Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Workplace Musings 11/30/10

As promised, Tuesday will be dedicated to posts about the workplace, mostly lessons in sanctification learned through living and moving in the secular workplace.

I have these verses typed out on a card and hanging on the wall of my desk (at my place of employment) near my phone: " Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality a thing to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Philippians 2:5-10

I can say, without a doubt, when I find myself getting irritated with someone at work, even when I feel wronged, it is because I am loving myself more than I love that other person. I have an agenda for how I want a particular situation to play out, and I expect it to go that way. Despite popular advice of our day, the problem is not that "I don't love myself enough" it is that I love myself too much. I care very much about what's going to happen to me in that situation.

I have recently been reading in the book "From Pride to Humility" by Stuart Scott. There is a section in that book that lists manifestations of humility, characteristics of a humble person. I was struck by this one: A humble person sees himself as no better than others. "A humble person would never see himself as better than others. This is true no matter who the other person is. The humble person understands that he, in and of himself, is capable of the worst sin."

As I begin to grasp this idea and bring it into the workplace with me, it changes everything. It is an opportunity to allow God to teach me humility, a characteristic of Jesus, the one whom I serve and desire to be like.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Birthday Present

My friend, Kim, has recently started an organizing business. About three months ago now, as my birthday present, we spent the day together organizing my office. I was looking for some direction when it came to the storage closet in my office, which she helped me with. She also helped me tweak a few other areas in the room.

I use this room for ministry. It is where I blog. It is where the nieces and nephews spend a lot of time on Cookie Baking Nights. It is where I read my Bible. Since this is a well-used room in the house, Kim's input in making it an organized space was very helpful to me.

Since we're in between Cookie Baking Nights this evening, I thought it would be a good time to share these pictures.


BEFORE

AFTER

BEFORE

AFTER

BEFORE

AFTER


BEFORE

AFTER

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Changes

I've mentioned a couple times now that I will be making a few changes to the structure of the blog. Starting this coming Monday, I will put the new structure in place. I've decided to give every day on the blog a dedicated purpose. Please find below, the explanation of the new structure. With each post in the upcoming week, I will take some time to explain the purpose of the new (in some cases) category and then describe my plan of action for those posts. My intention now, as always, is to keep the content Christ-focused and edifying or remain silent.

Here's the new plan:

Mondays--Cookie Baking Night Every other Monday night our nieces and nephews (from both sides of the family) come to our house and spend the evening with us. Monday's posts will be focused in that regard.

Tuesdays--Workplace Musings My secular job is one of the greatest tools God uses in my personal sanctification process (coming in third, in my life, to marriage and being a member of a family). Tuesday's posts will be about lessons God teaches me through my workplace.

Wednesdays--Bookclub Wednesdays Between now and the end of 2011 I will choose six books to read and discuss on the blog. I would enjoy it if you read them along with me. Wednesdays posts will be dedicated to the discussion of these books.

Thursdays--Mentoring Musings These posts will be geared toward the young person with a particular slant toward the young lady.

Fridays--Evangelism Musings These posts will be geared toward evangelism. I will use these posts to share about my personal evangelism experiences, my favorite evangelism blogs, evangelism videos, etc.

Saturdays--Katrina's Musings Saturday will be potluck day--various musings, if you will.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Evangelism Focus 11/26/10



The picture above is the preparation pile for operation Black Friday evangelism (ignore Mickey, he just happens to be part of the wall).

Just in case anyone is unfamiliar with Black Friday, it is the term used for the Friday after Thanksgiving. In the United States, it is the starting day of the Christmas shopping season. The term "Black Friday" refers to the period in which retailers are turning a profit or "in the black". To increase those profit chances, the retailers offer many special deals for the early bird. This year I heard about sales starting at midnight, 2 am, 3 am, 5 am and so on. Because of these sales, people will wait in long lines, sometimes for hours, in very cold temperatures (in Minnesota anyway) for a shot at a good deal.

