Faith. Family. Writing. Music. Tech.

#MissionText: Considering Copyright

If you’ve been following my #MissionText journey through the writings of Oswald Chambers, you may have noticed that I have not posted in several weeks. There are two reasons for this lapse and I can excitedly say a lack of discipline is not one of them – yet. First, we’ve been busy welcoming a new little one to our home. Second, it entered my mind to consider whether or not I might be infringing on copyright as I post lengthier excerpts from these works.

A quick Google search showed me that copyright of all Oswald Chambers’ writings is held by Oswald Chambers Publications Association, Ltd. I submitted an inquiry via their website questioning whether I might continue this journey of reading or whether they might have thoughts on some alternate approach to sharing my thoughts during this journey. I was encouraged to receive the following message from the chairman:

Dear Joshua,

Many thanks for your email and query. So glad you are being blessed by the words of Oswald Chambers. Normally anyone can quote from an author providing it is no more than 6 lines of text. You do not need permission for that. But I notice you are blogging which I assume has a limited readership – so in one sense you are not publishing for gain. So I think you are quite safe if you keep to a reasonable length of quote.

I trust the Lord will help your ministry.

Now to keep in consideration that “reasonable length of quote” both for copyright considerations and for the palatability of my posts. I’m currently working my way through another book and continue to tweet small pieces as I do. Onward and in word we go.

New Shepard ?

This. Is. Amazing! Hello, future!

It’s been a long way, but we’re here. – Alan Shepard

Blue Origin’s New Shepard space vehicle successfully flew to space, reaching its planned test altitude of 329,839 feet (100.5 kilometers) before executing a historic landing back at the launch site in West Texas.

They say any landing you can walk away from is a good one. – Alan Shepard

Fain tuh WAH. Thank the LORD.

Our family returns thanks after meals. We do so with this common prayer:

O give thanks unto the LORD, for He is good and His mercy endureth forever.

Over the past few weeks, as we cue the kids for prayer before or after a meal, Simeon folds his hands and starts in with “Thank the LORD. Thank the LORD. Thank the LORD.” ad infinitum. He’s just now finding more words, so it sounds more like “Fain Tuh Wah.” – gets me grinning every time.

We have so much for which we thank the Lord in recent days! We’ve welcomed Isaiah Elden to our family. Thank the LORD! We’ve been surrounded by an encouraging and supportive fellowship of family and friends during this time of transition. Thank the LORD! They’ve cooked meals, cared for kiddos, and done our laundry. Thank the LORD! After a long hunt, we stumbled upon a vehicle that has proven to be ideal for our current situation. Thank the LORD! The Prayer League was recently gifted money for the purchase of a washer and dryer to be installed in the basement of the Mission Home. Thank the LORD! Thus, Adrienne will no longer need to manage three flights of stairs to keep our laundry moving. Thank the LORD! The tests I underwent this past week showed clean result and my chest pain has subsided for now. Thank the LORD! As of today, it seems Adrienne’s blood pressure may be coming down – hopefully for good. Praise the LORD! We live in an age where technology can keep us so well-connected when apart from one another. Thank the LORD! We have breath in our lungs and a song in our heart. Thank the LORD! Jesus loves us! Thank the LORD! I could go on and on. Thank the LORD! 

Psalm 107 is a liturgy of thanksgiving and may well be my favorite psalm. As you gather this Thanksgiving, I encourage you to read this psalm out loud and share with one another the good works of God. (emphasis mine)

Psalm 107 (NKJV)

Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.
Let the redeemed of the LORD say so,
Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy,
And gathered out of the lands,
From the east and from the west,
From the north and from the south.

They wandered in the wilderness in a desolate way;
They found no city to dwell in.
Hungry and thirsty,
Their soul fainted in them.
Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble,
And He delivered them out of their distresses.
And He led them forth by the right way,
That they might go to a city for a dwelling place.
Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!
For He satisfies the longing soul,
And fills the hungry soul with goodness.

Those who sat in darkness and in the shadow of death,
Bound in affliction and irons —
Because they rebelled against the words of God,
And despised the counsel of the Most High,
Therefore He brought down their heart with labor;
They fell down, and there was none to help.
Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble,
And He saved them out of their distresses.
He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death,
And broke their chains in pieces.
Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!
For He has broken the gates of bronze,
And cut the bars of iron in two.

Fools, because of their transgression,
And because of their iniquities, were afflicted.
Their soul abhorred all manner of food,
And they drew near to the gates of death.
Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble,
And He saved them out of their distresses.
He sent His word and healed them,
And delivered them from their destructions.
Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!
Let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving,
And declare His works with rejoicing.

