Monday, October 29, 2007

Spiritual Warfare Walk

This Spiritual Warfare Walk "Above All - Stand" was put on by my church (Fountain of Grace) this weekend at Poplar Point Camp. This walk illustrates the reality of demons and their tactics. It also reminds us that through Jesus we are able to stand firm. I believe our pastors came up with the idea for this walk several years ago. This year Pastor Phil wrote the skit with several people in our church.


Friday, October 26, 2007

Awana Science Experiment - Spreading Outward

This Experiment can be found in the second Science and the Bible book - I highly recommend them all!

Theme: Run from Sin

Bible Verses: But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness (1 Tim 6:11)

Materials Used: bowl, water, pepper or glitter, liquid dish soap;
Hiker Class

Lesson: There is a time to stay and fight, but there is also a time to flee. As Christians, we are told to flee from sin. We need to stay as far away from temptation as possible. As it says in our verse, there are also things we should pursue like righteousness, godliness and faith.

Illustration: We filled the bowl with water. Once the water was still, we sprinkled glitter over the surface. The glitter is to represent a believer. Next we touched the dish soap and then placed our finger in the middle of the bowl. The soap represents an evil influence. The glitter immediately flees from the soap just like a believer should flee from sin.

This is one experiment that my kids have always had a blast doing! They love the glitter and its fun since they can do all of it themselves.

We finished the missionary story we've been covering for the last month. We've been doing parts of a story about a girl named Star. Amy Carmicael actually was the missionary that told her about Christ. Though my kids do like the story, they have trouble sitting still. So, the last couple weeks, I've allowed them to get comfortable anyway they want on the chairs before the story. As you can see in the pictures, their favorite possition is sitting backwards on their chairs!

We also finished taking our books of the Old Testament pictures. Now I've got to start cropping them and changing them into the picture I'll print for the kids. I need to crop the background out of the picture, add words and add the other pictures to them to illustrate what they're acting out.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Planners, Watch Out!

I had intended to do a more detailed camping post by now, but time disappears way too fast! Those of you who haven't read Anna's post about camping yet should do so here. She did a great job summarizing the weekend (of which I participated in most - but not all of the events! No line dancing for me!)

I'm still doing summary/paraphrases of verses in James. Today's verses are perfect for me who wants to have the rest of my life figured out right now:

James 4:13-16: Pay attention you planners who think you know what you'll be doing for years. You don't even know what will occur tomorrow! Your life is like a mist that disappears. You should say, if it's God's will, we will live and do this or that thing. The way you're doing it, you are evil in boasting and bragging. If you know the good you ought to do and don't do it, you are sinning.

I guess these verses are really a comfort. We don't have to know the end from the beginning because we know the One who is both the beginning and the end!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Camping Pictures

For those of you who were camping today and are still up checking my blog - Go to bed! But if it's Monday or you weren't camping, feel free to take a look at the pictures I've uploaded here.

More later - now it's time for some sleep!

2007-October Camping

Friday, October 19, 2007

Friday Camping Countdown - Camping Today!

Today's the day! This morning started out with rain. But even with such a start to the day, the forecast looks promising for a wonderful weekend of camping. Today's pictures highlight eating and music - two things that are "givens" when it comes to camping. Each of us girls has been the camping planner in turn. Currently Anna is doing a great job getting the food (and other items) together for this trip. Of course Lydia and Jubilee are helping her pack! I'm bringing the "good stuff" (i.e. the unhealthy s'mores, rice crispy treats etc!). I typically drive straight from work to the campgrounds so when we divide up what to bring, I try to avoid products that require refrigeration. The variety of food that people bring to each camping trip is amazing. I think one of my dad's favorite camping activities is going around as people finish eating and 'helping them' with their leftover food!

Some of the group are already there and in just a few hours I will be as well!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


This was sent to me recently by a couple ladies in my church. I've been staring at it on and off all day as my computer takes it's time rebuilding and saving drawings. It's been much better than just staring at a hour-glassing computer screen. There are several versions of this around. This one is unique since it's shaped like a bell!

