Easily Amazed

This afternoon, as I was finishing a paper for seminary, Alora came and sat beside me on the couch. She wanted to know what I was doing, so I showed her the paper that I was writing. After seeing the paper she said, "What in the world...that's amazing!" If she thinks that a three-page paper is amazing, maybe I should show her one of my 25 page papers. I better be careful though...she might pass out from amazement.


Local vs. Chain

From time to time I like to highlight local businesses in Anderson. I do this in part simply because I enjoy the food or services that they offer, but I also do this in order to encourage others to support local owners and employees. Since my office is in the downtown area of Anderson, I have a lot of opportunities to visit many of the local downtown offerings.

When given the opportunity to choose between local and chain, I most often choose to go local. For example, although I do enjoy Dunkin' Donunts, I prefer the freshly roasted coffee, atmosphere, and service of eCity Java. (Props to my friend Daniel and the others that work there!)

When comparing local vs. chain stores, we often assume that the chain stores drain the life out of local businesses--and this assumption is undoubtably true from time to time. Yet, in his article "In defense of Starbucks," Jonathan Weber suggests that the presence of national chain businesses such as Starbucks, may actually be a good thing. Weber writes:
When a Starbucks opened across the street from our offices in downtown Missoula, Mont., a few years ago, a lot of people in this liberal college town were not too pleased. The national behemoth would squeeze the local coffee shops, critics said, and contribute to the homogenization of Missoula....

....As the founder and publisher of NewWest.Net, whose largest competitor is a multibillion-dollar national newspaper chain, I've always been more than sympathetic to this argument. As a company, and as individuals, we're all about supporting locally owned businesses and the eclectic downtown commercial culture that goes with them.

But earlier this month we learned the Starbucks would be closing; it couldn't compete with the excellent alternatives. And I don't see that as a good thing.

Continue reading the article here.


Super Size Me

Amy and I recently watched the film Super Size Me. In this documentary Morgan Spurlock attempts to show the connection that exists between obesity and fast-food by going on a "McDonald's-only diet" for 30 days. On this diet, Spurlock had to eat three meals a day that consisted only of food and drink available from McDonald's. When he begans his test diet, Spurlock was in great shape. Yet, by the end of the 30 days, his health had deteriated tremendously.

Granted, Spurlock does take fast-food eating to the extreme. But it often takes something drastic in order for us to pay attention to what is being said. Is our nation unhealthy? Yes. Could we do better at encouraging one another to eat healthier and exercise? Yes. Does this mean that we should limit our intake of processed and fast-food? Yes. Will it be difficult for us to make these changes? Yes. Is it worth it? Yes.

After watching the film, I don't believe that the solution is found in totally rejecting processed and fast food. Intead, we must learn to eat these foods in moderation. As a father of three beautiful girls, I want to do everything I can to help them become healthy, active young women. And part of that process certainly involves teaching them how to make wise food choices.

If you're interested the movie, you can watch the entire movie for free here.


Papa's Open-Heart Surgery

My Grandpa went in for a valve replacement this morning at 7:00am. When asked how he felt about the surgery my grandfather said: "If I come out of surgery, I'll be good. If I don't come out of surgery, I'll be good." In his own way, my Grandpa was reminding us that his hope (and ours) is in the Lord. The first question and answer of the Heidelberg Catechism puts it this way:
Question 1. What is thy only comfort in life and death?
Answer 1. That I with body and soul, both in life and death, (a) am not my own, (b) but belong unto my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ; (c) who, with his precious blood, has fully satisfied for all my sins, (d) and delivered me from all the power of the devil; (e) and so preserves me (f) that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head; (g) yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation, (h) and therefore, by his Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life, (i) and makes me sincerely willing and ready, henceforth, to live unto him. (j)
They began the open-heart surgery at 8:30am and finished at 11:30am. According to the doctor, everything went great. Praise the Lord! Please continue to pray for him as he recovers.


Who Needs Wisdom?

