Saturday, December 29, 2007

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

We wanted to tell anyone and everyone that checks our blog to enjoy the wonderful holiday season and especially enjoy the remembrance of Christ at this time and throughout 2008. We have been so blessed this last year with incredible opportunities and look forward to seeing what the Lord will bring in this new year.
We enjoyed a trip to Wisconsin to see family this last week. One of our favorite traditions is to cut down our own Christmas tree as a family (there are always plenty around in Wisconsin!). We'd love to hear from any of you if you have a special Christmas memory or tradition.
Thanks to all for your friendships!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Can a wrong attitude undo right theology?

I have been reading John Bunyan on the issue of open church membership. In spite of the frowns of his Particular Baptist contemporaries, he opened his church doors to anyone who gave a reasonable demonstration that they were a "visible saint", whether or not they had been baptized. I suspect that as he sat in the Bedford jail, some of his greatest fellowship came from other non-conformists who, although they were not Baptists, had been jailed for their love for Christ as had he.

I am motivated to learn from his demeanor. I must repeat the compelling reason Bunyan gives for fellowship with un-baptized believers; in his own words: “I am bold to hold communion with visible saints as afore, because God hath communion with them, whose example in the case we are straitly commanded to follow: ‘Receive ye one another, as Christ Jesus hath received you.’” Bunyan argues that these believers, though un-baptized, have the same standing with God as those that are baptized; their sins have been placed on Christ. Bunyan finds that if they are not received, the one who rejects them is in greater error, because although they have not failed in an outward act, they have failed in real substance because they have rejected someone who has been accepted by God.

If I do not couple theology with a loving spirit controlled by the attitude of Christ, do I not hinder the purpose for which theology exists?

I find myself challenged to find the graciously delicate balance between on the one hand, a firm commitment to personal, identity-making, convictions and, on the other hand, the fellowship of the gospel that unites brothers of all stripes.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The New House!

We finally made it around to painting our house. It is still in progress, but the bulk of the exterior is finished which we are very thankful for. Also, a big thank you to Jordan Heijermans for his help! I also added pics of our updated sunroom - thanks to Sarah Branine for her expertise. Hope you enjoy the pictures!

Friday, October 19, 2007


I'm not sure how that should be spelled, but that's what happened to me last weekend. Rob and I took a trip to Charlottesville to visit his aunt for the weekend. We had a great time and planned to leave on Monday in time for us both to get to work - so I thought. Rob said he wanted to take a different route home to avoid traffic. At first I was okay with that, but as we continued to go south I got a little nervous about where we were going to end up. Finally he handed me that directions and I realized our destination was NORTH CAROLINA!!!! I felt very confused, but finally he told me that he was kidnapping me - he had re-scheduled my piano students, gotten a hotel, and gotten tickets to a Celtic Woman concert - a group we have been wanting to go see. What an awesome surprise - Thanks Rob!

Ps. If you like celtic music - you should check out this group. Our favorite song is Caledonia!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

St. Vincent Trip

We are thankful for an awesome time in St. Vincent. The Lord was good to us, and opened our eyes in many ways. We also got to see the place where part of "Pirates of the Caribbean" was filmed. It was a great trip. Thanks to all who made it possible for us to go.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Father, let me burn with passion for Christ!!

"You wonder why people choose fields away from the States when young people at home are drifting because no one wants to take time to listen to their problems. Ill tell you why I left. Because those Stateside young people have every opportunity to study, hear, and understand the Word of God in their own language, and these Indians have no opportunity whatsoever. I have had to make a cross of two logs, and lie down on it, to show the Indians what it means to crucify a man. When there is that much ignorance over here and so much knowledge and opportunity over there, I have no question in my mind why God sent me here. Those whimpering Stateside young people will wake up on the Day of Judgment condemned to worse fates than these demon-fearing Indians, because, having a Bible, they were bored with it---while these never heard of such a thing as writing." - Jim Elliot
Kind of makes some of the things American Christians bicker about look really dumb. I pray that in all my endeavors I would pursue the supremecy of Christ, keeping the gospel at the core and letting the superficial things fall by the wayside.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Capitol Hill Baptist Church

Jule forgot to mention one of the most enjoyable experiences of our anniversary trip to Washington DC. We were able to participate in the worship service Sunday morning at Capitol Hill Baptist Church - home of 9 Marks and pastored by Mark Dever.

