Sunday, October 21, 2007

What Should We Expect?

I saw a news article about a bill (SB 777--California) that was signed into law in California last week. On 12 October 2007, the Governor signed into law what is known as the California State Student's Bill of Rights. It is an anti-discrimination law, but it seems to most conservative analysts to be little more than liberal indoctrination of young people.

This new law will require that an individual's perceived gender is what is important--for things like which bathroom or locker room to use--regardless of that individual's actual gender at birth. Homosexuality, bisexuality, and transsexuality are all to be taught as normal. Teachers must only teach and speak of these lifestyles strictly in positive terms. No student, teacher, or staff may say anything contradictory to these lifestyles in the presence of anyone who could be perceived as representing any of these.

Analysts say the law will have a ripple effect, since California text books will likely be sold in other states with these new standards. The law goes into effect 1 January 2008. It is understood that gender specific terms such as "mom" and "dad" will now be illegal if they are spoken in the presence of a perceived homosexual, transsexual, or bisexual.

What bothers me about this new legislation is that it does not represent the massive majority in this country--or even in California! But those with Christian values, or even socially conservative non-believers represent the majority of people in this country. And here's the rub: we are all, most of us, sitting on the sideline while laws like this bring our country closer and closer to an anti-Christian society.

So what should we expect if things keep moving in this direction? Marriage will be redefined--a movement which is actually a thinly veiled, massive, subversive movement to normalize a homosexual lifestyle. Laws like SB 777 will take us one step at a time toward a society where free speech is code for "don't say anything against our politically liberal worldview, or else; and if you are a Christian, you have no right to say anything reflecting your values in public." We are not even far from a society where even in our own churches pastors will not be able to speak out against what the Bible calls evil, such as homosexuality.

We are in a society where Christianity is less and less welcomed in the public arena, and it is happening while most of us are functionally politically comatose. I only pray that God continues to use ministries like Focus on the Family Action--and that we who follow Christ will participate in our great Republic by voting for politicians who represent our values.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Pressing On

I love this photo! Benjamin has been reading books while he gets a change. :-)

Sometimes it seems like life is one challenging task after another: there is always one more daiper to change, one more book to read, one more paper to write. What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:3)?

With all of these continual responsibilities, God wants us to balance our lives so we can live with contentment: Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content (Philippians 4:11). I think the way to do this is to live, as it were, with one foot in this world and with one foot in eternity. That is, to remember that we are made in God's image, but were made for living on the earth. God created mankind on the 6th day (with animals) of creation, yet he created him in His very own image. After God did the work of creation in six days, he rested. That seventh day does not have "morning and evening" like the other six--it is an eternal day. We have to remember that if we are in Christ we are living with the toil of this world, but our true identity is with God in eternity.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Family Camping Trip to Maine

Our family vacation: a week in Bar Harbor, ME. We actually stayed at a place on the island called Mount Desert Narrows, a campground.

This Photo shows how we packed our Town & Country minivan: Canoe on top, bikes on back, everything else inside. Sadly, we never took out the canoe.

Acadia National Park is beautiful, and very family friendly. We went up Cadillac Mountain two times, but not in the morning for a sunrise. Our excuse was that it might be overcast. Also, we all needed our sleep.

But we did bike and hike all over. You can see our friends the Jaegers in this photo. We were on a hike to Otter Point. Benjamin was on my back and we kept calling out to the otters: "Orff...Orff." The Jaegers are good friends, they came up and camped at the site next to ours for three days.

Acadia has these carriage trails that run all over the place. They're perfect for modest mountain biking. Here are some other photos of our trip:

The day we biked around Eagle Lake.

Benjamin, just chillin'

Sand Beach

Atlantic Ocean, from a hike

Hunting Otters

Yes, Ben wore that sweatshirt everyday.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

...on things above

It is now the middle of our summer and our flurry of activities makes life feel more like an action movie than a country time lemonade commercial. Yet we would prefer the latter. Ahh, for a slow-paced summer.

