Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Lifepoint Church and Tun Tavern Fellowship

We're starting to settle in!

We're pretty sure we've found our new church home. We've attended Lifepoint Church the last two weeks and loved it. The worship is great and the pastor is challenging. The messages are both teaching and preaching right from the Word. We've inquired about joining a life group and are excited to get to know people. It's further away than the other churches we've visited (it's also bigger), but Nate likes the distance because the first question we get isn't, "So are you at TBS?" If you'd like you can check it out at www.visitlifepoint.org.

This week we also attended a Tun Tavern Fellowship meeting. Tun Tavern was a tavern in Philadelphia, PA that is traditionally regarded as the site where the USMC held its first recruitment drive. Tun Tavern Fellowship is a network of Christians in the Marine Corps. Sunday evenings they hold a Bible study and fellowship time for a few hours specifically for TBS couples. This week was mainly a meet and greet with other Delta Co. couples, but we're excited to see what a regular Sunday evening is like. It was great to meet other couples who are coming from the same place spiritually and going through the same thing. We also meet a couple from Charlie Co. (they're about a month ahead of Delta in the POI) and a couple from Alpha Co. (they just graduated). They seem like great resources since they've been where we're going. They also have a website if you're interested.

It's refreshing to be making friends and meeting other couples. A group of us wives are actually going to grab lunch together tomorrow, which I'm excited about.

In other news, Nate should receive his tan belt today! Let's just pray that he comes away less any more battle wounds :)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

More Pictures from the Week

Combat Conditioning

3-mile Hike

Charlie's Inspection

Friday, May 21, 2010


Marine Corps Martial Arts Program

MCMAP is a combat system developed by the United States Marine Corps to combine existing and new hand-to-hand and close quarters combat (CQC) techniques with morale and team-building functions and instruction in what the Marine Corps calls the "Warrior Ethos". The program, which began in 2001, trains Marines in unarmed combat, edged weapons, weapons of opportunity, and rifle and bayonet techniques. It also stresses mental and character development, including the responsible use of force, leadership, and teamwork.

This is what Nate has been doing the past few days and what he'll be doing for a few more days next week. By Tuesday he should have his tan belt (the MCMAP belt is worn with the cammies). Over the past 2 days he's been out in the sun practicing punching, striking, being knocked on the ground, fighting with a bayonet, etc... for about 10 hours a day. Needless to say, he's exhausted, bruised, a little sun burnt, and SO ready for the weekend.

The tan belt is obtained after 27.5 hours of training time and after completion of a practical application test on all of the basic techniques of the tan belt. The basic skills of the tan belt are:

  • basic punches, uppercuts, and hooks
  • basic upper-body strikes, including the eye gouge, hammer fists, and elbow strikes
  • basic lower-body strikes, including kicks, knee strikes, and stomps
  • bayonet techniques
  • basic chokes, joint locks, and throws
  • counters to strikes, chokes, and holds
  • basic unarmed restraints and armed manipulations
  • basic knife techniques
  • basic weapons of opportunity

After the tan belt are the gray, green, brown, and black belts. These build upon the basic skills he's learning now and then at the green belt the focus shifts from defensive to offensive.

Here are some pictures from this weeks MCMAPin:

Falling Backwards

Warrior Stance

Practice Makes Perfect

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

We’re Not In Eden Anymore

“Made For Each Other” was rooted in Genesis 1 and 2, but now we’re going to look at Genesis 3 where everything changes.

Gensis 3:1-5 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?” The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die’.” “You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman. "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

Let’s look at the nature of creation, pre-fall.

1. Well-being was achieved. There was only one “not good” in all of creation, but God created Eve and now creation is good. There was the vertical relationship with God and now there was the horizontal relationship with Eve and there was indeed well-being.

2. Freedom was maintained. Freedom is so important to us, but do we really know what it is? In the pre-fall state humans were free to be anything and do anything that they wished. All of creation was good and under the charge of humanity. The boundary of the tree that humans were not supposed to eat from was not a limitation of that freedom, but a guarantor of the freedom. Well designed Godly imperatives never limit freedom, they guarantee it.

3. Justice. All was just, all was fair. There was order and all was as God intended.

4. God was in charge and all things were as they should be. God’s relationship to humanity in the pre-fall state was vertical. He was the King, the Caretaker, the Father. This was the correct order.

Now, let’s look as the serpent, the representative Satan, enters the arena. This is the nature of the fall and of sin contrasted to the nature of creation presented above. Relationships are totally redefined here by the serpent. It’s worth looking at just how compelling this dialogue is because it’s the one we operate in every day.

