Thursday, December 31, 2009

"adoption is greater than the universe" -john piper

i got these videos from abba fund. many i had already seen, but it has inspired me to share them with you.

isaiah's story

Isaiah's Story from 31Films on Vimeo.

theological basis for adoption by john piper

"adoption is greater than the universe" -piper

catalyst adoption video

Adoption from Catalyst on Vimeo.

video from francis chan's church

Foster Care Video from Cornerstone Church on Vimeo.

cool story of God's provision in adoption

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

more thoughts on joy

i read an excellent article here this morning on why many Reformed people lack joy.

i highly recommend the whole article, but here are his main points.

the problem:
  • the author and many of his friends "immigrated" from evangelicalism to being Reformed. they feel something missing from their experience and decided what is missing is joy.
the reasons:
  • many Reformed people today "immigrated" from evangelicalism to being Reformed. they were saddened and hurt by the problems they formerly faced, which doesn't naturally incline them towards joy.
  • Reformed types are often very concerned about accuracy, which takes their focus off of the heart of the matter, which should lead to joy.
the remedy:
  • return to God's word to discover afresh what real joy is.
  • reformed churches should emphasize the need for joy in a believer's life.

"This spiritual joy consists in a delightful motion of the soul, generated by the Holy Spirit in the heart of believers, whereby He convinces them of the felicity of their state, causes them to enjoy the benefits of the covenant of grace, and assures them of their future felicity.
Exposure to God's covenant Word and covenant deeds should yield joy in God's people. "

-Puritan William Brakel

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

its a trap and i cant get out

after reading this convicting blog series about being a calvinist and a pharisee, i was particularly impacted by the blog on Pharisaical calvinists being suspicious of joy.

it is hard for me to remember is that joy is a good thing. i often get in the mentality that a hard, depressing, downtrodden life is more "spiritual" than one full of joy (dont ask me where i got this idea... definitely not from the bible).

so, after feeling a little depressed about my lack of joy, i decided to start praying for God to give me more joy. and in typical God-like fashion (grace) he's given me overflowing joy in the past few days, despite my lack of faith that he would. its been such a blessing and very encouraging... to have joy that is not dependent upon circumstances, and to praise God for each and every thing that He gives, even the very smallest things. i have been more content than i can remember for a long time.

but then my sin nature rears its ugly head again... as a result of being [too?] joyful, i start having thoughts that God isn't ok with me being too happy, and therefore, will take me up to heaven (ie let me die), as if God chooses to let someone die merely because they are content with life. so, i cant escape the negativity... because even when God does allow me to escape, my sin leads me to go back and wallow in the mud.

one day, i will no longer have irrational thoughts. i look forward to that day. until then, i will continue to battle them, and look forward to future grace.

blessings and other thoughts about our time at home

our time at home this christmas was truly a blessing from God. we spent each day with people who encouraged us, made us laugh, and most importantly made us feel loved and known. we spent over 25 hours in the car over the course of the week and a half, but i never got frustrated (miracle!) and we arrived everywhere safely.

God clearly had His hand in our travel as well, because we received $600 in travel vouchers because one of our flights was overbooked (allowing alex to travel almost for free to the desiring God pastors conference). furthermore, when we wanted to stay a few more days, he sovereignly had our departure flight cancelled, allowing us to stay 3 days longer.

over this break, i realized that i really do love the Midwest… i actually didn’t really get annoyed at the snow & sort of miss the change of seasons (but i am looking forward to being back in 70 degree weather again!). although i have definitely realized how bland the Midwest is after living in cali, it’s a comfortable bland, a homey bland… and I am looking forward to going back in the future for a few years before we go overseas.

after contemplating a couple different options for our future, alex and I have decided to remain in california until we can adopt and finalize the adoption (please join us in praying that God will expedite that process and prevent any roadblocks), and i have gotten to the point of being very excited about our remaining time there, however long God chooses for that to be.

but i am also looking forward to being back, whenever God would choose for that to be as well.

God is good, and i rejoice in how much he has graciously, abundantly, and lovingly blessed our lives.

