Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Rev. Chadwick Oring Anderson

When I was 16 years old, in 1998, I mentioned to my youth pastor that I felt a call to full time ministry. He assisted me in beginning that journey within the accountability of the church by getting my local ministers license at Lansing South Church of the Nazarene.
I attended college at Olivet Nazarene University, earning a degree in Youth Ministry. Pastoring full time for two years in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; I received my District Ministers' License. I continued towards ordination.

We moved to be closer to family, and in that transition God has led us to the Free Methodist Church, where we have found a new home and church family. My District Credentials were transferred, and I had a few classes to take, to ensure my Wesleyan/Biblical backgrounds were there. Passing those classes (all A's!!!), and putting in three years of full time ministry, I was approved for ordination in the Free Methodist Church.

And so, on June 27th, 2009, it happened...

And so it has begun anew...

To all who have been a part of this journey, are a current part, or will be involved down the road....thanks. :) To our family and close friends. To those who have influenced me in ministry (all probably should have "Rev." or "Dr." or some other title in front of them): Cal Kring, Don Weston, Stephen Campbell, Harold Demott, Dan Boone, Kevin Donoho, Dale Wine, George Wolff, Timothy Carter, Michael Jackson, Greg Groves, Roy Abbott, and no doubt countless others who are now offended I didn't mention you.

Looking forward to the Kingdom that is, and is to come...

Monday, June 29, 2009

Awe-Full People

My first official sermon as a Reverend...enjoy listening. :)

Saturday, June 27, 2009

June 27th, 2009

"All persons who belong to Jesus Christ are called to minister his reconciling work through the Church. But to lead the Church, our Lord calls particular believers to shepherd the people, teach doctrine, administer the sacraments and keep order...

..God calls men and women, bu the Church examines them so as to confirm the presence of spiritual gifts and personal graces...

..When people are set apart for this leadership responsibility, they are ordained by the laying on of hands. Paul remembered this moment in his counsel to Timothy when he said: "I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands" (2 Tim. 1:6 RSV).

Whether elders serve as pastors, teachers, missionaries, chaplains or in unique combinations of these vocations, they provide Spirit-filled leadership. In fulfilling the Great Commandment to love the Lord our God and to love others, and in fulfilling the Great Commission to go into all the world to make disciples, elders are God's gift to the Church.

Pastoral leadership focuses on developing healthy biblical communities of holy people. These communities multiply disciples, mentor leaders, create new groups and plant new churches. Such Spirit-filled leadership requires vision and courage to move people to obey the Word of God and increase His church.

Rooted in a deep love for Christ and sharing his compassion for people, Free Methodist elders help create congregations that are fervent in prayer, enthusiastic in worship, holy in lifestyle, insistent for justice, caring for the poor, and reaching out locally and globally to bring all people into relationship with Jesus Christ."

- Book of Discipline, FMC

Thursday, June 25, 2009

yes?

"Psychiatrist David Burns notes that is is not another person's compliment or approval that makes us feel good; rather, it is OUR belief that there is validity to the compliment." - From "The Life You've Always Wanted" by John Ortberg.

He gives a quick illustration of someone from a psychiatric ward rushing up to you and saying God revealed to him the 13th person he sees is incredible special. You're that 13 person, so you are so very special.

Would your self esteem rise much? Probably not.

Moving towards ordination over the past 6 years has had thoughts like this running through my brain. I believe that God can work through ordination in unexplainable and Spirit-sourced ways. But why does it matter who ordains/how it's done? Why do I consider it important that an entire denomination collectively says "yes" to the work God is accomplishing through me?

The answer in this regard would be, my belief in what God has done/is doing through the Free Methodist Church. I have gained tremendous respect/reverence for the history/location/future of this group of God's people. The roots in Kingdom building, caring for the poor and social injustice, while not neglecting Holiness and salvation from sin itself, have drawn me in since the start. The size and polity of the denomination, have continued to echo that same draw.

I believe that while no denomination is perfect, and even debating about which ones have "more right" than others doesn't often help much, I have felt both drawn by and led to what seems to be a great fit. A "home" of sorts, even. I love this church.

Granted....I love the Church even more.

But in the next few days I will take this relationship to the next level, both submitting to and being privileged by ordination within this denomination. The blessing, and the accountability for the journey together offers more than I can imagine, and I look forward to it...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Transformers = Fallen?

