Monday, December 31, 2007

Christmas 2007

We have been so blessed this year by all of our family on my side and Audrea's! Here are few of the pictures. You can view the whole album here.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Deer Video

Here is the video I put together of the deer we've been watching in the backyard. In the bleakest time of year, God still provides for their needs. How much more great is the Father's love for us!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

There and Back Again

We're here in the Wisconsin Rapids area celebrating Christmas and New Years with Audrea's parents and her brother and his wife, Jared and Stephannie. Yesterday we gave each other our gifts and were overwhelmed by each other's generosity! One of my very special gifts was from Audrea--she gave me special edition hardcovers of The Hobbit and the whole Rings trilogy.

Today Jared, Tom, and I went out to get a new batch of firewood and stacked it up for hours more of enjoyment! They always get a great deal on some aged oak at a price I wish I could get in the Twin Cities--$50 per face cord.

I remembered to pack boots, hats, and gloves but then I forgot to pack snowpants. When we were in Danville, Tom and Bev got about 14 inches of snow dumped on them. Then yesterday we got at least a couple more! So on our way to Green Bay to pick up Jared and Stephannie from the airport we swung by the consignment shops to pick up some snowpants to keep here at grandma's. Savannah was able to go out and and enjoy the snow along with the family of deer that I caught hanging out by the back window. Then she enjoyed a long snowmobile ride with her grandpa and Jared and Stephannie.

Unfortunately I have not been able to put up pictures of all these festivities because I forgot to bring a USB cable to suck the pictures off my camera and my laptop does not have an SD slot. Maybe I'll figure something out in the next couple days...

Sunday, December 23, 2007


We're here! We got in yesterday just in time to sit down and eat with almost all of my brothers and sisters (Karen and Ricky were unable to come because Ricky's a workaholic and doesn't like us.) (Those of you who don't know the Fullers very well need to know that the previous parenthesis was a blatant lie and very typical of Fuller facetiousness--we love Ricky and wished he could be here but know that he will buy us all of kinds of presents to make up for it next year!) And though the wives agreed to not get presents for all the kidlets, some of them changed their minds at the last minute and blessed us with an abundance of fun stuff to keep all of them busy for the next week!

This morning we worshiped at First Baptist and were blessed to see many of the friends from growing up. Tonight we're going to Calvary to hopefully see many other great friends!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Half-way There

Well, we made it half-way to Danville...

Audrea and I stayed up till 2am last night wrapping presents and preparing for our vacation. Then about 8am we heard exclamations of joy and then a little 3 year old came down the stairs and right up to the bed and said, "Daddy! There's a stocking in my bed!"

After spending a relaxing morning opening presents and enjoying breakfast together and a nap to get in an extra hour of sleep, we piled into the van and hit the road. We drove from Maple Grove to Madison through very thick fog and after 2 hours of errands and bad traffic in the Twin Cities and 5 hours on the road, we settled into our hotel room.

We'll sleep in till about 8am tomorrow and then head down to Danville. Megan was going to be flying into Indy tonight but got held up in Atlanta so she won't be in till tomorrow. Pray for her flight and that our van would not act up tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Trust Promises, Not Providences

Jon Bloom, the director of Desiring God ministries, had this excellent word today. It is especially relevant to my family and to many of you who read our blog, especially to my friends, Devin and Shane.

Sent to you by fuller_paul via Google Reader:

via Desiring God Blog on 12/18/07

(Author: Jon Bloom)

This morning my assistant, Bryan DeWire, found out his father, who 24 hours ago seemed in fine health, didn't make it through emergency heart surgery. This afternoon, my wife called me in tears to update me on a very difficult day trying to raise and teach 5 young children. Very different, yet real and painful experiences of God's providential reign in lives of Christians I love.

Also this morning I read this sentence in a pamphlet titled, "Honey Out of the Rock," by Puritan Thomas Wilcox,

"Judge not Christ's love by providences, but by promises."

Experiences are very powerful. They often feel more powerful than promises. So it's tempting to interpret prosperity and ease as God's blessing and tribulation as God's displeasure. And sometimes they are. But often they are not.

Actually, what we see all the way through the Bible is the Lord training his disciples to trust his promises more than providences. Think of Abraham and Sarah waiting for Isaac, or Jacob losing Rachel, or Joseph in slavery and prison, or Job's suffering, or David running from Saul. Think of Lazarus and the heartbreak of his death and the constant tribulations of Paul. And of course Jesus set the ultimate example by looking to the joy set before him as he endured the cross (Heb 12:2).

Strange, isn't it? In the Bible pain is often the path to unspeakable joy and prosperity is often an obstacle to it. What's going on?

Simply, God wants us to treasure what we can't see more than what we can.

"For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal." (2 Cor. 4:18).

And we find out that it's pain more than prosperity that makes us look for what our eyes can't see, and long for a satisfaction that doesn't exist in this world.

So Thomas Wilcox's advice is worth heeding. For those of us who are experiencing a bitter providence, Wilcox goes on to say,

Bless God for shaking off false foundations, for any way whereby He keeps the soul awakened and looking after Christ; better sickness and temptations, than security and superficiality.

Things you can do from here:

Friday, December 14, 2007

Logan's theology lesson

My friend Jim posted this on his blog, and I thought I would share with everyone else.


Sent to you by fuller_paul via Google Reader:


via Cold Fusion Guy by Jim Peet on 12/13/07

Logan is a 13 year-old boy who lives on a ranch in a very small town in Nebraska. Logan listens to Christian Radio station 89.3FM KSBJ which broadcasts from Houston, TX. Logan called the radio station distraught because he had to take down a calf . His words have wisdom beyond his years.

Doug Wise, Pastor of Airport Road Baptist, Aurora Colorado, sent this to me.

Thought you would like it!


Things you can do from here:


Thursday, December 13, 2007

Lost My Comcast FTP Folder

Some of you may be wondering what the heck "FTP Folder" is, but if you tried in the last 18 hours or so to look at my blog you would've noticed, like Kim did, that the pictures of the kids were gone. This is because yesterday, the place on the internet where I store a lot of files including some images and more importantly, papers and notes I've written in seminary, was completely deleted. Here is the nice note I received from the dear people at Comcast:

We apologize for the inconvenience you've experienced and we do understand how frustrating that can be. However, we would like to inform you that we have no backup servers for those issue. Once those pictures are deleted, you can't
retreive those anymore.

Oh well, in the next couple of weeks, I will relocate all of my files to a different location that actually backs up their servers and then I should be able to potentially publish an index of the papers and notes I've written.

In the meantime, I put the pictures onto Photobucket and updated yesterday's post.

Thanks for your patience!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

God's Blessing of Children

I haven't posted very many pictures lately of the kids, especially Will who is just 5 months but is wearing size 12mos! Audrea and I are just overwhelmed at the amazing blessing of God in giving us these beautiful children!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Bible Reading Plan: Southern Seminary Style

This post by Tony Kummer at Southern Seminary is a fantastic idea!

via Said At Southern Seminary by Tony Kummer on 12/9/07

Who is up for a challenge over winter break?

My favorite Seminary isn't offering any classes I need this January, so I've been looking for a study project. It occurred to me that I could read the entire Bible in a month if I maintained the Southern Seminary reading pace over the winter break. I like to think of it as Bible Reading Southern Seminary Style.

I took the page numbers from my ESV Reference Bible and the time required from my Max McLean ESV audio Bible. You can modify these numbers for your favorite Bible translation.

  • NT 18 hours (1,080 minutes)– ESV 279 pages
  • OT 57 hours (3,420 minutes) – ESV 968 pages
  • January has 31 days
  • December 10th – January 31st has 53 days

Read Through the Entire Bible in January

  • Read 35 minutes or 9 pages of NT per day
  • Read 111 minutes or 32 pages of OT per day
  • So, by spending only 2 hours and 26 minutes per day, 41 pages, you can read through the entire ESV Bible in January.

Start Now and Read It All by January 31st

  • You can add 22 days if you start on December 10th for a total of 53 days.
  • Read 21 minutes or 5 ½ pages of NT per day
  • Read 54 ½ minutes or 18 ½ pages of OT per day
  • So, by spending only 1 hour and 16 minutes per day, 24 pages, you can read through the entire ESV Bible between now and February.
  • Just over 1 hour a day!

So what do you think? Are you up for the challenge?

