Friday, December 29, 2006

Grace Upon Grace

And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
John 1: 16, 17

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas!

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!
2 Corinthians 9:15

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The "W" in Christmas

...and you know how much I love "W!"

Here's a little forward I received. Don't know if it's true, but I hope it is:

Each December, I vowed to make Christmas a calm and peaceful experience. I had cut back on nonessential obligations - extensive card writing, endless baking, decorating, and even overspending. Yet still, I found myself exhausted, unable to appreciate the precious family moments, and of course, the true meaning of Christmas.

My son, Nicholas, was in kindergarten that year. It was an exciting season for a six year old. For weeks, he'd been memorizing songs for his school's "Winter Pageant."

I didn't have the heart to tell him I'd be working the night of the production. Unwilling to miss his shining moment, I spoke with his teacher. She assured me there'd be a dress rehearsal the morning of the presentation.

All parents unable to attend that evening were welcome to come then. Fortunately, Nicholas seemed happy with the compromise.

So, the morning of the dress rehearsal, I filed in ten minutes early, found a spot on the cafeteria floor and sat down. Around the room, I saw several other parents quietly scampering to their seats.

As I waited, the students were led into the room. Each class, accompanied by their teacher, sat cross-legged on the floor. Then, each group, one by one, rose to perform their song.

Because the public school system had long stopped referring to the holiday as "Christmas," I didn't expect anything other than fun, commercial entertainment songs of reindeer, Santa Claus, snowflakes and good cheer.

So, when my son's class rose to sing, "Christmas Love," I was slightly taken aback by its bold title.

Nicholas was aglow, as were all of his classmates, adorned in fuzzy mittens, red sweaters, and bright snowcaps upon their heads.

Those in the front row -center stage- held up large letters, one by one, to spell out the title of the song.

As the class would sing "C is for Christmas," a child would hold up the letter C. Then, "H is for Happy," and on and on, until each child holding up his portion had presented the complete message, "Christmas Love."

The performance was going smoothly, until suddenly, we noticed her; a small, quiet, girl in the front row holding the letter "M" upside down - totally unaware her letter "M" appeared as a "W".

The audience of 1st through 6th graders snickered at this little one's mistake. But she had no idea they were laughing at her, so she stood tall, proudly holding her "W".

Although many teachers tried to shush the children, the laughter continued until the last letter was raised, and we all saw it together.

A hush came over the audience and eyes began to widen.

In that instant, we understood the reason we were there, why we celebrated the holiday in the first place, why even in the chaos, there was a purpose for our festivities.

For when the last letter was held high, the message read loud and clear:

And, I believe, He still is.

Amazed in His presence... humbled by His love.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Personal Church Shopper

Now, there's an idea.

Terry discovered The Sacred Sandwich site a few weeks ago and I just read their article on the family that hired the personal shopper to help them with their church shopping. Here are a couple choice tidbits from the article:

Growing bored with the outdated programs at their present church, the Henman family of Peoria, IL, recently hired Lucy Ditmer, a personal shopper, to find them a new church home to meet their spiritual needs. “Between my boy’s hockey games and my girl’s dance classes, I really don’t have the time to go church shopping,” said Helen Henman. “It’s a great relief to know that Lucy can take care of all that. The last thing Phil and I want to do right now is spend every Sunday morning going to strange churches just to see if they have cushioned seating and a proper food court.”

And it concludes:

As for the Henman family, they are anxious to see what Lucy finds for them. “Being without a church home these past few weeks has really taken a toll on our family,” Mrs. Henman admitted. “Just the other day Phil was dealing with a lot of stress at work and he needed a pastor to show him how Jesus dealt with project deadlines. If Lucy doesn’t hurry up and find us a church soon, we may be forced to open a Bible and look for the answer ourselves.”

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Christmas Cards and Christmas Clutter

I love Christmas.

Besides the obvious "reason for the season", I love all the extra stuff that goes with Christmas.

I love the music. Even the cheesy music.

I love getting together with people.

I love making and eating all the goodies.

I love buying presents for people and wrapping them. (Isn't wired ribbon a fun and wonderful invention?)

I love all the traditions our family has...MOA shopping day, the "girl's" Christmas Brunch (held yesterday), the shopping, the wrapping, the cards, driving by the Mount Normandale houses at midnight on Christmas Eve to see all the luminaries on the way home from Mom's listening to the Superamerica Christmas Collection that Terry bought 25 years ago, the Christmas tree pineapple upside down cake that we have every Christmas morning which our neighbors have faithfully delivered for 22 years (and they moved away 12 years ago so aren't our neighbors anymore!), the Christmas crackers that pop and have a toy, a riddle, a joke, and a crown in them that we all put on for the Christmas picture.

Right now, the basement is entirely covered with wrapping paper, ribbon, packages, shopping bags and tissue paper. It's great.

We watched "A Christmas Story" last night. And, I'm hoping to watch "Elf" sometime again this week.

The agenda today was the cards. From start to finish, we did it.

We have found that making an adventure out of life's chores is the way to go. So, today we had an adventure. It started out with the adventure of figuring out why my Applework's address book had a major glitch. We never figured out why that happened, but we did manage to get it good enough to print out the labels.

Then it was off to Terry's office to print the return address on the envelopes. Of course, we have had the envelopes for a few days, but, again, if you are looking for an adventure, you don't do things ahead of time. Terry got the envelopes printing and I slapped together a Christmas letter. It's not the most interesting letter ever, but it's written!

Then, it was off to Southdale to pick up Beth (she had been shopping with Katie and Tim). K and T went to a movie (Eragon) and Beth came with us to Kinkos to print the letter and then to Starbuck's at the Galleria where for the last several years, Terry and I have settled in and folded, stuffed, labeled, stamped, and sealed the Christmas cards.

Having Beth to help made for quick work and we were done in less than 2 hours. On the way home we "swung" by the airport, dropped them in the mail, and headed home. A productive day.

I hope there are no typos on the letter. A person, (for the sake of this blog post we shall call her "Diane") told me tonight that they had all their letters printed and her husband (for the sake of this blog post we shall call him "Steve") did one final proof of the letter. They had done some "tweaking" and wound up with a sentence that said something like, "Diane continues coordinating the Lord..." So, last minute tweaking is not always a good thing.

I really hope our letter is okay, because it is mailed.

And, that is the end of my blog post for today.

Tomorrow it's cleaning and cookies.

Friday, December 15, 2006

If John Piper did it, it must be okay!

If you go to this link, you can hear JP answering some questions that some High School students asked him about how he met his wife. It's kind of sweet. He has the unique gift of being direct and classy at the same time.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

World's Best Cup of Coffee

I love the movie Elf.
Here's a little clip for your viewing pleasure.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Welcome Does End


Thanks Lark News for this oldie, but goodie.

Friends not friends forever, even if the Lord's the Lord of them, former pals say SALEM, Mass. — Two former "best buddies" from Saratoga Nazarene Church say they learned the hard way that a lifetime is too long to live as friends, despite the claims of a popular Christian song.
Theresa and Dalia, both 13, became best friends the day they met in third grade. They soon realized they were the only serious Christians in the school, and both had major crushes on Michael W. Smith.

