Tara’s Blog

Gospel Coalition 2017: Tim Keller – Boasting in Nothing but the Cross (Galatians 6)

Live Blog Gospel Coalition 2017 – Tim Keller on Galatians 6: Boasting in Nothing but the Cross

The Gospel Coalition 2017 – Ligon Duncan: The Reformed Tradition Beyond Calvin

Live Blog Gospel Coalition 2017 – Ligon Duncan: The Reformed Tradition Beyond Calvin

The Gospel Coalition 2017 — D.A. Carson: The Gospel of Grace – How to Read the Bible (Galatians 4)

Live Blog Gospel Coalition 2017 – D.A. Carson on Galatians 4

The Gospel Coalition 2017 – John Piper: Paul’s Pilgrimage, Paul’s Plea (Galatians 1)

Live Blog Gospel Coalition 2017: John Piper on Galatians 1

The Gospel Coalition 2017 – Kevin DeYoung: On John Calvin

Live Blog The Gospel Coalition 2017 – Kevin DeYoung: On John Calvin

I’ve been coming to these women’s conferences for 56 years. And usually they are SO boring! But …

When I spoke at a recent event, an elderly woman approached me. (I found out later than she was 90 years old!)

Honestly? Not knowing her, but making an assumption based on most of the other times that elderly women have approached me when I’m speaking at their events, I assumed that either she had a question or prayer need (always an honor to serve in this way), or, she was going to express displeasure at my rate of speech. (I’m trying to say that nicely, but based on what has happened to me at previous events, I was really bracing to be yelled at.)

Sadly, getting yelled at happens a little more often that one would expect at, you know, peacemaking women’s retreats. But it’s easy to take on part of the blame myself because when I talk too quickly, I fail to serve these dear women well. I have definitely improved and slowed down my rate of speech, but it can still be a problem.

ANYWAY … this precious, lovely, pillar-of-the-church woman did not yell at me at all. Instead she said something to the effect of:

“I’ve been coming to these women’s conferences for 56 years. And usually they are SO boring! But today, I can tell that the women are REALLY listening to you. Now, I personally can only understand ONE OUT OF EVERY TEN WORDS YOU SAY.”

(I was SOOOO embarrassed! I tried to jump in to try to apologize.)

“No, no,” she said, “That’s OK, Tara. That’s OK. I’m just so glad that you are holding their attention and even though I can’t understand most of what you are saying I CAN PRAY. And so I do. I pray for you and for the ladies. I’m praying for you, Tara.’

And that was that.

Her love for the Lord and his people was so great that she joyfully bore with even my many weaknesses.
What grace in actions! Grace with skin on.
I want to be like her when I grow up.
I want to be like her today

May God be glorified and may our words be edifying and aptly spoken!

Sending my love and care,
Tara B.

O Mama! O Mama! You Dear Sweet Dear!

(An oldie but a goodie from way back when Sophie was all of six years old and little E was just a tiny babe. I hope you enjoy!)

I’ve been traveling a lot lately and it has taken a toll on our family. We all pray and work hard to serve well … but it can be hard (and lonely) to be apart. But tonight, any tears of sadness became tears of joy when Sophie created an hysterically fun, loving, and and sweet evening for us all. This is what happened …

When I was upstairs nursing Ella, Sophie decided to create and entire CONCERT for our listening pleasure. She found all sorts of tubs and containers (so that her pounding would have different tonalities). She created a sign for the concert hall (“no drenking, no food, no radeyo, make shur your sel fones are off”) and a table of contents for the performance:

Then I got to be the “spotlight girl” (with a flashlight) and we were blessed with a stellar performance that began with this song:

“Oh Mama! Oh Mama!
You dear sweet dear.

Oh Mama! Oh Mama!
You dear sweet dear.

You were not here …
But now you are here.

Oh Mama! Oh Mama!
You dear sweet dear.”

It’s much better with the singing, as I’m sure you might imagine. But oh! What a grace it was to my tempted-to-be-too-hard-on-myself little ol’ Momma heart.

