- Bob Wiley
I was recently under the weather (like many others) and in frequent use of cough drops. I noticed the particular brand that I was using offered "a pep talk in every drop." The cough drop wrappers have inspirational phrases printed on them to, I guess, lift your spirits.
Phrases actually found on these wrappers include (but are not limited to): "Keep your chin up," "Conquer today," "Elicit a few 'wows,' and "Don't give up on yourself."
I've always struggled with the idea of pep talks that aren't grounded in any sort of truth. Blame it on the cynic in me or my lack of emotion, but if there's no reasoning behind "keep your chin up," I have a really hard time being convinced to keep my chin up.
I've heard motivational speakers tell crowds of high school students that the only thing keeping them from having a great day is the decision to just "be awesome." That's such a cotton candy approach. It might get you out the door, but sooner or later reality of a broken, fallen world will set in. A pep talk might lift your spirits when you realize someone at the last donut. But if your mind is overcome by the real tragedies and disasters that affect this world, let alone the discouragement we can muster in our own minds, positive thinking won't cut it.
Sadly, most people outside of Christianity never hear about victory that is grounded in the eternal hope of Christ. It's also important to recognize that many Christians don't either. A lot of Christians are settling for motivational speaking rather than the transforming truth of God's word. It's concerning that some sermon points could double as cough drop wrapper pep talks. The ideas that "all that you need is found in yourself" or that fulfillment is found in "eliciting wows" are contrary to the gospel message of Jesus.
We can't handle everything that comes our way on our own. We don't have everything we need within ourselves to conquer the world or even the day. These deficiencies and weaknesses highlight our need for a Savior. We may want to believe that we can do anything if we just believe in ourselves, but we are saved by faith in Christ, not faith in ourselves.
Self-sufficiency is a really dangerous mindset to adopt. Self-sufficient people don't know their need for a savior, so they won't surrender to a savior. They also won't point others to the Savior. That's the ugly flipside of "cough drop Christianity."
I'm not condoning self-loathing, either. Please don't get me wrong. I believe we should all walk in confidence, freedom and victory. And I believe we all have worth. I just believe that confidence, freedom, victory, and worth are all found in Christ.
I often find that the music of modern hymn writers, Keith and Kristyn Getty really ministers to me. Their song, "My Worth Is Not In What I Own" really reiterates the truer, better pep talk that comes in claiming and celebrating the gospel of Christ and the worth that we find in Him alone. May it minister to you, as well, and serve as a reminder of the antidote to Cough Drop Christianity that we have in the gospel of Christ!
Our church has been reading through "Make Mature Multiply: Becoming Fully-Formed Disciples of Jesus," edited by Brandon Smith. In chapter 6 Logan Gentry notes that Jesus' evangelism strategy was to point people to "the better story."
Gentry points out Christ's "you have heard it said, but I say" statements as a means to contrast the world's perspective with the better way of the gospel.
This resonated with me and something I've been working through when it comes to parenting. I've been wanting to develop a way to shepherd our son's heart and not just his behavior. I definitely want a well-behaved kid, mind you, but I also don't want moralism to be an obstacle or distraction to his realizing a need for the gospel.
We have one son, now, and he's only 10 months old, so we still have a LITTLE time to work on this. Recently though, I was challenging myself to point him to a better way rather than just a "because I said so" approach. I want my son to know that I have his best interest in mind when I correct him. I want him to recognize that his heart is not whole apart from Jesus.
So I've tried recently, instead of just saying "no" or "stop" to adding "you don't need that" or "that will hurt you" as a further explanation of why I'm disciplining him. It's a small step in a huge journey, but I can only hope that I can point him to the better way found only in the gospel of Christ.
David Crowder's latest album Neon Steeple just released but the single "I Am" has been out for a while now. Here are the lyrics to the chorus without any capitalization or punctuation:
i am holding on to you
i am holding on to you
in the middle of the storm
i am holding on
How would YOU interpret that? When I first heard this song, I wondered, "Does he mean that he is holding on to God or does he mean that I Am is holding on to 'you' so be encouraged? (Or is he being creative and meaning both or switching back and forth?)"
It's a great song. You can hear it here: http://youtu.be/mw4ES27w3oU
Music is really powerful. It moves people in ways that nothing else can. That's why I think it's really important to clear up any vagueness that can occur with worship songs. If you're singing to and/or about God, you're presenting some kind of doctrine, whether you know it or not.
