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Showing posts from May, 2009

Highlights from the week

I thought I would start a weekly post about the highlights of the previous week. Here is the first of many:

Night alone with my wife on Saturday

Going to the pool with the kids on Thursday

Walk to the Arboretum and lunch with my mom

Getting new patio furniture and cookout for Shirley's Birthday on Monday

Sermon Prep at Lincoln Perk on Tuesday

Finishing the book, Deadline, by Randy Alcorn

Riding my bike to work several days during the week

Taking the kids to the Wellness Center to swim on a rainy night

Family Driven Faith

I am reading a book now written by Voddie Baucham Jr. called Family Driven Faith. I am only two chapters in and he has already challenged me. The subtitle is "Doing What It Takes To Raise Sons and Daughters Who Walk With God." It was recommended by several authors who I have enjoyed reading over the last few months. Let me share several quotes to get you thinking today:

"Our children are falling away because we are asking the church to do what God designed the family to accomplish."

"We must refuse to allow trivial, temporal pursuits to interfere with the main thing."

"Unfortunately, this is exactly what many Christian families do. We do marriage according to Dr. Phil, raise our children according to Dr. Spock, govern our sex lives according to Dr. Ruth, and only run to Dr. Jesus when things have gotten so bad we can't find another doctor to help us."

"Time is precious, and you only get one chance to raise your children."

"I do…

Recommended Reading

As many of you know, I am the Associate Pastor of Family Ministry at Hesston MB Church in Hesston, KS. One of my main ministry responsibilities is encouraging and equipping couples and parents. So, for the last 6 months, I have been reading several books on the subject. Let me offer a few recommendations:

For Dads:

The Dad in the Mirror by Patrick Morley
They Call Me Dad by Ken Canfield

For Parents:

Effective Parenting in a Defective World by Chip Ingram
Parenting is Heart Work (currently reading) by Turansky and Miller
DVD Curriculum: Visionary Parenting (currently reviewing) by Rob Rienow

One passage from the Bible continues to pop up in most of these books and studies. It is Deuteronomy 6:4-9. This passage was given to the Israelites. It is a guideline to us as parents. Our goal in parenting is not to have the most intelligent, most athletic, most musical, best behaved children, but instead that they love God and love others. I am excited about a conference called D6 that I…

Wipeout

OK-so I have admitted before that I enjoy reality TV such as Survivor and Amazing Race. Last year, our family discovered a show called Wipeout (which is more of a competition show than reality tv). It is on ABC on Wednesdays. The reason the kids really got hooked on the show was when Mitchell decided it would be really funny if his mom went on the show. Everyone laughed! But then they wanted to watch it whenver it was on.

We watched again tonight and had some good laughs. For those who have not seen the show, it is basically an obstacle course with some twists. Tonight, they added some new elements such as a human catapult which was cool. The kids don't ever want to miss it. Molly even laughed when some of the people fell of different obstacles.

Reaction

This weekend, I was in Yates Center for my 15 year class reunion. As mentioned in a previous post, it was good seeing everyone. After we left the reunion, Bethany realized that she was having a skin reaction. We had decided it was a reaction to the sunscreen. It continued to spread through the weekend. I hope she is able to get some relief from the itching when she goes to the doctor this afternoon.

This got me to thinking about reactions. We all have them whether they are physical or emotional or spiritual. Something causes us to respond either positively or negatively. Many times they happen despite our trying to control them. It is not an excuse just a reality.

I look forward to spiritual reactions similar to what happened in Acts 2:42-47. As verse 47 says, "And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved." The Holy Spirit is the power that is needed for these type of reactions to occur. It is not based on us, but on God moving around us. Bu…

Yates Center

I am back in my hometown today. It is time for the annual Yates Center Day's when there are tons of activities on the town square. I remember looking forward to this day every year when I was a kid. There were lots of games, food, and everyone loves a parade.

Being in your hometown brings back many memories. This is especially true this year since I will be celebrating my 15 year high school class reunion. I am looking forward to seeing many of my classmates and getting caught up on their lives. My kids' are excited about all of the kids' games and the parade. They think it is pretty cool that their dad will be in the parade. For those not familiar with YC Days, all classes who have been out of school for 5, 10, 15, 20, etc. have reunions and have a float in the parade.

Where will I be? I remember thinking about that question in high school. So now, 15 years after graduation could I have imagined that I would be where I am today? Since college, I have lived in tw…

American Idol

Well, I was only able to watch the last 30 minutes of Idol last night. I was completely shocked. Personally, I enjoy Kris Allen's genre of music better, but Adam was the better singer. I do enjoy listening to Kris sing and play guitar and piano. My kids were very excited that Kris won. I look forward to seeing how the final three do following the competition. They both did great throughout the competition.

