Saturday, March 31, 2007

Introducing the book

No comment needed here. Just watch.

Clustr Map

I finally got my clustr map up and running! It says I've had 45 hits since December 19th since it was on that day that I signed up for a clustr map, but it took me till March 29 to figure out how to get it going on my blog. Actually, Timmy had to help me.

I read the instructions carefully and it came up at the top of the right hand column above "my" photo. Tim asked my why I wanted it there and I told him I didn't, but had no idea how to move it. A minute later it was where I wanted it, so "Thank you, Tim."

I had 45 hits my first day. I think most of them were me refreshing or checking my blog, but the fun thing is that there was hit from Florida, California, and Illinois. So, thank you to my out of state readers for giving me some little red dots on my map and making me feel so special!

But, don't worry, little penguins at the bottom of my page. I am not going to get rid of you just because you are in an awkward place, kind of clunky, and have been replaced by a cool map. I am too sentimental to do that to you.

Plus, I would have no idea how to remove you even if I wanted.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Ask, Seek, Knock

Matthew 7:7-12

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! 12 So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

When you pause to consider that God is infinitely
strong and can do all that he pleases, and that he is infinitely righteous so that he only does what is right, and that he is infinitely good so that everything he does is perfectly good, and that he is infinitely wise so that he always knows perfectly what is right and good, and that he is infinitely loving so that in all his strength and righteousness and goodness and wisdom he raises the eternal joy of his loved ones as high as it can be raised—when you pause to consider this, then the lavish invitations of this God to ask him for good things, with the promise that he will give them, is unimaginably wonderful.

Go here to read the rest.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Mind Your P's & Q's

I was giving announcements at Co-op today. During announcement time we also pray, do the Pledge of Allegiance, and lately we have been working on "The Gospel Alphabet".

"The Gospel Alphabet" is on a little card I received from Samaritan's Purse last year. Each letter of the alphabet stands for a word that begins a Bible verse.

For example, "A" stands for "all' and the verse is "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." "B" is "behold". The verse is "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world."

We were going through the letters and when we got to the letter "D", I said to the students. "Does anyone know the "d" word?" As soon as I said it I saw Barb in the back snickering. I was really glad that her snickering got me to rephrase my little Bible memory exercise before I said, "Does anyone here know the "f" word?"

And, those innocent children did know the "D" word. It was "draw".

Draw near to God and he will draw near to you.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Here I am Daddy...

The late Joe Bayly included this psalm in his book "Psalms of my Life".

His son Tim recently posted it on the blog he shares with his brother David.

I liked it and hope you do, too.

A Psalm on Being

The little child says
Here I am daddy
as he bursts
on father’s sight
from behind the chair
where he’s been hiding.
He doesn’t say
What can I do for you?
How can I help you?
I want to serve you
seeking somehow
to work and gain
the father’s favor
and delight.
He knows that they are his
without exhausting effort
to achieve.
They are his always.
Here I am daddy
—Abba Father—
not working
just being your eternal son.

-Joe Bayly


Today is the first anniversary of the day Chris set up my blog.

Just thought you might want to know that!

What I have learned in the last year is that blogging can be lots of fun and by doing it you can make new friends and get rid of old ones.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

My Days are in His Hands and I am Glad

Here's a quote from a recent Piper message. I blogged part of it a few days ago, but it is worth repeating:

You know, when someone asks you, “Who were the key influences in your life that made you what you are?” your answer to that question is only as valid as your memory. And you don’t remember but a tiny fraction of the influences that made you what you are. Many decisive influences came into your life before they could even register in your memory. And millions upon millions of influences have entered your life of which you have no memory. This is not only because you have forgotten millions of moments in your life, but because thousands of influences on you you never knew about in the first place. For example, the prayers of others for you. You don’t know about them, but they shape your life.

This fact has two effects on me. One is to make me thankful for the sovereignty of God. He governs all the influences over my life. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:10, “By the grace of God I am what I am.” I am glad that neither I nor any other human governs my life. God does. My days are in his hands. And I am glad.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Therapy to get through Therapy

Today was my 6th appointment with Novacare, the hand therapy people.

I'm thinking I will need some "emotional" therapy to recover from my experience there.

Also, I'm not only strengthening my wrist, but I'm strengthening my opinion that National Health Care is BAD.

Here's my story.

After wrist surgery, doctor recommends hand therapy. Tells me to see Mary or Stephanie at Novacare because they have both been doing this for 30 years.

I call and make an appointment with Stephanie. Mary is on vacation. Stephanie is only available on the Thursday that the blizzard was predicted. I decide that I need to get going on the wrist, make an appointment with Stephanie, and find myself driving in a blizzard to see her.

I get to the office and Karen comes out and says, "Hi, I am Karen, Stephanie is doing a phone interview so I will be your therapist today."

I say (feeling kind of sheepish), "Um, I came out in a blizzard to see Stephanie, I don't mean to offend you, Karen, but my doctor told me to see Mary or Stephanie."

Karen gets Stephanie and she postpones her phone conversation.

