Thursday, December 26, 2013

Gantenbeins' 2013 Not-So-Annual Christmas Letter

You are right: There was not a "Gantenbeins' 2012 Annual Christmas Letter." We were waiting for something in particular to develop. It did, so let's get right to it with an abbreviated timeline.

~Jim and Cathy turned 60!
~May 26 — On our 38th anniversary. We met Shane Calhoun and five minutes later Alison surprised us by showing up at our front door for a visit. We began to wait for that relationship to develop.
~September - October — A rare and cherished blessing as we were able to visit with each of our children twice while on vacation.
~Christmas — The whole family was home for Christmas! (The picture at the top of this page.) We continued to watch the relationship develop between Alison and Shane.

~March 16 — Cathy and I began the Ideal Protein Diet.
~Spring — A lot of emails, text messages, and phone calls between Alison and us regarding possible venues for the not-yet-official upcoming event.
~May 5 — Alison sent us the picture that officially confirmed that the relationship had developed as all had hoped and expected.
~June — David came for a brief visit while attending his high school 10-year reunion.
~August 9 — Alison was shocked when she saw me two days before the wedding. I had not told her about the weight we were losing.
~August 11, 2013 — Shane and Alison were married!

~November 23 — I finished my weight loss after dropping 100 pounds. Cathy continues to slim down.
~Christmas — The whole family was home again!

And now, for updates on the family:

Aaron and Denise continue to live and work in Winston OR where Aaron is Associate Pastor of Community Baptist Church and Denise works hard to develop the Children's ministry. This summer they were heavily involved in World Changers as their church hosted this event. We are praying for Denise's family. Her father is battling cancer.

Shane and Alison continue to settle in to married life in Ontario CA. Shane is on faculty as a counselor at California State University, San Bernadino. Besides each other, they enjoy their dogs, Cody and Dexter, their pallet garden, and Shane's pottery.

David continues to live and work in Phoenix where he stays extremely busy as Student Pastor of Foothills Baptist Church. He is still single but is not opposed to changing that status should a relationship develop with the right lady. We are not opposed to it, either!

Cathy and I are pretty much the same as in our last Christmas letter except we are two years older and many pounds lighter. We are looking forward to having grandkids…someday…maybe…nothing yet… but are happy we are able to be with the grand dogs.

Even though this has been relatively brief, our lives are very full. We thank God for His increased blessings and for your friendship (or "relationship" for those who have the distinction of being family). May 2014 be a year of blessings for you, as well.

In His love,

Jim and Cathy

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Coming To God's Rescue?

Where is it written in God's word that God needs, wants, or calls for us to defend Him? When Paul talked about his defense of the gospel in Philippians 1:16, the word "defense" is the word for apology as in "apologetics" which is intelligent reasoning, not verbal warring. Even the psalmist called on God to defend (plead) His own cause (Psalm 74:22).

If Phil Robertson is never allowed back on television again, neither God nor His kingdom will suffer. For that matter, neither will Phil Robertson. So far, he appears to be one of the few voices not crying "foul!" Granted that my exposure to his words is limited but what I have seen and/or read indicates that the patriarch of Duck Dynasty continues to bear witness to his Lord without saying, "Shame on you, A&E!"

I have never looked to A&E or any other broadcast company as a guardian of the faith. In fact, when a person of faith is targeted, as Phil Robertson has been, we should praise God for allowing everyone to see the polarity between pleasing God and pleasing the world. The Holy Spirit did not inspire the Apostle Paul to write 2 Corinthians 10 for nothing!

On a personal note: When the SBC and other groups called for a boycott of all things Disney in 1997, I went the extra mile and tried to learn as much as I could about just how evil Disney was. I accomplished this by personally examining every single ride and show at Disneyland and, later, the newly opened California Adventure Park. Just to make sure, I repeated this process numerous times until the boycott ended in 2005. I suppose I will approach the current outrage against A&E over the treatment of Phil Robertson with equal alarm.
Now, if you will excuse me, all our kids are coming home for Christmas and I can do something meaningful about that!