With Crowder's song, neither version I offered presents a false doctrine. But I think the stronger image and message is that I Am is holding on to me in the storms. This interpretation puts the focus on God, rather than my efforts or desperation.
That's why I was thankful that Crowder provided this:
If you didn't watch it, he explains how amazingly reassuring it is that I Am, Creator God is holding on to us. Unfortunately, not all artists provide explanations for their songs. And even if they did, how many people would find those explanations rather than just assigning whatever meaning they want to the work?
Not too long ago John Mark McMillan released "Future/Past." Here's the chorus:
you are my first
you are my last
you are my future and my past
I know I'm guilty of over-thinking things but when I hear that chorus, I think, "What does that mean?" It sounds great and the video is nothing short of epic, but is it ok to apply any meaning that doesn't contradict scripture? Or, worse yet, any meaning that is relative to the hearer? Or should it be more specific, especially since it's a worship song? I looked, not very hard admittedly, but could not find McMillan's explanation of the song.
And I'm not intending to attack McMillan. He just has a song that fits the bill here. I have been blessed by his music and we sing it in our College and Young Singles ministry often. But when "Future/Past" came out, a handful of leaders from our church, including some worship pastors, offered different meanings to the lyrics. (All of them were doctrinally sound!) This was a fun and interesting poll but also concerning. If leaders in the church are not exactly sure what the song means, how do we expect those new or unfamiliar to the faith to interpret it?
I understand that scripture can be (and is) misinterpreted often, too, but if we can take measures to clear up confusion, shouldn't we? Or should we leave room for "what ifs" for the sake of art?
I remember a friend years ago taking issue with people singing, "Who may ascend TO the hill of the Lord?"
"Anyone can ascend TO the hill of the Lord," he argued. "The question is who may actually ascend the hill!" The memory makes me chuckle. He was definitely more ardent, but I share his conviction for truth!
People connect with music very deeply. We sing and are moved but are often moved by the artistry and emotion of the song rather than the truth of the lyrics. So, I personally believe it's important to guard doctrine when "teaching" through song, and I'm thankful for the worship leaders in my life who value this principle, as well.
May we strive to worship in spirit AND truth!
Here's an excerpt from an interview with the late Johnny Cash. It's not excitingly revelatory, really, but it's refreshing to hear how down to earth Cash is. He denies being a hero or icon, denies being brave, and just plain keeps it real. I may be giving him too much credit, but I feel like his humble answers are heavily influenced by his faith and the rough times he endured (many as consequences of his own choices).
WARNING: Cash does drop an "S bomb." So be careful little ears what you hear.
I have the honor of teaching part of our church membership class and, during yesterday's, something occurred to me. I usually begin my section by introducing myself and telling the class that I joined the church back in 1991 when my family moved to Houston and that it's been really cool to see all the highs and lows and God's constant sustenance and provision here.
As I was "reviewing" that spiel in my head before taking the stage, our pastor was asking some of our LONG term (and one founding) members of our church how long they had been here. (Our church was planted in 1973.) It struck me in light of those 30+ year members, that some of the people in yesterday's class were JUST beginning their potential 20, 30, 40 years of membership!
It was such a cool moment to think that, in 1991, I was a knuckleheaded 7th grader running around with hardly any clues about anything and NO clue that 20 years later I'd be on staff, married and starting a family here. I wasn't thinking that, in my 30s, I'd be worshiping alongside other second and third generation members of our church that were knuckleheads like me in the 90s.
I encouraged yesterday's class that they might be sitting across the table or across the room from lifelong friends that they haven't even met yet but that God was leading to join our church just like them.
It's so cool to think about! God has given us a spiritual family in the Church! Becoming a church member, then, means SO much more than just agreeing with a statement of faith. Praying that our church continues to be a healthy expression of the body of Christ!
Apparently RoboCop (1987) is a Christ story.
"It is about a guy that gets crucified after 50 minutes, then is resurrected in the next 50 minutes and then is like the super-cop of the world, but is also a Jesus figure as he walks over water at the end." - Paul Verhoeven
Guess I missed a little something behind, "Dead or alive, you're coming with me."
