Monday, September 18, 2006

Two Good Reads...

...on the supremacy of Christ and the practice of doing church in a postmodern world.

John Burke's book (pastor of Gateway Church here in Austin, TX) is written from a pastoral perspective. John is trying to address questions related to how we reach the emerging generations with the gospel of Jesus Christ. He makes a compelling presentation based on his experience as the lead pastor of a church planted to reach 20 and 30 somethings. His book is full of amazing stories of life-change that occurred because his church had open arms and hearts toward searching and broken people. John writes about creating a culture of compassion and healing, a culture that welcomes people with all their baggage and relates to those people because we all have baggage. I appreciate his pastoral call to church leaders to realize that church will be messy when we actively reach unchurched people. He has had many of the hard conversations with those who were initially hostile to Christ, so he is not speaking from a purely academic perspective. Gateway church is living out the culture he presents in this book. His chapters on answering tough questions about other religions and homosexuality are some of his best in my opinions. His book is an excellent reminder that reaching a post-Christian culture will take humility in our hearts and grace from our lips.

On the flip side, David Wells book Above All Earthly Powers is a theological look at the supremacy of Jesus Christ in a postmodern culture. Wells' book is an excellent look at the vacant spirituality of American postmodern culture and a strong biblical call to uphold a high Christological in response. Wells' chapters analyzing the parallels between the gnosticism of first-century culture and the spirituality of postmodern western culture are fascinating. He does excellent work showing the emptiness of postmodern pursuits (much like the emptiness of modern pursuits) and how the authority of the person and work of Jesus speak into this culture. Wells' book is a response to many who desire to compromise a biblical Christology for the sake of engaging a postmodern spirituality. His books does a good job showing the weaknesses of these attempts and pokes holes in many postmodern attempts to weaken an orthodox view of Christ's eternal supremacy. Just as every pastor needs to read Burke's book to know what a gracious pastoral response to postmodern people should look like, every pastor also needs to read Wells' book to understand what a thoroughly biblical response to postmodern philosophy should look like. Both are challenging reads in much different ways.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Blogging Slow-Down

FYI - I probably won't be blogging much over the next few weeks as we pack and move to Round Rock. I'll try to post every few days, but no promises - life is crazy on this end. Close date on the new house is two weeks from Tuesday, and we have to get out of the rent house by the following Saturday. Fun times! I'm ready to be done with these boxes for a while. :)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

New Blog

FYI - my wife has started a blog for our family pics (http://fergusonhome.blogspot.com/), and my blog will have less family stuff on it and more of my thoughts about life, faith, and culture. Enjoy the pics from Barie.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

All I Can Say...

after watching Dallas look terrible against Jacksonville today (is the end near for Bledsoe?)...

and watching UT totally choke against Ohio State (Colt will need some time to develop)...

...is Sic 'em Bears for winning 47-10 (I really don't care that Baylor beat Northwestern State - we have to enjoy them when we can ;-).

Saturday, September 09, 2006

This Week...

Kamden decided he was going to be a preacher...
We took all three boys to church for the first time - thanks, Granny for the outfits...

The newest member of the family finally got healthy - now if we can just get his umbilical cord to fall off...
We had first day of school this week for Kade (Mother's Day Out), so Kamden decided to get in on the action...
Kade had a great first day at school.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

New devotional...

HERE, about being sent like Jesus.

Medical Bills...

As we have taken our turn on the hospital merry-go-round over the last few months, I have been thinking about the strange world of health insurance. We have great insurance coverage through my work that covers our family. If we didn't, we would be in serious trouble after having Kamden's ear-tubes put in, Barie having a baby, and then the baby being in the hospital for four days with meningitis. We will still shoulder our share of these medical costs, but every day I think about those families who have medical issues and don't have any kind of medical insurance. A report I just read the other day said that almost 47 million Americans don't have any kind of healthy insurance. Now, I know some people choose to work independently and decide to not get insurance, but there are many, many people who simply can't get insurance. The crazy part for me about the whole system is that our doctors and hospitals send bills to the insurance company & our insurance company has negotiated rates that bring down the total bills before the insurance even kicks in. For example, when Kamden was in the hospital for 15 minutes for his ear-tube surgery, the hospital (not the doctor or the anesthesiologist, just the hospital) billed us for $1400, but the insurance max for that procedure was $700. So, not only do we have help with the bills through our insurance, we actually have a discounted rate because we have insurance. In the end, someone who doesn't have any insurance gets stuck with the higher bill and the whole bill. It's no wonder that people can go under with medical bills quickly, especially when they don't have insurance.

Monday, September 04, 2006

What will never get old...

A few thoughts about what I love about being a dad,
the things in my life that will never get old...

...teaching my sons about the nature and character of God.
...holding a newborn and watching him smile in his sleep.
...hearing "Daddy" screamed when I walk in the door from a long day at work.
...watching the boys learn something new and using new words that we didn't know they knew.
...running through the sprinkler in the front yard.
...having an excuse to watch Tom and Jerry reruns before bed.
...singing songs at the top of our lungs and dancing with all our strength.
...seeing expressions of joy when the boys get the courage to do something new they were afraid to do before (like climb to the top of the McDonald's playground).
...having my boy wake me up with a tap on my arm wanting to just crawl in bed with me.
...showing the boys how to play sports, ride bikes, fish, and do other outdoor activities.
...reading books to the boys and hearing them quote the lines before they can even read.
...wrestling on the floor and creating dog-piles with the boys.
...laughing so hard from tickling each other than we can't breathe.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

What I've learned...

A few observations about life now that we are outnumbered in the home; a few nuggets that will shape my life for the next two decades...

...there will always be someone crying, upset, or hurt in my house who needs attention.
...illness that starts with one family member will most likely travel through all the kids and then to the parents.
...sleep is taken for granted until you don't have it any more.
...free time is for people without kids and with grown kids.
...we will keep a few grocery stores in business with the quantity of food we put away (Sam's, here we come...)
...my wife is a super-hero who manages to take care of all these boys during the day while I'm at work and still think about my needs.
...the day we move beyond diapers will be a beautiful day.
...the amount of love one person can have for his kids continue to amaze me.
...we will always need help from others to make it work (thank you grandparents and church family).
...my hobbies will forever include changing batteries, reading children's books, fixing toys, finding missing pieces, and breaking up fights.
...we've seen more vomit in the last three years than I saw in my whole life up to that point.
...chaos is the rule, not the exception.
...we must stay on our knees, as God teaches us quickly the limits of our own self-sufficiency.