I don't often go to the movie theater. Mainly because of the cost, and then the cost of a babysitter. So when I go, I tell myself the movie either:

1. Must have INCREDIBLE special effects.

2. Be a VERY important movie. (Based on a great literary work of some sort, or sequel of another important movie)

3. Be a movie that my wife wants to go to.

If it doesn't mean at least one of these criteria, I don't go.

I'm a youth pastor. Hanging out with teens is a part of my job. So I thought about possibly going to see Transformers with some of them next week. But I want to be careful what I seem to support. I hopped on "Focus on the Family's" movie review site (which is overly conservative usually, so if they like something I know it's safe)

Here are a few of their final thoughts:

"The film's emotional moments felt forced, and its themes of sacrifice insincere. While some films use CGI to set up a story, Transformers reverses the process: It uses a half-hearted story as an excuse to string together some cool special effects....But a much bigger issue than the film's cinematic failure, for our purposes, is it's level of crassness and sexual content....

Film critic Marshall Fine put it this way: "This is what we've come to: movies based on cartoons that were marketing tools for toys." He also noted, "It's hard to exaggerate what a depressing mess of a film this misbegotten monstrosity is. More depressing still, it will attract lemming-like multitudes to multiplexes this weekend, further convincing [director Michael] Bay of his own genius." "

I've not gone to see it...based on this review, I'm considering seeing it in theater still simply for the fact that besides the special effects, there doesn't seem like any reason to see the movie; and special effects are always best on a big screen....not a dvd at home. If you saw it...what did you think?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

wings.

So a few random updates for Redwings fans who don't read Detroit online news sources:

1. Chris Chelios will not be offered anymore contracted years with the Wings. After 10 years with Detroit, at the age of 47, Chelios says he still doesn't plan on retiring. He'll address media later this week, but will probably try and offer himself to some other NHL team. Wow. As it stands, he's the second oldest NHL player ever, behind Gordie Howe who retired at age 52. Five more years, Cheli. Congrats on an incredible decade of hockey, and God be with you and your health/joy of the game wherever you end up this season. You will be in the hall of fame, for sure.

2. Steve Yzerman will be inducted into the NHL Hall of Fame, on November 9th, 2009 in Toronto. Kudos to Yzerman. I agree with the article linked above, that there was definitely an "Yzerman Era" for the Redwings. I'd even go so far as to link it to generational talk, such as "Baby Boomers", "Generation X-ers", etc. I am a part of the "Generation Yzerman".

3. Brett Lebda is still signed on with the Wings for another couple years. You may wonder, "why do I care about Lebda?". My only response is...keep watching the Redwings. :)

4. It sounds like they're making retaining Marian Hossa a top priority, possibly even offering him a 10 year, $40 Million deal. Also in that article, they need to decide whether to keep Ty Conklin or Jimmy Howard as backup goalie. Ty Conklin becomes a free agent in July, but Howard isn't allowed to stay in the minor league beyond this past year...having spent his allotted time there.


So yeah....keep watching this site for details, as many things HAVE to be decided in the next couple weeks. :)

Monday, June 22, 2009

fond of fondue?

At one point in college (circa 2002), while I was still trying to woo my future wife, I was searching for a spontaneous "thing" for us to do together. I hopped online, and began searching possibilities in the Chicago area. I decided heck, I'm trying to be romantic....why not just google "most romantic, restaurant, chicago" and see what happens?

So I did.

The result? I took Sarah to a random "fondue restaurant" in the Lincoln Park area named "Geja's Cafe" We'd both heard of fondue before. It was that thing where you dip various foods in some melted cheese, and then after dinner you dip other random things in chocolate. It's fun to do, but a mess to clean up/prepare for. So I was looking forward to this. She was surprised, as we walked down the stairs to enter this dimly lit, seemingly packed against fire-code, but still ridiculously great atmosphered restaurant with flaminco guitars playing and candles lit. BINGO. This was it.

The menu was/is pretty expensive. But when you're in college, wooing the woman you want to convince to spend forever with you....no price is too high. We ordered an all inclusive dinner for two (appetizers, salads, dinner, dessert, drinks), and began to enjoy the cheese fondue as it came. Finally, dinner time arrived.

