Monday, March 31, 2008

Brief Life Update

Thanks to those of you who pray for us! One of the key reasons we keep up this blog is for our friends to get a hint of what's going on in our lives. The pull of parenthood, seminary, work, and normal life challenges have kept us from keeping up with as many of you as we have hoped. so here's a little of what's going on and how you can continue to support us in your prayers (feel free to drop a line if you have something we could be praying for you!).

Samuel is getting his rear up in the air, rocking back in forth in the bear crawl position, and is thinking crawling forward just might be a bit more productive than log rolling from place to place. He is eating, sometimes like a champ, but many days as if he's full from the moment he starts eating. We are trying to teach him a little sign language to give him an opportunity to communicate. So far, he just looks at us and thinks we talk too much with our hands.

Carrie is working 2 part-time jobs from home. She continues to write grants for the non-profit organization Serve our Youth, and she picked up an administrative assistant position for her step-father. She's a great mom, but like all great moms, wouldn't mind a few more hours of sleep each night. Right now, her dad is visiting us from IA. He's a nice encouragement, we appreciate his positivity.

I continue to plow through seminary studies. I have a large (40 pagesish) paper due in one week that has been a primary focus the last few weeks. Work is on the rocks since they may close the two retails stores I am currently serving. We'll see (big prayer request, BTW). I started playing basketball once a week through a church B-ball league. It's a nice outlet for pent up frustration :) I'm enjoying fatherhood, but only wishing the outside-the-home responsibilities could be narrowed so I had more hours with Samuel and Carrie each week.

We love you and miss you -

The Proctors (matt)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Five o'clock shadow?


Samuel says, "Why do only grown-up men get facial hair? I want some, too!" Or maybe he was just particularly messy with his prunes at breakfast. Either way, he and Daddy make quite a pair!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

When a Communist converts, I'll believe too . . .

Here's a great story from Ben Witherington:


"I'll believe Jesus rose from the dead," said the angry Communist, " when the atheist leader of the Soviet Union becomes a Christian." These remarks, of course were typical during the years of the Soviet Empire and the Iron Curtain. Teenagers in America today hardly realize what a remarkable change has happened in Russia since the early 90s. Indeed it is nothing short of miraculous, and I have had the privilege of observing this first hand while teaching from time to time in Moscow.

And now comes this story about which I can only rejoice. Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Premier of the Soviet Union and the man whom President Ronald Reagan implored "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall" when he was in Berlin is now openly testifying that he is a Christian. Below you will find the link to the story in the British Paper the Telegraph.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2008/03/19/wgorbachev119.xml

Perhaps most interesting of all is the influence of St. Francis of Assisi and his writings on Gorbachev in this whole process.

The Lord is by no means finished with us all yet, and the rise and flourishing of Christianity once more in Russia and elsewhere in the former Soviet bloc countries is a clear sign of the moving of the Holy Spirit.

The last time I was in Moscow there was a huge Christian rally at the downtown convention center which once held the large Communist rallies. Instead, there was a charismatic worship service, complete with American and British praise songs now being sung in Russian--- 'Slava Boga' (Russian for 'Praise the Lord'). There were hundreds and hundreds of young people singing at the top of their lungs. Only the coldest of Christians hearts would not be moved to tears by such a sight. Some day the day may come when Russia becomes a more Christian nation than the U.S. of A. for the Spirit moves where it will. In the meanwhile, I am thankful for all the signs of Christianity rising from the ashes in Russia even now. It must have something to do with that empty tomb in Jerusalem and the one who vacated it :)

Happy Easter

Check this out...



Samuel is learning to sit up! After these pictures were taken, he promptly fell over. :) So we are still in the beginning stages, but wanted to share a glimpse of this with you all.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Happy St. Patrick's Day!



Samuel wishes everyone a belated Happy St. Patrick's Day! (And Happy Birthday to his Aunt Lacey!) He celebrated by wearing his "Baby's 1st St. Patrick's Day" bib. Do you suppose St. Patrick liked football, too?

More eating adventures...

