Turning 30 and Blessed

Beyond Blessed
A reflection of my life upon turning 30.

I feel blessed beyond belief and my heart is overflowing with thanksgiving to God.
I just feel so...
Blessed for the lessons I've been given in patience, hope and faithfulness.
Blessed to have my faith to rest on when times are hard and I've been in the valley.
Blessed to have a God to thank at ALL times, but especially at the peak looking out over the journey I've just been on and how beautiful the view is from the mountaintop.
Blessed to have our son, healthy and wonderful in every way possible.
Blessed to be home with Levi; what an answer to prayer that opportunity has been.
Blessed to have a husband who loves me and provides so that I can be home with our child.
Blessed to have a part in my husband's calling as we partner together in ministry.
Blessed to have a community praying for me and my family and celebrating in the joyous occasions such as our son's baptism.
Blessed by the most supportive family who will travel to be with us for the big moments, from birth to baptism, as well as the just cause moments.
Blessed to have amazing friends near and far, from across town to a phone call away who are willing to meet up for coffee, plan a visit or coordinate when possible for me to get out and see them.
Blessed to have photography as a creative outlet and creative friends to share it with.
Blessed to have achieved so much already in my teaching career which given me confidence to know that it's okay to pause and focus my energy on a classroom of one for now.
Blessed to be living a lifelong dream of living in a city and truly one of the best.
Blessed to be in God's will after seeing His plans come to fruition.
I am BLESSED and humbled because there's nothing I've done to deserve such blessings but serve a Mighty and Loving God.

Deciding to baptize rather than dedicate our children

Levi's Baptism is coming up later this month, September 22nd at 11am, and we are excited to share it with our friends and family far and wide, but we also wanted to discuss our decision to baptize rather than dedicate Levi since we had the option at Park Street Church to do either, so Adam drafted this explanation for all interested. 

Why we have changed our view on Baptism?

