Monday, October 31, 2011

Reformation Retreat (and a few other pics)

This past weekend, around 50 of us (including kids) headed to Camp Oak Hill in Oxford for our first Imago Dei Church Reformation Retreat. As you can see from the picture, Tony was ready...

THE FIVE SOLAS OF THE REFORMATION

SOLA FIDE (FAITH ALONE) – People are saved only through trusting Christ, not by good works. (Romans 3:28; 4:5)

SOLUS CHRISTUS (CHRIST ALONE) – People are saved only through Christ and do not need to go through a priest or anyone else. (John 14:6; 1 Timothy 2:5)

SOLA SCRIPTURA (SCRIPTURE ALONE) – The Bible is God’s written Word, and it alone, not human tradition or the church, is the final, perfect, authority for what we believe and do. (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21)

SOLA GRATIA (GRACE ALONE) – People are saved only by God’s grace. Salvation is a gift that cannot be deserved, bought, or earned. (Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 3:24)


SOLI DEO GLORIA (FOR GOD’S GLORY ALONE) – God alone will receive all glory, including for man’s salvation. Man cannot boast in God’s sight, but must honor God as supremely important and valuable. (Romans 11:36; 1 Corinthians 10:31)


From the looks of things, Karen and I must have been in a serious conversation - ha.


Our bonfire was rained out, so we moved our campfire sing-a-long with s'mores to an indoor fireplace. Of course, James had to assist...

We enjoyed some praise and worship by the fire...
Tony shared a brief biography of Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation...

In Wittenberg, Germany, on October 31, 1517 Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the castle church door...

I love these people...


Later, we watched the movie, "Luther" together. It's been a couple years since I last saw it. I forgot how good the movie is! It's a must see, especially since today is Reformation Day! Happy Reformation Day to you!
Saturday morning, we enjoyed Bruegers Bagels (yum), coffee and more fellowship. Afterwards, we played a game before reading and debriefing some of Luther's Preface to Galatians. It has been a rich Autumn of going through the book of Galatians at Imago Dei Church. Oh to work the gospel down deep daily...
------------------------------------------------------
Now for a few random pictures...
While Tony was in Indiana, I took the kids to CiCi's Pizza with a coupon for one to eat free. We ate "all you can eat" the six of us for $20. They were in heaven. It was a bit entertaining to watch I will say. Sometimes they act like there will be not be anymore food tomorrow... no doubt a remnant from their previous life.


When papa returned, he took the boys down the street for some basketball. Joshua could hardly contain himself. He ran ahead in excitement...

The weather has been a little up and down, warm and then cold. One hot day last week, we splurged for some Dairy Queen ice cream. Of course, this little guy had to get his own treat, ha.
Here's a clip of Victoria reading and enjoying it. She was hilarious, I had to catch a few seconds of it. All five of mine are receiving tremendous support at their school, particularly with the assistance of a recovery reading specialist. It has been remarkable to watch their progress.
video

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Songs & Their Stories: "Hosea Song"

(Brief version live at TBC's Global Gathering with my sweet friend, Alex...)

The other morning as I was driving, I was reminded once again of the fact that the heart is an idol factory. Oh, how mine is... My probing questions: what depresses me? What disappoints me? What angers me? What do I seek for enjoyment? What do I seek comfort from? What am I exalting above the knowledge of God?

“From this we may gather that man’s nature, so to speak, is a perpetual factory of idols.” - John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion

“. . . every one of us is, even from his mother’s womb, expert in inventing idols.” - John Calvin, Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles

Here are some others’ comments on the subject…

Sin isn’t only doing bad things, it is more fundamentally making good things into ultimate things. Sin is building your life and meaning on anything, even a very good thing, more than on God. Whatever we build our life on will drive us and enslave us. Sin is primarily idolatry. 
Tim Keller

All those who do not at all times trust God and do not in all their works or sufferings, life and death, trust in His favor, grace and good-will, but seek His favor in other things or in themselves, do not keep this [First] Commandment, and practice real idolatry, even if they were to do the works of all the other Commandments, and in addition had all the prayers, obedience, patience, and chastity of all the saints combined. For the chief work is not present, without which all the others are nothing but mere sham, show and pretense, with nothing back of them... If we doubt or do not believe that God is gracious to us and is pleased with us, or if we presumptuously expect to please Him only through and after our works, then it is all pure deception, outwardly honoring God, but inwardly setting up self as a false [savior]...Martin Luther from "A Treaties on Good Works"

Because we are, each of us, the image of God, we will worship, in fact we must worship, someone or something, either our original, as we should, or, with the illusion that we are the original or our own ultimate point of reference, ourselves. If the latter, we will give ourselves over, with the full, still efficient resources of our imaging capacities, to some figment, some distorted image, focused on ourselves or on some aspect of the world, ultimately seen as an extension of ourselves. What Calvin observed long ago is no less true today: the human heart, our image-bearing and image-fashioning nature, is an idol factory.Richard Gaffin from "Speech and the Image of God" in The Pattern of Sound Doctrine

What are a few of my struggles? Pride. Control. Image.

