Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Proverbs 15:15 was kind of my theme for the week "The cheerful heart has a continual feast." I really wanted my focus to be on loving friends and family that I don't get to see very often, and not on how much food can I stuff myself with and how much can I critique my family members and how good can I make myself look in contrast. I will not deny that it was super exciting to be the skinniest my family has seen me since early middle school ( I'm talking 12 pounds smaller than 8th grade). It was a totally new experience to look at the digital pictures everyone was taking and for once think gosh, I look cute there!
This is me with my not so little cousin Kaitlin
my favorite picture from the trip
Tommy and I treated our friend Joseph and his family to Whataburger before we drove to San Antonio. It was Joseph's Birthday and none of them had ever eaten at a Whataburger before!
Tommy, Robert and Joseph enjoying cholesterol laden french fries.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
We've started going through the book of Galatians verse by verse, with the hope of unpacking what the text means and making application from that to our lives. There's a great group of people who are coming, several of whom are ready to take active roles in leading worship, outreach, in reach, and so on. I'm very encouraged by them and blessed to have them.
While I'm new to this group, I do have a vision of discipleship I would like to cogently formulate and implement. I would covet your prayers on this. This vision includes emphases on encouraging private and corporate prayer, personal accountability to each other for righteous living, active evangelism, Biblical literacy, developing a Christian world-view capable of engaging our culture, and heart-felt worship that does not bypass the mind. Various programs would then reflect those concerns. While this list of emphases is not comprehensive of Christianity, I believe they are areas that are either sometimes neglected in college/careers ministries or need to be pursued with full diligence.
One exciting bit of news is that I've been given a new email address at church, though I'm hesitent to post it on here for fear of email spam. I hope to keep you up to date as things develope.
Silly me for thinking a PG-13 rating would save my family from soft-core porn on the movie screen. Apparently a film can show extended scenes of nudity without repercussions on the rating IF that nudity is digitally depicted.
Yet just as grotesque are the feminist agenda and anti-Christian bigotry which permeate this film. Go ahead and mark this film off of your "must see" list, but do read an excellent review of the film's ideology.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
1. I love Christmas. I believe Easter has far more religious significance for me, whereas Christmas has more traditional and familial significance, though those do tie back into my Christian faith, just not specifically into the virgin birth.
2. Cold Weather. If I put out all my trees, nativities and snowmen.. won't that make it cold outside?
3. One of my 30 by 30 is to make a Christmas inventory, and I'm anxious to get started.
4. I have a TON of my Christmas shopping done, and I want to get them wrapped and out of their hiding places so I don't forget anything.
5. It's pretty. Every time I open the boxes it's like getting these things all over again, finding and remembering lost treasures.
6. We'll be out of town until the Monday after Thanksgiving, and then again for Christmas, so it's not like I even get to see everything for the full Thanksgiving to New Year's window.
Whatcha think? Can I?
Here's a few pictures of years gone by:
This is my very first Christmas tree, the only real one I've had, complete with Tommy's Flaming angel on top.
This is from our first married Christmas in 2005. I loved that apartment, but sometimes I forget that it was small and cramped too.
This is our first Christmas in Fort Worth, and I'm excited to see how it will look since we've rearranged so much since last year.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
So in honor of Jessica's twenty-fourth birthday, here are twenty-four things I like about her:
1. She has a big smile.
2. She smiles a lot when she thinks about traveling around the world, and even more when she actually travels.
3. She likes to camp. We even went camping for our honey-moon.
4. She likes many of the foods I like.
5. She is willing to try many kinds of food that she doesn't yet like, such as Greek salad on our first date.
6. She likes salad now.
7. She likes to cook.
8. Even better, the stuff she cooks is good.
9. She regularly looks for new recipes that I will like.
10. She is also thrifty, playing the coupon game and saving us a lot of money.
11. She is willing to put up with a low income while I work through school.
12. She helps me to dress better.
13. She likes to plan things way in advance.
14. She has put up with my excentric tendencies over the years.
15. She taught me how to do laundy (but still does most of it.)
16. She can think of how to say things to I don't know how to say, and a lot of times is more direct than I am, especially in person.
17. She will tell me when she thinks I am wrong.
18. She enjoys talking with me, and I with her.
19. She's really funny.
20. When she really sets her mind to something, she accomplishes it, such as quiting smoking, losing weight, and so on.
21. She is really creative.
22. She's my best friend.
23. She loves me.
24. She loves Jesus.
What things do you like about her?
