Saturday, May 26, 2012

Evangelism Focus 05/26/12

Today, I'd like to share with you three videos (parts 1, 2, & 3) of Jeff Allen (comedian) giving his testimony. It's a compelling testimony (and sometimes raw in its content). It's worth taking the time to watch it. I've made my comments at the bottom of this post.








This testimony reminds me much of my own. The circumstances are different, but the utter lostness of my soul and Jeff's are the same. We also shared in common the complete befuddlement as to the purpose and meaning of life if it wasn't just happiness. I also related when he spoke of how intimately God knows us and how he uses the circumstances (and sometimes people) around us to draw us to Him; how very personal He makes it. And it resonated with me when he spoke of getting "downwind of one's self" and realizing the great sinner I am and that it was my sin that put Jesus on the cross. And I understood when he spoke of reading in the Bible about Jesus "an innocent" the "lamb" that was led to slaughter. I was brought back to the moment when I understood the "good news" of the gospel message for the first time.

Since this testimony impacted me, I thought it was worth sharing with you.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Hospital Visits

I recently had opportunity to visit a friend in the hospital, and she told me no one has ever visited her in the hospital (it wasn't her first stay).

Do you visit people in the hospital? I can say without a doubt that it is the number one way I am allowed to share the gospel with long-time friends, friends from the past, coworkers, new acquaintances. I never show up for a hospital visit without something that contains the gospel (whether it be a card, a tract, a Bible, a Christian book, or myself). Some of my deepest conversations with people have been in hospital rooms. Even if they're just there for a broken finger; hospital stays often, not always, but often, produce soul-bearing effects. It can be a very uncomplicated way to visit with people (you can show up unannounced and they're waiting for you). I find God always providentially works out the timing on such events.

And here's the thing about hospital visits: You never know when they will happen (even baby deliveries and scheduled surgeries have an element of surprise to them), so you have to be ready. I often keep a "hospital pack" in my vehicle. It contains a Bible, gospel of John booklets, gospel tracts, and get-well cards. I encourage you to consider this "ministry opportunity" in the future. I'm not sure who will receive the greater benefit (the visitee or the visitor).

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Glad Surrender/Obedience 05/16/12

I've recently been reading Discipline: The Glad Surrenderby Elisabeth Elliot. It's not a "10 easy steps to discipline" kind of book (as is never the case with Elisabeth Elliot). The author is taking several chapters to lay down the idea of what discipline is (which she closely relates to the idea of being a disciple). As part of this groundwork study, she gives an illustration of discipline and obedience (on pages 35 & 36) that I thought was worth sharing with you:

"Willing obedience is a very different thing from coercion. A college dean once observed that the happiest students on any campus are musicians and athletes. "Why?" I asked. "Because they're disciplined, and they volunteered to be disciplined." People sitting in required lectures are under discipline, and people sitting in the television lounge are "volunteers", but athletes and musicians put themselves under a coach or director who tells them what to do. They delight to do his will. They are actually having fun.


God does not coerce us to follow him. He invites us. He wills that we should will--that is, he wills our freedom to decline or to accept. If we want to be disciples, we place ourselves, like the football player and the instrumentalist, under someone's direction. He tells us what to do, and we find our happiness in doing it. We will not find it anywhere else. We will not find it by doing only what we want to do and not doing what we don't want to do. That is the popular idea of what freedom is, but it does not work. Freedom lies in keeping the rules. Joy is there too. (If only we could keep the joy in view!) The violinist in the orchestra submitted first to the instructor. He obeys the rules laid down by him and handles his instrument accordingly. He submits them to the music as written by the composer, paying attention to the markings for dynamics as well as to notes, rests, and timing. Finally, he submits to the conductor. The conductor tells him, by word or gesture, what he wants, and the violinist does just that.


Is there any image of freedom and joy more liberating than a full orchestra, everybody sawing, tootling, pounding, strumming, blowing, clashing, and hammering away for all they're worth, under direction of the immense energy and discipline of a man who knows every note of every instrument in every concerto and knows how to elicit that note exactly so that it will contribute most fully to the glory of the work as a whole? Compare that image, for example, with other pursuits of "happiness": a county fair on a hot Sunday afternoon, America at leisure, standing in line for cotton candy, standing in line for the roller coaster, standing in line for tickets to the bluegrass concert, shuffling and elbowing through the sweating mobs, babies in strollers crying for ice cream, toddlers screaming for more rides, exhausted parents, vacant-looking teenagers, bored senior citizens. Everybody harried by the teeming crowd, deafened by the noise (shooting galleries, fun machines, amplified music played at the highest possible decibel), looking for fun. Everybody is "free", so to speak, to do his own thing, and the result is chaos and cacophony. The first image, I must confess--when nobody is doing his own thing but everybody is free because he obeys--is somehow vastly more appealing to me.


