Feb 13, 2013

I've found her!

Every time I read scripture's description of an excellent wife I feel like a con-artist.
How did I ever trick this wonderful woman into marrying me?  

On our first date, when I was 15 years old, I was smitten with this blossoming young woman who would become my wife.  I could write how she was industrious, disciplined, and skilled... I could write how she has an old soul, sparkling hazel eyes, and is beautiful in sweats without makeup or hair product.  I could write that she is a highly skilled nurse and always the top of her class.  I could tell you that Mel was (and still is) intelligent, witty, and creative.  I could explain that Mel is an excellent mom--she doesn't just mother she is a mom.  She is wired to nurture, discipline, laugh, teach, and raise kids.  All of those things are true but I want to write about something else.

In a world full of phonies, Mel is sincere.  
And, in a world full of people who take themselves too seriously. Mel is playful.
That is who she is and she is WONDERFUL!
That is (one reason) why I love Mel and find her the most lingerable person on the planet.  That is why many people love to be around my wife.  It is also why a few people find it difficult to be around my wife.  Mel draws people out.  She has this uncanny ability to draw out laughter and tears (I'm talking junior-high-locker-room-deep-gut chuckles and snotty-nosed-watching-the-Notebook sobs).  You don't stay in the shallow end with Mel very long.  She doesn't push or prod or pry, she listens and cares (really) and laughs and cries with you.  

Of every thing I can think of that I appreciate about my wife (and there are MANY things: she is a tremendous helpmate, she is trustworthy, she never lies, she is creative, she is supportive, the list could go on...read Proverbs 31:10-31 if you want an accurate description), THIS is what I most appreciate about her: she is sincere and playful.

Mel's sincerity and playfulness remind me daily of the deep abiding joy of life in Christ despite any circumstances.  I'm an evangelist wanna-be who tries to weasel the message about Jesus into every conversation.  I'm not making a sales pitch, I simply know how my life has been radically and eternally transformed because of Jesus and I want others to experience life in Christ also.  But Mel doesn't pry and resists weaseling yet she has often proven more effective in evangelism.  Because she is sincere and playful people see that she really loves Jesus.  Mel doesn't need programs, meetings, or curriculum.  She just loves God and loves others.  What's more?  Every day I get to see the love of Jesus through her.

Happy Valentine's Day Mel.  I couldn't do what I do and I couldn't be who I am without you.
I love you!

Aug 18, 2012

1 Corinthians Preaching Series, Reflection, & Commentaries

At CrossRidge Church we're close to wrapping up our ROOTED in Christ series through 1 Corinthians.  This biblical book has been immensely challenging as a young pastor of a young church.  It addresses virtually all the controversial topics in churches and in our world today: self-centeredness, cross-centered gospel proclamation, division in the church, church discipline including excommunication, judging others, lawsuits among Christians, incest, sexual morality, homosexuality, marriage, divorce, remarriage, freedom & frequency of sex in marriage, singleness, widowhood, idolatry, Christian liberty and limits regarding changing cultural norms, gender roles in marriage/church/society, Communion, baptism, baptism in/with/by the Holy Spirit, spiritual gifts, love, so-called sign gifts such as prophecy/tongues/healing, the bodily resurrection of Christians, & collecting money from Christians.  This book has also proved to me and our church family to be of vital importance in helping us understand what it means to live our identity as a community transformed by the cross of Christ!

I thought it'd be helpful to include a list of the commentaries I have read or used specifically throughout this series:

  • Pillar New Testament Commentary Series: The First Letter to the Corinthians by Roy Ciampa & Brian Rosner (General Editor: D.A. Carson) - excellent exegetical commentary that espouses the text with a good grasp of Corinth's socio-political context including a balance between Jewish & Gentile context in Paul's writing, and comprehensive exposition of the text without losing the reader.  This is probably my favorite commentary I've read on correctly interpreting the book of 1 Corinthians. The theological language will likely need to be adapted for sermons in most local churches.
  • NIV Application Commentary Series: 1 Corinthians by Craig L. Blomberg - superior interpretation even on difficult passages but still very engaging and practical.  Helpful for application points in sermon preparation but probably most beneficial to believers in small group discussion or for individual personal study.
  • Paul for Everyone: 1 Corinthians by N.T. Wright - not a particularly helpful commentary but a good challenge to press me on my interpretation.  I tend to be impressed with the manner in which Wright approaches the text--particularly his socio-political knowledge of the New Testament--but I am repeatedly disappointed with his conclusions.  Because this commentary is marketed to the masses I also fear that individual believers may be misled by this brief and insufficient work. 
  • Showing the Spirit by D.A. Carson - absolutely unparalleled exposition of chapters 12-14 in 1 Corinthians.  This is the best commentary on understanding the sign gifts and the use of tongues in the local church.  He is generous to both the cessationist position and charismatic experience and is concerned with utter faithfulness to the text.  The work is technical and thorough yet accessible to the common student or pastor.
  • New International Commentary on the New Testament (NICOT) Series: The First Epistle to the Corinthians by Gordon Fee - a beneficial defense of the Holiness-Pentecostal (charismatic) position.  I personally feel he is more devoted to his tradition than the Word, particularly in chapters 11-14 where he offers no textual evidence for baptism in/with/by the Holy Spirit as a subsequent experience.  Some of his insights throughout the commentary are helpful but I perceive his verbiage as often pretentious and therefore unhelpful.
  • New Interpreter's Bible Commentary Series: Volume X - Acts-1 Corinthians (Edited by Leander Keck) [note: 1 Corinthians Commentary Author: J. Paul Sampley] - an academic work seemingly targeting undergrad students.  Helpful in recognizing themes within the book of 1 Corinthians, the cultural context of the city, and the church in Corinth (though I feel the author pushes a bit too far in his interpretation of the Corinthian church as representative of early Christian tradition.  The body was certainly an example but probably not entirely representative).
How about you?  What works have you found helpful in studying 1 Corinthians or the many issues included in this biblical book?  What questions or issues do you wrestle with in Paul's first letter to Corinth?

Jun 30, 2010

"Church Work"

Over the weekend my buddy, Josh Super, got married. I had the privilege of ushering at the wedding which also allowed me to attend rehearsal, dinner, and bachelor party on Friday night before the wedding.

The week had been a frenzy as I joined many from our church at a local trailer court every evening for outreach ministry. Many people showed up to help lead a VBS for kids, a women's Bible study, car repairs, home repairs, and painting in order to proclaim Jesus through our words and deeds. I ended up spending a few days working in the home of a single mom of 3 kids: tearing out a water-damaged closet, replacing joists, insulation, and subfloor, and putting in a new water heater with new plumbing and gas lines. B&B Plumbing here in Sioux Center generously donated parts and labor to carve some new iron pipe for the gas line but I couldn't pick up the correct sized pipe until 2:00 p.m. Friday afternoon and the city office (which closes by 4:00 on Fridays) had to inspect the line before they could turn on the gas. All this meant that I needed to pick up the pipe at 2:00 and have the plumbing and gas lines fully assembled within an hour with zero margin for error in order for the family to have water for the weekend. (Hang with me...this is going somewhere, I promise)! Long story short, after a lot of sweat, elbow grease, prayers, and my dad's handyman instructions the city came and there were no leaks in any lines and the family had hot water again!

So I was telling Josh about my day when Rachel (his fiance, now wife) overheard some of our conversation and interrupted saying, "Tyler, I thought you worked for the church....what are you doing now?" I grinned and explained what our church had been up to throughout the week. But Rachel's question penetrated my mind. It forced me to consider, "What is church work?"

Why is the work of church so rarely associated with things like plumbing, painting, or repairs? What pictures pop into your mind when you think of what a pastor's week looks like? Certainly we should be studying and teaching the Bible, we should be praying, preaching, organizing, counseling, and visiting with people--shepherding and overseeing. Yet, should we who are the church not also be laboring, caring, and repairing our communities? How would you answer the question, "What is Church work?"

I am grateful to serve in a gospel-centered community that is seeking to be the church without walls here at CCC!

If you are a follower of Jesus check out this video about living missionally as the Church. CCC is not an Acts 29 church but Jeff Vanderstelt's words are a call for all followers of Jesus!

Please pray for Sofia (the single mother) and her three kids. I had the privilege of clearly sharing the gospel with her on Thursday evening and though she was not yet ready to surrender her life to Jesus as Lord and accept him as Savior she was very emotional. She said she had never before heard of a relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ. After hearing the gospel she said she feels humble and thankful. Please pray that God would draw her to himself.

May 12, 2009

segunda semana

Silas turned 2 weeks old this morning. He seems to change more with each day and apparently is enduring some sort of growth spurt or appetite increase...poor Momma Mel. :) Mel celebrated her first Mother's Day on Sunday and I've been back at work full time a week now. We're settling into some sort of sanity and routine but we're still emotional wrecks because the little man has wooed our hearts.