I had an idea to post this right after NBA All-Star weekend. So, TBT to All-Star Weekend and a shout out TBT to the "good old days."
I haven't watched an entire dunk contest in years. I remember watching Blake Griffin jump "over" a KIA... that's about it for the last several years. For some reason, I watched this year's competition. Apparently it's now officially called "Sprite Slam Dunk." Which just sounds awkward. Would it hurt them to add "contest" to the title? I mean, there is more than one dunk involved...
Regardless, what stood out to me about the dunk contest and the all-star production, in general, was the gaudy amount of flash/production and the glaring lack of substance. This dissonance was really apparent when finalist Ben McLemore came out dressed in a robe, preceded by a herald, and had Shaq sit in a throne for him to jump over... then he missed the dunk. "All show, no go," comes to mind. He made the second attempt and then knelt to be crowned by Shaq. But the wind had already left the sails. SO much build-up.
John Wall just came out and dunked. He executed, on the first try, a physically impressive dunk. Then went into a swaggerlicious victory dance. Something to be said for letting the work speak before going into hype mode. Wall not only executed this platform, he verbalized it in this article, questioning the role of hype in recent contests.
Of course, back in MY day, I don't remember any victory dances. Just raw dunkage and maybe a mean game face afterward. Those were the days. Less pyro, less fly-girls, less hype men. You tuned in for the athletic competition. So what happened? Either the crowds/audience/consumers have grown hype-thirsty, demanding high-fructose entertainment along the lines of the WWE or the NBA realizes there is nothing new under the sun and all the dunks have been dunked, so to speak. (Dunkers realize this, too, as made evident by the influx of props and hype over the last several years.)
It's also evident in the NBA's formatting remodel that they're trying to keep up or stay relevant somehow, knowing their product is lacking. It's also glaringly evident that there is a lack of superstar showdowns. Where is Lebron? Where was Griffin? This year's contestants were no slouches, but at the NBA's peak the brightest stars threw down (Jordan vs. Wilkins, anyone?) One of my favorite dunk exhibitions of all time was Vince Carter. Props for no props, if you know what I mean.
I think the superstars are afraid of losing. They claim they are too busy, need/want to rest or possibly avoid injury. More likely, they just can't afford to hurt their brand, so younger, hungrier dudes are trying to make a name for themselves or gain some ground on the elites.
Overall, I feel like All-Star weekend is broken. It was a bunch of smoke and mirrors perfectly cued and timed, accompanied by the reality of missed shots and dunks. The fanfare presented superheroes, but real people came out to compete. It kind of creates a disconnect.
All that to say, maybe I think it's "too loud" because I'm just too old. Maybe the NBA's targeted demo loves the hype machine. Maybe they love being told what is awesome by emcee Nick Cannon, rather than just waiting and reacting to the events as they unfold.
I'm sure the "good old days" I keep referring to are abhorrent to previous generations. The idea of a dunk contest, in general, is pretty self-aggrandizing I realize... as are blogging and tweeting, heh. But yesterday's dinner table soapbox rant is today's blog post. Welcome to the table.
Today marked the one year anniversary of Pastor Steve Bezner coming to Houston Northwest Church. I am just one of many, many people thankful for the blessing he has been since his arrival. Here are just a handful of reasons why I love my pastor.
-He loves Jesus.
-He encourages me frequently.
-He loves my family well.
-He loves his own family well.
-He loves our church well.
-He has a pacemaker, but it seems to work more like Iron Man's flux capacitor chest thing, powering him!
-He is my friend.
-He loves Blue Bell.
-He's read everything.
-He laughs at my jokes... usually.
-He is obsessed with great BBQ.
-He is a "why not?" person which I admire because I am a "why?" person.
-He dreams big.
-He's wicked smaht but doesn't flaunt it.
-He does sound effects when he tells stories.
-He listens and he cares.
-He gets really excited about sharing Jesus with others.
Happy Anniversary, Pastor! Here's to many more!
So, our son was born one week and a day ago, weighing 9 lbs. 5 oz. and measuring 21 inches. After parenting him for just over a week, I wanted to share some of the things I've learned since his birth. It's been an amazing week!
-The disgustitude of other people's bodily fluids decreases when they belong to your helpless offspring. (Mind you, they are still G-ross, just somewhat less so.)
