Westport Vacation!

This past week, we were blessed to stay at our friend’s beach house in Westport, WA (really Grayland – just outside of Westport.)  We had an awesome time.  It was the longest vacation that we’ve ever taken with the boys.  For the first couple of days, the weather was nice – so we had no problem hanging out at the beach, running from waves (which, sad to say, I haven’t done since I was a kid), making sand castles, and the like.  We were also able to ride their scooters that they had sitting in their garage.  That was the highlight for the boys (and me).  The remaining three days were cloudy, windy, and rainy – but we still managed to get to the beach every day.  The boys did great (as always) and we were all able to enjoy each other’s company and build some lasting memories.  It is such a blessing to witness the fruit of all the hard work of consistantly disciplining our boys so that we can really have a blast with them, rather than loath the time we have together. 
 
Pictures will be coming soon!

Perspective

My good friend sent me this blog.  I don’t know who wrote this, but I think he’s spot on.
 
 

Posted: 17 Sep 2008 03:56 PM CDT

Justin Taylor interviewed David Kotter about the struggling economy and especially about the events of the last few days. Though I am sure some of his comments could be debated, he gives a simple explanation to what is going on. His final word on the matter is the most helpful:

For believers, this is just one more reason to "not love the world or the things in the world" which is "passing away along with its desires" (1 John 2:15, 16). In Louisville we have been without electricity since Sunday, and it makes me increasingly grateful that our God is independent and powerful enough to accomplish his good will every moment. Lighting candles each night reminds me that I am not!

Although it will be harder to obtain aggressive mortgages, Christians who are practicing prudent financial stewardship (modest houses, large down payments, monthly payments easily within their means, diligent participation in the work force) should not have much problem. Everyone will want to verify that their savings account is government insured, but believers with a generous "wartime mindset" should have no trouble keeping their bank accounts under $100,000 FDIC limit. Above all, don’t be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor what you will wear. Remember that journalists, markets, and lemmings tend to move in herds. The media never reports on thousands of planes that land safely, but solely focuses on one that doesn’t. In that light, if you are saving for retirement more than 10 years from now, this actually would be a good time to invest in the stock market. But don’t let your IRA be a substitute god or distract you from treasuring Jesus Christ (Matthew 6:24-34).

Read the whole thing.

Sending Missionaries to Minneapolis?

This article is amazing.  I had to share it.  Again, this is from the Desiring God website – home of John Piper.
 
 

The Great Commission in Reverse?

Posted: 14 Sep 2008 06:58 AM CDT

(Author: John Piper)

Taken from the August/September Ministry Opportunities booklet from Bethlehem Baptist Church, here is a taste of what globalization means for us:

In 2002, the Brookings Institute named the Twin Cities one of the top 10 "Gateway Cities" for new immigrants and refugees; in 2004, Minnesota was the #3 state for the same (and #1 per capita).

According to Dr. John Mayer, director of CityVision, Minneapolis/St. Paul is now home to the largest Somali and Hmong populations in the U.S., as well as the largest Chinese student population (University of Minnesota). The Phillips neighborhood, home to Bethlehem’s Downtown Campus, is the most diverse neighborhood in the country, with more than 100 different languages.

Did you know . . .

  • the light rail system sells tickets in four different languages?
  • Nicollet Avenue’s "Eat Street" has 75 ethnic restaurants in a six-block area?
  • Maple Grove is home to the largest Hindu temple in North America?…

"The Great Commission is now in reverse," says Mayer. "People are coming here from all over the world."

 
Even in our own area.  Have you stopped to think about how many different nationalities are represented?  I see more Russian, African, Eastern European, Asian, and Indian people now than ever in my lifetime.  What if we were actually intentional about reaching these people groups here in or own neighborhoods?  What if their families back home heard the gospel in their war torn, poverty stricken, food deprived, crime ridden villages?  What if real hope was possible for these people?  The truth is that real hope and joy is possible … and for some reason, God uses us to spread the word. 
 
"For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’  How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?  And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’"  Romans 10:13-15

The First Day of School Jitters

Today Austin and Caleb start their first day of "school".  Alright, so it’s our version of school.  They’re going to a homeschool co-op of sorts, where they’ll be with other kids from K – 1st grade every Tuesday from 9am-2pm and they’ll cover math and science, language arts, along with some "extra curricular" studies of either spanish or art. 
 