It is astounding how many people are happy with the birth of our son, this was obvious on Sunday as we went to church. Our church is great and the people there are loving...and not the type that act that way but the type that really are. Silas slept through the entire service (don't tell Pastor Randy). We spent a good part of Sunday afternoon enjoying one of Mel & I's favorite hobbies, watching movies. We rented Run Fatboy Run from the local Red Box (amazing $1 video rental machine). Click HERE to find one by you. Anyways, the movie was hilarious but very meaningful, especially to me since the birth of Silas.

I've discovered that deep inside every man is a longing to be a dependable, responsible, courageous, and confident leader. I think God made us this way so women will want to make babies with us...because men don't really have much to offer if we can't offer leadership (let's face it, women are much more attractive than men). Well here's the point : when the opportunity comes for us guys to step up and be men (it may be something dumb like when the guy at the post office gave me one too many two cent stamps today or it may be something HUGE, like being a dad) we have a choice. And here's a little secret--every guy is scared out of his mind.
He's scared he'll wimp out, he's scared he won't be good enough, he knows he'll fail, he fears that others might actually follow him and he might not really be all that followable. When Silas came into the world these thoughts and emotions overwhelmed me like darkness in a cave. The movie is basically about that. It's basically about a man trying to be a man and teach his son to be a man. You should watch it.


It's hard to believe we're only two weeks in and I think I've messed up more that George W. and Obama combined (don't vote for me). But I think the thing that's most important isn't not messing up but how to respond when we do. That's the true measure of a man. My prayer for myself, for Silas, and for all the young men I shepherd at Christ Community is that we would find our life and our manliness in Jesus. That we wouldn't try to prove ourselves but rest in the promise of God through life in Jesus. That's my hope for Silas and me. So when Silas asks me, "dad, what's it mean to be a man?" I'll have an answer.
"Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but trusts him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness." -Romans 4:4-5

Also...I wanted to make one thing very clear:
Silas, your mom is my hero.
She is utterly amazing, authentic, and lingerable. I fell in love with a seed that captivated the entirety of my affections. The simple seed was beautiful and amazing. Ever since Silas was born the seed began to blossom and now I am forever drawn to the blossom of my tender flower. Dietrich Von Hildebrand wrote that, "...every intrinsically fulfilled marriage is fruitful even in the deepest sense of the word. The fact that the closest communion of love between two people produces a new human being mysteriously reflects the fruitfulness of love as such." We love each other Silas and we love you--you are the fruit of our love my son.

ok...now what you really want: more pictures...
Mommy & Silas, Daddy & Silas - first family walk, Grammy Rochelle & Silas, Great Grandma & Grandpa Grunig (& Silas), and the amazingly handsome and silly Silas Randy Parson.

May 6, 2009

MTV Cribs - Silas edition

We thought we'd give all of you an idea of how we roll at the parsonage by offering you a VIP all-access tour of the CRIB of Silas:
As you can see the interior designer implemented a safari green palette to capture Silas's wild side...stripes on one wall draw the eye skyward to make the room appear taller, as though outdoors, and surround you with a feeling of lush african jungle foliage. Note the en vogue S-I-L-A-S depicting the status and importance of Silas's name. Animal pelts (actually amazing paintings done by momma Mel) hung on the east wall with Zebra-skinned curtains--high contrast black & white patterns are fantastic for baby brain development...Silas's curtains are not only ferociously fashionable but cognitively functional!

the crib is especially perfect for sleeping through the night (but he's currently using a bassinet). if you look close you can see the spin-a-rims...:)
pictured here in the corner is what we might call the "watering hole" (the recliner) where the majority of Silas's feeding occurs, it is also a special location for bonding with mom.

along the north wall you will notice another zebra print curtain, snapshots of Silas's safari (more of Mel's paintings), Silas's growing library (he'll take after dad), his favorite bouncy seat, and a large talking Tigger.

Last but not least we find the fecal deposit chambers. Rare are the opportunities to view such intimate quarters in the jungle, but here on CRIBS we give you total access to Silas's safari.
you'll note the diapers and "butt paste" to treat gluteal rash as well as the hippo, elephant, and rhino portraits (good work Mel). As all the stars say, "this is where the magic happens."
Approximately 12-15 diapers changed daily. :)
Now that you've seen Silas's curtains, you've seen his pictures, you'ves seen his changing table, and you've seen his crib -- get out of here MTV! :)

May 5, 2009

week one

Silas turned one week old today--way to go son! :) Both mom & dad are doing well and adjusting to life as three...I decided that God has bad math. In marriage God said that 1+1=1...i.e. "the two shall become one," of course we all know that one plus one equals two. in starting a family then, 1+1=3 (still can't get that equation worked out). For Melinda and I the addition of Silas has been such a blessing that words cannot express our joy.