-I've seen Danielle exhibit new levels of amazing that she hasn't had to express until motherhood. She is awesome. She commuted an hour, each way, to her full-time job all the way into her 39th week of pregnancy and has taken to being a mommy like a fish to water. She doesn't show any frustration and has been heard saying things like, "I just can't stop kissing his head." She continues to be a manifestation of God's grace in my (and Deacon's) life.
-Things can go from peaceably normal to bat-crap crazy chaotic in 1.7 seconds with a newborn and first time parents.
-Having a kid stimulates the gland in your body that controls your desire to take and post pictures online.
-Baby hiccups trouble parents much more than they trouble babies. Same goes for barking dogs and fireworks.
-God is too good to me. We have been extremely blessed with the entire pregnancy and Deacon's first week of life. I know that many, many couples struggle with varying stages of the process. And, it's only by the grace and mercy of God that we have been so blessed. Not wanting to make those who have struggled feel bad, just wanting to praise God for His blessing. I am so undeserving and don't want to take His favor for granted.
Anyway, these are just a few of the things I've learned in a week. Can't imagine there's much more to pick up on with this whole parenting gig
Our College and Young Singles' ministry (CYS) is going through a series called "God With Us" to parallel our church's Advent series. We're looking at a few of the major components of the Incarnation, and it's been really exciting to dig into these lessons.
It might be a little unconventional to emphasize suffering, temptation and penal substitution when most folks are feeling merry and bright at the thought of cuddly baby Jesus... but those are what the Incarnation points us toward! I think it's important that we consider why Christ had to become fully man. It makes cuddly baby Jesus that much more exciting!
Our first lesson focused on the Atonement. Christ had to become fully man in order to atone for sinful men (Hebrews 2:16). The punishment for the sins of man had to be endured by a man... so Christ took on flesh. Not only did Jesus take our place in receiving punishment, but He also stands in our place as righteous. This righteousness was earned as a man (Matthew 3:15 and Matthew 5:17). It's a righteousness we couldn't earn... so Christ took on flesh. He lived, as a man, in complete obedience to God's will. And all who trust in Christ by faith receive His righteousness, justifying us before God the Father!
The second lesson had us looking at Jesus' sympathy for mankind. Christ had to take on flesh so that He could gain experiential knowledge of human suffering and temptation. Crazy to insinuate that Christ lacked knowledge of something, given He's omniscient but Hebrews 2:18 tells us that Jesus' experiences in human suffering and temptation allow Him to sympathize with us. Consider how great His suffering was, knowing it truly was undeserved. Imagine how great the temptations were that He faced, considering that He never gave in. Wayne Grudem joins other theologians in suggesting that, "only he who successfully resists a temptation to the end most fully feels the force of that temptation." We think we know the magnitude of temptation, but try to grasp how immense it could be, if it were always resisted! To minister to mankind with sympathy, Christ took on flesh.
The next installment of our series will look ahead to our resurrection bodies! Christ took on flesh so that He could redeem humans. That means that everything that goes into being human will be redeemed! Christ is the firstfruits of the resurrection. He maintains a glorified, physical body and His people will be resurrected to glorified, physical bodies (1 Corinthians 15)! For man to ultimately be what God intended, Christ had to take on flesh and redeem it. Amazing stuff!
None of these things could have happened if Christ had not humbled Himself unto humanness. We celebrate baby Jesus because of the eternal and otherwise impossible implications His arrival led to! God didn't have to send Jesus. But He wanted to save and redeem us.
That's why our final "lesson" will be a day of praise to God for His loving plan to show us mercy and grace!
1 John 4:10 "In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins."
God with us! Merry Christmas!
So, for something completely different on the Wilsonian Institute, here is my first ever sports post. (I even had to create the "sports" category for this entry.)
Just a my two cents on Matt Schaub and the recent/renewed outcry from Houston Texans fans to get rid of him. I don't usually write or post much about sports because a) there are PLENTY of people already doing it better than I would and b) I'm not really interested in an ongoing discussion on such matters.
Regardless, the Institute needed something other than a pregnancy update to keep our diverse readership engaged, ha!
Let me start by stating my agreement that Schaub is a (possibly THE) key factor in holding Houston back from the next level. But as Stephen A. Smith would say, "HOWevah..." I don't think cutting him is the answer. Because where do you go from there?
