I’ve been knee deep in the wellspring of truth that is the Book of Romans lately. Our fellowship group has been moving headlong through the book, chapter by chapter, talking about the mysteries and wonder of the Salvation believers have in Christ. Romans 6 and 7 have particularly hit hard. The realities of not only what the believer is freed from through the death and resurrection of Christ, but what remains, are incredible. I penned a short poem reflecting on the reality that while the believer’s “inner man” is with Christ, redeemed and freed from the condemnation that once laid upon it under the law, the outer body is still subject to decay. Still subject to death, to sin, to temptation. The apostle Paul expresses this dynamic in detail in Romans 7, speaking of his wretched body of death. Though we desire to please God in the inner man, our sinful bodies, the sinful flesh, still tempts us to fall away into sin. To commit our bodies as instruments of wickedness instead of righteousness. The poem is titled to reflect the reality that while sons, our physical bodies are still mortal. They are still lacking. They have not been redeemed and we do not have our heavenly, spiritual bodies.
I echo the Apostle Paul when he concludes “Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
Plea of the Mortal Son
out of death,
buried in the ground bereft,
the outer man still cries.
out of skin,
wretched outer man descend,
fall away and die.
What is true about God, and what we may want to believe about God are not always the same. Sometimes they may be, sometimes they may not be. The important thing to remember is that what we want to believe about God does not change His character, His being, His nature, His will - God is God. He exists whether we believe in Him or not, and He remains who He is no matter how we believe about Him. Our minds are subjective, temporal, human in every way. God is infinite, eternal. Would we not be truly disillusioned and entirely arrogant to believe that a God we invent is the God that exists? God has chosen to reveal Himself to mankind through His Word. What shaky, frivolous ground we tread upon if we think our most ambitious or emotionally promising thoughts about God simply exist.
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see…but it does not exist absent of the solid of ground of God’s word. We cannot hope in ambiguous invention because it feels great in the moment. In cultural convenience or temporary benefit. We do not hope in nothing, and we do not hope in ourselves. We hope in what we know, and we know it because God revealed it to us in His Word. It is one thing to reject God, people do it all the time. It is another to think that such rejection would make God disappear if he truly did exist, as though he is created day by day. If God exists, then he exists outside of your creative control. Examine God in the Bible, read about Jesus in the Word. Make your decision about God based on what He gave us in order to know Him and fellowship with Him - not the ever evolving, subjective thoughts that swiftly pass through your head and mine and change as quickly as the seconds tick by. What a waste that would be.
I did the math. It’s been 140 days since I last posted. That’s a long long time. I guess I’ve kind of left all of the family updating to Bri, since she’s the one with the camera and the long days of Caleb’s curiosity and cuteness. This year has definitely felt like another adjustment. I’m still dealing with a number of health issues that are leaving me feeling hard pressed but making it through. Lately I’ve been dealing with pretty painful tendinitis in my right knee, a result of repetitive 45 minute drives to work and winless flag football teams. Health issues aside, we’ve migrated from our “old” company to a brand new “company” at work. We’ve been developing Facebook games for over 6 months now as Broken Bulb Game Studios, and having a lot of success so far. New office, new co-workers, and a new overall environment.
It’s also been a financial adjustment since we sold off good-ol MagMyPic. I’m thrilled to be relieved of the stress of that side project, but losing half your income means prioritizing the things you really need and learning how to budget properly all over again. It’s easy to feel more responsible with your money when things are going well. It’s another thing when you have to tighten up, and are out of practice a bit. God has been faithful no matter the circumstance, sustaining us physically but more importantly bestowing the grace of endurance through the physical trials and parenting trials, stress and such.
I’ve been teaching the Jr. High class at Desert Hills again lately, and we’re proceeding through a scriptural look inside Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan. I’ve been alternating teaching weeks as I ease back into some of the responsibilities I used to have there. Learning to manage stress and in turn my stomach problems has helped let me add a few more things back in, and I feel edified by the new endeavors. We’re also completing our home remodel, so we are eager to let the stress of a thousand hammers and nails give way to a little more breathing room this summer. I’ll have my office on the other side of the house, so I won’t have to tiptoe at night anymore, and we have room to grow in this home (not saying we are just yet…don’t get ahead of yourself!)
