Sunday, September 12, 2010

Remembering September 11th

A friend of my sister wrote this blog on September 11. It stirred me so much I wanted to publish it here...

Remembering September 11th

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Movie signposts

Bekah and I love film. We have the privilege of "Free Movie Tuesdays" at the moment and are excited to be going to see Inception tonight. I just came across the following article on Ravi Zacharias' web-site about Avatar this morning that is stimulating and made me stop and think. I love it when a movie makes me do that.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Reconciliation intentionality

It's hard to believe that Bekah and I have now been married for 51 days! I love her more than ever and, although, yes, the honeymoon is officially over, I want to constantly grow in my love for her. The warm fuzzies won't always, and aren't always, with us and how we need to learn to love each other through the thick and thin of every-day life. That is why we vowed to each other on our wedding day to love each other "regardless of the circumstances".

I've been reading for my Marriage Counseling class in the Fall from Paul David Tripp's book "What did you Expect?". Tripp is writing about being realistic with marriage expectations. At times, expectations can be controlling and out of control. They can be unrealistic or tempered with reality. So often we have our own expectations of personal happiness and we expect our spouse to meet that dream. However God has the goal of personal holiness for us, and our spouse is an instrument of His for holiness in our lives.

We need to live day by day and not feed off and live off the good times and romance and wonder. Those times are great, and necessary, but are not what keeps a marriage together. We need to continually be forgiving one another and loving one another deeply from the heart, as Paul says in Ephesians. Tripp calls this "reconciliation intentionality", realizing that the little moments are what counts. They are the brick layers and the very fabric of relationships. How we need the grace of a living and giving God in relationships. Bekah and my love for one another needs to draw from daily worship of our God as Creator and Sovereign.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Counseling Angry, Unmotivated, Self-centered, and Spiritually-indifferent Teens | CCEF

Counseling Angry, Unmotivated, Self-centered, and Spiritually-indifferent Teens | CCEF

Why counsel?

Sometimes people ask me why I am studying biblical counseling. “Why would you want to counsel people? I could never do that,” I hear. I do believe that it is a specific calling for me, but, at the same time, Christians are all called to reach out to hurting people with the love of Christ in many different ways. We are to speak the truth in love to people (Ephesians 4:15). We are to be the body of Christ and to show people that there is hope, even in the midst of despair, because of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Many things led me to pursue biblical counseling. The world is full of hurting people, often without hope. We see it daily in the news. I hear it in conversations with people. My dad had a personal experience with deep depression 2 years ago and I watched as he went from sheer hopelessness to restoration, by the power of God through prayer. That same year, I went on a mens’ weekend away with my church at the time (Morningside Baptist Church, Edinburgh) and listened to 2 friends sharing at an Open Mic’ time: one spoke of his own journey through depression and hope in Christ; the other a Clinical Psychologist with the NHS in Scotland, and of his passion as a Christian in that field. That day I knew that I needed to become a counselor. I am so thankful for God’s tugging at my heart as I was comfortably working for Scottish Water at that time.

Why pursue counseling? This song by Leeland and Brandon Heath sums it up well:

You live among the least of these

The weary and the weak

And it would be a tragedy

For me to turn away

All my needs You have supplied

When I was dead You gave me life

So how could I not give it away so freely?

And I´ll

Follow You into the homes of the broken

Follow You into the world

Meet the needs for the poor and the needy God

Follow You into the world

Use my hands use my feet

To make Your kingdom come

To the corners of the earth

Until Your work is done

Faith without works is dead

On the cross Your blood was shed

So how could we not give it away so freely?

