Friday, September 30, 2011

Evangelism Focus 09/30/11

About a week ago, we added a few new members to the congregation of Bible Baptist Church in Otsego, MN. As one man stood up to give his testimony of salvation before the congregation, he started it with these words, "Those of you in this church who give out gospel tracts, don't stop." He went on to say that God used a gospel tract (the message therein, actually) to save him from his sins. He said the gospel tracts were continually left in the lunchroom at his place of employment. He would pick them up, read them, and throw them away (even grumbling to his boss at one point that he didn't know where these tracts were coming from and he thought it was inappropriate to leave them in the lunchroom). He worked the night shift at that time. One night he read the tract and fell to his knees in repentance and then put his trust in Jesus Christ for his salvation. He estimated he had thrown away at least 100 gospel tracts before that night.

Keep proclaiming the gospel, my fellow evangelist friends, as you are instructed to do. God is calling men unto repentance.

In light of the contents of this post, I think it would be appropriate to leave you with the message from a gospel tract. I have chosen the text from the "Are You Ready?" tract written by Paul Latour at The Word Street Journal blog.

"Are You Ready?"

God's Holy Word, the Bible, states that after you die, you are going to stand before God to give an account for your life. Because God is good, he's going to judge you according to the perfect moral standard of his law, the 10 Commandments. If you have ever lied, stolen, taken His name in vain, lusted, etc., He will find you guilty of breaking His law. He calls that "sin." Because God is holy and just, he must punish your sin. The punishment God has ascribed for sin is eternity in Hell.

But God is also loving, merciful, gracious, and kind in that He provided one way, and one way alone, to escape the punishment. That was through the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ, the promised Savior: fully God and fully Man, without sin.

About 33 years into His sinless life here on earth, Jesus died a horrible, bloody death on the cross that he did not deserve in order to take upon Himself the punishment that you and I rightly deserve for our sins against God. Jesus suffered and died in our place. By doing so, God's justice against sin was fully satisfied. Then three days later, Jesus forever defeated sin and death when He rose from the grave.

What God requires of you is to repent (turn away from your sin) and, by faith alone, receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. No amount of your religious, charitable or personal good works can save you. Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. Salvation is a free gift of God offered to you.

With your sins forgiven, once and for all, and your trust in Christ intact, you will then be ready to stand before God on Judgment Day, righteous in Christ, and be joyously ushered into the promise and glory of eternal life in Heaven.

"And everyone who calls on the name off the LORD will be saved." (Joel 2:32)

In the reading of the Gospel message, God is calling you to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, the Lord. Tomorrow is not guaranteed to you. So make sure you are ready today. Repent and believe the gospel while God has still given you the time.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Proud or Broken?

A few months ago, I listened to a Revive Our Hearts program about brokenness. Nancy Leigh DeMoss asked "Are you a proud person or a broken person?" She then listed the characteristics of a proud person and the characteristics of a broken (humble) person. I can't think of a person alive who couldn't benefit from reviewing this list (present company most definitely included), so I transcribed it for you and listed it here in this blog post. May God use it greatly in your life, as He is doing in mine.

Proud people focus on the failures of others but broken people are overwhelmed with the sense of their own spiritual need.

Proud people are self-righteous. They have a critical, fault-finding spirit. But broken people are compassionate. They can forgive much because they know how much they have been forgiven. They think the best of others, and they esteem all others as better than themselves.

Proud people have an independent, self-sufficient spirit, but broken people have a dependent spirit and recognize their need for others.

Proud people have to prove they are right, but broken people are willing to yield the right to be right.

Proud people claim rights and have a demanding spirit, but broken people yield their rights and have a meek spirit.

Proud people are self-protective of their time, their rights, and their reputation, but broken people are self-denying.

Proud people desire to be served, but broken people are motivated to serve others.

Proud people desire to be a success, but broken people are motivated to be faithful and to make others a success.

Proud people desire for self advancement, but broken people desire to promote others.

Proud people have a drive to be recognized, to be appreciated. They are wounded when others are promoted and they are overlooked. But broken people have a sense of their own unworthiness. They are thrilled that God would use them at all in any ministry. They are eager for others to get the credit, and they rejoice when others are lifted up.

Proud people have a subconscious feeling, "This ministry is privileged to have me and my gifts. They think of what they can do for God. But broken people have the heart attitude that says "I don't deserve to have any part in this ministry, and they know that they have nothing to offer God except the life of Jesus flowing through their broken lives.

Proud people feel confident in how much they know, but broken people are humbled by how very much they have to learn.

Proud people are self-conscious, but broken people are not concerned with self at all.

