Thursday, August 30, 2007

Morning View

I never know who will be calling when I wake up each morning. Sometimes it will be bluejays... sometimes crows or mourning doves... often there are sandhill cranes bugling along the creek.
Yesterday, when I looked out, there were sandhills scavenging the harvested wheat field just beyond our shed. Volunteer wheat has begun to grow in the stubble, and the cranes march along, pulling it out.
I marvel at those huge birds stalking majestically across the field. They stand as tall as I do and have a wingspan of 70". In comparison, the tiny hummingbirds at my feeder would fit with outspread wings between my fingers.
I am just amazed at the scope of God's mountains, cleft seabeds, sandy deserts and lush rainforest. And each supports uncountable forms of life, from protozoa to kangaroos to sperm whales. What awesome creative Power imagined all of this!
"And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him: male and female He created them."
Take a look outside your window and stand in awe. Take a look in your mirror and worship the One who created you.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


Steve Sensenig has a really good post called "More Than Meets the Eye" on his blog today. It's on using God's name in vain.

Some of the discussion and subsequent comments dealt with the unwillingness of the OT Jews to even speak (or spell) His name, and the reasons behind that action. The people of the past weren't the only ones who felt that way. If you read the Israeli newspapers today, you will find that they avoid the use of His name or spell it "G-d".

As I thought about the many times in a day that I hear the name of God used, I was reminded that profanity and slang are not the only offenses. How often have you talked with other believers and they assured you that "God said....", or "God wants..."? How many times have you chuckled at a joke or cartoon that used His name irreverantly? How many times have you done it yourself? I have, and I need to be reminded often Whose Name I'm throwing around so casually.

What about our promiscuous use of the word "Christian" as an adjective showing God's endorsement of everything from weight plans to fantasy fictional romance to t-shirts. His name is showing up on things that must disgust Him. We have made the Sovereign Creator and Ruler of the Universe into just another household commodity!

Why doesn't that disgust us?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Unfair Grace

"Grace is inherently unfair."

I read this quote by K. W. Leslie as he commented on an IMonk post yesterday entitled, ", and I've been chewing on it ever since.

Is grace fair? Chew on it, and let me know what you think.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Seedless Watermelons and Christians

Yesterday’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel carried an article by Jim Price about watermelons and choices. In an age when nearly every produce department carries an unbelievable range of exotic fruit and vegetables, it seems as though one old standard is no longer to be found. The seeded watermelon has gone the way of the dinosaur and has been “superseded” by the seedless variety.

That got me thinking. Where have they all gone? And why? When one questions, one Googles. I learned that:

True seedless watermelons can produce no fruit…they produce no seeds.

Mostly seedless melons can produce fruit only with extreme care…their seeds are indifferent germinators and may not grow under adverse conditions.

Seeded watermelons can produce abundant fruit. They produce multitudes of seeds which will often grow anywhere—in sidewalk cracks, on the compost bin, wherever they happen to fall.

That being the case, watermelon should be proliferating like kudzu, not becoming an endangered species. What has happened?

About 50 years ago, scientists developed a mostly seedless melon that required a seeded variety to pollinate it. Due to the magic of genetics, the resulting melons would be either seedless, seeded, or mostly seedless. The few seeds produced by the last group would be the ones used for the next planting. In spite of the difficulty and cost in producing seedless melons, they became the most desirable. Today, it is hard to find a standard seeded melon for sale anywhere.

So…what does all this have to do with Christians?

Seed is God’s plan for life to continue; as the seed dies, it introduces a new generation. Without seed, life becomes extinct, like the dinosaur.

Jesus told His followers, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.” John 12:24-26

Too often, Christians today seem to be more concerned with the comfort of the plant than with the propagation of Jesus’ Gospel. We make sure to feed and water and care for ourselves. We desire fruit that will enhance the plant (us), but we are too often sterile like the seedless watermelon. Instead of seeing churches full of believers sprouting up on the compost heaps and in the sidewalk cracks like standard melons, we are happy to live in hothouses, unaffected by the world around us.

What do you think it will take to keep the church from going the way of the dinosaur or the dodo bird…or the watermelon?