My friend, Kim, and I decided to visit people waiting in line for the doors to open at Menard's (home repair store). Greg and I prepared bags ahead of time (using the supplies pictured above). Each bag contained a snack cake, gospel tract, and a personal note from us. We prepared 200 bags, and Kim and I easily distributed them all in about 20 minutes. This is the second year we've done this, and each year we learn a little bit more about how to do it better the next year.

I pray that God will use the gospel message to penetrate the hearts of those standing in line at Menard's this morning. May He be glorified through it!

I will end this post with the text from the message included in the bags this year:

Christmas is the season of giving!

Today, you stand in line waiting on the generosity of others. Today, we visit you because of the generosity of someone else.

We celebrate Christmas because over 2,000 years ago, Jesus Christ showed great generosity toward all mankind when He (fully God ) came to this earth and took on human form (fully man). It is a gift beyond comprehension. The Bible speaks of this gift in the book of Philippians. “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality a thing to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:5-10

We have provided for you today two things:

  • A treat (to enjoy while you’re out and about starting your Christmas shopping)
  • A gospel tract (our hope is that you will read the message in the tract and spend some time considering it today).

Merry Christmas and enjoy your day!


Postscript:

Paul at The Word Street Journal blog e-mailed me this new and improved picture of Mickey Mouse. Love it! Just had to share it with the rest of the blogging world. Thanks, Paul. Mickey has never looked better--always thought he needed something important in that hand.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Make a joyful noise to the LORD all the earth!
Serve the LORD with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!
Know that the LORD, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
We are his people; and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!
For the Lord is good;
His steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.

Psalm 100: 1-5 (ESV)

A reason to be thankful now and all year round!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Cooking Baking Night 11/22/10

Tonight was Cookie Baking Night, and in attendance this evening: Emily, Ethan, and Carissa. It was Emily's birthday choice (she turns 10 on Sunday).

For supper she requested homemade macaroni and cheese and twice baked potatoes.

For her cookie choice she asked if we could make some desserts for her family Thanksgiving meal---fudgy fudge brownies for her (I think the name is the big appeal there), scotcheroos for Joe, and sugar cookies for Meghan (ahhh, your Thanksgiving classics). We made a half batch of two of those, but it still made for a very busy cookie baking night.

Birthday choice nights are always a hit, and this one was no exception. As usual, a fun time was had by all.



Friday, November 19, 2010

Evangelism Focus 11/12/10

For today's evangelism focus I'd like to share with you a video from the Living Waters University series of Ray Comfort witnessing to a Jewish man named Moshe.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Resource Wednesday 11/17/10

This Resource Wednesday I commend to you (again) Bookends of the Christian Life by Jerry Bridges and Bob Bevington. This book is an excellent resource for a discipleship relationship. It has something to say to the mature Christian and to the baby Christian as well. It is all about the gospel, and that we never outgrow.

The premise of the book is to view the Christian life as books on a bookshelf (i.e., ministry, family, work, recreation, etc.), with all your books leaning on the stability of two bookends: The righteousness of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit.

Within this book you will find a thorough explanation of the gospel. Then it goes on to describe three enemies of the gospel (and that right there, folks, is worth the price of admission). The three gospel enemies are self-righteousness, persistent guilt, and self-reliance. After explaining the concept of these enemies of the gospel, the authors give self-examination questions to allow you to explore these ideas in your own life.

It is a small book literally (in physical size and in page numbers-154), and I cannot think of a better discipleship tool for our present age. I highly encourage you to read it and consider using it in a study with a young Christian or in a book study at your church.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Omnipresence of God

Today I'd like to share with you a post from my Grace Gems daily e-mail feed.

THE OMNIPRESENCE OF GOD

(John MacDuff, "The Night Watches")

"Where shall I go from Your Spirit? Where shall I flee from Your presence?" Psalm 139:7

The omnipresence of God! How baffling to any finite comprehension! To think that above us, and around us, and within us--there is Deity--the invisible footprints of an Omniscient, Omnipresent One! "His Eyes are in every place!" On rolling planets--and tiny atoms; on the bright seraph--and the lowly worm; roaming in searching scrutiny through the tracks of immensity--and reading the dark and hidden page of my heart! "All things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do!"

O God! shall this Your Omnipresence appall me? No! In my seasons of sadness and sorrow and loneliness--when other comforts and comforters have failed--when, it may be, in the darkness and silence of some midnight hour, in vain I have sought repose--how sweet to think, "My God is here! I am not alone. The Omniscient One, to whom the darkness and the light are both alike--is hovering over my sleepless pillow!" O my Unsetting Sun, it cannot be darkness or loneliness or sadness--where You are. There can be no night to the soul which has been cheered with Your glorious radiance!

"Surely, I am with you always!" How precious, blessed Jesus, is this, Your legacy of parting love! Present with each of Your people until the end of time--ever present, omnipresent. The true "Pillar of cloud" by day--and "Pillar of fire" by night, preceding and encamping by us in every step of our wilderness journey. My soul! think of Him at this moment--as present with every member of the family that He has redeemed with His blood! Yes, and as much present with every individual soul, as if He had none other to care for--but as if that one engrossed all His affection and love!

The Great Builder--surveying every stone and pillar of His spiritual temple;
the Great Shepherd--with His eye on every sheep of His fold;
the Great High Priest--marking every tear-drop; noting every sorrow; listening to every prayer; knowing the peculiarities of every case: no number perplexing Him--no variety bewildering Him; able to attend to all, and satisfy all, and answer all--myriads drawing hourly from His Treasury--and yet no diminution of that Treasury--ever emptying, and yet ever filling, and always full!

Jesus! Your perpetual and all-pervading presence turns darkness into day! I am not left un-befriended to weather the storms of life--Your hand is from hour to hour piloting my frail vessel. The omnipresence of God--gracious antidote to every earthly sorrow!

"I have set the Lord always before me!" Even now, as night is drawing its curtains around me, be this my closing prayer, 'Blessed Savior! abide with me, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent!' Under the shadowing wings of Your presence and love, "I will both lie down and sleep in peace, for You alone, O Lord, make me live in safety!" Psalm 4:8

Monday, November 15, 2010

The First Snow

Emily spent the night at our house on Saturday. Saturday was a our first big snow (about six inches). It was a great wet and sticky snow. Emily and I made a snowman in the backyard.






Thursday, November 11, 2010

This Blog

As promised last week, I'm going to spend this post blogging about blogging. I often ask myself why I blog. I am constantly examining my motives, and I spend time praying about it. A blog can easily become a source of pride in one's life, and it can become a consuming focus, both of which I would like to avoid.

In this post, I will seek to define the goal and purpose of this blog.

I've never sought to blog daily, but I've set my goal at having a blog post for every day of the week (except Sunday), and I hit that mark most of the time.

I don't have a blog about photography or theology or cooking or organizing or reading or evangelism, though you will see a bit of all of those elements appear on this blog from time to time. My blog has always been and will remain about living the consistent Christian life. This blog exists for the same reason I do, to glorify God. If I were going to give this blog a theme, I guess it would be consistency. Consistency would be a boring topic to blog about, I suppose, because you would need to say the same things over and over in order to remain consistent. Instead of blogging about it, I seek to model it in consistent posts on similar topics. You will see many everyday type of topics appear on this blog because I seek to bring every area of life under the scrutiny of God's Word. I try to keep my thoughts to a minimum on this blog and God's Word and precepts a central focus.

With the above in mind, I will be making a few changes to the structure of this blog to allow me to remain consistent in my posts and my posting. As I prepare for this change, you will see a decrease in posts for about a week. Stayed tuned for a schedule of the changes.............

