Together For Adoption

In November, Together for Adoption will be hosting a conference: Our Adoption in Christ: What it Means for Us and for Orphans (HT: Greenbaggins). I've had the opportunity to hear the director of T4A, Dan Cruver, speak on two occasions--once at a Caedmon's Call/Derek Webb concert and once at the Calvary Presbytery meeting. During both events, I was encouraged by the way Dan spoke about adoption. When it comes to adoption, Dan encouraged us to first think of vertical adoption (i.e., God adopting us in Christ) and then to turn to horizontal adoption (i.e., couples adopting children). Regarding the conference Dan writes:
We believe that you will walk away from this conference better understanding why it is that vertical adoption is the highest blessing of the gospel, rejoicing afresh in God’s grace to you in the gospel, and joyfully motivated to act on James 1:27, both locally and globally.
The conference will take place on November 1, 2008 in Greenville, SC at Southside Fellowship. You can find out more information here.

If the topic of adoption interest you, be sure to check out Joel Beeke's book Heir's with Christ: The Puritans on Adoption. You can read the table of contents, forward, and chapter one here.


Bottle Testing Methods

In addition to a proper diaper changing method, parents should also be aware of the proper bottle testing method. Personally, the smell of warm milk grosses me out, so the tongue-in-the-bottle method was never an option for me.


A Family Picture

The new and improved Ashley family!


One Another

Christianity is certainly not an individualistic religion. It is true that each person must individually give an account before God (2 Corinthians 5:10). We cannot rely on the faith of our parents, spouse, or anyone else. Personal faith and repentance is required. Yet, by affirming that we must each individually give an account before God, it does not mean that we can take a “just me and God” approach to Christianity. We need one another. In his article "Why Should I Join a Church?" Jim Elliff writes:
In a culture where self-reliance, self-worth, self-esteem, and self-fulfillment are considered to be the most desirable personal characteristics, membership in a local church, where mutual submission, accountability, and inter-dependence are the way of life, seems foreign and even counter-productive.
Although participation in church life may seem foreign to us, we have been called to live with and for one another, all to the glory of God. (Jim's article clearly makes this point.) Consider some of the following responsibilities that we have toward one another:

1. Love one another – Romans 12:10
2. Honor one another – Romans 12:10
3. Live in harmony with one another – Romans 12:16
4. Instruct one another – Romans 15:14
5. Care for one another – 1 Corinthians 12:25
6. Comfort one another – 2 Corinthians 13:11
7. Serve one another – Galatians 5:13
8. Be kind to one another – Ephesians 4:32
9. Forgive one another – Ephesians 4:32
10. Address one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs – Ephesians 5:19
11. Submit to one another – Ephesians 5:21
12. Be truthful to one another – Colossians 3:9
13. Teach and Admonish one another – Colossians 3:16
14. Encourage one another – 1 Thessalonians 4:18
15. Build up one another – 1 Thessalonians 5:11
16. Do good to one another – 1 Thessalonians 5:15
17. Exhort one another – Hebrews 3:13
18. Consider how to stir up one another – Hebrews 10:24
19. Confess sins to one another – James 5:16
20. Pray for one another – James 5:16
21. Show hospitality to one another – 1 Peter 4:9
22. Be humble toward one another – 1 Peter 5:5

Many more references could be added to these; nevertheless, the testimony of God's Word is clear: we need one another. In light of this truth, a number of important questions should come to our minds: Are we trying to live out our relationship with the Lord with or apart from His Body, the Church? Are we using our gifts for the sake of the Body (1 Corinthians 12:5)? Do we need to repent for neglecting life within the Church?

May the Lord move our hearts to love both Him and the Church with a deep fervor.


Take a Guess

The next book in the "Westminster Classic of the Month" is now available until September 15th. This is a great opportunity for you to buy the book that Carl Trueman said is "without doubt the single most important book ever written by a Westminster professor." Are you curious which book he's talking about? Go here to find out...and while you're there why don't you go ahead and purchase it for only $6.50!


The New Normal

Over the last weeks our home has been filled with family and friends. Amy's sister Ashley visited for a weekend. Her youngest sister Tiffany stayed with us for about a month. Jerry, Vivian, and Jeremy visited us right after Ann-Marie's birth. And Theresa has been with us for the last two weeks. (Of course my parents have visited too, but since they live 30 minutes away they can visit more often.) We have been blessed by the assistance and presence of family. They have certainly helped more than we can express. (And I haven't even mentioned all of the friends who have provide meals, diapers, prayer, gift certificates, and much more. Thank you!) After we take Theresa to the airport tomorrow, Amy and I will begin living "the new normal."

So what is the "new normal" for us? We'll a number of things will remain the same. I'm still ministering at Redeemer and working toward an M.Div. at Erskine. Yet, with the addition of Ann-Marie a new dimension has been added. We are now a family of five, with the girls in a permanent majority! (A four-to-one ratio to be exact.) Although we have been parents for over three years, as a new child enters into the mix (and the others grow older) the dynamics of family life shift. While there will certainly be challenges, the first word that comes to my mind is "blessing." My wife and daughters are a blessing in my life. I couldn't imagine life without them. In my opinion, the "new normal" is a beautiful thing indeed!