It is a great relief when somebody else is in charge. He knows what he's doing, and all you need to do is follow directions. You do not rebel at his telling you what to do. You are glad to be told. He knows more than you do, knows the best way to accomplish what you want to accomplish, and you are sure you will be better off with him than without him, happier by obeying by disobeying."

Monday, May 14, 2012

Cookie Baking Night 05/14/12

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


We made Peanut Butter/Marshmallow Squares (a tasty little treat with butterscotch chips, nuts, peanut butter, coconut, and marshmallows). Pictured above: When Emily tried to scoop the peanut butter into the bowl, it became a "peanut butter lollipop" on her spoon.


Carissa showed us her "cat presentation" that she made for school (complete with fancy display board and props). She did a very nice job.

We read lessons 68 & 69 from Leading Little Ones to God. Ethan and Emily read from the Bible for us.


And we finished off the evening with a lively game of bocci ball in the cool of a beautiful spring evening. 


As usual, a fun time was had by all!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Happy Birthday Blog! (2012)

Today this blog is 3 years old. I've recently shared some of my thoughts about blogging and my dilemma of continuing to blog or not, so I won't bore you by repeating those thoughts in this post.

The bottom line is: I'm grateful God has allowed me the ministry of the Katrina's Musings blog. It has been a great tool of growth in my life. And I have very much enjoyed the comments I've received on the blog since its inception in 2009. I have been sharpened, encouraged, challenged, and blessed in my Christian walk through the comments on this blog, conversations with friends and relatives who read the blog, and through the simple exercise (and discipline) of writing posts for the blog.

Should God allow it, I look forward to more years of blogging ahead.

Happy Birthday, Blog!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

David and Goliath Task

Ray Comfort on evangelism:

"Evangelism is a David-and-Goliath task. It’s extremely daunting, but we don’t go into battle wearing the king’s armor. Instead we are clothed with the Armor of God, holding the shield of faith, having our feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, and a firm grip on the Sword of the Spirit. The world may have a sword and a spear and want to feed us to the birds, but we come in the name of the Lord, and our weapons aren’t carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds. We know that the smooth stone of the gospel will be given its power by the sling of God’s Law, and our aim is to hit Goliath between the eyes of his understanding and for him to see the glorious gospel of everlasting life. So, like David, we run at Goliath."

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Not Your Average Conference Part 2

As mentioned in Saturday's post, I spent the day at the Psalm 119 conference sponsored by Wretched Radio (see Saturday's post for details).

I thought I would share a couple of experiences I had with some of the conference attendees.

Sitting to the left of me, I met Carol and her daughter Courtney. They lived in Illinois and drove to the conference in MN. Courtney was 12 years old. She was a lovely young lady. We had opportunity to chat throughout the breaks during the conference, and I walked next to her during the hike through the streets of St. Paul to the candy store. She was quiet but very willing to engage in conversation. I was impressed with the maturity of a 12 year old attending a conference on the Holy Spirit. I pray God continues to keep her close to Him.

When I arrived at Cosetta's Italian restaurant on Saturday evening, I ordered some food and then sat upstairs at a small table in the corner. I was sitting at the table for about 30 seconds when a woman came across the restaurant and said, "Are you here alone?" I said, "Yes." And she said, "Come, sit with me." So, I did. (She was another conference attender though I had not met her at the church). Her name was Lidia. She also had driven from Illinois to attend the conference (funny enough, most of the people I met that day were not from Minnesota). It only took a few words from Lidia to realize she probably wasn't born in Illinois. I inquired about her accent, and she said she was from Poland (had been in America for about 16 years, though). As I talked more with Lidia and she told me stories from her life, some of the past details didn't add up with the life of a Christian. She could see me putting these pieces together, and she said, "I've only been saved for three months." I asked her to tell me her story, so she did.

She said she had grown up in a Christian family (her grandfather was a pastor), and she had graduated from Bible College, but fell into a sinful lifestyle, which led to two children outside of marriage. Through a series of circumstances (that mostly involved revenge) she found herself at a Bible-preaching church and was feeling confronted by her lifestyle. What she was hearing from the pulpit and seeing in the people around her were not consistent with what she was living out herself. She said she knew something was wrong and that led her to "googling" the phrase "how to get saved" while home alone one day. She said the first page her search brought her to was "Wretched Radio". She e-mailed them with her question. Some time passed, and she received an e-mail from Todd Friel. Through a series of e-mails, he shared the gospel with her. She repented of her sins, and God graciously regenerated her heart.

