Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Birthday Musings

Today, my niece Kylie turns 13 years old. Tomorrow Emily will be 12. A couple weekends ago I took the birthday cousins out for a birthday adventure. Often, I ask them what they want to do, but this year I went with the element of surprise. They knew we would be spending the day together, but that's all they knew. 

For their birthdays this year we went on a chocolate scavenger hunt. At the beginning of our trip, I gave them each a bag to collect items,$20.00, and a list of items they needed to obtain/complete by the end of the day. For a little healthy competition, they competed against me in this little game. 

Here's the list of items we had to obtain/complete: 

 • Chocolate in the shape of a flower
 • A picture of you giving a piece of chocolate to someone over 6 feet tall
 • Chocolate in a neon green wrapper
 • A picture of you eating a piece of chocolate next to a bear
 • A piece of fruit-flavored chocolate
 • A piece of chocolate with a weird ingredient in it
 • Something chocolate dipped
 • A piece of white chocolate
 • A picture of you giving a piece of chocolate to a gas station employee
 • A piece of chocolate from another country
 • A piece of chocolate in the shape of an animal
 • A piece of dark chocolate
 • A chocolate bar with a funny name
 • A picture of yourself giving chocolate to someone in an orange shirt/coat
 • A picture of yourself standing in front of a chocolate shop
 • A chocolate vegetable
 • A chocolate insect
 • A picture of yourself smiling in a chocolate shop
 • Proof you visited at least three chocolate shops today
 • The name of every chocolate shop you visited
 • A picture of you at every chocolate destination you visited today
 • A picture of the word “chocolate”
 • A picture of yourself eating a chocolate dessert at a restaurant
 • An “unusual” piece of chocolate
 • Some Godiva chocolate
 • A picture of you with a chocolate shop employee

This is us (Katrina, Kylie, Emily) at the beginning of our adventure.

Picture of "the word "chocolate"

Picture of "yourself eating a piece of chocolate next to a bear"

Picture of "yourself giving chocolate to someone in an orange shirt" 

Picture of "yourself giving chocolate to a gas station employee"

Picture of "yourself eating a chocolate dessert in a restaurant"

Picture "in front of one of the visited destinations that day" (This was a Hallmark store in a mall where we picked up some Godiva chocolate). 

Picture of "yourself giving chocolate to someone over 6 feet tall" (The Bubba Gump shrimp mascot)

Picture of "yourself smiling in a chocolate shop" (okay, Kylie is smiling and Emily is almost smiling, close enough). 

Picture of the girls "with an employee of a chocolate shop". This particular "employee" of the Droolin' Moose happened to be the owner. We told her what we were doing there, which also broke the ice and allowed the girls to become brave enough to ask to get their picture taken with her. She was intrigued by our adventure and gave each of the girls a free T-shirt. She then became forever endeared to them. It was, by far, their favorite stop of the day. (And I was ever so appreciative of her kindness). 

This is our collection of items for the day. The girls won the contest (they did/got everything on the list). And we all had a lot of fun along the way.  

My friend, Kim, gave me the idea of adding things to the list like "giving chocolate to someone else". I recommend including that element in your scavenger hunts. It kept the day from becoming too self-focused, added a challenge, and forced us to learn how to communicate with other people. 

It was a fun day with the nieces. Happy Birthday, Girls!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Cookie Baking Night 11/26/12

Tonight was Cookie Baking Night. In attendance this evening: Ethan and Carissa. We made pumpkin bread using the pumpkin we cooked in the oven a few weeks ago (I had it in the freezer until tonight). Click here to read the pumpkin-baking post. The kids still had a hard time understanding that we were using the whole pumpkin, cooked, and not just the insides of it even though they saw the whole process with their own eyes. Ahh, the cooked pumpkin, a mysterious concept indeed.
This we could all agree on: It smelled delicious while it was baking, and it tasted yummy.

We also read lessons 82 and 83 from Leading Little Ones to God by Marian Schoolland. We have only 3 lessons left and we'll have completed the book. Ethan read Revelation 1:4-7 for us from the Bible.

As usual, a fun time was had by all.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Evangelism Musings (Black Friday FollowUp)

On Thanksgiving Day, I recruited a couple laborers at our Thanksgiving feast, and they helped me put together 120 packs to give out on Black Friday. Each pack contained a granola bar or equivalent thereof, a gospel tract, a personal message about the meaning of Christmas, and our church business card/gospel tract. Click here (or scroll down the page) to read the original post and the contents of the Christmas messages.