As our waiter brought a giant tray of RAW meat to our table, we became a bit confused. (it was our first fondue experience) We didn't know you actually cook the meat piece by piece in flavored oil. But the dinner was amazing. Bite sized pieces of awesome quality steak, chicken, and seafood; with a TON of options for sauce dipping. You savor every piece, and have plenty of time for conversation. The chocolate fondue for dessert was every bit as good as the rest.

So why post a blog about this now, that seems to be an advertisement for the place? If you live near Chicago, and have the ability to go out without children - you NEED to eat here. Seriously. Best meal ever. And June 28th-July 4th they are celebrating 44 years, by giving you 44% off your food bill!!

So if you can go...go. But if not, at least now you know a place to take someone you're wooing in the Chicago area. (a place in the Chicago area, not the person you're wooing from the Chicago area, as if you have mutiple people you're wooing in different areas.)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

in the hood.

Three years ago today, I stood in the midst of change. I had just begun my new position as full time youth pastor at Moundford Free Methodist Church, after spending over a year in sales and part time ministry. We were expecting our first child, a daughter, who was to arrive in August of 2006. We were excited to finally begin "arriving" in many ways, at a new stage in our life together as the Anderson family. We didn't know what to expect in many ways, and were not completely sure what was still in store for us.


Here we are, three years later. We have three incredible daughters, who continue to teach us just as much as we could ever teach them. Sure, there are rough days and nights. Soft cries in the middle of the night yield to tantrums over a shared toy. Yellow poop and spit-up turn into giant messes and vomit.

But that's not all.

Because baby giggles transform into waves of childish laughter. Rolling over turns into dancing in circles around the living room. Standing for the first time grows into jumping on daddy's belly.

Saying "ah yuv yoo" knowing it makes mommy and daddy smile, turns into saying "I Love You" - and understanding that it means something pretty special. Knowing daddy and mommy love you in return, and you are part of something safe and incredibly dear to us.

I know this day is primarily about recognizing fathers, and how great we are.
I won't deny my family that opportunity. :)

But I also think it's a great day to pause, and be enormously thankful for the experience of fatherhood I've been granted. I pray it continues to lead me towards God in many new and unpredictable ways...

Friday, June 19, 2009

randomness: June 2009 edition

For the sake of concise blogging, here are a few random updates that would have each been a bit too short for their own post:

1. A friend was at the zoo in Indy with their family. They overheard the woman near them call her son "Wick". They commented on the name, and asked the woman where she got it. The woman then told her the story of going into labor DURING WHEEL OF FORTUNE, where she joked with her husband that if "that guy" won, they'd name their son after him. Well....I won. :) I now have a Hoosier named after me. Woot.

2. I'm FINALLY GETTING ORDAINED!! That's right, after 4 years of school, and over 6 years of active ministry and a few more classes to top it off......next Saturday, June 27th at 9am at the Greenville Free Methodist Church. You're invited to come and hoot and holler (or wear a tie and pray fervently over me) - however you're inclined to celebrate. :)

3. I finally watched the movie "Sleeping Beauty" in its entirety for the first time. One would assume I'd already seen such a Disney Classic at some point in my lifetime. I assumed the same thing. Until I started it for Addie, I realized I knew the basic premise of the story, but had never watched it. My opinion? I'm a bit offended.
For over two years now, my life has begun to dive into the depths of that "pink aisle" in every stores' toy section. You know about it. If you have sons, or no children, you probably cringe a little when you see it out of the corner of your eye, and keep walking. That's what I used to do. Now, it's our favorite aisle.
I've learned a bit about every toy marketed to young girls. A large portion of which, have been "princess" themed dolls and their paraphernalia lately. Names being inconsequential, the characters are often reduced to the two-year old language of "Blue Princess", "Pink Princess", "Yellow Princess", etc. We all know almost without thinking:

Blue Princess = Cinderella
Pink Princess = Sleeping Beauty
Yellow Princess = Belle (from Beauty and the Beast)

But I will now expose Walt Disney for the scam that he is. Ready for this? Cinderella wears a WHITE dress to the ball. It only LOOKS blue in a few scenes, because of the lighting. Now that you're either crying on the floor, or at least seated, I have another whammy for you...

