Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Korean food!

Sandy's parents flew into town yesterday, and boy are we loving it - the kids have been bouncing off the walls!We decided to celebrate their first full day here with a Korean feast for dinner. It was fabulous!The signature dish was some Korean bbq also known as kalbi. It's a short rib that is marinated in a soy sauce, sesame oil and brown sugar sauce (I can't tell you the other ingredients - it's a national secret). And grilled to perfection. Man, was it good!

Monday, September 27, 2010

#20 - Worldliness ed. by C.J. Mahaney

This fall, my allergies have been wicked. I have spent many a sleepless night testing out Puffs Plus products and making mountains of tissue. And after all my research, I can attest - Puffs Plus works well. This has also allowed me to get some reading done.I just finished Worldliness. It is written by several men from Sovereign Grace Ministries and edited by C.J. Mahaney. The book only has 6 chapters - the first defines and explains the concept of worldliness, the others deal with specific topics such as media, music, clothes and "stuff."

I never thought of myself as particularly worldly. I don't care about being or dressing trendy. I haven't watched tv at all in the last few years, and I see a movie in the theater about once a year. We don't even have a Netflix subscription! Who doesn't have one of those these days?! The only sports team I really follow is my Lakers. I couldn't tell you much of anything about college football or basketball, and I have no clue what's going on in the NFL.

When I lived in the LA area, worldliness seemed to swirl all around me. I couldn't avoid the latest entertainment news and trends no matter how hard I tried. But now I live in a small town in Kansas. I'm not worldly at all, right?

Unfortunately no. Worldliness comes from my heart. I have come to realize that some of the most worldly people could live in the least worldly settings. Worldliness is not the exclusive domain of those with big bucks and who live in big cities. It is simply one expression of a sinful heart to which all have in common.

Here are some quotes:
  • Today, the greatest challenge facing American evangelicals is not persecution from the world, but seduction by the world...Our peril is far more obscure and far more insidious. We aren't under attack from without; we're decaying from within.
  • Worldliness, then, is a love for this fallen world...More specifically, it is to gratify and exalt oneself to the exclusion of God. It rejects God's rule and replaces it with our own. It exalts our opinions above God's truth.
  • What dominates your mind and stirs your heart? Is it discontentment with your life? Longings for earthly pleasures? Does outward prosperity appeal to you more than growth in godliness? Or is your prayer life characterized by heartfelt supplications for God's will to be done and his kingdom come?
  • Some people try to define worldliness as living outside a specific set of rules or conservative standards. If you listen to music with a certain beat, dress in fashionable clothes, watch movies with a certain rating, or indulge in certain luxuries of modern society, surely you must be worldly...Worldliness does not consist in outward behavior, though our actions can certainly be an evidence of worldliness within. But the real location of worldliness is internal. It resides in our hearts.
  • The evil in our desires often lies not in what we want, but in the fact that we want it too much...The cravings of sinful man are legitimate desires that have become false gods we worship. It's wanting too much the things of this fallen world. A sinful craving is when a legitimate desire for financial success becomes a silent demand for financial success; an interest in clothes and fashion becomes a preoccupation; love of music morphs into an obsession with the hottest band; or the desire to enjoy a good movie becomes a need to see the latest blockbuster.
  • We must fight worldliness because it dulls our affections for Christ and distracts our attention from Christ. Worldliness is so serious because Christ is so glorious.
  • Simply stated, coveting is desiring stuff too much or desiring too much stuff. It's replacing our delight in God with joy in stuff. Materialism is what happens when coveting has cash to spend.
  • One common fallacy that dazes some Christians is 'virtual giving' - giving that occurs only in one's mind, if-things-were-only-different. 'If I had more,' we say, 'I'd give more.' That's virtual giving. In reality, if we had more, we would undoubtedly find new ways to use it or store it.
  • We [fathers] must not simply oversee our daughters' closets; we must teach them God's perspective on modest dress and educate them about the temptations of men. And we must have clear standards informed by Scripture, not by culture. This will make it easier for them to follow our leadership when difficult choices are necessary.
A couple of the chapters didn't have much of an impact on me. But I thought a couple were quite challenging and helpful, especially the chapter on modesty written by C.J. Mahaney. I recommend that one to all women and to all fathers of daughters. It sure will be an interesting aspect of parenting when Emery gets a little older!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Getting closer

We're almost there. Technically, the house is done. Now, we're finishing up the shed.We put the shutters up and here's the house!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Psalm 56:3-4

Little children fear a lot of things. And though I don't struggle with a lot of fears, I have come to realize that I do (along with most adults) have some fears. We fear death, the unknown, financial insecurity, the loss of health, what other people may do or say and also very large spiders, just to name a few.

Thanks be to God that the antidote for fear is trust in the atoning death of Jesus Christ for my sin which leads to the never ending presence of our great God. This comfort is priceless for adults and children.
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Psalm 56:3-4 When I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God whose word I praise. In God I have put my trust. I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me?
Duke, Rip Cord, Snake Eyes and Scarlet are NOT part of Psalm 56:3-4 by the way. :)
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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Horsey

So I was playing horsey with Matt and Emery the other day. But my knees could only last so long. However, Emery wasn't ready to stop...so guess who the horsey had to be? video
Did I mention that these 2 never cease to crack me up?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Tarantula

OK, so it wasn't a tarantula, but you would've thought it was by the reaction it got. I (Sandy) think this is one of the largest spiders I've ever seen not in a cage at the zoo or pet store and it was in our HOUSE! And I've seen lots of BIG spiders in the jungles of Papua New Guinea!
The first time we saw it Emery was picking up a pair of her jeans off the floor yesterday and it ran out from under it towards the furnace. I instinctively let out a loud scream and startled Emery so badly that she started crying and then screaming at the spider as well. Poor Emery! Peter asked me why I didn't just kill it. Well, first off, it ran away so quickly that I didn't have time to get a paper towel to squash it with and secondly, there was NO WAY I was even going to attempt to catch that creature. He said, "Just use the fly swatter." My response was, "That bug was so big that it would've grabbed the swatter out of my hand, eaten it and then continued to run off!" He was sure I was exaggerating.

Then today I was walking into the basement bathroom when lo and behold there it was again! It didn't look as big as it did yesterday so I'm actually wondering if this was actually the same spider but it was large none the less. I called for Peter and when he came down and saw it he said, "Whoa!" Yes, even he was surprised at the size of the thing. However, he did manage to kill it with the swatter and clean up the mass of guts on the floor. Yuck! Thankfully the spider is dead (if that really was him) and we can all sleep in peace tonight. (I may keep one eye open just in case...)

This picture does not do justice to how big he was in real life. I (Peter) can attest - that was the biggest house spider I've ever seen. It was about as big as my palm, and the fly swatter barely killed it. It was so big that it had spider guts (or was that blood?) come out of it.

On an entirely different note: Tonight we began reading 2 Chronicles chapter one to the kids during our family Bible time. Peter asked this question part way into it, "What did Solomon ask God for when God said he could ask for anything?" Matt's answer was, "Wisdom and construction," with his usual big grin on his face. Um, I think you meant "INstruction" Matt. :)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

11 miles

I'm 4 weeks away from running my half-marathon in KC. This morning, I ran 11 miles. 5.5 miles out and back. It takes you pretty far out into the country.I run by lots of fields.And a few goats. Thankfully, my sponsor (Sandy) not only gives me water but also takes pictures!Matt played a couple more soccer games today.It's fun playing soccer with your bud.Plus you get to do all sorts of crazy pre-game rituals!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Asparagus

Did you know that asparagus looks like this growing out of the ground? Yup, if I wanted to, I could cut that right now, roast it and eat it. Asparagus spears are actually just the stem of the asparagus plant! We planted 10 of these not too long ago and they weren't supposed to come up until next spring but I guess they didn't know that. We're supposed to get more and more stems as the years go on and this plant can live up to twenty years. Hopefully we get a lot of asparagus for years to come!
Sorry this is hard to see, but this is the asparagus grown slightly bigger. The broccoli is making it hard to see the asparagus.This is the largest one we have right now. Eventually this grows quite tall and has lots of feathery leaves. So interesting!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Giant noodle

What can you do with a giant noodle? Some might think that it's a flotation device for the pool. But oh, it's so much more...
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It started out as a limbo stick. Then it became our high jump stick. This first height was not very challenging for some.
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So we raised it and raised it and raised it, until there was only one who could jump it.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Snake Eyes

Did I mention that Matt is really into GI Joe? I came home one day last week to this...Yes, that is tape over his eyes! Mental note, never leave scotch tape out any more. Matt's trying to be Snake Eyes from GI Joe.The resemblance is uncanny, no?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Soccer

Matt started soccer for the first time ever. He has gone to 2 practices so far. After the second one, I asked him how it went. He said, "It was boring - just a lot of running and kicking." Get used to it. That's all soccer is!Today, he had his first game. Here is the first minute of his soccer career...
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Not a bad way to start! He managed to score 4 goals today. Guess what his favorite sport is now?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

#19 - The Trellis and the Vine

This book by Colin Marshall and Tony Payne is quite popular among Christian pastoral circles right now. It has been heavily endorsed by some pretty well known pastors.And I had high hopes for it when I started it. It had some good moments throughout. However, it left me unsatisfied. Possibly my expectations were too high. Possibly the endorsements were too strong..."The ministry mind shift that changes everything" is the subtitle. Everything? Needless to say, I am not changing everything about the way I approach or think about ministry.

Nevertheless, there was much good in the book. The premise is rather straightforward (to me) - Christian ministry is making disciples. It is Gospel ministry. It is evangelism. It is teaching. It is discipling. It is the vine. The trellis is the program that helps the vine grow better. We don't want to spend our time making beautiful trellises and neglecting the vine. And this vine work is the work of every Christian, not just the pastors and/or elders. The first several chapters expound on this.

It's a great metaphor, but would anyone really disagree with this? I would hope that every Bible believing Christian would support making disciples over running church programs. I would hope that every pastor and elder would support growing disciples rather than growing programs. The key to me is how? How do we do that? And more specifically, how do we do that in a church context with multiple ministries sharing multiple people?

I understand this mindset in one context of ministry, say a youth ministry or a small group Bible study. Teaching, discipleship, counseling, training all can take place in that one context very easily and fulfill the mission of making disciples. But what do we do when one person is in a small group Bible study, serves in the youth ministry and children's ministry, and goes to another pastor for counseling? You could have 4 separate leaders or elders or pastors, discipling / counseling / teaching that person with 4 different perspectives, sometimes seeing 4 different aspects of that person's life. How does that work? How should that work? How can that work better?

The authors did concede that ministry can be messy and that their various paradigms of training and disciple making were fairly simple and needed to be adjusted to specific ministry contexts. Granted every church situation is slightly different and it would be nearly impossible for any book to give specific paradigms that fit. But I was hoping that they would at least give a model or several examples of how macro ministry in a multiple elder/pastor church situation would work. I think this is a fairly common situation in Bible teaching churches in America.

I guess I have a passion for the structure of disciple making ministry and for developing a trellis that will foster the vine. What does it look like? How does it expand? How do you adapt it to an already existing vine that is growing in many directions? Unfortunately, my questions went unanswered. The answers that were given were good and biblical - be an example, be relational, develop others to work the vine, etc. But the glaring question for everything seemed to be - how?

Nevertheless, this was a good book. I just wish it would have been better.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Isaiah 41:10

We're a memorizing family. Everyone's working on verses right now. It's pretty cool.
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Out of all the kids, Emery really struggles with fear. She's afraid of the dark, afraid of being left alone anywhere in the house, afraid of monsters in the closet, afraid of sunlight...ha! It seems like she's afraid of everything. So we're working on verses that will help her trust in God's omnipresence and protection.
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And yes, if you suspected that those names are not part of Isaiah 41:10, you're right. But they are characters from G.I. Joe...the cartoon - Yo Joe!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Wildcats

Yesterday, we were treated to a fun day in Manhattan, KS - home of the Kansas State Wildcats. They hosted, Sandy's alma mater - the UCLA Bruins - for the first game of their 2010 football season.It's hard to describe 51,000 K-state fans who were REALLY into the game. Nearly everyone was wearing purple. This picture does not adequately convey the energy in the stadium.But not everyone was a K-state fan. There were about 100 or so UCLA fans. I know, 51,000 to 100 doesn't quite seem fair. Can you see the smattering of powder blue in the sea of purple?The most important UCLA fans were right here - 2 faithful alumni. Unfortunately, all their cheering could not overcome the 51,000 and the mighty Bruins fell 31 to 22. Congrats to K-state and all their fans.Thanks again to the Wernli family for their generosity and treating us to quite the Kansas experience. We had a great time!If only Emery had been there! She's so loud I think her voice might have overcome at least 10,000 people. :)

Friday, September 3, 2010

Chipping away

2 months ago, we started painting our house. Today, we hit a milestone - there is no more dark brown paint on our house! We have completely finished painting the gutters white on half the house, and the window trim is completely done too.This is the better half of the house.Our plants and shrubs are doing pretty well too. We really love our "Julia Child" rose bush which has really thrived this summer. We have just started to get some decent sized bell peppers from our plant. So what do we do with fresh veggies? Hmmmmm...grill them of course.We feasted after a hard day's work.
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Matt and Emery just discovered how to blow up balloons. Fun for hours!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Half-marathon training

So I've read a lot of books, read a lot of web sites and tried a lot of different methods to best train to run a super fast half-marathon. This is the best way...
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Leg weights. They're a little unorthodox but they work.It's good to be dad.