Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Book Club Wednesday 08/31/11

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.

I finished reading this book last week and now will weigh in with my final comments. To recap: This book was written by Don (D.A.) Carson about his dad, Tom Carson. It was a very interesting book in that it was written about Tom Carson after his death, but his son used many of his father's personal journal writings within the pages of this book, which gave the reader a glimpse into his actual life instead of leaving us to make assumptions based on data that was gathered.

This book reminded me of the benefit of picking a book that you think might interest you based on the subject matter and sticking with it to the end. It was nothing like I thought it would be, and it covered subjects I did not expect (such as depression, Alzheimer's Disease in a family member, betrayal in friendships).

I thoroughly enjoyed observing the life of this "ordinary pastor" through the pages of this book, and grew in my knowledge of the Christian life because of it. I recommend it to you all.

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

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Matthew 24:42-44

Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour do not expect.

Matthew 24:42-44 (ESV)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Cookie Baking Night 08/29/11

Tonight was Cookie Baking Night. In attendance this evening: Emily, Ethan, Carissa. We made peanut butter cookies (with a twist).

First we unwrapped several peanut butter cup candies (which in kid-world is an entire activity in and of itself).

Then we made the peanut butter cookie dough.

Next, we wrapped the cookie dough around the peanut butter cup and baked them per the usual instructions. It makes quite a tasty cookie, and it gives the kids plenty to do in the baking process.

Tonight we read lesson 53 titled "God's Children Love Him" from Leading Little Ones to God by Marian Schoolland. Ethan read John 12:1-3 for us from the Bible.

We also worked on our parachute project for The Voice of the Martyrs ministry. Tonight we glued the ribbons on the parachutes and wrote Spanish words on them: Dios es Amor = God is Love. We have now completed two parachutes.

As usual, a fun time was had by all.

At the end of the evening, a Cookie Baking Night alumni paid us a visit, our 19-year-old nephew (Emily's brother), Joe. It was fun to see him and visit with them.

Funny note from the evening:
For supper this evening, I made mashed potatoes, chicken gravy, and drop biscuits. Emily thought the biscuits looked like shortcake and asked if we were having strawberry shortcake. I told her they were biscuits, and she could put gravy over them if she would like. She immediately responded: "Mmmmm. Chicken shortcake. Sounds good!" All through supper she referred to the meal as "chicken shortcake" (I didn't see that one coming, but it definitely cracked me up).

Friday, August 26, 2011

Evangelism Focus 08/26/11

Be warned: This week's evangelism focus post is geared more toward the ladies than the men. Whenever I visit someone in our local hospital, before I leave I stop in the gift shop and check it out. During a rash of recent visits to this particular hospital/gift shop, I discovered a purse called the Baggallini. It's made with lots of pockets inside and out, and there are several different styles. Immediately, I thought of how many gospel tracts would fit into a purse like this, so I've been keeping my eye on it. Last week, I had occasion to make a visit to the hospital, and that particular day the gift shop was selling the Baggallini purses for 50% off. Ahh, the moment I was was waiting for, so I made a purchase. It's going to be a great evangelism/everyday bag. It's filled and ready to go.

I've taken some pictures and posted them below. If you're interested in making a purchase of your own, Amazon has the best prices I've seen for this purse so far (aside from the occasional hospital gift shop sale).
Check it out here: Baggallini Big Zipper Bagg

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People

Why do bad things happen to good people? Hmmm, who hasn't heard that question bantered around while out and about rubbing shoulders with the world? Many people have asked it themselves. A young seminary student in our church (love seminary students--they thing about evverrrythiing-deeply) did a pretty good job tackling that question about a month ago in a Thursday evening service at our church. Click here to listen to the message or download it. It's worth your time.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Book Club Wednesday 08/24/11

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 chapter 10 titled "Ending Well: Final Ministry and Promotion to Glory". This was the last chapter of the book and covered the final days of Tom Carson. I love the two ending paragraphs of the book and will leave you with them:

When he died, there were no crowds outside the hospital, no editorial comments in the papers, no announcements on television, no mention of Parliament, no attention paid by the nation. In his hospital room there was no one by his bedside. There was only the quiet hiss of oxygen, vainly venting because he had stopped breathing and would never need it again.

