Friday, November 19, 2010

Just stuff

This was the final product on our jack o lantern. The kids wanted a scary one.

A funny story. The other day Emery asked me to put nail polish on her and so I was putting it on when Matt said, "Emery, you should put on lipstick then you would look REALLY pretty." Emery said, "I can't Matt. If I do that, then EVERYBODY will be jealous of me." She is hilarious! After I finished her nails I went down stairs. She came down shortly after me and looked like this picture. This little girl cracks me up!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Late Jack O Lantern

My pumpkins didn't grow as I had hoped and it got too cold before any of ours actually got fully mature to the hard orange things we know to be pumpkins. But we got one very large green soft pumpkin. The kids still wanted to carve it even though it's a little late for that. They don't know that, and they don't care. So we carved the pumpkin today and put it out on the porch. I'll put a candle it in for a little while today because we're holding a meeting here tonight and the kids thought it would be nice for them to see our jack o lantern.

First Snow

It was very unexpected but we got some snow yesterday. I walked by the window and had to look twice to be sure that I was seeing what I thought I was seeing. Emery and Matt got very excited and put on ALL their winter gear and went out to play. They came back inside totally soaking wet down to the skin, with a thin layer of ice over parts of their clothes, and happy as could be. On Sunday it's supposed to be 71 degrees. This is crazy weather.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Gospel

I have been reading in Ezekiel in my quiet times lately. And I came across this verse today:
Ezekiel 18:32 "For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies," declares the Lord GOD. "Therefore, repent and live."

This verse is set at the end of a chapter where the Lord rails on the wickedness of Israel. He is the just judge who righteously punishes all sin. And this chapter follows 17 other chapters pronouncing woe and judgment on the sinful idolatry of the nation.

Even though God is holy and perfect and has righteous anger for those who sin against Him, he takes no pleasure in executing that justice. Even though He of all people should be happy that the evil are given the justice they deserve, He wants sinners to repent and be saved. And He doesn't just want repentance like I want ice cream. It is not a passing fancy or even a good thought.

He demonstrated this desire with a love that still boggles my mind. How could He kill His own Son to save me? Romans 8:32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?

Sinclair Ferguson wrote, "When we think of Christ's dying on the cross we are shown the lengths to which God's love goes in order to win us back to Himself. We would almost think that God loved us more than He loves His Son. We cannot measure His love by any other standard. He is saying to us, 'I love you this much.'

"The cross is the heart of the gospel; it makes the gospel good news. Christ died for us; He has stood in our place before God's judgment seat; He has borne our sins. God has done something on that on the cross which we could never do for ourselves. But God does something to us as well as for us through the cross. He persuades us that He loves us."

Isn't it good to know that you don't have to earn God's continued love? You already have it.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Commander Cody

I have good news and bad news. The bad news is that our computer crashed. We have friend working on it and hopefully, it can be restored, especially considering it is only 3 1/2 years-old!

The good news is that we kept our old computer. Classic baby. It's a Dell with a Pentium 3 chip, about 3oo MB of RAM and Windows 2000. It takes about a minute for any web page to come up. But it works for email and the occasional blog post.
We just happened to find a costume today for Matt at a garage sale for $3! Gotta love it. And it just so happens to be a clone trooper - Commander Cody - whoever he is. You can't see it behind the mask, but Matt is absolutely stoked! For those of you not as familiar with 80's parlance, that means he was super excited - he wore it all day long.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

#21 - The Reformed Pastor

I've been meaning to read Richard Baxter's classic for quite some time. It is a book written primarily for pastors but it is not about reformed theology / Calvinistic doctrine. Baxter is seeking to reform pastors in their practice of ministry, both in personal character and weekly duties.
Baxter is one of the strongest advocates for personal visitation and catechizing. He not only believed in the strong preaching of the Word from the pulpit but also the personal ministry of home visitation to every member of his church. During these visits, he led the family, especially urging the father to continue this work, in question and answer sessions regarding Christian doctrine.

Baxter was so organized and systematic about it all that he visited every family (800 families were in his church!) at least once a year. From what I understand, this comprehensive ministry led to a transformation of so many individuals in the community of Kidderminster in the 17th century that the whole area was transformed. Here are some quotes:
  • O what abundance of good might ministers do, if they would but live in contempt of the world, and the riches and glory thereof, and expend all they have in their Master's service, and pinch their flesh, that they may have wherewith to do good!
  • We must have a special eye upon families, to see that they are well ordered, and the duties of each relation performed...Persuade the master of every family to cause his children and servants to repeat the Catechism to him, every Sabbath evening, and to give him some account of what they have heard at church during the day.
  • You are not like to see any general reformation, till you procure family reformation. Some little religion there may be, here and there; but while it is confined in single persons, and is not promoted in families, it will not prosper, nor promise much future increase.
  • We must be diligent in visiting the sick, and helping them to prepare for a fruitful life, or a happy death. Though this should be the business of all of our life and theirs, yet doth it, at such a season, require extraordinary care both of them and us.
  • [In explaining the necessity for church discipline] What will you do with such sinners? Will you give them up as hopeless? That would be more cruel that administering reproof to them. Will you use other means? Why, it is supposed that all other means have been used without success; for this is the last remedy. The principal use of this public discipline is not for the offender himself, but for the Church. It tendeth exceedingly to deter others from like crimes, and so to keep the congregation and their worship pure.
  • There must be a prudent mixture of severity and mildness both in our preaching and discipline;
  • Our whole work must be carried on under a deep sense of our own insufficiency, and of our entire dependence on Christ.
  • How few ministers do preach with all their might, or speak about everlasting joys and everlasting torments in such a manner as may make men believe that they are in good earnest!
  • What have we our time and strength for, but to lay them out for God? What is a candle made for, but to burn? Burned and wasted we must be; and is it not fitter it should be in lighting men to heaven, and in working for God, than in living to the flesh? How little difference is there between the pleasure of a long and of a short life, when they are both at an end!
  • A soul is so precious that we should not lose one for want of labour, but follow them while there is any hope, and not give them up as desperate, till there be no remedy. Before we give them over, let us try the utmost, that we may have the experience of their obstinate contempt, to warrant our forsaking them. Charity beareth and waiteth long.
  • But surely he that valueth souls, and knoweth what an opportunity is before him, will go through the exercise with deep seriousness, and will be as earnest with them as for life or death.
I appreciated Baxter's emphasis of doing everything possible to avoid hypocrisy. I also liked his strong emphasis on ministering to families. And maybe he was a product of his times, but his serious tone resonated with me too. I know and experience great joy in Christ, but often times I feel the weight and gravity of working for the eternal fate of men's souls.

This was a very good book for pastors. I see why so many recommend it for those in ministry, and I whole-heartedly concur.

Monday, November 1, 2010


We got back from LA last night. It was a fairly quick trip. Traveled most of the day Thu, spent most of Friday taking care of funeral stuff, Sat took care of a couple family things and then Sun was traveling back to KS.Matt was a trooper. He did a great job at the funeral services and family events. I was very proud of him.Saturday was all about him though. He had grandma and grandpa all to himself!I think he had the best day of his little life - tv all morning, McDonald's for lunch with a happy meal, then to the toy store, plus Chuck E. Cheese and then to get ice cream! Can it get any better for a 5 year-old?