As I was thinking about what to write today, I was reminded of a sermon I did in Iola titled "American Idol." In the sermon, I talk about the Bible's clear admonition against idols in our lives. See Exodus 20:4-6. An idol is whatever claims that loyalty that belongs to God alone. In Bible times, it was worshipping things such as Baal, Asherah, or the golden calf. We are quick to say, "We don't worship idols like that" so we are OK.

However, what idols do we have in 2009? I believe as Americans we have three areas where we are prone to idols…

Perfect People

One of my favorite songs playing on K-Love right now is Perfect People by Natalie Grant. I am going to print the lyrics here for you.

Never let 'em see you when you're breaking
Never let 'em see you when you fall
That's how we live and that's how we try
Tell the world you've got it all together
Never let them see what's underneath
Cover it up with a crooked smile
But in only lasts for a little while

Chorus: There's no such thing as perfect people
There's no such thing as a perfect life
So come as you are, broken and scarred
Lift up your heart and be amazed
And be changed by a perfect God

Suddenly it's like a weight is lifted
When you hear the words you are loved
He knows where you are and where you've been
And you never have to go there again

(Chorus)

Who lived and died to give new life
To heal our imperfections
So look up and see out let grace be enough

(Chorus)

Be changed by a perfect God

It's time that the church take the words of this song to heart. We …

East to West

Have you praised the Lord today? Yes, we can do it every day, not just on Sunday. We have so many reasons to stop and praise God for the many blessings we have. Also, to praise Him for what He has done, is doing, and will continue to do.

As I was reading Psalm 103 this morning, this daily act of praise was reinforced. In that psalm, we are told to praise 7 times (if I counted right). In the middle of "Praising the Lord", we are given several examples why we need to do this.

Here are a few reasons to praise the Lord today:

heals our diseases (vs. 3)redeems our life from the pit (vs. 4)satisfies our desires (vs. 5)works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed (vs. 6)made known His ways (vs. 7)He is compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love (vs. 8)His mercy (vs. 10)Has established His throne and His kingdom rules over all (vs. 19)One of the verses that stuck out to me today was how He has removed my sin. It says in verse 12, "as far as the east …

Day Off

Mondays are my days off and they always go by so fast. My wonderful wife lets me sleep in. Then I usually get to hang out with Molly and Bethany in the morning. Today, Molly and I went for a walk to Emma Creek Park and then to Stone Creek Nursery. We were working on our colors at Stone Creek. I would say a color and then ask her to point to a flower of that color. She really likes saying "lel-low" and I think it might be her favorite.

After our walk or whatever we do that morning, I go lift weights at the Wellness Center and then to play noon hour basketball. It definitely has helped get me in better shape. For me to run, there has to be a purpose and basketball serves that purpose now. I really have enjoyed playing. Then the afternoon is usually some kind of house or yard work followed by picking up the kids from school and then something fun with them.

Today, we went on a bike ride to King Park. The kids played in the spray park and got pretty soaked. Then we he…

Graduation

Well, it's that time of year when graduates are excited and families are excited, but also a little sad. As I think back to graduation from high school, college and seminary, I remember the days with much joy. First, it was recognition of all the accomplishments and hard work put into finishing your degree. Second, it was the ending of an era which meant the beginning of something new. Last, it was great to reflect on how I had changed through the years.

I am starting to feel a little old since this year is my 15 year high school class reunion. I remember those years well. Good friends and enjoyment in classes, drama, band, and sports. My one disappointment during these years was my relationship with Christ. It was mostly non-existent. I accepted Christ following my 8th grade year, but experienced very little growth in high school. Why? Several reasons: few peers encouraging me to grow in my faith, not spending any time in prayer or reading God's word, and church as…

The Ishbane Conspiracy

So, I finished "The Ishbane Conspiracy" by Randy Alcorn this weekend. It was a great book. As I mentioned previously, it is the sequel to "Lord Foulgrin's Letters". I even quoted some of the great thoughts from Alcorn in a previous post "Balancing Grace & Truth."