I am God's child (John 1:12)
I am Christ's friend (John 15:15)
I am united with the Lord(1 Cor. 6:17)
I am bought with a price(1 Cor. 6:19-20)
I am a saint (set apart for God). (Eph. 1:1)
I am a personal witness of Christ (Acts 1:8)
I am the salt & light of the earth (Matt.5:13-14)
I am a member of the body of Christ(1 Cor 12:27)
I am free forever from condemnation ( Rom. 8: 1-2)
I am a citizen of Heaven. I am significant (Phil.3:20)
I am free from any charge against me (Rom. 8:31-34)
I am a minister of reconciliation for God(2 Cor.5:17-21)
I have access to God through the Holy Spirit (Eph. 2:18)
I am seated with Christ in the heavenly realms (Eph. 2:6)
I cannot be separated from the love of God(Rom.8:35-39)
I am established, anointed, sealed by God (2 Cor.1:21-22)
I am assured all things work together for good (Rom. 8: 28)
I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit (John 15:16)
I may approach God with freedom and confidence (Eph. 3: 12)
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phil. 4:13)
I am the branch of the true vine, a channel of His life (John 15: 1-5)
I am God's temple (1 Cor. 3: 16). I am complete in Christ (Col. 2: 10)
I am hidden with Christ in God (Col. 3:3). I have been justified (Romans 5:1)
I am God's co-worker (1 Cor. 3:9; 2 Cor 6:1). I am God's workmanship(Eph. 2:10)
I am confident that the good works God has begun in me will be perfected (Phil 1: 6)
I have been redeemed and forgiven (Col. 1:14). I have been adopted as God's child(Eph 1:5)
I belong to God
Do you know
who you are!?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Results of Self-Seeking - James 4:1-7

These notes are from Pastor Tony Butler's Sunday night sermon on the book of James on October 14th.

(I'm finally 'caught up' on posting sermon notes. So you should soon just be seeing one of these a week!)

1What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? 2You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. 3When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

We know that James was written to Jewish Christians. Part of the reason we can tell this is the introduction to James. Also we see that there is not a defense of the faith in James as there would be if it had been written primarily to unbelievers. When reading James 4, we have to wonder what was going on that these words had to be written to Christians? Wars, fights, murder.
It says they come from the desires (hedonism - living for pleasure) that war within your body. People were coveting, but not getting. Then they were murdering, but still not getting what they wanted. They didn't get it because they didn't ask God. When they asked, they didn't received because they asked with wrong motives (literally evil desires) so they could use it for their pleasures.
4You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.

It could be that within the believers James was written to there were many unsaved people in that church. Maybe some people in that church actually died due to covetousness? James is one of the earliest epistles. We can see from this that right from the beginning, there were problems in the church. People often say they want to get the church back to the way it was in the beginning. If this is typical of the early church, we really don't want our churches to be like this - with murder going on in the church! Based on James saying that some of the people were adulterous and a friend of the world, he could have suspected that many were not even saved.

In church history, there have been thousands killed in the name of Christianity. This occurred especially from about 1000 AD to the reformation because people believed the Church took the place of Israel completely. Therefore they thought it was a good thing and only right to kill heretics.

So maybe this statement about murdering is not that strange. It's happened in the past and must have been happening in some form in the early church.

5Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely?

Verse 5 is actually two statements: Do you think the scripture says without reason? and Do you think the spirit in us envies intensely? But grace overcomes all this and gets Christians beyond fights and jealousy.

For the most part, people in the church seem to be self-seeking and just not care about the truth. They gossip, stay baby Christians, and remain only convenient Christians. They may say they believe it's the last days, but it is not evidenced by their lives. Church and prayer meeting attendance is down and people's lives are not changed.

This helps us understand what James is writing. It's not just his day, but ours too. James is saying that horrible things happen due to self-seeking.

6But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." 7Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

But self-seeking is not from God. He gives grace to the humble. The answer is to submit ourselves to God and Satan will flee from us. Stay faithful in the race - don't give up. don't let what you see in others deter you from seeking God.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Envy and Selfish Ambition Bring Every Evil Thing - James 3:13-18

These notes are from Pastor Tony's sunday night sermon on October 7th.

13Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth.

Proper conduct and walk always comes with genuine faith. Can Christians have bitter envy and self seeking in their hearts? Yes, it is part of the flesh, but blessing should come from us, not envy and self-seeking.

We can not be genuinely happy for someone else's prosperity in our flesh, only with God's help. Our goal in all we do should be God's glory, not our own advantage.

15Such "wisdom" does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. 16For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

Confusion and every evil thing come with envy and self-seeking.

Self seeking and envious people are plotters and pre-meditated - they bring every evil thing into the body. We must be careful with our motives and thought lives. Envy and self-seeking people are earthly, unspiritual and demonic. We can be dangerous people to either Satan's people or to the church.

