God is smart!

20 02 2009

Note to the faithful readers: Ryan pulled a Jeremiah Johnson on me, so I guess I’m temporarily in charge…

My dad, Bob, just got back recently from Cameroon and I wanted to share a very exciting aspect of his trip. Dad works with ITEM to train African pastors how to better shepherd their flocks in a biblical manner. Many of the local church leaders suffer from limited resources and bad training. Because of this, there are many issues of concern for the African church such as the wealth and prosperity doctrine and syncretism.africa

Dad has been to different parts of Africa many times, but there was an exciting new wrinkle in his last trip that just goes to prove who is really running the show. Prior to Dad’s trip a friend of the family who is a deacon at my church felt led to accompany him to Cameroon. Bob typically travels to French-speaking areas because of his fluency, so Tim was thinking he would go along as a source of encouragement and support.

As the departure date came closer, the details crystallized and Dad let Tim know that they would actually be going to one of the few English-speaking areas in Cameroon. While this was all well and good for Tim, what didn’t sit as well was when Dad told him that he could now teach some of the sessions! Read the rest of this entry »


Unsolicited Peace

20 01 2009

I have been blessed with peace in my life recently, but not the peace I wanted.  It’s a peace I’ve been blessed with before, however it is somewhat precarious because I sometimes find myself forgetting, ignoring, or fighting with it.  To better understand, here’s a short history of my (short) adult life:

2002 – Got laid off, got married, moved to Seattle, started junior year of college, got job flipping burgers
2003 – Tons of schoolwork, lots of burgers flipped, we got pregnant
2004 – Graduated college, moved to Kent, Daniel born, got job at a bank call center
2005 – Raising Daniel, changed departments at work, we got pregnant
2006 – Moved to Fife, Jonathan born
2007 – Raising boys, work moved to Tacoma, we moved to Tacoma, labored on fixing up new house
2008 – We got pregnant, wrangling boys, Megan born

It would be an understatement to say we’ve been busy the last seven years.  So when 2009 came around, Michelle and I were excited at the prospect of a down year.  My tenure at work earned me a boost in vacation days, and we were finally going to have a year where we weren’t anticipating moving or having a baby!  The Allen Family ship was sailing out of chaotic waters towards peace on the horizon.

Then there was an emergency meeting at work.

I was joking with my manager going into the meeting: “hey, are you giving references? yuk, yuk, yuk!”  The message at the meeting was, in a nutshell, “You guys are awesome, times are bad, we’re closing this call center… Sorry”  I turned to my manager, “no seriously, are you giving references?”

Read the rest of this entry »

Sanctity of Human Life Sunday

18 01 2009

Today, praise God for the miracle of life and pray that our country
would repent of what we have done in the name of choice and rights.

Sanctity of Human Life

“For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.”

Psalm 139:13-14

A story of prayer

9 01 2009

Since the last time I wrote, some time has passed and many diapers have been filled.  Sometimes I think my new daughter is an undercover agent for Huggies.

On December 17th, our daughter Megan Elizabeth was born, and our lives changed again.  I have many thoughts, emotions, and anecdotes about the labor, birth, and life with the baby, but I will leave most of that to my wife.  I wanted to share here a special interaction I had with God during the birth of my new little girl.

Coming into December, my wife was getting more and more uncomfortable everyday, and the doctor scheduled an induction for December 17th.  We were looking forward to the day, but with each day came more and more ominous reports from the weather folk of a horrible storm coming.  The storm was going to bring feet of snow to all of western Washington and everyone should take necessary precautions.  This did not help my wife’s state.  This could be bad in a lot of ways; my Mom (who was going to watch our boys) might not be able to get to us, my Mom might not be able to bring the kids to the hospital to see their sister, Michelle’s family might not be able to come.  Really the biggest and most important concern was getting Michelle and baby safely to and from the hospital.  I neglected to take that “Emergency Childbirth” class in college, though I am trained in CPR… which probably wouldn’t have come in handy.

I tried not to think about it and just resolved to wait and see.  Then, on Sunday the 14th, I woke up slowly and started praying as I sometimes do in the morning.  As I was laying there, verses started coming to mind such as James 1:6-8, Matthew 17:20, Hebrews 4:16, and especially James 5:16b:

“…the effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much”

Right then I started praying for God to hold the storm back for us.   Read the rest of this entry »

Through the Institutes in 2009

5 01 2009

Calvin 500With 2009 being the 500th anniversary of one of Christianity’s greatest theologians, John Calvin, I (along with many others) plan to read through his monumental and foundational work on theology, Institutes of the Christian Religion.  The reading schedule starts today and continues through the year, with sections to be read 5 out of every 7 days.  If you’d like the reading schedule, you can get a pdf version here.  Also, the guys over at Reformation 21 are doing daily postings that correspond to the reading schedule.  As I can, I too hope to post thoughts and comments on the reading, here at Out of the Miry Clay.

Favorite Posts of 2008

1 01 2009

Sorry we haven’t been posting lately. Chris is trying to get his second novel finished (more excitement from Hunter Brown!), Dave has a beautiful new baby girl, and our church is having its first service this week as Edgewood Bible Church (the name of the new church following the merger of Valley Bible Church and Edgewood Community Church).  Needless to say, all of us have been busy!

