Archive for April, 2010

He's coming to get me!

The Cavman is going to “jail.”  I’m going to suffer for the well-being of another.  Quite in line with the gospel, for Jesus suffered for our well-being (salvation).  I’m doing it to alleviate some of the effects of the curse, namely birth defects.

I won’t really suffer badly.  On June 16th I’ll be carted off the “jail” at Carrabbas.  Before then I’ve had to contact friends, family and associates for bail.  Yeah, maybe you can also help me raise the money to send 2 kids with MD to camp.

Click here for more information and to donate.

Update: So far $325 of the desired goal of $1,600 has come in.  Please consider giving.

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W. Robert Godfrey’s book God’s Pattern for Creation: A Covenantal Reading of Genesis 1 is a short, fairly easy to understand book that wrestles with some of the issues regarding the interpretation of Genesis 1.  Godfrey, from Westminster West, focuses on the theological and is not trying to integrate the scientific.

Godfrey was a student of Meredith Kline’s, and the book (mostly) teaches the Framework Hypothesis (FH).  He has some mild critiques of the FH, but the vast majority of what he says fits quite well within the FH.

My beloved professor, Roger Nicole, jokingly called his friend Meredith Kline “covenant crazy.”  It is appropriate that Godfrey’s book focuses on a covenantal approach to Genesis 1.  He sees it as a covenant prologue of sorts for the Exodus generation (and all who follow).

“It is a covenant history focusing on what the people of God need to know about their God and themselves.”

Godfrey often frames God’s act of creation as preparing a suitable environment for humanity.  God is also revealing who we are and what we are supposed to do.  God subdues the chaos (tohu) and fills the void (bohu), even as He overcomes the darkness (the 3 problems Godfrey highlights in verse 2).  The creation mandate is to fill the earth & subdue it.  As God’s vice-regents, Adam and Eve were to act like God on God’s behalf.

“Genesis 1 presents creation as the progressive ordering of the earth to be a home for man in fellowship with God and to teach man how he is to bear God’s image.  Genesis 2:4-4:26 begins with the creation of man in fellowship with God and then presents the formation of a place for man to live.”

Godfrey is also highly dependent on Calvin’s method of exegesis (his principle of accommodation- God speaks so we’ll understand).  While Calvin does not do it with his work in Genesis, he often recognized that many historical accounts in the OT were not in chronological order, but in topical arraignment.  He attempts to take Calvin where Calvin did not go.  And this, I think, is the weakness of the book.  He argues that Days 1 & 4 were the same day since sometimes Hebrews were not as concerned about chronology as we are.


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My first series at Desert Springs will be Foundations of the Faith from Genesis.  I’ll be spending 3 weeks on Genesis 1 (I’ll be moving more quickly through the rest of Genesis).

The first week I’ll be focusing on what it says about God (communicating Frame’s Lordship attributes).  The second week will focus on creation.  And the third will focus on humanity and the creation mandate.

There are many interesting questions to ponder or address from this chapter and these topics.  Here is some of what I’ll be using.


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My new Presbytery covers quite the geographical range.  It covers Arizona, New Mexico and part of Texas.  I had just driven through El Paso on our trip to AZ, but found myself having to go back for my first State Presbytery meeting.  Thankfully we now only have one car so I was forced to ride with one of the elders.  Usually I’m not the best passenger (I get really bored and restless), but it was good to spend time with this elder and talk about a variety of issues regarding church and life.

When we came through eastern NM the week before I did not notice how much the stockyards stunk from the cattle.  It was clearly evident this time around, however.  What do you expect from so many cows in one place?

We checked into the hotel.  It was a “no frills” hotel.  I’ve been staying in “fancy” hotels, apparently.  I was surprised at some of the things they considered “frills”.

  • An exercise room.  Yes, an extra but it would have been nice to spend some time on a treadmill after riding for 4-5 hours.  The wind outside was kicking up plenty of dust, which can’t be great for your lungs.
  • A continental breakfast.  Thankfully the host church provided a very nice breakfast for all the Presbyters.
  • An iron.  When your clothes are still wrinkled from the cross country move, you really need an iron.
  • A bottle of shampoo.  It was very hard to tear an opening in the top of the shampoo packet in that shower.

