Wednesday, January 30

Amber's Journal Entry :: Almost 1 Year Ago

Today Daily Light was all about keeping our minds on heavenly things. The one familiar verse “our citizenship is in heaven” really struck me today. It made me return to a book that I was reading before about putting on Christ in our minds. I will put some quotes here that were so good to me:

“The vanity of the mind is our fault and our shame, and the one chief cause of our misery. We too much mind earthly, carnal and sensual things. Hence Christ our chiefest glory is too much banished from, and kept out of our minds...When Christ, the sun of righteousness shines in the mind, the tongue will discover it: the life will manifest it. “

“O Christian, the riches of your Christ are boundless and bottomless. You have in Christ unsearchable riches: Bags which wax not old; an exhaustible treasure which fails not.”

“Ever reflect on your new birth, and heavenly pedigree in Christ. Ever clothe your mind with what honor now comes to you by Christ, and what glory awaits you with him in the heavenly mansions. So you will look down with a holy contempt upon all objects beneath your Beloved, to make you honorable.”

“Aristotle mentions a parcel of ground in Sicily, that sends forth such a strong smell of fragrant flowers that no hounds can hunt thereabout, their scent is so confounded by the sweet fragrance. Thus it will be, when Christ is put on the mind, as our chiefest pleasure, we shall find such sweet fragrance flowing from him, as will confound our scent, and prevent our hunting after the vain pleasures of sense, and the carnal joys of a wicked world.”

Think on these things. Let us labor to have our minds fixed upon and filled with Christ so that all in comparison would be loss and dung to us.

7 Days : Heavy Hearts : Christ's Sufficiency

A week ago last night was the new beginning of life as I now must get to know it. Amber had spent most everyday the previous two weeks visiting old friends, new friends, and family. She was actually on her way from a cousins home to eat dinner with her father, when her life was abruptly cut short and ours in turn, changed forever.
Her parents were near enough to be on the scene within minutes. The people who stopped to help, were able to think with great clarity and quickness. From what I hear, the folks at the hospital that night were simply amazing with my children. Needless to say, it is all just hearsay to some degree for me. Having not 'lived' through it, only hearing others tell about it and relive each detail, I can imagine in some small way what it may have been like, but then again...not really able to comprehend it at all.
I was oblivious to all that was happening as I attempted to sleep some forty-thousand feet in the air high above Libya, North Africa. I was not just unaware for a few moments, but for exactly 24 hours, I was planning, preparing and looking forward to seeing my family again. Now, it is possible that I could have found out in Amsterdam during the layover. But I had friends and family who were/are committed to my best and that, without a doubt, even in hindsight, was obtained by restraining the news from me until my arrival. Amber had planned to pick me up at the airport and have dinner prepared once we got back home. She had a welcome home gift already wrapped.
Wednesday night looked quite different from my plans or her plans, and for many of you too, I assume. I was met at the airport by my brother-in-law, my pastor, and a friend of 23 years. They broke the news. It seemed like a dream. In so many ways, it still does. Friends and family were at the house upon my arrival there, but I could not get Ellie and Isaac off of my mind. Isaac was doing well, and still is. He will never know experientially what he lost in Amber. Ellie had fallen asleep on the couch, so I had to wake her discuss some of the realities of what had happened. I was given the privilege of actually notifying her of the results concerning the accident. She seems to remember the accident itself in some parts. Her rendition is, "a car hit us, we tumped over, Mommy hit her head and closed her eyes". There was a lady on the scene immediately that saved her from seeing more than that. Praise the Lord for His kindness.
Thursday was crammed full of all the stuff that has to be done in these situations. I felt like I was 12-hours from finding out the worst news possible and now I have to spend a day with bad used-car salesmen. Needless to say, it was not enjoyable, but then again how could it be. On Friday I tried to rest, knowing in some small measure what the evening would bring. The first sight of Amber in two weeks, only now, without life. That night some eight-hundred people filed through to pass along greetings, condolences and the like.
The most difficult part of the evening was hands down taking Ellie in and attempting to explain at still another depth the implications of death and physical separation. In the car on the way, I reviewed some catechism questions with Ellie:

Who was the first man God made? Adam
Who was the first woman God made? Eve
What did God make Adam from? The dust of the ground
What did God make Eve from? One of Adam's ribs
What did God give to Adam and Eve as well as bodies? Souls that would never die
Do you have a soul as well as a body? Yes. I have a soul that will never die
How do you know that you have a soul? Because God tells me so in the Bible

Then, upon arrival I continued that theme to explain that this is merely the body that God gave to Mommy to live in, but her soul is with Jesus in heaven for ever. Of course, it was a terribly difficult conversation, not unlike others that have come since or will come later.

For your sake and mine too...I will split this into parts. I will continue from Saturday onward soon.

I cannot express how I appreciate and still covet your prayers.

Tuesday, January 29

A good day...

