Welcome, Adalynne!

The Birth Story

On Tuesday, Amy went to the doctor for the 40-week checkup. Since she hadn't dialated at all, they scheduled her for an induction to take place on Thurday evening. But the Lord had a different plan.

At about 4:30 am on Wednesday, Amy called me home from work because she was having strong contractions. A couple of hours later we dropped Alora off at the Millers and headed to the hospital. Since Amy didn't get an epidural, she didn't have to be confined to a bed. So, she spent most of the morning walking around the hospital, relaxing in a whirlpool bath and sitting on an exercise ball. Finally, at 4:13pm Adalynne was born!

The Essential Details

Date of Birth: November 29

Time of Birth:


Her Name:

Her Weight: 7lb 10oz

Her Length: 20 in.

Her Hair:

A Few More Photographs:

Amy, Adalynne and Me:

My Dad and Mom:

Tiffany and Adalynne

My Girls:

"Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warriorare the children of one's youth. Blessed is the manwho fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate." -Psalm 127:3-5 (ESV)


Savior: Celebrating the Mystery of God Become Man

Sovereign Grace Ministries has recently released a new Christmas cd called Savior: Celebrating the Mystery of God Become Man.

You can download and sample songs from the album, listen to interviews about Savior or purchase the cd here.

Or you can purchase it from Monergism Books and get free shipping with orders over $25 order!

Football Disappointments

Well, it wasn't a very good weekend for football. The Tigers lost to the Gamecocks, and I'm still trying to pull my foot out of my mouth. (I guess this would have been a more appropriate picture to post.)

The Panthers didn't fare any better because they lost to the Washington Redskins yesterday. Next Sunday will be a new day and the I'm sure the Panthers are ready to go back to work in preparation for their game against the Eagles.


Lights! Tree! Ornaments! Action!

Here are a few pictures from last night. We had a wonderful time decorating, eating, laughing and listening to music together. Sadly, they had to go back to Virginia today.

Alora and the "ights"

Mom's little helper

The whole crew


Missional Eating: Skins' Hotdogs

Ever since my dad introduced me to the wonderful world of Skins' Hotdogs when I was a boy, I've been hooked. So, it was with great pleasure that I was able to take Amy and Alora to eat at Skins' recently. As always, the overall eating experience was great.

For those of you who live in the Anderson area here are a few reasons why you should visit Skins' on a regular basis:

*Meeting Locals. I cannot think of another restaraunt in Anderson that is more well-known or loved by the locals of Anderson than Skins'. If you have a desire to take part missional eating (i.e. eating at local restraunts with the purpose of meeting people, engaging them with the gospel and enjoying good food!), then Skins' should be at the top of your list.

*Simplicity. If you're looking for hamburgers, french fries, or any other fast food besides hotdogs, then Skins is not the place to go (because they don't serve those things!). But if you want the best hotdogs in SC, Skins' should be on the agenda.

*Service. The service we recieved was friendly and fast. I think that we had our food in less than 5 minutes.

My recommendation: 3 hotdogs all-the-way (mustard, chili, and onions), a bag of Golden Flake Chips, a side of pickles, and a Coca-Cola in a glass bottle.

Clemson vs. South Carolina

Well, I for one can't wait to see Clemson beat South Carolina. Go Tigers!


Greasy Hands, Five Gallons of Water and a Concrete Floor

While at work yesterday I noticed that one of our water dispensers was empty; so, I removed the empty jug and attempted to replace it with a full one. (In case you missed it, the key word in the last sentence was attempted.) Let's just say that greasy hands, a five gallon jug of water and a concrete floor are not a good combination. After this failed attempt, I spent the next 15 minutes moping and drying floor. Five gallons of water sure does cover a lot of floor!


For All the Saints

"...keep alert with all perserverance, making supplication for all the saints." -Ephesians 6:18 (ESV).

Since moving to Anderson to help plant Redeemer Church, the opposition from the evil one has been clear. The devil hates Christ and the work of the kingdom. Yet, this opposition does not discourage me because I know that God is sovereign and He will use these circumstances to demonstrate that His plans will not be stopped. The strong man has been bound (Mark 3:27), and the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church of Jesus Christ(Matthew 16:18).

Although we know that the kingdom of God will prevail, we are also keenly aware that the the battle ist still raging because the devil is still scheming. Our battle is against "the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places" (Ephesians 6:12); therefore, we must take up the full armor of God. In this battle, we are not battle for alone; rather, we are battling for all the saints. It is easy for us to become self-centered and only worry about our own circumstances, but the Apostle Paul reminds us that we must be "praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints" (Ephesians 6:18). We are all in the battle together. Take up your armor and battle for all the saints of Christ.

Please remember to pray for all of us who are involved with planting Redeemer Church. Pray that we will continued to see the Lord's provision and protection as we seek to shine the light of the gospel in Anderson.

"O may Thy soldiers, faithful, true and bold,
Fight as the saints who nobly fought of old,
And win with them the victor’s crown of gold.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

And when the strife is fierce, the warfare long,
Steals on the ear the distant triumph song,
And hearts are brave, again, and arms are strong.
Alleluia, Alleluia!
-A verse from For All the Saints
by William W. How


Looking to a Pseudo-Savior

"You shall have no other gods before me." -Exodus 20:3 (ESV)

God does not stumble over His words or waste His breath. He speaks with clarity and authority. He will have no other rival or god in His place.