The pastor of the host church used to be in my former Presbytery.  He had a difficult call there.  I was glad to see he ended up in a very good situation with some great lay leadership.  Though the dress was casual, they were liturgical.  Though in a rented facility, they invested lots of work to make it beautiful.  There were very nice wooden pews, a wooden arch, paintings from an elder adorning the walls…  The worship team included a pianist, violinist, keyboardist and bassist.  Most of the music was traditional, but they did Chris Tomlin’s I Will Rise as an ensemble piece.  It was a very encouraging worship service to begin our meeting.

The meeting itself was fairly uneventful.  We examined one man for ordination so he can labor with RUF (the PCA’s college ministry), another transferred into the Presbytery, and we examined another for licensure.   We heard from some military chaplains about some of the possible implications of the end of the “don’t ask, don’t tell policy” in the military.  They are afraid they may be forced to do things contrary to their faith.

The most remarkable thing, for those who know me, is that I basically kept my mouth shut the whole time.  Okay, not completely true.  But I did not speak before Presbytery aside for expressing appreciation for the called meeting that brought me there when I was introduced.  I updated them with the fact that we are in town, house sold, house bought and moved across country under budget.  Yes, that’s it.

Much thanks to the host church for lunch.  They had a guy making tacos for us.  Delicious!  I was (thankfully) able to go back for seconds.  So I’m thankful that God gave us taste buds and put so many delicious things in this world for us to enjoy with thanksgiving.

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For Biblical Lay Ministry

One (all?) of the community groups here at Desert Springs is going through Paul Tripp’s Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands: People in Need of Change Helping People in Need of Change.  I guess that is one of the reasons I see this congregation as a great fit for me.  I’d have recommended this material, and they are already studying it.

It is a book I read during my transition period.  I posted some thoughts on it.  I decided to bring it home with me last night to review.  Yes, most of my books are now out of boxes.  When you go back to something you can often wonder why you liked it in the first place.  But this is one of those times you are reminded just how thoughtful and profound a book is.  Paul Tripp is one of those guys more Christians need to read.  That he has been a serious student of Scripture for a long time is evident as you read his books.  In the opening chapters I (re)discovered material suitable for my sermon Sunday and my upcoming series on Genesis.  You can read the first chapter here.

Here are some thoughts from the first few chapters, and the preface.

“For most of us, church is merely an event we attend or an organization we belong to.  We do not see it as a calling that shapes our entire lives.”

This is a great summary of what good pastors want to tell their people, often.  We are shaped by the ministry of the Word, both public and private or personal.  It is not enough to show up- but to engage with the Word by believing it and acting upon it.  One of the things I appreciate the most about this book is its call to do just that.  He has a very Word-centered view of ministry, for it is there that we meet with the Living Word- Jesus Himself.

“The King came not to make our agenda possible, but to draw us into something more amazing, glorious, and wonderful than we could ever imagine. “


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This Sunday will be my first official Sunday in the pulpit of Desert Springs.  I guess I was technically their pastor after my examination.  But now we have moved and are in the process of settling in.

In May I will begin a series called Foundations of Faith from Genesis.  But I had 1 Sunday lost in the shuffle there.  So I figured that of the recent sermons I preached in Vero Beach, the one of John 15 would be the most appropriate as we begin our life together.

Why so important?  Jesus is the true vine, and we can do NOTHING without Him.  I am merely one of the branches.  We must remember to seek our life in and from Him.  Jesus is the one essential component of a vibrant church.

Not only that but we must recognize the roll of fruitfulness as an inevitability of union with Christ the vine.  If we are really connected to Him by faith through the Spirit, we will be fruitful.

Third, the Father will prune all who are to be even more fruitful.  We are not to plateau, but to continue to increase in fruitfulness.

