Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Today, Amanda and I are heading to the church to tape a video that will be shown at our Family (Baby) Dedication service this Sunday evening. We're finally having Ellie dedicated…just a month before her second birthday. As part of that video, it's our responsibility to provide a prayer for Ellie. Since I love to blog, and I've been in a sappy mood since yesterday's post, I thought I would just post it up here.
Ellie Laine Dunaway has been an enriching, inspiring, and joyful blessing that we never thought we'd have. When she announced her impending arrival, we were thrown for a loop. Four kids! But Ellie has been the piece to our family that we never knew was missing until we met her. She brightens each of our lives every day with her spark for life. She has this spunk about her in the way she runs through our house, her mischievous giggle that keeps her big sisters awake at night, and her love for interpretive dancing. She also loves people - she usually whimpers when we leave her in KidCity at church, but is blowing kisses to the nursery workers when it's time to leave. Her hair - both beautiful and wild at the same time - really personifies who Ellie is, that spark of life that fills our home with a new and unique joy. Our prayer for Ellie is that she would never loose that spark…that God would help her grow into the woman he created her to be - a person who loves her God, and serves Him with her whole life; that God would help Amanda and I, as her parents, to lead her in that journey of discovery, salvation, and growth. With the help of our family, friends, our church, and the Holy Spirit, we commit to being models of Christ-centered servants, fully surrendered to Him, ever growing in our own journeys of faith.
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
On November 12th, 2011, around 5:30 in the evening, I was able to see part of that prayer answered in Breanna's response of obedience to her understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. My father-in-law was in the water with us. He and my mother-in-law have had such a pivotal influence on Bre, and it was both special and appropriate that he was there to share in that experience. My father was unable to be there due to a recent knee surgery, but his presence would have been equally special and appropriate as we acknowledged the impact of godly leadership on future generations being manifest in Breanna's ten-year-old life.
As a pastor, I had been scheduled to "baptism duty" in that service, and had baptized three other individuals prior to Bre. I actually thought I was going to hold it together. As Bre entered the water, however, I immediately felt the sudden constriction of emotion take hold in my throat. With a very feeble and wobbly inflection, I introduced Bre and my father-in-law, and tried to convey the significance of this event for me and my family. As I turned to pronounce her baptism, there was little I could do to curtail the emotion. What a rich experience this was for me, my family and Breanna.
I have to admit, however, that I struggled with Bre's readiness just days before this took place. As I sat at the table with her, and asked her some questions to prepare her for her testimony, I wasn't sure if she "got it." I wrestled with letting her go through with this if she couldn't offer what I thought were - not just the right answers - but what I perceived to be genuine answers.
The truth is that I see too much of myself in Breanna. I am the oldest child in my family, like Bre, and I too wanted to do the right thing if it pleased my parents and others from whom I sought approval. I was, and am to this day at times, the master of fronting a great exterior. In my adult life I've had to confront these tendencies, realizing that much of my earlier years of faith were marked by inconsistency, insincerity, and a relationship with Christ that was largely taken for granted. I was baptized at a young age, and grew up without a clear sense of the significance that it held for me. And I was fearful of allowing Bre to continue in that same trajectory.
Through some great conversations with my wife, my dad, and some of the children's ministry staff at our church, I came to realize that Bre was making this choice to follow through in something that she understood to the ability best afforded by her ten years. Her decision was genuine, and bold to say the least. Who am I to decide that she shouldn't go through with it? Besides, would I only squelch the desire to ever attempt it again? How could I stand in her way?
My prayer is that Breanna will continue to grow daily in her understanding of the salvation she's received by the grace of God, through her faith in Jesus Christ; that she'll grow to realize the significance of a life that could only lead to spiritual death, but has been rescued by the blood of Jesus Christ; that she would grow to understand what it means to love and live for Him in every moment of every day. These are lessons that I'm still learning as a 34 year old man, 26 year follower of Christ, and pastor of 8 years. Breanna is on her own journey, and my job is to do all within my spirit-enabled abilities to shape her faith - not just through my words - but with my life.
Lord, help me to model a Christ-centered life before my wife, my children, my church and my community. Help Bre grow in her understanding of who you are, and her love for you. And move in each of my children that they would come to know you.
Sent from my iPad
Sunday, November 13, 2011
It would be one thing if the Colts were competing; putting some points on the board, putting up a good fight...I might find some consolation in a string of losses if that were the case.
But it's not.
The Colts went from a Super Bowl contending team to an 0 and 10 team overnight...and they only lost one player. They look like a bunch of small town college hacks playing against pros. Most of the time, they can't even approach the line of scrimmage without false starting, fumbling, or going 3 and out. Our quarter back had two interceptions given back to him, but - through his own steadfast determination - succeeded in finally being intercepted on the third attempt.
It's like they haven't worked on a single thing through the week to prepare for their opponents. What are the coaches doing to prepare these guys?
I will forever be a Colts fan, win or lose. But I can't keep watching them when they perform this poorly.
That's all I have to say...I'm going to watch a movie.
Sent from my iPhone