Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A wife of noble character who can find?

She is worth far more than rubies. - Proverbs 31:10
This week at our men's group we were talking about "Husband & Wives in the Marriage Cockpit." One of the discussion questions asked all of the men present to share with the group one strength that their wives had. Good men invariably can't wait for an opportunity to brag on the excellencies of their wives, and I certainly wasn't going to miss an opportunity to brag on mine. In fact, doing so made me realize that I've never used this space to salute Karen. So honey, if you're reading this, here's just a partial list of some of the things I admire about you:
  1. Discernment. An intuitive sense about people that is much more finely tuned than mine. She picks up on little comments and actions that I miss and readily identifies people's strengths and weaknesses far before I do.
  2. Organization. Highly gifted in administration and in balancing a multitude of small and large tasks all at once. Amazing, really.
  3. Thoughtfulness. Always thinks of others' needs and how particular choices might make someone else feel. Quick with a card, an encouraging note, a phone call, and a prayer.
  4. Love. What can I say? Honey, you're the best.

So, how big a boy are you anyway?

My three-year-old son John desperately wants to be “big.” He is convinced that he is missing out on most, if not all, of the really great parts of life because he is too little and too young. Moreover, since he is a child, he still has a distorted sense of time. He regularly makes statements like, “Daddy, when I’m four I’ll be big and then I can…” (e.g. drive a car, go hunting with you, go to school, etc.). I have to explain that while, yes, he will be bigger and more grown up when he is four, he still won’t be quite old or big enough to do some of these things. At the same time, I don’t want to discourage him in his desire to for greater maturity. After all, God ultimately hasn’t tasked Karen and me with raising four godly children, but with raising four godly adults.

I've been reflecting on this a lot the last couple days. I wonder some times how I'm doing at getting "bigger." I am certainly bigger physically than I was when I got married (too many good meals from the dear wife, not enough activity). But how much have I grown spiritually? Am I eagerly desiring to grow "bigger" so that I can do the things "big" people do? When I turn 35 next year, will I be more or less spiritually mature than I am today? The spiritual life is never static, after all. We are either growing ever more like Christ or else we are moving further away from that goal.
Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. – Ephesians 4:14-15 (NIV)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Accountable Man

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am going through Steve Farrar's Point Man with my Wednesday morning men's group (I think this is my 5th time through the book with a men's group). Today we were talking about "Aerobic Kneeling," which is Farrar's description of having regular times of prayer. Steve' recommendation just as 30 minutes 3x a week of aerobics is a good goal for physical health, so prayer 3x per week for 30 minutes each is a good goal for your spiritual health.

One of the other major points he makes about this is that success in doing this consistently requires accountability. That's precisely true. Without some form of accountability, most of us (and especially me) fail over time to be spiritually disciplined. In fact, I would go further and say that there is no long-term spiritual success without accountability to other believers. Our fallenness runs too deep, our capacity for self-justification and rationalization is too wide to achieve lasting spiritual change by ourselves.
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. --James 5:16

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

A cool photo

My brother-in-law is currently deployed with the USAF somewhere overseas. Here's the view from his cockpit window.

A tree or a pipe?

My men's group has been going through Steve Farrar's classic, Point Man. Today we talked about spiritual bulimia, which is taking in God's Word, but never letting it change you. We who are part of Bible churches are in particular risk of developing spiritual bulimia, because we are so easily confused about what the point of all our biblical study is. Many of us assume that the goal is to move from spiritual ignorance to spiritual knowledge. Spiritual knowledge is important, but it's only the intermediary step. The goal is to move from ignorance to knowledge to obedience.

The question, in other words, is whether we will be a tree or a pipe. Both conduct water through their structures, but only the tree is fundamentally changed by the interaction.

Friday, November 2, 2007

There are some things money can't buy...

The months since we moved to Chillicothe have been pretty challenging for our family. We are adjusting pretty well I think, but our health has been a big test for us. Here's the tally:
  • 1700 miles driven to and from various physicians
  • 18 doctor visits with the children and yours truly (including 1 checkup at Mayo in Rochester)
  • 2 trips to the ER (1 for Nate, 1 for me)
  • 2 surgeries: gallbladder for me, tonsils, adenoids, and nasal passages for Ashley Rose.
  • 2 rounds of croup, 3 rounds of strep, multiple ear infections, and so many bottles of meds we have lost count.
  • 1 very tired dear wife, desperately in need of a month at the beach.

Candy Quest (aka Halloween)

Every year at Halloween, we try to have the best candy to give out at our house. While I know many Christians aren't too comfortable with the idea of celebrating something with roots in ancient Celtic paganism, most non-Christians either aren't aware of those roots or simply think of it as a fun holiday regardless of them. And since we want to be a witness in our community, we buy good candy (Milk Duds, 3 Musketeers, Snickers, etc.)and keep the light on late. We have found that doing so gives us a golden opportunity to meet a lot of the neighbors and their children and to build relationships with them.

Karen mans the door and the bowl and I take the kids around. It works pretty well. Karen meets the neighbors who bring kids to our door, I meet the ones who are manning their homes for my little costumed candy maniacs. John went as Superman (of course!), Sara as a golden angel (complete with halo and wings), and Nate as a giraffe (yes, it was as funny as it sounds). Notably, they got lots of good candy from all of the houses we pillaged (er, I mean visited), with none of those nasty "candies" I remember from my own youth--the "chocolate" coins, red and white pepperments, or popcorn balls (who thought that was a good idea?).

Somewhere along the line, roles got reversed, with the kids getting cold and wanting to go home, and Dad campaigning for just one more house. Which just goes to show, candy sometimes gets in your blood in more ways than one...

Super John's definition of manliness

Last night was the end of a pretty rough day at the Horn house. Ashley's throat was on fire due to her tonsils coming out on Tuesday (apparently you have to feel a lot worse before you feel better with those things), the boys were not doing too well either after bouts with croup and strep, and Karen was pretty well done. So being romantic husband, I decided that last night would be Monical's pizza night.

John, Karen, Ashley and I all piled into the van (Sara and Nate stayed with Grandma & Grandpa) to pick up the pizzas. They were running a deal, so we got 1 large pepporoni and 1 large 1/2 cheese, 1/2 sausage. One the way home John gave us his theory of manhood (or at least boyhood).

John: "Mommy, a boy like me can eat pepperoni. But girls like Sara and Ashley need to eat cheese."

Karen: "John, do you think you have be a boy to eat pepperoni?"

John: "Yes, mommy. Only boys are strong enough to eat pepperoni. Girls have to eat cheese."

Karen: "That's an interesting theory, son."

Though I seem to have missed something somewhere, at least the message that boys aren't the same as girls and that boys should protect the girls from harm is getting through.