Friday, December 28, 2007

Rockin Into 2008

Here is a picture of James on his new Rocking Moose.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christian vs. American Worldview Part VIII

Well, this is the last of an eight part series on the topic of "worldview." In this post I will be answering the question, "What is life for" from the perspective of an average American. As you read this, do your best to remember what life was like before you came to know Christ--feel the despair--feel the longing. May your heart be wrenched to pray for those you know who live in such a morass of despair. Do not ever minimize the despair of living without Christ. May your compassion for needy sinners, and your passion for Christ drive you to proclaim the Good News.

"Some, in theory, believe that there is no purpose for life—these folks are the minority in America (contrary to popular Christian opinion). Most Americans, however, agree that there probably is a greater purpose for life, but have not yet figured out what it is. These people usually die frustrated, trying to figure out the true purpose of their existence. They live as if the purpose of their life is to produce temporal happiness. But, they know that there must be something more. There is a God-shaped hole in their heart and they have had (on average) 70 years of everyday life to figure out that temporal happiness is not filling it. Most people are frustrated and confused because they know there must be more. The only way they know how to deal with the confusion is to kill it with the pursuit of happiness. But, deep inside they know they are missing something."
I wrote this about 2 months ago. This past Sunday, I watched 60 Minutes for the first time since... I don't know... uhhh... 1992, or something like that. On this segment, Steve Kroft interviewed Tom Brady. Brady exhibited this exact same struggle and despair. This morning as I sat down to do this last post on the topic of worldview, I realized exactly how correct my assessment of the American mindset was/is.

Brady said,
“Why do I have three Super Bowl rings and still think there's something greater out there for me? I mean, maybe a lot of people would say, ‘Hey man, this is what is.’ I reached my goal, my dream, my life. Me, I think, ‘God, it's got to be more than this.’ I mean this isn't, this can't be what it's all cracked up to be.”
Kroft pressed Brady to see if he knew what was missing.

Brady responded by saying, "I wish I knew. I wish I knew. I love playing football and I love being quarterback for this team. But at the same time, I think there are a lot of other parts about me that I’m trying to find."

What despair! What more could Brady gain? And yet, he is empty. Right now I sit in my kitchen as a poor seminary student rearing a medically challenged child. I have no job security, no money, an old car, and a big sliver in my thumb (I got it while loading wood this morning). And yet, I am completely fulfilled. I couldn't ask for more, nor do I necessarily want more. I have Christ, therefore I am happy.

Dr. Tom Ascol has written an excellent post on how, if he were the correspondent interviewing Brady, he would have responded to him. You can check it out by clicking here. I highly recommend reading Dr. Ascol's response. I could not have answered better (surprise, surprise).

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Stellar Ornaments!!

Here is a picture of James in front of our HUGE Christmas tree. Last year (Our first Christmas as a married family), Kristal and I started an ornament exchange tradition. It has been a lot of cheap fun. I have posted pictures of all of the ornaments that are presently on our Christmas tree. The tree is sorta bare right now, and will be until we are married long enough to collect adequate ornaments.
I hope you like the ornaments. I am sure that you will not want Kristal or I to pick ornaments for your tree after you see them all--we value humor over asthetic appeal!

WOW! Kristal got this fine specimen for me this year. It takes up about 3/4 of our tree. My wife knows a good ornament when she sees one.

I stumbled upon this beaut in the crafts department in Wal-Mart. It was not made to be an ornament, if you can't tell. Do you like the ornament string--it is gaudily twisted scotch tape. I am confident that Hallmark will soon be calling asking me for future ornament creation advice.






I gave this one to Kristal last year. Actually, I got it for her because I thought it was cool. Every single one of his limbs have been broken at one time or another. Super glue has saved this prince's life.











Kristal got this for me last year--It definitely enhanced the romantic essence of the Christmas season.



This is James' first Christmas ornament from Kristal and I. This also was not created to be an ornament--it is a simple Christmas rubber duckie. I have an eye for ornament potential. I thought Kristal was going to hate it when I brought it home. She didn't! Rather than hating it, she simply poked some holes in it's head and ran a ribbon through to hold it on the tree. This ornament is evidence that we could conquer the world together if we really wanted to.

John and Kelly (the in-laws) gave this to us as a family ornament. Moose are our favorite animal.





Mommy Kristal got this ornament for James. I could never in a billion years buy something this cute. If I got him an ornament, it probably would have been a miniature basketball, hatchet, Greek New Testament ,or soemthing along these lines. Oh well.






And there you have it! Our 2007 Christmas ornament collection. Next year I will add our new ones.





Friday, December 21, 2007

High on Isaiah

Right now I am in the middle of Christmas break. The Lord has graciously given me one full month of break from schooling. I am trying to graduate by this fall and so am packing my school schedule as tight as possible to make it happen. Guess what this means! I get to study over Christmas break! For some crazy reason, this makes me happy (I need a shot of... um... something, anything).

This coming semester I am taking a class on the book of Isaiah. I have been pumped about taking it from the first time I first saw it on the list of course offerings. I started reading "The NIV Application Commentary" on the book of Isaiah by John N. Oswalt for my Isaiah class yesterday. I am officially "high" on Isaiah.

Right now I am only half way through the 60 page Introduction to the book. The introduction is devoted to shelling out the background information of the book--the historical setting, author, recipients, date--things like this.

The only thing that brings life to my soul more than reading the Scriptures themselves is reading biblical background. Most people find it boring, dull, lifeless. For some strange reason, I would much rather read the background information to the different books of the Bible than I would read any book written by Piper or Sproul (Notice that I didn't say Carson. This is because Carson has written books on biblical background). This is not to say that I don't like Piper or Sproul, but that I find studying the Scriptures and their background more life-giving than studying contemporary men on theological and practical subjects. This doesn't mean I am more spiritual than you if you prefer Piper and Sproul over biblical background. Nor does this mean that you are more spiritual than I.

I generally love commentaries until I get to the actual verse by verse commentary. After I leave the background information and delve into the verse by verse stuff, things usually get overly systematic and wooden (for me).

Anyway, I highly recommend John Oswalt's commentary on Isaiah. He has the ability to tell history like a story. He has the ability to pull the reader in.

I also highly recommend anyone and everyone reading this to begin a life of study in biblical background. It sounds intimidating and hard, but once you get hooked on background the Bible comes to life. Background makes reading the Bible more like watching a movie or reading a picture book than reading philosophy or doing math. It helps put flesh on theology.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Winter Wonder Land

This is a picture of our back yard taken this morning. We will definitely be having a white Christmas this year.

Technorati Profile

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christian vs. American Worldview Part VII

I am persistent and will finish my eight part discussion on Christian vs. American worldview. In this post I will be answering the question "What is life for?" from a Christian perspective. Remember that this is a brief answer.

"We know for sure that the purpose of life has nothing to do with our present material existence. Material existence, as we know it, will not last forever (Matt 5:18; Hebrews 1:11-12; Revelation 21:1). Ultimately this life must exist for the purpose that its Creator intended. God the Creator will destroy the heavens and the earth when they have fulfilled their purpose. God is the mind behind what is formally called “life.” God fills us in on His purpose in Ephesians 3:10-11, “His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Ultimately the purpose of all life is to glorify God—to show off his infinite attributes. This is why He created the world, and this is why there will come a time when He will destroy it (it will have served its purpose)."

The Grind

I just wanted to give everyone who reads this blog a heads up. My brother Luke, his best friend Dallas, and I are starting a new blog called the "The Grind". I invite you all to come and take part in the discussion. The url for the site is theologicalbeans.blogspot.com.

Luke and Dallas are both cool guys. I trust that you will enjoy the conversation.

This does not mean that I will be stopping my Context is King blog. I will be writing on both blogs.

Hola! Me llamo Earl


We have a unanimous decision! From now on the moose shall be called Earl!

James Home From the Hospital Part II

I just wanted to let everyone know that Kristal and I decided to keep James off the monitor last night. We plugged him in before going to bed and he tripped the alarm almost immediately after doing so--we knew that we would get no sleep if we kept him on it. We were a bit nervous about keeping him off it, but before going to bed we prayed that the Lord would protect him as He has since the day he was born. Anyway, the Lord was good to us to keep James safe last night. James did wake up in the middle of the night because of pain from his g-tube surgery. We gave him some Tylenol, fed him, and sent him back to bed.

We took his Holter monitor off about 2 hours ago and I just went to the post office to send it back to the hospital. Pray that this helps the doctors better diagnose him.