1. “You will not surely die.” This is the serpent’s first lie. You’ll be just fine, you don’t need him, you’re better off by yourselves...without Him. But remember, in the creation design aloneness was the only not good, whether with each other or with God. This is the anti-design of God’s creation.

2. “Your eyes will be opened.” Lie number 2. God knows you’ll truly be free. Free from Him and his silly boundary about the tree. Go for it, you don’t need Him. God’s boundary is enslaving, it’s limiting, break free! That’s the same dialogue we have all the time with the world. It too is the anti-design of God’s creation.

3. “You will be like God.” After all, it’s only fair that you be like God. That is truly just. Run your own life yourself, don’t worry about Him. Again, it’s the anti-design of creation.

4. “You will know good and evil.” Finally, the nature of creation becomes the nature of the fall. And now everything shifts and it is no longer God’s design that matters. The ethics of life and relationships are fully up for grabs. The anti-God arena’s of your life speak to YOU, you decide what’s right, you decide what’s good, you decide what’s bad. You decide, make your own decisions. Don’t worry about God’s rules. Don’t worry about His boundaries, they will only limit you. You redefine the entire creation. And that has brought chaos like never before.

The content from the serpent is so compelling that Adam and Eve bought it. And you and I buy into it every day. Here’s the secret: this content from the serpent is the same content we get every day and we make the same decisions all the time – to sabotage our well-being, to cut from our freedom, to deny justice, and to redefine God’s design. It can be helpful to know that each day you’ll be facing these compelling conversations and dialogues to leave behind God’s design and seek your own, to help you not to do it.

So we have some ethical consequences of the fall.

1. Well-being has been destroyed. We have been banished from the garden. Our fight is to bring back the garden.

2. Freedom is lost. It is not possible to not sin.

3. Justice is corrupted. Don’t blame me, blame her. Justice exists only for me, everyone else needs to get in line.

4. Brokenness. We are isolated from fellowship with God. We are alienated from each other. We are alienated from creation. We have the issue of servanthood of the woman to the man (this is a description of the fall, not the prescription of God’s creation).

God calls to Adam and Eve in the garden, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9) But he doesn’t ask because he doesn’t know where we are. He asks because WE don’t know where we are. Our purpose according to the serpent is to get lost, stay lost, and hide from God. But God’s purpose is radically different. The purpose of this hide-and-seek game is not to be hidden, but to be found. He seeks you as you hide!

And here in Genesis 3:15 everything changes, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel." The change is the introduction of Jesus Christ. The battle lines are drawn. But Jesus, the offspring of the woman, will crush the head of the serpent, the instrument of Satan. But everything about the fall changes when Jesus enters the fallen world. He brings healthy healing and salvation. Our well-bring, our freedom, our justice, and the nature of our salvation is wrapped up in Jesus Christ once and for all.

Romans 5:6, 8-10 “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!”

Do you know whom you belong to, do you know who you are, and do you know where you stand against the compelling serpent that will bite and squeeze you and whisper in your ear, "Go this way, not His way"? Your defenses are found in knowing the Truth.

Unity of Command

A message from the Chaplain of TBS. He's a great guy and his words one marriage are so true. I hope this encourages you married folks and helps create a healthy picture of marriage for our yet to be married friends.

“One of the most important concepts in the principles of warfare is the concept of unity of command. Simply put, unity of command means that all the forces are under one responsible commander. It requires a single commander with the authority to direct all forces in pursuit of a unified purpose (“the mission”). This is vital for a Marine Corps unit (from a single fire team, all the way up to a Marine Expeditionary Force). Lack of unity in a Marine Corps unit leads to a lack of trust, lack of communication, low morale and ultimately will undermine the effectiveness of the unit and lead to mission failure.

The same holds true in marriage. Unity is essential. I would venture to argue that the majority of the issues I deal with during counseling sessions are symptoms of one thing…a lack of intimacy, or unity between husband and wife.

Family and marriages are under attack today like never before and healthy marriages are difficult to sustain in a military environment. Whether from external sources attempting to redefine and weaken marriage or due to erosion from within, marriage is in the crosshairs.

The bible says that God created man and woman to be together (Genesis 2:18, Matthew 19:6, Ephesians 5:31). From the very beginning, Adam recognized that Eve was part of him—they were “one flesh.” The term “one flesh” means that just as our bodies are one whole entity (made up of a diversity of members) and cannot be divided into pieces and still be a whole, so God intended it to be with the marriage relationship. With marriage, there are no longer two entities (two individuals), but now there is one entity (a married couple, a single unit).

