Two Months!

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Caleb is now officially two months old! It is crazy how time has flown by. It seems like yesterday we were bringing him home praying that we would be able to figure out this thing called parenting. These two months have been filled with lots of laundry, diapers, sleepless nights, and snuggles (by far the best!). 

My illusion of easily strapping on the baby and going about the normal chores/errands has definitely been replaced. We have been so blessed for me to be able to stay home full time with Caleb, but no one told me it was going to be this hard! Though, I may be saying how easy this was once the boy becomes mobile! Yikes!

His life currently consists of sitting on the freezer or being placed in various locations in his bouncer or swing…or thrown into the car and whisked off to the park, store, or a snow cone run! :) The thing he loves more than anything in the world…not mom…not dad…MILK!! He has been aptly nicknamed…THE CHUNK :) This boy definitely is not lacking in the food department. Daniel and I are considering starting a savings account so we can afford to feed him when he gets older.

Anyways…afraid there isn’t a whole lot to say….though I’m sure that will change when he becomes more aware. So far…he prefers to eat, sleep, and poop. ;) Though he does love his tummy time and sometimes gives us smiles. We are trying to teach him to roll over, but he is still working on that one! :) 

And Then There Were Three…

Normally, the greatest thing about a Wednesday is that it is “hump day.” It is the day everyone wants to get through so that they can get to Friday, like those drive-through  cities you have to pass through in order to get to where you’re going for family vacation–the only thing that makes it exciting is that it’s on the way. It’s easy to write off days you think will be ordinary in anticipation for more significant days. However, God reminded me a few days ago that He is doing the most significant things on ordinary days. Therefore, the most beautiful things can be found in what is ordinary.

When I pulled up into the parking lot at work on an ordinary Wednesday morning on May 22nd, 2013 the last thing I was expecting was to receive a text from Beth saying, “I think my water just broke.” Sitting there in the car I realized the Lord was about to make this Wednesday anything but ordinary.

I drove home to pick Beth up to take drive to the hospital. We already had her and Caleb’s hospital bags packed but not mine; we did not expect this little one for another two weeks (clearly, he wasn’t concerned with sticking to our schedule). So I frantically ran around packing my bag while Beth got ready, broke a dish while washing some last minute dishes, made sure we were wearing our clothes right-side-out and headed for the hospital.

Unfortunately, the little one chose not to pop out right when we got to the hospital and make it easy on us. One of the first sentences we heard from the doctor was, “You guys have a long night ahead of you.” We had wanted to do natural birth. However, it seems that if a woman’s water breaks at home and she is less than a centimeter dilated while sitting in the doctor’s office the chances of making it down the natural birth road are slim. With neither Beth nor I particularly wanting to still be pushing the next morning, we agreed to start the Pitocin (street name “labor dynamite”) immediately.

The Big Day!

Beth gets all connected up and is excited for the big day!

As the “labor dynamite” fuse was lit we began what became a 13 hour labor process. We were at Brookwood Hospital, and they actually have a nurse sit in the delivery room with you the entire time until the baby comes, monitoring mom and baby’s vitals. It was a privilege I’m sure would be awkward for some, but I appreciated the extra attention. We had a funny moment as Beth and I were playing cards. The nurse looked over, the three of us happened to lock glances at the same time, and we were compelled to ask, “So uhh…..would you wanna join in on a hand?” Unfortunately, she said she probably shouldn’t, although she did make some good contemporary Christian music recommendations as she was listening to our music!

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The evening hours descended, and the contractions intensified. I was so proud of Beth for the gentle and kind spirit that she maintained in the midst of her pain (the epidural didn’t do quite as good a job as we thought it would). We hit the baby delivery wall at 9.5 cm for 3 hours. Upon the doctor’s recommendation, we went with the C-section; we were exhausted after 12 hours straight of baby anticipation and pain.

 After about 25 quick minutes of blood, guts, and fogging up my glasses while breathing through my hospital mask, out came my son looking like an alien from the black lagoon. The intensity of the moment was almost too much to take in. I felt like I was looking at someone else’s baby. I can’t imagine the difference he felt between the womb and the world in an instantaneous moment. No wonder he was crying, experiencing a barrage of new stimuli all at one time. It is an understatement to say the moment of holding my son for the first time was surreal, seeing him look at me for the first time and realize God had entrusted this new life to me to multiply His glory on the earth.

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This extraordinary day ended the next morning at 5:30am when Beth and I were able to finally lay down to sleep for the first time since we got to the hospital, lives forever changed as we closed our eyes thankful to the Lord for our son, Caleb Lee Fuller.