  • You can do the Old Testament, New Testament or both
  • Leave a comment on this post to make it public
  • I'll create a forum post, linked from the top menu, for people to note their progress each week.

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Why He Ordains Those Hard Moments

(What follows is a second edited email that I sent to those same friends who were frustrated in the difficult process of parenting a toddler.)

There are many, many days when Audrea calls me and the sound of her voice makes me want to leave work right then and go rescue her. Yet, to "rescue" her from that trial would not truly "rescue" her since what God wants for her at that moment is to see that 1) her current treasure is not God Himself, but removal from the pain of the moment and 2) the point of the pain of the moment is to perfect her. Of course, for the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Instead, you must count Christ as your treasure, my friends, when you meet trials of the toddler-kind, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. This is exactly what the author of Hebrews means when he says, "For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. For “Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay; but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.” But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith [i.e. everyone in chapter 11 and following] and preserve their souls."

We are with those of Hebrews 11 who have not fully received the promises. Jesus has secured the purchase of our salvation, yet everyone's salvation and the redemption/restoration of all that sin has cursed will be culminated in that great day when Christ returns and rules with the rod of iron. We see Christ more clearly than they did, but yet we still long for That Day. And That Day is what we strive towards. It is the longing to be with Christ and see Him restore all things that our hearts should cry out for when our children will not be consoled or when our children resist discipline to the point of grieving us. But in that moment when life is so difficult, we need to see with eyes of faith. This is what it means to "preserve your soul": to endure the hard times by faith believing that the God of all grace has secured your salvation and will continue to change the desires of your heart towards seeing and savoring Him above all else. He is your great reward.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Living by Grace in the Here and Now

(What follows below is an email I edited from Audrea to one our friends who was recently sharing with Audrea some hard parenting struggles she was going through. It was such an encouragement to me, I know that some of you who read my blog would be encouraged by it also.)

Many parents often talk about the challenges of the "terrible 2's." Angry and unconsolable children who can only be left to cry in their cribs are definite examples of why it seems at times that you may be going crazy! As Audrea listened to her friend, it sounded like what she has been encountering is so very normal for us. But for her, she seemed to think these behaviors of her child weren't normal or perhaps thought that she was doing something wrong because otherwise this behavior wouldn't be happening.

Why do we tend to think that if our day goes "against the plan", we feel like we've failed and our kids are monsters? There are two realities we must remind ourselves of in these moments. First, sin has damaged us, our children, and the whole child rearing process; fighting against this curse is not easy--in a sense we both are monsters. Second, and the harder pill to swallow, is that it is our calling to go through this process and God doesn't call us to something His grace won't enable us to do.

In these situations, what we need most is the Grace of Wisdom the Grace that covers our failures, and the Grace to carry on. This grace of wisdom is the wisdom to know what to do and when to do it and when to stop doing it, the sensitivity to hearing His voice, and wisdom again for the next task. In addition to the Grace of Wisdom, you must cling to God who has given you both the grace that pardons your sin, who does not treat you as your sin deserves, and rewards you when you don't deserve it. Know that His grace covers over your parenting failures!! That is such a comfort to us! We can't screw up our children so far that we remove them from His plan for their life or ours! Trust in the grace that He's extended to you. Really take it to home so that when you lay on your pillow at night you are praising Him for His grace today not flogging yourself for your perceived failures. Tomorrow, when you're in a rested mood, THEN look back on today and ask His counsel in learning from it, but from the full assurance of His grace. THEN you're in a mindset to please Him with that grace, not trample on it and go the other way. Revel in God's grace that abounds so richly!

And even though you may totally botch it, the grace to carry on is that enabling power to persevere that He has promised to give us. He planned it and chose that circumstance purposely for all of His creation at that time--because you don't know who or how it will effect in the future, but He wanted it there. So you can't really say, "Oh! I should have chosen ________ yesterday!" because He ordained you choose it yesterday for "your joy and for His own glory," as we're teaching the kids. Pray earnestly for His wisdom so that when a moment comes up, you'll know what pleases Him for that moment. And again, trust His grace when you've gone and done it and wished you would have followed different advice! Praise Him for the grace of tomorrow, and if not, the joy of His eternal glory instead! Hey--it's a no lose situation!