Saturday, June 27, 2009

My Happy Thoughts

These are my kids... photo taken up in the mountains a few weeks ago.
These are my happy thoughts!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Watch Out For This Kind of Cancer

I just found this blog post. It's what I have wanted to say but this is much more articulate. Watch out for this kind of cancer! It's deadly!!

Monday, June 22, 2009

"It Is Not This Day"

We watched ALL of the "Lord of the Rings" (extended edition) movies during our time in the mountains (yes, TV and all in the mountains) last week. I still have those images of swords and shields and battles in my mind. I think this is a good thing because as we pray and read Scripture, especially passages like Ephesians 6:10-18 I can picture belts, helmets, shields and swords. There are so many scenes in those movies that I like... Frodo and Sam, Legolas and Gimli (and the way their adversarial relationship turns to friendship) and one I'm thinking about today... the scene where Aragorn, Gandalf and their army are up against the Gates of Mordor and are literally surrounded by the enemy. Aragorn comes to his army and says;

"Hold your ground, hold your ground! Sons of Gondor, of Rohan, my brothers! I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me. A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day. An hour of woes and shattered shields, when the age of men comes crashing down! But it is not this day! This day we fight! By all that you hold dear on this good Earth, I bid you *stand, Men of the West!*"

Ephesians 6 tells us:
"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints."

We are told in 2 Timothy 3 that in the last days terrible times will come (difficult times) and we may be tempted to fear, to run away, to quit, but IT IS NOT THIS DAY!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Wounds Can Change Your Heart

From Elisabeth Elliott's daily devotional:

Scripture Reference:
2 Corinthians 7:10

"Living in a world broken by sin, we suffer wounds of many kinds. Perhaps the most painful are not the physical ones but those of the heart. No one has power to hurt us more deeply than somebody we love, somebody we counted on to understand and support us. But there are two ways to receive wounds. One leads to larger life. The other leads straight to death, that is to destruction--of those we influence as well as of ourselves.

By grace we can receive the wounds of our friends as our Master received them--in the strength and for the glory of our heavenly Father. Being sinners ourselves, however, we need to be brought low at the cross. Nothing will do this better than some piercing heart-wound, provided we seek Christ because of it and pray Him to purify us.

There is another way--the world's way. It is anger, resentment, retaliation, retreat into pride and self-justification. These are quite natural, and quite lethal. The choice is ours.

"The wound which is borne in God's way brings a change of heart too salutary to regret, but the hurt which is borne in the world's way brings death" (2 Cor 7:10 NEB)."

I'm praying I can receive these wounds as Jesus did! The other way will only destroy me.

Monday, June 8, 2009

How to Help

    25 Ways To Connect With Your Pastor

    1. Don't ask him to lunch to tell him how much you love and appreciate him (just tell him or, better, send him a hand written note).

    2. Don't offer constructive criticism until you have earned the right (ten praises before you even come close to qualifying for one constructive comment).

    3. Don't criticize your pastor behind his back. If you like what's going on, tell your friends. If you don't like what's going on, tell him (but refer to previous don't).

    4. Don't expect him to be Chuck Swindoll. (or someone else!)

    5. Don't put pressure on him to put resources into your program. Instead, just start discipling men and, as your ministry grows, tell or send your pastor success stories. Results first, then support follows in its proper order.

    6. Don't be angry with him for only being human.
    7. Don't put pressure on him that will strain his health, marriage, children, or finances.

    8. Think of something very specific he does well (e.g., what he says when baptizing), and write him a note telling him what a good job he is doing in that area.

    9. Invite your neighbors to church and introduce them to your pastor after the service.

    10. Tell your pastor you are praying for him (and then do it). If you are close enough to him, ask him if he has any specific prayer requests.

    11. Always speak well of your pastor (little birds inevitably chirp when you say bad things).

    12. Always defend your pastor (principle: I stick up for my friends).

    13. Ask your pastor what his goals are and how you can help him.

    14. Volunteer to serve in the church.

    15. Babysit for your pastor so he and his wife can go out on a date.

    16. Find out his favorite restaurant and give him a gift certificate for he and his wife to go out alone.

    17. Volunteer to start a small group to disciple some of the men in the church (or just do it).

    18. Ask his opinion about what discipleship materials you should use.

    19. Make sure he receives a good salary and has a funded retirement plan.
    20. Be a balanced and Godly man, husband, and father yourself (a blessing rather that a burden to your pastor).

    21. Tithe.

    22. Be in a small group.

    23. Pray with your own wife (this will reduce your pastor's counseling load).
    24. Read your Bible every day (Fill up with the Word of God and it can't help but overflow in ways visible to others but probably not to you).

    25. Take your children to Sunday school (Godly children are a blessing in any church).

    If you want to connect with your pastor, the overarching idea is don't put demands on him. Instead, help him accomplish his mission. In that way, you will be part of his ministry instead of the object of his ministry.

Now, go and do likewise.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Where is Sam?

Sam: Do you remember the Shire, Mr. Frodo?
[Frodo doesn't answer, just groans silently.]
Sam: It'll be spring soon and the orchards will be in blossom, and the birds will be nesting in the hazel thicket. And the whistle in the summer barley in the Lower fields. And eating the first of the strawberries with cream. Do you remember the taste of strawberries?
[Frodo, lying in Sam's arms, opens his weary eyes, his breathing dry and heavy.]
Frodo: No, Sam...I can't recall the taste of food...nor the sound of water...or the touch of grass...
[Sam watches Frodo, tears streaming from his eyes. As Frodo continues, there is panic in his voice.]
Frodo: I'm...I'm naked in the dark...there's nothing...nothing, no veil between me and the Wheel of Fire!!
[Frodo watches Sam, his eyes full of fear as he continues.]
Frodo: I can see Him with my waking eyes!!
Sam: Then let us be rid of It! Once and for all! Come on, Mr. Frodo! I can't carry It for you, but I can carry you! Come on!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Why I'm Doing This Particular Study

I've already written a little bit about "Relationships: A Mess Worth Making". It's a great book!
I would like to say it's all theoretical and I don't really "need" it right now. I would like to say that everything is just dandy and all my relationships are running smoothly, but that's just not real life.
The truth is, things have just gotten messier. I need this book now more than ever.
I don't like it. I'd rather run far away than deal with what I'm dealing with (oops, ended another sentence with a preposition).
As long as there are people there will be relationship problems.

Monday, June 1, 2009

First is a series of "Demotivators" I'll post on here: