Does He Fit In?

Needless to say, the last few days have been unlike any other in my life. I guess that’s what your first child can do. On Sunday evening we came back home and it immediately felt completely natural to have Micah there. I got to take a much anticipated shower, washing ‘hospital’ off of me, and we just relaxed until Grammy B. and Uncle David arrived!

I have to say I don’t know how I would do this if Grammy B was not here. She has been absolutely amazing, helping keep the place clean, doing some cooking, and most importantly, helping Leah learn to take care of Micah. One of the biggest ways she has been a blessing to me is that I don’t have to worry about staying up with Leah and night when Micah is screaming and not wanting to eat. That is absolutely crucial with me finishing school and trying to juggle work.

Leah is doing well. She is less soar than she was a couple days ago, but is still finding it difficult to maneuver. She’s finding it difficult to find sleep, but is adjusting to sleeping between feedings. She was able to get three hours last night, as well as a good nap between 8-9pm. You could pray that the healing continues and that she finds time to sleep.

One thing that we haven’t had a lot of time for is time to just sit and talk. Last night we got a few minutes to sit down and talk and she asked, “Does he fit in?” After thinking about it for a moment, I responded by saying “no.” A new dog fits in. You find room for a Bible study or going to a movie. A baby, I’ve realized, doesn’t fit in. He changes your life.

Before, it was just Leah and I. We could basically do whatever we wanted and when we wanted. If we wanted to do something last minute or on the spur of the moment, we could. But we weren’t really a family. We were two young people that got married and liked hanging out with each other. But now we’re a family. He doesn’t ‘fit in’ because that life is behind us.

This could sound like a very dark and sad reality, but it really isn’t. After all, which would I rather do: go bowling at the last minute or hold my son in my arms? A child changes your life in a good way. he doesn’t fit in, but you change things to make him a part of your life.

In a way, this is almost like our relationship with God. When we come to salvation, we’re not the same. Its still us, but our desires should change. Our desire shouldn’t be to live like we used to and go back to our old lives. It could sound like you are enslaved to a new life, but really, its the freedom to live life in a better way.

Blog Update

Nothing like having a baby to boost your readership! The previous record for viewing in one day was 103 visitors. The day after Micah was born, the site had 367 visitors! That was enough to get me on the top 100 growing blogs of!

As easy as it would to just get people to visit by putting up pictures of him, that isn’t what this is about. I want this to be a tool for my ministry and a way for me to have a small voice. That, and I don’t want to compete with his site. That’s right, he has his own site.

If you would like to have the address to his site, please email me and I’ll get it to you. I ask that you don’t link it from your page, but please bookmark it! He likes hearing from you all!

Email me here: tcostine at sgucandcs dot org


Last night God brought us the greatest blessing in the form of baby Micah! Labor had its good and bad parts, but mom and baby are healthy. Now we’re relaxing and enjoying our first few days together! Unfortunately for Micah, he much resembles his father… Here are some pics!








Sorry it’s sideways. Didn’t want to take the time to flip it!


Saying Good-bye From 3,000 Miles

“There’s my handsome little devil!” That’s probably what I will remember most of my grandmother. This morning I was awoken with the news that was mostly anticipated, that my grandmother had reached the end of her road. I’ve never had anyone close to me in my family die before. My grandfather passed away when I was a baby, but since then, my family has always been there. I could always count on seeing my grandparents around the holidays, and I could always count on being called my grandmother’s “handsome little devil.”

This is one of the harder parts of living so far away from family. I’m not able to be there when i feel I should be. Sometimes it almost feels like a TV show. You feel like you really know the characters, but you aren’t actually there. You watch things happen from a distance.

I am thankful for the memories of grandmother that I carry with me. I am thankful for the last time that I got to see her after Christmas this past year. I’m thankful that I don’t have to have the final picture be one of her in the last few weeks. The closing picture, instead, is one of her showing off her new found flexibility and touching her toes, which I stopped doing long ago. I can instead remember her sitting on the couch at my sister’s house, telling us what a sight it was to watch my father, wife, and mother work on a puzzle while she kept warm by the fire.

The thoughts that stick out the most in childhood are numerous. It was always a highlite of the year when they would bring their tractor trailor down to our house and we’d get to ride in it. I knew that they would always have something for us and remember running to hug her while she said hi to her “handsome little devil.”

