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Showing posts from June, 2010

Resource Wednesday 06/30/10

This Resource Wednesday I'd like to commend to you (again) the Voice of the Martyrs monthly publication. It's a full-color magazine highlighting followers of Christ in areas around the world where they are being persecuted for their faith. The magazine also shares ways you can be involved in helping these fellow believers. It is a free publication, and I highly recommend requesting it (http://www.persecution.com/).

Here's an excerpt from the back of the newsletter/magazine:

The Voice of the Martyrs Newsletter is published 12 times a year. Serving with the persecuted church, the mission works in more than 50 countries through its own International Christian Association of mission offices.

Our main purposes, based on Hebrews 13:3:
1. To encourage and empower Christians to fulfill the Great Commission in areas around the world where they are persecuted for their involvement in propagating the gospel of Jesus Christ.

2. To give relief to the families of Christian martyrs in these a…

Something to Think About

You will find below an article written by R.C. Sproul Jr. (found at http://www.ligonier.org/) about the wisdom of Christians using Facebook. I personally am not a Facebook user and, frankly, it is for some of the reasons listed below. But, as you know, I do write a blog. I think the questions below can just as easily be applied to the use of a blog and many other forms of technology in this modern world we live in. No one escapes this examination. This is a thought-provoking article. It asks a lot of questions with the desire that we examine ourselves in this area. At the end of the article, the author states his purpose as calling us to be deliberate in our Christian walk (intentional in what we do and say). I support that premise, so I wanted to post this article for your consideration.

Should Christians be on Facebook? What about all the privacy issues that are in the news these days?

I sometimes wonder if the devil doesn’t take great pleasure in irony, in watching us turn ourselves…

Cookie Baking Night 06/28/10

Tonight was Cookie Baking Night. In attendance this evening: Carissa and Emily. Tonight we made dirt cup desserts.
First: We scraped the frosting off the Oreo cookies.


Then we put the cookies in the blender and crushed them. It was Carissa's first experience with a blender. She wasn't too sure about the noise at first but it grew on her.


Ahhhh. The finished product (for this step). Our bowl full of dirt (chocolate cookies crumbs).



Next it was time to make the pudding. We made chocolate pudding and vanilla pudding. Emily took charge of the pudding making process and the mixer.

Now it was time to fill the cups. A layer of vanilla pudding, a layer of whipped cream, a layer of chocolate pudding, and a spoonful of chocolate cookie crumbs (i.e., dirt).


Mmmmm, the best part---the gummy worms. The moment we were waiting for all evening.




And finally.... our finished dirt cups. This project took up most of our time together and we had a great time doing it!




Evangelism Evening 6/26/10

Today I went to a summer festival in a neighboring town, complete with pony and camel rides. These summer festivals are a great place to find people. Sometimes the atmosphere lends itself to conversation, sometimes it doesn't, but the festival is always a good place to find people gathered. My goal today was to hand out gospel tracts and practice starting conversations with people. Today gave me some much needed practice in this area.
I recommend bringing a fistful of gospel tracts with you next time you attend an outdoor festival; it's a good starting ground for gospel seed planting.

Evangelism Video 06/25/10

Today I'd like to share with you a video/picture presentation of Tony Miano witnessing to a young woman named Adrianna. Adrianna had just spoken to Todd Friel and Ray Comfort on the radio, and they had shared the gospel with her. This recording contains the follow-up conversation between Tony and Adrianna. It's a thoughtful conversation, and I think it will be worth your time.

My Husband, The Conversationalist

Recently we were visiting with some acquaintances. We know them but we don't know them well. As Greg was visiting and asking questions, I was grateful to have him there and reminded of how God has uniquely gifted him in the area of conversation starting. Greg is a pretty quiet guy by nature, so most people would not think of him as a conversationalist. But quite the opposite is true. Greg is a bit of a "Jack of all trades" in life experience. He's able to draw from that and connect with just about anyone. I've never seen him intimidated by what another person does for a living, and that also serves him well. I've always said if Greg meets an astrophysicist at a dinner party the conversation would go something like this:

Me: Greg, this is Mary's husband, Frank. Frank, Greg. Greg, Frank.

A little later in the evening.

