Saturday, March 28, 2009

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

God's artwork

Seriously, this is how my carrot looked as I began to slice it.

I thought it was kinda unique and worth sharing as it reminds me that God creates one of a kind masterpieces.
Just like the sunrise we saw last night as Thad kept naming all the colors with excitement. You just can't take in all of HIS beauty.
Even when slicing a carrot, He can reveal detail and beauty in order to draw us to Himself.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Pirates and Cowboys

I've never seen a more kind pirate :)

Man, that's a cute cowboy huh?

Monday, March 23, 2009


I found this awesome Idea on the internet.... what a great way to use an old necktie!
If you have any of those unwanted neckties laying around the house, or think the man of the home doesn't need to be wearing that particular one anymore because it's out of style.... then I have the project for you!
Just take the tie and begin stuffing it between the back lining and silk front. Stuff all the way down and sew or repair stitching on the seam if needed. Add eyes and a tongue and voila! You have a snake that your little buddy will absolutely, hands down... LOVE!

This one is a diamond back.... ha ha
Happy Snake crafting :)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

My Favorite Things

I was tagged by a friend to list 7 of my favorite things and thought that this would be a good chance to create an uprising against this imperialistic blog. I hope my friend will enjoy being a part of this cessation of male only dialogue from previous posts! :) We need some womanly perspective again... don't you think?

"These are a few of my favorite things"....

1) Crafting, being able to create something new and functional!

2) Playing the piano for hours on end in the dark

3) Baking! I love baking and then sitting to enjoy the result

4) Teaching my children with projects and/or playing dress up with them. Creating mustaches and all for the pirates

5) Cleaning and keeping my home warm and cozy. I love walking into our space and feeling relaxed

6) Talking to my husband about random stuff as we lay in bed at night and loving the connection with my dearest friend.

7) Cup of fruit tea in the morning and afternoon.


Imperialism and Our Blog

We've been studying the effects of European imperialism on Africa and Asia in my World History class (10th graders). Imperialism is basically when one group extends their influence to foreign lands through either direct or indirect means. That said, it seems as though I have conquered our blog. I hope my influence doesn't have quite as many negative consequences as European imperialism did.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

So what exactly is God's? Mark 12:13-17

Later they sent some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Jesus to catch him in his words. They came to him and said, "Teacher, we know you are a man of integrity. You aren't swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not? Should we pay or shouldn't we?" But Jesus knew their hypocrisy. "Why are you trying to trap me?" he asked. "Bring me a denarius and let me look at it."They brought the coin, and he asked them, "Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?" "Caesar's," they replied. Then Jesus said to them, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's." And they were amazed.

I'm teaching through Mark in my 9th grade Bible class, and we came to this passage recently. Now I'm not sure about you, but I have almost always heard this passage dealt with in terms of what to do with your money. Jesus is giving the thumbs up to secular political authority. It has the right to tax and it's dishonorable to fail to obey that level of authority. That part of the passage is pretty clear. It's the second part of Jesus' statement that I'm much more interested in.

I have heard people preach on this and almost all of them connect this with the idea of paying taxes to the government and giving to the Lord. Now don't get me wrong here, because I think you can draw that application from the passage. But, I think there might be more here.

The passage reveals to us that the recipients of Jesus' words were the Herodians and the Pharisees (groups I discussed in a previous post). They're trying to get Jesus to say something that would anger his Jewish followers (if He tells them to pay Caesar) or cause him to commit treason (if He denies that taxes should be payed).

He uses an illustration for them to make a point that they clearly miss and I think we often do as well. He asks them in whose image the coin is made? The answer was Caesar and so what was made in his image was due him. The question is what is "due God," or what "is God's"? For the answer, I think we have to ask the same question that Jesus asked: What is made in God's image?

We are. Jesus was exhorting the Herodians and the Pharisees to pay Caesar what was his, but also to give to God what was His. Jesus was encouraging each group to turn from how they had each strayed from God through either religion or worldliness. The Apostle Paul elaborates on what this looks like in Romans 12:1-2

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

God is the one who made us and ,therefore, we should offer ourselves up to Him. The cool thing is that when we turn over control of our lives to our Heavenly Father, we actually experience life in a better way. He loves us and knows what is best for us. How cool that we can turn things over to Him and abide, rest, dwell, and trust in Him.

May we give to God what is His.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Last Sunday's Sermon

Here's a link to the audio file of Thomas' sermon from last week if anyone is interested. The sound didn't record for the first minute or two, so be patient. The text is from Ephesians, even though he says it's Philippians at the beginning :-)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Last Sunday

I preached in a church. On a Sunday. Like a real church. In a morning service. It was big time.

Around Christmas time, my Pastor here in Vienna came to hear me speak. He and I got together a few weeks later to discuss the possibility of me speaking in church, but we kind of shelved the idea because of all that I am involved with at VCS. Then, a few weeks ago, he got really sick. The Lord was gracious to spare his life but his recovery would be a long process and would limit his time in the pulpit. He asked me if I would join the preaching team and teach some while he got back to full strength.

We are studying Ephesians right now and I was asked to teach on 5:1-21. Great. I've never preached in church before and I get to talk about imitating God (v.1), avoiding sexual immorality and greed (v.3-5), and discussing what it means to be filled with the Spirit (v.18).

I loved it.

And, because of how God usually works, I spent all week applying these verses in my own life and in dealing with situations with students and teachers at the school. Sunday went really well and multiple people encouraged me to speak again when I have the opportunity. That said, I would have to say that this has probably been the most difficult week I have ever faced in ministry because of some things going on with students.

Ephesians 5:8-14 have been the most applicable for me through all of it though. The passage begins a series of contrasts that Paul makes: Darkness-Light; Folly-Wisdom; Drunkenness-the filling of the Spirit. I have come back over and over to the contrast between darkness and light.