I am thankful to our God for the opportunity to fellowship and sit under the ministries of fellow-ministers in the body of Christ. Pastor Dever was not preaching the Sunday of July 1st when we were there. Michael Lawrence, the associate pastor is currently preaching a series out of 2 Timothy. It was both encouraging and convicting to hear Pastor Lawrence admonish the people out of 2 Tim 1:1-14 to joyfully suffer for the sake of the gospel. He concluded:

"On the cross, Jesus destroyed death by suffering on the cross for us. Jesus paid the penalties we owe by dying on the cross. He got up from death and revealed eternal life. This is the source of Paul’s confidence. This is why Paul is joyful and invites Timothy to join him, and us too. What are a few years of suffering for eternal life?

"Elders in the church, consider carefully the high and noble calling we have been given. We are guarding the message that brings eternal life. Let us carry this message with love and faith.
Members of CHBC, we are known as a deliberate church. Paul challenges us to live by faith, and not by our own skills and righteousness. Can people see the fruits of our ministry?

"Thinking about Paul’s vision for the future invites us to have a similar vision. What will we have passed on to the next generation when it comes time for us to pass the message on? I hope we will say, “come and suffer with us.

What a challenge! I pray that God will enable us to joyfully suffer for Christ.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Anniversary Trip to DC

We had a fantastic trip to DC for our second wedding anniversary. Praise God for two wonderful years!

We enjoyed staying at a great Bed and Breakfast a couple miles outside the downtown area. We were given a coupon for a free bike tour of the monuments and that was really fun. We also enjoyed dinner at I Ricchi - a gourmet Italian restaurant. There is so much to see in DC that we hardly got started, so we look forward to our next trip!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Christ our Mediator

Three posts in one day - this is definitely a record!

I just wanted to say that the book - Christ Our Mediator, by CJ Mahaney is an excellent, easy, and short read. I highly recommend it!

If you need to refresh your appreciation for Christ's work for you on the cross - read it!

One of his prayers: Thank you that when there was no other alternative - even after you so desperately pleaded for one - You rose from Gethsemane's ground and stepped forward to the cross in obedience to Your heavenly Father, even unto death. For if you had not done this, I would have been lost forever to sin and death and hell. Instead, because you drank the cup of God's wrath, I can drink forever from the cup of salvation. O Jesus, how can I thank you enough?

Eight Little Known Facts About Myself

Well, my sister-in-law sweetly tagged me to share these eight facts. I hope you find them amusing.....

1. I love going to Sam's Club - what it is, I'm not sure - but it is definitely my most enjoyable grocery shopping experience - maybe it's all those good taste-testing options!

2. I'm waitressing part-time at IHOP this summer. It's crazy - I have never waitressed before, and it has been an extremely unique experience.

3. I'm really bad at gardening - I feel like I'm a pretty creative person in most areas, but I feel like I totally missed out when they were passing out green thumbs. I'm trying to improve, but find that this is a very complexing area of owning a home.

4. Bored yet????? One of my favorite things in the world is ice cream. I could eat it almost any day of the year.

5. Once I fell out of a tree at my friends house and got a concussion - but just over night. I was wearing those big bobble hair things - eighty's girls will know what I'm talking about - I hit my head on those!!!

6. I love to wear sandals, especially flip-flops. I wish I could wear them year-round.

7. I can't ever talk on the phone without doing something else. I'm always trying to get a project done, drive, clean, etc.....instead of just listening. I think it's because I love to multi-task, but my mom, for one, always gets mad at me for doing this...................

8. Whew, I made it. Last of all, I lived in Africa for a month the year I graduated from college. It was one of the best experiences of my life.

Well, let me know if you relate to any of my facts!

