This will be a short post.
3 Things to Remember
1. God is in control. We forget this too often and panic. We think the world is going to hell in a handbasket and the truth that nothing happens apart from the will of God is lost to us too often. But God is in control. God is not taken by surprise. God is not in the dark, wondering what will happen next. God remains God, and he does as he pleases. We have to be willing to admit, like it or not, that God has chosen, in His providence and sovereignty, to allow/ordain all events in the world around us. The need to wrestle with that and come to grips with that truth is incredibly important for our spiritual maturity and growth.
2. The early church faced much bigger problems than we are facing today and FLOURISHED. Let us consider their ways and figure out how to have a better impact on the world around us. Early Christians were burned at the stake, eaten by wild animals in the view of thousands of cheering fans in the Rome Colosseum, and used as human torches to illuminate the night. And what was the result of their faithfulness and commitment to God? Gigantic church growth. In the face of intense persecution the church flourished because the world looked at them and saw what they were willing to endure for the sake of God and was forced to ask, "Why? Why would anyone go through that for something that was just 'made up' or had no evidence to support?"
3. How we respond will dictate the effectiveness of our witness. Do we want to be taken seriously as Christians? We have to fight against the Westboro Baptist image of Christianity portrayed in the media. Too many people believe that Westboro Baptist and other "Christian" hate groups are proclaiming that which all other Christians believe. We must be prepared to love all the more, be kind and gracious all the more, seek to foster close and genuiune relationships with those of the homosexual community, and be respectful in our disagreements. We must overcome the stereotypes created about who we are, who God is, and what Christianity is all about.
Remember: "Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins." - 1 Peter 4:8
Anything else we should remember? Leave a comment and share your thoughts!
Do We Actually Know What We're Talking About?
Yesterday was a day for the history books. Minnesota became the 12th state to recognize and legalize gay marriage, sending a wave of excitement through many, and disappointment through many others.
Social media erupted with strongly opinionated posts either rejoicing or lamenting the Senate vote. Those social media posts inevitably led to debates and heated arguments, with both sides usually taking pot shots or low blows at each other. Sadly, it was rare to see a sane, intelligent argument.
Reading through the Christian chatter on Facebook was particularly frustrating. The frustration came mostly because both sides really don't know what they are arguing for or against most of the time. The sad reality is that the two sides usually break down into one of two completely arguments:
* Christian Pro-Gay Marriage Argument: "Marriage should be allowed for any two people who love each other because that's the basis for marriage: love between people. God wants us to be happy and wouldn't create people with the desire to marry the same sex unless it was okay. The Bible says nothing against gay marriage."
* Christian Anti-Gay Marriage Argument: "The Bible says its wrong, so that's what I believe."
Clearly, that may be an oversimplification of the arguments. But I think that gets at the heart of the arguments. Please correct me if I'm wrong. My main issue is not the arguments themselves. You are free to hold either argument. My main problem is that it seems that far too many people have their opinions with absolutely no evidence to support it, or weak arguments at best.
* Rebuttals against the Christian Pro-Gay Marriage Argument: If the basis for marriage should be love alone, why? Who makes that decision? Whose personal beliefs trump all others to reach that conclusion? God wants us to be happy? Prove it. God wouldn't create us with the desires to marry the same sex unless it was okay? Prove it. The Bible says nothing against gay marriage? Respond in an intelligent and educated manner to the people who will point out 4-6 Bible passages and themes that seem to say otherwise in addition to the many theologians and scholars who clearly disagree with you.
* Rebuttals against the Christian Anti-Gay Marriage Argument: If the Bible says it is wrong for gays to marry, why do so many theologians and scholars disagree with you on that opinion, using the same Bible you have? Isn't our context different than the contexts of the ancient people written to and about in Scripture? Shouldn't our understanding of the Bible adapt with the times? Isn't it outdated? Why would God create people with the desire to be gay if it was wrong? Respond in an educated and intelligent manner to those questions.