The tricky thing about gods is that they don't come in the shapes, sizes, and forms that we expect. If they were made of wood and clay, I am sure that we wouldn't be so ignorant of their presence. Politics has become one of the invisible and unacknowledged gods of America. Politics has become a pseudo-savior that promises to deliver its worshippers from war, oppression, taxes, and a number of other "evils." In reality, the god of politics goes by many names (Democrat, Republican, etc) but it is the same god. For some people, when they casted a vote yesterday, they were in reality paying homage to the god of politics. Yet, politics is no savior. Lots of people are waiting on the world to change, unfortunately, they're not looking to the right source: Christ. Yet, until people realize that true change doesn't come from political parties, the god of politics will continue to gain new worshippers.

Yesterday, after Democrats won control of the house, one politician said, "Today the American people voted for change and they voted for Democrats to take their country in a new direction, and that is exactly what we intend to do" (Nancy Pelisi). Democrats may take America in a new direction (for better or worse), but they will not lead us to where we really need to go: to Christ.

Let me be clear: I am not opposed to participating in politics. I believe politics can and should be utilized to bring glory to God. In reality, we should strive to see God glorified in every institution and endeavor. So, I do believe that there is a place for government and politics within the life of Christians, but they must be placed in proper perspective. Real change will not come to us through new political parties, proposals or people. True change will only happen when people are changed by the power of the gospel. The gospel is the only thing that will bring real peace and hope.

"Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God." -Psalm 20:7 (ESV)


A Night with Raggedy Anne

Here are a few pictures of our family that we made tonight. I think that Amy did a really great job making Alora's "Raggedy Anne" costume.

Biblical Depth

Youth need much more than pizza, ping-pong and a splash of scripture. We must give them real biblical substance. In a recent blog entry, Al Mohler reminds us of this very point. And surprisingly, TIME has noticed this trend too. Read his blog entry here.


Groceries, Grapes, and a World of Learning

A few days ago, as Amy and I were standing in the fresh produce section of the grocery store, a woman came by and plucked a grape from the display and ate the grape. Soon after, the woman's daughter did the exact same thing. Unknowingly, the mother had just given her daughter a lecture in ethics. Unfortunately, I do not think that most parents realize how much they influence their children, for good and bad.

As parents, we are constantly before our children's eyes. As we live, they learn. We are the teachers and they are our students who soak in every lesson. Daily life provides us with the classroom, our words and actions serve as the lecture. Let us pray that our lectures are founded on curriculum of God's word, so that we can lead and exhort them to love and serve the Lord in faith. If our curriculum is based on any other foundation, then we are in the processes of educating fools.

Deuteronomy 6:1-9 (ESV): 1 “Now this is the commandment, the statutes and the rules that the Lord your God commanded me to teach you, that you may do them in the land to which you are going over, to possess it, 2 that you may fear the Lord your God, you and your son and your son's son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be long. 3 Hear therefore, O Israel, and be careful to do them, that it may go well with you, and that you may multiply greatly, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.
4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.
[1] 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.


Deconstructing Defeater Beliefs

For those of you who heard Jimmy's sermon this morning (and also for those who didn't) I thought that you may be interested in reading the article by Tim Keller that he referenced. The article is titled, "Deconstructing Defeater Beliefs: Leading the Secular to Christ," and it is available here and here (in pdf form). I read this article a few months ago and found it to be very helpful.


My Favorite Price is Free

I recently recieved a free audio cd from American Vision, entitled, The Worldview War. I really enjoyed listening to it, and if you'd like to get a free copy for yourself, go here. Here's a description of the lecture:
The War between Christian and Anti-Christian worldviews is raging all around us. In this CD, you’ll learn that America’s moral and cultural crisis is the result of Christians not applying the Christian worldview to every area of life. Discover why there is no such thing as "neutrality." While Christians stand by and do nothing, the other side is working feverishly to implement their godless, humanistic, destructive worldview. Which worldview will ultimately prevail and how will it affect your family, the Church, and America?
Also, if you don't mind signing up for their email list, they'll also throw in a free copy of Biblical Worldview Magazine. Go here to get both the cd and the magazine.


Full Capacity

Well, Amy has about one more month before Adalyne Faith is due. As you can tell, Amy's belly is getting close to full capacity.

Chocolate Smile

As you can see, Alora really enjoyed the chocolate dessert that Amy made for dinner.


The Lady Has a Watergun

The following is an interview that I did with my wife after we put our daughter to bed. I am not sure why I wanted to do this interview, but it will not be the last. Be ready. You could be next! All questions and answers are spontaneous...considering that I decided to do this about 2 minutes ago.

Eric: What is your full name and occupation?

Amy: Amy Marie Ashley, and my occupation is being a wife and mother. An occupation is something that occupies your time and energy.

Eric: Thanks for the definition.Why do you think that I have asked you to be the first person that I interview?

Amy: Because I am the greatest person in your life and you love me more than anyone else. And because Alora can't talk in full sentences. (Amy is laughing and smiling.)

Eric: Pretend that you walking down a dark alley one night. (I am not sure why you would be doing this, but you are.) A woman with a watergun jumps out and says, "Describe yourself, using ten words, or I will shoot you." (You begin to tremble because it is cold outside and your clothes are made of paper mache' (I am not sure why you would be wearing this, but you are.) What words would you use to describe yourself?

Amy: Christian. Fun. Loving. Passionate. Creative. Wife. Mom. Organized. Servant. Outgoing.

Eric: Even after answering the woman's question I am sure that she would shoot you because of how long it took you to answer her. Good thing I am not a woman with a watergun. Next question. If you had one day in which you could do anything you wanted...what would you do and with whom would you spend it?