(She then went on to the songs “lolly pop lolly pop oh lolly lolly pop / Lili pup Lili pup oh Lili Lili pup” and “The Little Bear Who Went Into the Woods”, which had a very intense middle section with the cymbals taking the lead “because the hunters were talking intensely about whether they should TAKE the little baby bear or LEAVE the little baby bear”. We had an intermission (listed as a “6 minit brake”) and closed out the concert with the world-famous “little duk in its tuc” and “10 litl monkes on the bed”.)

(The crowd went wild.)

And then, just for fun, we all crowded on our bed for a late-night game of “I Spy.”

Mmmmmmmmmmm … what a great night.

Hope yours was blessed too! And that your weekend is restful and enjoyable—

Tara B.

Just in case your curious, it takes 60 years to grow a tree and less than one afternoon for the city to come and take it completely away. My heart is broken and I miss our beautiful tree already.

We don’t know if we’ll actually GO to our Reformation Party next week because the seasonal flus and H1N1 are ravaging Billings (including our church). But if we do, we’re taking two mermaids with us …

Starting Points and Fundamental Assumptions for Five Types of Theology (and How they Relate to One Another)

I finished my most-recent RTS (Reformed Theological Seminary) course last month and celebrated by re-reading some of my notes from my previous classes.

This summary of What is Theology? from one of my first seminary classes was particularly encouraging for me to re-read and I thought that you might enjoy it, too.

Tara B.


 Definitions of Theology

    1. The study of God
    2. The knowledge of God (Kuyper)
    3. The application by persons to all areas of human life (Frame)


  1. Starting Points / General Questions / Fundamental Assumptions for Five Types of Theology
    1. Exegetical Theology: the immediate focus and emphasis of a particular biblical text / What does this teach us about God, the world, ourselves? / The Bible is inspired by God and given by God to teach us.
    2. Biblical Theology: the historical progression of God’s self-revelation and redemptive plan / How did God’s self-revelation and redemptive plan unfold over the course of history? / God has progressively revealed himself and his plans over time.
    3. Systematic Theology: particular subject areas or questions of interest to us / What does the whole Bible teach about this subject? / The Bible is a coherent unity and relevant to all of life.
    4. Historical Theology: the historical development of Christian doctrine / What have Christians believed and taught about this subject? / We can learn from the wisdom and learning of Christians in the past. ** Odd one out because not authoritative per se **
    5. Practical Theology: the needs and activities of church ministry / How should we do church ministry in light of God’s Word? / The Bible is authoritative and sufficient for church ministry.


  1. How are the various types of theology related to one another?
    1. Exegetical must ultimately draw from other passages in its exegesis. Thus it will draw on systematic theology.
    2. It must also draw from where it is in God’s overall progressive story which employs biblical theology.
    3. Systematic must employ exegesis of its passages.
    4. Additionally systematic theology will lead into the doctrine of progressive revelation which is the key point in biblical theology.
    5. Biblical theology employs exegesis of texts and questions of a topical nature as in systematic theology. It has implications that draw from other texts too, which utilizes systematic theology.

Questions to Ask Re: Your Church

TakeYourVitmainZ posted a great set of questions from Timmy Brister that we should all ask re: our churches:

  1. If our church would cease to exist in our city, would it be noticed and missed?
  2. If all the pastors were tragically killed in a car accident, would the church’s ministry cease or fall apart?
  3. If the only possible means of connecting with unbelievers were through the missionary living of our church members, how much would we grow? (I ask this because the early church did not have signs, websites, ads, marketing, etc.)
  4. What are the subcultures within the church?  Do they attract or detract from the centrality of the gospel and mission of the church?
  5. Is our church known more for what we are not/against than what we are/for?
  6. What are we allowing to be our measuring stick of church health? (attendance vs. discipleship; seating capacity vs. sending capacity; gospel growth, training on mission, etc.)
  7. Are the priorities of our church in line with the priorities of Christ’s kingdom?
  8. If our members had 60 seconds to explain to an unbeliever what our church is like, what would you want them to say?  How many do you think are saying that?
  9. If the invisible kingdom of God became visible in our city, what would that look like?
  10. In what ways have we acted or planned in unbelief instead of faith?

(Please visit the Redeeming Church Conflicts site for even more helpful questions, articles, and encouragement re: your church.)

PCA Women’s Blog: enCourage – Gospel Love in Uganda


Super happy to share about Uganda on the PCA Women’s blog today! Thanks, Christina et al.

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