God created the marriage relationship as a model for perfect unity and as a representation of His Unity with His Church. When we do things in accordance to God’s plan, the unity and intimacy of marriage is a beautiful thing. Some indicators of an intimate relationship are:
• We spend significant "face time" together, taking care to connect when life gets hectic.
• We make a habit out of thanking one another for the mundane, such as doing the dishes or taking out the trash.
• We engage in little every day kindnesses. We serve each other regularly.
• We are accountable to one another.
• We find common passions and engage in them regularly.
• We have a common spiritual faith as the center of our marriage.

If these are not present in your marriage (or in your dating relationships) then perhaps you lack unity and may want to take “remedial action” to correct the situation.

1. Take 2 minutes to increase your intimacy and unity:
Spend 60 seconds together when you reunite at the end of the day. It may seem “fake” at first, but this simple step can work miracles in a relationship. Don’t just walk in the door and say “how was your day?” or “what’s for dinner?” but stop, look each other in the face and (using your watch if you must) spend 60 seconds together when you come home. Spend another 60 seconds “together” before you go to sleep. (Not one last parting shot on a controversial subject and not opening up a new can of worms but a brief, meaningful moment.) My wife and I do “best part/worst part” (share the best and worst parts of your day) to sort of anchor the end of our day together before going off to sleep.

2. “Leave and cleave” If either spouse fails to both leave (get out of Mommy and Daddy’s shadow) and cleave (stick to your spouse like glue), problems will result in a marriage. If spouses refuse to truly leave their parents, even if the parents are GREAT, conflict and stress will result. Leaving your parents does not mean ignoring them or not spending any time with them, it just means recognizing that your marriage created a new family and that this new family must be a higher priority than your previous family (and friends).

If spouses neglect to cleave to each other, the result is a lack of intimacy and unity. Cleaving to your spouse does not mean being with your spouse every moment or not having meaningful friendships outside of your marriage. (Healthy boundaries and individual identity are crucial to a healthy marriage also.) Cleaving to your spouse means recognizing that you are joined, essentially “glued,” to your spouse. Cleaving is key in building a marriage that will endure hard times and be the beautiful relationship that God intends it to be. Parents and in-laws are good, friends are good, children are good but your spouse and you should be mission ONE.

God is a God of unity. In John 17:21-23, Jesus Christ prayed to his Father in Heaven that His followers would “all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.”

That is what marriage should reflect, the unity of Jesus with God the Father and the unity of Christ and His followers. Without unity of command, we cannot hope to “accomplish the mission” or maintain “troop welfare”.”

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Made For Each Other

Don't worry this isn't a mushy post :) Our previous church, Grace Fellowship, is doing a series on LIFE. It's a 13 week series that they started back in mid-April. It's been really great so far and worth sharing the notes on since not everyone has time to sit and listen to the 35-min messages (e.g., my husband). I hope you enjoy my notes as much as I enjoy listening.

Remember the game?

Every player gets a little plastic car and off you go on a road of possibilities. To get a job, pluck a “Career Card” from the deck. Need a bank loan? No problemo! And if you want to get married, don’t wait around wondering whether you’ll meet Mr. or Ms. Right. Simply stop at the “Get Married” space, throw your mate into the car, and away you go, driving together into the adventure of your shared destiny. Whichever player has the most money at the end of the game wins!

It seems that often we think that life is all about accumulating the most or the greatest experiences. Others might say that the goal of life is to retire comfortably or to have the fewest number of problems possible. How's that working for you? Or others might say that they goal is self-actualization. Once the basic needs are met, like love, then we can focus on personal development, fulfillment, and achievement.

What if God had a very different perspective on life? He did, after all, invent the real game. What if there's a secret to living life that many of us miss?

Jesus says this, "There is a thief that comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full" (John 10:10). Sadly, many of us allow ourselves to fall victim to the deceptions and those deceptions rob us of life. And sometimes those deceptions lead us to utter destruction. On the other hand, when we embrace God's vision for life we live life abundantly and we live it to the full.

If we're going to talk about life, then we should probably start at the beginning. Why are we here? How did we get here? What is it all about? Let's look at Genesis chapters 1 and 2.

The first 5 words of the Bible are very important. "In the beginning God created..." We're not here because of some cosmic accident or random occurrence. We're here because a loving God created us into being.

If you remember the rhythm of Genesis chapter 1, you'll remember that God spoke, something came into being, and then He declared it good. He spoke light, birds, animals, etc. into being and declared them good.

Then in verses 26 and 27 He says, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness... So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them."