Amy: First, my entire family (all of my parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, grandparents, husband's parents...you get the point), my church body, and friends, would rent a charter plane that would take us to a cruise ship. Then, the cruise ship that would take us to the tip of Florida (after departing from the side of Florida, of course). Then, we would go to a small island where we could snorkle and use ocean kayaks. The island would be decorated for a huge festival where we would listen and dance to reggae music. We would also eat barbeque chicken, sweet corn-on-the-cob, my dad's mashed potatoes,and my mom's lemon poppyseed pound cake. As the sun would begin to set, we would all gather together and listen to Eric preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. Then all of those who are there who do not know Christ would believe in and worship Jesus. (They would see how much joy all the other Christians have and realize that only true joy is in Christ.) Then Eric and I would retreat into our "love shack" and make "whoopie" until we had two hours left in the day. Then, I would bring my children and place them on my lap, read to them, and tell them how much I love them. Then, as the last five minutes passed, Eric and I would pray with them, and thank the Lord for such a wonderful day.

*Eric: Wow. You sure get a lot done in one day! Thanks for taking time to talk with me.

The Only Stumbling Block

"The most biblical church is the one in which the cross is the only stumbling block for the unchurched. That's because lost people should face no church-culture stumbling blocks that keep them from Christ." --Ed Stetzer, Planting Missional Churches

"but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men." --1 Cornithians 1:23-25 (ESV)


50 Potential Christian Bestsellers

If you're in need a good chuckle, check out the list of 50 Potential Christ Bestsellers. Honestly, you should go to Marc Heinrich's blog, Purgatoria anytime you're looking for something humorous. Here are a few that made that list:

*The Power of a Praying Mantis
*I Kissed Bundling Goodbye
*Purple Like Barney - Non-Religious Thoughts on Obnoxious PBS Children’s Programming
*Even Newer Strong’s Exhausting Concordance - Heavier than Ever


Walking on the Road of Biblical Language

The way in which we communicate is highly important. If given the choice between clarity or confusion in communication, I am sure that we would rather walk on the road that is paved with simplicity, truth, beauty, and clarity than to stumble on the path of confusion. Yet, I wonder if it is possible that we have confused and misguided people by some of the pop theological terminology that we have chosen to speak. For example, let's talk about the following phrase: "Have you asked Jesus into your heart?" I am sure that many of us have used this phrase or at least something similar; and likely, most of us know what is meant by this phrase. Yet, if you ask a child this question, you are likely to see a confused look come across his or her face (unless of course we have already programmed him to think and speak the language of pop theology.) I have doubts as to whether this non-biblical language is helpful. (I am inclined to believe that it merely clouds the waters of understanding) Instead of asking if people have "asked Jesus into their heart," why don't we mimic the language of scripture and say something like this: "Have you confessed with your mouth that 'Jesus is Lord'? Do you believe that God raised Him from the dead? Do you trust that His death and resurrection will save you from sin" (Romans 10:9). By speaking this way, we can actually take people to the scriptures. Where in the Bible will you go to show someone that they must "ask Jesus into their heart?" You can't. Why don't we speak as God has spoken to us in the Bible? Why don't we give the language of the bible priority over the language of "churchianity." Does this mean that we should do away with all words and phrases that cannot be found within the text of scripture? Certainly not. Many non-biblical words (such as "trinity") are very helpful because they serve as a sort "short hand" for biblical doctrine. Yet, some words and phrases are not so helpful. Now, I do not currently have a large list of phrases that we should discard from our vocabulary, but I am sure that a list will continue to formulate in my mind.

All in all, I believe my proposal is simple: give the language of scripture priority. As much as is possible and profitable, teach and speak in the words and manner in which God has chosen to speak to us in scripture. Hopefully, if we faithfully follow this pattern we will open the gates of clarity, so that people can walk into the light of God's word.


A Few New Features

I just updated my blog to the new Beta version. Hopefully, you will find some of the new features like the topic index helpful. If not, then just ignore them.

Missional Eating: An Introduction

In almost every town or city, there are certain local restaurants that very well known (and visited) by local patrons. We could call these the staple restaurants of the area. For example, when I was attending North Greenville College (which is now North Greenville University) in Tigerville, SC, the staple restaurant was the Thai and I. Every day at lunch and dinner, the small building was filled with local residents, students, professors, workers, etc. Granted, it was the only restaurant in Tigerville, but the point is that it was a very well known restaurant in the area. I believer that we should seek to find the staple restaurants in our local areas, so that we can meet and engage people with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Since moving to Anderson (a.k.a. the Electric City) in order to help plant Redeemer Church, Amy and I have began to make it our practice to try to discover and visit local restaurants in Anderson in order to meet new people. Over the next few months, I hope to be able to blog about our experiences at these restaurants. Hopefully, we will kill two birds with one stone: filling Anderson the good news of Jesus and filling our stomachs with good food.


Put Another Check in the Win Category

The Panthers just improved their record to (4-2) with their 23 to 21 win over the Ravens.


Panthers Beat the Browns

It was another good day for the Panthers as they defeated the Browns today 20-12. Watch the highlights here.

Mission-Minded vs. Missional

"But don't confuse the terms mission-minded and missional. The first refers more to an attitude of caring about missions, particularly oversees. Missional means actually doing mission right where you are. Missional means adopting the posture of a missionary, learning and adapting to the culture around you while remaining biblically sound. Think of it this way: missional means being a missionary without ever leaving your zip code." --Ed Stetzer, Planting Missional Churches, 19.

