Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Book Club Wednesday 11/30/11

The book club selection for the month of December is Evidence Not Seen by Darlene Deibler Rose. I purchased this book back in January of this year in anticipation of reading it for the book club. I immediately read it and finished it in about three days.

It's an autobiographical story of a young missionary couple serving in New Guinea in the late 1930's and early 1940's when World War II broke out, and they were taken as Japanese prisoners. Darlene spent four years in a Japanese prison camp and chronicles much of that experience in this book. If you have not read any of the book club choices yet this year, please read this one. You will be changed by it (there is no choice in that).

As I've already read it, I will be re-reading it (which I'm hoping will make for timely posts this month), and highlighting areas that stood out to me in the Book Club Wednesday posts for December.


Click on the link below to find out how to purchase this book.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Repentance and Faith

I was listening to a 5-minute clip the other day of Paul Washer speaking on the subject of "repentance and faith". I think what he had to say is very helpful for Christians, so I typed it up and share it with you today.

Repentance:
Have you repented? Has your mind changed? Has that change of mind led to a change of the intellect? A change of the will? A change of your emotions? The sins you once loved, do you now hate? The holiness you once ignored, do you now desire? The Christ that you lived apart from, do you now esteem Him? Do you consider the kingdom of heaven to be a pearl of great price. Those are certain evidences that a work of repentance has been done in your heart. Not only must we repent but we must believe on Jesus Christ. It is a recognition that you have only one hope and 100% of that hope is found in the person and work of Jesus Christ. --Paul Washer


Faith: If you truly believe in Christ you have eternal life. But how do you know that you have truly believed? Even if you’ve had some sort of conversion experience, and you felt some sort of peace of God and so many other emotions, how do you know it is real? One of the ways you know that it is real is that it will continue. It is not necessarily that the emotional high will continue but what will happen is that you will continue to grow in grace, you will continue to deepen in your repentance, you will continue to deepen in your faith. Little by little, you will be transformed more and more into the image of Jesus Christ. --Paul Washer

Monday, November 28, 2011

Hebrews 4:15-16

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence, draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:15-16 (ESV)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Evangelism Focus 11/26/11

If you're looking for some evangelistic ideas to use during this Christmas season, I recommend checking out this video from Paul at The Word Street Journal blog. He and his wife, Kim, (and various friends) are out on the streets of Ottawa, often, proclaiming the gospel to those around them. Paul, then, graciously shares those experiences in video form. Evangelists, Christians, don't miss out on viewing this valuable tool.


Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday


Today was Black Friday, the traditional shopping day after Christmas. Normally, my friend Kim and I prepare some packets with tracts and treats and head out to the early bird sales to distribute them, but we weren't able to do that this year.

I still wanted to get out in some fashion, so I decided to break out the "Are You Ready" cross. I stood at a very busy intersection in a local shopping complex. I was there for about 45 minutes, and in that time I had a lot of response (some honking, some profanity, some thumbs' up, some cheers, and some indifference--someone even took my picture with their phone, look for me on a facebook near you some day soon).

My goal in standing there was to allow people an opportunity to think on eternal things if even for a few seconds. I pray God used it in that way. I was ready with tracts in my pocket but didn't have a lot of foot traffic on this particular outing (maybe next time).



Upon reviewing of the pictures Greg took during that time: Note to self: Smile more next time. I actually have some good news to tell.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Remember to give honor where honor is due.

I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever. Everyday I will bless you and praise your name for ever and ever. Great is the LORD and greatly to be praised. His greatness is unsearchable. Psalm 145:1-3

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Book Club Wednesday 11/23/11

The Musings book club selection for September and October and November 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.

This will be my last Book Club Wednesday post on Girls Gone Wise in a World Gone Wild. I'm not quite finished with the book yet, but I've already spent three months on it and will finish the rest of it at a slower pace as to digest it all (I'm in chapter 14 now, 6 chapters left).

I have thoroughly enjoyed the read thus far and would recommend it based on that information. If you picked up the book and read only 14 chapters, it would be worth your money and time. It calls you to think deeply about every area of life as a woman.

If you've read it, please let me know what you thought. I may do a future post on it when I finish it.

