Tuesday, December 31, 2013


We had a wonderful and relaxed Christmas Day. Stockings, Luke's Nativity account, gifts, a royal breakfast, and more gifts! The kids highlight was Cozy Sac 'beanbag' chairs. What a blast! Feliz Navidad, and happy new year to all!!!

Top Videos of 2013

We post a lot of material on this blog that is directly or indirectly related to Desiring God and John Piper. As the link below features several videos, conscience leads us to clarify our views of this ministry and this man. No one person or teacher is infallible, and we regularly follow the teachings and ministries of many anointed pastors and voices within the collective Body of Christ. Dr. Piper has, over the last decade, become a great champion of the faith in teaching believers about the sovereignty and supremacy of God. The mantra of both Piper and his ministry is: "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him". This truth has been the foundation of faith for countless millions of Christ followers, and finds it's greatest expression in the sermons and writings of the American and European Puritan pastors of 18th and 19th centuries. Jonathan Edwards said: "God is glorified not only by His glory's being seen, but by its being rejoiced in. When those that see it delight in it, God is more glorified than if they only see it." We believe a powerful movement of the Holy Spirit is afoot that is leading God's people, and most notably millions of college-age young adults, back to these foundational truths set forth in Scripture. John Piper has been a key voice within this movement. And while we thank God for him and what the Lord has done in using his brilliance and passion, we also acknowledge, along with him, that he is not to be elevated above any man. We highlight him often here because his aim is ours, "to spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things, for the joy of all peoples." 

From the Desiring God blog:

Collectively viewed more than two million times in 2013, these videos garnered attention, some for controversy, others for comfort. Some display moving song-writing, hip hop, and poetry. A couple are the compelling stories of God’s grace and power at work in believers’ lives. Several are Pastor John’s counsel for difficult questions facing millions around the world, like homosexuality, spiritual gifts, and the prosperity gospel. Because these videos have helped so many, we’ve collected them here for you at the end of another year. We pray something here will prepare you for what God is bringing your way in 2014.

“Though You Slay Me” (featuring John Piper) from Desiring God on Vimeo.

Drafted: Why Chris Norman Said No to the NFL from Desiring God on Vimeo.

The Calvinist from Desiring God on Vimeo.

What Is Speaking in Tongues? from Desiring God on Vimeo.

Lecrae Explains True Manhood from Desiring God on Vimeo.

The Story of Ian & Larissa from Desiring God on Vimeo.

Why I Abominate the Prosperity Gospel from Desiring God on Vimeo.

Why Is Homosexuality Wrong? from Desiring God on Vimeo.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Greetings from Chuck Norris

Santa Claus writes letters to Chuck Norris.

Chuck Norris once filled in for Santa Claus for Christmas. This was a terrible mistake, as Chuck Norris can only deliver two things: justice and pain.

Santa Claus goes to the mall to sit on Chuck Norris' lap.

We get presents from Santa Claus. Santa Claus gets his presents from Chuck Norris.

Sights of the Season

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Holding the Mystery

As I've made my way through life and seen the spiritual journeys of various individuals, it seems to me that many people who have grown up in the church and been indoctrinated with a certain view of God may (and often do) have a difficult time when the inevitable hard questions about God arise. This has just been my own limited observation, but it has been repeated often enough that it causes me to ask, "why is this?" I wonder if it could be that after years of learning about the nature and character of God, we so self-identify with our views of Him or our interpretation of Scripture that if anything upsets that viewpoint, we tend to experience anything from a tremor to a full-blown seismic shift in the foundation of our faith. Is this the reason that most people either never leave the faith of their upbringing, or they fall away completely if their familiar paradigm of reality gets shaken? From my vantage point, both for good and for evil, this does seem to be a major aspect of human nature. 

The irony is that our views or beliefs about God do not diminish, change or affect who God is one tiny iota. God is who He is, and it is up to us as His creation to "seek His face", regardless of how entrenched or comfortable we are in our beliefs and pre-conceived notions. God never conforms Himself to what we want or need Him to be. Rather, it is incumbent upon us all to let God lead us through the same "letting go" of our previously held ideas of Him that many of our brothers and sisters in Scripture had to endure. Simply put, God gets to define Himself to us on His own terms. And by His ordained plan, this only truly happens when we allow the Holy Spirit to speak and impress on us who God is as He comes to us through the truth of His Word. The "putting off the old man and putting on the new man" spoken of in Ephesians does not mean only putting sin to death in our lives, but also allowing God to reveal Himself to us as He truly is.

My earnest desire is for my children to grow up in God's Church and know their Creator from a very early age. We pray with them every night that God would grant them hearts of repentance and give them a holy hunger to seek out what only He can satisfy. But I also pray that, by the power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit, who alone reveals Christ to the sinner, that I will leave just enough 'breathing room' in how I herald the Gospel for them to allow for the mystery of salvation to weigh on them, so that they might seek to know God in Christ, not as I did, but as He wills that they do. 