Reflections on this reality brought forth another memory…

A few years ago now, I was confronted with a sin issue in the life of another person dear to me. As I was processing this other person’s struggle, I decided to read through the book of Hosea again. Instead of enlightening me on the issues, I experienced a holy indictment on my own heart, pride and sinfulness. I began to relate to the unfaithfulness of Gomer, of Israel, and then I realized that I was the whore. I was the one exchanging the grace of God for things of this world. I was the prideful one. Oh how I love the book of Ephesians:

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved – and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Eph. 2:4-9 ESV)

I confessed my sin and found myself at the piano. Then the Hosea Song came…

May the lyrics of this song encourage your soul today in remembering God’s grace, redeeming love and mercy towards you…

Hosea Song

Stumbled into the darkness

Once bright light became dim

The God of this universe

She exchanged for her sin

Led astray, wandered away

She left God to play the whore

She forsook the Lord

For the ways of this world


Bent towards rebellion

The more He called she turned away

Pride became a snare for her

A wind had wrapped her in its wings

Pay attention, listen daughter

For the judgment is for you

Repent and seek my face

Return to the Lord

O Daughter of Zion


Lured in the wilderness

By a soft, tender voice

The Valley of Trouble

Shall become a Door of Hope

He has torn us

That He may heal us

Struck us down to bind us up

Redeeming love has come

To set the captives free


But God, being rich mercy

Because of the great love

With which He loved us

Even when we were dead in our trespasses

Made us alive together with Christ

By grace you have been saved

Grace through faith

It is a gift of God

That no one may boast


She has received mercy

The one called ‘No Mercy’

‘Not My People’ shall become His own

Redeeming Love has come

Jesus, God’s own Son


We have received mercy

We have received mercy

Friday, October 21, 2011

From Denver to Raleigh...

The past 48 hours have been a whirlwind. From breakfast overlooking the sunrise over Denver...
A cup o'joe...
just off Water Street...
with my hubby...

one last meal at the Skybox Restaurant...
to the last evening of the Colorado Baptist Convention...
Riverside Baptist Church choir led worship...
Tony preaching on 2 Corinthians 5:11-21...
John Stott, "The essence of sin is man substituting himself for God. The essence of salvation is God substituting Himself for man." (paraphrased)
Sleep deprived travel from Denver to Raleigh in time for after school homework, chiropractic appointment (Tony for his headaches), pizza dinner and IDC growth group at our house... (love these people)...
Thursday morning back to work for Tony and back to routine for me, with the exception of an eye appointment for Jana... (For the record, her eyes are fine!)
She had to show off her dilated pupils... her affectionately given nickname for the day, "Big Eyes"... :-)
I decided to keep her home for the entire day to spend some time without the other 4 beckoning my attention (as well as for her dilated eyes to return to normal... any of you who have had that done know it messes with your vision, ha... :-) We picked 'babushka' up and headed for coffee (hot chocolate for Jana), bagels and chatter downtown Wake Forest...
Then we walked to a local antique shop where we found some Nancy Ann dolls (1930's-1940's)... First time discovery of these dolls that share my mom's name?!. ;-) Of course, we had to purchase them, broken porcelain legs and all... ha.
Mom hit the road home to Virginia afterwards... Jana and I went out to lunch later and quick shopping trip and then it was homework time again...
Homework is usually a smoother than normal experience on Thursday afternoons which allowed for fun with 'papa'... We need a better place for our basketball goal... ha ha...
Belated birthday gift from Uncle Josh & Aunt Amanda... Go Nats!
Ease-dropping on the play time... with a jealous doggie...
video

Monday, October 17, 2011

In the Mile High City...

Thanks to dear friends and family, I was able to accompany Tony to Denver, Colorado for a few days...
We arrived in time Saturday evening to catch the sunset over the Rockies...

Blurry, yet amazing view of Denver skyline...
Sunday morning, Tony had the great honor of preaching at his mentor's church... Riverside Baptist. We knew we were no longer in Raleigh when a fox crossed our path as we pulled into the church parking lot. Evidently, they live in the gutters. Meanwhile, here's my action shot of Dr. Shaddix getting Tony set up with his microphone...

The worship team rehearsing...
Welcome...
In between services, following a visit to Starbucks, we got a mini-tour of the church building. Here is an old picture of the city of Denver...
After an amazing morning of worship with the RBC family, we changed clothes for an afternoon at the Shaddix's house. Our hotel is next door to the Denver Bronco's stadium...
A restful afternoon up in Evergreen, CO...
Then it was photo opp time in their backyard...
with the elk...
This herd was just grazing on through...

And they came really close to the house, which is not uncommon at all. The Shaddix's said they had a black bear making noise outside their house at 2:30 AM the other morning. Wow. Amazing...
Speaking of amazing... Debra Shaddix is the most talented cook I've met, not to mention hospitable and gracious. She out did herself once again on a Mexican feast!
Jim and Debra, as usual, opening their home for fellowship, mentoring and discipleship. We got to meet some of their crew. Grateful for them!



Monday morning, Tony woke up with more headaches. After a few hours of trying to get over the worst of it, we ventured out of our hotel to downtown Denver - 16th street mall area. We enjoyed a few hours walking around and taking it all in...
Please pray for Tony as he prepares to speak Monday night and Tuesday at the Colorado Baptist Convention. Pray for his headaches to subside, for rest and most importantly, for the ability to effectively communicate the Word. Also, if you would be so kind as to pray for my mom and our five children back in North Carolina. Despite the mini-retreat, I miss our kids.

Enjoy our first 'elk' experience:
video