Tuesday, 31 January 2012

More Christmas Pictures

Thanks for taking such wonderful pictures, Christie!

Thursday, 12 January 2012

A Party in Heaven

I remember that when I was about 5 years old I officially became a Christian. There wasn't anytime that I didn't believe in Jesus, but there was a specific moment when I said, "He's the one I want to be with." And there's been no serious wavering from that since then, so I've always believed that very young children can make a very serious commitment to Christ.

Even though I teach theology and am very involved in church, I've never actually been present at the moment that another person decided to become a Christian. I've had students tell me that they became a Christian while taking my class, which is wonderful, but I've never seen it happen with my own eyes. So it was particularly wonderful and amazing to have this happen to me for the first time with my own son.

Two days ago Z and I were reading his children's Bible. We've just been reading through it from the beginning, only starting a couple of weeks ago. He was very interested when we read about the Garden of Eden, and today we were reading several hard stories, like the sacrifice of Isaac (which I almost skipped), and then several stories about Jacob and Esau. But he was asking great questions and didn't want to stop reading.

Suddenly, in the middle of a story, he said, "Mama, do you know what this means?" and he bowed his head, touching his chin to his chest. I said, "No, what does it mean?" He said, "It's what you do when you pray." "Yes," I said, "we bow our heads to show Jesus that we respect and love him." He agreed and we kept reading. Then, just a few moments later he jumped up and said, "Mama, I want to tell Jesus that I love him and always want to obey him!" And he immediately stood up in the middle of the living room, bowed his head, and did exactly that. This was completely unprompted by me, and I realized that I was genuinely witnessing the miracle of a new creation. I gave him a big hug and said Jesus was so happy and loved him so much.

A little while later while I was making supper Z ran up and asked, "Can I go downstairs to pray?" I of course assured him that he could do that whenever he wanted, so down he went. And I must confess that I went into our room and turned on the baby monitor to hear what he said! And this is the prayer I heard: "Oh God, please help me to love you and trust you. Please come soon so we can see you. Please make the Garden of Eden and all the animals so we can live there. Please help me to always do what you say. In Jesus' name, Amen."

Amen and amen.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Imprecatory Prayer

Over the last several months Z has learned the Lord's Prayer by heart, and we usually say it every night before bed. Often he asks a question related to the prayer, which is a good oportunity to discuss who God is and what he's doing. A couple of weeks ago Z asked "Who is the 'evil one'?" (We say, "Deliver us from the evil one.") So I did my best to explain about Satan, who used to be an angel but now hates God and fights against him and tries to get us to do the same thing. As you can imagine, Z was intrigued by this story and asked that I retell it several nights in a row. I always concluded by saying that Jesus is stronger than Satan and can protect us. A couple of nights ago he asked "Is Jesus going to kill Satan?" I told him that when Jesus comes back he will kill Satan (I decided not to get into the idea of eternal punishment), and that is one of the reason we hope Jesus comes back soon.

So tonight, after we said the Lord's Prayer, I told Z to pray to Jesus, and this is what he said:

"Dear Jesus, we hope that you come soon. We hope that you will help us to love and trust you. Thank you that you are stronger than Satan and that you fight against him. We hope that you will fight him and kill him. Please make him lie down on the ground and close his eyes and never get up again. Please make him be dead forever. Please do NOT raise him from the dead. We hope that you will throw him in water and he will never get out. Thank you Jesus. Amen."

And that's Z's verson of "Deliver us from the evil one." I like it.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Monday, 2 January 2012

Christmas 2011

We spent a very merry Christmas in both South Dakota and Kansas over the month of December. We kicked off the season with the second annual L4 (Lower Latitude Limo Lark). This tradition began last year when we won a limo ride in a local raffle. We invited some friends to come along and make the whole experience a defiance of winter. Everyone was required to dress is summery clothes; we met a Bracco and ordered fruity drinks, and then rode the limo around town looking at the Christmas lights and stopping at ColdStone for icecream. This year the tradition continued. Below you can see me, Jennifer and Nicole sitting in front of a roaring fire in our summer finery.

Here's Nathan in his summer duds. Once again, we had folks come up and quote Christmas Vacation, since Nathan looks so much like Cousin Eddie in this get-up.

Z and the Christmas tree. This was the first year he really participated in picking out the tree and decorating it, and he loved every minute of it!

On the way down to Kansas we had a detour to Des Moines and a hotel with an indoor water park. Turns out we have two waterbabies now!

Eden in a super-cute little swimsuit she got when she was born. Thanks, Hiigels!

Christmas in Kansas is never complete without the punching balloons.

Katy and Faith.

Me and Z.

Caleb and Ann put together a Christmas jeopardy game. No one got the final jeopardy question: Who was ruling in Judea when Mary, Joseph and Jesus returned to Nazareth?

The babies -- Faith and Eden.

Z in his new USF football jersey.