Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The End of Summer

While many of our friends in Iowa and Minnesota have already started school (or soon will) we still have a week or so to go.  Zachary and Bethany have their open house at school tomorrow and school starts next week Tuesday.  Yesterday, Calvin Seminary welcomed all of the new students to campus and I helped with that process a little bit.  It brought back a flood of memories from last year.  It was fun to see a new group of students arrive and I was glad I wasn’t one of them!  All students begin classes the day after Labor Day.

So as our summer comes to a close we took one last camping trip last weekend and had a great time at Hoffmaster State Park on the shore of Lake Michigan.  We did some swimming, some bike-riding, and lots of sitting around the fire.  It was a good last weekend before life begins in earnest once again. 

So this week we are busy getting school supplies for the kids, I ordered all my books for next semester and am trying to get myself good and organized before school begins for me – in fact, Jessica just came in from shopping with my folders!  I’ve been putting in more time at the admissions office as well.  Even Jessica is already subbing tomorrow at the Evergreen Campus of Grand Rapids Christian, which runs on a different schedule than the rest of the system. 

So we are finishing the summer well and anticipating starting the school year well too.  We continue to covet your prayers as we start another academic year. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Snap Judgments

We just got back from vacation in the Wisconsin Dells at a great resort.  We had a fantastic time!  It was great to be all together for a few days.   The kids had an absolute blast in all the waterparks, I totally embarrassed myself on the golf course with my dad and brothers (per usual), and I ate way too much junk – just the way vacation is supposed to be.

While I was poolside and not responsible for watching Alex, I was reading the book, Blink by Malcolm Gladwell.  It’s all about how sometimes our snap judgments -- the kinds of things we can determine or ‘see’ in the blink of an eye (hence the title) – can be dead on and better than our more researched judgments or they can be totally wrong because of pre-conceived biases that we don’t even realize we have.  His research, approach, and analysis is controversial but very intriguing.  Gladwell has a way of making his readers think about everyday things in a new way that causes you to pause and think twice.

It got me thinking about the quick judgments I make, particularly about other people.  Sometimes my judgments turn out to be spot on and sometimes they turn out to be embarrassingly wrong.  When I’m wrong, I feel really bad and scold myself for getting it wrong promising myself that next time I’ll be more cautious before ‘jumping to conclusions’.  Of course, I soon forget that promise to myself and do it again only this time I happen to get it right and feel totally justified and even a little proud of myself that I ‘called it right’ this time.

Gladwell argues that we can train ourselves to make better snap judgments about people and situations.  But in order to do that we have to be willing to understand our biases and change them.  This takes hard work and practice. 

As a Christian, I believe that judging people is wrong.  And it is, if we are judging their hearts.  But I also think, there is a place for making judgments -- even in the Christian life -- when it comes to peoples attitudes and actions.  If I believe (and I do) that people will and even should be able to determine whether or not I am a Christian based on how I live and act then I need to be able to do that with others as well.

As Christians, we hope that people ‘see’ something in us that they don’t see in others – there is a judgment, a conclusion, that is reached – and that often happens in the blink of an eye.  And we hope that that judgment is good one based on the way we live. 

I hope that as I go through life people will, in fact, judge me and that I will be judged as someone who is exudes love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. 

How would someone judge me in the blink of an eye?  How would they judge you?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

A Little Bit of Everything

Well it’s been nearly two weeks since my last post and there’s been a lot going on.  Here are a few highlights from the past twelve days or so:

1.  Internship Ends – August 2nd was my last official day with Degage Ministries.  I enjoyed my summer there very much.  As I’ve mentioned a few times on this blog – they’re great people and they do some great things.  My time with them finished with a trip to the beach in Grand Haven with some of the patrons.  A good time was had by all.

2. Summer Rec for the Kids --  I don’t think I mentioned this here ever, but I was the assistant coach for Bethany’s summer rec softball team as well.  Her head coach was a young lady named, Tiffany, and she did an amazing with those thirteen girls.  The play fast pitch here so that was a new experience for her as well.  Zachary played rec baseball too and had a good season – both of them finished their seasons on the 27th.

3.  14th Anniversary – Jessica and I celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary on August 2nd.  I can’t believe it’s been that long already and I really can’t believe she still likes me.  But we’re doing better than ever, and I’m so very thankful to God for giving me such a wonderful spouse.  Since I was in Grand Haven already, she met me there later in the day and we went walking along the waterfront, went out for dinner, and enjoyed an ice cream on the boardwalk.  It was great.

4.  A Mini-College Reunion – We had the distinct honor of hosting our very good friends David & Missy Mulder and their two kids for a few nights.  David and I have been friends since we met on the very first day of orientation at Dordt College as roommates and Missy and I have been friends since our sophomore year of high school at Southwest Christian.  They traveled here from Sioux Center for a wedding of David’s cousin and we had a fantastic time catching up with them.  On Thursday night, we had a cook-out at our place with two other friends from college and their families who now live in the Grand Rapids area and we had a blast.  It was fun to reminisce!

5.  Vacation Anticipation – Tomorrow is the big day – we leave for the Wisconsin Dells to spend 4 nights and 5 days at the Wilderness Resort (www.wildernessresort.com).  We are going there with my whole family and it’s going to be crazy – 9 adults and 8 kids, 6 of which are under the age of 5.  Our resort has no less than 6 waterparks and it’s going to be a blast.  We are leaving first thing Monday morning and we are all excited.

So it’s been a wonderfully busy few weeks….lots of food, friends, endings, and beginnings.  God is truly good!  I hope your summers have been equally enjoyable!