A Warm Welcome...

My wife Amy has started a blog! You can visit her blog at www.amymashley.blogspot.com, so stop in and give her a warm welcome!

...The blog world just got a whole lot sexier!


Blog Name Change

So, I am thinking of changing the name of my blog. Why? Although I still think that "Musings of a Missional Madman" is clever, I am growing tired of the alliteration. So, this is where you come in...if you have any suggestions for a new name for my blog or if you think I should keep the same name, please respond in the comment section.

Also, as you can see, I am still not a sleep. At this rate, I won't even get any sleep tonight. Stupid Doubleshot!

Starbucks Doubleshot

Unfortunately for me, drinking a Starbucks doubleshot at 9:30 pm turned out to be a big mistake. It is currently 1:45 am, and I am typing on this blog entry instead of sleeping. Granted, I did attempt to go to bed at 1:00, but Amy kicked me out of the bed because I was tossing and turning too much. So, here I am...wide-eyed and feeling fully rested. Sadly, I am certain that I will not feel very rested in the morning...especially when I remember that my alarm clock is set for 6:45! The Starbucks website states that the doubleshot is a,
"wonderfully delicious blend of authentic Starbucks expresso,
mellowed with just a touch of cream. Perfect for morning, noon, or night, Starbucks Doubleshot delivers the boost and inspiration you need when you need it."
The people at Starbucks are right: the drink is wonderfully delicious and it delivers a boost. Unfortunately, I didn't need a boost or inspiration, but I guess I got a little of both .


Free Steak at Rockwell!

So...even though I have only worked at Rockwell Automation for three weeks, they decided to hold a dinner in my honor. They chose to serve me steak, baked potatoes, cake, and sweet tea...and because I am so kind, I decided to share the food with all of my co-workers. They also gave me a plaque with the following inscription:

"Because of your many days of devoted service, we crown you king of the Pack and Paint division. Long, live Eric."

Okay, so I did eat free food...everything else was a lie. They gave us free food because the company has gone for 8 years without a loss-time accident. (What that means is that no one has died or cut off any of their arms during the last 8 years) Well, now that you know the truth, I am sure that you can appreciate my fantasy-story...since it was much more entertaining.



Alora is walking...well, at least when you isn't feeling lazy. That's about all I have time to post tonight. Sorry.


A New Heart; Not A New Law

Recently, Amy had a conversation with a lady who is a member of a different denomination. Since Amy wasn't familiar with the denomination, she asked the lady what they believed. And the lady responded by saying: "We don't believe in smoking or drinking." Although I assume that the lady's beliefs are more extensive than those seven words, I am deeply saddened by this her response for the following reason: instead of focusing on the saving work of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, she focused on "managable," external issues. I cannot help but to think of Christ's words to the scribes and Pharisees: "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean" (Matthew 23:25-26)(ESV). Although we can try to conform to certain external regulations (not smoking, etc), this cannot change the fact that man's heart is still filled with evil. The testimony of scripture is clear: we are dead in sin, and we can do nothing to save ourselves. Romans 3:20, 23 states "For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin...for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Only God can make us right in his sight and give us new life. We do not need a new law; rather, we need a new heart. Ezekiel 36:26,27 declares: "And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules." Only God can do this work within us!

Even for those of us who have trusted in Christ alone for on our own salvation, we must rely on God's grace on a daily basis...not our own accomplishments. We must never begin to think that we are pleasing God just because we follow external regulations. God calls for us to love him with our whole selves: heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12:29) One of Derek Webb's new songs, "A New Law," relates well to this discussion. I especially like the line that states, "what's the use in trading a law you can never keep, for one you can that will not give you anything." In case you have never heard the song, I've placed the lyrics below. (Also, you can listen to it for free here.)

"A New Law"

(vs. 1)
don’t teach me about politics and government
just tell me who to vote for

don’t teach me about truth and beauty
just label my music

don’t teach me how to live like a free man
just give me a new law

i don’t wanna know if the answers aren’t easy
so just bring it down from the mountain to me

i want a new law
i want a new law
gimme that new law

(vs. 2)
don’t teach me about moderation and liberty
i prefer a shot of grape juice

don’t teach me about loving my enemies

don’t teach me how to listen to the Spirit
just give me a new law


what’s the use in trading a law you can never keep
for one you can that cannot get you anything
do not be afraid
do not be afraid
do not be afraid


The Influence of Reading: A Brief Introduction

Each of us are influenced by many factors: faith, parents, friends, education, culture, etc. Yet, I believe one of the greatest influences comes from things that we read. Personally, I have found that some of my greatest influences have come as a result of reading. So, over the next days (or weeks) I will be talking about books and writings that have had a positive influence on my life. If you have read any of the books/writings that I discuss, please feel free to participate in the discussion...actually, you're welcome to participate even if you haven't read the book! Be ready to join the conversation.


