Sunday, October 30, 2005

Compassion in Action

We had a SaLT group get-together with SaLT with WaLT last night. We ate a wonderful meal together, (and I love my SaLT group because they are always sure to accomodate me and my food phobias, LOL), and had some great fellowship.Joanne, Sissy and Tom

The purpose of our gathering was to wrap shoeboxes for the "shoebox ministry". We packaged up "boy boxes" and "girl boxes" with appropriate toys and things that children would enjoy getting as gifts for Christmas. These shoeboxes are collected and distributed to children who are less fortunate than we are over the holidays.

I took some pictures of this "compassion in action" and you can see them at my Flickr page by clicking here.

Saturday, October 29, 2005


I haven't been contributing much in the area of blogs these days. Life is so time consuming! There are so many things I want to do and I do practically none of them. Aside from my first and most important ministry as a mom, I'd like to share 3 things that I would like to do if time were more merciful and plentiful.

First, I would be doing more Bible study and journaling. I want to write a book..several books actually. I have them in my head, outlined on paper, but I just can't seem to find the time to get my thoughts together and continue to write. I have a chronic case of writer's block. Sometimes things come to me when I'm not even thinking about it. Some of my best blogs came about that way, like the one on the first and greatest commandment. I'd love to have a column in the paper or a Christian magazine. Then, as a result, hopefully, someday there will be a place for me in women's ministry.

Second, I'd love to be more involved in theatre and the arts. I am planning to paint more. I'll be going on a retreat by myself for the first time ever next week. Oh, I covet the prayers of anybody who reads this. I'll be taking a camera and hopefully getting some beautiful pictures of God's creation to paint. I already have 3 paintings in mind that I want to do as soon as possible. Hopefully, the pictures on my retreat will enhance what I already have in my head.

Third, I'd be studying how to play the piano. I already play the organ but I haven't had access to one in years. I'm really rusty. I'd like to brush up and further my studies in that area.

I want to go back to college as soon as possible, but I'm really not sure what I want to major or minor in. I thought it was social work but, I feel like I would be so bound to the government that way. I would like to be able to help women who are trapped in situations of domestic violence. Victims trying to start over need help to do it. It would be great to see welfare gone and the Church taking care of social welfare by helping others to help themselves, but that's another blog,(and a book that I hope to write). I want to see the victims of domestic violence experience complete healing and restoration...God's way...through mercy, faith, and forgiveness (not necessarily in that order).

These are a few of the things I plan to talk with God about when I go on my first solo spiritual retreat next weekend. But, more than anything, I will be praying for God to draw me close to Him so that I can focus more clearly on what He wants and what His will is for my life...right now. I will be praying for my focus to remain on Him and serving Him in THIS moment. I just want to have a closer walk with Him. I want to bask in the Glory of His presence and find some peace and contentment in this constant whirlwind I've created by not depending on Him as I should. I will be seeking His guidance on managing my home, my career, and the hopes I have of one day being married again.

I'm looking so forward to this. I'm so excited about what God is going to do and how He's going to change my life! I know He will! He always does when I sacrifice time to be alone with Him...whether it's a few minutes, an hour, a day, or in this case, several days. I hope to experience some major physical, mental, and spiritual breakthroughs. I'm doing this because I need time to rest in God, to fellowship with Him, and to give him all of the distractions of my life so that He can help me clear things up a bit. I'm praying for and end to the spiritual desert I've been wandering in for quite some time now. I'm also praying for Him to mend my broken heart and restore relationships that need mending in my life.

This is just for starters. I'll be journaling during this time of retreat and hopefully, God will bless me with some wonderful blogs when I return. In the meanntime, I ask for prayer...without ceasing.

The Lord Is My Shepherd
I shall not want
He makes me lie down in green pastures
He leads me beside the still waters
He restores my soul.....

Ps. 23

Friday, October 28, 2005

I Just Returned

I just returned from a business trip and have some things to note:

- What exactly was the large red splatter stain on the floor of the restroom in the Baltimore Airport?

- XM radio on airplanes is great!

- God does not intend for me to lose these gold, dangling-cross earrings that Katie gave to me. I have had one fall off at work, at home and always manage to find it, even when it took a couple of days. But, when I lost it on the airplane, I thought that's it, it's gone...but, that was not to be. I just need to get a replacement earring back, that's all! Yay!

- Baltimore seems like a neat city and when you visit, check out "The Harbor" area.

- Baltimore stole my Browns so it's hard for me to totally enjoy the city.

- How did a bird feather get inside the two panes of window glass/plexiglass of the aircraft I was on? Weird.

- The pilot on the return trip to Memphis from Atlanta played some harmonica blues to welcome us a board with a song and a rhyme! It was quite entertaining and he earned applause from all the passengers. I wonder why we applauded that, but not the fact he got us to our destination safely?

- My friend Mary makes me laugh.

- Roy Rogers served Mary a ham and cheese crossaint because there were "no eggs" they explained. But, when I ordered a few minutes later, I got bacon, EGG, and cheese. We didn't notice a delivery of eggs or chickens in that span of five minutes, or ever. It bloggles the mind!