To "upgrade" from Schaub, we need an elite QB, in my opinion. And we're not in line to get one. Manning, Rodgers, Brees, Brady... they are not coming to Houston. Who is on the next available tier that's good enough to outshine Schaub? No one as I see it.
I think Schaub is on par with Romo, Rivers, Ryan, etc. At the very least I think the difference is pretty negligible. So unless Houston can lure one of the young prodigies like Wilson or Luck away from their teams (not happening), we just need to be on the lookout for the NEXT Wilson coming up (undervalued future superstar) or figure out how to get Schaub to flip the switch that Joe Flacco and Eli Manning have found when big games roll around.
We're in the unfortunate spot of being so good that we're not getting top draft picks but not good enough to win it all. So, Schaub finding his "big game groove" is the most realistic solution as I see it.
There you have it, sports fans. It's just that simple.
Ok, so quite possibly the weirdest thing to ever happen in my life unfolded tonight!
I went with some of the college guys from church to our traditional, end-of-study dinner to cap off the summer. We decided on Paul's Pizza Shop because pizza buffets and college guys go well together.
Shortly after approaching the counter I thought one of the workers there looked familiar and a named popped into my head, Adam Watson. I said, "You look familiar. What's your name?"
"Adam," he replied.
"Adam Watson?" I suggested.
"No. Adam Somethingerother."
"Oh, sorry. You look like someone I used to know."
Later in the dinner it was still bothering me as to why I thought he looked so familiar. So I toyed with the idea of pulling up a picture of Adam Watson on Facebook and showing this guy so he could see the resemblance. I at least wanted to prove to myself that he looked like the person I remembered.
So, I looked up Adam Watson on Facebook (yes, a bit stalker-ish, but I knew we had mutual Facebook friends so I didn't feel TOO creepy about it).
As soon as the real Adam Watson's picture pops up on my phone, I realize he doesn't look anything like the guy working at Paul's Pizza. So now I'm really confused as to why I made the association. Then it dawns on me that the pizza guy might resemble Wayne Watson, Adam's dad. So I Google a picture of Wayne Watson to confirm my suspicions and find that I was right! The pizza guy looks a little like Wayne Watson looked at one point in time. Enough to trigger all these associations, anyway. But then it gets SUPER WEIRD.
RIGHT AFTER THAT, THE REAL LIFE ADAM WATSON WALKS INTO PAUL'S PIZZA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It was ca-razy. I was freaking out. I don't really even know Adam Watson. I just met him like 15 years ago and haven't seen him since. I told the college guys I was with who agreed that this was a freaky occurrence and then I got up and told Adam Watson all about it, too! I'm sure he thinks I'm a complete basket case, but I wasn't worried about it. He had to hear this nonsense.
And I'm so weirded out by it all that I decided to tell the world (or anyone willing to read our blog.)
This week has been full of firsts for me. It was my first time to report to jury duty, first shot at using public transportation, first time attempting to navigate downtown by myself and first real-life courtroom experience. Now don't get me wrong, I have watched countless trials in my life. I've seen drug dealers put away, predators taken off the streets and dangerous criminals locked up indefinitely. The only difference is, all the ones I watched previously were on TV or in movies (mostly Law & Order S.V.U., if we're being honest).
Deep in my heart of hearts I have always had a taste for justice. I long to see bad guys punished for their wrongs and justice executed to the fullest extent of the law (the Lord has used this desire to completely wreck me and my understanding of grace, btw). So, as you can imagine, this week I was a teensy bit excited to get to be a part of the justice system. I hated the idea of commuting downtown, but I was eager to experience the process and bring scumbags to justice! I tried to play it cool during the questioning... mainly I tried to leave out my thirst for justice and overwhelming experience as an investigator (read: law & order addict). While some aspects of this experience were exactly what I imagined, other parts were new and (somewhat) disappointing. As the lawyers began questioning us during voir dire, it became clear that being charming and relatable was just as important as the questions themselves. The first lawyer up was all smiles. He thanked the jury profusely and made sure to make everyone feel important when they were giving their answers. The second lawyer started out just as charming as the first, but was quickly put in his place by the judge when he started to get a little too chatty about the case... there were warnings and objections and everything! Unfortunately, at the end of voir dire I was not selected to be on the jury. In fact, they didn't select anyone from my side of the room because the first side had more than enough candidates. C'est la vie. Maybe next time I'll get the chance to experience all the ins-and-outs of the actual trial. In the meantime, I'm going to stick to S.V.U. reruns, where the bad guys always lose and the good guys always look fabulous in the pursuit of justice!