Birthing Partner

I have good news and then I have even better news.

Yes, we are still alive and are resurrecting our blogging efforts. Second, yes, we are having a baby! In a few months time I have all of a sudden been surrounded by a whirlwind of baby showers, birthing classes, 3-hour putting together the crib sessions, wall painting, monkeys everywhere, daddy boot camp, and much more. It is as if I am a nerdy video and board-game playing Dorothy who just stepped out into the colorful world of babies. To say I stick out in a crowd in Babies R’ Us would be an understatement. In short, I know just nothing a little about babies.

As I’m sure she will discuss more later, Beth has decided to do natural birth. For those of you who don’t know, natural birth requires a good bit more involvement before, during, and after the birth from the husband or birth partner. If you happened to miss it, the world of babies is an alien world to me, and we are opting to do this thing the hard more rewarding way.

So I have sought to educate myself. We have acquired this little book called The Birth Partnerwhich claims to be the birthing bible. Beth and I performed the first birthing preparation exercises from the book today. I am learning something already! Time to read up, pray up, and help my wife bring our son into the world!

I have much I want to share concerning what the Lord has done in me through my preparations to be a family man. More to come. Stay tuned!

Darkness is Not Dark

Greetings everyone! I wrote the lyrics to this hymn a year or so ago and wanted to share them with you. I tend to struggle pretty hard with depression at times, and God always shows His faithfulness to me by continuing to bring me back to Him and use my depression for my ultimate good and His glory. These lyrics are a result of what He has done in me. I hope for any of you walking through a dark and trying time in your life currently that this will be an encouragement to you. All glory be to the living God! Look to Christ who has gone through the depths of darkness on the cross and lived again so that you might no longer walk in darkness but be filled with light.

Grace and peace,
Daniel

“Darkness is Not Dark”

By: Daniel Fuller


My body’s lamp, with palest gleam,
Gazes on death’s cold plain.
Cruel Shadows drown ev’ry beam.
Heav’n stills with no refrain.

With silent cries, ruined souls strain
To tread this noonday night.
Bitter lusts guide each step of shame
That never finds delight.

No humble strain of words entice
Darkness to lift its veil.
All the eloquent words suffice
To make a son of hell.

There’s one whose darkest hour is light
That shines out from this dread.
“Finished!” He shouts into the night,
Shredding the blackest thread.

Loving rays stream forth to kiss
This Son of Man whose face
Reflects resplendent bliss
That floods the darkest place.

Shine upon your weary saints
Whose eyes are growing dim
For God alone my soul faints
All glory unto Him!

Theology Tuesday: Does it Matter if God Exists? Part 1

Welcome everyone to the first installment of Theology Tuesday!

The first topic I want to discuss is arguably at the heart of life itself. During the often tumultuous journey of life, the question of “What’s it all for?” I believe comes up in everyone’s mind sooner or later. To ask this question is not to be a cold stoic philosopher or pious academic. It is the most important question someone can ask, and it is certainly worth the time spent hunting down an answer. Regardless of your beliefs on this current day, we all find ourselves on equal ground when we ask, in the words of the popular band Creed, “What’s this Life For?” In order to progress any further in our pursuit of an answer, I believe there is one primary question we must ask–does God exist? We as human beings travel down the same well-worn and dusty highway in our pursuit of the meaning of our existence until we come to this ancient fork in the road we travel together. How we answer this question, determines everything about how we view the universe around us and our own existence in this world. Therefore, this is the primary question we will focus on for the next several weeks. Does God exist? If so, what does that mean for our lives in this world and the next?

I will be using a book by Dr. William Lane Craig called On Guard: Defending Your Faith with Precision and Reason as a basic guide to help us unpack and talk through many of the issues lying under the surface of this cosmic question. To supplement your reading of these blog posts or to just dig deeper into this very important question, I highly recommend this book for people of all belief systems.

Before we begin looking at potential evidences for the existence of God, there is a very basic question that will help get us started. From the atheist to the Christian and everyone in between, everyone should ask the following question–does it matter if God exists? In other words, is our pursuit of an answer to the question of God’s existence really worth our time? Does God’s existence really change anything? I will argue that it changes everything, on a cosmic scale and “we cannot afford to be indifferent about it” (William Lane Craig, On Guard, 50).