In honor of my 24th birthday, I thought I'd be ambitious and post 30 things I'd like to do, or places I'd like to go by my 30th birthday. Here goes:
- Wherever K and J and Rx3 go, I want to visit them there
Visit the Grand Canyon, and if we drive, Window Rock as well Big Bend, I love it there, and want to share it with Tommy , it’s so close, there no sense in not going (I have been before, many years ago) Oklahoma , crossing my finger to help Katie and Joseph move out there, but if not, I hope we can visit them before they take off across the world California Creation Science Museum Palo Duro Canyon , and general region Santa Fe
- Hospital, to have a baby!
- FW Bureau of Printing and Engraving
- A car show, never been, but sounds like it could be fun
- Bass Hall, can I include with this buying a nice outfit so I look pretty when we go?
- Opera, always wanted to go to one, preferably not an English one
- Stage Play
- Caedmon’s Call Concert, they’re all I listen to anyway, might as well go to a concert and complete the experience
- in view of a call with my husband, I’m probably overly curious to see where and what God has in store
- have thanksgiving dinner at my home
- have a fruit and/or vegetable garden
- finish my t-shirt quilt
- run a 5 mile race
- learn how to make bread, even if it means just getting a bread maker for Christmas sometime
- make a wedding scrapbook
- be a size 8 (or smaller), hopefully both before, and after number 9
- graduate from UTA graduate, get it done with so I can move on to number 9
- take a sewing class
- catalog all my Christmas treasures so I know where they came from and the meaning behind them
- read one book a year of Tommy’s choosing
- develop a rich and intense prayer life
- try one new recipe a month (that's 72!)
- live in a home where I can paint the walls
Friday, October 19, 2007
I had the opportunity to teach the youth class at church, and will get to teach again next week. The youth pastor Aaron Wills and I were chatting about Creationism one night a few weeks back, he had asked me to come and teach about on the subject in his stead while he is out of town.
It was tough for me to decide what exactly to teach. Not because I have so little to teach on, but because there is too much to choose from. The subject matter of Creation, especially in contrast with Naturalism, encompasses every subject there is. From geology, biology, philosophy, and physics, to dinosaurs, world-views, political systems, and ethics, Naturalism is an all encompassing world-view. A big word I learned recently which describes the naturalistic world-view of evolution is "meta-narrative." A meta-narrative is a story to explain all other stories. Naturalism is philosophically committed to trying to explain everything there is in terms of natural causes, completely excluding the possibility of an outside cause such as God. The Evolution model and the Big Bang model are the stories that underpin and try to explain how Naturalism would work. (I say model, because theories can be tested and observed. Evolution and the Big Bang cannot be tested or observed. They are not theories, but models with predictions about how the world should look.)
The Bible is also a meta-narrative in that Scripture can explains all other stories, or to say it another way, can explain how everything came to be, why things exist the way they are now, and where everything is headed in history. I believe the Bible better answers these questions than any other world view, and does so accurately, meaningfully, and without contradiction. Now that is a lot to talk about, a lot more than can fit in a couple hours!
But I gave it my best shot with the time allowed. I finally decided a good place to start is on the Bible's claims about the age of the earth as compared with the Naturalistic/Evolutionary view of billions of years, and various ways you can show that the earth is no more than six to ten thousand years old. I also talked about some of the consequences of the two differing views of the world. The credibility of Jesus, and the entire rest of the Bible, are at stake since Jesus claims that man was made in the beginning, on the sixth day of creation. But as things go, I ran out of time before I could talk about some of my favorite issues. So, I issued a challenge for when the group returns next Wednesday night. The challenge for them is to bring the top 'proofs' offered in their science textbooks for Evolution and/or questions they may have about the Bible's claims for us to discuss. I’m fairly certain my favorite topics will come up from that, but I also want to try and answer what most challenges them. It should prove to be even more exciting than this class was.
What do I hope for them to gain out of all of this? Primarily I want the students’ faith in God’s word to increase and I want them to always be prepared to give an answer for the faith which they have. I also want them to have the same wonder and amazement that I have when I look at the world, to see that the creation proclaims the glory of its Maker.
For your reading and viewing pleasure, here are some recommended websites:
--has great articles on a large array of subjects.
--has a free online book which is especially strong in its explanations of geology and the physical sciences, written be an engineer. The book is also available for purchase in a hard back version (which I have), suitable for middle school and up.
Free videos on a wide variety of subjects
Some good books to read:
Scientific Creationism Edited by Henry M. Morris, 1974 .Creation-Life Publishers. ISBN 0-89051-003-2
In The Beginning: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood - by Dr. Walt Brown
Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution by Michael J. Behe. 1998. Touchstone Books (Simon & Schuster), 320 pages. ISBN # 0-684-82754-9
Bones of Contention: A Creationist Assessment of Human Fossils - Marvin L. Lubenow: 1992 Baker Books. ISBN 0-8010-5677-2
Darwin on Trial - Phillip E. Johnson. 1993 InterVarsity Press, 195 pages.