Life in the Hall Household

Here is a brief update of our last few months:

In April we enjoyed having Rob’s mom with us. She is a missionary in Africa and came back for a visit and for Phil’s graduation. We had a great time at Northland’s graduation in May – it’s always nice to connect with people you haven’t seen in ages.
We also had my dad here to visit when we got home from Northland and were able to get a bunch of projects done – the picture here is of our baseboards in the living room finally!

We had a great trip to the Outer Banks over Memorial Day. It was a much-needed break, and we had perfect weather.

The last couple weeks we had my mom, Grandma, Aunt and cousins here to visit. It was a blast. Then Jolene Syroteuk was here for a few days. Needless to say, things have been a little hectic, but totally worth it and so much fun!

The next few weeks should be a little more low-key until the end of July when we leave for St. Vincent on a missions trip with the youth group we work with. Please pray for us as we prepare!

Monday, March 19, 2007

The New Kitchen Floor!

Well, we finally got around to tiling the kitchen and are very excited about how it turned out. Steve Schwartz did an awesome job. Here are some pics!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Just another Valentine’s Day…or not

Well, I have to say that everyone counsels you not to have high expectations in marriage or you may be disappointed. I don’t think I have a huge problem in this area, but on Valentine’s Day I have to admit, that no matter how hard I try, there are a few things that I would like to happen. This being the case, I thought it was a little strange that when February 14th rolled around, Rob handed me a card and made some comment about how he hoped I wasn’t disappointed that he didn’t do anything else….hmmmmm. What do I say to that? “Oh, it’s no big deal.” Or, “that’s fine” – the typical girl phrase.

Well, I got to work and after an hour or so, my student came in and told me I had a package in the office. Of course, I rushed out and found a gorgeous arrangement of tulips with a note telling me where to meet Rob for dinner after work – a great restaurant in Old Town Portsmouth we have been wanting to try out. I showed up to find him in a little corner of the restaurant beaming because his surprise had been a success.

Of course, he would still be a wonderful husband without doing these things, but it’s very meaningful when he plans ahead and continues to show me that I am special to him. Sorry if it sounds like I’m bragging – I don’t do that often on this blog, so once in a while I hope that’s ok.
If anyone else wants to brag on their man, feel free - or just make a nice comment about mine!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Paul Feinberg's "Hermeneutics of Discontinuity" and the problem of dual authorship

For a class at CBTS, I have been reading Continuity and Discontinuity: Perspectives on the Relationship Between the Old and New Testaments. We were recently required to evaluate the chapter titled above. I found it to be a very thought provoking chapter and liked its content in general. Feinberg is very thorough and has a great ability to identify important details that demand consideration where others have, to use his words, "conflated a number of issues that need to be separated." The problem of the relationship between the Old and New Testaments is not an easy one.
That being said, I have several questions/problems with Feinberg’s proposal for meaning in the OT. Two of which I will highlight here.
First, Feinberg addresses the issue of meaning in the context of OT predictions and states that meaning is associated with authorial intent, in this case human and divine. I normally would have no problem with this statement. However, Feinberg spent the paragraphs before explaining that what he intends by “human and divine” is to say that the divine author’s intent is the same as the human author’s intent. I will illustrate why I disagree with this in a moment. But if we assume it to be true for the sake of argument, it makes his following explanation of sense and reference very confusing. Feinberg asserts that sense is roughly equivalent to meaning, whereas the reference is equivalent to the actual object or state of affairs referred to (117). In the case of OT prediction, the sense is easily known, but the reference is “not known except to God” (118). This last phrase is important, because it identifies the problem and possibly a false dichotomy. If an author knows both the sense and the reference, are they not both part of his intention, especially if the author is the One bringing about the reference? Clearly we cannot say that the human author knows both “sense” and “reference” in the case of predictive Scripture. However, the divine author does, and it would seem that both are what He intended. So I think that saying that there is a sense that is known by the human author and a reference that is not known by the human author may be legitimate. Conversely, I think that saying the reference is not included in the intention (and therefore meaning) of the divine author is illegitimate.
Furthermore, the fact that Feinberg displays his view of God in regards to God’s knowledge of the future in the quote in the above paragraph is significant, and it seems inconsistent with the idea that the human author and the divine author have the same intention. In the case of predictive literature, the human author’s intent is to give a snapshot of the divine author’s intent. Thus both of their intents are in line with one another, but the divine author’s is more informed so to speak, because He knows the actual referent.
I find a second problem in Feinberg’s discussion of types. If we assume that Feinberg’s statement about divine and human intent is true, again for the sake of argument, it would naturally be assumed that it should be applied across the board to genres other than predictive literature. Thus in narrative literature, the human author’s intent would give the meaning of the text. It would seem that Feinberg is departing from this with his discussion of OT types. If you stayed consistent, there would be two options (the second flowing out of the first): first, because the human author did not intend the type, the type is not included in the meaning of the text. Second, either the type must be abandoned because it is not what the OT text means, or one preach a meaning that is external to the text.
I find it difficult to see how the human author could have intended a type that would find its antitype in the NT. I am not denying that types exist—I find no difficulty in seeing how the divine author could have intended a type that would find its antitype in the NT; I am saying that types do not fit into a model of authorial intent where the intent of the divine author is limited to the intent of the human author. Even Feinberg would seem to agree with this conclusion when he says “it is not hard to accept that such analogies were intended by God. What would be a matter of debate is whether the analogy drawn in the NT is a true exegesis of the original event” (122).
So I repeat the question, if an author knows both the sense and the reference, are they not both part of his intention, especially if the author is the One bringing about the reference?
Thoughts anyone?

