Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Time for an update

Wow, we haven’t posted in a while. Life is busy and doesn’t appear to slow down until those two ladybugs up top meet. Here are some quick bullet points of events past, present and future.

• Last weekend was the care group leaders retreat and it was a very refreshing time. The first session was on how the gospel is our fuel for change. I am looking forward to reviewing those notes and going over it with the care group. The next two sessions were very helpful about understanding the heart and getting to sin issues in the heart.

• Speaking of care group retreat, we have our first care group retreat with our new care group this Saturday. The theme is “care” and I am anticipating a great time of seeing more fully how God cares for us and how He intends to use us to care for one another.

• We have our first premarital counseling session this Thursday. Just typing that last sentence made me realize how thankful I am for grace. Even though a recently married friend told me I am more ready for marriage then he is, I know that three pre-marital counseling sessions won’t make me be ready to be a husband. I will fail time and time again, but God is gracious to sinners like me.

• On December 1st I am moving and Laura’s and I new place of residence will be the first time that I will live in the same house for more then a year since 2000-2002. (Yay for roommates forever!)

• I’ve been reading through “Heart Aflame,” in my quiet times and I am excited because 20 straight days will be spent meditating through Psalm 119! Oh yeah buddy!

• We are serving tonight at the Harvest Party. It’s definitely no Reformation Celebration, but the costume requirements are a bit easier. Harvest party you only have to wear a particular color versus the Reformation Celebration where you attempt to dress up as John Calvin, Martin Luther, Charles Spurgeon, John Piper or any other reformer throughout history.

• I feel like over the past month Laura and I have done all types of traveling and seen exotic Maryland locale such as Towson, Westminster, Annapolis and crossing the stateline into Alexandria, Va. Amazingly enough, the one trip we got lost on was the trip that I’ve made the most. It’s nice to know that I haven’t lost my touch making the amazingly simple so much harder then it should be.

• Lastly, I heard a song on the radio this weekend called, “I Loved her first.” It’s typically a song that would have meant nothing to me, but in this particular season I found myself listening to all the words thinking about the gift that Laura is to me and if God would bless us with a daughter. The lyrics are below for you to enjoy.

Look at the two of you dancing that way
Lost in the moment and each others face
So much in love your alone in this place
Like there's nobody else in the world
I was enough for her not long ago
I was her number one
She told me so
And she still means the world to me
Just so you know
So be careful when you hold my girl
Time changes everything
Life must go on
And I'm not gonna stand in your way

But I loved her first and I held her first
And a place in my heart will always be hers
From the first breath she breathed
When she first smiled at me
I knew the love of a father runs deep
And I prayed that she'd find you someday
But it still hard to give her away
I loved her first

How could that beautiful women with you
Be the same freckle face kid that I knew
The one that I read all those fairy tales to
And tucked into bed all those nights
And I knew the first time I saw you with her
It was only a matter of time

But I loved her first and I held her first
And a place in my heart will always be hers
From the first breath she breathed
When she first smiled at me
I knew the love of a father runs deep
And I prayed that she'd find you someday
But its still hard to give her away
I loved her first

From the first breath she breathed
When she first smiled at me
I knew the love of a father runs deep
Someday you might know what I'm going through
When a miracle smiles up at you
I loved her first

Reason #45 why I am exited to marry Laura

She has been tested by God and has come out like pure gold.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Enraptured Admiration

I've recently find myself amazed with the relationship that the saints of old had with God. Laura and I have been enjoying the new Chris Tomlin CD lately and one of the songs on it is the original version of Amazing Grace. The last verse is different then how it is typically sung now.

"The earth shall soon dissolve like snow
The sun forbear to shine
But God, Who called me here below
Will be forever mine
Will be forever mine" Newton

In Heaven, God will be forever mine. This isn’t just a business relationship or a mere acquaintance, but this is an “enrapture admiration (John Calvin).” Newton understood that our earthly marriages are only a reflection of our relationship with God. There should be nothing that we are more passionately in love with then God and His glory.

What defines my life isn’t my marriage, my job or anything temporal in this life. What drives me in this life is what I look forward to in the next life. My life needs to be characterized now by making the most of having Christ as “mine.”

As I think about being a care group leader and asking how guys are doing in terms of spending with God I need to convey to them that it isn’t an issue of regularity in quiet times, but instead it is a matter pursuing intimacy with God through communing with Him by the means of prayer and His Word because. Having a quiet time isn’t about just reading the Word and praying, but instead it is admiring the beauty of the One whose blood purchased me. I want to whet my appetite now for Heaven’s delight because there is truly no other satisfaction here on earth then growing in the one that I was made for.

"Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in thee." Augustine

Reason #57 why I am excited to marry Laura:
her heart to meet with God and be made more like Him!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Yay for engagement pictures ;)

Yeah, I know...you don't see or hear from me very often anymore. Life is so busy that, sorry folks, but blogging has been at the bottom of my priority list....but I have a fun update ;)

We finally got our engagement pics, courtesy of Janelle Bradshaw ;) Here are a few of our personal favorites. Enjoy...and check out our wedding website for more.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Marrying my best friend

Earlier tonight I had a chance to talk to an old friend from high school. It's interesting, I remember my senior year of high school my old Young Life leader discipled myself and two other guys. We called ourselves, "The Fishermen's club," because we were called to be Fishers of Men. We all went to different high schools, but we were all really close and best friends. We ended up going to different colleges, but made a pact to stay in touch.

Staying in touch has proved harder then we thought. One of the guys is still back home in South Bend, I'm out here on the east coast and another guy is in Hawaii. With our busy lives it's very rare that three of us get to see each other, although we do talk on the phone once every few months. I remember a conversation a few years back where we talked about being in each others wedding. The first guy got married this past summer and none of the fishermen were there. For my wedding in December none of the fishermen will be able to make it either.