I’m hoping to get back to posting regularly starting next week, but I thought I’d put up today a little list of my favorite posts from Out of the Miry Clay’s 2008.  Now, these weren’t the posts with the highest traffic, and I didn’t sort through the posts written by Dave and Chris; I just skimmed through the ones I’d written and put together a list of posts I either really enjoyed writing or that hold a special place for me.  Here it is, top ten style:

10. On Demand Repentance?

I remember reading through this particular section in Thomas Brooks’ Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices and really being impacted by how foolish it is to think we can just repent any time we choose.  If repentance truly is a divine work in us, then we shouldn’t take it lightly.  This post really challenged me intellectually and spiritually.

9. Daily Rejoicing in the Gospel

I wrote this post after getting permission from Milton Vance to post his “Gospel Narrative” here as a permanent page on the blog.  I put a lot of time into that page, with all the texts hyper-linked, but I’m really glad it is here.  Since putting it up in June, that page has had 115 hits.  I hope God continues to use the page to proclaim the wonderful truth of what has been accomplished in Jesus Christ!

8. The Testimony of Two More

This last year, with preaching on Sanctity of Human Life Sunday and getting involved in 40 Days for Life, I found myself more active in the Pro Life cause.  During this time (and as I continue) I’ve tried to get others to join me.  I appreciated this post, not only for what was written, but that is was the work of Jenaya and Becky, two who joined me in taking a stand for the preciousness of human life.

7.  When New Meets Old/ Resurrecting the “Hymn”/ Master of the Song’s Voice

I love the hymns, so I really like to see these wonderful treasures passed on to the next generation and to hear of powerful new hymns being written.  Writing about this “resurgence” is hymnology was really a joy, especially taking the time to do “research” by listening to music that I love!

6. Knowing You

This was one of those posts that broke my heart!  I really enjoyed writing it, but I think like 3 people read it.  I know that to some it probably reeks of Calvinism, but the thought of God’s affections set on me from eternity past is something that has a wonderful fragrance to me and I wished that more people would have read this post and just delighted in the glorious truth of being “known” by God.

5. Jr. Theologian?

Amy and I have really rejoiced to see Rylie grow in her knowledge about God and are looking forward to the day when we can watch her truly delight in God.  We took this video as we were in the process of teaching her catechism questions and answers.  I love it because her voice is so precious and she gets so excited about the answers. The world is a better place with Rylie in it!

4. Boys, Baseball, and a Venture into the Unknown/ Cotton Candy, Extra Innings, and Sleepy-Eyed Fireworks

To say that I had a lot of fun writing these two posts would be a serious understatement.  I probably overdosed the narrative with adjectives, but I had a blast reliving this evening with my nephews through the lens of a little hyperbole!

3. Job, Grief, and the Cross of Christ

This was the not one of my favorite posts to write this year, because the events behind in are still so painful for Amy and me, but I wanted it here to be remembered.  I didn’t enjoy writing about our loss, but I am so thankful for the God who has carried us through and for the wonderful, rich, healing power of the Cross of our Savior.

2. Of a Caveman and an Angel

A lot has happened to us in 2008 and I praise God that He gave me a faithful, beautiful, wise and loving co-laborer to walk through it all with me.  Next to my salvation, Amy is the best thing that has ever happened in my life and it was a real blessing for us to be able to celebrate 10 years of marriage this year.  She is truly a gift from God!

1. Worth the Wait!

Our precious, beautiful  (and wild) daughter Anna arrived this year and she was definitely worth the wait.  It is amazing to see how her excitable and adventuresome personality has blossomed over these first 10 months.  2009 should be an precious year with her, as she begins to walk  (heaven help us!) and really starts talking (she says a few words and makes a lot of noise even now).  What a blessing to have two beautiful daughters… now if I could just figure out a way to keep them from growing up so fast!

Hope you enjoyed this little stroll down 2008’s blog-post-memory-lane.  Makes you wonder what God has in store for 2009.

Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas

25 12 2008

On this glorious Christmas day, I hope these words of prayer and reflection resonate with your heart.
May you have a wonderful and worship time with family and friends, rejoicing in our Lord who stepped so low to rescue us and raise us up to him!

“My heart melts at the love of Jesus,
my brother, bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh,
married to me, dead for me, risen for me;
He is mine and I am his,
given to me as well as for me;
I am never so much mine as when I am his,
or so much lost to myself until lost in him;
then I find my true manhood.

But my love is frost and cold, ice and snow;
Let his love warm me,
lighten my burden,
be my heaven;
May it be more revealed to me in all its influences
that my love to him may be more fervent and glowing;
Let the mighty tide of his everlasting love
cover the rocks of my sin and care;
Then let my spirit float above those things
which had else wrecked my life.

Make me fruitful by living to that love,
my character becoming more beautiful every day.
If traces of Christ’s love-artistry be upon me,
may he work on with his divine brush
until the complete image be obtained
and I be made a perfect copy of him,
my Master.”

from “The Love of Jesus” in The Valley of Vision

Thank you, Jesus.