Caleb is really excited (at least he was last night when he went to bed) while Austin is a bit anxious about the big day.  While Caleb has always tended to be the more outgoing and social of our boys, Austin has tended to follow after his father’s social anxiety.  I remember all too well the over-whelming feelings I’d routinely experience as the first day of school (or anything new really) would approach.  Meeting new people, going somewhere I wasn’t familiar with, and just not being sure of what to expect made for a rough day for me.  I see the same uncertainty in Austin.  I know that once he gets used to his surroundings and settles into a routine, he’ll have a blast. 
 
And the clincher is that since Dawn’s in charge of MOPS on Tuesdays, I’m the one taking them to their school!  Just like when I’ve taken them to their first basketball and baseball practices, I’m sure I’ll get to re-live all those wonderful feelings of my first day.  I’ll try to keep my composure and pray that Austin keeps his.
 
 
I’ll let you know how we do…

Uncool

Some of you may already have seen this, it’s a few days old now.  But, it’s a blog from Desiring God (John Piper) and it’s alarming. To say the least.
 
 

Desiring God Blog

Slavery in Haiti

Posted: 08 Sep 2008 03:06 AM CDT

(Author: John Piper)

It is a good thing that people from all ideologies are talking about the horrors of human trafficking. Don’t let the "trendiness" of it dampen your indignation. If a liberal champions a good cause woe to conservatives who put their head in the sand.

Doug Nichols has been on the cutting edge of caring for street children since before some of you were born. He is one of my heroes. As Founder of Action International, Doug draws my attention to child slavery in Haiti. The children are called restavéks (stay-withs).

He writes: "Let me share a few paragraphs from the recent book A Crime So Monstrous, by Benjamin Skinner:

…[Slaves] are everywhere. Assuming that this is your first trip to Haiti, you won’t be able to identify them. But to a lower-middle-class Haitian, their status is ‘written in blood.’ Some are as young as three or four years old. But they’ll always be the small ones, even if they’re older. The average fifteen-year-old child slave is 1.5 inches shorter and 40 pounds lighter than the average free fifteen-year-old. They may have burns from cooking for their overseer’s family over an open fire; or scars from beatings, sometimes in public, with the martinet, electrical cables, or wood switches. They wear faded, outsized castoffs, and walk barefoot, in sandals or, if they are lucky, oversized shoes…

[Y]ou may see their tiny necks and delicate skulls straining as they tote five-gallon buckets of water on their heads while navigating broken glass and shattered roads.

These are the restavéks, the ‘stay-withs,’ (child slaves) as they are euphemistically known in Creole. Forced, unpaid, they work from before dawn until deep night. The violence in their lives is unyielding. These are the children who won’t look into your eyes. (-6)

Nationwide the number of restavéks ballooned from 109,000 in 1992 to 300,000, or one in ten Haitian children, in 1998, to 400,000 in 2002." (7)

 

Our Jacob is 4 Today!!

It’s true… Today is Jacob’s Fourth Birthday.  It’s both a fun day and a bit of a sad one.  The fun we have planned includes going to a Mariner’s game as a family for the first time.  Someone who doesn’t even go to our church "randomly" (there’s no such thing as "random"… because "God causes all things…" Romans 8:28) dropped off 4 tickets to the game.  So, since Jakey and Micah are so small, we don’t have to buy them tickets – which makes the day even more fun!  We’re going to keep it all a secret from the boys until we get there… it’ll be awesome!! 
 
The sad part comes in as I realize that – contrary to my wishes – these boys are growing up.  Our Jakey-Bakey is supposed to always be the little boy that hates being around other people, and loves to sing and dance all day long.  And, while he does still LOVE to sing and dance all day (he regularly leads the family in a mini-worship service nearly each day I’m at work) he’s actually starting to like other people now!  He’s the one at parks that will play with other kids, and he’s the one yesterday at the first day of MOPS that was eager to go into the "big boy" class UNDER THE CHAPEL with teachers he doesn’t know and kids he’s never seen before and he didn’t even shed a tear!  Even when he saw me helping out with gym time, he had no problem going right back into his class when it was time for his class to leave.  I couldn’t believe it!  But, in all seriousness – we couldn’t be prouder of him.  He now requires the least discipline of all the boys.  He’s quick to share EVERYTHING with EVERYONE, and he’s working hard at memorizing the 10 Commandments with his brothers.  And we love him. 
 
So, Happy Birthday, Jakey!  And, STOP GROWING UP!