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

live outside the graveyard

Sometimes I imagine my Christianity as if I am a caterpillar cloaked in a cocoon waiting for the day when I will break through the membrane into true reality…the presence of God…as a beautiful butterfly created for the glory of God.

I have heard it spoken of Charles Spurgeon, who wrapped up in pre-sermon prayer, felt as if he was in the very throne room of God, and was disappointed when he opened his eyes and found himself still standing in his pulpit. I feel that way. How distracted my heart is Oh God!! At times in prayer and worship, I find myself imagining that I am with the saints in heaven gathered around the great God we adore, praising him and shouting with all our might how great, and wonderful, and terrible, and majestic, and lovely God is. At those times I feel as if I am straining at the membranes of my earthly cocoon and breaking through to see the joys of the real world. But then I come out of the throne room of God—I sink back into my cocoon—and believe it or not, I start to think that it is pretty cozy in this earthly shell. The cares of work, paying bills, entertainment, and school come over me, and I am distracted from worship. I don’t want to be that way. Truly, my greatest joy is found when I am straining at the walls of this shell—completely enthralled by the presence of my God!!

I am like a man waiting in a graveyard. My God has dug up my grave and breathed in me the breath of life. I have been told by Him that there is a wonderful world outside this graveyard waiting for me, but I have to stay here for a while helping to unearth others and describe to them what I have learned about the beauty outside the cemetery. But I am distracted…I look at the grave next to me of someone who is yet in their coffin, and I begin to covet their headstone, or the nice flowers someone planted there. Or maybe the grass over their coffin is green, while all I have is an empty hole: the remains of a grave that has been opened. How foolish!!

God, how I am distracted! Captivate my heart!

Psalm 84

How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD of hosts! 2 My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the LORD; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God. 3 Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O LORD of hosts, my King and my God. 4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise! Selah

10 For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness. 11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. 12 O LORD of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Last few months.......

Well life has been hectic to say the least-hence the lack of material showing up on our blog lately. But we are finally getting back to routine.

At thanksgiving we were able to go to Charlottesville to spend time with Rob's family, which was so fun. These are his cousin's children - Aran & Robbie - they are a blast!

We also refinished our wood floors in the living room and dining room the same weekend.

Christmas was great with my family in Wisconsin. Not as cold as we thought! And now Rob is back in school and I'm back to work at The Music Staff. So here are few pictures from our adventures. Hopefully we will get a slideshow up soon, but for now, these will do!