Next month, Evidence Not Seen by Darlene Deibler Rose. Please pick a copy and read along with me. I don't think you'll be disappointed.



Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Workplace Musings 11/22/11

I gave this post the "Workplace Musings" title because that is the place where the particular issue I'm about to address comes up the most. It's the issue of blasphemy, using the name of our Lord God in vain. To my shame, far too often I stand by as others blaspheme the name of my God without saying a word. It is far too common an occurrence in the workplace these days.

I was listening to a recording of Randy Alcorn speaking on the issue of the persecuted church, and he suggested saying something like this concerning the subject of blasphemy when done in your presence:

"Excuse me, could I ask you something? Could I make a request? In light of the fact that Jesus Christ is my best friend, He is Lord, and I believe that with all my heart, I would ask that you not dishonor his name in my presence."

A few years ago, I did address this issue with a coworker with whom I spent most of my day. She was annoyed with me (which I think will likely happen no matter what is said), but I didn't address it nearly as eloquently or as thought out as Randy Alcorn presented it in the above paragraph. I appreciated his attention to the subject and the provocation to thought on the matter.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Cookie Baking Night 11/21/11

Tonight was Cookie Baking Night. In attendance this evening: Emily, Ethan, and Carissa. It was Emily's birthday choice. For supper, she chose ham & cheese souffle (she had that at Panera once and was hooked), cheese curds, green beans, and pomegranate seeds. I thought that was a strange combination (though strange combinations on birthday dinners are not out of the ordinary). I later heard Emily explaining to Ethan that she chose an appetizer, an entree, a vegetable, and a fruit for a complete meal.

For her "cookie", she chose Fun-da-middles (cupcakes with a cream center) that we decorated with lots of frosting.

We also read lesson 59 "God's Children Read the Bible" from Leading Little Ones to God by Marian Schoolland. Emily read the lesson and Ethan read Deuteronomy 11:18-21 from the Bible.

Before the evening was over, we managed to squeeze in a couple games of Zingo.







As usual, a fun time was had by all.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Isaiah 57:15

For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: "I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite. Isaiah 57:15

Friday, November 18, 2011

Horrified

Today I leave with you an audio clip from Matt Chandler talking about the condition of the American church/Christians today. He is very passionate on the subject, and you'll find that reflected in the tone of his voice. I think it's worth the 5 minutes it will take to listen to it, and it's worth contemplating the thoughts it will bring to your mind.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Autobiography of God Part 6

Today I leave you with Part 6 (the final sermon) in the Bible Baptist Church sermon series titled The Autobiography of God. The text for this series is Exodus 34:6-7. Click here to listen to the sermon or download it and listen to it at another time. I hope you've enjoyed the series as I have.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Book Club Wednesday 11/16/11

The Musings book club selection for September and October and November 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.

This week I read chapter 11 titled "Boundaries" (Her Hedges and Precautions). The author suggested 10 hedges to put in place to protect sexual purity (whether you're married or unmarried). The chapter is worth that list alone (and worth the contemplation of such ideas). At the end of the chapter the author challenges the reader to come up with a personal list of hedges and write them down. I really appreciated the content of this chapter.

The information in this chapter is worth reading and reflecting on. If you haven't picked up a copy of this book yet, please do so. If you've been reading along with me, let me know what you think by posting a comment.




Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Workplace Musings 11/15/11

This week is Epilepsy Awareness week. I work at a health clinic, and this week they've been highlighting epilepsy awareness via promotional materials and e-mails to clinic employees.

Here's a brief definition of epilepsy:

Epilepsy is a medical condition that produces seizures affecting a variety of mental and physical functions. It is also called a seizure disorder. When a person has two or more unprovoked seizures, they are considered to have epilepsy. Seizures happen when clusters of nerve cells in the brain signal abnormally, which may briefly alter a person's consciousness, movements or actions.

One particular e-mail I've received during Epilepsy Awareness week contained a list of "famous people" who had epilepsy. The list came from the Epilepsy Foundation website. Two names on the list, in particular, caught my attention: St. Apostle Paul and Vladimer Lenin. In the e-mail they were listed as "successful and famous people who had epilepsy".