My friend put together 120 packs as well, and this morning (at the early hour of 4:00 am) we headed out to two local businesses and distributed them all in the matter of an hour (with about 15 minutes travel time between the two places). We found people to be very receptive. We usually approached them by saying "We wanted to be your first giveaway of the day. Merry Christmas!" Only a handful of people (less than 10) said "No. Thank you." And that's as "rude" as it got this morning. We praise God for His protection and for letting us put the gospel message into so many hands in such a short period of time.  May He receive the honor due His name. 

Christian, you can do this. 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Praise the LORD!
Praise O servants of the LORD, 
Praise the name of the LORD!
Blessed be the name of the LORD
from this time forth and forevermore!
From the rising of the sun to its going down
the LORD's name is to be praised.

Psalm 113: 1-3

May the Lord be thanked and praised today and everyday. Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Evangelism Musings (Upcoming Black Friday)

Black Friday is just around the corner--an evangelistic opportunity in our backyards. For a couple years now, a friend and I have put together some bags, arisen in the dark of the morning, and went to the masses standing in line to get into the stores. I'm posting this at the early part of the week because it's not too late to do something. Feel free to use this idea or come up with another one. Many, many gospel opportunities exist within that day.

Here's what we do:
We assemble small plastic baggies that contain:
  • a gospel tract (the good news of Jesus Christ)
  • a treat (sustenance for the weary shopper)
  • our church business card (should God call them unto Him and regeneration occur in their hearts, they'll need a good church to attend)
  • a personal message
I have two messages that I've written and use in my "Christmas packs" during this season. I'm posting them both here for your consideration. Use them, change them, ignore them as you wish. 

Message A

Christmas is the season of giving! Today, you stand in line waiting on the generosity of others. Today, we visit you because of the generosity of someone else. We celebrate Christmas because over 2,000 years ago, Jesus Christ showed great generosity toward all mankind when He (fully God ) came to this earth and took on human form (fully man). It is a gift beyond comprehension. The Bible speaks of this gift in the book of Philippians. “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality a thing to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:5-10

We have provided for you today two things:

 • A treat (to enjoy while you’re out and about starting your Christmas shopping)
 • A gospel tract (our hope is that you will read the message in the tract and spend some time considering it today).

 Merry Christmas and enjoy your day! 

Message B

“Peace on earth. Goodwill to men.” That’s a popular phrase this time of year. Do you know where it comes from? It comes from the Bible. Many people think of peace as the absence of conflict or the absence of fighting, but the peace spoken of in the Bible is much greater than that. “Peace on earth. Goodwill to men” refers to peace between you and God. It’s the message the angels brought to the shepherds in the field the night Jesus was born on this earth. “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, goodwill toward men!.” Luke 2:14 . It’s the message we proclaim when we sing that classic Christmas carol Hark the Herald Angels Sing (“Peace on earth and mercy mild. God and sinners reconciled). Over 2,000 years ago, Jesus Christ was born on this earth. He came here to provide us with the peace of reconciliation with God. That is why we celebrate Christmas.

I have provided two things for you today:

 • A treat (Merry Christmas! Enjoy!)
 • A gospel tract (my hope is that you will read the message in the tract and spend some time considering it today).

 Merry Christmas and enjoy your day!


I'll report later about the day. Please feel free to share your ideas with me. May God be glorified through our gospel efforts and, if it pleases Him to do so, may hearts be regenerated and lives changed, and may Jesus Christ receive the full honor due His name.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Cookie Baking Musings

Tonight is an off night for Cookie Baking, so I thought I would share a story from last time. As we were finishing up supper, we were talking about how Allison (our youngest niece) will be old enough to join us for Cookie Baking Nights in August (the official start age is 3).

I said, "We'll need to be patient with her and show her the rules."

Emily said, "Okay, but we don't really have many rules here at Cookie Baking Night. Well,  just the normal ones like the Ten Commandments and don't run with scissors."

Yep. That pretty much sums it up, I guess ... just the normal ones.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Cookie Baking Night 11/12/12

Tonight was Cookie Baking Night. In attendance this evening: Emily, Ethan, and Carissa. Tonight was Emily's birthday choice. The birthday honoree always chooses what we have for supper and the cookie we bake that night. For supper, Emily chose mashed potatoes, hamburger gravy, green bean casserole, and pineapple. For her cookie, she chose a cute little turkey cookie that we saw in one of those grocery aisle cookbooks. (Her birthday isn't until the end of the month, but we moved up her birthday choice night so she could have the cookies in time for Thanksgiving). 