Proud people keep others are arm's length, but broken people are willing to risk getting close to others and to take the risk of loving intimately.

Proud people are quick to blame others, but broken people accept personal responsibility and can see where they are wrong in the situation.

Proud people are unapproachable, but broken people are easy to be entreated.

Proud people are defensive when criticized, but broken people receive criticism with a humble, open spirit.

Proud people are concerned with being respectable. They are concerned with what others think, and they are working to protect their own image and reputation. But broken people are concerned with being real. What they care about and what matters to them is not what others think but what God knows, and they are willing to die to their own reputation.

Proud people find it difficult to share their spiritual needs with others. Broken people are willing to be open and transparent with others as God directs.

Proud people, when they have sinned, want to make sure that no one finds out. Their instinct is to cover up. But broken people, once they have been broken, they don't care who knows, who finds out. They are willing to be exposed because they have nothing to lose.

Proud people have a hard time saying, "I was wrong. Will you please forgive me?" But broken people are quick to admit their failure and to seek forgiveness when necessary.

When confessing their sin, proud people tend to deal in generalities, but broken people are able to deal under the conviction of God's Spirit to acknowledge specifics.

Proud people are concerned about the consequences of their sin, but broken people are grieved over the cause, the root of their sin.

Proud people are remorseful over their sin, sorry that they got found out or caught. But broken people are truly, genuinely repentant over their sin, which is acknowledged in the fact that they forsake that sin.

When there is a conflict or misunderstanding in a relationship, proud people wait for the other to come and ask for forgiveness. But broken people take the initiative to be reconciled. They race to the cross. They see if they can get there first, no matter how wrong the other may have been.

Proud people compare themselves with others. They feel worthy of honor. Broken people compare themselves to the holiness of God and feel a desperate need for his mercy.

people are blind to their real heart condition. Broken people walk in the light.

Proud people don't think they have anything to repent of, but broken people realize that they have need of a continual heart attitude of repentance.

Proud, unbroken people don't think they need revival, but they are sure that everyone else does. Whereas, humble, broken people continually sense their need for a fresh encounter with God.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Book Club Wednesday 09/28/11

The Musings book club selection for September and October is Girls Gone Wise in a World Gone Wild by Mary Kassian. Ladies, I encourage you to pick up a copy, read along with me, and let me know what you think in the comments section of the "book club" posts.

I just finished chapter 3, and I'm starting on chapter 4. More about that next week.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Silver and Gold

The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the LORD tests hearts. Proverbs 17:3 (ESV)

Count it all joy my brothers when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. James 1:2-3 (ESV)

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith--more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire--may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:6-7 (ESV)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Cookie Baking Night 09/26/11

Tonight was Cookie Baking Night. In attendance this evening: Ethan, Carrisa, and Emily.

We had a treat this evening in that Diana (Greg's sister, Ethan and Carissa's mom) joined us for supper. (She has lovely eyes, though I did not give her an opportunity to open them before I snapped the shot--and the only one I took). It was fun to have her join us for supper and hope she will do so again sometime.

Tonight we made pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting. This project involved a lot of preparation and a lot of steps, so it filled up most of our evening.

I am pleased to announce that Ethan has mastered egg cracking. Until recently, he had no interest in it, and I think it frightened him a bit. Now, he is comfortable with the technique, and he cracked three of the four eggs needed for tonight's recipe.

It left us only with time to read Lesson 55 titled "God's Children Trust Him" from Leading Little Ones to God by Marian Schoolland. Emily read from the Bible for us. She read Matthew 14:24-31.

And to squeeze in a couple games of air hockey. This was the first night Carissa took an interest in the game. It was fun to watch her excitement as she learned to play.

As usual, a fun time was had by all.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

A Day With The Niece 09/24/11

Today, my niece, Meghan, and I celebrated her birthday. She turned 16 on September 12. I usually give the kids a choice between a gift (or money when they hit teenagehood) or an activity with me. This year, Meghan chose the activity (ahh, makes the aunt so happy). So, we spent the morning at the Farmer's Market in Minneapolis. We had the most lovely time! It was fun hanging out with Meghan and seeing her likes and dislikes emerge as she enters into young adulthood. We had a fun time shopping and looking around at all the wares.

But my favorite time, by far, was the trip home (about a 45 minute drive). Meghan and I had a wonderful conversation about the gospel. And it started with this question, "Where do you stand with God right now?" Meghan was very honest with me. She does not profess to have a relationship with Jesus Christ. I was able to share the gospel with her. She listened and she asked questions. She had already been pondering the question. "What happens to a person after they die?", so it was a timely conversation (as God knew it would be). I shared my testimony of salvation with her, and it seemed to resonate with her. This young lady is a thinker. At one point she said, "It must be very hard for you to have this information and this experience and know that not all the people you care about believe it." She said these words with great compassion, and I was moved to tears by them. I agreed. It is hard.