It was such a blessing this morning to be able to get food in him even when he didn't want to eat. We are so thankful for the g-tube. Please please please continue to pray that he continues to want to eat through his mouth. We love that we have the g-tube as a cushion to feed him when he won't eat, but ultimately we want James to eat enough orally to sustain himself.

That's all I have for an update.

Thanks for praying.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

James Home From the Hospital

Sorry I haven't updated for so long--I have been sorta busy--sorta. Well, James was discharged from the Hospital today at 5:30 pm. It is so nice to be home. Thank you all so much for praying. I will give a brief rundown of what happened and what the doctors are telling us.

1. In regard to the g-tube: James got had his g-tube surgery on Monday and everything went really well. He experienced a lot of pain on Monday, but now is doing much much better. It has been so nice to use the g-tube. He is full now all the time and seems to be so much happier. Continue to pray that James continues to eat orally. He ate a large amount through his mouth on Sunday, but has not eaten much orally since. Pray also that he does not get an infection from the g-tube. Over all, we are super thankful that we decided to put the g-tube in.

2. In regard to seizures: They did an hour long EEG to see if James was having seizures. The good news is that the EEG suggested that James is not having any seizures. However, the EEG only tested James' brain activity for the span of an hour. We are going to talk to our neurologist, who is now on vacation, about having a 24 hour long EEG just to make sure that he is having no seizure activity. We have an appointment scheduled with our neurologist on January 15. We are also going to discuss the possibility of taking him off his valium again in order to better detect seizure activity while hooked up to the EEG. We are not yet sure if our neurologist likes this idea or not. They are not sure if James' low heart rate was seizure activity or not at this point. It is still a possibility to them, but they seem to think of it as a super small possibility. They are still concerned the starring spells he has been having while awake--we will be talking to our neurologist about this as well.

3. In regard to his low heart rate: They are not sure what caused James' low heart rate. They all agreed that Kristal and I did the right thing by bringing him to the emergency room. They think his low heart rate could be one of four things:
A. Seizures--I've already discussed this above.
B. Abnormal heart rhythm--We had an EKG to test his heart rhythm etc. The test came back normal, which is good. The cardiologist said that the right side of James' heart seems to be a bit weaker than the left side. They are going to do some more tests this coming Monday to make sure that this is not the cause of his low heart rate. The cardiologist was confident that although the right side of his heart seems to be a bit less strong, it is not so much weaker that it would cause great problems. We are going to be doing the further testing just to make sure. We are thankful that the Cardiologist is going above and beyond just to be safe. The Cardiologist also sent us home with a Holter monitor. The Holter monitor records James' heart activity for a 24 hour period. They put him on it this morning at 9:30 and so we will take it off tomorrow at 9:30 am and send it in the mail back to the doctor. He will read the content of the Holter monitor sometime this or next week. This will provide him helpful information in assessing James' heart.
C. Reflux--All of the doctors have suggested that James' low heart rate could be the result of acid reflux that irritates some nerve in the esophagus which causes the heart to temporarily beat at a lower rate. They are not sure if this is what it is or not, but they all think that it is a good possibility. Kristal and I are not necessarily sold on this possibility, because he has been on acid reflux medicine for a long time now. But anyway, who knows.
D. They are not sure--Ultimately they are not sure why his heart rate was so low. We still have some tests to take to exhaust all of our options.

4. As of right now they seem confident that although James heart rate was abnormally low that there is nothing for us to worry about. We feel satisfied knowing that the Doctors truly are doing everything within reason to find out what is causing his heart to have such a low number of beats per minute.

5. If you read this tonight be praying for Kristal and I, because they have not yet had the chance to change the alarm settings on the monitor that detects his heart beat and oxygen saturation. We are confident that James will be tripping the monitor all night tonight, which means we are stuck with the option of staying up all night or having him go to sleep without the monitor on him--we don't like either option. If James does keep tripping the monitor we will probably just turn it off so we can get some sleep. But we are not sure yet what we will do.

6. The doctors really want us to keep him on the monitor. They suggested that we take him to the emergency room if his heart beat is consistently in the 50 beats per minute range, or if his oxygen saturation goes down. They told us not to worry about his heart being as low as 60 beats per minute so long as his oxygen saturation remains at a high level. Pray that we have no more emergencies with his heart rate.

7. Thank you all so much for praying for Kristal and I. The Lord was very good to us to give us excellent health care. We had excellent doctors and nurses while up at Darthmouth. All of the doctors were compassionate. We were thankful that they all told us that we did the right thing by taking him to the emergency room because of his low heart rate. We are also thankful that the g-tube surgery went well. We are also thankful that we can now continue to keep James nourished even when he doesn't want to eat.

The Lord is so good to us. Hopefully I can write some of the stuff Kristal and I talked about while at the hospital. Each and every trial is a blessing from the Lord. They are not fun, but they are so effective to produce Christ-likeness in us when we let them do their work on us. We love Jesus. Pray that the Lord would continue to draw us closer to Himself. My friends, endure your trials with joy. Don't get masochistic, but endure them knowing that they are useful to draw you close to the infinitely glorious King. Pray for us that we would continue to have a biblical view of suffering no matter how bad times get.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

James to the Emergency Room

Please be praying for James. Last night we had to take him to the emergency room around 11 pm and are still at the hospital.

Here's what happened: We hook James up to a machine that detects his heart rate and the percentage of oxygen in his blood. This machine has an alarm that goes off if his heart beat gets too low. Well, the alarm kept going off last night. This happened a few months back and we brought him to the emergency room--they told us that babies have low heart rates so to not worry abou it. Well, his heart rate continued to plummet last night and at one moment it hit 55 beats per minute, which is 25 beats lower than the alarm settings. We tried to wake him up, but he wouldn't wake up. It took a good 40 seconds of rubbing and talking to him to get his heart beat back to the safe zone. I called 911 during this time. By the time the ambulence got to our house he was fully awake and crying his head off.

They took him to the emergency room. They put an iv in him because he was dehydrated, took some blood, and analyzed the data. Right now they are concerned that James is having what is called "Silent Seizures." Silent Seizures are seizures that cannot be detected. They are going to send him up to a different, more-specialized hospital (Darthmouth Hitchcock--the same place he went after being born) in order to do an EEG to see if he is having seizures.

We are going to be leaving from this hospital (Concord Hospital) in a few hours and will be up at Dartmouth until, Lord willing, Tuesday. As you already know, James' surgery to put in his g-tube is scheduled for Monday. They are still planning on doing the surgery.

We thank the Lord that Kristal went against the advice of the Doctors and continued to hook him up to the machine that detects his heart rate. If she did not continue to do this, we would not have been able to tell that his heart rate went so low.

We are also thankful that they put an iv in him, because we have been concerned about him going into surgery dehydrated. In regard to James' iv: He has already been stuck 6 times with the needle to get an iv into him. He is going to be on an iv until Tuesday and so will possibly have to have the iv moved a time or two more. They are having a hard time finding and hitting his viens (as Kristal was concerned). Pray that his veins hold out so that he can continue to be hydrated throughout his surgery.

Also, be praying that the doctors would get to the bottom of what is happening with James. Pray that they come to a solution. Pray that if he is have seizures that they are not harmful to him.

The Lord has been so good to us to give us hospitals. He has especially been good to us to give Kristal such a sensitive motherly instinct. I am so very proud of her and her boldness--she knew that the doctors would see her as an overly protective mother if she called 911, but did it anyway knowing that James' issues were bigger than they were made out to be.

Praise the Lord! James' primary care doctor just came in and said that Dr. Morse, James' neurologist, is on call this weekend! This is a blessing because this means that they will be able to look into this suspected seizure activity once we get up there, Lord willing.

Pray that James gets rest. Pray that the Lord provide him comfort--he is pretty uncomfortable right now. Pray for me, I got about 1 hour of sleep last night. Pray for Kristal, she got about 10 minutes of sleep last night.

Thank the Lord that I am finished with school for the semester. I have no obligations and so am able to devote all my time to Kristal and James at this point.

I will be keeping everyone updated via this blog. As soon as we find out anything more, if I am able to grab a computer, I will update.

Last night, Kristal rode with James in the ambulence and so I drove myself to the hospital. In the car on the way to the hospital the Lord put it on my heart to belt the song "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands." I think I added a verse: "He's Got James' Health in His Hands." Why on earth would anyone find any comfort in the thought that God is not absolutely in control of all things.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Surgery on Monday at 11 am

Kristal just scheduled James' g-tube surgery for Monday at 11 am. We have to get there early to put an iv in. Kristal, the phlebotomist, says that James' veins are really small and hard to find and that they will be smaller and even harder to find because he has been eating and drinking so little. Pray that getting the iv in will not be an issue. Also pray that James does well with the surgery--he is already weak and not eating which could cause complications in surgery.

