Heyman!

One of the gifts that Micah got for his first birthday were Batman pajamas, and until this week, they never really fit.  They are still a bit baggy, but he loves them.  Its actually a bit funny how much he has grown to like Batman in the last year without ever seeing a movie.

When we are on an airplane, one of his favorite activities is to look through the SkyMall catalogue.  On one of the pages there are some Batman things and whenever we got to that page, mom or dad had to say, “I’m a big strong man” in our best Batman impression.

Then whenever we walk through a toy section in a store, he always has to stop and look at the Batman collection.  When he’s at his grammy’s house, his uncle has some Batman guys and he has to get those guys and play with those, while doing his Batman voice.  Its funny how attached a kid can get to a movie character without ever seeing a movie.

Well, last night we put the pjs on that Matt and Donny bought him for his first birthday and this is what happened:

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Job Possibilities- Calling All Prayers!

I wanted to post this to let you all know that I could really use your prayer this week!  After quite awhile of just applying everywhere but getting seemingly nowhere, I now have two interviews set up this week!  It has been a very frustrating process, feeling like no one is even looking at my application, and knowing it is mixed in with hundreds, if not thousands of others.  But I know that God has one out there for me, despite how the situation looks from my perspective.

The first interview is at the Home Depot in Salem tomorrow.  They were one of the first places I applied to, and a place I’ve always liked going to.  I’ve even thought in the past I wouldn’t mind working there.  I just love the smell.  I’m not sure what I’m interviewing for, but it means a lot that the HR lady there has really pursued me.  There was another store further away that I applied to also that had put a hold on my application.  She told me to wait a week and see if they contacted me.

They didn’t, so she wanted me to come to a job fair.  Then she contacted the store, couldn’t get through, left a message, called corporate to ask how she should handle it, and was told as long as I didn’t interview with them, she can pursue me.  So she called me back and said she would just rather set up an interview with me tomorrow at 11:30.

The other interview is more attractive.  I found out that Barnes and Noble was looking for a Merchandise Manager, so I made a cover letter, attached it to my resume, and dropped it off at the store with the manager’s name on it.  I even got a pointer that he is ‘Scot’ with one ‘t’.

I called back on Monday and spoke with Scot and he said he hadn’t seen my application yet.  At this point, I was a little frustrated that it didn’t make it into his hands.  But he asked people if they had received a resume in an envelope and it popped up.  He took a look at it and said that he’d like to give me a call and talk to me the following night.

When he called this evening he wanted to ask me a few questions, but was the only manager on the premises and couldn’t be on the phone for long.  So we set up an interview on Friday at 10am.

So if you are thinking of it, I would greatly appreciate your prayers during those times.  I’m nervous, especially about the Barnes and Nobles job since I would really like to be able to work at a book store.  Please pray that God’s will would be served and that I would be able to speak clearly and concisely!

Micah’s Second Birthday

As many of you saw, Micah’s second birthday was coming and he was very excited.  Well, it has come and gone and Micah is now officially TWO!!!  This birthday was very different than the last.  We live in a different state, it was much colder, there were no friends, but we had all the family there, and that was great.

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Nehemiah came early to play with Micah.  Here they are having their snack on the ramp.  Nehemiah would later conquer the ramp in his riding truck, steering himself from the edges with the precision of a Formula One driver.

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img_1433Micah and Nehemiah were both very impressed with the decorations.  Micah had an Elmo theme, including the Van Goghish drawing on the wall by Auntie Ashley.

img_1434Here is the Big Bird that Leah got when she was little.

img_1438DINNER!!!!

img_1439Micah’s Oreo Cupcake.  Devoured like a champion.

img_1441If that wasn’t enough, we also had ice cream, or Tumnah as Micah calls it.

img_1444After dinner, cake, and ice cream, we opened presents!

img_1445Micah’s blocks!  He got a hammer block banging set.  I believe he has hit just about everything in the house other than the blocks.

img_1447Micah also got a bubble blower, making his parents obsolete.

img_1449The first and possibly last time he hit the blocks with the hammer.

img_1452Auntie Beth got him rubber animals!  He now has his own Busch Gardens to play with.

img_1453Dave ended up playing with it more than Micah.

img_1454And this is what happens if a two year old has a juice box, cupcake, and ice cream followed by presents.  Let this be a warning to parents everywhere.

Micah Update!

