2007September5, Wednesday

Back from Blogging Sabbatical

Posted in My Life at 11:00 by Trey Austin

Well, as you all know who have tried to access this blog over the past two weeks, i had closed down for business for a time. I was actually very encouraged by the emails that i received from very good friends and colleagues asking if everything was alright and encouraging me to resume blogging as soon as possible.

Well, i had several reasons why i stopped blogging. One is, as some of you may already know, my wife is pregnant, and we are expecting our second child in October. She’s having some pretty acute problems with her back and legs with pain. She’s been suffering with sciatica, and she has been diagnosed with lower lumbar scoliosis. She’s in a bunch of pain all the time, and now she’s reached the point where she just can’t sleep. She’s been trying to sleep on the couch for the last couple of weeks, but it only helps slightly. She’s been to the chiropractor and the masseuse, but her muscles in her hip are so locked up that the chiropractor can’t adjust her hip—even with the massage immediately preceding the adjustment to try and loosen it up. She has a doctor’s appointment in SC (that’s where her midwife is located) that we’re going to see next week, but i doubt he’ll be able to do anything for her. It’ll just be another several weeks of pain until October 21 (or thereabouts).

Another reason is some issues that have come up in the life of my congregation. Some counseling issues, some behind-the-scenes differences we’re trying to work through: it’s all just contributed to a bunch of stress for me. On a bright note as to congregational life, we’ve really been expereincing some growth. Over the two years that i have been here, we’ve had right at 10% growth each year in membership, and we’ve seen an increase in membership involvement (beyond morning worship) as well. In fact, a week ago Sunday, we had another baptism (my third since i’ve been here), and it was a young man who recently came to know the Lord through some personal interactions with folks in my congregation and myself. That has been a great encouragement to see a young man who had hardly any care for the Church at all begin to grow in the Lord and see him go from a catechumen to a bona fide member of Christ’s Church.

Apparently, though, the stress is taking its toll on me. I went a couple of months back to a doctor’s appointment and had some blood-work done. I just didn’t know why i was so fatigued all the time and had other health issues (relatively minor, but i didn’t want to overlook them), and it turns out that my testosterone level was 202 mg/dL. If you don’t know, testosterone is one of those things that, over the course of your life, gradually lowers from the peak of puberty (max healthy level is 1200 mg/dL) all through one’s life until, later in life, one reaches something around 300 or less (250-300 mg/dL is the minimum healthy level) up in his seventies. Well, i have the testosterone level of a man in his seventies or eighties, and i’m 28 years old. So, my doctor is going to have to do something to help correct that. The doctor i consulted with yesterday did say that the situation wasn’t all bad, since testosterone is one of the factors that contribute to the death of men earlier than women. Well, if that isn’t a silver lining. :-\ I’ll take the ability to be active and healthy ’til i’m 75 over living ’til i’m 100 but fatigued and unable to do much.

So, that has been an obvious contributing factor to my inability to finish up my landscaping project. Not only has the heat been grueling compared to what it normally is, but my own body is working at cross-purposes to my desires. I’m hoping that when it turns off a little cooler here in the next couple of weeks, i can get out and get some more done.

This past weekend, our town had its annual Guest River Rally celebration. They have booths where people sell their wares (food, crafts, &c.); they have concerts of Gospel and Bluegrass music; they have community festivities (the “Hillbilly dog show” is always a favorite), and lots of other things. Well, our church has its annual barbeque during the Rally, and we sell pulled pork barbeque, barbeque ribs (rib chops—alot of meat), sirloin tip beef roast, lemon chicken, and all the stuff that goes along (cole slaw, baked beans, baked potato). From initial estimates, it looks like we cleared around $5,000, all of which goes to fund our youth program for the year and send kids to camp in the summer. Tonight, instead of our normal Wednesday evening prayer meeting and Bible study, we’re having a clean-up night to put the church back in order after such a big operation (cooking started last Wednesday, and we sold food from Thursday to Monday, excluding Sunday).

Well, it seemed like i was going to say something else, but i can’t remember what it was (memory loss is a side-effect of low testosterone—seriously!), so i guess that’s all for the time being. Thanks for sticking with me, and when the Lord brings us to your mind, please do pray for the Lord’s strength and guidance for us.