This is not the first time I have shared the gospel message with Meghan and it probably will not be the last. I will continue to proclaim it as is my job, and I leave the conversion of a soul in God's hands. Not a more wonderful subject exists to speak about, though, and I praise God I had the opportunity to do so.

Happy Birthday, Meghan! I love you.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Psalm 32:8-9

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. Be not like a horse or a mule without understanding which must be curbed with a bit and bridle or it will not stay near you.
Psalm 32:8-9

Hmmm. If you read yesterday's post, I'm sensing a theme in my daily Bible reading at the moment.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Proverbs 15:31

The ear that listens to life-giving reproof will dwell among the wise.
Proverbs 15:31

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Book Club Wednesday 09/21/11

The Musings Book Club selection for September and October is Girls Gone Wise in a World Gone Wild by Mary Kassian.

I read chapter 2 this week titled "Point of Contrast #2: Counsel: Where She Gets Her Instruction" The idea is to contrast the "Girl Gone Wild" with the "Girl Gone Wise". The "wild" gets her counsel from the world, and the "wise" gets her counsel from the Word.

This chapter went on to address the influence that media has on us. It quoted the statistic from the U.S. Census Bureau stating that the average woman will expose herself to 3,596 hours of mass media (TV, radio/iPod, video games/Internet, movies, women's magazines, and newspaper) a year. That equals seven full months! The author also offered this statement: "You become what you are exposed to."

Ladies, this chapter brings up an excellent question, From where do you get your instruction?What is having the most influence over you, the world, or the Word of God?

It's a thought provoking chapter. I hope you're reading this book along with me. I'd love to hear your comments.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Autobiography of God

On Sunday, our pastor preached the first sermon in a series titled "The Autobiography of God" from Exodus 34:6-7. It's worth listening to. You can click here to download it or listen to it from our church website.

Monday, September 19, 2011

But God

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, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience--among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath like the rest of mankind. 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--by grace you have been saved. Ephesians 2:1-5 ESV (emphasis added).

"One of my favorite conjunctions in all the Bible is but God." ~ Michael Horton (The White Horse Inn).

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Sanctification Week

I have dubbed this past week "Sanctification Week". I was in charge of organizing a charity fundraiser event at work the same week I was in charge of organizing our church booth at a local town festival. Nothing brings out the "flesh" like deadlines and working with people (most of the trouble, I find, starts in my own home, usually in my own heart). Grateful this week for the Holy Spirit, Scripture, and my husband (and probably in that order).

Here's some of the Scripture I leaned on this week:

As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct. 1 Peter 1:14-15

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 wrong doing but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-6

And because of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that as it is written, "Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord." 1 Corinthians 1:30-31

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence. 2 Peter 1:3

... asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. Colossians 1:9-10

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Book Club Wednesday 09/14/11

Last Sunday, Charity, Emily, and Katelyn (young friends from church) came home with me after our morning church service. We ate lunch together, and they spent the afternoon helping me prepare a project for an upcoming church event. I didn't invite them over because I needed the help (though I certainly needed the help, and they were incredibly efficient and a huge help to me), but I invited them over because I enjoy their company AND projects such as these present opportunities to build relationships (and I'll take that any day over completing a project quickly). Conversation flows when women, young and old alike (relatively speaking, I would be the old in this particular scenario) are engaged in a hands-on project. As suspected, much conversation was had around the project table.

Which brings me to my "Book Club Wednesday" post. At one point, in a general fashion, the conversation drifted toward the subject of Christians dating non-Christians, and that allowed me to read a quote from Girls Gone Wise in a World Gone Wild(yep, I'm that kind of hostess), which is our Musings book club selection for September and October.

Here's the quote from the author, Mary Kassian.

Several months ago, my adult son, Matt, phoned and told me about a girl he had started seeing. My first question for him was "Is Christ at the center of her heart?"

"Well," he tentatively replied, "She is super nice. She attended a Christian school. She goes to church. She went on a mission trip last year. Her family seems solid. We get along really well."

"That's not what I asked." I explained, "What I want to know is if she bubbles over with Jesus. Does He occupy her thoughts, purposes, dreams, and desires? Does she long to know Him better and obey him more? Is she into His Word? Is He the sun around which all her planets revolve? Does she love Him with her whole heart?"