James will be in the hospital overnight and we will be staying with him in his room.

He will have the slinky hose like g-tube for 4-6 weeks and then we will get to switch it out to a Mickey Button.

The doc said that there is a 15% chance of James getting an infection in the stomach wall during surgery.

We are going to try our hardest to lay low and protect him from stimulation before his surgery. He is not really in a good spot health-wise to be having surgery so really be praying.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

James into Surgery


Thank you all for diligently praying for James. Yesterday he had a doctor appointment with his primary Pediatrician. We talked to her about his eating problems. She assessed and concluded that James is not eating enough to sustain himself. She suggested that we put the g-tube back in his belly. After talking to the doctor Kristal and I both concluded that not putting the g-tube back in his belly is not an option. The fact is that James is not eating enough, and has never consistently eaten enough since the day he was born. The doctor told us that if he gets sick and has no g-tube to rely upon he will surely end up in the hospital with iv's and everything else. We told the doctor that we are ready to schedule an appointment to put the g-tube back in. She said she was going to schedule it for sometime next week. We are not sure what day or time the surgery will be (I will make keep you all updated via this blog).

There are some good and bad sides to the g-tube. As you probably remember, James had one for the first 3 months of his life. We hated the g-tube because it is uncomfortable and is hard to manage. However, we will be getting a different type of g-tube this time around. He is now old enough to get what they call a Mickey Button. The Mickey Button stays flesh against his skin and cannot move in an out of his belly--unlike the g-tube he had when he was younger. The other g-tube was a long hose that stuck out of his belly about 7 inches or so. It was a hassle and caused great discomfort. They may, at first, have to put in this longer tube until a track is formed (takes about 4 weeks) before they put in the Mickey Button.

The one major positive aspect of the g-tube is that we don't have to worry about James getting dehydrated or malnourished. If he won't eat we simply hook the tubing up to his g-tube and pump it right into his belly. His not eating has been all-consuming for us at the Snowden household, because he has been on the verge of dehydration for such a long time now. We are always concerned that he might not be getting enough to sustain himself. The g-tube will take away these worries.

The doctor said that James' refusal to eat is his way of protecting his airway. Every time James swallows food it goes into his lungs. The reason this did not stop him from eating before was because he was on his muscle relaxing medicine, which numbed his senses. Once we got him off the medicine his senses were heightened and so he could feel the liquid get into his lungs--which is uncomfortable. The doctor said that James has to choose between the discomfort of getting fluid in his lungs or going hungry, and he has chosen to simply go hungry. I feel bad for the little guy--either he eats and is extremely uncomfortable or he doesn't eat and is constantly hungry.

I will list some of the concerns we have:

1. If we put the g-tube in James' body may reject it.

2. James has to have anesthesia for his surgery.

3. Putting the g-tube in is a surgery and there can always be complications with surgery.

4. The doctor told us that many kids stop eating through their mouth altogether after getting the g-tube because they realize that they can feel full without having to eat through their mouth. Sometimes this can cause kids to absolutely hate anything going into their mouths. This reality hit Kristal and I last night. We both realized that James may never eat through his mouth again once we put the g-tube in--he may be dependent upon a g-tube for the rest of his life. This is a hard thing for the both of us to think about.

5. Even though James is getting fluid into his lungs every time he eats we still have to work on feeding him orally. Our doctor told us that if we do not continue to work on his oral feedings now then he will never eat through his mouth--for some reason kids who are not used to oral stimulation reject anything entering their mouths. I said, "Well, isn't he at high risk for pneumonia?" She said, "Yes he is." She then went on to tell us that as bad as pneumonia is, it is a worthy risk to train him to eat orally. She said that we will have to stop if he starts getting pneumonia chronically. But she said that we need to do whatever we can to get him to eat orally so long as he doesn't get chronic pneumonia. Even after we put the g-tube back in his belly, we will still have to work on his oral feeding--so putting the g-tube in is not going to lessen his chances of getting pneumonia.

6. Pray that the surgery does not stunt James' developmental progress. He has been making huge strides developmentally over the past few weeks. Strange, he is happiest when he eats less--he definitely did not inherit this gene from my side of the family--I don't think such a gene even exists in the larger part of the Snowden family. He is super happy and has learned to interact with Kristal and I so much better. Thank the Lord for this, and pray that the surgery doesn't ruin his developmental progress.

Please continue to pray for James. Pray for his surgery. Pray that his body doesn't reject the tube. Pray that he learns to eat--Pray that he will not need to g-tube for the rest of his life.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Big Hug Mug

Here are my two favorite coffee cups. The first is called the "Big Hug Mug." I am forever indebted to the Wingerd's for their kindness in giving this precious piece of porcelain to such an unworthy person as I. It is usually filled with coffee, but as you can see, it was full of hot chocolate when I took the pictures




This is my newest and funnest mug. Kristal got it for me as an early Christmas present (she cannot buy early presents--she gets too excited and gives them to me about 5 seconds after buying them). Moose are my favorite animals and so this mug has a special place in my heart. Also, the pottery is outstanding?


This is another picture of the Moose mug. I wanted to give you a full orbed perspective. Isn't she a bute?!! This mug has the ability to hold lots of yummy Dunkin donuts coffee. I think I am going to name my moose mug Earl. I just think that is a good Moose names. Anyone have any thoughts on this?



I just wanted to let you all know that Kristal is singing "O Stinky Bomb" to James right now. His feet smell awful--Even after we give him a bath--they are rancid. We call them his "stinky Pota-Toes" Anyway, "O Stinky Bomb" is sung to the tune of "O Christmas Tree." I love my wife--I love her goofiness.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Urgent Prayer Request--12/09/07

If you are not up to speed on our present situation with James then read this post.

As you know, we finally weened James off his muscle relaxing medicine about two weeks ago. As soon as we did so he stopped eating and sleeping. We knew that he would go through withdrawals, but his refusal to eat and sleep got worse and worse throughout last week--he was getting up 4 times a night and eating only about 7 or 8 ounces of formula a day. We took him to the doctor on Thursday to see if there was anything we could do and to make sure that he was not dehydrated. The doctor gave us some acid reflux medicine thinking that this might be his problem. He affirmed that he was not dehydrated. The doctor also told us that he was not sure if James' eating problems were related to reflux or not, and thought that it might have something to do with taking him off his Vallium (muscle relaxing medicine). The Vallium was prescribed to James in order to calm down the effects of his brain injury. The doctor thought that by taking him off the Vallium we were unmasking the effects of his brain injury. One of the effects being an inability to eat and hold food down. He told us to try the reflux medicine, but to keep a close eye on him to make sure that he does not get dehydrated. He also told us to consider the thought of putting him back on the Vallium if need be.

Well, we got home and tried the medicine and nothing changed. Yesterday Kristal noticed that James had only went pee twice in the past 24 hours--His mouth was dry, lips chapped, and he was getting a fever--he was beginning to get dehydrated. So yesterday we decided to put him back on his Vallium hoping that it would help. It has been about 24 hours since we put him back on it and he is still not eating, and when he does eat, throws it up.

We did receive one blessing from the Lord by putting him back on it--James slept from 9:30 pm to 6:45 am. Kristal and I both got a full nights sleep--first time in about 2 weeks.

Please pray that the Vallium would help James eat and hold it down again. He is really starting to hate eating, and whenever he does eat usually throws it up. It is absolutely critical that James start eating. If he does not start eating again we will have to put the g-tube back in his belly. Also be praying that James does not get dehydrated.

We are thankful that James is happy and energetic when he is not eating. He has really come out of his shell.

James has a doctors appointment on Monday with his primary care doctor, and one on Tuesday with the speech pathologist. The speech pathologist is going to see if there is anything she can do to help James eat. While we are visiting with the speech pathologist we are going to see if his neurologist can squeeze him in for a tiny visit. Please pray that the Lord would direct and give our doctors wisdom.

Kristal and I are a bit nervous--we really don't want to have to put the g-tube back in. We are thankful though that we live in a day and age where we have a g-tube to fall back on. Please pray though that the Lord would help James eat and sleep.

Thank you for your prayers. I will definitely keep you posted as things progress.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Christian vs. American Worldview Part VI


In this post I have pasted my answer to the question "What goals are really worth pursuing"--I am answering this questions from the vantage point of the average American.