For many of our friends it may come as a surprise that we have chosen to baptize our son, Levi.  One of the reasons we felt God moving us from Atlantic Shores was due to the fact that some of Adam’s theological views were shifting.  Now, one comment on theology and then we’ll get into baptism.  For many it’s difficult to understand how someone could hold a different theological view from himself or herself.  However, there are many different understandings within conservative Christianity.  To have a different understanding of theological topic does not make one liberal.  To call anyone liberal who does not agree with you on topics such as creation, baptism, spiritual gifts, drinking, eschatology is fundamentalism and not evangelicalism.  We still hold to the deity, life, death, bodily resurrection, and return of Jesus Christ.  We still believe in the infallible and inerrant Word of God.  All of these are conservative doctrines within Christianity.  A person who is liberal in their theology does not believe in the inerrancy of Scripture or the Deity of Christ, even if you are a democrat that doesn’t make you liberal in your theology. 
We’ve broken down the argument into 5 sections.  Each is used to build the case for infant baptism, but first let’s look at what paedobaptism (infant baptism) and believer baptism have in common.  Christians in both camps believe that baptism is symbol.  In no way does baptism bring regeneration/salvation.  One can only be saved through faith (Eph 2:8-9).  No amount of works or religious practices can constitute salvation it only comes by grace through faith.  We also both believe that people should be baptized.  Jesus was baptized and commanded his disciples to baptize others.  We both believe baptism to be ordained by Jesus.  One more note on infant baptism:  we still believe that adults should be baptized if they were not baptized as a child and come to faith.  It’s not the only way to be baptized, but is preferred for families of the New Covenant.  
Water in Scripture
Baptism is not the first time we see water referred or used as a symbol in scripture.  Throughout scripture we see water used not only as a sign of cleansing but judgment.   God used water to judge the sinfulness of the world in the days of Noah.  He used water to destroy the Egyptians pursuing the Israelites.  The priest in Num 5 were instructed to pour water on those caught in sin as a sign of judgment.  God told Isaiah that the Israelites would have to walk through mighty waters because of their sin.  These are a few examples of the water as a sign of judgment.  In the New Testament, Rev 12, water is also used as a sign of judgment.
We see many examples of water as cleansing.  Moses is sparred by the waters of the Nile.  Aaron and Moses were to wash with water before entering the Tent of Meeting.  To make the Levites pure for their temple duties Moses was told to sprinkle them with water.  Most compelling, in Ezekiel 36: 24-38, is a prophecy of the New Covenant.  To initiate the covenant God said that he would sprinkle water in them, that he would give them a new heart, and put his spirit within them.  Even in the Old Testament we see the sprinkling of water a sign of the new covenant.   Then in the New Testament Jesus offers life giving water on many occasions.
As shown above, water in scripture is not only a sign of cleansing but also judgment.  In baptism we see both of these symbols.  Romans 6:24, “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death (ultimate consequence of sin) in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead.we too may live a new life.”  Paedobaptism most clearly reflects the judgment we find ourselves under.  The waters sprinkled/poured on an infant’s head represents and acknowledges God’s judgment on them with the hope that they “may” as said in Romans  live or come to a new life in Christ.   The water represents God’s judgment with the hope that they will one day come to know the life giving water of Christ.
Baptism as a covenant sign 
We could write and there are entire books dealing that discuss baptism as a covenant sign. Instead we will keep it as brief as possible, however, it is the most important argument for paedobaptism.  Every covenant established by God and a person/people in the bible is always followed by a sign or symbol of the covenant.  Most relevant to our conversation is the sign of circumcision given to Abraham (Gen 17).  It was though Abraham that all people would be blessed, this covenant promise still exist today (Gal 3:7-9).  There is no way to be a child of God unless one has faith.  This was true in the Old Testament has well.  Over and over again we are reminded that God’s people are a people of faith, not works.  Therefore, just because one was born an Israelite did not make them an automatic inheritor of the promises given to Abraham.  To inherit the promises of God one had to believe on their own in the promises of God.
So then why the sign of circumcision?  “The removal of the foreskin from the male reproductive organ both signified the removal of spiritual uncleanness from God’s people of faith, and communicated that God’s provision for blessing was being passed to all the children of Abraham from generation to generation (cf. Genesis 17:10-14; Deuteronomy 10:16; Jeremiah 4:4; Colossian 2:13).  Circumcision marked God’s people as being separated and consecrated unto him and, consequently, as being in union with him and with each other in covenant family and community relationships (Exodus 12:48; Deuteronomy 30:6; Jeremiah 4:4; 9:26).  The rite of circumcision necessarily involved the shedding of blood, and was one of numerous Old Testament signs that prefigured what would be required of Christ in order for our sins to be removed (cf. Hebrews 9:22).” Bryan Chapell
Even in the Old Testament when the head of household converted to Judaism the whole household received the covenant sign. (Gen 17:2)  Circumcision was not only given as a sign but a seal of the covenant. (Romans 4)  Because it is a seal it was passed on to children.  A seal is the visible pledge of an author, in this case God, that he would uphold his promises to the child if the conditions of the covenant were met.  All the recipient need do is place his trust in one who wrote the covenant letter.   The passing of the seal is important which is why God told Abraham to circumcise his household.  “God did not require that covenant parents wait until a child could express faith before commanding them to administer the covenant sign and seal of circumcision.” –Chapell.  The circumcision of the child also displayed the parents faith in God’s covenant promises to their children.
In the New Testament we are told that baptism replaces the covenant sign of circumcision.  No longer do we need of sign that sheds blood because the blood of Christ once and for all removes our sin.  Colossians 2: 11-12, “In Him (Christ), you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism…”  Paul makes it pretty clear that baptism now takes the place of circumcision as a sign his new covenant through Christ.  Jesus himself says the Kingdom belongs to Children.  Luke 18, “15 People were also bringing babies to Jesus for him to place his hands on them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 17 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”  Jesus himself gives a kingdom blessing to babies before a profession of faith.
Thus Peter declared, "Repent, and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children" (Acts 2:38–39)
Examples of baptism in the NT
There are seven examples of baptisms by name in the New Testament.   One of the common arguments against infant baptism is that there are no examples of it in the Bible.  However, there is also no clear example of someone who is born, grown to an age of understanding, received salvation, and then baptized.  Every written case of baptism we see in the New Testament is adults because Christianity was in its infant stage.  There were no Christian families to pass on the sign of the New Covenant prior to Acts.  When Jesus gives the great commission of Matthew 28, “to go and make disciples, baptizing them…” it was the only option for baptizing because no disciples other than a few existed.
There are three examples of people being baptized and not their families: 1). Simon the Sorcerer – Acts 8;  2). Eunuch –Acts 8; 3).  Saul/Paul – Acts 9.  While we do know a little about the second two we don’t know much about Simon the Sorcerer.  We have no mention of a family.  It’s pretty safe to say that the Eunuch didn’t have a wife or children.  I shouldn’t need to explain how we know that, and Paul was more than likely widowed and the scriptures never mention him having children.
It’s reasonable to assume that in the first three examples their households were not baptized because they had no families.
Then we have instances of household baptism: 1.)  Cornelius – Acts 10;  2).  Lydia – Acts 163). The Jailer – Acts 16; 4).  Stephanas - 1Cor 1.  
“The apostolic Church baptized whole "households" (Acts 16:33; 1 Cor. 1:16), a term encompassing children and infants as well as servants. While these texts do not specifically mention—nor exclude—infants, the very use of the term "households" indicates an understanding of the family as a unit. Even one believing parent in a household makes the children and even the unbelieving spouse "holy" (1 Cor. 7:14). 
Does this mean unbelieving spouses should be baptized? Of course not. The kingdom of God is not theirs; they cannot be "brought to Christ" in their unbelief. But infants have no such impediment. The kingdom is theirs, Jesus says, and they should be brought to him; and this means baptism. “
Out of seven cases mentioned of individuals being baptized four of them included the family, 2 had no family, and we don’t know about the one.
Early Church
For the sake of making this post not too long we’re not going mention a few church fathers who agreed with infant baptism.  But it is notable that a vast majority of the early Church baptized infants.  Even in scripture we see many controversies about circumcision and dietary laws, but there is no controversy over baptism.  One would think that if it were a problem to baptize infants in the name of the New Covenant (Christ) that it would have been an additional chapter in Galatians as Gentiles were being included in this new covenant community.
Some notable church Fathers who believed in infant baptism: Irenaeus, Hippolytus, Origen, Cyprian of Carthage, Gregory, John Chrysostom, and most notable Augustine
Mode of baptism
It is commonly argued that by the Baptist church that the Greek word for baptism means, “to immerse” and it does in some contexts.  However, it also means to baptize.  We don’t have an equivalent English word for the Greek word.  If we both agree that baptism is a symbol then is seems silly to argue that the only proper way to administer baptism is through immersion because that is what the bible teaches.  If we were to follow that logic then the only way we should take of the Lord’s table is with wine because that is how it was done by Jesus and Paul.  It is the symbol of the water that is important not how much water is used.  

