Monday, March 30, 2009

Vocation, Calling & Career

I just read this post over at 22 Words about the difference between calling and a job. It jogged the following thoughts.

Growing up I wanted to be the best Christian that I could be. In my mind that meant that I would go into full-time Christian ministry, but not just any ministry. I thought I should be a missionary. I went on missions trips, went forward at altar calls, studied Spanish and thought that is what God had for me. When I got to Taylor, I moved in this direction. At Taylor there was definitely a spiritual hierarchy. Bible majors, Christian Ed majors . . . Business majors. As graduation came closer and closer, I felt God providentially moving me away from this. He moved me into working with college students at Christian schools and eventually at private and state institutions. During this time, I struggled with questions about whether I had been wrong about going into Student Development.

Then I got to Calvin College and discovered a Reformed view of vocation, calling and career. While I worked there, I taught a class called Prelude where Freshmen students went through different aspects of a Reformed worldview. We read a text by Neal Plantinga entitled Engaging God's World. This was the beginning of a new understanding of God's providence and my career decisions.
Here's the abridged version. All Christians share a CALLING. This encompasses God's command "to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God," and the rest of scripture. VOCATION is more specificly how one carries out his calling. For instance, my vocation seems to be education or teaching. Amanda's vocation is in caring for children. God reveals this through giftings, talents, dreams and desires. Vocation was the most important one for me. It is the work that God has for you. CAREER is the most specific, but in my mind the less important. The ideal of course would be that someone's career involves their vocation, but that isn't always the case. For instance, I could accomplish my vocation by working with college students at church, while I worked at something completely different.

This idea was life giving and very freeing. It also cleared up the dichotomy of "Christian" and "secular" work. The work that we do is important, but not as important as our calling as Christians and the vocation that God has given us. This is the thinking that allows me to value the work of a pastor and a carpenter the same. It's just work. Are they accomplishing their calling and vocation in their work? We've all known pastors or missionaries who were not and business people who were. What do you think? Is this way of thinking helpful for you? What is your vocation and how do you or do you not work to accomplish it in your career?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Basement update

The folks from Piper Construction are hard at work in our basement. Phil the carpenter has all of the walls framed in. This has really allowed us to see a preview of the finished product. Amanda did a great job with the design of the rooms. The plumber installed the shower, ran the gas line for the fireplace and is done in the bathroom. The egress window is in and looks great. Tomorrow the electrician returns to do his install. Ben said that they would probably begin the drywall process next week. That will take a few weeks. After that we'll get painting and then just the details. It is looking great and we are very excited.

No pictures yet. We want to wait until we can do before and after. Oh the suspense!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Hymn of the Week--And Can It Be That I Should Gain?

We read the story of Charles Wesley's conversion last night for family worship. It is interesting that as much as he wanted to love Jesus, it was not until Christ actually drew him unto himself that real conversion happened. Many think that this was one of the first hymns that he wrote after he became a Christian. It's a good one.

This is another one that we always loved to sing on Sunday night so that we could do the echo. Grab your favorite duet partner and give it a try. Or you can sing along with Steve Green and the audio below. It's a good version. I like Steve Green a lot.

Hymn of the WeekAnd Can It Be That I Should Gain?
Words by Charles Wesley
Music by Thomas Campbell
And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain—
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

Friday, March 20, 2009

A Message From Ben

Ben and Caleb both call me at work from time to time. It is a great break to my day and a reminder of my purpose. Sometimes they leave messages too. This one is a great testament to where Ben is right now. Enjoy!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Hymn of the Week--I Must Tell Jesus

We sang this hymn last night at small group. It is a great truth. "Jesus can help me. Jesus alone." I'm not sure that I knew this one before. We may have sung it at church, but it is a newer hymn to me. I love the 3rd verse.

Tempted and tried I need a great Savior,
One who can help my burdens to bear;
I must tell Jesus, I must tell Jesus;
He all my cares and sorrows will share.

Thanks, Tom.