Hmmm. I was quite curious about the Apostle Paul so I did a little Google search to see what was being said on the subject. The thought seems to be that the account of Paul in Acts 9:1-9 (But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But arise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.) was describing a seizure. It is also thought that the "thorn in the flesh" Paul referred to in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 was referring to epilepsy.

It seems to me that to believe that Paul had an "epileptic seizure" on the road to Damascus would negate his conversion to Christianity. I also think that saying that Paul had epilepsy (without any actual evidence of it) is taking a modern idea and concept, smashing it into a few details from the past, and then calling it a fact.

I also thought it strange that Vladimir Lenin was listed as a successful and famous person as if he was someone to emulate. Vladimir Lenin founded the Russian Communist party and is considered the father of the communist worldview. An article on prominent Russians said this about Lenin:

Lenin was by all means a great politician, if greatness is measured by the power of will and the scale of damage. He destroyed one powerful empire to create another based on extreme violence. In many ways he defined the development of world history during the 20th century. The first dictator of the century, he was not the last and paved the way for Stalin, Hitler, Mao and many others. However, his victory in 1917 was at the same time his defeat, as his “great” cause was doomed. It took 70 years and millions of lives to put an end to Lenin’s era.

Well, I suppose you could say that Lenin was successful......

I share this in a "Workplace Musings" post as a reminder that, for Christians, all information should be viewed through the lens of the Bible. Just because something is presented in an official capacity and as if it is fact does not mean that it is true or that it is biblical.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Cookie Baking Musings

Since I know of a few new readers to the blog, I thought I would take this opportunity to explain "Cookie Baking Nights".

  • Cookie Baking Night happens every other Monday from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm. The participants are nieces and nephews from both sides of our family.
  • The qualifying Cookie Baking age is 3 years old until they decide to retire (which has been anywhere from 14-16 years old). We've had two move on (retire) from Cookie Baking Nights (they are now 16 and 19) and we have two who will be moving up through the ranks eventually (1 year old and one on the way).
  • Cookie Baking Night has been in existence in our home for about 8 years now.
  • Those who attend Cookie Baking Night join us for supper, then we bake some kind of dessert, we read a Bible lesson, play a few games, go for a walk, etc.
  • On Cookie Baking Nights near birthdays, the one having a birthday gets to chose what we have for supper that evening and what we bake for our "cookie" as well.
  • My goal of Cookie Baking Night is to establish and maintain relationships with the nieces and nephews. So far, so good.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

A Day With the Nieces 11/12/11

On November 27th, my niece, Kylie, turns 12 years old and on November 28th, my niece, Emily, turns 11 years old. The two cousins requested an activity together for their birthday, so we spent today at the Mall of America. They went on rides in Nickelodeon Universe, spent some time at the arcade, went through the mirror maze. We ate lunch, stopped at a couple chocolate shops, and went on the ropes course.










The above picture is Kylie on the ropes course. It was a course of ropes, rope bridges, and planks reaching a final height of 56 feet above the ground. There were harnesses involved, it was frightening. Kylie has no fear of heights and was experienced at the ropes course. She loved it. Emily, who was talked into the idea, went up the stairs, said "This is really high" and went back down the stairs never to return to the course. I, who have a mediocre relationship with heights at best, spent the entire time trying not cross anything that provided me with only a rope to walk on (such as what you see Kylie walking across in the above picture). I preferred planks if I could find them (which weren't any wider than a an average tissue box, by the way).

It was a fun day together and allowed me more opportunity to establish relationships with both of the girls, for which I am grateful.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Isaiah 45:5-7

I am the LORD and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me, that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the LORD, and there is no other. I form the light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the LORD, who does all these things.
Isaiah 45:5-7

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Autobiography of God Part 5

I don't want to leave anyone hanging here, so I commend to you part 5 in the Bible Baptist Church sermon series titled The Autobiography of God. The text for this series is Exodus 34:6-7. Click here to listen to the sermon or download it and listen to it at another time. I highly recommend it.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Book Club Wednesday 11/09/11

The Musings book club selection for September and October and November 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 read chapters 9 & 10 about "Roles" and "Sexual Conduct". I love the theology that is presented in these chapters. Mary Kassian does a great job with both of these subjects. I commend this book and these two chapters to you. I'll leave you with a quote from chapter 10 (page 141).

