Wednesday, December 31, 2008
"Now a confirmed atheist, I've become convinced of the enormous contribution that Christian evangelism makes in Africa: sharply distinct from the work of secular NGOs, government projects and international aid efforts. These alone will not do. Education and training alone will not do. In Africa Christianity changes people's hearts. It brings a spiritual transformation. The rebirth is real. The change is good. "
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
We also got to do our first Gingerbread house together (thanks, jennie!). For some reason, blogger takes forever uploading pictures..facebook is fast, so I'll upload more there (C'mon, Brett...you know you want to requ
Monday, December 15, 2008
1. I don't know how to post a video.
2. Colby is always on the computer. (that's neither true nor a good excuse).
3. I don't want to be misunderstood.
I think giving gifts is fun and I truly appreciate all the gifts I receive every year. At the same time, I think there is a danger of making Christmas the opposite of worshipful. This video does an excellent job heralding a strong message that we need to be reminded of.
If you are looking for a meaningful gift for someone who "has it all" (and/or has a small living space!), try looking here or here. Thanks to my sister-in-law, Jennie, for this website and her alternative gift ideas this year!
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Monday, December 8, 2008
We will be entering an appeal to the decision. The guys who represent us in Iceland think there is a good chance that the appeal will go in our favor and we have sent him some more information. This is a critical time to be praying as the application will be reviewed over the next few weeks.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
I found this article and the accompanying video about paganism in Iceland interesting. Here is a quote:
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
I had a most wonderful experience tonight. I have two people to thank for it. First I thank the incomparable Clinty Clint Clifton for inspiring me to create an Amazon Wish List and add the button to my blog. Second, I have to thank Kevin Dowker for being the first person to use my wish list as an opportunity to shower me with the love of Christ during this fine holiday season.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Monday, December 1, 2008
After doing so, I asked the question, "Is there any Daddy better than this Daddy?"
"Do you mean in the whole world?, Haley inquired.
"Well of course, is there any better?" I responded.
Without giving it a thought Haley quickly informed me, "Well...yeah."
"Who is it?", I wondered aloud.
Haley paused for a moment looking a bit uncomfortable, "I don't think I want to tell you..."
After assuring her that I wouldn't be offended I pressed for an answer, "It's OK, you can tell me; I would love to learn from such a wonderful father!"
"Well Ok", Haley began, "It's Mr. Jason [Pelt]."
I gathered my composure, I was...I was..., convinced that she must be right. She has made a simple observation of his superior wisdom and joyful fathering and I must agree with her, thankful to be consider in the same breath. I was not finished with the conversation and had to know, "What is it that you like so much about Mr. Jason?" As though there was no real debating she answered, "Well, it's because he..."
Saturday, November 29, 2008
We were in the car driving across town to visit Colby's brother when Darcy announced to us that she had to go potty. We told her the same advice that we always give: "HOLD IT, Darcy!" However, this time, she cried out, "I Can't...I holding my book!" She had a rather large Elmo book in her hands, and therefore was not able to "Hold IT." She somehow managed to stay dry till we got to our destination where we then took the time to explain to Darcy that "Hold it" is just a figure of speech....not a literal command.
Darcy has done an amazing job this month and now is totally potty trained. She has blown me away by not needing a pull-up for naps or night-time anymore. This is a huge answer to prayer and, for the first time in 4 years, we no longer have diapers on the shopping list. We celebrated by having a potty party with the Garman clan. Festivities included a cake, "No more diapers for you" to the tune of "Happy Birthday," and Colby's dramatic presentation of ripping a diaper in half with his teeth. It was meant to signify the end of diapers in our home, but was rather frightening for poor Darcy and the rest of us who were covered in fiberglass-like particles for the remainder of the evening. Nonetheless, we are very proud of our little 2 1/2 year old and it was all worth the celebration.
Friday, November 28, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Over the past weekend we traveled to the Pittsburgh area to speak at a church there. The church has a great story of God's faithfulness and a vision for church-planting that reminded me of Stafford-Pillar-Quantico-Lakeside-Etc. We arrived at the home of Larry and Melanie Hart on Friday night after an icy slide on some back roads and were quickly warmed by their hospitality and generosity. Faith Community Church, a three year old church plant, joined together in the past year with Lakeside Baptist Church, a small Southern Baptist congregation of 25 at the time. The result is a great church with some faithful leaders focused on missions and church planting. Larry and Melanie are NAMB personnel who have faithfully served Lakeside BC over the past decade and trusted that God would provide wisdom for the future. All that I can say is that God has rewarded their faithfulness and our family had a great time on Sunday.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
*Reading books I've always wanted to read (Nouwen, Ortberg, Dobson just to name a few)
*Learning to play the guitar
*Going through an amazing curriculum with the girls (Five In a Row by Jane Claire Lambert; check it out...good stuff)
*Running more than normal
*Catching up with old friends
*Creating a prayer support network (email us if you want to get updates!)
*Studying Icelandic in a low-stress environment
*Spending a quantity of quality time with Colby's family
*Traveling to different churches and sharing about The Iceland Project
*Being a tourist in Lancaster and surrounding counties
*Endless rounds of "Name that Tune"
*Family devotions (The Jesus Storybook Bible....great resource!) complete with worship and interpretive dance by the kids.
Colby has been enjoying the retired life at age 29. He keeps ordering books from Amazon (he is now a platinum member and gets free shipping) and devouring them. In addition to learning the art of a good afternoon power nap, he has also been enjoying extra time in his life to run and cook (can't beat that).