"We used to bounce on my bed using hairbrushes as microphones and singing 'Friends' to each other," says Theresa. "I'd sing Amy Grant's part and she'd sing Michael W. Smith's part. Then we'd laugh and roll around. We knew our friendship was forever, like the song said."
But at the end of eighth grade, things hit a rough patch. Dalia quit wearing her Amy Grant Hearts in Motion Concert Tour T-shirt to school on Fridays, as she and Theresa had done for years.
"That felt like betrayal," Theresa said. "I was totally alone."
Then both girls developed a crush on the same boy, Brad Loudermilk, the only decent-looking Christian in the school. Out of spite, Dalia switched her crush to a non-Christian guy, and the friendship with Theresa was effectively severed.
Theresa went home after school and ripped the Michael W. Smith poster from her wall, then crumpled onto her bed and sobbed.
"I guess friends will say never and the welcome does end," she said bitterly. •

I Like You, I'm Sorry, Chill Out

Insecure?

Bothered by something you said or did?

Or, are you just uptight today?

Go here.

Thanks, Mikey!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Note to Self

This Luther quote has been on my mind lately.

I'm posting it on my blog as a reminder to me.

"If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ.

"Wherever the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved and to be steady on all the battlefield besides is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that one point."

- Martin Luther

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Really Cool and Lots of Fun



Thanks for teaching the kids how to do this, Jeremy. We have been having all kinds of fun folding and refolding t-shirts.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Excommunicated from my society...hmmmm...

Which Star Wars Character Are You?
Your Result: Jar Jar Binks

"You are SOOO annoying!" I bet that you get told that a lot. Your flighty attitude is charming at first but tends to get you in a lot of trouble and gets excommunicated from your society. Be more careful!

Yoda
Luke SkyWalker
Princess Leia
Han Solo
Boba Fett
Darth Vader
Jabba the Hutt
Which Star Wars Character Are You?
Create Your Own Quiz

Thursday, November 30, 2006

I Enjoyed the Questions on this One

You Are 18% New Jersey!

You are not New Jersey, based on this score. You're probably not from this great state. And if that is true, then you are missing out, my friend!

How New Jersey Are You?
Create a Quiz

Still Having Fun with Quizzes

What mental disorder do you have?
Your Result: ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder)

You have a very hard time focusing, and you find it difficult to stay on task without your mind wandering. You probably zone in and out of conversations and tend to miss out on directions because you cannot focus

Manic Depressive
Paranoia
GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder)
OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)
What mental disorder do you have?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

I'm Having Fun with Quizzes

Here's another quiz I found.

It didn't tell me what question(s) I got wrong, but I think I got the Columbus one wrong because I thought it was a trick question. It was a true false that said his ships landed in North America in 1492 and I was thinking that they were wanting me to know that he never physically landed on the continent so I said false. So, don't over-analyze.
You paid attention during 91% of high school!

85-100% You must be an autodidact, because American high schools don't get scores that high! Good show, old chap!

Do you deserve your high school diploma?
Create a Quiz

Monday, November 27, 2006

My Dad was from IL, Guess that Explains it!

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Inland North

You may think you speak "Standard English straight out of the dictionary" but when you step away from the Great Lakes you get asked annoying questions like "Are you from Wisconsin?" or "Are you from Chicago?" Chances are you call carbonated drinks "pop."

The Midland
The Northeast
Philadelphia
The South
The West
Boston
North Central
What American accent do you have?
Take More Quizzes

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Matt Somebody


I just redid the link to the Driscoll article and while trying to find Driscoll's blog, I came across a different post on The Resurgence.

I liked it so I am linking it.

Driscoll is at it again

In addressing the Ted Haggard situation, Mark Driscoll makes some good points.

And one very bad one.

Here's the bad one. (The team in this case is all pastors.)

"At the risk of being even more widely despised than I currently am, I will lean over the plate and take one for the team on this. It is not uncommon to meet pastors’ wives who really let themselves go; they sometimes feel that because their husband is a pastor, he is therefore trapped into fidelity, which gives them cause for laziness."

Bloomington, We've Got a Problem

Last Thursday our homeschool co-op packed meals for starving (let me repeat that) starving children. Not just hungry children, mind you, but starving children. Children whose parents give them dirt pies (no kidding) to help fill their tummies and stop them from crying.

Then, last Sunday, while at the Mall of America, Mr. D and I passed this. It was literally made of gingerbread.

Draw your own conclusions.

Milton

I was reading some articles in the imprimis archives and came across an interview with Milton Friedman. It caught my eye because he died on November 16 so I thought I'd see what he said in one of his last published interviews.

Some of you may know I was on a "socialized health care is a bad deal" kick a few months ago and, lo and behold, I found that Milton in answering this question made my point much better!

Let me preface this with our health insurance story. TD has been self-employeed for 23 years so TD provides health care for his family. We have a BCBS plan with a $5,250 yearly deductible. We pay almost $8,000 per year for that crappy (by most US standards) policy. This is not an HMO, so in addition, we pay all medical costs until we reach the deductible (which we never do). Also, our last three children were "cash" babies since the medical portion only covered complicated pregnancies.

Remember that Office episode where Dwight was cutting the health insurance? Well, the policy at TD Design has worse coverage. : )

Here is my point. When you are paying for something yourself, you watch the costs. When you are personally buying your own health care, you decide that it is "insurance". Just like when you buy life insurance, you are not planning on dying...it's a worse case senario plan. In other words, when you buy health care insurance, you are banking on staying well, so want coverage that will take care of you in case you get REALLY sick.

But, now, everyone thinks having all their health care paid for is a right that the government should provide. Of course, "the government" is me and you. Tell me why I should be required to buy something for someone else that I do not even buy for myself?

Of course there are situations where people are "caught". That should be the role for the caring Christians, but they have less money to spend helping others because of the out of control spending by Uncle Sam.

End of rant. Here's Milton's answer (LA is the interviewer):

LA: Is there an area here in the United States in which we have not been as aggressive as we should in promoting property rights and free markets?

MF: Yes, in the field of medical care. We have a socialist-communist system of distributing medical care. Instead of letting people hire their own physicians and pay them, no one pays his or her own medical bills. Instead, there's a third party payment system. It is a communist system and it has a communist result. Despite this, we've had numerous miracles in medical science. From the discovery of penicillin, to new surgical techniques, to MRIs and CAT scans, the last 30 or 40 years have been a period of miraculous change in medical science. On the other hand, we've seen costs skyrocket. Nobody is happy: physicians don't like it, patients don't like it. Why? Because none of them are responsible for themselves. You no longer have a situation in which a patient chooses a physician, receives a service, gets charged, and pays for it. There is no direct relation between the patient and the physician. The physician is an employee of an insurance company or an employee of the government. Today, a third party pays the bills. As a result, no one who visits the doctor asks what the charge is going to be—somebody else is going to take care of that. The end result is third party payment and, worst of all, third party treatment.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

This Guy Scares Me




When I first saw Mr. Obama, I thought, what a nice guy. What a family guy. What a great communicator. What a great smile. Then, I learned about what he believed. Mr. Obama scares me.

But, you know what is even more frightening? He is speaking at Saddleback Church on December 1st. Go read about it here. But, don't look at the photo. I made the mistake of doing that.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Stranger Than Fiction

Last Saturday evening, Mr. D and I decided to head to the cinema. We chose Stranger Than Fiction and found it rather enjoyable. Although, my pet peeve is that the movie making people always have to have a liberal political agenda and the main couple has to sleep together minus the bonds of marriage. (I remember turning to Beth during "My Great Big Old Fat Greek Wedding" at one point and saying, "Hey, wait a minute, we missed the wedding part!") But, back to Saturday's movie.

It wasn't a Will Farrell comedy (no Elf!), but nevertheless it held our attention, had a clever plot, and gave us a couple laughs. It also made me hungry for milk and cookies.

I thought I would give you my review of the trailers.

First of all, the new Diane Keaton movie. Forget it.

Dreamgirls...Eddie Murphy, Beyonce, and Jamie Foxx...you can skip that one, too.