Marriage is about family--a husband and a wife establish a new family unit. Their union produces children. The relationship is a symbol that teaches us a lot about God. It teaches us about the relationship a father has to his children. It helps us understand the relationship between God the Father and his only begotten Son, the enormousness of what it meant for the Father to sacrifice His son, and what it means for Him to adopt us as His children (Romans 8:29, Galatians 4:5-6).


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Evangelism Focus 11/08/11

The above picture probably has little-to-no significance to you as was the same case for me until June of this year. In June, it was discovered I had an infection in one of my teeth that was draining into a pocket in the side of my gums. I was sent to a local endodontic office (thus the above picture), as the tooth was way in the back of my mouth and needed a specialist. This led to a root canal on one tooth, an attempted fix on a root canal on another tooth (everything that goes with a root canal procedure without the success at the end of the day), eventually surgery on that tooth, and many, many appointments to check the progress in between. As I entered this last appointment, I realized I was possibly missing an evangelistic opportunity that only came my way because of these tooth troubles. So, on my way to this last appointment, I stopped and purchased a couple gift cards to a local coffee shop (one for the doctor and one for the assistant), put them in a card with a gospel tract, and a note that went something like this:

Thank you so much for the kindness and care you've shown to me over the past few months. I wanted to take a moment to pass on a token of my gratitude and a booklet containing the most significant information I've ever heard.

There's not a lot of opportunity for conversation in dental appointments, so I handed the cards to the receptionist on my way out of the appointment.

God puts many opportunities in our path to share the gospel (some perhaps a little unconventional). If we keep our eyes open and employ a little creativity the opportunity is usually there (I say this from one chicken to another).

Monday, November 7, 2011

Cookie Baking Night 11/07/11

Tonight was Cooke Baking Night. In attendance this evening: Emily, Ethan, and Carissa.

Tonight involved some special circumstances. Today I had some dental surgery done which ended up being a little more extensive than I had anticipated (no anesthesia, just Novocaine, but several sutures to the gums, which involved icing the area 20 minutes on/15 off until 9 pm). I decided to continue with the planned Cookie Baking Night. I planned a little lower key evening, and gave Emily an opportunity to lead some of the night (she'll be 11 years old in about 2 weeks, and I knew she'd jump at the opportunity).

I explained the situation to all of the kids. They were very understanding of the circumstances and worked well as a team throughout the evening. Emily did a great job taking the lead. We made caramel brownies. Emily read the recipe and took charge assigning tasks and making the brownies.

Emily also read our lesson this evening from Leading Little Ones to God by Marian Schoolland. (Lesson 58, "God's Children Work). Ethan read 2 Thessalonians 3:10-12 from the Bible for us.

We ended the evening by watching a video. As usual, though a little on the low-key side, a fun time was had by all.







Postscript:

When I explained the situation to Emily and asked her to take my place for some of the evening, she said, "Okay, if I'm going to be Katrina tonight, I'm going to need an apron and something to make my hair frizzy (hey now!) At one point, I also heard her turn to Ethan and Carissa at the table and say, "How's it going over here, kiddos?" (I'm notorious for calling the children "kiddos"). It was amusing (and humbling) to watch myself being "interpreted" throughout the evening.


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Indianapolis

Here's a few highlights from the trip Kim and I took to Indianapolis over the weekend to attend a Revive Our Hearts conference.
We set out on Thursday morning and arrived in Brownsburg, Indiana at about 8 pm that evening. We had supper with our friend, Jewel, and stayed the night with her landlords who had a couple extra guest rooms and graciously offered them to us for the night.

We set out for Indianapolis on Friday morning, about 30 minutes away from Jewel's house (hitting a couple garage sales along the way, Kim has a hard time resisting a garage sale). The leaves were at peak for color in Indiana, so it was a beautiful drive.
We arrived at the beautiful Marriott in Indianapolis on Friday
afternoon. The conference started at 2 pm and went until 10:30 pm on Friday, then started up again on Saturday morning at 8:30 am and went until 4:00 pm.

On Saturday evening, we met our friend
Jewel for supper and walked around Indianapolis.

On Sunday morning we began the road trip back home, arriving back in Minnesota around 6:30 pm.


The conference was Christ honoring and extremely beneficial for future ministry.


