Sunday, January 20, 2008

We found a church!

Church-hopping stinks.

We've visited about seven different churches since we've been here. For the most part, they have been either too far away (50 minute drive) or haven't been a good fit.

I was at a really low point a few weeks ago. It was about 6:50 a.m. and I was on my way to the school where I teach. I had been having a rough week, and I was really feeling the pain of not having a body of believers with whom to fellowship. "God, why is there no place for us?"

The next Sunday, we tried the last church on our list of churches to try. It wasn't for us. Amy and I were so discouraged after that. We didn't know what to do. That night we talked about our situation. We realized that to a large degree, we were still not committed to being here in Dallas. We wanted to think that this was only a temporary thing. We had even toyed with the idea of settling for a church that was an hour away because "we're not going to be here long anyway." But that night, God showed us that we really needed to embrace being here. We committed to "diving in" to life here, even though we don't know what the future holds. We prayed and asked God to give us a church close by where we could really get plugged in. We were no longer content to just "sneak in at the beginning of the service, and run out at the end."

Right after we prayed, I did a Google search on churches near us. Buried in one of the lists was Grace Community Church. The name immediately struck me. We looked through the website and saw that there were a number of similarities between GCC and our previous church. It's fairly close to where we live now, and is quite close to where we are thinking about moving.

We visited last Sunday for the first time. They were celebrating their 20th anniversary as a church that day. We were warmly greeted by a number of people, and shown where the kids' classes were. Burrito went to her Sunday School class, but Morsel stayed with us. (Sausage stayed with us, as well, because he was too sick to go to the nursery.)

When we walked into the sanctuary, it felt like home quickly. I cried through most of the worship set. The sermon was about Joshua and was particularly meaningful to me. They had a lunch afterward, so we stayed and met more people.

Today, I took the three oldest to GCC, while Amy stayed home with the newborn. All three went to Sunday School or nursery today—even Morsel, who has never gone to Sunday School by himself since we left Rochester. I was glad that all seemed to have a good time. I look forward to what God will do in our family through this church.


Learning about grace

Last week, I was rushing to leave work. It had been a long and difficult day at the school, and I was anxious to just get home. On my way to the parking lot, I ran into one of the assistant principals where I teach. He asked me how things were going so far, and this led into a longer conversation.

He told me he could relate to my situation. He had been a pastor, youth evangelist, musician and missionary. He loved working in full-time ministry. He never thought he'd be working in education, but this is where God has led him for now. Though the transition has been difficult at times, he is grateful for the chance to serve the Lord in a public school setting. He talked to me about the opportunities we have to show the grace of Jesus to the students at our school, and to do it without compromising truth.

This conversation was just what I needed. God put me right next someone who has been where I've been, but is a little farther along the road than I am. I'm so grateful to the Lord for that gift. I was also convicted about how far I fall short at showing grace.

Another growth area. Thank God His grace extends to me.


"I'm not angry!"

Three weeks ago, we visited Northwood Church. The speaker was recounting the life of Moses, and how God did not allow Moses to enter the Promised Land. He noted various points in Moses' life where his anger got the best of him: When he killed the Egyptian (Exodus 2:11–15), when he broke the stone tablets on which were the 10 Commandments (Exodus 32:19–20), and finally when he struck the rock with his staff rather than speak to the rock (Numbers 20:1–12). The last offense was the reason Moses was not allowed to lead the people into the Promised Land.

On each occasion, Moses could claim that he was righteously angry. He killed the Egyptian because the Egyptian was beating a fellow Israelite. He threw down the stone tablets because the Israelites had made an idol and were worshiping it. He struck the rock because the Israelites were whining, moaning and complaining—again—about not having any water, and questioning the wisdom of leaving slavery in Egypt.

Who can blame Moses for being ticked off? If only people would get their acts together and do the right thing, Moses wouldn't be forced to fly into a rage.

At least, that's what Moses thought.

God did not see things the same way. After he struck the rock, God said to him, "Because you " God expected Moses to represent Him and show His character regardless of what everyone else was doing. Moses was supposed to set the example. Moses was to be holy as God was holy. If the example didn't reflect God's character, people would not know what God was truly like. Without holiness, no one will see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14).

I've justified my anger on many occasions. "They're not doing it right. Look what they've done! Did you hear what she said!? Look how he's acting!" But God's Word says, "In your anger, do not sin" (Ephesians 4:26) and "Let put away from you" (Ephesians 4:31).

I can see that this is one issue that God wants to work on at this time in my life. "Lord, just don't let the process be too painful."


It's a boy!

The newest Andrews was born yesterday, 1/19/08 at 4:31 a.m. He was 7 lb., 10 oz. and 20 5/8 inches. Amy delivered at a birthing center. We used an intern midwife. Amy and I both thought the whole experience was much better than delivering at a hospital with a doctor. The midwife and two interns were all Christian women, which definitely added to the sense of peace.

Yes, he was born 1/19. Amy was skeptical when I told her I thought the baby would come on that day. I have been reading through the Psalms the last few weeks. Last week I finished Psalm 119, the longest chapter in the Bible. The next several Psalms are very short. When I was looking at my Bible, it was if the the different Psalms became dates; i.e. Psalm 120 was 1/20, Psalm 121 was 1/21, etc. To make a long story short, I sensed the Lord saying that Psalm 119, the longest chapter, represented the fact that Amy would go into labor that day. Also, the next days would be easier (as the next chapters are very short).

