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He Writes

noah movie picture

What If…

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noah movie picture
Image: impawards.com

What if all the newest movies were heretical accounts of Biblical stories?

What if churches weren’t allowed to meet in any schools at all?

What if every pastor of a large church committed “moral failure”?

What if it were illegal to say “Merry Christmas”?

What if Christian churches were forced to do Gay Weddings?

What if church meetings had to be held at night time, with the shades drawn, in small homes?

What if Christians were being burned alive to light the roadways to Washington D.C.?

***

Would Jesus cease to be King?

Would God cease to be Good?

Would the commands of Jesus be null and void?

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. 2. Corinthians 4:16-18

We can choose to focus on the chaos around us, or we can choose to focus on Jesus.

holly plaque

A Beacon of Joy

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holly plaque
Yesterday, a friend of mine passed away to be with the Lord. She was a godly woman, wife, and mother. She was also younger than I am.

I’m not the right person to write about Holly, yet I’m compelled to write. Not because I’m worthy of remembering her, but that she is worth remembering.

I didn’t have the privilege of spending a lot of time with Holly. I call it a privilege, because it was. She was very dear to my wife’s heart and to our family. On the few occasions I spent with her, Holly portrayed some rare qualities. I remember her bantering back and forth with her husband – not the kind of banter that has an underlying “This relationship has issues” but rather “I love this guy”. It was heartwarming.

She had a smile that was always shining. I’m not sure how she did it. Most of my smiles smack of fake veneer, but hers were genuine. Holly really was a Beacon of Joy in this world. She was the kind of person you were always happy to run into in the supermarket, never wanting to duck into the next aisle to avoid her.

The cancer was mysterious and vicious. We watched on Facebook from across the world as she battled. She fought valiantly. She never lost hope. There were days when her smiled faded, only to return the next day more fervently. There were days when the discouragement was overwhelming, but her joy was never squelched. She entered eternity, walked into the arms of her Father, and is loving a new life.

And that leaves us here.

We’re wondering why the joyous one had to go. Why not the mean one, or the angry one, or the hypocrites, or the pharisees? Now we’re in a world with a less sunlight, darker clouds, and a lot less joy. Death has no more sting for those of us who go. No, the sting is left for those of us who stay behind. Holly is healed, healthy, and more joyful than ever, and we’re worse off.

The Apostle John, writing the last book of the Bible, in the second to last verse, says “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.” John just spent 22 chapters on writing prophetic visions he received from Jesus. He saw suffering, wars, pestilence, disease, death, all the horrors and misery of this world – John saw it. Then he got to see a glimpse of the New Heaven and New Earth. And there, in that place, death is gone.

Was he blown away by the majesty of being in the presence of Christ? Surely he was. But I’m willing to bet John also yearned for the end of all things horrible. An end to war, cancer, and death. An everlasting life filled with Joy. So John said, “Come, Lord Jesus.” Come fix this broken world. Destroy death, and bring on the joy.

That’s my sentiment when someone special like Holly goes Home. I say with John, “Come, Lord Jesus.” Don’t keep us separated any longer than necessary. Renew this world. Please.

And He *is* coming.

Holly, we will see you again soon. I can’t wait to see that smile.

Dedicated to Holly Lutterman: Daughter, Wife, Mother, Beacon of Joy

package deal

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DSC_7189
25 quotes (or near-quotes) from or about Sarah since the time I have known her, in no particular order:

  1. “My sister looks just like me”
  2. “I got written up for that.”
  3. “You can choose one, or the other, or both”
  4. “That is my favorite ride”
  5. “Will you marry me?”
  6. “They are not obeying me.”
  7. “Did you seriously get a nose ring?”
  8. “Where is your tattoo?”
  9. “She’s moving in.”
  10. “Say, ‘Doh-Doh!'”
  11. “Why are you going so slow?”
  12. “Why are you going so fast?”
  13. “You’ll be scarred for life.”
  14. “I think she’s a little tipsy.”
  15. “You should come to the party.”
  16. “He’s a little difficult.”
  17. “Is that my shirt?”
  18. “Is that new?”
  19. “I like it comfy.”
  20. “That’s hil-ARI-ous!”
  21. “You think you’re so funny.”
  22. “It will be in a barn.”
  23. “Oh. My. Gosh.”
  24. “It’s a surprise.”
  25. “Package Deal.”