Four days later, I arrive for my appointment with Stephanie. Terri comes out and says, "Hi, I'm Terri. Stephanie isn't here today, so I will be doing your therapy." Turns out she is a "substitute" hand therapist who floats from office to hospital filling in as needed.

Three days later at my next appointment, Stephanie comes out and says, "Hi, this is Lance, he is training in and will be assisting me today." Lance is nice enough, but does all the measurements differently than Stephanie, so all my comparisons are off.

Next appointment, I get Stephanie for the full hour.

Last Thursday I go to my 10:00 am appointment. Stephanie comes out of her office at 10:05 and says, "Linda, you are a half hour late." I said, "No, I'm not. My appointment was at 10:00. I have a printout at home that your office gave me." Stephanie says, "Your appointment was at 9:30, I have another appointment at 10:30, so unless you can come back at 1:00 I can only give you a half hour, and can try to find another therapist to fill in."

MamaD turns into MaMad at this point. I say very little and take my half hour with her, wait 10 minutes for Karen to finish up with a patient and give me 15 more minutes. i'm guessing Blue Cross got billed for a full 60 minutes. Stephanie tells me to bring in the printout showing the appointment time.

Today I go in with my appointment sheet in hand showing that my appointment was indeed for 10:00 last week. Stephanie looks at it and suggests that perhaps I have done the highlighting on the sheet. (It was a crazy printout that showed all available morning appointments, very odd printout system.) I assure her that her fellow employee had highlighted said paper and I also tell her that I felt like I was treated like a second hand patient.

Stephanie never apologizes. When the appointment ends, Stephanie takes the printout and says, "I will go up with you to the desk and you can explain the scheduling problem to them." MaMad musters up all of her Scandinavian courage and says, "Um, I am not comfortable doing that. I think this is a problem in your office scheduling that should be addressed and corrected by you.

I made my next appointment with Karen.

If this is the way paying customers are treated, can you imagine how it will be when the government gets ahold of it.

I was thinking about how this would work in any other business. Say, for example, my hair stylist. For 15 years, Sandy has cut my hair. When she is unavailable, I go to Amy. What would happen if I went in to see Sandy and "Karen" came up and said, "Sandy is on the phone, so I will cut your hair," and the next time "Terri" came up and said, "Sandy didn't come in today, so I am filling in for her," or the next time Sandy was there and said, "Lance is going to do a few snips today, he's training in," or another time Sandy said, "Linda, you are a half hour late, so I am not going to be able to dry and style your hair."

Here's what would happen. Sandy would not be cutting my hair anymore!

But, alas, I want my wrist to move, and probably wouldn't be served best by changing therapist offices halfway through my treatment, so I will stick with Novacare, but I am eying the "evaluation" forms on the counter by the front desk, and when I'm done I will refer them to my blog!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Happy St. Patrick's Day

My cyber-friend Holly put this on her blog today. I liked it so much I'm putting it on my blog. So, thanks to St. Patrick and Holly for reminding me of God's sufficiency.

Here it is:

I arise today

Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through the belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness
Of the Creator of Creation.

I arise today
Through the strength of Christ's birth with his baptism,
Through the strength of his crucifixion with his burial,
Through the strength of his resurrection with his ascension,
Through the strength of his descent for the judgment of Doom.

I arise today
Through the strength of the love of Cherubim,
In obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels,
In hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In prayers of patriarchs,
In predictions of prophets,
In preaching of apostles,
In faith of confessors,
In innocence of holy virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven:
Light of sun,
Radiance of moon,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of wind,
Depth of sea,
Stability of earth,
Firmness of rock.

I arise today
Through God's strength to pilot me:
God's might to uphold me,
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye to look before me,
God's ear to hear me,
God's word to speak for me,
God's hand to guard me,
God's way to lie before me,
God's shield to protect me,
God's host to save me
From snares of devils,
From temptations of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
Afar and anear,
Alone and in multitude.

I summon today all these powers between me and those evils,
Against every cruel merciless power that may oppose my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man's body and soul.

Christ to shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that there may come to me abundance of reward.

Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness,
Of the Creator of Creation.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007



Tuesday, March 13, 2007

First fire, then the wheel, then this...

This is the most brilliant invention since the wheel.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Original Theologians Tend to be Heretics!

It is no secret that in the last few months, we have been devouring the teaching of John Piper. I think the thing that impresses me the most is that his messages are so full of the cross and devoid of John Piper. He leads people to the cross, not to human authority.

John's father passed away last week. If you need inspiration and encouragement go read the entries on the Desiring God blog that speak of the life of his father.

Here is an excerpt from the funeral message Piper preached:

"This fact has two effects on me. One is to make me thankful for the sovereignty of God. He governs all the influences over my life. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:10, “By the grace of God I am what I am.” I am glad that neither I nor any other human governs my life. God does. My days are in his hands. And I am glad.

The other effect this truth has on me is to send me back to my father’s preaching to uncover more deeply my roots. I have seven of my father’s books here. The more that I read them, the more I marvel at how unoriginal I am. And this makes me very happy. Original theologians tend be heretics. I want what I say to have roots. I don’t want to be new in what I believe. I want to be true."