With college, my internship and moving out here, I have always felt like a bit of a nomad. I have had some friendships and relationships that have come and gone, even ones that I would last the test of time. Two months from today I will be marrying my best friend and having someone who will always be there. There won't be any moving away from each other, but actually getting to live life together and sharing every moment as we grow in Christ. What a blessing this is for me that I sometimes struggle to comprehend. Every other friendship has been for a season, but this will be a joining of two lives. For better or for worse, till death do us part.

Reason #61 why I am excited to marry Laura...
I will be marrying my best friend

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Baseball, Grace and Marriage

The Mets are playing the Cardinals in game 1 of the NLCS. I can't help but to wonder what Freddy's thoughts are right now. I worked with Freddy during my internship at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Freddy was a lifelong Mets fan. (Freddy was also a bit out there, when asked who you would play him in a movie about his life his response was "batman"). In the summer of 2004 the Mets made a particular trade that was too much for Freddy. Freddy exclaimed to us that he was fed up and could take it no longer. It was officially over and Freddy divorced the Mets. This was serious business, Freddy sold all of his Mets baseball cards, jerseys, souvenirs and memorabilia. He even e-mailed every Major League Baseball team (except for the Yankees and Braves) letting them know that he was an ex-Mets fan and he was looking for a new team. By the end of my summer at Cooperstown Freddy had not picked a new team and said it could be two year process.

The Mets have obviously been recipients of God's grace and are four victories away from being NL champions. Thinking about Freddy's divorce of the Mets it is just further evidence of why the Bible doesn't support divorce. One of the things that we can count on in marriage is God's faithfulness. He will always be faithful to us in our time of need and gives us the grace that we need. We never need to despair or consider anyone a lost cause because God is on our side. If we are properly trusting in God then we can be patient and know that when marriage is built on grace then God will sustain any marriage.

Reason #65 why I am excited to marry Laura:
She likes going to baseball games with me!

Monday, October 09, 2006

More photo fun

Jonah and I were joking around the other weekend about starting our own comedy routine where we told funny stories about all the crazy things that we've done and we'd always says, "hey, remember that time when?"

For example, "hey, remember that time when we tried to start a new tradition of the groomsmen kissing the groom before the wedding?"

Actually, if that happened at my wedding I would probably react the same way Alex does here, but it does make for a funny photo.

Reason #68 why I am excited to marry Laura:

Starting new traditions as we share life together!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Don't Waste Your Life

Something that really struck me earlier this week is how I will glorify God as Laura's husband. Jonah and I were talking about this last weekend and it puts it in perspective when I realize that everything I do for Laura is done for the purpose of God. Piper states in "Don't Waste Your Life," that nothing is merely an idea, but all ideas and actions bear on my wife. Where I work, how I spend my money, what I do in my free time, all of these decisions affect Laura. The only way can I make these decisions to best serve and care for Laura is by primarily viewing everything through the lens of "How can God be most glorified?"

Reason #71 why I am excited to marry Laura:

She is compassionate and has a heart to care for others

Here is Jonah and I at a wedding together this past weekend in Indiana.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Thoughts on engagement

The wedding day is quickly approaching and I came to a neat realization the other day. Since April we have been putting a lot of worthy time and effort into the ceremony. The ceremony will point to God and magnify His glory and it will truly be a wonderful day. This wedding was planned long before we were born, from before the foundation of the world, God had a plan to redeem us to through the death of His Son on the cross and bring us together on Memorial Day 2005 so that we can grow in Christ and in friendship leading us to December 16th, 2006 when we will become one.

The ceremony will be great, but our focus and our desire isn't that one day. Instead, the craving and yearning of our hearts is for every moment of our life together that God wil be glorified. What we are living for right now isn't to be married, but a life that points to the cross.

Ever since we became believers the work of the Spirit in our hearts isn't pushing us towards a great wedding, but a marriage that honors God daily. That excites me to think that December 16, 2006 isn't an end, but a beginning of a new season and knowing the love of my life more as well as my Savior who has made all things possible.

O LORD, we have waited for You;
The desire of our soul is for Your name
And for the remembrance of You. (Isaiah 26:8)

Reason #72 why I am excited to marry Laura...

She has a desire and a passion to see God glorified in all areas of her life.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Day 73

I will do new blog post sometime in the future. Not sure when, but it will come. This wedding season is a hectic one, but God is good and teaching me about priorities.

Reason #75 why I am excited to marry Laura:

She is responsible when it comes to finances realizes the role they play in glorifying God.

A few photos to make you smile

One of my simple pleasures was spending time with my nephew and niece....even though right now is so insanely busy for me with school...I was able to spend a little bit of time with my nephew Isaiah last week. He is getting so big its unbelievable! He will be 1 year this month. The funniest thing was whenever I would snap the camera to take his picture the flash would go off for a few seconds before and he would open his mouth and stick out his tongue! In fact in almost every single picture his mouth is open and his tongue is out!! Here are some cute pictures to make you smile:

And to see some very cute pictures of my new niece Giana (who I hope to spend some time with very soon) go here.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Day 74

Reason #74 why I am excited to marry Laura:

She is gorgeous and will look like a radiant princess on our wedding day!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Day 75

I've been without the internet for the past few days so I haven't been able to update. I was in Indiana at a wedding and I will probably fill in the details about that trip later. For now, time to pick up where I left off...

Reason #75 why I am excited to become Laura's husband:

She helps me to eat healthy and be a good steward of the body that God has given me.