Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Decision - which pic to use for the family Christmas card?

Well... I'm not sure, even in the midst of all that picture-snapping, that any of these will work!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

I am thankful for beautiful music

How in the world does this wretch make a piece like this look and sound so easy? If there are a dozen people alive right now who can play this Alkan piece this well, I'd be shocked. Enjoy!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Keith Green - "Your Love Broke Through"

This has always been my favorite Christian song:

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

what is the Gospel?

My pastor asked me to post a video explaining the gospel. Here it is.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Obama and infanticide

Please watch this:

What will it take for America to open its eyes?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Why is there so much evil in the world?

A dear friend at church asked me this question at our church's monthly fellowship lunch this past Sunday and I told her I would write a blog-entry with some thoughts on it.  

Hurricane Katrina, the tsunami in southeast Asia, September 11, 2001, AIDS, famine, starvation, disease, betrayed trust, theft, hatred, murder, etc.  Why are these a part of a cosmos God pronounced "good" at the end of creation week?  The Biblical answer is simple: the fall. Man's rebellion against God is the root cause of every kind of evil.  How often have we heard: "If God is all-good and all-powerful, he would do away with evil."  Three quick things need to said in response to this.  

1.  For God to "do away with" evil, he would have to annihilate it both as an actual and as a potential.  Since every human being has the potential to do evil, every human being would have to be annihilated for God to "do away with" evil.  To the person who says this: Are you sure you want God to do away with evil just yet?
2.  It is rather ironic that the only beings who both perpetuate and perpetrate evil would try to blame the all-holy God for actions they freely do.  Who engages in theft, suicide bombings, war, rape, and murder?  God?  No, it is men and men alone.  And yet, men want to shake their fists in God's face and say, "Why is there so much evil in this world?!"  God's response: Because I allow the likes of *you* to live here.  
3.  God has morally sufficient reasons for all evil that occurs.  As difficult as that might be to fathom, it is true.  The only reason we struggle with it is a simple failure to grasp just how serious it is that Adam, the federal representative of all of humanity, sinned against the all-holy Creator.

So what about natural disasters, disease, etc?  These are not directly caused by men and yet they often bring about incredible suffering, loss of life, and economic hardship to men.  Why do things like this happen?  They happen as acts of God's judgment and of His grace.  Consider this episode from the life of Christ:

Luke 13:1-5 (NKJV)  
    There were present at that season some who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. [2] And Jesus answered and said to them, "Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? [3] I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. [4] Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? [5] I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish." 

Here we have Jesus mentioning two episodes of what seemed to be rather random and senseless deaths.  In the first instance Pilate had brought about the death of some people and in the second instance a tower had apparently fallen and killed 18 people.  Notice that Jesus does not indicate that the people whose lives were consumed by these events were being punished because they were somehow worse than anyone else.  Jesus uses these tragedies to turn the thoughts of his listeners toward things eternal.  Jesus emphasizes the point in v2 that the Galileans who were killed were not worse sinners than any of the people to whom Jesus was now speaking.  It is vital to notice this.  Jesus does this again in v4 - the 18 who died in the Siloam tower accident were not worse sinners either.  Jesus uses these tragedies to point out to them that all sinners, at all times, are under the judgment of God and can justly be destroyed by God.  It is gracious for God to give anyone even a small amount of time to come to their senses and repent of their sins and beg God for forgiveness.  If you are alive right now, it is because of God's grace alone!  Repent, or you too will perish!

I believe the very same kind of thing applies to tsunamis, hurricanes, & terrorist attacks.  Do we suppose that the people who died in the World Trade Center towers were worse sinners than any who live in Cincinnati?  I tell you, no!  But unless we repent, we will all likewise perish!  The clock is ticking on all of us.  Sadly, one of the ways God gets the attention of men is through suffering.  God afflicts us to make us think about Him.  God did this to Israel again and again throughout her history.  The prophet Amos gives us an extended description of all the suffering God brought upon Israel.  Listen carefully to Amos - and notice the refrain I have bolded.

