From Oklahoma

Cindi and I are in Oklahoma right now with our parents, relaxing, which I've been realizing is a novel idea to me.  I once wrote a twenty-two page seminary paper on the biblical concept of rest, but I haven't learned to apply what I learned yet.  Learning how to rest biblically can be hard work.  But the vacation has been wonderful.A few thoughts, with no particular order or connectedness (sorry):

  1. I'm having a blast with my first and only nephew, Jackson.  He's about fifteen months old, and he's a wonder.  He's a little ball of divine-image-bearing fury.  He's captivated by ants, TV remotes, attention, and most of all, Grandma.  He's brutally and gloriously honest, as all kids his age are.  While I was walking around with him in the backyard this afternoon, I started imagining his wedding day — what he'll look like, how big he'll be, what he'll grow up and do.  I'm glad he has Christ-honoring parents.
  2. We've had two back-to-back baby showers (Tuesday and Wednesday), one with each family and their respective churches.  It's humbling to see people share in our joy over Judah, especially considering how often I simply glance at the lives of others and go my own way, not taking the time (and it does take time) to consider their interests above my own and to rejoice or weep or give or listen or pray accordingly.  I look forward to showing Judah the chronicles of his adoption so that he can marvel with us at God's multi-colored grace.  There is a beautiful picture being painted, and many people have taken up their brushes of generosity and prayer and counsel and shared joy.  I suppose I will see the story of my own adoption someday, too.  I think the grace in that picture will be bright red.  Like blood.
  3. My mother-in-law has diligently memorized, studied, lived, and taught the Bible for years now.  She's an example to all who know her.  She's been heavily involved in women's ministry, and there's some exciting new fruit that's coming out of her detailed and consistent labor.  Tate Publishing Company is publishing her commentary for women on the book of James.  It's literally a verse-by-verse, phrase-by-phrase exposition of James, the product of her teaching women's Bible studies throughout the years.  It's especially exciting since a lot of women's material out there is pretty fluffy.  The plan is to publish an entire series on various books.  I think she already has seven or eight more groups of message manuscripts (i.e., seven or eight more books of the Bible that she taught through) that only need to be put into book form.  I'll give more information and links when this first final product is finished and on the shelves.
  4. John Piper has been on sabbatical for a few months now after having been diagnosed with and having surgery for prostate cancer.  Along the way, Piper's been writing "letters from Cambridge" to keep people updated (especially his church).  His latest letter is #3.  Because I feel like I've been discipled by this man from afar, I cherish any glimpse into his heart and life that I can get.  I learn from him, and I try to follow him.  Eight days ago, he finished work on a new book entitled What Jesus Demands from the World.  After going through and copying down the more than five hundred explicit and implicit commands of Jesus in the Gospels, he organized them into thirty categories.  The end result (after splitting some of the longer chapters) is fifty short chapters that cover every one of Jesus' commands in the Gospels.  I can't wait to read it.  But it's sobering to know that reading a book like this will bring either greater joy through obedience or greater judgment through neglect.  There is no middle ground.  There's no such thing as middle ground.  Jesus, of all people, taught us that.

Tonight, I think we're in for some swimming, card games (Nertz was the prediction earlier this afternoon), Jackson-watching, and our last nightly time of sitting in the living room talking with family.  It's good to rest, to enjoy the good gifts of God, to be with family who's also Family, and to be home.


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