintuplets. Some scientists have theorized that this arrangement, much like pack behavior in other species, serves as a natural protection against predators. As evidence, note that Peeps are most often consumed by predators only after they have been separated from their siblings. Conversely, Peeps which remain attached to their siblings are rarely preyed

Nevertheless, as Peeps integrate into modern society, there is no ethical reason they should be denied the benefits of individualism, freed from the bonds of their sticky, marshmallow kin.
We thus applied the advances of modern medicine to attempt this miracle separation of these 5 brave volunteers. "

(click here see phases 1-6 of the surgery)

Friday, April 07, 2006

Pigs Flew

Congrats to my friend Bryan who recently convinced his wife that every real family either has a dog or wants a dog.

Pot Calling Kettle will begin a "name the dog" contest today. Any suggestions should be left in the comments section of this post. The winner will be announced early next week. After the winner is announced Bryan and Leslie will be notified about the name of their dog.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Congrats to Jon & Charlene

Abigail Marisela entered the world at 5:36am, 4/4/06. This is the best newborn picture I have seen. I am a bit upset that I didn't think of something so creative. I guess I will have to wait until our next one. Congratualtions to the Kever's. (See more pictures here)

Words Ezra does not understand

In December I listed all of the words our son had learned to say. It is now April and it seems that Ezra is learning at least one new word a day. Every day Kirsten and I are amazed at the words he says and every day we are reminded that we need to be careful of what we say. His brain is a sponge ready to soak in any word he hears. Our friends and family members do not understand everything he says but we know exactly what he means when he says "bot bon bock" (walk around the block). Ezra has a unique language and only a handfull of words that are understood by those outside of our immediate family. Ezra is one fun kid and I am enjoying being a father more and more every day.

All of that being said...there are a few words that Ezra does not understand. As much as we try to explain these words to Ezra, he just does not understand. Below, I will list these words and use them contextually in an example sentence.

1. later
"Ezra, we will play with your trucks later."
2. soon
"Soon we will go for a walk around the block."
3. maybe
"Maybe we could play with your trucks."
4. tomorrow
"Amy's puppy is coming over to play tomorrow."
5. Saturday
"We will go to swim lessons on Saturday."
6. wait
"Ezra, please wait for daddy to finish pouring your juice before you move the cup."
7. whisper
"Ezra, the baby is sleeping. Please whisper."
8. probably
"We will probably play with your trucks."
9. just a minute
"Just a minute Ezra. Daddy is talking to on the phone."
10. after your nap
"After your nap we can play with your trucks."

Even though Kirsten and I use these sentences multiple times a day, Ezra does not understand the meaning of any of these words. We will continue working with him until he fully comprehends. Please let us know if any of you have suggestions on how to effectively teach these words.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Is Jesus a penguin?

Thanks to Rick I. for the heads up on a new discovery.

Many of us know that the New Testament speaks of Jesus walking on water. A Florida university professor believes that it was not a miracle at all. Jesus walked on a floating piece of ice.
(continue reading)

Pigs are flying

Bryan may get a puppy soon. Leslie said so. No take-backs.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The history of Martin and Martin

On April 4th, 1507 the future German reformer Martin Luther, at age 21, was ordained a priest in the Roman Catholic church. He would later argue against the practices of the Catholic church.

Just after 6 p.m. on April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. is fatally shot while standing on the balcony outside his second-story room at the Motel Lorraine in Memphis, Tennessee. He was 39 years young.

Sunday, April 02, 2006