- I used to go outside for fresh air. Now it is best either to stay inside or travel a significant distance from the entrance of any public building.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Canons and Halos

This video was taken at our visit to Shiloh National Military Park. (Read this post for the story of some of the days events.)

At Shiloh there was a live artillery demonstration and we had an explanation of how the canons you will see in the video were utilized in battle. Some things to note in the video is that the command to fire at five second intervals was carried out with precision and the smoke halo at the end was a crowd pleaser.

Many applauded the demonstration and the neat halo effect after the second canon fired. To me it was a bit eerie because I visualized over 100,000 troops engaged in a bloody battle that left over 24,000 dead and/or wounded with many men missing. We heard shots fired with only a pound of gunpowder, in battle the norm was 2.5 pounds which made it even louder and more percussive.

I could only imagine the noise of that battlefield, guns and canons firing, men shouting and groans of men wounded and dying. I could see the terror and ferociousness of the fighting in my mind's eye. The battlefield sights of silohettes, shadows, smoke and blood. The stench of gunsmoke, sweat, burning flesh and death.

Then I saw those halos softly rising above. Seeing that wispy, white halo that I followed with my eyes peacefully escaping the agony of the war below. Wandering off as if it has no care in the world. Floating there above us I envisioned the entire area canopied by these halos during the battle in 1862.

Oh, the many souls that wandered away in those two days because they no longer had a care in this world.

See video here.


Today was my first day of "running" sound at church. Rather, it was more like I would press a button or move a slide lever when I was told to.

Actually, I did have some autonomy and handled it fairly well if I do say so myself. I even had to react when a praise team member grabbed the "wrong" mic.

I think I'm going to enjoy serving in this capacity and I'm anxious to learn more.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Christian Cafe

I've got a profile at Christian Cafe, a Christian singles dating site. I can't say I'm seriously looking...but, I figure, why not?

I lament that I never get mail.

Katie thinks it may have something to do with how I've answered the first "essay" question in my bio:

I am looking for the relationship that God created me for. I want only His best for me and that is exactly what I am waiting for. Just as Jesus pursues His bride, His Church, I expect the man that God has chosen for me will also take initiative and pursue me. Is that you? If so, follow the Lord's lead and email me.

(Please note: "Winks" are stupid.)

I think it is important for a potential match to know that I am a strong, independent woman, who has a desire to be in a relationship with someone who can share life with me, good and bad. I have lived enough life to know struggles, and enjoy triumphs. I love Jesus Christ first and foremost, and any relationship I have should recognize that, encourage that, and revel in that with me.

I want someone who can accept all the love I have to give, and I have a lot!

* * ADDENDUM I * *

I find it interesting at a Christian singles dating site that in the multiple choice questions about describing your faith there are choices like:

  • It has a significant place (I would hope so!)
  • It has a place (again, yes, I would hope so!)
  • Still trying to figure it out (keep looking and searching!)
  • I believe in God (He is pursuing you!)
  • It`s personal (He desires a personal relationship with you!)
My match would be someone who chooses "it defines who I am". No question.


Now, after a couple weeks of browsing profiles and a few short emails back and forth, I'm starting to determine that I would like someone who HATES this "game" as much as me. I'm getting very tired of thinking things like:

  • "Oh, he/she's too beautiful for me, why bother quick messaging." or "Oh wow, why did I even post my picture?" (It seems so superficial!)

  • I wonder what impression people get of me from reading this profile? No wonder I rarely get email!

  • "I wonder if he/she'll respond?" (Am I wasting my time and/or money with this silly stuff?)

  • "Am I making a fool of myself contacting this person?" (What are they going to think when they read this email?)

  • "Does Christian Cafe ever delete old profiles so I quit contacting people who don't even own computers anymore or are in a relationship/no longer interested/DEAD!?"

  • "Why can't someone just find ME? I'm sick of looking!"

  • "Should I write? Why hasn't he/she responded? What's wrong with me? What's wrong with him/her? I know God created a person for me...what if they aren't on Christian Cafe?"

  • "Ok, he/she replied...does that mean we are now communicating? Who's in charge here? Should I reply to the reply? What am I doing?"

  • "Boy, this is stupid."

Friday, October 21, 2005

Six Years Ago Today

Sue's journal entry dated 10/21/1999 11:09 PM. She was traveling on a Northwest flight from Des Moines to Memphis. These were her thoughts as she was minutes away from meeting Katie face to face for the first time. At this point, Sue had no idea she would one day live in TN, let alone share a home with Katie who is now her best friend, accountability partner, and sister in Christ. It bloggles the mind!

Northwest FlightOh man, I can't believe this is really happening! In about 50 minutes I will be meeting Katie face to face!! I am so excited I could scream -- but I don't want to startle these passengers around me! So I sit here quietly -- shouting inside and the only thing showing is my great big smile and the occasional stifled -- "Can't believe it's really happening!"