Notice the pronouns. God says, "Let US make man in OUR image..." God existed before the beginning of time in the community of the trinity. From the very beginning Jesus is there, the Holy Spirit is there, and God the Father is there. But then the pronouns change, it says that "God created man in HIS OWN image". God is both personal and distinct as an individual, as are the other members of the trinity. And yet together they are also one with each other. That is they mystery of the trinity. And that is part of what it means for us to be made in the image of God, that we have individual, distinct personhood and we are made for community to be one with each other.

And it says that, "male and female he created them." We are made into two groups, males and females. And each one of us, no matter whether we're a male or a female, reflect Gods image in different and distinct ways. No one of us fully reflects Gods image, but when men and women are in community with one another then we more wholly and more fully reflect the image of God. We are distinct but we are equal. Man made in the image and likeness of God, woman made in the image and likeness of God.

Then in Chapter 2, verse 7 Moses describes exactly what happened in the creative process. It says, "The Lord God formed the man (Adam) from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being." The word adam is a Hebrew word for man. But, "God formed the man from the dust" and the word dust or earth in Hebrew is the word adama. It has the word Adam in it, but it's a feminine word. And out of this adama came Adam, who is masculine. And out of the masculine came the feminine, Eve. There's this interdependence between men and women together.

But look at the creative process. God didn't just speak human beings into existence (like the rest of creation). He came right down to Adam and breathed life into his nostrils. What does that say about the kind of relationship God wants to have with you? It's up close, it's personal, it is so intimate and loving.

And so we see in the creation account God moves, God creates, and it is good. But in Chapter 2, verse 18 we come to a stunning statement, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him."

Now let's recognize something, sin has not yet entered the world. There is nothing defiled about Adam's relationship with God. This is God's creation. There has been no sin and yet He says that is it not good. It is not good for the man to be alone. In essence what God is saying is that even though Adam has the perfect relationship with Him - nothing blocking it, it isn't enough. That God isn't enough. We are designed not just to live in a horizontal relationship with God in an isolated fashion because we are created in the image and likeness of God and part of that is living in community.

So God says, "I will make a helper suitable for him." When we think of the word "helper" we think of a junior assistant. But, this word "helper" every other time, but one, that it appears in the Old Testament refers to God himself. The word "help" has salvation undertones, you are saving the person from something. So what is God saving Adam from?

Adam needs to be saved from aloneness. God saved Adam from his aloneness by created someone who was "suitable" for him. The word suitable could also be translated as corresponding. The Hebrew understanding of the verse is that the woman would be someone with whom Adam could look eye to eye. Adam didn't look eye to eye with God, he looked up to God. Neither did Adam look eye to eye with the animals he named, he was to have dominion over them and looked down at them. They were not corresponding to him.

"So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man's ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called 'woman,' for she was taken out of man."For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh." (Genesis 2:21-24)

We are designed to live in community, with others, in relationship to God.

This passage clearly speaks of covenant marriage. But not all of us are married? Can we realize God's full creative intent if we're not married? Now, what human being lived the perfect life? Jesus. Jesus wasn't married. Paul wasn't married and his advice to the unmarried was to stay that way. The goal isn't to be married or not married. The goal is for us to live in intimate community with both genders represented. God doesn't live in isolation, He lives in the fellowship of the trinity and he doesn't desire for us to live in isolation.

Let's look a little deeper at what it means to be made in the image and likeness of God. If we want to know what God is like to whom do we look? Jesus. "The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being..." (Hebrews 1:3) Christ's life shows us what God is like. And what we see in Jesus is that he came not to be served, but to serve. He came not to be loved, but to love. He didn't have to die on the cross, he chose to.

Before the beginning of time God foreknew that he would create us in his image and his likeness. And he foreknew that we would turn our backs on him and we would sin. He set up a system of government and righteousness and sacrifice that would call for him to send his son to die on a cross because his very nature is radical, self-sacrificial love.

What does a singer do? He sings. What does an artist do? He paints or he sculpts. What does a loving, creative, self-sacrificial God do? He creates people to be the object of his affection to whom he can show his radical self-sacrificial nature. We weren't created to love God. He didn't put us here because he had some emotional void to fill. He created us to love us because his very nature is creative and loving.

Sometimes we confuse what it is to love. We might know that we exist to love, but sometimes we think that we exist to be loved by other rather than existing to love others. God desires that we would be love givers rather than love seekers. What does it mean to be a love giver? First, love is a verb. Love is what love does. Love isn't a feeling or an emotion. Love is to will and to act on another persons behalf. Love is to move toward another. The very nature to God, to be made in his image, is to love. So life is found in loving others. And our capacity to love is found in our experience and understanding of God's love for us.