What can you and I do to produce fruit that will reproduce?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

addendum to the tendon

because it's just too hard to navigate my keyboard with a cast on my left hand....
from now on, my posts will be lower case (just "peck"because this dog won't "hunt").
might be even more tyop's than usual, too. :)
btw---fargo, i'm still looking for you!

carpal-metacarpal joint resection with tendon transplant

The arrow marks the spot!
After a delay of a month. I've finally had needed hand surgery (see blog title). The cartilage in above joint was shot, and the fancy name means that my learned hand guy cleaned out said joint and nipped out a piece of tendon from above my wrist. Then he inserted it in the
open joint, held it in place with some fancy plastic, sewed it up, stuffed it in plaster and elastic and charged a lot of money for the experience.
Surgery began at 8:30, took 1 1/4 hours, and I was home by noon.
I have the greatest respect for my doctor, and I trust him to do the job right. In fact, I have matching scars on my right hand and arm from the same procedure 5 years ago. It worked then, and I expect it to work now. He's been doing his job for years. If he tells me to do something...I do it. I have confidence in him because he's proven himself. and yet...he could fail.
Why do we so easily trust men, yet find it so hard to trust God....Who has never failed?

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Hello Fargo!

This is the first time I've posted to speak to only one reader, but my curiosity has gotten the best of me, and I just have to know.... Who is reading me from Fargo, ND? It's fun to check the sitemeter to see where my readers are located. Sometimes I can figure out who has been on the site...sometimes I can see that they've come in through a specific search, but... Who is reading me from Fargo?
I don't know anybody from Fargo, but you know who you are, even though you have never commented. Please identify yourself and tell me a little about you. My fellow-blogger, Alan Knox, has done a recent post on his commentators, asking them to tell a bit about themselves. I've enjoyed reading that, and it has brought to mind the problem of Fargo.
So, Fargo, this is your life. Please tell me who you are. I'll sleep better.
BTW, I wouldn't mind reading the bio's of those who have commented on this blog in the past.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Heritage Day 2007

The Living Hope Bible Church popcorn stand did a booming business today at Oostburg's biennial Heritage Day. We served hundreds of cups of freshly popped corn--free! It was a great opportunity to interact with other people in our community, explain God's grace in freely providing salvation through the sacrificial death of His own Son, hand out Bibles and other literature and serve the Lord as we served others.

Face painting, Gospel nails and a beanbag game were fun for the kids, too.

Hope you enjoy the pics!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Free Popcorn!

Every two years, the nearby community of Oostburg celebrates their "Heritage Day." It's a pretty low-key event...the equivalent of a big family reunion. The community was founded by Dutch Calvinist immigrants in the mid-1800's, and a lot of their descendants have chosen to remain in the area.
The demograpics have changed a lot over the past 30 years, though, as many urban dwellers have moved into the area. Although the village still has a semi-rural, hometown appearance, the population has doubled, and the heritage of many of the residents is no longer Dutch.
That said, Heritage Day has become an over-sized block party with Center Avenue shut down, quartet singing in the Pizza Ranch parking lot, and plenty of food stands and old-fashioned bargains to be had. Tour the local fire trucks and rescue squad, buy some books at the Library book sale, take ride in a horse-drawn wagon, catch up on the local news over a piece of home-made pie.
Living Hope Bible Church is a bit of an anomaly among the established churches...a newcomer, just like the folks who've moved in from Milwaukee or Grafton or we try to use the opportunity to get to know people and let them get to know us.
That's where the popcorn comes in.
We always hand out free popcorn. No cost to anybody, except us. We also do free face painting for the kids. And we get to explain why we are doing this...Because Jesus Christ, at the greatest cost to Himself, has provided our salvation. We cannot earn it. We cannot pay anything for it. All we can do is accept it, just as our friends accept a cup of popcorn.
When we do the face painting, we use just 5 colors to explain who God is and what He is like. We tell the kids about heaven and God's desire to have us there with Him. We use the dark color to explain the darkness of our sin and the red to tell of Jesus' death on the cross to pay for that sin. The white shows us dressed in Christ's own purity and righteousness as we trust Him as our substitute/sacrifice, and green stands for growth as believers and God's conforming us to the image of His Son through the power of His Spirit.
Free face paint...illustrations of God's free gift to us through the blood of His Son.
I can't wait to use these simple tools to tell the old, old story once again.
What kinds of "tools" do you use to tell others about the "hope that lieth in you"? Please share some of the things you've found to be successful. Maybe we can use them next time!