"Because the average American does not put much stock in the reality of the afterlife, they concentrate all of their efforts on temporal earthly goals. The pursuit of happiness is the most lofty goal a person can attain. Generally, Americans pursue the goal of success (which leads to happiness) most fervently. This reality can be seen in the some-what twisted movie “The Pursuit of Happyness,” where success and wealth are equated with happiness. I am sure that the majority of American’s (maybe even some Christians) who watched this film considered the character played by Will Smith to be a role model—they wish that they themselves could attain such lofty goals, because they sincerely think that reaching such goals wins them happiness."

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Christian vs. American Worldview Part V

In the last post I answered the question "How do we find wholeness" from the perspective from the average American. In this post I will briefly answer the question "What goals are really worth pursuing?" I will answer it from a Scriptural perspective. Enjoy and respond.


"The inherent worthiness of a goal is directly linked to how long the effect of meeting that goal will last. Jesus makes this very clear in the Gospels when he says, “Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 6:20). Here, in the context, Jesus is saying that storing up treasures on earth is not as much of a worthy goal as storing up treasures in heaven, because treasures in heaven last longer. There is such a disparity in terms of the duration of time between heaven and earth that it would be a mistake of astronomical proportions to consider earthly goals to be of equal worth than heavenly goals. With this in mind, the most worthy goals to pursue are scriptural goals—goals which have eternal effects."

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Prayer Requests--12/04/07

I wanted to give everyone an update on our situation with James (sorry it has been so long).

1. About a month or two ago James got pneumonia. We caught it before it got bad and so the healing process didn't take very long. However, he learned to despise food during the time when he was sick. About two weeks after healing from pneumonia it seemed like he was starting to like eating agian. However, this was short lived. Right now we are struggling to get him to eat more than 8 ounces of milk a day (he should be eating this much in one meal). We try and push the baby food, but he refuses that as well. His eating has gotten much worse over the past 3 days or so--he will drink maybe two ounces at a feeding. As soon as he eats the little that he does, he starts flaking out as if his limbs were being ripped from his body. We are going to contact the speech pathologist to see if there is anything that can be done. We are not sure why he is rejecting food like he is. We are not sure if it hurts to eat and swallow, or whatever. Pray that the Lord would help James in this area.

2. Because James is eating so little in the day, he is waking in the middle of the night at least 5 times a week. He usually goes to sleep at about 10:00 pm or so, wakes up around 2:30 am for about an hour and a half to only eat an ounce, and then goes back to sleep until about 6:30 am to be up for the day. I am in the thick of school--my finals are next week and so Kristal and I both are really getting worn out. On average we both get about 4-6 hours of sleep every night. At night we have tried to force feed him so that he will sleep the whole night, but as you may know, this is just making him hate his food more and more. Especially pray that the Lord would grant Kristal rest. She is such a good mom--she is so good with James, but she is getting worn thin.

3. Also, James refuses to eat or sleep with anyone but Kristal. For some reason, he simply will not eat or sleep when anyone else is holding him. This means that when he wakes up in the middle of the night, if Kristal is not holding him he completely unravels and is up screaming for hours. The other day Kristal and I left to go on a date and had to come home two hours after leaving because James literally wouldn't settle down. We are happy that James finally has something that sooths him (his mom), but Kristal is getting run down. Pray for Kristal and I that we might get more sleep. Especially pray for Kristal--I am the sort who sleeps heavy and so I need less sleep--she is a light sleeper and so requires much more than me.

4. Also, pray for James' head size. Since day 1 the doctors have been telling us that James is at high risk for having slow development. This is already a reality considering the fact that he is almost 8 months old and can barely lift his own head. One of the concerns has been that the brain injury could cause his brain to not grow as it should. Every time we go to the doctor they measure his head. It appears as if his head growth is starting to sort of plateau a little more than they would like. Ultimately, we do not know what this means. If his brain growth continues to plateau it could mean more development problems later in life. The thing is that they have no way of knowing how his brain will grow from this point forward. Since day one, the doctors have been telling us that James' progress and development is completely up to him (and the Lord)--there is nothing the doctors can do, and there is nothing that the doctors can predict. This is something that Kristal and I have been praying about, but it is not something that we let bother us, because there is nothing we can do about it anyway.

5. Pray for our marriage. Our struggles and trials with James have drawn us closer together. One of the effects of the fall is weariness. I have learned that nothing reveals sin in our hearts like two people working together while being dog tired. When I get my sleep I am a happy-go-lucky ultra-corny husband, but when my tank is running on empty frustration, shortness, and irritation surface. Every time I get short or irritated with Kristal I always IMMEDIATELY confess it to her and ask forgiveness. Please pray that I would never take this side of me lightly. Pray that the Lord would grant me the grace to not express frustration, and that He would continue to help me to confess it when I do. I have noticed that frustration generally subsides when it is dealt with on the spot. Also, Kristal and I desperately desire the ability to go on dates, but have been prevented because of James' refusal to be happy without mommy. Pray that the Lord would make this a possibility again. We haven't had a date since before James had pneumonia. This is not a necessity, but it sure would be nice.

6. James is officially off his muscle relaxer medicine. It took nearly two months to ween him off the stuff because it is so addictive. Much of his eating and sleep problems could very well be from withdrawals. The medicine has a half life and so is not yet completely out of his system and won't be for another week or so. Pray that his withdrawals would calm down. He usually cries and screams at night from about 5-9 pm.

7. Pray for me this next week as I have finals to take. My decision to transfer to Liberty University has proved to be a good one. I have thoroughly enjoyed my classes, and am excited to take more next semester.

8. We do have some praises:
-James is completely off his muscle relaxer medicine
-James is more active being off the medicine than he was before, and is using his muscles more. He also now desires to life his head, look around, kick his legs, and touch things.
-James is also recognizes faces better, and is now able to know when someone is talking to him.
-We are thankful for his doctors and physical therapist.
-Kristal and I have found a church and are feeling at home there.

9. The Lord has truly given Kristal and I a task by giving us James. I thank the Lord that He blessed us with James. I am especially thankful that Kristal is his mom--I am not sure I would trust many women with a child with needs like his. She is an outstanding mother with a boat-load of a love and compassion for James. I was tempted to not put any of my thoughts or prayer requests up on the blog for our situation with James because I do not want to appear as if we think we have a parenting experience worse than everyone else. I don't want to appear as though I am complaining. Truly, some of James' issues are normal 8 month old issues, however James has a lot stacked against him physically and is still in need of mega prayer. Because of James unique situation (with his brain injury), many of the things that seem like "normal" baby issues are not normal. Surely, many 8 month olds don't sleep, but the reason for why they don't sleep is completely different than the reason why James doesn't sleep. James has had an injury to the brain and, as the the doctors warned us, is suffering many side effects.

10. Kristal and I know that the Lord has given us this situation for a good reason. Maybe someday I can sit down and write all of the things I have learned through our situation with James. This has not been a wasted trial. I do not love trials--I HATE TRIALS, but I love what they bring about. I love thinking about that day when I will stand in glory to hear the Father reveal all the work that was accomplished through James and his situation.

11. One of the biggest things that I have learned is to not assume that I know how bad others have got it. I have a tendency to down play others pain and suffering. The Lord has given me this trial to teach me compassion and silence (by silence, I mean that He has taught me to stop trying to immediately identify with those in pain, but rather to simply listen, pray, and hurt with them).

12. Thank you all for your constant prayers for James. You have all been a huge blessing to us. Please continue to pray. Pray for Kristal and I as well.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Christian vs. American Worldview Part IV

In the last post, I answered the question "How do we find wholeness?" from a Christian Worldview. In this post I will answer this same question, but from the viewpoint of the average American. I would suggest reading the average American's answer to this question, and then reread the Christian answer to this question. Without Christ everything is meaningless.

"For the average American, wholeness is attained when their form of happiness is realized. Ultimately, Americans equate wholeness with temporal happiness. One is only whole when he is doing that which makes himself happy at the moment. There is no struggle, in the average American, to try and find universals which dump meaning into everything they know to be true about themselves. There is a nagging disconnect within, but they simply try and numb the pain and confusion by pursuing temporary happiness."

Delectable!!!