I like to thing of myself as a "backyard missionary." Why don't we all meet up on the mission field? Just step out of your front door and you're there.


Blooms, Birds, Bugs, and God's Glory on Display

Today, our family spent part of the afternoon at the South Carolina Botanical Gardens in Clemson. As soon as we stepped out of our vehicle, our senses were immediately struck with the sweet smell of blooming flowers, the sounds of singing birds, and the sight of God's sprouting creation. As we walked through the gardens, I loved watching my daughter as she smelled the blooming flowers, waved at the white ducks, and ran her hands through the leaves of plants.

For me, it is impossible to walk away from such an experience and fail to see God's glory displayed in the plants, animals, bugs, etc. that we encountered.

"The heavens declare the glory of God,and the sky above proclaims his handiwork" (Psalm 19:1).


Meals and Maturity

No one expects for a newborn baby to be able to eat solid foods like barbeque ribs or fish. Yet, if thirty years later that same person still doesn't know how to pick out the bones, chew, and digest such foods, then clearly something has gone drastically wrong. Yet, this is the very predicament in which some Christians find themselves. As the Apostle Paul once wrote to the church at Corinth: "I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, for you are still of the flesh" (1 Corinthians 3:2,3). In addition, the writer of Hebrews proclaimed:
For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you
again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food,
for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil (
Hebrews 5:12-14).
There is a clear connection between maturity and discernment...as one increases so does the other. Those who are immature lack discernment and practice evil; yet, those who are mature have feasted upon solid food (the word of righteousness) and have gained wisdom and discernment through constant practice.

Maturity doesn't happen overnight. If we expect that it will, then we are foolish. Yet, we should not be discouraged by this fact; rather, it should encourage us to pursue the path of wisdom that is found in the Word.

I pray that each of us will take time to wean ourselves away from diets that consist of milk alone and instead feast on the full bounty of Christ and the Word.

So, why not start now? Click here to go to the online ESV Bible.


What Jesus Demands from the World

I have always been blessed, encouraged, and challanged by the writing and speaking of John Piper. Once again, Piper has picked up his pen in order to write a book that will surely challange believers (and unbelievers) to live for God's glory. His newest book, What Jesus Demands from the World, is now available online for purchase ($12.49 instead of $19.99) or for free reading. You can go here in order to hear Piper briefly talk about this new book.

Panthers and the Saints

I just finished watching the Carolina Panthers hand the New Orleans' Saints their first loss of the season. The final score was 21 to 18. It looks like the Panther's are finally building up the momentum that's going to carry them all the way to the Super Bowl! (Well, at least I hope they make it there this year.) Go Panthers!


One Year Anniversary

I just realized that I have been blogging for over a year this month. This blog began on September 4th, 2005, and I am amazed at how fast time seems to go. Thank each of you for taking time to stop by and read through my rambling thoughts. As I begin this next year of blogging, my main goal remains the same: to glorify God by encouraging biblical and missional thinking in all areas of life. So, to that end, I pray that you will continue to read, think, and respond.



While watching a television show this week, I heard the song an old Joan Osborne song called, "What If God Was One of Us?" Although I do not like the song, it did spark a few thoughts that I'd like to share. In case you are not familiar with the song, the chorus of the song contains the following lines:

What if God was one of us?/Just a slob like one of us/Just a stranger on the bus/
Trying to make his way home

Although this song came out in 1995, it continues to find its way into the soundtracks of movies and television shows. In my opinion, this demonstrates two things: First, there are still people who view "God" as distant, uninvolved, and uncaring. Second, there are still so many people who are walking in the darkness of sin, denying their Creator. Yet, these thoughts should not bring us to despair because we know that our God is great. Fortunately for us (and the world), God has not been silent. He has spoken to us through His Son, Jesus! The writer of Hebrews puts it this way: "Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world" (Hebrews 1:1,2). Or in the words of John: "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth" (John 1:14). Our God is not a distant and uninvolved god; rather, He is the God of grace who chose to come and dwell among us. The world does not have to ask "what if" anymore. "For we do not have a hight priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:15,16). As we encounter people each day (co-workers, friends, family, neighbors, strangers), let us boldly proclaim what God has done in His Son. Jesus is Lord and Savior, and He has disarmed Satan. Let us expand His kingdom with the gospel, by the power of the Holy Spirit--all for God's glory.


Redemption and Celebration

Anthony Bradley at Resurgence is currently blogging about a "missional worldview." In the latest entry he encourages Christians to stop being social stick-in-the-muds and to start "getting their party on." He writes,
If Christ's mission was truly accomplished and if the Kingdom of God is alive then Christians ought to be the most celebrative people on the planet throwing the best parties and social events. If the Gospel is true one would think that Christians would be the best at "getting their party on.
Continue reading here.


The Transformation of a Box

On Sunday evening, Amy and I took a couple of hours to build Alora a "house" out of a cardboard box that I brought from work. By the end, we had transformed the ordinary box into a playhouse complete with a mirror, curtains, family pictures, windows, a door, and colorful exterior.

My Excellent Wife and Sourdough Bread

From time to time I like to take a few moments to brag on my wife, and today is the day. The bread that you see to the left is the results of her first attempt to make sourdough bread, and I must say that the bread was excellent.

"She rises also while it is still night And gives food to her household..." -Proverbs 31:15


The Mockingbird is singing, "Free, Free, Free."

Well, if you do not own a copy of Derek Webb's newest album, Mockingbird, now is your chance to get it for free. Yes, you read correctly...FREE! Go here to download the album and to find out why Derek is giving his music away.

