Sunday, August 26, 2012

Week One Wrap-up

Our semester is off and running! Thank you for your prayers, all I can say is that prayer is what has made it possible for us to be here. I don't think that either of us can really explain how amazed we are at the response of our friends and family. Leading up to starting school on Monday we were stressed, emotional, lacking sleep, and just feeling plain crummy.

Here's the crazy thing - classes are still tough, the schedule is just as busy, and life is a little more hectic with three kids in the mix. Somehow through all of that the last few days have just been downright encouraging. We have settled in, reconnected with friends from last semester, gotten into a routine, and aren't getting behind on homework even though Gina's still only getting like 3 hours of sleep every night :) It really has felt "do-able" so far. We really did expect to be more overwhelmed.

This video was one of the first things we saw once we got back, and it really does start to put things into perspective. Do we really believe that people are going to spend an eternity without God unless they hear and respond to the gospel?

Saturday, August 04, 2012

A week of Jackson pictures

It's baby picture time! I've finally emptied my camera's memory cards and will be posting tons of pictures this week. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Summer Question Mark

Thank you for praying! About a day after we posted about not getting our job at Dixie, a temporary job position opened up at our church. I was able to help out around the building for two weeks doing maintenance and landscaping for some cash. I was able to meet some great people, and it was really good to be able to do some hard work. I'm missing it already! Keep praying, we're not sure what's going to happen next!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Bestest Friends

We have such awesome people looking out for us and I just wanted to make a whole post bragging on them! Thank you, we are blown away!!

Some dear friends gave the girls Rosepetal Cottage and just about everything you could dream of to go with it! They are loving it and are pretty much inseparable from it. I have another picture of our entire living room full of all the bags of stuff you guys gave us for the new little guy too. We can't believe how generous you are.

Pajama Cottage Snacktime

Our amazing community group friends put this together as a surprise for us! Totally unexpected! You guys really know Gina, she's a sucker for all that lotion and sweet-smelling pampering stuff. Plus, STARBUCKS!! YUMM!!

Thank you everyone, you are a major encouragement in an uncertain time. You've helped us understand God's great love for us just a little bit more.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Picture post!

I was just looking through some older pictures and found some that i had forgotten to post :)

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Laying in bed with tears soaking into my pillow I realized ... "I'm a 27 year old mother who is currently throwing a temper tantrum because I think my way is best. I really need a time-out." then I realized I had closed myself in my room and was laying in bed... I was in time-out. 

We've had our "plan" as to how this summer was going work out as far as employment. We had NO doubt in our mind that this was the way it was going to happen. Then one afternoon Ben found out that since our semester ended a bit later than a lot of schools his boss had to give the job to someone else. Just that morning I had a smile on my face as I told Ben, "whether our finances come from your job, our savings, a gift, or out of nowhere it's God who's giving it to us - so why worry?" Well, that attitude was much easier for me to keep when I "knew" he had a job. Was I actually putting my faith in God? Or was I placing my faith in myself and Ben? 

This change in plans forced me to realize that I knew the right attitude to have, but I hadn't let it get to my heart. The next day this article was posted on the New Tribes Mission website. Read it. She puts it so much better than I can. 

“I was an inexperienced tightrope walker who the Lord asked to, by faith, walk out with Him on the tightrope. And the clinic was my safety net.”

The clinic was Nikki's safety net, and Ben's job was mine. God's desire is that we trust Him and that we open up our sweaty, white knuckled fists and let Him take over every area of our lives. Right now He's asking that I trust Him with our finances, and I'm trusting that He has a plan. What areas will He ask me to give over to Him in the future? or maybe a better question - What areas am I clinging onto the reigns with all my might? He is worthy of our faith. He's the real safety net.
Romans 8:6-8 (NLT) - So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God's laws, and it never will. That's why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God. 

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Just the right amount

Something awesome happened to us last week as we were getting ready to pack up for the end of the semester! It's baby-related and needs a little bit of backstory to communicate the full awesomeness so here goes:

For summer, we'll be living in the Springfield area, about an hour and a half from the New Tribes campus. A problem we've been debating is whether or not Gina should switch baby doctors. To switch to a Springfield doctor would mean paperwork, and uncertainty about which doctor we could get. To keep our current doctor would mean almost 2 hour drives for the checkup appointments.

One of the reasons we considered keeping the current doctor was that we could stay in our campus house for a while after he's born. Gina has already "nested" the house and it really has come to feel like home, and we really could enjoy some tranquil moments with just us and the new guy without other distractions there. The main problem with doing that is that it has felt like a "splurge" in a time when we don't feel like we can make unnecessary purchases.

Here's the really neat part - Gina had just hung up the phone, having called about the cost of rent for the week. It was going to be about $115-130. I went to straighten up the girls' room and found a suitcase on the floor that they had played with. Some of the contents had spilled out so as I was cleaning it up I realized that there were some envelopes from our Florida trip in January. I opened one envelope up and there were several cards from family and friends, with cash totaling $130!

We feel like this is a cool answer to prayer - being able to be in a place that feels totally "ours" is going to be really sweet for those first few days, when the little guy's brand new. Thanks for reading, I hope it's encouraging for you to read that God really does work in our lives every day. I know we personally need that reminder often!

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Swimming and fishing

 Only 3 of these were actually fish I caught...but it sure looks cool!

This is what I spend most of my time doing when I fish... that's me up in the tree bending a branch down so that they can reach up to get my snagged lure. Oomps!

On the serious end of things, our semester is wrapping up quickly and we're starting to think about summer. We'd like to spend some time this summer getting involved with our church, so if you're praying for us please pray for opportunities with people there. God has been challenging both of us from the word lately, and it's pretty neat - both Gina and I seem to be burdened for people in similar areas. Gina really feels passionate about discipling parents - to teach them how they can better understand and protect their kids. I feel really burdened for churches to have an urgency in the way they approach discipleship. I feel that church leaders should be actively sought out and discipled and I want to be as involved as possible. Both of us could probably write tons about this, but I want to post here mainly about what people are interested in (which seems to be pictures). If you want to hear more about this stuff, shoot us an email or comment!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Woof, that last post was a wordy one! This one will be quick - we just started our last class of the semester - articulatory phonetics! We're studying how sounds are made, and it seems like we'll spend all day every day practicing all the crazy sounds we can make with our vocal chords and the symbols you use to write those sounds down. Fun!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Saving faith by Dave Breese

I read this today and loved it, thought i'd pass it on...

