Monday, January 30, 2006

Marathon Sunday

What a day we had yesterday! The excitement in our hearts is really building as we witness the work of the Holy Spirit around us. Here's a few highlights.

We went to early service at NW to see
Douglas sing with the choir, and they did a great job. The worship was really inspiring. We stayed through about half of Tim’s sermon (which was great), but then we had to leave to get over to HCBC Pflugerville’s second service. The pastor at Pflugerville, Danny Box, really brought it yesterday -– they are going through a vision campaign called Deep in the Heart, which really seems to be preparing the people for church planting in the next year as a way to make their vision a reality.

We met with the elders from Pflugerville until about 3:00 PM to continue seeking out the Lord's will for their church plant, and they asked all kinds of questions. It went really well. We are excited to continue our dialogue with them over the next couple weeks and see where it leads. They are a neat group of guys, and their story as a plant is really remarkable. One guy even found a letter to the editor of the Baptist Standard that I wrote four years ago and asked me about it - shows how you really can find anything on the web!

We didn't get home last night until about 5:00 PM from all that (we drove up to northeast Round Rock to see where the Pflugerville church is talking about planting), and then we stopped by to talk with Douglas and Darin for a little while. But when we got home, all the kids from the cul-de-sac where out playing because of the beautiful weather, so we had to take Kade to play with them. We met another couple that lives two doors down from us (Rob and Carry) that have three kids. They are a neat couple, and we are hoping we have a chance to get to know them better soon. After standing out in the street and talking, we got invited to have dinner with another family that has three little kids (3 years, 2 years, and 7 months) -– shrimp and pasta, rock on! I'm excited to get to know them better. They are an interesting family. Please pray for us that we will represent Christ well as we reach out to our neighborhood with the love that Christ has put in our hearts for them.

I start work at NW on Wednesday, so I am getting really excited about what God has in store for us in the next year. Thanks for everyone's prayers and support for what God has called us to do.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Paying for College

We had our second sonogram today for Barie's latest pregnancy, and everything looks good. The baby is developing well, and we were able to see and hear the heartbeat. Barie is still under the weather from her sickness, but I think she is starting to feel better. As we sat in the waiting room today at the doctor's office (which took forever), I had time to read this article from the DMN about the rising costs of college and how the federal government is preparing to reorganize federal aid (read raise interest rates on loans and make grants harder to receive) in order to save billions of dollars in the future. Since Barie was one person who was able to attend Baylor because of federal and state grants, and federal loan programs, we have a special place in our hearts for college assistance. We are still paying off Barie's college loans, but we are blessed to have them down to a relatively small amount.

The concern for me (and for other young parents who have small children) centers on whether or not we will be able to help our kids go to college when they graduate from high school. My kids will be close in school, and therefore, close in college. College prices are rising fast right now (between 5% and 7% a year depending on school), but college continues to be the best bet for advancement in life. College doesn't guarantee success, but it definitely helps. I hope that more young parents will wise up to this fact and begin to try and save toward their kids' college education immediately. Upromise is a great place to start, but setting up a 529 fund for your kids is definitely the way to go. If we don't get started on it when our kids are born, we will regret it when our kids are looking to us for help in affording the beast of college education.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

How does she do it?

You guys can be praying for my wife tonight - she came down with the flu yesterday. Barie never runs a fever, but she woke up early yesterday morning running about 101 degrees. She ached all over and has been sneezing every five seconds. So, to pick up the slack, I have been taking care of two boys and one sick wife the last two days. And after two days, I have only one question - how does she do it?

Let's just pray that Barie gets well quickly. This has been a good test for us, living in Austin away from family and old friends, and trying to deal with sickness. We are making new friends quickly, however, and tonight, one of the staff wives brought dinner to us at the house. We were supposed to eat over at their home, but we didn't want to share the flu with their young children - that would have made for any ugly first impression. Barie's temperature has receded tonight, and I'm hoping that she is past the worst part of it - with these viral infections, you just kind of have to wait it out. I think God has sent us through this for two reasons: one, for me to realize again as the slow husband how hard Barie works to take care of our home and nurture our two sons; two, for us to realize again that this whole adventure of living with God is built on faith. We all have to trust God to lead us and guide us as we walk with Christ - even when that takes us to strange places (read Austin).

Our home is finally unpacked, and since we put pictures on the walls and got the boxes out of the house, the home-feel has arrived. Just pray for Kade - he's still trying to figure out when we are going home, and he's not sure why Douglas and Darin don't live in their old house either. He'll adjust though - in fact, he's probably doing better than us because he wants to be friends with every person he meets (hope you can hear him screaming "hey Kids!" at every child that he sees). I just hope he starts sleeping through the night again :)

As always, our home is open to anyone who would like to venture to Austin to visit us - we would love to see you and share our hearts with you for reaching this city with the gospel.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Lots of News

Update from Austin...

We moved into our new house last Friday here in Austin, and life has been going so fast that I haven't had time to sit and blog until now. Barie and I have been unpacking our house for the last four days straight, but the house is finally starting to feel like our home (pictures on the wall make all the difference). I have lots to blog about on this site and on my devotional site coming later this week, so check back often. Our DSL gets connected tomorrow, so we should be good to go. I'm mooching off one of our neighbor's wireless connection right now. God is already beginning the process of stretching us as we look forward to church planting. As I've told many of you before, you never really know how strong (or weak) your relationship with God is until you are forced to depend solely on Him. I'm starting to think that we mistake stability and comfort for maturity in the Christian faith. Barie and I have struggled with moving from our friends and family just 2 1/2 hours away - how would we handle it if God called us to go international? That may be a very real possibility in our future, and I want to stay open to God's lead, and I want to be prepared to get uncomfortable for the sake of God's kingdom. Here's hoping that your not mistaking comfort with your routine for closeness with God.