Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Olivia Kious Jolly

Introducing Olivia Kious Jolly (formerly known as Squiggle-Brick). Her expected birthdate is mid to late February.

It was an odd experience for Mike to see her squirm about on the screen this morning. She has the sweetest face and the most darling pair of rosebud lips. I think she has Mike's spine.

For those who are curious about her middle name, Kious (which rhymes with "pious") is a family name. I was very honored when Mike suggested we grace the middle of Olivia's name with Kious. It was my mother's maiden name and my middle name. The earliest Kiouses we are aware of were Hessian (German) mercenaries who fought in the American colonies for the British. There is a document containing the name Jean Kaus who became John Kious when he decided to settle in the United States following the War for Independence.

On a side note...

The family has issued the following statement:
It is clear from the scan that Olivia has inherited her mother's psychological aversion to the color pink. Although it cannot be 100% percent certain, it is relatively probable that she may also have a slight allergy to the color purple. Family members have already been warned about her medical/mental condition. Due to her sensitive condition, they have made the necessary adjustments to make Olivia's life as comfortable as possible. Her mother, Christine, sadly was not diagnosed with the condition until she was in her 20s. We do not wish for Olivia to experience the same problems throughout her life as her mother. Others should be aware that if they wear pink or the slightly less menacing color, purple, this will not have an averse effect on Olivia. Rather, the condition is confined to her own personal apparel and accessories.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

don't waste your humor

Below are some quotes from C. J. Mahaney's recent talk "Don't Waste Your Humor":

Apart from humor and laughter, one would be vulnerable to unwise, unhealthy introspection, discouragement, and depression.

Humor cultivates humility.

The Bible tells us that only the humble are truly happy.

Those who are humble love to laugh at themselves.

"We should mind humiliation less if we were but humble." C. S. Lewis

Self-deprecating humor reminds us that we are not the center of the universe. It is a humble assessment of oneself.

The times when I do not engage in humor, I usually have a high view of myself.

Sin is not humorous and ought not be laughed at. I grieves the heart of God.

Monday, July 21, 2008

in each others business

Of course each individual is different, but I am amazed at how many people who are mourning or hurting truly long for people to be in their business.

John Piper's daughter-in-law recently wrote about her own experience with losing her daughter only days before she was meant to be born. She longed for people to talk to her about her daughter, ask her questions, give her an opportunity to share what she was feeling. My friend Cil, mentioned to me that some women who find themselves unable to have children feel as if their condition is the elephant in the room. They long for someone to ask them how they are doing, allow them to express their pain. But everyone seems afraid.

So often our culture encourages isolationism, as if we ought to bear each of our burdens ourselves and not bother anyone else about them. If for some reason we cannot cope with our own issues, there must be something wrong with us. But this is so counter to Christian culture. We are family, a body, fellow sojourners. We need each other.

As I was thinking about this, I realized that it is going to be extremely difficult for those so accustomed to isolating their worries to show the care and concern their hurting brothers and sisters need. If you have at one time found yourself in the situation of being hurt and have longed for someone to share the burden with, be the example for others. Show them what it is to rejoice with those who are rejoicing and how to mourn with those who are mourning. Teach them ... US ... by your own example.

Monday, July 14, 2008

a family that laughs

I learned this lesson when I was at university. I want very much to create a culture of laughter in my family, much like the Mahaney's.
In all this laughter, we learned humility. My dad led by example as he always laughed the loudest when the joke was on him. But whenever we did something silly (or can I say stupid?) he taught us to laugh rather than withdraw in pride. While it took the sons-in-law some time to adjust to our family culture, they now lead the way in pursuing humility through laughter.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

learning from trials

Yesterday, I was just beginning to read the book Sacred Parenting by Gary Thomas. Chapter 2 began with an Arab proverb--
"Sunshine without rain is the recipe for a desert."
Thomas then went on to describe how Abigail Adams bade her nine year old son, John Quincy, farewell as he left with his father on a diplomatic mission to Europe for a number of years.

In a letter, she wrote:
"It is not in the still calm of life ... that great characters are formed. The habits of a vigorous mind are formed in contending with difficulties. Great necessities call out great virtues. When a mind is raised, and animated by scenes that engage the heart, then those qualities which would otherwise lay dormant, wake into life and form the character of the hero and the statesman."
It is during those hard break-ups, disappointments, dashed plans for the future that carry so much uncertainty that I am convinced that God grows us the most. Our growth is somehow connected to how we respond to the challenge. Do we run to God or do we wallow in self-pity?