It feels like a dream -- is this how all encounters with God are? The moment of salvation is rather foggy -- Oh please God -- I pray that the moment in the terminal be imprinted on my heart forever. You have called me to visit TN -- bless this time I do have here. Let me be a vessel of your work! Give me faith to be obedient to You!! Thank You Father! Wooohooo! My heart is really racing -- it is an awesome feeling walking in Your will!! I feel NO guilt, NO apprehension, TOTAL peace with where I am at, where I am going this weekend. Allow me to experience You God. I love you Jesus -- manifest your presence through me and through the lives of the brothers and sisters I shall meet!! Let my words and my deeds glorify Your Holy Name -- In Jesus' Name -- AMEN

blood rushOh Oh Oh -- I am so nervous!! This adrenaline rush started at 2:06 today -- don't know why 2:06, but when I felt my chest swell the first time it was 2:06 PM. It subsided and resurfaced throughout the day but right now I think it is HERE TO STAY! WoooHooo! I really am freaking out now. Pilot said 20 minutes!! AAAAAUUUGHH!! OMG!! OMG!! Good thing my blood can't get speeding tickets! It is really racin' through this body of mine. -- Ohhhh -- the anticipation is sooooo awesome!! I CAN'T WAIT yet I don't want this moment to end -- God, keep my heart as alive as it is right now throughout this visit!! Thank you for bringing Katie and I together in Spirit ----- Now thank you for this gift of togetherness in the flesh!!

Woohoooo!! OMG! OMG! only 15 more minutes! I am freaking ---- wonder what Katie is thinking right now? Wonder about Ricky? AAAAAUUUGGHH! This is so fun!! Fun Fun Fun!! :-) :-) :-) I could just BURST!! Right Now! Kaablam!! Oh how exciting ----- words ain't cutting it at the moment!

Landing -- Landing -- tray tables up!

Heart pounding -- pounding - pounding - very fast! I think I am one step away from defibrillation!! LOL

OMG OMG OMG!! Sigh -- need to catch my breath! WOW WOW! I can't believe this is really happening!! Thank you Father for THIS --- Thank You so so very much!! AAAAAUGHHH!!

Beginning descent -- Good thing I am not one for fainting -- if I were, I would be out like a light at the moment. This is way toooooo cool! Awesome! The Adrenaline -- Adrenaline!! -- This is very climactic!!

WoooooHoooo -- little turbulence going on! Great like I need the plane adding to my tummy troubles! I can't believe I just used the word "tummy!" -- Katie rubbin' off on me!! Mississippi River

Awesome -- looking out window!! BIG RIVER - cool!

I need a paper bag to breathe in! No I don't -- Documenting this is distraction enough for the life altering event that will be taking place in AAACK! about 10 minutes!! Oh Boy, Oh Boy --- WoooooHooooo!! MAN AM I ON MAJOR ADRENALINE -- I THINK I COULD LIFT A CAR -- OR A TRUCK OR MOVE A BUILDING!!! Wow -- I am alive --- ALIVE!! OMG!!

Comin' in ---- Comin' in --- landing gear down!

I can't believe this is really happening!!! I'm scared. I'm scared. Oh my --- nervous!! Very nervous!! Oh God --- what do You have in store for me? For US this weekend? I anticipate great things.

Almost to the ground -- -- - - ---- - - - - ----- - - - - - --

My heart is gonna leap right out of my chest!!! TOUCHDOWN!!

COME BACK HEART!! OH MY -- NOT BREATHING! OK OK --- calm down!! Can't believe it --- I am here!! I AM RIGHT WHERE GOD WANTS ME AND IT FEELS GREAT!! AWESOME IN FACT!! ------- Whew!

Well - just a few minutes til I see my sister!! WooooHoooo!! I am soooooo nervous and excited!! * Pant * Pant * Pant *

Well --- Let's Do It -------- WOOOOOHOOOOOO!!!!!

:-) :-) :-)

God is Good TO ME!!

God is Soooooo Good!!

All the time ---- and especially right now!!!


You can read more about how we became friends here.


I was inspired by Rae to pick up where he left off, and create a podcast of the messages of Northbrook Church. While I was at it, I created one for First Baptist Church, Marshalltown, IA, because I guess I will always consider that my "home" church since I came to the faith and was baptized there.

Nortbrook Church podcasts will consist of the messages delivered by pastors Chuck Maxwell and Paul Jackson. Occassionally we will hear from George Guthrie or Dave Gushee, or other guest speakers. The series we are currently in and will be through February of 2006 is on the prophets of the Old Testament.

The podcast messages of First Baptist Church, Marshalltown, IA will feature the messages of Pastor Richard Sipe who is a very gifted preacher and instrument of God. He delivers very powerful and emotional testimony and never fails to present the gospel. Occassionally First Baptist Church hears from associate pastor Conrad Lundberg or the Hispanic Pastor Dagoberto Zelaya. The current series is an exploration of the gospel of John.

There is some excellent teaching in these podcasts so be sure to subscribe to a feed!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

I HATE the Tongue

I spoke hurtful words this morning.