Icons of Evolution: Science or Myth? - by Jonathan Wells. 2002. Regnery Publishing. 338 pages.
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Take for example "iTunes U" which is supported by the Reformed Theological Seminary. They have recorded entire semester courses on church history, apologetics, a three part systematic theology, Old Testament and New Testament surveys, and on and on...for free! I was just talking with someone the other day about wishing I had recorded all of my seminary classes at SWBTS for future reference. Well, in lieu of such offerings from SWBTS the courses from RTS will certainly do. With professors such as J. I. Packer, Derek Thomas, and John Frame, it is a real winner in my book. It's refreshing to see Christians working to build the kingdom without worrying too much about building their own castle.
Other great finds I would recommend to you are Podcasts from "Let My People Think" with Ravi Zacharias, "Grace to You" with John MacArthur, and "Renewing Your Mind" with R. C. Sproul. With iTunes you have the options of subscribing to Podcasts which will automatically download new content each day, and if you select to have those Podcasts on your iPod, they automatically transfer to the iPod when you connect it to the computer. Podcasts you have already listened to are removed from the iPod, and new Podcasts are added. Very simple, very easy, and I've been learning a lot. Since moving to Ft. Worth I haven't been able to listen to good teaching on the radio, and so this is a great way to listen to it anywhere, at any time.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Just how far can we go in trying to express the Gospel message in contemporary contexts?
Recently over lunch, a fellow I know related a story to me about the difficulties faced in missions work. The story comes from a friend of his, the fellow said, and goes something like this:
As this translator dialogged with the tribal elders, he began to describe the imagery that this passage described. He elaborated on the attributes of the lamb and its sacrificial symbolism. When he finished, he asked if there was an animal they were familiar with that might have these same spiritual connotations. With big smiles on their faces they replied that, yes, indeed there was. This tribe sacrificed pigs, native to their island.
So after much struggling with God, and prayer, the missionary translated the passage for the tribe as this: "Behold the pig of God Who takes away the sin of the world!" What's important here is that the principle of Scripture was expressed in a contemporary way and the message is now getting through."
I was rather stunned, as were the other people sitting at our table. The pig of God?!
This, my friends, is why we need good education. Prior to age 8, I had never seen a real-life sheep. Even to this day, any substantial knowledge of sheep and Shepherding I have is restricted to what I have been told by others, and the pictures they have shown me. How hard would it be to show a picture of a sheep to this tribe? Or, lacking a picture, simply describe the sheep and how they behave?
Sheep are helpless, easy prey without a good shepherd. Pigs are not. Sheep are fairly gentle animals, who respond to the voice of their shepherd. Pigs are not, and do not. Sheep are silent before their shearers, but pigs are not shorn. Pigs are slaughtered. I'm under the impression that they are not quiet about it either. Just how many of Jesus teachings using the imagery of sheep would be distorted, or even contradicted, if you impose the imagery of a pig in the place of a sheep? How many years will other teachers and missionaries have to spend fixing the problems such a "translation" can create, if they can be fixed at all?
I think this missionary is right to have struggled in prayer. He should have struggled more. If we follow this missionary's line of thinking, how far should we go in contextualizing the Gospel message? Suppose a people group are unfamiliar with good, faithful Fathers. Should we then baptize in the name of the Mother, Son, and Holy Spirit? No, you explain from the Bible how Fathers are supposed to behave, and that will clarify the imagery being used. What if the culture you are trying to reach has rejected marriage? Do we start calling the church the "same-sex partner/one night stand" of Christ? I think you get the idea.
I'm not saying we need to export American churches with fellowship halls and pews, with ice cream socials and VBS. What I am saying is that teachers need to actually teach, not confuse.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Tommy will surely want to share some of his exciting seminary finds, theology, greek, lots of big words! I'm sure he'd also want you to know, he did after all wake me up with this bit of info.. today is National Talk Like a Pirate Day! I will probably share things slightly more sundry. What the exciting plans for the weekend are, who won Settlers of Catan, how my venture with weight loss and running is going, and how much smaller our apartment has gotten since we moved in over a year ago.We're open to suggestions, and would love to know what you miss hearing about since there are so many we don't see or talk to as often as we want to (and should).
Fall 2007 has proven to be quite an abundant one for us! Tommy is taking 9 hours at SWBTS, he works about 30 hours a week in the TeleComm department. Our church is also offering an evangelism class that he's taking Tuesday evenings. And much to my excitement, is beginning an informal internship at our church, and is also weight lifting!! woohoo :) I am taking 12 hours at UTA, working about 30 hours a week at Box & Ship. I'm also taking a Student Wives' class at SWBTS and doing nursery duty Sunday evenings at our church. All this in addition to working out 3-4 times per week, watching what I eat and enjoying the benefits of weight loss!