What's the Point?
Obviously, if you've read my blog before, you know where I stand. But what frustrates me more than people disagreeing with my position is people disagreeing with my position with no real evidence or support. We all have a personal responsibility to know what we believe and why. Our culture, society and future hinges, to a fairly large degree, on educated people making educated decisions. It scares me to death to know that people make big, national decisions based significantly on feelings or uneducated opinions. When those people vote, the repercussions are enormous, and can be disastrous.
Our culture and society hinges, to a fairly large degree, on educated people making educated decisions.
Research. Know the arguments for both sides. Come to grips with why you believe what you believe and what support exists for it. Realize the weaknesses of your side and where you might be relying more on faith or opinion than actual facts. That is my challenge to you and me. When we can dialogue with one another in an intelligent, educated and respectful manner, we may make strides forward in not only this debate, but many others. But when our opinions are ill-informed and even based more on emotion than facts, we are a detriment not only to our own arguments, but also to the future of our culture and society.
For More On The Topic of Homosexuality...
"One can think of the Kingdom of society of God as comprised of persons living out roles to which God has called them. Here it is useful to refurbish the old (but often misunderstood) language of vocation. Nowadays the word 'vocation' often means 'career.' But it has another, richer meaning: 'the set of roles and tasks to which one has been called by God.' On this picture of ethics, the ideal is a community of persons each doing their God-intended part (or living out the role to which God has called them). To find one's vocation is to find both fulfillment and, in an important sense, to find oneself."
- Readings In Christian Ethics, Edited by David K. Clark and Robert V. Rakestraw, page 33.
If you skimmed the quote above, please read it again, and slowly. Maybe even cut and paste it and print it out to stick on your refridgerator. That quote radically changed my understanding of vocation.
I hope it does the same for you.
My main encouragement to you is this...whether you are a doctor, baker, pastor, contruction worker, teacher, manager at Burger King, janitor, etc., your "set of roles and tasks to which [you] have been called" is what your "vocation" is; it is what you have been called to do. What you're passionate about, what you're gifted in doing, what excites you and gives you purpose in life...that is your vocation
. Your vocation is not so much about what job
you work, but rather what God has instilled in your heart as an ongoing passion.
This all ties in rather nicely with spiritual gifts, and why people of all backgrounds and "day jobs" can actually having a vocation quite different than their daily lives may indicate. For example, I truly believe that my wife has gifts in pastoral care and ministry. She is a stay-at-home mom right now. But I have no doubt that her vocation is to be a "pastor" to people, particularly women, even when her job title might not make that obvious. Even for those who ascribe to a complimentarian
understanding of male and female roles (like myself) can embrace this understanding. It solves a lot of problems that can sometimes be caused by saying things like, "Woman aren't biblically allowed to be pastors." At a job
level, I concur. Scripture indicates that men are to be the church leaders who hold the title
of pastor. But women are fully able to not only have
pastoral gifts, but also exercise
them in daily life.
So what are your spiritual gifts? What is your vocation? What are the things that God has given you as ongoing passions, things that make you "tick" and get you out of bed every day? Embrace those things, and seek out more opportunities to exercise them on an increasing basis. Own them. Do them. They are your calling. They are your vocation.
"To find one's vocation is to find both fulfillment and, in an important sense, to find oneself."
Can we just take a moment to appreciate the humorously similar characteristics shared between Pastor Doug Wilson and the "Good Intentions Axe Murderer" meme?
I promise, there's a tie-in here somewhere.
Doug Wilson writes,
We have lost the heart of masculinity, and all we had left over were the residual badges from the last cultural era that assigned them. As time went on, it became easier and easier to make fun of the badges as entirely capricious. Why should men take out the garbage? Ho ho ho...why can't women open their own car doors? But when a man opens the car door for his wife, he is doing far more than just getting the door open...
