Thursday, January 31, 2008

AWANA Science Experiment - No Air to Breathe

It's been a while since I've posted any of my AWANA Science experiments, so here's one I enjoyed doing with my kids a couple weeks ago.

From Science and the Bible Vol2

Theme: God’s gift of salvation, not our works opens the way to heaven for us

Bible Verses: There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death (Pr. 14:12)

Materials Used: empty aquarium or large bowl of pitcher, baking soda, vinegar, candle and match

Lesson: In 1986 Lake Nyos in West Africa, a huge cloud of invisible carbon dioxide gas bubbled up out of the lake. It spread out from the lake and people who thought they were breathing safe air were suddenly killed without warning because the air had become poisonous.

Just like the people who mistaken by thinking they were drinking safe air, we can also be wrong about the most important things in life.

People have lots of ideas about what it takes to get to heaven like baptism, doing good things, or repeating a prayer over and over. None of these things is enough. No matter how hard you try, you can’t do enough good things to get into heaven by yourself.

The bible is clear that salvation is a gift given to those who place their faith in Christ (Eph 2:8-9). Good deeds are fine, but they are not sufficient to gain eternal life. Christ has already paid the price for us- take him at his word

Illustration: Add about ½ cup of baking soda and vinegar to the tank. The mixture will bubble and foam. Carbon dioxide will be produced and will stay in the tank because it is heavier than air.

Light a candle and slowly lower it into the tank. The fire should quickly go out since carbon dioxide will not support a flame.

Though the tank looks clear and breathable, its contents are actually suffocating to the candle. In the same way, some people’s choices on how to get to heaven may look good, but will not save them.

My kids really enjoyed this experiment and we lowered the candle into the plastic pitcher several times. I'm having fun with my class. It's changed some in the last few weeks. The two boys on the right are new and very active kids. Two of the last three weeks I've had these 5 boys and only one girl in my class. It's an active bunch and I'm enjoying their energy and creativity (at least most of the time!).

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

110 Visits and Suffering!

Today I took a quick look at google analytics to see how many people were still reading my blog. I thought the numbers would be low due to my sporadic posts in recent weeks. To my amazement, yesterday I had 110 visits and 145 pageviews. Now that probably doesn't sound like much, but this blog usually averages only 15-20 visits and pageviews a day.

Typically a large amount of my traffic comes from Anna's Maidens of Worth site, but I found that only accounted for 13 of the visits. To my surprise I found that 68 visitors came from a gossip site. Yes indeed! I won't link to it here since I don't want that site to gain any more readers due to my post. But it's a site that seems to have as its focus sin. One of its members must be a reader of Anna's website. This reader took good statements that Anna made and begin to twist them into negative comments about me. Then more got into the fun and they begin to take a look at my blog and the blogs of my friends to come up with things to twist. That site is popular - 16 people commented about the first person's post and added more things deride. That post was read by at least 68 people if you assume that each person who read the post visited my blog.

There are things that this world has twisted. They've taken what is good and because they can't imagine the good is true, they will twist it into something bad. And why wouldn't they? The Bible states in Romans 1 that God has given mankind over to sinful desires of their hearts. We are also told in 1 Corinthians 2:14 that "the man without the spirit does not accept the things that come from the spirit of God, because they are foolishness to him and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned."

On Sunday, Pastor Tony preached on a message called the Right Stuff (download it here). It was about suffering for Being a Christian (1 Peter 4:12-19). While he spoke of how we are in God's program as sanctification, he said that we should not be shocked by trials because they have been sent to test you and are common to all believers. While he spoke, I tried to think of the last time I had suffered for Christs sake. I couldn't think of any time that I had been demoted, beaten, cursed, ridiculed or anything due to being a Christian. My lifestyle, though Christ honoring (I hope), doesn't seem to be seen by or noticed negatively by the world around me. I wondered if maybe I am too sheltered or not open enough about my faith in Jesus.

Pastor Tony mentioned that we are to rejoice in suffering because those wounds will identify us with Christ and to know our identity and be able to fellowship with God like nothing else will. Verse 14 seems to be a good verse to sum up this experience: "If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the spirit of Glory and of God rests on you."

Now the people on that website weren't insulting me directly because of Christ. But they were insulting both me and Anna because of how we have lived out our faith and calling into question our morals. Our lives don't exactly line up with what the world considers good and normal.
As it says in 1 Peter 4:19, we will commit ourselves to our faithful Creator and continue to do good. Maybe someone will come to this site and without knowing it be convicted by the Holy Spirit through something they read here. Maybe this only happened so that I would get a tiny taste of what it's like to be insulted and to help me to in a small way identify better with Christ.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

My Sister Anna

My sister Anna is doing a series on siblings by writing about each one of us in turn. Being the third in my family and 5th to be written about, I've had several months to wonder what she would write. I like to think of myself as having been (and being) a good older sister - not too bossy and a lot of fun.