Samuel has been working on finger food lately. We just wanted to share a little clip with you. Warning: If partly-chewed food is too much for you, do not view this clip. Table manners come later in the child-rearing process, so I hear!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Groothuis makes an interesting post on Abortion

A professor of Denver Seminary posted this new medical finding. This finding was done by respected doctors and comes from a respected news source (Times, UK).

His post is as follows:

The Royal College of Psychiatrists in England warns that abortions can cause mental illness, thus challenging the rational that abortions should be done to alleviate mental stress.

I doubt you will see these findings in the US, except on pro-life web pages.

The story begins:

Women may be at risk of mental health breakdowns if they have abortions, a medical royal college has warned. The Royal College of Psychiatrists says women should not be allowed to have an abortion until they are counselled on the possible risk to their mental health. . . .

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

An Allegory of God

An allegory of God – I recently read the post of a young man who has decided to leave the Christian faith of his parents because of too many “inconsistencies” with the God of the Bible. He created an interesting allegorical view of God as both the author and superhero of the great story of life. Superheroes have great powers that necessitate great responsibility. Since God is the ultimate super-hero and author of the story of life, He has a responsibility to rid the world of evil (the only great responsibility sufficient for a character of such divine capabilities). You can see why this “straw man god” is easily taken down and abandoned.

Well, what if there’s a different allegory . . . something that attempts to balance how life really works, but still letting God remain the main character and author?? I see it more like this. God is never the author who stands outside the story. He is in control and He does know the end from the beginning, but He has not wound up the clock of history and then let every event proceed as if the other characters have no significance at all, just chapters in the author's story that will happen this way or that way because they have to. He is not the all-knowing one who pushes the little characters wherever He wants. Could he? Probably! But does He? Clearly not! Rather, God is intimately connected with the human characters—His friends and image bearers. Yes, He is the superhero, and the one who deserves all the praise and attention. But, like any good superhero, He uses all of His powers for the good of the weaker humans. Should we praise Him? Yes! But does He smite us if we don’t? No . . . well at least not right away.

Now there is no doubt that the most powerful character in any story will ultimately win. Similarly, the God of the universe (our superhero) will win in the end. This just goes to show you that God will one day rid the world of evil and stop all opposing forces, but the question is why not NOW or better yet why not BEFORE NOW? Why at any point in the history of this world was evil let in? Well, this is where the human characters in the story retain a true measure of autonomy and agency. It’s like they were placed in a story, but it’s one of those choose your own adventure stories. Yes, the author knows the end and will make sure the appropriate end is arrived at eventually, but He lets humans make real FREE decisions. Decisions to either reflect the superhero in their daily lives or try and be their own superhero. Don’t worry the real Superhero will come in and save the day eventually.

Now the important thing we need to remember about our little allegory here is that it is supposed to reflect life as accurately as possible. That means, we cannot ignore the supreme reality of good and evil. Superhero = good! False superhero = evil. It is like God is true harmony and beautiful music and anyone who plays His tune gets wrapped up in the true good. False superheroes want to play their own tune, but since they do not have true Superhero power, their music stinks. It is ugly, painful, and needs to be put to a stop (thanks Tolkien for this picture). Again, reality sets in. We are not talking about some crazy music teacher slapping the hand of a student pianist who played a wrong note! We are talking about life and death, good vs. evil, submitting to the Authority of the universe vs. Rebellion against the Cosmic Good! Rebellion deserves more than a slap; it must be destroyed. Now I know people get really frustrated when good/powerful/loving Superheroes destroy rebellious traitors . . . well actually I don’t know anyone who has any problem when this happens in stories we read. But it seems everyone has a problem with God when He chooses to punish the rebellious.