Momma Mel has discovered that Silas loves having his head & hair placed under warm running water and that he very much enjoys sitting in his bouncy chair. Daddy Tyler is convinced that Silas is right handed--we do pull-ups everyday in which he grasps my thumbs with his hands, I raise his arms over his head and he flexes his muscles and grasps tighter like he's trying to pull himself up--he tends to favor that right hand already. Silas has long fingers and will either palm a basketbal by age 8 or be one mean bass player in his teens.

For the first few days in the hospital we were beginning to regret naming him Silas because he was keeping us up with his midnight "singing" that is for sure. :) Grandma Thies has been a HUGE help allowing both Mel & I to sleep through the nights, staying up with Silas (who has now been sleeping in about 3-4 hr. blocks of time through each night), thanks Grammy!
Mel walked into Silas's room a couple nights ago at about 2 a.m. with her arms cradling an imaginary child, (Silas was already sleeping in the bassinet). Grandma Rochelle screamed a whisper, "Don't you dare wake him up!" Mel looked down in the bassinet, dropped her arms to her sides as she saw Silas sleeping, and said, "I thought I had him." We had a good laugh over this symptom of being an exhausted new mom. This occasion triggered a series of events we now affectionately refer to as "aching arms." Both Mel and I have awakened from our sleep nearly every night convinced that Silas was nestled in our arms to realize, with sadness and disappointment, that Silas is actually asleep in the other room...these events, I believe, best express the emotions of becoming a parent--our hearts and bodies actually long for our son and our arms ache for his presence.

pictures from Silas's first week...

Apr 29, 2009

a day of firsts...

day 1

on Tuesday, 4/28/09 at 4:51 a.m. Silas Randy Parson entered the world. We named him Silas after a man who was an assistant missionary to St. Paul in the Bible (Acts 15-17). In Acts 16 Silas & Paul were beaten and thrown into prison for telling others about salvation in Jesus Christ. Acts 16:25 says, "about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them." Not only is Silas a pretty stinkin' sweet name but we want our son to be the type of guy who, amidst severe opposition, finds his hope in God through faith in Jesus. we hope he'll be the type of little dude that starts the midnight party in the prison because of God's goodness, like Silas did in Acts 16. Read the rest of the story in Acts 16, God did some crazy sweet stuff.

Randy was in memory of Mel's dad Randy Thies. Mel gave her life to Jesus when she was 17 and God used her to do an amazing work in her entire family. Her dad gave his life to Jesus about a year later. God did a truly astounding transformation in his life in which his faith led him to repentance where he turned from his sin and embrace Jesus. He never stopped talking about God and what he'd done in his life through Jesus' life, death, and resurrection. Our hope is that Silas Randy will find freedom from sin in Jesus and never stop talking about him, like Mel's dad. That hundreds will say, "something was really different about him after he became a Christian" like they did for Silas' grandpa who he'll never know.

Parson is obviously my family name. I was privileged be raised in a Christian home. My parents were church-junkies, but more than that they showed me every day what it meant to live a life of surrender to Jesus. My dad was awake early every morning since I can remember reading his Bible. He taught me that truth and life (for all of life) dwelled in God's words. My mom and he were constantly inviting people into our home and into their lives (at great personal cost to themselves, and to me) in order to care for those in need and tell them that in Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their sins against them. They are an example to me of telling people how to leave a dead life of sin but also an example of doing all they can to carry these burdens for them in love and faithfulness to show in their actions the goodness, forgiveness, and love of God found in Jesus Christ.

My prayer for Silas every day while in the womb was Ephesians 3:14-21. Yesterday Mel and I prayed this prayer together with and over Silas, "that according to the riches of His glory he may grant you power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your heart (Silas) through faith--that you, being rooted and established in love may have power together with all the saints may know how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God."

Now, what you all really came here for...

Silas's first faux-hawk.

First Family Picture: Daddy, Mom, & Silas

Silas's First Picture - apparently this was a confusing and tragic experience.

First family prayer - Ephesians 3:14-21 (yes, we're all holding hands)

Grandma Thies, Grandma & Grandpa Parson, Auntie Kara (w/ Silas)

Drs. Cindy & David Wolff - Cindy delivered Silas, Mel works with Dr. David.

Silas Randy Parson- 7lbs. 7 oz. 22 inches long, dark hair, born at 4:51 a.m. on April 28, 2009.