But on the other side, all the trumpets sounded. Dad had won entrance to the only throne room that matters, not because he was a good man or a great man--he was, after all, a most ordinary pastor--but because he was a forgiven man. And he heard the voice of him whom he longed to hear saying, "Well done, good and faithful servant; enter the joy of your Lord."

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

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Christian Worldview

Have you been listening to The Christian Worldview radio program (with David Wheaton)? I hope so .... or at the very least checking out the website. It is a one-hour-a-week radio show (I listen via podcast). It's on air Saturday mornings (live). The motto of The Christian Worldview is Think Biblically, Live Accordingly. And they live up to their motto. The show is constantly bringing up current topics of the day and filtering them through what the Word of God says. It is a worthwhile ministry to check out. I highly recommend it.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Niece Musings

I thought in the absence of Cookie Baking Night (it's next week), I would share a short story about the kids.

A couple weeks ago, Kylie (my 11-year-old niece) and Emily (my 10-year-old niece) spent the night at our house. Due to distance and family dynamics, we don't see Kylie that much, and she hasn't spent that much time in our home. Emily, however, is a frequent visitor to our home. Feeling like our home is her home, Emily took on the job of tour guide. I was in the hallway when she was giving Kylie a tour of the guest bedroom (which she considers to be her room). I chuckled to myself as I overheard this conversation:

Emily said to Kylie:
"You can put your bag over there.
This is the bed.
This is the guest basket. You can choose one item from it since you're spending the night (Emily's favorite part).
And that's the Gospel of John (pointing to a small copy I had given her with a girl-friendly cover on it).
This is the closet ...."

And on it went. I was surprised and pleased to hear the Gospel of John given a prominent mention in the tour of the guest room.

The little ones are watching and listening, my friends, let us use our time with them wisely.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Evangelism Focus 08/19/11

I once was lost in darkest night
Yet thought I knew the way
The sin that promised joy and life
Had led me to the grave
I had no hope that You would own
A rebel to Your will
And if You had not loved me first
I would refuse You still

But as I ran my hell-bound race
Indifferent to the cost
You looked upon my helpless state
And led me to the cross
And I beheld God’s love displayed
You suffered in my place
You bore the wrath reserved for me
Now all I know is grace

Hallelujah! All I have is Christ
Hallelujah! Jesus is my life

Now, Lord, I would be Yours alone
And live so all might see
The strength to follow Your commands
Could never come from me
Oh Father, use my ransomed life
In any way You choose
And let my song forever be
My only boast is You

© 2008 Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Words of Grace

Several months ago I was searching the Internet on the topic of Biblical Counseling, and my search brought me by a blog called Words of Grace (written by a pastor in Texas). The tagline at the top of the blog reads: Devotional thoughts and Biblical resources to shepherd Christ's church into a greater dependence on and delight in His grace. And I have found it to be just that. I commend it to your reading.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Book Club Wednesday 08/17/11

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 chapter 10 titled "Marg's Alzheimer Years". This chapter covered the illness of Tom Carson's wife (Alzheimer disease) in the later years of her life. As he had for many years up to this point, Tom journaled through this experience, and the author shared excerpts from the journals in this chapter. This chapter spoke of the struggles involved in caring for a relative with Alzheimer's, and it spoke to the commitment of marriage as demonstrated in the following quote from the author (the son of Tom Carson):

"The tasks multiplied. External ministry just about evaporated. Dad's ministry was looking after Mum. And not once, not once, did any of his children hear a single note of self-pity or a muttered 'This isn't the woman I married.' or any such thing. We cannot recall a time when he lost patience with her. He sang to her a great deal and found a funny side to almost everything."

