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Showing posts from July, 2011

Prayer Cards

Perhaps you've heard this quote from Martin Luther before:
"I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer."
— Martin Luther
I am becoming increasingly convinced of the validity of that statement. There are so many things to pray about, and they can get pushed to the back of my mind, put on a mental "to do" list after quickly uttering the words "I'll pray for you" or after realizing my "smallness" and God's "bigness" and that it is the only logical course of action in any situation.
To bring these requests to the front of my mind I have started writing out prayer cards. On a 3x5 card I write out prayer subject matter (usually just one word like a name or a small sentence such as "spiritual growth" that reminds me what I'm praying for in that particular situation). I tape the cards to a notebook, write scriptures next to the cards as they come to mind, and bring out the book when I go to t…

Evangelism Focus 07/29/11

A Night At The Anoka County Fair

One of us leans toward photography.............

One of us leans toward evangelism.......................

It works out...............

The story behind the story: Greg and I spent the evening at the local county fair. Greg likes to take pictures, and there is great "subject" at the fair. While he was setting up his shots (most patient man on earth, really), I walked around and handed out some gospel tracts. I find carnival workers will read the tracts I give them because a great deal of that job involves sitting around and waiting (love to see the tracts being read). Several pictures taken, several tracts handed out. We make a good team.
P.S. We did manage to fit in a few traditional fair-going activities like eating a corn dog (supper) and walking through a few exhibits. At the end...........a lovely evening.
I pray that the gospel seed will take root.

Grateful Hearts

I was listening to a Persecution Podcast the other day that featured a speaker who was involved in the Bibles Unbound program through Voice of the Martyrs ministry. The Bibles Unbound program provides Bibles to people all around the world who do not have them. The speaker mentioned that from April 1, 2010 through July 1, 2011 they have provided 463,615 Bibles to people who did not have them, (and there's still a waiting list). He then read some of the letters they have received after people received their Bibles. I transcribed some of the comments so I could share them with you today. They are as follows:

Testimony 1 from Indonesia:
We are six people in a home, and I am the oldest child. I always let my younger brothers and sisters bring our Bible every time we went to church. I have been praying for when I can buy a Bible. But on the other hand, my younger brother and sister still need money for their schooling. I work to feed and send them to school for my parents can’t get any in…

Book Club Wednesday 07/27/11

The "book club Wednesday" selection for July and August is Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor by D.A. Carson. Please click here to see the proposed reading schedule.
This week I read chapters 4 & 5.
Chapter 4 covered the challenges Tom Carson encountered in sharing the gospel with French-speaking Canada in a predominantly Roman-Catholic area. He did this mostly through the sharing of free New Testaments. Much of this activity was documented in his own journals including many of the letters he received from the recipients of the New Testaments. Many of those letters were shared with us in this chapter. It was fascinating to read his experiences and to take part in the history of the moment.
Chapter 5 was titled "Crisis" and covered an incident that involved a lot of heartbreak and disappointment for Tom Carson (you really should read chapter 5). The event was so significant that his son (D.A. Carson) later learned about it in one of his college courses, complete with…

Persecution Podcast

If you are a "podcaster", I highly recommend The Persecution Podcast by Voice of the Martyrs ministry. It features prayer requests for persecuted Christians around the world and often highlights a speaker from one of the Voice of the Martyrs conferences or weekly staff meetings.
The podcast opens with this statement:
"You may recall the account of Stephen's death in the Bible or you may have read the stories of persecution by Romans in the Coliseum, but you may not know that Christian persecution continues even today. Christians face more persecution for their beliefs now than they ever have before. Since 1967, the Voice of the Martyrs has remained committed to informing the world of the sufferings of these Christians. In this podcast you will hear the true, recent stories of Christians who are persecuted for believing that Jesus Christ is their savior."
Click here to listen to it online or to download the podcast. You can also access the podcast through iTunes …

Cookie Baking Night Philosophy

Tonight is an off night for Cookie Baking Night (next Monday). Since there have been a few new people wandering around the blog lately, I thought I would explain Cookie Baking Night again.
Cookie Baking Night started about eight years ago. It is for the nieces and nephews on both my side of the family and Greg's side of the family. Once a niece or nephew turns 3 years old, they are invited to attend "Cookie Baking Night".
Here's how it works:
It is held every other Monday night at our house from 5:00 pm until 8:00 pm. The kids eat supper with usWe do some kind of cooking/baking project, which they take home with them at the end of the eveningWe have a Bible lesson (currently working through Leading Little Ones to God by Marian Schoolland right now)We generally spend time together around some kind of project or gameOn Cookie Baking Nights near birthdays, the birthday boy or girl gets to choose what we have for supper and the kind of cookie we make that night (this see…

A Day With The Niece

Today, my niece, Carissa, and I spent the day together--a girl's day out. Carissa turned 6 years old in the beginning of July. This was our birthday present to her this year. (It was from Greg and I, but he thought maybe I could "take one for the team" concerning the girly stuff, which I was happy to do).

First, we stopped for a manicure at the local beauty academy. Part of the salon deal was that we got to pick out a polish, have our nails painted with it, and keep the polish. (Carissa thought this was a nice surprise--the name of her color was "Princesses Rule"--it was sparkly--the determining factor in that choice)

Next we had lunch at Truffles and Tortes (if you've spent any time on this blog, you'll know by now this is my favorite "girly" place for special lunch outings).
And we ended the lunch with a nice fancy dessert. Carissa had the Raspberry Fudge Tart (she especially liked the raspberries).

It was a fun day together. Can't go wro…

My Friend, Betsy

Let me introduce my friend, Betsy, and tell you how we met.
Two years ago, I went to the Biblical Counseling Conference in Lafayette, Indiana with my friend Kim. The second night of the conference we were invited to a dinner through someone Kim had met at another conference. It was a large gathering (30+ people) at a restaurant. I wasn't even seated next to my friend Kim (who was the only person there that I knew). However, I was seated next to Betsy. Through the course of the evening, Betsy and I started talking about evangelism. I had recently started going out to skate parks and parades to talk to kids about the gospel and hand out tracts. Betsy had recently started her own evangelism ministry with a friend from her Sunday School class at church. They often go to laundromats and seek to share the gospel with the people they find there. Betsy is from Wisconsin (about 4-1/2 hours from where I live in Minnesota).
Since that time, Betsy and her friend Jane have been to visit me twi…

I Corinthians 13:4-7

I've been pondering these verses lately....alot to think about in this small passage.
"Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful, it does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."
I Corinthians 13: 4-7 (ESV)

Book Club Wednesday 07/20/11

The "book club Wednesday" selection for July and August is Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor by D.A. Carson. Please click here to see the proposed reading schedule.
This week I read chapters 1&2. Chapter 1 is titled "O Canada, A Sketch of Quebec". That was very interesting. It introduced me to the term francophone, which I was not familiar with, and the author did not explain it. Upon checking the dictionary it means: as an adjective, French speaking; as a noun, one who speaks French (probably could have figured that out with context, but didn't. I read that word several times before I finally looked it up).
This chapter did a great job explaining the linguistic and religious history of Canada in general, Quebec specifically, and even a little American history thrown in there. That chapter is worth reading for the history alone.
Chapter 2 is titled "Tom Carson: Beginnings of Life and Ministry". Tom Carson was D.A. Carson's father. Tom was from Eng…

Proverbs 28:13

Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.
Proverbs 28:13

As one who lived many years as a false convert (confessing Christianity but not possessing it), concealing transgressions was part of my daily routine. I need verses like this. Another reminder to daily feed myself on God's Word.

Cookie Baking Night 07/18/11

Tonight was Cookie Baking Night. In attendance this evening: Ethan, Carissa, and Emily.....and it all started with a bowl of gummy worms.
We made dirt cups using chocolate mousse, cookie crumbs, and gummy worms to decorate. This one was a hit!

This evening we started a special project. I ordered a kit from Voice of the Martyrs that will allow us to make parachutes. The parachutes will be sent back to Voice of the Martyrs and then sent off to Columbia to be dropped by airplane into military guerilla territory. Each parachute will be attached to a bag containing a radio with Christian programming on it, a Bible, and a Christian book. We watched a short DVD about it that came with the kit. (This helped to explain the difference between gorilla in the jungle and guerilla in the jungle). We prayed for the people of Columbia before we started. We cut out the pattern for the parachute tonight and will finish the project next Cookie Baking Night.

As usual, a fun time was had by all!

Evangelism Focus 07/16/11

This weekend I went to Wisconsin to see my friends Betsy and Jane. And I met a new friend, Marla. We made a day trip to Wisconsin Dells, city of water parks and tourist attractions, which means lots and lots of people.

We went there with the intent to share the gospel. We handed out many, many tracts and had several conversations along the way. On main street, we split up. Marla and I took one side of the street and Jane and Betsy took the other. Marla and I had just met that morning, but we ended up making a pretty good team. Marla is much better at starting conversations than I am, but I have no problem talking about spiritual matters once the conversation is started. We soon figured out how to play off of each other's strengths.
A few memorable encounters:
A young woman named Emily(19) who had no church background (not even Christmas and Easter). She allowed me to share the gospel with her. She listened very intently and was very polite. I urged her to think about what she heard …

Evangelism Focus 07/15/11

I mentioned last Friday that I visited my brother's friend in the hospital. Click here to read that post. I visited two times. On both visits, Jeff (my brother's friend) was unresponsive (awake but not able to communicate, he had spent some time without oxygen to his brain, and there was the appearance of brain damage). At the point I first visited him, he had been in the ICU at the hospital for 12 days.
I also mentioned that I left the hospital (on both accounts) pleading with God to have mercy on him and allow him to hear (and understand) the gospel one more time.
I stopped back today, a week from my first visit. I was very self-conscious about visiting him for the third time when I hardly knew him. I considered leaving at least three times while I was in the waiting room (waiting for the nurse to give me the clearance to go in and visit him).
When I arrived in the room, I was amazed to find Jeff alert and responsive. We had a lengthy conversation. I was able to share the go…

Book Club Wednesday 07/13/11

The "book club Wednesday" selection for July and August is Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor by D.A. Carson. Please click here to see the proposed reading schedule.


This book was written by D.A. Carson about his father, Tom Carson. He started his introduction by explaining that many of us have been impacted over the years by some very gifted preachers of God's Word who God allowed to have powerful, far reaching ministries. And others are "ordinary pastors" faithful in care for the aged, visitation, counseling, Bible studies, and preaching God's Word but only seeing modest growth in their ministry over the course of its duration.

Then he made this comment:

"Most of us --let us be frank--are ordinary pastors. Dad was one of them. This little book is a modest attempt to let the voice and ministry of one ordinary pastor be heard, for such servants have much to teach us."

His father's ministry took place in Canada beginning in the 1940's. …

Prayer and Mom

My mom and I live an hour from each other. We speak on the phone often. Though we are both Christians, it had not occurred to us (before now) to focus some of our time together in prayer. We have recently started praying together on the phone before we end our conversation. This has done wonders for our relationship and has added accountability to our conversations together. Gossip and strife are easier to stay away from when the next item on the agenda is prayer with the God of the Universe.
I highly recommend praying with your Christian family members, even those from whom you are separated by distance.
P.S. Since we're on the subject of my mom, tomorrow is her birthday. Happy Birthday, Mom. I am very grateful to God that you are my mother! I love you!

Book Club Wednesday Selection

I haven't yet posted about the "Book Club Wednesday" selection for July and August. I will be reading "Memoirs of an An Ordinary Pastor" by D.A. Carson. I hope you will pick up a copy, read it, and participate in the discussion (via the comments section) in the next couple months. It's a small book, only 10 chapters, very doable.
The schedule is as follows:
July 13: Introduction to the book
July 20: Chapters 1 & 2
July 27: Chapters 3 & 4
August 3: Chapters 5 & 6
August 10: Chapters 7 & 8
August 17: Chapter 9
August 24 Chapter 10
August 31: Conclusions and thoughts

Click on the link below for information on how to purchase this book from

Evangelism Focus 07/08/11

Two nights ago, my brother asked me to visit one of his friends (a childhood friend of ours) in the hospital. I was a little confused by the request because I hadn't seen the man he was speaking of for at least 15 years. My brother finally admitted, "I'm concerned for his soul." Who can refuse a request such as this--an invitation to share the gospel? So, to the hospital I went.
Unfortunately, my brother's friend (Jeff) was in the ICU in critical condition and unresponsive. I let him know I was there and left him the gospel in the form of a tract. I have visited twice now with little response (or capacity to respond) either time.
I left there pleading with God to have mercy on this young man (36) and allow him the opportunity to hear the gospel one more time. I also left there with a heavy heart and renewed desire to share the gospel with those I know while there is still time.

Prayer = Helplessness

A quote from A Praying Life by Paul Miller
"God wants us to come to Him empty-handed, weary, and heavy laden. Instinctively, we want to get rid of our helplessness before we come to God."

Book Club Wednesday 07/06/11

The book club selection for May and June is You Can Still Trust the Communists to be Communists by Fred Schwarz and David Noebel.
This is my last post on this book. Wow. That is a very interesting book. I highly recommend it. I think it would be worth (everyone) reading to get an idea of how communism works (which the author does an excellent job of explaining throughout the book). If you know any teenagers, I would read this book. If you know anyone involved in a worker's union, I would read this book.
The author did a great job explaining the philosophy of communism. Knowing the philosophy behind the system will be very helpful when encountering communistic/socialistic thought in the world.
Again, this book was written in 1960 by Fred Schwarz and republished by David Noebel a few years ago (and eerily relevant to today--other than a few date references, you would think it was written recently). David Noebel left the first 12 chapters completely intact and added three more chapter…

A Little Sleep, A Little Slumber

I passed by the field of the sluggard, and by the vineyard of a man lacking sense, and behold, it was all overgrown with thorns; the ground was covered with nettles, and its stone wall was broken down. Then I saw and considered it; I looked and received instruction. A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and property will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man. Proverbs 24: 31-34
On more than one occasion, these verses have popped into my head when I hit the snooze button on my alarm clock in the morning. I think the application fits.

Please Pray

I just received this "prisoner alert" notice from Voice of the Martyrs ministry explaining that Pastor Youcef in Iran has been sentenced to death on the charges of apostasy and evangelism to Muslins. Please click here to read more about his story and find out how you can pray.
I would also highly recommend signing up to receive the "prisoner alert" communications. You can find out how to do that by going to the Voice of the Martyrs website and clicking on the Prisoner Alert link on the left-hand side of the page.
Please remember in prayer our brothers and sisters around the world being persecuted because they follow Jesus Christ.

Self-love and the Gospel

Here's a quote on "liberation from self-love" taken from A Gospel Primer for Christians by Milton Vincent (pages 29-31):

"One of the leading causes of my natural tendency to self love is fear. I fear that if I do not love myself there would be no one left to love me quite so well as I do. An even more significant cause of self-love is the lack of persuasion that there is someone out there who is worthy to be loved more than I. Arrogance lies underneath these causes: I love myself supremely because I am the most worthy person I know to be loved and also because I think I can do a better job at it than anyone else. Such arrogance makes me dangerous, yet it is deeply ingrained in my sinful flesh.
Thankfully, the gospel frees me from the shackles of self-love by addressing both of these causes. First the gospel truth assures me that the love of God is infinitely superior to any love that I could ever give to myself. "Greater love has no one than this," says Jesu…