...he is disciplining his own heart and soul, which need it, and he is honoring his wife, who is glorified by it. The role of a man here, if we may speak this way,is not just to get the door open. His central role is the liturgical act of saying that women everywhere should be held in honor by men, and that he adds his amen to this, as everyone in the parking lot at Costco can now see. (Father Hunger, pg. 45-46 - Advance Reader's Copy)
...I told you there was a tie-in.
Put simply, Pastor Wilson is reminding us that the act of holding the door means far more than merely making it convenient for a lady to pass through without dirtying her white gloves. Men everywhere honor women by the simple act of opening the door for them, an act that says, "Although we may not even know each other, I honor and respect you."
Clearly, honoring and respecting women everywhere is not limited to merely door opening. Holding the elevator, carrying her tray to the lunch room, taking out the garbage, etc., all can have similar sentiments embedded within them. Just recently I was picking up ice cream for my wife and I from a local ice cream parlor, and as I walked from my car I noticed a young woman struggling to carry her several bags of groceries up the icy walkway to her house. Ashamedly, I looked away and continued walking a few steps. But then something pricked my conscience. I turned, walked back and offered her a hand. She was clearly caught off guard, and politely refused. I offered again, assuring her that it was no trouble. She smiled meekly and agreed. After carrying her goods to her front door, I continued on my way.
Why is such a little gesture so seldom seen in our culture today? Why was it easier for me to initially walk away? And why was she so caught off guard?
Men, we are failing. As a culture, we are not holding the door open for chivalry anymore. We don't make opportunities to honor women around us. We don't seek them out, and we don't take advantage of them enough when they are right before our eyes.
Would feminist "I-don't-need-a-man" movements and egalitarian/complimentarian fights be lessened if men simply stepped up and acted like men by honoring and respecting women in everyday life? Would domestic abuse and the rampant addiction of pornography be lessened as men view women as gifts to be cherished? Perhaps. Perhaps not. Certainly the solution is greater than merely opening doors more often.
But could it be a start? Yes. I truly think it could be. Men, join with me in seeking out opportunities to honor and respect the women around us more intentionally on a daily basis. Women, join us in this endeavor by encouraging and thanking us when we do, and by playfully reminding us when we miss opportunities.
How have you experienced the decline in chivalry? What do you think has led to that?
A friend recently told me a word of wisdom from a renowned Christian counselor. The quote was, paraphrased, "The Evangelical Church can be one of the most dangerous places for a sinner to be."
Why did he say that? Well, it was in response to how churches handle sin or suspected sin with their pastors. Many times these pastors are interrogated, publically humiliated and disgraced, and fed to the wolves (who, sadly, are many times also in certain levels of church leadership).
A pastor is not immune from sin. A pastor is a human being, saved by grace, and is in a constant state of growth and struggle against the flesh, just like the rest of us. Yet, in the name of "living above reproach" or "being an example", pastors can get treated brutally by potentially well-meaning but misguided churches. Is it true that large-scale sin can have far-reaching effects and harm congregations? Absolutely. Are pastors held to a higher standard? Absolutely. But often it seems like people are just waiting for a pastor to screw up so they can jump on him and tear him to pieces. Is it because we all just like drama or a good fight? Is it because we want to make ourselves feel better about our own sin? I sure hope not. But it happens, time and again.
"A pastor is a human being, saved by grace, and is in a constant state of growth and struggle against the flesh, just like the rest of us."
So why did this counselor say that the Evangelical Church is one of the most dangerous places for a person to be? It seems like I'm making the argument that it is a dangerous place for pastors to be, but how does it apply to the rest of us?
The Evangelical Church is dangerous because when the flock sees their leader fed to the wolves, it makes them much less likely open up and admit their own sins and needs. How we treat our pastors will speak to the rest of the congregation about how we will treat them. Are they safe to admit sin? Are they part a community who seeks to conquer sin and restore the fallen? Or are they part of a community that cares more about appearances and seeks to kick struggling and very human pastors to the curb?