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Friday night was crazy hat night at the children’s program at church.  If Micah were to go he wanted to wear this pimp hat.  I blame the California culture he was raised in.

img_1399This was part of Micah’s breakfast tradition at Gunga’s (Grammy) house.  He helps make toast and coffee.

img_1402This was Micah getting ready to help dad shovel the snow in the driveway.  He wasn’t crazy about the layers of clothes.  He got over it.
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img_1405Here’s our humble abode!

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Micah’s going to be two soon.  This is how he says ‘two’ with his fingers.

Day Six- Welcome Home!

I know its been awhile, but I’m finally loading pics onto my laptop and the last day of the road trip were on there, so here’s the last day!  img_1355My dad apparently took this picture on the last meeting.  You see the earplugs on the bed.  My dad snores so I came equipped.

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img_1359Here is the first snow we spotted!  We’re getting closer to New England!

img_1360Here’s the tractor haven that my dad wanted to visit.  I stayed and read in the truck and he went searching for tires and parts.  This would be to my dad as Archives bookstore is to me.

img_1364Here we’re driving back to the freeway through Pennsylvania.  We’d go all the way to those hills and had some breathtaking views from there.  Too bad I didn’t get any good pictures.  Also, we passed a Mennonite church that said, “Visitors Welcome, Members Expected”.  that was my favorite church sign along the way.

img_1369Of course we passed many of these historical markers.  But is this really that important to be marked?

img_1371We wanted to see how much the truck weighed, so we stopped in at the truck scales.  The lady wasn’t nice at all, ignored eye contact, and refused to say “Have a nice day”, “You too”, or even “Your welcome.” But she did give us a big rig trading card.  I guess that is to encourage people to weigh their trucks.  Not sure how effective that is.

img_1375This is for “The Office” fans out there.  No sign of Jim’s cell phone on the side of the road.

img_1376Another sign we’re getting closer to New England.  You’ll notice 1. A Suburu; 2. A Peace and Smiley Face Sticker; 3. Extensive salt on the car; 4. Green Vermont License Plate.  All that is missing is a Grateful Dead sticker.

img_1378Mercifully, our time in New York was limited.  Though I did notice an error on this sign.  It’s missing “Evil” before “Empire”.

img_1381Potentially the most boring state sign.

img_1386This was hiding behind some trees and couldn’t be seen until you were on top of it.  That explains the poor angle.

img_1387A sign we’re getting closer: The Mass Turnpike!  This was always a sign we were going places.  Either on vacation or to Easter States Fair.  I also remember loving the rest area on the turnpike.  It was like an indoor city, plus an arcade.

img_1389I believe this may be the only sign we saw that was in two languages.  We’re so cultured.  There is a bigger, nicer one on the freeway.  This is just over the boarder on the main road I live on. And notice the greatest state motto.  New Hampshire is so hardcore.

img_1390And this is what welcomed me home!  This is the hat I got him at Tombstone.

An Agnostic’s Read through The Bible

I found this interesting article written by a Jewish agnostic who decided to read through the Bible.  He was amazed how it wasn’t required reading in high schools along with Shakespeare and other classics.  Unfortunately, most of the things that he loved were just where certain phrases come from.  He liked reading about Daniel, Job, and Moses, but left concerned about the God of the Old Testament. 

I began the Bible as a hopeful, but indifferent, agnostic. I wished for a God, but I didn’t really care. I leave the Bible as a hopeless and angry agnostic. I’m brokenhearted about God.

After reading about the genocides, the plagues, the murders, the mass enslavements, the ruthless vengeance for minor sins (or none at all), and all that smiting—every bit of it directly performed, authorized, or approved by God—I can only conclude that the God of the Hebrew Bible, if He existed, was awful, cruel, and capricious. He gives us moments of beauty—such sublime beauty and grace!—but taken as a whole, He is no God I want to obey and no God I can love.

Then he wrote the two reactions people have had to his objection.  Here’s the first:

Christians say: Well, yes, but this is all setup for the New Testament. Reading only the Old Testament is like leaving halfway through the movie. I’m missing all the redemption. If I want to find the grace and forgiveness and wonder, I have to read and believe in the story of Jesus Christ, which explains and redeems all. But that doesn’t work for me. I’m a Jew. I don’t, and can’t, believe that Christ died for my sins. And even if he did, I still don’t think that would wash away God’s crimes in the Old Testament.

