Monday, May 7, 2012

Your Calling and Your Critics

Click here for a wonderful article on determining a critic or a counselor from S.D. Smith over at the Rabbit Room.  We all need counselors, even if they are critical, but we can do with less criticism from critics.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Which Vocations Should Be Off Limits To Christians?

From Gene Edward Veith's article on the Gospel Coalition Website:

"So are some occupations off-limits for Christians? No doubt, but it is not always clear what they are. Vocations are unique---that is to say, God calls and equips individuals in distinct and highly particular ways---so they may resist hard and fast and universally applicable rules and moralistic dictates. Since vocation is about God's work as well as human work, it has to do not just with the law but with the gospel; since vocation is where the Christian life is to be led, it will be an expression of Christian freedom."

Monday, March 5, 2012

A Truth is a Truth Always

We Axbergs have a phrase. I must of said it during Family Worship a few years ago. It goes like this, “A truth is the truth from beginning to end”; or it isn’t the truth at all.
Now that we are farming, we are realizing the truth of this statement. As we care for our flocks and herds, and tend our gardens, we hear God telling us to love one another and care for those around us.

We have been convicted to give the first fruits of our produce and meats, eggs and such back to the Lord in several different ways. We have found that people love good food. I think this is consistent with scripture. We are to be giving our children, mentors and fellow congregants (friends) good food (The Gospel) for a better life in Christ.
On the other hand, I can remember eating my first egg from one of our laying hens. I was tentative because it wasn’t what I thought to be normal or possibly even safe. I got over it very quickly as I cracked it open and saw that yoke standing straight up as yellow as could be and not watery at all. How could I have been so crazy as to have thought that this was somehow dangerous or not the better way to eat?
After eggs, we raised some meat chickens and again I was tentative on eating the meat. I wasn’t sure if this was truly safe or the best way to put food on the table. I knew other folks raised their own food, but could this truly be best for my family?
Well we did it, and most of what we place on the table has been raised on this land by our family. We feel even better than before.
This has helped me to come to the conclusion that we in the evangelical church today may have things that have been done one way for as long as we can remember. Could there be a “better way”? If we have been blessed and shown a better way might we need to be patient with those who have not?
One huge difference for us has been family devotions. We have found this way more effective than any Sunday school program. As our taste for “good” food has been heightened, maybe our way of life in the physical and spiritual realm could be desired by those around us. If I am patient with all this, I may even get Colleen to try the beef tongue someday.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Man Not an Oyster

A gem from Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887):

"When God wanted sponges and oysters, he made them, and put one on a rock,
and the other in the mud. When he made man, he did not make him to be a sponge
or an oyster; he made him with feet, and hands, and a head, and a heart, and
vital blood, and a place to use them, and said to him, 'Go work.'"

Friday, February 25, 2011

Getting Sidetracked

I have been meaning to post for a while, but I’m continually getting sidetracked. Since my last post, we have had the snowiest winter since I’ve lived in New England. The snow is a great reminder of how God covers our sin (even here in New England). I have also been blessed to see that God is afoot here, with Churches preaching and focusing on the Word of God. (See Jared Wilson, Wes Pastor, and Andy Needham.)

Moving back to my childhood home in Norfolk, MA caused us to change churches. We are now at Emmanuel Baptist Church, my church home since birth, as well as Colleen’s during her teen years. It was in this fellowship we met and married and were blessed to have a pastor and congregation stand with us and pledge to hold us accountable to the Word of God. They did this in more ways than I believe they ever imagined.
Colleen has not worked a day outside the home since our first child was born, not because we knew that we should honor God’s design (See Collin Hansen) but because we agreed in Pre-marital counseling with Pastor Gary Morris that she would.
We were given a foundation of Christ under us and through His Grace that has brought us to several other decisions; owning our own business, homeschooling the children, moving to the farm and the best choice has been to practice family worship daily for the past 7 years (See Joel Beeke's talk at the 2010 Desiring God Pastor's Conference).
When others look at our lives, we hear them say “That’s good for you,” or “If I had time.” We are blessed that the Lord has given us the strength to make some hard decisions, but He would do that for anyone who asks. As new decisions and choices arise, He continues to give us the strength to make God honoring, not easy decisions. I am so thankful that we have not looked for man to pat us on the back for the choices we have made; for man will always fail us.
There have, however, been many along the way that have helped us; our families, Heritage Christian Church, Pastor Ray Pritchard, the CSB family, Calvary Memorial Church and many others. We trust that this list will continue to grow through the years.

We are not bothered that our lives are different that those around us. We are only saddened when we hear fellow believers are upset with their lives or the way their families are turning out, and then they off-handedly condemn us for the way we live.
I am not saying we have it all right; but I will say we have a big God and I love loving Him with my life and with the life of my family.
To hear that the world is falling apart and to have folks come to us because they see something different, gives us joy. It gives us an opportunity to tell them about the difference that God has made in our lives.
We don’t have any big, extravagant, lightning bolt experiences; instead we have simply been plodding Christians (See Kevin DeYoung).
I am grateful that Christ called me His when I was 4, and that my parents showed me His love even when it hurt. I love the Church even though it is fallen (as I am). I find true comfort and peace knowing that as I plod through (sometimes looking very different from those around me) Scripture is my ally and it is only because of the cross that I desire this life to be lived for God’s glory alone.

May Christ’s love unify us to glorify Him; so that they will know we are Christians by our love.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Pilgrims of New England

We meet again, the children of the Pilgrims, to remember our fathers. The two centuries and more which interpose to hide them from our eye – centuries so brilliant with progress, so crowded with incidents, so fertile in accumulations – dissolve for the moment as a curtain of cloud, and we are once more at their side. The grand and pathetic series of their story unrolls itself about us, vivid as if with the life of yesterday. All the stages by which they were slowly formed from the general mind and character of England, the tenderness of conscience, the sense of duty, force of will, trust in God, the love of truth, and the spirit of liberty by which they were advanced from Englishmen to Pilgrims, from Pilgrims to the founders of a free church, and the fathers of a free people, in a new world, come before us.

The voyage of the “Mayflower;” the landing; the slow winter’s night of disease and famine in which so many, the god, the beautiful, the brave, sank down and died, giving place at last to the spring-dawn of health and plenty, - come before us. The meeting with the old red race on the hill beyond the brook; the treaty of peace unbroken for half a century; the organization of a Republican form of government in the “Mayflower’s” cabin; the planting of these kindred , coeval, and auxiliary institutions, without which such a government could no more live than the uprooted tree can put forth leaf and flower, - come before us. And with these come institutions to diffuse pure religion, good learning, austere morality, plain living, and high thinking; the laying deep and sure, far down on the Rock of Ages, the foundation-stone of the imperial structure whose dome now swells towards Heaven.

All these things, high, holy, and beautiful, come thronging fresh on our memories, such as we have heard them from our mother’s lips; such as we have heard them from history kings, of religion, and of liberty. They gather themselves about us, familiar, certainly, but of an interest that can never die, - an interest heightened by their relations to that eventful future into which they have expanded, and through whose light they shine.

It is their festival we have come to keep to-day. It is their tabernacle we have come to build. It is not ourselves, our present, or our future; it is not political economy, or political philosophy, of which you would have me to-day say a word. We would speak of certain valiant, good peculiar men, our fathers. We would wipe the dust from a few old, noble urns. We would recall the forms and lineaments of the honored dead, - forms and feathers which the grave has not changed; over which the grave has no power; robed in the vestments and all radiant with the hues of an assured immortality.