Friday, August 30, 2013

Evangelism Musings (08/30/13)

Do you see, do you see, all the people sinking down,
Don't you care, don't you care, are you gonna let them drown
--Keith Green (Alseep in the Light)

A small team from our church headed out to the Minnesota State Fair today. We stood outside the entrance gates and handed out gospel tracts to the throngs of people heading into the fair. I can't think of an easier way to get the gospel into the hands of thousands of people. So, grab your favorite gospel tract, hit the streets, and give it a try. God will take it from there.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Book Musings (Depression: Looking Up From the Stubborn Darkness)

In his book, Depression: Looking Up From the Stubborn Darkness, Ed Welch says something intriguing about the role of death in long-term depression in chapter 11, "Depression Has Its Reasons".

"Death. The worse part of the curse is death. You have lost loved ones, you will lose more, and they will lose you. There is no good death. If you lose someone to a sudden heart attack, you miss good-byes and closure. If you lose someone whose chronic disease made death more predictable, you agonize with him as the disease changes him into someone he was not. Death, indeed, is a timeless enemy. 

It's said that depression welcomes death, but it is not so much death that is welcomed as it is the alleviation of mental pain. Death itself is an enemy to everyone, and there is good reason to think that it contributes to the cause of depression even more than it is the result of it. 

Isn't it true that death--especially when it isn't aggressively interpreted through the resurrection of Jesus Christ--should leave us depressed? Death renders everything meaningless. Why work? Why love? Why seek pleasure? It is fleeting. Death swallows everything. Its tides wash away every footprint we hope to leave. Not that we are always thinking about it. Modern society has distanced us from death, and we do everything we can to avoid it. Physicians use a string of euphemisms, such as "passed away" and "resting peacefully." Comedians specialize in human frailties, but they won't touch death unless they quickly evoke images of angels and bliss. We might not consciously think about death, but be assured that, unless this enemy is dealt with head on, it leaves its mark on all earthly misery. 

Age-defying lotions, the worship of youth and the marginalization of the aged, "free-floating anxiety," panic attacks, Type-A personality, boredom, the obsession with health, the status of physicians, purposelessness, hopelessness, and most fears--you will find death and the fear of death right below the surface."

Let me reiterate this phrase from the above quote: "Isn't it true that death--especially when it isn't aggressively interpreted through the resurrection of Jesus Christ--should leave us depressed?

"I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."
Galatians 2:20 (that verse, my friends, is the sound of hope).

Monday, August 26, 2013

Cookie Baking Night 08/26/13

Tonight was Cookie Baking Night. In attendance this evening: Ethan, Carissa, and Alli. Our niece, Alli, is our newest Cookie Baking Night member. She turned 3 years old last week and has now officially joined us. Tonight we made cranberry/white chip/oatmeal cookies.

It has been a long time since we've needed to use some kind of step stool for hand washing, but we brought it out again tonight (as you can see, Carissa was a great helper). 

We also continued reading from "God's Names" by Sally Michael. Tonight we learned about God's name: A Strong Tower. Proverbs 18:10 tells us: "The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe." We even learned a song that will help us remember that verse. 

We finished the evening by teaching Alli the game "Zingo" (a matching game along the lines of Bingo but with picture shapes). Alli caught onto it quickly and seemed to enjoy it. If you don't have this game in your game closet, I suggest adding it to your collection. It's recommended for ages 4-8 (on the box) but the younger ones can play it without any problem, and the older ones haven't tired of it yet. 

As usual, a fun time was had by all.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Cookie Baking Musings 08/19/13

In Cookie Baking News, a future member made his entrance into the world on Thursday, August 15. We welcome little Enzo Allen Oseid. We're saving a spot for you, buddy. See you here in about three years. We look forward to your arrival.

                          2013-08-15 17.35.27.jpg

Friday, August 16, 2013

Book Musings (The Little Red Book of Wisdom)

A few weeks ago, I finished reading the The Little Red Book of Wisdom by Mark DeMoss. Mark DeMoss is the brother of Nancy Leigh DeMoss (host of Revive Our Hearts radio program). I heard him speaking about this book on "Revive Our Hearts" a couple years ago and was intrigued. If I had to put this book in a genre, then I guess I would say "business" or "leadership principles". That being said, there is much to learn from this book. It definitely spoke of the value of leading a life of intentionality. Every decision Mark DeMoss makes (or at least describes in the book) is well-thought out and intentional. He even devotes a whole chapter to the value of thinking (and recommends a book about thinking).

If you are familiar with Nancy Leigh DeMoss at all, then you would know that her father died when she was 21. Mark DeMoss was 17 years old when his father died. Through the ministry of Revive Our Hearts and now through "The Little Red Book Wisdom" I've been impacted by the huge influence a godly father had on his children and the value of intentionally instilling a love for Jesus into your family. I'm particularly struck by it because Nancy was 21 when her father died, and she is the oldest of 7 children. Yet the younger children who have told their stories publicly seem to be just as impacted. The first couple chapters of this book were dedicated to sharing what Mark DeMoss learned from his father.

The book ends with a well-done gospel presentation. This is a quick read, a fascinating read, and an edifying read. I highly recommend it, and I think it would make a great gift as well.

P.S. Click on the label "My Latest Read" on the right-hand side of this page, to read excerpts from this book as I was reading it.

The Little Red Book of Wisdom

Monday, August 12, 2013

Road Trip Musings

Well, it's that time of year again--state fair time. The company Greg works for does the audio visual production for the concerts held at the Iowa State Fair and the Minnesota State Fair each year. Emily and I decided to take a little road trip to Iowa again this year to visit Greg at the Fair. 

The three of us starting our day together at the fair. 

Greg in action

Greg with a wanna be audio visual engineer

A little fair food

A little texting ... with a view

With entertainment at every turn, you still can't beat watching the baby chicks (for free) in the Animal Learning Center (I literally had to lure her away from there after about 30 minutes). 

We left the fair exhausted. Time to hit the air mattress. 

Side note: If you've been around my blog any length of time, then you probably know I love a good road trip. As I always say, "real life happens on the road trip". Kids talk more on a one-on-one road trip. Hearts are exposed. Conversation is inevitable. Gospel opportunities abound. Now grab your favorite 12 year old (or 9, 10, 11, etc. year old) and hit the road!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Cookie Baking Musings

This week is an off week for Cookie Baking Night, and sometimes on the off weeks, I get reflective.

Last week, we had a couple guest friends at Cookie Baking Night, children who have not been here before (friends of the nieces and nephew). As is expected when someone joins an ongoing activity that has been in place for a long time, there are some adjustments to make and education to be done. I learned a few things from the experience and they are as follows:

  • Cookie Baking Night is a ministry full of gospel-sharing opportunities
  • Always say yes to gospel-sharing opportunities that knock on your own door
  • Children need to be taught how to do things 
  • Training produces fruit
I was struck by the reactions of my own nieces and nephew when at times chaos was happening around them due to the others not knowing our routine. This was particularly evident to me during our Bible lesson time. Our guests were not accustomed to this activity, so we had to work through the experience with lovingkindness. My nieces and nephew, however, treated that time with reverence. When we talked about God's names, they became very serious for they knew it was a serious subject. Where I might normally view them as "squirrelly" and unfocused, when contrasted with someone new to the activity, I could see their evident concentration. I could see the fruit of training in them. I was reminded that they didn't come like that to the first Cookie Baking Night. God showed me a glimpse of the value of the "long haul" (endurance, if you will). In essence, He was training the leader that night. May she be the same kind of student as her nieces and nephews have been and may God produce fruit in her. 

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...