Sunday, February 25, 2007

Sunday Hymn - There is a Fountain

There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.
Lose all their guilty stains, lose all their guilty stains;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.

The dying thief rejoiced to see that fountain in his day;
And there have I, though vile as he, washed all my sins away.
Washed all my sins away, washed all my sins away;
And there have I, though vile as he, washed all my sins away.

Dear dying Lamb, Thy precious blood shall never lose its power
Till all the ransomed church of God be saved, to sin no more.
Be saved, to sin no more, be saved, to sin no more;
Till all the ransomed church of God be saved, to sin no more.

E’er since, by faith, I saw the stream Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die.
And shall be till I die, and shall be till I die;
Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die.

Then in a nobler, sweeter song, I’ll sing Thy power to save,
When this poor lisping, stammering tongue lies silent in the grave.
Lies silent in the grave, lies silent in the grave;
When this poor lisping, stammering tongue lies silent in the grave.

Lord, I believe Thou hast prepared, unworthy though I be,
For me a blood bought free reward, a golden harp for me!
’Tis strung and tuned for endless years, and formed by power divine,
To sound in God the Father’s ears no other name but Thine.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

What I Heard

At a scrapbooking crop tonight, someone said this:

"Lord love a duck."

I kid you not.

She really said it.

I thought only people in books said that. But I guess not!

(I'm starting to scrapbook my almost 15 year old son's book and I began it from when he was one. Oh, he was cute. It's so hard to believe the little sprout then is 6'1" now!)

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Oh how fun!

The mail brought us our Amazon order yesterday. In the two boxes (shipped from different warehouses, I imagine):

Wisdom and Eloquence: A Christian Paradigm for Classical Learning by Robert Littlejohn and Charles Evans. This was recommended on one of the e-lists I'm on and I'm looking forward to it. I think I need some vision-casting (it's February).

Believer's Baptism: Sign of the New Covenant in Christ edited by Thomas Schreiner & Shawn Wright. I saw this first on Justin Taylor's Between Two Worlds blog and read an excerpt. It looks really good and I'm looking forward to reading it. It's a series of essays on believer's baptism.

The Art of Worship by Greg Scheer was recommended by Bob Kauflin on Worship Matters. I've read the first two or three chapters and I'm enjoying it so far. Most of it reiterates what I already know but it's good to read it from a different perpective.

Stop Dating the Church by Josh Harris. I scanned this last night. It seems like it is appealing to a wider audience and I think it will be a valuable resource for our church.

All but the first book are actually part of my husband's book budget at the church but thankfully he lets us have them at home first!

PS. And if someone could tell me how to link pictures directly, I would greatly appreciate it.

Monday, February 19, 2007

A Red Letter Day for Our Family

Yesterday was a great day for our family.

Our youngest daughter turned 6.

And our oldest daughter was baptised.

I have a great audio of her testimony. Unfortunately the video part of it is turned sideways. One of these days I will remember that movies on the camera cannot be rotated!
After a birthday lunch, we went tobogganing and everyone had fun with no major injuries. All in all, a wonderful day and we are so thankful to God for His wonderful blessing and provision.

Friday, February 16, 2007


This week has been quite the week for things breaking down. Our car's exhaust needs to be fixed, the cordless phone died, my laptop appears to have bit the dust and overall there's just lots going on.

But the Lord has been gracious in reminding me that our contentment is in Him. Our ladies' Bible study has just started Ephesians so we were studying Eph. 1:1-14 on Tuesday night. It's an amazing passage at any time but the Bible study went really well and I think we all left understanding more about God's purpose and plan and that it's all to His glory. I have reflected on that passage more than once this week!

This morning, Spurgeon's devotion was on the subject of contentment, specifically Paul's statement that "in all things I have learned to be content". Spurgeon wrote about how we need to learn to be content - it is not a state we are naturally born to. He likens it to that of a garden:

Now, contentment is one of the flowers of heaven, and if we would have it, it must be cultivated; it will not grow in us by nature; it is the new nature alone that can produce it, and even then we must be specially careful and watchful that we maintain and cultivate the grace which God has sown in us.

I have learned over the years how it takes work to cultivate & maintain a garden and it also takes work to maintain contentment, through the grace of the Holy Spirit. And as sure as you think you have attained it, be careful!

He ends with this:

Do not indulge the notion that you can be contented with learning, or learn without discipline. It is not a power that may be exercised naturally, but a science to be acquired gradually. We know this from experience. Brother, hush that murmur, natural though it be, and continue a diligent pupil in the College of Content.

I pray that I will continue to learn contentment, even at those times of testing, and that this has also been an encouragement to you to continue to be a "diligent pupil in the College of Content".

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

So tell me why....

mini cream puffs that are beautifully puffed when they come out of the oven fall flat after a few minutes?

And why do only some of them collapse but some stay puffed?

It's a mystery that I wouldn't mind solving. The only thing that I can think of is that some of them weren't cooked thoroughly enough.