I would stay at their house after summer camp was over, since it was too far to drive home that day. I would stay in the loft, running up and down the circle stairs. She’d make sure she’d spoil me with things to eat. I would sit and spin and spin and spin in her orange chair that was right out of the 70’s. I would fake bartend at the bar in her living room, and when i wasn’t etertaining in that way, I would jump on the organ and pound out some melodies.

She would take me outside and we’d play croquet or feed the birds on the porch. She always forced more food on you than you could possibly eat, and had what seemed like millions of jars filled with canned vegetables in the basement.

As the years passed, I would only see her around the holidays, and it seemed that each year that passed, she was a little more gone than the last. Of course she wasn’t supposed to live this long, but she was never the type to let doctors tell her how to live, or how long. Each year she would come down to our house, I would get a hug. And over the years she seemed to shrink in my arms, but I still felt like the small grandchild wrapped in her arms.

It’s funny how you grow up and you get to know people better and your childish views of who people are, are shattered by reality. And even though my grandmother made all kinds of mistakes and had her share of failures, I still love her. She was my grandmother who delighted in seeing me. She was my grandmother and I was her handsome little devil.

The Family

A Warning to Christian Bloggers

It is not often something with no history just explodes onto the scene like blogging has. It seems these days everyone has a blog about something, and everyone’s voice can be heard. These new ways to communicate has been a great encouragement to me, because now I am able to be fed by some great people on a daily basis, and I don’t have to go fishing for it.

I’m thankful for blogging because it has allowed me to continue to formulate thoughts, keep in touch with family, and even offer evangelical views on hot topics out there. Before I switched over to this blog, I never realized how many people look at this blog. I’ve already had over 1,300 views, surpassing the 100 views in one day mark last week. It has made me realize how many people are involved in conversations without saying anything.

This leads me to my warning, which is really two-fold. The first is that though we may not think many people are reading our often lame thoughts, there are many who are. People have already been charged with slander for things that they have said about someone else on their blog. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see this increase exponentially in the future. As Christian bloggers, we must make sure that everything we say is sprinkled with grace and compassion. It is easy to make an off hand comment, and I’ve surely been guilty of that myself.

The other warning is probably more immediate. One of the great things about blogs is that it allows people who normally would never talk to communicate with each other. One of the common forms of communication is the debate. Conversations that unbelievers normally would never hear are now out in the open. They are not intended to have that affect, but I don’t think people realize how public our arguments are.

You could have a small group of people having a serious debate about a theological subject and none of those people are offended. But this conversation is now out there for everyone to read and gloss over. I can’t help but believe that many people see this as a revelation of backbiting within the church.

Many do not understand that these debates are good and healthy. But as often as we say that, the debates can turn nasty and sometimes there are personal attacks. I have witnessed this first hand in the past couple of weeks, as John MacArthur has been grilled for his message about pre-millennialsim. People exploded onto the blog-dom, saying things they NEVER would have said to his face.

Though this medium appears to provide a good opportunity for debate, it in no way can be a conversation. You can write something down, not meaning for it to be dissected and torn to pieces, and suddenly someone gets something out of your statement that you never intended to say. And you don’t know about it until days later, when you check back in on the blogs you posted on.

It does not allow for true conversation, because that can only happen face to face. People can not deduce what your tone of voice was. Sarcasm becomes a malicious comment, and humor turns to a source for anger.

So is this a call for people to cease debating on these forums? No, that would be foolish. What it is, is a call for people to not take this casually. More people are reading than you think!

Does Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda live up to the Bible?

This past week we were able to watch the “Outsiders” program on Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda and it was very interesting. I thought I would supply a few of my thoughts on it.

1. He’s not the charasmatic leader you would think he would be. Most cults are led by personalities that are just magnetic. And he wasn’t a fiery preacher. Isn’t flashy in his presentation. That makes the reason for his popularity that much more confusing. I think a lot of it has to do with the hold of Catholicism throughout the Latin community. They rule with fear and this is a radical departure from the Roman Catholic Church.

2. It was interesting to hear that Jose Luis said that he doesn’t believe in the New Testament books unless they were written by Paul. When he said that, I turned to Leah and said, “Well, then he picked the wrong apostle!” So what I want to do here is to supply some points from Paul’s apostle to contradict Jose Luis.

– First of all, either Jose Luis isn’t familiar with Romans 1-3 on sin, or he has a great hermeneutic to make it irrelevant. Romans 3:23- “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
Romans 3:10-13 “None is righteous, no, not one; no on understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even on.”

– He kept saying that there is no such thing as sin, but there is such a thing as a crime. Murder is not a sin, but it is a crime. Well, Paul says in Romans 13:2 “Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.” Verse 5 says, “Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for teh sake of conscience.” Failure to abide by a nation’s laws is sin, as far as they do not oppose God’s revelation.

– II Thessalonians 2 speaks of the man of lawlessness, or the antichrist. It is interesting that it is the man of lawlessness, or one who does not observe the law. hmmmm…. I’m not saying Jose Luis is the antichrist, so don’t get that. I don’t think he’s important enough. Read through 2:1-12 and tell me that the antichrist and Jesus are the same.

– How would Ephesians 5:25 apply to him? “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” His difficulties with his wife are documented, and he isn’t exactly taking steps to remove any temptation around him. He surrounds himself with beautiful, scantily dressed women, hardly loving his wife like Christ loved the church. But then again, he is Christ, so can he define how he loves the church?

– I Corinthians 10:13 speaks of temptation unto sin. But there is not such thing as sin. Am I missing something?

– Finally, I Timothy 6:2-10 makes it clear that if “anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing.” Go and read teh rest of that passage. Doctrine is so important and if these people had a smidgen of theological knowledge, they would realize that this man is so off based, he has no ground to stand on.

I could go on and on, but i don’t have the time to. A basic reading of Paul’s work makes it clear that Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda is nothing but a blasphemous fool. He is heaping up for himself a severe condemnation when he comes face to face with the One he claims to be. And God help him in eternity when he suffers for knowingly leading so many away from the truth.

Is God Still Glorified If People Don’t Come?

One of the big temptations in youth ministry is to analyze and criticise everything that you do. I have found that I am usually far more critical of the ministry than anyone else, and I think that is probably more appropriate than not. But what I have found that I have to be careful of is for the critical attitude to lead to a sense of control. What I mean by that is that I must be careful not to think that if something goes wrong or isn’t greatly accepted, then it must be because I didn’t do something right. While there may be some room for improvement in ministry, I also have to be sensative to God’s control in the situation.

Recently this has been most played out in our staple event, “Pray ‘n Praise”. This has been happening on the first sunday night of the month for over ten years. it is a time where our youth band plays and you just come for a time of singing and praying with each other. It is a fairly simple thing and doesn’t call for a lot of planning outside of the band.

For over a year now, there has been little to zero interest in this event, which is pretty concerning, because it is the base expression of a Christian. We’ve discussed this at length, wondering if we’re doing it wrong, if we need to advertise it more, if we’re doing it on the wrong night. It comes time for Pray ‘n Praise and each month you hope that what you’ve done has made a difference, and there are still only a few kids there.

It is easy for me to look around and see that it is almost all staff and almost no kids and get very discouraged. I feel like telling the kids, “Hey! WORSHIP GOD!!!” The whole time I’m thinking of things we could do to ignite a passion for worship.

This past month I had a bit of a realization. It isn’t my job to make others worship God. All I can do is preach the Word, provide the opportunity for worship, and step back. I have done what I believe is the wise things in advance and whoever God draws to Himself are those who will worship. Worship cannot be forced on anyone, but God will move in their hearts in His timing.

It is interesting that there is a disconnection when it comes to us (or at least myself) viewing the difference between God’s role in salvation and God’s role in sanctification. Ephesians 2:10, Philippians 2, and other texts make it clear that not only does God give us salvation when we weren’t deserving, but He also leads us through the rest of our lives. He has created the good works, and all we have to do is walk in them.

I wouldn’t be nearly as likely to get up after an evangelistic event and be overly frustrated that no one got saved. That’s obviously God’s job, not mine. All I can do is attempt to clearly convey the Gospel, and God draws who are His own to Himself. But I find myself doing exactly this when it comes to Pray ‘n Praise.

I can almost hear God saying to me what Jesus Christ said to Martha, “Tim, Tim, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Those that are at pray ‘n praise have chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from them.” They are here. I have drawn them. They are worshipping. And God is here, now worship Him, yourself.

So I made a decision to not think about was or was not there and rejoice that God had brought me to that place to worship Him.