Apocolypto...the new Mel Gibson....too bloody for MamaD.

The Will Smith movie about the homeless dad and kid...too sad for MamaD.

So, what was just right for MamaD...this. Can't wait to see it at Christmas.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Flattery Wows, I Mean Fawlty Towers


What's your favorite episode?

Separated at Birth



In keeping with the recent post Chris had on Schumer and Ratigan, I think the similarities between Steve Martin and the new Defense Secretary Gates are remarkable.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Beta?

What is beta?

I thought it was a nasty fish that could only live by itself because it ate all the other fish.

But, it turns out, that blogger is wanting me to be a beta blogger. Should I sign up? Will I lose all my other brilliant posts if I do? Anyone gone beta? It says I need a google account. What is that?

I do love to google, though!

I have also been thinking that I need to change my blog color. Pink is just not me these days. Maybe green, or beige, or "something more tonal"..."oh, I know, Audrey, I know"...so now I've lapsed into Fawlty Towers dialogue.

Okay, back to the blog.

I have learned how to link, add photos, add you tube videos, and added a counter. Progress for this old dog.

I really should get rid of the clunky penguin counter that Tim helped me add the other day. We were in a hurry so I picked something quick and cute, but not so subtle as it turns out. Also, every time I refresh the number goes up, so I look really popular.

Well, enough random thoughts for today.

Truty/Unity

An excerpt from the John Piper sermon I linked to a few posts ago:


"I recall talking to a wise leader of a large missions organization about doctrinal faithfulness. He said something to this effect, “It’s crucial. And so is unity. Some people emphasize one, and some the other. Our organization is made of two kinds of people: purity boys and unity boys.” The unity boys naturally emphasize the preciousness of personal relationships and tend to neglect an emphasis on truth. The purity boys naturally emphasize the preciousness of truth and tend to neglect the nurture of personal relationships.

In fact, you could probably categorize people and churches and denominations and institutions and movements in the evangelical church today (or even in society in general) along these lines: There are those who emphasize doctrinal purity, and there are those that emphasize relational unity.

Loving People and Loving Truth

I hope you are feeling uncomfortable with that description. A good impulse inside of you would be saying right now: “Do we have to choose? Can’t it be both? Can’t you love truth and love people?” In fact, it would be an even more biblical impulse if you found yourself thinking, “I don’t even think you can love people if you don’t love truth. How can you do what is ultimately good for people if you don’t have any strong convictions about what is ultimately good?”

And yet there is no escaping the reality that people and churches and denominations and schools and even whole periods in history lean one way or the other. I think the period of history we live in is not an easy time to be a lover of truth. The most common criticism, if you stand for an important truth and imply by that stand that others should believe it, is that you are arrogant, which is the opposite of being loving (1 Corinthians 13:4), and therefore you are undermining relationships.

For many thoughtful people today the only path to peaceful relationships in a pluralistic world is the path of no truth that deserves assent from everyone. It seems on the face of it to make sense. If no one claims that what he believes deserves assent from anyone else, then we can live together in peace. Right? So peaceful pluralism and diminished truth claims go hand in hand.

But it doesn’t work like that. When there is no truth that deserves assent from everybody, the only arbiter in our competing desires is power. Where truth doesn’t define what’s right, might makes right. And where might makes right, weak people pay with their lives. When the universal claim of truth disappears, what you get is not peaceful pluralism or loving relationships; what you get is concentration camps and gulags."

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Elections

Free health care for everyone.

Abortions for all.

College education for everyone.

Guaranteed minimum wage.

Negotiate with people who want to destroy America.

Way to go America.

Now some questions:

Who is going to pay for the health care?
Who says there are some people that shouldn't be allowed to be born?
Who is going to pay for the college education for everyone?
Shouldn't the employer determine the wages and the employee decide if they want to accept them?
Why do you think someone who wants to destroy America would possibly honor negotiations?

One more thing, why did Amy K. get away with hiding the theft of Kennedy's campaign ad? Anyone remember Watergate?

I seem to remember having this same sinking feeling when Wellstone won, so life goes on!
Faith Hill is a PISSED!

Oops!

Monday, November 06, 2006

I Needed This

Terry came home for lunch today and told me I had to listen to this.

Good advice.

Don't just read the notes...listen.

Only vote tomorrow if...

...you are going to vote for the "good guys".

That's right, if you are going to vote for the "bad guys" please stay home tomorrow!

Who are the good guys?

Read this to find out (hopefully the link took you to the "Election Realities" post)!

Totally Changing the Subject

Go here, not for laughs, though.

Read Ted and Gayle Haggard's statements to their church.

As was mentioned at Grace yesterday, all the safeguards in the world (traveling companions, open doors, plurality of leaders) can be gotten around by a heart that has gone wrong.

I think the letters from the Haggard's are impressive.

May God help them and their family.

Those Donuts are Not for You

Click here for another laugh.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Church You Know

Mike T. mentioned this site on his blog. "Aaron the groom" must have found his brilliant t-shirt there, but this was the first thing I clicked on. If I were a smarter person I wouldn't have to do a link, but, alas, you will need to click here.

First comes love, then comes marriage, then...

...comes a baby in a baby carriage!

Best wishes to the newlyweds, Aaron and Lexi. Lovely wedding. Beautiful bride, handsome groom.

Congratulations to the new parents, Ryan and Amy. Can't wait to see little John Ryan. I was looking over at Mike and Diana occasionally during the ceremony to see if they were receiving a text message.

Friday, November 03, 2006

H B 2 Beth

It's non-stop birthday celebration week at our house.

Last Friday Tim.

Today Beth.

Love you guys,
MOM

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Maybe Next Year

Halloween has come and gone for 2006, but it's never too late to plan next year's costume. I suggest you go here and order early. My personal favorite is the Megachurch Youth Pastor complete with Message Bible. Although the thought of turning the family into a rampaging deacon board sounds interesting. What's your favorite?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

A Picture is Worth 1000 Words

John Piper is Bad - the video

I thought he was really good. Turns out, John Piper is bad.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

WHAT'S THE POINT?

One of the things I have been pondering for a couple years is "What is the purpose of The Church?"

Many, incompletely quote Ephesians 3:10 which says:"so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places." They leave out the second half of the verse and say that the purpose of the church is to make God known. In other words, the church is God's vehicle for reaching the world.

However, that is not what the verse is saying, is it? It's talking about the church demonstrating the manifold wisdom of God to the "rulers and authorities in the heavenly places" (which I think means "the bad guys"). Interesting thought, but not about reaching unbelievers.

Probably a better text for saying that the Church (which by definition means all the Christians in the world who live or have ever lived) has an influence over others is in John 17. Starting at verse 17 it says:

Sanctify them in the truth: your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I conscrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth. I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.

I think I will study John 17 more. Unity matters. But unity comes through truth. Unity without truth is a cult! Unity with truth helps the world believe in God.

In the meantime, I was at the Grace web site (atgrace.com) and found their bylaws. I thought their statement of purpose was well thought out. The church is way more than God's vehicle for reaching the world.

I will end with their statement of purpose.


A. To promote the worship of God in personal and corporate prayer; to seek to win the lost to Christ through personal witnessing and public preaching of the Word of God; to cultivate a positive Christian testimony in our community; to establish a strong missionary program; to minister to people spiritually, socially, mentally, physically and emotionally.

B. To teach the Word of God; to properly administer the biblical ordinances; to administer church discipline; ordain pastors; commission missionaries and license ministers of the Gospel.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Never Been Stoned

In many denominations, October is missions month. Yesterday, at Grace, was Missions Sunday.

