Monday, November 30, 2009

Fix My Problems

As I prepare for another book discussion with one of my young friends, I've been reading through the book Lies Young Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free (by Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Dannah Gresh) a second time. In the middle section of the book, the authors name 25 lies that young women believe. Hmmmm, not just young women. As I was reading the book last night, I was struck by lie #3 God should fix all my problems. I easily fall into that mentality and have been especially susceptible to it lately.

I was brought to my senses with this line from the book: God is more concerned with changing you to be a reflection of Christ than with solving all your problems.

It goes on to say, "The Bible teaches us that God uses trials and difficult times in our lives to help us grow. James 1:2-4 says that we are to be joyful in our trials, because God is testing our faith so that our faith will grow stronger. And Romans 5:3-4 tells us that 'suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.' So even in our trials and our suffering, God is at work in our lives!" (page 49).

Just another reminder of how easily our focus can shift to ourselves.

James 1:2-4 (NKJV)
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

Romans 5:3-4 (NKJV)
And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Frightening Friday 11/27

How fitting to return to Frightening Fridays (a day of intentional evangelism) on Black Friday.

This morning my good friend, Kim, and I hit the morning sales, not looking for a good deal, but looking for an opportunity to share the gospel. We went armed with gospel tracts and granola bars. Kim picked me up at 5:00 am, and we went to Menards where we found a parking lot full of cars and a line of people heading down the sidewalk and into the parking lot. Kim handed out the granola bars and I came behind her with the gospel tracts. At least 100 people received the gospel this morning.

We pray God will call them unto Him and that they will hear the gospel and respond to it in repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.


If you are on this blog today because you received a gospel tract from me, please check out the links at the side of the page for the name of a solid local church in the area and other Christian resources.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I Am Thankful

On this Thanksgiving Eve, I thought I would take a few minutes to write what I am thankful for:

I am thankful that God saves sinners.

I am thankful that in all my self-righteousness, God was able to convict me of my sin and show me my need for a Savior. I am more thankful than words can express that God opened my eyes to my sin and allowed me repentance and forgiveness through His son Jesus Christ.

I am thankful that as it says in Ephesians 1 In love God predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ. He took a rebel and made me His child. That is a remarkable concept to grasp.

I am thankful that God continues to convict me of sin and uses that to santify me.

I am thankful that God has allowed me to marry. I am thankful that he uses marriage as a means of sanctification in my life. I am thankful that I don't have to lead our family. I am thankful that God has given that role to Greg, and that, per His design, Greg has the ability to fulfill that role.

I am thankful that Greg loves Jesus Christ and wishes to please Him and become more like Him everyday.

I am thankful that God has allowed me to help out with the family finances through my job. I am thankful that God uses this job as a means of sanctification in my life. I am thankful that God has provided me with a mission field like no other through this job.

I am thankful for relationships with friends and family. God uses these relationships as a means of sanctification in my life. True relationships allow an inescapable testing ground for trusting God.

I am thankful that I have a Bible and can read it without fear of punishment.

I am thankful that there are those who came before me who fought and died to make it possible for me to have a Bible in my possession in my own langage.

I am thankful that I live in a country that still allows me the freedom to worship God and preach the gospel.

I am thankful that God created the world and that He knows me.

Psalm 139:1-5 says: "O LORD, You have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up: You discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquinted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, You know it altogether. You hem me in behind and before and lay Your hand upon me.

I am thankful that God is sovereign and all things are in His control. I rest in that.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Cookie Baking Night 11/23



Tonight was cookie baking night and Emily's birthday choice (she's turning 9 on Saturday). Emily and Meghan were in attendance this evening. Emily chose tacos-in-a-bag for supper. For her cookie choice she wanted to make the desserts for Thanksgiving Day. We made pecan pie bars, lemon bars, and pumpkin pie bars, also a few turkey cookies for the table, and the girls peeled potatoes for make-ahead mashed potatoes. It was a productive evening, and we had a great time together.
They'll be back on Thursday to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Plumbers are Beautiful

As a commuter in traffic (about 2 hours each day), I see a lot of bumper stickers, most of which fall under the category of "offensive", "stupid", or "I have no idea what that means", but the bumper sticker I saw on my way home from work today stating Plumbers are Beautiful (one big green bumper sticker on the back of a small white car) simply caused me to chuckle.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Kids of Courage

A few months back, a friend told me about the Kids of Courage section of the Voice of the Martyrs website (http://www.persecution.com/). As the website explains, "Voice of the Martyrs publishes Kids of Courage materials for children ages 5 to 13 so families and schools can include children in learning about and serving the persecuted church."

The website contains a lot of material and a lot of free downloads. They have a section where you can download curriculum that teaches children about different countries (I counted at least 12 different countries).

My niece Emily spent the night last Saturday, and before she arrived, I downloaded the "Bold Believers in China" curriculum, which is a 52 page workbook containing information about China and a lot of activities to support the learning process. Emily and I sorted the pages, punched holes in them, and put them in a three-ring binder, so she can work her way through the book when she spends time at our house.

I highly recommend this resource for your children.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Grace Gems

I subscribe to an e-mail feed called Grace Gems (http://www.gracegems.org/) which sends you a daily e-mail usually containing a quote from a puritan. I found this one particularly convicting.

"Lovers of pleasure--rather than lovers of God." 2 Timothy 3:4

Is the love of pleasure growing upon you, gaining the power and the ascendancy over you? Is it dulling the keenness of your zest for spiritual pleasures? Is it making Bible study, prayer, communion with Christ, meditation upon holy themes--less sweet enjoyments than before? Is it making your hunger for righteousness, for God--less intense? Is it interfering with the comfort and blessing you used to find in worship services, or in Christian work?

If so, there is only one thing to do--hasten to return to God, cut off the pleasure which is imperiling the soul, and find in Christ the joy which the world cannot give, and which ever enhances the life. We must test all our pleasures and amusements by this rule--Are they helping us to grow into Christ-likeness and spiritual beauty?---J.R. Miller.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Evangelism Video 11/13

Today I'm going to share a 3-part video series from Tony Miano (www.thelawmanchronicles.blogspot.com). This is a video of Tony witnessing to two young people in California. Combined, the videos will take 30 minutes to watch. If you have the time to watch them, the conversations are interesting and worth the view.





Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Feed the Starving Teenagers

When my niece, Meghan, turned 14 a couple months ago, what started out as a birthday gift to her turned into an ongoing program (for the lack of a better word) with the teenagers in my life. I gave Meghan a book (Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris) and told her that it came with an optional bonus. If she read the book and made arrangements to meet with me and talk about it, she would receive $20. We have since met and talked about it, and we're in the process of reading another book (Lies Young Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free by Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Dannah Gresh). I'm also reading a book with my 17 year-old-nephew and one with a teenage girl at my church, same deal for them as for Meghan. I am affectionately calling this little "program" Feed the Starving Teenagers. Of course, I pick out the books, and I read them ahead of time. My goal in this is to share the gospel with the young people in my life and to disciple them along the way. If time and resources allow, I highly encourage trying this with a teenager near you.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Cookie Baking Night 11/9/09


Tonight was cookie baking night with the nieces and nephews. Emily, Ethan, and Carissa were in attendance. We ate supper, made gingersnap cookies, and worked on the second lesson from the "Is the Bible personally from God?" curriculum by Josh McDowell at True Foundations ministries. The lesson was titled Why God Gave us the Bible.

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Saturday, November 7, 2009

IDOP

Tomorrow (November 8) is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. Please remember our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world in your prayers. To learn more about the persecuted church and specific ways to help them or pray for them, I would recommend visiting the Voice of the Martyrs website at http://www.persecution.com/.

There are two books I would recommend reading. They are very compelling books about the persecuted church. The first one is about the founder of Voice of the Martyrs, Richard Wurbrand, called Tortured for Christ. A free copy of this book is available on the Voice of the Martyrs website.

The other book contains 8 testimonies of different women around the world who have been persecuted for their faith in Jesus Christ. It is called Hearts of Fire. This book is also available for purchase at the Voice of the Martyrs website.

I have also included below a video made by the Voice of the Martyrs organization. It contains the testimony of a Christian woman in Pakistan.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Importance of Language

The other day at work a coworker witnessed me taking a salad from the refigerator and commented that I was "being good" and it made him feel guilty. I thought to myself, "Does my salad make me moral and your junk food (his words not mine) make you immoral?" What if I just downed 7 brownies and a Coca Cola at my desk before making my way to the kitchen to grab my salad, would that then mean I was "being bad"?

Another time and place I witnessed someone handing out free informational materials to people passing by, and someone wishing to have the information said, "Can I steal one of those from you?"

In another case, I witnessed someone speaking at a gathering and they said, "Please turn to page 7. Oh, I'm sorry, I lied, turn to page 11."

Witnessing these scenarios, particularly when professing Christians are involved, makes me aware of my own language. In our society, we are very casual with language, and it's easy to go with the flow in this regard (I'm guilty of it myself). But, as Christians, does our language reflect the God we serve and the theology we profess? Should we be so quick to attach morality to how we look or what we eat? Are lying and stealing words we should casually throw around in daily conversation as if they mean nothing?

Words have meaning, and I am constantly challenged to remember that in my daily conversations as I interact with Christians and non-Christians alike.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Bible Memorization

I'm in the process of memorizing Ephesians chapter 1 right now, and here are a few tips that I've found helpful along the way.
  • Study the passage beforehand and know what it means--know what you're memorizing. In my case, it helps tremendously that our Pastor is working through the book of Ephesians in his Sunday sermons right now. What I don't understand in my personal study becomes clearer after I hear a message preached on that verse.
  • Print out the passage you're working on so you can carry it with you or tape it to areas around your house or vehicle or work area. This makes for easy access when you find yourself with some uncommitted time on your hands.
  • Currently, I am working on memorizing my verses as I walk on the treadmill (I have a printout of the verses taped to the treadmill). I find this allows me to concentrate my efforts toward memorization while working through a very repetitive activity. I also find my time on the treadmill seems to go faster for me when I'm concentrating on the verses.

So far, I'm up to Ephesians 1:1-6 (ESV) as written below:

Paul an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God. To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will, to the praise of His glorious grace, with which He has blessed us in the Beloved. Ephesians 1:1-6 (ESV)

Cookie Baking Night 12/4/17

Tonight was Cookie Baking Night. In attendance this evening: Carissa, Allison, Rylar, and Enzo. Tonight was Rylar's birthday choice (he...