The thing about our Superhero is he usually gives people decades to repent, years to experience good things (not just deserved sickness, pain, etc.), and God even lets a few others get hurt in the process while maintaining a stay of mercy upon the rebellious. God is very patient, not wanting anyone to perish. Similarly, every superhero movie has the good guy give the bad guy at least one more chance. I think our Superhero gives people chance upon chance upon chance. Let’s say for a moment that our Superhero chooses to save some rebellious traitors and others He continues to allow further rebellion. Is our Superhero unjust? Yes, it is extremely gracious to save some rebellious sinners, but is it wrong if He chooses to let others experience the due course for their actions. Is it unfair? Maybe it shows that the Superhero has a limited focus on His saving actions, but no one can say it is unfair to punish enemies.

Not only that, but in our story, the Superhero comes down to earth and rather than inaugurate a totally just war against His enemies, He dies for them! Most people expected God’s first coming was going to be a bloodbath, but God chose to play out His Superhero movie in a two act play. Act 1 entails the Superhero demonstrating and living out a holy, gracious, humble life for all humans to emulate. His way of living gets Him killed and instead of retaliating, He says that this is exactly what He has hoped. This Superhero knew the only way to truly save the humans he had written into the story was to die for them. They had no chance on their own . . . they needed superhero strength and decision-making and love, but instead of seeking the superhero, they played their own tune. The punishment for their own way of living was death and the only just way our Superhero could welcome back traitors was to die for them. Now that someone has died for them, all they need to do is claim their reward (which means embracing the Superhero and following Him faithfully). Truly our Superhero is super and that’s why Act 1 got written into the story.

But there will be an Act 2 and it seems the only appropriate thing to do would be to say, “Superhero, I need your help. I get it that I am a rebellious person who has played the wrong tune for way too long. Help me and protect me from the great final battle You will inaugurate against those who have chosen to ignore Your plan. Thank You that You are powerful and that You know the end from the beginning.” The Superhero wins (He will ultimately fulfill His great responsibility of rooting out all evil), human characters get to make their own real decisions and thus have dignity and true personhood, and the Author got the story right the whole time (without giving away too many snapshots along the way, but just a few to give us hope).

Monday, March 10, 2008

Pastor Steve drops a good quote . . .

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones wrote, “our ultimate position as Christians is tested by the character of our prayer life. A person may be a pastor, missionary, seminary graduate, but his deep knowledge about God and the things of God are measured by his prayer life. If our deep knowledge about God does not drive us to know Him more personally [in prayer], we can be sure that our true motivation and commitment are centered in ourselves rather than Him."


This was mentioned last week by my illustrious Pastor Steve Derdowski at the church I attend. Ambassador Church is an Evangelical Free Church Plant and their website is . . . . http://acdenver.com/


Saturday, March 08, 2008

Witherington weighs in . . .

Ben Witherington (professor at Asbury Seminary and Wesleyan theologian) has recently blogged on the New Perspective in Paul discussion. I liked some of his insights and conclusions. It's well worth a read:

http://benwitherington.blogspot.com/2008/03/new-perspective-on-paul-and-law.html

My favorite two paragraphs . . .

Gal. 3-4, despite evasions to the contrary, tells us that Paul saw the Mosaic Law as having a temporary function in the life of God’s people, a function that was completed when Christ came and fulfilled the Law, thereby bringing it to an end. This is why Paul uses the analogy between the slave guardian of a child, until he comes of age, and the Mosaic Law. Paul’s handling of the Mosaic Law is that it is a good thing, given to keep God’s people in line and alive until God sent forth his Son. What the Law could accomplish was telling God’s people what rectitude looked like. What the Law could not accomplish was enabling people to do it. Understanding the Law, in Paul’s thought world, is a matter of understanding where it comes in the story of God’s people, and what, or in this case who eclipses it, in that Grand Narrative. Did this view turn Paul into an anti-nomian? Well, no.

In fact Paul thinks that Law still plays an important part in the life of a follower of Christ, but it is a different Law, the Law of Christ which seems to involve the following components: 1) the imitation of Christ and his apostles; 2) the keeping of those commandments reiterated by Christ and his apostles from the past (e.g. some of the ten commandments); 3) the new imperatives urged by Christ and then his apostles. Paul’s answer to the question as to how Christ’s followers should live is not ‘adopt Christ’s interpretation of the Mosaic Law and follow it’ but rather ‘whilst walking in the Spirit, follow and be fashioned by the Law (or rule) of Christ’. Paul is happy to sum up the essence of this Law of Christ, for example in the form ‘bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the Law of Christ’ (Gal. 6.2).