I know of course that there are many days in which I am far from ideal. I don't always want to spend time with my siblings. Often when they were younger, I would rather spend time without them than play with them.

As Anna mentioned, sometimes I did order them around and make them work a lot. While in high school, I read many of the books my mom had about homeschooling and kids. Those books talked about discipline and organization and how to get your children to do chores around the house. Well, I didn't have any kids, but I did have my siblings. They were my "Guinea Pigs" as I tried out some of the things that I read. Many of the things I read worked well - giving out rewards for doing chores, making lists so they would know how much they had to do before they would be done, or working with them. Other ideas were too hard to maintain - there was one in which you gave each one a jar of coins. If they ever were mean to each other they would have to transfer money out of one jar and into another. I don't think that one worked very well since it was sometimes hard to figure out who was at fault.

So there are plenty of negative experiences Anna could have written about. But overall, I had fun with all of my younger siblings (and the older ones too!). The younger ones were my ever present (sometimes too ever present!) admirers and friends. It amazed me that they often thought it so much fun if I would play with them. Each time I would come home from college for Christmas or summer break, they would all be bursting with constant news and requests to "come see this" and "look at me do this." After hanging out with friend my own age for months, it was always a shock to have four younger ones so talkative and excited to see me.

Anna's post makes it sound like I was the "perfect sister" - that I was not. However, I am so thankful for Anna's kind words - they mean a lot to me. She is very complementary and so good at bringing out the best in people. What she writes is very positive and amazingly nice.

As all who read her Blog or know Anna no doubt realize, she is indeed also a very awesome sister. It's been a privilege to see her develop so much talent in many areas especially in the last few years. Her ability and desire to do each task well from cooking to teaching to directing plays to blogging to sweeping the floor is an example to me. Of course we do each have our bad days, so don't think that we expect perfection from you, Anna.

I am glad that I was able to share many of my hobbies with you. I do want to say that you have learned what I did and surpassed me in how you have continued to learn and do each thing. I may have sewn a few dresses while growing up, but you've probably made over a hundred (especially if you count all the things you've sewn for various classes and plays). I may have made of lot of meals in highschool, but you've taken the few recipe's I've used and found and tried dozens more.

I had fun with little crafts with kids I babysat, but Anna's gone from simply babysitting kids to teaching young and older kids things like ballet and drama. Now that each of us siblings are older, I'm enjoying learning things from "the kids." Without their examples, I would have never started blogging or had the courage or ability to try to make a website for my church. I'm so thankful that they are willing to spend time with me when I'm over at their house and are willing to get up early to drive to my house for breakfast each week.

I have enjoyed seeing all the amazing things that Anna has been able to do and look forward to seeing what her future will hold! Right now neither of us knows exactly what the next year holds for us. Trust God as I am reminding myself to do. Know that God is sovereign. Though we may be tempted to worry and wonder about what is to come, God already know and we can trust him with our lives.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Funny Do's and Don'ts with Babies!

Amy's Humble Musings had a delicious link today for Do's and don'ts with Babies. You can see all of them at . Enjoy!

I'm off for a Saturday run - today I hope to do a bit of organizing and then need to make some rolls for dinner tonight. We have dinner groups with Church and my dinner group is coming over to have a progressive type dinner between the three houses that are right next to and across the street from each other on my street. It should be a lot of fun!

Scratch the run idea - I just noticed that it's raining out there. Oh well - all this energy and nothing to do but clean!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Future Details: Times, Places and Hairs!

My thoughts turn at times to wondering about the future - what will my life look like in 3 years, or a year or even next month or tomorrow? It is fun to contemplate the possibilities! But, at the same time, it's tempting for me to worry about the future and try to plan the details of how things will work. However, even as I start to worry, at the same time I am sure that God will work out the details.

I read a cool verse the other day in Acts 17:26 "From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live."

I have no trouble believing that God has an overall plan for humanity, but this verse to me is a needed reminder that God does indeed know each one of us and knows the exact places where we should live - that's very specific (and somehow seems more useful than knowing the number of hairs on our heads or that the sparrow has fallen). Nothing will take God by surprise. I could never have guessed many of the events of this past year and we most likely will not know future events in our lives before we live them. However, we do know that the One who know it all is completely trustworthy and is using events in the lives of those who love Him for good.

One more verse before I close - I noticed a verse that states in a great way the kind of focused purpose I would like my life to have. Jeremiah 32:39 "I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear me for their own good and the good of their children after them."

This verse is talking about what God is going to do for Israel when he brings them back from all the lands where they were banished. I guess you could say it's a purpose that He will give to them. Maybe it's a purpose I can strive to have now. How can it be lived out? That's a question that may take a lifetime to answer.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Sermon Jams!

My run this past Saturday was much easier than that of a week ago! That "other me" didn't complain much at all. I think it was due to two things: I had a week of consistent running behind me, and I had something other than arguing with myself to occupy my mind.