I am right now eating a perfectly proportionate banana--just enough green to keep me pure--just enough yellow to keep me honest. What more could one ask for? I think I have found my personal breakfast utopia.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Christian vs. American Worldview Part III

For those of you just tuning in, my apologetics professor asked us to briefly answer the four following questions: 1. How do we find happiness? 2. How do we find wholeness? 3. What goals are really worth pursuing? 4. What is life "for"? We had to answer each question twice--once from a Christian worldview and then once from the worldview of the average American. In this post, I have pasted my answer to the question "How do we find wholeness?" from a Christian Worldview. For you picky theologians out there, remember that my answer had to be brief. Feel free to add anything as a comment. Answering questions briefly is very bitter-sweet. I love it and I hate it. I love the challenge and exactitude of being brief, but hate not crossing all my i's and dotting all my t's. This is a good exercise for someone like me though because I tend to be one who really over explains things. For example, if I am not careful this very introduction will be longer than the answer itself. Furthermore, if I am not careful my explanation of how I tend to be overly wordy may be longer than both my answer and the introduction. And even still more--I think you get the point. To my answer we go!


"The antithesis of wholeness is disconnectedness, therefore our pursuit of wholeness ought to start by seeking one who is able to, like Humpty Dumpty, put us back together again. One of the results of the fall was that the core of our being was torn apart. Spiritual death divorced the soul from the body/mind, therefore wholeness can only take place when the soul and the body/mind experience a reunion. This reunion can only begin through the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit, and only finds its consummation when the soul houses itself in an immortal glorified body. In conclusion, wholeness can only begin to be realized when one experiences the new birth (which can only happen by believing on the Lord Jesus and repenting of your sin)"

Thursday, November 29, 2007

What's Wrong With You People!!!


What is up with the majority of people liking Bananas that are "yellow", and "yellow with brown spots"? Disgusting! My rule is this, "No green, No Banana is clean." Ok, so thats not my rule. Thats not the point though. The point is that any banana that loses all it's green luster is not worthy to be eaten and must thrown out. "That's the way I roll."

Christian vs. American Worldview Part II

Yesterday I answered the question "How do we find happiness" from a Christian perspective. Today I will be answering this same question from the perspective of the average American. Remember that I have made my answer as brief as possible. Try and think of how you have seen these things prevalent in the lives of nonbelievers whom you know. Think of how the Gospel may speak to their unique and specific needs. Then go and show them how they can find ultimate happiness. Feel free to add or expound on anything that I said. Also, feel free to give any suggestions on how we are to go about presenting Christ to them in a way that shows them both the depth of their need and the great ability of our Savior to meet that need. After reading this post reread Part I and consider the blessing it is to be a child of God.

How does the average American find happiness?

"To the world, happiness has everything to do with either living a fulfilled earthly life, and/or helping others do the same. Often times we have a tendency to caricature Americans by saying that they have no desire to please anyone but themselves. This is a mistake. Many seek their happiness in giving their kids the best life possible, while others live their lives to meet the needs of the down-and-outs in our world. There are seven main things which Americans mostly consider to be the source of happiness: money, freedom, recognition for charitable deeds, success, sex, comfort, and humor/entertainment. These seven things constitute a happy life. As long as one can say that these things are the trademarks of their life, they must be happy. However, discontentment sets in as soon as any one of these things is amiss. Happiness is attained only when these six things are constantly sought out and acquired. The only problem is that these seven things only bring momentary happiness, and often times after this happiness vanishes it leaves one feeling depressed and hopeless. Ultimately the world cannot offer lasting happiness."

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

On Christianity, Modernism, and Postmodernism

I read one of the most simple and concise articles on a Christian view of Modernism and Postmodernism. I do not think that it is imperative that all Christians have a super-developed understanding of modernism and postmodernism, however I highly suggest all Christians to have atleast an idea of modernism and postmodernism. This article was written by Don Closson and is entitled "How Do You Spell Truth." I want to warn you before going there that some of the the concepts are a bit difficult, however I believe that taking the effort to learn the cultural climate is invaluable in our evangelistic task. Click here to access the article. Clossons dealing with the issues is one of the most simplified I have found.

The only thing I would have done differently than Closson is spend more time showing the strengths of both modernism and postmodernism. I understand that Closson probably had limited room, but one of the main reasons our culture is so fed up with Christianity is because of a refusal to give credit where credit is due. Of course Christianity is the very source of truth, however we have benefited from both modernism and postmodernism in many ways, and when we don't acknowledge this the world correctly labels us as arrogant. Anyway, that is a freebie.

Christian vs. American Worldview Part I

My apologetics teacher posed four worldview questions: 1. "How do we find happiness," 2. "How do we find wholeness," 3. "What goals are worthy of pursuing," and 4. "What is life 'for.'" We had to give two short answers to each of these questions--The first answer had to be from a Christian/Biblical worlview, and the other had to be how we think the average American would answer the question. I enjoyed answering these questions and will be pasting my answers here one at a time. In this post I will be answering, from a Christian worldview, the question "how do we find happiness?" I have already posted my answer to this a week ago or so, but am posting it again because I want it to be organized (so leave me alone). If you don't want to read it again--too bad! (just kidding) As you read this think of how the average American would answer this question. Think how hopeless life would be without Christ. Think how unhappy life would be if our happiness did not come from Him. Rejoice that you are His. I will post my answer to how the average American would respond to this (probably) tomorrow. Enjoy!


"Our happiness in something is entirely built upon an intellectual understanding of how long the happiness will last. The happiness that drunkenness, money, and sex can provide is often real happiness, but it is not ultimate happiness. In reality, the question is, “how can we find ultimate happiness?” Ultimate happiness can only be found in something that can offer the promise of eternal satisfaction. With this in mind, looking for ultimate happiness on this temporal earth will only lead to despair. Ultimate happiness can only be found in God, because only God can deliver on the promise of eternal satisfaction.

God is the only infinite entity in all of existence. The love, beauty, glory, justice, and happiness of God simply cannot be exhausted, therefore we can be assured that we will never run out of that which makes us happy. The problem is that right now, because of the effects of the fall, even our finding happiness in God can (and does) have physical draw backs (if you disagree, talk to those undergoing persecution for the name of Christ), which can limit our temporal enjoyment of it. How then can Christians defend the thesis that ultimate happiness can be realized when one finds his/her happiness in God? It all has to do with hope.

We live in the already/not yet. Our confidence and surety is that a time is coming when our unabridged enjoyment in Christ will be actualized. We but get a mere taste of it now, but will be wrapped in it for an eternity once Christ welcomes us to our heavenly abode. The mere taste of what we now enjoy (by faith) is much sweeter than what those who are finding their happiness in the temporal satisfactions of the world are tasting, and yet it is not even comparable to the satisfaction of what we will enjoy in heaven."

Monday, November 26, 2007

In The Thick Of It?

Sincerely consider the following questions: How have you been? How hectic is your life right now? Are you in the thick of life? Does life "have you by the horns?"

I have come to know one thing for certain in my 26 short years of life--we live in a fallen world--things are not as they should be. With every blessing comes a curse. We love the sunshine, but it all too often burns our skin and kills our crops. We love the sound of rain, but it all too often floods our towns and fields. We love relationships, but hearts are always being broken.

I was outside sweeping our driveway a few weeks ago. It was one of the most beautiful days of fall. I stopped sweeping for a moment to try and take it all in. I was standing there with my broom saying, "Wow Lord, this earth you created is absolutely beautiful. Thank you letting me enjoy it." Literally, as soon as these words came out of my lips (because I don't pray silently) 2 HUGE bee's attacked me (and they are huge here in NH) and had to run inside to avoid being stung. God never wants us to forget that we live in a fallen world. He is always reminding us of the silliness (think about that word), the silliness, of storing up our treasures here.
Has God been reminding you of the futility of storing up treasures on earth lately? This is never fun, because falleness hurts.

Maybe this will be of help to you in your situation--Whenever I am in the thick of life I always take a moment or two out of my day to merely sit down and prayerfully think of why the Lord might be bringing me through such a depressing trial.

Are you struggling in your marriage? Are you struggling financially? Are you struggling with your kids? Are you struggling with your best friends? Are you struggling with your pastor? Are you struggling with your parents? Are you struggling with your health? Are you struggling with sleep? Are you struggling with school? I am sure that every single person who reads this will answer yes to at least two of these, and if you are not struggling with at least two of these, let me assure you that soon and very soon you will--because we live in a fallen world.

