Monday, January 31, 2011

Cookie Baking Night 01/31/11

Tonight was Cookie Baking Night. In attendance this evening: Ethan and Carissa. (Carissa is "special person of the week" at kindergarten this week, so she arrived wearing the crown).
We made Oatmeal Scotchies (oatmeal cookies with butterscotch chips). We're up to lesson 40 in our book Leading Little Ones to God by Marian Schoolland, which was titled "Jesus Died For Us." We had some good discussion around that lesson, and Ethan read John 19:11-18 for us from the Bible. Carissa is just learning to read and chomping at the bit to be the next Bible reader.......I think it will be soon.

As usual, a fun time was had by all.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Mentoring Musings 01/27/11

For today's Mentoring Musing I'd like to offer a reflection from my own experience.

As I was growing up, inevitably, I met people who left a negative impression on me. As I think of them today, I have the tendency to think of them as the same person I knew then with exactly the same qualities. Then I think of the person I was then. I think of what my life was like before God regenerated this wicked heart and made me a new person. Even as a Christian, I know the person I am today is different than the person I was 5 years ago.

When the opportunity arises now to meet people from the past, I try to take into account that they have had many life experiences since I last knew them and have likely matured in ways that I cannot imagine. I try to extend to them forgiveness and grace, as it has been extended to me.

And then I start asking questions to find out about the person they are now. And I listen.

Young person, you would do well to store this information away for later use as you will surely not escape the need for it in the future. (Listen to the woman in her 40's and you might not have to repeat her mistakes).

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Book Club Wednesday 01/26/11

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.

This week I read chapter 10, titled "Discovering Where Change is Needed". In this chapter, the author gave practical advice on how to take in information from other people and organize it Biblically. In doing so, he said this:

"Getting to know a person is like going around the house and collecting the laundry. Before long you have a diverse pile of multi-colored clothes, but you'd better sort them before you throw them in the washer, or you will have funny-colored socks!" (page 185)

Here are a few questions to ask yourself as you gather information in each scenario:
  • What is going on? (the situation)
  • What does the person do in response to what is going on? (the responses)
  • What does the person think about what is going on? (the thoughts)
  • What does the person want out of, or in the midst of, what is going on? (the motives)
The author then went on to explain each of these questions and concepts in detail. I found this chapter to be very useful and practical for every day life. Every Christian ministers to other people. And every person has the opportunity to counsel another person on at some level and at some point in their life. Chapter 10 0f this book will give you the tools to do that effectively as you take in the information being told to you.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Workplace Musings 01/25/11

Slaves obey your earthly the masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not by the way of eye service, as people pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free.

Ephesians 6:5-8 (ESV)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Cookie Baking Musings 01/24/11

Tonight is an off-night in Cookie Baking world. Thought I would offer this musing to you.

Often, on Cookie Baking nights, we play games as part of the evening. I own this game called the Ungame. It is simply two decks of cards with statements on them--statements like "Talk about a joyful time in your life.", "Share a family ritual that has special meaning to you.", "If you could watch only one hour of TV this week, what would you watch?" and the favorite card of all time scattered throughout the deck "YOU MAY ASK A PLAYER ONE QUESTION OR COMMENT ON ANY SUBJECT YOU CHOOSE"

I, personally, have gone back and forth over the years as to if I like this game or not (Does it foster selfishness?), but the kids often request to play it. I was struck with this thought last time we played it. In this world of technology where everything has a bell and a whistle, why is this low-tech game constantly requested? I think the answer is time. It is focused time on the children, listening to what they have to say. They like that.

Here's another observation. In my experience (and it is a very small sampling at that), the boys have always liked this game more than the girls. The girls like it, but the boys really like it. Ethan has now taken to requesting this game every Cookie Baking night (it's usually the first thing he asks me when he arrives). It was Joe's favorite game well into his teenage years. It's an interesting thought that in this day of video games, computers, iPods, and Kindles, these boys request the game with no lights, no batteries, no sound. They just want to share a little information about themselves and ask a few questions.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A Bible of Their Own

Today I point you to Paul Latour's blog, The Word Street Journal, to check out a video about the Kimyal tribe in West Papua, Indonesia. The video shows them as they receive Bibles in their own language for the first time. I have heard of this story several times in the last couple weeks. I decided not to post it myself since Paul did a wonderful job on it. Click here to read his post and view the video, and I dare you to do it without weeping.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Evangelism Focus 01/21/11

This Evangelism Focus post, I invite you to view this video of Paul Latour, my friend from The Word Street Journal blog. It is a video of him spending the evening in the open air holding a cross on which are written the words "Are You Ready". He narrates the video through written words. It is definitely worth watching.

I have employed this form of evangelism in my own efforts as well. If you, too, have an interest in sharing the gospel in this way, another blogging evangelist, Vernon Costello, is giving away one hand-crafted cross (complete with words) on February 1 of this year. Click here to find out the details.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Mentoring Musings 01/20/11

I ask the children of religious parents to mark well what I am saying. It is the highest privilege to be the child of a godly father and mother, and to be brought up in the midst of many prayers. It is a blessed thing indeed to be taught the gospel from our earliest infancy, and to hear of sin, and Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, and holiness, and heaven, from the first moment we can remember anything. But, oh, take heed that you do not remain barren and unfruitful in the sunshine of all these privileges: beware lest your heart remains hard, impenitent, and worldly, notwithstanding the many advantages you enjoy. You cannot enter the kingdom of God on the credit of your parents' religion. You must eat the bread of life for yourself, and have the witness of the Spirit in your own heart. You must have repentance of your own, faith of your own, and sanctification of your own. --J.C. Ryle

Note: Impenitent means: Unrepentant, hard of heart.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Book Club Wednesday 01/19/11

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.

Last week I read chapters 8 and 9.

Chapter 8 is titled "Building Relationships by Identifying With Suffering". In this chapter, (pages 143-144) the author identified 5 things the Bible has to say about the reality of personal suffering. They are as follows:

1. The Bible clearly declares that God is sovereign over all things--even suffering. (Exodus 4:11, 1 Samuel 2:2-7, Daniel 4:34-35, Proverbs 16:9)

2. The Bible clearly says that God is good. (Psalm 25:7-8, Psalm 34: 8-10, Psalm 33:5)

3. The Bible clearly says that God has a purpose for our suffering. (Romans 8:17, 2 Corinthians 1:3-6, Philippians 2:5-9).

4. The Bible explains the ultimate reasons why we suffer (because we live in a fallen world, because of our flesh, because others sin against us, because of the Devil, because of God's good purpose).

5. The Bible is clear that God's sovereignty over suffering never:
  • Means the suffering isn't real (2 Corinthians 1:3-9, 2 Corinthians 4: 1-16).
  • Excuses the evildoer (Habakkuk, Acts 2:22-24, Acts 3:14-23).

Chapter 9 was titled "Getting To Know People". I found this chapter extremely helpful. The author offered a lot of advice on how to listen to other people. I would say the theme of this chapter could be summed up in this phrase, "Don't assume--ask." After presenting this idea, the author spent several pages giving concrete examples on how to go about this task. This was my favorite chapter so far.

So, have you been reading this book? Please weigh in and tell us what you think via the comments section.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Workplace Musings 01/18/11

For those who think that people are basically good, I have an empirical test for you.

1. Purchase a candy jar.
2. Fill it with candy.
3. Bring it to your place of employment.
4. Wait for the sin natures to show up (this should only take a couple days, at the most).

Nothing brings out the sin nature like the candy jar. You will see it manifest itself (both in you and your coworkers) in the following ways: greed, selfishness, deceit, judgmentalism, frustration, impatience, discontentment, unthankfulness, lack of self-control--to name a few.

People are basically good. Huh! I say. Bring out the candy jar, and we'll see. (Present company included).

Monday, January 17, 2011

Cookie Baking Night 01/17/11

Tonight was Cookie Baking Night. In attendance this evening: Ethan, Carissa, and Emily. Yesterday, Ethan turned 8 years old. As is our birthday tradition at Cookie Baking Night, tonight he was allowed to choose the meal and the cookie we made. For the meal, he chose: Macaroni & cheese, french fries, and sliced bananas. For the cookie he chose: Sugar cookies (with frosting).

After we finished our cookie baking project, I brought out a new book I purchased for Cookie Baking Night. It's called 365 Things to Make and Do by Usborne books. We thought we would try our hands at drawing some of the fun cars, trucks, and buses listed on one of the pages. I think we might have some budding artists here.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Evangelism Focus 01/14/11

This Evangelism Focus post, I would like to leave you with the discussion presented in our Christian Education hour at church a couple months ago. The class had been working through spiritual disciplines for several weeks and was now up to the spiritual discipline of evangelism. I think the subject matter and discussion will be thought provoking to all those interested in evangelism. Click here to listen to the Bible Baptist Church CE class from 11/07/2010 on the spiritual discipline of evangelism.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Book Club Wednesday 01/12/11

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.

I'm varying from the schedule just a little bit. This week I will review chapters 6 and 7. Next week I will review chapters 8 and 9.

Chapter 6 is titled "Following the Wonderful Counselor" and focused on changing at the level of the heart, as demonstrated by the following paragraph (pg 109)

One of the things you will quickly discover is that when most people seek change, they seldom have the heart in view. They want change in their circumstances, change in the other person, or change in their emotions. They think that if "things" would change they would be better off. But when the focus is put only on the outward circumstances, the solutions are seldom more than temporary and superficial. Certainly, it is true that elements in a situation often need to change, but you cannot stop there. Your goal must be to lead your friend to a deeper, fuller view of change. Your goal is to help her to examine her heart and to see the importance of change at that level.

I could relate to this, as I often see myself desiring to see my circumstances change over the desire to see my heart change.

Chapter 7 is titled "Building Relationships by Entering Their World". This chapter focused on relationships. Here's a few points concerning relationships covered in this chapter:

  • God has a higher goal for our relationships than our personal happiness.
  • He wants our relationships to be the context for the change he works in and through us.
  • We need to build relationships that encourage this work of change.
  • God's redemptive activity always takes place within relationships.
  • God's first step in changing us is to draw us into relationship with him.
  • Our relationships are essential to the work God is completing in us and in others.
The author went on to explain how to really listen to another person within a relationship. He gave very practical tips on how to be listening in a relationship and how to ask meaningful questions that drive at the heart of the matter.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Workplace Musings 01/11/11

Today I enjoyed a 2-hour commute to work, and I can say I definitely enjoyed it. My commute usually takes about 45 minutes in the morning. It snowed last night and this morning in our area, and that tends to slow down traffic. As I inched along the highway in the long line of cars, I pulled out my 3 x 5 cards on which I have written out Ephesians 2. I'm in the process of memorizing that chapter. The Lord graciously allowed me time this morning to hold my thoughts captive by His Word. By the time I arrived at work, my mind was focused firmly on Him.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Cookie Baking Night Resources

Tonight is an off-night in Cookie Baking world, so I thought I would share with you a few of the resources that allow me to add some structure to Cookie Baking Night.

If you've been reading this blog on an ongoing basis, you'll know I am a fan of the book Leading Little Ones to God by Marian Schoolland. It could be called a systematic theology for children. On Cookie Baking Nights, we read one lesson and have been doing this for a couple years now. We're up to lesson 40 (84 lessons in all). As the children have grown and started reading, they join in by reading the Scripture verses assigned to that evening's lesson. Each lesson is one to two pages long. I highly recommend this book if you have young children in your life.

We have also been working through Josh McDowell's curriculum for children Is the Bible Personally From God? I like this material because it has worksheets that accompany it. There are several worksheets provided per lesson, so it allows me to pick and choose which one would fit us best. The kids have been enjoying this material as well.

Recently I purchased the book 365 Things to Make and Do, an Usborne Activities book. It has a ton of great art projects in it. I plan to pick a few projects, purchase the materials, and try a few of them in the year to come. I know the kids will have a great time with it!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Evangelism Focus 01/07/11

Tonight I made a quick stop at the grocery store on my way home from work. As I reached the checkout, I could tell my purchase was interrupting an intense conversation between two cashiers (one older and one younger), which seemed to pertain to the personal life of the younger cashier. As I finished my purchase and was preparing to leave, I handed my cashier (the younger one) a gospel tract. She sincerely thanked me. As I was bagging my groceries, she started reading the gospel tract, which usually freaks me out but not in this case because this young lady was so sincere in her interactions with me. As I was leaving with my groceries, another customer was approaching my lane. The cashier put down the gospel tract but made eye contact with me one last time and mouthed the words "thank you".

This interaction was a reminder to me that I do not know the work being done in a heart before I come in contact with them. It is simply my job to proclaim the gospel, and that can easily be done, even in the checkout line at the grocery store, with the use of a gospel tract.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Mentoring Musings 01/06/11

The other day I was listening to Wretched Radio and Todd Friel was relaying a conversation a mother had with her Christian daughter before the daughter left for college.

It went like this:

"Honey, the decisions you make between the ages of 16 and 25 will be with you for the rest of your life. It doesn’t mean that you’re not forgiven for bad decisions and sinful actions, but the scars, the wounds, the memories, the nightmares, and potentially the shame will be with you until the day you die."

That statement resonated with me. I know that was true in my own life. Certainly, every decision you ever make will ultimately be with you for the rest of your life in some sense of the meaning, but there are different degrees of decisions and consequences. Living with the occasional appearance of that picture of you wearing that awful green dress and living with a decision that alters the course of your life as you know it would be an example of different degrees of decisions.

That time between the ages of 16 and 25 is when maturity and life experience have not quite shaken hands. Make your decisions carefully young person, and walk closely with your God.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Book Club Wednesday 01/05/10

Still reading chapter 6 of Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands by Paul Tripp. Hope you're reading it too. Will pick up my comments in next week's post.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Workplace Musings 01/04/10

For today's Workplace Musings post, I'm going to let Ephesians 5 and Pastor Doug Roman do the talking. Click here to listen to a sermon titled: Spirit-Filled Marriages, Homes, and Workplaces: Christians in the Workforce. I think you'll enjoy it and be encouraged by it, as was I.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Cookie Baking Night 01/03/10

Tonight was the first Cookie Baking Night of 2011. In attendance this evening: Carissa and Ethan. We made 7 layer bars. Ethan and Carissa crushed the graham crackers (using a rolling pin) to make the crust. Then they layered the ingredients on top of the crust. You may be surprised to know, this is a very kid-friendly recipe. It has a lot of steps for them to do. I highly recommend it.

We continued to work through our book Leading Little Ones to God by Marian Schoolland. Tonight we read lesson 39 "Jesus Showed His Glory", and Ethan read from the Bible for us (great to have some reading helpers).

Then we played several exciting hands of Mickey Mouse Uno, most of which I lost. After about 6 hands, I won a round. At this unusual happening, Carissa exclaimed, "But Katrina you never win!" We were all surprised.

As usual, a fun time was had by all!

7 Layer Bars

2 cups crushed graham crackers
1 stick of butter, melted

Combine butter and graham cracker crumbs to make the crust. Press firmly into the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan.

On top of the crust layer:
1-1/2 cup coconut
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips
1 cup nuts
1 can sweetened condensed milk

Bake at 350 degrees about 30 minutes (until brown around the edges).

Cookie Baking Night 06/25/18

Tonight was Cookie Baking Night. In attendance this evening: Ethan, Carissa, and Enzo (Allison and Rylar were attending a birthday party els...