Amos 4:6-12 (NKJV)  

    "Also I gave you cleanness of teeth in all your cities. [This means he starved them]
    And lack of bread in all your places;
    Yet you have not returned to Me,"
    Says the Lord. 
    [7] "I also withheld rain from you, [God made them thirst]
    When there were still three months to the harvest.
    I made it rain on one city,
    I withheld rain from another city.
    One part was rained upon,
    And where it did not rain the part withered. 
    [8] So two or three cities wandered to another city to drink water,
    But they were not satisfied;
    Yet you have not returned to Me,"
    Says the Lord.
    [9] "I blasted you with blight and mildew.  [God made their crops fail]
    When your gardens increased,
    Your vineyards,
    Your fig trees,
    And your olive trees,
    The locust devoured them;
    Yet you have not returned to Me,"
    Says the Lord.
    [10] "I sent among you a plague after the manner of Egypt; [God even killed many of them]
    Your young men I killed with a sword,
    Along with your captive horses;
    I made the stench of your camps come up into your nostrils;
    Yet you have not returned to Me,"
    Says the Lord.
    [11] "I overthrew some of you,
    As God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah,
    And you were like a firebrand plucked from the burning;
    Yet you have not returned to Me,"
    Says the Lord.
    [12] "Therefore thus will I do to you, O Israel;
    Because I will do this to you,
    Prepare to meet your God, O Israel!"
Why do all of these difficulties happen?  God is trying to get men to turn their eyes toward Him.  Men do not realize that they are entirely dependent upon God at every moment for: Their very existence, their sustenance, the air they breath, every moment of joy and happiness they enjoy, their money, and all their earthly possessions.  And yet men forget God at every turn.  God often has to remove our idols: comfort, money, possessions, health, etc. to gain our trust.  If God pulls the rug out from under us, we are forced to trust Him.  A wise man once said, "there are no atheists in foxholes."  Facing our frailty and mortality often makes us very realistic about our ultimate accountability to the One who created us.

The real question we ought to struggle with is why there is any good in any of our lives at any given moment.  Why does God allow men who despise Him openly and are opponents of everything that is holy and righteous to prosper?  Why does God allow me to have possessions, family, children, friends, a Bible, etc. when I have sinned so grievously and repeatedly in His sight?  It is called: grace.  We ought to ask why there is so much that is good in this world before we belly-ache about evil.  How can God allow me to have plenty of food to eat each day when according to the equities of God's justice I deserve nothing but to perish in my sins and be eternally condemned?  But, sinful as we are, we tend not to think about the heinousness of our own evil natures.  In fact, I believe God is very much active in this world in restraining men from doing the things their evil natures would cause them to do (but we rarely thank Him for that).  

Finally, we must also consider the fact that evil's heyday is, in the grand scheme of things, only for a very short time.  The final undoing of evil has already begun by the death and resurrection of Christ.  His cross-work had cosmic effects and will result ultimately in the liberation of the entire cosmos itself from bondage (Romans 8:20-22).  When people ask why God doesn't do away with evil, we must learn to respond: He is going to do so when Christ returns to the earth.  Evil will have no place in the New Heavens and the New Earth.  Evil will one day be entirely abolished.  Death has already been abolished by Christ's resurrection (2 Timothy 1:10). Why doesn't God just do away with evil?  Because He is busy saving a vast multitude of people from every tribe, tongue, people, and nation from the ruined race of Adam.  When that full number is finally achieved, then at along last will evil's reign come to an end.  

I know there is much more that can be said (and has been said by those much more competent than me) on this subject, but I hope this will at least get us thinking about the issue of evil in a Biblical way.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Abigail is already back up in the trees after her surgery

Reformation Party pics

I'm not sure this was really worth it... but they will definitely remember it for years to come! I did a Martin Luther monologue at the beginning of the evening and I wanted it to be as realistic and memorable as possible.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Monday, October 13, 2008

Heading back to Philadelphia for a VEPTR lengthening surgery

Greetings everyone,

Amy, Abigail, Maria, and I are heading to Philadelphia for Abigail to have the first of probably several "rod lengthening" procedures she will need to get every 6 to 9 months until she is done growing. It is supposed to take about one hour. Thursday morning is the surgery - please pray that all goes well for her. The doctors have also been checking all our other children's backs for curves since scoliosis is genetic. So far, no one has any problems. This time it is Maria's turn to get looked at.

I praise God that He has dealt so bountifully with Abigail through all of this. The internal bracing has worked very well and Abigail has very few restrictions. Please pray that this will continue to work and that she will never need to get spinal fusion.

I want to let everyone know how thankful I am for the continuous stream of prayers that have gone up for Abigail over the last year and a half. God has blessed those prayers and helped her and my family tremendously.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

We dare not be silent about the holocaust under our nose

Of the few things I am certain of, one is this: God hates the murder of the unborn. I've been listening to R.C. Sproul's tape series: Abortion: A Rational Look at an Emotional Issue. It is tearing me apart to listen to it. I found these lyrics to a song called "Malediction" by Atomic Opera (there is a youtube video associated with the music but it is so graphic I am not comfortable posting it). The video is the opening to Focus on the Family's video it put out a number of years ago called: The Hard Truth. These lyrics are haunting:

The judges sat outside the law
And in their pride no evil saw
In setting teeth to Satan's jaw
And feeding him our children.

