Thursday, October 30, 2008

2-0

80 more to go, Lakers' games that is. The season started off magnificently with 2 wins in the first 2 games of the season. But don't worry, God has shown me over the past 20 years of my life how big an idol sports can be. So I plan to keep my love for the Lakers waaaaay down on the list of eternal priorities. But what is a healthy balance of following sports as a hobby and loving the Lord your God with all your heart? I guess it's up to each individual. But one of the tangible ways I check myself is to make sure that it doesn't get in the way of my higher priorities of serving God and my family.

I also need to make sure that I don't pass on this idol to my children. While it's a ton of fun to watch basketball now with Andrew (for the first time), I definitely don't want him to be just like me in this respect.

And I guess another great question is - Can you give God glory by watching the Lakers? Obviously, all Celtics fans would say no, but I'll have to ponder this some more. If you have any ideas, please pass them on.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Brrrr...it's fall

No, it's not winter. But man is it cold to me. The low last night was something like 26 degrees. The highs are sometimes in the 40's though they're also sometimes in the 70's to be fair. It's only Oct 28, but it's colder than it ever gets in CA. And yes, I know, I'm a SoCal softy. Hopefully, I'll get tough enough for Kansas soon. I just have to reach back to my Massachusetts days...this is warm compared to that!
But with fall, comes some beautiful foliage. This is my favorite tree. I drive by it every morning when I take Andrew to school. And so I don't give you the wrong impression, the majority of trees do not change to such a vibrant color here, and some don't change at all. It's not New England here, but it's still nice.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Apple picking

This past weekend, we did a little apple picking. We just caught the end of the season so there weren't that many apples, and they weren't that big. But they were the perfect size and perfect height for the boys and girl to pick.
To eat or not to eat, that is the question.Even Emery got to pick some too!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Camping

We were supposed to go on a church camp out this past Friday night, but we got rained out. So we decided to go camping at home.No bugs, a nice bathroom, and plenty warm - this is how the Lee family camps!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Are you a good person?

What makes a person good? That's a tough question. Let's try something easier - What makes a person bad? A person who kills, steals, gets drunk, does drugs, the list could go on and on, right? But Jesus said something a little different in Mark 7:15 - "there is nothing outside the man which going into him can defile him; but the things which proceed out of the man are what defile the man."

Jesus taught something different from every religion - the exterior doesn't matter. The problem is not on the outside but on the inside of every person. It's not what you do, it's who you are. He goes on to say in Mark 7:20-22 - "That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man. 21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, 22 deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness."

We sin because we are sinners. We do bad things because we are bad. Even Christians sin, as the power of sin is broken through faith in Christ alone but the presence of sin continues on until Jesus returns. I too easily forget that I still live in this body of sin and that my wicked heart wages war against my regenerate soul.

But Paul Tripp gives some good advice for us believers. We need to remember that we can't do it alone. "...personal insight is the product of community. I need you in order to really see and know myself. Otherwise, I will listen to my own arguments, believe my own lies, and buy into my own delusions. My self-perception is as accurate as a carnival mirror."

So he outlines 2 ways to overcome our self-delusional tendencies and create that Christlike community: "First, we need the loving courage of honesty. We need to love others more than we love ourselves, and so, with humble, patient love, help them to see what they need to see. Second, we need the thankful humility of approachability. We need to forsake defensiveness, be thankful that God has surrounded us with help, and be ready to receive it - every day!"

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Costume party

The boys and girl like to wear costumes all year round. So though we don't celebrate Halloween, they don't mind dressing up for our church's Harvest Festival or any other event. This year, Andrew grew out of his fire fighter's costume and got to be Leonardo...not the painter but the turtle. So guess who's wearing his old costume? Yup, and Matt tried to pass on his cowboy costume to our newest cowgirl, but she wanted to be a fire girl instead.See how things are new every year?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Bad hair day

Have you ever had one of those days when you wake up and things just don't go right?Emery had one of those today. Poor Emery. Of course, that's what happens when you INSIST on doing your own hair when you're 2! It also doesn't help when you're getting up 2-3 times a night. Emery has been on sleep strike for the last 2 weeks. Please pray for us! (you should see my hair!)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

An overnight getaway!

Sandy and I went on our first overnight getaway to the big city of Kansas City. We left the boys and girl in the very capable hands of a true servant to our family, one of the young ladies at our church. And off we went! We had a fabulous time together celebrating Sandy's birthday.
We hit the KC Farmer's Market which is the biggest in the midwest and boy was it impressive. Sandy could not say no to some serious bargains! Squash for a quarter?And we stopped by an art museum too. They had a wicked game of badminton going, but I forgot my racket at home.Our first trip ever to KC was a lot of fun, great for our marriage, and a bit refreshing for both of us. Praise God!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Harvest Festival...Emporia style

Last weekend, while we were cutting down trees, Sandy took the boys and girl, and a friend, to the Emporia Harvest Festival in "downtown" Emporia. There was pumpkin decorating,
Barrel riding,face painting,and a nice pizza lunch waiting for everyone at home.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Happy Birthday Coach Wooden

Guess who's also born on Oct 14? Coach John Wooden of UCLA. For all of you non-Bruins, he was the coach who led UCLA basketball to 10 NCAA championships. Oh, the glory days...does this mean that one of our children is destined for basketball greatness?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Today was Sandy's birthday. And for her first birthday ever in Kansas, she got a sick son and a sick husband. Sad, I know. But at least I was able to surprise her with a cake from the only European bakery around for miles...it's legit too. The owner/chef is literally from France. For Sandy's birthday I asked the kids what we should do to celebrate. This is what they said:
Matt: Let's do balloons!
Andrew: Nah, that's too fancy.
Emery: (blank stare)
Do our kids know how to party or what?!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Seeing & Savoring Jesus Christ

I recently finished this short book by Piper (123 pages) and definitely recommend it. Piper writes 13 devotionals on different aspects of Christ not just to know or "see" Him but to "savor" Him. My favorite was the chapter entitled "The Indestructible Joy."