I hurt my framily.

I hate my tongue.

Apologizing seems so, so, small.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


"Financial Decadence" is what prompted Brother Kenneth M. Hoagland, principal of Kellenberg Memorial High School in Long Island, NY, to write a 2000-word letter to parents to inform them that their child's prom is canceled.

Not the sex, although it is an acknowledged problem.

Not the drinking, although, that too is acknowledged as a problem.

It's parent's out of control spending and kids having too much money!

It's the flaunting of money!

"It is not primarily the sex/booze/drugs that surround this event, as problematic as they might be; it is rather the flaunting of affluence, assuming exaggerated expenses, a pursuit of vanity for vanity's sake - in a word, financial decadence," Hoagland said, fed up with what he called the "bacchanalian aspects."

I say way to go!

Materialism is sin. Materialism is a sin that is ignored by many Christians.

It is not wrong to have nice things. It is wrong to flaunt your nice things, and it is wrong to be a poor steward of what God has provided. Money is not the root of all evil, the lust of money is.

Hoagland, in the letter, states 18 different points as to the reason why the school will not sponsor the senior prom. While the sex, drugs and alcohol problems are mentioned, it appears that the main issue is with the parents who in their affluence rent "prom houses" in the Hampton's so kids can party hardy all night "safely". There is competition between students to have the most expensive gowns and throw the most elaborate pre-prom cocktail parties. The school in no way condones this type of behavior, especially from professing Christians! Students enrolling at Kellenberg are to be professing Christians according to the general policies listed here.

Principal Hoagland is making a stand and his school refuses to sponsor an activity that has clearly deteriorated morally and stands as a contradiction to the Christian values the school aims to instill in lives of it's students.

"We have come to the conclusion that it (the prom) has a life of its own which is no longer commensurate with the goals of Christian education."

I find this materialism to be of major concern in private schools, after all, it is usually the financially privileged who are able to enroll in such schools. Student's at the Christian school where Katie's kids attend wear the latest fashions, within dress code guidelines of course, carry the biggest and most expensive backpacks, wear the most expensive shoes, drive into school in the Lexus and/or the SUV decked out with all the "necessities" for entertainment now available in cars. Most of the students have cell phones and the latest in technological gadgets.

Katie's kids, while they do not go without needs, do not have the biggest, newest, and baddest "stuff". This becomes difficult at times because they often want what the other kids have, and that is natural, don't we all? It's a teaching point for sure, not to covet, money isn't everything, but what is the teaching point for the person who "has it all"?

I wonder sometimes how Christian schools actually teach "sacrificial giving" when student's are there because they can pay to be. It is not required that a student be a Christian to attend this Christian school, although obviously, Christian values are to be taught. It is hard not to wonder sometimes if Christian values at Christian schools are "taught" and not practiced.

I am impressed that principal Hoagland and Kellenberg Memorial High School have decided not to sponsor and/or participate in this year's senior prom. As Hoagland says in the letter:

"Some may say: it is my money; I can do what I want with it. Well, yes, you can, but not without moral repercussions."

Wealth is a wonderful thing. It is sharing in the fruits of God's creation. Becoming a millionaire can be a spiritually enriching experience, provided you answer two questions correctly: how did you get it, and what are you doing with it? Was it gotten at the expense of God, family, integrity, by shady deals, corporate 'conspiracy', taking unfair advantage? And what are you doing with it (and what has it done to you and your family)?"

What is prom supposed to be anyway? A gathering? A dance? A wealth showcase?

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Learned a New "Word" Today

desuckified - adj. Much improved performance of a musical composition after the initial sight-reading abomination of said material.

Paraphrased dialogue from brass ensemble rehearsal tonight:

First read "oh, that really sucked!"

Second read "wow! That was much better...let's play the desuckified version from now on!"

Learned a new "word" today...or rather, was there at it's conception! It bloggles the mind!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Shiloh and Pickwick

The brass ensemble I am a member of performed at Shiloh National Military Park today. We played Civil War era music that helped set the stage for the artillery demonstrations we witnessed today.

We saw a lot of artillery and men who were portraying Civil War soldiers. We had a detailed explanation of how the cannons were used during the war. The man explained that the cannon fired lead at such a force that one soldier reported that the ball passed through six men and embedded itself into a tree. That's powerful stuff! We saw a demonstration that used only 1 pound of gunpowder, during the war, an average of 2.5 pounds was used on the battlefield! It was LOUD!

After the demonstration we headed back to the cars and I did something I haven't done in a long time. I walked off the edge of the sidewalk, caught the edge of it just right, twisted my ankle and BOOM! Hit the ground with a thud! I heard my ankle crack when I went down, and felt pain, but I have done this so much I think my ligaments are alread stretched to their limit. It's a little sore, some minor swelling, but nothing I can't deal with. I walk on it just fine.

Then we saw an unusual bug. We have no idea what it is! It was BIG and RED and UGLY! We took a picture to you have any clue what kind of bug this was? It looked like a very large ant or something. It did not seem to be a bee with a stinger or anything and it did not fly. Bugs in TN sure are big! ICK!