A curse A curse the law it cries.
A curse a curse on mankind's pride.
A curse on him who would deny
God's image in mankind.

When viewed in terms of cost and ease
An unborn child is a disease
A holocaust seen fit to please
Our own convenience.

Torn from out their mother's womb
Denied the sky - denied a tomb
Conceived in lust to their own ruin
A sacrifice to pleasure.

A curse a curse their blood cries out
A curse a curse the heavens shout
A curse on him who dares to flout
God's image in mankind.

The doctors with their blood red hands
Who love their money more than man,
With greed their god they lay their plans
The butchers of mankind.

O rid us of this evil, Lord
And turn our hearts by cross or sword.
Our nation cannot long afford
To live beneath your anger.

A curse a curse upon their heads
O save them Lord or slay them dead
And fill our country with your dread
And turn away Your anger.

"Be serious and watchful in your prayers"

I came across 1 Peter 4:7-8 this morning and was struck:

"But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers.  And above all things have fervent love for one another, for 'love will cover a multitude of sins.'"

What a remarkable period of redemptive history we live in!  Think of the generations of Israelites who were born and died during the 400 years of Egyptian affliction.  Think of Abraham, who waited 25 years for God to fulfill His promise of a son born to him and Sarah in their old age.  Think of the Jewish people who lived and died after Malachi - who waited for a word from their God which would take around 400 years to come.  Think of Zecharias' excitement when he was given a divine word in the temple from Gabriel (Luke 1:13).  Think of John the Baptist's joy when he finally saw Jesus approaching and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29).  Think of the exhilaration of the apostles when they went our preaching the risen Christ in the book of Acts.  

And here we are today in 2008 - with only one great event remaining:  The Second Coming of Christ.  This is what Peter means by "the end of all things."  The last great redemptive work of the one Living and True God will be the return of Christ to gather His elect, raise the dead, and judge the world.  Peter brings this great and terrifying fact to his reader's attention to motivate seriousness and watchfulness in prayer.  The great enemy of our souls loves nothing more than when people cease to believe in the effectiveness of prayer.  Satan would love nothing more than for God's people to stop praying.  Satan relishes our sluggishness and scatterbrain attitude towards prayer.  He delights when we pray with unbelieving hearts.  He enjoys knowing most don't even acknowledge his existence or role in this world.  He likes that many Reformed believers let go of prayer in the name of, "just leaving it to the providence of God."  In a book I've been reading by Horatius Bonar, he comments:

"... when we can rest satisfied with using the means for saving souls without seeing them really saved, or we ourselves being broken-hearted by it, and at the same time quietly talk of leaving the event to God's disposal, we make use of a truth to cover and excuse a falsehood; for our ability to leave the matter thus is not, as we imagine, the result of heart-submission to God, but heart-indifference to the salvation of the souls we deal with.  No, truly, if the heart is really set on such an end, it must gain that end of break in losing it." - p23, Words to Winners of Souls, Horatius Bonar.

There are, I believe, two reasons the Bible everywhere exhorts us to be fervent in prayer: 1) We tend strongly in the direction of believing prayer is worthless and accomplishes nothing. 2) Prayer is a powerful means ordained of God to bring about His sovereign purposes.  

The final judgment - "the end of all things" - is the most grave and serious event any mind could contemplate.  It is the seriousness of the event that causes seriousness and watchfulness in prayer.  Because the end is near, we must pray all the harder: for the salvation of our loved-ones, against temptation, against sin, against the forces of darkness which seek to paralyze and render impotent the ministry of the Word in our churches, against the spirit of this age which ever beckons churchman to compromise and become men-pleasers (always in the name of reaching the lost or "becoming all things to all men"), against discouragement, for holiness, for peace, for good church officers, for pulpits which will preach Christ and Him crucified, for revival among the churches of God, against distractions of entertainment, for strong marriages and homes where the Bible is read, believed, and taught to the children, and for an up and coming generation of believing children.  The peril of evil in these last days before the end of all things should motivate an avalanche of prayer.  And yet... the church continues to capitulate to entertainment, sleepiness, and unbelief in the power of the truth.  

Keith Green said it well in Asleep in the Light:

The world is sleeping in the dark, that the church just can't fight,
Because it's asleep in the light.  
How can you be so dead when you been so well-fed.  
Jesus rose from the grave, and you can't even get out of bed.  

Peter goes on in v8 to say that above all things we must have fervent love for one another.  Now more than ever, we must love each other - in such a way as to cover over a multitude of sins.  It is so easy to hate in our world.  There is so much difference of opinion, so much uncertainty, so much evil, and so little certainty about anything.  Jesus Himself knew this day would come, "And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold."  Has our love grown cold?  Is my heart cold?  Do I ache, hurt, or shed tears for the lost who are all around me?  If only God would let us see what is coming.  If only our eyes could be opened. May God revive my heart to love Him better by having this "fervent love" for my family, my church, and my neighbors!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Abigail reading her Bible to a neighbor

I saw this through the window the other day - it really warmed my heart... brought tears to my eyes actually.

Paul's arm is finally straight - Praise God

Paul had to go back to the hospital for surgery today to "straighten" his arm. One of the two bones was at 28 degrees - and anything greater than 20 is unacceptable. So, they put him under and put lots of pressure on it. This reduced it to 5 degrees. They had to give him morphine twice (and they even said he has a high pain tolerance). Needless to say, he is wiped out - and so is Amy. I'm taking the other three and the dog to a park while these two crash on the couch for a while. Thanks to everyone for praying. Paul has really been through it with his poor arm, but we are confident all will be well with it now.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Thoughts after contemplating this past week

Could anything be more winsome than true self-forgetfulness, humility, and godliness?  Would to God that all of us truly regard ourselves as crucified to all that is part of this world that is passing away.  If only I could love another person as Christ loved me.  May we always regard the most unlovable and the most personally repulsive as though they were the Lord Christ Himself in our midst.  If only I could live as if I were to stand before the Lord Jesus Himself in person, with all of my heart-motions and motives laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom I must give an account.  If only it did not take intense personal suffering to break us of inordinate affections and turn our eyes towards things eternal.  Pain makes us long for that city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.  One day of true humility, one day of true self-abasement, one day of heart-brokenness over my children’s and loved-one’s souls – If only God would grant this to His whole church.  “Lament and mourn and weep!  Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom” – James 4:9.  May God teach us all what this means.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Paul's Arm

This is what the x-ray looked like before they "reduced" it (i.e. straightened it). We are thankful to God for the Fairfield 911 people and the Liberty Township Children's Hospital. They were all wonderful to Paul. Medical technology is a true blessing from God. I told Paul, "200 years ago, this day, and the following days would have been a lot worse. God is so good to us!" I'll post some pics of Abigail's stitches and other injuries when I get time. Please pray for us. We're exhausted from everything that has happened this past week.

Quite a week

All of us have weeks (or sometimes even longer) that we'd just as soon forget. This past week in the Hines' household:

1. We miscarried.
2. Abigail fell while skipping around at an outdoor restaurant and got abrasions on her thigh, ankle, shin, and 10 stitches in her chin.
3. As Amy and Abigail were on their way home from the hospital, Paul was bumped off of a futon in our basement and broke both bones in his right arm - it was bent back just above his wrist. So, we spent from about 8:00 PM until 1:30 AM at Liberty Children's Hospital getting that fixed.

Just pray for us, we are exhausted and emotionally drained from all of this.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Friday, July 4, 2008

2nd annual 4th of July / fireworks party pics

These are from last night - despite the rain, it was a lot of fun! Thanks to everyone for coming!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Ephesians 1:17-19 - The Illumination of the Holy Spirit

[These are the beginnings of my notes for a chapel message I will be preaching at the Bible Presbyterian Church camp this summer]

How would you describe the color of the sky to a person who was born blind? To what in their experience could you compare it to bring home to their mind how dazzlingly blue it really is? Or how would you explain the opening bars to Beethoven’s piano masterpiece, The Appassionata, to a person who was born deaf? Would it be possible to get across to them just how soul-stirring the climax of the third movement is? Without a common point of reference, such communication would be impossible. For a person to make distinctions in color requires that they can see. For a person to feel the emotional power of the sound of music, they must be able to hear. Try as one may, to make a person blind from birth truly comprehend the real difference in color between yellow and blue would require them first to be given sight. And for the person deaf from birth to be moved by the middle section of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony would require them first to be given hearing.