So, who needs wisdom? According to Proverbs 1:4-5, wisdom is needed by everyone--not only those who are simple/young but also those who have already obtained some amount of wisdom:
to give prudence to the simple,
knowledge and discretion to the youth—
Let the wise hear and increase in learning,
and the one who understands obtain guidance (ESV)
Lest we fool ourselves into believing that we are already wise enough, the Scriptures warn us against trusting in our own "wisdom", which isn't truly wisdom at all:
Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes,
and shrewd in their own sight! (Isaiah 5:21, ESV)
This means that we must forsake our pride and self-sufficiency. We must not seek to be wise by our own standards or the standards of the world; instead, we must look to God's wisdom. We are only wise to the extent that we have aligned ourselves to God and His wisdom:
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
all those who practice it have a good understanding.
His praise endures forever! (Psalm 111:10, ESV)



In their latest book, ReJesus: A Wild Messiah for a Missional Church, Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch begin by noting that "the name of Jesus has been invoked as central to movements that do not seem to be in accord with the Jesus we find in the pages of the Gospels" (4). The solution, according to Frost and Hirsch, is for the Church to be "reJesused." Meaning, the Church must continually refocus and remember that Jesus is central to who we are and what we do.

While reading ReJesus there were times when I found some of Frost and Hirch's claims to be pejorative and unhelpful. For instance, they write off the Nicene Creed as "flowery" and claim that "Paul has nothing to do with this airy doctrinal language." Granted, the language is different from Paul's, but it isn't opposed to it. Creeds certainly have an important role to play in helping the Church think and believe rightly about Christ, salvation, etc.

Yet, disagreements aside, Frost and Hirsch do helpfully remind us that we must continually be "looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith" (Hebrews 12:2). For each of us that follow Christ as our Lord and Savior, it is not unnecessary for us to be reminded that Jesus Christ is central to everything we say, do, and think. According to Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:20, we are "ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us." As His ambassadors, it is vital that we adequately represent our Savior as He truly is. And one of the best ways that we can do this is by meeting Him again and again as He is given to us in the Scriptures. In other words, we need to be ReJesused.

"Are you really married?"

Yesterday, Amy and I took the youth group to a water park in Simpsonville. While I was waiting in line for a ride, a younger boy started a conversation with me. He asked me where I lived, if I had riden the ride before, and other general questions. While we were talking, Amy was on the ride, so I yelled out, "Good job, baby!" The boy then asked, "Is that your girlfriend?" After I told him that Amy was my wife, a puzzled look came over his face. Then, he asked, "Are you really married?" It took a while, but I finally convinced him that Amy was my wife (of 6 years) and that I had three children. If the youth hadn't backed up my story, I'm not sure that the boy would have believed me.

Goodbye Tonsils and Adenoids

Adalynne just finished having her tonsils and adenoids removed. The surgery went great...she's already back at home, resting in her bed. The doctor said that it will be about two weeks before she can resume full activity. The good news for her is that she gets to eat pudding, jello, ice cream, and other yummy food for the next few days. (I'm sure that she won't complain about that!) Thanks to everyone who has taken time to pray for her.

Also, please remember my grandfather in prayer because he'll be having open-heart surgery on Thursday.


My Dad and Girls

My Dad celebrated his 50th birthday today. This picture (of my Dad and girls) is from our small, family get-together. You can see more pictures (as well as the cake Amy made) here.


To Sleep or Not to Sleep?

There have been a number of times when I've been confronted with the same dilemma: After staying up way to late, should I sleep or stay-up? Of course, in ordinary circumstances I would always choose sleeping over not sleeping. But this is a different type of situation. I'm referring to those times when you recognize that if you go to sleep, you'll only be able to sleep for an hour or two. Usually, I choose to sleep, but then I wake-up feeling like a pile of trash. On the other hand, if I stay up, I'll feel like a pile a trash later on in the day. So, no matter which one I choose, the conclusion will be the same:

me = feeling like a pile of trash


Amy's Edible Art

Just in case you missed the link in my sidebar, I wanted to point out that my wife is blogging again. The web address is the same (www.amymashley.blogspot.com) but the name and theme have changed a bit: Amy's Edible Art - A beautiful collision of art, cake, family, and friends. Currently, she's posted pictures of two of her cakes, but there will be more to follow.



You stir man to take pleasure in praising you, because you have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.
-From St. Augustine's Confessions, 1.1


Under Care

About a month ago, my friend Brett was accepted as a candidate for gospel ministry. This is a picture of Brett, his wife, his daughter (she's in the womb!), and me.

Friends and Cake

It's been a long time since I've posted any pictures of my family. The reason for this is because the pictures on our SD camera card were accidentally erased! Anyway, our friend Donna emailed us a few pictures from Daniel's birthday party.

Alora and her friend Jackson

Adalynne enjoying cake


Understanding and Honor

If you would like to listen the last sermon that I preached on 1 Peter 3:7, it is available here.