Saturday, January 30, 2010

Evangelism Video 01/30/10

Today I'll be sharing an evangelism video of a different kind. This is a video of Paul Washer addressing a question about how to share the gospel with the lost. I think he does a good job of teaching this concept, so I wanted to share it with you. The quality of the video is low, but I think the message is well worth sticking it out.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Frightening Friday 01/29/10

Tonight I was able to return to the mall on an actual Friday night. It's a completely different atmosphere on a Friday than a Wednesday. There were a lot of young people at the mall tonight--just hanging out. God was gracious to me in this because I have a heart for the young people, and I find them easy to approach. I gave out a lot of gospel tracts and had a short conversation with a young man I passed many, many times on my trips around the mall handing out tracts. Please pray for him that he responds to the gospel in repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.

Before walking around and passing out gospel tracts, I sat on my usual bench for about 45 minutes with the wooden cross sitting next to me. I got a few comments this time but no questions yet. I did witness at least two people walk by and ask the person next to them, "Are you ready?" May God use it to prompt hearts and save souls.......and produce obedience in his servant.


If you are on this blog tonight because you received a gospel tract from me, please check out the "My Favorite Links" at the right-hand side of the blog.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Book of Acts

As I'm reading through the M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, I'm just finishing up the book of Acts. I love the book of Acts. I never tire of reading it. It's full of many different personalities putting their importance on obedience to God, so we get to see that played out before our eyes.

I also enjoy the book of Acts because the gospel is preached (proclaimed) throughout the entire book. Stephen proclaims the gospel. Peter and John proclaim the gospel. Philip proclaims the gospel. Paul proclaims the gospel. They all do it in their current circumstances regardless of the consequences.

By reading the book of Acts we have the opportunity to hear the gospel message proclaimed many times, in many ways, by many different people. We have the opportunity to witness obedience to God in varying circumstances.

If you're looking to study the gospel message, I would recommend studying the book of Acts.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Resource Wednesday 01/27/10

Commuter - A person who regularly travels from one place to another, typically to work. That's me, a commuter--usually about an hour each way, Monday through Friday. When you are a commuter, you are grateful for the very recent invention of the MP3 player. There are several podcasts (talk shows via the web) that I enjoy and listen to on my commute. I thought I'd share them with you on this Resource Wednesday.

I have been a regular listener of Wretched Radio (host, Todd Friel) for quite some time (formerly Way of the Master radio). It is a daily Christian radio show with a bent toward evangelism. They air a two-hour show everyday, so it is a commuter's dream. You can find out information at their website http://www.wretchedradio.com/

I also enjoy The Christian Worldview radio program (host, David Wheaton). They air a two-hour show once a week, on Saturdays (perhaps a little more doable for the non-commuters out there). You can find information about them at http://www.thechristianworldview.com/

Another favorite podcast of mine is the Bible Baptist Church podcast of their weekly sermons. This is my home church. I love being able to listen to the sermons again during the week. I teach Christian Education (aka Sunday School) for the 3-6 years each week, so I'm unable to attend the adult Christian Education class. I'm so grateful I can hear that teaching during the week via the podcast. You can find these postcasted sermons by visiting the church website at http://www.bible-baptistchurch.org/ and clicking on Sermon Audio.

Greg is a regular listener of the Ask Pastor John podcast. This is a podcast of John Piper answering various theological and Christian living-type questions asked by various members of his congregation. They are very short daily clips, so it's very doable. Greg listens to this podcast more faithfully than I do, but I keep downloading it because he tells me which ones "I just have to hear". I enjoy his excitement over this podcast, and I love discussing it with him. You can find more information at http://www.desiringgod.org/

I certainly could go on, but I think that's enough for today. If you're a podcaster, please check out the above programs.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Bible Reading Plans

This year, as last year, the Oseid family is reading through the Bible in a year. We're using the M'Cheyne Bible reading plan http://www.mountzion.org/text/DailyBibleReading.pdf
which brings us through the Old Testament once and the New Testament and Psalms twice in the year. The plan consists of reading about 4 chapters a day, two as a family and two on your own. We've been enjoying it. I like consistently working through sections of Scripture each day.