Unbelievable! It is 5:45 am right now and I started writing this post last night right before going to bed. After laying James down to go to sleep Kristal and I were talking. "You know Kristal, this was a good day. It just didn't seem as stressful as it has been. I mean, James was happy, he ate well, we got to play Rummy, and I got a lot of school work done." Kristal looked at me and said, "Yeah, you are right, today was a good day." While this conversation was going on I was praying in my head to the Lord, "O God, please let James sleep all the night through. This has been such a good day and having to get up in the middle of the night is never fun." Kristal prayed for us before going to sleep and she prayed nearly the same thing. Well, guess what! At 2:45 am little Jamesaronious' feet started wiggling, which then led into a little "Eww Eww" action, which then turned into him kicking his feet, which then turned into a no-holes-barred crying fest! Once the crying starts we know we are up for at least an hour, but usually he doesn't like to throw short 1 hour parties, but rather likes to keep his guests for at least an hour and a half. YEP! We were up till 4:00 am. This morning as my alarm went off as usual at 5:00 am I looked at it with a hint of sarcasm and said, "Oh no, we don't live in a fallen world."

I thought you would enjoy that story. How appropriate, It is almost as if the Lord wanted to make sure that I wasn't going to write on something that I haven't already thoroughly experienced.

So anyway, where did I leave off last night before going to bed? Oh yeah, we live in a fallen world! One of the ways I have dealt with the frustration, pain, anger, and depression that this world so often throws at us is by simply taking a few minutes out of my day to answer the question "Why is the Lord bringing me through this trial?"

Why did the Lord decide to get Kristal and I up in the middle of the night last night?
Why is the Lord taking you through struggles in your marriage right now?
Why is the Lord taking you through medical struggles right now?
Why is the Lord taking you throw financial struggles right now?

I am not saying that you should try to come to a complete understanding of why the Lord is taking you through your specific trial, but just that it is helpful to brain storm why He might be doing it. Ultimately, the specific purpose(s) behind our trials is something we will not know until glory. However, it is of utmost help if you simply try and think on these things.

Want me to exemplify what I mean?

-Why did the Lord decide to get Kristal and I up in the middle of the night last night?

Ultimately I am not sure, but I do know that His purposes are good--He only does what is best for His glory and His people. Maybe the Lord got me up in order to remind me that even our best days on earth are contaminated by the fall. Maybe He got me up so that I might be forced to practice Christ-like patience (I struggle with patience the most in the middle of the night--I get short and am often irritable). Maybe the Lord got me up so that I might call upon His name (and I did--I was adamantly praying that He would make James go back to sleep).

Do you see?! This little exercise is so helpful. It gets your mind in the right place. It helps put your trials in perspective. Even though you may not be able to nail down exactly why the Lord is bringing you through your trial, excitement begins to well up knowing that there are a thousand good reasons why he might be taking you through it. Here's the goal--turn your trials (your moments of frustration, pain, anger, and depression) into times of celebration, because you know that God is on your side and that He will not bring you through something "just cuz".

Of course, some trials are much greater than others. Marriage struggles and death are not on par with having to get up for an hour and a half in the middle of the night. However, no horrid situation is above God's loving providence. I don't care how severe your trial is--God is taking you through it for a good reason. This is not to say that the effects of sin and Satan are not real, but it is to say that God works all things together for the good. I am afraid that often times we don't like to think of God's providence because as soon as we do so we are no longer justified in our frustration and anger. Hear me out, pursuing hope is so much more satisfying than pursuing justification to be angry and irritable. This does not mean that we slap a big fat smiley face on our problems and explain them away, but it does mean that we put them in perspective.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Holiday Dinner/Pot Luck Disasters

This morning Kristal and I were talking about the Thanksgiving dinner we know we are going to enjoy later today, and somehow the conversation morphed into a discussion on holiday/pot luck (or for those of you who are more theological than Jesus--pot providence--I can't even believe I stooped to your level) disasters. Now Kristal and I have only known each other for two and a half years, and have only been married for one and a half years and so am sure we wouldn't even know a holiday or pot luck disaster if it hit us in the face.

However, ours happened last fall (around this) time when Kristal was going through the throws of pregnistic (do you like the word--I take the credit for it) nausea. She was bad--literally, as soon as she would get up, she would throw up. We went to church and literally everything at the church pot luck was orange! Everything was orange! Do you want the menu?

-cheese and crackers
-macaroni and cheese
-sweet potatoes
-grilled cheese
-beef and carrot stew
-cantaloupe

Oh, and by the way, the only tasty thing was the cantaloupe and cheese and crackers. Needless to say, as soon as we got home Kristal threw up.

Show us up by telling your worst holiday/pot luck dinner stories. If you have more than one story go ahead and share both. I just have one rule--if your story is about a pot luck you are not welcome to call it a pot providence or a pot blessing.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Interesting Quote

I read an interesting quote in a book by Douglas Groothuis entitled "Truth Decay; Defending Christianity Against the Challenges of Postmodernism."

He was quoting a whole bunch of contemporary modernism-minded scientists and philosophers who were expressing their disgust with the false premises of postmodernism. This section was entirely helpful for me, as I did not realize that Christianity is not the only (and maybe not even the main) enemy of radical postmodern thinking.

Anyway, he ended the section with a helpful reminder that, and I quote, "The enemies of our enemies are not always our friends." He was here saying that modernists are just as off, in many ways, as postmodernists--we can agree with them when they say right things against postmodern speculation, but we must not mistake them for being on our side. After all, modernism poses just as many difficulties for Christianity as does postmodernism (contrary to popular thought).

Ok, so I'm long winded. The whole purpose of this post was to share with you the quote, "the enemies of our enemies are not always our friends." What a brilliant quote.

Also, this Groothuis is a good writer--he has a lot of good things to say. I recommend this book to anyone who is up for thick, yet rich, reading. I recommend all of you to make attempts at understanding our culture. It helps in speaking to people where they are at. I have found that my knowledge of the fabric of our culture has helped me in evangelism to know what people are thinking without them telling me. It has helped me to bring up aspects of Christianity that interest them. It has helped me know what sort of questions probe their interest and curiosity.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Happiness in God

My apologetics teacher posed the question, "How do we find happiness." We had to give a short answer to this question. I enjoyed answering it and have pasted my answer. Enjoy and respond.

"Our happiness in something is entirely built upon an intellectual understanding of how long the happiness will last. The happiness that drunkenness, money, and sex can provide is often real happiness, but it is not ultimate happiness. In reality, the question is, “how can we find ultimate happiness?” Ultimate happiness can only be found in something that can offer the promise of eternal satisfaction. With this in mind, looking for ultimate happiness on this temporal earth will only lead to despair. Ultimate happiness can only be found in God, because only God can deliver on the promise of eternal satisfaction.

God is the only infinite entity in all of existence. The love, beauty, glory, justice, and happiness of God simply cannot be exhausted, therefore we can be assured that we will never run out of that which makes us happy. The problem is that right now, because of the effects of the fall, even our finding happiness in God can (and does) have physical draw backs (if you disagree, talk to those undergoing persecution for the name of Christ), which can limit our temporal enjoyment of it. How then can Christians defend the thesis that ultimate happiness can be realized when one finds his/her happiness in God? It all has to do with hope.

We live in the already/not yet. Our confidence and surety is that a time is coming when our unabridged enjoyment in Christ will be actualized. We but get a mere taste of it now, but will be wrapped in it for an eternity once Christ welcomes us to our heavenly abode. The mere taste of what we now enjoy (by faith) is much sweeter than what those who are finding their happiness in the temporal satisfactions of the world are tasting, and yet it is not even comparable to the satisfaction of what we will enjoy in heaven."

Trinitarian Application

As you all know, the standing on the last poll went as follows
Who is most God?
a. The Father
b. The Son
c. The Spirit
d. they are all equally God
e. none of them are God

Well, I am happy to report that everyone who voted chose d. "they are all equally God." Some may think that the poll was too basic of a question to be asking on a "Christian" blog site, however we need to realize that not everyone has all of these issues nailed down in their heads. The main reason I asked this question is because I have come across quite a few people in the last year or two who have been surprised by the thought that the Holy Spirit is just as much God as the Father.
For some reason, although we tend to (in theory) believe that the three persons of the Trinity are all equally God, we do not act like it.

-A practical trinitarian question for my baptistic friends: Do you cherish the work of the Holy Spirit as much as you cherish the work of the Son? Do you live your everyday life as if the Trinity was a mere Duinity? Does the Spirit have anything to do with your everyday life, or is He an active member of the Godhead only in theory? Have you turned the Scriptures into a mere wooden theological book, or are you depending upon and communing with Christ through the Spirit?

-A practical trinitarian question for my Lutheran/liturgy-driven friends, do you cherish the work of the Son and the Spirit as much as you cherish the Holiness of God the Father? Is the ministry of the Son and Spirit a reality in your life?