Hymn of the WeekI Must Tell Jesus
Words and Music by Elisha Albright Hoffman

I must tell Jesus all of my trials;
I cannot bear these burdens alone;
In my distress He kindly will help me;
He ever loves and cares for His own.

I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus!
I cannot bear my burdens alone;
I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus!
Jesus can help me, Jesus alone.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Quotes: A Maid

Ben, last night when he was cleaning up his room: "I wish we had a maid, like Leticia."

Leticia was the house keeper in Mexico. When I told Amanda this, she confessed that Ben may have been quoting her.

Monday, March 9, 2009


From March

Last Thursday we began the process of demolishing our basement in preparation for a remodel. Amanda and the boys went to Shube's house and I finished what we thought would take the whole week in just a few days. We are all very excited about this and the new space that it will give our family. The plan is to put a new bedroom, bath and family room there. It was a fun weekend. I'm a little sore though.

From March

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Ben and Caleb filmmakers

This is a video that Ben and Caleb put together. There was a contest in the Lego magazine about building a pirate ship. I told Ben that he should build a modern pirate ship like they have off the coast of Somalia. So enjoy their film, "Pirates of Today."

A few videos from Mexico

Sorry about the quality on both of these. They are both from our whale watching trip.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Hymn of the Week--All Hail The Power of Jesus' Name

My mom sent me a book this week entitled, "Then Sings My Soul: 15o of the World's Greatest Hymn Stories." It is arranged in chronological order from oldest to most recent (one from 1958.) The night we got it in the mail, Amanda and I laid in bed and sang through many of them. One of the older hymns is the one that we selected for this week. Thanks for the book, Mom!

Hymn of the Week
All Hail The Power of Jesus' Name
Words by Edward Perronet
Music by Oliver Holden
All hail the power of Jesus’ Name! Let angels prostrate fall;
Bring forth the royal diadem, and crown Him Lord of all.
Bring forth the royal diadem, and crown Him Lord of all.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Quotes: Sweet Matthew

Everything is a race or a contest at our house.

Matthew as he was eating his snack, to Ben: "I hope Caleb beats me."

Ben: "Why?"

Matthew: "Because Caleb is my best friend."

Monday, March 2, 2009


I love when our kids love each other.
From NFV '09--Mexico

Quotes: Matthew's three blind mice

I am going to start documenting here some of the great things that the kids say.

Matthew, singing:

"One a penny, two a penny, three blind mice . . ."

Oh, Mexico!

It is difficult to sum up an amazing week in one blog post. I decided before we left that I wouldn't blog from there. We didn't really want it broadcast across the interwebs that we were out of town for a week. But this then leads to my quandary now. I'll try to give you some highlights.


Being with Amanda's family and getting to spend a lot of uninterrupted time with my family was the best part for me. We swam in the pool a lot, stayed up late talking, went for walks and hang out.


We did some very fun activities. The one I liked the best was the whale watching trip. The boat was great and the scenery was beautiful. It was amazing to see the whales close up. We could also see whales jumping from our deck every morning and evening.

La Cultura

I love Mexico, the Mexican people, the language and the culture. I have spent time in Mexico on vacation and on mission trips. Every time I am struck by the generosity, simplicity, contentment, kindness and beauty of the people. This trip was another instance of this. Mexico shaped even my choice of study in college. I love speak Spanish and don't get many opportunities. It was a lot of fun to get back into that and I always thank God for that gift that gets me a little more on the inside of the people and the place. I also love Mexican food. Another highlight for me was when Leticia, the woman who did housekeeping at our house, cooked lunch and breakfast for us. Lunch was quesadillas, fresh guacamole, frijoles and salsa. Breakfast was juevos rancheros, more salsa and frijoles. We also had fresh tortillas for most of the week.

It was a great week and a great gift from God via Dave and Joni. We are so thankful for this respite that we all needed. Thanks D&J. Thanks be to God.

If you'd like to, you can see all of our photos here.