How we handle the sins of our pastors will tell our congregations how we will handle their sins.
And, often times, what we demonstrate is a surprising lack of understanding the humanness of our pastors and the Gospel message itself.
All that being said, where do we draw the line between forgiving/restoring a pastor after sin vs. removing him from the congregation to protect the flock?
"God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world." - C.S. Lewis
We have an aversion to pain. I suppose it makes sense. Pain hurts. We don't want to hurt. We pull our hands away from fire, take medication for our headaches, try to sleep through stomach cramps, etc. Some of us flee from close relationships before we get hurt, choosing solitude rather than the potential for pain. In every area in life, we flee from pain, and sometimes even the possibility of it.
There are some branches of "Christianity" (I put this in quotations because I do not believe it to be legitimate) that claim that when you turn to Christ, your pain will go away. Promises of freedom from pain, worry, defeat, anguish, loss, heartache, and stress lure in the weak and lost. They cling to a cross that they believe will save them from all that berates their souls, battering them like a wild, untamed ocean.
The problem with clinging to that version of the cross and the Gospel message is that it is not only unrealistic, but it is wholly unbiblical.
So what does the Bible say about the pain of this life?
- The pain we face is necessary in this life as we are prepared by God for the next (Acts 14:22; James 1:2-3; 1 Peter 1:6)
- The pain you face is not unique to you. God is bigger than your pain and knows how to save you, which he will do in his perfect timing (John 16:33; 1 Cor. 10:13; 1 Peter 4:2)
- Because our pain is necessary and God will surely save us after he's used it to bring us closer to Him, we can and should rejoice when we are suffering (Romans 5:2-5, 12:12; Phil. 4:6-7)
So don't lose heart. Don't even fight the pain. I don't know if you like to work out and lift weights, but if you have or know anything about exercise you know that pain is part of the process. Pain is proof that your training is actually accomplishing something. You don't want it, but you persevere through it and push forward, knowing that the end result is worth it.
"So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day."
2 Corinithians 4:16
Friends, that is the point. When life is easy, it is easy to forget God. When life is hard, it's hard to forget Him. Pain forces us to turn our proud eyes to heaven and admit our weakness and need for God. Is the pain you face now the voice of God, shouting to rouse you from self-reliance, selfishness, and self-centeredness? When our ears are too deaf to hear him in the peace of life, the struggles will come and be used as God's megaphone to awaken us to our need for Him, our need to seek His face.
“If tribulation is a necessary element in redemption, we must anticipate that it will never cease till God sees the world to be either redeemed or no further redeemable.”
C.S. Lewis (The Problem of Pain)
"We know that there is a black and stormy river called "Death." God bids us cross it, promising to be with us. And, after death, what cometh? What wonder-world will open upon our astonished sight? What scene of glory will be unfolded to our view? No traveller has ever returned to tell." - C.H. Spurgeon
I'm dying. I'm dying, and there's nothing I can do about it. Every day is a step closer to death. I don't fear it; I don't think I do, at least. But I certainly don't think about it. It is scarcely a thought. I live as though it isn't a reality.
As I grew up I remember hearing older adults say things about reckless youth, like, "He lives like he's invincible." These youth would, of course, be the ones making poor decisions like those decisions would never catch up with them, like nothing they would do would have lasting effects. Now I realize that most of us, including myself, live as reckless youth. We live as though we are definitely going to be here tomorrow. We live as though we'll always have the time to follow through on our word, to do the things we've always wanted to do, to do the things we know we're meant to do. Most of all, we live like we'll always have time to change
how we live.
Yesterday I was reading a short devotional by Charles Spurgeon. The intro quote above is from that book, "Morning and Evening."
I read that and instantly dropped the book and spent several minutes in shocked disbelief. I am dying.
Death is not something ethereal, far away in the future, that has nothing to do with me. Death is not a conceptual or hypothetical reality. Death is coming. Death is coming, and it's coming for me.
