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Showing posts from August, 2010

Paul's Subject

Today I'd like to share with you another posting I received in my Grace Gems (http://www.gracegems.org/) daily e-mail feed. It speaks to the life of the apostle Paul and who he esteemed most.

Paul's subject!

(James Smith, "Rills from the Rock of Ages", 1860
This one is a bit longer--but it it choice!)

Paul was . . .
an extraordinary man,
called to an extraordinary office, and
being sent to perform an extraordinary work
--he chose an extraordinary subject.

He knew history,
he was acquainted with philosophy, and
he was well versed in tradition.

There were . . .
few subjects that he could not handle,
few themes that he could not discuss,
few congregations that he could not interest.

But he made the conversion of sinners the object of his life--and he chose Christ crucified to be the subject of his ministry!
No matter where he went--he took his subject with him.
No matter whom he addressed--he directed their attention to this point.

He knew what man required--and what man preferred; but it…

Characteristics of a Servant

I am currently reading Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends by Sarah, Stephen, and Grace Mally (you can find the Amazon link on the right side of this page under "Books I'm currently reading" if you're interested in more information about the book). I bought this book at the Bright Lights conference I attended a couple weeks ago. I was intrigued by this concept and wanted to hear what the authors had to say.

As I was reading in the second chapter of the book, I found this little nugget and thought I would share it with you (its application stretches beyond the realm of brothers and sisters).

"As we seek to be godly leaders in our families, our first assignment is to learn what seems like the opposite. Be a servant; look for opportunities to humble yourself and unselfishly serve others.

Characteristics of a True Servant
Knows that all assignments are actually from GodWill be quick to volunteerConsiders his/her assignment importantTakes ordersDoes not desire to h…

Evangelism Evening 08/27/10

This evangelism evening I returned to my local skate park. Once I pushed through the inevitable question, "Are you hear to pick up one of your kids?" (trying to figure out why this "old" woman was at the skate park) and after a couple of my "buddies" from past skate park experiences stepped up to say, "It's okay. I've seen her before. She talked to me about God.", I asked the young people there if they would be willing to answer a few questions regarding their spiritual beliefs. I told them I had heard on a radio show earlier in the week that the following statements summed up what young people in America believed about God (the radio show called this view moralistic therapeutic deism). I asked them if they would agree or disagree with the following statements:

1. A God exists who created and ordered the world and watches over human life on earth.

2. God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other.

3. The central goal in life is t…

John 12: 23-26

And Jesus answered them, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there will
My servant be also. If anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him."

Resource Wednesday 08/25/10

Today's Resource Wednesday is a 2 for 1 resource deal. About a month ago, I entered a drawing on the Fish With Trish website (http://www.fishwithtrish.com/). Trish was giving away a copy of the book Before God by Mike Sarkissian. The Fish With Trish website is a great resource for evangelism tips. She often posts videos of her tips. She also gives away resources via a drawing from time to time. I highly recommend checking out the website.

As mentioned above, I entered the drawing for Before God, and my name was drawn. Trish sent me the book (thanks Trish), and I have been thoroughly enjoying it. I'm halfway through it now. The subtitle of the book is "The Biblical Doctrine of Prayer". My favorite chapter so far is chapter 4, "Jesus' Prayer Life". When the God-man himself made prayer such a distinct priority, it's hard to deny the necessity of it in our own lives. I'm in a section of the book now where the author is systematically going through th…

Cookie Baking Night News

In Cookie Baking Night news, a future member was born on Friday, August 20.

Allison Rose Oseid made her arrival into the world a little earlier than expected (about 6 weeks earlier than expected) but doing well. She's seen here with her parents, Dan and Deena (Greg's brother and sister-in-law). We anticipate Alli will be joining us at Cookie Baking Nights in about three years (the official Cookie Baking Night starting age). We're looking forward to it!

Cookie Baking Night 08/23/10

Tonight was Cookie Baking Night. In attendance this evening: Emily (Carissa had a "meet the teacher" night at school, as she is on the cusp of starting kindergarten--very exciting).




I had Emily make supper this evening. She made tacos, which meant she cooked the meat and added the taco seasoning, cut up the lettuce, cut up the tomatoes, and grated the cheese. It was delicious!





For the "baking" portion of the evening, we made triple berry rhubarb crisp from rhubarb we picked out of the back yard.





Instead of reading from our usual devotional book this evening, since it was the two of us, Emily and I started a lesson in a discipleship book I purchased at the Bright Lights conference last week. The book is titled 4:12 (based on Ephesians 4:12, Colossians 4:12, and 1 Timothy 4:12). It's an 8-week discipleship program for young girls. We enjoyed the first lesson.

At the end of the evening, Emily painted rocks she picked up from the shore of Lake Superior on our trip to…

Evangelism Evening 8/21/10

My evangelism efforts this week have been spread out through the week as I've been traveling around. I was in Duluth, Minnesota earlier in the week (Tuesday and Wednesday) and on Friday and Saturday I was in Des Moines, Iowa. My husband, Greg, has been working at the Iowa State Fair for the last two weeks (setting up and running projection at the concerts each evening). So, on Friday (after work), I made the 5-hour journey out to visit him and then was able to attend a family baby shower a few towns over the next day. The picture below was taken at the Iowa State Fair
(Greg and I spent a few hours at the fair on Saturday morning).



I thought I would take this time to talk about evangelism while traveling. There are a lot of opportunities to share the gospel when you travel, but you need to be looking for them and it is best to be prepared.

Here are a few tips:

1. Be praying for opportunities to share the gospel with others via gospel tract or one-to-one conversation.

2. Preach the gosp…

Duluth/Conference

On Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, my niece, Emily, and I attended the Strong in the Lord Conference (through Bright Lights ministry) in Duluth, Minnesota. For more details about the Bright Lights ministry, please check out the Resource Wednesday post for 08/17/10. Duluth is about a two-hour drive from our home. We left on Tuesday morning and did a little sightseeing before the conference began. The conference started at 6:00 pm on Wednesday night (6-9) and then picked up again the next day at 9:00 am (and ran until 6:00 pm that evening). It was a whirlwind trip (we left on Tuesday morning and returned on Wednesday evening, late). We had a very enjoyable time. The conference was well done. The Bright Lights ministry did a great job of gearing it toward the various age groups with lots of stories, skits, singing, object lessons, and time in small groups. It was fun to have the time together with Emily, and the conference was great conversation material. We also managed to squeeze i…

Resource Wednesday 08/18/10

This Resource Wednesday I'd like to share with you about a ministry called Bright Lights (http://www.brightlights.info/). It is a ministry set up with the aim of discipling/mentoring (in Christianity) young girls ages 10-13.

Here's an excerpt from the Bright Lights website explaining how this ministry began and how it has grown into a thriving ministry today:

Bright Lights began in May of 1996. Sarah Mally, a seventeen-year-old at the time, was concerned about the spiritual walk of many young ladies she knew. The Lord gave her the desire to begin a discipleship ministry in order to share with these girls some of the things the Lord had taught her. She decided to call the group Bright Lights. BRIGHT stands for Being Radiant In Godliness, Holiness, and Testimony.

Sarah sent out brochures to several young ladies she knew, inviting them to come to Bright Lights. This wasn’t a group of just fun and games—it was a group for girls who were serious about spiritual things and desiring to …

The State of the Heart

Today I'd like to share with you the devotional thought provided by my Grace Gems daily e-mail feed (www.gracegems.org) on the condition of the heart versus the words coming out of one's mouth.

When a man's tongue is extensively wrong

(J. C. Ryle)

Let it be a settled principle again in our religion, that when a man's general conversation is ungodly--his heart is graceless and unconverted. Let us not give way to the foolish notion, that no one can know anything of the state of another's heart, and that although men are living wickedly--they have good hearts at the bottom. Such notions are flatly contradictory to our Lord's teaching. Is the general tone of a man's speech carnal, worldly, godless or profane? Then let us understand, that this is the state of his heart! When a man's tongue is extensively wrong, it is absurd, no less than unscriptural, to say that his heart is right!

