From Laura, 13 … On Friday we went to a conference about the importance of having Christ as our supreme passion. The session that day was specifically about having Christ as the center of our worship. The speaker was Sinclair Ferguson. Something he emphasized was that Christ is the worship leader, and that we should worship Him as if He were there in our midst, because He is. Also, people should remember that God does give instructions in his Word on how to worship him; we don’t have to make it up.
From Becca, 15 … Recently we found a cardinal’s nest in a crape myrtle. The female was sitting on the nest most of the time, but when she wasn’t, we were able to see the eggs by climbing up on the scaffolding that was there. Cardinals are a nuisance at our house because the males fight their own reflections in our rear view mirrors. To keep our mirrors from getting mucked up, we have to put grocery bags on and off every time we go anywhere. But even though cardinals are not smart, they really are beautiful and they sing a pretty song. We laughed when we read this flowery description in a nature book from 1911: “The father cardinal is an exemplary husband and father; he cares for and feeds his mate tenderly and sings to her gloriously while she is sitting; and he works hard catching insects for the nestlings. He is also a brave defender of his nest and will attack any intruder, however large, with undaunted courage.”
From Seth, 19 … At church we’re part of a group studying through the 1689 London Baptist Confession, so during the week Papa has been reading to us from Sam Waldron’s exposition of the Confession. It is some very good systematic theology. The eighth chapter was on the person and work of Christ, and Dr. Waldron made a very interesting point. If God is to save anyone, then the atonement (Christ’s death in place of sinners to satisfy God’s justice) is absolutely necessary. Because He is just, God’s character does not allow for salvation apart from the atonement. God saves, but not at the expense of his justice: rather, His love is so great that he “would not spare His own Son” to save sinners.
From Anna, 22 … I have recently been pondering the radical nature of discipleship. Jesus doesn’t ask us to give Him whatever portion of our time, energy, and loyalty we can conveniently spare; He asks us to take up our cross and follow Him, no matter what the cost.
At the same time, the One who says, “Take up your cross,” is also the One who says, “Come unto me, all you who are weary and heavy laden.” The radical discipleship that God calls us to is not too much for Him to ask, because the mercy and benefits that we have been shown in Christ—and which we will discover even more as we follow Him—are so great that such a radical giving of ourselves to Him becomes the only reasonable response. This is not a duty to be grudgingly discharged, but a privilege to be joyfully embraced.
From John, Megan,and James … (by Megan) This past month has flown by with many new experiences.
James is growing so fast! He smiles, coos, and tries to laugh (sometimes succeeding) every day! It’s fun for John and me to be able to interact with him by smiling, cooing, and laughing back at him! He is taking more interest in the things around him. One thing he enjoys looking at is our bedroom ceiling fan - A nice big baby mobile! ;-)
John's work is starting to pick up a bit now. God is ever faithful! During this slow time John has had time to work on our bathroom countertop! It's all ready to be installed -- we just need to get some helpers in to lift the several-hundred-pound slab to install it. We look forward to having a fully functional bathroom!
I am enjoying being a mother. I have been learning many new things along the way of childcare and managing a home at the same time. Many times I've had to set James on our kitchen counter near the sink so I could get some dishes washed. I'm learning to do what works to get things done. I'm enjoying every bit of this journey!From Ray, Katie, Peter, Samuel, and baby-on-the-way … (by Katie) We took a trip to Austin last week. Ray had a two-day class, and the rest of us tagged along. It was our first time to go to Austin as a family, and we had a good time. Here are a few memorable moments from our time: 1) While eating at a restaurant overlooking Lake Travis, we pointed to the lake and asked Peter what it was. He said, “pool!” 2) At the zoo, we saw a tiger sitting in its water trough. (hot day!) 3) While riding a miniature train that took us along the edge of a precipice, Ray wondered, “Is this legal?!”
From Judith … I’ve been thinking about something for a few weeks that could be easily misunderstood. And maybe it isn’t newsletter “material,” but it’s what is currently on my mind in a particular way. It has to do with sin. The more years I travel this path of faith in Christ, the more aware I become of the intensely invasive nature of my sin. There is nothing I do, whether it be reading my Bible or doing a kindness, that is done with pure motives. When I really peer into the depth of my heart, I can see, to one degree or another, evidence of pride and selfishness (seeing how this act furthers my glory rather than God’s glory). No, I’m not morose – in fact, far from it! I find myself more deeply appreciating that my hope of eternity with Christ is not dependent on doing enough good or religious things, but purely on the sacrifice of Christ paying the penalty for my sin. In this there is great joy!
From Gerald … I always believed that John would be a good husband and father. Seeing him since the birth of James has confirmed this. He seems to be extra attentive to Megan's needs and participates fully in the care of James. He is so patient with James when he cries and does whatever he can to help. I am seeing a tender side to John that I have not often seen in the past. I praise God for what he has done in John's life.
With love from the Pedersen clan