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Resource Wednesday 11/10/10

If you have not checked out Prison Alert through Voice of the Martyrs Ministry, I would encourage you to do so. Voice of the Martyrs is a ministry dedicated to helping persecuted Christians around the world. Through this ministry, there is an opportunity to write letters to and for imprisoned Christians around the world. Voice of the Martyrs makes it very easy to participate in this practice. They notify you of someone you can write to, and they provide phrases in their native language that allow you to compose a letter to them. The ministry walks you through the process step by step. I have done this a couple times and plan to continue. This is a very easy way for those of us living in countries with religious freedom to remember those in chains for Christ around the world.

I have included below an excerpt from the latest Prison Alert e-mail I received. Please check out this ministry and consider participating.


Location: Iran (Islamic Republic of)
Arrested: October 2009

Recently, Pastor Youcef Nardarkhani was reportedly sentenced to death for apostasy. VOM contacts confirm that the pastor's trial was held in recent weeks in the 11th Chamber of The Assize Court of the province of Gilan. Pastor Youcef is one of several members of his church who have been imprisoned. In the past, the Iranian government has also imprisoned and released his wife. Pastor Youcef was arrested in October 2009 after protesting a decision by the government requiring that his son study the Quran.

Please send a letter of encouragement and let Pastor Youcef know you are praying for him. Let your friends know about Christians suffering in Iran and encourage them to pray and write to him as well.Your letters make a difference and can result in shorter prison sentences for those accused. Write to Pastor Youcef and let him know you are praying.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Cookie Baking Night 11/08/10


Tonight was Cookie Baking Night. We made an apple cake. Ethan took another try at cracking eggs (he tried it once, had a bad experience, and refused to try it again--that was at least a year ago). Tonight, I encouraged him to give it another try. He did a great job. Now, with one success under his belt, I think he'll be ready to practice this skill in the future.





We also made play dough. We used green Kool-Aid to color it. Then we spent some time playing with it.

Here's the recipe if anyone's interested:

3 cups flour
1-1/2 cups salt
3 cups water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon cream of tartar
a few drops of food coloring or 1 pkg unsweetened Kool-Aid of your choice.

1. Mix all ingredients in a large saucepan.
2. Cook over medium low heat, stirring intermittently, until the dough comes away from the edges of the pan and becomes thick. Remove from heat.
3. Let play dough cool in the pan until it can be handled.
4. Turn play dough out on counter and knead 3-4 times.
5. Store in air tight container.






Saturday, November 6, 2010

Change is in the Air

I am in the process of making some small changes to the format and structure of my blog. I'll also spend a little time blogging about blogging. Look for these changes and posts in the following week.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Evangelism Focus 11/05/10

For today's Evangelism Focus post, I would like to share with you a video of Ray Comfort sharing the gospel with two young men, Byron & Cory.





Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Resource Wednesday 11/03/10

Today I will share with you part 4 (the conclusion) of the Epic Story Sunday evening sermon series by Pastor Doug Roman at Bible Baptist Church in Otsego, MN. This sermon series has covered "the four major movements in the Bible that bring continuity to the 66 books that comprise the Old and New Testament. The four movements are: creation, fall, redemption, and consummation. These four themes help us see how large themes bring continuity to the smaller parts of the Bible." Click on the link above to enjoy the final installment in this series, part 4, consummation.

Please visit past Resource Wednesday posts (10/6, 10/13, 10/27) if you would like to hear parts 1, 2, 3 of the Epic Story sermon series.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Habakkuk 2:18-20

What profit is the image, that its maker should carve it,
The molded image, a teacher of lies,
That the maker of its mold should trust in it,
To make mute idols?
Woe to him who says to wood, "Awake!"
To silent stone, "Arise! It shall teach!"
Behold, it is overlaid with gold and silver,
Yet in it there is no breath at all.

But the LORD is in His holy temple.
Let all the earth keep silence before Him.

Habakkuk 2:18-20 (NKJV)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Habakkuk 2:1

I will stand my watch
And set myself in the rampart,
And watch to see what He will say to me,
And what I will answer when I am corrected.

Habakkuk 2:1 (NKJV)

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...