I’m thankful to read the pertinent portions of D.A. Carson’s commentary on the Gospel According to John in the Pillar New Testament Commentary series due to the gift of a friend.  I’m also relying on Leon Morris’ volume in the NICNT series.  He’s one of my favorite commentators.

Next time I spend time in John, I may want to look for Dick Lucas and William Philip’s Teaching John.  Lucas is someone Tim Keller often mentions as a thoughtful exegete and preacher of the Word.

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We had a difficult decision to make:  spend a day in Las Cruces as planned, or press on to Arizonia ending the long string of nights in hotels.  Hotels aren’t too bad if it is just adults.  But pre-schoolers don’t get the whole not jumping, running and screeching thing.  You grow weary of the additional parental demands.

We decided to head out to Arizona, after spending the morning poking around Las Cruces.  We went to the bosque near town and spent time listening to birds and looking for lizards.  The mountains in the distance were pretty as well.

Then back to Mesilla, one of the early towns in New Mexico.  It was the capital of Arizona and New Mexico, and a stop on the stage coach trail predating the pony express.  Billy the Kid was tried and sentenced there before he escaped.

For lunch we stopped at a local cafe, the Cafe Don Felix.  It is known for some great local flavor.  We ate on the patio to take in ambiance.  The chiles were HOT.  That was some hot salsa, and my green combo plate (enchilada, taco, carnitas & chili renello) was delicious and hot.

Around 1 pm we hit the road west one last time.

In some ways New Mexico was the same as western Texas.  But there were more billboards to break up the landscape.  We also saw a lot of dirt devils, little dust storms.  Fortunately no big ones blocking our way.  Then suddenly there were yellow wildflowers everywhere.  They were beautiful!

At one point we hit an immigration check point.  We weren’t very close to the border, but sufficiently in the middle of nowhere that traffic wouldn’t back up too much.  “Are you U.S. citizens?”  “Yes” while conveniently wearing my adoption agency hat in case CavSon was mistaken for hispanic in the dark.  “Okay.”  That’s it, on our way.

I also saw a car with Georgia plates with a table tied to the top.  A folding, plastic table.  Yep, they couldn’t travel cross country without that.  I’m thinking it cost them more than it cost in extra fuel due to the drag the thing created.  At the hotel in Las Cruces, there was a pick up truck that had a cab like a semi.  It was pretty cool looking.  Later in Arizona I saw a car with speaker wire keeping the passenger door closed.  The things you notice…

We stopped at one of the few rest areas in New Mexico to stretch our legs, and take the picture above of the wild flowers.  But this sign struck my eye.  Not exactly what I had hoped to see.  I figure snakes are pretty scared of people and will stay off the beaten path.

Soon we were crossing the border into Arizona.  I have never seen so many patrol cars.  They seemed to be everywhere, pulling people over.  We saw many places I’d like to return to: Tombstone, Cochise’s stronghold and national parks.  We stopped at at rest area in the Texas Canyon.  The rocks changes significantly while in the canyon.

Not too soon we were in Tucson.  We stopped at our future home to show the kids.  Then it was on to our friends’ home for a home cooked meal (!!!) and time to relax.

Since arriving we have signed all the paperwork, and will pick up the keys later today.  I’m ready to put down some new roots.

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It was another long night as the CavFamily was weary of loading and unloading the van, and driving for hours.  How did people do this in wagons?  I’m thinking they were nuts, but I”m glad they did it to pave the way for future generations.

After wandering through Ft. Stockton, looking in vain for the fort and Montgomery Ward house, we hopped back onto I-10 to make our way toward Las Cruces, NM.

The stretch from Ft. Stockton to El Paso was just about as barren as the day before in terms of communities.  Nothing much out there except brush, sand and wind. This was actually good since CavWife spent much of the time on the phone managing our 2 home closings.  The one in FL was creating problems for the one in AZ since it kept moving.