2 http://www.catholic.com/tracts/early-teachings-on-infant-baptism
3 Augustine in consider one of the greatest theologians in Church history.  Martin Luther said that all theology is footnote to Augustine. 

The Business of Being...Levi

Well I've been hanging around this world for  SEVEN MONTHS now and here's what I think about things so far... 
The month started off when Dad took a group of students to Medellin, Columbia on a missions trip. The next twelve days would just be me and mom with some company along the way. I had been practicing my scooting with Dad, but I promised to hold off on actually crawling until he came home. I kept up my end the bargain and haven't fully crawled yet, but I'm getting closer and closer every day. My parents keep telling me I'd be pretty good at yoga because I'm really good at doing the downward dog.
The first day Dad was gone, Mom had to take me to the doctor's for my 6 month appointment. The doctor was impressed with my skills...motor skills that is! He wanted to see if I would sit up with his help and instead I stood right up. I'm a strong guy. I also got a few more shots which weren't fun, but I didn't fuss for long. 

I was a little fussy the next day, so Mom thought the shots were bothering me, but it wasn't the shots at all. Something was really bothering me and I fell asleep on Mom's shoulder twice that day, which is very unusual for me. I didn't even feel like nursing for comfort. What was it??? I cut my FIRST TOOTH! Friday morning my right bottom tooth popped through my gum. That explained a lot. I got my left bottom tooth a couple weeks later, so now I have two little bottom teeth.
My Nana, Poppy, Tati and Uncle Chris came to visit me the first weekend Dad was away. Nana was excited to see my first tooth first thing Friday morning. Then, Mom and I took Nana and Poppy to Martha's Vineyard for the day. We went to Oaks Bluff this time since she and I visited the other ferry drop off, Vineyard Haven, earlier this summer. While at lunch, I got to try my first pickle. I REALLY liked it! It also felt nice on my gums. Tati and Uncle Chris got into town that night, so we could celebrate Tati's birthday. Jeannie, Micheal, Ali and Taylor came to hang out with me for the day and celebrate Tati too, which was great since we didn't get to hang out for very long when I met them at Tati's wedding. I had fun showing them all around Boston and I cracked up at Tati when she swiped a wet wipe over my head. I thought it was absolutely HILARIOUS!
Sadly everyone had to go home at the end of the weekend, and then to make things worse Mommy got a cold. Luckily I didn't come down with her cold until the very end of our time without Daddy and then when I did get my FIRST cold, it only lasted a couple days. I had a runny nose and a little cough. Mom got me saline drops and boogie wipes to help with my runny nose and a cool mist humidifier. Between all those things and the antibodies from Mommy's milk I wasn't sick for long. Thank goodness!