Then Katie, Justin, Jonathan who is a friend of Justin's and I went to "the river". Katie and I used to have "God days" every Wednesday and head out to the Pickwick Dam. We'd find a nice spot out on the peninsula and do Bible study and just enjoy God's creation. Today, we returned and reminisced. We had a nice time with the boys, skipping rocks and grilling out.

Katie is such an awesome person. She prepared our picnic and didn't forget a thing. We ate well and really had a nice time together with the framily. Tif didn't go with us because she had obligations at church, and we missed her.

I've posted pics of our adventure today at Flickr...go check 'em out! Also, we filmed the artillery demo with my camera but the file is very large. Once I get some .mov editing softward, I can correct that problem and post the file so we can share this amazing experience.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Prepare to Meet Your God

Dave Gushee delivered an outstanding message from Amos this past Sunday. It is still resonating within me today. So powerful. So convicting.

Northbrook is doing a series on the Prophets, "Prophetic Persuasion", and Amos was the topic of study last week. Katie and I read it, and listened to it, and shared the same basic idea from the book...Israel, you are bad and therefore you will suffer God's justice, aka His wrath.

Dave unpacked it and brought forth some astounding truths and the Holy Spirit pricked the hearts of many in the congregation that day and prompted much conviction.

The main text of the message was from Amos 5 which can be read here.

While Israel is celebrating jubilees and wonderful festivals, offering sacrifices unto the Lord in worship, the prophets get to be the lucky ones to deliver messages that rain on the parade of those happy and complacent people. Yes, the prophet, in this case Amos, gets to tell them all "hey, God is NOT pleased with you!" As you can imagine, prophets are very lonely people.

Dave shared three main points in his message about Amos' message to Israel: When the end comes you are not gonna like it, your worship of God means nothing to Him, and you are in a bad way when you place your trust in things other than God.

What was so wonderful about the message was when Dave correlated what Amos was telling Israel, and the misguided attitudes of the people, to what we can learn from them and apply it to our Christian walk today.

I. When the end is not good news

18 Woe to you who long for the day of the LORD! Why do you long for the day of the LORD ? That day will be darkness, not light.
19 It will be as though a man fled from a lion only to meet a bear, as though he entered his house and rested his hand on the wall only to have a snake bite him.
20 Will not the day of the LORD be darkness, not light— pitch-dark, without a ray of brightness?

As Christians when we think about the return of Christ, the second coming, or Jesus coming back for us, we imagine this as a good thing. We await it with eagerness! But, just as Amos told Israel, we may think we will see light, but we may see darkness instead. A man running from a lion, finally thinks he has escaped and is relieved, turns the corner only to be met by a bear. A man comes home from a hard days work, props himself up with his hand on the wall and is bitten by a snake. In my case it would be coming home from a trying day of work with the retail public, I would sit down at my computer, and it would blow up. It would not be pretty. What we think will happen, may not happen.

From this we learn that while the people of Amos' day were celebrating and partying, and "worshiping" God, Amos realized he was attending a funeral. Amos understood because he was called to warn Israel of the impending doom. The people believed that the "day of the Lord" they were being told about would be the day God would destroy their ungodly enemies, yet it really meant that God was declaring their own destruction.

From this we learn the danger of religious arrogance and spiritual self-deception. This is a problem for every single Christian who believes that just because they are saved that God is always happy with them.

II. When our worship means nothing to God

21 "I hate, I despise your religious feasts; I cannot stand your assemblies.
22 Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them. 23 Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps.
24 But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!
Isreal knows how to worship! Worship was a festival complete with burnt offerings, grain offering and fellowship offerings. It was their way of sharing a meal with God and "bonding". There was music and lots of celebration! It was a "holy-hallelujah rockin' good time"!

They believed God delighted in their activities. But, explore the verbs and adverbs of the above verses: "I hate", "I despise your religious feasts", "I can not stand your assemblies", "I will not accept", "I will have no regard", "I will not listen!", "I will send you into exile".

God declares that he hates religious hypocrisy!

We learn in Amos that God most wants us to live out our commitment to Him. Worship is unacceptable if the way we live our life is unacceptable. Worship must be done with the right heart attitude. It is the only thing we can give to God that He can't give to must be pure!

III. When confidence is misplaced

25 "Did you bring me sacrifices and offerings forty years in the desert, O house of Israel?
26 You have lifted up the shrine of your king, the pedestal of your idols, the star of your god which you made for yourselves.
27 Therefore I will send you into exile beyond Damascus," says the LORD, whose name is God Almighty.
They thought their sacrifices won God's favor. They were wrong. They weren't heeding the message Amos brought them. They were too busy being "religious" that they didn't have time to repent! God demand obedience and Amos was reminding them of that, but they were too caught up offering "sacrifices" to notice.

God was declaring that He was sending them into exile and we learn from this that God is not to be trifled with!

So, while the Israelites were offering up their sacrifices to the Lord and having feast after feast after celebratory feast, God said "Prepare to meet your God, O Israel!"

It is rather chilling is it not? Consider your life acceptable to God? Are you ready for the Day of the Lord? Are you prepared to meet your God?

Worship should be an expression of our love, commitment, and obedience to God. Does He accept your worship? Will He send you into exile?

This message was very convicting to me. It is so easy to treat my faith as an "insurance policy". I think many Christians do, and to all different levels. As Christians, we are saved from eternal damnation, and too often treat that as a free ticket to lead unrighteous lives.

Saying we are Christians means nothing to God. God doesn't even recognize the term "Christian".

Holy and reverent fear is a good thing.

Shelley, Paralyzed and Recovering

A former co-worker of mine, Shelley, was involved in an accident that left her a paraplegic. You can read some more of the details of that here. I've been receiving updates and contacting her dad to offer my prayers and thoughts, as well as learn of Shelley's progress first hand.

When I talked to Shelley's dad today I learned she had just finished her first day in the gym and that things were going well. Shelley is in good spirits and things are good.

Also, today I received this email from a mutual former co-worker and friend of Shelley which was encouraging:
Shelley called me this afternoon. She started with her usual, "Hey" and followed that with " I don't think I will be making it in to work tonight".

As far as her spirits go; I considered the conversation remarkable. She spoke as if she wasn't laying in a hospital bed half-paralyzed with a halo on her head. I did tell her that if she wanted a halo that bad I would have loaned her one of mine. Just a little angel humor there.

I am going to try and get over there and see her soon. She said she got your book. She also said that one of the people who she works with at the "granola" store said everybody there would be praying for her if the weren't all atheist's and pagans; then she admitted that she had prayed for her anyway. I thought that was interesting.

After talking to Shelley I am really amazed that she is even alive. I was thinking the trestle she jumped off of was in the 20-25 foot high range. I considered her lucky to be alive because it is my understanding that about 50% of falls from 15 feet are fatal. She told me that what she jumped from was in the 40-60 range. I think I might have to go out there and check it out for myself.

She sounded very upbeat about therapy. It has to be painful getting twisted up like a pretzel for 6-8 hours every day though. It sounds like she still has quite a bit of pain in her neck yet. She also has phantom sensations in her legs as her brain isn't quite ready to deal with legs not responding.

She does understand her situation. You can tell that she has had great support throughout all of this and I think that is helping. As I said before I am more worried about what happens when everything goes back to normal for everyone else and she is left with mapping out her new normal. I made sure she understood that I am around during that time. I'll let you know more when I know more.

It sounds as though Shelley is in remarkable good spirits and has a great support system around her. She received my book and I hope it will help as well.

Another thing to note is that already this unfortnate set of circumstances did cause an atheist to pray!

Darkness and Light

Jesus Christ is the light of the world but the world chooses to hide in the dark. Choosing our own path only keeps us from walking in the light. In the darkness we stumble, fall, hurt ourselves and hurt others. (John 11:10) This is the picture painted in the John 1:

"The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it."

Notice that the verse reads "the darkness has not understood it (the light)." It states that because darkness CAN NOT exist in the light.

Living in the darkness pertaining to the verse has nothing to do with the absence of physical light. It is a word picture of life in the absence of Christ. He is the light of the world that the darkness can not understand. The darkness is evil. This world is overtaken by evil. People are walking around in the darkness, because they CAN NOT see the light, they are blind (I John 2:11), and are hurting themselves and others. Satan uses our self-centeredness to keep us in darkness. When we are slaves to sin, we only understand self-centeredness. Nothing about Christ makes sense. It all seems so contradictory to everything that the world teaches. It seems this way because it is. (Matthew 16:23

Until Christ's light shines into the darkness and overtakes it, there can be no possibility of the darkness being overcome so those who are lost in this darkness have no way of seeing or understanding the light. They are afraid because when the darkness is overcome, the Truth shines through. Dirt is exposed and therefore those who live in the darkness run deeper into it, the darkness, thinking they can find refuge there.

As believers we are the body of Christ. We finally chose to let Christ expose our dirt and wash it away. We now walk in His light in a constant state of cleansing and purification.

One way others can see or understand is through those who have been redeemed from the darkness. They can't see the light and they won't pursue it on their own. Those in darkness impulsively flee the light. But as believers, we are able to "force" light into their lives. We are the "light switch". We can take the light to those in the darkness. "When we walk in The Light, the lost will see Him more."

I John 1:5 "This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all."

Daniel 2:22 "He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness,and light dwells with him."

Psalm 18:28 "You, O LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light."

Isaiah 60:1-2 "Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you."

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Today is Porn Sunday

Today is Porn Sunday.

We did not participate, nor did our church. To read my thoughts on Porn Sunday you can read my orignal post on it here and further thoughts here. You may find it interesting to go back to those posts and others regarding Porn Sunday that are on the same page to read the comments by visitors who respectfully disagree with me.

