Friday, December 31, 2004

Ringing in the new

The past couple of weeks I've been skimming through Paul's shorter letters, and eagerly awaiting January 1, when Jennyjo and I are beginning a bible-in-a-year study.

Today I read Titus 2-3 and was challenged by many instructions Paul gave.

His instructions to young men:

Likewise, exhort the young men to be sober-minded, in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.

His calls for humility:

Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men.

And his condemnation of dissention:

But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless.

On the last point, we should note that Paul does not imply that we should compromise sound doctrine to avoid disputes (v2:1 he says, But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine), but we are to be loving and humble instead of argumentative and contentious.

I hope you all have a great NYeve, and if you're interested in doing a bible-in-a-year study, check out the link above - there are several good options (Jj and I are doing the OT/NT blended study).

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Christmas at Joy Ridge

Wow! This “old man” has figured out how to post to a blog! We’re ALL in trouble now!

Christmas 2004 has been wonderful! To start we had our traditional Christmas Eve party at Joy Ridge. It was a joyous time. Aunt Moo made her trademark pizza, Su9 made her world famous dip, Emily made white chocolate covered pretzels and, of course, MC brought her traditional cream cheese and olives and piggies in a blanket. Uncle Terry and Aunt Moo danced to James Taylor’s new Christmas CD along with U John, Aunt Julie and Patrick, MC and PPP and Su9 and Beefdaddy. We were all entertained by Kemp telling the story of the POLAR EXPRESS, John and Grace playing carols on the piano, Carey on the guitar and Eliz’s beautiful voice. U John read Luke’s account of our Savior’s birth. PPP prayed for all. Especially on our hearts were U David and his sweet family who could not attend. We still have not heard a report from the Mayo Clinic and U David remains in our prayers. Also on our hearts were Rich and Jennyjo! We are thankful for the LORD JESUS’ protection over them! They too, are daily in our prayers! The children and I ended the day as in the past, by reading “Twas the Night Before Christmas.”

Christmas day was also a great time!! Aunt Julie and I convinced the children to let us sleep until 8:00 am. Of course, as is always the case, she and I were too excited to sleep and were up before the children. God has surely blessed us, and we acknowledge that HE is the source of ALL that we have. MC and PPP, after sending Su9, Beefdaddy and Eliz on their way, finally showed up for breakfast. Aunt Julie “out did” herself again this year with a DELICIOUS meal. Ruth and Marc finally showed up at 2:00 pm. At about 4:30 pm we all headed to Nannie and Pa’s house for a Clendenin Christmas

Know of our LOVE! Let us hear from you!

Piersh

Aunt Julie wouldn't let me publish a pic of her recovering from surgery, so this pic will have to do for now...


Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Christmas Moose

Here's a slightly confusing photo from Christmas eve:

I'm trying to determine why everyone in this photo is pointing to a moose. It appears to belong to the species Christmasimus moosimum, because of its brightly colored nose. Other than that, I don't see anything unusual about this particular moose.
If anyone has any ideas on why my family has singled out this poor moose for ridicule, please let me know.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Christmas eve party

be careful, you may enter some sort of time warp if you view this photo...

The lady and gentleman who started it all...

what is Marc grinning about? and what is Grace pointing to?
I don't smell anything...

a crazy photo without me? how dare they??


Friday, December 24, 2004

Secretary Rumsfeld at Camp Victory

Here are a couple of photos from the SECDEF's visit. My account of it is over at Beef.



Ave Maria

A few of you may remember an evening in spring 2000 spent at a small diner called Andy's in Highland Falls, NY. One of my most poignant memories from that night was Josie's rendition of Ave Maria.

Only a poet could describe her voice, and I doubt that anyone who heard her that night could ever forget it.

This morning, as I was walking through the marble rotunda of the palace here at Camp Victory, I again heard Ave Maria. I immediately thought of Josie, but she was not there - the music was coming from a CD player.

I can only imagine what her voice would sound like here. Probably similar to what the shepherds heard in the fields some 2000 years ago.

2 Timothy 1-2

I read this passage yesterday:

This you know, that all those in Asia have turned away from me, among whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes. The Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain; but when he arrived in Rome, he sought me out very zealously and found me. The Lord grant to him that he may find mercy from the Lord in that Day--and you know very well how many ways he ministered to me at Ephesus.

You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.

The first part made me think of how disappointed Paul must have been to see people with whom he'd spent much time and to whom he'd grown close turning away from the truth. Relationships are a costly thing in which to invest, and for that relationship to fail is a difficult thing. However, God probably taught Paul important lessons through those failures. God uses our efforts to grow his kingdom, but according to his plan, not our idea of what his plan should be.

As for the second part, Paul compares the Christian life with that of a Soldier. We have one urgent purpose in life, and we should put aside all distractions, that we may please Him who enlisted us. Paul makes no claim that our task will be easy or enjoyable - war is neither. However, everything else pales in comparison to the task at hand, in fact, were we to see the whole picture, everything else would fade into oblivion.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Palace Party

In the words of Dave Matthews, "it's not where you are, but who you're with that really matters."

A small group of my friends, led by the fetching Mrs. Hartney, threw me a little party in the Al-Faw palace last night.

A self portrait with Dan and Don in front of the tree.

Trying to decide whether to shoot out or blow out the candles...btw, the cake (special delivery from Gunston Ct) was moist, delicious, and quickly consumed!

Don, doing his lounge lizard act.

Celebrating at one of the tables in the ballroom.
Thanks to all of you for your birthday messages...I had a great day!

Monday, December 20, 2004

Birthday Cake

The only thing better than a day off is a day off with your beautiful wife, good friend Don (whose head and hand are barely visible) and home-made birthday cake!


Jennyjo permitted me to have an early piece of cake (with the stipulation that she also get a piece) and we all celebrated by crowding into my trailer and watching "Family Man" on my laptop. The cake, lovingly baked and sent from NC, was moist and delicious, as anyone who has tasted Su9's chocolate pound cake will attest.

I also recommend the movie...it's reminiscent of "It's a Wonderful Life," which is on the docket for Christmas evening.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

In, not of.

Over at GotDesign, Aaron has a great post with many links on how the MSM cannot comprehend Christmas or Christians.

He closes with 1 Corinthians 1:20-21:

Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Carey finally comes around...

Hey, y'all! I've been wanting to post, but have been incredibly busy with work until now. Things have finally slowed down, and now I'm able to think! The students at Charleston Southern have finally left for Christmas break, which means I have more time to get ready for next semester (working on housing charts, keys, getting rooms ready, RA stuff, etc.) My last day of work is the 21st and then I'll be on my way to NC til the second of January. I can't wait to see everyone! This website thing will be fun - hopefully more of you will join! I'm going to try to get some pics on here too, so Richard and Jenny will be able to see some of Charleston. Well, I must get to work! Love to all and hope to hear from you!


Tuesday, December 14, 2004

TG in PG

Straight from Caroline, here are some nice photos...(apparently she's grown since I last played connect4 with her, since this photo shows her taller than John and Patrick)

Marc is his usual photogenic self...is the guy in the middle UDave in 1976?

A rare, collector's edition photo of UJohn without a beer...hold onto this one, as it'll be worth a lot someday.

Here are half of the crazy8 responsible for most of the folks in the photos above...


Thursday, December 09, 2004

Attributes of God

Quick notes from 2 Thessalonians 3 this morning . . .

Verse 5: Now may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patience of Christ.

The attributes of love and patience seem important here. Love is primarily associated with the Father (John 3:16, etc), but I hadn't thought of patience as Jesus' main virtue.

It makes sense though - he came down here to actually deal with all of us, and I can't imagine how much patience that took.
Any thoughts? Is patience the defining attribute of Jesus?

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

1 Corinthians 5

Wow – at first all I can think of is the harshness of Paul’s words. In addressing the congregation about sexual immorality, he argues for the sexually immoral man to be expelled. To be exact, he states in verses 4-5

“When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, hand this man over to Satan so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord.”

Wow – “hand this man over to Satan”? Seems a little extreme doesn’t it? And what about not judging others? I’d say this definitely qualifies as an act of judgement.

While this passage focuses on a sexually immoral brother, I believe the lessons are applicable to many other sins.

After my initial shock I found this passage rather refreshing. I really see this passage to be about accountability. How often do we honestly hold one another accountable? Too often, I think our responses to someone who stumbles is, ‘don’t worry, it’ll be okay…I know you didn’t mean to do it…I know you’re sorry about it…I’ll be praying for you…I know how hard of a temptation is must be for you…”

I know these words because they’ve often been my own! Despite his harsh words Paul’s love for the congregation is evident in verse 5 “..hand this man over to Satan so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord.”

Recently, my cousin stated that one of the reasons she is so fond of her home church is because of their commitment to accountability. Members of this church actually confront one another! They don’t just talk about the problem, ignore the problem or rationalize the problem – the confront it!

Done through love, this ability to keep one another accountable can be such a strong building block for the body of Christ. To truly exercise accountability requires humility, honesty and love - three things that I think many struggle with.

Until I read the end of the chapter I still had the nagging question of judgement in my mind. Who am I to judge when I have done the same thing before and know how hard it is? Verses 12 and 13 make this very clear. “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked man from among you.”

I see our judgement within the body of Christ, when done correctly, as an act of love. Too often, we are afraid to take a hard stand and be upfront. Too often we worry about how feelings will be hurt more than a person’s relationship with Christ.

Perhaps it’s time to risk these temporary feelings of pride for a closer relationship with Christ.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Polar Bear Weekend

These crazy kids just finished jumping in the Frio River in the middle of December, and Jennyjo and I would have been there if we could have...last year we made the dive, and it was definitely Frio.

BTW, those bookends are the crazy guys who live in our house...please keep our house in your prayers!


Monday, December 06, 2004

Yum!

Doesn't Proverbs 31 say something about a good wife (and wonderful mom) and her amazing chip dip recipes? I think so...


Thursday, December 02, 2004

Paul's prayer for the church

In doing some reading this morning, an obvious fact struck me.

In 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13 Paul writes, 12 And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you, 13 so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.

Loving the people I live/work/interact with is not an easy task. I do try, and most the time it might even look like I succeed, but I don't really love them (that's actually an understatement).

Paul's point is that I'm going about it the wrong way. The Lord is the only one who can increase my love for others. He is the source of love, so I need to stop trying to tap my depleted resources.

Furthermore, it's through learning to love "one another and all" that the Lord will "establish our hearts blameless in holiness." I'm pretty sure that means it's important.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

yeah, that's what we normally look like

This isn't the most recent photo of our Tuesday night BS group, so I'll try to get a new one soon...we've done several studies so far, and right now were doing Ephesians.


These super-stars are (from the left) Chris "the cubist", Dave R., your's truly and my beautiful wife, Erica-with-a-C, Ian "the aussie", Dave S., Natalie, Don "wrongchords.com", Jess, and Erika-with-a-K.