Friday, April 29, 2011

Farming

Well, it's not really farming. But to us, it's close enough! We love our garden!We've already started eating our spinach...microgreens.This year we decided to do a bunch of big old tomatoes - they were on sale 4 for $2 - plus a some cucumbers.Our peas are coming up.We have a ton of strawberries (way more than in the picture) coming! I can't wait!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Heaven's bells

Andrew's school's spring concert was last night. His class played bells. The song was called "Heaven's bells." I love his focused concentration!
video
I love how relieved he is after it's all done! Phew! No mistakes! Nice job Andrew!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Gone fishing

The boys and girl have been wanting to go fishing for a while now. They keep asking and asking and asking...you know how it is. Well, thanks to Mr. Sleezer, we actually went this past weekend.We set up Emery first. But before we could turn around and take care of Matt, guess what struck? Do you like the action shot?Emery pulled in the first 2 fish before we could even get the boys set up! The fish was about half as big as she is!Andrew got in on the action next.I think he caught the biggest fish.It was non-stop taking fish off of hooks and putting worms on them for over an hour. I've never seen such good fishing! I guess the boys and girl know how to do it! I'm not sure how Matt didn't get any action shots, but he caught a ton of fish too. Everyone pulled in at least 7 fish.I guess they just learned from the master...And I almost forgot - we had a fish fry tonight! Nothing like eating your own fresh caught fish.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

Praise God, He is risen! Without the resurrection, where would we be? We'd be just like every other religion in the world.
1 Corinthians 15:16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; 17 and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins...19 If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.

But thanks be to God, Christ is risen and He is victorious over sin and death.
1 Corinthians 15:57 but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.
We've had a lot of fun this Easter weekend with some Easter eggs.Andrew made a Jayhawk Easter egg and a Laker one too. We even had an Easter egg hunt today. I must admit, I was lazy and didn't do any video recording. This year, I wanted to enjoy watching the kids running around.They seem to get more fun every year.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

#8 - Surprised by Grace

I recently finished Surprised by Grace by Tullian Tchividjian.His name is a mouthful and in some respects so is the book but not in a bad way. The book is basically an exposition of the book of Jonah. I don't recall reading a book that was an exposition of a book of the Bible so the style was different than I am used to. But the content was insightful and convicting. I learned new things about the book of Jonah and how the Gospel applied to him as well as to me. Here are some gems:
  • When we sin, that something we choose to believe in is not no God, but ourselves as god. Like Adam and Eve, each time we sin we're choosing to be our own deity. We're placing ultimate trust in ourselves, not in our Creator and Savior and Lord.
  • Submitting self to God is the only real freedom-because the deepest slavery is self-dependence, self-reliance. When you live your life believing that everything (family, finances, relationships, career) depends primarily on you, you're enslaved to your strengths and weaknesses. You're trying to be your own savior. Freedom comes when we start trusting in God's abilities and wisdom instead of your own. Real life begins when we transfer our trust from our own efforts to the efforts of Christ.
  • Only the gospel can truly save you. The gospel doesn't make bad people good; it makes dead people alive. That's the difference between the gospel of Jesus Christ and every other world religion.
  • Through the gospel God counts your sins against Christ, not against you. He offers us acceptance based not on what we do or don't do, but on what Christ has already done. It's an acceptance that can neither be gained by our achievements nor forfeited by our failures. Nothing in this world can promise you such total acceptance and favor - nothing. And that's what makes grace so amazing.
  • God comes after Jonah not because he needs Jonah, but because Jonah needs God.
  • Quoting Jack Miller, 'Cheer up; you're a lot worse off than you think you are, but in Jesus you're far more loved than you ever could have imagined.
  • When we understand that our significance and identity are in Christ, we don't have to win - we're free to lose. The gospel frees us from the pressure to generate our own significance and meaning. In Christ, our identity and significance are secure, which frees us up to give everything we have, because in Christ we have everything we need.
  • If we aren't growing in our faith by learning more about God, there's only stagnation and decline.
  • What you choose to attribute ultimate worth to - what you choose to worship - depends on what you fear the most. If you fear loneliness, you worship relationships. You depend on them to save you from a meaningless life. If you fear not being accepted or esteemed, you worship your social network, the way you look, the car you drive, or the amount of money you make. You depend on these things to validate your existence. If you fear insignificance, you end up worshiping your career or your accomplishments.
  • Behind everything you worship is some fear that, without this person or thing, you'd be lost. Life wouldn't be worth living. Your fears cause you to attribute ultimate worth either to things such as success, reputation, family, relationships, or to God.
  • Idolatry is centering our attention and affection on something, or someone, smaller than God. In fact, most idols are good things in our lives that we turn into ultimate things, things that take God's place as we unconsciously depend on them to give our lives meaning and security.
  • The difference between living for God and living for anything else is that when we live for anything else we do so to gain acceptance, but when we live for God we do so because we are already accepted. Real freedom (the freedom that only the gospel grants) is living for something because we already have favor instead of living for something in order to gain favor.
In reviewing this book just now, I realized that there's a lot of really good stuff in there. I think the style through me off a bit, but the content is stellar Gospel centered doctrine that pierces through to the heart. I highly recommend it.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