Along these same lines, the Scriptures paint a very dark picture of man. Because of the fall of man into sin, man is unable to hear or see the truth of God. Apart from the supernatural intervention of God, the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ will be as alien to the unbeliever as the sound of music would be to the person deaf from birth. The Bible also describes all mankind as “hostile to God” – Romans 8:7, “Because the carnal mind is hostile to God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.” And as “enemies” – Col. 1:21, “And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled.” This open rebellion against God into which all men are born causes them to turn away from the truth God has clearly shown them through what He created. Paul in Romans 1 teaches clearly that all men, in their hearts, do know the true God, but they suppress the truth about him in their unrighteousness.

Don’t ever fool yourself into thinking you are just neutral toward God. There is no middle ground. We are either for Christ or against Christ. We cannot serve two masters. No one is straddling the fence waiting to figure out where they stand with God. We are either reconciled to God, or we are God’s enemies. Those who live at war with God will have their understanding darkened. This darkened understanding renders Man completely inadequate to find answers to the most basic questions of life. Sinful man assumes at the outset that he is able to understand the world in which he lives. As proof that this is clearly not the case, we need only point out that the most learned and rigorous intellectuals through all of human history have failed miserably to agree with one another in their answers to life’s most basic questions: What are we? What is life? Is there a purpose to it? What is real? Where did it come from? What happens when we die? Why is the world so full of evil? Is there a god? What is he or she or it like? Is there an after life? When one surveys the history of unbiblical philosophies and their attempts to answer these questions, one can only throw their hands up in despair. If the most intelligent minds in all of our history can’t agree, how can regular people like us ever expect to have any certainty about anything? What apparently has simply escaped the notice of the unbelieving mind is this: Perhaps the answers to these questions must be given to us by someone else. Perhaps the answers must be given before they’re gotten. Perhaps we have gravely erred in assuming we are adequate in our reasoning and scientific abilities to answer these questions.
Just think of the ideas and the results of these ideas that prevail in the world of unbelief:

1. Nothing became something, then it blew up and became everything, then it got together for about 15 billion years, and then we climbed up out of the ooze onto the shore and lived happily ever after. Atheist philosopher, Bertrand Russell, was asked, “Dr. Russell what do you think will happen to you when you die?” To which he responded, “I’ll rot.”

2. Everything in the material world has been worshipped by man: the sun, the moon, the stars, animals, trees, and everything else. Man’s understanding is so dark that he will make a pile of rocks and then get down on his knees and pray to it as his God.

3. Men really believe the sole purpose for which they exist is to be complimented and praised by other people. And people will pursue this form of idolatry with relentless zeal.

4. Some philosophers in our day believe the greatest question facing any person is this: Why shouldn’t I just commit suicide? Many people have given into such an idea in the face of nothing being able to answer this question. In the United States between 1979 and 1999, 450,000 people died of AIDS. During that same time period of 20 years, over 600,000 people committed suicide.

5. In a book entitled, “The Day America Told the Truth: What People Really Believe about Everything that Matters” we find these staggering facts:

“…74% say that they will steal without compunction, 64 % say that they will lie if there is an advantage to be hand, 53% say that, given a chance, they will commit adultery, 41 % say that they intend to use recreational drugs, and 30% say that they will cheat on their taxes. … 86% admit to lying regularly to their parents, 75 % to a friend, 73% to a sibling, and … only 11% feel any serious level of shame. While 74% will steal without compunction, only 9% register any significant shame. While pornography has blossomed into a $21 billion industry that accounts for a quarter of all the videos rented in shops, in the thriving hotel business, and on cable, only 2% experience guilt about watching…”

Welcome to the glorious world of unbelief! Men cannot see. Men cannot hear. They are born deaf and blind, not to the world around them mind you, but to the truth. But thanks be to God, he has not left us to grope around in darkness. [Paul explaining his Damascus road experience to Agrippa]. Acts 26:17-18 (NKJV), “I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, [18] to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.'”

[more to come]

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Remarkable CS Lewis quote

Although I am not a big Lewis fan, Knox Chamblin gives this great quote from Lewis in his (Chamblin's) book, Paul and the Self:

"Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man. We say that people are proud of being rich, or clever, or good-looking, but they are not. [That is vanity.] They are proud of being richer, or cleverer, or better looking than others.... it is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest.... If I am a proud man, then, as long as there is one man in the whole world more powerful, or richer, or cleverer than I, he is my rival and my enemy." - Mere Christianity, p94.

Monday, June 23, 2008

latest and greatest....