This is a primary difference between our Abba Father, who desires an intimate, personal relationship with His children, and the other "gods" of the world, whose followers are so enslaved in their false beliefs and so threatened by anything that may upset those beliefs that they often feel the need to defend the name of their human-imagined deities with the sword. As a father, I desire that my children grow to know a God that does not need to be defended, who is not de-throned by the big, difficult questions, and whose sovereign eye looks at the nations of the world as merely "dust in the scales"; and yet who, by a mystery too wonderful to comprehend, knows their "rising up and their laying down".  This is the Almighty Abba-Jehovah of Scripture, who we cling to, because He is our Salvation and our treasure, and yet who we must simultaneously hold loosely, because He is the uncreated One, who will not be contained.   Eph. 1:16-18

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

God's Glory in Marriage

The Perfect Storm

"Our ideal, our picture, our model, is Jesus Christ. We want to become like him. We want to be shaped and molded like him. We want to be a servant like he is a servant. We want to consider others better than ourselves as he considered others better than himself, despite the fact he was God. We want to live sacrificially. We want to give joyfully. We want to lay down our lives for the good of the glory of God.

This is our self-ideal, and you will fall woefully short of it, and you will be aware that you fall woefully short of it, on repeat. Yet the grace of God and the delight of God and the justification of God in Jesus Christ anchor our hearts in this place where guilt and shame don't lead us to fear and anxiety, don't lead us to anger and abuse, don't lead us to lustful intent, but rather has an ever-increasing joy in our Father who delights in us despite us, so that when we fall short, it will actually serve to stoke the fire of delight in God.

Then we get in a perfect storm where grace feeds passion that feeds grace that feeds passion that feeds grace that feeds passion, and that's where we'll be stuck, and those are good waters to be stuck in."  -Matt Chandler

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

At the Madison Zoo

Act Like Men

Why the Act Like Men Conference Video from Harvest Bible Chapel 1 on Vimeo.


I Weep for Miley

Picking up a sub sandwich today, I saw a news report on CNN about Miley Cyrus’ performance at last night’s VMA’s. I was shocked, then sickened, then saddened.
For the rest of the day, I wondered:
What kind of people are we?
What kind of culture have we created?
What do we want our children to be?
No more wondering. Tonight, I weep.
I weep for the little girl who gave us Hannah Montana and became a role model to millions of little girls across America.
I weep for the lostness of a girl who doesn’t see herself stumbling around in the dark.
I weep for the news channels that profit from their all-day coverage of a young woman spiraling out of control.
I weep for the American Idol culture that promises glitter and gold to children, then chews them up and spits them out.
I weep for an entertainment culture that celebrates the breaking of every social taboo and the casting off of every restraint, only then to turn and mock the stars that follow suit.
I weep for a tabloid culture that finds celebrity gossip and embarrassing moments titillating.
I weep for women enslaved by a false view of sexual liberation.
I weep for men (myself included) who have failed to say, “Enough is enough.”
I weep for all the times I’ve looked at women as objects and failed to see them as someone’s sisters and daughters.
I weep for the fathers of Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Madonna, and all the family members of all the other women who feel they have to sexualize themselves to achieve success.
I weep for my five-year-old little girl, who twirls around like a princess and hugs me tight at night, when I think of the world she is growing up in, the world I will send her into.
I weep for the broken, messed-up world we live in.
But then I weep at the power of grace.
There’s Jesus, lifting the head of a woman of the night and sending her away into the light. There’s Jesus in a crowd, healing a woman desperately trying to cover the shame. There’s Jesus at the well, transforming a woman tossed aside by multiple men.
Weeping is no longer enough. Now, I pray.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Birthday Fun

Yesterday, we celebrated our little boy's 3rd birthday. After a nice birthday breakfast, we headed out to the Illinois Railway Museum and enjoyed their annual "Day Out with Thomas" event. Both kids are big fans of the Thomas the Train, and among the many things to see and do at this event, we all got to ride a full scale, 10 car passenger train pulled by the REAL Thomas! We also toured old train cars, took a separate train into the country in a 101 year-old Chicago passenger car, got Thomas tattoos, viewed old train artifacts and enjoyed the enthusiasm of thousands of other young Thomas fans. Cake and presents came late at the end of a long day, but we enjoyed every minute and went to sleep with hearts filled with gratitude. The joy we've experienced by watching Izaiah grow and thrive these last 2 years has been a blessing beyond words. As he now begins to talk and express himself in new ways every day, we echo the words of the Apostle Paul, "I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth". Blessed be His Name. Happy birthday Izaiah Qing Eugene!! Being your mommy and daddy feels too good to be true. You are a gift straight from above.