Over many inattentive years, we Christians have needlessly allowed our faith to become the unnatural home of many alien ideas. These come in the form of spiritual-sounding expressions, new definitions, creative changes, late improvements and a hundred other forms of strange thoughts in the Christian family of doctrine and convictions. These little expressions may not be all bad, but more than often they introduce a new but imprecise thought which becomes all-too readily accepted. Most of these word constructions are at best meaningless, but they later become damaging to the faith once delivered to the saints.
Most often, these subtle changes take the early form of mere adjectives which may seem helpful and therefore, despite their lack of credentials, come into use by believers. Indeed, we are now quite accustomed to such expressions as “the deeper life,” “the full Gospel,” “sovereign grace,” “genuine commitment,” and many others. In each of these illustrations, the adjectives are quite meaningless, but the expression lingers with us, sometimes having become an essential part of the theology of one denomination or another. So enshrined these expressions become truth-subverters and faith-twisters and should be viewed with suspicion. More than that, they should be newly examined by individuals with doctrinal discernment. The fact is that all embellishments which are attached to the core truth of Christianity, which core truth is expressed in the inspired words of Scripture, should be held suspect.
One such adjective which needs to be re-examined in our time is the word “saving” which is then used with the word “faith.” “Saving faith” has been brought into the Christian discussion once again.
The adjective “saving” is now used by its proponents to teach that there is some special quality, depth or sincerity of faith which makes it “saving” faith. It is presented as faith that is “genuinely sincere,” “real” and the like. It is frequently defined as being “heart faith” rather than mere “head faith.” The implication is that the first will save and the second will not.
The use of this expression usually means also that saving faith is the kind of faith which is first of all made up of “repentance,” which is then represented as something more than “a change of mind.” Repentance is then improperly defined as “sorrow for sin” or “a turning about” or even “doing penance” (which is what the English word means). Saving faith is then what is invariably presented as also including dedication to the Lord, commitment to Christ, changing one’s way of living, doing good works and the like. As a result, this construct called saving faith is freighted with several causes, results and inevitabilities which have now become, in many uncritical minds, an essential part of saving faith itself. The result of this freighting of the faith has been a great deal of confusion in the Church in our time. Christians everywhere are wondering at the depth of their faith, concerned about the proper degree of repentance, analyzing the extent of their “dedication to the lordship of Christ.” In that all of these and much, much more are included in the current idea of saving faith, a fair amount of confusion has set in in the minds of believers.
In that it is now common to equate salvation and discipleship, Christians are increasingly concerned and wondering about the reality of their salvation. Salvation is now also made synonymous with sanctification, which increases the confusion of these days. The ever-widening definitions of saving faith have now expanded to include lordship salvation, salvation by discipleship and other forms of human works. In the discussions concerning saving faith, the grace of God is becoming increasingly obscure.
There is no such thing as saving faith.
That is, there is no such thing as a faith that is made salvific, genuine or efficacious by its quality. It is not the quality of faith which makes it real or saving.
Faith is “real” or saving only, yes only, because it has the proper object. A “deep,” “genuine,” “high-quality” faith in a rotting rope ladder is worthless by comparison to a simple faith in a strong, solid staircase. Yes, a flicker of faith (which may not be thought of as faith at all by its possessor) in a marble staircase is infinitely more valuable than a long, strong faith in aged hemp which has been eaten away by time. The “assumption” that the staircase will support your weight is better than the passionate, tear-stained, profound conviction that the rotting rope will hold you.
Just so, and most obviously, faith is not a thing of itself. Rather, it is given substance and reality by its object. Faith is given its solidity by the thing in which we have faith. Just so, faith becomes “saving faith” when it is faith in Jesus Christ, the strong Son of God. Specifically, the faith that saves is faith that Jesus Christ is the God-man and that He died for our sins on Calvary’s cross and rose again the third day. When one believes these twin truths—who Christ is and what He did to save us—he has exercised “saving faith.” This is exactly what the Bible means when it says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” (Acts 16:31)
To understand this simple truth is to save oneself a hundred forms of confusion and doubt. Faith is not to be defined by its causes, its antecedents, its depth, its results, its longevity, or its pervasiveness. No indeed, faith is made valid only by its object. All other considerations in evaluating the reality of faith are treacherous and tricky intellectual exercises. They are extra, non-paying passengers on the good ship Grace.
Yes, the good ship Grace is under attack today. But now, the attack on this grand old vessel is coming from a more subtle direction than before. The word “grace” has been well-established as to its meaning in the Word of God, and is therefore not the object of the direct salvos against Biblical truth being fired today. Everyone who is a Christian knows that grace means “unmerited favor” and recognizes that we are saved by grace. Perceptive Christians are correct in understanding that salvation does not come by personal righteousness; rather, this blessed gift of eternal life is ours by imputed righteousness. This imputed righteousness is a credential with God which is perfect and ascribed to our account because of the finished work of Christ on the cross. We recognize that salvation is through the blood of Christ alone. We agree together that Jesus died for our sins on the cross and rose again, that by His death and resurrection He might give salvation and life. All of this is ours by grace. We could not merit this free gift of salvation from the penalty of sin. Grace, we agree, is the way of salvation.
But alas, the Pharisees have now arrived. “Yes,” they agree. “We are saved by grace, but grace only becomes ours when we exercise ‘saving faith.’” At this point, they proceed to introduce and then promote a false definition of faith. As we have noticed, they define faith by its quality rather than by its object. They justify this piece of deception by attaching the word “saving” to the word “faith” and thereby couple a huge and heavy trailer to the word “faith.” This coupling, this attaching of epistemological baggage to faith amounts, upon examination, to nothing more than the old doctrine of the word “repentance.” Faith is also made to include a form of continuance and dedication which cannot in fact be properly measured. Faith has become “commitment,” but this assertion comes to us without any proper definition of the word “commitment.” The fact is that “commitment” cannot be theologically defined except in a perfect sense. It must be “perfect commitment” or, of course, it is not commitment at all. So it is that a strange doctrine that must properly be called “semi-lordship salvation” intrudes on the truth of the Gospel of the grace of God and brings with it a boatload of confusion.
One of the sad consequences of this new kind of doctrine is that the assurance of salvation has disappeared in the minds of many of the children of God. They daily look at their lives and wonder. They wring their hands and ask for the thousandth time the question “Am I really saved?” Having been subverted, they forget that the answer to the question “Am I really saved?” is really “Do I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God and that He died for my sins on Calvary’s cross?” “Do I agree that the death of Jesus Christ, His burial, His resurrection is in fact the Gospel?” In the midst of today’s confusions, many have ceased to believe that the death of Christ is enough to work the work for their salvation from sin’s eternal penalty. Having believed a freighted and therefore a false definition of faith, they have entered into spiritual confusion, a condition from which they may never recover.
In the early days of Christianity, the Galatian Christians were in danger of being subverted by the same false interpretation of Christianity. So to them, the Apostle Paul was constrained to write, “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you,that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you: Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now made perfect by the flesh?” (Gal. 3:1-3)
Paul then reminded them of Abraham’s faith by which Abraham received imputed righteousness. What he said was, “Abraham said ‘amen’ to God” and that was saving faith; that was salvation. These Galatians are then chided for believing that one continues from this point of salvation into perfection by keeping the law. By this, the Apostle Paul denies that the faith that saves is or includes law-keeping; it is rather believing in the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus by which we are saved.
Obviously, the book of Galatians was given to us because God knew that this problem of defining faith as works—and therefore teaching perfection by works—would be with us through the history of the Church. Therefore Paul said to the Galatians, and would certainly say to us today, “Stand fast, therefore, in the liberty with which Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” (Gal. 5:1)
The thinking which is coming upon the Church in our time threatens to produce exactly this problem again—spiritual bondage.
This condition, of course, need come upon no believer. Any Christian can easily avoid this form of spiritual subversion if he will daily remember that he is saved by grace and that his faith is made real, not by its degree, but by its object. Daily, we must look to Jesus, “the author and finisher of our faith,” as the one who makes it all real. Too easily we are prone to succumb to obvious distortions of the Christian faith. At least, we should make those who attempt to subvert us pay a higher price than merely redefining one of our Christian words. Those who are this easily dissuaded from a proper understanding of the Christian faith will hardly be able to muster the strength when the real oppositions to the Gospel come upon us.
Never forget, then, that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. It is not at all faith in ourselves or faith in the degree of our faith. It is not faith in our ability to endure, hold out, or even to be faithful. Faith in our faithfulness is a broken stick. Faith in the fidelity and the finished work of Christ on Calvary and at the empty tomb is the sole and only basis for our claim to eternal life. On that basis, our claim is sure and steadfast.
A moment’s attention to the teaching of the Word of God concerning the way of salvation will impress us anew with the simplicity of exercising the faith that saves. Exercising this faith is like looking at a serpent on a post (John 3:15); it is saying “amen” to God (Rom. 4:3); it is like taking a drink of water (Rev. 22:17). So it is that Jesus said, “But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst, but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” (John 4:14) The experience of salvation in an even more passive mode is taught in Scripture. It is like being made alive when we were dead in trespasses and sins. (Eph. 2:1) It is to be born anew. (John 3:3) It is like a blind man receiving sight. (John 9:39) In this case, salvation came to the blind man because of his affirmative response to the question “Do you believe on Jesus, the Son of God?” (John 9:35)
The faith that brings salvation, therefore, must not be defined as activity on the part of the recipient of salvation. This salvation is received not on the basis of human works, but rather as a result of the fulfillment of one requirement, that of believing that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and believing that the sacrifice made by Christ on Calvary’s cross is a sufficient fulfillment of the divine requirement for the forgiveness of sins on the part of the one who believes.
A call, therefore, for Christian discernment must now be extended; for truly, the battle for the Gospel of the grace of God has come upon us once again. New attention must be paid on the part of individual Christians to sound doctrine and good theology. The beginning of this attention must surely be on the question “what must I do to be saved?” The resounding answer must always and ever be no more and no less than the stunning and surprisingly simple truth “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” (Acts 16:31)

