Saturday, February 28, 2009

Spring Rolls...yum

So we attempted to make some spring rolls and the whole experience was quite unique. You have to work so fast with the the rice paper and rolling them. We were laughing as we were going and thought this would be a fun party idea.

Anyways... make them at your own risk :)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Last night I had two girls over to cook dinner and have a little bible study time. It was fun and eventful.... namely, while we were talking, the boys flooded the bathroom!! But all is well :)

I love just sitting with them and talking about anything. Right now we're slowly going through the book of Philippians. They also love our boys and enjoy playing with them. As we were sitting there chatting, one of them mentioned it was time to go. The other girl said she was so relaxed and enjoying sitting here with Ian, who was cuddled up in her lap. We love it when our kids can minister to others and we never doubt or belittle their ministry. Before this girl left she said, "Your kids make me want to be a mom." :) Well, nothing makes a mother more happy than to know that her kids instill that kind of feeling in another. That means they are half way decent :)

More than that, it reminded me how important it is to have young people in your home. They need to see how a family can function with the ups and downs of life. Children can be a huge witness for Christ. Never doubt your kids ability to make the truth simple and attractive to others.

I hope she is a mom someday and reaps the blessings that come from little hands and feet.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


I both love and hate the Internet...but most of the time I love it.

Above all else, I really enjoy reading blogs. Specifically, blogs written by people from different theological backgrounds who live in different areas of the country/world. I can think of no better way to keep up with what's going on in the world of Christendom than by reading blogs. I have also really enjoyed being able to download audio and video from various sites for use in class or in teaching prep. So I offer you, my friends, two of the main blogs I read. May they challenge and encourage you as they have me.
This blog is done by a guy named Scott McKnight who is on the more liberal side of the emergent movement. He is a professor of Bible at a school in Chicago and also serves as a pastor. He frequently posts excerpts from books or articles that challenge the fundamentalist assumptions of most Christians. While I disagree with much of what Mr. McKnight believes theologically, I do respect his attempts to reach out to unbelievers. I have found his site to almost always be an interesting read.

The Resurgence is a blog that is run by several young Pastors, most of whom are from the Pacific Northwest. It is far more theologically conservative than JesusCreed, but a bit more culturally liberal. It has tons of resources dealing with different topics, some a bit more controversial than others. I find it to be a refreshing read because it tends to focus on the missional aspect of the Christian Life born out of a love for the Word of God.

Anyways, here's a window into my world. Feel free to explore it and discuss it with me (or yell at me) over email if you want.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Our Schizophrenic Blog

Do you guys feel like you're reading two different blogs all wrapped into one? I was just going through and reading our old posts and laughing at how different my posts are from those of my wife. I actually feel like my ramblings interrupt the nice little family pics and cooking things she does. That said, I'm not going anywhere. There has to be some sort of outlet for all the junk floating around in my head. By the way, I am obviously the crazy part to the right of the even kind of looks a bit like me.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

mmm.....Fresh Rosemary...

I thought you might need a fresh picture for today :)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Twist on a Favorite

We love burgers!! Any kind and shape or form :) The other day, Thomas mentioned putting chili and coleslaw on the burger like he'd had in a restaurant a long time ago. Voila! Here is the finished product..

The boys enjoyed it and even though it's very messy, I promise you'll enjoy it too. Just don't put too much chili on the burger like I did or it is definitely messy to eat :)

Here's another view without to much glare from the coleslaw...

By the way, we're all feeling better. And no, this was not a meal we had after we had been sick. This was made before all that chaos. It's only soup and bread for right now until our tummies are strong again.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Wir sind krank.

We're sick. All of us.

The thing that really sucks about all of this is that my buddy Nordogg is here studying architecture and I can't hang out with him because when I'm not getting sick myself I am either:

(A) taking care of my wife who is sick
(B) getting juice for little dudes who are getting better
(C) changing a DVD for my wife or one of the boys
(D) just sitting around feeling miserable

So please be in prayer for us. At least it's the weekend, but we would actually like to see our friend and rest a bit in preparation for another big week at VCS.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Vintage Valentines

Go to this site to see some vintage valentine cards. They are free to download and make adorable cards for your dear loved ones.

I know some of you men out there are just looking for a site like this one :)..... right?

Valentine Banner

The boys and I cut tons of hearts out and strung on this red string. It made for a nice banner for Valentine's.

He is remembering family and thinking how much we love them!

I wish I had more pics of his older brother.. but he doesn't seem to want to act out for the camera anymore :)


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Drive-by Commenting

I love the internet. Where else can you have the audacity to comment on something someone else has created without having any connection/friendship/relationship/aquaintance with them. And this is the world of the drive-by commenter. Perhaps some of you have experienced this on your blogs. I know I have.