Here's the thing, the thief comes to steal and kill and destroy. He wants you to think this, look out for number 1. If you don't look out for yourself then no one else will. You want what you want, you deserve it. Don't worry about anybody else, you think about yourself. That's a lie and it leads to destruction. But Jesus came that we might have life and have it to the fullest. All of us have had a time when we self-sacrificially moved toward another and it felt great and we felt joy in that. Joy comes not from receiving love, but from giving love.

We have a choice. We can be love seekers or love givers. And we never know when this "game" of life comes to an end. But we do know this, at the end our life isn't going to be defined by how many toys we've accumulated or by how many exciting experiences we've had or whether we've managed our life to have our problems be few. Our lives are going to be defined by how well we've loved, whether we've received God's love for us and extended that love to others. That's what it means to be made in the image of God - to love others.

Are you a love seeker or a love giver? Take some time considering who had God give you love. What self-sacrificing steps can you take towards someone that God has already given you to love?

The abundant life is found in living as Jesus lives, as we were created to live, pouring out our lives for others. Amen.

And so it begins...

Test numero uno is tomorrow.

If you all could keep Nate in your prayers we would really appreciate it. His first test is tomorrow and, as another Marine put it, it's like the final exam for a 5 credit class that they've had a week to study for. Mainly it's A LOT of information to retain and the test is apparently difficult.

This isn't like OCS where he'll be sent home if he doesn't do well academically, BUT he could get "re-cycled" and have to start the POI all over again. We're really praying that he does well, avoids injury, and can bang this out in one shot. In addition to not wanting to get recycled, how well he does at TBS (where he's ranked out of the ~280 Marines in his company) will play a part in which MOS he gets and how soon he'll get promoted in the future. Talk about pressure.

So please join us in prayer for his ability to retain the information, that he will be able to get a good night's sleep, that he won't rush through the test (it's a chronic problem), and that he would not be anxious (about the test or the intensity of the POI).

Thanks! And we'll be sure to let you know how he does :)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Let the countdown begin...

Nate's 26-week POI (program of instruction) started yesterday!

It was only the first day, so we still can't answer the "So, how is it?" question. So far it seems like the worst part is waiting to be released at the end of the day. When everything on the schedule is finished by 1630 it's a little frustrating to him that he isn't released shortly thereafter (last night he sat around for an hour and a half). Unfortunately, from what we hear, that's the norm and one of the worst parts of TBS...sitting around just waiting on "the word".

But, in the midst of the difficulties of the POI we're enjoying our time together, making new friends, and seeking the Lord. And to everyone who made it out to our housewarming party...Thanks! We had a great time having you all over :)

The spouses' calendar - marking off the days

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Lifestyle. Insights. Networking. Knowledge. Skills.

Tuesday a special L.I.N.K.S. session was held just for TBS spouses. L.I.N.K.S. is a volunteer based program run by other military spouses and is designed to provide a basic orientation to the Marine Corps lifestyle and help family members understand and adapt to the unique challenges military life often presents.


I knew some of the basic stuff. I know a lot of the common acronyms, I know about uniforms, and I can identify a lot of the rank insignias. Thank you google, wikipedia, and my desire to have a clue. However, there is so much available to Marine Corps families! Having a military ID is like an instant access pass to LOTS of discounts...if you know about them. From moving to deployment to grocery shopping at the commissary there are so many tips and my brain went on overload trying to retain it all. I think getting to know some more experienced Marine Corps wives will help and I think once we do this for a while I'll get the hang of it. But initially it's a lot. I feel like once he gets his orders for our next duty station it'll be like I have two full time jobs. Not looking forward to that.

However, while it was an information overload it was a lot of fun and WONDERFUL to meet other TBS wives. A bunch of them live in my apartment complex and I'm hopeful that we'll develop great friendships and be able to go through this together. Most of the other wives don't work, so that's both hard and humbling for me. It's difficult because they can spend there days just hanging out, while I have to work. But while I wish I could just hang out, they wish they had jobs and weren't bored all the time. I'm very fortunate to have something to fill my time during the day and provide income. They were a very nice reminder of that.

From what I can tell TBS is a lot like college in that the Family Readiness Office plans lots of different events for spouses. In two weeks, there's a spouses orientation specifically for TBS Delta Co. and I'm excited to go to that. I think it'll really prepare me for what his training will be like and I'll meet the wives of the men that Nate spends most of his time with. Hopefully welcome to TBS is less overwhelming than welcome to the Marine Corps :)

Me after "graduating" from L.I.N.K.S. with Colonel Smith and Sergeant Major Pickering, the Commanding Officer and Sergeant Major of TBS!