I remember being there last year. It was one of our first Sundays of church shopping and we were totally put off by all the pageantry. Dozens of people (all ages) parading down the numerous aisles wearing festive costumes and carrying large flags from various countries. I was totally put off by the ceremony. However, as the service progressed, I was totally blessed because Pastor Ghassan Thomas preached. He is the pastor at Jesus is the Light of the World Church. It's a CMA (Christian and Missionary Alliance) Church. It's in Baghdad and it's growing fast.

Pastor Thomas was unable to preach at this year's conference due to difficulties in getting a visa. He sent a video message. Pray for him and his wife and children. Being a Christian in Baghdad is not really a safe thing to be.

So, yesterday morning as I saw the festively costumed parishioners lining up with their flags, I once again thought what a waste of time, energy, and money. But then, as I looked at them all lined up around the church I was struck by the idea that God so loved the world.

So, what was this year's off putting moment? It was the Mission Possible theme take off on Mission Impossible that involved a couple guys dressed in black and wearing sun glasses (pretending to be the senior pastor and the missions pastor) rappelling down ropes high (very high) above the stage. Why is it that churches have to be so gimmickey and come up with clever videos, stunts, skits, etc. to get our attention. Like the Bible is boring and it's the job of the church leaders to make it interesting for everyone.

We got beyond the rappelling in black and came to the heart of the service--a message from a pastor in northern Iraq. He has been put in jail several times and tortured (stoned) for the gospel. As the service ended, surrounded by flags of the world, several Arab pastors, who represented all sorts of denominations stood up front in a Baptist church praising God surrounded by flags of all the nations. I was so moved, I couldn't sing, I just looked and thought to myself, "I have never been stoned for the gospel. They have been."

I have been learning many things in the past few months. One big lesson is that the Church is one. CMA pastors in Iraq are on the same team as Baptist pastors in Eden Prairie. Baptist pastors in Eden Prairie are on the same team as Presbyterian pastors in Eden Prairie. There is unity in the body of Christ.

When people are getting stoned for the gospel, denominationalism and sectarianism get set aside. Only in America are we so closed minded that we think "our thing", "our way", "our group" is the best and only one.

Pray for the Christians in Iraq today.

Friday, October 27, 2006

HB2U

15 years ago today two wonderful things happened.

Tim was born!

And, the Twins won the World Series!

Go Tim!

Go Cardinals!?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

This is good

It's time for true confessions.

For years the co-op we are in met in a building that was a church plant of Bethlehem Baptist Church. I kept hearing of John Piper and, frankly, got a little sick of hearing about the guy. People were always quoting him. I wasn't interested in hearing anything he had to say and it wasn't really his fault, I was just sick of hearing people talk about him!

Well, wouldn't you know it, in the last year, we have visited Bethlehem Baptist several times. And, wow, that guy has a lot to say that is really good. No wonder people quote him!

I ran across this talk that was given to pastors, and thought it was good for all believers. I will continue to quote John Piper as long as he keeps saying things worth quoting!

John Piper says:

We have all told our people to serve God. Scripture says to "serve the Lord with gladness." But now it may be time to tell them not to serve God. For Scripture also says: "The Son of Man . . . came not to be served."

The Bible is concerned to call us back from idolatry to serve the true and living God (1 Thess. 1:9). But it is also concerned to keep us from serving the true God in the wrong way. There is a way to serve God that belittles and dishonors Him. Therefore, we must take heed lest we recruit servants whose labor diminishes the glory of the all-powerful Master. If Jesus said that He came not to be served (Mark 10:45), service may constitute rebellion.

God wills not to be served: "The God who made the world and everything in it . . . [is not served] by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all men life and breath and everything" (Acts 17:25-26). Paul warns against any view of God which makes Him the beneficiary of our beneficence. He informs us that God cannot be served in any way that implies we are meeting His needs. It would be as though a stream should try to fill a spring that feeds it.

"He Himself gives to all men life and breath and everything."

What is the greatness of our God? What is His uniqueness in the world? Isaiah says, "From of old no one has heard or perceived by ear, no God has seen a God besides Thee, who works for those who wait for Him" (Isa. 64:4). All the other so-called gods make man work for them. Our God will not be put in the position of an employer who must depend on others to make his business go. Instead He magnifies His all-sufficiency by doing the work Himself. Man is the dependent partner in this affair. His job is to wait for the Lord.
"No Help Wanted"

What is God looking for in the world? Assistants? No. The gospel is not a "help wanted" ad. Neither is the call to Christian service. God is not looking for people to work for Him. "The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show His might in behalf of those who heart is blameless toward Him" (2 Chron. 16:9).

God is not a scout looking for the first draft choices to help his team win. He is an unstoppable fullback ready to run touchdowns for anyone who will give him the ball.

What does God want from us? Not what we might expect. He rebukes Israel for bringing Him so many sacrifices: "I will accept no bull from your house. . . . For every beast of the forest is Mine. . . .If I were hungry, I would not tell you; for the world and all that is in it is Mine" (Ps. 50:9-12).

But isn't there something we can give to God that won't belittle Him to the status of beneficiary? Yes. Our anxieties. It's a command: "Cast all your anxieties on Him" (1 Peter 5:7). God will gladly receive anything from us that shows our dependence and His all-sufficiency.

The difference between Uncle Sam and Jesus Christ is that Uncle Sam won't enlist you in his service unless you are healthy and Jesus won't enlist you unless you are sick. "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I came not to call the righteous, but sinners" (Mark 2:17). Christianity is fundamentally convalescence. Patients do not serve their physicians. They trust them for good prescriptions. The Sermon on the Mount is our Doctor's medical advice, not our Employer's job description.

Our very lives hang on not working for God. "To one who works, his wages are not reckoned as a gift but as his due. And to one who does not work but trust Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness" (Rom. 4:4-5). Workmen get no gifts. They get their due. If we would have the gift of justification, we dare not work. God is the workman in this affair. And what He gets is the glory of being the benefactor of grace, not the beneficiary of service.

Nor should we think that after justification our labor for God begins. Those who make a work out of sanctification cry down the glory of God. Jesus Christ is "our righteousness and sanctification" (1 Cor. 1:30). "Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law, or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun with the Spirit, are you now ending with the flesh?" (Gal. 3:2-3). God was the workman in our justification, and He will be the workman in our sanctification.

Religious "flesh" always wants to work for God. But "if you live according to the flesh you will die" (Rom. 8:13). That is why our very lives hang on not working for God, both in justification and sanctification.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Me, Me, Me, Me!


HowManyOfMe.com
LogoThere are:
109
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Not by the shore of Gitchie Gumee...

We were not by the shores of Gitchie Gumee this weekend, but we were by the shore of Lake Bemidji enjoying our second annual trip up north. We didn't stay in a wigwam either, but rather at the Hampton Inn on Lake Bemidji to look out on the sparkling big sea water, read books by the fireplace, play games, and, in general, take a break.

Here's what we did and right from the start, I am telling Ben that it doesn't involve Bath and Body Works or lip gloss...so keep reading.

Thursday morning. Planned to leave between 9:00 and 10:00. We left at 10:30. We were on vacation, after all, and therefore not bound to a schedule. At 10:35 we stopped by Caribou for a mocha for mamad, a cappucino for papad, and hot chocolates for the 3 Dugan children who accompanied us. We stopped, as we always do, at the McDonald's in Garrison for lunch with a view of Lake Mille Lacs, then it was onward to Bemidji for a 4:00 arrival. We checked into the Hampton and stayed put all night. Some swam, some played Ms. PacMan, ate some Green Mill pizza (restaurant located in the hotel), some of us read in the lobby by the fireplace, some sipped herbal tea and hot chocolate.