The girls have caught on to this new schedule. Last Thursday, the girl's cousins Bailey and Sophie were over for lunch. Darcy leaned over the table to Sophie and inquired, "Hey Fosie...Wherew you-ah Dada?" I smiled and told Darcy that most Daddies have to work during the day. Haley and Darcy looked at each other and exclaimed, "Not our Daddy!"
"Yeah...Not anymore" Haley added.
So, yes...we are all really enjoying this gift of time without responsibilities, but are really anticipating the next stage as well.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
The whole time, Colby and I were trying to be sensitive to their first encounter with communion and explain the symbolism, the purpose, and the significance. Colby, with Darcy on his lap, was trying to make the connections for her about the passover and Jesus. This was all too much for Darcy to bear. With her cute raspy voice, she finally blurted out, "Daddy, why you DINK dat Blood of zuh laaamb?" With growing concern, she again persisted..."Daddy, NO!! DON'T DINK IT!" Colby and I buried our heads in our laps as we tried to not make a scene. Symbolism is apparently too abstract of a concept for a 2 year old.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Since we are still in PA with nothing to do but wait, we decided to fly my parents over with our free USAirways reward tickets. Haley and Darcy had no idea they were coming until the doorbell rang and Helen busted through with her typical, fun, loud kids songs. Poor Darcy; she was so confused. Still trying to process what had just happened, she asked, "Are we in Wisconsin?" --as if that is the only place that Nonny and Poppy can exist.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
And allow no evil to dwell
If you devote your heart
And stretch out your hands to Him
You will firmly stand with no fear inside
You will surely forget your troubles and pain
Recalling them only as waters gone by
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Job is a book that is highly regarded as valuable for it's wilingness to honestly address the issue of suffering. If you are a part of a church or have studied the Bible long you have heard someone make reference to his life and his resolve to trust God in the midst of suffering. Trusting God in the midst of suffering is good and all, but I went into the reading thinking, "There's got to be more meat to the story than that." Usually the Bible has a lot to say about how we could do such an impossible task, or provides some sort of perspective that can prepare us to handle the storms of life even if ours pale in comparison to Job's (and they most certainly will, which is part of the book's value).
In an effort to keep the posts short I am going to use a couple of days to post the thoughts I have about the book and share what I learned over the past week in my own reading. If you do not currently have a part of the Bible that you are studying or reading, plan to read Job this week and you can decide whether I am way off on my take on the piece or not. So, I will begin the posts the way I began my reading. Given what you may already know about the story of Job, what specifically do you think is the message or central argument of the book? I would suggest that this is the way that we should read any book of the Bible, beginning with a desire to understand the one thing that the whole thing is saying, and then understanding the parts in relation to the whole. Yes, Job is about suffering, but more importantly it is a book about God, and tomorrow I will try to unpack what we can learn from it.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
I better blog about last weekend before it's too late...
Monday, November 3, 2008
Saturday, November 1, 2008
i dont know...in a way it makes sense to me that true satisfaction in anything wont come until we go to heaven"?
Thursday, October 30, 2008
If our desires for things present are like signposts pointing us to the Eternal city, then I have found few writers to be as good a navigator for the journey as C.S. Lewis. There is something particularly insightful about his understanding of desire and the inability of lesser goods to ultimately fulfill them that serves to echo the voice of Ecclesiastes better than anyone I have ever read. On of the ways he deals with the tension of there being some good present in things like family, work, wealth, long life, and nature is to take serious what the Bible communicates to us about here we have come from and where we are going. Bruce Edwards in reflecting on Lewis describes it this way:
Ours is the story of three worlds:
The world we left behind in shame, Eden
The world we occupy in struggle and doubt and turmoil, Earth
The world that impinges in fleeting glimpses of wonder, glory, and joy, Heaven
The primary concern of the writer of Ecclesiastes is to help us reckon with the world we occupy and awaken a desire for the one that impinges. In his epistle, James writes that every good an perfect gift comes down from the Father of Lights in whom there is no shadow of turning. The good that we experience in life is gift of God that is really the manifestation of his divine quality through creation. Our sin and the curse of Genesis 3 has not emptied the world of its created beauty, such that the Psalms and the Prophets can declare that the whole earth is filled with the glory of God. Most importantly to the writer of Ecclesiastes, we must not confuse gift and giver or else the gift will not be enjoyed for what it is and simply crumble to dust as a flower cut off from the life-giving nourishment of its roots.
I can remember several years ago when I read Lewis's fictional tale The Great Divorce twice over a period of 12 months. The first time I tried and tried to make sense out of it and couldn't. The second time it sprung to life and I could see in the characters a vivid description of what it looks like to remain among the signposts of desire and miss the Eternal city. It was not until just the other day that I would have described it this way, but my recent fascination with Ecclesiastes finds a concrete fictional description in the short novella that had so puzzled me. If you haven't read it, put it near the top of your list.
The connection between Ecclesiastes and Lewis hit me the other day when I was writing the first post and I remembered a passage from The Weight of Glory that I recognized had prepared me to think with the writer of Ecclesiastes. It is an oft quoted pice of Lewis's work and I will leave it with you and let you ponder the connections and ideas.
“Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desire: well, there is such a thing as sex. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing. If that is so, I must take care, on the one hand, never to despise, or be unthankful for, these earthly blessings, and on the other, never to mistake them for the something else of which they are only a kind of copy, or echo, or mirage. I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that other country and to help others to do the same.”
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Saturday, October 25, 2008
After Haley's birthday party, we made our way up to Galeton, PA to visit Colby's parents and his home church. Watching the leaves change on the drive north was gorgeous, and the ride was peaceful until we started smelling burning rubber. The unfortunate part was that we did not make it to Galeton before our clutch gave out....fortunately, we broke down by a fun pile of leaves to play in.