Those who go down to the sea in ships,
Who do business on great waters,
They see the works of the LORD,
And His wonders in the deep.
For He commands and raises the stormy wind,
Which lifts up the waves of the sea.
They mount up to the heavens,
They go down again to the depths;
Their soul melts because of trouble.
They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man,
And are at their wits’ end.
Then they cry out to the LORD in their trouble,
And He brings them out of their distresses.
He calms the storm,
So that its waves are still.
Then they are glad because they are quiet;
So He guides them to their desired haven.
Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!
Let them exalt Him also in the assembly of the people,
And praise Him in the company of the elders.

He turns rivers into a wilderness,
And the watersprings into dry ground;
A fruitful land into barrenness,
For the wickedness of those who dwell in it.
He turns a wilderness into pools of water,
And dry land into watersprings.
There He makes the hungry dwell,
That they may establish a city for a dwelling place,
And sow fields and plant vineyards.
That they may yield a fruitful harvest.
He also blesses them, and they multiply greatly;
And He does not let their cattle decrease.

When they are diminished and brought low
Through oppression, affliction, and sorrow,
He pours contempt on princes,
And causes them to wander in the wilderness where there is no way;
Yet He sets the poor on high, far from affliction,
And makes their families like a flock.
The righteous see it and rejoice,
And all iniquity stops its mouth.

Whoever is wise will observe these things,
And they will understand the lovingkindness of the LORD.

His works are indeed wonderful. However you choose to give thanks this year and whatever words you use, remember that it’s the LORD whom we thank. He is the giver of all good. For what goodness are you giving thanks this year? Fain tuh WAH! Fain tuh WAH! Thank the LORD!

Pledge Not

I pledge not allegiance to the power of the disparate parties of America, nor to the corporation for which it would stand, one nation under fear, with liberty and justice for some.

Tiny Boy. Great Joy.

We’ve been so wonderfully occupied this past week, that I have only posted a brief birth announcement for Isaiah. Some of you might be eager for more photos of this little guy. (click to enlarge)

Isaiah arrived earlier than expected, but we couldn’t be more overjoyed at having him join our family. We want to express many thanks to those who have come alongside us in these days. Carol, Pascal, & Jenna took on the task of keeping Aelah & Simeon during our repeated visits to the clinic and hospital. Others covered their responsibilities. Papa & Nana took a long trip only to patiently wait for some time alone with this little guy. They also kept watch over Aelah & Simeon and assisted around our home as Adrienne & I gave our attention to Isaiah. Mark & Sarah offered use of a baby car seat as ours is not rated for wee ones below five pounds. Grammy Cheryl flew up earlier this week and has been a great help with the kids and with putting our house in order. Others have brought meals. Still, many others have prayed for us all, sent words of encouragement, etc. I am certain others have done there part and I have overlooked them here. We are members of a great and wonderful fellowship. We thank you all!

Isaiah Elden Vandercar

Today, we welcomed Isaiah Elden to our family.

Born at 2:40pm, Isaiah weighed 5 lbs 3 oz and was 18½”.

He came over three weeks early, but both he and mommy are well.

Thank you for your many prayers and praise God!



Board Games

I recently happened upon this gif. If you’ve played in a certain crowd or have a certain temperament, you’ve maybe considered doing this same thing. It cracks me up! I get it. I used to approach games with a good deal of seriousness. I think I’ve matured and don’t know that I would ever again consider such a reaction – I certainly have in the past. Stumbling upon this got me thinking I could say a few words about board games.

Winter is nigh. This means cold and snow. This also means a likely increase in the frequency of our gaming. I’m sure not all too frequent with another baby in the home (less that one month!), but I am hoping we find time to gather with others for a game now and then.

I often snap a photo of the games we play, but rarely share. So, here are a few of the photos from game nights – just to give you a glimpse.

Have you played any of these? What favorite board games and card games do you have? Any stories to be told from gaming? Oh, and if you’re interested in a few new card games, you can check out these.


How to Watch Baseball in 2015

We don’t have TV, so this is how I’m following the World Series.

For video of the game, I used my phone to follow broadcasts via Periscope. The above clip shows the final play of the game – a win for the Royals. At any time, there seemed to be 2-3 streams I could pop into – each from a different position in the ballpark. There were often 20-200 other people viewing each stream. The biggest challenge for those streaming was preserving battery life of their phones – especially into the 14th! The quality was not the greatest, but it was fun to be in the seats, to hear the crowd, listen in on conversations, and feel the energy.

For commentary on the game, I followed Twitter Moments’ Game 1 – a curated feed of Tweets including play-by-play, stats, reactions, replays, etc. At first, I wasn’t sure how I would take to the recent introduction of Twitter’s Moments feature. More and more, I’m finding an appreciation for it.

I also tracked the game somewhat via ESPN’s MLB Gamecast, but it was nearly a minute behind the live action, so didn’t add much.