And in case you didn't know, this is a really good album. So, what are you waiting for?


So, I Didn't Shave My Head...

I must take a moment to eat my words, so here it goes:

"Amy, I was wrong. I never should have doubted that you would be able to give me a good haircut. I teased you about cutting my hair. I thought that I was going to have to wear something shameful upon my head, but you proved me wrong. As I write these words, I am fully aware that you have given me a good haircut. Granted, I was a little scared that we would have to shave my head. (Because we have had to go to such measures in the past.) But, alas, the tides have changed. Amy, you are offically my new hair dresser."


Playing Catch-Up

So, we're still reviewing On Being Presbyterian. Just in case you missed the latest reviews, I've linked to them below:

Chapter 7
Chapter 6
Chapter 5
Chapter 4

The Lord's Provision from the Hands of His People

I just wanted to take a few moments to give God praise for His daily provision and care for my family. So, let me begin by setting the senerio: First, our family moved to Anderson (which brought about a lot of extra expenses to pay such as amoving truck, apartment deposits, utility deposits, and various other fees. Second, Amy and I still had to pay some bills to the owner of the house where we used to live. Finally, at Rockwell Automation (where I work), my pay was reduced by $1/hr. (Granted, this reduction didn't occur because of any slackness on my part, but the reasoning for the deduction would take to long to explain right now.) So that means, that I lose about $80 from my paychecks each month.

Now, because of all of these happenings, we knew that we were going to be in a very tight financial strain. By tight, I mean that after getting paid on August 31st, we would not have any money left by September 1st.

During this time, a number of scripture passages kept coming to mind: James 1:2-4 challanged us to joyfully endure the testing our our faith, knowing that God is using the trial to cause us to be "perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." Philippians 4:11-13 confirmed that we must learn to be content in every circumstance, whether plenty or hunger, abundance or need, and to realize that we can "do all things through him who strengthens [us]." Psalm 104:27,28 reminded us that God is the great provider and creator who gives all of his creatures "...food in due season. when you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are filled with good things."

And our encouragement came not only from the Word but also from His people. Over the last week, we have been blessed by so many people as we have seen them give sacrifically to us in our time of need. The Lord gave to us each day our daily bread. God is the great provider, and we have seen His provisions come from the hands of His people.

I can think of no better way to praise the Lord than to echo the word of Psalm 105:1-6:
Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples! Sing to him, sing praises to him;tell of all his wondrous works! Glory in his holy name;let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice! Seek the Lord and his strength;seek his presence continually! Remember the wondrous works that he has done,his miracles, and the judgments he uttered, O offspring of Abraham, his servant,children of Jacob, his chosen ones!


Home...For Real This Time.

Well, we are finally settled in at our new home in Anderson, SC. (That means that we no longer have boxes sitting all around our house!) Moving is always such a strain, both financially and physically. Yet, the Lord has been gracious to us in so many ways. We were truly blessed to havethe help and support from family and friends. Honestly, we wouldn't have been able to pull it off without their help with the move, especially considering that Amy is pregnant. Hopefully, now that we are moved, I'll be able to get back to blogging with some regularity. But, we'll just wait and see.


Home Again...Sort of.

After our three weeks of traveling (visiting family, a wedding, the beach, etc), we finally returned home Wednesday. Yet, we will be moving to our new apartment in Anderson this Wednesday. So, we still aren't home quite yet.

Also, Amy and I found out today that we will be having another girl. She is due on November 29th. We are so excited about having another child. That's one more arrow for the quiver.


A Rolling Stone Gathers No Moss...

Busy, busy, busy. I can't think of a more appropriate word to describe last week (and the next three.) Although I had a nice time with my parents at the beach last week, I am very tired. We got home on Thursday evening, and I had to begin work a few hours later. And since I have to be in Camden (for Cecil's wedding) on Thursday, I am having to work six days in a row (12+ hours a day) in order to make-up for missing my regular shift. Then, after the wedding, we'll be with Amy's family for most of the next week. When we finally return home, Amy's mom will be visiting (since she is back from Hawaii while Chris is overseas), and we'll be moving to Anderson.

Eric takes a deep breath and slowly exhales.

Although things are very busy, God is daily supplying us with strength. Thanks to those of you who have emailed me in order to let me know that you've been praying for me. Keep praying, and we'll keep moving by God's grace.


On Being Presbyterian: Chapter One

Patrick has put forth a review of chapter one (God Is King: The Sovereignty of God) of Lucas' book, On Being Presbyterian. I will be adding a few thoughts in regard to this post soon, so be sure to keep checking back. Here is a link to the chapter one review.


Guest Blogging

Over the next few weeks, I'll be blogging (along with Patrick Miller and Greg Henry) at In Through the Front Door. Specifically, we'll be reviewing Shawn Michael Lucas' book On Being Presbyterian: Our Beliefs, Practices, and Stories. I'll be sure to link to the specific blog entries as soon as they are posted.

For now, you can read Patrick's entry which explains what we hope to accomplish as we review the book.

Or if you'd really like to interact with our discussion, buy the book and read/discuss it with us!


