Friday, February 27, 2009
New/Noteworthy:I've been expanding my baking skills. Last weekend I made a German Chocolate Cake. It was quite yummy.
Interesting Activity:Our niece Alexandra has a big math project. So she was at our place last weekend so I could help her with it.
Biggest Accomplishment:The German Chocolate Cake
Where We Went:Drove Kymberly to youth group on Tuesday so she could go bowling. While she bowled, I found a nearby coffee house to read a book. Took Andrew to youth group last night and did the same thing. It was nice having a couple hours to myself to just read.
What I learned:I enjoy periodic quiet time to read.
Weekend Plans:It's not supposed to rain until Saturday evening, so I'd like to go to a nearby park or something (the East Bay has over 100 regional parks and places to visit) and just play around. Maybe take the dog and the bikes and a camer or two.
On Sunday Josh and I are attending the New Member's class at church to learn more about the church and decide if becoming members is something we want to persue.
Fun Photo:This is the German Chocolate Cake.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Somedays are harder than others to be thankful. The blessings don't just pop out and bonk you on the head like other days. Today is one of those days. I've been thinking for a bit what I have to be thankful for, and I know there are lots of things on that list.
- Josh and I are both employed by a profitable company, and liked by our bosses.
- The baby is healthy.
- Health insurance - for baby and me and the kids.
- 2 working cars
- A landlord who is very accomodating and understanding.
- A roof over our heads, food in our kitchen, heat in our heater vents, and water in our pipes.
- Family that loves us very much.
- A God who is faithful.
- A church family that we are starting to get to know - both kids are getting involved in the youth group.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
I've had mixed feelings about Lent. I met a lot of people along the way who "gave stuff up" for Lent, but I don't think fully understood the concept of why. One year I opted to give up my favorite TV show. I prefer, however, the term "fasted from." That was an interesting 6 weeks. I learned a lot in the time that I would normally watch that show. I tried to not substitute something else for it; instead used that time for something more edifying. It didn't take long for me to start watching the TV show again after Easter.
This year I am attending a church that celebrates Lent. Due to scheduling conflicts, we will be unable to attend the Ash Wednesday service. I'm disappointed, but there is always next year. However I've decided that I'm going to fast this year for Lent. I'm fasting from something that has inadvertantly caused great drama and frustration in my relationships. I'm fasting from something that has been good for me, but I've abused lately. I hope to learn from this experience.
I've opted to fast from my online message boards/forums/communities. This is going to be hard for me, especially since I've forged many awesome relationships on these communities. And I'm bonding with other pregnant women on one board. But this is something I think God has been speaking to me about and an experience from which I can learn a lot.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Sermon Series: The Jesus Life
Sermon Title: Get Real, Give It Up
2Early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people were coming to Him; and He sat down and began to teach them. 3The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court, 4they said to Him, "Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. 5"Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?" 6They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground. 7But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, "He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." 8Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. 9When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court. 10Straightening up, Jesus said to her, "Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?" 11She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said, "I do not condemn you, either Go From now on sin no more."
A Psalm of David. A Maskil.
1How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven,
Whose sin is covered!
2How blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity,
And in whose spirit there is no deceit!
3When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away
Through my groaning all day long.
4For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me;
My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer. Selah.
5I acknowledged my sin to You,
And my iniquity I did not hide;
I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD";
And You forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah.
5Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. 6For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, 7and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. 8But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. 9Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices,
This week's sermon introduced Spiritual Disciplines. He also used the term Instruments of Virtue.
There are two basic categories.
1) Disciplines of Abstinence. These include solitude, silence, fasting, chastity, frugality, sacrifice and more.
2) Disciplines of engagement. These include worship, celebration, prayer, fellowship, submission, confession and more. These disciplines actively move us toward Christ.
Why are the disciplines important?
Our culture celebrates the freedom to do what we want, when we want. The last thing "we" want is to be under the authority of another. However, the question must be asked, If we have the ability to be good completely, why aren't we?
We are not free as long as we are under the darkness of sin. We find freedom by aligning ourselves with the spiritual disciplines.
The discipline discussed this week is Confession. We need to Get real about our sin. Acknowledge a place of brokennes in our life. We do this in connection with God.