When we are believers who are walking in fellowship with God and are being continually filled with the Spirit, we evidence the fruit of light (v.9). This is the natural byproduct of walking in the Spirit because Jesus tells us that He is the light that has come into the world. If He is in us, and we are allowing Him to use us, His light shines through us. That's why He told the disciples they were the light of the world, it wasn't them, but Him in them. The light of Christ that is in us exposes the deeds of darkness both in our own lives and in the lives of the people we are around. And when this happens, not everyone likes it, especially people who love the darkness.

So, be continually filled by the Holy Spirit and walk in the light. Some people will be repulsed by you because they are repulsed by Jesus, and others will be drawn to you because they are drawn to Jesus. That's just kind of how it works.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Dealing With Suffering

I thought I would share some audio with you that deals with the issue of suffering in the life of a believer. The text he uses is from 1 Peter. It's around 45 mins or so but is very powerful because everything is pointed back to Jesus and His cross.

Monday, March 09, 2009


This is a really cool site that a friend of mine just sent me. What a great way to describe what it means to follow Christ: "I AM SECOND"

I very much enjoyed listening to several of these powerful testimonies and I hope you guys will as well.

VCS Soccer Highlights

Here are some belated highlights from the soccer season. They were compiled by our goalkeeper, hence several of his saves making appearances.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

"Mommy, the pancakes taste like garlic."

Mmmmm....they look good don't they?That's assuming that this hasn't made its way into the mix. Now don't get me wrong, Garlic is one of the great joys of my life...just not for breakfast. As a mature and loving father and husband, I'm going to have to own this little mishap.

Mollie made breakfast this morning and, no sooner had she set him up to eat, Thad declared that the pancakes tasted like garlic. We laughed because (A) How many 3 year olds can identify the taste of garlic? & (B) Assuming he was right, how in the world did it happen?

Well, last night when I got home I found a very tired wife who desperately needed a break. I decided that I'd throw together a pasta dish with a side of garlic bread (made with fresh garlic butter). A good idea, assuming you don't use the spoon you mixed the garlic butter with to get more butter from the dish. Apparently that makes all of the butter taste like garlic. Who knew?

So it was the butter, not the pancakes. Hurray for a unique breakfast...but I think I'll keep garlic and pancakes separate from now on.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Just because you can, doesn't mean that you should...

"No, here's looking at you two...idiots."

I realize I'm close to two years behind on this post, so bare with me. So Mollie and I watched Indiana Jones IV the other night, hence my love for the guys in the above picture.

Seriously, what a wretched movie. As a fan of the Indiana Jones films, I felt that this was basically a cinematic atrocity. I had been previously informed that the film would bring about this kind of reaction, but I guess I just had to see it for myself.

*SPOILER ALERT* This movie sucks.

There, I spoiled it for you. The basic idea is that Aliens did something with the Mayans or some other civilization...anyway, it's not important because all this movie did was completely ruin the world of Indiana Jones. Every one of the other films connected reality with something transcendent or bigger than our everyday experience. The first and third films even alluded to the existence of the God of the Bible, which was cool. Even the Hindu thing in the second film was interesting. And then, Lucas and Spielberg went and undid all of that by connecting everything in the ancient world with freaking aliens. Aliens? Seriously? Dang it George, couldn't you just keep Star Wars and Indiana Jones separate? No, you couldn't, and now I dislike you and your films more than ever. And Steven, seriously? How could you let him talk you into this? Every movie you make is good. How could you?

Getting to the point.

One of my other big problems with the film was that it was full of computer generated scenes (just like the new Star Wars films). I'm glad that we have the technology that allows for those things, it really adds to some films (Lord of the Rings, The Matrix, Spiderman etc.). But, when a series of films has an established way of doing things, why change it? Just because you can do something, doesn't always mean that you should.

Paul dealt with this idea in 1 Corinthians saying: "Everything is permissible for me, but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible for me, but I will not be mastered by anything."

And this is what's hard about the Christian Life.

We are technically free to do anything or engage in any behavior that isn't expressly condemned in scripture as sin. This creates a lot of grey areas in life, and most people really like black and white. In fact, we tend to go to one of two extremes to avoid the grey and Jesus warned His disciples about both:

"Be careful," Jesus warned them. "Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod." --Mark 8:15
He's warning them about two types of sin: Religion & Worldliness

The Pharisees were religious zealots who loved rules and regulations. They had stopped serving God and were really committing idolatry by "worshipping" a god they had fashioned according to their own rules and desires. Religion creates self-righteousness and pride, two things the true God of the Bible doesn't like.

The yeast of Herod referred to the followers of Herod (Herodians) who had forsaken their connection to the scriptures and embraced the ideas and practice of the Greeks and Romans. They no longer saw any need to worship the one true God and worshipped foreign gods, all the while indulging their own sensual desires.

Interestingly enough, it was only the person of Jesus and His message that brought these two groups together. In the first part of the Gospel of Mark, these two diametrically opposed groups come together to find a way to kill Jesus. Heathens and the self-righteous folks working together, isn't that sweet? And all of this happens because people who love religion and people who love the world can really only agree on one thing: They HATE Jesus and they HATE Grace.

And this is the struggle for us who look to follow Jesus: That we would really follow Him and live in Grace, avoiding both religion and worldliness. It's easier said than done and only comes out of a growing relationship with Him. The exercise of biblical discernment in the grey areas of life comes only when we are being fed by the Word and walking by the Spirit (Gal. 5:16).

So let us examine ourselves and our conduct. Let us live discerningly and make choices that reflect our Saviour and who He is in our lives. And remember, learn from Lucas and Spielberg and know that just because you can, doesn't mean that you should.