Becca is plugging away full-time as an accountant by day and a wife/mother with all of the rest of her time. Ben is taking four classes over this summer, staying home with Benjamin during the day, part-time at the golf course, and just started as an interim preaching pastor. Benjamin hasn't lost the dream of the lemonade-commercial pace: his favorite word this past week has been "outside," which--by repeating it--has been his way of reminding us to take him outside to play as much as possible.

Our challenge in all of this is to follow these instructions in God's word:
"Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on the earth (Colossians 3:2, ESV)."
Please pray with us that we would be able to set our minds such things: Christ, His work on the cross, our hope in Him, etc.. We are so thankful for all that God has put into our lives: our little son, the ability to study here at seminary, our relationships and ministry. We wouldn't change our situation much at all, even if we could.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Whom Can You Trust?

Whatever happened to authority? It seems like our society looks on any kind of hierarchy as a passee evil. When someone is in charge it makes us uneasy. Nobody is perfect, so how can I trust anyone? We talk poorly about our leaders, as if to cut them down to a size we prefer. Just look at the lack of respect for our President. When we have a new boss, we make him prove that we should listen to what he says--even if outwardly we comply (we can question his abilities over lunch).

Sure some of our suspicion is warranted. Our world is filled with rip-off artists and people who will do whatever they have to in order to get what they want: the minivan that nearly runs you off the road because traffic isn't going fast enough; a co-worker who isn't happy at work, so she tears down your reputation, hoping it will help her situation; a therapist who decides he would rather sleep with his client than help her. We should be wise about such people, and steer clear of them! But we should also be able to recognize proper authorities--and submit to them.

I was reading Luke today and the different reactions of Zechariah and Mary to the angel Gabriel made me think about how people react to authority. Zechariah questioned God's messenger: "How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years (1:18)." The angel Gabriel didn't like Zechariah's question. Zechariah should not have talked back, but it reflects his lack of faith in Gabriel's message--a message ultimately from God.

Gabriel's response: "I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time (1:19,20)." Zechariah didn't trust this message from God. Perhaps he was afraid to believe it and wanted to protect himself. Perhaps he felt he needed to take control of the situation and was asking for Gabriel to prove the message somehow. I'm not sure why Zechariah didn't believe, but he didn't. Maybe it had something to do with Gabriel. After all, its not like God personally spoke to Zechariah.

The problem is that God doesn't speak face-to-face with most of us (like he did with Moses). God speaks through the Bible and through those who know God through the scriptures. Mary recognized the authority of Gabriel. She said, "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word (1:38)." When God spoke to Mary it was through one of his servants, Gabriel. Mary recognized Gabriel's authority: he was God's servant and she submitted to his message. Her submission to Gabriel's message was ultimately submission to God.

Recognizing authority is right. We should submit to those God has appointed over us: to government officials (a la Romans 13), to our leaders in the church (such as pastor's, teachers, elders), and our leaders in the home (parents, husbands). Not following blindly, we should discern that our authorities are serving God and then submit to them by faith.

We don't have to be in charge of everything...what a relief!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Golf and Friends

My favorite way to rest and get away from studies is to get out and play golf. I have been blessed to be able to work at a club course next to the seminary, Myopia Hunt Club. Myopia is a world-class course which has hosted four U.S. Open tournaments (the last one in 1908). I work at Myopia as a junior golf professional. My good friend Trey Burdette, also a seminary student, and I have worked together there for a while.

I played the Black course at Bethpage during the break between spring semester and my first summer class. Dan Brown and I made the trip (we also played in a tournament in NJ the day before) during our break. Dan is a great guy with whom I share several interests: pastoral ministry-especially discipleship, motorcycles (he has a Yamaha FZ-R we are fixing up), and sports (especially golf). The U.S. Open was at Bethpage a few years ago (Tiger Woods won) and will be played there again in 2009. The photo is of us on the first tee at the Black course.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Very Active Boy

If you turn your back...

for just a minute...

you might find yourself...

not looking down,...

but UP at your child!!

Happy Mother's/Father's Day!