A lot of people have been asking me for an update for the web site on the status of our family.  So here is my attempt to accurately convey where we are.

God has been gracious and good to our family so we continue to experience the abundant life each day (John 10:10). While my father’s body has weakened, it has given him the chance to teach us boys about a different kind of strength.  In fact, these circumstances have only strengthened our faith.  Because of the way dad led his life - there are no regrets.  No broken relationships to mend; No wisdom that wasn’t already passed on; No life that wasn’t seized.  Hindsight on life choices is always twenty-twenty - one can not at the end go back and re-do a lifetime. As my father would say “if you don’t have time to do it right the first time, how are you ever going to have time to fix it later?”  Thankfully my dad lived so that there were no “if only”s.  Here is hoping that you learn from his life’s outcome and also live without regrets.

Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. (Hebrews 13:7)

Now, my father is always worried that too much talk about him takes the focus off of Christ.  So I will proclaim that no one is good except God (Mark 10:18) and that man’s good fruit comes from God working though us:

“Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing… This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” - Jesus (John 15:4-5,8)

I, however, worry about the flip side of the coin.  Those that hold that good Christian living comes down to mere belief.  That God is good and he saved us - and that’s pretty much it.  He’s loving and forgiving and he understands that I’m really busy and…

Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. (James 2:18-22)

Another area I want to address is our general upbeat attitude.  Some are surprised that we aren’t all sitting around in sackcloth with dust our heads as we face our father’s death.  And while makes us sad that some of Paul’s words are becoming true for him:

For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. (2 Timothy 4:6)

If only because we will miss him until we are reunited.  We are glad that the next verses are true as well:

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:7-8)

How can we not be glad for him when we consider all that awaits him on the “other side”? I’ve always like how CS Lewis put it:

“Your father and mother and all of you are - as you used to call it in the Shadowlands - dead. The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning.” Aslan, The Last Battle

In addition, God has helped us truly believe & feel the truth of victory:

For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:53-55)

Now it stands for us to follow his example:

Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1)

And run our own race:

Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. (Hebrews 12:1)

As for the day to day, the family is spending a lot of time together. Jeff & I (and our families) travel back to Knoxville on weekends often.  Rob & Kevin, of course, already live up there.  While there is no sackcloth, there are also no long liturgies - that is we don’t sit around all day in prayer or hymns either.  No supposed super-christian farce. This is not to say we don’t read, sing or pray but everything has its time (Ecclesiastes 3). Obviously, the Word is very important to us and the many prayers of our friends have definitely been heard in heaven and felt in our lives.

But most of the time, we simply live life.  We watch football or play wii.  We do “chores” like hookup the new TV or rake leaves or build a fire pit in the woods.  We enjoy life by eating good food (sometimes a little too much good food), playing croquet or bocce ball outside on beautiful days, and sitting around re-telling some of the hilarious or otherwise awesome stories from our past.  We also try to make a few more of those memories like zip-lining upside down in the Smokies or shooting guns down on the property.

The Christian life is about LIFE.  While it is rarely easy, it is pretty simple.  Through Christ you can truly enjoy the life that God has given each of us.  To die well you need to live well, but living well is it’s own reward.