What is it that we believe about God at that moment? A.W. Tozer once said that what a person believes about God is the most important thing about him. It determines how we respond to blessings and trials. It characterizes what we value or detest. Do we believe he is a loving father who disciplines his children so they may learn from their wrongs and grow in knowledge and faith and virtue? Or is he a passive being who merely watches from afar? Or perhaps a cruel tyrant who takes pleasure in seeing man suffer?

(another parenting analogy ... it's the season ...)

I was watching one of those Super Nanny type shows last night and every time the 6 year old boy flipped out and through a tantrum, the parents GAVE IN! The coach took them aside and told them that this was stunting their son's growth. "He MUST learn how to cope with life! And he will! But you aren't letting him!"

God cares for us so much more than these parents could even attempt to. He is more touched by our suffering than these parents were when they saw their son "suffer" because he had to go to bed at 8:30. His love for us sometimes involves miraculously snatching us away from the fire ... or ... allowing us to experience the consequences of our actions. May we choose to grow during suffering or trials, rather than give into stubborness and throw tantrums. May we learn to love God and love others better through each trial we experience and not coddle or sulk within our self.

1 Peter 1:13-25

Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, "You shall be holy, for I am holy." And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for

"All flesh is like grass
and all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
and the flower falls,
but the word of the Lord remains forever."

And this word is the good news that was preached to you.

How wonderful is it to know that these trials come from God for his good purpose and to shape and mold us into the image of His Son! How awful it would be if everything was just by chance! ... for no reason! ... there would be no hope. How much better it is to yield to God's work in our lives than fight it.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

no regrets

We took this video a year and a half ago when I came to visit Mike after we got engaged.

I told my mum that we were posting it on our anniversary.

"Ah, is it a mushy one?"

"Um ... it depends on what you mean by mushy."

"Lovey dovey?"

"Nup, not that kind of mushy."

By the grace of God, we have enjoyed a great first year of marriage.

This week DJP from Biblical Christianity asked me on Facebook chat if I'd recanted from any of my "extremist" statements from this famous post.


Nope. After a year of being married to Michael Jolly, I neither recant nor regret anything.

I still believe that one of the greatest ways of showing Michael that I love him is to show him respect.

Married for one year! What a surprise it was for us to find out that we're pregnant this past Wednesday! He will be great dad come March. I hope our child has a great sense of humor and isn't overly embarrassed by my silliness.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

my battle and Esther's

In Nancy Leigh DeMoss' recent series on Esther, she concludes with a number of lessons to be learned.
• We are in a battle.

• The real battle is not between flesh and blood but is spiritual.

• We win the war with humility, with faith, with prayer and fasting, sackcloth and ashes, with reliance on God.

• God has a sovereign plan.

• God's plan will not fail.

• God sustains and orders and rules over all His creation.

• Through faith and obedience you can be a part of God's plan.

• There is no situation so desperate that God cannot redeem it.

• Don't judge the outcome of the battle by the way things look now.
The entire article can be found here.

Don't wait for a particularly difficult situation to begin putting to practice these truths. Start now to integrate this into your entire life. Let it become a disposition ... a lifestyle ... not an occasional cry to God for help.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

golden memories

This post is i'd rather laugh than cry gold originally published here May 2007. I've posted this in honor of our upcoming one year anniversary.

When you listen to a sermon that exhorts hearers to extend grace to others as grace has been fully given to them, you may nod your head in agreement but your mind is puzzled about how you might actually do that.

A mavelous theory ... a great idea ... but how will I actually extend grace, what does that even mean? what does it look like practically? So you stow it away in a card file of "good ideas" in your brain, but keep on living life as usual.

In a conversation today with a friend, I challenged him to move beyond the "idea" and toward the practical living.

How will you bless and honor the reputation, family, and heart of the woman you love?

One practical way Mike honors and blesses me is through prayer.

This may sound trite. One of those things in your card file ... you know you should do it ... but honestly ... what good could it actually do?

From the beginning of our relationship, Mike would end each of our conversations over skype or the phone with prayer. Take it from a woman whose man leads her spiritually in this manner, I am blessed, encouraged, and proud that Mike leads us before God in prayer as the spritual leader in our relationship.