I just don't live like I believe that. In the span of eternity, my brief sojourn on earth is but a speck of time. It is, as Scripture calls it, a mist that appears briefly and fades away.
"...yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes." - James 4:14
I struggle with chasing things that won't matter in the long run. If I'm a vapor, a mist, that will one day vanish, what kind of legacy am I leaving? What will I be remembered for? Will I be remembered as the guy who built a substantial fortune in business? Will I be an excellent entrepeneur? Will I have a nice house? Will I have that perfect closet of clothes?
Friend, WE ARE DYING. Let's live like it. Let us today commit to living like that's true. Let's spend our time chasing after that which has true value in God's eyes. Mentor a new believer. Roll around in the grass with your children. Go on date nights with your spouse. Have the difficult conversations that you've been putting off with that non-Christian friend. Sell all you have and move to a nation far away to do missions work. Move your family across the country to take that job that pays less but gives you the time to invest in others. Call your neighbor and invite his family over for dinner and get to know them in the hope that you'll be able to share the Gospel. Stop going home and watching hours of TV or reading the latest news on your iPad when you and the world around is dying.
It is amazing how prioritizing your life becomes much easier when we think like that. Live like you're dying, because you are. Yet, that isn't the end. This short life, where we can either choose to live for ourselves or for God, is not the end. I'll leave you with a quote from C.S. Lewis about that very thing.
Friends, WE ARE DYING. Let's live like it...Stop going home and watching hours of TV or reading the latest news on your iPad when you and the world around is dying."
“It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilization—these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendours.”
C.S. Lewis (Weight of Glory)
"Be still, and know that I am God..."
I work 40 hours a week, teach 3 students piano lessons every other week, do hours of homework for my Masters degree, and just became the groundskeeper for my apartment building. Additionally, I go to small group, stay involved with playing and/or leading music at a variety of churches, and spend several hours with my wife and baby as well (sadly, sometimes they come last, just like in this sentence). Needless to say, my life is very busy.
I had a phone call with a friend recently, and I lamented, sorrowfully, "I just don't have time for God."
Wait, did I really admit that? I just don't have time for God. Something's gotta give. I wonder how many of you feel the same. With jobs, school, family, ministry, and all the other pressures of life, where do we squeeze in God?
I lamented... "I just don't have time for God."
Along the same lines, I had coffee with my wife on a mid-day date last week (with some of the worst coffee we've ever had, I might add), and I almost teared up as I reminisced about the days when I could spend hours in the presence of God, digging into Scripture and spending lengthy time in prayer. That was the year between undergrad and graduate school. No wife, no child, no job, no school...all the time in the world to sit at the feet of Jesus, so to speak.
This morning I was reminded of that powerfully convicting verse, Psalm 46:10, which begins by saying, "Be still, and know that I am God." Be STILL. We cannot know God without spending time with him. We cannot spend time with him without being still. Hasty prayers while driving in a hectic morning commute, a quick "Daily Bread" reading, saying grace before meals...none of it counts. We'd never treat our families like that and expect a close relationship. We'd never tell our spouses, "I'll talk to you while I do 14 other things. Hopefully that's good enough for you." We'd never tell our children, "Sure, I can play with you, as long as you can do it with me while I balance the checkbook."
So why do we invest in so many things other than God? Why do we spend our time chasing after the created rather than the Creator?
"Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth."
That convicting verse powerfully continues, "I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." God is going to get the glory. He is going to be worshipped. But will it be by us? Will we turn our backs to our Redeemer to chase after things that are fleeting, after vapors?
A Final Challenge
How long will we ignore the LORD Almighty? What will we do to ensure that God is not just part of our lives, but that he is our life? How will we ensure that we never have to tearfully tell God, "I'm sorry, I just don't have time for you?" How? I'm seriously asking, because for almost four years I've cried out to God, trying to figure that out.