I also moved into my crib this month! I had slept in my crib for a few naps, but not at night. Since my travel had calmed down finally and I wouldn't be sleeping in a pack n'play as much like when things were go go go, Mom figured now was as a good time as any to move me into my crib, so into my nursery and my crib I went for nighttime sleeping as well as naps. It's comfy and I like it. In fact since being home in Boston for a good long stretch of time, I started napping better for Mom. I usually take my morning nap around 10:30am and I'll sleep anywhere from one to two hours. Then I take another nap in the afternoon around 3:30pm. This nap I'll take in my stroller sometimes if we're out or in my crib. I'm a little more flexible with my afternoon naptime. I'm still going to bed between 8pm and 9pm after my bath and a little milk. Towards the end of the month,  I've started sitting up on my own including in my crib and Dad had to move my crib mattress down because I figured out how to pull up and STAND up in my crib! Have I mentioned how much I LOVE standing!
Mom and I also took a few days to visit our New York cousins while Dad was away. I went for a nice evening walk with Barbara and Pete, hung out with Janice and Pat and visited my cool cousins for a few days. Mom even took me to Foxcubs to get some 6 month photos taken that way she could get me smiling while someone snapped the camera since I don't keep smiling for her when she puts the camera in front of her face. She had some cute ideas and I'm sure she'll be posting those pictures soon. I know she used one of my smiley ones on my Baptism invitation. Mom and I grabbed lunch with Tati in her new neighborhood and then we went and visited my Great Grandma. It was a really fun visit and we can't wait for our next chance to see everybody.
Back to Boston we went to get ready for Daddy's return from Columbia...little did we know we'd be hanging out just me and Mommy for a few more days when a mudslide delayed Dad's team returning. He wasn't going to be home for five more days and boy did I miss him! At least we were able to facetime and see each other some. I am so glad I have internet because it helps me see my grandparents and in this case Dad.

Dad finally made it home and I was so excited to spend time with him. I went to his church softball game while Mommy coordinated a wedding and then we had a fun family day at the beach. It was so good to have him home!

You might remember that I started eating solid food last month, well my Mom read a book on this thing called Baby Led Weaning and that's what we're doing now. I get to practice eating my own food at the table whenever Mom and Dad are eating and I'm having a blast. It's like when I got to try a pickle when Nana was here except I get to try feeding myself all sorts of other new foods all the time now. I've had celery, grilled peppers, squash, sweet potato, green beans, carrots, apples, and I've tried feeding myself with a spoon. It was really fun eating my oatmeal and some mashed potatoes that way, but boy did I make a mess. This past week I even tried a pancake. YUMMY! Oh and I LOVE Mum Mum crackers too!
 To wrap up the month, I went to Family Camp in Maine with Mom and Dad. It is a fun week with LOTS of kids from church. Last year I was there too, but still in the womb. This time was WAY more fun for me and I hear it will only get better next year when I'm walking around. There is this huge slip n' slide and I can't wait to go for a ride next year! This year I got to hang out with my gal pal Tabitha, and the other kiddos my age and watch all the big kids slip and slide. I also hung at the beach with Mom and watched Dad play a lot of sports. I can't wait to get in on the action next year!

The last few random things you should know about me this month...I have started to wave sometimes...well that's what it looks like I'm doing. I put my hand out and hold it there. It's like a wave/ high five all at the same time. I'm also learning to fist pump, but I only really do it with my Mom's friend Julia. I'm making a lot more noise this month too. I haven't said any official words yet, though I've made some sounds that sound like "mama", "yeah" and "hi" on occasion. I also love making an "ahhh" sound when mom pats her hand on my mouth making a native american sound. Oh and I love mirrors! Every time I see myself in one, I make the biggest smile!

Of course this has been another month of firsts...
      Sleeping in my crib.
      Pulling up to standing.

Overall,  in my  SEVENTH MONTH I've enjoyed the business of MOVEMENT (crawling, sitting, standing) .

Out take!

  © Blogger template Sunset by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP