Chapter-a-Day Philemon

And by the way, get a room ready for me. Because of your prayers, I fully expect to be your guest again. Philemon 22 (TM)

Here’s Paul, in prison for the cause of Christ, and he tells Philemon to get a room ready in "full expectation" of getting out and paying a visit. That’s faith! Not only is Paul believing that he’s going to get out, but he’s making plans for the event – "Get a room ready". Do I have enough faith – not just to believe – but to act and plan on God’s provision?

Theatre: a Family Thing

Wendy, Taylor and I have been crazy busy with the last few weeks of rehearsal for Union Street Players‘ production of The Christmas Post. Last night was the final dress rehearsal and it went great! It’s been fun to be on stage with Taylor. I’ve always said that Taylor should have lived back in the 30’s and 40’s – she always looks amazing in the dresses, hats and styles of that era. She’s so adorable in her costume!

One of the fun things about doing a large cast show like this is that there are so many families who get involved. We have sets of siblings in the show. We have one mother who is in the show with her five year-old son. Other families have both parents and multiple children involved. What a great way to be involved in the community, have fun, meet people and make memories that will last a lifetime!

Chapter-a-Day Titus 3

Remind the people to respect the government and be law-abiding, always
ready to lend a helping hand. No insults, no fights. God’s people
should be bighearted and courteous
. Titus 3:1-2 (TM)

Reading these verses this morning, I was reminded of driving from Des Moines back to Pella yesterday. I followed a pick-up truck that was plastered with left-wing bumper stickers. One of them looked like a Bush/Cheney campaign sticker from 2004, but it said "Bush/Satan". It really bummed me out that – on either side of the aisle – political discourse gets replaced with these kinds of pot-shots. No matter what the political leanings, I always try to be respectful of our government leaders. Even though I may disagree – sometimes quite vehemently – it’s important to be a witness in our attitude and political discussion. Personally, I always try to remember that I have dual-citizenship. While my American citizenship may last for another 40-60 years, my citizenship in the New Jersusalem is eternal. Which should take priority?

Chapter-a-Day Titus 2

Guide slaves into being loyal workers, a bonus to their masters—no back
talk, no petty thievery. Then their good character will shine through
their actions, adding luster to the teaching of our Savior God
. Titus 2:9-10 (TM)

I find it interesting that the Bible doesn’t really focus on sweeping social issues. Take slavery for example. There’s no railing against slavery as a social or political evil. The Bible just accepts it as part of the reality of this fallen world and instructs believers who find themselves in that evil how to act. That’s not to say that God doesn’t care about social evils – He does – but Jesus also says, "you’ll always have the poor with you". It seems to be a matter of priorities. God is focused on the eternal salvation and sanctification of believers within a fallen world – not the redemption of the fallen, temporal world that is already condemned.

Thanksgiving Weekend Recap

It was a 5F Thanksgiving weekend: fun-family-food-friends-football! Here are the highlights:

  • Wednesday night Wendy and I went out to celebrate her last day at Goalsetters. We made the mistake of going to DeKelder Restaurant in the Strawtown Inn (It was horrible!) – but made up for it by having a nightcap at our favorite – Monarch’s. We ate a lot.
  • Thursday Wendy and I worked video for the Thanksgiving Service at Third, then headed to DSM with the girls for an afternoon at the Vander Wells. We celebrated Madison’s birthday at the same time, and we were pleasantly surprised to have Tim drive up from Kansas with his friend, Koomi (sp?). Taylor took Madison to Disney on Ice for her birthday while Wendy and I drove back. Gosh we ate alot!
  • Friday we found out Madison has BOTH Strep Throat and Mono. Please pray for her. She’s really suffering!!
  • Friday I put in the ground anchor for our new Goalsetter (had to dig a four foot deep hole and fill with concrete) and we raked leaves and mowed all day. Man, am I sore.
  • Friday night we went to the  Roozeboom family Thanksgiving to celebrate with Wendy’s family. Grandma Vander Hart was really sweet – she asked me to do the devotional and prayer before dinner. Oh my goodness we ate a lot.
  • Rolled (literally) out of bed with a groan on Saturday and had breakfast with my friend, Jon Nelson, who was in town visiting in-laws. It was nice to catch up. And of course, I ate a lot.
  • We spent the day working on the set for the Christmas Post.
  • Sunday morning I went to church to confess my gluttony and then watched the Vikings game (oh my goodness – they barely beat the Cardinals – they’re really not very good this year!).

