Monthly Archives: May 2008

Getting Ready for A Vacation?–Read This First!

There are times when I hear John Piper preach that I think: “Have I ever really preached a sermon?” There are times that I hear CJ Mahaney talk about how he loves his wife and parents his children that cause me to think: “Am I really a parent, or just a permanent babysitter?”

Seriously, I love to benefit from CJ’s wealth of knowledge on the subject of parenting. He has recently written a three part series on how to have a God and Gospel-Centered vacation. You can check out his posts below:

Part I, Part II, Part III

I have also reflected on a desire for God to be at the center of our family’s vacations here.

I think you’ll notice that CJ’s post is particularly focused on the role of the father before, during and after the vacation. I was very convicted about my lack of prepartion of my family in the past. By God’s grace, may we all be moving closer to taking every moment and thought captive (including our vacations!) and directing them to the all satisfying Savior…who is our true Holiday.

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The Taming of the Lion of Judah?

Have you “domesticated” Jesus? We live in a society that is not ignorant of the name Jesus Christ. In fact most people are aware of Jesus and many believe that he actually existed and was a pretty good guy. However, that is the point at which the ways part. One author has written that, today, Jesus is portrayed “more like a magical pussycat than the divine Aslan…who, as C.S. Lewis wrote, ‘is not safe, but he is good’…Jesus has become an eternal Martha Stewart who is ready to make your home his home.” Is this the Jesus that we encounter in the Bible?

Consider the introduction to Daniel’s Terrible Vision, from Daniel, Chapter 10. Daniel comes into contact with a man who very closely resembles the man that the Apostle John encounters in Revelation 1–dressed in linen, girded with a belt of gold; a face with the appearance of lightning, with eyes like flaming torches; arms and feet shining like bronze and words of tumult (roaring!). So, it seems that Daniel is not as terrified by the message as he is by the messenger! Daniel exclaims that “no strength was left in me, for my natural color turned to a deathly pallor.” Who is the One who appears to Daniel?

There are not too many songs on Christian radio stations that extol Jesus as “terrible,” as Ross King does in “The Lord Is.” Does this put a new spin on the cultural, popular Jesus of today? Jesus came into the world as a meek and lowly carpenter–living a life of service and love. But, don’t let this be translated into your mind as weakness or “unconditional forgiveness.” Jesus is the radiance of God–and God is holy and righteous. Our Savior is a mighty King and exalted Lord–worthy of our adoration and praise. It is this Jesus that will stand in judgement over the entire universe on the last day. It is this Jesus who emerges as our High Priest and Champion! He is worthy of our trust and proclamation! Do you know Jesus? Are you satisfied in who He really is?

His Sovereignty is Secure!

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Confession, Supplication and the Messiah

Do you find yourself floundering in prayer? Is it because you’ve never settled on the importance of prayer? Or do you have a hard time believing that God could hear all prayers of all the believers in all the world at one time? If you are struggling in your prayer life, or just struggling in life period, I want to encourage you to give some attention to Daniel, Chapter 9.

In the beginning of Daniel 9, we find Daniel observing that the completion of seventy years of desolation was drawing near. Notice how Daniel responds. First, he “gives attention to the Lord God by seeking Him in prayer and supplication, with fasting in sackcloth and ashes.” So, Daniel realizes what the Lord has ordained, and is immediately drawn to prayer. Also, notice the way in which Daniel prays. He spends much of his time confessing the sin of his people, and acknowledging that righteousness only comes from the Lord. Finally, Daniel prays one of the most God-centered prayers in all of Scripture. Daniel appeals to God acting for His own sake, for His city and His people, called by His name.

There are so many wonderful truths in this text! I just want to point out one encouragement for prayer. While Daniel is praying, the angel Gabriel appears to him! (I wish this would happen when I pray!) Gabriel tells him that “At the beginning of your supplications the command was issued…(23)” So, in some mysterious way, the plan that God had ordained from the days of Jeremiah was set into motion by the prayers of Daniel! How important is it that we are depending on God in prayer?

I’ve written on this text here as well.

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Prince Caspian: Reviewed by the Cardwell Kids

This past Friday night, my two oldest children and I went to see the premier of the new addition to Disney’s The Chronicles of Narnia, Prince Caspian. If you are unfamiliar with the Chronicles of Narnia, let me encourage you to purchase the books, written by C.S. Lewis as stories for his grandchildren.

I thought it would be interesting and fun to interview my kids and get their impressions about the movie. So, here we go…

Dad: So, How did you like the movie?

Brayton: “I thought the movie was very good…very cool.”
Caraline: “I liked it…it was really long.”

Dad: What was your favorite part?

Brayton: “When all the bad guys were fighting the good guys.”

Caraline: “When Lucy saw Aslan.”
Dad: What did you not like about it?

Brayton: “I liked it all…even the scary parts.”

Caraline: “The wolf and the weird lady…a little scary”

Dad: What biblical themes did you notice?

Caraline: “The kids couldn’t do anything without Aslan. They couldn’t fight or make up their minds about what to do. This is just like the way that we can’t do anything without God. And the way that Peter wanted to do things for himself instead of for Aslan and Narnia. This shows that we should do all things for the glory of God.”
Dad: Any comparisons with Caspian and the Lord of the Rings? (Really this is a question for me 🙂

Dad: The tree fighting scene and the river washing away the bad guys!
Dad: Would you recommend other 9 and 5 year olds to see this movie?

Dad’s Take: I thought the movie was great. It was inspiring and even breath taking at times. It was a bit more violent that the past movie. So, the battle scenes are a little more realistic and death seems very real. I also agree with Caraline that one part in particular would be scary to little guys.

I also wanted to see more of Aslan. In Caspian he has a little bit of a behind the scenes role (which is part of the problem in the storyline). But he looked great…and bigger than last time! My favorite character was Edmund. He really seemed more heroic and steady in this story. Brayton still liked Peter and Caraline liked Lucy. (We all pretend to be these characters when we play around the house…)

All in all I thought it was great and I’d definitely encourage you to check it out.

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The Goat and the Ram

How does the future determine your present? In the 7th chapter of Daniel, we are exposed to an amazing vision of the Ancient of Days sitting on a throne of fire and the Son of Man coming with the clouds of heaven. I was blown away at the affect on my own soul as I considered the sheer majesty and holiness of Almighty God. But that was Sunday…what about on Wednesday? How do you maintain a vision of God’s greatness? How can we be people that live for that day, when we see His glory and the books are opened?

Join us this week as we encounter another of Daniel’s visions from the Lord. This week at Redeemer, we’ll be focusing on Daniel, Chapter 8 and the vision of the goat and the ram. Again, Daniel is extremely humbled through the process of God speaking to him. This encounter involves a one on one discussion with the angel Gabriel! Gabriel reveals to Daniel what will happen at the “time of the end.” What precious knowledge! How will this knowledge impact the trajectory of the rest of Daniel’s life? How will it affect his interactions with people? …the use of his time? Again, the vision is perplexing and “exhausting,” but we do see a clear indication that God will triumph. One enemy in particular will be “broken without human agency (NAS).”

Did you know that we have access to the very information that Daniel saw in his vision? Did you know that we have the very revelation of Jesus Christ sitting before us on our desks and on our night stands? Not only do we all posses copies of the written revelation of God, but as believers we have been given His Holy Spirit to guide us in all understanding! Do you live and walk in this confidence? How does a vision of the greatness of God and His ultimate victory over sin pave a path for us to live and walk in? How can this vision of God help us to overcome doubt and besetting sins in our lives? Join us this week as we seek to behold the glory of the gospel shining forth from the face of Jesus Christ.

We Have Victory in Jesus!

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Jim Hamilton Joins the Yankees!

No not really. Although he did play college baseball, and I’ve heard he still has it from a guy who played softball with him recently.

Truthfully Dr. Jim Hamilton will be joining the faculty at Southern Seminary in Louisville KY this fall. He has recently been featured in a Towers article that you can and should read here. You can also read about Jim’s transition here, here and here. Let me give a few snipits from the article:

“Jim Hamilton is one of the most prolific and visionary young scholars in Baptist and evangelical life,” said Russell Moore, Dean of the School of Theology and senior vice president for academic administration.

“He is world-class in his writing ministry, with publications so numerous it is difficult to list them all. Professor Hamilton’s scholarship is fueled with fire for the glory of Christ, the upbuilding of the church, and the evangelization of the nations. He is a tremendously gifted preacher, classroom teacher, and discipler of young men preparing for the pastorate.

“One hundred and fifty years from now, I expect that Jim Hamilton will be among the top names mentioned as Southern Seminary faculty who changed the face of biblical scholarship, right in the line started by John Broadus and A.T. Robertson.”