If you're following some kind of plan like this I would encourage you to continue. Last year, Greg and I got bogged down about three-quarters of the way through the year. We got behind and struggled to keep up, therefore, we avoided it. In December we decided to start over with the current day and forget about catching up. When Greg suggested we follow the same plan this year, I was hesitant because of our lack of "success" last year. This year we decided if we get more than three days behind, we'll pick up with the current day's reading and keep forging ahead. Having that plan in place has allowed us to keep moving through the plan this year. I wanted to pass that tip onto you. If you've started a plan like this, I would encourage you to keep going. It's not the only way to read the Bible, but there's certainly value in reading through it in a year.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Cookie Baking Night--My Thoughts

Tonight is Monday night, but a non-Cookie Baking Night. I thought I would take this opportunity to explain the Cookie Baking Nights a little further, how it began, and what I try to accomplish with it.
  • Cookie Baking Night is the name I've given to the Monday night I spend with my nieces and nephews every other week. They come over at 5:00. We eat supper together. After supper we bake cookies (or brownies or bars, some kind of cooking project). After the cooking project we usually read a Bible story. We're currently working through the book Leading Little Ones to God by Marian Schoolland. It is a great book of systematic theology for children. I wish I knew about it years ago. The children are getting old enough now that they can read the Bible passage that accompanies the stories. They take turns doing this. After reading the Bible, we spend the rest of the evening in picture coloring, game playing, and the occasional movie. The kids are picked up at 8:00 pm.

  • Cookie Baking Night began roughly 7 years ago. My now 9-year-old niece, Emily, was 2-1/2 at the time. Her sister, Meghan, was 7 at the time. I started out just having the girls over. Later that grew into inviting Joe (Meghan and Emily's older brother--all my middle brother's children) to join us. In hindsight, I wish I would have included Joe sooner. I have another niece, Kylie (my younger brother's daughter), who lives with her mother in Cottage Grove (about a 60+ minute drive from us). When she's able, she joins us as well. With a little Cookie Baking Night experience under my belt, I decided the appropriate age to start attending these events would be 3 years old. When our nephew, Ethan (Greg's sister's oldest boy) turned 3, he joined us for Cookie Baking Night. And his sister, Carissa, followed behind him a couple years later, when she turned 3.

  • My intent with Cookie Baking Night is to establish relationships with these young people in my life, relationships that will continue throughout their adult years. My focus is the gospel. I want them to have the opportunity to hear it (often) and understand it.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Evangelism Video 1/23/10

Today I'm going to share a video with you of Ray Comfort sharing the gospel with a young man named Andrew. From my bit of experience, I think this young man is a pretty good representation of what young people are thinking about the Bible and heaven and hell. I've heard very similar thoughts expressed by young people (teenage to early 20's), more than once, when engaging in witness encounters with them. I would encourage you to watch this video to the end. I think Mr. Comfort does a good job of staying on track with the message amidst some challenging conversation, and there appears to be a small light of reasoning at the end of the very long tunnel.


Friday, January 22, 2010

Frightening Friday 1/22/10

Tonight I'm spending the evening with my young friends from church, Abigail, Samuel, and Isaiah. Knowing this would be the case, I went to the mall on Wednesday night this week.

I continued my evangelism efforts with the cross Greg made for me. I sat on the bench for half an hour and read my Bible, looking up to make eye contact as people walked by. I received a few dirty looks, a few smiles, a few whispered conversations as soon as I was out of supposed earshot, and a lot of averting the eyes when I made eye contact. No questions yet, but I'm still hopeful. I was also able to hand out a few tracts as I walked around the mall. I pray God will use my feeble efforts to convict hearts and save souls.



P.S. Greg says if I'm not getting spit at, I'm probably not doing it right. Could be. I'm kind of hoping for an actual question or comment before any spitting starts.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Thursday Night Bible Study

Our church has a Thursday night Bible study and prayer meeting service each week. Currently, our pastor is engaged in a series titled: Basic Christian Doctrines. The content of these studies has been well prepared and very informative. Each lesson starts with a review of the previous week's lesson. During this study, I'll be posting a link to our church website and podcast. It's well worth listening to. Enjoy!

Please follow the link (by clicking on the highlighted word) to hear the Bible Study sermon on the doctrine of mankind .

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Resource Wednesday 1/20/10

This week I would like to talk you about the Ambassador's Academy. It is an evangelism training event offered in California, sponsered by Living Waters (Way of the Master) ministry. I think it would be safe to call it an evangelism boot camp of sorts. It consists of one full day of training and two full days out on the streets in southern California putting your training to the test. The training is administered by members of the Living Waters staff who are living what they teach every day (literally) in their jobs through Living Waters ministry and in their personal lives.

I went to this training in May of last year. I highly recommend it and would go again in a heartbeat. Because of the current economic situation, Living Waters has taken a step of faith and cut the price in half to allow more people to attend the training (it was $600 and is now $300, including a 4-night hotel stay as part of the training--a deal to be sure). If you have ever considered something of this nature, now would be the time to act on it.

I'm including a link to the Ambassador's Alliance website (http://www.ambassadorsalliance.com/). On the front page of the website, you will find a video promoting the Ambassador's Academy. Check it out!


FYI: At the end of the video, my friend Judy is talking about her time at the Ambassador's Academy. Judy was at the May academy at the same time I was there, and she was on my team. She quickly became a good friend. We have been in contact several times since the academy. My friendship with Judy and fellowship with like-minded believers around the country is another reason I would recommend attending Ambassador's Academy.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Feed the Starving Teenagers 1/19/10

As I've mentioned before, I have my own ministry with my teenage niece and nephew and a few other kids in my life. I choose a book and give it to them. They read it. If they make an effort to get together with me and we discuss the book, there is a monetary reward involved. I've read two books with my niece, Meghan, and two books with my nephew, Joe, so far.

Joe is 17. The last book we read together (about a month ago) was Tortured for Christ by Richard Wurmbrand (founder of the Voice of the Martyrs ministry). When we discussed the book together, Joe marveled at some of the stories told within the book. Here's some background on the book. It was written in 1976, shortly after Richard Wurmbrand (a pastor in Romania) was released from his second imprisonment (for preaching the gospel) during the communists' rule in Romania (he was imprisoned a total of 15 years).

The following story stood out to Joe in particular (pages 17-18):

Richard Wurbrand speaking: "For me, to preach to the Russians is heaven on earth. I have preached the gospel to men of many nations, but I have never seen a people drink in the gospel like the Russians. They have such thirsty souls.

An Orthodox priest, a friend of mine, telephoned me and told me that a Russian officer had come to him to confess. My friend did not know Russian. However, knowing that I speak Russian, he had given him my address. The next day this man came to see me. He longed for God, but he had never seen a Bible. He had no religious education and never attended religious services (churches in Russia then were very scarce). He loved God without the slightest knowledge of Him.

I read to him the Sermon on the Mount and the parables of Jesus. After hearing them, he danced around the room in rapturous joy proclaiming, 'What a wonderful beauty! How could I live without knowing this Christ!' It was the first time that I saw someone so joyful in Christ.

Then I made a mistake. I read to him the passion and crucifixion of Christ, without having prepared him for this. He had not expected it, and when he heard how Christ was beaten, how He was crucified and that in the end He died, he fell into an armchair and began to weep bitterly. He had believed in a Savior and now his Savior was dead!

I looked at him and was ashamed. I had called myself a Christian, a pastor, and a teacher of others, but I had never shared the sufferings of Christ as this Russian officer now shared them. Looking at him, it was like seeing Mary Magdalene weeping at the foot of the cross, faithfully weeping when Jesus was a corpse in the tomb.

Then I read to him the story of the resurrection and watched his expression change. He had not known that his Savior arose from the tomb. When he heard this wonderful news, he beat his knees and swore using profanity (this was his crude manner of speech). Again he rejoiced, shouting for joy, 'He is alive! He is alive!' He danced around the room once more, overwhelmed with happiness!"

Again, Joe marveled at the emotion expressed when hearing about the life of Jesus Christ and what it was like for someone to hear it for the first time. He was convicted by it.

I was convicted by the power of reading Scripture. The Bible is a supernatural book and speaks for itself.

I highly recommend reading Tortured for Christ by Richard Wurmbrand. Joe said he plans to tell everyone he knows about this book (a glowing endorsement, indeed).

You can request a free copy of this book on the Voice of the Martyrs website (http://www.persecution.com/).

Monday, January 18, 2010

Cookie Baking Night 1/18/10

Tonight was Cookie Baking Night with the nieces and nephews. In attendance: Carissa, Emily, and Ethan.
Ethan turned 7 years old on Saturday. Tonight was his birthday choice.
For supper, he chose macaroni and cheese, french fries, and mixed vegetables.
Cookie of choice: Sugar Cookies.

As you can see by this first picture, the enthusiasm was high this evening.

The most surprising verbal interaction of the evening went like this:
Carissa said: Emily, your hair looks exquisite this evening.
Emily said: Katrina, what does exquisite mean?
Katrina said: Very, very nice.
Emily said: Oh, thank you, Carissa.
Carissa said: Sure.


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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Evangelism Video 1/16/10

Today I'd like to share a video of Ray Comfort witnessing to a young man on the beach in California. The sound quality is not great on this one, but you can pick up the tone of the voices as this witness encounter takes place, and you can see conviction on this young man's face as his conscience is probed. As this video starts, the question you didn't hear asked is, "Can you name any of the 10 commandments?"


Friday, January 15, 2010

Frightening Friday 1/15/10

Tonight I am out with a young lady from church getting to know her. I knew I had this planned and wouldn't be able to go to the mall tonight, so I went on Wednesday night instead.

I debated if I wanted to blog about that experience because it really doesn't seem like much to write about. I decided to share it, though.

I set the time aside on Wednesday night. I stopped by the mall to engage people in conversations about the gospel. The feel of the crowd on a Wednesday night is much different than a Friday night--not many people there at all, mostly mall walkers. I spent an hour at the mall, but I never engaged a single person in conversation, never even handed out a tract. I could not summon the courage.

I left discouraged. I left questioning if I should be out there at all. I left wondering if I do this for me or do this for the sake of the gospel. I also left the mall praying to God. I left there aware of my insignificant part in the regeneration of another human being (nothing--only God does that), but the realization of the self-importance I've been putting on it. I left there aware of my need to deny myself. I also left there reminded of my utter dependence upon God for all things. I left there with the awareness of the price that Jesus paid for my sins. I left the mall preaching the gospel to myself.

So, I guess some evangelism was done that night.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Everyone is an Evangelist

Everyone is an evangelist.

This thought is not original to me. Have you ever pondered it?

Everyone has a subject they are passionate enough about to try to convert another person to their point of view. I have only my life experience to offer here, but I find this true in every personality across the board. I know rock collecting evangelists, chiropractor evangelists, union organizing evangelists, Weight Watcher evangelists, home schooling evangelists, poker evangelists, facebook evangelists, exercise evangelists, quilting evangelists, Jui-Jitsu evangelists, environmental evangelists, Food Network channel evangelists, scrapbooking evangelists, football evangelists, and the list goes on. We all talk about what we love, and we try to convince others of its greatness.

My friend, Kim, and I were talking about this the other day. She has a passion (albeit an unusual passion but a passion nonetheless) for the disposable shower cap. She buys them at the dollar store (several for a dollar) and uses them to cover leftover food in oddly shaped bowls, plates of cookies, a salad in a fancy glass bowl on its way to a potluck meal, etc. If she meets you at the potluck and you are sporting a plate wrapped in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, she will quickly inquire if you are aware of the glories of the shower cap for food covering purposes. She will then proceed to "evangelize" about the shower cap including its many uses, its affordability, and just where you can purchase the best shower caps. She doesn't need to spend a couple years and establish a relationship with you. She doesn't just model the use of the shower cap and hope that someday you will see what the shower cap has done in her life and then want to have it in your life too. She presents the information about the shower cap with enthusiasm. You can accept it as truth or reject it.

Both Kim and I agree everyone has the ability to evangelize and exercises that ability in some form. It is true some are more gifted in this area than others--not everyone can wax eloquent about the shower cap. But, I don't think anyone can legitimately say, "I'm just not an evangelist. That's not my gift."

I pray for that passion to evangelize about the gospel of Jesus Christ. I pray for a love of the subject (the King of this universe) that spills out of my mouth at every opportunity. I pray for the ability to present the information and let it be accepted as truth or simply rejected. I pray for a passion to evangelize about things of eternal significance.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Resource Wednesday 1/13/10

I'm in the process of reading the book Gospel-Powered Parenting by William Farley. The subtitle of the book is How the Gospel Shapes and Transforms Parenting.

I'm halfway through this book right now, and I'm impressed with the set up the author is giving to the gospel. The first five chapters are given to explaining the premise of the book and explaining the gospel. It has taken us through God's holiness, a definition of the fear of God, God's wrath, and God's grace.

Here's an excerpt from the beginning of chapter 4:

"Publishers tell us that many parents will not expend the mental sweat necessary to think deeply about God and man. In other words, today's parent avoids the T-word--theology. I trust that you won't do this. It is a significant roadblock to parenting--even though it is the American way of life.

We are as we think. We parent out of our theology. Everyone, Christian and non-Christian, has a theology--an idea of who God is and who we are by contrast. Some are accurate. Some are not.

The next two chapters are the heart and soul of this book. They are about the theology of God. That is where parenting must start."

The book then proceeds with "the fundamentals of the gospel".

I look forward to finishing this book. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Happy Birthday, My Friend!

Today my good friend, Kim, is having a birthday. We started a tradition a few years ago in which we take the day off of work (if on a week day) and spend the day together. That is our present to each other. It is a most wonderful time.

Today we will be working out at Kim's gym, talking, getting our nails done, talking, eating lunch at Truffles and Tortes (fun place--so girly, as Kim would say), talking, praying, handing out tracts when the occasion arises (and I know it will), talking, stopping at Caribou for Kim's free birthday drink, talking. We'll start the day at 7:00 am and end it somewhere around 8:00 pm----a most glorious treat for sure.

I cannot explain the joy of spending time with a friend who loves the Lord, and that can definitely be said of my good friend, Kim.

I love you, my friend. Happy Birthday to you!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Do You Miss It?

I've mentioned in other posts that I have struggled with sin in the area of TV. There was a time when it would have been right to call it an addiction (or more appropriately, an idol). I haven't watched TV for several years now. I can assure you this is only because God changed my heart in this area (something I marvel at to this day).


Greg and I were having a discussion the other day about the place entertainment/recreation should have in a Christian's life. He asked me this question, "Do you even miss TV?" I think he was expecting a very quick response along the lines of "not at all". I thought about it for a minute and responded this way: I only miss TV when I am wanting to sin and looking for an outlet for it.

TV/recreation/caffeine/food/sports (and a whole boat load of other seemingly innocent things) are not necessarily sins in and of themselves. It is when they are desired above God that they cross that line.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Evangelism Video 1/09/10

Today I'd like to share a video with you of Ray Comfort sharing the gospel with a man named Byron (part of the Living Waters University video series). It's an interesting video. Byron once claimed to be a Christian and now claims to be an atheist.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Frightening Friday 1/08/10

Tonight I returned to Frightening Fridays (the one day a week I have designated for evangelism). With the onset of winter, I have moved indoors. I've been trying to think of ways to engage people in conversation (that is the hardest part for me).

I have recently employed the idea of using a cross in my evangelism efforts (an idea used by other street evangelists such as Tony Miano (http://www.thelawmanchronicles.blogspot.com/) and Paul Latour (http://www.thewordstreetjournal.blogspot.com/). I adapted the idea a bit and asked Greg to make me a wooden cross that would fit next to me on a shopping mall bench. The cross has the words Are You Ready? written on it. I'm seeking to engage people in conversations about eternity with that question.

The picture below was actually taken a few weeks before Christmas when I tried this idea for the first time. Several people stopped to look at the words on the cross (often averting their eyes when they noticed me watching them). No conversations came out of that first night out, though. I did have one guy stop to take my picture (it was Greg--how embarrassing--yet comforting to have my husband take an interest in his wife's attempts at evangelism).

Tonight I hit the mall again with my cross. I challenged myself to sit on the bench for 30 minutes. I had a small pocket New Testament with me, so I read that in between people walking by. Again, many people noticed the cross, but no conversations yet. I also challenged myself to spend 30 minutes passing out tracts in the mall, which I did. Please pray for those who received the gospel message in their hands this evening, that they respond in repentance and faith.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Book of Daniel

Last summer, I stopped at the skatepark to engage in some one-to-one evangelism. I shared the gospel with several young men that night. One of the young men said his dad asked him to read the book of Daniel (in the Bible), and he had just started it. I decided to read the book of Daniel so I could have a conversation with this young man should I run into him again at the skatepark. Never saw him again.....but I did fall in love with the book of Daniel. It fascinates me. I've read it several times since then.

About a year ago, my friend Kim and I went to a conference through Precepts ministry (www.precepts.org). We took a class to learn how to lead an inductive Bible study through their ministry (they like you to take their training before leading a study). We completed the training but haven't yet used it to lead a study.

This year I've decided to tackle my first inductive Bible study course (through Precepts ministry) on the Book of Daniel (chapters 1-7). Time to put that training to use. My first and only pupil for this venture---Greg (he volunteered, really). I'm excited we'll be studying the book of Daniel together.

I have now read two books with my niece, Meghan, as part of the Feed the Starving Teenagers program (Lies Young Women Believe by Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Dannah Gresh and Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris) and two books with my nephew, Joe (Do Hard Things by the Harris brothers and Tortured for Christ by Richard Wurmbrand). We are on our third book, and I have chosen the book of Daniel.

I'm excited to see all these opportunities come together around the book of Daniel. I pray God will use it greatly in our lives.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Resource Wednesday 01/06/10

I have a passion for resources that will grow us in our Christian walk and move us toward being more like Christ. On Wednesdays this year, I will share with you resources of that nature. Please note: I have yet to read anything written solely by man that I agree with 100% in every aspect of it. Everything that is read or listened to today needs to be weighed against Scripture. Please do so with these resources I provide as with all things.

I have mentioned before, I enjoy subscribing to a couple e-mail feeds that provide a daily e-mail with quotes from Puritans and other theologians of our current day. Grace Gems usually provides a quote from a Puritan or an excerpt from a sermon along with an audio clip. Of First Importance tends to be a little more modern in there quotes, often using authors and theologians of our present day. I find both beneficial and useful. Check it out.

www.gracegems.org

www.firstimportance.org

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Time To Think

This year I approached the new year differently than I usually do. I actually took some time to think about it. I wrote down things I would like to focus on this year, how I plan to spend my time. I took a look at several relationships in my life and made a couple goals for each one of them. I decided on a Bible reading plan so I could implement it as soon as the new year started. I didn't make big and lofty goals, but I made a lot of them. I want to be used of the Lord this year. I don't want to pace myself. When (if the Lord allows) I reach December 31, 2010, I want to be spent.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Cookie Baking Night 1/4/10

Tonight was Cookie Baking Night. For those unfamiliar with these posts, Cookie Baking Night happens every other Monday with my nieces and nephews (6 nieces and nephews in Minnesota, a different number in attendance every time). We have supper together, make cookies, read a Bible story, play games, etc.

Tonight Ethan, Carissa, and Emily were in attendance. We had meatloaf for supper. We made one-eyed Susans for our cookies (peanut butter cookie with a Hershey kiss in the middle).

We played a few rousing games of Zingo (a Cookie Baking Night favorite).

And we read our Bible story, What Happened to Adam and Eve, from the book Leading Little Ones to God (I highly recommend this book), followed by Emily reading for us from Genesis 3:7-10. Some great discussion followed.

As usual, fun was had by all.

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Saturday, January 2, 2010

A New Year of Blogging

My goal for the blog this year is to write a post Monday-Saturday. I also have a vague structure in mind. It is as follows:

Every other Monday I'll write about my cookie baking adventures with the nieces and nephews.

Wednesday I'll share Christian resources that I enjoy (websites, e-mail feeds, books, podcasts, etc). I love resources, and I have a passion for hunting them down.

Fridays I will return to my Frightening Friday posts as I hit the streets with the intention of sharing the gospel with people I meet.

Saturdays will be reserved for evangelism videos from various evangelists as they seek to share the gospel with the people they meet.

The days in between will be filled my various musings (just as the title of this blog implies).

Stay tuned.