But far too overwhelmed to post. Too exhausted may be more accurate. My heart is in fact full, but my mind is scattered. So I will just point you to something helpful.

Tomorrow's post :: The past week in my life.

Monday, January 28

72 Hours prior:

Daily Light - January 28

“As your days, so shall your strength be.”

“And when they bring you to trial and deliver you over, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.”—“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

The God of Israel—he is the one who gives power and strength to his people. Blessed be God!—He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.—I can do all things through him who strengthens me.—“March on, my soul, with might!”

Deut. 33:25; Mark 13:11; Matt. 6:34; Ps. 68:35; Isa. 40:29; 2 Cor. 12:9, 10; Phil. 4:13; Judg. 5:21

Sunday, January 27

Friday, January 25

Pics at your requests from the funeral slideshow

More Articles to Note

From Hope to Reality

Union University

Grace Church-Memphis

Some tributes to note.

Here are some links to a few blogs marking the work of Christ in one of His own.

From Her own pen & An old friend

From Carmichael & a Sixteen year old.

Thursday, January 24


Visitation - Friday 5:00 p.m. - Munford Funeral Home-Millington Chapel
Funeral - Saturday 2:00 p.m. - First Baptist Church, Millington


The more I rest, the more real it becomes. The more I rest, the more it hurts.
Oh! To rest solely in Him, like the great hymn writer:

Jesus, I am resting, resting,
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.
Thou hast bid me gaze upon Thee,
And Thy beauty fills my soul,
For by Thy transforming power,
Thou hast made me whole.

O, how great Thy loving kindness,
Vaster, broader than the sea!
O, how marvelous Thy goodness,
Lavished all on me!
Yes, I rest in Thee, Belovèd,
Know what wealth of grace is Thine,
Know Thy certainty of promise,
And have made it mine.

Simply trusting Thee, Lord Jesus,
I behold Thee as Thou art,
And Thy love, so pure, so changeless,
Satisfies my heart;
Satisfies its deepest longings,
Meets, supplies its every need,
Compasseth me round with blessings:
Thine is love indeed!

Ever lift Thy face upon me
As I work and wait for Thee;
Resting ’neath Thy smile, Lord Jesus,
Earth’s dark shadows flee.
Brightness of my Father’s glory,
Sunshine of my Father’s face,
Keep me ever trusting, resting,
Fill me with Thy grace.

Jesus, I am resting, resting,
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.

Thursday, January 17

PTI-4 - Jesus, still the focus

Greetings on this Friday morning from here in the city of 8 million, seated 8,000 feet above sea level. I am so happy at the sight of what has happened during this week so far. As you might have suspected, by the second day I was feeling a bit discouraged at the lack of interest in Jesus and His exclusivity. Well, the power of the Gospel has proven to be the power of God. Following that day, I resigned to be even more careful to offer them nothing but the God-Man, minute by minute, morning and afternoon, day after day. The help from the Lord in preaching His Christ was so wonderful - in so many ways unlike I have experienced before. Even as I was preaching I felt as if I had 64 people tracking with me as we were exploring an old mansion again for the first time. Uncovering beautiful truths that had been lying dormant for years - or forever. We ripped up the old dirty shag carpet of our own understanding and, with a little work, were able to gaze at the beautiful, exquisite, intricately designed hardwood of Christ’s reality. We went around this corner and into that room and, time and again, made a fresh new discovery. Christ. The ever-present, never-changing, glorious Son of Man who Himself is God in the flesh.

I really cannot begin to tell you the benefit for my own soul. After 6 weeks of preparation, day after day of looking at Him, and then to be so full of Him and unable to hold it in as we looked at passage after passage that revealed to us His matchless glory.

Yesterday, following lunch we made our usual trek down to a little café for coffee and tea. I heard the conversations at each of the tables of 4 or 5 men everyday. The weather. Home. School. But then, yesterday it was as if we were still in the session. A discussion here, a question about Christ’s two natures there, many were still thinking about Him and considering what we had seen about Him thus far, all the while anxious to know more of Him, realizing how He had been forsaken among them. I was almost ready to burst with thankfulness to God.

Please do pray for the remaining times together.

That God would in a very real way solidify "the truth as it is in Jesus" on the hearts and minds of His own.

Wednesday, January 16

Another update from PTI

Praise be unto God for His rich mercy and unbounded grace with which He aids and assist us to know and worship Him. I had a really good and exciting time today preaching Jesus. From one passage, then to another, proclaiming Him and His honor and glory and renown.  It was remarkable really, to see again, afresh, so clearly Him Who was, Who is, and Who is to come.
I trust that God used our time considering His Son for His Son’s glory. I am sure it was good for my soul, and pray it will be of eternal value for dozens of others also.
As you have time in the coming days, I strongly believe that if you will consider the portrait of Christ that is drawn for us in Hebrews chapter one by the author of this fabulous letter, you too will benefit and be changed from on degree of glory to another, into the likeness of Jesus Himself.