In Psalm 32:5 David confesses his sin to God. God forgave David. David expressed feeling heavy; his body was wasting away. When he confessed, the guilt was removed. He became a new man. When we get real, he forgives and forgets.
Once we acknowledge and confess the sin, we need to do something about it ... Give it up.
In Col 3, Paul mentions that we need to put our sin to death; anything and everything that gets in the way of God.
God wants us to refresh and cleanse ourselves. We need to put on the NEW self.
Another dimension to the confession is mentioned in James 5.
16Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.
I've seen the power and effectiveness of confession and acknowledgement to God. It's a tough thing, especially when it's a sin that is enjoyed so much by the flesh. But the longer one holds on to the sin, the harder it is to turn from it. And the heavier the hand of God feels on oneself. But the bigger the relief is when it's finally been removed.
There were so many good verses this week. I honestly didn't know which to choose. Because of the emotion and complete heart put into it, I like the Psalm passage the best. So this week I'm going to memorize Psalm 32:1-5 (I better get started; I'm already 2 days behind).
Friday, February 13, 2009
New/Noteworthy: not a whole lot.....
Interesting Activity: Bossman gave me $20 last week as a "prize" for knowing the answer to a question in a meeting; however he expected me to answer it and gave me the $20 before the meeting and told me to keep my mouth shut. I bought some clothes with it.
Good friend of Josh's is in town for business and he came over for dinner on Wednesday night. That was fun.
Biggest Accomplishment: SIL came to visit on Sunday (as she often does) and we didn't spend any money!! YAY!!!
Where we went: the mall, church, dr office
What I learned: Hopefully will learn about maternity leave today.
Weekend Plans: Relax, stay in and out of the rain, maybe do some sewing, play guitar, enjoy the 3-day weekend.
Fun Photo: Not a new photo, as I haven't taken any recently. But this is a collage of some pics I took while in Michigan in November.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Today is my Father's birthday. I won't reveal his exact age, but let you know it is less than 60.
My father is a unique individual (as we all are I guess).
I get my techno-junkiness from him. And my analytical mind. And his curly hair. And small mouth with small teeth.
I have 3 very fond memories of my dad as I think back to my childhood - of course as I reflect on these 3 specific memories many more come to mind. I'll try to stick to just the three.
Monday, February 9, 2009
Sermon Series: The Jesus Life
Sermon Title: Life Through the Spirit
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert
We want a life where we are constantly nourished by His living water. How do we get there?
We need to be full of and led by the Spirit. Jesus led a life that was in constant communion with the Holy Spirit.
Who is the Spirit and how does He help us?
Will never leave us
16"I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever;
17that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.
25"These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. 26"But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.
Leads us into all truth
13"But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.
31So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace, being built up; and going on in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it continued to increase.
Guides and directs
6They passed through the Phrygian and Galatian region, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia; 7and after they came to Mysia, they were trying to go into Bithynia, and the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them;
Calls to ministry
28"Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.
Enables us to live righteously
9However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. 10If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
Confirms that we are childred of God
14For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!" 16The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, 17and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.
Prays on our behalf to the Father
26In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; 27and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
Produces the character of God in us
22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Is our seal or guarantee of the life to come
13In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation--having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of His glory.
Is the agent of sanctification
2 Thessalonians 2:13
13But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.
It is the Spirit that is at work in us and He is the one who enables us to get through day to day and do what we need to do. It is by listening to the spirit that we can escape temptation (Luke 4; 1 Cor 10:13); we can get over the hurdles in life; we can know what we are to do next in life. The Spirit takes our prayers and turns them into something God can hear/understand and answer. The Spirit shows us how to live by producing the character of God in us.
I want to spend more time looking at how the Spirit enables us to live righteously, Romans 8:9-11.
2 Key points
1) Life through the Spirit ebbs and flows according to our Spiritual alertness and engagement.
2) Life is cultivated through the spiritual disciplines of the faithful
TAKE HOME MESSAGE:
Life in Jesus is one lived out through the Spirit.
There are a couple this week. I think the 2 key points that struck me the most were the Spirit comforts us (Acts 9:31) and the Spirit enables us to live righteously (Romans 8:9-11). Although I really like that He is also the agents of sanctification (2 Thess 2:13)
I think I'm going to memorize Acts 9:31 this week and focus on the Spirit comforting us. Maybe find more verses on this. I need His comforting lately.