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9 Comments »

  1. Al said,

    The doctor i consulted with yesterday did say that the situation wasn’t all bad, since testosterone is one of the factors that contribute to the death of men earlier than women.

    That is like telling someone who just lost a leg that they will cut their sock bill in half. Gee thanks.

    Glad you are back.

    al sends

  2. Amber said,

    I’ve been wanting to check on y’all- so glad you took the work out of it for me. My heart is breaking for Angela. They call the last few hours of pregnancy “labor,” but in her case, I think that’s the case the whole way through. Both of you are in our prayers.
    btw, my Nana says she got some GOOD food at the church last weekend- pass that along!

  3. tempe said,

    I have a question for you about fund raisers, Trey. As you probably know, Jay Adams is fond of citing 3 John 7-8 (“For they went out for the sake of the Name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles. Therefore we ought to support such men, so that we may be fellow workers with the truth.”) as a proof text (I am not trying to use the term negatively here) to say that churches should not be supporting themselves with money raised from unbelievers.

    However, as I was mediating upon last week’s sermon text (Acts 2:42 — I am preaching a 4 part series on each of the means of grace mentioned in that verse and how these need to be the things the church focuses upon), I thought about the following verses and how they mentioned that property owners within the church sold their possessions (at least some of them — some apparently still had houses, judging from the context of the passage). It would seem reasonable that they were most likely selling to unbelieving Jews (otherwise it would just amount to money shuffling within the local body, which would not necessarily solve the fiscal problems). Of course, I may just be thinking like a westerner from a capitalist society. What say you, my friend?

  4. Trey Austin said,

    Stu Latimer, Adams’s good friend, makes the same argument, Tim. However, i think the issue in those cases is that believers rely on or seek out the benevolence or alms-giving of unbelievers. That, of course, we can all agree would be wrong. The question, of course, is whether that particular directive applies to taking any money at all from unbelievers. I honestly don’t think that it does.

    What happens when an unbeliever comes to you and wants to make a financial contribution to the Church? Now, he may have ulterior motives that are unsound (but then again, that’s the case with some believers), but do we simply reject something that God provides (and who would deny that God is the one who controls even what unbelievers do) simply for the fact that he is an unbeliever? I’d say that, far from being a good testimony, it is a poor testimony of our thankfulness, both to God and to the immediate agent through whom the gift comes.

    You’re right, though, about that principle being implicitly in the text there. The simple fact is that, even beyond those efforts to raise money for the Church by selling goods (the first Church yard sale?), how many church members have only believers for employers? And how many Christian business owners have only believers for customers? In both cases, the money that eventually goes to the work of the Kingdom originates from unbelievers. That’s because the simple fact is, “A sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous” (Prov. 13:22).

    All wealth is God’s and is distributed from his hand. Yes, it is certain that we shouldn’t beg the Gentiles to subsidize the Church, but just as there is nothing wrong with individual believers doing it, there is nothing wrong with the Church itself offering unbelievers some service or product that anyone may purchase for the benefit of the Church.

  5. tempe said,

    So, would I be correct in saying that you would make a distinction between a special offering (only believers/the church) and a yard sale (all comers)?

  6. Trey Austin said,

    Right, more or less. I mean, if some unbeliever happens to be attending a service where an offering is received, the minister or someone else leading may say that guests need not give, or in a special service (i.e., not regular worship), where unbelievers may be in prevalence, you may choose not to take up an offering. However, i think it’s wrong to forbid unbelievers from giving to an offering they may happen to be in. The principle, i think, is more that we shouldn’t be seeking out unbelievers to be a source of our support by way of benevolence or alms-giving. Of course, like you say, a yard sale (or any other kind of sale) should be open to anyone—and, too, we should be keen on offering a quality product.

  7. tempe said,

    “The principle … is more that we shouldn’t be seeking out unbelievers to be a source of our support by way of benevolence or alms-giving.”

    I would agree with this (the “seeking out” or dependence on unbelievers — I think this also robs God’s people of the opportunity of a blessing if they are not afforded the opportunity to give). I do think that this is what 3 John is teaching. I had just always eschewed the yard sale/bake sale/county fair booth approach until I started thinking upon Acts 2 last week.

  8. Al said,

    This is going to throw a crimp into our Providence Bingo Night.

    al sends

  9. Al said,

    That should be be ‘put a crimp’ or ‘throw a wrench’… torn between to illustrations.

    al sends


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