When your life is about what you want, confusion and every evil thing is there. You will have the potential to do great harm to the body of Christ. Most Christians are deceiving themselves by denying their own envy and self-seeking motives.

How can I serve Jesus? Serve your brothers and sisters in the Church.

17But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.

Sometimes we will have problems with each other. But mature Christians will sown peace through righteousness (Ro 14:19).

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Tongue and Teachers - James 3:1-12

These sermon notes were taken from Pastor Tony Butler's sermon preached at Fountain of Grace Church on September 30, 2007
James 3
1Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. 2We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check.

Teachers will receive the greater judgement and are held to a more strict standard because they are telling people what God's word says and means.

Make sure you know the context of the passage when you're teaching a class.

A mature or perfect man is at the place he was intended to be. It's a person who is never at fault with his speech. If a man can control his tongue, the discipline in that person's life is so great that he'll control his whole body.

3When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
Every one of us (especially teachers) are potential arsonists since we have tongues. The context of this passage is teachers, but the application is to everyone. The only thing that prevents forest fires due to to our tongues is maturity in Christ. The more mature we are in Christ, the less we feel the need for people to fulfil us. It's good to be content with God and satisfied with meditation on Him.

7All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, 8but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. 10Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. 11Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water

If you don't control your tongue, it messes up your whole life.

Note to ladies: Keep your phone conversations short and your words brief when in conversations in a group.

Your tongue stays lit 24 hours a day. It's a world of evil and its source, if we're not controlled is hell itself. We nee to go to God far more than to other people. Be still and know that He is God.

It's impossible for you to tame the tongue, but not for God. We must understand how deadly the weapon we possess really is.

He Gives Sleep to Those He Loves

This afternoon I think I finally caught up the sleep I missed in favor of fellowship last weekend at the ladies retreat. The verse I thought of upon waking from my nap is Psalm 127:2: "In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat-for he grants sleep to those he loves." Of course this verse isn't exactly talking about Sunday afternoon naps and there is also a verse that applies to those who want too much sleep. Proverbs 20: 13 says, "Do not love sleep or you will grow poor; stay awake and you will have food to spare."

The Psalm 127:2 verse is not the test of whether or not God loves you. For those of you who read World magazine (as I do), you will no doubt immediately think of Andree Seu's article from October 6th called "Confessions of an insomniac." We have many other passages that speak of God's love for us. We know so many facts about God: that he answers prayer, that he loves us, that he guides us, that he can be trusted. So, when you do get rest, thank God. And when you don't get the rest you need, trust God's affection anyways.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

More on Personality

Personality assessments are something that I've always found to be intriguing. At times I have trouble putting into words how I think, or maybe have the tendency to think that everyone else processing information as I do. Doing a survey such as Carrer Direct's is for me a needed reminder of the many different gifts God has given to each one of us. It shows me how valuable the thoughts and opinions of others can be. My tendency to be very blunt and direct, though good in some situations, needs to be balanced by people who are more aware of others feelings. I need you (if you're like that) to challenge my blunt statements and remind me that I'm dealing with people, not projects or facts. I realize that, especially at work, I tend to be so focused on what I'm doing that I neglect interaction with people who are outside the area that I'm focused on. Going around to talk to people and get caught up on their lives is something that I would naturally tend to consider to be unimportant. But, we are to care for one another and bear one anther's burdens. And you can't do that unless you talk to and relate to each other. So this survey has challenged my thinking on how quick I am to get focused on tasks at work.

It's interesting that even an unusual survey like that one will reveal that I do "seek perfect outcomes in all of your plans and projects." I've gone back and forth in deciding if I'm a perfectionist or not. I am not a perfectionist to the level that Dad or maybe Elijah is. But, I do want things to be done right. Perfectionism is something that can really mess a person up. Mentally I used to have really negative "self-talk" (for lack of a better description) when I made a mistake. Accepting less than perfect actions from myself did not come easy. Rather, I would dwell on it - I did compartmentalize the negativity, but would take it out of it's mental box when convenient and think about how I messed up for a long time. Realizing that I too am a human that makes mistakes and realizing that God created me in such a way that I will mess up at times is something I have only really understood in the last year through conversations with someone in my church. Giving those failures to God and releasing myself from blaming me for them has really seemed to make a difference in my mind. No longer do I have what used to be the ever-present negativity in my mind dragging me down.