"Umm ... I'm not really sure," he stammered. "We haven't really talked about it much." [By now, he's probably sweating, because it has dawned on him that his lack of an answer is an answer. If he has gone out with her several times, and they haven't talked about Jesus, chances are Jesus is not at the center of her heart, at the center of his heart, or at the center of their relationship.]

"Son," I gently advised, "There is nothing more important than a girl's relationship to Jesus. Nothing. If her heart is not sold out to Him, then she's not the woman for you. Plain and simple. A heart for God is to be your number one criteria for a wife--number one--at the top of your list. Above all, make sure she loves Jesus and gives Him first place in her heart." (page 26)

I'm only in chapter 1 of this book, but I love it already for that quote .... wish someone would have asked me that question when I started dating (and asked that question about me).

Monday, September 12, 2011

Cookie Baking Night 09/12/11

Tonight was Cookie Baking Night. In attendance this evening: Ethan and Carissa.

We made sugar cookies with cream cheese frosting.

We read lesson 54 titled "God's Children Love One Another" from Leading Little Ones to God by Marian Schoolland. Ethan read 1 John 4:7-11 for us from the Bible.

And Ethan and Carissa helped me work on a project for church. They were great helpers.

We ended the evening with a lively game of Uno. As usual, a fun time was had by all.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Psalms 145:1-10

I'm currently memorizing Psalm 145. I'm up to verse 10. I'm enjoying putting this passage in my head and meditating on it as I drive to work in the morning. Thought I'd share it with you:

I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless and praise your name forever and ever. Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts. On the glorious splendor of your majesty and on your wondrous works, I will meditate. They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds, and I will declare your greatness. They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness and shall sing aloud of your righteousness. The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. The LORD is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made. All your works shall give thanks to you, O LORD, and all your saints shall bless you!

Psalm 145: 1-10 (ESV)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Temporarily Interrupted

This blog will be temporarily interrupted due to a particularly busy time coming up. Expect sporadic posts over the next week or so.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Book Club Wednesday 09/07/11

The book club selection for September and October is Girls Gone Wise in a World Gone Wild by Mary Kassian.

I won't set a schedule for the book this time but will post on various chapters as I read them.

This book uses Proverbs 5, 6, & 7 to show 20 contrasts between the "girl gone wise" and the "girl gone wild".

Ladies, pick up a book and read along with me. I'd love to hear your input as we read this together.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Psalm 27:4

One thing I have asked of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.

Psalm 27:4

Monday, September 5, 2011

Evangelism Focus 09/05/11

Today is Labor Day, the unofficial last day of summer. I had purchased a couple discounted passes to the local wave pool but warm weather and a free schedule never shook hands, so I didn't use them. I contemplated using them today (the day the wave pool closes for the season), but instead I drove to the wave pool, found a young couple walking to the entrance and gave them the passes along with a gospel tract each. The young woman was very grateful and appreciative. The demeanor of the young man changed when I said the words "gospel tract". The small trace of a smile that was there disappeared. I held up the pool pass in one hand and said, "This will just get you a day of entertainment." I held up the tract in my other hand and said, "But this is for your life." (I would have liked to have said something far more eloquent, but those are the words that came out of my mouth). They nodded their heads in understanding, thanked me, and were on their way. I pray the gospel message will take root in their hearts and minds.

Evangelism comes in all shapes and sizes, folks. You just need to pick an idea and do it.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

A Day With The Niece 09/03/11

Today, Emily and I spent a few hours together in the afternoon. School starts on Tuesday, and I had promised her we could make her pencil box this year. We went to a local scrapbooking supply store, purchased the box and supplies, took a seat in their workroom, and she let her creative juices flow. I think it's safe to say she'll have the most creative pencil box in the 5th grade. Though we were sure to put her name on the end of it, I think it will be the only one of its kind. (Fancy pencil box that you create yourself---in pink--I do believe I see a little Aunt Katrina in that one.)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Review, Review, Review

About a year ago, I started memorizing large passages of Scripture and was able to do it pretty quickly. What I enjoy about memorizing Scripture is that the memorization process and practice allows you to meditate on God's Word.

I have found, however, that memorized Scripture does not stay in your head without the discipline of reviewing it, often. To help myself with the reviewing process, I have placed the cards I used to memorize the Bible strategically around the house in areas where I know I will stop and stay for awhile (such as the kitchen counter, the sink where I get ready in the morning, etc). As I'm working in the kitchen or getting ready in the morning, I review the Scriptures I've already memorized to keep them at the forefront of my mind.

How do you memorize and review? Please share your tips.

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...