Friday we woke to a sprinkling of snow on the sand and the branches of the pines. We ate breakfast at the hotel, read books (and took naps) by the fireplace, played some more Ms. PacMan, swam, exercized on the tread mill, took naps in our room, read some more, went to Applebees and Walmart, came back and swam and played some more Ms. PacMan and read some more. Very exhausting day!

Saturday was totally different. :) After the complimentary hotel breakfast, Terry and I read, then we (Terry and I) played Tiddley Winks (Terry won), we all played Monopoly (Tim won), Beth tried to play the race car game at the arcade (the machine won because it ate her money). Terry and I went to the Bemidji Woolen Mills to look around. We bought nothing there, but on the drive home saw a Woolworth's and it looked kitchy so we stopped in and bought a tin sign that said "Be Nice or Go Home" (you will see it on the wall to the lower level when you are standing in our entryway). So, now you have to be nice to us or we will send you home! We then read some more, swam some more, got Chinese take out, went in the indoor/outdoor hot tub (outside temp was 28), and at about 11:30 decided to watch the movie Curious George.

Sunday we packed up and headed out about 11:20 (check out was at 11:00, but after check out we headed to Dunn Brothers for beverages (chai tea for Katie, cappucino for Terry, and mocha for mamad) for the drive home. (Tim and Beth wanted water!) Ray Comfort preached as we drove (via a CD I found in the back of "The Way of the Master" book I got free at the booksellers convention in Denver last July) We arrived in Baxter around 1:00 and had lunch at Culver's. I had the walleye. And, as an added treat, there were pictures of Mark Kennedy's Culver's in Baxter visit. Don't forget to vote for Mark Kennedy! (This has been a public service message from mamad). We arrived home a little before 5:00 and are looking forward to our next visit to the Hampton Inn in Bemidji!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Is this U-2?

Fallacy Academy students, I found this article online...is it a "You Too" argument?

The article begins:
"Bono, the rock star and campaigner against Third World debt, is asking the Irish government to contribute more to Africa. At the same time, he's reducing tax payments that could help fund that aid.

After Ireland said it would scrap a break that lets musicians and artists avoid paying taxes on royalties, Bono and his U2 bandmates earlier this year moved their music publishing company to the Netherlands. The Dublin group, which Forbes estimates earned $110 million in 2005, will pay about 5 percent tax on their royalties, less than half the Irish rate..."

The article continues:
...The tax move has tainted the image of Bono, nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, and U2 at home. Now promoting a new DVD, book and album, the band is fighting back. Lead guitarist David Evans, known as The Edge, earlier this month defended the publishing company's move as a sensible decision for a group that makes 90 percent of its money outside Ireland.

"Our business is a very complex business,'' Evans said Oct. 2 on Dublin radio station Newstalk, breaking the band's silence after weeks of public criticism. ``Of course we're trying to be tax-efficient. Who doesn't want to be tax-efficient?''

I love that line, "Who doesn't want to be tax-efficient?"

Well, hey Mr. Bono and Mr. Edge, if you want to be tax efficient, don't ask the Irish government to give more of the people's money away! Let the people keep their money and give it away themselves. Who knows, they may use it to buy one of your new trendy, red t-shirts at the Gap that you and Oprah told us about on Friday and I went to the Gap to buy on Saturday and the good people at the Gap didn't know Oprah was going to mention the red products on TV so there was very little inventory left and I didn't get one. I want the olive one that says "inspi(red)". I do not want the red one that says "hamme(red)".

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Weekend

1. Friday nights are rapidly becoming "Friday Night at the Movies". This week it was Waiting for Guffman. "Everybody dance!" Love that line...and I always think of Amanda K (now in England) who was watching it downstairs with Katie and Becky B a couple years ago and I remember being upstairs and hearing the laughter reverberate throughout the house!

2. Saturday afternoon was Lexi's bridal shower. Lots of laughter and good food...a great combination!

3. Saturday evening, Terry and I decided to head to the Mall of America, grab a bite to eat and use some valuable coupons that I had. We decided to eat at Wolfgang Puck's...tasty, cheap (sort of) and fast food. As we walked in, I looked at a guy sitting at a table by the door with what appeared to be a wife and kid. He looked really familiar. Really, really famliar, but not the kind of familiar that you say hi to familiar. Then, it came to me and I said to Terry, "Is that Governor Pawlenty?" Sure enough, we ate dinner with the governor. Okay, so we just plopped down at the table next to him and said nothing...just gawked. His wife (who is a judge) was chatting with some lady with twins who wasn't as restrained as we were and actually interrupted their dinner. Then, as they left, the daughter (about 10-ish I would say) jumped up on her dad's back and he gave her a piggy back ride! Awwww, how sweet.

4. Now, back to the valuable coupons. I signed up for e-mail coupons at Bath and Body works last week and received one for a free (up to $7.50 in value) Bigelow lip gloss with purchase. I bought a $2.50 American Girl comb and chose the free pale pink tint lip gloss.

Next valuable coupon was a $20 rewards certificate from Gap. Since it was also honored at Old Navy, we chose to spend it there. They had a great sale going (75% off polos). Got two for Tim and 2 for Terry (at $3.97 each!). Picked up a pair of "Halloween" pajama pants (they had Halloween candy all over them) for Katie, just for fun (Beth and I had shopped for her on Wednesday, so don't worry, she wasn't left out). And, Terry bought a "western shirt" with a small rosebud print. He said, "Should I get this?" And I said, "No, it's a Western shirt with a small rosebud print!" He said, "But I like it, I'm getting it." I said, "Okay!" He wore it to church (Grace) yesterday and it looked nice, really artsy, but I'm not telling him that.

Then, it was on to Sunglass Hut, but my $20 birthday "gift" card doesn't expire till the end of the month. Sunglass Hut sends you a $20 gift card on your birthday because they know that you can't buy a pair of sunglasses under $80!

After that it was to Nordstrom. While I picked up some make-up at the Estee Lauder counter, Terry browsed the shoe department for a pair of "princess" slippers (for his wife Bonnie?!). Actually, he was looking for a pair for a photo shoot for a bookcover TDD is doing. Found a couple of options, but made no purchase.

5. Mom and Carol came over for chili last night. That was fun.

So, all in all it was a fun weekend!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Jesus said:

Matthew 23: 8 - 10
But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers. And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Random Thoughts

1. The full moon was lovely Saturday night.

2. We watched Ground Hog Day on Friday night. We really like that movie and enjoyed laughing.

3. Sitting on a bale of hay (straw?) and watching a fire in the backyard (not just in the backyard, but in the fireplace dealie in the backyard!) is a nice thing.

4. Speaking of bales of hay, Terry and I decided to pick up a couple of them at Cal's, along with some cornstalks, and pumpkins (from Cub). We made an "display" with them by the front door and added some mums in baskets that I had picked up a couple weeks earlier. It is lovely. We never decorate for "Fall" so when Chris stopped by for a while last night, he walked in and said, "What's with the display outside? Have you decided to start taking senior photos?"

5. I wanted the Twins to win, but am sort of glad that it is over. One less thing to stress about!

6. We went to Grace yesterday. The messages are always good and right now, I appreciate the mega-churchiness quality...I need to just blend in and think about God for a while. Plus, Beth has friends there and it's familiar since we have been there a lot. And, it always smells like waffles because they have a restaurant (and a cash machine!) I wish we weren't in the position of church shopping. Should have asked more questions at the start at the last one when red flags came up rather than always "giving a pass," but that's water under the bridge so I am just believing God has us church shopping for a reason.