Looking at another aspect of the survey, I see that it mentions that I like to see the larger vision and create efficient methods and procedures. I don't know if that is really who I am (though I would like to think so). I do like to know the reasons for doing something, and to understand the whole process (such as our inventory system at work). Also, I do enjoy and seem to be good at thinking of ways to accomplish a larger goal. I've found that making personal goals each year that include smaller goals done on a daily basis to be a very effective way for me to achieve what I desire.
It says that I like new challenges and look for situations where I can offer logical solutions. I do like new challenges such as making a new report that will make a process easier to do. But, thought I do like variety, change also is something I tend to approach with some trepidation. Going into something different (whether it be college or a new job) is hard. It's not something I look forward to, but will do once I've determined that it is the right thing to do. I do like logical solutions. I hate not knowing why something was done. If it doesn't make sense, then in my mind, it needs to be changed.
I find it interesting that they call my personality profile type "Analyze". I guess with that personality type, it should come as no surprise that I like things like excel, databases, tracking money, tracking time, and even looking at Google analytics reports and reviewing the results. I don't necessarily tend to remember very well those things that I analyze, but to me it's fun to track and review.

Well, I need to post this and get ready for the day. I had a good run this morning - it was wonderful weather! I ran 4 miles in 36.5 minutes or just over 9 minute miles. It felt good, and I wasn't pushing myself too hard. I found this new 4 mile route a couple weeks ago and think I'll keep using it for weekend runs. I don't end up retracing my steps and it gives me something different to look at.
Anna and Jubilee and I are going shopping today. We're going to hit one or two of the second hand clothes stores and see what we can find. Some people have told me they've found some nice stuff at them, and we just haven't gone to them in years.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Career Direct Personality Assessment

Ivory mentioned the career direct personality survey on her post yesterday.

I just took the survey and though I don't know for sure if I answered the questions accurately, I kind of agree with the assessment. Click below to see the description of Career Directs' assessment of me as an Analyzer.

What do you think? Does this really describe me?

Friday Camping Countdown - 1 Week!

Camping is all about resting - right? Well, maybe not. Usually I'm playing too many games to take much of a break. But when you finally sit down or go to sleep, it feels so good! If you are tired (and if you don't have little kids that must be watched), you could make your weekend one of rest and relaxation over conversations with friends. There's nothing like just lazing around and looking at the sky!

It's fun to see the tent city spring up each time as people arrive on Friday. There's tents, cars and people everywhere, and it takes a little time to get used to which tent belongs to each family and who your neighbors are. It's amazing to see the huge variety of tents in our microscopic city. Admiring the newest tents and taking a tour (like an open house!) is fun to do.

Usually sometime during the weekend we do take a hike. At Four Toulouse (where we'll be next week!), the hike out to the point where "the Tallapoosa and the Coosa make the Alabama" seems shorter each year. I suppose that might have something to do with all the walking I do in the mornings. Sitting around the campfire in the cool evenings eating s'mores is a must! At this point in time, the weather forecast is for highs in the 80s and lows in the 60s with a 30-60% chance of rain. I hope the rain changes move out a few days.

Not too much longer and camping time will be here!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Ladies Retreat - Saturday Session 2 - Suffering and Death

This message is on the suffering and death of Jesus. Only with God, does the place of death become a place of life. (Matt 27, Ro 5:3)

We have been (past tense) crucified with Christ. It's done once, not over and over (Gal 2:20).

You may ask, if that's true, why do we still struggle? It's because we still have flesh. Why do we have to deal with flesh if it's put to death? The old man was put to death in our life, but our own flesh still exits.

An parallel of how this works would be if a car manufacturing plant was destroyed, there would still be cars made in that plan driving around on the roads.

Gal 5:17-21. The flesh and spirit are in opposition. We cannot do what we please. We can use the term self-life to describe the flesh. We like to rule over our own self life, but we're to lay it down before God.

We try to satisfy with self-indulgence like eating, spending money, etc, but only Jesus can satisfy our desires.

We try self-seeking, self-glorification and self confidence, but can we be confident in anything in our flesh?

We try self pity, complacency, self-consciousness, or thinking you're not good enough or smart enough. There is just as much pride in walking in self-condemnation as self-glory.