The fellowship was sweet (with Kim, with Jewel, and with several new friends made at the conference). It was time well spent.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Revive 11 Conference


The Revive 11 conference was a wonderful time. It was held in Indianapolis, Indiana. As we arrived at our seats, we found this gift of a canvas bag containing various helpful resources (including an ESV study Bible, given by Crossway publishers).

The theme of the conference was "Women Serving Women", and it was geared toward pastor's wives and women's ministry leaders. It was put on by Revive Our Hearts ministry. The speakers were: Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Crawford Loritts, and Susan Hunt with music by Fernando Ortega (beautiful, worshipful hymns that made you want to love Jesus more).

I've attended many women's retreats and conferences over the years. This one lacked a driving emotional undertone that is often present at such events. Rather than emotion, a love for Christ and His purposes fulfilled in women seemed to motivate (and carry) this event. I thoroughly enjoyed it. If you're not familiar with this ministry, I encourage you to check it out.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Celebrating Friendship

Expect sporadic posts to this blog from now through next Monday.

My friend Kim and I are on our way to Indianapolis, IN. We'll be attending the Revive 11 conference put on by Revive Our Hearts ministry. It's geared toward women's ministry leaders (of which Kim is one). We're looking forward to it (the conference and a good road trip).

We decided to attend this conference/retreat as a celebration of our friendship. Our friendship was established at a women's retreat through our church 10 years ago (that's right, it's our 10-year friendship anniversary--no need to send cards, chocolate will suffice). Out of gratitude for what we've been given, we've always celebrated our friendship, but for the 10-year celebration, we went big (Nancy Leigh DeMoss or bust).

I thank God frequently for my friendship with Kim. If you looked at Kim and me on the surface you wouldn't find two people with very much in common, but our anchor of commonality is a love for Jesus Christ. Our friendship is built around Him and, therefore, it is a good friendship. The only thing extraordinary about the two women involved in this friendship is the Savior whom they love. And that is enough to make it a remarkable thing!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Musings book club selection for September and October is Girls Gone Wise in a World Gone Wild by Mary Kassian. I'm going to extend this book through November, as I'm still reading it and don't want to rush through it. I'll read Evidence Not Seen by Darlene Deibler Rose in the month of December (instead of November and December).

I'm currently in chapter 9 of Girls Gone Wise in a World Gone Wild. This chapter is about the roles of men and women. I'm enjoying this chapter and need to slow down a bit to digest it as well as the rest of the book.

So, it's not too late to pick up a copy and read along with me. I'd love to hear your feedback.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

He is God; I am Not

On days leading up to a conference at the end of this week, I've been reading some specific devotional material from Revive Our Hearts ministry. I'd like to share with you one day's reading in particular (the text for that day was Job 38). It is as follows:

"Have you ever in your life commanded the morning, and caused the dawn to know its place?" Job 38:12 (NASB)

We need to hear this question from God every time we forget that he is God and we are not. It is so easy to slip into a prideful spirit, protecting our own little kingdoms, thinking, I have it all under control, and if everyone else would get in line, things would run so much smoother!

When we attempt to take on God and challenge him with the injustice of our situation we can become like a child having a temper tantrum, screaming out accusations to a caring parent, "Why did you do that?!" Although Job wasn't screaming, and although he threw no fits and seemed rather patient, in his character was an accusation of injustice made against God. So in a barrage of more than eighty questions, God proceeded to move Job from his position of challenger to a much humbler place of speechlessness.

If we're not careful, our hearts and wounds will grow infected with resentment and self-pity. Out of our pain, we may strike back at Him with an accusatory "Why?!" We allow ourselves to ignore the truth of His Word--the fact that He cares for us and will never leave us or forsake us, that He desires to comfort us in our affliction--and instead we stand as His accuser. That's when we need to hear Him ask, "Have you ever in your life commanded the morning, and caused the dawn to know its place?"

We need to remind ourselves regularly, although I may imagine that I am right and have all the answers, I didn't cause the sun to rise this morning! He is God; I am not!

Cookie Baking Night 07/31/17

Tonight was Cookie Baking Night. In attendance this evening: Ethan, Carissa, Allison, Rylar, and Enzo (and Larry, Clara, and Greg). Tonight ...