Then the second answer he usually receives is this:

The second response tends to come from Jews, who razz me for missing the chief lesson of the Hebrew Bible, which is that we can’t hope to understand the ways of God. If He seems cruel or petty, that’s because we can’t fathom His plan for us. But I’m not buying that, either. If God made me, He made me rational and quizzical. He has given me the tools to think about Him. So I must submit Him to rational and moral inquiry. And He fails that examination. Why would anyone want to be ruled by a God who’s so unmerciful, unjust, unforgiving, and unloving?

He leaves his time in the Bible with this conclusion:

As I read the book, I realized that the Bible’s greatest heroes—or, at least, my greatest heroes—are not those who are most faithful, but those who are most contentious and doubtful: Moses negotiating with God at the burning bush, Gideon demanding divine proof before going to war, Job questioning God’s own justice, Abraham demanding that God be merciful to the innocent of Sodom. They challenge God for his capriciousness, and demand justice, order, and morality, even when God refuses to provide them. Reading the Bible has given me a chance to start an argument with God about the most important questions there are, an argument that can last a lifetime.

I have some initial thoughts on this, but wanted to hear what you would say.  Would you have the same response these people had?  Is there a conflict? 

My first thought is that it is more confirming that people cannot understand unless the Lord reveals it to them.  Someone like this cannot come to the Bible and earn or form salvation on their own.  It isn’t a mental accomplishment someone can come to by reading or studying.  There is a veil that God must remove for the sinner’s heart to understand the truths of salvation.

My second thought is that it is interesting that he is agnostic but believes he can still argue with God.  What God are you arguing with?  You can’t pick and choose from the Bible and form a god of your own liking.  You have placed yourself as an authority over it, deciding what is acceptable and what is not.

A Church Shopping Country- From the President to Joe the Plumber

Since the inauguration, there has been a lot of interest in which church the President and his family would call home.  He has yet to commit to one, and says he’s still shopping around a bit.  I’m a little interested in what exactly he is looking forward.  Upbeat worship?  A vibrant children’s ministry department?  A funny preacher?  A neat website?  A comfortable setting?  A culturally relevant church?  Those are certainly things most people look for today.

At the end of the article, you see that the premis is somewhat flawed.  The author concludes with this statement:

Or does he look for what church is going to faithfully preach the Word of God as it’s authority?  Is he going to look for the best place to use his gifts that God has equipped him with?   Is he going to examine doctrinal statements and philosophy of ministries?   A church passionate about discipleship and evangelism?  Those would certainly be the good things to look for, but I doubt those come up on his radar.

Like everything else the President will do, it will be a calculated move that can bring about the most positive buzz.  It will most likely have to be a church that isn’t controversial over issues like abortion, marriage, or the role of women.  And any church that would be exclusive about the truth of Jesus Christ and the reality of Heaven and Hell won’t even be an option.  He’ll look for a church that conveys a well rounded American, but is also culturally and ethnically diverse. 

I read this article on this topic and the larger topic of the modern church hopper.  It says that one in seven American adults switch churches each year.  Then there is one in six that just attend multiple churches.   The article points out the distasteful side effects this has had on churches, namely the hokey business strategies some have employed to get people to choose them.  There are even people you can hire to be a ‘mystery visitor’, someone who comes in and pretends to be visiting, but who is just being critical of how they are handled.

This consumerism that has seeped into church goers has reversed the responsibility in the relationship.  Instead of the church goer asking what they can do for their church or even asking the right questions of the church, people approach the church with a checklist of preferences that must be matched to gain their approval.  And that checklist rarely reflects a Biblical view of church.   In the consumer culture, it has become a buyers market, forcing the ‘sellers’ to bend to the consumer.

But the church is not to be a ‘seller’.  It is to be in the business of proclaiming the truth of God’s Word, training and equipping the saints to reach the community around them, and providing opportunities for corporate worship, prayer, and fellowship.  It is a place where believers are drawn to, in order to execute the gifts God has equipped them with. 

“Knowing that churchgoers have so many options should keep pastors and preachers on their toes. In that sense, church shopping transfers a bit of power from the pulpit to the pews. And keeping a check on the power of church leaders is never a bad idea.”

The power here, is thought to be behind the pulpit, but that would be inaccurate.  That may be the case in many churches, probably the majority even, but the pulpit does not lie behind the pulpit.  The authority lies on the pulpit.  The church is to be accountable to and submissive to the Word of God, not to a man. 

So what is a church to do?  Remain faithful to the authority, the Word of God, and trust Christ to build His church.  After all, its His bride.