I was watching the game by myself, but both these outlets allowed me to engage and connect with others during the game, which made it enjoyable. I likened it to gathering around the radio, as they would have in olden days. A nice way to follow a game. I’d still prefer a TV broadcast or sitting in the seats myself, but it works.

Tonight, maybe I’ll visit New York for a bit. Who are you pulling for this year?

An Emergency Room Visit

I was admitted to the ER last night. All is well. Over the past few days, I’d been experiencing some pesky chest pain. Mostly surface stuff that seemed like muscle strains. The intensity would change depending on my position, or whether I was standing, or sitting, or moving, or breathing. And it would jump from place to place on my chest. I just felt tense & tight. It was nothing too troubling. It would keep me short of breath at times. Two nights ago, it seemed to get at me a bit more. Mornings were better. Yesterday afternoon, it intensified again and felt as if it may have been coming from a bit deeper. I just felt off. Finally decided I should have it checked out and so went in last night. I’d been figuring it was either stress related or related to coming down from some time of stress. After all the tests came back clear, the doctors told me the same last night. They say I’m healthy (except maybe some stress) and suggested I get a stress test and consult with my regular doctor. I’m hoping to do that. Unfortunately, it’s shaping up to be more stressful to schedule a stress test!

With These Falling Leaves

Come, My beloved. Rest here ‘neath the weathered tree. Let us keep time with these falling leaves. May they remind you that a great many things will fade. Yet, My truth – My word to you shall remain. Like an oak – sure through the storm. Look up. Do you see? I shelter thee. Do you see the first stars piercing the deepening light? Let them remind you that the glory-glimpses you’ve seen here on earth are but the beginning of that which is to come. As that vast field of heavenly lights invades the night, so shall My glory eternally overcome. Though there is darkness and dying, be assured that My word will never fail. Light and life shall again reign in this place. Content thyself, My child. Keep watch and know that I’ll rouse thee at the burning edge of dawn. I’ll raise thee and into eternal day lead thee home again to me.

Inspired by autumn and by these two songs:

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The Discipline of Loneliness


In The Discipline of Loneliness, Oswald Chambers explores the solitariness of the journey we take with our Lord. He is bold to state:

Friendship to a soul undisciplined by loneliness is a precarious sea on which many have been lost, and on whose shores the wrecks of many humans hearts lie rotting.

Loneliness marks the child of God.

There is often talk these days of the corporate journey, the unity in diversity, the collective human experience. We are together in a common landscape. Still, when it comes down to it, we ultimately encounter God in a solitary way. He calls each one of us into a way that demands a holy aloneness.

There is a solitude of despair, a solitude of sin — a vast curse black with the wrath of God, moaning with the pride of hatred; there is a solitude which is the aftermath of spent vice and exhausted self-love. There is no God in such solitudes; only an exhausting pessimism and a great despair. These solitudes produce the wayward, wandering cries so prevalent amongst men.

But the solitude of the sanctified, the loneliness of the child of God, brings again the glimmering of his Father’s feet amongst the sorrows and the haunts of men. And to the broken in heart, or the bound in hereditary prisons, and to the wounded and weak, Jesus our Saviour draws near.

I have known both of these solitudes well. Maybe you have, too. Often, when I think of solitude, I’m reminded of training with Youth Encounter. Each year, as summer turned autumn, we’d gather at Luther Dell Bible Camp in Remer, Minnesota. Following a couple of weeks of intense community building and ministry training, we’d devote a full 24 hours to solitude. At dusk, our fellowship would gather in the field, pray the Lord’s Prayer, then silently retreat. Some dreaded these hours, while others welcomed them. But, almost all, as we broke solitude the next day, came to cherish the experience. And, there is a deeper loneliness still found in our faith.

Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. (Genesis 32:24)

To plead with Jesus to notice us and enroll us as His disciples from any position, good, bad, or indifferent, will meet one of those otherwise unaccountable chills. To seek the lowest position, or the highest, or any position at all, is to miss the mark utterly. In the days of preparation from all Possessions, Professions and Positions, Jesus leads in a separating, isolating way — ‘What seekest thou?’ ‘Whom seekest thou?’ The sad eyes of the Son of God lure us into the wilderness alone, and these questions ring in our hearts. From all desire for position, place, power, from every pedestal of devotion, or dedication, or deed, He draws and separates us; and suddenly we discern what He wants, deeper than tongue can express and obedience to the heavenly vision, arising from an abandonment of love to Himself, leads us to heaven. Not as faithful friends, or as moral men, or as devout souls, or as righteous men — Jesus separates us from all these positions by an unbridgeable distance when he is making clear to us that we must leave ALL. These lonely moments are given to each of us. Have we heeded them?