Clarifying Calvinism

There is often a lot of confusion in regard to the beliefs of those of us who are Calvinist. For some people, their temperature begins to rise with the very mention of the word "calvinist." So, if you are among those who dislike calvinism or if you just want to know what calvinism is (and isn't), then you may find the following link to be helpful: Some Things Non-Calvinist Should Know About Calvinist


The Taboo of Breast Feeding

This morning I came across a blog entry on Challies.com that caught my attention. Apparently, Victoria's secret was recently the target of a "nurse-in" protest" because several women were prevented from breastfeeding their children while in the store. Does anyone else sense any twisted irony here? Near the end of his blog entry, Challies strikes at the heart of the issue:
It shows something about our society, I think, that we will gladly tolerate breasts when they are in the context of sexuality, but not when they are in the context of child-rearing. Somehow, over the past couple of decades, public breastfeeding has become taboo. Stores and restaurants routinely demand that breastfeeding moms take their babies to the bathrooms to nurse them there. More and more people seem to regard it as unnatural or disgusting. Victoria's Secret can plaster the store windows with huge posters of nearly-naked women with their breasts almost fully exposed, but when a woman sitting inside the store discreetly latches her child to a breast, it is regarded as exhibitionism.
This issue really strikes a nerve within me because while my wife was breast-feeding our daughter, people often treated her as though she was doing something wrong or inappropriate. Hogwash! If the baby's hungy, feed it! (And no, she will not do it in the bathroom. Why not? Well, would you like to feed your child in the same room where some lady just "emptied" herself? Need I say anymore?) Now, don't get me wrong. Women should be discreet when breastfeeding, but let's not treat them like they are commiting a crime. For those of us who are Christians, this Victoria's Secret breastfeeding incident should remind us that we live in a sinful world where people like to trade what is natural and good for something that is unnatural and dispeasing to the Lord. I guess the world is more content with feeding our sinful natures than with feeding our crying babies.

Challies full blog entry is available here.


Goodbye Temporary Status

Well, I am no longer working for a temporary employment agency because I was hired by Rockwell Automation this week. Yeah! Here are a few of the benefits of my new employment status: higher pay, paid vacation, health/dental/life insurance, etc. Praise the Lord because these blessings flowed from His bounty.


Contentment and Discouragement

While reading through the first few chapters of Your First Two Years in Youth Ministry: A Personal and Practical Guide to Starting Right, I came across a few quotes that I found helpful:

*On pursuing contentment...

"If you want to survive, pursue being content with where God has you and the gifts you've been given. Stop looking over your fence into your neighbor's yard, and thank God he's using you where he has you. You've heard the adage, The grass is greener on the other side'? The truth is, the grass is greener where it's watered. So start watering your own grass" (Doug Fields, 35)

*On dealing with discouragement...

"It's easier to avoid people when we're discouraged than to invite them into our pain. We're taken by lies like, 'I can't let people see me this way,' 'Others don't want to see me this way,' and 'I can handle this myself.' I'm lonely because I avoid brothers and sisters in Christ--those I need the most and who are best able to help me. What I need the most, I tend to avoid the most" (Doug Fields, 47).

"I can't expect to be like Jesus and only experience his joy, peace, wisdom, and power. He'll also let me feel discouragement, frustration, sorrow, and heartache--just like he does" (Steve Gerali, 48).


Where's Baldo When You Need Him?

Today, I was once again reminded that genuine friendships are a blessing from the Lord. I am so fortunate to have friends with whom I can pray, discuss, cry, and laugh. I am glad that there are others who can help you find Baldo when you need him. I realize that 99% of you are confused by the last sentence. Sorry, ask me sometime about it and I might explain.


David Crowder Band Updates

For all of you David Crowder fans, here are a few updates that you may find useful:

*David Crowder Band is in the running for MSN artist of the month. They are up against Nelly Furtado, Frankie J, Busta Rhymes, and Neil Young. Strange company, right? In regard to DCB, MSN writes the following:
In only a couple of years, David Crowder and his band have single-handedly redefined what contemporary Christian music should sound like. While Crowder is unafraid to make direct and straightforward pledges to his savior, he seems extremely restless creatively and tries his hand at any style that suits him. Even Crowder's fans in the Christian music community had to be blown away by the album "A Collision or (3+4=7)," a literate, pensive and complicated album about death. It won the Dove Award for Best Rock Album, and has even secular fans wondering what's up next.
I pray that the Lord continues to give these guys opportunity to shine the light of Christ into the dark (ears!) of the world. Currently, they have recieved 65% of the votes. Go Crowder! Anyway, you can vote for DCB here.

*In other DCB news, the band released B Collision yesterday. The disk includes variant tracks from A Collision and live recordings with Shane and Shane. I haven't had a chance to buy it yet, but I hope to do so soon.


The Blessing of Family Visits

My father and sister-in-law arrived today. We haven't seen them since April, so it is such a blessing to have them with us for the week. Time with family is always such a blessing, and I thank the Lord for every moment that I have to spend with them.


Wilson on Worship

"Reformed Christians have sometimes reacted away from the man-centered worship of much of the contemporary church, and they have lurched to another extreme, one just as dangerous. If you react away from a style of worship that seems to be saying nothing more than 'gimme, gimme, gimme,' the temptation is to think that 'God-centered worship' means therefore coming before the Lord in order to receive nothing at all. 'We come to give glory to God, to focus on Him. We do not come in selfishness, like those others.' But this is extremely wrong-headed. How did we get to the point where we came to believe that implicit declarations of our self-sufficiency, of our lack of a need to receive anything from God in worship, were anything but arrogant posturing."

-Continue reading Doug Wilson's blog entry here.


And the List Grows.