Leave your ideas or thoughts in the comments section below. Let's start a dialogue. I need support. I bet you probably do, too.
In the fight beside you,
How have you kept your relationship with God first in your life? How have you failed? Victories, failures, let's share together and encourage one another.
Leave a comment here!
We all need accountability. We are not made to go through this life alone. But something has always bothered me about most of the accountbility groups I've seen. I didn't know how to articulate the negative feelings that surrounded them, but they were real, and I couldn't shake them.
Well fortunately for inarticulate me, Tullian Tchividjian, well-respected author and pastor, put my feelings on paper. A friend was gracious enough to send me this article that Tullian wrote a while back, and I now pass it on to you. I hope you find it insightful. Leave your thoughts in the comments below. I'd love to know what your opinions are after reading it.
A Barrier To Honesty
Why I Can't Stand 'Accountability Groups'
Written by Tullian Tchividjian | Sunday, September 30, 2012
One of the chief vehicles for dishonesty in my own life has been my involvement in “accountability groups.”
For those who have been spared them, an “accountability group” is a single-sex small-group Bible study on steroids. A group of friends arrange for a time each week to get together, ostensibly to encourage one another by upholding standards of personal righteousness in a confidential context. Instead, the members spend most of the time picking each other apart, uncovering layer after layer after layer of sin in a coercive and sometimes even competitive fashion. You confess your sin to your friends and they to you, and at first it’s a relief. Light shines into dark corners, and you pray honestly for the first time in ages. You may even find yourself a bit less drawn to whatever behavior brought you to the group in the
As the weeks wear on and you find that your victory was more short lived than you had initially hoped, perhaps you start to embellish or hold back in order to concoct some narrative of improvement. Or perhaps you remain entirely truthful, but your friends begin to doubt your sincerity. Soon nothing is enough; no matter what you unveil, they look for you to uncover something deeper, darker, and more embarrassing than what you’ve already shared. You start to embellish in the other direction–making things seem worse than they are to satisfy the probing inquisitiveness of your friends. Eventually everyone is investigating one another, and no one is telling the truth.
Well, I can’t stand those groups!
Setting aside the obvious objection that Christ settled all our accounts, once for all, such groups inevitably start with the narcissistic presupposition that Christianity is all about cleaning up and doing your part. These groups focus primarily (in my experience, almost exclusively) on our sin, and not on our Savior. Because of this, they breed self-righteousness, guilt, and the almost irresistible temptation to pretend, or to be less than honest. Little or no attention is given to the gospel. There’s no reminder of what Christ has done for our sin—cleansing us from its guilt and power—and of the resources that are already ours by virtue of our union with Him. These groups thrive, either intentionally or not, on a “do more, try harder” moralism that robs us of the joy and freedom Jesus paid dearly to secure for us.
When the goal becomes conquering our sin instead of soaking in the conquest of our Savior, we actually begin to shrink spiritually. Sinclair Ferguson rightly pointed this out:
Those who have almost forgotten about their own spirituality because their focus is so exclusively on their union with Jesus Christ and what He has accomplished are those who are growing and exhibiting fruitfulness. Historically speaking, whenever the piety of a particular group is focused on OUR spirituality that piety will eventually exhaust itself on its own resources. Only where our piety forgets about itself and focuses on Jesus Christ will our piety [be] nourished by the ongoing resources the Spirit brings to us from the source of all true piety, our Lord Jesus Christ.
The tragic irony in all of this is that when we focus so strongly on our need to get better, we actually get worse. We become even more neurotic and self-absorbed. Preoccupation with our guilt (instead of God’s grace) makes us increasingly self-centered and morbidly introspective. And what is Original Sin if not a preoccupation with ourselves?
Make no mistake, we need loving friends to point out ways in which we’re settling for less–we need the help of our community to help us see our idols and the various ways that we are trusting in something or someone smaller than Jesus to satisfy our deepest longings and needs. But what needs to be ultimately rooted out and attacked is the sin underneath my sins which is not immoral behavior but immoral belief—faith in my own moral and spiritual “progress,” rather than in the One who died to atone for my lack of progress.