We are to recognize (reckon) that we are dead to so. It's not that we die daily, but that we recognize it. We don't have to walk in the flesh. Gal 3:13 - Without Christ's death, there would be no deliverance since we would still be under the law.

Ro. 6:6-7 - we are free from our flesh. Nothing good dwells in our flesh. We must recognize it's dead and realize we are free.

The pictures in this post are from the small groups. I enjoyed being in a small group with people from my church. Other conferences such as New Attitude and Urbana also had small groups. The difference there is that you will probably never see the people in your small group again. Being in a small group with friends is cool since we already understood a lot of where we were coming from and I think were more able to encourage one another.

Science Experiment - Popping the Cork!

This Experiment can be found in the first Science and the Bible book - I highly recommend them!

Theme: An uncontrolled temper is foolish and also dishonors the Lord

Bible Verses: A hot-tempered man must pay the penalty; if you rescue him, you will have to do it again (Pr 19:19)
Materials Used: bottles with corks; vinegar; baking soda;

Lesson: Uncontrolled tempers often bring improper words and actions. The result may be bad decisions and broken friendships. Usually the result is worse than the problem that caused the temper tantrum in the first place. The Bible tells us how a hot-tempered person doesn’t easily learn patience, but repeats the same error again and again. The cure to a temper problem is also found in the Bible. Proverbs 15:1 says that “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger”.

Illustration: We illustrated an uncontrolled temper by seeing pressure build up inside a bottle. Pour a cup of vinegar into the bottle. Add a table spoons of baking soda (wrap in a piece of tissue to give you extra time). As the paper moistens, bubbling will start. The reaction between baking soda and vinegar produces carbon dioxide gas. Watch the cork burst out at an unpredictable time just like people’s tempers.

This is one of my favorite experiments we do each year. I usually let each child help with the experiment. They usually take put the tablespoon of baking soda on the tissue and then they quickly put the cork on right after I put the baking soda in the bottle. Last year, one of my kids turned the bottle toward his face and got a face ful of vinegar. So, this year, each child wore safety glasses when they were helping - which they seemed to think was pretty fun!

Last night was armor night - enjoy the pictures!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Ladies Retreat Photos

The pictures from the Ladies Retreat can now be seen on our Church Picasa Photo Album by clicking here.

Ladies Retreat - Saturday, Session 1

The theme for these messages was Buried in Suffering, Risen in Joy. This message is called Gethsemene to the Cross - Road of Suffering

On Saturday morning, Mary Heather continued the theme by speaking more about suffering. We read Matthew 26 beginning in verse 36 about Jesus in Gethsemane praying alone while his disciples slept. We learned that:

Because God wants our holiness even more than our happiness, we need to change our right to happiness to a right to holiness

We are not put here to get from God, we're not spiritual consumers. God may have suffering in store for us. We are here to serve and glorify God

Suffering has the ability to make us holy. We have the choice though of anger and bitterness instead, but let God move you from anger to embrace suffering (Phil 3:10). To know Christ, there are seasons of suffering.

God wants us to look like him, not like unbelievers. So, God uses all things for our good (which is for our holiness) Ro. 8:28

Suffering is a place of loneliness (Matt 26:40). It's an OK place to be. God tells us to make Him our husband, that he will satisfy us in our suffering (Psalm 142). We do need the church body. It's not that we're to always keep our suffering to ourselves, but lower your expectations of people. They don't know what you're going through, especially if you don't tell them . God can satisfy you in suffering.
Jesus has experienced that utter loneliness. Withhold judgement on someone elses suffering. Speak carefully to that person so you don't become like Job's friends and increase their suffering.

Suffering can come from loss or physical death or even the death of a dream.

Ps 34: I will bless the Lord at all times, his praise will always be on my lips. Mourning is a part of suffering and we must go through it for as long as it takes (Eccl 3)
If you are suffering and you know that you have sinned, repent and move on. If you don't think it is due to sin, don't entertain Satan's accusations, wait on God.

In your suffering, make it your goal to know Him (Phil 3:10)

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

This is not (ok so it is) a forward!

I don't like to forward emails. But, there are times when you get a forward that you do want to share. I don't mind reading them, but I just don't like to forward them. Well, I got this forward today and instead of flooding email inboxes with it, I thought I would just post it on here. It's a good reminder of kind conduct and good advice. So if you don't like forwards or anything to do with them, skip this post; otherwise read and enjoy.

ONE. Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.

TWO. Marry a man/woman you love to talk to. As you get older, their conversational skills will be as important as any other.