Happy 25th, Sarah.  Slapband.

Daisy walking

Creation, Fall, Redemption, Restoration

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Daisy walking

photo: prayfordaisy.com

I awoke this morning to terrible news: first, an acquaintance of mine who has been fighting Lyme’s Disease passed on. Secondly, Daisy Merrick, who I never met but prayed for regularly, lost her battle with cancer.

Death is a monster. Every twinge of pain is a reminder that something is wrong with this world.

The orthodox Christian view of history can be summarized: Creation, Fall, Redemption, Restoration.

Creation – In Genesis 1, God created the Heavens and the Earth…and it was good.  God, the Creator, the Maximally Perfect Being, created Time and Space with a word.  Then He populated our universe and our planet, creating Man in His image.  And it was good.  God created as it should be. What happened?

Fall – Just 2 chapters later, mankind has an opportunity to destroy the work that God has done, forever marring the perfection. We take that opportunity.  This is the point where death entered the world and with it shame, guilt, disease, pain, and every other horrible thing. We took creation from perfection to imperfection – an infinite distance. What can we do to fix it? How can it be undone?

Redemption – Like Humpty-Dumpty, all the King’s horses and men are at a loss. But the King himself is not. He decided to make things right, and so Christ descended and became like us. Let that sink in just for a second: the Creator became like his Creation in order to fix it. That’s perfect humility. Christ, the God-Man lived a perfect life and died so that we wouldn’t have to. Christ’s purpose was to die. The one thing we hate most and fear most, Christ took head-on. Then He conquered it. This is redemption. God, paying the price for our disobedience, buying back His people and His planet from the broken state, and in one fell swoop, He killed death.

Restoration – Soon, Christ will come back and make all things new again. This is when pain and death will cease. This is when Glory comes in fullness. This is when our desires will be corrected and fulfilled. This is what we are waiting for.

But it’s difficult, being in this holding pattern of “Already Redeemed” but “Not Yet Restored”. We cannot see the restoration, so we wonder, “Why him? Why her? Why now? Why the pain?!” No, we cannot see it, but the Bible teaches that every ounce of pain and every shed tear will become something beautiful. In some mysterious way, God will restore not only the broken things of this world, but even the pain caused by this world, and make it wonderful. Heaven will be all the more glorious because of how thoroughly He restores.

I believe that Daisy and Jimmy are both standing in the presence of Jesus right now. Maybe they already know the answers to the questions we are asking. Maybe Jesus has told them just to wait a little bit before He explains. Either way, they are not suffering now. They are experiencing the first stages of restoration – peace with Christ.

My prayers are with their families, that the could experience the gift of Redemption here and now: the peace of Christ. Even in our ignorance, the Holy Spirit gives a supernatural peace that surpasses understanding.

And so we wait for the day when all things are made new.

5 Ways to Know You Married the Right Woman

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Some of you might not know it, but today marks my 5 year anniversary to Marie.  In honor of her us, me, I give you:

5 Ways to Know You Married the Right Woman

 