Listen carefully: Christianity is not first and foremost about our behavior, our obedience, our response, and our daily victory over sin—as important as all these are. It is not first and foremost about us at all–it is first and foremost about Jesus! It is about His person; His substitutionary work; His incarnation, life, death, resurrection, ascension, and promised return. We are justified—and sanctified—by grace alone through faith alone in the finished work of Christ alone. Even now, the banner under which Christians live reads, “It is finished.” Everything we need, and everything we look for in things smaller than Jesus, is already ours in Christ.
So I’m all for accountability–but a certain kind. The accountability we really need is the kind that corrects our natural tendency to dwell on me—my obedience (or lack thereof ), my performance (good or bad), my holiness— instead of on Christ and His obedience, His performance, and His holiness for me. It sometimes seems that we can’t help ourselves from turning the good news of God’s grace into a narcissistic program of self-improvement. We try to turn grace into law, in other words. We need to be held accountable for that!
The gravitational pull of conditionality is so strong, our hard-wiring for law so ingrained, that we need real friends to remind us of the good news every day. In fact, our lives depend on it! So instead of trying to fix one another, perhaps we might try “stirring one another up to love and good deeds” by daily reminding one another, in humble love, of the riches we already possess in Christ. Original blog post here.
So perhaps one-on-one is better?
Or maybe not? Do we run into this problem with one-on-one accountability, too? If we do, is there any point in accountability at all? Perhaps you've experienced the very thing that Tullian is talking about in his article. I know where I stand on the issue, but I'd love to chat with you about it. So leave a comment, and let's get the conversation going!
Fatherhood at last!
I have been honored to experience many of you repeatedly asking about my little baby boy, and I wanted to give a little update. Jameson Daniel Onyshuk was born at 10:37am on October 13, 2012!
THE SHORT STORY
No one knows what to expect with the moment you're told, "We have to go to the hospital. I think it's time." I had just returned home after working and participating in a Minneapolis table tennis tournament (no jokes). I walked in the door, and my wife and mother-in-law greeted me and explained that Carica (my wife) had been experiencing stronger contractions all day long. They were getting to the point where she was no longer able to walk or talk through them. So an hour later, around 10:30pm, we arrived at the hospital.
We stayed the night, where she peacefully delighted in her epidural, after suffering through 4 hours of labor prior to receiving it. Early the next morning the nurses informed us that our little boy would be born quite soon, and that we should be prepared at any moment.
About 10:15am the nurse assigned to us told Carica to begin pushing, and then things went crazy. Since this is our first child, they estimated that the whole birth event should last over an hour. The hospital non-nonchalantly called our doctor to tell her to make her way in to deliver the baby. The doctor was only 20 minutes away, so the nurse continued to assist my wife in making headway (pun intended) in delivery. But only 10 minutes into pushing, the nurse nervously called for the doctor on call at the hospital. As he calmly entered the room, his eyes widened and he blurted out, "Well that baby's coming now!"
Five minutes later, Jameson basically flew into the world. Moments later, I took the picture that you see above as the main photo. I don't know if you can tell, but the kid was strong. He pushed his chest up and lifted his head and looked straight at me as I gazed at him, tears filling my eyes. If you don't know much about newborns, you should know that he should not be able to have enough strength to do that for quite some time. Pretty impressive, if I do say so myself.
I never understood the obsession of parents with dozens of pictures of the their kids, bursting out of their wallets. Now I do. And since this is 2012 and things are digital now, please enjoy (or pretend to enjoy!) the brief album below!
Anyway, I appreciate the prayers and congrats that we have received! Knowing that people around the world are praying for us and keeping us in their thoughts because of their relationship with us and through this blog is very humbling. We thank you.
More on Parenting and Living With Intentionality