Greg: So, Frank, what do you do for a living?

Frank: I'm an astrophysicist. I work for NASA.

Greg: Oh, cool.

A little later in the evening.

Gr…

Resource Wednesday 06/23/10

My friend, Jenny, raves about the writings of Elisabeth Elliot (widowed missionary to the Auca Indians in the late 50's). A few months back I was in Half-Price Books and, remembering Jenny's recommendations, purchased an Elisabeth Elliot book, Keep a Quiet Heart. This book is a collection of the articles printed in a monthly newsletter sent out by Elisabeth Elliot over the course of about 20 years. Each entry takes up about 1-3 pages in the book and each contains its own title. I've had a hard time putting it down. Because the thoughts are in small snippets I easily read through one 3-page section, then I glance at the title of the next section and I think, "Oh, that sounds good. I have to read that too." I am thoroughly enjoying it.

Here's one of the reflections from Elisabeth Elliot's Keep a Quiet Heart for your consideration:

God's Curriculum

One day recently something lit a fuse of anger in someone who then burned me with hot words. I felt sure I did…

Radical Conversion

Right now, in my Bible reading time, I'm reading through the book of Acts. I love this book! It's full of the gospel. Now I'll share a few verses from Acts chapter 9 and then a few thoughts.

But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. So the…

Reconciled

A couple Sundays ago, we sang this song in the worship service at church. I love the words to this song, so I thought I'd share them with you.

Reconciled (by David Charpie)

No more at war with God. I stand in grace, His wrath appeased
His justice fully satisfied, hostilities have ceased
No fragile or uneasy truce marks this our conflict's end
All enmity has been erased, my God now calls me "friend"

A treaty of my own I could have never hoped to bring
No strength my own could shield me from the fury of the King
For I was the offender who rebelled and chose to sin
And He the Just Avenger who will every battle win

But Jesus Christ himself has made this peace on my behalf
His blood has paid sin's penalty no more I fear God's wrath
O sing the love that bade my sinning sole be reconciled
Though once a rebel I've been made the King of Heaven's child!

Evangelism Video 06/19/10

I love this evangelism video made by Paul Latour at The Word Street Journal blog. It's titled "It takes one to show some". Paul does a great job using his blog to teach others about how to evangelize to the lost in their area. I've learned a lot by watching his ministry. I'm grateful it exists. The video posted below is short but packed full of evangelism ideas. Enjoy!

Evangelism Evening/Tip 06/18/10

Tonight I leave you with an evangelism tip.

A lot of people say they hold back on sharing the gospel with strangers because they wouldn't know what to say or they're afraid they will get a question they cannot handle. I struggle more with starting the conversation. I'm a quiet person by nature. I don't start a lot of conversations. I can handle silence in a room, so I don't usually fill it in with conversation either. With this in view, approaching people and starting a conversation about the gospel has really been a struggle for me. I had to learn how to share the gospel, and I had to learn how to start a conversation in general.

Here's a few of the ideas that have helped me get in the mindset of starting a conversation.

When walking down the street or in a public venue, I look people in the eye. As I'm walking and looking people in the eye, I smile at them. I say "hello" to strangers as I walk by them. If I'm standing behind someone in a line a…

The Making of an Egyptian

I mentioned in the previous post that Wednesday night was an Egyptian costume contest at our church's VBS event. I documented the process in case you might have need for this type of thing in your life someday.
Step 1: You will need a pillow case. It would be wise to make sure the pillow case fits the child. We did this by placing the pillow case over her body, head and all. (As I took this picture, Emily said, "Wait, I think I might have blinked."--always the comedian).
Step 2: Cut a hole in the top of the pillow case for the child's head to fit through and one hole on each side for the arms.
Step 3: Cut a collar out of felt (felt is very inexpensive to purchase by the yard, and 1/4 of a yard was sufficient for this project).


Step 4: Decorate the collar with jewel stickers (they can be purchased at the local craft store). The finishing touches were a painted wooden cobra (also found at the local craft store) glued to an old headband, painted gold. A piece of gold ribbo…

A Week With Emily

As I mentioned in Monday's post, this week our church was hosting VBS. I volunteered to run the "snack shack" for the week. With that big job in view, I took the week off of work (so glad I did that) to spend the week in ministry. I also invited my niece, Emily, to stay with us for the week (glad I did that too). It was a good week and a busy week. Emily was a great help with the snack shack preparations. I took pictures of our week together, and I'll share them in this post.


Monday's snack was pyramid-shaped sandwiches. First the proper sanitary precautions needed to be taken. (She wasn't too thrilled about the shower cap, but she was good a sport nonetheless, even let me take a picture of her).
Emily put the filling in all of our sandwiches, and I buttered them for the grilling process to come later that evening. (We had grilled cheese, chocolate and marshmallow, and peanut butter & jelly sandwiches that evening).
The next night we made desert dessert cup…

Resource Wednesday 06/16/10

This resource Wednesday I'd like to share with you about the latest book I'm reading. It's God Has a Wonderful Plan for Your Life (subtitled The Myth of the Modern Message) by Ray Comfort. This book has had a few different titles over the years (such as Hell's Best Kept Secret, The Way of the Master). This latest title has an intriguing cover (under the title "God Has a Wonderful Plan for Your Life" there is a painting of Stephen, first martyr recorded in the Bible, being stoned for his faith). This is a smaller version of the book (125 pages). I'm halfway through the book now, and I'm finding it an interesting read.

Here's an excerpt from the back of the book, which explains a bit of the premise of the book:

For decades, the world's most popular gospel message has been drawing the lost by promising God's wonderful plan for their life. But behind the facade of the "wonderful plan" message is the reality of trials, temptations, and …

Happy Birthday, Greg!

Today is my husband's birthday. Greg is celebrating 40 years on this earth. I am grateful to God for Greg. He is a man of God who gives importance to his role as leader of our family. God has gifted him and given him talents in areas that would fill up several blog posts. I enjoy watching him use those talents in ministry for the Lord.

Greg, I pray for God's continued growth in your life in the year to come. Happy Birthday, my husband!

Cookie Baking Night-On the Road

Tonight was Cookie Baking Night and we took the show on the road. This week our church is having VBS (Vacation Bible School), and we made plans to spend the evening there. Ethan started soccer tonight, so he wasn't with us.
Our church is using an Answers in Genesis curriculum called "The Egypt File". We have another church helping us. They ran VBS last week, so they brought all their props to us this week. As you can see, they did a great job on the props. They transformed our tiny church into the land Egypt for the week.
In the picture below, Emily and Carissa are posing by the camels and the palm trees.

Fun was had by all, and we're learning about how God made us (answering the question "where do we come from?")

Graduation Day!

Nephew Joe graduated from high school today! (Elk River High School class of 2010). We love him! You will find below (top to bottom) Joe with his dad and mom (Rob, my brother, and Mary, his wife), Joe with his sisters (Meghan, 14 and Emily, 9), and Joe with Uncle Greg and Aunt Katrina.







Rule Keeping

The other day I was listening to Wretched Radio, and I transcribed a short segment about rule keeping and the heart of the sin issue. The host, Todd Friel, was quoting an article written by John Piper. Then he added his own comments after the article. It's a little scattered in presentation (if you listen to Wretched Radio regularly you're used to that, though), but the general thought of the message is worth pondering, so I wanted to share it with you.

John Piper Article: Do you think the essence of your evil is disobeying the commandments. That’s a good start, but that is not the essence of our evil (Romans 1:23 and 2:23). The essence of our evil is that we prefer anything to God. If you think the essence of your evil is commandment breaking, your focus for change will be commandment keeping. If we get good at it (keeping the rules), we think we have changed, but the essence of our evil remains. If we cannot get good at it (keeping the rules), we despair and quit trying. If w…

Resource Wednesday 06/09/10

This Resource Wednesday I'd like to share with you an idea I've employed in my Bible study time. In the past, I have shared with you the idea of taking a paperback book and getting it spiral bound.

Recently, Greg took on this task for me:
He bought a paperback Bible.
He brought it to a local office supply store.
He had it spiral bound. I love it! It works well for studying the Bible. I'm using it for the Proverbs study I'm in right now with the ladies of our church. I'm also using it as I study the book of Acts right now (love the book of Acts---great gospel sharing instruction all over that book). In both of these studies I'm using colored pencils for underlining as I read through the book. The spiral bound Bible allows me to flip the cover over and really get to the pages. It allows me to take it anywhere and study anywhere. It's an idea worth trying, so I thought I'd pass it on this Resource Wednesday.

Deep Love of Jesus

On Sunday, in church, we sang The Deep, Deep Love of Jesus. I enjoy this song. I think the words match the tune and it causes one to think deeper thoughts about the love of Jesus. I found a short video of the song and I've posted the words below.



O the deep, deep love of Jesus,
Vast, unmeasured, boundless, free!
Rolling as a mighty ocean
In its fullness over me!
Underneath me, all around me,
Is the current of Thy love
Leading onward, leading homeward
To Thy glorious rest above!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus,
Spread His praise from shore to shore!
How He loveth, ever loveth,
Changeth never, nevermore!
How He watches o’er His loved ones,
Died to call them all His own;
How for them He intercedeth,
Watcheth o’er them from the throne!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus,
Love of every love the best!
’Tis an ocean vast of blessing,
’Tis a haven sweet of rest!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus,
’Tis a heaven of heavens to me;
And it lifts me up to glory,
For it lifts me up to Thee!

Evangelism Evening 06/07/10

Tonight I needed to pick Greg up from the airport in the evening (he was working a freelance job over the weekend, out of state).

I had some time to kill between the end of my work shift and the airport run, so I went to The Mall of America (very close to the Minneapolis airport) to hand out some gospel tracts.


Since there are so many solicitors for your time, attention, and money at the mall (particularly on a slow night), I found a chilly reception to the gospel tracts. I was able to hand out a few, but I definitely had more rejections than I did takers tonight.


I engaged in one conversation with an older gentleman sitting on a bench, but I didn't get very far. He was very polite but very closed to conversation. It went like this:


Me: "Here's a million dollars for you."


Him: "No. Thank you. What is that monopoly money?"

Me: "It's a gospel tract. It has the million dollar question on back. What do you think happens to a person when they die? What are yo…

Evangelism Video 06/05/10

This Evangelism Evening I leave you with an evangelism video of Ray Comfort witnessing to a young man named Michael. Kirk Cameron introduces this video, and I think he has a wise word about sharing the gospel with people even when they seem apathetic to the message.


A Movie Tip

On the heels of Resource Wednesday, I'd like to share with you about a movie we rented last weekend. It's called "The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry". Living Waters ministry has spoken highly of this movie during its creation process and release to the public. It is now on video. I highly recommend it. The story had a strong gospel message throughout.

The story takes place in 1970 (fictional) and revolves around three young boys and an elderly gentleman in their town who shares the gospel with them. I think this movie would be a great witnessing tool, and I recommend checking it out.

Resource Wednesday 06/02/10

This Resource Wednesday is about the book What Do I Know About My God? by Mardi Collier. Last year the ladies of our church read through this book during our monthly women's Bible study. We also kept a notebook to correspond with the book title. In the "What Do I Know About My God?" notebook we wrote out verses that correspond with an attribute of God (example: My God is Righteousness, My God is Judge, My God Forgives, etc.) I have referred to that notebook on this blog many, many times in the course of the last year. I refer to that notebook because I still use it. It has become a valuable resource to me. I continue to refer to it, and I continue to add to it. I highly recommend starting a notebook like this of your own.

For ideas on how to start your own notebook you can check out Mardi Collier's book, What Do I Know About My God?


My God Answers Prayer

This week I've been reading in my "What Do I Know About My God" notebook. This is one of the entries I have written under the My God Answers Prayer heading.

Job 19:23-24 (NKJV):
"Oh that my words were written! Oh, that they were inscribed in a book! That they were engraved on a rock with an iron pen and lead forever!"

Study Note (John MacArthur Study Bible):
Job wished that the activities of his life were put into words and "inscribed in granite", so all would know that he had not sinned to the magnitude of his suffering. God granted his prayer.

Katrina Note:
These verses are a reminder to me that God answeres prayer. Job did not know the secret things of God. Job did not know that God would use his story for generations to come and it would, indeed, be written down.