The workman for God in all probability will have to go the way his Lord and Master went. The first flush of the career of a workman for God may be in glory and acclaim, leading to blessed transfiguration; then there come the descent into the valley, deeper and deeper, until in that lonely place, toiling unseen, unknown, unmarked, he reaches in the spirit of travail that sublime agony of loneliness when ‘Father’ seems frozen in his heart, and he cries out, ‘Why hast thou forsaken me?’ It is not a cry of weakness, nor of imperfection; it is not a cry of doubt in God; it is a cry from the last touch of heroism on the workman for God who is being made conformable unto the death of Jesus, not for his own sake or his own perfecting, but for the work of God. It takes him to the threshold of that awful abyss of the Master Workman Himself, where He was left alone with death and became as lonely as sin, and amid the spiritual ramifications of that unshared, unfathomed experience, He cried out, ‘My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken me?’ The workman for God dare not talk, he dare not speculate; but in wonder, love and awe he thanks God for ‘the glory and the passion of this midnight,’ because it has brought him to the threshold of an understanding of the loneliness of Jesus Christ Who was ‘made to be sin on our behalf; that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.’


The only road to Jesus is ALONE. Will you strip yourself and separate yourself and take that lonely road, or will you too ‘go away sorrowful’?

Chambers considers our encounters with loneliness as God works in our life for preparation, consecration, and sanctification. Are we familiar with the separation our Lord requires? Separation from possessions, professions, and positions? Separation from country, comrades, and comforts? Separation in sifting, in suffering, and in service? It is a lonely road, but ever our God is with us.

Reflect On Genesis 32:24
Praise God for His inescapable presence.
Offer Thanks that God acquainted Himself with the loneliness we must face.
Confess any desire to cling to the lesser things.
Ask God to refine you and sustain you through the desert path.
Comment: Do you think loneliness  has a necessary place in journey of a Christian?


Simeon’s Second Birthday ?

I would be remiss if I didn’t share a few photos  from Simeon’s birthday. Grammy Cheryl made the trip up. We visited Fall Harvest Orchard. Adrienne baked a few yummy apple pies. Simeon did his best to extinguish the candles! ? We had some chat time with other grandparents. Matt, Jenna, Pascal, & Carol were also able to drop in for pie & ice cream.

Happy 2nd, Simeon! May God keep you and teach you well in this new year! You bring great joy to our family! We’ll have a brother for you & Aelah, soon.

Autumn & Song

My body has ached and I’ve felt off this past week. Best I can figure, I’ve allowed stress to waylay me. I can’t say that I’ve properly identified the cause of it all, but I can say that I (finally) took a few steps to remedy my ailments. I’ve attempted to distance myself for a bit from an overwhelming and incomplete task list (currently at 177 items!). I’ve devoted extra and intentional time to family. I’ve lazed with a few TED talks & the series Touch on Netflix. And, I’ve made it outside for a few midday walks.

I was, yesterday, awash with the beauty of autumn & song – peace to a harried life. Fall has always been a season that seems to get me. His mercies made new – even in the dying. There’s beauty in the fading and His glory abounds.

What a wonder to see this earth-born life drawn skyward!

Answered Prayer in Minneapolis

Prayer: For opportunities to be an everyday missionary in our community.

Two weeks ago I wrote these thoughts from walking Minneapolis at night. That night, I encountered a longing to recommit myself to His everyday missionary cause in our city. How to move, then, from intention to action? God has a way with this. When He places such desires in our hearts, He will work to see them fruitful. Since that night, I have visited a coffee shop on two occasions. Before I continue, let me say that I can’t recall the last time I had a significant interaction while visiting a coffee shop. It’s most often sit, work, read, drink, leave.

However, during the first of these two visits, after having settled myself in for a day of work, another man about my age sat nearby and mentioned the slight rain that had begun. This led to a wide ranging conversation lasting one and a half hours. I think we were both blessed and encouraged by our time together. We shared contact information with hopes of continued relationship. After that morning, I thought, “God, bit by bit, You are showing me a way.”

The second visit was just last night. In need of a respite, Adrienne graciously settled the kids to bed while I walked to the local coffee shop. Having just entered the door, a lady stole my attention by asking if I know computers and whether I might assist her with an issue. At first, my heart sank a bit. I was ready for a relaxing evening, but had been called on for tech support. I quickly set aside my hesitation and worked with her to sort the issue. Thankfully, it took only small tinkering and a reboot. We had some small talk as we waited on the machine and, as I went to order a coffee, I thought, “God, You’re doing it again. Thanks for sticking with me.”

Both opportunities arose after prayers for greater community involvement. As an introvert, I am apt to let such opportune moments slip by. Join me in thanking God for orchestrating conversations with strangers. Pray that I remain attentive to His guidance day by day and that I am given courage to move where He moves.

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