I had actually forgotten all about it being Porn Sunday until I received notification of a comment on one of my posts. It comes from J.R. Mahon of

"You will know them by their fruit. A good tree bears good fruit, a bad tree bears bad fruit. We work tirelessly bringing people hope,recovery, healing and salvation in the name of Christ. We travel the world and have seen Christ through our ministry heal countless lives. The stories are truly miraculous. The fruit of this ministry is good. Please be minded of the things of God and not the things of man.
Thank you for letting us speak.

We pray you continue to grow in Christ.


I still disagree with the method because to me the things of God do not include "XXX" symbols, documentaries entitled "Missionary Positions", "Wally the Weiner" mascots, and "Save the Kitten" videos. To me, those are "things of man".

J.R. is right, we will know them by their fruit, and I want to point out that I do not question their good intentions and heart attitude toward their ministry. God can and does heal people emotionally, physically and spiritually whether or not I agree with the methods of a specific ministry. To God be the glory!

Beyond the Gates of Splendor

Well, forget our attempt at watching Crash, we instead, move onto Beyond the Gates of Splendor. (Read's review here.) We are excited to watch this one!

Despite my questioning of Away Team Missions, there is a place for those courageous enough to move out of their comfort zone and share Christ with people who speak a different language, and live by a different code of survival.

Synopsis from Plugged in Online:

"When Christian missionaries were killed in 1956 in the Amazon jungles of Ecuador by the tribe they were trying to befriend, the incident caught the eye of the world. Newspapers, magazines and radio broadcasts turned their attention to the apparent tragedy that left behind five fatherless families. Among Christians, the story went on to impact entire generations, inspiring countless potential missionaries to place their lives at risk for the sake of the gospel.

Less publicized was the rest of the story, as it were, which 50 years later still embodies redemption, forgiveness and sacrificial love. Narrated by one of the missionary's sons, Steve Saint, Beyond the Gates of Splendor not only documents the harrowing events of that fateful January day, but also reveals the dramatic changes in the Waodani culture that came as a result of the missionaries' deaths."

** UPDATE **

I enjoyed the story of these missionaries, and learning about how an entire culture of an Amazon tribe was forever changed by 5 young men and their families in generations that followed.

The following quote is one that captures the motivation of the missionaries that died. It comes from one of the friend's of the missionaries brutally speared to death by the Aucas in the jungles of the Amazon in 1956:
They had guns, they carried guns with them, but they said 'we will never kill an Auca even if they attack us, because, we are ready for heaven, they aren't'"

Saturday, October 08, 2005


We tried to watch Crash tonight. Ugh. Hard to watch through all the horrid language and sex stuff. Gave up a third of the way through. I thought we'd be prepared after having read the review at but we weren't. Katie kept complaining, I was just upset that it was so hard to watch because I did find a lot of it intriguing.

Interesting exploration of stereotypes of all types of people though. I think if the LA were really like that it would self-destruct, and soon.

Racism, prejudice and stereotypes are rampant in society, however I'm not convinced it is to the the extent this movie portrays, and I definitely think the point could have been made without the hundred plus F-words, and gd's. Ugh. It was a bit overkill and with all the racism/prejudice it was close to ridiculous and almost served to invalidate the point.

If I can get an "edited" version someday I may finish watching it.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

The Soviet Union

Tif is in the living room working on some homework. She's asking for some help trying to identify the languages of some countries in the world.

"What is the language of the Soviet Union?" she asked me, and then quickly wondered "What is the Soviet Union?"

Puzzled, and rather pointed, I asked "The Soviet Union? Your teacher is asking for the language of the Soviet Union?"

There is no Soviet Union! Ugh! Why is the teacher asking students to identify the language of the Soviet Union?

I told Tif "Tell your teacher there is no Soviet Union and hasn't been since 1991!" She said "okay, I will." LOL

(Tif did discover that Russian was the primary language of the former Soviet Union though.)

*** UPDATE 10/09/05 ***

When the question came up Tif said to the teacher in class "I thought there wasn't a Soviet Union anymore" and the teacher seemed to toss that aside and stay the course saying "yes, it is now made up of blah blah blah and the language they speak is Russian."

I think I'm a bit disturbed by this.

Paralyzed From the Neck Down

In an earlier post I shared that a former co-worker of mine when I was in IA, has recently suffered a terrible tragedy and is now a quadriplegic. These are situations where one just doesn't know what to do.

I don't know what to do or say, but regardless, I did call her dad today. We had a nice conversation and I told him Shelley called me a "Bible Thumper" and that he can tell her I'm "thumpin' for her" now. He appreciated that and remarked that they have been overwhelmed by the calls and the outpouring of compassion and concern.

It sounds like the family is coping at the moment, but I think the shock is still there and it probably feels like a bad dream right now. Shelley, he said, is in pretty good spirits at the moment, but he acknowledged that she is on so much medication right now that she may not be really comprehending her predicament. Her dad told me that she is only complaining of pain in her neck since the recent surgery to try to align a part of her spine in an attempt to regain some feeling in her arms and possibly hands. He also said "she's always had a paranoia of things being around her neck, and now they have a halo on her...kind of ironic". The plan is to start rehabilitation as soon as possible.

