Category Archives: Prentice Family

7 Viewing Suggestions for Social Distancing Families

Pilgrims Progress

Many of us have extra time on our hands these days as we shelter in place, and I hope that each of us will make sure not to binge-watch our lives away. The temptation is real. The Bible exhorts us to make the most of the time, for the days are full of evil (Eph. 5:16). We are told to put on the full armor of God through Bible reading and prayer (Ephesians 6:10-2) so that we will be ready to speak with confidence the gospel of Jesus Christ. We may want to watch our quarantine days away, but I hope we seek first His kingdom and righteousness (Matthew 6:33).

Having made this obvious but necessary qualification, I want to suggest several forgotten or under-the-radar family-oriented options for your viewing pleasure.

  • Lost in Space on Netflix – This is a modernized version of the 1960s sci-fi show. It has impressive special effects, and it is very family-friendly as far as language, sexuality, and violence. If you like sci-fi and adventure, then this worth the watch. Season one is a little slow in the beginning, and the second season is quite a bit better than the first. There is a third season coming out in 2021.
  • The Pilgrim’s Progress – Revelation Media has created and released an entertaining and gripping version of John Bunyan’s classic. Bunyan’s book is second only to the Bible in popularity, using allegory to present the gospel message and the journey of a disciple’s life. We watched it with our 8-year-old and it produced very good conversations about spiritual realities. The portrayal of characters can be a bit frightening to smaller children. Click on this link and you can watch for free: https://www.revelationmedia.com/watchpilgrims/RM11280/
  • That Thing You Do – Tom Hanks and Liv Tyler star in a very clean and entertaining story of a one-hit-wonder band in the 1960s. It reminds us that fame and human applause is fleeting. On the entertainment side, it has quickly become a favorite of my oldest son.
  • Hoosiers – The NBA is on hold indefinitely and the NCAA tournament was canceled, so where are you going to get your basketball fix? Gene Hackman stars in an underdog movie that is based on a true story of rural, Indiana High School Team. If you have a son or daughter that only likes to shoot or do the things that get the glory, then this is a great story that reminds us that fundamentals and discipline are critical to success. That is what I tried to tell my sons, anyway.
  • Greater; The Brandon Bulsworth Story (Netflix) – I don’t like the Arkansas Razorbacks but I really like this movie. This film tells the story of a small-town Arkansas football player with a difficult home-life, who dreamed of playing for the Razorbacks. Overcoming a number of obstacles, including college teammates who belittle his faith in Jesus, he not only makes the team as a walk-on, but he excels and eventually gets drafted by the Indianapolis Colts. While the football side is a great story, his greatest impact is the legacy of his faith in Jesus Christ.
  • A Hidden Life – Based on a true story of an Austrian peasant farmer who refused to declare loyalty to Hitler during WWII. It portrays unwavering faith that keeps him loyal to his convictions, his wife, and his children as he faces the threat of execution. This movie is almost three hours long and is rated PG-13. It comes highly recommended as a film that has flown under the pop-culture radar. Trailer: https://youtu.be/qJXmdY4lVR0
  • Free Solo – This a documentary about Alex Honnold and his journey to be the first to solo climb Yosemite’s El Capitan. It is PG-13 for strong language.

Do you have any suggestions the provoke the imagination and teach good life-lessons? I would like to see your suggestions.

The Importance of WHY for Tooth-brushing and Parenting

 

child-looking-at-brush

Does anyone else find it challenging to get their children to brush their teeth – along with a lot of other simple and necessary tasks?

A few mornings ago our six-year-old was in full resistance mode about brushing her teeth. She just could not understand why it was necessary to brush when it would all be undone by eating in a few hours. She plead her case to her mom. She stated it again. It just didn’t make any sense to her. “What’s the point?”, she complained.

Her patient mom had decided enough was enough, and forcefully commanded that she go brush her teeth or else. And so our reluctant six-year-old moped toward the bathroom, like a teenager with shoulders slouched forward, to do the senseless act – the act of brushing her teeth.