  1. She Makes Delicious Food – I don’t know if you’re familiar with Eastern European cuisine, but it’s not the same as in the States.  It’s not bad, by any means, but there are a few dishes that I wouldn’t offer my friends 😉  Cooking 3 meals a day for 4 people isn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination.  Now do it gluten-free (except for me), with products whose ingredients you can’t read, and in an extremely small kitchen.  On top of that, it’s good – every time!  I think she’s either some kind of conjurer of good food or she puts crack in all our meals…
  2. She Attracts Your Eye – I’m not going to get all graphic and weird on this blog, but let me just say it simply.  My wife is smokin’ hot.  Sometimes, like every woman, she struggles with her self image.  When this happens, I gently reassure her that she’s full of crap and/or has been ingesting too much of the aforementioned crack.
  3. She Rears the Children Well – I’m not implying that she does it alone.  Seriously, guys, if you think raising a family is “women’s work” then you need to wake up.  What I am saying is that you never have to worry about her methods.  When she has the kids, you’re confident she’ll make the right decisions, every time.  You trust her in that.  I do.
  4. She Inspires with Her Words – I’m not saying you have to be married to a professional poet or something.  It’s not like I wake up every morning and she’s crafted a new Maya-Angelou-ish quote for me.  I mean that she builds me up and doesn’t tear me down.
  5. She Empowers Your Dreams – I’ve had a desire for a long time to be in ministry.  In 2009, when I thought it was time to leave the great job I had at a pharmaceutical company, she was all for it.  We knew it would be a significant lifestyle change.  When we had been planning to come to Moldova, she was supportive the whole time we prepared.  And even now, as I’m working on pet projects and being a better man, my wife empowers and supports me.

God knew what He was doing when He put the two of us together.  Life is never easy, but it’s easier knowing that we’re together through it.

 

Happy Anniversary, Marie,

 

I love you!

The In-Laws

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I need to confess up front: I consider this my wife’s blog, but she consistently reminds me that it is “our family blog.”  At which point I typically ignore her.  The last time she reminded me she nonchalantly threw in there “but you don’t treat it like it is…”  Which is true.  So, instead of trying to keep my writing to my blog (shameless plug), I decided to write a little something on our blog 🙂

If you didn’t know, we’ve spent the last few months (since October) living with Marie’s parents in Northern California.  (Of course, if you didn’t know that, then you probably don’t know us very well and that makes me curious as to why you’re reading our family blog…)  I’ve been asked how it’s been, living with my in-laws.  Allow this post to be the answer to that question.

It hasn’t always been easy.  I mean, how would you like to live across the hallway from your in-laws with your 4-7 month old baby in your room with you?  There have been times when communication has been…difficult.  But I don’t suppose that will get any easier as my own kids get older.

HOWEVER, as far as living in someone else’s house goes – I don’t think it could have been better.  Danny and Bonnie have been more than gracious in their hospitality.  Danny has helped me with issues with our car, as well as hooking us up with some sweet deals on tires.  Bonnie has been awesome with helping with the kids as well as keeping the fridge properly stocked 🙂  Oh yeah – and the ultimate bonus – we had free babysitting almost whenever we wanted.

So, Klein family, thank you for your hospitality and generosity.  We love you much, and you will be missed.

Love,

Your nose-picking Son-in-law.

An Emissary of Grace

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24401_Summer_Sunset

Mat 25:23 ESV – His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’

I found out this morning that my best friend’s father-in-law passed away last night.  I didn’t know Henry very well.  I had met him a few times in passing, and back in 2005, he invited me along with his whole family on a 3-day cruise to Ensenada.  During the few times I spent with him, and from what his kids have shared, I know a few things about Henry Anadon:
 

  • He was a talented musician.  Although, from what I hear, “talented” is too tame a word.  “Magical” is probably better.  I experienced Henry’s musical talent in church one time, but I know others who have had the privileged to be overwhelmed on many occasions.   He wasn’t a musician; he was a leader of men and women into worship of the Most Holy King. 
  • He was a good father.  I say this because I had a chance to meet all of his kids on that cruise, and what was interesting amazing is that all of his kids love him.  This is a man who has a large family.  I don’t even remember how many kids were technically “his” and how many married in, but I know it was a boat load of people!  (Not literally.  I mean, there were a lot of us, but it wasn’t ONLY us on the cruise…)  It’s rare in this day and age to have such a large family with such a large spread of ages (~20 years) and actually be in harmony with one another.  It was mind-boggling actually.  He wasn’t just a father; he was the kind of man the movie “Courageous” was modeled after. 
  • He was an emissary of grace.  What do I mean?  I don’t know his life story, but I can assure you it wasn’t all music and good fathering.  He had triumphs and failures; good times and bad.  Henry wasn’t a superman; he was a man.  He made mistakes, just like all of us, and I’m sure that some of them were painful and destructive.  But Henry knew something that not everyone knows: Jesus saves those of us who don’t deserve it.  His music was a tribute to a King who accepted a man who had failed.  His fatherhood was to glorify a God who had adopted and parented a broken boy.  Henry brought this idea of grace, God’s unearned favor, to people who met him, heard him play, and lived under his roof.  He was a messenger, an emissary, of our God’s grace. 
 Like I mentioned, I didn’t know Henry very well, but I’ve seen his legacy, and grace is written all over it.  Today, the world is a little less musical.  Today, there are some amazing people that are grieving their father. Today, the world lost a man who lived his life telling others about the grace of Jesus Christ.  We are worse off now than we were before the cancer hit.
 