I can't begin to understand how scary this whole situation will be for everyone involved when reality sets in.

I've read some of the books of Joni Eareckson-Tada and through that have some, very little, insight as to what an active and healthy person may experience when they are suddenly faced with being a quadriplegic. Her site suggested a book called When Your Doctor Has Bad News: Simple Steps to Strength, Healing, and Hope by Dr. Al B. Weir. I've sent that to Shelley in hopes that her friends and family may be able to read it to her and that they will all realize that there is hope, and a God who loves them.

The hospital where she is now at in Des Moines, Iowa Methodist Medical Center, has a set up on their website that allows people to send cards to patients. I sent a card with a short had to be short because one only gets 250 characters! Ugh! That's just not enough...but, that doesn't stop one from sending multiple cards! LOL

Shelley's dad said that they are working to get a website up so progress reports can be posted regularly and Shelley will be able to keep in touch with friends that way, once she is able.

I other health cousin's son, Noah, 6, is going to Disneyland thanks to the Make a Wish Foundation! In August he was diagnosed with brain stem glioma, and is progressing through treatment right now. was established to keep friends and family updated on his progress and the different events that have come up to help support his family. It is heartwarming how people can come together and make a difference in the lives of people.

Postive thinking about these situations is good, but falls very short of the power of Christ. These physical bodies of ours are weak, and temporary. The only true hope is in Jesus Christ, and my prayer is that these victims of very unfortunate circumstances, and their friends and family, will come to know the saving Grace of God through His Son. In Him alone will we find the hope and strength to endure the fragile life on this planet.

Christian Carnival XC

Christian Carnival XC is up at Attention Span.

Just sit right back and you'll read a tale (or two, or three)...on a three hour tour, so I hope you don't have a short Attention Span.

I especially enjoyed my stops at:

  • In the Outer as the question Did Jesus Revise the Law was pondered.
  • Sprucegoose explores How Goes the War? with some interesting observations about Al Queda and wonders if the terrorist attacks in certain parts of the world are merely distractions in preparation for an all out attack on Isreal? Scary stuff!
  • Is "Just Enough" Too Much? is the question pondered by Happy Mills. It does seem that we think "if only I had this, then I'd be content", but once one gets more, it seems we always want more. Maybe the Church should be teaching about wanting less and sacrificing more.
  • Cereleum Sanctum wonders if Christian Blogging is a waste of Time if it doesn't serve to advance the kingdom. There is a plethora of discussion going on there in the comment section as well. Check that one out for sure!

My contribution to the Christian Carnival this week was Heaven Will Pass Away, my post from a couple of days ago.

If you are unfamiliar with the Christian Carnival, go to Wittenberg Gate to read about what it is and see how you can participate next week! It's a lot of fun and categorizes the most recent posts from some outstanding Christian bloggers. It's like getting a "best of" list of Christian posts over the past week. You may even get the honor of hosting a Christian Carnival if you so desire!

0% Dixie! YES!

I'm from the Midwest...born in Cleveland, OH and raised in Hinckley, OH in Medina County. I lived all my life in the Midwest, in Michigan and Iowa, and moved to "Dixie" almost six years ago. I feel very good about the results of my "linguistic profile"! Yay! 0% Dixie! ZERO! I feel like a hero!

Some of the questions made me smile, is it shopping cart or buggy? Every time we go to the store Katie and I tease back and forth about that. I always say "cart!" and she says "buggy!", but I notice if you put the word "shopping" in front of those words, people here call it a "shopping cart", I've never heard "shopping buggy", and no one can explain to me why the word changes when you leave the "shopping" part off.

Does "y'all" roll off your tongue or is it something you just don't say? The option for that one did not include "you fight with a passion to avoid saying it at all costs!" Can you imagine having to go for brain surgery and the surgeon says "Ok, y'all, scalpel". LOL

Your Linguistic Profile:

75% General American English

10% Upper Midwestern

10% Yankee

5% Midwestern

0% Dixie

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Verse of the Day and Bible Thumpin'

Proverbs 27:1

That bit of King Solomon's wisdom is so easy to disgard.

I received word today that a former co-worker of mine in IA was involved in a terrible accident and is now paralyzed from the neck down.

Life can change in an instant.

And I'm upset about a broken lawnmower?

That's Shelley on the right from about ten(?) years ago.

Orange is her favorite color.

She traveled the US following the band Phish. She looooooooves that band!

She always lovingly referred to me as the "bible thumper".

I'll be "thumping" for her and her family during these very painful days. You can add a prayer or two as well if you feel burdened to do so.

One never knows what the future holds. Enjoy today, and don't be upset about broken lawnmowers. Be upset about broken people and do something to make tomorrow a little better for them.

Cool, My "Away Team Missions" Article was Posted at blogs4God

My article on "Away Team Missions" was posted at blogs4God. Go check it out and share in the comments section your opinion on Christians spending so much time, effort and money to go to the other side of the world to share the gospel, when our next door neighbors are just as hungry and thirsty for spiritual food.