-A practical trinitarian question for my charismatic friends: Have the Father and Son died? I appreciate the emphasis on the Holy Spirit (much needed), however do you live as if the Father and Son are just as much of a reality as is the Holy Spirit? Have you gotten over forgiveness and now need something new--some new work of the Spirit--to give you what forgiveness can't? Are you always pursuing something new? If so, some practical changes might need to take place.

You see, having a correct view of the Trinity effects our everyday lives. You need more than a correct understanding of the Trinity, you need a correct application of the Trinity. Christianity suffers when any one of the members of the Trinity are forgotten or neglected (not just in teaching, but in practice).

Monday, November 12, 2007

Wonderful Grace of Jesus

A few weeks ago we sang the hymn "Wonderful Grace of Jesus" at our church. I had never heard it before, and was blown away by the content of the song. I encourage you to meditate on it. Don't skip over the refrain, read it each time it comes up. My favorite part is where it says, "Broader than the scope of my transgressions, Greater far than all my sin and shame." It reminds me of 1 Tim 1:12-17 where Paul talks about his life before he was a believer. He describes himself as a "violent aggressor" (1:13) and then calls himself the "worst of sinners" (1:15). Paul definitely was the worst of sinners. So many people try to identify with Paul in this, but to do so would be a mistake. In a sense, Paul is setting himself up not as an example of the power of God's grace and patience, but as the example of God's grace and patience. Let me ask you a question, Have you killed hundreds upon hundreds of men, women, and children because they bear the name of Christ? Have you, like Sadam Huessien and Hitler, filled mass graves of those you have slaughtered? Before you were a believer, were Christians afraid of losing their lives when you came to town? Don't get all doctrinal on me and say, "Total depravity! My heart is just as black as Paul's was." In a theological sense this may be true, but here Paul is not referring to the doctrine of total depravity (sometimes we tend to over theologize passages and end up missing the main message of it). Paul is setting himself up as the "worst of sinners." Paul's rebellion against God went so deep that he was actually torturing and killing Christians by the droves. AND YET! he says, "the grace of our Lord was more than abundant" (1:14). What a wonderful example we have in Paul. God's grace was not merely sufficient to cover his sins, it was "more than abundant." It more than covered his sins. If it more than covered Paul's sins, could it not more than cover your's as well? Surely if God's grace is more than abundant to cover the sins of mass murderer, it is more than abundant to cover your sins as well! What is your response to this news concerning God's abundant grace? Look at how Paul responds to it, "Now to the King, eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever, Amen" (1:17).

Wonderful Grace of Jesus

Wonderful grace of Jesus, greater than all my sin;
How shall my tongue describe it, where shall its praise begin?
Taking away my burden, setting my spirit free,
For the wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me!


REFRAIN: Wonderful the matchless grace of Jesus,
Deeper than the mighty rolling sea;
Higher than the mountain, sparkling like a fountain,
All-sufficient grace for even me;
Broader than the scope of my transgressions,
Greater far than all my sin and shame;
O magnify the precious name of Jesus, praise His name!

Wonderful grace of Jesus, reaching to all the lost,
By it I have been pardoned, saved to the uttermost;
Chains have been torn asunder, giving me liberty,
For the wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me!

REFRAIN: Wonderful the matchless grace of Jesus,
Deeper than the mighty rolling sea;
Higher than the mountain, sparkling like a fountain,
All-sufficient grace for even me;
Broader than the scope of my transgressions,
Greater far than all my sin and shame;
O magnify the precious name of Jesus, praise His name!

Wonderful grace of Jesus, reaching the most defiled,
By its transforming power, making him God’s dear child.
Purchasing peace and heaven for all eternity;
And the wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me!

REFRAIN: Wonderful the matchless grace of Jesus,
Deeper than the mighty rolling sea;
Higher than the mountain, sparkling like a fountain,
All-sufficient grace for even me;
Broader than the scope of my transgressions,
Greater far than all my sin and shame;
O magnify the precious name of Jesus, praise His name!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

New Poll

Time for a new poll. This is not as much a poll for fun as it is to see the beliefs of those who frequent here. After the poll is over I will provide a "brief" explanation of why I asked this question, and what the biblical answer is.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

An Excellent Post on Earthly Reality

I would recommend all who frequent my blog to read a post entitled "Learn to Live with Pain, Then Go One Better" by Ariel (one of my classmates from Seminary).
Ariel has an amazing gift of communicating real life Christianity. Enjoy the gift God has given him for the building up of the body of Christ. Ariel's writing is consistently insightful, so when you read this post check out some of the other stuff he has written.

R.C. Sproul--The Movie Star!!!

The Lord has graced us by allowing us to live in the day and age of technology. Technology can be both detrimental and useful for the Gospel. Many of our modern day theologians have capitalized on the advantages of technology. R. C. Sproul has particularly made use of technology by parading his beautiful face on his website. That's right, you heard it, you can now see Sproul in his GQ--Kenish beauty heralding the Gospel at www.ligonier.org. I do not agree with everything Sproul says, but anyone who does not cherish the gift God has given us in Sproul is overly picky and in need of a good old fashion piece of humble pie (and a big boy spankin). He is not the Pope, but he is mightily gifted of God. For those of you who are intimidated by theologians--Sproul has the ability to communicate the most complicated truths in simple terms. I seriously encourage all of you who read this to watch as many of his 20 min lessons as you possibly can. Test everything to the Scriptures, but enjoy this gift that God has given you. It will not take you long to come to the realization that, "Hey, I guess I have been wrong all these years, not all theologians are ugly."

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A Magic Trick!!

How did Jimmy get the knife through the butter dish? Go ahead try it yourself. If you succeed I will find you a rusty old lawn mower at the Salisbury Dump Mall!

Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Reisinger on Acceptance

John Reisinger is one of my favorite preacher/teachers. I was on his website reading a series of articles he has written on Galatians. He had some wonderful things to say about viewing and treating the Gospel as the sole sufficient basis for our right standing with God. He goes on to explain that we ought not expect of professing believers anything that God does not expect of them.

"Paul’s controversy with the congregation at Galatia concerned the freedom of which Jesus spoke. Paul viewed the conflict in terms of bondage to the law versus the freedom of grace. The bondage against which he argued was not only bondage to the world, but also bondage of the conscience to the Mosaic law as a means of gaining assurance with God. The same controversy continues to this day wherever the gospel of free grace is preached in simplicity and power. People with either a legalistic mentality or a pharisaical nature will always use the law incorrectly in an attempt to fetter the simple gospel. How many people do you know who would demand that Titus be circumcised (or whatever our contemporary analogy might be), regardless of how godly and blessed of God the individual might be? Before he is acceptable in our circles, he must first pass our personal inspection and have our distinctive mark of approval upon him. He must come through our schools and submit his conscience to our creed. It is true that Christ may have accepted him as one of his sheep, but before he can come into our sheepfold, he needs some additional preparation under our authority. Our understanding of doctrine, our interpretation of Scripture, or our particular practice becomes the new orthodoxy by which we measure heresy. My brother Donald used to remark, “It dangerous to say, ‘We know the Great Shepherd has put his mark upon you, but we must also put our peculiar mark on you before you are acceptable to us.’"

How do Paul and the other apostles view these kinds of demands? Not one of them intimated that Titus, because he was a Greek, ought to be circumcised. In fact, the suggestion would never have arisen but for the presence of some pseudo-Christians, who wormed their way into our meeting to spy on the liberty we enjoy in Christ Jesus, and then attempted to tie us up with rules and regulations. We did not give those men an inch, for the TRUTH OF THE GOSPEL for you and for the Gentiles was at stake (Gal. 2:3-6 Phillip’s, emphasis added)."
Click here to read the entire article. The doctrine of justification of faith alone apart from the works of the law must not merely be applied to our relationship with God, it should also be applied to our relationships with those in the body of Christ. Reisinger does an excellent job here of pinpointing some areas which need work in many of the churches in America. Although some of those who open their arms to anyone and everyone go overboard in doing so and end up neglecting much of the Scriptures, this does not mean that it is ok to not live out our theology. We ought never build our practical theology out of fear of the extreme mistakes others have made. We ought always build our practical theology out of faithfulness to God's Word--His entire Word.