I first want us to look at the negative side of the argument, namely the presupposition that God does not exist and what that would mean for our lives. Here, I will use a formal argument known as reductio ad absurdum (or reduction to absurdity) to show that if God does not exist, then all life will eventually cease to exist and is therefore reduced to absurdity. Philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus both argued that if God did not exist then life itself was inherently absurd. However, this consequence did not leave them to concede their belief in the existence of God. Instead, they both concluded that life was indeed absurd (Craig, 30). What I mean by life’s being absurd is that life does not make logical sense and is “ridiculously unreasonable,” as the Merriam-Webster Dictionary specifies as an appropriate use of the word. I do understand this is a harsh assertion. However, I believe you will see why I make it. If God does not exist, the result is that life is without “meaning, value, or purpose” (Craig, 30). More specifically, life has no objective or necessary meaning, value, or purpose. This would be that all beliefs or feelings of meaning, value, or purpose are merely “human illusions” (Craig, 30). I have a very good friend of mine who is a stout atheist. I certainly do not think all people who don’t belief in God live meaningless, unhappy, depressing lives. However, I will argue that for an atheist to live a fulfilled and happy life, he or she cannot firmly hold to the definition of a life without meaning, value, or purpose. Instead, he or she must give some assent to the appearance meaning, even though objectively it does not exist. I’ll now take each of the resulting qualities of life without the existence of God I mentioned before and elaborate on them a little further for the rest of this post. That will conclude our first part of addressing whether or not it matters if God exists so that this post doesn’t become unbelievably long.

First, we’ll look at life’s having no meaning. I just got off the phone with my mom a little while ago talking with her about a very good friend of her’s who died recently. It was very unexpected and sudden. I’ve faced a large number of deaths on my mom’s side of the family over the past several years. Every time I am faced with one, I am always brought back to the reality that we are all mortal, and we will all eventually come to an end–we will die. We all daily live with the threat of what one theologian called “non-being” (Craig, 31). The threat of our non-being is just as real to us as our knowledge that we currently exist. Not only that, but scientists now teach that the universe has a clock on it that is counting down. Multiple theories (please note I will not ever reference Wikipedia unless the bibliography is thoroughly filled so that you can research its assertions further) have been proposed, most of which deal with a violent heat or cold death. Thus, we as human beings as well as the universe itself are all on existing upon limited time. This now leads us to a point to beg this question. If every single one of us will eventually cease to exist then what “ultimate meaning can be given to [our] lives?” (Craig, 30). In other words, what difference did it make that any one of us ever existed at all? I think most would answer this question by defining the meaning of our existence relative to certain events we influenced. However, what gives those events any objective or necessary meaning? Even further, if we will soon pass out of existence, what does it matter if we ever influenced anything? In the end, there’s no difference. Death puts us all on the same level with every “swarm of mosquitoes or barnyard of pigs” (Craig, 32). Why? because “the same blind cosmic process that coughed them [and us] up will eventually swallow them [and us] again” (Craig, 32). I honestly think this is a reality most people demonize others for saying because it is merely too horrible to consider as the truth. Thus, immortality is ultimately necessary for objective meaning for our lives, but that’s not all that’s necessary.

God’s existence is also necessary for true meaning for life. There’s a story Dr. Craig recounts in his book about an astronaut who is marooned on the moon all by himself. When he embarked on his space journey he took two vials with him–one contained poison and the other contained liquid that if drunk would make him live forever. He realized that he was all alone and would be for the rest of his life. Therefore, he opted to drink the poison, not wanting to face his inevitable lonely future. To his surprise, he had actually drunk the wrong vial. He had drunk from the vial that would cause him to live forever. He had now been sentenced to a “meaningless, unending life” (Craig, 33). This is the parallel situation of our lives if God does not exist. We would be sentenced to an everlasting life of meaninglessness. Thus, man requires both immortality and God’s existence for objective meaning to be given to his life.