Write or call: Christian Destiny, Hillsboro, KS 67063 316-947-2345

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Field fair

New Tribes sends missionaries to tons of countries. We just had a 'field fair' week with a few representatives from those countries, to tell us the needs and help us decide where we want to serve in New Tribes. We got a little glimpse at how much need there is for the gospel in this world!

 The Mexico presentation was sobering - among the 30 million people in Mexico city, there are indigenous groups of people that have moved out of their native lands for work. They still speak their native language and separate themselves in their own ghettos of hundreds of thousands of people. They must be reached in their own language because they don't know Spanish well enough to understand the gospel in that second language.
This is Denny, one of our small group leaders. She and her husband are so encouraging!
It's so warm and pretty outside!

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Our newsletter

For one of our classes we had to design a newsletter that we might send to supporters. I guess we were going to have to start one eventually :) Check it out and let us know what you think!

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Classroom life

Here are a few snapshots of what our classroom is like. We've made some great friends so far and are really happy to be part of such an awesome group. Some incredible things have happened to us in just the last couple of days:

An anonymous donor paid for this semester's books for us. We were shocked as this is close to $100 worth of materials. One day in class I opened my laptop to find $20 laying on the keyboard. Total amazement at peoples' generosity is pretty much our only response. Also Gina's parents made and paid for an eye doctor appointment for Gina so that she could get new contacts (her old ones were a huge cause of frustration). Thank you so much for that guys, she feels so much better now. Thank you for your incredible generosity. My (Ben's) parents have also begun giving monthly to help support our financial needs. I hope you guys know how encouraging that is to us to keep going. Okay, on to the pictures!!

In case you're trying to read the notes on my laptop (you stalker), FBT stands for Foundational Bible Teaching