Sleeping Beauty wears a BLUE dress for MOST of the movie! (gasp)
The fairies are fighting over what color of dress she should have. It begins pink, and they change back and forth and back and forth (which is how the crow found the cabin in the woods), but eventually it stays BLUE for most of the movie. Until the final scene where they alternate once more, ending in pink as the book closes. But that's not enough to call it a pink dress. It should be blue. If anything, it should be some sort of color-changing dress in different temperatured waters.

The nerve of those toy companies.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

the beef.

So I've finally finished with Piper's book. Honestly, I'm glad I read it. It has quite a bit of decent study on scriptures relevant to the theme of justification, with a variety of approaches to each. But I was a bit disappointed still with how he went about the book. The repetition of statements, of quotes from NT Wright, assumptions he makes about what Wright "would say" about something, and his undercover slams on Wright (disguised as mere "cautionary") - I really wish the two guys would have just gotten together and written a book on their differing views. It would have been more beneficial, at least to my opinion of John Piper.

If you want to read his book to take a wide array of texts and information and views on the scriptures where Paul or early Christians discuss justification - get it.

But if you're simply looking for what the MEAT of his problems with Wright come from? Check out pages 174 and 175. The key text is 2 Corinthians 5:21. The key problem is how they both define/interpret "dikaiosune theou" (righteousness of God).

Looking forward to starting NT Wright's book. Just looking at the table of contents gets me excited that this will be less about defending himself against Piper, or even accusing Piper of bad biblical interpretation and justifying himself, etc.....than it will be just straight up study and exegesis of important scriptures.

That will be refreshing. :)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Almost Done.

Continuing to finish John Piper's Book , I still think he repeats himself WAY too much. He also publishes the same quotes from NT Wright over and over and over again. Seriously. NT Wright should get some royalties off this book, for real.

But there have been a few things worth taking away so far. As I noted previously, he speaks some truth about neophilia becoming more popular these days.

It's really tough to not skip ahead and grab NT Wrights newest book, (it's on my shelf, waiting for me) where he defends much of his position on Justification. I try and think of what he may say in regard to much of Piper's comments, and even scribble notes here and there. I told myself ahead of time I would read the book with an open mind. But the basic mind and heart positions of Piper influence so much of how he views/believes in things.

I would recommend getting Piper's book, simply because it's a great collection of some of NT Wrights best quotes.

Although it is beginning to talk about NT Wrights views on how "works" relate to the entire picture of Justification. Our post-post-modern and even simply evangelical protestant view of things emphasizes how much we are saved BY GRACE through faith, and not by works. I know NT Wright mentioned what we DO is very important in "Surprised by Hope", but hadn't known how exactly he meshes it all with justification. It's challenging, but I think I find myself still agreeing with him - but in ways that aren't easy, but are helpful....to what God is doing in and through me.

If that makes sense. :)

I'm sure I'll post more before the book is completely finished.

Monday, June 15, 2009

neophilia

A concept that came up in my current read, that I would have to agree with even if I don't agree with where he goes with it, is this:

There is a "neophilia of our culture that needs balancing with the celebration of the wisdom of the centuries precisely for the sake of faithfulness to the biblical text."

In other words, many people these days are more in love with something new, doing something new/different, or seeing something in a new light; than actually being faithful to what is right/needed.

You see it/hear about it in ministry often, unfortunately. What is the newest or hippest church in town doing? Wouldn't it be great if we could do this "new thing" that would "probably" bring in a lot more (young adults/teens/ethnic diversity/inner city people/rich people/families/etc.)?

"I can't wait to (start my own church someday) so I can do it without serving all of these old traditions." - Some pastors seem to say. I would agree only to the extent that yes, if you're serving a tradition - stop. If you're serving God or His people....then do what you do. :)

I'm in my late twenties. I'm in youth ministry. Some would probably assume I don't like hymns, I think all church activities should be home cells of some sort, and follow Rob Bell or Mark Driscoll like they're prophets of today.

Well, I like the hymns (even though it's hard for me to lead singing them with an organ). I do think the Church should do more stuff in homes, but I also love the idea of getting together for a purposeful time within the space that is "set apart" as the Church building. And as for Bell and Driscoll...well, Bell has some neat stuff. But no author/speaker could take the place of Scripture.

I do enjoy many "new things", but I do try and make sure it is not the "newness" of something that draws me to it. Of course, that will happen sometimes. That's why I believe in doing ministry within a denomination that I love and commit to. We commit, as Pastors and as lay members, to keep each other accountable as we seek to follow Christ, the Word of God, and work towards His Kingdom coming.

