Friday, November 28, 2008

Nathan Clark George @ Redeemer & Rolfs at SSKC

A couple of Christmas concerts to let you know about (get your sharpies out; you'll want to mark these on your calendars!)

First, Nathan Clark George will be doing a free Christmas concert at Redeemer Presbyterian on Sunday evening, December 21st. The tentative time is 6:00 pm, but check his website for updates. Bring $$$ to buy his music!

If you don't know who NCG is, you obviously don't read my blog so you're probably not reading this post either! Or are you?!? If you missed these posts, click here and here ... or just go to his website. NCG is my favorite musician 'of his kind' (of which there is no other.)

Second concert to let you know about: The exquisite Rolf family (Devon Rolf that is) will be performing in the StateStreet Tower 1 lobby on December 12th at noon. You're welcome to come by and listen. There is a public cafeteria in the building so come early to eat, then enjoy the bluegrass and Gospel tunes! Not sure but I think someone who works at StateStreet might have organized this!

Here is a map. The Rolfs will be in 801 Penn (which is the one with the StateStreet sign)...

View Larger Map

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thankful for Adriana!

I saved this post for Thanksgiving, because God has given our family much to praise and thank Him for, in sparing our daughter, Adriana (11), on Sunday.

She had a violent, life-threatening allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to some mixed nuts, despite no previous reactions to peanuts/tree nuts before this. Very quickly, Adriana had hives all over her body, face, tongue and throat (which quickly swelled up affecting her breathing.) She could have died.

In fact, had she been with us in Spring Hill (15 minutes from the nearest hospital) she might not have made it to Olathe. By God's grace she was at Grandma's house in Paola (which has a hospital in town.) We now have an Epi-Pen so that she can be injected to stop an allergic reaction, giving us time to get her to the hospital.

Adriana is fine now, but coping with a life without nuts (no pecan pie!) until we can see an allergist in December to determine exactly what she's allergic to.

We're obviously very thankful we still have our little girl!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Now Thank We All Our God!

I'm thankful for Joni Eareckson Tada. My wife gets her daily devotional and often shares with me. Today's was a gem.
"O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. (Psalm 51:15)"

I have this game. Well… really, it’s more than a game. For me, it’s serious fun. In my travels around the world, I will sometimes find myself in a great, cavernous hall or cathedral. If it’s empty and no one is around, I will fill the place with music by singing one particular hymn—“Now Thank We All Our God”—as loud as I can. I think it’s important to remind these great places of who designed them, who is King of their space, and that they are only great because God gave the ideas to the architects in the first place.

The first big, important place I remember singing this hymn was in a railway station at eleven o’clock at night with a few of my friends from high school choir. Now thank we all our God, with heart and hands and voices, Who wondrous things has done, in Whom this world rejoices…. The second place was in the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Then there was the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, and Westminster Abbey in London. Who from our mothers’ arms, has blessed us on our way, With countless gifts of love, and still is ours today. And just last fall when I toured the Sydney Opera House, someone said, “Hey Joni, want to sing something?” I could think of no better song to fill the wide-open spaces of that world-renowned, acoustically-perfect concert hall than to sing my signature hymn. Everywhere you and I go, everywhere we visit, every place, every square foot of ground, is territory we can claim for a song for the God of all nations.


Try it! The next time you’re in a big empty building—or even the great cathedral out-of-doors, declare his praise out loud… in a psalm, a chorus, a hymn, or a shout!

Great God and Savior, may your praise be on my lips more and more as the days and weeks of this year slip by.
I'm thankful for this hymn Joni introduces.
Now thank we all our God, with heart and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things has done, in Whom this world rejoices;
Who from our mothers’ arms has blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love, and still is ours today.

O may this bounteous God through all our life be near us,
With ever joyful hearts and bless├Ęd peace to cheer us;
And keep us in His grace, and guide us when perplexed;
And free us from all ills, in this world and the next!

