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Showing posts from December, 2010

Evangelism Focus 12/31/10

This is by far my favorite witnessing encounter of the year (so much so, this is my third time sharing it). I thought the last day of the year would be an appropriate time to show it one more time. This is a video of Ray Comfort witnessing to a man name Frog. There is a point near the end of the video where you can literally see Frog thinking through and considering what Ray is saying to him. I love those moments, and once in awhile God allows us to see it happening in front of our faces. Look for it, and may He allow you to see it soon in a witnessing encounter near you.

Book Club Wednesday 12/29/10

I'm still working through chapters 4 & 5 in Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands by Paul Tripp. Click here for more information about Book Club Wednesdays. Click here for a schedule pertaining to Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands.

Chapter 4 is titled "The Heart is the Target" and Chapter 5 is titled "Understanding Your Heart Struggle".
In chapter 4, the author uses an illustration that drove home the importance of having a right heart. It is as follows:
Let’s say I have an apple tree in my backyard. Each year its apples are dry, wrinkled,brown, and pulpy. After several seasons my wife says, ‘It doesn’t make any sense to have this huge tree and never be able to eat any apples. Can’t you do something?’ One day my wife looks out the window to see me in the yard, carrying branch cutters, an industrial grade staple gun, a ladder, and two bushels of apples. I climb the ladder, cut off all the pulpy apples, and staple shiny, red apples onto every branch of t…

Marriage Musings

Today I interrupt my regularly scheduled blogging for some Marriage Musings. Greg and I celebrate 16 years of marriage today, and I can say most assuredly it is by the grace of God. Left to my own devices and dead in my sins before conversion to Christianity, I don't think our marriage would have lasted. But God saved me and in turn our marriage. For that, I am most grateful to Him.
It is a remarkable concept, this thing we call marriage. Two people from completely different backgrounds and family situations come together and live as one. Though I grew up attending church, before I married Greg I did not know that marriage was to resemble the relationship between Christ and the Church. I obviously missed an entire passage in Ephesians 5 that could not be clearer on this subject:
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Chris…

Cookie Baking Night--The Out takes

There will be no more Cookie Baking Nights this year. We'll pick it up again in 2011. I thought I would take this time to explain Cookie Baking Nights again and to share a few of the pictures that didn't get published this year (the out takes, if you will).
Every other Monday night, the nieces and nephews from both sides of our family come over to our house for the evening. We have supper together, bake some kind of cookie or other treat, go over a Bible lesson (we're working through the book Leading Little Ones to God by Marian Schoolland at present), play games, color pictures, etc. We've been doing this for about eight years now, and will continue until the nieces and nephews are all grown up (with new ones being added from time to time, it will be a while before they're all grown up). I would recommend a "Cookie Baking Night" for everyone. It has been a fabulous relationship builder with our family---wouldn't trade it. We're grateful God has a…

Merry Christmas!

Greg and Katrina wishing you a Merry Christmas from Minnesota!

Evangelism Focus 12/24/10

Today is Christmas Eve and I had a desire to share the gospel. We (Greg and I) made up some packets using the leftover materials from the Black Friday evangelism efforts. We got up early and hit the train stations (commuter train) and bus stops in the area. There were not a lot of people riding the trains and buses this morning, but I feel confident we came in contact with everyone God planned for us to meet. I approached people, handed them a packet, and said "Merry Christmas!" Not a single person turned me down this morning, which is slightly unusual (often there's at least one in the crowd that says "No. Thank you.") Christmas brings that out in people, which is exactly why I wanted to be out there this morning. I also couldn't bear the thought of people going through Christmas without understanding the true meaning of it. I wanted them to hear the gospel.
Each packet contained a note from us, a treat, and a gospel tract.
The note contained these words:

Give Away Announcement

As part of my Mentoring Musings posts in the coming year (geared toward the young person), I will be using the book Growing Up Christian by Karl Graustein to guide some of my posts.
With that in mind, I hosted a give away contest for two books of that title.
Congratulations to Rebecca! You are the winner of Growing Up Christian. Your book is on the way!
Only one winner this time, as there was only one entry.
Stay tuned for future posts as we unpack the material in this book over the next year. I think you'll enjoy it, and you will definitely be provoked to think.

Book Club Wednesday 12/22/10

The Book Club selection for now through February is Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands by Paul Tripp. Click here for more information about Book Club Wednesdays. Click here for a schedule pertaining to Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands.
The assigned reading for this past week was Chapters 2 & 3.
In chapter 2, titled "In the Hands of the Redeemer", I was struck by this passage on page 22.
" If you were asked to teach a Sunday school lesson, preach a sermon, or lead a Bible study, you would immediately ask yourself, 'Do I have the time I need to prepare?' Yet we often respond to our neighbor, golfing buddy, or church volunteer with little preparation, reflection, or prayer. Why do we spend hours preparing to teach while we offer important personal direction without a second thought? We forget that God uses those interactions to apply the transforming power of Scripture to people's hearts. We forget that God's Word is our primary tool of chan…

Workplace Musings 12/21/10

At my place of employment, I am in a two-person department that is mostly self-operating. Occasionally, I run into an issue that I cannot solve on my own, so I seek out a higher authority. Such a scenario presented itself last week. I went to the next in command over my department. That person was not able to help me but directed me to someone who could. As I was leaving her office, she handed me a couple signs to hang up in my work area (I had noticed these brightly-colored signs with humanistic sayings on them popping up all around the building--I had a feeling our department wouldn't escape this latest self-help directive). As she handed me the yellow sign she said, "Maybe you need this one." The irony being, printed on that sign were these words: Trust Yourself. You Know More Than You Think You Do. The second sign read, Start Where You Are. Use What You Have. Do What You Can. Hmmm. When we remove a moral authority from our lives (God), we will start looking to oursel…

Niece & Nephew Christmas Party

Saturday was our 7th annual Niece and Nephew Christmas Party. In attendance this year: Kylie, Emily, Ethan, Carissa, Uncle Greg, and Aunt Katrina.


We started the party this year by decorating a gingerbread house cookie.






Ethan went with the "I like frosting" decorating approach this year. Then, he promptly ate his cookie, every last crumb.

Everyone was in on the act. Uncle Greg decorated a Gingerbread house cookie with an accompanying gingerbread doggie house.

Every Christmas party includes a cookie decorating time, lunch or dinner, dice game for candy prizes, and a "special activity". For our activity this year, we decided to return to Bunker Park Stables for a sleigh ride. This was a our third year at Bunker Park. In past years, there wasn't quite enough snow for a sleigh ride, so we settled for a hay ride. This year, in Minnesota, there is no shortage of snow, so it was our first official sleigh ride. Yay! It was an evening ride this year, so we didn't take…

Who Is He in Yonder Stall?

Who Is He in Yonder Stall?I love this song.We sing it at church at Christmastime. It's Jesus birth, life, death, resurrection, and ruler as king all in one song, and the chorus is beautiful as well.


Verse 1:
Who is He in yonder stall, at whose feet the shepherds fall?
Who is He in deep distress, fasting in the wilderness?

Verse 2:
Who is He the people bless for His words of gentleness?
Who is He to whom they bring all the sick and sorrowing?

Verse 3:
Who is He that stands and weeps at the grave where Lazarus sleeps?
Who is He the gathering throng greet with loud triumphant song?

Verse 4:
Lo at midnight, who is He who prays in dark Gethsemane?
Who is He on yonder tree dies in grief and agony?

Verse 5:
Who is He that from the grave comes to heal and help and save?
Who is He that from His throne rules through all the world alone?

Chorus:
Tis the Lord! O wondrous story!
Tis the Lord! The kind of glory!
At His feet we humbly fall
Crown Him! Crown Him, Lord of all!

Mentoring Musings 12/16/10

The White Horse Inn podcast recently featured a broadcast titled "A Survey of Biblical Literacy". They sent someone out to a Christian Retail and Sales convention and surveyed the crowd with a few Biblical questions. Here's a few of them:
Children are not born guilty of Adam's sin. They only become guilty at the age of accountability. Agree or Disagree?
"Blessed are the poor in spirit" is a famous line from Peter's Pentecost sermon in Acts 2. Agree or Disagree?
More than anything, Jesus is a great moral example who shows us how to live. Agree or Disagree?
Jesus was fully divine and only appeared to be human. Agree or Disagree?
There is no one who does good, no not even one. There is no one who seeks God. Agree or Disagree?
Christian young person, have you thought through these questions? Click Here to listen to the full broadcast (again, titled "A Survey of Biblical Literacy) and further explanation of the answers and the tally of the survey results.

Book Club Wednesday 12/15/10

For now through the end of February, I will be reading Instruments in The Redeemer's Hands by Paul Tripp. I'd enjoy it if you'd join me in this process and comment on the book as we go. Click here for the reading schedule for this book.
This past week, I read chapter one, titled "The Best News: A Reason to Get up in the Morning". Page one includes this paragraph:
"This book is about the best news a human being could ever receive. It is about something so significant that it makes everything we do worthwhile, even though we are just flawed people in a broken world. This news has nothing to do with fantasies, dreams or unrealistic expectations. It is rooted in historical facts and present realities. It penetrates the harshest human situation with life-altering hope. It is the only thing really worth living for! It is the good news!"
The author went on to describe the creation of the world and man's relationship with God at that time ("People loved…

Workplace Musings 12/14/10

The world hates a hypocrite, and they can spot one a mile away.
In the workplace, if you profess Christianity, your coworkers will be watching you closely. There is a desire to see if you are just like everyone else. They want to see if you will say one thing with your mouth and do another thing with your actions.
There is also a great misunderstanding of the gospel in the secular world. There is an idea that being a Christian is all about being a good person or at least looking like you are one. And I think professing Christians often perpetuate this idea. Our coworkers see us "being good" but they don't see us confessing our sins and explaining where our forgiveness comes from.
I have recently taken Biblical language to the work place. One area where I practice this is in the area of apologizing. Instead of spouting off a quick "I'm sorry", when I wrong someone in the work place, I name the sin I have committed (I was selfish) and ask for forgiveness (will…

Making Faces

Today is an off Cookie Baking Night, so I thought this would be an appropriate time to share this post. I have kind of an unusual hobby I revisit from time to time. I enjoy making faces (literally) out of polymer clay. Pictured below are a few of the faces I've made over the years.
A few weeks ago, Emily (our niece) spent the weekend with us. One evening during the weekend, I introduced Emily to the skill of "making faces". First, I had her watch the following you tube video so she could get an idea of the process.



Then we set to work. The first step is to condition (soften) the clay. A pasta machine is used for this process. Emily enjoyed this part the most.

Next, she started to layer the pieces together that will make up the face.



Now, she was ready to roll it down to a smaller size (it's harder than it looks).

The proportions were off on the first try (yellow), so we tried again (green). I think she had a successful beginning face-making experience. We baked the cl…

Our Wisest Plans and Best Endeavors

Saturday is the day I reserve for posts about my own thoughts. But, this is the second week in a row I find my thoughts dim in comparison to something that could be shared from the Bible or something written by one of the Puritans. Today's post comes to you courtesy of my daily e-mail feed from Grace Gems. This quote is taken from letters written by John Newton (writer of the hymn Amazing Grace).
Our Wisest Plans and Best Endeavors

(Letters of John Newton)

We are disciples--Jesus is our Master. The world we live in is His school--and every person and event is under His management, designed to forward us in the great lessons which He would have us to learn--such as . . .
self-denial,
a distrust of creatures, and
an absolute dependence upon Himself.

In this view,
afflictions--are mercies,
losses--are gains,
hindrances--are helps,
and all things, even those which seem most contrary--are working together for our good.

Creatures smile--or frown, caress--or disappoint us,
friends grow cool, and ene…

Evangelism Focus 12/10/10

For this evangelism focus post, I would like to bring to your attention the ministry of Living Waters (also known as Way of the Master). This month they have put everything at the ministry on sale including their gospel tracts. I am a big fan of Living Waters gospel tracts and purchase a great deal from them. Their tracts offer a clear law and gospel presentation. I encourage you to go the Living Waters website and check it out. You can view the tracts and read the messages before you purchase. Now is the time to fill up your gospel-giving arsenal. My favorite Living Waters gospel tracts (and those I find myself restocking the most) are: Comic Are You a Good Person?, Curved Illusion, and Which Square is Darker? The ministry also has their videos on sale right now. I like "Why Christianity?" for a thorough gospel presentation in video form. I often throw a few of these in my purse when I'm heading off to the skate parks in the summer time (on sale now for $1.50 each, can…

GIVE AWAY

As part of my new blogging schedule, Thursday posts will be dedicated to the young person (often the young lady). The Thursday posts will be titled Mentoring Musings.
As part of this process, over the course of the coming year, I will be working through the book Growing Up Christian by Karl Graustein. I became aware of this book a couple years ago---far past my teenage and growing up years, but I still found it very helpful. I think the thoughtful quizzes and opportunities for self-examination within its pages would have benefited me greatly in my "growing up years". I grew up going to church and professed to be a Christian but did not possess a relationship with Christ. A few thoughtful questions by a concerned adult would have easily exposed this truth. I'm grateful Karl Graustein has written down some of those questions and put them in this book.
Here's an example of one of the self-tests found within the pages of this book:
Do you pray? What do you pray about? Do yo…

Book Club Wednesday 12/08/10--Schedule

As mentioned last week, I will be starting new posts on Wednesdays. I will be reading 6 books between now and the end of 2011 with the intention of discussing them on the blog. Please see the Book Club Wednesday post of 12/01/10 for details.
For December thru February, the book club selection will be Instruments in The Redeemer's Hands by Paul Tripp.
Here's the excerpt from the back of the book: "We might be relieved if God placed our sanctification only in the hands of trained professionals, but that is not his plan. Instead, through the ministry of every part of the body, the whole church will mature in Christ. Paul Tripp helps us discover where change is needed in our own lives and the lives of others. Following the example of Jesus, Tripp reveals how to get to know people, and how to lovingly speak truth to them."
This week, I will be reading chapter one (The Best News: A Reason to Get Up in the Morning) in this book and discussing it on next week's post.
Here…

Workplace Musings 12/07/10

Last week, I had the entire week off of work. I thoroughly enjoyed the time off and was very thankful for it. At the beginning of the week, I purposed in my heart to be grateful for every minute of it and to spend no time bemoaning the fact that it was coming to an end (as would be my usual course of action toward the end of a week of vacation time). As I continue to read God's Word and the Holy Spirit convicts me of sinful actions in my life, I am very aware that each time I am discontent in my circumstances, I am being ungrateful to God. It is a slap in the face of God's sovereignty to be discontent in my present circumstances, as all circumstances are used in my life to mold me into the image of Christ.
As the Bible states in the book of Romans: "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order tha…

Time with the Nieces

I'm recovering from a weekend illness, so I canceled Cookie Baking Night tonight.

Last week, I spent some time making Christmas candy, specifically chocolate Christmas mice. Every year I sell them at the small craft fair hosted by my place of employment. One night, Meghan came over and helped me make the mice (she's helped me with this project for at least the last three years--she's a big help). The next night, Emily came over and helped me prepare boxes and package the candy. They were both a big help to me. Here's a couple pictures from our time together. I love these evenings together with the girls around a project. It always allows for great discussion while the hands are busy.

Sorry--didn't get a close up of the mice. In case you're wondering: It's a Hershey kiss, stemmed cherry dipped in chocolate, almond slices for the ears, and red and green frosting to make them look seasonal.

Emily went to town on assembling the boxes. She had more fun with that …

Technology Warning

This is a timely thought (and a convicting one) delivered via my Grace Gems daily e-mail feed.

Technology Warning!

(J.I. Packer)

I'm amazed at the amount of time people spend on the internet. I'm not against technology--but all tools should be used to their best advantage. We should be spending our time on things that have staying power, instead of on the latest thought of the latest blogger--and then moving on quickly to the next blogger. That makes us more superficial, not more thoughtful.

"Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil." Ephesians 5:15-16

Evangelism Focus 12/3/10

About two years ago, I wrote my own gospel tract. It's in booklet form. My husband, Greg, helped me design it. The pastor of our church and a good friend of mine helped me edit it. We sent it off to a printer and had copies made. In order to get the best deal, we needed to order 500 tracts. That seemed like a lot to me at the time, but the day has now come when it's time to reorder. Greg has spent the day making a few minor edits and will be sending it off to the printer soon. In light of this event, I thought it would be appropriate to share the content of this gospel tract with you today. It is half testimony and half gospel presentation. I enjoy handing out this tract because I know exactly what it says and it's written from my perspective. If you enjoy writing, I would encourage you to give this a try.
Here's the content of the tract (again it's in a booklet form, so it's a bit long for a blog post, but I wanted to be sure to include the full content).
----…

Mentoring Musings 12/2/10

Today I'm starting my Mentoring Musings posts. They will appear on this blog every Thursday now through the end of 2011. The posts will be geared toward young people (usually the young lady). Feel free to tune in and read the posts or join in the discussion via the comments. Because I do not trust solely in my own wisdom, I will be using a few sources throughout the year to guide the posts I write. Those sources will be: The Bible, Growing Up Christian by Karl Graustein,and The True Woman Manifesto document by Nancy Leigh DeMoss at Revive our Hearts Ministry.
To get started in this new venture, I will be hosting a give away of the book Growing Up Christian. I will be giving away two copies of the book on Thursday, December 23 (Christmas Eve Eve, if you will).



There are two ways to enter to win.
1. For 2 chances/entries, post this give away on your website, blog, or social networking site, and let me know about it in the comments section. 2. For 1 chance/entry, enter your name (firs…

Book Club Wednesday 12/01/10

The Wednesday posts will now be dedicated to Book Club selections. I'll be reading 6 books between now and the end of 2011. I invite you to join me in reading them. I will discuss what I am learning from them in the Wednesday posts and invite you to comment as we go along.
Here's a tentative schedule and list of planned books.
December thru February: Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands by Paul Tripp


March and April: Tortured for Christ by Richard Wurmbrand.



May and June: You Can Still Trust a Communist to be a Communist by David Noebel and Fred Schwartz.


July and AugustMemoirs of an Ordinary Pastor by D.A. Carson


September and October: Women Gone Wise in a World Gone Wild by Mary Kassian


November and December: Evidence Not Seen by Darlene Deibler Rose