Monday, June 26, 2006

The Beauty of the Gospel: Reflection on the Death of a Friend

Yesterday, Julie and I recieved news that a very close personal friend of ours, Matt Wigfield, was found dead in his apartment.

It so strange to hear about the death of a friend. Matt and I knew each other for almost 10 years, and spent a ton of time together. Those of you who know me best could probably recite by heart many of the stories that I shared with you regarding Matt, the One-eyed-wonder, and myself. Throughout High-School and College, Matt, One-Eye, and myself were frequently together doing something stupid. In fact, Tim Jordan's (Julie's brother) first run in with the law was at my house with Wigfield. I remember sitting next to Matt on the night he first professed Christ, and then praying with him, and discussing the Bible with him in the weeks after his profession. I loved Matt like a brother.

When I heard the news on my way to church Sunday morning, I was in total shock. You don't expect friends to die. But then again, you don't expect friends to struggle with addiction either. In High School, Matt had an on-again-off-again battle with addiction to Marijuana. But once Matt was in college, addiction to alcohol and prescription drugs began to take hold. Matt was in and out of jail, in and out of rehab, and in and out of discipleship repeatedly during that time. My father-in-law welcomed Matt into their home and loved him like a Son, and preached the Scripture to him daily -- but the addiction never let go. Over the last two years, Matt's spiritual status became more and more ambiguous . . . and fruit of conversion less and less obvious. On numerous occasions Tim and I confronted and prayed for Matt . . . his repeated struggles never changed our love for him.

As I worshipped Sunday morning, I was overwhelmed by a flurry of thoughts, as I still am: the helpless feeling of not knowing the spiritual condition of one of my closest High-School friends, the hope that Matt was in heaven, the desire to pray for grace, but knowing that it was too late for that now. I felt guilty for not praying more when he was alive, and I hated myself for not keeping in touch.

In the middle of all of my tears and confusion there was one thought that was crystal clear: "Thank You God, for the gospel! Thank You Lord for saving me!" The gospel is all that matters in times like these, because it is the only thing that offers hope. It offers hope because the gospel is about God's ability to satisfy what Matt could not. Matt's performance as a Christian was, at best, lackluster. But if Matt had faith, however weak, the gospel made him righteous! As Alexander Maclaren said, "If I trust to him, and am thereby holding firmly by him my union with Him is so real, that . . . His fulness passes over into my emptiness, His righteousness into my sinfulness, His life into my death." It is the power of the cross alone which can take an addict, and make him a saint, celebrated by God himself.

But perhaps more poignently for me this Sunday as I wept, was an extreme thanksgiving that God would save me . . . that God would open my eyes . . . that he would call me. I rejoiced in the gracious statement of Paul, "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners -- of whom I am the worst," because it made sense to me. I wept as I thought of how arrogant and self-righteous I had been when Matt slipped into addiction. I thought I was so much different than Matt was, so much better; and then I remembered 1 Cor. 1:21-31: "Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles, but to those whom God has called . . . Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God."

Why is the gospel beautiful? Because through the gospel, God lays hold of those too weak to lay hold of him.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Our Third Anniversary- Part 2

There were plenty of used book stores in Charlottsville. This one was the most impressive.


Tim insisted on taking this Next picture on our trip, claiming it was Noonan's new restaraunt...yikes!!


On a more serious note, we visited the campus of U.V.A. while we were in town. What a beautiful shcool! We were so impressed!

One of the most enjoyable parts was staying at the Laffayette Inn.

Our room was so comfortable and quaint. We loved it! We would HIGHLY recommend it!

We also ate two meals there. We had dinner that night and breakfast the next morning. The food was absoulutely amazing!

After breakfast, we drove the Skyline Drive to see the scenery. We some some gorgeous views!

The LAST thing that we did (I know this has been so long!) was we went to Monticello. We both enjoy Historical things, so we really did enjoy learning about Thomas Jefferson, seeing his house, and walking through his vinyards and gardens.

And that ENDS the story of the Baylor family vacation...thanks so much for tuning in :o)

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Caleb John Heckathorne

Julie and I want to welcome one of our favorite new people into the world, the new son of my sister Suzanne, Caleb John Hecathorne. What an honorable name he has inherited! Caleb was a man of faith and courage, and there are so many men named 'John' worthy of honor (John Baylor, John Calvin, John Murray, John Edwards, John Starks). Welcome to the family Caleb! May the Lord create in you a courageous heart filled with faith which fearlessly pursues God's pleasure in all things and in all things finds the pleasure that comes from God.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Our Third Anniversary- Part 1

Our Anniversary was May 24th. We went away for the weekend togther : first to Williamsburg and then to Charlotssville.

We stopped on a bench beside the Governor's Palace to get a picture together.

We spent that first day in Williamsburg shopping and seeing the sights. That night we stayed at a hotel that I booked for us.... let me tell you ... it was SKANKY! Tim had gotten kind of expensive reservations for the next night, so he told me to get a cheap hotel for the first night... well let's just say it was VERY cheap. I don't think we touched anything while we were there....BUT the ONE redeeming factor was that they had an outdoor pool, so Sunday morning when we woke, we laid out in the sun and read our Bibles.

Sunday we drove to Charlottsville. The first thing we did was go to luch in the Hisoric Distric of town. It was gorgeous!

More on our trip to Charlottsville later...

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


For my end of the year gift, my students so graciously gave me a KITCHENAID mixer!
I am so pumped. I can't wait to use it. The only problem is that I am still deciding on a color. Those of you who know my kitchen know that it is brown and green, so should I go with , white, black, or gray? Oh yea, my other appliances out are black and my dishwasher and fridge are off-white. I'd love to hear what you think:o)

Back on Track...

Well, I am finally back to blogging... needless to say it has been unbelievably busy! But I will try ot catch you all up as to what has been happening in our lives :o)

First, the School year ended May 31st, last wednesday!!!! Now we are in teacher training until the 16th. The picture on the top is of my sweet 4th grade children :o) I'm just now starting to miss them... hee hee .

The picture below it is of the teacher's I work with: Jessica Palmer, Lacie, Melissa, Laura, Danielle, and Katie. They are sweet blessings from the Lord!

Yahoo! Summer begins in a week and a half!

I will be working at Shoneys' Friday and Saturday (daytime) and working tutoring Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Hopefully, I will end up with Sunday and Monday off :o)
So I can go do some FUN stuff :o)