Friday, February 27, 2009

What a week!

From NFV '09--Mexico
This is the view to which we have been waking up every morning for the past week. More pictures and information about our week to come soon.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Hymn of the Week--Our Great Savior

I often try and pick my HOTW's from the hymns we sing at church on Sunday. This was one from last Sunday's worship. It has been a good one to remind us of God's work in our new birth. He is the one who saves, helps, keeps and loves. Thanks be to God.

Hymn of the Week
Our Great Savior
Words by J. Wilbur Chapman
Music by Rowland Prichard

Jesus! what a Friend for sinners!
Jesus! Lover of my soul;
Friends may fail me, foes assail me,
He, my Savior, makes me whole.
Hallelujah! what a Savior!
Hallelujah! what a Friend!
Saving, helping, keeping, loving,
He is with me to the end.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Teach Them Diligently to Your Children

Abraham Piper over on 22 Words, just made a post about the education of our children that got me thinking about the decisions that we have made around this topic. As one of Abraham's commenters said, "Deuteronomy 6 suggests parents have primary responsibility of instructing their children. So whether you chose to do it yourself, choose folks more capable in certain subjects, or a combo of both … it’s still your responsibility to do so responsibly. After all, they’re your kids."

The passage that he reference in Deuteronomy 6 says,

"4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates."

Educating your children is one of those topics that tend to get parents, especially mothers, pretty riled up. (Other topics on my list would be breast feeding, children's names, money and politics.) These are topics that I try to avoid on my blog (and often in life.) I love to talk about these topics, but only with people who know me enough to love and forgive the stupid things that I might say. Topics like this often lead to misinterpretations and thus hurt feelings and a hurt witness. But with that caviate, I think that the comment above and the verses from Deuteronomy do point out some things on which we could all agree.

The most important thing that I want to educate my kids about and towards is a knowledge and love of Jesus and other people. My favorite podcast The White Horse Inn, harps on how kids need to be catachized in a formal way about what they believe and why they believe it. I totally agree. My mom got me the book Training Hearts Teaching Minds: Family Devotions Based on the Shorter Catechism. We started it on Monday and it is really good. Each week it focuses on a different question fromt he catechism. This weeks questions was, "What is the chief purpose of man?" Answer: "The chief purpose of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever." The passages in the book are managable and short enough for our kids. It includes scripture and it has led to some rich discussion. If you're looking for a good book for daily family worship, you should check this out.

If you've read this far, a few questions for you. If you have them, what motivates the decisions that you have made about the education of your children? What topics would you add to my list of "touchy" topics?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Hymn of the Week--Redeemed, How I Love to Proclaim It!

This week's hymn is by Fanny Crosby. She is my dad's favorite hymn writer. I love this one. I thought that we had done this one before, but it wasn't on my list. The boys knew it though. Ben loves the echo parts on the chorus. "Redeemed through his infinite mercy," is my favorite line. It certainly is not because of ANYTHING that I have done. If it were left to me, I would not even sing this hymn. But because of the blood of the lamb, "his child and forever I am."

Hymn of the Week
Redeemed, How I Love to Proclaim It!
Words by Fanny J. Crosby
Music by William J. Kirkpatrick

Redeemed, how I love to proclaim it!
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;
Redeemed through His infinite mercy,
His child and forever I am.
Redeemed, redeemed,
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;
Redeemed, redeemed,
His child and forever I am.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Chirldren are a blessing . . . as long as you only have two or three

Have you caught any of the coverage of the woman from California and her birth of octuplets? How could you not? At first the "miracle" of the birth of eight babies was praised. Then it was found out that the mother was a single, living at home with her parents and already had six kids. I won't even get into the debate over fertility treatments, how many embryos to implant, or whether a single mother should be making these decisions. The thing that disturbed my about the tone of the coverage was the lack of value placed on 1) children in general and 2) large families.

There are so many of these that come to mind. The first was when I was listening to NPR and a woman called in and said, "How could a parent give the kind of attention that a child needs to that many children?" The physician guest on the show did a great job of say that he knew of many families of 10, 11, or more children that were quite functional. The other one was from the octuplet mothers interview with Anne Currey on NBC. Anne Currey actually said, "What would POSESS you to want one more child?" As if six kids were CRAZY.

Amanda and I have been blessed by four beautiful children. I just don't understand how someone can talk about kids as if they were a commodity to exploit or a deficit to manage. Whether you have twelve kids or none at all, what do you think about the coverage of this mother and her situation?

Friday, February 6, 2009

Fighter Verses and a growing community

Each week our church memorizes a passage of the Bible. Our church calls them "Fighter Verses." I have written about our families desire to hide God's word in our hearts before. At times this has been easier than at others. One thing that I am very excited about is the songs that have been written for some of this year's fighter verses. They are written by Scott Jamison, incidentally one of Ben's teachers on Wednesday night and the writer of one of the blogs I read daily. One of the performers on the songs, Tom Dodd, leads our small group. His wife Abigail writes another blog that I read. I am excited about this music and how it has already allowed me to put this week's verse in my heart (track 4 below).

I Timothy 4:12 "Do not let anyone despise you for your youth but set the believers an example in conduct, in speech, in love, in purity." (I wrote that from memory, so I may have jacked some of it up.)

I am also excited about the community that we are developing over the Internet. This is definitely one case where my getting to know people in the virtual world has helped me get to know them in the real world. Check out the blogs that we enjoy above and listen to the music below and maybe even join us in memorizing these scriptures.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Hymn of the Week--Day by Day

Hymn of the Week
Day by Day
Words by Karolina W. Sandell-Berg
Music by Andrew L. Skoog

Day by day, and with each passing moment,
Strength I find, to meet my trials here;
Trusting in my Father’s wise bestowment,
I’ve no cause for worry or for fear.
He Whose heart is kind beyond all measure
Gives unto each day what He deems best—
Lovingly, its part of pain and pleasure,
Mingling toil with peace and rest.

What's been happening at our house

From January

From January

Molly is really coming into her own these days. She was kind of in a funk for a few weeks, but the last few weeks has been back to her old self. She is very fun to have around, creative, and firey. One of her favorite things to do is to try on the shoes that we have in the baskets. (See pictures above.) She has really taken a shine to Matthew and Matthew is very kind to her. They play together a lot. One of the things that I love to see is when they dance together. They are hilarious.