Wednesday, July 21, 2010

For the mama's

An encouraging word for moms .... especially moms of little littles.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Grace-Driven Effort Defined

First of all, I want to clarify something. My previous post about the van, and God taking care of us, and all that .......

Lest you think I only see the hand of God when it works out all peachy as the van scenario did, let me correct you. There have been more than many times in my life (more than I can speak of in the last 2 years alone) that life hasn't turned out as well as our not-so-coincidental van story. There have been moments, days, weeks, months and even years that in other life scenarios, I've found myself ..... well .... stuck in the middle of Nebraska, over 100,000 miles, with no rescue vehicle, and $8000 short. And you know what ? Ever single one of those moments, I would still say God's hand was mightily on. I would still say I serve a really big God who cares about my really small life. I wanted to tell that story about the van because I am not known for finding the "silver lining". I'm usually the one kicking and screaming and whining and complaining all the way to the feet of Jesus where He graciously accepts me just the same. He gave me the grace to accept life as it came that day, and I thank Him for that.

That being said ..... what I really wanted to blog about was another post I wrote a few back. Remember that D.A. Carson quote I put up ? I'm not even going to link to it. I'm going to write it out again. (No I'm not. I'm going to cut and paste it.) Keep reading after it though ... I have more to say this time. (Go figure.)

D.A. Carson writes:
People do not drift toward holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; we drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; we drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated.


Aaron is a big fan of Matt Chandler. He's the Pastor at The Village Church in Dallas, TX. If you've never listened to him preach, now's your chance. He has a 3 part series based on this quote! (I link to all 3 sermons at the end of this post.) Aaron was able to hear one of them live this summer in our travels. Me ? I just enjoyed them on a nice long bike ride with my iPod in my ears. I can't even begin to recommend these enough. I'm on round 2 and 3 of listening to them. Here's why .....

There were a couple of things that Matt Chandler (or is it Pastor Chandler ? I dunno.) referenced that hooked me immediately. Granted, I listened to them out of order, so you may listen to it and not hear it right away. Keep listening just the same.

Hook ) He talked about how often we as humans wrestle with the same sin struggle over and over and over. Why is that ? He explains how it is due to us "training" our sin rather than "killing it". "Murdering it", I believe were his words.

Line ) He talked a lot about how we pit sin against sin. In other words, using his example, we pit the sin of fear and anxiety against the sin of control and manipulation and put God's name on it. We pit the sin of fear and anxiety against the sin of control and manipulation and put God's name on it. (No, that wasn't a typo that I just wrote the same sentence twice. I wanted you to read it twice, and I figured you wouldn't if I just told you to.) The problem with this, is that both are sin and both lead to death. WOW !

And Sinker ) All three messages ooze with what "grace-driven effort" looks like.

It has taken this sinful heart a while to realize that I do not drift toward holiness. Praise God for the grace to drive.

Here's the links. You can get them off iTunes if you'd rather.
Part 1: Grace Driven Effort
Part 2: When Violence Is Okay
Part 3: Three Streams

Friday, July 9, 2010

Coincidence ? I think not.

We recently went to Nebraska for an extended trip. On the way home, the van was running pretty rough. We thought it could be the intense heat out on the Nebraska (and CO) plains. I remember pulling off the Interstate onto the Highway telling Aaron that the van was not happy with us.

We made it almost home and my bladder couldn't take another second. I had to pee ! (You didn't see that coming as the next sentence, did you ?) So we stopped at the Library that is a mile from our house so I could use the restroom. (Yes, I really couldn't have made it that one more mile.) Pulling out of the Library, the van decided it had had enough. It just quit. We thought it had overheated, we hoped the gas gage was wrong and we were truly on E. We sat. We waited. It wouldn't start. We called some friends who graciously came to lend a hand. We loaded up the kids and got them home. We went back with a gas can. Still no luck. It was official, the van was dead. So we called a tow truck. (Mind you, we still had a car top carrier full of suitcases, plus an entire van full of more luggage, toys, pillows, day old Subway trash, and everything else that comes with an 8 hour car ride with 6 people inside the van.)

It's a holiday weekend so once towed, we find out they wouldn't get to the car until the following Tuesday. (This happened on a Friday.) We begin praying for our warranty to cover whatever the problem was. Kia vehicles come with a warranty of 100,000 miles. We had ended our trip at 99,889 miles !

Now .... I don't know about you ... but I don't really believe in coincidence. I believe in a God. A really big God who orchestrates my life. A God who cares about the silliest of details.

We could have been stranded in the middle of nowhere. Instead we made it safely to a mile away from home where help was easy to attain. We could have gone over 100,000 miles on that trip (thus leaving us with no warranty), but we didn't, thanks to the handful of times we decided to use my parents car instead of the van. We could have come home to no vehicle to use, but instead, had several families willing to lend us a spare car. Kia could have told us they wouldn't cover the expense of the repair (b/c we haven't been the most faithful at keeping up with scheduled maintenance). They didn't. Praise God !

Turns out, the water pump clogged up, which then shredded the timing belt, which destroyed the engine. (Or something like that.) $8000 to rebuild our poor van's engine. And yes, it's all being covered! I serve a really big God who cares about my really small life.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Mr. Bean

At dinner tonight, Malachi appeared to be "digging for gold". You know. Up his nose. He started gagging a little bit, so I told him to get his finger out of his nose. Aaron and I started joking about our next status updating on Facebook saying : "You know you have long fingers when you make yourself gag while picking your nose." haha, right ?

A couple of hours later, Malachi came to tell me that he had a bean up his nose. A bean?
"You mean, a booger ?"
"No, a bean", he said.

I couldn't see one, but he seemed pretty determined that there truly was a bean up there. He even tried to tell Aaron. Neither of us believed him. I just thought his allergies were bad and he had a stuffed up nose. So I stuck him in the bath to clear out his sinuses. It worked.

I was trying to help him blow his nose, and I got a sneeze instead. Sure enough .... out flew a bean! (It was actually a pea, but he says a bean.) Ewe !!!!!

He may be mischievous, but he's no liar.

(Oh, and I tried my best to keep the video G rated .... he was in the bath during said event though.)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Baby Britton Blurb

For some reason, in Omaha, just about every other house has an American Flag hanging proudly out front. While it doesn't seem that this should be a strange sight, I guess it is. We just don't see it often in the Boulder area for some reason. I wouldn't have noticed this were it not for Sam ......

Sam - "Why does everyone in Omaha have the American flag hanging in their front yards?"
Aaron - "Because they are proud to be Americans, and they want to show it." (Of which I snidely remarked under my breath - "Yes, they're equally proud to be Nebraskans with all the Husker stuff displayed everywhere." seriously - it's disgusting.)
Sam - "Well are WEEEEE proud to be Americans?"
Aaron - "Yes"

long thoughtful pause by Sam.......

Sam (very matter of fact states) - "Well then we should get a flag."

Perhaps we shall. (And I won't even disgrace our flag by hanging it next to an even bigger Husker flag.)

We ARE proud to be Americans. I don't think about it enough. Maybe displaying a flag will help.