Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Support Update

We recently received word from our home Church on the amount of financial support they would be providing. Praise God for his gracious provision! Our total support is now at about 66%, which means we still have to raise about $1100 in monthly support and some one-time. If you haven't noticed already, you can keep track of our support raising progress through the bar on the right hand side of the page. Thank you all for your prayers and financial support!

Monday, April 28, 2008

PCRT continued...

As Kristen posted below, I was greatly encouraged and blessed through this year's Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology! It was wonderfully edifying, humbling, transforming, and spurring. Definitely, spurring! In Hebrews 10:19, 24 the writer says

"Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body... let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds"

I thank God for the blessing it is to be spurred on by Godly brothers in Christ to love and good deeds! There was way too much to recount here so I'll just mention the pre-conference in which Joel Beeke reflected on persevering in joyful humility, prayer, & in the face of criticism. More than anything, I valued his wisdom and joyful heart in teaching us how to practically fight pride, seek to be prayer warriors, and how to react to and humbly face criticism.

Aside from the conference we also enjoyed:
Living in the city for the weekend (albeit in a hotel)
Avenue17 (a jazz bar with amazing live jazz music on Friday nights)
Meeting new people
Shawarma pita sandwiches at the Pita Pocket on 16th & Walnut
Cheesesteaks at Tony Luke's with Andy & Leah
A parking ticket
A flat tire on Sunday
A bathtub (Kristen)
Buying new books &
Gaining renewed excitement for ministry in the city (Kristen & I)

Friday, April 25, 2008

Philadelphia Conference of Reformed Theology

PCRT, a time when the "frozen chosen" get together and study a theme in God's word; some would say exhaustively, others wish there were more time to look a little closer. I won't tell you which camp I (Kristen) am in.
This is my 3rd time at PCRT and I am looking forward to learning more fully of Christ's blood shed for me. PCRT is definitely one of those "mountain top" experiences that I cling to when I descend back into daily life. It's too easy to lose the thrill of the gospel. So I pray that I will know Christ in the power of his resurrection not just when surrounded by those of like mind, being lifted up and exhorted together to serve our King, but also when in my own corner of the world.

I am sure Garrett will have much more to say about the conference when he posts next time, so stay tuned!

Climbing the mountain, Kristen

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Myth of Race

I listened to a lecture by Thabiti Anyabwile entitled Bearing the Image: Identity, the Work of Christ, and the Church this morning. His main point is that race is an illusion and that the Bible portrays the descendants of Adam as not biologically different but one people. It is greatly encouraging and he is really funny too!

Monday, April 14, 2008

To Grove City, Erie, and back again

We're back from our trip to Grove City, PA over the weekend. It was great to see so many of you! My cousin was married in Erie, PA in a little town called North East along Lake Erie. We also were able to meet with a few people about our ministry in Kiev and received 2 new supporters to our team. It's amazing to see God provide for us! Here is a picture entering the town of North East, PA with Lake Erie on the horizon.

If you haven't noticed already, I added a support raising progress bar on the right to keep you all updated on our progress in raising support. Thanks for your prayer and support!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Simple Pleasures

We recently purchased a grill. It has been a great source of delight and good food! Since we despised spending vast amounts of money on a tool that we will not be able to take with us to Ukraine, we purchased one of the cheapest models available at Wal-Mart. Our grill has a few idiosyncrasies that make it quite endearing or infuriating depending on the mood of the griller. For one, the legs on the grill when fully extended bring it to about 6 inches from the ground, causing the griller to squat or sit on the pavement while grilling. The grate is large enough to hold approximately 4 hamburger patties, which actually is perfect for us! My favorite little quirk is that the warming tray, which is attached to the lid, is not quite large enough for the grill and thus falls into whatever you happen to be grilling every time you open the lid to check the progress of your delicious dinner. The old adage seems to prove true, "You get what you pay for!", but not so in our case, for we have derived so much pleasure from devouring our grilled delicacies that we have certainly gained much more than $20 worth of pleasure and enjoyment from this piece of equipment.

Come join us for steaks!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Top Ten April Fools' Pranks for Nerds

I saw this article about April Fools' pranks and thought I would pass it along to you! My personal favorite is changing the language in Google.

Forgiven I say!

So I've been reading this great book by Tim Keller, The Reason for God. I have to say that I highly recommend it if you haven't already read it. Tim Keller is gracious and wise in this book in which he makes the case that belief in God is more plausible and reasonable than rejecting him. I thought I would share a little bit of his thoughts on forgiveness. Keller is answering the question of why Jesus had to die on the cross for our sins. Couldn't God just forgive us?

"This is what many may ask, but now we can see that no one 'just' forgives, if the evil is serious. Forgiveness means bearing the cost instead of making the wrongdoer do it. Everyone who forgives great evil goes through a death into resurrection, and experiences nails, blood, sweat, and tears... As Bonhoeffer says, everyone who forgives someone bears the other's sins. On the Cross we see God doing visibly and cosmically what every human being must do to forgive someone."

I was struck by how watered down my view of forgiveness is. I find myself thinking it is just some emotional change of heart toward someone. But, as Keller says, it is much more than that. It is bearing a debt they owe you just as Christ did for us on the cross. "You have hurt me (whether its physically, emotionally, etc.) and owe me a debt. But, I will cancel and bear that debt out of love for you." Christ has given me infinite forgiveness in the Cross. Who am I to withhold forgiveness from others?