Follow You into the homes of the broken

Follow You into the world

Meet the needs for the poor and the needy God

Follow You into the world


And I give all myself, I give all myself

I give all myself to YOU


Follow You into the homes of the broken

Follow You into the world (Follow YOU)

Meet the needs for the poor and the needy God

Follow You into the world

Follow You into the homes of the broken

Follow You into the world

Meet the needs for the poor and the needy God

© 2010 Leeland/Provident Label Group LLC.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

From here on out

I Samuel 7:12 talks about a pillar of remembrance being raised up by Samuel that he called an Ebenezer. The word Ebenezer means stone of help and it signified God helping the Israelites against their great enemies, the Philistines. Samuel said “thus far the LORD has helped us”. That’s how I feel with this past 12 months – all of my life, in fact - but especially the last 12 months.

I want this blog to be an Ebenezer in my life. I never want to stop and settle in life, thinking that I have arrived. Life is such a journey and my blog title “From here on out” signifies that. I want to continually be pausing and seeing where I am on my journey on which God has placed me.

It was Socrates who said “The unexamined life is not worth living”. I’m no expert in Greek philosophy but Socrates’ thoughts on the importance of examining our life is such a good exercise. We often need to take stock of where we have come from, where we are in the present and where we are going.

I have been blessed beyond measure in 2010, completing my first year at Seminary, marrying the woman of my dreams and setting up home with Bekah in North Jersey. But, this is not my final destination. Like Paul, in Philippians 3:13&14 I want to look forward to what God has ahead for me, and for us, as a couple. That is what God has called us to, in Christ Jesus. We are relational people, created in God’s image and we are to relate well to those God has placed in our lives. There are opportunities all around us to show people what God is like and what a follower of Jesus should look like. We will stumble and fall but God is full of faithfulness and grace, each new day.

“From here on out” is not the same as turning over a new leaf or a more determined resolve than before. We desperately need God and his influence in our lives. We are needy people of His grace time and again. I want to take stock, take time to reflect and to thank God for this life, in Jesus. I want to grow in His love and grace and exhibit that to others – from here on out…

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Crazy times

It has been way too long since my last blog, but, hey a lot has been happening since January: my winter Term at Seminary, a wedding to plan, apartment to move, etc etc. I am so thankful for God's grace and strength. It was an incredibly busy 6 months but also an incredible period. I am now a happily married man living in the quiet town of Butler, NJ and love B so much. She is proving to be quite the wonderful wife!!

The different seasons of life always have things to teach us and I want to be a good listener to God's voice. What has He been saying in my life? "Trust me, walk with me, enjoy spending time with me." During crazy times - good or bad - it is so easy to get distracted. I want to continually be going deeper with God - through His word and prayer and relating to people. Hopefully, see you on here more regularly too!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Reflections on 2009

The beginning of a new year is a good time to look ahead while reflecting on the past. Last year was quite a year for me and I have been reminded of that as I think about 2010 and the year stretching out ahead. Here are some of the highlights from last year:

  • experiencing my niece's 1st birthday
  • selling my apartment during the credit crunch
  • leaving my job in Scotland
  • moving to the US
  • starting an MA in Biblical Counseling at Westminster Theological Seminary
  • getting engaged to B!!!
  • adjusting to life in North America
  • meeting my fiancee, B's, family
Just looking at that list makes me smile and realize what a crazy compression that is. Things took longer than I had planned and, at times, circumstances felt out of my control. They were out of my control and, yet, it makes me realize more and more my sheer dependence on God. A God who is faithful in everything - in the good times and the hard times. A God who provides and cares for us, who leads and protects.

And as I look back and think about all that 2010 holds I want to be faithful to God and, ultimately, to trust him more than I did last year. I'm aware that life won't always be this good. It often isn't. God has blessed me beyond measure but, at the same time, I know that we aren't guaranteed an easy passage through life. Circumstances can change in an instant. I want to be ready for those difficult times - as much as I can be.

From here on out, I want to be more intentional in my relationships - first and foremost with God. But also with the people I know and love - my fiancee, our families, the friends God has placed in our lives. And with people who struggle, who hurt, who feel like there is no hope. Over this year, I want to learn how to be there, to give hope and to show and share that love of Jesus
more and more to people who need him more than anything else.