7. We have been to 4 different churches in the last year. Two messages have been coming through loud and clear to me in the sermons and in my personal reading. They are 1) we are not saved to get the "benefits" that come with salvation, we are saved to give glory to God and 2) it's the power of God that makes a difference, not the wisdom of man. (This has me rethinking the seeker church...anyone read David Wells' book on that? Very interesting and I have to say I agree...back to the power of God, not the wisdom of man lesson I'm learning).

8. I hope Diane, Mindy, or Jeremy blogs about Dr. Dolittle and the squirrel.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Upon Further Review...

...the play stands. As I review my notes and the messages from the weekend, I am really glad I went to the conference.

I reread the Piper message from Sunday morning. The first point that jumped out for me is point number 4. Here it is. The part that I can't read without crying is "In our present fallen, rebellious condition, nothing—I say it again carefully—nothing is more crucial for humanity than escaping the omnipotent wrath of God. That is not the ultimate goal of the cross. It is just infinitely necessary—and valuable beyond words."


4. Christ’s Death Makes It Possible to Know and Enjoy God

The Son of God, Jesus Christ, came into the world, lived a perfect life, died to bear the penalty for our sins, absorbed the wrath of God that hung over us, rose from the dead triumphant over death and Satan and all evil, so that all who receive Jesus as the Savior, Lord, and Treasure of their lives would be forgiven for Christ’s sake, counted righteous in Christ, and fitted to know and enjoy God forever.

Oh, how I wish that at least here, at the center of the gospel, there would be common ground among those who claim to be followers of Jesus today. But that’s not the case, and one of the reasons is that the postmodern mind, inside and outside of the church, has no place for the biblical truth of the wrath of God. And therefore, it has no place for a wrath-bearing Savior who endures God’s curse that we might go free. One of the most infamous and tragic paragraphs written by a church leader in the last several years heaps scorn on one of the most precious truths of the atonement: Christ’s bearing our guilt and God’s wrath.

The fact is that the cross isn’t a form of cosmic child abuse—a vengeful Father, punishing his Son for an offence he has not even committed. Understandably, both people inside and outside of the Church have found this twisted version of events morally dubious and a huge barrier to faith. Deeper than that, however, is that such a concept stands in total contradiction to the statement: God is love”. If the cross is a personal act of violence perpetrated by God towards humankind but borne by his Son, then it makes a mockery of Jesus’ own teaching to love your enemies and to refuse to repay evil with evil. (Steve Chalke and Alan Mann, The Lost Message of Jesus [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2003], pp. 182-183.)

With one cynical stroke of the pen, the triumph of God’s love over God’s wrath in the death of his beloved Son is blasphemed, while other church leaders write glowing blurbs on the flaps of his book. But God is not mocked. His word stands firm and clear and merciful to those who will embrace it:

We esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. . . . It was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief.” (Isaiah 53:4-6, 10)
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree.” (Galatians 3:13)
For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh. (Romans 8:3)

Whose sin? My sin. Whose flesh? Jesus’ flesh. Whose condemnation? God’s condemnation.

In our present fallen, rebellious condition, nothing—I say it again carefully—nothing is more crucial for humanity than escaping the omnipotent wrath of God. That is not the ultimate goal of the cross. It is just infinitely necessary—and valuable beyond words.

The ultimate goal the cross—the ultimate good of the gospel is the everlasting enjoyment of God. The glorious work of Christ in bearing our sins and removing God’s wrath and providing our righteousness is aimed finally at this: “Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). Jesus died for us so that we might say with the psalmist, “I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy” (Psalm 43:4).

Monday, October 02, 2006

The Myth of Certainty...

...are you certain it's a myth, Dan?


Daniel Taylor has been a professor of English at Bethel College since 1977. Quite a few years ago he wrote a book called The Myth of Certainty. Here's a quote. Now that you've partied with the Piper, what do you think of his quote? Do you think he partied with Piper?


"Mistaking this active life of faith for an institutionally backed and culturally bound belief system is similar to reducing the Mona Lisa to paint-by-numbers."

Dan Taylor
The Myth Of Certainity

Me, I'm pulling for the "institutionally backed belief system". I call it THE BIBLE, though.


What About this Guy?

Anyone been to this blog?

Anyone know who this guy is? I just stumbled upon it. Looks like he had his laptop at "The Party" and at times blogged as things happened! How trendy! They must have had the wireless "hi-fi" (that's what I said to Terry the other day and he said, "Do you mean wi-fi?" Whatever!)

If you read the part on Mark Driscoll's session, Mark himself makes a comment.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

The Party

I spent the weekend partying with the Piper. Wow, what a party it was.

It will require a few blog posts and a few weeks of processing.

Off the top of my head, here are a few phrases to sum up what I learned. God loves His Son. The Son Loves His Father. The glory of God is a big deal. The cross is a big deal. I'm a little deal. God doesn't need me, but God loves me. Doctrine matters. Truth matters. Anything that points me to the supremacy of God is a good thing. Anything that points me to man is a bad thing. Anything that exalts God is a good thing. Anything that exalts man is a bad thing.

Here are the books I bought at the bookstore:

Knowing Scripture by R. C. Sproul
Authority by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones ("The Doctor")
The Ever-Loving Truth by Voddie Baucham, Jr.
What Jesus Demands from the World by John Piper

and I will enjoy reading the freebie in the swag bag...Above All Earthly Powers by David F. Wells.

I liked Mark Driscoll. I really liked the 9 items in his left hand! I will blog about them sometime.

I think the highlight of the party was hearing John Piper say the word "smartass" in reference to what Tony Jones said on his blog. (In case the link doesn't work Tony said, "But my neighbor in Minneapolis, John Piper, has invited folks to his conference next month with the words, "We think the post-propositional, post-dogmatic, post-authoritative 'conversation' is post-relevant and post-saving." I assume this is a jab directly at Emergent/emerging." Then he goes on to say, "What I find the most disheartening, I guess, is the smartass tone of the line.")

Finally, I liked the Fish and Chips at Brit's Pub.

It was a great party!

Friday, September 29, 2006

Semi-Homemade

This is Sandra Lee. (Wasn't she a singer back in the 60's, no, wait, that was Peggy Lee.)

She has a show on the Food Network.

I love the Food Network.

I hate Sandra Lee. Okay, I don't really hate her. God bless her.

But...

Her show is called "Semi-Homemade" or something like that and she is all about telling us how we can cook fancy schmancy things, but cut the prep time in half by using pre-made and pre-packaged ingredients. I'm with her on that. Sounds like a good idea.

However, a couple weeks ago, as we were discussing our favorite shows on The Food Network, the topic of Sandra Lee came up. My sister said, "Did you ever notice that shc changes her outfit and REDECORATES her kitchen based upon the items being prepared that day?" I said, "No, I hadn't noticed at all."

So, the next time I watched, sure enough, it was a Mexican theme and Sandra was wearing a brightly colored "Mexican" looking outfit and the kitchen had been decorated to match the theme and the dress.

So, I watched the next day. And, Sandra was wearing white and blue, and sure enough, the kitchen...everything in it from curtains to canisters was now white and blue.

And, I thought, what a waste of time. Here is a person trying to show you how you can save time by using prepared foods to get that homemade taste and she is obsessing each day about her kitchen colors and redecorating to match her menu. Wow, how stupid is that!

So, then I noticed an ad for the Fall season shows on The Food Network and when they did a close-up of Sandra Lee, she looked old and wrinkly...well, not as old and wrinkly as me, but older and more wrinkled than on her show. The next time I watched her show, I noticed the soft focus on everything!