Piper writes, "Jesus Christ is the happiest being in the universe. His gladness is greater than all the angelic gladness of heaven. He mirrors perfectly, the infinite, holy, indomitable mirth of his Father." But Christ was not merely carefree in some trite or glib manner as if He had never experienced difficulty. He was also "a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief (Isa 53:3)...who wept with those who wept (John 11:35)...He was hungry (Matt 4:2), weary (John 4:6), forsaken (Matt 26:56), betrayed (Matt 26:45), whipped (Matt 27:26), mocked (Matt 27:31), and crucified (Matt 27:35)...Indomitable joy does not mean there is only joy."

So how does Jesus balance joy and sorrow? Piper writes, "Through the agonies of Gethsemane and Golgotha, Jesus was sustained by indestructible joy. 'For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross, despising the shame' (Heb 12:2). And what was that all-sustaining gladness? It was the gladness of receiving worship from those He died to make glad in God. The Good Shepherd rejoices over one lost sheep (Matt 18:13). How much more over countless armies of the ransomed!" What a privilege it is to worship!

And Piper also writes, "Is there a lesson here for how we should suffer? Have you ever noticed that we are not only to imitate the Lord's suffering, but the Lord's joy in it? Paul said to the Thessalonians, 'You became imitators...of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit' (1 Thess 1:6). It was the joy of the Lord in affliction that filled this young church."

Through tribulations, persecutions, suffering, difficulties, sacrifice, and trials, may we all find indestructible joy in our Savior. Boy, do I need to improve in this area.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Where did the trees go?

In just 3 hours, it's amazing what a few Kansans can do with chainsaws and pick up trucks. Amazing! Thank God for their hard work, team work, and service to our family. It feels like our back yard doubled in size. We removed 5 trees and about 6 shrubs. You'd have to be here to really appreciate it, but here's some before and after pictures:
The front yard before...
And after.
The back yard before...After.And we filled up the trailer pictured and about 5 more pick up beds. Phew! What a day!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Singing

While Andrew is away at school, Sandy does some pre-school time with the little ones. They read the Bible and do school work, but they also sing...
video
I think they like it.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Fire fighters

We went to the Emporia fire fighters event tonight. With free hot dogs, popcorn and fire helmets - how could we refuse?We've now gone to the Burbank, Arcadia, San Gabriel, and Emporia fire fighters' open houses. I think our kids are honorary fire fighters.So which one is the future police officer?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Training camp

Well, the Lakers opened up training camp and the pre-season has started. Andrew is working on joining the team in about 2023...he's got a ways to go. But I'm glad he's having fun with it.
video

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Words and the heart

Paul Tripp also spoke at the Desiring God conference. One of his main points was that your words are really a reflection of your heart. He said that when you say something you regret, people often try and recover by saying, "I didn't mean to say that." However, if words are just a reflection of our evil hearts, then what we are really saying is, "Please forgive me for saying what I meant." Ouch.

And another one, if you listened to your words in the last month, would your words reflect the Kingdom of God or the kingdom of self - where people are just vehicles to do my bidding or obstacles in the way of getting what I want? I'm cringing just thinking about the possibility of hearing everything I spoke in the last month.

Tripp said that when you see problems as caused by your circumstances, then you stop seeking God's grace to change you. You need to realize that I am my greatest communication problem.

And boy do I need to keep working on that one. Sinclair Ferguson also talked about mastery of the tongue. He said for those who speak too much, one needs to be appropriately silent. But it's not enough simply to be silent. For those who are naturally not inclined to speak much, one needs to speak appropriately - words of grace.

Praise God that my salvation will never depend on my ability to master my tongue. But by God's infinite grace, He will change my heart and my words.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Ready for winter!

Last night, we went to our first Emporia HS game. It was my first time watching a HS football game since I was in HS, and it was a lot of fun. Even though it wasn't that cold (lows in the 50's), we bundled the kids up.Emery was very excited to wear her "new" used winter coat for the first time. She's pretty and puffy in pink, eh?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Why do we sing?

I'm still chewing on all that I heard at Desiring God. There's too much for my feeble mind to grasp it all. But Bob Kauflin's message on "What Happens When We Sing" was very thought provoking. I appreciated that he understood the importance of preaching and the complementary nature of singing. He said that songs should teach and admonish the church. They should never replace the preaching but should complement it. A good way to evaluate the depth of the worship songs at your church is to ask this question - If your church only had songs of worship, how well would your church know the Bible?

In thinking about Revelation 5, Kauflin said that Jesus didn't die to redeem individual soloists. He died to redeem a universal choir. The question is not - do you have a voice? The question is - do you have a song? Because of the Lamb that was slain, all believers have a new song regardless of voice. Our offerings of praise are only worthy of God because He hears it through His Son.

Kauflin also shared about a difficult time in his past when he felt hopeless and lost while as a pastor. In trying to work his way through this, a friend asked him how he was doing to which he responded that he felt hopeless. The friend responded that he wasn't hopeless enough. He felt hopeless because he was still trying to do it on his own. If he truly felt hopeless, then he would trust completely on the finished work of Jesus on the cross.

It is this truly hopeless perspective that I need to cultivate on a daily basis that I may revel all the more in the new song that I have been given by the blood of Christ.

I think the link changed from my previous post - to listen to Kauflin's message and more:
http://www.desiringgod.org/Blog/1423_conference_video/