Those that check in with us, I ask you to be in prayer for me to learn better ways to manage stress at work and home, prioritizing what’s important and loosing my grip on what isn’t. It can be hard, but the light and momentary troubles are more than worth it, and I am thankful for the place God has us right now.
Hey all, figured I’d post a few bullet point style updates for the last few weeks, as life has been rather busy.
- Work has been exceptionally busy - but exceptionally rewarding of late. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Facebook, our company builds Facebook games and we currently have two very successful games that you can try out and play on Facebook. You can learn more at our companies website: http://www.brokenbulbstudios.com I am exceptionally thankful for my opportunities at the company and the blessing of having a good job in the current economic climate.
- Due to the wonderful housing market, the possibility of moving anytime in the distant future seems impossible, as we’re well upside down on this house. So we’ve decided we’re going to do some renovations! We are in talks with a couple of contractors about converting our garage into a family room, and building on an additional office behind it, as well as expanding our porch. It looks like we’ll definitely be getting started on the project in the next few weeks, and it should be pretty cool. Will give Caleb some more space and us an extra bedroom.
- I’ve decided to abandon my gluten free diet, after about 2 months of efforts to fix my stomach problems. I only improved about 10% over the time and the diet was exceptionally limiting as well as difficult to get enough calories to maintain weight. We continue to pray for a means to solve the stomach problems all the while knowing God’s plan is better than ours for the trial.
- Lastly we ask for prayers for a couple of friends of ours and their kids as they go through an exceptionally difficult situation. Pray that God may use the difficult situation to shine the light of the gospel into the hearts of those involved. Also for great comfort to the families dealing with the difficult time and long recovery.
Life seems extraordinarily busy these days, which often times for me means a very busy mind. A mind divided by work and family, projects and events, from what seems like morning to sundown. This month I have several side projects I’ve committed to doing in the web design front along with the full time job, a one year old son to run around with, and we’re in the midst of trying to purchase a small townhouse as an investment property in the local neighborhood which has meant paperwork and more time. Also dealing with some medical tests and trying to get a fun little flag football team together in the midst of it all…(Gotta have fun too right?)
Yet as the crazy cloud swirls about me I feel a deepening need to get back to the basics. I’ve come to realize there is no great nobility within busyness, activity, and the like. Though this culture would demand such from you or expect such from you, you can slow down. You have that ability. Jeremiah 10:23 has always been one of the passages of scripture that has gripped me. It reads “I know, O LORD, that a man’s life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps.” This world is determined to facilitate a self-indulgent-self-centric-self-interested person in us, one that does not “settle” for anything but accomplishment and a driven nature to succeed by it’s own standards. At what point can we step back? At what point can we slow down? One has to pursue silence to find it, and within such focus upon the basics every once in awhile, to realize that the steps before you were placed there before you walked them. That God is in control and it is his causes, purposes, and glory that is to be pursued with the driven nature that cannot be satisfied in anything else, no matter how hard we try.
I wanted to share this clip from the book The Pilgrim’s Progress. This four minutes is an incredibly powerful exchange between “Christian” and a man whom he finds in an iron cage of despair and misery. It speaks of one who once was an no longer is. The bewilderment of “Christian” by the man’s condition, a man whose heart is entirely hardened in rejection of the living God for the sake of the fleshly lusts of this world. It gripped me as I have begun to pour through the book again. Without question The Pilgrim’s Progress is one of my favorite books ever. If anyone wants a copy, let me know! John Bunyan is an amazing author. Check out the clip below:
For those that haven’t read it or heard of it, Pilgrim’s progress is a Christian allegory written by John Bunyan way back in 1678…has never been out of print and is one of the most heralded pieces of literature in history.
Andy's Posts, Family - September 13th, 2009
Caleb is 9 months old today. He’s doing a lot of growing these days. He spent quite a few nights waking up at random and crying, and we were curious why that was….but then Bri found the teeth. He’s cutting 4 new teeth bringing his grand total to 8 now. He’s also using those little teeth for lots of little finger foods, which has been fun to watch.