Friday, January 1, 2010

A New Year

I'm always reflective this time of year. This holiday (New Year's Day) fits well with my personality. I like definite beginnings and definite endings. I like starts and finishes, something measurable and tangible, and the new year provides that.

I am also reflective this time of year because it is the season in which God called me unto Him and regenerated me. When I first started this blog I shared my testimony as it is written in a gospel tract that I use in my evangelism efforts (it can be found under the archives--May posts--My testimony). Today I would like to share that testimony again, as I remember it when this time of year comes around.

We were fast approaching on the close of the year 2003 and the beginning of the year 2004. For most of the year of 2003 (if not longer), I was very depressed. I was profoundly sad and unhappy. I could function in the world but just barely. I made it to work (most days) and then back home again to my world of self-pity. I called myself a Christian, but I did not have the joy of the Lord in my life. I turned to many outside things for happiness, my main source being television and movies. I lived my life around TV. But, I was getting to the point where TV could no longer make me happy. I also relied heavily on my husband, Greg, for my happiness, and he wasn't cutting it either. We had some financial challenges during that time, and I was sure that Greg was the sole cause of those difficulties and all my unhappiness.


Right before Christmas that year, I told Greg I was going to leave him. I had a plan, and I gave him a time frame. It crushed him (and to my shame, I was hoping for that). He asked me to wait a month. I reluctantly agreed.


Since I had a month to kill before I could start being happy again, and I truly was a mess, I thought I would try a few self-help strategies, something to focus on in the meantime. I decided that my New Year's resolution for 2004 would be to stop watching TV that year. Considering the amount of time I spent watching TV daily, it was a drastic move on my part (even more than I could fathom). But once I commit to something, I commit. I was going to do this thing (ironic considering my mindset about my marriage at the time).


When January 1, 2004, arrived, I stopped watching TV. The first week, I survived quite nicely, I thought. It was a work week, so I hardly noticed not watching TV in the evenings. I was in the zone, so it didn't matter. However, I do remember, very clearly, that first Saturday without TV. I woke up at my usual time, went about my usual morning activities, ate breakfast. But, by 10:00, I was a mess. I didn't know what to do with myself without TV. I started crying hysterically. Greg did his best to console me, but by 11:00 we came to the conclusion that I should go back to bed. So, that's what I did. Though I did not have the language to put with the situation at the time, that was my first inkling that TV had become an idol in my life.


As the weeks passed without TV, God started to reveal my heart to me. I called myself a Christian, but I worshipped everything except God. When TV was removed from my life, I didn't fill that space with the worship of God, but I did seek to fill that space. I was still very depressed, and I begged God to give me joy. I demanded it.

One day, I was in the bathtub (I spent a lot of time in the bathtub during those days. It felt small and contained and in control, and I liked that) and I was crying (did a lot of that during that time as well). Again, I asked God to give me joy. And at that moment, God opened my eyes. I was suddenly aware that I was in no position to ask God for anything. I was an idolater and a liar and much more, but those two sins alone were enough to convict me and lay me out flat before God. I had never been more aware of my sins before a holy and righteous God than I was at that moment. With that realization came the reality of the cross. Suddenly I understood why Jesus died for me--because I am a sinner in need of a savior. Up until that time I truly believed that the prayer I repeated after the camp counselor when I was 11 years old had saved me. I thought that was how it worked--pray a prayer and then do your best to be a good person. That day in the bathtub I was very aware that I was not a good person. I cried out to God in true repentance for the first time in my life. That day, I stopped trusting in a prayer I said when I was 11 and put my trust in Christ alone for my salvation.

That began a season of repentance in my life. It was followed by weeks of crying and asking for forgiveness as God brought my offenses to mind. I now understand why the Bible uses the phrase "you must be born again". That is the only explanation for what took place in my life. God made me new. He took the old desires and gave me new ones. Things I couldn't make myself do weeks before (read my Bible, pray, love my husband) I suddenly wanted to do. I knew that was not of myself. I was new. I had been born again.

As I contemplate a new year to come and reflect on the 2003/2004 holidays, I thank God for saving me and making me a new creature in Christ.

Cookie Baking Night 06/19/17

Tonight was Cookie Baking Night. In attendance this evening: Emily, Ethan, and Carissa. Smaller crowd tonight, as Cookie Baking Ni...