Our great moment of excitement came as we passed the truck with our PODs on them.  The truck was from Auburndale (pronounced Ar-bun-dale by the locals), FL.  We couldn’t get the camera quickly enough for a picture.

barren beauty

Shortly after that we pulled into a rest area to have the leftovers for lunch.  I had the camera, just in case the truck passed us.  I hoped it would pull in, but I realized too soon that it was zipping by.  The area around the rest area was beautiful, but the wind was a constant source of concern with our plates.


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Mean Daddy

It has been such a long trip and I’ve been so weary, I realize I’ve left out some interesting things.  Here are a few things I’ve remembered about San Antonio and Texas.

The speed limits in Texas are pretty interesting.  There is a day time limit and a night time limit.  I’ve never seen that anywhere.  In many places there is a higher limit for cars than trucks.  When we entered Texas, there was this big sign with numerous limits that I couldn’t read as we drive by at 60+ mph.

For a state that is politically conservative, there are so many stinkin’ laws.  “Obey warning signs, it’s the law.”  “Keep right except to pass” even though there are 2 lanes.  It is an odd sort of thing for me.

Texas Hold ’em has a hold new meaning due to the small number of rest areas we saw.  I don’t think there were any between Houston and San Antonio.  They had plenty of picnic areas (no restrooms) but few rest areas.   But the rest areas they did have had free wireless internet.  Yeah, a head scratcher.

The birds in San Antonio has the strangest calls.  I thought I was in a jungle, not a city.  Or some strange 3rd world city.  Freaky.

The McDonald’s we went to in San Antonio was pretty strange.  It was an inner city location, but the decor was “hunting lodge”.  But you realized it was inner city when the sign noted a fee for extra condiments, and you needed them to unlock the bathroom door for you.  Yet, there was a huge flat screen TV on the way.  No on by the way which just added to the oddity of the whole thing.

Okay, on to day 5 of our trip.  Once again it was a dreary morning in San Antonio.  We slept in again (we have been quite tired), and enjoyed breakfast before loading up and heading out before 10.  On the way out to town we stopped at the Bible Study Fellowship International Headquarters.  Sadly, the tour was at 1 pm and we really couldn’t hang around that long.  We had a long way to go.  But we got to enjoy the view of some nice wildflowers they had on the property.  On a tangent, BSF is now committing itself to translating their materials to expand their use through the world.  This is long overdue, and I’m glad they are jumping on the band wagon.  First is Chinese, and then the plan is Spanish.  You see how important this is when you realize how few studies are being offered in South America.

Gone were the rolling hills


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Yes, we all slept in which was a great treat.  I couldn’t believe the kids slept so long.  They must have been extremely tired.  I was even more surprised when I opened the curtains to see a drizzle-filled day.  Not what I was expecting for our visit to the River Walk and the Alamo.

After breakfast, we had a little family devotional from Psalm 121 (one of my favorites).  Then we stood and waited for the trolley.  And waited.  And waited.  Just as we started to walk toward the center of town, the bus turned the corner.  Slightly disappointing, since we were hoping for a trolley, but the kids didn’t care.  They were excited to not have to ride in car seats.

Soon we were at Commerce St, ready to descend to River Walk.  The drizzle had pretty much stopped, but the day remained overcast and cool.  We were able to get some tickets for a boat ride, and that was quite enjoyable.  The kids had a blast and it was very beautiful despite the lack of sun.  The only downside was our increasingly problematic camera.  It is 90 in digital camera years, and took too long to get ready for cool shots.  We missed out on some great photo opportunities.

From there we made our way to the Alamo, which was largely lost on the kids.  I looked, but couldn’t find a plaque designating Ozzy Osbourn’s visit years ago.  The area looked nothing like I expected from the old movies on the Alamo.  It looked surprisingly small.  How that small band of men held off a whole army in that building is a testimony to their bravery.  I was struck by that while the kids were fascinated by the huge carp in the irrigation ditch.

Soon they were hungry and losing focus.  We had to find a place to eat, and fast.  But there were so many places!  We went back to the River Walk since I saw some reasonably priced restaurants there.  We ended up at The Texas Republic Restaurant.  We ate along the water, though it was cool.  We even saw baby ducks (ducklings to us adults).  A slightly above average meal, but a way above average atmosphere.