And now for something completely different....

Our whole family enjoys TLC's What Not to Wear, even the two men! I recently found Dress Your Best at our local library and read through it, when I could get it away from various children. Even my husband flipped through it and reported on his body style.

The book is divided into 6 different body types for women, all with subdivisions of petite, average & tall, and 8 body types for men. For each body type, a different outfit is shown, with comments, for weekday, weekend and evening wear. Each body type is represented by a real man or women, including Stacy and Clinton themselves, dressed in the clothing recommended.

There is also a suggested wardrobe list for men and women, as well as a glossary (with pictures) in the back.

I really enjoyed reading through this book. I read all of the commentary, even though the body types don't all apply because it's helpful to see the rationale for each outfit. Some of the styles aren't my favourite (the casual wear for the barrel-chested man, which happens to be the same as my husband, is downright laughable) but I learned a lot about what to look for in clothing.

We like the show, and the book, a lot because Stacy and Clinton are very good at just accepting each person as she is and encouraging her to dress not only for her body type but for her lifestyle as well. There's never any "just lose ten pounds and then you'll look great" attitude. Instead, they encourage people to accent the best parts of their bodies and "de-accent" the worst parts so each one does look her best.

They also tend to look for classic styles that won't go out of fashion instead of the latest trends.

As I'm out shopping now, I'm more likely to look at lines of clothing and think about the fit and style than I was before. For that, I am grateful and I recommend this book for a fun and helpful read for anyone who cares about clothing but who doesn't want to go all out in the "fashion world".

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Book Review - A New Kind of Christian

Although I've been aware of Brian McLaren for a long time and I'm familiar with many of the ideas associated with the Emergent/Emerging church, I've never actually read any of his books. After discussing A New Kind of Christian with a lady at church one day (her daughter had to read the book at college), I decided maybe it was time to read some of his writings. Thankfully the public library has several selections by McLaren, so I requested a few and started reading. I realize that many other people have already reviewed and discussed the books much better than I will but I felt like writing out some of my thoughts anyway.

I finished A New Kind of Christian yesterday. It's a fairly easy read. Written in fictional form, McLaren presents his ideas regarding postmodernism and the problems with the modern evangelical church. I can definitely see why it's an appealing book to many Christians. The story draws the reader in and presents the issues in a way that the reader can identify with.

I found myself agreeing with the analysis of the modern evangelical church. There is no doubt there are problems that need to be addressed. Where we differ is in the answers.

For example, Christians can be judgemental. He uses the example of the woman caught in adultery. One of his characters, Neo, asks, "Who was the greater sinner, the woman caught in adultery or the Pharisee holding a stone ready to execute her?... How much energy do we modern Christians put into condemning sexual sins compared to avoiding the judgmental, Pharisaical attitude of those with rocks in their hands? Who killed Jesus, adulterers or Pharisees? I'm not trying to minimize adultery - believe me, I know how terrible it is. I'm just saying that our modern preoccupations don't seem very informed by the gospel." (p. 99)

Point taken. Whether it is sexual sin or backbiting and anger, it is sin and Christians need a much better understanding not only of their own sin before God but the magnitude of the grace given by God.

However, McLaren not only fails to define the gospel in terms of the Word of God but goes on to minimize the power of the gospel.

He recognizes the lack of community and caring for non-Christians in our world. He points out the moralism and legalism in so many churches - if you will only pray more, give more, be at church more, then you will be closer to God. But again, he runs away from the answer found in the gospel and instead looks to other means of grace.

One of the more dangerous elements of this book, that I think is explained more in the second & third books of the series (the library doesn't have the second book and I'm just starting the third), is the what McLaren sees as the problem of the exclusivity of Christ. At first glance, especially in this first book, his ideas do not seem to be that far off. However, how he carries them through and the logical trajectory will, I think, if it hasn't already, bring him into conflict with the truth of the gospel and of God's Word.

I do think that his books are valuable to read, if a person is sufficiently grounded in the truths of Scripture. He is a very persuasive writer and one must read carefully to fully grasp what he is actually saying. He says in the introduction to the third book that he heard of a large church where the pastoral staff was forbidden to read his books. If that is true, and not an urban legend, I think that is silly. It's important for adults, especially leaders, to read books like this and grapple with the ideas that are being presented because, like it or not, the postmodern world is the one that we are living in. However, the careful reader should always be aware of the underlying assumptions and always look to God's word for the final answers. The danger comes when younger Christians read books like this without guidance from older Christians and without careful discussion of what the problems are and what the answers are. Not that older Christians have all the answers but usually they have at least encountered some of the issues before and are more prepared to look at the issues from all angles, not just from McLaren's viewpoint.

I'm interested to get farther into the third book of the trilogy, which is mostly dealing with the doctrine of hell. Perhaps I will post a further review after I finish reading it.