THREE. Don't believe all you hear, spend all you have or sleep all you want.

FOUR. When you say, "I love you," mean it.

FIVE. When you say, "I'm sorry," look the person in the eye.

SIX.. Be engaged at least six months before you get married.

**Editorial note added 1/6/08. As my friend John told me today, I ought to be a woman of my word. It's something that I indeed want to be! In order not to confuse people who think that I believe and go by everything written in this post, I would like to state plainly that I don't really think it's important to be engaged for at least six months before getting married. I think that shorter engagements (of 3 or 4 months) might be a better option. Now, I don't know for sure since I haven't gone through a wedding yet. I've heard of people being engaged for over two years and maybe it's not a bad idea for some folks. But, I just want to plainly say that not only do I not agree 100% with that statement, but I am not completely sure what the ideal length of time to be engaged is! - Oh, I'm also not sure I believe in love at first sight either. I think true love is much deeper than looks.

SEVEN. Believe in love at first sight.

EIGHT. Never laugh at anyone's dream. People who don't have dreams don't have much.

NINE. Love deeply and passionately. You might get hurt but it's the only way to live life completely.

TEN. In disagreements, fight fairly. No name calling.

ELEVEN. Don't judge people by their relatives.

TWELVE. Talk slowly but think quickly.

THIRTEEN. When someone asks you a question you don't want to answer, smile and ask, "Why do you want to know?"

FOURTEEN. Remember that great love and great achievements involve great risk.

FIFTEEN. Say "God bless you" when you hear someone sneeze.

SIXTEEN. When you lose, don't lose the lesson .

SEVENTEEN. Remember the three R's: Respect for self; Respect for others; and Responsibility for all your actions.

EIGHTEEN. Don't let a little dispute injure a great friendship.

NINETEEN. When you realize you've made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.

TWENTY. Smile when picking up the phone. The caller will hear it in your voice .

TWENTY-ONE. Spend some time alone.

Monday, October 8, 2007

October Ladies Retreat

I had a great time at the Ladies Retreat this past weekend! We had times of fun, good discussion as well as good teaching and singing. I'm either great at condensing things down to a point of non-information or not very good at summarizing things down enough. (The condensing too much often is done to my family - So far all they got out of me about the Ladies retreat was that "it was good"). The too much or not short enough parts usually come when I start writing here. At least this way, those who don't want to hear about it, don't have to read it. It's almost 10, so I think I'll just use tonight's post to describe the first night.

I drove to Lake Martin with Tammy. I enjoyed the time to catch up on her life. Its fun to have the time to chat about the many aspects of life that she is going through as her kids get older. Hearing dreams and learning more about where people have been and desires they have for the future is neat. We enjoyed the short drive and got there in time to relax for a little bit before the first session entitled "Getting God."

Mary Heather was our speaker. She's an awesome mother of 9 kids who I've known for many many years. She had an American Girl doll club at here house while I was in high school which I helped out at since my sisters went to it one summer. Her family attends our church and I've gotten to know some of her children through AWANA and Sunday School classes there. Mary Heather teaches the ladies Sunday school class. Though I've never gone to the class, I've heard from others that it's an awesome class. For the first session, she spoke about some of the things that keep us from God: Wrong ideas about God, sin, the flesh, unforgiveness and self-centeredness.

She illustrated how sin and our reaction to sin can vary so drastically and have terrible consequences by having us look at the lives of both Saul and David. Both men sinned: Saul offered a sacrifice instead of waiting for Samuel (1 Sam 15) and David sinned through adultery with Bathsheba (2 Sam 11).

They both sinned, yet Saul responded by blaming the people and claiming to be doing what God said. Saul was so self centered that he even blamed Samuel for being the cause of his sin because he did not show up in time to make the sacrifice. Only when Saul heard that God had rejected him as king did Saul seem to maybe repent. Even then, it seems like he was only repenting for show, so that Samuel would honor him in front of the people.

David's reaction couldn't have been different. I look at David's sin and would tend to even consider it to be worse, yet through David's response, God forgave him. David immediately acknowledged that he had sinned against God. He didn't blame anyone else, but turned to God. The other example of David had to do with his desire to build a temple for God. He had the idea, yet it wasn't God's idea for David to do. Instead of being upset that God didn't want to honor him that way, David responds with humility and thanks God for his promise to establish David's kingdom forever.