"No good tree bears bad fruit; nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each t…

Joe's Graduation Gift

About 4 years ago, we spent a couple Cookie Baking Nights making fleece blankets. The nieces and nephews each picked the color for the backing on their blankets (they all had the same pattern on the front) and then they tied the ends together themselves. The purpose of these blankets was to use them when we all watched a video together or during our Bible lesson time. Of course, all the kids wanted to take the blankets home with them that night, but I insisted that they stay at my house. Joe was 14 years old at the time and said, "When I graduate from high school, can I take mine to college with me?" I agreed that would be an acceptable time to take the blanket home. At the time it felt like that day was decades away, but it being only 4 years ago, it arrived in the blink of an eye.

Joe graduated from high school in June this year, so recently I gave him the blanket as a graduation gift. My mother-in-law was gracious enough to lend me her seamstress talents and machine-embroi…

Evangelism Video 08/14/10

Today I'd like to share with you a video of Ray Comfort sharing the gospel with a young woman on an airplane. It's kind of a weird format (with a fair amount of background noise from the airplane), but it's a very interesting interview. I think it's worth watching.


The Idol of Comfort

I have had a very uncomfortable week (husband out of town, vehicle broke down, changes at place of employment, pain issues and doctor appointments downtown, etc.), which God has used to show me that I all too often make an idol out of comfort.

The Bible says in Exodus 20:3 "You shall have no other gods before me." Yet this week I found myself worshipping at the feet of the god of comfort. And when I did not get what I wanted (comfort), my instinct was to act sinfully.I was very uncomfortable this week, and I hated it.

God showed me that not only was I worshipping comfort, but I was all too comfortable with who I am, all too satisfied with me. I don't care to change and won't choose it. God uses trials and difficulties to change me, to conform me to the image of His son.

I know this through scripture:

when it says: "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfa…

Resource Wednesday 08/11/10

This Resource Wednesday I'd like to remind you to check out the information posted on the right-hand side of my blog home page.


I have a category there titled "Books I'm Currently Reading" which is exactly that, the books I am currently reading (there is also a link to Amazon with each book cover shown if you wish to find information about how to purchase that book). As I am in the process of reading books, I usually review them as I go and post excerpts from them when I reach a particularly noteworthy part (or at least noteworthy in my opinion). I take my time reading books and processing them, so you may find titles stay in this category for awhile. But when I'm finished I either move it off the page altogether or I move it to the "Books Worth Reading" category.


Which brings me to my next category titled, as mentioned above, "Books Worth Reading". I list a book in that category only if I have read it and gleaned useful information from it.

Fina…

The World Must Be Shown

Today I'd like to share with you a couple more pages from Elisabeth Elliott's book Keep a Quiet Heart that speak to the subject of Christians suffering in this world. This excerpt is titled "The World Must Be Shown" (pages 191 & 192).

When Jesus was speaking with His disciples before His crucifixion, He gave them His parting gift: peace such as the world can never give. But He went on immediately to say, "Set your troubled hearts at rest and banish your fears....I shall not talk much longer with you, for the Prince of this world approaches. He has no rights over me, but the world must be shown that I love the Father and do exactly as He commands" [John 14:27, 30-31, NEB].

A young mother me called to ask for "something that will help me trust in the Lord." She explained that she had several small children, she herself was 30 years old, and she had cancer. Chemotherapy had done its hideous work of making her totally bald. The prognosis was not go…

Cookie Baking Night 08/09/10

Tonight was Cookie Baking Night. In attendance this evening: Ethan and Carissa (Ethan has been away for awhile with soccer practices and soccer games--it was good to have him back). Tonight we made the ever-so-fun hamburger cookie. I documented the process in case you would like to try this with your gang at home sometime. It's a good summertime recipe because it doesn't require an oven or stove to make it.



The main ingredients in this recipe are small peppermint patty candies (unwrapped, of course) and vanilla wafer cookies. You will also need vanilla frosting and food coloring.



Divide the frosting into two bowls. Color one bowl of frosting yellow and one bowl of frosting red (that will be your ketchup and your mustard).



Spread a layer of "ketchup" (red frosting) on one cookie, a layer of "mustard" (yellow frosting) on another cookie, then sandwich a mint candy between the frosted cookies.




And you will have yourself some hamburger cookies. Always a hit!




Evangelism Evening 08/07/10

Tonight Greg and I went to a local festival to hand out some gospel tracts. The music was loud and the beer was flowing, so the atmosphere wasn't that conducive to our goal (it was a little different than I was expecting). We stuck around for awhile, though, and handed out several gospel tracts. I pray the message of the gospel will reach prepared soil tonight and God will use it to regenerate hearts.



If you're a Christian reading this blog, I encourage you to bring some gospel tracts with you when you attend these local festivals. Some venues work, some don't, and it doesn't take long to figure out which is which. Pray, be prepared, and go.

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Today is my Dad's birthday, so I thought I'd say a few words about him.

My dad was born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland and came to America when he was 21 years old. He became an American citizen over 20 years ago. Recently, Dad and I had a conversation about social security and he spoke about his "naturalization papers". I said, "Are those the papers you received when you became an American citizen?" He said, "Yes. I can prove I'm an America citizen. How will prove you're an American?" I said, "I was born here. It says so on my birth certificate. Thank you for that, by the way." He smiled.

But, if you're looking for that cool Scottish brogue when you speak to my dad, you won't find it. He was annoyed by the kind of attention the Scottish accent produced here in America so he worked hard to rid himself of it and blend in (he's a very determined guy). However, it still lurks just under the surface (easily distinguishable…

Psalm 8

I teach the Christian Education (Sunday School) class for the 3-6-year-old children at our church. A year ago we memorized Psalm chapter 8 (in the Bible) and we spent last month reviewing it.

It's a great passage describing God as the creator of heaven and earth, so I thought I'd share it with you today.

O LORD, our LORD, how majestic is Your name in all the earth! You have set Your glory above the heavens. Out of the mouth of babies and infants, You have established strength because of Your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger. When I look at Your heavens the work of Your fingers, the moon and stars, which You have set in place, what is man that You are mindful of him and the son of man that You care for him? Yet You have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; You have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the …

Resource Wednesday 08/04/10

This week I'd like to tell you about a radio ministry/podcast I listen to called The White Horse Inn with Michael Horton and other guests. The tag line of the White Horse Inn website (http://www.whitehorseinn.org/) is Know What You Believe and Why You Believe it.

Each radio program opens with this introduction:

"Five centuries ago, in taverns and public houses across Europe, the masses would gather for discussion and debate over the latest ideas sweeping the land. From one such meeting place, a small Cambridge inn called The White Horse, the reformation came to the English-speaking world. Carrying on the tradition of the early reformers, welcome to the White Horse Inn."

I recommend checking out the website and listening to a few of the programs on there. On the home page, there is a tab labeled "First Time Visitors". On that page, you will find several radio episodes they recommend listening to so you can get a feel for what they are about.

I've enjoyed checki…

A Rare Family Picture

My parents divorced when I was 8 years old, and I never knew how to deal with it. Even at 40 years old, I struggle with it. I always handled it by dealing with my family as units (the mother and stepfather unit, the father and stepmother unit, the sibling unit). Keep them separate! That was my motto.
Six years ago, God regenerated my heart (commonly called "born-again" in Christian circles and in the Bible). He gave me new desires and with that came a desire to love my family as a family. He continues to give me opportunities to exercise this desire.
At my nephew's graduation party a few weeks ago, my youngest brother jokingly (and somewhat vindictively but that's another story for another time) suggested that we (me and my two brothers) have our picture taken with my parents. It was a weird and foreign concept to me, and I was very uncomfortable with it. I quickly tried to figure out a way to get out of it. I looked at my Dad and said, "Seriously? All of us?&qu…

Thoughts on Cookie Baking Night

Tonight is an off night for Cookie Baking with the nieces and nephews, so I thought I'd share with you some of my thoughts on this event.

I'll give a short explanation of Cookie Baking night for the benefit of those who may be new to the blog: Cookie Baking Night happens every other Monday evening from 5:00 pm until 8:00 pm. Our nieces and nephews come over to the house (from both sides of the family). We have supper together (Greg always joins us for supper, and I enjoy having him as part of the experience as well) and then we make some kind of treat in the kitchen (sometimes cookies but it can be a variety of items). Once a niece or nephew turns 3 years old, they are invited to join us on Cookie Baking Nights. Each Cookie Baking Night we read a Bible lesson. We're currently working through Leading Little Ones to God by Marian Schoolland. I read the lesson and now that some of the kids are old enough to read, they take turns reading the passage (that accompanies the lesson…