Keep praying for Madison to be healed and for Wendy to be led to the right job! Also, say a prayer for the Christmas Post. We have three straight nights of dress rehearsal followed by opening night on Thursday!!

Chapter-a-Day Titus 1

For there are a lot of rebels out there, full of loose, confusing, and
deceiving talk. Those who were brought up religious and ought to know
better are the worst. They’ve got to be shut up. They’re disrupting
entire families with their teaching, and all for the sake of a fast
. Titus 1:10-16 (TM)

I couldn’t read this passage without thinking of the "fast-buck" preachers I’ve seen in our own time like Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker or Robert Tilton. Any believer with reasonable discernment could watch five minutes of their programming and realize that it’s not about the Message, but about the money. I find it interesting that Paul says "they’ve got to be shut up". I’m not sure how to do that, but sometimes I wonder if the Church should do more to try and silence these people. I know I do my part by turning them off.

End of an Era

It’s been a roller-coaster around here for the past several months with respect to Wendy’s job. Last Spring Goalsetters, where Wendy has worked the better part of a decade, was sold to Co-Line Welding in Sully. Wendy made the switch, but as the year went on it became clearer and clearer that it was time for her to move on. Today is her last day.

You can say a prayer for Wendy. There’s a grieving process that comes from leaving a job and a company you once loved – and that was so much a part of your life. She’s working the grief right now, and looking forward to what God has for her on the next leg of the journey.

Speaking of the next leg of the journey. We’re praying about that, too – and asking for God’s direction. If you have any ideas, let us know. Her resume is attached!

Download wendvwresume.doc

Chapter-a-Day 2 Peter 3

Don’t overlook the obvious here, friends. With God, one day is as good as a thousand years, a thousand years as a day. 2 Peter 3:8 (TM)

The longer I live, the more I’m convinced that our faith and our world-view are diminished – and we ultimately suffer – because we don’t have a healthy eternal perspective. God’s sense of time and timing are at the opposite end of the spectrum from ours. When you exist eternally, unrestrained by time – your view of things is going to be a little different than that of your typical middle-class white guy in Iowa in 2006. We are bound by time – enslaved by it – and it colors our thinking. We tend not to see our circumstances outside the perspective of our immediate, momentary need and the emotions that they illicit. God sees our need in the context of everything that’s gone before, everything that will come after in our eternal destiny. He sees our needs and circumstances in terms of who we are today, who we were six years ago, who we’ll be two years from now and, ultimately, who we are and will be eternally with Christ.

We don’t need a remedy for our pain, we need a perspective for it.

Chapter-a-Day 2 Peter 2

They promise these newcomers freedom, but they themselves are slaves of
corruption, for if they’re addicted to corruption—and they are—they’re
. 2 Peter 2:19 (TM)

Freedom – freedom to do what I want, when I want, with whomever I want to do it. That’s what freedom has come to mean in our culture. As Peter aptly points out, this kind of freedom is only a form of slavery – slavery to self – slavery to sin – slavery to our own selfish desires that war against God’s best for us. Everybody loves to quote John 8:32 – "You shall know the truth and the trush shall set you free." But everyone forgets that the first actually begins with the word "Then". John 8:32 is part of an "if/then" statement, but we never quote the verse before it – "If you hold to my teaching you are truly my disciples." Serving Jesus is actually what frees us. Serving ourselves and our own selfish desires enslaves us.