Back from Big Bone Lick

Amy and I return from the youth trip last night. We camped at a place called Big Bone Lick State Park in Union, Kentucky. We had an awesome time, and I'll post pictures and more details about our trip when I have a little more time.


Scratching and Pecking for a Greater Faith

"Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?" -Matthew 5:26

As I was sitting outside this morning I noticed a number of birds in my backyard. I watched them as they scratched and pecked for seeds and worms. I am certain that those birds follow the same routine day by day. They awaken from sleep, and then go to find their first meal for the day. They are totally dependant on the Father's daily provision.

Sadly, as often as I've seen the Lord provide for me and my family, I constantly battle against worry and anxiety. I have to come back to this passage regularly in order to be reminded that God is faithful to provide the things we need day by day. Instead of filling my thoughts and time with worry and anxiety, Jesus calls out: "Seek first kingdom of God and His righteousness."


Poison Ivy, Bloody Knees and Family Fun

Well, I've made my way back to a computer, so here's what's going on with the Ashley family.

*On Saturday we continued to unpack and organize our house. I spent a couple of hours outside trimming weeds/bushes/plants. Unfortunately, I broke out in a rash after coming in contact with poison ivy. We finally went to bed at about 3am on Sunday and left for Virginia around 11.

*On Monday, Amy went with her sister Ashley to downtown Richmond for the day. While they were walking down the sidewalk, Amy tripped and fell into the street. (They were walking near a construction area where the sidewalk was broken.) She bloodied her knees and her foot was swollen. (Her sister laughed...and then helped her.)

*Today we spent the day at Water Country USA. It was awesome...except when we had to get out of the pool because someone pooped in the water. Okay, we're not sure if it was poop, but the PH was messed up. So, we had to go to a different area.

*And in case you wanted to know, my poision ivy is much better. Tomorrow evening we're going to stay with Amy's mom and stepdad for the rest of the week. (Her stepdad is at home from the Army for a few weeks, so we came at a perfect time!)


A Short Break

Well, I've finally made my way to a computer to give everyone a few updates. We moved out of the apartment on Wednesday. We started packing the truck around 10:00am and finished the first load a little after 11:00am. Then, we unload the truck, ate lunch and filled the truck up again. I think we finally got everything to the house by late afternoon. Thankfully, we had a lot of people helping throughout the day.

Our house is still in a bit of a mess but we're making progress day by day. Also, our refrigerator arrived today, but it doesn't fit in the space fully. But that's not really a big deal...we're just thankful that we have somewhere to store our cold food.

I think we're going to have a yard sale in the morning, but we'll see. Then, after church on Sunday, we're traveling to Virginia to visit family and to (hopefully) rest. Amy and I are pretty exhausted from all of the cleaning/packing/moving/unpacking/etc.

And on a slightly unrelated note, Adalynne's first teeth are starting to come in.

I think that's all I have to say for now. I probably will not be posting for a few days because I don't have internet access at the house yet. Check back in a few days.


Packing, Cleaning and Other Moving Activities

Amy and I stayed up to about midnight last night packing up our apartment...and we did take a few minutes to have a food fight with couscous and lentils! We still have a good bit more to pack but we are making some progress. We're getting ready to go back over to the house to finish hanging the blinds and cleaning.


Chris Fortune, Help!

I worked at Rockwell Automation (now Baldor) for over a year, and I have absolutely no idea what this guy is talking about. Maybe my friend Chris Fortune could interpret the video for me.


The Fall of Satan

Here, Jeffrey Meyers points out that Genesis 3 records the fall of man and Satan. This view stands in contrast to the "standard, accepted view" that regards Satan's fall as occuring prior to creation. I think Jeff is onto something. See what you think.


Four Years, Six Moves

In the four years that Amy and I have been married we have already moved five times, and we are preparing to move once again. (We should be packing/moving professionals by now!) Our lease is going to be up at our apartments at the end of this month, and we didn't want to sign up for another year-long lease. So, we are moving to a house here in Anderson. We are really excited because we will once again have a yard that we can use for playing and entertaining.

The house we're moving to has been unoccupied for the last two years, so we spent Thursday, Friday and Saturday cleaning the house and yard. Thankfully, our friends from Redeemer Church have helped us tremendously. Without their help we wouldn't have been able to get everything done. So, I want to extend a big "THANK YOU" to everyone who has assisted us in cleaning, painting, hanging shelves, cutting grass and all the other thing that have taken place. I'll try to post some before/after photographs of the house.

We're planning to move on Wednesday, so pray that we will be able to pack up everything over the next two days. I'll keep you updated.


Celebrating the 4th with Scary Singing

This morning I began the day by singing the "Star-Spangled Banner" to Alora. Yet, about halfway through the song Alora said "I don't like that song!" When I asked her why she said, "It scares me." I don't think that there is anything particularly scary about the "Star-Spangled Banner," so it must have been my singing.


A Green Light

I contacted the Erskine Theological Seminary admissions office today to make sure that they'd recieved my application, $35 application fee, essay and references. They responded and said that I'd be able to begin in the Fall! I guess the next step will be registering for classes in a couple of weeks. I'm excited!


Falling from Grace

See update at bottom of post (9/2/08)

Recently, I've spent a good deal of time reading and pondering over the first few chapters of Genesis. As I've read, a number of questions have come to my mind. Hopefully I'll blog about an number of them sooner or later, but I'll start with this one for now: What was the nature of Adam's relationship with God? Did Adam have to earn God's favor or did He already have the favor of God? Was his relationship based on grace or merit?

In Genesis 2:9 we read: "And out of the ground the LORD God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." Later in v.16 we learn of the one restriction given to Adam: "You may surely eat of every tree of the garden but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." Adam could freely eat of every true except for one. This means that Adam could take and eat of the Tree of Life. Adam did not have to earn access to the Tree of Life. God did not require Adam to perform certain duties in order to earn His favor; rather, God was already favorable, or shall we say, gracious toward Adam. Granted, God did require Adam to be obedient and to live by faith in His Word, but this is a far cry from saying that Adam had to merit or earn God's love and favor. Adam had life, and he had continual access to the Tree of Life.

The reality that Adam's relationship with God was built on grace, magnifies the gravity of Adam's sin against God. The Creator God had given Adam everything. He had freely given the world to Adam's care. Yet, as Adam stood before the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, Adam chose to follow his wife Eve--thereby ignoring and scorning God's graciousness. He chose to eat of forbidden fruit, thereby forfitting life and embracing death--both spiritual and physical. So, in Genesis 3:22-23 we read: "Then the LORD God said, 'Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever--' therefore, the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken." The Tree of Life that was once freely available was now taken from Adam's reach. Adam had fallen from grace.

UPDATE: 9/2/08

Blogging is interesting to me for a number of reasons. One issue that arises is the issue of progress and growth. As I go back and read some of my previous posts, I can remember the struggles/issues that were on my mind. Sometimes, my thought patterns continue in the same directions, while at other points I change my mind. This post is an example of a time where my mind has changed. While I previously thought that the word "grace" could be applied to Adam's pre-Fall situation, I've come to believe that the terminology of grace should be reserved for the post-Fall situation. It seems to me that "grace" is not simply unmerited favor, but unmerited favor in light of our demerit . Although I don't have the time to discuss what brought about such changes, it will have to suffice for me to say that I believe that the idea of "merit" or "works" was present in the covenant with Adam...and the terminology of "grace" should not be used to describe Adam's situation.