On her way from one end of the house to the other, I stopped her and asked her to talk to me. I asked why she did not want to obey her mom. She put forth her best argument, and I listened. Then I asked her: “Don’t you think we have good reasons for asking you to brush your teeth?” She wasn’t sure we did.

I explained to her that she had been sleeping all night and that there were things in her mouth, that if not brushed out, would create little holes in her teeth. Those little holes would need to be drilled out, and to drill them out, she would need to have a shot to numb her mouth. And all of this would cost us money that would be better used for other, more enjoyable things. I concluded our conversation by showing her the fillings in my teeth and asked: “You don’t want fillings like daddy, do you? Do you see we are trying to help you by asking you to brush your teeth?”

Having appeared to be persuaded by my reasons, she went to the bathroom with shoulders up and brushed her teeth.

So what’s the point of sharing this little experience?

Well, I am not saying we have to formulate careful and coherent arguments for every act of obedience we command, but one of the things I am learning about parenting is that most of the time children respond well when we give them reasons for our expectations. When we take the time to do this, it also teaches them how to think and communicate. We are helping them develop and grow as a person, and we are helping them see that we know and want what is best for them. We are earning their trust.

Sometimes its necessary to demand obedience because “I told you so and I am the parent.” But perhaps taking an extra five minutes to explain the “why” would be beneficial to child and parent.

 

A Psalm 71 Present For My Birthday Boy

E Baby B.DayNo matter how you look at it, life is a precious gift. If you are a Christian, then you recognize that life is an especially meaningful gift because it is designed by God for an eternal purpose. The Bible tells us so.

Today is my son’s eleventh birthday. I love that boy and I want to do spiritual, eternal good to Him. I want him to know that he is intricately designed for a God-glorifying purpose. For this reason, when our children have birthdays, besides giving them gifts, parties and special privileges, I try to say something meaningful to them from God’s word. So this morning I asked him to stop what he was doing on his iPad so he could look at me and I read to him Psalm 71:4-6.

 

Rescue me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked, Out of the grasp of the wrongdoer and ruthless man, For You are my hope; O Lord God, You are my confidence from my youth. By You I have been sustained from my birth; You are He who took me from my mother’s womb; My praise is continually of You.

When I was done reading I said to him something like this:

Son, did you know that just like the person who wrote this passage thousands of years ago, you too have been sustained from your birth by the almighty hand of God? Son, did you know that He brought you from your mother’s womb with breath and life? Did you know that you are fearfully and wonderfully made? So son, find your hope in this God; the only God (5). Son, call out to the LORD God when you are in trouble (4). Son, may you see the goodness of God to you now that you are a youth and are growing into a man (5b), and in response, may you always praise God continually (6). Son, daddy loves you and the best thing for you is to know and follow this God, though Jesus. I thank God for you, son. Happy Birthday.

I didn’t sit down and write a mini-sermon. I just read the text to him and responded by expressing how God’s breathed-out word applied to him on this important day in which we remember that God gave us a very special gift.

Do you do this? Do you take special moments and bring God’s word to bear on the situation? I get lazy sometimes and don’t do it. But I try to always say something meaningful about God’s word, or from God’s word.

Your child will receive hundreds of gifts, many parties and privileges, and thousands of happy birthday wishes. Those are all good. But if you want to give your child something great and eternal, take hold of special moments like birthdays and speak into their lives truth from God’s special word. They may not remember exactly what you said, but I am confident they will remember that you thought they were important enough to give them the greatest gift of all – God’s life-giving word.

Little Things I Like About My Family

Quite often I notice something peculiar about my family that makes me think, “That is really unique to them and it endears them to me.” So I hope to keep an ongoing log, since often these things come strike me as unique but I forget about them until they happen again. Maybe I will use this strategically at some point to show that I am paying attention, and also to express why I love each of them so much. I will update this as content is revealed.

Lacey

  • (02.06.17) My wife is very good at traditions that teach us something about what really matters in life. In the run-up to Valentine’s Day she decorates little sacks with our names on them. She then encourages us to place gifts in those sacks, or to write a note that expresses the reason why we love the one for whom the note was written. She also diligently uses an advent calendar to teach Bella the story of Jesus coming to earth. She is very thoughtful and very consistent. She is a Proverbs 31 woman.
  • (04.26.17) She is gentle, merciful and tender-hearted. But she is also learning to do and say hard things that need to be done and said. She continues to grow as a woman and person.

LP

  • (08.04.16) He has a sensitive heart. When he has done something wrong, he has come clean. It hurts him to confess, but he can’t keep his failures to himself. I thank God that he has a heart that makes it hard for him to sweep his sin under the rug. This is one of the greatest assurances I have that he is truly a Christian. He also has a soft heart for people.
  • (04.25.17) L hit his first homerun yesterday. He hit it to left field and drove in two runs. There was no error on the play and he motored around to score. He was very excited and his teammates jumped up on him to congratulate him. It was the last at-bat of the game and we won by rain-out.

EP

  • (09.08.16) Elijah came in from the first day of school so determined to work hard at Mathmasters – a timed math test the students do for awards. His teacher told the class they were going to have work hard and be on top of things. Elijah came home and promptly made flash cards, working diligently to master multiplication – over a weekend no less. He really is a hard and determined worker.
  • (02.09.17) I like that E doesn’t really care what his hair looks like. If it is sticking up in the back, no biggy. If I knew my hair was sticking up like Alphalpha, I would be anxious about what others think. Not E. He also doesn’t care if his pants look like he is ready for a flood. He does care about some things, like being late, but I like that he has a degree of not being overly preoccupied with superficial things.
  • (o4.26.17) The kid really is low maintenance in many ways. Not all, but most. He does require the coolest brand of clothes. He could really care less about getting new shoes. I have to almost make him go with us to try them on to buy them.

BP

  • (08.04.16) She wakes up talking. Seriously, she immediately begins to talk the moment she is conscious, and then she talks til she goes to bed. The first part is entertaining, but the rest can get tiring. A few times on trips she has shared a bed with me and I have actually observed her open her eyes, and immediately begin to talk about the most random things.
  • (04.26.17) I like it when she crawls up on my leg and lays back and watches TV with me. It’s about the only time she stays still.
  • (04.26.17) She really likes to pick flowers and give them to her mommy. She often sees one or several from the car and wants me to stop so we can pick them.

A Tribute to Edith Prentice, My Consistent and Loyal Grandmother

In my short ministerial career I have done more than a few memorials for those who have passed from an earthly life into eternity.  Some were uncertain or hopeless and not easy. Some were a celebration of a life well-lived.

Being the primary minister for my grandmothers celebration was both easy and difficult.

MamawIt was easy because Edith Lucille (Cook) Prentice, known as MaMaw by her family, was a kind and good woman while she was on earth. She trusted in Jesus and it showed through her life. I sincerely did have difficulty coming up with anything negative to say about her. When my mother posted on Facebook that she had died, the overwhelming theme of the many comments was that she was such a kind, sweet woman who was always smiling.

But it was MaMaw’s reputation of kindness and goodness that also made my preparation challenging. I did not, and even now, do not want to idolize her because she was such a wonderful woman. For this reason, it was important that I struck the right balance in paying tribute to her.

MaMaw passed away on August 4, 2014 at the age of 96, which is even more impressive considering she was a cancer survivor of over 40 years. She died in Tulsa, but until 2009, she had lived all her life in Haskell County.

When I learned that her days were drawing to a close, I began to think about what made MaMaw the great woman that I had come to know. Besides the fact that she made the best banana pudding and chocolate chip cookies in the world, what about MaMaw made her worthy of our respect and honor?

She was so many things. She was loving, caring, generous and servant hearted – to name a few, but her life was consistently marked by consistency and loyalty.

You could see this in the little things of her life:

  • She always had Wrigley Spearmint or Juicy Fruit Gum in her purse. Was it for her grand-kids or her? I don’t know but I knew I could count on MaMaw for a stick of gum.
  • If she was in Stigler, her garage door was almost always open and her door to the house unlocked; almost as if she was extending an open-house invitation. This made it easy for me to go in and partake of a can of mandarin oranges. I can’t remember a time I was disappointed to find she had none in the cupboard.
  • She always sat in a certain area of Stigler First Baptist Church without being a territorial curmudgeon. She was a faithful church attender and served consistently in the nursery, the library and the church kitchen.
  • She was a loyal Baptist. When she moved to the assisted living center in Tulsa, I one day asked her if she was going to church (chapel). She said she had, and informed me that the ministers were of different denominational varieties. She further explained the most recent minister was a Methodist and wanted me to know he was a nice man and did a good job, but I was not to worry for she was still solidly a Baptist and she would not be converted.
  • She wanted all her grandchildren to have some sort of quilt or blanket she had made with her own hands. She was industrious.
  • She was a loyal Oklahoma State Cowboys Fan! I would say, as a fan of another team in the state, she was even a little combative about it at times. She had an OSU pillow that was with her right up until to her final moments of life.
  • As best she could, she was very supportive of her grandchildren and their extracurricular activities. On one occasion she attended one of my American Legion Baseball Games in Poteau and I was trying to pitch. In other words, I was having a hard time throwing a strike. One of fathers of a teammate was not impressed and was letting me know about it. MaMaw, who was sitting not far from him, turned and said, “Sir, that is my grandson!” Translation: “Be quiet or I’ll have to come up there!” She would never say something like that, but the man got the point and ceased from his hostilities.

These were all little things and some may seem insignificant, but they are little things that displayed her consistency and loyalty. Little things are telling things! 

She was also consistent and loyal in big things:

  • When I would visit her in her home, her Bible was always visible, and there was evidence of its regular use.
  • She was known in her church to be a “prayer warrior”. I heard members of Stigler First Baptist describe her this way on several occasions. I know for a fact, she prayed for me constantly.
  • She was loyal to her husband who died on January 18, 1978. She was married to him for 41 years and remained faithful to her covenant for 36 years after his passing. That is 77 years of loyalty. Without a doubt, this has had a lasting influence on the marriages of her children and grandchildren. There have been thirteen marriages of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and to this very day there has not been a single divorce. My grandfather died when I was three years old, but many years later I can remember MaMaw weeping because she missed her husband.

Prentice Family 2

In my view, she was a consistent and loyal woman. In small things and big things, she was a great woman!

And this is also why speaking and writing about her is hard. It is hard because while I want to honor her for the things she did and the person she was, I don’t want to idolize her or miss the source of her strength.

From where she stands now, imagine what she would say to me and to you. Consider what she thinks about her own greatness. I believe strongly that if she could speak to us right now, she would say, “NO!” Or, “Be Careful not to make too much of me!” Rather she would say, “Honor me by making much of  Jesus, the Lamb who was slain for the forgiveness of sins; for the forgiveness of my sins!”

MaMaw was a loyal Christian and my hope and joy is grounded in the fact that she was consistently loyal all of her life to our loyal and faithful Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. MaMaw was a Christian! In fact, MaMaw is a Christian! Jesus, the eternal Son of God is the source of her greatness.

What is a Christian? A Christian is not just a good or moral person. Mark Twain once said, “Church (Christians) is good people standing in front of good people, telling them how to be good.” Mark Twain was wrong!

A Christian is someone, like MaMaw, who acknowledges they are not righteous or good (Romans 3:9-20), but they belong to God by faith in Jesus Christ, who is their perfect righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21),  and therefore, they want to trust and obey Jesus everyday of their lives. Because MaMaw was forgiven by faith in Christ alone, she wanted to honor Him with all her life.

Jesus was the source of MaMaw’s exceptional life while she was on God’s Earth!

Because of MaMaw’s legacy and influence, I hope others will follow her example and trust fully the words of Jesus in John 14:6,  “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” As CS Lewis succinctly pointed out about such supernatural claims, “Jesus is Lord, liar or a lunatic!” The resurrection emphatically proclaims that He is the way, the truth and the life! The resurrection proclaims that Jesus Christ is Lord!

And because Jesus is the Lord of all, those of us who are trusting in Him, like MaMaw trusted in Him, can claim the kinds of wonderful and hopeful promises found in Romans 8:31-39.

 “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

MaMaw is not dead, she is alive in Christ (Eph. 2:5). So let the memory of her life plead with you to trust Christ and live well for Christ. Be grateful and celebrate the life of MaMaw; a kind, consistent and loyal woman who knew God through Jesus. Trust in Him! Honor MaMaw by Honoring her Lord!

Prentice Man-Venture 2013

For several years in a row I have taken the boys on a dad and son get-away to another country that some people call Eastern Oklahoma (I grew up there). The  boys eagerly look forward to this time and so do I. You will see in the pictures below that for the first time we invited a couple friends of the boys to come along, which made for even more adventure – especially in Wal-Mart trying to shop for man-sustenance. BTW, God taught me a lot about patience through these blossoming young men.

We live in an ultra-busy culture that seems to be steaming ahead at a relentless pace, robbing relationships of quality time. I want my sons to have memories that serve as reference points that remind them that their dad was not too busy to intentionally plan for time with them. I have also found that some of the best teaching moments and conversations come around a fire, with a fishing pole in hand or during a walk-about (hike).

And it is not as if I don’t spend time with my sons. After all, I live with them, take them to soccer practices and games and do all other manner of daily activities with them. But I see the need to create traditions with them that cultivate conversations and memories. So as a means to an end, I hope in part that this blog will help me remember this and spur fathers to plan special times and traditions.

Setting out for an exploration adventure.

Setting out for an exploration adventure. AKA a Walk-About.

My boys really like to climb this shell bank. It's just steep enough to be a little scary.

My boys really like to climb this shale bank. It’s just steep enough to be a little scary.

As far as I know, the only casualty of the trip - a frog that died at the end of a Red Rider BB Gun.

As far as I know, the only casualty of the trip – a frog that died at the end of a Red Ryder BB Gun.

What goes down, must come up.

What goes down, must come up. Climbing up a ravine.

A nice sized crappie. I didn't have time to fish we caught so many fish and limbs.

A nice sized crappie. I hardly had time to fish because we caught so many fish and limbs.

We ran some jug lines. This one was about 8 lbs. We also caught a 7 and 3 pounder.

We ran some jug lines. This catfish was about 8 lbs. We also caught a 7 and 3 pounder.

Elij and Landon displaying their catch from a jug-line.

Elij and Landon displaying their catch from a jug-line.

The dock where many a fish was caught.

The dock where many a fish was caught.

Luke and I waiting on the next fish to bite.

Luke and I waiting on the next fish to bite.

Elijah and I picking some apples.

Elijah and I picking some apples.

Campfire, hot-dogs and smores with my long-time friend Daniel Milligan and his  daughter, Maggie, and son, Reese.

Campfire, hot-dogs and smores with my long-time friend Daniel Milligan and his daughter, Maggie, and son, Reese.

Four great boys.

Four great boys.

Dinner at Poppy and Grammy's house on the way home.

Dinner at Poppy and Grammy’s house on the way home.

“Dad, Do You Drink Beer?”

Our family of five just spent the last nine days on vacation and during that time I fielded a litany of questions. The one I remember the most is this one: “Dad, do you drink beer?”

It stuck with me because it seemed a very strange question in light of the fact that my most extensive beer experience was a mere tasting back in high school.

Why then did Luke ask me a question that seemed out of the blue?

On the way to our vacation destination and while we were there, he observed multiple people drinking beer. Children notice and hear more than we realize and so seeing a decent amount of beer consumed he must have wondered if his dad was secretly doing what he saw others doing.

And so I answered him this way: “Son, have you ever seen me drink a beer?” To which he responded, “No.” To which I asked, “Son, do you think daddy hides things from you?” To which he responded, “No.” To which I stated, “Son, mommy and daddy don’t hide things from you because we want you to trust us. We don’t sneak around doing things that you don’t know about, and if ever you have other questions about what we do and don’t do, you can ask about that also. Okay?”

This little story is not primarily about whether I think it is wrong to drink beer or other kinds of alcohol. We already have and will continue to talk to both of our sons about the dangers of drinking and why we convictionally choose not to drink – though we are in some ways free to do so. The point is that my son wondered whether I was being completely honest with him about what I was saying and what I was doing, and so he wanted to know whether I was being consistent. I looked him in the eye and told him that he could trust me because what he heard and saw is what is real.

I don’t know if it was a memorable moment for him or not, but for me it was a powerful moment to be able to say to my son, “You can trust your dad on this.”

I want to be as consistent as I can in parenting the children God has given.

I want them to trust us and I want them to feel free to ask questions. Even hard ones.

I want to be able to look each of them in the eye and say, “We don’t attempt to hide things from you. You can trust us.”

These parenting aspirations were strengthened in me as the result of a simple and honest question. May God use them for His great glory and the good of my children.

What We’ve Lost and Gained by Adopting

We talked about adopting for years and we wanted to adopt before I got really old. I didn’t want a teenager in the house after 60. So we prayed and we decided to go for it. I thought surely we wouldn’t be chosen for months, but God had other plans and we received a call within the week about meeting a birth mom who was considering adoption. We met the birth mom and her mom in November in Tulsa, and now we have a precious little baby girl living with us, as we wait to legally make her ours permanently.

So trying to wrap my mind around everything, Lacey and I discussed in a recent car ride what we have gained and what we have lost in the process of adopting Bella Faith. Here’s what we came up with:

What We’ve Lost

  • We’ve lost sleep. Bella is a good sleeper but she seems to like to be awake at inconvenient times, namely when Lacey and I should be sleeping. Thanks to my wife who absorbs most of the sleep loss.
  • We’ve lost money and will spend money. Adoptions cost money. Little people cost money. Formula and diapers don’t last long. Also, I suppose I should start saving for the prom and the wedding – according to my wife.
  • We’ve lost future income. By agreeing to use the adoption agency we used, we also agreed that Lacey would stay home and not take a job outside the home until Bella turns five-years-old. This means a few financial goals of mine will have to wait.
  • We’ve lost weight.  Well, Lacey has.
  • Lacey has lost the car war. Now you know why we have a “swagger wagon.” Lacey gave up her car pride to adopt little Bella.
  • We’ve lost privacy. Adoption requires that we tell a person who does a “home study”, almost everything about our lives. Additionally, we have opened up our lives to a whole other family.
  • We’ve lost the completion of potty training and bath time. Luke and Elijah can now brush their own teeth, wipe their own behinds and bathe themselves. Now we are starting over.

What We’ve Gained

What we’ve lost begs the question whether adoption is worth it. Is it worth the loss and trouble? See what you think?

  • We’ve gained a daughter. Children are blessing from the Lord.
  • We’ve gained a disciple to be made. Jesus said for us to make disciples and that responsibility starts in the home. Bella will get a heavy dose of the whole gospel of Jesus Christ.
  • We’ve gained more family. Faith, Bella’s birth mom has become like a sister to us. We love her and want what is best for her. Because this is an open adoption we have gained lots of new family who will continue to be a part of Bella’s life.
  • We’ve gained the testimony of being pro-life. We have for a long time defended the right to life for the unborn, but doing something about it gives us credibility because we have become a part of the solution.
  • We’ve gained the experience of being blessed by our church family. The prayer, encouragement and monetary support have been overwhelming. We truly have been loved by those who have supported us.
  • We’ve gained the joy of a newborn. Yes, she poops a lot and wakes up at inconvenient times, but I love to look at her – even when she does nothing but lay there. I see her and I see the glory of God in creation. I see intricate detail and someone that is fearfully and wonderfully made, and my heart fills with joy.
  • We’ve gained important life lessons for our two sons. What an opportunity to teach our sons about making sacrifices for others. What an opportunity to teach them respect for little girls and to learn to protect their little sister. What a lesson on sharing with someone our life.
  • We’ve gained the opportunity to make it hard on suitors. I’m really looking forward to this, and I want myself and my sons to set such an example of what a gospel-centered man should be, that Bella will have great expectations for the man who seeks to win her heart and make a covenant to her before God.
  • We’ve gained a deeper understanding of what Jesus has done for us (Romans 8:14-16; Galatians 4:4-6). We have been adopted through Jesus Christ and I see this adoption teaching us about this for years to come. What is the gospel and what must I do to be saved, and therefore adopted by God through Jesus?

Much more could be said in both categories, but you tell me; is it worth it? In this world there will be loss and trouble (John 16:33), but Jesus has modeled for us that we are to embrace the loss for that which cannot be taken away. Sometimes to lose is to gain (Matthew 16:24-28) and I don’t think in the grand scheme of things, we have lost a thing.

Bella’s Pinkie Fingers in a Dangerous Universe

I am fascinated with Bella’s pinkie fingers. They are so small, fragile, intricate and perfect. Meet little Bella.

I was dwelling on this early this morning and somehow made the thought jump to the universe and the little I know about it. It too is fascinatingly intricate and stunning, but it is also dangerous.

Supernova

The fact that Bella Faith, barely a week out of the womb, can live in a universe with black holes, supernovas, massive solar flares, asteroids flying all around our little planet and all sorts of other known and unknown, awe-inspiring dangers is mind-numbing.

It begs the question(s): Why are we still here? Why does God allow the massive known and unknown danger in the universe that is completely beyond our control?

For me the answer was awe and worship at the sovereign mercy of the only Creator God.

Pure majestic and all-powerful mercy reminds us that God has to be in control and that He is in control (Ps. 19; Isa. 40:25-26; Col. 1:17; Heb. 1:2-3). Otherwise, we can’t exist and know the joy of little pinkie fingers that belong to the most fragile beings in the universe.

Stop, ponder and worship the God of the universe, who crafts pinkie fingers and controls the dangerous universe.

Meet Bella Faith

I was in Louisville, Kentucky when I got the call that Bella Faith was likely to be born this week. The men that I was with at a conference graciously agreed to leave a bit early so I could get back to meet her. She was born at 9:28 p.m. at St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I was in Rolla, Missouri when I got the call that she had come out. She weighed 6 lbs. and 14 oz and she was twenty-and-a-half inches long. She is a beautiful baby girl and she doesn’t cry much –  yet.

Faith, her birth mom, did a great job and we are thankful that she will trust us with such a precious gift. Lacey also did a great job and was right by her side, encouraging her the whole time.

Her brothers  can’t wait to meet her face to face. With much anticipation and excitement, they have been looking forward to loving her and changing her dirty diapers . I’ll have to work hard to motivate that later act of love, but I know this will be good for our sons.

Lacey and I have a lot of love to share with Bella, but I know that what she teaches us about God and being other-centered will be a gift to us. I hope this whole process and act is for God’s glory and the good of others. Especially since God has  adopted those who believe in Jesus Christ as sons and daughters. We are not doing anything that God hasn’t graciously done for us.

About Bella’s name – Bella is in honor of my grandmother, Hattie Bell, who died this year at the age of 100. Bella means beautiful. Faith is in honor of her birth mother whose name is Faith.

Thanks for all your support and prayer and we hope that you get to meet Bella soon.