Friday, July 27, 2007

Monday, July 23, 2007

We got a new cat... help us name her!

Here are some pictures of our new kitty. She is a three year old Persian and we adopted her tonight from the Kentucky Humane Society. She needs a name! Please vote for your favorite name in the poll on the right-hand side of the blog.

**UPDATE: The voting has completed and our new cat is named Lucy. Thanks to all who voted!


Friday, July 20, 2007

An introduction to Ninth and O Baptist Church

If you're looking for a church in the Louisville area, we would love to have you join us for worship at Ninth and O. This video gives an excellent description of what we're all about.

For more info: http://www.naobc.org/

We are without excuse...

During our trip to Yosemite last week I had a great deal of time to spend reflecting on the beauty of God's creation. For an entire week, nearly everywhere I looked I got an eyeful of incredible scenery.

One day stands out in my mind, in particular. We had made our way up a long mountain road to what the locals call the "high country". According to the GPS that was guiding our way through the park, we peaked around 9,000ft. We were driving back down this mountain road right around sunset, when suddenly we turned a corner and got a glimpse of what had to be one of the top five sunset viewing locations on the entire planet. I took this picture there, among many others.

That night, when thinking about what we had seen, I came across Psalm 19, and it helped me remember just why it is that these beautiful things exist in our universe...

1 The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
2 Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.
3 There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.
4 Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun,

5 which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
6 It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is hidden from its heat.
7 The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple.
8 The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes.
9 The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous.
10 They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb.
11 By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
12 Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults.
13 Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression.
14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.


In this passage of Scripture, God is indicating to us that we are supposed to learn something about who He is by observing "the work of His hands" in the creation around us. It says, "There is no speech or language where [their] voice is not heard."

But it occurred to me that there is an obvious problem. From my experience, most of us are more likely to look at a beautiful sunset and give praise to an impersonal "mother nature" --- or to look at a staggering mountain valley and credit the river and glaciers that formed it --- or to look at the diversity and complexity of life on earth and dignify an accidental, random process of evolution and natural selection. It is entirely uncommon to stand around in a group of people overlooking something of such incredible size and beauty and hear something like, "Wow... God is great!"

So why don't we "get the message" that creation is trying to send?

For the answer to that question, I turn to the New Testament. The Apostle Paul, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in Romans 2:18-23...

18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.


Modern theologians use the terms general revelation and special revelation when talking about these issues.

General revelation is given to all people at all times and at all places. The three primary categories of general revelation are through nature, human history, and human nature--internally--for example, via conscience.

Special revelation, on the other hand, is God's manifestation or revelation of Himself via three major categories: miraculous events, divine speech, and visible manifestations. Its content is salvific or redemptive. It includes the Gospel and the promises of God. It is communicated in both words (Scripture) and acts or actions. It must be revealed and initiated by God alone. Christ and the Scriptures respectively are the supreme examples of special revelation.

(Definitions courtesy of www.apologeticsinfo.org)

Essentially what we're saying is this: God has given us enough data about Himself and His character in the universe that He created that we should be able to love Him and serve Him and obey Him without any further knowledge. Unfortunately, though, no one does this on the basis of the creation alone. This is because of our sin.

Sin blinds us to the point that we completely miss the message that God is sending us in creation, and thus reject Him and His message (a message that is good news!).

Thankfully, God has given us so much more than even the universe to tell us of Himself. He has given us His only Son who took our deserving place in death, and who overcame that death through resurrection and achieved for His people everlasting life. He has given us His Word and His Spirit to help us live a life that glorifies Him.

What do you see when you look at a sunset? Is it the good news from God?

The Kodiak is official!

The Quest Aircraft Company recently announced that they have achieved FAA type certification for their Kodiak aircraft! This officially took place at the end of May, but was only announced in recent days - likely to coincide with the annual EAA AirVenture convention that begins Monday in Oshkosh, WI.


The Kodiak is exciting to me on several fronts. First, it was designed specifically with missionary aviation in mind, by former missionary pilots. This is the first aircraft ever designed for this purpose from the ground up. Second, it represents a huge step forward in the safety and efficiency of missionary aviation worldwide - it has a very reliable turbine engine, burns less expensive jet fuel, and contains a state of the art avionics package to help the pilot complete the mission safely. Thirdly, the brilliant business minds at Quest have structured their company in such a way as to be able to provide these remarkable aircraft to missionary aviation agencies at cost! (approximately $750k) Basically, for every 10 of these aircraft that they sell to market (approximately $1.2m), they will donate one of them for use on the mission field with no markup.

Praise God for this new tool in the hands of His people. He has brought it about through the hard work and dedication of the folks at Quest. They are reporting that all of their production slots are already filled for the next three years! That should represent a significant number of aircraft hitting the mission field very soon.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Travels and Musings

I hope the pictures from our trip to Yosemite capture a glimpse of what we were privileged to see. They still can’t do it justice.