You have to love these people because the "real" world of people and ideas is probably a bit difficult for them. As a result, they do a google search for a topic they have something to say about, and then they post their "thoughts" on a random person's blog, making them feel all big and proud of themselves. Seriously, go out and meet some people and then, once you've established a relationship with them, they may want to discuss your ideas with you. Until then, keep your comments and ideas for your own blog.

Rant over. Hurray for blogging.

(P.S. This isn't directed at any of you guys who are our friends. We love your comments!)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Fresh Bread!

we just received a wheat grinder from one of our dear friends here in Vienna. I'm so excited!! I've been grinding kernels like crazy and yesterday we baked some bread with our freshly ground wheat flour.

Thad was my helper and enjoyed learning about the seeds that grow the wheat, the "big tractor like Frank in the movie Cars" comes and cuts it down, it's taken to the farm to be separated and then we get the bag of kernels to grind into flour.

Here is a picuture of the whole grinder itself. It is wonderful to have! Thanks to my dear friend :)

If you've never done this before... it's so worth it to get a grinder and buy your wheat kernels in huge bags at a whole foods or organic store. The bread is better and you are getting fresh ingredients with no preservatives. This equals happy tummies and happy children.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Pastor's Conference Audio

This is the audio from a leadership course Mark Driscoll did with a group of young pastors. I really appreciate his focus on the expository teaching and preaching of the word as well as his simple encouragement to continually speak about Jesus. This may be a bit long for some of you but if you are interested in advice about sermon prep or teaching I would highly recommend listening to all of this.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Seminary: Course #1 Prolegomena

"It seems that you've been living two lives. In one life, you're Thomas Gardner , a Chaplain and History teacher at a successful international Christian school. You have a social security number, pay your taxes, and you... help your wife carry out...the garbage. The other life is lived in books and in front of a computer, where you are known as a "seminary student" and spend all your spare time writing...papers. One of these lives has a future, and one of them does not."

Well Agent Smith, your words hold some degree of truth. But, I'm pretty sure the whole seminary thing does play a part in making me the person that I want to be in the future so I'm going to have to impolitely disagree and ask for my phone call.

Yes, Mollie and I have been watching the Matrix. And yes, I am really busy with seminary. So I thought, "Surely, I can come up with a blog post that combines the two."My first class is Prolegomena, which is a big, fancy seminary term that means "first word" or starting assumptions, in this case, of theology. I thought I would share a bit about my courses and what I'm learning so I can share the theological love.

In beginning the study of theology, it is vital to establish the presuppositions upon which you are going to build your system, in this case, a truly biblical theology. There are essentially four pillars of a biblical theology (and some would disagree with one or more of these, but I think they are pretty solid).

PILLAR #1 - The Biblical God Exists
Duh, right? Sadly, there are lots of "theologians" who don't start there. This is THE critical starting point for growing in a knowledge of God from scripture. As Mark Driscoll says, "If you don't know Jesus, you don't know jack about the Bible." This study looks at different arguments for the existence of the God of the Bible using both philosophical and biblical arguments.

PILLAR # 2 - God Has Authoritatively Revealed Himself to Man
This pillar looks at the ways that God has revealed Himself through both general and special ways. Primary focus is given to the Bible as God's authoritative self-revelation and a study of things like inspiration, canonicity, and transmission.

PILLAR # 3 - Man's Ability to Comprehend God's Revelation
This pillar examines ideas such as the origin and purpose of language (that God gave it for the purpose of communication with Him and each other), the effects of sin on our relationships (both with God and each other), and the works of God (Father, Son, & Holy Spirit) in overcoming sin and reaching out to man.

PILLAR #4 - Developing a Consistant Hermeneutic
The final pillar is determining how we should read and interpret the Bible. Various hermeneutic methods are examined and critiqued. The importance of the literal historical-grammatical method is examined and critiqued, but found to be the method that most consistently submits to God as the authority in the interpretive process. This method is then applied to scriptural study and reveals 5 major results:
1. Submission to the authority of scripture
2. Recognition of cumulative revelation (God has revealed Himself progressively over time)
3. Awareness of doxological centrality (God's glory is the unifying theme of scripture)
4. A normative dispensational conclusion
5. A clear distinction between Israel and the church

I should be completely finished with the class within the week and that's exciting. My next three classes have arrived but I'll be completing them one at a time over the next few months. The main thing I've enjoyed about this so far is how what I'm learning is so applicable to what I'm teaching in Chapel and in my Bible classes. Pray that God will continue to use this time to grow me closer to Him and that I would come to love Him, and not theology, more and more.