When Lidia heard of the conference in Minnesota, she found a sitter for the kids, hopped in her car and drove 6 hours or so to be part of it.

As I talked with Courtney and listened to the story of Lidia I marveled at how God continues to use the preaching of the gospel to draw people unto Him. No circumstance is too big or too small. He orchestrates all the details to come together at exactly the right time.

I'm grateful God is using Wretched Radio, local churches, and His people to preach the gospel. May we not stop till we see His face, and may He receive all the glory for it!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Not Your Average Conference Part 1




Today I spent the day at the Psalm 119 conference sponsored by Wretched Radio. The theme of the conference  was the Holy Spirit. The speakers were Phil Johnson (Grace to You ministries in California), Milton Vincent (Cornerstone Fellowship Bible Church in California, author of A Gospel Primer for Christians), RW Glenn (Redeemer Bible Church in Minnesota), and Todd Friel (Wretched Radio in Georgia). The teaching was phenomenal! I left there loving Jesus more than I had when I entered the doors (which is everything I would hope for in a Christian conference). As I compose my thoughts and review my notes, I hope to share some of what I learned (on the blog) in the days ahead.

Before the conference started, David Wheaton hosted his radio program, The Christian Worldview live from the conference stage. I listen to The Christian Worldview radio program weekly (it is the program Greg and I are most likely to discuss every week "So, did you listen to this week's Christian Worldview yet? What did you think of....?", so it was a treat to be part of the audience during the live airing/taping.

A week before the Psalm 119 conference in MN, all attendees received this e-mail from Todd Friel/Wretched Radio:

Post Psalm 119 Dinner!


How’s about dinner at a great Italian joint AFTER the conference?
Five reasons to make plans to join us.


1. The food will be great.
2. The prices are cheap.
3. We will walk to Candy Land as a group when we are done eating.
4. You will see St. Paul….a great European flavored town.
5. You will see the State Capitol, the St. Paul Cathedral (amazing) and Mickey’s Diner!


Now, here are five reasons to NOT join us.


1. St. Paul is on the opposite side of town from the conference.
2. Cossetta’s Restaurant is PACKED on Saturday nights.
3. Saturday’s are packed AND they are remodeling.
4. Parking is nuts.
5. We won’t be able to sit together…just near one another.


If you are in the mood for a crazy night, find your way to Cossetta’s after the conference.


211 7th Street West
Saint Paul, MN 55102


You should be able to get there by 6 pm if you leave the conference in a somewhat timely manner.
It is every man for himself at Cossettas! Get your food and sit wherever you can.


We will then meet OUTSIDE the restaurant on the W. 7th Street at 7:15pm.
From there we will march to Candy Land (about four blocks away).


Todd will be your tour guide.
If the weather is crummy….fuggetabout it. We aren’t going to go (your tour guide is a baby).
We will make that call at the conference.


Yep, this could be the dummest idea of all time.
Then again, it might be a ton of fun!


Your call.


You have been warned!


See you soon.


Todd


I thought, "Hmm, that sounds crazy! Fun, perhaps, but crazy." Greg was working that day so wasn't able to attend the conference with me, which I knew would lessen my chances even further that I would drive from Minneapolis to St. Paul after the conference.

But, at the conference the people sitting next to me and the people sitting in front of me asked me if I was going to dinner afterwards and said they would be going. So, then I started to consider it. The conference had an attendance of about 400 people, so I was very curious as to what kind of crowd would show up afterwards. So, with the help of my new smart phone (complete with GPS), after the conference, I trekked over to St. Paul, braved the parking, ate dinner with another conference attendee, and then headed off to Candy Land with the Psalm 119 gang (which ended up being about 30 people, including Todd Friel and his family). It was pretty fun! I'm glad I went.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Envy

I was listening to Revive Our Hearts radio program the other day when Nancy Leigh DeMoss defined jealousy and envy in this way:

Jeolousy is a matter of wanting what somebody else has.

Envy is a matter of wishing they didn't have it.

Often the two go hand in hand.

She then went on to quote the youth pastor of her home church who had this to say on the subject of envy:

"When personal envy puts us on the offensive, we no longer see the other person as being made in the image and likeness of God. We lose respect for them as an individual. And now that person becomes an obstacle to our personal happiness. Instead of enjoying them, you begin to despise them. Instead of valuing them, you degrade them. Instead of lifting them up, you boast about yourself. Instead of rejoicing over their giftedness, you downplay their contribution to the kingdom."

I've seen this very scenario played out in my own life and appreciated the way it was articulated here.

Cookie Baking Night 09/25/17

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