He’s cruising a little on furniture now, but mostly he’s crawling at a swift rate of speed, going wherever he wants to go whenever he wants to go there. This has brought the world of babyproofing to the forefront. From dog food bowls to tupperware cabinets, there’s alway something he wants to get in to. He’s everywhere. He’s also discovered how to point at objects. He loves pointing at new things and points to our mouth, cheeks and nose when Bri or I ask.
His 9 month check up is tomorrow so Bri will come back and post his 9 month stats when she returns.
We just got back from the doctor and Caleb looks nice and healthy. He’s in the 16% for weight (18.5 lbs) and 60% for height (28.5″). Apparently he has a crazy good memory because the second he saw the needles, he started crying and the moment they slapped the band-aid on him he stopped, knowing it was all over. Even the nurse was shocked that he remembered this from 3 months ago. Thankfully, we had no vaccines today, just a TB test, anemia test and the flu shot. He’s good to go until his one year check-up.
Been working for a few weeks now on the sale of my baby, MagMyPic.com (no not Caleb!) - It’s been progressing well despite my lack of integral business-sale-knowledge. Mag has been a blast but it’s also lacked the proper (full-time) attention it deserves to continue growing. I look forward to seeing what the new owner will do with the site to make it all it can be. It will be another month of pretty intense work to get this thing moved and working good under new ownership…wish me luck!
Life has become something of a new adventure since Caleb arrived. I’m not sure if it’s what I expected or not, but it’s certainly a Caleb-centric existance and has been for the better part of 8 months. We try to get everything peripheral done during naptimes, go to events as long as we’re home in time for his bedtime, and we rise at the crack of “Waaaaaaaaaaa” every morning. Caleb runs the show!
It is through marriage first, and then fatherhood that I have come to understand the temptations and tribulations that come within these bonds. The apostle Paul speaks of the fact that within marriage, one’s interests are divided. At once, you are committed to the Lord’s affairs, and yet in another moment committed about how one might please his wife. The core principles within these verses is not to restrict or bring a bitter taste to marriage. It is written so that we might live a life in undivided devotion to the Lord, whether we are alone or together.
It is not mere coincidence that the verses prior to the ones about marriage speak of the truth that this world in it’s present form is indeed passing away. I cannot fathom or properly comprehend this, though I know that it is true, and I know that my passionate love and bonds with Bri and Caleb will change when this world does pass away, and that God shall be glorified in the redemption of his own.
It is easy to consume my mind with the passing world, living each and every day in order to please Bri or Caleb and losing site of an undivided devotion to the Lord, as a family. Rather than looking inward as though our family was huddled, looking only into each others faces, we must turn and hold hands and walk together in devotion to the Lord.
This is not very easy in waterfalls of spitup or hills of blocks and toys. Yet I know the greatest love and devotion I can show to my wife and my son is by lifting them up in the things that are not temporary, but the things that last when our time here has gone.
Andy's Posts, Family - July 13th, 2009
Caleb is 7 months today…that’s nuts! He’s starting to get himself up on his knees all by himself. I think he’ll be crawling pretty soon here…maybe a few weeks. It’s been a fun ride, one where all the hardships get covered over pretty quickly, and you look back at 7 months and barely remember the bad times…but if I were to sum up each month briefly….
Month 1 was sleep and poop…
Month 2 was sleep and reflux…
Month 3 was smiles and reflux…
Month 4 was giggles and relief…
Month 5 was sounds and sitting up…
Month 6 was squirmy curiosity…
Month 7 was playing, learning, and getting attention…
Month 8…fantasy football?
Andy's Posts, Family - July 10th, 2009
I just noticed that Bri’s last post was the 200th total post on this blog (including the posts moved over from my old blog…you know, before I got “married” and my wife started to run the show around here).
Never the less, the 200 posts have spanned over 4 years, with the first post all the way back in April of 2005. That’s a long time. 2005 was the year I first met Bri, it was the year I went on my Israel trip, and had a completely different job, residence, and quantity of wives and children then I have here in July of 2009.
In 4 years time, the blog has evolved and changed as much as I have. It’s a little bit of a walk down memory lane to look back at some of those early posts and see where I was emotionally, spiritually. Most of all, It’s interesting to see the sovereign hand of God turning my heart throughout the years. In four years there have been many joys and sorrows, many struggles and blessings, and much change. And yet God has not changed. He has not evolved. He does not look back upon the four years with regret, like you or I might. He looks upon it with a pleasure in His perfect will. What great joy there is to look back at the most difficult times you experience and see the sovereign hand of God shining brighter than that once darkened night.
May we all set before us the kingdom of God and not our own kingdoms. We’ve seen the kingdoms of five different celebrities fall in the last couple of weeks, none planned, none ready. Though we think we are safe, we do not have the assurance that we will see even tomorrow’s light. I don’t know that I will even make it to post 202. In four years there has been only one thing worth relying upon, worth striving for, that has not blown away like fleeting chaff in the wind, and that is God.
My friend Matt sent out a facebook note asking people to send back 15 books that you’ve read that will “stick with you” - After replying to that, Bri urged me to post them on here because I’ve been neglectful of the ol’ Holloblog lately. So here they are…some old, some new, some tried, some true. Some probably included becuase of what they’ve brought me “to” either spiritually or intellectually, or where they’ve brought me from..and some just plain fun, with no great impact on either
1. The Bible
2. Mere Christianity
3. Don’t Waste Your Life
4. The Great Divorce
5. The Imitation of Christ
6. The Screwtape Letters
7. A Tale of three Kings: A Study in Brokenness
8. Harry Potter Series
9. The Chronicles of Narnia
10. The Lost World
11. Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith
13. The Problem of Pain
14. Jesus and the Victory of God (Christian Origins and the Question of God, Volume 2)
15. Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality
I’m sure there are some forgotton, but one of the rules was ones you could think of or remember in 15 minutes! Feel free to reply with some of your favs even if you don’t have 15 to type.
Note: All the links above are affiliate linked to Amazon, so if you end up buying any, a % of the price will be given to us, which we’ll funnel along to Compassion International. So you can read and help at the same time!
So I decided to begin to gauge some interest in selling MagMyPic.com. Mag has been my baby along with Matt for what’s going on two years. We started the site with hopes of success, but we weren’t really prepared for the type of success we’d end up having. We started the site and as the hits trickled in, we would get excited…the day we hit 1,000 hits a day, the day we hit 10,000 hits in a day. Then the whole thing blew up, and before you know it we were pushing 80,000 visitors today, making 70,000 magazines a day and in a whirlwind while we tried to keep servers up and running. But it was fun.
Mag eventually settled down and we partnered with pYzam/TreeRoom who promoted the site with us. It’s cruising along okay I suppose, but between full-time jobs, full-time babies and such, I’ve decided to at least look at selling it and moving on from Mag once and for all. We’ve seen some interest so far but not quite in the price range we’re hoping for, so we’ll have to wait and see what happens. Either way, Mag’s been a fun and unexpected journey that has been good to us and hopefully helped teach us a lot about the industry that we can apply to all of our future ventures.
Bri and I have been playing a bunch of chess lately…seems like we go through a chess phase every year or so. After about 10 games back and forth, I’ve come to realize that chess is simply a medium for one to live out their entire personality in a game. I play chess exactly the same way that I live life. So does Bri.
I’m quick to get excited at an opportunity on the board, so quick in fact that it bites me in the butt sometimes. If I see something that looks like a great move I sometimes lack the patience to think through it, and I make the move instantly so as not to miss it. It pays off sometimes in a big way, but it seems like I end up getting taken by my blind excitement as I leave an opening on the table. I feel like it’s a perfect parallel to the way I am at work sometimes. Not necessarily blind to all the consequences but when I see something that can be great for the company, I want to run to it as fast as I possibly can. Checkmate is just around the corner some of the time. But sometimes it’s not, and I just don’t want to believe it.
Bri plays her personality to a tee as well. Methodical with each big decision, frustrated with an oversight if she somehow misses something. Super excited for the big moves. At least I can win some battles in chess…Bri wins all the real life ones. :-)