The author also mentioned a helpful resource on Alzheimer disease that his family read during that time. It is titled: The 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for People with Alzheimer Disease, Other Dementias, and Memory Loss in Later Life by Nancy L. Mace and Peter V. Rabins. He said this book "laid out very clearly what could be expected at each stage and how best to respond."

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

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Pet Peeves

Most people would understand what I say when I mention the phrase pet peeve. Wikipedia defines it this way: A pet peeve is a minor annoyance that an individual identifies as particularly annoying to him or her, to a greater degree than others may find it. I would say that is an accurate definition.

I've used this term myself and have heard many others (including Christians) use it. The older I get, and the longer I continue in a relationship with Jesus Christ, I realize that pet peeves are really just identifying an area of sin in my life. They have little to do with the person performing the "act of offense" and mostly to do with my inability to love those around me as Christ has called me to do. Lately, when tempted to dwell on something that annoys me (usually being performed by another human being), I dwell on these verses instead:

"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." 1 Corinthians 13:4-5 (emphasis added)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Cookie Baking Night 08/15/11

Tonight was Cookie Baking Night. In attendance this evening: Emily, Carissa, Ethan. We made s'mores.

First, we put chocolate and mini marshmallows on a graham cracker.

Then, we broiled them in the oven for 1 minute. (Next time, I would put the chocolate on after we broiled the marshmallows!)

Then, we put the other graham cracker on top. They were quite yummy!

We also continued work on our parachute project for Voice of the Martyrs. Tonight we measured out the strings for the parachutes and glued them on.

We read lesson 52 from Leading Little Ones to God by Marian Schoolland. Lesson 52 was titled "God's Children are New Creatures." Emily read John 15:1-5 from the Bible for us.

And we finished or evening with a walk (or should I say, run). As usual, a fun time was had by all.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Time With the Nieces

Last night Emily and Kylie, our nieces (cousins, not sisters), spent the night at our house. We took them to a family reunion today. The family reunion included an auction with "play money" we earned by bringing items for the auction, bringing food for the potluck, setting up, cleaning up, etc. So, we spent our evening preparing our auction items and food items. (There was a kid auction and an adult auction, so there was plenty for which to prepare).

First, the girls made fudge ("chocolate peanut butter fudge" and "candy bar fudge"--very tasty)

Next, they decorated boxes to hold the fudge which they had just made. (Side note: All night they were very giggly, as 10 and 11 year old girls tend to be, but while they were "creating" their projects---complete silence and concentration. It was lovely).

Then they decorated a pair of flip flops to put in the auction and added a little "bling" to the flip flops they currently own.

Blow up that air mattress! It's time for bed! We're exhausted! (okay, I was exhausted, anyway).

Friday, August 12, 2011

Chosen For Prayer

An excerpt from A Gospel Primer by Milton Vincent, on prayer. (pages 35-36)

"When God chose me in Christ before the foundation of the world, He did not merely choose me to be "holy and blameless"; He chose me also to be "before Him in love." To be sure, I am always in God's presence on earth, and in heaven I will be in His presence more fully than ever. But it could also be said that in this life I am especially "before Him in love" when I come" before Him" in prayer and worship.

Therefore, I infer that prayer is not simply something I am allowed to do as a Christian; prayer is actually one of the great purposes for which God chose to save me. Christ himself confirms this fact when He makes the following statement to His disciples: "I chose you ... that whatever you ask of the father in my name He may give to you." As the chosen one of God, I was saved to pray; and whenever I come into God's presence to behold Him, worship Him, or make requests of Him, I am arriving at the pinnacle of God's saving purposes for me.

God is radically committed to my life of prayer. He shed the blood of His Son so that I might be cleansed and rendered fit to stand before Him in love. He also permitted the brutal rending of his Son so that I might now have a way into the holy place through the torn flesh of Jesus. "Draw near," he says in Hebrews 4; "draw near," he says in Hebrews 10, "pray without ceasing," He urges elsewhere. How can I not feel the infinite sincerity of the these invitations, especially when considering the painful lengths that God endured so that I might enter His presence in prayer?