I just wanted to give my wife props for the two websites that she recently designed. Although she has never had any formal training in website design, I think that she's done a great job. We'll just add "website designer" to the growing list of her talents. (Even though she isn't totally done with the sites, I thought you might like to check them out:

*Black Cow Coffee House

*Widows Watchman Ministries


At the Lord's Table

**Thankfully, I am no longer holding a paint sprayer in my hand. My arm is hurting a bit as a result of 12-hours of painting. (I painted over 500 motor adaptors last night.) I am glad that I'll be able to spend the rest of the day worshipping our Lord and Savior. I am thankful that it is once again the Lord's Day, and today I'll be feasting with my Brothers and Sisters at the Lord's Table. I pray that each of you are able to worship Him today, in spirit and in truth. May His grace be in your hearts and on your minds.

**"Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near." --Hebrews 10:19-25 (ESV)

**From the Westminster Larger Catechism:

Q. 168. What is the Lord’s supper?

A. The Lord’s supper is a sacrament of the New Testament,[1077] wherein, by giving and receiving bread and wine according to the appointment of Jesus Christ, his death is showed forth; and they that worthily communicate feed upon his body and blood, to their spiritual nourishment and growth in grace;[1078] have their union and communion with him confirmed;[1079] testify and renew their thankfulness,[1080] and engagement to God,[1081] and their mutual love and fellowship each with the other, as members of the same mystical body.[1082]

[1077] Luke 22:20. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.
[1078] Matthew 26:26-28. And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. 1 Corinthians 11:23-26. For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come.
[1079] 1 Corinthians 10:16. The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?
[1080] 1 Corinthians 11:24. And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.
[1081] 1 Corinthians 10:14-16, 21. Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry. I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say. The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?... Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils.
[1082] 1 Corinthians 10:17. For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.


Vain Plots and the LORD's Laughter: Reflections on Psalm 2

"Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his anointed, saying, “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.” He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision.Then he will speak to them in his wrath,and terrify them in his fury, saying, “As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill” (Psalm 2:1-6).

Nations, you speak as though you are mighty
And you plan as though you are wise:
"No one can restrain us! No one can stay our hands."

But can you not see your destiny?
Do you not know that doom is at your door?
For the Sovereign God of Heaven and Earth,
The Creator and Sustainer of all life, He laughs.

You say you are mighty, but He know your weakness.
You say you are wise, but He know your foolishness.
He has spoken and your doom will come,
Unless you turn to Him: broken and needy.

He has sent forth His Word. The Promise has arrived:
King Jesus stands before you victorious!
No other kingdom will stand before the Son of Almighty God.
From North to South and East to West,
Nothing can escape the dominion of King Jesus and His Bride.
The Nations are His heritage
And the ends of the earth are His possession.
All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Him.
All Hail King Jesus!
Men, women, boys, and girls must bow before Him,
And every tongue must confess, "Jesus is Lord!"

Unrepentant nations, do you dare stand in the way of the King and His People?
You shall be destroyed with a rod of iron--broken like pottery.

But to the wise, be blessed:
Fear the King.
Submit to His rule.
Kiss His feet.
Take refuge in Him--
Before it is too late.
For His reign is forever
And His wrath is quickly kindled.

Oh, nations, why do you plot in vain?

Mayfield Cow

On Sunday I noticed that there was an enormous plastic cow in front of Bi-Lo. (Just to give you an idea of how big the cow is, the utters were about two feet in diameter.) Hopefully, the cow is still there because I want to climb on top of it and get my picture made with it. I think my friend Daniel is also interested in taking some cool pictures with the Mayfield cow. Be on the lookout for some cow pictures soon.


The Valley of Vision: God the All

O God Whose will conquers all,

There is no comfort in anything apart from
enjoying thee
and being engaged in thy service;
Thou art All in all, and all enjoyments are what
to me thou makest them, and no more.
I am well pleased with thy will, whatever it is,
or should be in all respects,
And if thou bidst me decide for myself in any affair,
I would choose to refer all to thee,
for thou art infinitely wise and cannot do amiss,
as I am in danger of doing.
I rejoice to think that all things are at thy disposal,
and it delights me to leave them there.
Then prayer turns wholly into praise,
and all I can do is to adore and bless thee.
What shall I give thee for all thy benefits?
I am in a strait betwixt two, knowing not
what to do;
I long to make some return, but have nothing to
and can only rejoice that thou doest all,
that none in heaven or on earth shares thy honour;
I can of myself do nothing to glorify thy blessed
but I can through grace cheerfully surrender soul
and body to thee,
I know that thou art the author and finisher of faith,
that the whole work of redemption is thine alone,
that every good work or thought found in me
is the effect of thy power and grace,
that thy sole motive in working in me to will
and to do is for thy good pleasure.
O God, it is amazing that men can talk so much
about man’s creaturely power and goodness,
when, if thou didst not hold us back every
moment, we should be devils incarnate.
This, by bitter experience, thou hast taught me concerning myself.

-Excerpt from The Valley of Vision

Sunday, 6:00 am

One of my favorite times of the week is at 6:00 am on Sunday morning. Why? As soon as I see 6:00 flash on the clock at work, I know that I am finished with work until Thursday. Also, it reminds me that I will be able to worship with other believers later on in the morning. I am so thankful that I am able to rest from my weekly labor, worship the Lord, spend time with my family: to enjoy life.

Well, right now, I think that I will take a couple of hours and enjoy a little bit a sleep before we go to church this morning. I pray that each of you will have the opportunity to worship the Lord this morning. May the Lord convict, bless, and encourage each of us today!


Honor Your Father...But Not That Way.