Through Joshua Harris' blog, I found a cool site called that has sermon segments from some of the great New Attitude Preachers like John Piper and Joshua Harris mixed with music. I enjoyed listening to them on my Saturday morning run and then again this morning. You'll have to listen for yourself. My favorite ones so far are Unashamed and War by John Piper. Listen for yourself! They are not too long and are a great change from simply listening to music. There are 4 volumes and all of them are free!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

New Attitude - only 5 Months Away!

I hope to attend New Attitude again this year. I have always enjoyed the conference and have been re-encouraged each year to focus on what is really important. The conference is for singles and young married couples. You can find out more about it here or by waching the promo video below.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Me and the Other Me

There are at least two me's. There's the "me" who plans and has goals. This me is one that I like since I would like to consider myself to be someone who accomplishes what she sets out to do. This is the me who is always on time and is never lazy. This me is pretty cool and can be depended on in every situation. This me always sends someone an address or files as promised and is never late to work, church or any appointment. This me runs like the wind and doesn't give up until there is absolutely no more energy in her body. This me gives her all to every situation and is always more concerned about others than herself. This me blogs every day and never wastes time.

Of course that me is not always in control. There is the "other me". The other me often tries to convince me that it's much better to sleep in than to get up and run. It is always looking out for its own best interests. It prefers to be lazy and eat whenever and whatever it wants. This other me thinks that me is just too strict and too controlling. The other me wants to simply goof off and have fun and never clean up after itself. This other me is much more likely to spend the whole morning sleeping and then to just read novels all day.

There's no activity in which I see the way "me" and the "other me" are in coflict as I do when I run. I know that the "other me" hates running. It argues that all running does is to make me tired for no real gain. It reminds me that running can make me sore and might give me a headache. It tells me that there are other things that are much more fun that I could be doing with my time such as sleeping, reading, eating, or even more spiritual things such as reading the bible, praying, or serving others. Since I know how persuasive the other me can be, I always make sure to allow me to make firm goals before I begin a run.

So this is how a run goes. I will make plans (like I did yesterday) to say, get up at 7 and run 4 miles. The other me will immediately argue that it's a waste of time and sleep would be much more profitable. I'll consider this other me's arguement and decide that sleep may be useful and so will change my alarm clock from 7 to 8:30. Sometime in the early morning, I will wake up and the other me will remind me that I'm still tired and 8:30 is way too early to be up on a weekend. When I'm tired, this other me's arguments make perfect sense, so I will change my alarm clock from 8:30 to 9:30.

Somehow my interal alam clock will go off at 9 o'clock and so I then may be alert enough to decide that I will indeed run and will make my way out of bed and get ready to run. You would think the battle is over. I am finally outside and beginning to run. The weather is perfect, I'm rested so all is well, right?

Not in your wildest dreams! Especialy if it's been a couple weeks since you were in the running routine. Immediatly that other me will remind you that it's much easier to breath if you walk every now and then. Your legs will chime in with that other me and tell you that they are not used to so much work and may stage a strike. You tell them all that it's me who is in charge and they must fall into line. Me reminds them that the request that they run is not unreasonable - they've done it before and can obviously do it again. Me reminds them that they've had a nice break so should be happy about that and since they are so rested they ought to run better than ever. Me reminds them of all the benefits of running: feeling better, gaining a sense of accomplishment, sleeping well, being able to run hard when playing sports and more.

The arguments don't always work for that other me. The other me will often put up enough of a fuss that me will give in just a little and won't run its hardests. Often the other me will tell me that it is indeed running as hard as possible, and me allows itself to believe the lie while knowing it is a lie.

When the other me wins little battles, it get's stronger and harder to fight off the next time. Me knows this and will argue back until it either wins or gets tired. Sometimes me gives up and lets the other me be in control and simply decides that tomorrow is another day.

This struggle between me and the other me is nothing new. Paul spoke about a similar struggle in Romans 7 where he said in verse 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. I don't know if Paul's struggle against sin can actually be equal to my struggle to make my body run when it doesn't like to. Maybe the struggle that Paul speaks of is only in reguard to trying to keep from lying, stealing, lusting, cheating or other obvious sins. But, lazyness or slothfullness is also a sin, right? So maybe the correlation is there after all.

Pastor Phil preached this morning on Jesus and the Cross in 2008. He reminded us that it's only through Jesus that we have the power to accomplish things like new years resolutions. A focus on Jesus and the cross will give us courage for the coming year. It's only through his death that we have freedom from ourselves, from the world, statan, death and sin. We can in our will make a choice, but we can only cary it out through His Spirit. We can make the choice to live through Him.

I must admit that though I do belive that God gives us the power to live through his sprit, I feel that developing willpower to run when you don't want to seems to be something that a Christian doesn't do any better than a non-Christian. Does trusting in the power of Christ really make you better able to force yourself to run harder or faster? I don't know. I guess I've not thought of running in a spiritual sense at all. Is it always the sin nature that desires to do the easy thing? I guess that will be one more thing to ponder the next time I run.