All praise and thanks to God the Father now be given;
The Son and Him Who reigns with Them in highest Heaven;
The one eternal God, whom earth and Heaven adore;
For thus it was, is now, and shall be evermore.
I'm thankful for the story behind the hymn.
Martin Rinkart (cir­ca 1636), a Lu­ther­an min­is­ter, was in Eil­en­burg, Sax­o­ny, dur­ing the Thir­ty Years’ War. The walled ci­ty of Eil­en­burg saw a stea­dy stream of re­fu­gees pour through its gates. The Swed­ish ar­my sur­round­ed the ci­ty, and fa­mine and plague were ramp­ant. Eight hund­red homes were de­stroyed, and the peo­ple be­gan to per­ish. There was a tre­men­dous strain on the pas­tors who had to con­duct do­zens of fun­er­als dai­ly. Fi­nal­ly, the pas­tors, too, suc­cumbed, and Rink­art was the on­ly one left—doing 50 fun­er­als a day. When the Swedes de­mand­ed a huge ran­som, Rink­art left the safe­ty of the walls to plead for mer­cy. The Swed­ish com­mand­er, im­pressed by his faith and cour­age, low­ered his de­mands. Soon af­ter­ward, the Thir­ty Years’ War end­ed, and Rinkart wrote this hymn for a grand cel­e­bra­tion ser­vice. It is a test­a­ment to his faith that, af­ter such mis­e­ry, he was able to write a hymn of abid­ing trust and gra­ti­tude to­ward God.
We have much to be grateful for in America, even in this current financial downturn. Our God is worthy of our praise and thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Adoption is a picture of the Gospel!

My friend Luke talked about adoption in our Bible study group at work. He mentioned that his church is really getting behind this ministry, after having seen a video from the Project123 site-based on James 1:23
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction (James 1:27a)
Here is the video

Luke and his his wife (with two biological sons already) have sought to join their church in this ministry. In the last year, they have been very close to adopting only to endure the disappointment of the birth mother choosing another family.

Luke attended a conference called Together for Adoption, which focuses on "vertical" and "horizontal" adoption.
Together for Adoption (T4A) sponsors regional adoption conferences that focus primarily on vertical adoption (i.e., God adopting us in Christ), with a secondary focus on its implications for orphan care and horizontal adoption (i.e., couples adopting children). In fulfillment of our objectives, we desire to see conference attendees walk away from a T4A event:
  • understanding why it is that vertical adoption is the highest blessing of the gospel
  • rejoicing afresh in the gospel
  • moved to act on James 1:27 both locally and globally
My hope in posting this is that you will visit some of the links on adoption (see below) and be reminded of the believer's glorious adoption into God's family through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Having meditated on the truth of our undeserved adoption, perhaps you will be led to consider adoption in your family.Luke mentioned a quote from a speaker at the conference. He said, "We should all have our heart in adoption, but we will not all have our hands in it." In other words, even if you are not led to adopt, you can encourage and support those who do and the organizations that assist them.Here are some sites to check out:

The Gospel in 6 Minutes

This is from ...

What's the Gospel?
What’s the gospel? I’ll put it in a sentence.
The Gospel is the news that Jesus Christ, the Righteous One, died for our sins and rose again, eternally triumphant over all his enemies, so that there is now no condemnation for those who believe, but only everlasting joy.
That’s the gospel.

You Can't Outgrow the Gospel
You never, never, never outgrow your need for it. Don’t ever think of the gospel as, “That’s the way you get saved, and then you get strong by leaving it and doing something else.” No! We are strengthened by God through the gospel every day, till the day we drop. You never outgrow the need to preach to yourself the gospel.

How the Gospel Strengthens
Here’s an illustration, and I use it not because it’s any big deal to speak from my life, but because it’s what I walked through and where I most pointedly in the last year experienced the power of the gospel to make me strong. (Many of you are walking through things much heavier than prostate cancer—much heavier.)

Do you remember the verses that I shared with you back in February that were almighty for me? It was that moment right after the doctor says, “I think we need to do a biopsy,” when this stab of fear comes. It didn’t last long, mercifully.
And then came—what? 1Thessalonians 5:9-10. It’s just as pure gospel as you can get.
God has not destined you for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,who died for you so that whether you wake or sleep you will live with him.
Settled. Peace like a river.

The Gospel Is Perfect for Your Needs
That’s just gospel—perfectly timed, perfectly applied, perfectly suited to my need. That’s why the Bible is so thick—because there are so many different needs that you have. And there are suitable places where the gospel is unfolded for you, so that if you immerse yourself in the whole book, always with an eye for what Christ has wrought for you and purchased for you in this thick, glorious history of God’s interaction with people, he will give you what you need.

Therefore, everything in me says, and I hope to say until the day I die, “Now, to him who is able to strengthen me, according to Paul’s gospel, to him—to that God—be glory forever and ever.” God came into history in Jesus Christ; he died in order to destroy the power of hell and death and Satan and sin; and he did it through the gospel of Jesus Christ.

A Plea to Believe
I know that there are people reading this who are not trusting Jesus Christ, and therefore can only expect condemnation. So I’m just going to plead with you here at the end, lay down that rebellion. Lay it down. And simply embrace the gospel that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Righteous One, died for your sins. He was raised on the third day, triumphant over all his enemies. He reigns until he puts all of his enemies under his feet. Forgiveness of sins and a right standing with God comes freely through him alone, by faith alone.