Hmmmmm. I thought. I wonder how old Sandra Lee is. So, guess what I did? I googled.

I couldn't find her age on her web-page, but I came across a blog called "I Loathe Sandra Lee".

Here is the photo on that blog. That was my laugh for the day! But, I still don't know how old Sandra is. Guess I'll have to check wikipedia! In the meantime, I'm sticking with Rachel Ray.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Attack of the Squirrels

An aggressive squirrel pounced on a 4-year-old boy in an attack last week in Cuesta Park in Mountain View. The attack happened as the boy's mother unwrapped a muffin during a picnic. The boy had to get rabies shot after the attack. He is still getting the shots.

I saw this article on The Drudge Report today. Back when I was at the U of MN, I once had a squirrel climb me!

Have you had a bad squirrel experience?


Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Bottom Line

Tomorrow is our second day of Co-op. It should be lots of fun. We do, after all, have Dazzling Dave, coming to enlighten us all on the science and art of the yo-yo. But, there will be a twinge of sadness in the air when I think about the families who have decided not to be a part of MCHC this year because they prefer not to associate with Terry or me. We really will miss them.

That is a first for us. I can't think of anyone in the world, over the 29 years we have been married who has made the choice to actively no longer be a part of our lives. The fact that two of the families are GCM pastor's families is especially sad and troubling. One of these pastors made the decision without speaking a word to Terry. Titus 3:10 misinterpreted is a very bad thing.

My nephew Jon, who has spent the last 20 or so years working with cults and other highly authoritarian groups tells me that shunning like this is an emotional form of control...and, I know it is. Who wants to live with the idea that there are people who you thought were your friends who no longer want to be a part of your lives?

I believe the families who left are deceived. I don't hate them. I feel really sorry for them and think they have made a big mistake. Not because they prefer not to associate with us, but because they have given up some of their critical thinking skills (like being unwilling to check out both sides of issues under the assumption given them by the men over them that to hear the other side is to listen to gossip or slander). So, in a way, I pity them.

I have decided to add a link. It's the GCM Statement of Error.

I am doing this not to be obnoxious or divisive, but in the hopes that some members of GCM churches and some in leadership will read it and realize that the things Terry mentioned in his blog are pretty much the things they addressed in their statement of error, but seem to have forgotten they apologized for OR perhaps, they never really meant the apology. In either case, they are currently doing a lot of those things. And, it would benefit them greatly if they dealt with the issues rather than dealing with the people mentioning the issues.

I would call their attention to Roman Numeral I--A PRIDEFUL ATTITUDE. And the subcategories under it of "Improper Response to Criticism" and "An Elitist Attitude" since the charge of pride seemed to be the most offensive part of Terry's post. And, the improper response to criticism is playing out loud and clear in the Co-op shun.

So, where am I at right now?

The bottom line for me is that I love God, I love my family, and I love my friends. And, that's a wonderful place to be.

And, to the families who left Co-op...you are always welcome back.

Mark 7

Heritage Academy (aka homeschool) is reading through Mark at the moment. This was today's reading from chapter 7. And, look, it's a red letter edition!

Mark 7: 6-13

6 And he said to them, "Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written,This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; 7 in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men. 8 You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men." 9 And he said to them, "You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition! 10 For Moses said, Honor your father and your mother; and, Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die. 11 But you say, If a man tells his father or his mother, Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban (that is, given to God)-- 12 then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, 13 thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do."

I want to HOLD TO the commandments of God and LEAVE the traditions of men.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Why Are There So Many Songs About Rainbows?







What Muppet are you?




You are Kermit the Frog.You are reliable, responsible and caring. And you have a habit of waving your arms about maniacally.FAVORITE EXPRESSIONS:"Hi ho!" "Yaaay!" and "Sheesh!" FAVORITE MOVIE:"How Green Was My Mother" LAST BOOK READ:"Surfin' the Webfoot: A Frog's Guide to the Internet" HOBBIES:Sitting in the swamp playing banjo. QUOTE:"Hmm, my banjo is wet."
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Mars Hill, Schmars Hill

Mark D. (Driscoll) writes on his blog:


"More than ever, I really love Mars Hill. There is no desire in me to do anything but what I'm doing with the people I'm doing it with. I often tell my people that I am giving them my life and intend to preach my own funeral and then climb into my coffin and shut the lid to go see Jesus. The work is hard, we are stretched beyond our limits right now, and I'm actually home sick with the flu after some really long work days lately along with the other elders and deacons. But, deep down I'm really happy. I have seen my kids born in Mars Hill, seen the lives of everyone in my family changed by Mars Hill, and seen myself been transformed by my brothers and sisters in Mars Hill. Not to denigrate any other church, but this is a special place and I'm honored and humbled to be here. And I'm having a lot of fun."

I think I know what he means...but, I think this statement wasn't thought out very well. Or, if it was...it's bad!

And, since it's my blog and I can get picky, I will tell you why I think it's bad. I think it's dangerous to type statements like "seen the lives of everyone in my family changed BY Mars Hill". God changes lives. Give God the glory. End of rant on that point.

So, dear readers, if I ever say that, please catch me and correct me.

Also, the phrase "this is a special place" is walking on a land mine. Every cult says that. Watch out, Mark D.!

So, am I going to boycott the Party with Piper and Mark D. event this weekend?

No, way, I'm not that closed minded, plus, I paid $100!

Let's party!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

NRA

Terry took the afternoon off yesterday to help clean our carpets (remember the August flood--water, water, water...). A future post will tell you about the cool "Rug Doctor" machine that Cub rents. Anyway...

While home he received a phone call survey from the NRA. They told him about some new law somewhere that would not allow people to have guns in their homes and the survey question was, "What would you do if someone came into your home to take away your guns?"

My husband's answer....

"I'd shoot 'em!"

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Dangerous Duty of Delight

Terry signed up to be on the e-mail list at desiringgod.org and they sent him a nifty little booklet in the real mail called The Dangerous Duty of Delight by J.P. (Party with Piper!)

Here's a passage on worship that Terry read to me this morning that hit home for both of us:

First, the true diagnosis of weak worship is not that our people are coming to get and not give. Not a few pastors scold their people that the worship services would be lively if people came to give instead of to get. There is a better diagnosis.

People ought to come to corporate worship services to get. They ought to come starved for God. They ought to come saying, "As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for you, O God." (Psalm 42:1) God is profoundly honored when people know that they will die of hunger and thirst unless they have God. And it is my job as a preacher to spread a banquet for them. I must show them from Scripture what they are really starving for--God--and then feed them well until they say, "Ahhh." That is worship.

Second, seeing the essence of worship as satisfaction in God will make corporate worship radically God-centered.

Nothing makes God more supreme and more central than when people are utterly persuaded that nothing--not money or prestige or leisure or family or job or health or sports or toys or friends--is going to bring satisfaction to their aching hearts besides God. This conviction breeds people who go hard after God on Sunday morning.

If the focus shifts onto our giving to God, instead of His giving Himself to us, one result is that subtly it is not God who remains at the center but, instead, the quality of our giving. Are we singing worthily of the Lord? Are our instrumentalists playing with quality fitting a gift to the Lord? This all sounds noble at first. But little by little the focus shifts off the utter indispensability of the Lord Himself and onto the quality of our performances. And we even start to define excellence and power in terms of the technical distinction of our artistic acts.

Nothing keeps God at the center of worship like the biblical conviction that the essence of worship is deep, heartfelt satisfaction in Him and the conviction that the pursuit of that satisfaction is why we are together.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

GATOR GOD

I was checking out the Drudge Report this afternoon and came across an article about a beer glass that a church had come up with that had a "picture" of Jesus on it that was causing quite a stir. Bored with that article, I looked at some others on the same page and found a link to a gator with "GOD" written on it's skin.

