Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Workplace Musings 03/29/11

I have been reading through The Incomparable Christ by J Oswald Sanders in these days leading up to Easter (while following along with the teaching by Nancy Leigh DeMoss on Revive our Hearts radio ministry). Last week I read a chapter titled: "The Earthly Occupation of Christ". It was a thought provoking chapter. I've listed below a few of the the statements that stood out to me in this chapter.

  • "What is the significance of the fact that, out of all possible occupations, God chose for his son in his incarnation the lot of a working man?"

  • "It is a challenging thought and one that should be closely observed by those who are preparing for a life of service for God, that out divine Lord spent six times as long working at the carpenter's bench as He did in his His world-shaking ministry. Preparatory years are important years. Jesus must be about his Father's business and doing his Father's will. If that will involved eighteen, hidden, laborious, tedious years, He would not succumb to fleshly impatience, but would obey with delight."

  • "If it was not beneath the Son of God to work as an artisan, then surely it is beneath none of his children."

It is important to remember that the thoughts expressed above are not inspired Scripture, just one man's thoughts and interpretation of it. However, I think the thoughts expressed above are worth being mulled over by the modern-day working person.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Cookie Baking Night 03/28/11

Tonight was Cookie Baking Night. In attendance this evening: Emily, Ethan, and Carissa. Today is Diana's birthday. Diana is Ethan and Carissa's mom. Friday is Rob's birthday. Rob is Emily's dad. In honor of them, we decided to make birthday cupcakes.


First we mixed up the batter and poured it into the cupcake pan. Then we made some frosting to go on the cupcakes.

While the cupcakes were baking and then cooling, we made birthday signs to stick in the cupcakes.

Then we frosted the cupcakes. We decorated a few of them with the birthday signs we made. The rest we decorated with sprinkles.


And there you have it---birthday cupcakes. Happy Birthday Diana and Rob!


As usual, a fun time was had by all!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Evangelism Focus 03/25/11

During our Thursday night Bible Study and prayer meetings at church (Bible Baptist Church, check out the link on the side if this blog if you're so inclined), our pastor has been teaching us how to share our testimony with other people in an evangelistic way. We were given several weeks of teaching on this subject, and then Pastor asked for volunteers. Three people a week have been giving their testimony ever since. I volunteered a few weeks ago. Here's a version of the testimony I gave that evening (I did not write it down before I gave the testimongy so this is my closest recollection). I thought I'd share it with you this Evangelism Focus post.

----------------------------

I grew up attending church, and I spent most of my life with a wrong idea about the gospel. I thought the gospel meant that you say a prayer, admit that you're a sinner, ask Jesus into your heart, and try hard to be a good person. I made those first few steps while attending a Christian camp when I was 11 years old. I worked hard to be good from that point on.

When I was in my early 30's, I was tired from trying to be good. I was weary, and I was depressed, very, very depressed. Ephesians 2: 1 described me perfectly, as it says, "And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air." I was exactly that, dead. I simply wanted to look good while I was doing exactly what I wanted to do. I was also aware that if presented with the same decisions again, I would do the same thing that very day. I felt powerless against sin. In desperation, I cried out to God for help (really, I wanted to be happy). God heard my prayer and answered it in a way I was not expecting. He began to show me my sin in my life. I began to realize that most of the decisions I made in my life up until that point were completely without regard to God. I could see myself for the liar, blasphemer, wicked person that I was. As God began to show me my sin, for the first time in my life the gospel message made sense to me. It was good news! Jesus Christ came to this earth and lived a perfect life (which I was fully aware I could not do). He died a brutal death, taking the punishment for my sins, and then rose from the grave, defeating death. I knew that if I died at that time, I would have gone to hell, and I would have deserved it. It would have been the just punishment for my sins. At that time, I repented of my sins (and kept repenting, this was a season of repentance, really). It was then that I put my trust in Jesus Christ for my salvation (for forgiveness of my sins) and not in my own goodness, and God saved me. Again, Ephesians 2 would describe the situation perfectly: "But God being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses made us alive together with Christ......" I can say without a doubt, at that time, I was "born again". That which I loved (sin, living for myself), I now hated. That which I hated (reading my Bible, sharing the gospel with other people), I now desired to do. It was nothing I had done on my own (that I knew full well). God had changed me and made me new. He put in me a desire to know more about Him, and that continues to this day. He saved me and He keeps me; I no longer work to do this myself (as if I could).

And to this I say----to God be the glory, great things He has done!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Mentoring Musings 03/24/11

Today I'm going to share a few more thoughts with you from Growing Up Christian by Karl Graustein, chapter 4 "The Cost of Compromise (The Danger of Loving the World)".

In the Think About It section, the author compared a few of the world's ideas with what the Bible says about them.

Truth

What The World Says: You cannot know what is true. Truth is relative. There is no absolute truth.

What God Says: God is truth. His Word is the standard for truth. (Ps. 119:142, 151, 160)

Language

What The World Says: You must tolerate contradictory views; don't speak against the opinion of others.

What God Says: Fear God and not man. (Ps. 111:10; Prov 29:25; Matt 12:36)

What The World Says: Swearing is okay. Vulgar language can be funny.

What God Says: Do not swear. Speak only words that build others up. (Eph 4:29)

Dress

What The World Says: You must dress provocatively in order to attract a boyfriend or girlfriend.

What God Says: Women are to dress modestly. (1 Tim 2:9) Don't do anything out of vain conceit (Phil 2:3)

Pride

What The World Says: Take pride in yourself and your talents.

What God Says: God is the source of all your talents. (James 1:27)

What the World Says: You need to think highly of yourself to succeed in life.

What God Says: Think lowly of yourself. Be humble, and God will exalt you. (1 Peter 5:5)

Education

What The World Says: Go to a prestigious school.

What God Says: Love God with your mind. (Matt 22:37) Trust in him, and he will direct your paths. (Prov 3:5-6)

What The World Says: Seek to major in a field in which you can get an impressive job.

What God Says: In whatever you do, do it for the glory of God (1 Cor 10:31).

Career

What The World Says: Seek a career that will get you a lot of money.

What God Says: The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. (1 Tim 6:10)--emphasis added

View of Self

What The World Says: Do what is in your best interest.

What God Says: Consider others better than yourself.


This is just a sampling of the categories that the author covers. I think it is good to consider these areas and others to determine what the world dictates to us and what the Bible commands of us. I think it can be surprising how much of the world's thinking creeps into our everyday Christian lives. It is good to know what you believe and why you believe it.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Book Club Wednesday 03/23/11

Our Book Club Wednesday selection for March and April is Tortured for Christ by Richard Wurmbrand, founder of the Voice of the Martyrs ministry. Click here for an explanation of this book and our reading schedule for it.

This week I read chapter 3 titled "Ransom and Release for Work in the West". This chapter was 4 pages long.

In this chapter the author spoke of how he ended up leaving Romania and moving to the Western world. "The Norwegian Mission to the Jews" and "The Hebrews Christian Alliance" paid the Communist government a ransom of $10,000 to release Richard Wurmbrand, and about that he made this statement:

"I would not have left Romania, despite the dangers, if the leaders of the Underground Church had not commanded me to leave the country, to be the "voice" of the Underground Church to the free world. They wished me to speak to the Western world on their behalf about their sufferings and needs. "

Before leaving the country Richard Wurmbrand was called twice to the secret police. He was threatened that he would be found and killed if he spoke about what was happening (and what had happened to him) in Romania (at the hands of the communists). Because of the years of brainwashing he had received while in prison and the additional threats he received before leaving the country, the communists were sure he would be silent. So, in December of 1965, he and his family were allowed to leave Romania.

He truly became a voice for the martyrs, founding Voice of the Martyrs ministry which is still going strong today.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Workplace Musings 03/22/11

I just finished reading the book Humility by CJ Mahaney (which I highly recommend). Chapter 10 in this small book is titled "Inviting and Pursuing Correction". At the end of this chapter (pages 133-134), the author states:

"Never forget that others see what you do not. Where you're blind to sin, their vision is often 20/20. And by God's grace, they can impart clarity to help protect you from the hardening effects of sin. Others can exhort you, encourage you, and correct you. They are a gift from God in your battle against sin. And you never grow out of this need. Never.

And don't be put off when a friend's observations may not be 100% accurate. I've found that there's truth to be gleaned at times even from an enemy's critique. Humility doesn't demand mathematical precision from another's input; humility postures itself to receive God's grace from any avenue possible."

I think the above statements are very applicable to the workplace. It is good to seek correction in the workplace. Even if the one correcting you lacks kindness in their critique, there is value in analyzing it. Sometimes one's reaction to the critique (the sinful response it stirs up) may tell you more about what's going on in your heart than the actual critique itself.

I highly recommend the book Humility by CJ Mahaney. The author gives very practical ideas on how to cultivate humility in your life. This book is a keeper, one to return to and one to stock up on as gifts for your reading-friends.


Clicking on the link below will bring you to an Amazon.com page with more information about the book and how to purchase it.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Preparation for Easter

The past several years, I've spent at least the preceding month before Easter focusing on Christ in my daily Bible reading time or in other focused activities around that time (i.e., memorizing Scripture, a specific devotional book).

A couple ideas for you:

  1. This year, a friend and I are memorizing Isaiah 53 during this month leading up to Resurrection Day. John 1 (or a section of it) would be another excellent passage to memorize for this occasion.
  2. Ladies, Nancy Leigh DeMoss (from Revive Our Hearts ministry) is focusing her teaching on the book The Incomparable Christ by J Oswald Sanders over the next month. She recommends getting the book and reading a chapter each day while following along with her teachings on her daily radio broadcast.

What will you do to focus on Christ during this time?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St Patrick's Day

Today is St. Patrick's day, and I'd like to share with you a couple ideas for evangelism surrounding this day.

Check out The Word Street Journal blog for what Paul Latour and his band of evangelizing friends were up to on that day AND the Grace Notes blog for a few ideas from Sarah Mally. I appreciate the creativity of other Christians, and their ideas for how to share the gospel with those around them. I am grateful for them.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Book Club Wednesday 03/16/11

Our Book Club Wednesday selection for March and April is Tortured for Christ by Richard Wurmbrand, founder of the Voice of the Martyrs ministry. Click here for an explanation of this book and our reading schedule for it.

This week I read chapter 2 titled "Greater Love Hath No Man". On page 42, the author told an account of a Christian man in the communist prison who was sentenced to be beaten to death. This was done slowly over several weeks. The author went on to say this:

"The one who led this torture was a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, whose name was Reck.

During the beatings, Reck said something to the condemned prisoner that communists often said to Christians, "You know, I am God. I have power of life and death over you. The one who is in heaven cannot decide to keep you in life. Everything depends upon me. If I wish, you live. If I wish, you are killed. I am God!" So he mocked the Christian.

This Christian brother in this horrible situation, gave Reck a very interesting answer, which I heard afterward from Reck himself. He said, "You don't know what a deep thing you have said. Every caterpillar is in reality a butterfly, if it develops rightly. You have not been created to be a torturer, a man who kills. You have been created to become like God, with the life of the Godhead in your heart. Many who have been persecutors like you, have come to realize--like the apostle Paul--that it is shameful for a man to commit atrocities, that they can do much better things. So they have become partakers of the divine nature. Jesus said to the Jews of his time 'Ye are gods.' Believe me, Mr. Reck, your real calling is to be Godlike--to have the character of God, not a torturer.

At that moment Reck did not pay much attention to the words of his victim, as Saul of Tarsus did not pay attention to the beautiful witness of Stephen being killed in his presence. But those words worked in his heart. And Reck later understood that this was his real calling."

I was struck by this account because of the presence of mind and purpose of this dying Christian even in the most difficult of circumstances. This is a man who knew what he believed and why he believed it and felt it was worthy of being believed by others, and he held that position unto death.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Psalm 131

I'm going to memorize this little gem:

Psalm 131

O LORD, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high
I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul like a weaned child with its mother,
Like a weaned child is my soul within me.

O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time forth and forevermore.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Week of Prayer

No Cookie Baking Night tonight. We're having a focused week of prayer at our church this week with a prayer meeting scheduled Monday night thru Thursday night. I canceled cookie baking night, so I can participate in the prayer meetings. Look for a report of the next Cookie Baking Night on March 28.

You can expect a bit of a detour from the regularly scheduled blog this week as well.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Mentoring Musings 03/10/11

I recently finished reading chapter 3 in Growing Up Christian by Karl Graustein. The chapter was titled "The Cost of Compromise (The Danger of Loving the World)".

On page 63, the author writes:

It's easy to spot the flagrant sins promoted in the world, such as sex outside of marriage, pornography, homosexuality, and abortion. But we often fail to pick up the subtle lies in the TV shows we watch, the magazines we read, and the music we listen to. We nibble at the table of the world and either miss or minimize its effect on our lives.

He goes on to say (page 65):

What's the Big Deal?

Let's start by examining why loving the world is so dangerous:

1 John 2:15-17 says, "Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. for everything in the world--the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does--comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever."

The passage in 1 John provides four points for us to consider:
  1. God commands us to not love the world or the things of the world.
  2. Loving God and loving the world are opposites and cannot be done at the same time.
  3. The values of the world contradict the standards of God.
  4. Don't be fooled. There is something much better than the temporary pleasures of the world--God.

What effects is the world having on you?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Book Club Wednesday 03/09/11

Our Book Club Wednesday selection for March and April is Tortured for Christ by Richard Wurmbrand, founder of the Voice of the Martyrs ministry. Click here for an explanation of this book and our reading schedule for it.

This past week I read chapter 1, titled "The Russians' Avid Thirst For Christ". I chose this book because it is a portrayal of history within its pages, history I think we have forgotten here in America and in the western world in general. It is also a book about communism in living color. Communism is also becoming a popular political view in America, on the rise among the younger generation especially. This book was first written and published in 1967. There truly is nothing new under the sun.

Here are the opening paragraphs from Chapter 1:

"I was orphaned from the first years of life. Being brought up in a family in which no religion was recognized. I received no religious education as a child. As a result of a bitter childhood, which included knowing poverty in the difficult years of World War I, at age 14 I was as convinced an atheist as the Communists are today. I had read atheistic books, and it was not just that I did not believe in God or Christ--I hated these notions, considering them harmful for the human mind. So I grew up in bitterness toward religion.

But as I understood afterward, I had the grace to be one of the chosen of God for reasons that I don't understand. These reasons had nothing to do with my character, because my character was very bad."

The author goes on to describe his conversion to Christianity (a very interesting story form an evangelist's point of view; I encourage you to read it for yourself) and his encounters with many Russian soldiers along the way.

It is a compelling read. I hope you're reading it with me.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Workplace Musings 03/08/11

I was listening to the The Christian Worldview podcast the other day. The guest on the show that day was Cal Beisner from the Cornwall Alliance (for the stewardship of creation). The Cornwall Alliance has recently produced a DVD series about the dangers of environmentalism titled "Resisting the Green Dragon". I've included the short promotional video in this blog post, and for a 60-minute "review" on the DVD series, I would recommend checking out The Christian Worldview broadcast on that subject titled "Caring For Creation Without Crossing God's Line"




I have included this material under the Workplace Musing post because it is at work that I am the most challenged to consider what I believe about environmentalism and the "green movement". It is there that I am most often indoctrinated with the beliefs of this cause. The "green movement" drives a lot of the decisions in the workplace these days, and compliance is expected. I have an interest in checking out this material from the Cornwall Alliance and further investigating a Biblical perspective on the subject, so I wanted to pass this information onto you as well.

Monday, March 7, 2011

My Favorite Podcasts

There are several Christian podcasts that I listen to weekly (some of them daily), and I enjoy them very much. I thought I would share them with you today. Each podcast I list will contain a link to the website associated with the ministry, and you can find out more information about it from the website if you wish. Most of the podcasts I listen to, I located through iTunes, so that is another option for you.

The Christian Worldview is a weekly podcast (with host David Wheaton) that focuses on viewing all of life's circumstances through a biblical lens. Their tag line is "Think Biblically, Live Accordingly". I highly recommend this podcast for every Christian.

Wretched Radio is a daily podcast (2-hour show), with host Todd Friel, that focuses on theology and evangelism in every day life. This particular podcast is not free, there is a monthly membership fee involved, which I find to be worth it.

Revive Our Hearts is a daily podcast (30-minute broadcast) with host Nancy Leigh DeMoss. This podcast is a teaching ministry for women. It offers many opportunities for practical application of the Scripture in our daily lives.

The White Horse Inn podcast is a weekly (30-minute) theology podcast with several hosts, each from a different Christian tradition. Each year, this program picks a theme to work through on the show. This year the theme is the The Great Commission. It is definitely worth tuning into.

The Please Convince Me podcast is a weekly (60-minute) apologetic podcast with host J Warner Wallace. The host was an atheist until he was in his 30's, and he is a cold-case homicide defective, so he brings a unique perspective to his apologetic ministry. It is definitely worth tuning into.

The Bible Baptist Church podcast is another one of my favorites. It is a podcast of the teaching and preaching ministry of the church at which I am a member. There is a podcast offered for the Sunday morning service, Christian Education (CE) hour, Sunday evening service, and Thursday evening Bible Study each week. It is biblically sound teaching, I highly recommend checking it out.


Any you would care to share with me?

Friday, March 4, 2011

Evangelism Focus 03/04/11

This Evangelism Focus post I will leave you with an interesting video of Ray Comfort sharing the gospel with a man named Eric.



Thursday, March 3, 2011

Mentoring Musings 03/03/11

The greatest enemy of hunger for God is not poison but apple pie. It is not the banquet of the wicked that dulls our appetite for heaven, but the endless nibbling at the table of the world. It is not the X-rated video, but the prime-time dribble of triviality we drink in every night.....For when these replace an appetite for God himself, the idolatry is scarcely recognizable, and almost incurable. --John Piper

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Book Club Wednesday 03/02/11

The book club selection for March and April is Tortured for Christ by Richard Wurmbrand, founder of the Voice of the Martyrs ministry. You can receive a free copy of this book by visiting the Voice of the Martyrs website. There will be information on how to receive a free copy of Tortured for Christ listed on the home page.

In this book, Richard Wurmbrand recounts his life and imprisonment in Communist Romania in the 1950's and 60's. He was imprisoned for a total of 17 years over his lifetime. I think it is hard to read this book and remain the same afterward, so I wanted to bring it to the blog book club.

This is definitely a different kind of read than Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands. It's a shorter book. It's a fast read but not necessarily an easy read as Pastor Wurmbrand recounts the persecution he suffered for Christ during his life.

It has 7 chapters, so we will read one a week until the book is finished. After each chapter, I will simply highlight a few paragraphs from that chapter that stood out to me and invite you to do the same.

The schedule is as follows:

Wednesday, March 9: Chapter 1--The Russians' Avid Thirst for Christ

Wednesday, March 16: Chapter 2--Greater Love Hath No Man

Wednesday, March 23: Chapter 3--Ransom and Release for Work in the West

Wednesday, March 30: No post

Wednesday, April 6: Chapter 4--Defeating Communism With the Love of Christ

Wednesday, April 13: Chapter 5--The Invincible, Widespread Underground Church

Wednesday, April 20 Chapter 6--How Christianity is Defeating Communism

Wednesday, April 27: Chapter 7--How Western Christians Can Help

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Workplace Musings 03/01/11

I was listening to the Revive Our Hearts podcast the other day. Nancy Leigh DeMoss was in a series on the power of the tongue called "Death and Life". She recommended memorizing Proverbs 18:21 "Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those that love it will eat its fruit." She suggested putting it on note cards and posting it in several places around your home, put it in your car, and put it next to the phone. I might also suggest posting at your workplace as a daily reminder to yourself that the power of death and life lies in the tongue.

Cookie Baking Night 09/25/17

Tonight was Cookie Baking Night. In attendance this evening: Allison, Rylar, and Enzo. Tonight we made pumpkin bars.  ...