Saturday, March 10, 2007


When I wake up in the middle of the night and can't get back to sleep, I sometimes turn to one of the two "worship" channels we now have through Direct TV. In the middle of the night, they play worship songs softly and show videos of babbling brooks, and deer panting for water, and purple mountains majesty with inspiring Bible verses on an overlay.

So, last night I noticed that for one of the verses they just labeled it "Corinthians 4:something". I thought to myself whoever typed that didn't realize that there is a I and a II Corinthians. Then, I signed on to my blog, looked at my previous post and noted that the verse I quoted read "Corinthians 2:4,5".

Oops! But if you look closely, you will see the 1 at the end of the previous sentence. I guess it happened when I tried to center the verse and the program doesn't recognize books of the Bible!

I will leave you with a couple verses from James that have meant a lot to me lately.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Persuasive Words, Bad Idea

And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. 1 Corinthians 2:4,5

Picking up on my previous post, here is the verse that jumped out at me a few months back and is why I no longer am a fan of the "seeker church".

It is not our style of cutting edge music, or latest trend clothes, or hip lingo and naughty words that attract people to Christ. It is the Holy Spirit.

This isn't to deny the need of sound preaching or being kind to people.

It does remove the "cool" factor from our witness.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Words to Reach the Next Generation

I remember well the first time I heard a pastor use the word "sucks" in a sermon.

I had noticed that ever since we started attending a certain church one of my children was using that word. I asked said high school child to please not use that word and, much to my dismay, a couple days later said pastor used it in a sermon.

Way to go in helping parents train their children, Mr. Pastor.

I didn't know that this particular pastor also liked to reach the younger generation by dropping the f-bomb at youth retreats. I found that out a year and a half after we left.

Okay, Linda, deep cleansing don't go to that church anymore, remember...

Here's the article from Lark News that reminded me:

Staff split over 'sucks'
BROOKLINE, Mass. — Pastor Terry McCann was pleased to see his associate pastor interviewed on the local news about helping to solve school truancy. But he was mortified when the associate used the word "sucks."
"I called him immediately and said, 'What on earth are you doing?'" says McCann. "He told me, 'Relating to the younger generation.'"
The staff of Rolling Hills church is evenly divided over whether the word "sucks" is appropriate or not.
"I don't think twice about it," says the youth pastor who uses it commonly with youth. He bonded with his new associate pastor by using the word.
"When you can freely say something sucks, it feels good. It's like letting your heart out," he says.
But he catches continual flak from pastors who find the word offensive.
"Do people know what it means?" says the executive pastor incredulously. "I don't care if everyone says it. It's beneath us."
He and others send out emails that remind their co-workers to "Let no unclean words proceed from your mouth." Some roll their eyes at the "sucks police." The singles pastor, a die-hard "sucks" devotee, responded one time with a reply that said simply, "That sucks!" He included a photo of a vacuum cleaner in the message, to cover himself.
During a recent sermon while McCann was on vacation, the college and career pastor used the word "sucks" off-the-cuff. When his wife pointed it out, he absconded with the sermon recording so McCann wouldn't hear it. But McCann found out anyway because members of the church sent him angry emails.
McCann finally insisted that no church staff member use the word, especially during ministry. He suggested alternatives like "that stinks" and "that's terrible."
"Saying something stinks sounds like you're just afraid to say 'sucks,'" gripes one staff member who says it "may take me a while to get around to changing my habit."
Meanwhile, McCann recently used the words "scumbag" and "brown-nose" in a mid-week sermon. Staff members later called him on the carpet.
"Do you know what those words mean?" they said with mock outrage. McCann looked up the definitions, turned red and vowed to ban the words from his vocabulary. •

Thoughts on a Snow Day

Today is a "Snow Day" at Heritage Academy. It's time to sip some Caribou (thanks Katie!) and think some deep thoughts. To see how deep the snow is, check out Chris's bedroom view.

First, therapy yesterday was more boring than painful. All that dread of her putting me on a rack to bend my wrist didn't pan out. That worry was totally wasted. (My wrist aches, but that's why they invented Motrin).

Terry and I have been reflecting on the past decade or so and have decided that life has gotten too complicated. The word simplify comes to mind. We don't want to always be running, we want to have time for family, friends, and neighbors, we want to enjoy God, not "be busy" for God, we want to find some widows and orphans and help them. We want to figure out the church thing and think it's something way different than a certified non-profit with a building.

I was reading Life as a Vapor by John Piper last night. It is a book of 31 meditations, and as I often do--mostly with novels (bad me, my family tells me this is wrong), I read the last page. It's the prayer for that day and it's my prayer for right now.

Here it is:

Come quickly, Lord Jesus!
And while you tarry, keep us free
from the sin of this world.
Oh, make our little lives count
for the glory of Your name
and for the fame of Your Father.
Rivet our attention on Your cross,
and fuse our affections to Yourself,
Waken our compassion for all who suffer,
especially those who are rushing toward
everlasting misery because of unbelief.
So open our mouths and open our hands
and open our wallets while we have breath,
and make us the most radically loving people
on earth, for the joy of all peoples
and the renown of Your name.