Sidenote: The coolest part of this whole process was finding out that there is a "white noise button" that the judge presses every time the attorneys approach the bench. I always wondered how the rest of the courtroom didn't hear those discussions!
Earlier today I teased our Les Mis-loving student intern about missing our pastor's "performance" of a line or two from said musical while she is out of town on a mission trip. "Serving means sacrificing," I told her in jest.
While the context was humorous, I really believe that true service will require sacrifice. Maybe not always, but if service leads us to put others first, there will come a time (or many) when not putting ourselves first will cost us something. As a believer in Jesus Christ, this principle is inherent to the Christian life. However, as imperfect people undergoing sanctification, it is a lesson to be learned seemingly ad nauseaum.
I've been thinking about service and sacrifice a lot, recently. You may have heard that my wife and I are expecting a baby boy in December! We have decided on the first name, Deacon. For starters, we like the sound of it, and it's a little uncommon. We also like the meaning. Deacon comes from a Greek word meaning "servant." While we pray that our son will come to saving faith in Christ and devote his life to Him, we know that he may not. And if that's the case, we'd still like for his name to be a reminder to him and every one else that his mom and dad believed every person was put on earth to serve the Lord and serve others. (And, yes, we know how silly it will sound if he becomes an actual deacon or pastor... "Pastor Deacon or deacon Deacon!")
Expecting a baby boy also has me thinking about sacrifice. Our church is currently studying faith in the life of Abraham. We know full well what's coming in Genesis 22, when Abraham is asked to prepare an altar and sacrifice his son. I can't even comprehend it and I haven't even met my son, yet.
I don't believe I will be called to raise a knife to my son, but I know God has called me to devote everything to Him. This includes my children. I've always been moved by Hannah and her devoting of Samuel to ministry in the temple (1 Samuel 1) and have hoped that I would have that kind of attitude if I ever were blessed with children. Well, now I have one on the way, and I'm praying that the Lord will find us faithful in parenting. I know the temptation to worship my child(ren) will be strong. I've seen it (and judged it) in others. Now I'll be walking in those parenting shoes, feeling the shame of my own hypocrisy, I'm sure.
I know one needn't be a parent to experience sacrifice (see Jesus, Paul, etc.), but I also know there are levels of sacrifice that will be thrust upon me that I have not even imagined! It's a little daunting to say the least. So, I pray that I won't lose sight of WHY I'm sacrificing. I pray that my self-denial wouldn't give way to bitterness or resentment, but to a better idea of Who Christ is. I pray that the whole process will drive me into more of a moment-by-moment trusting in Christ. And I pray that God would be glorified by Deacon Wilson's life as it becomes a testimony of His great gospel.
As my first official post on The Wilsonian Institute, I thought it was only fitting that I post a pregnancy update to balance out years of boy-posts. If you aren't fascinated by all things baby/pregnancy, this post probably won't be for you. Now, let's kick the estrogen up a notch ;)
*Disclaimer: My belly looks extra pronounced in this picture, which I believe is a result of a) me sticking it out a little bit and b) hand placement.
How far along? 14 weeks! I know I've still got another 26 to go, but I am SO thankful to be in my second trimester! The Lord has been so gracious throughout this pregnancy and I can't wait to see what's next!
How big is baby Wilson? The size of a navel orange.
Maternity clothes? Sometimes. I'm still a little small for most things, but if I can get away with wearing a stretchy waistband, I'm doing it.
Stretch marks? Nope.
Sleep: Yes, please. I'm finally sleeping through the night now that I don't have to wake up every morning at 4 AM to pee.
Best moment this week: This was technically last week, but seeing baby Wilson move around on the ultrasound was the best! We got to see legs, arms, the heartbeat, his/her face and a ton of movement!
Miss Anything? Sushi, unsweet tea and diet coke.
Movement: Just what we could see on the ultrasound. Can't wait to start feeling the "flutters" I keep hearing about!
Food cravings: Nothing too distinctive, but I could definitely put away some Marie Calendars Parmesan Chicken Pot Pie.
