Thursday, December 26, 2013

How easily we forget: Living Lessons: Sunday, Dec 29th, 2013

Living Lessons:  Church Bulletin Article for Dec 29th

How easily we forget:  I admit it; I simply forgot.  It’s only been four years, but I forgot.  I forgot so much of the joys and challenges of having a new baby around the house.  I forgot how much time is spent in changing diapers.  I forgot how unpredictable nights can be.  I forgot how exciting each little milestone can be. 
Gabriel smiling in March 2007

Gabriel Smiling in April 2007
How could I have forgotten first smiles?  Do you remember the last time you saw a baby’s first smile?  Micah has smiled at least three times this week.  The first sighting came when I had just arrived home from Christmas errands.  Seemingly in response to picking him up and softly saying his name, Micah smiled.  We acknowledge that his sweet smile may have been a well timed coincidence, but we still felt a rush of joy in witnessing that blessed event.  I was also instantly taken back to memories of Gabriel and Ethan smiling as babies.  I’m grateful for God giving us this joyous opportunity to remember again. 

The Lord knows that it isn’t just men who forget things, but those monumental memories fade for all of us without regular reminders and observances.  I am so grateful for how the Lord gives constant reminders through His church.  Early Christians of the Bible met weekly, some even daily, to be reminded of the joys and triumphs of a life in Christ.  The early church even observed communion every first day of the week in an effort to keep the victory of Jesus alive.  At least one group of Christians searched the Scriptures daily!

My prayer for you to start 2014 is a prayer that you will never forget.  May you never forget the love of the Christ.  May you never forget the depth of His sacrifice.  May you never forget the greatness of our God.   Please stay plugged in through regular Communion, worship attendance, Bible studies, offering opportunities, and service.  These are all tools given by God through the elders of our church to help us never forget.    

Now I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I delivered them to you.” – 1 Cor 11:2

“Then take care lest you forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” – Deut 6:12

“And when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” – 1 Cor 11:24

“Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first.” – Rev 2:5

Thursday, December 19, 2013

What's in a Name: Bulletin Article Dec 22nd

Living Lessons:  Sunday, December 22nd, 2013  
What’s in a name?  I’m always intrigued by the names people choose for their children.  Some choose
names that bring honor to ancestors; some choose names that have deep substantial meanings; some choose names because they sound good; and some choose them based on a whim (which happens to be how I got my first name).   
We chose Micah William because of the deep meaning and family honor these two names carry.
Micah - This name is a derivative of the Hebrew question, "Who is like the LORD?"  Its purpose is to bring honor to the Lord emphasizing that God has no rival.  Consider its usage in Psalm 113:5.  Micah was also a prophet of the Old Testament who penned some of my favorite verses in Micah 6:6-8.
William - This is a family honoring name that has a meaning of "will protect".  The latter part of Psalm 113 gives praise to God because He protects and provides for the lowly.

As wonderful as these names are, they still don’t compare to another name.  As great as our joy is in announcing Micah’s name to you, it still doesn’t compare to the joy announced with another name. 

“And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus.” – Luke 1:31

“For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name.” – Philippians 2:9

Today, give honor and praise for the name of Jesus!

A Response to Phil Robertson's ordeal

In the onslaught from Duck Dynasty comments in my FB news feed this morning, this passage from 1 Peter 4 came to mind.

"12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; 13 but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation."

I choose not to complain, gripe, or claim to be a Christian victim. I choose to keep on rejoicing, fully expecting the same fiery ordeal myself one day. I suspect Phil is saying something like, "No biggie, God told me to expect this. God's got this covered." By faith, I do believe God has got this covered. I believe a smile is my best response. What do you believe?

As a post script due to some responses to my article I have posted the following on Facebook:  "Please don't mistake my smile for silence. I do hereby (as many times before) publicly oppose all sexual immorality including but not limited to homosexual acts, acts of lesbianism, polygamy, acts of premarital sex, acts of extramarital sex, acts of bestiality, acts of pornography, married couples with holding sex for unholy reasons unlike fasting and prayer, and any others listed in the Bible. I do also take Peter's words to mean that I will not react with outrage declaring Christians as victims by uttering words of anger, vengefulness, and bitterness. I think Clay summed my reaction best in the Duck Dynasty mantra of "Happy, Happy, Happy." This doesn't dampen my joy."

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Micah made it home! Final hospital adventures and home visits.

We just wanted to let you know that we've made it home.

Micah and mommy are doing amazingly well.  Last night was our best first night at home with any of the children.  Ashley is also recovering faster than ever from the surgery.  We have already felt blessed with our life experiences, but by comparison we have to attribute how well we're doing to God answering the many prayers lifted up on our behalf by friends like you.  We thank you for all your visits, your prayers, your wisdom, and your encouragement. 

With God's guidance and support through wonderful people like you we are emboldened to guide Micah along a God glorifying path in his life.

Now, enough with our musings, we know what you really want.  Photos of babies!

From lifting iron to lifting little boys.  Grant and Topher still get their workout in!

Julian Swartzentruber and Micah Wiles meet for the first time!

Denise enjoys a little Micah time.

Born a day later, another baby at 8lbs 2oz and 20inches joins in our photo.  Meet Micah's new friend, Isalene!

Born a day later, another baby at 8lbs 2oz and 20inches joins in our photo.  Meet Micah's new friend, Isalene!

Ready to go home covered in the same blanket that warmed Gabriel, Ethan, and Ashley on their way home from the hospital.

Hospital volunteers made Micah a new hat!

All ready to head home! Mommy is doing great!

The boys are excited to see their brother home!

Mr. Noah gives Micah a thorough examination.

Micah gives Noah a thorough cross-examination.

Mallory comes bearing sweet gifts and is greeted by a sweet sleeping boy.

“The Lord is good to all, and His mercy is over all that He has made.” -Psalm 145:9

To see our full archive of Micah's first three days' adventure, click here:  Micah's Three Day Adventure

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Three Healthy Boys, Praising God!

Just for fun for all of you who ask, "Who does he look like?"  We think he looks just like his brothers! I've compiled a few pictures of all three boys in their first twenty-four hours of life outside the womb.  See if you can tell who Micah looks like. Have fun praising God for life while you take compare!

Gabriel and Ethan are our first and middle born sons.
Our first pics of Micah

Now for photos of Ethan

And now for shots of Gabriel.

We know that we are very blessed by these three young men. We look forward to guiding, training, and preparing them for the missions God has laid out for them.  

We are feeling the blessing given in Psalm 127:3-4 which says, "Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one's youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them."  

Thank you all for sharing in our blessings.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Micah Day 2 update

Sorry to be so late and so short. It's been a great day but a busy one.  Ashley is recovering well but is just starting to feel the soreness of surgery and exhaustion set in.  Everything on Micah is looking good.  I hae more pictures and fun, but right now we are ehausted and going to sleep. More goodness tomorrow. God has been good.

In the mean time, here are a few photos from the day.