Secondly, we’ll look at the precept of life’s having no value if God does not exist. Have you ever asked yourself where we get our sense of morality from? Why are some people much more moral than others? Why are we not all Adolf Hitlers or Joseph Stalin? Without God, we have no objective standard upon which we can base and compare our moral character to. Therefore, no one’s form of morality falls short or is “wrong.” Whether you live like Hitler or Stalin makes no difference because your end will be the same as their’s. Fyodor Dostoyevsky is popularly quoted as saying, “If there is no immortality…then all things are permitted” (Craig, 34). This is a scary thing. If God does not exist, all things are permitted. If there is no God, then we are faced with what Sartre called “the bare, valueless fact of existence.” Moral values are simply based on your moral taste or “byproducts of biological evolution and social conditioning” (Craig, 35). This line of thinking leads an incredibly base view of human beings in an atheistic worldview. As famous atheist biologist Richard Dawkins stated in his book The God Delusion, “There is at bottom no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pointless indifference…We are machines for propagating DNA…It is every living object’s sole reason for being.” In a world devoid of God and objective moral values or standards, Dawkins is not to blame for having such a base view of humanity. The result of this view, however, is that with no objective moral standard, “it is impossible to condemn horrible things such as war, oppression, or crime as evil. Nor can you praise generosity, self-sacrifice, and love as good” (Craig, 35). Loving and killing would be objectively equivalent from a moral standpoint.

The third and final quality of human life that would result from God not existing is that life would have no ultimate purpose. This is the most haunting of possibilities for many of us. This question has often scared people into religion, regardless of whether or not they truly believed its precepts or not. Everyone wants their life to have purpose. Remember, we will all eventually cease to exist–whether thirty years from now or tomorrow. If physical death is our ultimate end, and intense heat or cold death is the ultimate end of the universe, what will your life matter a ten millennia from now when everything we’ve ever know has gone? Is the ultimate purpose of humanity to be born simply to die? Do we not see how Sartre and Camus felt it necessary to dub life an absurdity? In H.G. Wells’ novel, The Time MachineWells tells the story of a man who travels way into the future in order to discover what ultimately happens to humanity. When he arrives, he finds nothing but a desolate wasteland of an earth. The narrator describes what he saw like this, “Beyond these lifeless sounds the world was silent. Silent? It would be hard to convey the stillness of it. All the sounds of man, the bleating of sheep, the cries of birds, the hum of insects, the stir that makes the background of our lives–all that was over.” Though we have not arrived at this point yet, science tells us that this is where we are headed, and our lives are “not qualitatively different from that of an animal” because we all simply meet the same end (Craig, 36). The writer of Ecclesiastes put it like this, “The fate of the sons of men and the fate of beasts is the same. As one dies so dies the other; indeed, they all have the same breath and there is no advantage for man over beast, for all is vanity. All go to the same place. All came from the dust and all return to the dust” (Eccl. 3:19-20 NASB).

Aren’t you excited that I end you here on such a high and happy note? :-) I don’t want to give us too much to chew on at one time because it can all be a bit heavy. If anything else, I want to impress upon everyone reading this that the question of God’s existence is not a waste of your time. It has tremendous implications for each of our lives individually one way or the other. If I have done nothing for you at this point but get you to consider the question more seriously then I am happy.

Please leave comments and I’ll get back to you!

Grace and peace,
Daniel

On the Next Theology Tuesday!

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Hey guys! Just wanted to let you guys know to watch out for the first installment of Theology Tuesday tomorrow. The first major topic we’re going to be discussing is the existence of God. I know a lot of my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ and others from various other beliefs who have never really tackled these issues head on before. The Lord has really passed me through the fire in wrestling with a lot of this so I hope I can bring you guys an every day perspective on what you usually can only find in some pretty thick and boring books. These are the ultimate questions that make us human and give us a reason for being. Stop by tomorrow and start chewing on some of this with me! I look forward to talking with you.

Grace and peace,
Daniel

Behold, the Lamb of God

Greetings everyone! I don’t normally recommend musical artists often, mainly because I know how flooded everyone is with a new band or solo artist coming on the scene every minute it seems. However, I recently saw a new solo artist in concert a few days ago, and I would be doing you guys a huge disservice by not telling you about him because he’s truly one of the best contemporary Christian solo artists and possibly one of the best solo artists in general I’ve ever heard. His name is Andrew Peterson. If you read the lyrics to most songs these days you’ll find that there is a tremendous scarcity of meaningful, heart-felt, well-written lyrics put to great music. It has just really been refreshing to find an artist who is able to dig down tot he core of what our existence in this world is all about and really make you feel it. I’m definitely thankful for this brother using the gifts God has given him.

I gave you guys the link to his regular website above. He also does an annual Christmas concert (which is what I was able to attend) called Behold the Lamb of God. Check that site out too. You can listen to all the songs on the Christmas CD the concert is based on for free, and they are an awesome chronological telling of the birth of Christ. I picked that CD up the night Beth and I came home from the concert. In fact, the three songs in the music player right now are all off the Behold the Lamb of God album!

Enjoy!

Love you guys!

Grace and peace,
Daniel