January 2, 2016 by Slow Sand
- Dates with Lydia. From our first date of the year at Truluck’s to our last date of the year at Vox, this was the most consistent we’ve been at dating each other since Violet was born. The payoff was abundantly obvious – the increased frequency afforded us the opportunity to not just spend the entire date asking deep, probing questions but also dream together, laugh together, play together.
- Waking Violet up. My Violet is a morning person if ever there was one. And consequently each morning I come into her room to get her out of bed she gives me a tight squeeze because she’s simply thrilled to get ready to start the day with enthusiasm! And usually doing so by playing dolls in her dollhouse. 🙂
- Ezra the cuddle-monster. Ezra loves hugs and he loves crashing his large toddler self onto soft things. Playing on the queen sized bed that’s in his room allows us to do both at the same time and it’s one of my favorite things to do in the world.
- Hiring Walt! What an answer to prayer this hard worker, friend and LTG partner has been to me. God so kindly sent someone who has matched my expectations for a pastor who loves discipleship and has a desire to see God worshipped and served excellently on Sundays. He is also incredibly quirky which I’m a fan of.
- Two A’s! My first semester at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary wasn’t easy, but it was enriching and at times even fun. It was a pretty big rush to feel the butterflies right before finding out my final grades and then seeing that I had earned a 92 and a 96 in New Testament 1 and Church History 1, respectively. 1 down, 7 to go!
- Showing Violet some of my favorite classic films. This year a dream came true in showing my eldest child some of my all time favorite films in Charlie Brown’s Christmas, A Princess Bride, It’s a Wonderful Life, Mary Poppins, Sound of Music and having her actually enjoy them. It was also great going with her to watch Paddington Bear and The Good Dinosaur in the theater. She calls Princess Bride the “movie where the princess kisses the bad guy”.
- Re-upping in ministry. This July I had the chance to beg God to tell give me an answer to the question “Do you want me to keep being a pastor at the Austin Stone Downtown AM Campus?”. In answer to this question, I felt a resounding yes as he shouted at me1 Peter 5:2, “shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly” I felt a renewed desire to continue shepherding the missional communities at the downtown AM campus.
- The faith of a child. On October 28, Violet and I were driving home from a trip to the grocery store. Out of the blue she said to me,“Dad, why are we still here on earth?”Curious where she was going with this I replied, “Where do you wish you were?”She answered, “In heaven…so I could see Jesus.”
In these rare moments of perceived faith I can’t tell the sincerity or depth of the statement but they are ebenezer’s of God’s goodness to me. They say, “keep going in raising up your children in faith! And learn from their longing to be with me. Don’t waiver in your desire for me.”
- Jesus wants me to want Him as King. This Fall I felt God telling me over and over again how broken my heart is in settling with simply knowing God is my King, but not actually loving this fact. One of the most poignant texts I read to this effect was in Luke 19 – the words of Jesus. Luke 19: 27, “But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slaughter them before me.” And one of the most gracious, 2 Peter 1:4, “He has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence”. He granted to us. We didn’t merit.
- I am inseparably tied to other believers. At the 2nd of 4 Leadership Nights this Fall Tyler said something particularly convicting to me. I love being around other people and love showing them how much I know but I don’t want to TIE myself to others. That is, I don’t want my successes to have to be credited to others, I don’t want to have to celebrate too intensely the successes of others. Yet God wants me to see myself as part of the body of Christ even to these levels. Tyler put it this way,“We should strive to hear stories of God’s grace at our church from a Christian and not an American point of view. That means we should celebrate stories of God moving in the lives of others as if they were part of our story.”
- Our problem and our opportunity. In Above All Earthly Pow’rs David Wells pinpoints the attraction of our generation to “replace the home with all of its permanence for a cocktail party.” And the price we are paying is that “the modern self is very thin and distracted”. The antidote for us as a church is to remain faithful to preaching the Word of God and living it out,”is the evangelical church faithful enough to explode the worldview of this new spiritual search? Those who have blended in (to the culture) are those most intent on not being dislodged. (p.163)“
Movies and TV Shows
- Mad Max: Fury Road. Just a great, deeply-rich action film set in a familiar but strange world. Basically it was everything I wanted Star Wars: The Force Awakens to be. Granted Star Wars was Good, but not great.
- In the Loop. One of the funniest scenes of an Englishman cussing I’ve ever seen. Check it out on Netflix.
- Newsroom Season 3. Man, Sorkin knows how to write wit better than anyone I know. It may not be believable all the time, but it sure is enjoyable to watch two brilliant minds argue with one another in wry, well-read ways.
- Bloodline. Danny. Freaking Danny. What an antagonist he is. He could make your skin crawl with the simplest gaze.
- Mad Men, Final Season. Not as stirring as I would’ve hoped, but hard to throw too many stones at. My favorite wrap-up story was the Peggy and Pete romance.
- Mission: Milwood. I want to deepen our roots in Milwood as long as we are here – specifically with the aim of talking about Jesus more compellingly to one of our neighbors and reading the Bible one-on-one with someone nearby.
- Become qualified for a promotion at work. I can’t control a promotion happening, but I pray that I am qualified for it to happen, specifically by becoming a leader who leads not out of position but with grace and truth.
- Increase personal self-control in the following ways:
- Reduce sugar intake. Nothing like Netflix to create a (probably short-lived) conviction to change your lifestyle in some way.
- Discipline with time. I’d love to wake up consistently at 6ish-am, come home around 5pm and fall asleep by 11pm.
- Be present when home. I want to increase the frequency of something I’ve started -leaving my phone at the door when I get home until after the kids are asleep and Lydia and I have had a chance to sync up after the day.