2 Corinthians 5:21

Sometimes I think the boys and girl will grow up and think that all they did during their childhood was memorize verses. When they look at this blog, it sure seems like it.
video
2 Corinthians 5:21 is one of my personal favorites.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Whistling

All 3 of our children cannot whistle. But now, one thinks she can...
video
It's really hard to hear, but there are very, very faint sounds coming from her mouth, maybe so high that only dogs can hear. When I told her this morning that she actually did whistle (before this recording), she just about flipped for joy! She's been trying for months. Now, guess what I've been hearing all day?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Quarterly update

It just hit me that I am WAY past Apr 1 and my quarterly update! Apparently, I'm in a fog. Thankfully, my disciplines are not. The year has been going well so far (for a list of my original post and 2011 goals click here)

Goal #1 - Read through the Bible twice
  • I'm in Isaiah right now and am on pace. It took a little bit of time to get used to reading 7 or so chapters a day, but now I'm used to it. It's been a lot of fun to move so fast through books and get the big picture view of things. It's crazy to think that I'll be done with the Bible by July.
Goal #2 - Memorize the book of Titus
  • I'm a little late in getting to this one. I wanted to finish off memorizing my last 3 Scripture passages to make it to 100 (I number my Scripture memory passages. I know, it's weird. Everybody makes fun of me for it, but hey, it's me.) before I started Titus. But now I am on 1:7. I think I'm on track. It's been coming back to me quickly.
Goal #3 - Run the KC Marathon in 4 hours
  • I doubt this one is going to happen. I thought I could train for it like I did the half-marathon. But after some research, I found out that apparently, that won't do! I probably will try to finish it in 5 hours as a more realistic goal. Right now I am running 4 miles at about a 9:30 pace. Not too bad but the marathon training starts now for the next 6 months. Am I ready for this?!?!
Goal #4 - Read 24 books
  • I just finished 8 books. I'm on pace, averaging 2 a month. It's a good pace. It keeps me moving without making feel pressured. You can see what I've read in the sidebar to the right - a lot of variety. Some deep thinking, some not so much!
Praise God for His grace to help me discipline myself for the purpose of godliness. It's been a lot of fun to set goals and track my progress.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Homeschool

I took care of the homeschooling today so Sandy could have the morning to work on her message. She's teaching at our ladies Women Equipping Women event in 2 weeks.Isn't this precious? I also took Emery to McDonalds for some "special daddy time" today. I had her order a 99 cent sundae herself and a grandma standing nearby was very impressed with how well Emery could speak at 4 years-old! She kept asking Emery questions trying to figure out how this could be. After finding out that Emery was being homeschooled, the grandma was very impressed and figured that must be the reason. I guess mom (and the sub - me!) is doing something right.My mom sewed Emery's duvet cover. Here's the final product - thanks mom! And Emery also wanted to display her princess Bible of which she's extremely proud of - also a gift from grandma.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Proverbs 18:13 and Romans 6:23