Then it was back to the hotel for the kids’ naps.  We had rented The Informant! the night before but had to stop it because I kept falling asleep (don’t take that as a slight of the movie, I was exhausted from sleep deprivation and driving).  So, we set to finishing up the movie and securing our accommodations for the rest of the trip.  We couldn’t find anything in El Paso.  Okay, anything that “worked” for a family with young kids.  No true suites (this has been altered to mean a ‘privacy wall’ which doesn’t let the kids sleep while we continue to talk, surf, watch TV etc.).  We were able to find suitable accommodations in Las Cruces instead.  Finding something in Ft. Stockton proved to be just as perilous.  It was very frustrating.  We booked 2 rooms next to each other (not adjoining) after calling multiple motels.  We’ll get to that tomorrow….

After the kids got up we finally watched the end of The Informant! (nothing inappropriate for kids in the last 15 minutes).  Then decided to take them to the park we saw near McDonald’s the day before.  While they played, I returned the movie to Red Box.  I was surprised by how dirty the park was.  You’d think there were no trash cans in a 10 block radius.  Chicken bones, cans, wrappers and so much more.  Of course CavBoy is attracted to all things garbage.

We weren’t sure what to do for dinner.  We remembered that there was a Domino’s nearby and called in an order.  I walked down there while they stayed at the park.  We took the pizza back to the hotel.  After putting the kids to bed, we tried to watch a show online.  No go … the connection was not fast enough for that.  Instead it was snippets of the 3rd Shrek movie until we were ready to get to bed.  A good day (if you remove the meltdowns).

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It was another early morning for CavFamily.  It came too soon for me after losing a few hours sleep to mild food poisoning, a stiff back and a crying son.  I dared not risk breakfast yet, so the family went without me.  We had a busy day ahead of us, having decided to press on past Houston to San Antonio.  But first we had to leave Louisiana.

There was not much traffic as we left the hotel.  Soon there was a huge bridge, and CavGirl loves bridges.  “Is that the Mississippi?”  Sure was- too bad there wasn’t a place to stop and admire the river.  We zoomed over it at 60 mph, and sadness filled my heart.

The western side of the Mississippi is very different from the east.  It had a very different smell, rich earth and decaying wood.  There was lots more farm-able land, yet it still seemed to “reek of poverty”.  There didn’t seem like much to do except boating, fishing, eating, drinking, gambling and porn.  Oddly, the churches were often big but few homes were in sight.  Perhaps they were all underground.  Then we hit the bayou.  The bridge went on for about 20 miles.  It was pretty cool.

I couldn’t get over the casinos.  They were everywhere, even the gas station where we stopped to refuel.  I’m not sure if it has to do with the former French influence, or Roman Catholicism.  But vice dominated this seemingly “religious” area (same goes for Protestant Atlanta).

Umm, umm good!

Then came Texas.  At first it was just like Louisiana but with worse drivers!  I had a few pop tarts (chocolate), and all seemed well with my gastro-intestinal tract.  A few people had highly recommended Pappasito’s Cantina.  With my new Reclaim phone, we found the location of one off of I-10 in Houston.  We had lunch plans.

It was fantastic!  They made their own tortillas, you could see it.  You could watch them make their own guacamole.  Everything we had was tasty (yes, we pillaged the huge kids’ meals).  The salsa was a little different in flavor, but good.  I’m so glad we stopped at Pappasito’s.

Back on the road we continued through Houston listening to the Newsboys live from Houston CD which came out last year.  The traffic was pretty miserable, and the landscape left plenty to be desired.  But outside of Katy, TX that all changed.  It was beautiful!  The rolling hills were covered in trees and green fields laden with a variety of colors provided by wild flowers.  Pink, red, purple, white, yellow.  Some of the most beautiful scenery we’d seen.

As we neared San Antonio were were surprised.  “Ah, where is the city?”  It seemingly arose from nowhere.  I figured a city capable of supporting an NBA franchise would have a more expanded suburban area.

By the time we got to the hotel we were exhausted.  The hotel had a little playground, so we let the kids romp for awhile to get the ants out of their pants.   Using my new phone, we found a McDonald’s to eat a light dinner using gift certificates a friend gave us.  There were plenty of meltdowns, but at least there was internet service this time.  We would all sleep in, and it was glorious!

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It was another early morning as the kids woke up too soon.  It would be a 4 state day, so we had reason to get on the road.  But you can’t cover 4 states without a good breakfast!  Down to the breakfast nook, which proved to be altogether too small this morning.  A swarm of teens was there from the previously mentioned youth group, touring Black Colleges.  It was hard to get around the tables and people.  The syrup kept disappearing.  Yes, they had waffles!

But we successfully consumed mass quantities of food, got some money knocked off the bill (it was not CavWife who pulled this one off, though maybe she would have gotten more knocked off, but I got super powers too!) and hit the road a little later than we expected.  We were surprised to find it so chilly (59 degrees), pleasantly surprised I tell you.

The area just west of Tallahassee was very pretty.  Lots of rolling hills.  So NOT like central Florida.  It looked more like Georgia.  But it had the same problem Gainesville had- higher gas prices.  Nearly 20 cents higher.  I know this because we had to get more gas in Pensacola (we couldn’t hold out to Alabama).  By the time we got to Pensacola, it was decidedly less pretty on I-10.

We crossed the line into Alabama- still surprised at the lack of traffic on I-10.  It was not as pretty as it is near Birmingham.  But as we neared Mobile (hometown of the homerun king, Hammering Hank Aaron) it became something to behold just for the novelty.  The highway became a long, low bridge over the gulf.  It was actually pretty neat.  As we neared Mobile, we spotted our destination- the U.S.S. Alabama Park.

I thought it would be a way to spend a few hours not in the car.  Turned out, I was actually right.  CavSon was squealing with delight at the sight of all the planes and tanks.  Even CavGirl was enjoying herself, but she was uncertain about getting on the big boat.  We assured her it wasn’t going anyway, and wouldn’t sink there.  It was very interesting touring the ship.  I learned the sailor’s life wasn’t for me.  Cramped quarters, no privacy (duly noted by CavGirl when we saw the latrine), lots of ducking, and climbing narrow stairs.  But I learned that Cleveland Indians’ great, Bob Feller, served on the Alabama.  Normally I wouldn’t care much about an Indians player, but I met him at a Spring Training game.  Very nice man and a great ambassador for the game even now.  One of the many ball players to lose their most productive years to the War (not to diminish those who lost their lives).

Inverse relationship between interest and hunger

As we moved to the U.S.S. Drum, a WW II submarine, the interest level was dropping.  They were hungry and tired.  Thankfully a submarine is much smaller than a battleship!  But even more cramped!

It was too late for a sit-down lunch, and all those seafood restaurants looked a bit out of our budget for lunch.  So we settled for Firehouse Subs.  Tasty though.  And off to Baton Rouge.  We nixed New Orleans.  It was slightly off route, but the hotels were not really near anything we could see.  More travel in the guzzler to see sights.  It made more sense to head farther west and take some time on the far end of trip.


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Westward Ho- Day 1

Podzilla carried them away for us

The first day of our trip started out early, too early.  We barely slept on the tiny aerobed in our empty house pondering all that had to be done.  CavWife woke up at about 5 to re-pack the van.  She did a great job, and everything fit.  She did this while I continued to toss and turn thinking that one of us had to be semi-coherent to drive.

It was Thursday, BSF Day, so CavWife was going to bring the kids to BSF to say goodbye to all their friends before we left.  But first we had some dear friends drop by to say “goodbye” one last time.  These were the first of many emotional moments for CavWife.  The Cavman lived in denial.

Some neighbors then stopped by as well.  This while the kids ate cereal while sitting on the floor of the garage.  Livin’ the dream!

Around 8 am I drove them to a friend’s home who would take them to BSF.  Now down to 1 vehicle, I had errands to run while they had fun.  I had to turn in a license plate lest they suspend my license for dereliction of duty.  It was then I discovered the guys at the dealership put the wrong plate on the “sport van”.  Yeah, that was fun.  Thankfully I had not been pulled over.  The lady at the tax collector’s office was great, and I was out of there in short order with the proper plate on the van.

Then off to Brighthouse to return all the electronic equipment to run the DVR, phones and internet.  Then one last stop at the hardware store to pick up the faxed insurance paperwork for the van.  And goodbye to my friends who own it.

Off to Lakeland and the Chick-fil-a for lunch with my in-laws before hitting the road.  Our friend and her two little girls were there too.  Her older daughter, the same age as CavGirl, didn’t seem to get the gravity of the situation.  Or was doing a better job of living in denial as I was.  I got to practice using my new cell phone since I was running late.  And I realized I had left the keys to our lock box in the house.  Go figure.

with Charles & Sally outside Moe's

We were off after another round of tearful goodbyes.  First stop, Gainesville to have dinner with former congregants.  We hit a huge traffic snarl south of Gainesville thanks to an accident.  We got to spend some time catching up, seeing their “new” home (beautiful development) and dinner at one of our favs- Moe’s!

Off to Tallahassee!  This was turning into a long day, especially for the kids who didn’t nap in the car.  East of the capitol of FL we hit some heavy rains.  I don’t like how the wipers of the van work.  Leaves a little to be desired.  We rolled into our hotel around 8 pm.  Time for quick showers.

Sadly we got a “studio” which meant the kids shared the outer space and the privacy wall meant the TV kept them awake enough that we turned it off.  We slept slightly better than we had.  But CavGirl had a coughing fit that robbed us of some sleep.  And then there was the matter of the church youth group making 4 prank calls to our room around 2:30 in the morning.

What an emotionally draining day.  But our trip was underway.

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No, we're not shipping the kids.

It has been quiet here at Cavman Considers for a very good reason.  The Cavman is moving.  No, not the blog- the real person.

I’ve been packing up PODs for the last week.  Tomorrow we pack up the van and go west (middle-aged) man.  I’m not sure if I’ll be able to update people on the progress of our trip.  That may be restricted to Facebook- I can only muster up so much humor after spending all day in the car with kids.

We plan to arrive (Lord willing) in AZ on the 15th, and be moved in, up and running by the 19th when the cable guy shows up to set up our bundle.  Until then, in the words of Camarillo Eddy, “Stop surfing”.

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Elders, please read this

I began reading The Trellis and the Vine by Marshall & Payne some time ago.  It then got “lost” in jury duty and packing.  I blogged on the mind-shifts they were calling the church to embrace in keeping with their metaphor of the trellis and the vine.  Their premise is that churches tend to focus on the trellis- the structure and administrative aspects of a congregation- instead of the vine- the congregation which needs to be nurtured and shepherded.  It is not an all-or-nothing dilemma.  Every vine needs a trellis, something to provide structure.  But the trellis does not demand the attention that the vine does.

This book is not just about a cool metaphor (though some books are).  It wants to take us into Scripture to see how they arrived at this conclusion and what it means for us.  They naturally focus on the Acts of the Apostles (aka the Acts of the Exalted Jesus thru the Apostles thru the power of the Spirit), and many of Paul’s letters.  They see no fundamental difference between what God was doing then and what He’s doing now.

This is what God is now doing in the world: Spirit-backed gospel preaching leading to the salvation of souls.  It’s his program, his agenda, his priority, his focus, his project, or whatever business-related metaphor you’d like to use.  And by it, his is gathering a new Christ-centered people as his very own; a quiet, steadily growing profusion of leaves on the great vine of his kingdom.

The focus is on the growth of a people, people shaped by the gospel they believe.  The trellis only grows because the vine has outgrown it.  We are not to focus on building a fantastic, huge trellis.  Our energy and efforts are to be in growing the vine first and foremost.

“… this people-growth happens only through the power of the God’s Spirit as he applies his word to people’s hearts.  That’s the way people are converted, and that’s the way people grow in maturity in Christ.  We plant and water, but God gives the growth.”

They want to return to a biblical vision of ministry as done by the congregation, not just the paid professional.  As we consider the Great Commission, we see that it is for all disciples, not just the elite.  If they Apostles were to teach disciples to obey everything He has commanded them they are to teach them to obey the Great Commission.  Right?  So EVERY believer in Christ is to be engaged in vine work!  As they put it, “To be a disciple is to be a disciple-maker.”


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A great game deserves a great book

It was perhaps one of the greatest baseball games ever.  It was definitely the greatest World Series game ever.  That game was game 6 of the 1975 Series between the Red and the Red Sox.

I was only 9, and wasn’t able to stay up all night.  I recorded it on my DVR from MLB Network before going in vacation, only to have a lightening strike wipe it out.

Mark Frost’s book Game Six: Cincinnati, Boston, and the 1975 World Series: The Triumph of America’s Pastime is long overdue.  I hope that helped him gain perspective on the game that only time can provide.

It reminds me of The Perfect Storm in many ways.  Frost takes on a variety of meaningful tangents to explain the background of players and current events.  Some of those tangents include things like Cuban-American relations (since El Tiante & Big Dog Perez were Cuban), the history of the reserve clause, the Boston busing maelstrom and more.

At first it was annoying.  He would talk about a play, and then tell a story (often interrupted by the next pitch).  Then I got it.  It was like the TV announcers for a real game.  He was writing like a real game, as if a play-by-play man and analyst.  Quite ingenious actually.


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A great read!

I am currently reading Game Six: Cincinnati, Boston and the 1975 World Series: The Triumph of America’s Pastime.  I was a 9 year old boy, in New England who had to go to school the next day and missed one of the greatest games ever.  In the book, I just finished the account of the game.

In the section leading up to Bernie Carbo’s game-tying pinch hit 3-run home run, Mark Frost mentions some of Bernie’s personal issues.  He had a number of personal demons the prevented him from realizing the potential that he had.

One of my clearest memories of our many trips to Fenway Park as a child was leaving a game early, thinking it was over.  Dad wanted to beat the traffic.  Then we heard, “Now up, Bernie Carbo.”  He was pinch hitting again.  Soon the crowd erupted as we saw a baseball fly over the netting atop the Green Monster.  The man could hit.

He has admitted in a Boston Globe article that he was high on drugs at the time of his historic home run.

“I probably smoked two joints, drank about three or four beers, got to the ballpark, took some [amphetamines], took a pain pill, drank a cup of coffee, chewed some tobacco, had a cigarette, and got up to the plate and hit,’’ Carbo said.

His story is tragic in many ways, as the article continues.

“I played every game high,’’ he said. “I was addicted to anything you could possibly be addicted to. I played the out field sometimes where it looked like the stars were falling from the sky.

“I played baseball 17 years of my life and I don’t think I ever missed a day of being high, other than when I went to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait [for a baseball clinic] in 1989. And the only reason I didn’t do any drugs there was that I was afraid that I would lose my life.’’

I ache for a man who could have done so much, but wasted it.  The man who gave Boston another shot needed to be redeemed himself.  Thankfully that is not the rest of the story.  He has been redeemed, he has found the peace that eluded him all those years.

“I threw away my career,’’ said Carbo, 62. “If I knew Jesus Christ was my savior at 17, I would have been one heck of a ballplayer, a near Hall of Famer. Instead, I wanted to die.’’

Now he uses his old love, baseball, to tell people about his new love- Jesus.  He runs a fantasy camp in Mobile, Alabama each year at Hank Aaron stadium.  He uses the proceeds from the camp to travel through New England each summer putting on clinics, speaking at youth camps, prisons, 12-step programs and more.  His story recounts the pervasiveness of drugs and alcohol in baseball in those years, as well as the sins against him that he tried to sooth with drugs.  But it also reveals the Mighty Savior who found him, able to reach him in the darkest hole.  Check it out.

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