Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Beginning yesterday, we started re-decorating our house. Mom and Dad and my brother Steve brought a couple truckloads of gently used, but new-to-us furniture for our home. At the moment, redecorating proceeds apace, but the house is still a bit chaotic-tools everywhere, mattresses on the floor, lamps with no shades, and trying to find space on the counter on which to eat. But in spite of all that, we are very grateful for the HUGE blessing that all of this is bringing to our lives. We never dreamed that we would be able to do this, yet here we are doing it.

In other news: under our carpet in the upstairs are oak floors. Who knew? Someday, we'll be refinishing those. God continues to pour out His grace in ways we did not ask for and couldn't have imagined. Praise Him!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Thursday Morning Humor

One of the biggest problems that men and women have in their relationships with one another is communication. We are like Americans speaking with Brits, two people separated by a common language. While we may be using the same words, we most certainly do not mean the same things by them. I'm not sure if this is a real product or not (my money is on not), but if someone ever does invent this, they will make a fortune...I give you the Manslater:

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The fun of raising boys

According to Bill Cosby, you can't really consider yourself to have been a parent if you only have one child because there is so much that's left out. For example, if something is broken, you know who did it. You don't have to go through an interrogation that would make Torquemada proud to discern the culprit. Nor do you have to endure the endless rounds of "He's touching me! He's touching me! Stop looking at me! He's on my side!" and the joy of competition for seats in the vehicle that comes as a part of not only every vacation, but every trip to the store.

As a father of four, I'd have to say I agree with this assessment, but I'd go one better and say you also need to have at least one boy among your brood. Otherwise you miss out on the joys of light sabers, dart guns, dragon slaying, pirate attacks, football, wrestling, and rescuing ladies fair. Every piece of furniture in our house has been climbed on and over, every bed has been jumped on (until Dad intervenes). In the evenings we are reading The Hobbit, and wondering what will happen to Bilbo tonight down in the goblin caverns under the Misty Mountains. (Hint: tonight we meet Gollum and find his "precious"!).

Don't get me wrong. Raising girls (I have two!) has joys all its own. But for sheer adventure, wild risk-taking, and a high probability of broken bones, what can compete with two boys?

Great Day of Service

Saturday was the 1st Annual Great Day of Service here in Chillicothe. The local churches all banded together to donate blood and do yard work and various other projects for needy and/or elderly people here in town. By our estimates, about 47 people participated in various work projects. Of these, 16 were from our church. As a pastor, I am proud of the fact that our church was so well represented in the ranks. A lot of good work got done, and the Church of Christ was seen to have a practical impact by our neighbors. Who knows how this might open "a door for our message" (Col. 4:3) of the Gospel?

Thanks to all who served. To God alone be glory!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Dancing in the Minefield

I've been preaching through a series on marriage at church lately and this has, quite naturally, occasioned more than a little reflection on the nature of marriage generally and my own marriage in particular. I have become convinced that there is no human relationship which carries with it the possibility of more intimacy, joy, and deep fulfillment than a marriage. And yet, it is because of those very possibilities that marriage is also capable of causing deeper heartache than any other human relationship. As C. S. Lewis said, stronger angels make for fiercer demons.

I have been married now a few months past 14 years and I've known and loved my bride two years longer than that. I love her more now than ever, and I have grown and matured in my ability to demonstrate that to her more than perhaps every other area of my life. And yet I experience and feel my depravity more in my marriage than perhaps anywhere else. That, I think, is the reality of a good marriage in a post-fall world, a reality that this video captures perfectly.

Beauty from ashes

My parents lost their 30-year-old home building company to the collapse of the banking and housing markets last year. This was as painful a circumstance for them (and for my brother and sister-in-law, the other partners) as I can imagine. 30 years of work, dreams, money and sweat gone in a flash. Their good names tarred in the media. Relationships strained and ruined because the bank couldn't loan money anymore (no thanks to you, TARP and FDIC!) and so vendors couldn't get paid and houses couldn't be finished.

Yet in the midst of deep tragedy, there have also been stark beauties. One of the most beautiful things I've observed has been that their trust in and love for the Lord remains strong and undiminished. Their sense of humor has remained, as has their joy in life. They are looking toward the future and for ways to serve the Lord afresh in the years they have left to them (however many that may be). I don't know how your faith grows to the point where you go face first through the wringer like this and emerge still trusting God out the other side. But though I would never have wished this kind of year on anyone, I'm glad I got to see the outcome.

Government to lay off 500,000 State Employees

In a stunning move that is widely regarded as a recognition of the superiority of free markets and capitalism at creating job, the government has decided to lay off "at least" 500,000 state employees and encourage them to seek jobs in the private sector. These state employees have pay and benefits that the state can no longer sustain, and layoffs are commencing in recognition of that reality.

This exciting news is a reversal of long-held (over 50 years!) socializing policies and desires by the government to centralize an increasing number of formerly private sector functions. "Our state cannot and should not continue maintaining companies, productive entities and services with inflated payrolls and losses that damage our economy and result counterproductive, create bad habits and distort workers' conduct," said a representative of the largest labor union.

Relax, it's not happening in California or Illinois. It's not even happening in Washington, D.C. No, this incredible development is happening in...Cuba (of all places!). One of the world's last socialist governments is finally admitting that socialism doesn't work or achieve anything except the equal impoverishment of everyone ruled by it. Now, if only we could be so flint-eyed realistic here!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Rogues Gallery

On Sunday afternoon, I led my Tiger Cub Den on a hike through Forest Park Nature Center. It was fun to see turkeys and look at the changing leaves while we identified trees, nuts, and plants. This was our first hike together, but I'm sure there will be many more to look forward to.

As a side note, my workouts (especially the running) are paying off. When we got to the top of the big hill, I was barely winded while everyone else was grabbing oxygen however they could. It feels great to be in better shape than I have been in since I turned 30!

Centennial Camporee

As many of you know, I've become a Tiger Cub Den Leader for Pack 91 here in Chilli. It's a great, organized excuse to do many of the things I'd like to do anyway, teaching people patriotism, loyalty, honesty, and love for the outdoor life. This past weekend was the Centennial Camporee for the local council, so John and I joined several thousand other scouts down at Comlara Park for a fun-filled Saturday (we did not camp-cold and rainy is hard on a 6 year-old boy). We both got to indulge our boyish selves-shooting paintball guns (John), throwing tomahawks (me), riding the pontoon ferry from one side of the lake to the other, visiting the DNR exhibit, eating tuna salad and crackers in the truck with the heat on, and freezing our tails off while we stood in line to get our T-shirts silk screened.

John also took up the challenge to walk a tightrope suspended about 30" off the ground. There was a rope overhead on a pulley to hang onto, but otherwise, you were on your own. John made it further than anyone else who did it while we were there. He's a tough kid, and I was really proud of him. Giving him a chance to do these kind of things is one of the reasons we are doing scouts together.