Wow! I’m not surprised to hear these things about Jim. They are true and much more could be said. I think what happens is you serve alongside someone for so long that you forget sometimes how special they really are to you and to others. It’s kind of like your children growing up under your nose. You really don’t notice it until that relative comes over and can’t believe how much they’ve grown! I think Jim can fly under the radar with some because of his humility. Brilliance and humility is such a rare combination, but Jim is a rare gift to the Church!

This last quote is an example of Jim’s commitment to weaken pride and pursue humility in his life (it’s also where the title of this blog comes from):

“It feels a little like being invited to play baseball for the Yankees of old with Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris,” Hamilton said. “I guess even that lineup had its position players who were just ordinary ballplayers, and I feel like an ordinary teacher joining the ranks of Hall of Famers. I hope to make the routine plays and help the ballclub any way I can.”

Thank you Jim for your service and ministry in Houston. May the Lord continue to bless you brother.

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Cold Coffee on Mother’s Day


What does one say to such a woman? You’re right in that “Mother’s day is just like any other day,” but you are not like just any other woman. You are especially gifted by God as an extraordinary wife and mother. Let me say that again so it might sink in: You are especially gifted by God as an extraordinary wife and mother. I can sum up my explanation for that statement in two words: cold coffee.

Since today is Mother’s Day let’s begin there. You are an extraordinary mother. When I think about all the hats that you wear each day I get dizzy. Let’s start from the time the alarm clock goes off (this is assuming that one of the kids has not been up all night coughing…like last night!). Many times you might wake up to the aroma of freshly brewed coffee, or perhaps a steaming cup placed in your hand (if I’m on my game). You take a sip and then…You notice the three needy people all looking to you for answers to questions like…What’s for breakfast? What are we doing today? “Choc Milk?” You are immediately greeted with an agenda for school including projects, books to be read, math problems to be solved and tests to be studied for. I should also throw in the dirty diaper that always turns up when you are about to walk out the door. The doorbell and the phone ring, the e-mail chimes, the dog is hungry, the baby shower is next week and the t-ball team needs snacks. The coffee is not so hot any more.

I said that you were greeted by “three” needy people, but we both know that the true number is four. What would I do without you? You are an extraordinary wife! What would happen if I actually picked out my own clothes? What would happen if I actually dressed our children? What would life be like if I did the laundry and paid the bills? My cooking…no thanks! Not only do you spend your days serving our wonderful children, but you go out of your way to care for and to support me. “How was the sermon honey?” “Can you do me a favor?” “I have a lunch/dinner/coffee/accountability/elders meeting…and I won’t be home until late.” By now, the coffee is cold.

Alicia, you are God’s greatest gift to Travis, Caraline, Brayton and Caleb. You are beautiful, both inside and out. You are patient, loving, kind and compassionate. You are humble and centered on the needs of others. You are an exemplary example for our daughter. My love for you grows each time you smile. It may seem like all of your service to our family goes unnoticed but let me assure you it does not. And more than being noticed by me, your heavenly Father sees your deeds and is pleased. He sees how you serve and how you love. He sees how you struggle at times and weep. He sees how you depend on Him to do all these things. He sees His child, made righteous in Christ Jesus.

Your coffee may be cold, but know on this Mother’s day, we are most thankful for the warmth of your heart! We love you more than you will ever know!

Happy Mother’s Day,

Travis, Caraline, Brayton and Caleb

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The Son of Man Coming on the Clouds

For the last six weeks we have seen a continued unfolding of themes in the book of Daniel. We have seen God’s sovereignty over all governments, nations and kings. He raises up kings and he puts them down. He is able to humble kings when they decide that they are self-sufficient. God’s sovereignty has been manifested through dreams and visions and the rulers of the present world are helpless to even explain, much less thwart God’s ordained plans.

We’ve seen God close the mouths of lions, and open them again. We’ve seen Him deliver from a fiery furnace and write His decree on the wall with an armless hand. And we can say that each time we see God working in these various ways, His will always comes to pass and His glory is manifested to the nations. This week, in Daniel 7, we will encounter another vision, that of four beasts, with the fourth trampling and thus destroying the others. But there is also a vision of the Ancient of Days taking His seat on a throne of flames and “One like a Son of Man” coming on the clouds, who was given dominion glory and a kingdom.

What do these beasts represent? What does this vision mean? What will Daniel do? When Jesus was asked by the Pharisees “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” He answered saying:

“I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” And the high priest tore his garments and said, “What further witnesses do we need? You have heard his blasphemy. What is your decision?” And they all condemned him as deserving death.

Join us this week as we worship the Son of Man and await his coming!

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