  1. Creator of all things
  2. Upholds all things by the word of His power
  3. Appointed heir of all things
  4. Made purification of sins
  5. Radiance of the Father’s glory
  6. Exact representation of the Father’s nature
  7. He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high
  8. His throne is forever and ever
  9. His kingdom is one of righteousness
  10. He will never change
  11. His years will never come to an end
  12. He will sit forever as the Exalted Victor

Tuesday, January 15

Update from PTI-4, Addis

We have traveled from eternity past after seeing the eternal glory that Jesus possessed within the Triune God. We noticed carefully the work of Jesus in the creation of all things, and that not only did He create them, but that He created them for Himself, that He would get the glory from them.  
We walked through some Old Testament passages that inform us of Jesus’ continued work for us following creation but before the incarnation. It is amazing to see that Jesus is never just sitting on His hands, but always working for us. Some specific things we discussed included: Jesus saving His people, Jesus hearing the prayers of His people, Jesus speaking to His people, Jesus leading His people, Jesus providing for His people, Jesus judging His people, Jesus disciplining His people, & Jesus preserving His people. You should see if you can match the OT stories with each of these instances that we see Jesus at work for us before He first came to dwell among us in the flesh.
Then as we considered the Incarnation, we walked through both Luke and Matthew’s accounts to notice the phenomenon of God becoming Man. We only talked about some initial issues yesterday and will continue in that vein as we pick up in just a few hours, seeing that God actually poured Himself out when He was born on this earth. It is my desire to make clear that God did not become less when He became Man, but actually gained flesh while remaining God totally. Within the Orthodox Church culture here, which is where most of these guy’s pasts lie, there is such an emphasis on the Deity of Jesus that they forsake the reality of His Humanity, so we will look at that this morning from John chapter one, Lord willing.
The teaching is becoming increasingly interactive, which is both helpful and difficult with more than 60 in the training. But one clear thing that comes out is the area(s) where there is disagreement. By the questions that are raised, by the way that the questions are asked, by the number of times the same question is brought up in a semi-different form, all of these give insight into some real issues. The one that is the most prevalent so far has actually come as a result of the focus that we have given to the the Son of God. This kind of thing is just not what most of this culture wants to here. Too much Jesus has caused some passive rejection of Him to be visible among some of the men. Can you fathom it? Because all around you there is this wicked focus on the spirit(s), so you forsake what God says about His Son and make a failing attempt to please Him by focusing to a dangerous degree on His Spirit. And all the while you are dishonoring Him, because you are forsaking the Son of God who loves you and gave Himself for you.
So pray that God would breakthrough and that His Son would receive the glory He deserves in the hearts and minds of those who would rather discuss something that soothes their flesh than something that nourishes their soul. We will give some time to the the Holy Spirit towards the end of our time this week in order that we can notice what His primary role is in our lives. {To reveal Jesus to us}
Until then pray with me. Pray that God would break down any resistance to Christ.

Monday, January 14

Update on PTI from Addis

Today went off without a hitch!
It is quite amazing to me that the logistics, which are a nightmare here to say the least, work out to where one guy from 9,000+ miles away and 60+ guys from all over the country meet at a central location with a sole focus.  In case you haven't read with much precision, we are discussing the Doctrine of Jesus this week. We began with the Eternal Glory that Jesus possessed within the Triune God in eternity past.  Well, considering that not only was Jesus eternal, without beginning, but His works were eternal as well led to an in depth look at the work of God in the soul of man.  With a huge emphasis on the eternality of that work which He does in man's heart being the primary focus of our time.
I trust that the Lord will be pleased to use today's discussion(s) for His good and that today would prove to be of eternal value.

Sunday, January 13

Sunday Update

Night is falling on Addis Ababa as most of you are planning or already participating in corporate worship back home. I appreciate your prayers over the past few days.  God has indeed been faithful.  I preached this morning at the International Evangelical Church and really believe that God aided in His Word being proclaimed.  I am trying to relax this afternoon and recover as much as possible from the trip before we dive into 50 hours of Jesus beginning  at nine in the morning.  Your continued prayers are coveted.

Saturday, January 12

Arrived in Addis

Well, I am here and getting set to finish up the sermon prep. I do appreciate your continued prayers, and will attempt to give a more full update tomorrow.

Thursday, January 10


I am soliciting your prayers over the next few days. Right now it is 10:30 p.m. on Thursday evening, I will be at the airport here in Memphis in approximately twelve hours from now. I will arrive at my home in Addis about 32 hours from the time I get up in the morning, and will be preaching 7 hours later, twice. Then on Monday, PTI-4 will begin and continue for the remainder of the week. I will update you all as I have opportunity.
Thanks for praying, as I travel and minister.
Also for Amber, Ellie, and Isaac while I am away for two weeks.

Monday, January 7

Ellie on Guitar