This particular project took a little prep on my part. I cut out (with a flower-shaped cookie cutter) the cookies and baked them the day before. 

Another tip: Grocery stores with bakeries in them will often sell you colored frosting they use to decorate cakes. I purchased the colors we needed from the local bakery and filled the pastry bags the night before as well.

The children did a great job. It was their first time using pastry bags (and, personally, I was a little nervous about it). Their years of training as bakers showed in this project. They did a great job sharing the frosting and using the pastry bags, and they had no problem assembling all the little pieces this recipe required. 

As you can see, the cookies are really cute! (you can even tell they are turkeys, another concern of mine).

Most of our time this evening was spent on this project. However, we did manage to squeeze in Lesson 81 from Leading Little Ones to God by Marian Schoolland titled "Bringing Others To Church". We also read from John 1. This lesson spurred on some great gospel conversation (I share the gospel message every chance I get at Cookie Baking Nights). I could see wheels turning and heads thinking. I pray God regenerates the hearts.

As usual, a fun time was had by all!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Katrina's Musings (Pursuit of God quote)

An ever so timely quote from A.W. Tozer's book The Pursuit of God (chapter 8, pgs 94-95)

"In determining relationships we must begin somewhere. There must be somewhere a fixed center against everything else is measured, where the law of relativity does not enter and we can say "IS" and make no allowances. Such a center is God. When God would make His name known to mankind He could find no better word than "I AM." When He speaks in the first person He says, "I am"; when we speak of Him we say, "He is"; when we speak to Him we say, "You are." Everyone and everything else measures from that fixed point. "I am that I am," says God, "I change not." (Exodus 3:14).

As the sailor locates his position on the sea by "shooting" the sun, so we may get our moral bearings by looking at God. We must begin with God. We are right when, and only when, we stand in the right position relative to God, and we are wrong so far and so long as we stand in any other position.

Much of our difficulty as seeking Christians stems from our unwillingness to take God as He is and adjust our lives accordingly. We insist upon trying to modify Him and to bring Him nearer to our own image. The flesh whimpers against the rigor of God's inexorable sentence and begs like Agag for a little mercy, a little indulgence of its carnal ways. It is no use. We can get a right start only by accepting God as He is and learning to love Him for what He is. As we go on to know Him better we will find it a source of unspeakable joy that God is just what He is. Some of the most rapturous moments we know will be those we spend in reverent  admiration of the Godhead. In those holy moments the very thought of change in him will be too painful to endure."

Monday, November 5, 2012

Cookie Baking Musings 11/05/12

Tonight is an off night for Cookie Baking, but I thought I would take this time to share a memory from a few weeks ago. Ethan, Carissa, and I were working on a project at the dining room table. Greg had eaten supper with us and then left. He was running in and out of the house and then left in his van (or so I thought). While we were at the table, we heard noise coming from downstairs. Since we thought we were the only people in the house, this was a little disturbing. I decided to go downstairs and check on the noise. As I started down the stairs, Ethan said "I'm going with you." Ethan is a very curious guy, so the idea that he wanted to check out what was going on somewhere else in the house was not a surprise. But what did surprise me was that I could tell this was more than curiosity. He said the statement with a bit of authority. It was obvious at that moment that he was going with me to protect me. (He is a 5 foot 5 inch tall 9-year-old, so at the very least it would appear that two adults were walking down the steps). It turns out, Greg had come back in the house without us seeing him and we surprised him by bursting into his office. At that moment, Ethan turned back into a curious 9-year-old boy saying things like, "What are you doing down here?" "What it is that?" "How does it work?"

But, as I walked back up the stairs I thought about how God made us, male and female, each in His image, but each with a different role. It is the male's role to protect. God made them that way and it is apparent at even a young age. That night I saw Ethan naturally fulfilling the role God has given him in life, and I think I saw a small glimpse of the man he is to become (curiosity and all). 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Isaiah 40:3-9

I wanted to share this video from Paul Latour at The Word Street Journal. Click here for the full post. Whether it's open air preaching on the streets of Ottawa, Canada, handing out tracts, or proclaiming God's Word from the mountain tops (literally), Paul and Kim Latour never cease to amaze me with their endless ways of praising the Lord. I am grateful for them and their ministry (in Canada and on the blogosphere). May men see their works and glorify God who is heaven.

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...