Awana may have ended, but the memorizing continues...
video
Now that Andrew has finished such a big chunk of Scripture (Ephesians 2:1-10), he's whipping through individual verses.
video
Matt's trucking down the Romans road.
video
Emery's going with him.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Spring has sprung

Wa-hoo! I love spring! The grass is green and growing again. Leaves are sprouting on the trees. And our garden is growing!Our lettuce has sprouted.And our spinach. I can taste them already!We planted something new last year that we can harvest this summer - asparagus! I love asparagus!We also planted our peach tree last year. Although we really shouldn't expect a crop for about 3 years, do you see the little blossoms? We might get a few peaches this year! Can you tell I'm excited?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Soccer...again

Does this look familiar?Same shirt, same shorts, same shoes, same team, same coach, same opposing teams even.
But a new season.And Matt's still having a good time too. He managed to score a few goals today. It helps that he's not the shortest kid out there for once!
video
How about that defense? He managed to stop the other team from scoring and almost turned it all the way around to score for his team...almost.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Awana Closing Ceremony

The boys and girl just finished Awana for the year and had their graduation ceremony. video
Emery was very excited to sing her Cubbies song.Matt was very proud of his 1st year Sparks ribbon. He did a great job memorizing 25 verses!Andrew finished his first T&T book and earned a medal! He too did a great job memorizing 40 verses. He even got to recite a couple of verses during the ceremony.
video

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

HILARIOUS!

Are you ready for the cutest and funniest thing ever?! Well, at least in our house. I came downstairs today to find Emery doing this completely on her own self-initiative.
video
Then before you know it, she gets herself a workout partner.
video
Notice that they are ready with their step, dumbbell and workout stick/sword/battle axe for future use! They worked out on their own for about 30 minutes!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Golf ball size hail

Wow! It's hard to describe what we just went through. It was loud. It was abrupt. It was powerful. A thunderstorm had been brewing and swept right over us.And after it was done, there was hail all over the lawn.There was literal golf ball size hail. And here comes some more...

Friday, April 1, 2011

#7 - First Break All the Rules

I just finished reading First Break All the Rules: What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently by Marcus Buckingham and Curtis Hoffman.Now, I'm not a proponent of reading secular management books for guidance regarding pastoral ministry. However, it is amazing to me how the best managers follow biblical principles of godly leadership. For example, the best managers are humble (Phil 2:3-8). They are are servant leaders trying to bring out the best in their workers and seeking the success of their workers and not their own benefit at the expense of their workers (Mark 10:42-45). They care about their workers and meet with them regularly - 1 on 1. That is, they know each individual worker and how best to help them succeed in their role similar to a husband knowing his wife and how best to help her succeed in her role (1 Peter 3:7).

With that understanding, some of this book was not biblical and not worth reading. Some of this book had great ideas but just needed the terms to be translated to a pastoral context, ie - talents and strengths could be spiritual gifts. And some of this book, was right on with biblical principles that could and should be applied to both secular leadership and pastoral leadership.

Without going through everything in the book, one really fascinating point that the book made was that typical managers try to focus on the weaknesses of their people so as to improve them. The latest conventional wisdom is that we should be well rounded individuals. However, their research found that this method actually discourages people and reduces productivity. Instead, we should focus on people's God given strengths (and for Christians - spiritual gifts) and help them flourish in those roles.

Granted, when people are in sin, as Christians, we should exhort and encourage them to repent. But if people simply have a weakness in an area, we should focus more of our time helping them excel in their strengths and work around their weaknesses. This was very encouraging to me personally. As a pastor, often times people want you to be good at everything and focus in on something they don't like about you or that you're not good at. As a leader, this gave me more incentive to help the people I serve with to excel at what they enjoy and are gifted at, supplying them with others who can complement their weaknesses so that as a team, they are well rounded.

This book has very valuable insight and practical wisdom for managers/leaders including lots of classic mistakes poor leaders make. For those in leadership, I highly recommend it but with the caveat that it will require some spiritual discernment.