Earlier this week, I wrote about how there is very little in this life that I actually did by my own strength. In fact, the things that perhaps I should be credited for are usually the things that go poorly. If I just slow down—if I just take time to reflect on where I am in life—I can see that it had little to do with my own power and might. With just a tiny bit of perspective I can see that my strength got me nowhere.
Why, then, do I still spend so much time taking credit for things that I had little hand in bringing about? Why do I have such pride in the things that “I” do? For the past three semesters I have been serving as a GTA (graduate teaching assistant) with an online class at Dallas Seminary. It’s one of the intro pastoral ministries classes and the content of that class has helped to remind me as to why I still try and take credit.
One of the most eventful and travel-packed years for the Googers and we do not get a Christmas card or Christmas letter out. That’s what happens when you move, change jobs, live with your (Hans’) sister and her family for five months, renovate a house, run into problems renovating said house, move into that house, continue running into problems, and likely have more things to address. The Christmas card got cut for time and budget reasons. There was a moment—we had it lined up—where we were going to get pictures and get the party started, but the weather was bad that day and we never rescheduled because that is how 2018 has been.
Here’s your Christmas/New Year’s blog post:
Where to start? Well, our new house has gutters now. That’s nice. It needed gutters; but you probably didn’t come for the gutters or updates on them. You are probably curious about the family. We have updates on them, too.
First, the travels. From May until July we traveled to Kentucky (Hans is a Dr. now, but not the kind people really care about), to Texas, to Tennessee, to Virgina, to Washington DC, to Georgia, and back. Then we sold the house and moved to Texas. Hans got a job as a pastor at a church in Spring—Genesis Community Church—thus the move. From July until early December we lived with Hans’ sister and her family as we got adjusted—we pray they have recovered (in fact, they were awesome). Then, in December we got into our house.
All the kids are in the same elementary school, which sits at the front of the neighborhood. Ethan’s favorite things: recess is longer, no uniforms, and he can play basketball at said recess. Asher? Same. Abram? That his music teacher puts chapstick on his hand and calls it a “smelly.” Abram now will not leave the house without a big Ziploc bag full of chapstick. “My lips will never be chapped,” he says.
Both to give us something to do in a new city and give the kids other kids to meet (not to mention they both wanted to), Ethan and Asher played baseball for the first time. What did we learn? It rains a lot in Texas in the fall. Basically half the games got rained out and/or rescheduled. (By the way, who in the WORLD schedules 8pm Little League games on school nights? Crazy people.) Another thing we learned? Baseball is a sport with a HIGH entry cost—gray pants (but not too gray), navy socks, black socks, a belt, a helmet, a bat, a bat bag, a glove, etc. One time we couldn’t find Ethan’s glove so Hans ran to Academy to get ANOTHER glove. Shortly thereafter we found the missing glove in the bushes.
The new house has a double oven so Courtney makes twice the cookies. The old house had a double oven, too, but we didn’t tell you last year so we can now make that tidbit sound like new news. She’s also really loving the new king-sized bed because she can say “goodnight” to Hans and then not see him again for eight hours (more like five hours with how late she stays up).
In other news, Hans was pulled over for a traffic violation for the first time in his life this year. The speed limit on the main boulevard in the neighborhood? TWENTY. Fewer things are worse in the world of transportation than a posted speed limit of twenty in a place that is not a school zone. Luckily, Hans got a warning from the officer and the ability to tell the kids that he, too, gets pulled over. (“What does ‘pulled over’ mean?” asked Abram.)
A lot happened this year. Much more than the letter contains, but not much more that you’ll be interested in. The synopsis: we’re alive, baseball is expensive, chapstick is cheap, we live in Texas, and God is good.
We hope to be back in card and letter form in 2019. Until then, here’s a picture of us from the first night in the house:
For the past 40 days, the family and I have been on the road more often than we have not. My last day at The Chapel was May 31 (the family and I were so blessed by the send-off) and June 1 we hit the road. Today, July 10, we are finally settled into my sister’s house with most of our stuff in storage.
This whirlwind of a tour has brought us from Baton Rouge to Tomball (TX) to Bellville (still in TX, with an excellent meat market) to San Antonio (tourists!) back to Tomball back to Baton Rouge to Tyler (for Pine Cove) to Knoxville to Arlington (VA) to DC (you have to see the White House) to Cumming (in GA—Hey, Michael and Erica!) back to Baton Rouge to Spring (TX—storage unit) back to Baton Rouge and now finally back in Texas (with my sister). We tallied about 5,000 miles of driving (300 of them in a U-Haul) in 40 days. The memories created have been great, but I’m glad to be done driving.
Spring, TX will be our spot for the foreseeable future. I’ll write more in the coming days/weeks, but I’ll soon be starting as the pastor of preaching at Genesis Community Church. I’ll join staff in August and then assume preaching roles in the fall.
We’re looking forward to being here and to getting started, and we are grateful for the support of all who have kept up with us over the years.
We are playing a little catch-up on thee questions and answers. I brought the kids in for question 17 and they wanted to stay for a couple others. So we offer you three. It would’ve been four questions, but the fourth turned into a hot mess. This is a pretty accurate representation of how it ACTUALLY goes.
Will God allow our disobedience and idolatry to go unpunished?
No. God is righteously angry with our sins and will punish them both in this life and the life to come.
So the family and I have been slowly going through New City Catechism, a great tool in teaching biblical theology to the church. Catechisms are simply questions and answers that help to instruct people in the faith. They can, at times, feel a little wonky, but we have found them helpful for us.
What we like about New City Catechism is that (1) it is short (only 52 questions and answers) and (2) that every answer has a shorter children’s version to memorize. So, essentially, we like that it is short. We don’t even try to memorize the adult version. Just the kid one.
Now, if you download the app, you’ll also find that the children’s version has songs. Apparently, all the songs have been written, but they have not all been posted to the app. Only the first fifteen have been posted (as of this entry).
Well, we’ve taken matters into our own hands and started making our own versions of the songs. This is really gonna screw our kids up when Crossway releases the other versions of the songs, but we don’t care. I decided to share the in case it helps you, too. It likely won’t (unless you play guitar and like catechisms), but might as well try.
What is sin?
Sin is rejecting or ignoring God in the world he created, not being or doing what he requires in his law.