I plead with you, don’t try to be strong in your own strength; it will not be there when you need it. Only one strength will be there—the strength that God gives according to the gospel.
Don’t put it off.

[This text is an edited transcript of the audio. It is excerpted from the sermon, “God Strengthens Us by the Gospel.”]

You can hear the audio of this message here.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Romans Wordles

Here are a few 'wordles' of Romans I made using I copied the text from BibleGateway, then put the result in Notepad. Then I did edit/replace to get rid of all verse numbers. Enjoy!

Ever read through Paul's glorious letter to the Romans? Why not pick it up today?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Journey to Financial Freedom

Just a quick note to give praise and thanks to God for answering our prayer to pay off our most daunting credit card. We held this one for 12 years and have ALWAYS carried a balance, with interest rates up to 23%. God impressed on a good friend to confront me with my sinful lack of diligence and responsibility in this area. We are now committed to free up our finances to be used by the Lord for His purposes. Our credit card debt has dropped 58% after that talk. Once these are gone we will trust God to continue with our other debt!

Like us, if you carry credit card debt, please go to your knees and plead with God for wisdom and strength. Then watch for Him do amazing things in answering your prayers! BUT DON'T JUST WATCH, He is calling you to actively do what it requires to get out of debt (and this will mean sacrifice). But do all this in His power and strength!

Jim Elliff has written at least two great articles about finance. Please read!

Dying with Debt
7 Principles of Finance for the Believer

Thanks to those who have counseled, prayed and encouraged us on this journey! We will update periodically to boast in the LORD!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Fall pictures

Just wanted to share a few fall pictures.

First, a couple of pics of Myles enjoying the KC Pumpkin Patch. He's got some older buddies (the House boys) who he loves to hang out with. Here he is with one joyfully running to the next attraction.

You have to enlarge this one and notice the complete joy on his face as he goes down the slide!

Perhaps the caption for this one should read. "Granddad and Myles have heart-to-heart talk after Myles knocks out soccer kid." (this is NOT what happened, just kind of looked like it)

A couple weeks ago, Aimee painted our living room walls as high as she could, then I finished up with a friend's scaffolding and ladders (thanks Mark!) to get those really high walls!

We are getting our house ready to sell and painting was a huge step that is now out of the way!

Finally, our dear friend Deb shot some family pics at the OP Arboretum. It was a beautiful day and the pics came out great!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Happy Birthday Augustine!

Happy Birthday, Augustine of Hippo! The great Christian leader was, next to Paul and Christ, the most influential to Christianity!

He loves Thee too little
Who loves anything together with Thee,
Which he loves not for Thy sake.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The heavens declare the glory of God ...

I learned recently the number of stars that are estimated to be in our 'observable universe', with the aid of telescopes and computers.

That number is 10 to the 25th power or 1 followed by 25 zero's ...


It has made me praise God for His incredible creative power, and it's blown my mind to think that this Creator sent Christ to die in my place for my sin, giving me an eternal relationship with the One who created this infinite universe!
Found a great article that discusses this and puts it in perspective ...

I hope this causes you to rejoice in the Lord (always - Phil 4:4) despite the fact that it's Monday.
"The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. (Psalm 19:1)"

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Good article on a Christian response to the election ...

My wife's cousin, an Obama-supporter, sent a 'mass email' with a quote from Leon Wieseltier, of The New Republic:
“Americans who were not moved by what happened the other night were in some way un-American. A dry eye was a misinterpretation of American history.”
For the most part I agree. Many tears were shed, but those who voted ProLife were not shedding giddy tears of joy. But all is not lost. The Lord still reigns!

I loved these helpful words from 'My 2 Cents' ...
America has a new President-elect—one to whom most evangelicals (myself included) were opposed during the election due to his stance on abortion. So what?

* So we rejoice and rest in God’s sovereignty (Dan 2; 4:34-35; Psalm 75:5-7; Prov 21:1).

* So we start praying for our new leaders (1 Tim 2:1-4).

* So we put to rest the hysteria that I’ve heard from many Christians and pastors. Some have suggested that the future of the church and our ability to minister the gospel hung in the balance along with Oval Office during this election (and the ones in 2000 and 2004). Well, here’s a news flash: The gates of hell are no closer to prevailing against Christ’s church today than they were last week, last century, or during any political regime of the last 2000 years (Matt 16:18). The church will be fine. Mercy, it might be better off. The progress of the gospel has never depended on governmental leaders. It has thrived under Presidents, Kings, Emperors, and Dictators (2 Tim 2:9b). It will continue to do so.
Read the entire article, ...

Christians and the Obama Administration

You won't be sorry.

Finally, here's a funny picture I found today ...

About Me

Here is my testimony: mike