Fathers Day is quickly approaching and the stores are trying to convince us that we need to buy some "fatherly" products so that each of us can honoring our fathers. Hopefully, we understand that honoring one's father involves much more than giving them a gift. But if you do plan on purchasing something for your father this year, please avoid giving them something stupid. For instance, just the other day I saw a "Father's Day Tire Gage," which was inscribed with a bible verse. Now, don't get me wrong...I love the bible, and tire gages are useful when you need to....ugh....check tire pressure, but who wants to get a tire gage for Father's Day? Nothing says "I love you" like tire gage! Also, please avoid any gifts that are related to the "Left Behind" series (like the book pictured above). If you don't understand why I wrote the last sentence, then please disregard my anti-dispensational-left-behind-dry-humor. LaHaye for president!

*Note* Just in case you didn't pick up on it, this post was supposed to be funny. If you didn't laugh, I am sorry. I'll try harder next time.


A Lord's Day Prayer of Praise

Merciful, Sovereign Savior:

We praise you for your sinless life.
We praise you for your selfless death.
We praise you for your glorious resurrection.

May your Name be glorified among Your people
throughout the nations.

We acknowledge that You are God
and there is no other!
There is nothing greater than You!
You are our Creator and Savior.
Apart from You, we are hopeless.
We come before You today,
To worship you alone.

Guide us as we seek to love you with--
heart, soul, mind and strenth.
Enable us to worship you--
in spirit and in truth.

Praise to the Father!
Praise to the Son!
Praise to the Spirit!

Let all the peoples praise you.


God at Work, At Work...Again.

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to talk with one of my co-workers about the Lord. He told me that he used to love read the bible and go to church, but overtime he began to neglect both. Well, tonight, he told me that he had read the bible before he came to work. (He started reading in Genesis.) I cannot express how excited I was when he told me. Please pray that the Lord will continue to work in Jason's heart and mind.

Also, I was able to talk about God, the Bible, and other important things with a guy named Shaun. This is the second time that we've been able to talk in-depth about the Lord. (In case you missed my earlier post about our conversations, it is available here.) He has been asking some really important/difficult questions lately. Please pray that the Lord will continue to work in Shaun's heart and mind.

Pray that the Lord will continue to give me wisdom and understanding. Pray that I will continue to speak the truth boldly, in love.

Although I long to be working in a church-related vocation once again, I am amazed at how the Lord has used me while I have been at Rockwell. It encourages me to know that the Lord can and will give us opportunities to serve him wherever we may be.


The Multi-Talented Alora Grace

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Food Destoyer

Catechism Corner

Q. 2. How doth it appear that there is a God?

A. The very light of nature in man, and the works of God, declare plainly that there is a God;[3] but his word and Spirit only do sufficiently and effectually reveal him unto men for their salvation.[4]

[3] Romans 1:19-20. Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse. Psalm 19:1-3. The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Acts 17:28. For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.

[4] 1 Corinthians 2:9-10. But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 2 Timothy 3:15-17. And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. Isaiah 59:21. As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever.

-Taken from the Westminster Larger Catechism


The Valley of Vision: The Teacher

O God,
We bless thee,
our Creator, Preserver, Benefactor, Teacher,
for opening to us the volume of nature
where we may read and consider thy works.
Thou hast this day spread before us the fuller pages
of revelation,
and in them we see what thou wouldest
have us do,
what thou requirest of us,
what thou hast done for us,
what thou hast promised to us,
what thou hast given us in Jesus.
We pray thee for a conscious experience
of his salvation,
in our deliverance from sin,
in our bearing his image,
in our enjoying his presence,
in our being upheld by his free Spirit.
Let us not live uncertain of what we are,
of where we are going.
Bear witness with our spirit that we are thy children;
And enable each one to say, ‘I know my Redeemer.’
Bless us with a growing sense of this salvation.
If already enlightened in Christ, may we see
greater things;
If quickened, may we have more abundant life;
If renewed, let us go on from strength to strength.
Give us closer abiding in Jesus
that we may
bring forth more fruit,
have a deeper sense of our obligations to him,
that we may surrender all,
have a fuller joy,
that we may serve him more completely.
And may our faith work by love
towards him who died,
towards our fellow-believers,
towards our fellow-men.

-Excerpt from The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers

Summer Snacks: A Memory

When I was in high school, I used to cut my great Aunt's grass for her during the summer. (She is legally blind, so she couldn't do it herself). Usually, she would bring me some type of drink and snack while I was outside. I could never be sure what she was going to bring me. Sometimes she would give me something healthy like water and fruit. Other times she would serve me something good and tasty like a Pepsi and potato chips. Yet, on a number of occasions she served me the worst snack possible: a diet, caffeine-free soda with peanut butter and raisin crackers. I know that many people like diet soda....and there may be a few people who like peanut butter and raisin crackers, but that is certainly not the type of snack that I want when I am hot and sweaty. Don't get me wrong, I was always thankful for her kindness, but I could never bring myself to tell her that the soda and crackers made me want to vomit. Instead, I ate a few bites of the peanut butter/raisin crackers and managed to drink a few (small) sips of that no-name-diet-caffeine-free-soda. Then, I used the rest of it to feed the birds and water the grass.


Reformission is...

"Reformission is a radical call to reform the church's traditionally flawed view of missions as something carried out in foreign lands and to focus instead on the urgent need in our own neighborhoods, which are filled with diverse cultures of Americans who desperately need the gospel of Jesus and life in his Church. Most significant, they need a gospel and a church who are faithful both to the scriptural texts and to the cultural contexts of America....What I am advocating is not an abandonment of missions across the globe but rather an emphasis on missions that begins across the street, like Jesus commanded (Acts 1:8)" -Mark Driscoll, The Radical Reformission