May we get excited/refreshed/energized not by the "new things" we do...but by the new things God has been doing for thousands of years.

Revelation 21:5
"
And the one who was seated on the throne said, "See, I am making all things new."...

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Pipers Problems

A lil' over a week ago, I posted my intention to read a book by someone who disagreed with NT Wright. I've read about a third of John Pipers' "The Future of Justification: A Response to NT Wright".

So far, it's mostly been him justifying how writing such a book entirely against one person is justified. Although he continues to defend that he's not slamming Wright so much as he is "cautioning" those who read Wrights' books of the slippery slope NT takes people down. You can tell Piper is pretty intelligent, more than me at least. I'm committed to reading all the way through, even though he continues to repeat himself. Here's what his book boils down to:

Beware of NT Wrights' concepts on Justification, in regards to: (he lists them as sarcastic questions, the way you might ask your 2 year old child "Oh, the clouds are made of cotton candy?" )

1. The Gospel is NOT about how to get saved? It seems to Piper, that the gospel is ONLY "good news" IF it refers to me being saved from hell. If I live against God, it becomes bad news simply because of what will happen to me.

2. Justification is not how you become a Christian? Very connected to the first issue.

3. Justification is not the gospel? Very connected to the first issue. Again.

4. We are not Justified by believing in Justification? I don't get his disagreement here. The quote from NT Wright that he is against says, "We are not justified by faith by believing in justification by faith. We are justified by faith by believing in the gospel itself - in other words, that Jesus is Lord and that God raised Him from the dead." Um....I don't get his problem...even after he explains it.

5. The Imputation of God's Own Righteousness Makes No Sense At All? While Piper would like to believe we are given God's OWN righteousness, Wright has stated he doesn't believe Righteousness is a substance that can be "passed across the courtroom" as opposed to actually changing our identity/how we are viewed in Christ.

6. Future Justification is on the basis of the complete life lived? Piper takes a statement of Wright that talks about what an entire life says towards God (yes or no), and reduces what he is saying to accuse Wright of a "works based" justification.

7. First-century Judaism had nothing of the alleged self-righteous and boastful legalism? Throughout Wright's works, he says things like "Judaism in Paul's day...." leading to a lens to view things. Piper reminds readers that there may have been just as many views within Judaism as there are evangelical crowds today. I can get down with this one, even if I wouldn't share his accusatory tone.

8. God's righteousness is the same as his covenant faithfulness? For Piper, Wright focuses too much on what God's righteousness DOES, instead of what his righteousness IS. (although it could be debated that his later explanation of this simply calls something God's righteousness is doing, something that it IS)

Whew. That should do it for now. Looking forward to his repetition of each of these points, with only slightly better explanations. Err...kinda. At least, looking forward to hearing NT Wright's words in response to many of these accusations. Not allowing myself to read them, until I finish this one though.

Friday, June 12, 2009

bien joué


Adieu Pens. After a match up that made every game worth watching, you've won game 7 in a duel just as riveting as every previous game. Minus game 5, of course, but we all have our bad days. I still enjoyed that one.

I still am biased against Crosby, as is every Detroit fan I'm sure. But I gotta give the Waddlers credit for learning it was less about him, and more about the team. I believe this series in particular, taught them that. Enjoy the cup while it's yours. See you next year...





Søren & John

Chapter 6 from "The Holiness Manifesto" is entitled: "Holiness: Sin's Anticipated Cure". It's written by Diane Leclerc, professor of Historical Theology and Homiletics for Northwest Nazarene University. I gotta say....neat stuff.

First she lays out the need for such discussion. Her students aren't miscommunicating holiness, because they're not attempting to communicate it at all. This is because no one is communicating it to them, for fear of getting it wrong. But I agree with her stance: WE MUST SPEAK.

Her approach goes through the existentialist views of Kierkegaard, not as perfect but as helpful for setting a frame to lay the theology of John Wesley as a response to. Kierkegaard's writings on "Sickness Unto Death", and the fallen nature he believed we are all born into, build a great need for something "other" to enter the picture. Through Wesley, we see prevenient grace as the potentiality in the structure of our being given to us by the Spirit that keeps us in balance...that keeps our despairing at bay.