Monday, December 28, 2009

new years resolutions

i rarely make new years resolutions, or even reflect on a year that is coming to a close in a meaningful way. but this quality blog lists 10 important questions to ask at the start of the new year. thinking through these things has really helped me, and i would commend these questions to you as well.

something i have been thinking about for a while... reading john calvin's "institutes". to me this book is only for men who are really into theology and dead people... but as i have written here before, i am passionate about more women getting into theology. in light of this, i have decided to read this book in 2010, and write about what i learn here.

i usually hesitate to share with people a goal i'm not exactly sure i will accomplish, but by God's grace i will get through about 100 pages of this book each month this year to finish it. and by God's grace he will use it to sharpen me and help me to love Him more and love His people more as well.

other blessings that i am praying for God to graciously give me in this coming year:

*the ability to love Alex more, pray for him more, trust him more, criticize him less.

*to spend more time meditating on and memorizing scripture, and reviewing already memorized scripture so that it stays in my head.

*twin babies, with the adoption finalized in time for us to go home next christmas.

*the motivation to pray more consistently for people that i care about.

what are some of your new years resolutions?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

dockers man-ifesto

its about time someone said it. i'm just surprised about the source.

i have seen this ad on a couple blogs written by men, but none of the blogs written by women that i follow, so that it why i am including it here:

the text of the ad says:

"Once upon a time, men wore the pants, and wore them well. Women rarely had to open doors and little old ladies never had to cross the street alone. Men took charge because that’s what they did. But somewhere along the way the world decided it no longer needed men. Disco by disco, latte by foamy non-fat latte, men were stripped of their khakis and left stranded on the road between boyhood and androgyny. But today there are questions our genderless society has no answers for. The world sits idly by as cities crumble, children misbehave and those little old ladies remain on one side of the street. For the first time since bad guys, we need heroes. We need grown ups. We need men to put down the plastic fork, step away from the salad bar, and untie the world from the tracks of complacency. It’s time to get your hands dirty. It’s time to answer the call of manhood. It’s time to wear the pants.”

my favorite part is " were stripped of their khakis and left stranded on the road between boyhood and androgyny. But today there are questions our genderless society has no answers for."

wow! i cant agree more. men should be the leaders, the ones who take charge. they were created for this, physically, mentally and emotionally. but in recent history this important role that God created for men has been stomped down by society, and, sadly, by many women.

i want to write more on the importance of women understanding of biblical manhood. but until then, i want to hear from you. women, what are some ways that we can encourage the men in our lives to be biblical men?

Friday, December 11, 2009

did false christianity cause the crash?

very interesting article from the atlantic monthly about how the prosperity gospel may have caused the recession, and the influence of the prosperity gospel in the latino community here

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

i dont know why the puritans get a bad rap

if you were like me, in high school american history you learned about the puritans. they seemed so stiff, uptight and boring. now that i get to read their works on my own, i have come to realize that they are basically awesome.

one of my favorite books is called "valley of vision", which is a collection of puritan prayers. i often read it during my daily bible reading/prayer time.

this morning i read a prayer on joy. definitely wouldn't call them a people who are stiff, uptight and boring from this prayer. here is one part i liked:

"All thy ways of mercy tend to and end in my delight.
Thou didst weep, sorrow suffer that i might rejoice.
For my joy thou hast sent the Comforter...

Thou art preparing joy for me and me for joy;
I pray for joy, wait for joy, long for joy;
give me more than I can hold, desire, or think of."