But Henry isn’t.  Yes, he dealt with pain.  He fought his way through some of the misery of this broken world.  While a cynic might think he’s “no longer in pain,” they would be missing the penultimate purpose of Henry’s life.  He lived to show his kids the grace that Jesus Christ saves the un-savable.  He played music so that the world would hear that God loves them and wants them to come to Him.  Henry lived his life to tell people that God is real, and that He loves.  So, is his pain gone?  Yes.  But it’s much more than just the alleviation of pain.
 
Henry took his last breath here and subsequently took his first breath in the presence of Jesus.  This is not a myth; it’s his reality.  The person he looked to throughout his life, in good times and bad, while practicing alone or playing in front of a crowd, is now staring into his eyes.  Life in heaven isn’t floating around on clouds playing a harp; it’s living life to the fullest.  Henry used his life to point people to God.  The talents that he was given for his time here on Earth were used for God, so when he woke up and looked into His Jesus’ eyes, he heard, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.”
 
I don’t think it’s too far-fetched to think that Henry is leading worship in heaven right now.  He’s playing to his heart’s content and showing other, less musically-inclined souls a better way to worship the God of grace.  What he did while he was on Earth was only the beginning.  If you are part of Henry’s family, then please know that I’m sorry for your loss, and I am praying for God’s comfort for you.  Don’t forget what he lived for, and if we really listened to what Henry was trying to tell us, in word and in music, then we will see him again.  And it will be a glorious day!  All because of God’s grace.
 
In memory of Henry Anadon.  Musician, Father, Emissary of Grace.

Welcome Our New Addition!

By He Writes 6 Comments

We are happy to announce that on June 16th, 2011 at 6:22pm, our baby girl, Mercy Adoniyah Klein Burtt was born.  She weighed 8 pounds, 7 ounces and is 20 1/4 inches long.

Our “Home Born” Baby

 

 

Marie and the baby are doing great!  She was born at our home in Thousand Oaks, California.  Yes, you read that right, our child was born at our HOUSE.  Are we crazy?  Probably.  It’s not as hippie-ish as you’d think.  We had our attending physician at our home, along with a certified midwife.  So, don’t think that we were just going it alone and I was standing by with some garden shears for the umbilical cord – it was planned and we had the proper people and procedures in place.

 

Everything went perfectly well, and Mama and Baby are doing spectacular!  I have to give some respect to my wife.  She just pushed out a watermelon with not so much as a piece of leather to bite down on.  She’s a trooper.  Also, remind me to never get into a fist fight with her – something tells me she can take a punch better than I can.  On top of that, there was a point where she almost ripped my wrists off with her hands – she’s that strong!

 

Here are some pics for you to gawk over our awesome kid!

Auntie Sarah made this blanket!

 

Baby Mercy with Aunt Sarah

Baby Mercy with Aunt Cacey

 

We chose the name Mercy based on Matthew 9:12-13 –

When Jesus heard that, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.  But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’  For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”

The name Adoniyah is a feminine form of the Hebrew name Adonijah, which means “the Lord is my God.”

We are really blessed to have her in our family!

More pictures coming soon 🙂