Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving List 2012

In the tradition following my dad's Thanksgiving List in His column "Chip's Off the Old Block", here is my Thanksgiving List for this year.

I’m thankful for God’s grace that forgives me of all my sin, credits me with righteousness, and adopts me into His family as His son.

My wife who is the treasure of my life. She is excellent and wise beyond any beauty I could ever imagine. I love my beautiful wife. She challenges me, sharpens me, and points me to Jesus.

All of my children. God’s grace in my older children’s lives is absolutely amazing. Kashiku and Lemlem defy the typical compliments others can pay to a parent. Yes, he is strong and handsome; yes, she is beautiful. But they are wise. Both of them have a heart to reach the nations with the Gospel. I praise the Lord for their hearts.
I praise God for the babies, Isaac and Kaleb. I love watching their personalities blossom; I love kissing their faces and snuggling them up.

My mom and dad. They care for my family and I more than I know and more than the average person can understand. I thankful for their wise counsel.

I love to hear Karen tell me about a conversation she had with either my mom or dad on the phone without me.

GracePointe Baptist Church. I’m thankful to pastor a church cares about the Gospel.

I’m thankful to serve along two pastors at GracePointe, Jim and Phil.

A magical sister who is a great aunt.

A nephew who is very smart, verbose, and entertaining.

Teaching at St. John’s Academy.  The Lord has worked in an awesome way that has brought me to SJA. I’m thankful I was able to home school Kashiku and Lemlem. That experience allowed me to work at First Baptist Church in Palm Coast last year which provided teaching experience. The Lord has given me a great calling to pastor and teach children.

The leadership and teachers at St. John’s Academy. Wallis Brooks, the principle is a very kind woman and excellent leader. I’m thankful for the teachers in the first grade that are an immense help to me – Mrs. Mahen and Mrs. Reinhold.

I’m thankful for Kashiku & Lemlem’s teacher, Mrs. Masters.

Kashiku & Lemlem making all A’s at such a tough school. They are champs!

Living in St. Augustine.

The Alligator Farm. It’s a family favorite! We have our favorite animals: the reticulated python, marabou stork, and the macaw, Even if it’s slightly scary walking over the alligator pit with small children.

My wife’s great cooking; it’s adventurous with many new spices and flavors.

Riding my bike.

My friend and encourager, John Mark Tittsworth.

Preaching the Gospel.

Having a family that listens to the Gospel. Watching Kashiku & Lemlem’s faces while I preach is a blessing I’m thankful for and humbled by. God is good.

Running races with my family.

Dr. Eddie Hatifield, a blessing like none other. His wisdom and friendship is incomparable.

Running while Kashiku & Lemlem ride their bikes, and I push the babies in the stroller.

Working out with Karen (it doesn’t happen very often, but I love it.)

Working puzzles with Kashiku & Lemlem.

Karen and I watching our favorite TV shows together.

Playing chess with Mitchell and Paul.

Eating a quart of Cold Cow Ice Cream, chocolate peanut butter of course.

The house we live in right now.

Having sand in my shoes.

Two cars that work. As a driver of a minivan that currently has a luggage rack on top, I can say my dream car has finally arrived. It’s no muscle car, but it’s a wonderful blessing to need such a car.

An office at Christ the King Anglican Church. I’m very thankful for the care and support of this fellowship. David Alert, the pastor, is a blessing to me and GracePointe.

Going to the beach.

Playing Monopoly Deal, a card game, with my family and winning. *Karen would suggest she wins the most frequently. This is my Thanksgiving List though. Her suggestion will be neither supported or refuted.)

Siracha hot sauce

Friends of mine that are pastors and faithful to the Gospel: Jamus Edwards, Brandon Swanner, Jeremy Hatfield, Brad Rhodes, and Freddy T.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Orphan Sunday

In every worship service we make Christ the center or our worship. Yesterday churches around the world highlighted orphan care. I preached from Ephesians 1:3-6 in order to highlight our status as adopted children. By the glory of God's amazing grace, God chose us to be holy and predestined us to adoption as sons. As former orphans we celebrate God's great grace in our lives. When we read this passage our hearts immediately leap in praise because of what God has done for us. This text is about worship. We recognize that God designed and accomplished salvation in a perfect Trinitarian act, as the rest of the passage shows (1:3-14). 
As God's children we tell God's story of adoption to ourselves every day. The Gospel reminds us what Christ has done on our behalf and whom we now are in Him. By teaching the Gospel to ourselves everyday we rest in God's faithfulness and love rather than our self-righteousness. 
Our theology ties into orphan care because the church is most suited to care for the orphans. All because we know what it is to be an orphan, we gladly provide for the needs of orphans. Providing for the needs of orphans comes through adoption, foster care, assisting foster parents or families adopting, giving to those who are adopting, and most importantly praying. 
We can pray for Eric and Amy Ostrander. Right now they are in the Democratic Republic of the Congo attempting to finalize their adoption of two boys. They meet with their social worker today to advocate for their son. They should have a decision sometime Tuesday. Church, pray for this adoption to be finalized and the Ostrander's bring home their two sons soon.