Monday, December 7, 2009

infant sacrifice still practiced in this century

when i was younger and first starting to learn about the bible, i was always shocked to hear about ancient cultures/religions that sacrificed babies. it seemed to me that other sins- pride, sex outside of marriage, hate, murder- crossed cultures, but that infant sacrifice was horrifyingly unique to these early cultures.

in recent years, i have realized that abortion is our culture’s infant sacrifice. somehow it seems more acceptable to some people because it happens inside of the womb. maybe its an easier pill to swallow this way because most people can avoid seeing the reality: how the child is burning and convulsing before succumbing to death (as in a saline abortion), or feel how difficult it is to tear the developing muscle structure of the limbs from the body of the child (as in a D&E abortion). [more on this here]

the reality is that babies are helpless. that is why it is so easy to manipulate them and use them for our purposes. more specifically, when a baby comes along unplanned, he or she is often sacrificed to gods of “career”, “success”, “reputation”, “fortune” or “good looks”. this type of human sacrifice may seem different because it is now an accepted “medical procedure” but the underlying desire is the same: taking advantage of the weak to get what you want.

psalm 127:3 says, “sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him.” but even among Christians who claim to love the bible, children can be as a disruption to one’s plans rather than a blessing from God (I once felt this way)… probably as a result of thinking influenced more by culture than by the bible.

“you adulterous people! do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” james 4:4

more about pastor chandler

i highly recommend this video of pastor chandler, recorded before he went into surgery last week.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

three stories that made me cry this week

1. Matt Chandler, a pastor that i really respect from texas, had a seizure, fell, hit his head and had to go to the hospital. he was found to have a brain tumor and had surgery on friday to remove it. pastor chandler has a wife and three kids.

2. the suicide of Acts29 network pastor thomas young. tragically, he chose to take his life during a marital dispute with his wife and did not make it to the hospital alive. he left his wife and three children.

3. the tragic hit and run accident of a young woman from mars hill church. she had recently met jesus, as had her boyfriend, causing tremendous life change in both of them. they married and were growing in their faith through the church. the accident put her in a coma for many weeks, and she has been in the hospital for several months. she will be soon leaving the hospital, but prognosis is still unclear. she is in tremendous pain and can barely walk.

my three actual responses to these stories (in addition to tears and deep sorrow):

1. i should stop using my cell phone so much. it could give me a brain tumor.

2. i definitely should be a better wife so that alex doesn't take his own life.

3. i should stop riding my bike so that i dont get hit by a car while riding it.

all three of these responses are very self-centered and presume (falsely) that i am in control of my life. i was grounded by this tweet from pastor john piper:

"if God wants us home no doctor can keep us here and if God wants us here no disease can take us home."

i love my life way too much. oh, lord, please give me the type of faith that i can echo the words of pastor chandler right before his surgery:

“I don’t count my life of any value or as precious to myself if only I might finish my course and complete the work that He gave me to do to testify to the Gospel of the grace of God. I’m nothing, I just have a job. God keep me faithful on the job and then let me drop and go to the reward.”

"there are no great woman theologians" pt 2: every woman is a practical theologian

many if not most of the people who comment on my blogs on theological topics are men.

however, one of my biggest passions (and one of the reasons i blog) is to spread a love of theology among women. (dont get me wrong- i always like to hear the male perspective on what i am thinking... i just wish that there were more women passionate about theological topics)

the reason for my passion is because i truly believe that every woman is a practical theologian. even if you dont profess to love theology, your every action speaks to what you truly believe about God. in fact, i would even say that despite what you would describe as what you believe about God, the way you live IS the true testament to your actual theology.

do we act as if our beauty, husband/boyfriend, or chocolate is our savior and satisfaction, or that Christ is our only hope and savior?

do we demand roles in the church and family based off of what society says we deserve or what the bible says we are graciously allowed to perform?

do we follow the world's commands to delay marriage and motherhood for the sake of happiness/success/career, or do we choose to follow Christ's commands to live for the Kingdom today?

are we indifferent to people going to the horrifying hell we claim to believe in or are we deeply, passionately living out each day to share the good news that Jesus saves from the tragic consequence of sin?

do we live like we trust ourselves to bring people to the knowledge of the truth or like we trust the Holy Spirit to do the work, using us in the process?

right theology isn't being able to answer questions right about God if we had a multiple choice test... it stems from deep seated convictions based on the Word of God leading to an outward change in our lives and actions. and my passion is that women would study and grow in truth, and from that live lives based upon the truth from God's word.

[to give credit where credit is due, though this is something i have been thinking about for a while, reading this blog today encouraged/inspired what i wrote]