Anything making you queasy or sick: Apples. I've decided to boycott them for the rest of this pregnancy.
Gender predictions: I've been thinking boy, but Jeremy keeps saying he has no idea.
Labor Signs: No. PTL!
Belly Button in or out? In.
Wedding rings on or off? On.
Happy or Moody most of the time: It's kind of a toss-up. I'd say happy and SLEEPY most of the time, but Jeremy might beg to differ ;)
Looking forward to: Finding out the gender!
I don't get it. I just don't get it. I haven't investigated all the ins and outs of abortion policy but as I understand it, the most recent legislation that was blocked sought to, among other things, ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy in Texas.
I believe abortion at any stage is the taking of a life. Is that not what an abortion is? There is a life that needs to be ended for an abortion to be deemed successful, yes? It's not simply a removal... it's a cessation of life. That's why Kermit Gosnell ensured "fetal demise" (killed live-born babies) in his clinic. Because the mothers chose abortion and he wanted to complete the procedure that was chosen.
Regardless, to focus (more so) on the recent legislation, how could anyone ever disregard the life of a 20 week or older fetus? It blows my mind and sickens my heart. I recently went to an ultrasound reading with my pregnant wife. Here is an image from the visit:
This image was taken at 13 weeks... 13 WEEKS.
My baby has a face, a nose, arms and legs. Baby Wilson is a person. Baby Wilson is alive. How could anyone, let alone the president of the United States, celebrate the blocking of legislation that would protect a life well after this stage of pregnancy?
I cannot wrap my mind around this thinking. Fighting for the "right" to choose? What is the choice, exactly? Can it be denied that the choice is to end a life?
Is that the logic in the argument? That women should have the right to choose what happens to their bodies? Surely abortion proponents realize that the fetus is a BODY inside of a pregnant lady's body. I feel like I'm taking crazy pills and missing the point.
Pregnant ladies can't even ride roller coasters. Whose body is being protected by that policy? Where are the protests on that attack on choice?
We're worshiping ourselves. It's a scary day when each person is their own authority.
That's the self-exalting attitude that roused protesters to disrupt lawmakers in Austin. It's the same self-exalting attitude that celebrates the freedom to end the life of the unborn. And our nation is reveling in and rabidly fighting for it.
And I just don't get it.
Whenever this scene between Louis Gossett, Jr. and Richard Gere from An Officer and a Gentleman is referenced, it reminds me of Peter and Jesus' conversation in John 6. Mayo (Gere) is desperate for meaning in life and has found it in one thing, the Navy. His superior officer challenges him to quit, to give up, to admit he can't take any more and to walk away, but he can't bear the thought of being disconnected from what he's discovered. He's clinging to the one place he can thrive and grow.
In John 6 Jesus has many followers quit after hearing a difficult truth and He asks the twelve disciples if they want to quit, also. Peter realizes the only place they can find true life is in Christ. I believe that Peter has come to realize his spiritual poverty and responds to Jesus with an attitude of, "I got nowhere else to go!"
John6:67 So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, 69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”
This is the gospel realization that every believer must walk in. When all this world has to offer is considered, an illuminated heart should realize that life is found in Jesus alone. We have nowhere else to go. We are dependent on "the Holy One of God" to sustain us, not just to bless us. Cling to that truth, and cling to Jesus!
Today marks six months of marriage to my beautiful, charming, intelligent, funny and godly wife, Danielle. Here are just a few of the things I've discovered over those six months:
-Time speeds up when you're not alone.
-Watching football all day Saturday and Sunday is not everyone's idea of fun.
-Married people like to talk about getting together with each other, but it's not as easy as it sounds.
-If you plan on doing something, you should tell your wife. You share a life, not a brain. (Hard transition for someone who was single for as long as I was.)
-Eating out is twice as expensive.
-People like to ask, "How is married life treating you?"
-Side dishes exist with home cooked meals.
-When one spouse thinks birthdays are a big deal and one doesn't, the one that thinks they're a big deal wins.
-Married life is awesome.
-There are too many shades of tan paint.
-There are too many shades of green paint.
SHOUT OUT TO MY BOO, DANIELLE! LUV U GURL!
as i've mentioned before, i love when jimmy fallon creates humor "on the side" of whatever is planned to happen on his show. check out his audition for "the next batman":