Saul was self-centered, but David was God focused. Saul didn't want to wait on God's time-table, but David was glad to allow his son to have the honor of building the temple.

Which one more represents who you are?

After that session, we enjoyed refreshments and then Marilyn led us in some of her family's "crazy group games!" The pictures of Bibity Bibity Bop were a lot of fun to take as people had to think fast to act like an elephant, rabbit, or kamikaze. There was laughter all around as we tried to think quick and act crazy! Eventually the group game broke up and ten of us went to the cabin where we continued playing games until about midnight. We played a fun game of Taboo. It's amazing how quickly some words are gotten! Sometimes brains are linked in a crazy way. Soon it was time to get some sleep (as it is now!).

Friday, October 5, 2007

Friday Camping Countdown - 2 weeks!

Two weeks from today and we'll be camping! If you are camping with our group, you will probably be playing a lot of games. One of our group favorites is volleyball. Volleyball is a game that works well for a group that may keep changing as the game continues. Often we have a huge age range playing together. Usually there are a few children still learning to serve or to hit the ball. There is friendly competition as well as mercy for those who are still beginners.

We played night volleyball last time with a very hard battery lit up ball. Today, I found another cool volleyball that we will get to try out. It's lit by 4 glow sticks! So we won't have to mess with batteries. So, be ready for volleyball both day and night!

Groups of children always seem to have a game of Red Rover or tag in process. It's amazing that with all the games that are played, arguments or poor sportsmanship are very rare. It seems that everyone is just glad to be there having fun with one another.
Of course you can't run all day long. So, before too much time goes by, the cards come out. We play everything from Dutch Blitz to Phase 10 to spoons. We love to learn new games when camping and always have a great time teaching games to others. When you play games as a family, you get a little too used to each others strategy. Camping brings new people and new ideas to the games (not to mention new surroundings)!

This weekend I'm going to be at a Ladies Retreat with my church. So, the time is going to fly by and pretty soon the weeks will have passed, and we'll be camping once again!

Fireworks Video!

This fireworks video reminded me of the Hart family. Now, please don't take offense - I know that they have basically no similarities to the guys on the video, and that you are very safe with your fire works. In fact Joel is certified I think in doing fireworks and has done some very amazing fireworks displays. There was a time several years ago, either a July 4th or New Years, many people where at our house and fireworks seemed to be going crazy. It may just have been because I've never really been the one to set them off. But on that night, it did seem that there was very little order to all those fireworks. I was sure that someone would get hurt. Click here to enjoy the video!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Chuck E. Cheese Fun!

To celebrate Lucas's 5th Birthday tonight (and in fact all of his family's birthdays), we went to Chuck E. Cheese. Everyone had a lot of fun as you can see below. Going on a week night was perfect! The kids had a blast and so did the adults. We had fun just watching everyone enjoy themselves.

James 2 Summary

Those of you who read this blog may feel like I'm stuck on James! I'm actually using it for my morning devotions in addition to hearing it preached on Sunday nights. I like studying for myself the same passages that are preached - I tend to get more out of both that way! Anyway, this morning it was time to summarize James 2. So here it is:

Since you are believers in the Lord Jesus, don't show favoritism to the rich. It is evil to judge this way. God has actually chosen those who are poor by worldly standards to be rich in faith and be given the kingdom promised to those who love him. You insult the poor, yet it's the rich who exploit you, drag you to court, and slander Jesus' name. It's right to love your neighbor as yourself, but a sin to show favoritism. If a person obeys the entire law, except for one small part, he's guilty of breaking all of it because he is a lawbreaker. Behave as a person who will be judged by freedom giving law. Mercy always wins over judgment.

Is there any benefit to a person saying he has faith if he can't show it by his deeds? Is it possible for such a faith to save him? If you see someone without clothes or food and simply wish him the best, but do nothing to help - is it of any use? In that way, faith without actions is dead.

A person could say one person has faith, another deeds. Try to show your faith without deeds and I'll show you my faith by my deeds. Just as belief in one God is not sufficient for salvation (as proved by the demons), faith without deeds is pointless.

Foolish people! Would you like proof that faith without works is of no value? Look at Abraham. He is considered by us righteous because of his deed of offering Isaac on the alter. So his faith was made complete by his action. Abraham's belief was proved his action and so he was given righteousness because of his belief, and even called God's friend. Similarly, even Rahab was considered righteous for hiding the spies. Just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead.