Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Man Alive, Chandler's Five!!

Five years ago, Amy and I were celebrating the birth of our second child - a healthy baby boy whom we named Chandler Aaron.

So much has happened in five years' time. I cannot believe it has passed so quickly!

I was just speaking with a co-worker about the vast differences in our boys' personalities. It is truly a miracle to see the different character traits from both Amy and me.

Chandler is our stubborn one. He will butt heads with us and his brother over just about anything. I cannot help but laugh many times when he gets that furrowed brow and shouts, "No!" I know, that is not an admirable quality in a parent...but, it's hilarious! It's less hilarious when Chandler has a total meltdown when he refuses to take a tiny little bite of a new food.

Chandler is ALL boy - with one exception: he hates getting his hands dirty or sticky. We plays with light sabers, swords, Transformers, monster toys, and loves video games (he's all about the Wii). But, he cannot STAND it if he gets stuff on his fingers and palms. In fact, his favorite "napkin" is his shirt or his pants legs if he wipes them off!

While Chandler is stubborn and somewhat outspoken, he is as adorable and squeezable as they come. I love getting little buddy hugs and sugars, especially when he is sleepy and cannot put up much of a fight.

I love my little Chandler-buddy so much that it hurts. His cackle brightens my days, his imagination warms my heart, and his determination inspires me.

Happy 5th Birthday, Chandler!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

God in Science

I just finished reading Dan Brown's Angels and Demons. Incredible book. A little over the top, maybe...but vivid and compelling storytelling.

Throughout the novel, there's an overt tension between "Religion and Science." The scientific community claims it has been undermined and kept at bay for centuries by religion as a whole. The religious community, on the other hand, claims that science only aims to take God out of the equation - that man tries to explain away every miracle through scientific discovery.

One of the quotes in the book has stuck with me: "Science and religion are not at odds. Science is simply too young to understand."

I think there's a lot of truth in this statement. If we (as believers) are confident that God is the Creator, then we shouldn't have an issue with that remark.

One definition of science is as follows: systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation.

Science is essentially gaining knowledge by studying and observing stuff.

God is in science. And, science is simply trying to understand what God has already mastered.

But, it doesn't mean we play God. And, it doesn't mean we'll understand everything, no matter how long or how relentlessly we attempt to do so.

Famed French microbiologist Louis Pasteur believed that scientific discoveries only further proved that God existed. But, he also warned that approaching God through science too often would result in being further separated from Him.

And finally, Albert Einstein added, "Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind."

So, here's the deal. Both faith and science are important. They are not mutually exclusive, as religious zealots or the most staunch atheist would have you believe.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

God's in Your Gut

Few people, if any, on this earth have heard the literal voice of God. Most of us would probably guess that He sounds like James Earl Jones, or one of those movie trailer voice-over guys. But, no one really knows what He sounds like.

Chances are, God doesn’t have a booming voice. I mean, He could have a booming voice. But, based on what we read in scripture, and in my personal walk with Him, His voice is often clearest in complete silence. The problem is that we rarely stop to listen. But, rest assured, He is speaking to us.

Trying to discern the will of God can be frustratingly difficult. It is for me. Especially when I am on the world’s timeline. I often convince myself that I don’t really have enough time to wait to “hear” from God because I have deadlines to meet. I rationalize that I can’t just sit around and wait for God to reveal Himself to me, you know?

But, I am learning more and more that God speaks loudly and clearly in two ways: through restlessness, and through peace. Allow me to explain.

I was recently faced with a decision that warranted a response within a 4-5 day time frame. I resolved to pray about it every day until the end of the week. I told myself, “Okay, if I have a peace about it on Thursday, I will do it.” Thursday came, and just as I was about to announce my decision, I got distracted. So, I decided I would just send an email later that evening. Funny how God works.

That evening, as I sat in front of the computer, ready to send an email, I was suddenly overcome by a heavy weight that burdened me. I had been praying all week that God would give me a peace about it if I was supposed to do it, yet I had no peace. I was conflicted. On the surface, this was a terrific opportunity. But, this was a decision that didn’t just affect me. And, immediately, things became clear. God was telling me I shouldn’t do it. This unsettling feeling was God answering my prayer. In this case, His answer was “don’t do it.”

Sometimes in our lives there are great opportunities we will have to pass up for no other reason than we don’t feel at peace about it. We have to trust our convictions, and continue to ask God for discernment in navigating our way through decisions we face in life.

And, when we make these decisions with conviction, we must refuse to second-guess ourselves. We can see opportunities that we relinquished that led to the success someone else now enjoys, and we can become jaded, bitter. Or, we can choose to see God’s hand in it. Perhaps that person or group would not have had that success if we had chosen to get involved. Or, maybe we would have caused a train wreck – in our own lives, or in the lives of others – if we had ignored God’s prompting.

The next time you are faced with making a tough decision, listen to your gut and follow your convictions. If God is in the mix, He will reveal Himself to you – often times in the most unexpected ways.