Thursday, August 11, 2011


I'm currently reading Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Elliot. I came across this quote on page 46 and wanted to share it with you:

" 'But how in the world can I find out what God wants me to do, if I don't know what I want to do?' The logic of this statement escapes me, but it is one I have heard more than once. Why not start by simply telling God you'll do anything He says? You're the servant. He's the master. It's the only reasonable approach, isn't it? Furthermore, there is the possiblity that what He says will be something you'd like."

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Book Club Wednesday 08/10/11

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 7 & 8. These two chapters covered Tom Carson's decision to leave the ministry he had started and pastored for about 10 years. He moved into a secular job and served God there and through the church at which he became a member (often preaching and serving as a lay pastor). He seemed to be about as busy as he was when in "full-time" ministry but without the same kinds of responsibility. His son (the author of this book) spoke to how that seemed to be a good fit for him and his gifts.

This was an interesting biographical part of the book that I enjoyed very much.

Please speak up in the comments section if you have been reading this book. I would enjoying hearing your input.

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

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

What is the Gospel?

I just listened to The White Horse Inn podcast, and the show was titled "What is the Gospel?" It was a great discussion about what the Gospel is and what it is not. It's worth listening to, pondering, mulling over, and searching the Scriptures about. Click here to listen to the show. This link will bring you to the proper place on The White Horse Inn webpage. You can listen to the podcast from that page or download it and listen to it later. Again, the show is titled, "What is the Gospel?" I highly encourage listening to it. I think it's worth the time.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Proverbs 2:1-5

My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God.

Proverbs 2:1-5 (ESV)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Song of the Nightingale

I just finished reading Song of the Nightingale by Helen Birhane (pronounced Bur-haun-ee). It was a short book and a quick read but a hard book to read because of the content. Helen's story is one of modern-day persecution and torture because she refused to deny Christ. She is from the country of Eritrea, where Christians are being persecuted for their faith yet today.

Helen was born in 1974 (she is five years younger than I am). She was taken to prison in 2003 and released (on the brink of death) in the year 2006. Persecution is happening today.

I heard about this book when I was listening to a Persecution Podcast a few months ago, and Helen was the featured story. One of The Voice of the Martyrs contacts had recently spoken with Helen (Helen and her daughter were able to escape from Eritrea and now live in another country where they are safe for the time being). The VOM contact asked Helen if she had a message for the church in the west. She said this:

"Christians in the west are not willing to give up their comfort. They are free, but they are not really free because they are attached to their possessions. We must take advantage of this freedom. My message for Christians in the west is that we must overcome fear. You do not die until it is your time to die. Realize that when you teach the gospel, some will accept it and some will reject it. Jesus told us in the Bible that the world would not accept Him, so we will not be accepted. Nonacceptance should not keep us from preaching the Word. When we decide to follow the gospel, we have to know that people will reject us."

Also of note: At one time, in Eritrea, Helen was free to worship Christ openly (she grew up in a Christian home). Freedom can be taken away very suddenly, and it can happen in any country.

I highly recommend reading this book and checking out the Voice of the Martyrs website for more information about the persecuted church. Let's not forget them. And let's go out and share the gospel while we still have the freedom to do it.

Click here if you would like to order this book from Voice of the Martyrs. (You can find the Kindle version on Amazon but not the paperback book).

I will end this post with a paragraph Helen wrote in the epilogue of her book:

" I want to give a message to those of you who are Christians and live in the free world: you must not take your freedom for granted. Use every opportunity to praise the Lord every day. If I could sing in prison, imagine what you could do for God's glory with your freedom."

Friday, August 5, 2011

Evangelism Focus 08/05/11

If you've followed this blog for awhile and you're at all like me, eventually you read the posts but don't even see the information on the side of the home page anymore. I thought I would take this "evangelism focus" post opportunity to bring the evangelism blogs to your attention. There are a few blogs I follow regularly. I like these blogs because they are regular people with regular jobs and regular lives seeking to engage in one-to-one evangelism on a regular basis. They are thoughtful, creative, and faithful, and there is much to learn from them.

You can find them listed under Evangelism Blogs at the side of this blog home page OR you can click here to read Paul's blog (The Word Street Journal), click here to read Vernon's blog (Proclaiming the Truth), click here to read Wayne's blog (His Feet on the Street), or click here to read Trish's blog/webpage (Fish With Trish).

I hope you check them all out and are inspired to follow suit.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Proverbs 30:7-9

Verses to ponder today:

Two things I ask you: deny them not to me before I die:
Remove far from me falsehood and lying,
give me neither poverty nor riches;
feed me with the food that is needful for me,
lest I be full and deny you and say "Who is the LORD?"
or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God.

Proverbs 30:7-9

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Book Club Wednesday 08/03/11

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 5 & 6. These were interesting chapters. Chapter 5 covered the early years of Tom's ministry, the joys, the struggles, the discouragement of a ministry that wasn't growing.

Chapter 6 was largely excerpts from Tom Carson's personal journals, actual entries during the time he was in ministry. He seemed to be struggling with depression and discouragement.

The author (Tom's son), writing his book some 40+ years after the events took place, shared many journal entries and then shared his perspective on the situation and offered comments that "may help discouraged ministers of the gospel today."

I recommend reading this book along with me. But if you can only read one chapter, then don't miss chapter 6, especially if you are currently a pastor or relative of a pastor.

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

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Electricity Day

I have deemed today "Electricity Day".

Yesterday some storms came through the town in which I am employed causing a power outage. The electricity was still out today, so my place of employment closed for the day.

I used this unexpected "treat" to do some reading in the morning. And in the afternoon, I picked up Emily (my niece) and we went to the wave pool. Emily was quite the trooper in the wave pool. She's not very tall, so she got "roughed up" a bit by the waves. But she didn't give up, persisted to the end. (This picture was taken at the end of our adventure).

It was a lovely day. I am grateful to God for it.

Happy Electricity Day!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Cookie Baking Night 08/01/11

Tonight was Cookie Baking Night. In attendance this evening: Ethan and Carissa. Tonight we made a cookie called "Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies". It is exactly what it sounds like. Start with your favorite chocolate chip cookie dough recipe and some Double Stuff Oreo cookies.

With a cookie scoop, put a scoop of dough on top of the Oreo. Flip it over and put another scoop of dough on it.

Wrap the dough around the cookie and bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes (until brown).

Ahh, the finished product. Pretty tasty too. (Note: I used the Nestle Tollhouse chocolate chip cookie dough recipe, which calls for 2-1/4 cups of flour. Next time, I would up the flour to 3 cups. With less flour, the cookie tends to spread out too much, but still a very tasty treat).

Tonight we also read lesson 51 from Leading Little Ones to God by Marian Schoolland. The lesson was titled "We Must Be Born Again" (excellent lesson---did a great job explaining what the Bible means when it says "we must be born again".) Ethan read John 3:1-5 for us.

After our lesson, we continued working on our parachute project for Voice of the Martyrs. (See last Cookie Baking Night post for more details). Tonight we traced the parachutes and cut them out. We'll continue the project next Cookie Baking Night.

At the end of the evening, we went outside to wait for Ethan and Carissa's mom to pick them up. I told them they could play a game while I did some weeding in the flower garden. They said, "We want to weed!" So, I got them some gloves, pointed out the weeds, and let them have it. They are great weed pullers. After their mom arrived, I said, "Okay, you can pull two more weeds and then it's time to go." Carissa said, "Awawwww."

Hmm. Note to self: Start weeding earlier in the evening next time :)

And as usual...........a fun time was had by all.

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...