Kierkegaard believed that on our own, we are unable to relate to God, others, ourselves, or anything our "self" relates to, because of how fractured/distorted our "self" is due to sin. Wesley believed in a deep and pervasive definition of sin, BUT also believed in the pervasiveness of grace in the world and in our hearts, even BEFORE we exercise faith.

Kierkegaard's "Knight of Infinite Resignation" (comparing to Abraham's infinite resignation of Isaac), in her writings, becomes Wesley and the New Testaments' calling towards becoming "new creations", and the activity of sanctification by the Holy Spirit. She draws in a story of Phoebe Palmer, and others who have dramatically had to let go of aspects of their own "selves" in order to move towards sanctification. Through the Spirit, we are enabled/transformed towards something altogether new. This newness opens a door towards "true humanity", allowing us to become even more than Adam or Eve ever could.

"While prevenient grace gives us the "acorn", our potential begins to process of actualization most acutely at the moment of our second birth. It is here that the process that we have called (new creation) truly begins."

Thursday, June 11, 2009

pain - redeemed?

It doesn't take long to figure out that a lot of what happens to/in a womans' body during pregnancy is not pleasant. Feeling sick, pain all over, etc etc. And to culminate it all in the actual giving birth, I'm thankful to be a man.

But it makes me wonder, how much of this process is undesirable because of living in a fallen world? How did God originally intend to populate His creation with more humans reflecting Him? Surely, it wouldn't be a completely different experience. I don't believe our bodies physically transformed in some odd way because of Adam and Eve eating the fruit.

But no matter what, I'm pretty sure giving birth to a human being would be a painful thing.

Which brought me to another point. Maybe there was some sort of "pain" experienced, even in the Garden of Eden. If God's ultimate plan for all creation is something similar to how we existed together in the Garden, except even better as Heaven and Earth become united in a "new creation" - then maybe there will be pain as well?

I know, if you're like me, you've grown up with everyone telling you there will be no pain or suffering or tears in "heaven". But most of the verses used to prove this seem to be talking about a different kind of suffering. I can't imagine God creating a sort of "numb" existence for us to spend eternity in.

But maybe, just maybe, our concept of pain is all messed up, along with the created world we live in. Perhaps God will redeem even the experience of pain itself, not that it would bring "joy" as we think of it....but that it might be an acceptable thing to have sometimes, simply as a part of the whole of "being", and allow for a response to and from God while completely in God's restoring presence.

I could be completely wrong, and maybe this is all just silly nonsense.

But if it's even connected to the truth, then God offers us the ability to have our experience of pain transformed here and now. He has begun to establish/reveal His Kingdom already....even where we suffer/hurt...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

honest sentimentality

"Aww, look at her face. She's so cute. You know (I just read your hospital chart, and noticed you're a youth pastor so I'm going to say something religious here that I wouldn't normally say to people cause it might be offensive), I don't get how anyone can look at the face of a baby, and not believe in God." (shaking her head slightly and smiling)

We smiled politely, and nodded a bit. Our main goal at that point was to get some lab work done on our daughters' jaundice level. So we weren't looking to have a conversation on how God reveals Himself through the faces of babies. In fact, on the spot I caught myself with an urge to make fun of her comment. It went something like..."really? have you SEEN some babies out there?" Or...."have you seen the face of a baby penguin? they're pretty darned Godly too."

But that's just years of cynicism against cute Christian sentimentality fighting against the honesty hidden behind her statement.

I do believe God is revealing Himself through all things created, not least of which includes my daughters. I believe God CAN use ANYTHING to awaken a connection to His Spirit, including a contorted and innocent face of a crying or content baby, or even a blade of grass blowing in the wind.

At the same time, I don't think a cute baby is an automatic sign post that God is at work, unless you're aware of God as creator of that baby. I can understand that someone who doesn't believe in God can look at a baby and say "wow, cute baby" and that's it. (or maybe even "mmm, looks tasty") I suppose I hope/live towards my daughters growing up to speak the language their created selves are already proclaiming quietly.

Monday, June 08, 2009

two is still two. :)

"Do you think that three will do for two, what two did for one?" I asked my wife randomly a week or so ago. We were talking about what life might be like after the arrival of Ruby Anne, our third daughter in less than 3 years.