Friday, February 6, 2009
New/Noteworthy: Sunday was communion in church. This was a noteworthy day for us because we haven't missed a week since the last communion Sunday. Actually, we haven't missed a day since a couple weeks before that, but still ... we thought it cool that we went communion to communion. And we're starting to meet people and talk with them before and after the service.
Interesting Activity: Watched the Super Bowl on Sunday and celebrated Josh's birthday. He's now old enough to be president of the US.
Biggest Accomplishment: I finished a baby quilt that I designed for an online gift exchange.
Where we went: church, Quest Laboratories, crazy.....
What I learned: The Saturn of Pleasanton ROCKS!!!!
Weekend Plans: Josh has a gift card to cash in on some new jeans. I want to get a couple more pieces of maternity clothing. And maybe we'll go for a long walk at a park or something. We'll see what the weather holds for us. I also have a few sewing creations I want to try. My creative juices are working overtime right now.
The quilt that I designed. With the exception of the center piece and the backing, it was all scraps. The only thing I had to actually buy was the backing, and that's because the backing I had was too small. But I got it on clearance for $2.50/yd. I got 3 yards. The center piece came from mom.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
I'm going to reflect briefly on politics and our government. I try to stay away from this subject in my blog because, well, I just don't know enough.
But ... I just can't help but believe there are better things to spend our money on right now than this.
I mean, really???? We're in a recession; home prices are at a 5+ year low; unemployment is at a 40 year high; the state of California doesn't have a budget and is taking extreme measures to cut costs like mandatory days off and delays in sending tax refunds; the state of California is out of unemployment benefits and is now borrowing from some other source for it; there's a salmonella outbreak in peanut butter and people are in the hospital because of it. So yeah ... let's spend the little money that we have on a GRAND JURY for someone who did something unethical, but not necessarily illegal, hurt nobody, is already disliked by most of America, and is retired from his career. That's really what I want my tax dollars paying for. Forget new text books for my step-children or fixing the housing crunch or giving out unemployment for the millions of unemployed.
Our neighbor lady knocked on our door one day and said, "I'm just going to give this away, but thought I'd ask you first if you wanted it." She showed us this high chair. Yep ... we'll take it!!
I am thankful for all the handmedowns and freebies that people are offering and we are starting to accumulate many great things because of everyone's generosity. YAY!
Monday, February 2, 2009
Sermons Series: The Jesus Life
Sermon Title: Live Water for Thirsty Souls
1As the deer pants for the water brooks,
So my soul pants for You, O God.
2My soul thirsts for God, for the living God;
When shall I come and appear before God?
1O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly;
My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You,
In a dry and weary land where there is no water.
13Jesus answered and said to her, "Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again;
14but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life."
1Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb,
2in the middle of its street On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
There is a theme throughout the bible of living water flowing through us. Gen 2, Psalm 63, Isaiah 44:1-5, Revelation 22 and many more. In Genesis, the stream of living water was turned off because we turned our backs on God at the fall. In Isaiah, God says He will pour living water on dry ground and His spirit will descend upon us. Rev 22 shows us how the living water is lifegiving and, when consumed, one will grow and be fruitful in life.
God provides a stream of living water and He is the source of the lifegiving water. The streams of living water symbolize never going thirsty or hungry again.
We see this when Jesus speaks to the woman at the well in John 4. He tells the woman that a well of water will spring up to eternal life.
Getting the living water is not about our giving of ourselves or anything that we can do. It's about receiving. Stopping what we're doing and accept the living water that God is offering. And it's daily.
There are barriers that we encounter in our lives that prevent us from receiving.
We are overwhelmed with time committments and don't stop to open up to the Spirit of God. We need to make time to drink and RECEIVE.
*Passionate Pursuit of Good things
We often pursue so many good things, we don't have time to pursue God.
*None of things satisfy out thirst. They are substitutes for the real thing.
The river flows from the heart of God and His love. He came to restore the rivers of LIFE.
Jesus says, "I came that you may have life and have it to the fullest."
There are two that I like this week. Psalm 63:1 and Rev 22:1-2. I'm going to memorize Psalm 63:1. I like the following imagery: "In a dry and weary land, my sould thirsts for you." It's a reminder that when I thirst, to stop and take a drink.