Here it is for your viewing pleasure.

GOD Gator.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Vote Early and Often

Katie and I went to vote in the primary on Tuesday.

She got all registered and then we went over to get our ballots. We walked over to the voting booth and I finished voting and picked up my ballot and much to my surprise found a ballot under it. At first I thought, "Oh, my, there are two ballots, what a big election!" Then, I realized that the election judge had given me TWO initialed ballots...so I voted a second time! No! I turned around and said to the ballot person, "You gave me two ballots!"

There was an awkward moment of silence as I handed her the extra ballot thus exposing her blunder.

The man at the door gave us an extra "I voted" sticker so my cousin Dianne from IL could proudly wear one as we walked in the door to our house where everyone else was gathered and visiting. And, as it turns out she could have voted, since I had the extra ballot!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Wave

We were at the Twins game last night. Fun game! The Twins used at least 7 pitchers last night so we got our monies worth in watching pitchers alone. The Twins made a very dramatic late in the game come back and the crowd was fired up. About half full, but really loud! And, if that weren't enough, we got to play Twingo and get sucked out of the Metrodome because it wasn't too windy to use the suck out doors!

But as great as all that was, the highlight was we got a wave from Josh Rabe! (Do you think it had anything to do with the sign we had that was composed of three large pieces of tagboard that said, "WE HEART JOSH #11"? and the fact that my cousin who made the sign called his family down the road to tell them we would be there and they were going to let him know?)

Since he hasn't been playing, I knew that our only for sure chance of seeing him would be right before the game when he comes out to throw with the rest of the team. Sure enough, as he was heading towards us we held up our large signs...and began wiggling them. He looked up, then away, then up again kind of quizzically, then, he kind of squinted to see who was holding the signs, then he held his gloved hand high in the air and gave a big wave!

Thus, ends another Josh Rabe story.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Signs

Rick Ross has been on the news a lot lately in light of the developments in Utah. Here is a list from his web page. Rickross.com

Ten Signs of a Safe Group Leader
1. A safe group/leader will answer your questions without becoming judgmental and punitive.

2. A safe group/leader will disclose information such as finances and often offer an independently audited financial statement regarding budget and expenses. Safe groups and leaders will tell you more than you want to know.

3. A safe group/leader is often democratic, sharing decision making and encouraging accountability and oversight.

4. A safe group/leader may have disgruntled former followers, but will not vilify, excommunicate and forbid others from associating with them.

5. A safe group/leader will not have a paper trail of overwhelmingly negative records, books, articles and statements about them.

6. A safe group/leader will encourage family communication, community interaction and existing friendships and not feel threatened.

7. A safe group/leader will recognize reasonable boundaries and limitations when dealing with others.

8. A safe group/leader will encourage critical thinking, individual autonomy and feelings of self-esteem.

9. A safe group/leader will admit failings and mistakes and accept constructive criticism and advice.

10. A safe group/leader will not be the only source of knowledge and learning excluding everyone else, but value dialogue and the free exchange of ideas.

The Blog Heard 'Round the World

I direct a homeschool co-op.

I receive no pay for being the director. My children pay full tuition to attend. It’s a volunteer position.

My roll during the school year involves saying an opening prayer, giving announcements, leading in the pledge, and giving out birthday pencils. It’s a Co-op that was set in motion over 16 years ago and has pretty much kept going all this time with minimal changes in the program. About a third to a half of the members attend an Evergreen church.

In the last week, I have received two calls from Evergreen pastor’s families that attend Co-op thinking they may need to pull out of Co-op because I’m the director and they wonder whether or not they can look me in the eye knowing what we think after reading Terry's infamous blog post.

What I can’t figure out is why they could look me in the eye all year long during Co-op. They certainly knew what we thought after a year and a half of patient discussions about what we thought. Good grief, we left Evergreen over a year ago over what we thought about the organization.

One pastor mentioned to Terry that calling him proud was hurtful.

So I want to address that issue. Did Terry call the Evergreen pastors proud? Because that certainly would be hurtful if he did.

Going back to the post you will find what he said. Here it is:

“But before I go any further, let me qualify the bluntness and offer a disclaimer. I am not saying that Evergreen pastors are all proud men. I still count some of them as my friends (at least until this post) and would not want to be so strident and insulting as that.”

and then he goes on to say:

“I suppose you could say I’m challenging entrenched theology, philosophy, policy and assumptions, not people.”

This is probably one reason to put the post back up. It was quite lengthy and people may have skimmed over some important parts or might be remembering what they thought it said, rather than what it actually said.

So, then, what did Terry mean by using the phrase “culture of pride.” Of course he is the only one who can speak for himself, but here’s what I think.

He said:

“And then, from this leadership ethos flows a kind of exclusivism, elitism and exaggerated expectation of organization loyalty that seems to us unhealthy.”

In the both the local and national teaching there is an expectation of loyalty to “the group for the rest of your life.” This is a form of pride. It comes across as, “We are the best so you should never leave.” It’s “team spirit” taken way too far.

In the local teaching, I have heard, “Be careful who you listen to and what books you read (of course you should be careful),” but then the speaker goes on to say, “All you need is right here is this church.” That is what I would call elitism implying that they have the only teaching that you need.

This “culture of pride” sort of takes on a life of its own.

Terry was challenging an organization in the hopes of helping them see some flaws that had hurt them in the past and seemed to be showing up again. After all, pride was one of the things they apologized for in the 13 page 1991 Statement of Apology and Error.

That said, I want to address the issue of slander and division.

Here’s what I think is slander.

Terry has tried as best as he could to research both sides of this issue, he presented it in as loving a manner as he could after spending untold hours researching things and trying to talk directly with several pastors about the specifics. No one would address the substance of the history. No one would even look at the information he had from Wellspring to refute it.

And, now, the word that is going around is that he is slandering people and being divisive. I, personally, think this is slander. Terry was talking about an organization, not people and doing it because he saw a significant flaw that was hurting the group.

And, as long as I am on a roll, let me tell you a couple of other things that we have kept to ourselves till now.

When it became apparant that we needed to leave, we were asked to come up with a statement that could help the pastors answer any questions about why we left without them having to tell our entire story. The statement was a couple sentences that said we left over church government and church loyalty. It didn't begin to express why we left...that took a 22 page blog post, but we were trying to be helpful so came up with a short statement that could be used. It got down to the tweaking of the words in a few back and forth e-mails and then we were asked to agree to use this statement and to say nothing more if people asked us why we left. We did not agree to this.

About two weeks after we submitted our letter of resignation, we received a two page response letter from the Bloomington pastors. They expressed how they disagreed with our conclusions and said that we "missed the mark," "were unfair," "were inaccurate," and had "borderline defamed them". Then they went on to say that in spite of all of this they vowed to speak honorably about us to others and hoped we would do the same. That was their right.

Within a week of sending us this letter, and without our permission, they sent a copy of that letter to our grown children who still attended Evergreen. That is not what you do when you vow to speak honorably about someone. But, as Terry said, one of the issues we had when we left (and something GCM apologized for in the 1991 statement) was that they interfered between parents and their grown children. So, we weren't surprised.

And, finally, in our final meeting with one of the founding pastors we were told, "You realize that if you go around telling people that you think we are wrong, we are going to have to defend ourselves." What was that supposed to mean? I tried to put it in the best light and assume it meant that they would have to explain Biblically why they thought we were wrong, but it was an odd thing to say.

I have more to say, but I'm done for today.