Sunday Hymn - Grace Unmeasured

We're singing this song today for the first time in our service. Although this isn't technically a hymn (although it has 2 verses and a chorus - hmmm... maybe it would fit the definition of a hymn), I love the words and the way they focus our attention on what God has done for us while still reminding us of the grace that is free to us for every day living.

The theme fits really well with what my husband is preaching on - the crucifixion. He's in chapter 27 of Matthew and will be spending a couple of weeks on the crucifixion.

Grace Unmeasured

Verse 1
Grace unmeasured, vast and free
That knew me from eternity
That called me out before my birth
To bring You glory on this earth
Grace amazing, pure and deep
That saw me in my misery
That took my curse and owned my blame
So I could bear Your righteous name

Grace paid for my sins
And brought me to life
Grace clothes me with power
To do what is right
Grace will lead me to heaven
Where I’ll see Your face
And never cease
To thank You for Your grace

Verse 2
Grace abounding, strong and true
That makes me long to be like You
That turns me from my selfish pride
To love the cross on which You died
Grace unending all my days
You’ll give me strength to run this race
And when my years on earth are through
The praise will all belong to You

Grace paid for my sins
And brought me to life
Grace clothes me with power
To do what is right
Grace will lead me to heaven
Where I’ll see Your face
And never cease
To thank You for Your grace

“Grace Unmeasured” by Bob Kauflin
© 2005 Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI). Sovereign Grace Music, a division of Sovereign Grace Ministries.
From Worship God Live. All rights reserved. International copyright secured.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

A Saturday Meme

This is from Kim and it seemed like a useful sort of thing to put on my blog. One of these days I will get back to posting regularly.

1. What is your occupation?

2. What color are your socks right now?
striped grey and black

3. What are you listening to right now?

4. What was the last thing that you ate?
Lemon angel food cake with lemon pudding for dessert last night.

5. Can you drive a stick shift?

6. When is your birthday, and how old will you be on that day, this year?
On April 24, I will be 39. It's starting to hit me hard.

7. Last person you spoke to on the phone?
Probably my mother in law yesterday afternoon.

8. Do you like the person who sent this to you?
You bet.

9. How many states have you lived in?
I've lived in 3 provinces.

10. Favorite Drink?

11. What is your favorite sport to watch?
Figure skating.

12. Have you ever dyed your hair?
Do highlights count?

13. Pets?
1 cat

14. Favorite Food?
english muffins with peanut butter.

15. What was the last movie you watched?
Night at the Museum

16. Favorite day of the year?
Have no idea.

17. What do you do to vent anger?
Stew or raise my voice.

18. What was your favorite toy as a child?
I don't remember. Maybe one of those large dolls.

19. What is your favorite season?

20. Hugs or kisses?

21. Cherries or blueberries?
Depends on what's in my hand at the moment.

22. Do you want your friends to e-mail you back?

23. Who is most likely to respond?
No idea.

24. Who is least likely to respond?
No idea.

25. Living arrangements?
Northern Alberta

26. When was the last time you cried?
I don't remember.

27. What is on the floor of your closet?
A quilt and a couple of miscellaneous items.

28. Who is the friend you have had the longest that you are sending this to?
I'm not sending it to anyone. They can decide to do what they want.

29. What did you do last night?
Went to supper at Grandma's. Came home and had a bath and read. Tried to watch "What Not to Wear" but slept through half of it. Went to bed and had trouble going to sleep. Go figger.

30. Favorite smells?
Tomato plants, vanilla

31. What inspires you?
The Bible, beautiful scenery.

32. What are you afraid of?
Nothing right at the moment.

33. Plain, cheese, or spicy hamburgers?

34. Favorite dog breed?
Miniature schnauzer or golden retriever.

35. Number?
No idea.

36. How many years at your current job?
We'll have been married 18 years this summer and my oldest is 15 this summer. We're on our 9th year of homeschooling.

37. Favorite day of the week?

38. Where would you like to retire?
Somewhere close to family.

39. Favorite Movie?
I have no idea. Probably Pride & Prejudice.

40. Ever driven a Motorcycle or heavy machinery?

41. What are your plans for today?
Going to the gym, a meeting this morning, scrapbooking & school planning and then out for supper tonight.

42. Are you actually going to answer all these and send them back to the person who sent them to you?
I'm answering them but I'm posting them here.

So if you need something to inspire you this morning, feel free to grab this and go with it.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

My Kind of Quiz

What Kind of Reader Are You?
Your Result: Dedicated Reader

You are always trying to find the time to get back to your book. You are convinced that the world would be a much better place if only everyone read more.

Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm
Literate Good Citizen
Book Snob
Fad Reader
What Kind of Reader Are You?
Create Your Own Quiz

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Excellent Homeschooling Article

I just finished reading an excellent article by Reb Bradley. I have read other articles by him in the past and been put off by his seemingly formulaic approach to raising children. But this article is excellent! He really emphasizes that it is the heart that is important, not the outward appearance. But go and read it for yourself!

Article of the Month