"I'm not sure, I guess we'll have to see." Neither one of us knew what to expect. It was similar to just before the arrival of Sophie Grace, our second daughter, only 15 months before that.

Sophie came. We loved her. We enjoyed being parents of two little girls who were rapidly growing right before our eyes. Life become just a bit larger. Our stroller now fit two. We talked realistically about getting a mini-van. We had one more mouth and personality to fit into any social situation.

But there were occasions. Times where Addie (our first daughter) needed some time alone with one of us. We would work it out so that we each had one child. On those occasions, we realized just how easy we used to have it with one child. We wished we could go back in time, and tell ourselves (me at least) to just relax, and go out and do more...to not feel so limited just because I was a parent now. (Obviously we learned that, having traveled to Hawaii with BOTH girls last summer...we proved we can do quite a bit ;) )

So it was natural, for me at least, to wonder if upon having three kids, I would realize just how simple it is to have 2 girls out on the town by myself.

Yesterday was our Senior Pastor, Michael Jackson's last Sunday at our church. I couldn't expect Sarah/Ruby to come. I also couldn't expect her to watch the girls all by herself so soon. But most of our babysitters attend the church, and I didn't want to ask any of them to miss it. So I set off on my own, with both girls - all of us sleep deprived from adding Ruby in the past few days. To endure the crowds of well meaning and loving church family members who had questions and wanted to see pictures, and all the action of a Sunday School sugar loaded cake and donut reception. Whew.

I now stand on the other side of our first outing, and say: Two is still two. :)

I love it. But it's definitely still something I am growing in my abilities with.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Holy Boldness

"...So now, Master, look on their threats; and grant that we, your servants, may speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand for healing, so that signs and wonders may come about through the name of your holy child Jesus.' When they had prayed, the place where they were gathered was shaken. They were all filled with the holy spirit, and they boldly spoke the word of God." Acts 4:29-31

Peter and John had just been reprimanded by the religious rulers, and yet with so much public support, and such obvious miracles happening, they could not keep them silent or send them far away. They let them go, and they prayed the above prayer along with the other believers.

Being threatened by the powers of their time, they did not pray for their enemies' destruction. They didn't even pray for their own triumph/success. They simply prayed "God, look", and asked for the ability to speak God's word in boldness SO THAT healing can take place, however it is needed.

God responds to their prayer immediately. But it doesn't look like a Benny Hinn service. Heck, it doesn't even have the cars outside that a Joel Osteen service might have. "they boldly spoke the word of God." THAT was miraculous and healing enough to BE God's response. The fact that the resurrection had taken place, and in Christ - God had begun His final work of bringing Heaven and Earth together in a New Creation. We serve a Lord who is resurrected ahead of all things, and through whom all things may begin to be healed/made new.

I'll confess. Throughout my ministry I've had moments/dreams/daydreams of boldly proclaiming miraculous things, and the Holy Spirit using me/blessing ministries in ways that would "WOW" humanity. But I think here we find a prayer to focus on, that echoes God's heart for healing a bit better. May we each be empowered by the Holy Spirit to speak God's word to a world that needs to have it spoken/proclaimed.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Social Vision

Wow. I didn't realize I hadn't blogged on "The Holiness Manifesto" (book) since last October. I've finally begun pressing forward, and just finished chapter 5, "The Social Vision of the Holiness Movement". It was written by William Kostlevy, Professor at Tabor College.

I'd confess, prior to reading this chapter I assumed it was about feeding the hungry, caring for the poor, etc. I'm sure that fits in there in a few places, but overall it was nothing like I'd assumed.

If I had to give it a new title, I would call it "Secret Societies: How Woman's Rights Impacted the Social Vision of the Holiness Movement". But perhaps that would be too long.

Kostlevy gives a short glimpse into the various responses of evangelicals to "secret societies" including Free Masons and many others. If you're like me, you only know a bit, and even then only through rumors and the Church's official stance against them. It's pretty good information, and historical references to other publications here.

What was surprising to hear (but complimentary to women I suppose) was the purpose behind much of the evangelical support of women's rights, and opposition to secret societies - which were white men only for the most part.

To quote Kostlevy, the group believed "the expansion of women's social influence would 'drive drunkeness out of politics' and usher in an age of economic prosperity and social righteousness." So there you go. Women....you got your rights, at least legally. Where's our economic prosperity and social righteousness? hehe.