Friday, October 26, 2007

7 Random Facts About Jimmy Snowden

Seven Random Facts About Me:

1. Everyone, including my teachers, called me "Lumpy" and different variations of it (Lump, Lumpster, and my personal favorite Lumpy Gravy) until I graduated high school. Some of my relatives still call me Lumpy.
2. My second toe is way longer than my big toe
3. When I was young I used to pee out the hole in screen in our second story window
4. God told me to shut up one day as a 4 year old when I was talking to myself while peacocking the baseball in my front yard (literally, I heard an audible).
5. I never ate my boogers (not even once, it grossed me out), but I did attempt my own booger collection
6. As a young boy I always coveted a pair of spider-man undies--my parents always bought me boring undies.
7. I gag every morning when I brush my tongue with my toothbrush (honestly, anyone got a remedy?)

I was driven to post this upon reading Ariel's challenge, "If you think your random facts can compete with mine, which I seriously, seriously doubt, trot 'em out and link 'em in the comments. I dare you."
I had to take the challenge.
Anyone got any fun random facts?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Reality, Certainty, and Demolition

I have pasted a little one page article I wrote about the importance of apologetics for my apologetics class. Because this is only a one page article, I was not able to qualify anything, however I think there are some helpful ideas here. Anyone, please feel free to share how the Lord has used apologetics in your life--whether it be in a personal way or in evangelism or whatever.

As a minister, it is imperative that I not merely proclaim the truths of God’s Word, but that they become a reality to me personally. Unless God’s Word becomes a reality, my ministry will be fruitless. Apologetics is of utmost importance to me because it gives me certainty that the infinitely splendorous God that I read about, lets say, in Hebrews 1 or Isaiah 6, actually exists. Could there be a more life-giving quest than to prove that this glorious God (in all of His infinite glory, beauty, and splendor) truly does exist?

The fact and certainty of His existence guards me from beholding God as a mere theology or idea. This God, who has been revealed in Scripture, can be pursued and enjoyed because he is real, and the quest of Apologetics is one of the things that the Holy Spirit uses to convince me of this fact.

Because of the rising influence of postmodernism in the west, Christians are suffering from a lack of certainty. Genuine believers desire truth, but have been so shaped by the culture in which they live that they sheepishly seek out certainty as if it were somehow unattainable. Apologetics is often the tool used by the Lord to reveal the faulty foundations of radical perspectivism. I have seen many believers gain a greater passion for the Gospel and the proclamation of it because of the task of apologetics and the certainty it spreads. Because of the present cultural context, neglecting apologetics can have weighty consequences.

One of the primary goals of an evangelistic minister is to remove every stumbling block to the gospel, to the best of one’s ability. The goal is to get the unbeliever to a place where the claims of the Gospel are, in some sense, feasible. Although it is best not to equate evangelism with proving the existence of God to an unbeliever (many theists go to hell), this often times has to be the first step in getting someone to the Gospel message itself. Apologetics is the steam roller which paves a (somewhat) smooth road to the ultimate stumbling block—the cross.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

TOOTH PICKS AND TELEPHONE POLES

This is for my reformed brethren (and I am reformed).

The toothpick (splinter) in the eye of Rick Warren, Adrian Rogers, Charles Stanley, the majority of the Southern Baptist Convention, and many other contemporary evangelicals:

-Their methods of evangelism are more often than not misleading and not conformed to the Scriptures.

The telephone pole (log) in the eye of a great part of my Calvinistic brethren:

-We completely neglect the command to evangelize.

I am not saying that some of the abuses and excesses in the seeker movement are mere splinters. Many of their approaches are unbelievably dangerous and need to be addressed (see my posts on 1 John and 1 John Part II). However, unless you are doing the work of evangelism yourself, you have no business picking the evangelistic toothpick out of your brother’s eye.

As one fine preacher once told me, “I like how they are evangelizing wrongly better than how you are not evangelizing at all!”

The greatest thing I learned from Jim Elliff (in KC, MO) was how to not merely knit pick the evangelistic short comings of contemporary Christianity, but how to better and reform the short comings of contemporary Christianity. Unless you have tested and tried practical alternatives to the crooked ways of evangelism in our present situation (and neglecting evangelism is not a viable alternative) then you ought not speak as an authority on it.

This is a rebuke to myself as much as it is to anyone else.

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Doctrine of Halloween according to Lynn (Mom) Snowden

My mom and I have often discussed the hotly debated subject of Halloween. Christians are very divided on the issue. She has clearly explained her position on Halloween from the Bible and from her experience. To let you know, we see eye to eye on the issue. I think you will find that she has something of a gift for writing--I wish I got her gene (oh well).

What God Taught Me - A Few Golden Nuggets

As Halloween is approaching again there has been much discussion in the Christian circles about do you are don't you celebrate Halloween. Many years ago I watched a video that explained what Halloween meant and how the pagans developed and used Halloween to their Satanic pleasure. It was to say the least disgusting and because of that knowledge I made a decision that we would not - as a family - be celebrating. This was a center point for me for a few years and I spoke openly and bravely about it. Yet, even in that process God began to teach me many things and I have listed three of the most important to me and I hope they minister to you as much as they did me.

1) Pagan rituals are followed all over the place in our world today. For instance - did you have bridesmaids? That too was a pagan ritual - read up on it! There are things that we in our world do today that all took place and began as pagan rituals each and every one of them to glorify Satan. I don't think we can decide which ones are better and which ones are worse - pagan is pagan just as sin is sin.

2) To live as holy and acceptable to God means we put away the things of the world and take on Christ. We sin, but are we justifying it? Are we as disgusted with our current state in our fleshly body as we are in the practice of Halloween or other pagan ideas? Do we gossip? Do we look down on others as tho we are superior? Do we lie and cheat (even in the small things like packets of sugar!!!)? Do we put the needs of others before ourselves? Do we look at our sin as more disgusting that the sin we see in someone else that offends us? Do we work towards unity or towards division? Do we reflect fruit in Galations 5 by the flesh or by the Spirit? These things are more important to God than if we dress up and knock on someones door and say trick or treat! I can't imagine standing at the throne of God and defending my sin by saying - But Lord . . . I didn't do this and I didn't do that - and when He says . . . . You spoke ill of my people, you took delight in division, and your pride wouldn't allow you to hear the voice of rebuke - DEPART - so you showed the world that you stood against pagan ideas - DEPART - I don't know you.

3) God is Sovereign. No matter what Satan tries to do - he is only capable with what God has ordained him. Satan HAS been defeated - the victory HAS been won and we are to delight in that. If our focus of Godly living gets thwarted by focusing on battles that are already won then Satan does have the upper hand. What do I mean by this? Do I mean have a hay day and do whatever you want cuz bottom line the battle is won? Heavens NO!!! If God has revealed to you the nature of something that He wants you to be faithful in - such as the celebration of Halloween then by you not following that - it results in sin. BUT If God doesn't reveal that same thing to me and it is not an essential of the faith then is it sin for me? NO! It is all about being faithful to what God has called you to, not what he has called someone else to, but yourself. We must remember always that the battle that was won gave us victory and we have been given the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy and nothing shall by any means harm us. HOWEVER, we are not to rejoice in this that the spirits are subject to us, but rather rejoice that OUR NAMES ARE WRITTEN IN HEAVEN. What do I mean by this? I mean that we are called (Psalm 37:4) to delight ourselves in the Lord. We are told in Luke to rejoice that our names are written. We are told in Matthew to preach the gospel to the ends of the earth and THEN the end will come. God gives us straight up commands of what we are to do with our time and our talents - further his gospel - stand firm in the faith - and present ourselves as holy and blameless. No matter how hard we try to fight the darkness it will always be here. We can either fight it, or we can allow our light to shine and hope that by shining that light the darkness fades. People desire to be around those that have something they want. People have an inate desire to be happy joyous and free. When you emulate that there is a desire to be around you and others try to glean that from you. That is how churches grow - that is how the gospel is spread. When the fruit of the spirit is shining and being demonstrated in the human being it is a natural magnet to the lost. There is no progam and there is no class that can be more successful at this than the fruit of the spirit.

All of this to say - that is what God taught me! Again, I don't celebrate Halloween - but I know many that do - and that is their choice. If they ask me I will tell them. I find it no different than drinking alcohol. To some it is a sin, and to others in moderation and not crossing a line it is not. God didn't want me playing holy spirit - He had that covered!!! Jim (my husband) likes to hand out candy - he LOVES it when the little kids come to the door and he gets great enjoyment out of it. I stay in the other room and let him enjoy himself! For those that let their children partake in Satanic stuff I pray for them and hope that God will reveal to them how He wants them to live and deals with them accordingly - but for me - He has told me in his word that I'm to love them. Thats it. And if I read and meditate on His word I will know how to do that not only according to His Will, but to bring Glory to His name!