I began to look forward to that time of prayer together more than anything. It removed the distance between us bringing us together to stand before the throne of God in prayer. God became more than just an honorary member of our relationship but the Cause, Sustainer, Lord, and Fellow-covenanter in our love.

Mike continued this discipline when we were together for two months in Australia. Each evening when we parted ways, Mike led me before the Lord in prayer to bring before Him our hopes, our sin, our love, and our desires.

Knowing that prayer ended our time together deterred a world of sin because we were living our lives before God.

When Mike leads in prayer, I am honored and blessed and respected.

Men, how can you honor the women in your lives?

Women, how can you encourage the men in your life in their spiritual leadership?

(For a fabulous Piper sermon on extending grace, click here.)

Monday, June 9, 2008

Living Grace: The Gospel for Christians

I recently spoke at the Women's Winter Festival here in Hobart. A recording of my talk can be found here.

Bible reading: Ephesians 2

“If there’s anything in life that we should be passionate about, it’s the gospel. And I don’t mean passionate only about sharing it with others. I mean passionate about thinking about it, dwelling on it, rejoicing in it, allowing it to color the way we look at the world. Only one thing can be of first importance to each of us. And only the gospel ought to be.” ~ C.J. Mahaney, The Cross Centered Life
What is this Gospel or Good News?

Every one of us are more sinful and flawed than we ever dared believe, but MORE LOVED AND WELCOMED than we ever dared hope.

The Gospel is for Believers

Do you think the Gospel is for you?

The Gospel is for everyone, every day, ESPECIALLY those who identify themselves with Christ and call themselves Christians!


If you get ANYTHING out of this talk tonight, I want you to walk away with the tools to battle doubt, despair, and discouragement in your Christian life by being able to Preach the Gospel to yourself, daily. By arming yourself with the five facets of the Gospel message you can APPLY each of them to your life everyday.

1. INCARNATION – God became man
(Ephesians 2:17)
17He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
(Ephesians 2:1-3)
1As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath

(Hebrews 4:15)
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.

(Romans 5:19)
So by one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.

Romans 5:6-10
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

9Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! 10For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!

(Ephesians 2:4-5)
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.

(Ephesians 2:6-7)
And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
(Hebrews 4:16)
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.


The more you preach the gospel to yourself the more you will become overwhelmed with the hideousness of your sin and the glorious love and amazing grace of God.

I urge you to respond to this grace in 5 ways:


Be thankful for this: Ephesians 2:8-10
8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.



4. FORBEARANCE: being patient with one another, walking through life arm and arm, supporting one another on your journey in life.
(Ephesians 2:19-22)
19Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, 20built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
Peter tells us HOW to forbear with one another
(1 Peter 4:8-11)
Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: 11whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.


The Gospel that saved you is the SAME gospel that keeps you.

Paul asks you to REMEMBER the gospel … preach it to yourself

Verse 12
Remember that at that time you were separate from Christ … without hope and without God in the world. 13But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.
Paul wrote to Timothy, a young minister
“Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel.”
The churches in the book of Revelation were warned,
“Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you.”
The Gospel is for you … remember it … preach it to yourselves daily.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

minister's wife

Does your minister's wife feel loved and appreciated or neglected and misused?

One of our ministers' wives was recently asked if she was being looked after by our church. The older woman was perhaps surprised and pleased when this fresh, young minister's wife piped up that she had never felt so loved and looked after as she has over the last few months. She has been bathed in prayer. Her children have been loved by her sisters at church. And she does not doubt that others in the church respect and understand the immense and wonderful responsibility of being a godly mother to her two little girls.

If you would like to bless your pastor's wife, I recommend the following:

1. Commit to praying for her. Over the past 31 days, I have been praying for the above wife of our new pastor. Each day I sent her a card in the mail with Scripture written inside and a prayer I'd written for her based on the Bible passage. The blessings I received by doing this for her were small in comparison to the joy and gratitude I see in her eyes. Many times as I wrote out my prayers for her, the Scripture had so convicted me that I also lifted up prayers for myself. If you'd like to commit to praying for your pastor's wife, click here to take part in the 31 day challenge.

2. Also, click here for 25 Insightful Ways to Encourage your Pastor's Wife.