Funny, but when I picture Yosemite I visualize a giant rock slab or a sunset, with the outline of a door frame and the glint of a window. Seriously! We could have had the coolest experience without even leaving the rental car. Robert and I first drank in the scenery and spoke praises under our breath from the road. Meadows, deer, and lakes alike whizzed past to our amazement. Even better, every turn was a new vista. Sometimes the switchbacks brought us to a mountain that we had photographed on the turnout ten miles earlier. From a different angle it would look so different you’d insist God had created a fresh new mountain.


Thursday was our first hint at the spectacular. We introduced ourselves to Yosemite Valley, the peak tourist spot. The parking was horrendous, but you could get to the trailheads with ease. We were enclosed on either side by the most beautiful rock faces I’d ever seen.

First we hiked to Bridal Veil Falls. In mid-summer, the wind whips the light veil of water into a dancing frenzy of misty wisps. Tourists from fifty different countries were clamoring up the rocks with their children. We must have heard parents say “Be careful!” in ten different languages.

Robert arranged for a guided all-day tour on Friday. In the tour van, Robert finally got the window seat. We drove 1.5 hours to Glacier Point, on the south rim of the Sierra Nevada. It overlooks Yosemite Valley with an awesome, awesome view of Half Dome, Clouds Rest, North Dome, Basket Dome, and waterfalls! With recommendations from our guide we took Four Mile Trail (4.6 miles), zigzagging to the floor of Yosemite Valley. After a mile or so, we found a breezy spot and broke out our lunches. We thought it was the most exquisite view of El Capitan anywhere in the park.

Saturday, we enjoyed tons of overlooks in the “high country.” The elevation ranges from 5-8,000 ft. Olmstead Point, Tenaya Lake, and Tuolumne Meadow were just a few of the sights. On our way, we stopped at Tuolumne (pronounced Twah-luh-mee) Grove, known for its old growth cluster of giant sequoia. Magnificent! Check out this stump of a tree, designed for a stagecoach to pass through. According to a plaque, the giant sequoia is the heaviest living thing on earth – past and present.

We took a few pics at Olmstead Point and Tenaya Lake before heading on to Tuolumne Meadow. There the Tuolumne River runs across a soft green meadow dappled with tiny yellow and purple flowers - only as high as your ankle. They were great contrast to the bone-white mountains beyond the river.

Darkness chased us as we drove back to the lodge. We were still high in the trees when we caught a glimmer of beet red and pulled the car over. Possibly the most beautiful sunset of our lives was right in front of us. The clouds were ripping satin reds and cool purples across a silhouette of pines. A caravan of college students found our sweet spot, too. Amidst lots of “dude!” and “whooooa,” we took their picture, and they took one for us. Loved every minute of it.
The aesthetics of nature lead me to reflect on God’s unwarranted goodness to the human race. What worship can we bring that compares to just a common sunset? Can I be steadfast in my devotion as a mountain range of granite? I am profoundly trivial. Yet here I stand, and God loved me enough to send me His Son. What a great mercy that our Maker showed us His face, not just His handiwork.

With respect to Christ’s offer of salvation, it is more than unwarranted. We deserved death for rejecting His high holiness. Our sins are abysmal crags. Can anyone bring something good before Almighty God? Can kings with their riches? Can paupers with their sacrifice? Our riches are filthy rags. Yet His mercy stretches from east to west. Each morning and night, kings and paupers can pause in awe of a blood-soaked sky. Those who hear His Words can turn to the risen Christ, who will wash out their sin with red.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
Praise Him all creatures here below!
Praise Him above ye heavenly hosts!
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
Amen.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

We're in Yosemite!

We're in Yosemite National Park celebrating our three year anniversary. Pictures available on Picasa via the link below. More to come...

Trip to Yosemite National Park

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Professionalism under pressure

This video is a perfect example of the professionalism with which flight crews operate today. This crew of a Boeing 757 experienced an engine failure at the worst possible time - just after takeoff. I was amazed to watch the excellence with which they handled the difficulty. We truly can feel safe when boarding an airliner.

Friday, July 6, 2007

The flight of the bumblebee

Last Sunday, we had the pleasure of taking a flight around Louisville in a very historic old seaplane. It is called a Republic Seabee and is one of only about 1,000 that were manufactured back in the late 1940's. We landed on the Ohio River -- twice!! Looks a bit like a bumblebee, don't you think?

There's a blog born every half second


According to CNET, there is a new blog born on the world wide web every half second.

From the article: According to recent statistics from blog-tracking site Technorati, the blogosphere has doubled every six months for the last three years. That's 175,000 new blogs per day worldwide. Technorati added its 50 millionth blog on July 31, 2006.

Well, make that 50 million and one. Here we are!

More to come, soon...