So far "Double A" has been a very content baby. He's hardly cried at all since he was born. He slept six hours straight last night. (Thank You, Lord!) And he pretty much sleeps in the daytime as well. We'll take it as long as we can get it—especially since my schedule is going to get even more busy.

Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord!
Psalm 119:1


Friday, January 18, 2008

Hey, it's me, Amy

Well, since it appears Brian has dropped the ball with regards to blogging...

Just kidding. :) He's been working like a madman, trying to adjust to his new teaching job. As far as I'm concerned, he's my hero. I'm so grateful that he's willing to teach and pour himself into it even though teaching isn't exactly something he's particularly passionate about.

Word on the street is (read: according to his principal), he's doing a great job. I must say, those 9th graders are giving him a run for his money. And I keep thinking: Was I that ridiculous when I was in 9th grade? All I've gotta say is, I'm glad it's Brian and not me; I would have most certainly pinched someone's head off by now. In any case, I'm sure he'll be back to his regular blogging schedule...uh...hopefully soon.

As for the rest of us, we're truckin' right along. Living with Grandma and Grandpa is a definite hit and we're slowly accepting our fate the fact that we now live in Texas. Yes, we live in Texas, y'all. (Please wait a moment while I let that sink in; it's slightly disturbing. OK, I'm OK.) Actually, Texas isn't all that bad. I mean, how could one complain about mostly sunny weather, no snow and temperatures that rarely dip below 30 degrees? Also, the people here are exceptionally friendly.

The kids and I spend our days doing our schoolwork and heading up the cooking responsibilities (a nice trade off for living rent-free if you ask me!). We've been looking for a church since we arrived in November and finally visited one last week that looks promising. The atmosphere and style are right up our alley and unlike many of the others we've visited, this one is less than 10 miles down the road (most of the others were at least a 45 minute drive). We're hoping that we will now start making some friends.

Otherwise, we're just waiting the arrival of the new baby. Brian has predicted that the baby will be born on January 19 (that would be tomorrow). Now, Brian is an exceptional man, as you all know, and I wouldn't trade him for the world. However, I hate to say it, but I no longer listen to his predictions about the arrival of our offspring. Not after what happened with Josiah anyway. For those of you that don't know, he predicted Josiah would be born on April 7, 8 or 9 (or something like that) and Josiah didn't show up until April 28. I can't tell you how thrilled I was about that (uh, hope you caught the sarcasm there).

I suppose I should mention (in Brian's defense) that he predicted Isaiah would be born on December 1 and don't you know, that kid was born at 12:35 am on December 1. So, when it came time for Josiah to be born, I had faith in him. But well, now, well, let's just say my faith in his predictions has waned. Although I suppose there is a possibility he could redeem himself if this baby is born tomorrow. We'll have to see...

In any case, we are grateful that God led us to the midwives and birthing center He did. My only prayer now is that when the time comes, we'll be able to make it to the birthing center before getting stuck in a traffic jam and having to give birth in the car on the side of the road (Dallas traffic can be like that).

Anyway, I'll sign off for now. Just thought I'd throw in my two cents. I don't expect to post often because I tend to be flaky like that. Lots of love to all of you!


Sunday, January 13, 2008

Blogging hiatus

I haven't blogged in a while as I've been massively swamped adjusting to teaching 9th grade math. I hope to get some more posts in soon.

Amy is due in a week, so we'll keep you informed about that. By the way, we have decided to go with a midwife for the delivery. Our other three were all born in hospitals, but this time around things seemed to point to using a midwife.

We really liked the midwife and the interns with whom she works. They are all Christian women and seem very gentle and caring.

More later....


Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Olé for Benda Tacos

Somewhat surprisingly, we haven't found a whole lot of authentic Mexican food since we've been here. We've encountered plenty of "Tex-Mex," but that just doesn't cut it. So we were happy to have discovered these tacos sold out of a tiny window at a service station in downtown Dallas. We affectionately call them "Benda Tacos" after the name of the owner of the service station. It's a very interesting place because besides the food and gas, you can also see a herd of longhorn right on the property.

We first visited the place last Christmas (as in 2006), and have been hooked ever since. They're the really small, soft tacos with your choice of chicken, shredded beef, ground beef, steak or pork. Trust me, these tacos are to die for. And at only $1.16 + tax, you're not going to find a better deal. The place is open 24 hours, and the tacos are best eaten at about midnight after your regular dinner has pretty much settled. (They also serve breakfast tacos in the mornings, but we haven't tried those yet.)

My daughter, Burrito (no relation to the tacos), wrote an acrostic poem. Here's the unedited version with a few explanatory notes:

Let's go to Benda Tacos!
Exciting! Huh?
To Benda Tacos we go!
So what are we waiting for?

Go Go Go to Benda Tacos!
Olsons, Andrews, Miersmas! [our extended families]

Tacos, Tacos, Tacos, Tacos!!
Ohhhhhhhh Tacos!

Benda Tacos! Benda Tacos
Exciting, Exciting!
No, Benda Tacos instead!
Down to Benda Tacos!
And to Benda Tacos!

Tacos yea!
Animals we see, Tacos we eat!
Cute donkeys, yummy Tacos!
Ohhhhhhhh, Tacos!
SocaT Tacos! Benda Tacos! ["SocaT" is "Tacos" spelled backwards]

"I highly suggest the pork or chicken tacos...
if you know what I mean."


Happy New Year!

Love & Kisses from the Andrews family

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