Simpson Producer Picks on IA

Simpson's producer, Mike Reiss, spoke on Iowa State University's campus March 6, 2008. Here's a snippet of some of his humor (the punk picks on the town I previously lived in):

Reiss said he was amazed the show, which returned to TV just after
the writers' strike, is still on the air after all these years.
"We came back on the air with a new episode, and we were the No.
2-rated show on TV for the week, after 'CSI: Boone,'" Reiss said. "It
was a great episode. It turns out the victim was bored to death."
The show has begun to repeat itself after 19 years, Reiss said,
citing as an example Lisa Simpson's change to vegetarianism and later
to Buddhism.
"If the show keeps going," he said, "we'll make her a lesbian, and
then a cannibal, and then we'll send her to the University of Iowa."

The entire write-up of his visit is available on the Iowa State Daily webpage.


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Thursday, March 06, 2008

Is Abortion Passee?

Doug Groothuis, a professor at Denver Seminary, would like to make sure the abortion issue does not get put on the shelf. Yes, many evangelical Christians (left and right politically) have recognized the importance of other Kingdom issues, but when did human life become insignificant in the voting process and decision-making of millions of American Christians?

Here's just a piece of the article Dr. Groothuis wrote, but click HERE to read the entire article:

Since Roe v. Wade, approximately 50 million unborn humans have been killed through abortion. Stalin said, "One death is a tragedy. A million dead is a statistic." Too many are now Stalinists on abortion. The numbers mean nothing, apparently. The vast majority of these abortions were not done to save the life of the mother, a provision I take to be justified. Things have reached the point where bumper stickers say, "Don't like abortion, don't have one." It is simply a matter of private, subjective taste. But how about this: "Don't like slavery, don't own slaves"? Two human beings are involved in this matter, inescapably.

The title of his post was "Recovering from Fetus Fatigue."

http://theconstructivecurmudgeon.blogspot.com/2008/03/recoving-from-fetus-fatigue.html

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Tennessee Travlers

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Carrie and Samuel traveled to TN to visit Aunt Jessica, junior attending the University of Tennessee. Samuel got to take his first dip in a pool . . . by his face, he loved it. I included another photo in his stroller that just goes to show ya that he's going to be quite the lady's man and jokester in a few years.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

John Piper speaks out boldly

The message of "Health and Wealth" and the "Prosperity Gospel" have cheapened the glorious riches that are in Christ Jesus. Watch this video and pray for your heart and the nations and people who have been deluded by this empty distortion of the Truth!

Brett Favre ends his historic run

It's true. Brett Favre officially retired today.

He modeled the grit, determination, and sportsmanship that has made the NFL the new and improved American pastime.

Brett Favre is probably one of the few people who every American admired as a professional athlete (well except Vikings' and Bears' fans). So long Brett; you will be missed.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080304/ap_on_sp_fo_ne/fbn_packers_favre_17

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Monday, March 03, 2008

Good politician . . . inconsistent Baptist

In an interview on Hannity and Colmes, Mike Huckabee took an interesting theological position for a Baptist minister. Since most Baptists (and Protestants in general) see important distinctions between themselves and the Catholic Church, it is fascinating that Huckabee ignores those.

"HUCKABEE:
I absolutely disagree with John Hagee on his view of the Catholic Church. I have never heard him personally express it, but I have heard from others that he has. He is wrong about that. The Catholic Church, I believe, represents a moral center. I'm very grateful for the leadership they have given on the life issue. Frankly, my own denomination, the Baptists, had to take their cues from the Catholics. We came dragging along in the late 1970s. We should have been at the forefront, instead of the back side of that. I'm grateful for their leadership, consistency and tenacity."

Read the entire article for context:
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,334553,00.html