Here we have two pictures of the kids with their friends from Pearl Presbyterian Church (we miss you all!!). There's a picture of the two back braces Abigail once wore - they are now *history* thanks be to God! Paul and Maria found their old Peter-Pan and Princess play clothes. Then we have Abigail's new and improved back. Finally, Maria built a Lincoln-Log tower out of every single piece we had - including all the little animals and people. We had fun knocking it down.

Things are going well with settling into my new job as the "Assistant Pastor Intern" at Grace Bible Presbyterian Church. I have tons of work to do - not the least of which is finishing seminary and studying for ordination exams this coming February. Working full-time in Christ's church is like a dream come true for me. I love it so very much. And I am so looking forward to being able to preach in my own church (Lord willing) one day. I also have a new email address: Drop me an email and let me know how you're doing and if you have any prayer requests. God bless!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


I rolled into Fairfield, OH last night around 9:00 EST with my parents. My mom and dad came down to Jackson to help me pack and get all my stuff together. We stayed in a hotel Monday night and hit the road around 7:30 Central Time Tuesday morning. We made pretty good time and the trip was uneventful. We towed my car behind the UHaul truck. Phil Sackenheim met us at my house to help us unload. We got the last stuff off the truck around 10:30. I can't believe I'm finally home with my family - it was so good to finally see them all together. Amy made us a special breakfast Wednesday morning. It almost brought tears to my eyes to see everyone around the table together.

All of us are really missing and are going to miss our friends at Pearl Presbyterian Church. Those wonderful people were so good to us during our time there. They are all very special to me. We had some really good times together. I'm looking forward to seeing them this Winter when I go down to take one or two Winter courses.

I've got 72 hours done out of a 106-hour degree. I'm hoping to have all the coursework finished by next May or June. We'll see how that all shakes out...

I still have one final exam to take - apologetics. From what I've heard from others who have taken it - it is extremely difficult. In fact, everyone who has taken it has told me it was the most difficult exam they have ever taken in their entire educational life. So, I guess we're all going to fail it and then it will be curved. We'll see.... Other than this dreaded exam I have yet to take, it was a good semester. Courses were good and I did well.

Abigail is doing so well it truly amazes me. She's really almost all the way back to being her normal self. You wouldn't even know she's got a bunch of hardware in her back. It warms my heart to see her standing up so straight. What a blessing! God has dealt bountifully with us in that regard.

I'll try to blog more regularly now that we're home.


Friday, April 4, 2008

Amy and the kids (and the dog) are headed to Cincinnati!

I saw them off this morning. Please pray for safe travels. I am going to miss them all so very much. I will not be seeing Amy and Abigail until May 1st. And I won't see my sons and Maria until May 15th. I feel sick just considering that. But, it is all in God's providence for my good and His glory. Blessings!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Abigail's Upcoming Vertebral Spinal Stapling Surgery at Shriner's in Philadelphia

Grace Bible Pres Family, Seminary friends, and Pearl Pres Family -

Amy found a video which describes what Abigail is going to be having done this coming April 21st. I enjoyed watching the video, but it was somewhat difficult because Abigail's curve is worse than any they show you in the video. She is actually having two surgeries at once - the one described in this video and the insertion of a titanium rib. Her curve is pretty bad and she currently wears a pretty tight brace. I couldn't be prouder of her. She has shown me how tough she really is - both physically and spiritually. How odd, that God would teach me humility and godliness through my 8-year-old daughter.

Youtube video

Amy and Abigail are going to be in Philadelphia for 3 weeks. The other children are going home to Cincinnati and will be staying with my parents. I will remain here in Mississippi to finish up the 18 hours I'm taking this semester.

We would appreciate everyone's prayers for Abigail's recovery and our faith and sanity. All of this, every minute detail, is from God's fatherly hand to us. If I did not believe that, I would lose my mind. These next three months are going to be a trial for me and my family. I will probably try to take a trip to Philadelphia shortly after Abigail's surgery - if that means I don't do as well as I'd like to in some of my classes, so be it. I know exactly what Bunyan meant when he said from prison that not being able to be with his blind daughter was worse than having the flesh torn off his bones. The idea of Abigail laying in a hospital bed without me there is more than I can stomach.

All of you have meant so much to us and I thank God for all of you.

Here is Abigail pretending to be asleep in a swing at a park - she's pretty funny, eh?

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Abigail, Maria, and the dog (Sassy)

We have a surgery date for Abigail's back - April 21st. Amy and the kids are going to be heading back to Cincinnati around April 12th. I'm going to be alone here in Mississippi for about 4 weeks! Yikes!

Here are some good pics I got of the girls and the dog yesterday....