Altogether, I think it's important stuff to note/know. Especially in a time where we will hinge the future financial and/or moral prosperity on any person/persons attaining some sort of "next level" of power or permission. There's gotta be more to our gospel. Thankfully, there is. :)

Much more.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Justification

So lately, I've been reading far too much by one author. If you read my blog more than once a year, you've probably noticed. I'm a bit embarrassed. Though I will state, I do not read his words as scripture. Nevertheless, God seems to be revealing Himself in phenomenal ways through this mans spoken and written word....and it becomes hard for me to not soak in as much as possible.

That being said, I made it a goal to find someone who disagrees in a large way with NT Wright, and read one of their recent works. It didn't take me long to find a book written towards the end of 2007: The Future of Justification: A Response to NT Wright, by John Piper.

Apparently, where NT Wright is saying we've gotten quite a bit of wrong focus in much of our Christianity, Piper says no. Piper thinks we're doing alright, and to mix in some of this "new theology" will muddle the waters in threatening ways. Threatening enough to write a book in direct response to it.

I would make fun of his need to write a book in direct response to Wright; except for the fact that NT Wright has recently published a book in response to (although not claiming in the title, certainly admitting in interviews) Pipers work. The book is "Justification: God's Plan and Paul's Vision".

So what to do with all of these findings? I got both of them.

What do they each briefly say about their book?

John Piper: "to declare the lordship of Jesus and say that’s the gospel, rather than the gospel being an explanation of how to be saved overlooks the problem that, for the person who has been in treason against the Lord of the universe all his life, the resurrection is not good news. It’s really bad news. He’s going to be destroyed if the resurrected Lord has all power in heaven and on earth."

NT Wright: "My anxiety about what has now been seen as the traditional Reformed view (though there are many traditional Reformed views!) is that it focuses all attention on ‘me and my salvation’ rather than on ‘God and God’s purposes’, which – as we see in the Gospels, and in e.g. Romans 8 – are much wider than just my salvation. This book, for me, thus follows from Surprised by Hope and the other things I’ve been writing in the same vein."

Should be a good read in both regards!!

Or...well....quite honestly...at least one regard. :)

I already wonder if Piper even read NT Wright all the way through?

Ruby Anne Anderson

I went out to watch the Wings' game at Buffalo Wild Wings. While there, we saw my wife's OB doctor. I joked about grabbing him on the way out the door if anything happened. But honestly? I didn't expect to see him again until Thursday morning, as scheduled.

We left during first intermission. When I got home, Sarah had been tracking contractions for about 20 minutes, but wasn't too concerned. We were appropriately aware to continue tracking for a bit. After an hour of solid 4-7 minute intervals between them, we decided to come in and check things out.

We arrived at ten, and the contractions were coming more steady, and more intense. Many moments came where I continued to be thankful for my wife offering her body up as a sacrifice for producing another life for our family. Her pain increased. We were in uncharted waters, as our first two daughters were both induced. It seemed like this time, it would just "happen".

At about 1am Wednesday morning, Sarah finally received her epidural. Whew. I know some moms are VERY adamant that these are bad things....risks and all. I can see where they come from. Good for them. :) For us (her specifically, me only sympathetically), we are medicine people. :)

Pressure increased, and it was go time. Around 1:50 or so...the stage was set. Fast forward through details I won't go into....and at 2:13am Ruby Anne arrived. 7 Pounds, 7 Ounces. 21.5 inches long. Our third girl. Third princess. Third car seat in our (not a minivan) crossover.

Looking forward to what is still to come....

ps. Mommy and baby are doing great, feeling good, and ready to figure out each others' schedules. ;) Although we're all a bit tired.

pps. Detroit lost the game last night. Which is fine. We wanted them to have to play in Detroit, and on NBC for the Cup Saturday. This ensures a game 5. Woot.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Post Your Guess Now!!!

This morning, the Doctor gave us a score of 3 or 3.5 out of a possible 10. (which will make more sense to those who are familiar with dilation, etc...usually the epidural is done around 5 )

With that in mind, and knowing the due date is June 11th, it's time to let you all make your best educated guesses!!

What date and time (use army time, it's easier) do you anticipate Ruby Anne will arrive?

Closest guess gets a picture. :)

(Here's a hint: We're scheduled to begin inducing at 0700 this Thursday (June 4th) morning.)