A Bit Frustrated

Well, this is my third attempt to post some new family pictures, but each of my attempts have failed so far. But, my patience has ran out. So, instead of trying to post the pictures again, I decided to place a link to the photographs. If the link doesn't work...I give up! (Well, at least for tonight.) Anyway, go here to see some nice pictures that Travis took of Amy, Alora, Addy, and myself. Goodnight.


Widows' Watchman Ministries

Since moving to Honea Path, SC, Amy and I have had the opportunity to become involved with Widow's Watchman Ministries. The focus and mission of this ministry is:
To meet the needs of area widows, to assist in the repair and maintenance from their hearts to their homes, to encourage the development of a healthy recovery, to maintain wholesome attitudes and meaningful self-worth through a relationship with Jesus Christ and participation in a continual learning and healing process of life.
This ministry reaches out 15 to 20 miles from the heart of Honea Path. (There are over 2,300 widows within a 7 mile radius of Honea Path!) This week we are being assisted by a Reformed University Fellowship group from Penn State University. If you would like to learn how you can become involved with this ministry, just leave your contact information in the comment section of this post. Or if you'd prefer, you can email, call or send smoke signals to Amy or myself.


A Few Updates

Since it has been a while since I last gave any updates, I figured that now would be a good time. So, here we go:

*When we found out that we had to move in with my grandfather, we had to give Tozer away. (This was quite a sad time...especially for me...even though he was a bit psycho.) Since we have moved into our own place, we bought Alora a dog for her birthday. Her name is Addy. She is a mini pincher. She is calm and non-psycho. She likes to jump like a deer. I'll post some pictures soon.

*We are currently worshipping at Covenant Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Honea Path, SC. So, you may be wondering, "why are they going to a Presbyterian Church instead of a Baptist church?" Although that is a wonderful question, I do not have time to answer in detail because I have to help Amy wash dishes...so for now here are a few reasons why we are at Covenant right now: Reformed doctrine, expository preaching , a loving body of believers, a new church plant, opportunities to serve, close to where we live...etc.

*I still hope to begin seminary in the Fall...yet, I am not sure where I am going to go. Amy and I believe that the Lord may be calling us to stay in this area for a while. So, only time will tell.

*Alora has gained three pounds over the last month. (Thanks to the surgery.) She now weights 18 lbs! Also, her hair is getting much longer. She is so beautiful!

*Amy and I are currenlty doing a "Vegetarian Week." Why? We just wanted to try and eat healthier, so we cut out meat all together. We are currently on day number 5. And no, we are not going to be vegetarians forever because we still like meat...well...most meat.

*I am going to be leading a 3-night bible study for some college and career-age students this weekend. Please pray for me and the others as we study God's Word!

Count It All Joy

"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 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" (James 1:2-4)(ESV).

In these few verses, we are commanded to do two things: (1) Count it all joy when you meet trials of various kinds and (2) Let steadfastness have its full effect. Although these commands are easy to read and agree with, they are much more difficult to obey. Joy and sufferings seem to be unlikely friends, but we are told to cultivate joy in the midst of sufferings. So, why is it that God calls us to "count it all joy" when we encounter suffering and trials? James gives us the answer: "for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness." If our suffering was useless and didn't produce anyhing, then I do not believe that we could be able to have joy. Yet, God who is rich in mercy and grace, has ordained that our faith to be tested so that He can produce something: steadfastness. In regard to steadfastness (perseverence), Simon J. Kistemaker writes the following:
The believer experiences a testing in the sense of a refining process. That is, his faith is being refined, much the same as gold is subjected to the smelter's fire (Prov. 27:21). As the goldsmith removes impurities that are foreign to the metal, so God purifies the believer's faith from sin. Gold, however, is an inanimate quantity that is and remains passive through the refining process. Man's faith can never be passive. It is active. Faith, as James points out in his epistle, must be accompanied by action; otherwise it is dead (2:17).

So, how can we have an active faith in times of testing? Not only must we "count it all joy" when we are faced with trials, but we must also "let steadfastness have its full effect." Over the last few months Amy and I have gone through a lot of trying times, and I began to think: "God, I know that You have used these trials to help us grow and mature, but don't you think we have went through enough for a while?" I have come to realize that my attitude was sinful. God is the One who knows how long we should suffer and go through trials. He is the One who brings trials in our lives, and He is the One who will determine when our trials should end. In reality, I wasn't trusting in God's sovereignty. God is in control, and I want for "steadfastness have its full effect" because I know that God is in the process of molding and refining me so that I "may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."

So, how about you...do you have an active faith? Are you joyfully going through trials? Are you allowing steadfastness to have its full effect? Do you realize that God is doing something great in the midst of your trials?

May God strengthen each of us as we submit to Him.