Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tough family stuff

I got a phone call today from my older brother that was rather tough.

Heres the situation. My younger brother is getting married in a week and a half, and his bachelor party will be this coming weekend, July 3rd and 4th. I found out about the date of the party about a month ago and was a bit dissapointed because I knew Melissa and I were busy that weekend. Melissa's family is having a get-together over the weekend and we had committed a few months ago that we would be coming. You see the dilemma: honor my word to Melissa and her family? or head to Canton to be with my brother to celebrate his bachelor party.

I chose the former, and I would do it a thousand times over. Melissa is first in my life (well actually a distant second to Christ). She is my world and my loyalty belongs first and foremost to my promises to her. Ephesians 5:31 says:

"For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh."

I have left my former family and have begun a new one with my bride. Yes, family still plays an important part in our lives, but it is secondary to my unity with Melissa. She comes first. This is a tough marriage lesson, but one that I hope I'm grasping better.

Anyways, my older brother was disappointed (and said my younger brother was also) that I couldn't come to the party. To his credit, he was looking out for my younger brother and make his wedding stuff special, which is a good and commendable thing. I tried to explain that we have prior commitments, and that my allegiance is to the things I've promised my wife. It saddens me that I'd dissappoint others by this, but I guess that's the way it goes.

Anyone else have similar issues? Is leaving and cleaving a difficult thing for you? Care to share?

Monday, June 29, 2009


Cloth diapers.....yup, we're trying them. No real reason other than we want to be better to the environment. We're not really sure it's gonna save us a ton of money, but we're trying it. Thoughts? Suggestions?
Oh, yeah, I'm cute!
E.T. phone home

I'm just getting ready for my senior pictures.
I need to master the one where I rest my chin on my hand. Yeah, you know the one.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Recent Email

If you've been getting our ministry updates, you know I've been doing a bit of evangelism and disciples through the medium of email. Every minute people from all over the world are seeking counsel and advice for life, and we want to be a part of helping all nations hear the Gospel.

Today I got an email from a guy named Ekpes. He asked, "Why do wife inspite of what you do for them, love and care for them even owe debt just to satisfy them still nags at issues that worth nothing." A tough question. Here is my response:

Marriage is a difficult thing. I can definitely sympathsize with you, that I often feel like my wife and I are fighting over "little" issues. Really, I think, our fights are about deeper aspects in our hearts. When we fight over little things, it's usually our wives way of telling us that we've hurt her in some way. Perhaps we aren't loving her sacrificially? Perhaps we put other things before her? Perhaps we neglect her feelings or put her down? It's tough because we are sinful people, in need of grace ourselves, but our wives are as well. The only cure for stuff like this is Jesus. I love Hebrews 4:14-16 that says:

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathsize with our weakness, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

So, Jesus understands this plight! He was ridiculed, mocked and even betrayed. People thought he was crazy. Definitely Jesus understands what tough relationships were like. God would have us look to Jesus, who understands the frustrations we deal with, and accept the grace and mercy to cover over the sins! I would love to be in contact about this. Let me know how I can help! I will be praying for you.

Thanks for reading. I hope this encourages anyone in tough circumstances that may read.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Magnificat

Luke 1:46-56

"And Mary said: 'My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me– holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, even as he said to our fathers.'
Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home."

First, a few things to point out. One, Mary could be as young as twelve years old. That is the age at which young Jewish women begin to be given in marriage. Most think she is around 14. Imagine today! So, let's not over-spiritualize her, this is a 14 year old girl!

The context is that Mary was just called blessed by Elizabeth for believing in God and trusting His promises. Elizabeth says, "Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!" Mary is blessed! She bursts out into this song, called the Magnificat.

Mary breaks out in rejoice for God. Remember now, she probably isn't that pregnant. She is bursting out in absolute faith. She may not even be showing signs of a baby yet; the only evidence she has been given is John's leap in Elizabeth's womb.

I've emphasized two different things in this early church hymn. First, in bold, is the recognition that God is the actor. He is the initiator and the mover. He is mindful, He has done great things, He extends mercy, He performs mighty deeds, He scatters the proud, He brings down rulers, He lifts the humble, He fills the hungry, He sends the rich away, He helps Israel, and highlighting one of the main points in Luke, He keeps his promises, just like He said. Mary's recognition of this is awesome. God is the mover; all things are because of and brought about by Him. For me, it would read: He brings in our support, He is raising Noah to love Him, He holds our family together, He sets students' hearts ready to know Him, and many more! God is the actor of everything in our lives. What does it read for you? Do you recognize God's hand and control over every aspect of your life, as this 14 year old girl does?

Here is why Mary recognizes this so fully, and my second notation in the above passage; the italicized point out Mary's humility and brokenness before God. She is humble, she is the receiver of mercy, and she is His servant. She comes to God saying, 'I am yours. Nothing in me has earned your favor. Thank you for your mercy and use me as your servant.' This is where God has been setting my heart. I believe it starts by recognizing God is in control of all things, just as Mary does, and then moving forward knowing we have nothing especially great or good to offer.

God I am yours. Raise our support as you will. Raise our family as you will. I am your servant to accomplish your will in my life, family and community. Thy will be done.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day and other thoughts

Happy Father's day! It's kind've cool being a dad today. I'm proud of my status as a father; and I hope I do the godly title honor and not defame our sovereign great abba.

I'll get to Mary's prayer tomorrow. I'm excited for it, check back.

I just finished Angels and Demons by Dan Brown. Really good book. He does a great job at leaving cliff-hangers and forcing you to continue reading. It's just a very difficult book to put down, just ask Melissa! The Science v. Religion theme seems to dominate the entire book, for good and bad. I just wish people wouldn't read the book and claim Dan Brown's subtlely conveyed worldview as their own. To his credit, the guy is ridiculously intelligent, but he is no theologian or philosophical scholar on the existence of God or His church. Brown is just off on a few points, in both the Da Vinci Code and this book, which I will not go into here unless someone eagerly wants to know. But if you're looking for an entertaining and capitvating story, look no further than either of those books.

I'm curious what people will think about this, but we started a new family tradition on my brithday. We decided that for each of our birthdays henceforth we will receive no gifts. Rather, we will give gifts to every other person in our family. So, for example, on my birthday I got Melissa a CD and Noah a set of building blocks. I'm am super excited about this new tradition. If it is true that it really is better to give than to receive, than why not act this truism out on our birthdays? How great would it be to have a son that is more eager to give gifts and toys rather than hoard them for himself? Forget our son, what if that was my heart? It saddens me to see little kids (though I know this is the natural selfish sinful nature) tear through gifts only to ask, "Where is the next one!?" or "What else?" We want to do our best to instill in Noah a sense of giving. Additionally, we hope this will help our kid(s) learn to be excited about the achievements and special occasions of others. Granted it'll be for selfish reasons Noah is excited about my birthday and Melissa's, but that'll be a step from me having a hard-time even remembering my parents birthdays, far removed from anything even resembling excitments for them.
If this idea sounds familiar to you, it's because I stole it from JRR Tolkien's hobbit-world. This was the practice of Hobbits. They took the theme farther to give gifts to anyone coming to the birthday party; in Bilbo's case this was hundreds of hobbits.

I would love to hear what you think about this! Post comments below!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Luke 1:38

From the previous post, and those following, you know that we've been having an awfully tough last week or so. The news got worse yesterday when, after months and months of pursuit, a rather large supporter of ours decided he wasn't going to stay on our team anymore. It crushed me, particularly.

Melissa was gracious and awesome. She sensed my despair and we went for a walk. She allowed me to vent for a bit and just listened. During this walk, I also allowed the Lord to join us, and allowed my frustrations and burdens to be placed on Him. It was rather awesome. I will not say all stress and pain was alleviated on that walk, but it helped a bit. I love my wife, and I love Jesus. I love that we have a Savior that, according to Hebrews is "able to sympathize with us" because He was "tempted in every way, just as we are, yet was without sin." Jesus knew what it was like to feel abandoned and even betrayed. He knew and embraced the cost of discipleship more than I could possibly hope to attain.

This verse hit me this morning. Luke 1:38. "'I am the Lord's servant,' Mary answered. 'May it be to me as you have said.'..." Pondering Mary has brought me great encouragement this morning. Mary said this following the Gabriel's announcement that she would be with child and He would be King Jesus. This made Mary's acknowledgement in v.38 rather huge. She would be totally ostracized for having been pregnant. She was not yet married! Obviously Joseph would have major objections! This was a heavy burden God was asking Mary to embrace.

It is easy to say, "I am the Lord's servant" when things are going splendidly; it is not at cost of mental, physcial, or emotional hardship. Mary knew her embrace of God's will was a costly one. This thought humbled me. Bart, you're embrace of God's call in your life is not an easy one. Following me is to embrace your cross.

Mary's humility following in her song floored me also. I'll discuss it tomorrow.

Thank you for your prayers. We will follow God no matter the cost.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


It's been a rough few days. We're quite beaten up, to be honest. Support raising is just really taking its toll. It's been on of those weeks in battle where we've just been losing hope at a pretty rapid pace. We want to be done, and frankly we're getting tired of the process.

This has taken its toll in our house too. We're a lot more stressed and seem to be bickering quite a bit about pretty miniscule things. Prayer for us would be very appreciated.

I think I'll take some time to read some from Psalms. It seems David was quite familiar with what we're feeling right now. God, be our refuge.

Saturday, June 13, 2009


Today is my Dad's birthday ....
We got to go swimming together this morning. See above. I just like to smile. Smiling's my favorite. And when I'm done with my nap, we'll make baby food for two hours, then we'll go swimming, then we'll eat a whole roll of Tollhouse cookie dough as fast as we can, and then we'll snuggle.
Sounds like a good birthday to me. I hope you enjoy it Dad!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Mom & me, we love you a lot!


Sunday, June 07, 2009

Tim Keller talk

Check this out. It's quite lengthy, but he basically discusses the things I've been bloggin about the last couple weeks. Tim Keller is awesome.


And get "The Reason for God." Seriously, stop reading this ridiculous blog and go on Amazon and order it.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

I've got news!

We're pregnant!

Pool time

Since we don't have a pool, this inflatable ducky tub will have to do.....

And by the way, the above post is a joke. Ha ha ha, I'm funny.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Anniversary trip

We had a great 4-year anniversary trip! We went to Hocking Hills and just got a cabin for the night. Before we checked in, we though it'd be fun to go canoeing, so we decided to do that even though it was supposed to rain. And boy did we not regret it! About halfway through the seven mile route, a ridiculous down-pour began. It's tough to describe here, but it was moving to say the least!

Our different reactions were hilarious. Because it was thundering in the distance, Melissa was a bit worried. "Oh no," she kept saying, "We're going to orphan our child! Poor little buddy!" I laughed. My reaction was total bliss. I was hootin and hollerin; I even busted out in a few phrases of worship to God for His power and glory in creation. It was awesome. This was my favorite moment of my last year, undoubtedly. I was telling Melissa I'm going to do something like that in Heaven. The only things that could've enhanced the moment were Jesus walking on water beside us, and perhaps St. Augustine in a parallel canoe discoursing with me about theological matters. What a dream!

The time with Melissa was way overdue and was utterly sweet. I love my wife. For whatever reason, I forget that at times throughout the grind of life. I think I've taken for granted that she is my best friend, but that day and a half gave me time to just adore her in her beauty. She is more than my best friend, she is my princess and I'll storm the castle for her.

We got lunch at a little dinky joint called Etta's lunchbox cafe. Seriously, if you're ever in the area stop at this place. It looks totally pathetic and run-down, but they're famous nationally their food quality. Everything is delicious. We ate here on our honeymoon 4 years ago and just had to return.

It was good to forget about support and even Noah for a little bit and just focus on our marriage and where God is taking us together. I think we all need slow-down moments like that, and the $100 for a cabin is well worth it in terms of reorienting and rejuvenating our hearts.

Lord, slow us down daily, that we may look in your face and behold your beauty. Let us be captured by your radiance.

Monday, June 01, 2009

A new nephew!

Ok, this is a little delayed, but I'm an aunt again! By the way, this is Melissa. :) My sister, Deb, had Andrew James Moore on Thursday, May 14th. Both Mom and "Drew" are doing well. I'm excited and wanted to share now that I have pictures downloaded.