Why you need to pick it up?
As a parent, it is talking about issues that teenagers and college students are dealing with.It shows the importance of being involved in your kids' lives on a regular basis.Shows the dangers of alcohol, drugs, premarital sex, suicide, Ouija Boards, & witchcraft.Reinforces the impact personal evangelism and the church have on society.Entertaining and informative look at spiritual warfare.Let me close with a quote from "Lord Foulgrin's Letters" since I had to return "The Ishbane Conspiracy" to the library. Lord Foulgrin (demon) writes, "If all the Bibles in America were simultaneously dusted, the sun would be obscured for …

Bike Ride

Today, Bethany ran into Wichita to a retirement party for a former teacher. So, I can home early from work and got started working on my bike so we could go on a family bike ride (minus Bethany and Molly). The kids are really into riding bikes right now. Every morning they get ready and head out the door to ride bikes before leaving for school and then get back on them right after school is out. They would ride them all night if we let them. So, I decided it was time for me to join them.

Steve & Shirley gave me a bike about a year ago that needed new tubes. I think the bike is in better shape than my 7 up bike. That's right-I have a 7 up bike that was given to my parents when they still owned the grocery store in town. It has Spot on it and has black spots. Anyway, I worked on the tires while Bethany was gone. My almost 2 year old was into everything. She stays out of the street, but sure is getting fast. I finally had Megan watch her for a minute and when I came bac…

Worship the Lord With Gladness

A quick update on my retreat. I would recommend that everyone take the time to spend some time in silence every 4-6 months. During this time, spend time in prayer asking God for His direction for the future as well as evaluating the last few months from His perspective. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the cabin last Friday. During prayer, God revealed some things to me through Scripture. He challenged me on areas in my personal life as well as ministry. It was also a good time to pray for an extended time for needs of those around me.

Here is a humorous situation related to the retreat. We had a lot of rain the night before and many creeks were flooding on Friday morning. As I drove out to the cabin, I wondered what the lake beside the cabin would look like. When I arrived, the drive to the cabin was covered with water. I tried to go around the trees the most direct route and it was full of standing water. So, I decided to go the long way around the lake. I went through ta…

Happy Mother's Day

Today, I will be listing the reasons why my kids love their mom plus a few of my own. The last two days we have talked about reasons they love their mom at meals. I know for Bethany I could list hundreds, but will try and keep it short today.

Reasons we love our mom by the 4 M's:
she cooks me yummy thingsshe protects me by telling me not to ride in the middle of the streetshe takes care of me when I am hurt or sickshe hugs and kisses meshe helps me with my homeworkshe reads to meshe teaches me how to be responsibleshe helps me get ready for schoolshe helps me when I am sad or angryshe takes care of our house by cleaning and doing laundryshe plays with meshe writes me notes on nights when she is goneshe sings prettyBut most of all, she loves Jesus and is example to meHappy Mother's Day!

Hooray for Saturday!

Bethany and I had a great date night last night. We went to TGI Friday's and then went shopping for a comforter, seating for the bedroom, and cologne/perfume. It was great to spend the time together without kids and just talk. Movies really don't allow you do to do this. We grabbed some Freddy's Custard before heading back to Hesston. Thanks again to Rosemary for watching the kids! They always have a great time with her-more adventures than I can count.

Today started out great as we slept in till 9 a.m. I cannot remember the last time that the kids let both of us sleep in that late. By the time we finally got around, it was almost 11. We loaded up the family and headed out looking for garage sales. We found a few, but no great deals. After driving around, we ended up at Stone Creek Nursery. The kids have been wanting to go for a week now. They love looking at all the colorful flowers and plants. We remind them about how awesome God is to create the plants and …

Retreat & Date Night

I am just going to post a little today. I am headed out to a prayer retreat today at Stutzman Cabin (cabin owned by Hesston College for retreats). I have been there twice before and have been blessed both times by the time spent with God. I usually seek the Lord regarding the last few months and evaulate and pray for guidance about decisions for the future. Maybe I will share some of my experience in a later post.

Then to end the day, I have a date night planned with my beautiful wife. We have not been out on a date for several months now. I am really looking forward to it. Thanks Rosemary for watching the kids!

Balancing Grace & Truth

I have been thinking about this topic for quite some time. It seems that we in the Body of Christ don't keep this balance of grace and truth very well. I know personally I struggle keeping the balance too. I believe that Jesus was the only person who kept the balance perfectly every time.

Recently, I have been listening to different speakers online or through other venues. I came across a couple examples of this. The first was Mark Driscoll when he debated on Nightline about the existence of Satan. He didn't back down from the truth, yet he did it in a loving way. Another example was Chip Ingram who teaches the Bible concisely, yet does it in a gentle and caring way.

I had mentioned in a previous post that I was reading "The Ishbane Conspiracy" by Randy Alcorn. I want to share some words from Prince Ishbane (a demon) writing to Lord Foulgrin (another demon) about this very topic:

"The unpleasant fact is this: The vermins' (humans) hearts long for the Carpenter.…

Prayer . . . America's Hope

The theme for this year's National Day of Prayer is "Prayer . . . America's Hope." The honorary chairperson this year is Beth Moore. I would like to share one of her quotes, "Every young person, male or female, no matter what your background, no matter how much experience you've had, you can be powerful in prayer. Lift up your voice. Simply voice the needs around you. What is it you see that we are desperate for as a nation? Cry out to God. Prayerless lives are powerless lives. But prayer-filled lives are powerful every single time there is intercession before the throne of God. You will never waste a moment you spend in prayer."

Here are a few Scriptures about prayer: 1 Timothy 2:1-2; Romans 12:12; Psalm 50:15; James 5:16; Ezra 8:23; Isaiah 59:1

I firmly believe in the power of prayer. I have seen it in my own life as well as the lives of others. God hears our prayers and He has the power to do something about it. We know this as believers, …

Lord Foulgrin's Letters

I discovered a new book a few weeks ago. Thanks Deborah! It is a fiction book called "Lord Foulgrin's Letters" by Randy Alcorn. It is about a family and their day to day life. Each chapter begins with what is going on within their family as spouses, parents, work, school, and free time. The chapter is immediately followed by a letter from Lord Foulgrin (a demon) to his subordinate Squaltaint (also a demon). It is similar to C. S. Lewis' "The Screwtape Letters". It was a quick read for me and I enjoyed the Scripture interspersed within the pages. It gives a good picture of spiritual warfare. I liked it better than Screwtape because it allowed you to see how the spiritual realm affects the physical realm.

I highly recommend the book. For those of you at Hesston MB, we will be using it for our book discussion this summer so pick up a copy and get reading. I have a copy and the church library will have a copy soon. It is not in our public library, bu…

I had "the talk" with my son today

Today, has been quite a day. I started the day with a fun walk with Bethany and Molly through town running errands. Molly loves being outside and was able to end the walk by playing with her buddy, Jacob at the park.

After lunch, I had the joy of going to the dentist. I don't mind the dentist, but lately our family has spent a lot of money on teeth. So, I was hoping for a good report. However, I was not expecting much since one of my fillings had a piece fall out last week. So, all of that to say that I get to go back to the dentist again next week for a crown. I did get to work out following my dentist trip before my time with Mitchell which I always enjoy.

Mitchell and I both had appointments for hair cuts today and so after we finished with that we went to the park to have "the talk." He had been asking a lot of questions lately and Bethany and I decided it was time to hear it from us rather than TV or friends. We read through a book called, "Before I Was…

Reflections on Sunday Sermon

Today, our pastor preached on James 2:1-13. In his message, he addressed the fact that partiality is expressed by Christians. He asked this question: Why is partiality sin? The answer: because it is inconsistent with who God is. Then the follow-up question was: Then why is this happening? The answer is because people do not understand God's mercy toward them. If we truly understand God's mercy, then we realize that we are undeserving of His mercy and not in any place to show partiality to others. I am a sinner saved by grace and cannot therefore make a distinction because of externals, but should see people as Christ sees them. He then pointed to Acts 10 and Matthew 9:11-14.

He ended with the following question for application:

How will God's mercy impact the way you . . .
think about peoplewelcome peopleinteract with peopleinclude peoplepursue peopleI ask for forgiveness when I am judgmental and show partiality. I hope that I can begin to do this in a more God hon…

Families serving together

This morning, I had the wonderful privilege of doing a service project at Children's Park in Hesston with my entire family. It was a great way to instill the importance of serving others and giving back to our community. My kids were so excited about it and were disappointed when we had a conflict and they were not going to be able to make it. However, it worked out and we showed up to do some painting at 9 a.m. They did a great job and we were able to paint the cabin, bench, bug, skunk, and worm. They felt a great accomplishment when finished. Mitchell even brought his friends over to see what he had done. I look forward to many more opportunities like this to serve with my kids. Thanks to the Schott's and Fuqua's for helping out too!

May Day

Happy May Day! I am so excited about the growth I am seeing around my house. I love going for a quick walk every couple of days to see how the plants are growing and if anything is budding. Things are growing so quickly with all of the rain. Thank you God, for the rain!

This got me to thinking about growth in other areas of my life. First and most important is growth in my spiritual life. Just like the new flower brings excitement, so too does growth in areas such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

What about you? Are you experiencing growth? The first step is a personal relationship with Christ. If you do you not know Jesus, you need to start there. We are all sinners saved by grace. Grace is a free gift from Jesus. Have you made that decision to follow Christ as your Lord and Savior? Once you have the personal relationship, you need to grow in that relationship by getting to know Jesus better t…