Friday, November 30, 2007

A little break...

We will be offline for a few days. We are moving into a house tomorrow. Blessings!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Thankful Today

It really is the Christmas season now, but I am still caught up in the Thanksgiving season. I've been thinking about all the good gifts God has given us. Here are just a few things I am thankful for today:

1. My boys are playing contentedly by themselves right now.
2. Infant Tylenol (Teddy is teething).
3. The house we are moving into on Saturday! God has provided beyond what we could ask or imagine.
4. The kind strangers who assisted me when I had car trouble three nights ago. And the teachable moment with Calvin afterward. We drove away singing, "God is so good," and "He cares for me."
5. The three families who invited us to their homes for Thanksgiving; we could only accept two invitations. We were blessed by the hospitality extended to us.
6. The warm, sunny weather today. The boys and I went this afternoon to one of our favorite playgrounds and played in the sunshine.
7. The fun Christmas event I went to last night called a Christmas Exchange. It sparked my creativity for gift-giving and evangelistic hospitality.

God gives us good things because He is good.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Ken's top ten books

Kimberly and I love to read. We are reading constantly. There are some books that we would love to read again and again. Here is a list (in no particular order) of books that I will read again and again.

The Firm by John Grisham
The Lord of the Rings series (including The Hobbit) by J. R. R. Tolkien
Christianity & Liberalism by J. Gresham Machen
The Cross of Christ by John Stott
According to Plan by Graeme Goldsworthy
Nine Marks of a Healthy Church by Mark Dever
Tell the Truth by Will Metzger
The Peacemaker by Ken Sande
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit by Bruce Ware
Knowing Jesus Through the Old Testament by Christopher J. H. Wright

Give Thanks to the LORD!

"Give thanks to the LORD!" is a familiar phrase that rings out throughout the Bible. Twenty-nine times we are instructed to give thanks to the LORD. This is a great time to meditate on this command. Why should we give thanks to the LORD? We are given many reasons in the Bible. First, because He is good and His love endures forever (Ps 106 & 107). Second, because of His righteousness (Ps 7:17). Third, because He is the believer's strength and shield (Ps 28:7). Fourth, because of His unfailing love and deeds for men (Ps 107:8, 15, 21, 31). Fifth, He gives believers victory through Jesus Christ (1 Cor 15:57). And sixth, because He has great power and has begun to reign (Rev 11:17).

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving season? I want to encourage you to read Psalm 107 as part of your Thanksgiving celebration. Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good and His love endures forever!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Spiritual Disciplines

Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Don Whitney was assigned reading for my Seminary Wives Institute course called Discipleship I and II. I first read this book in 1999 and it transformed my devotional time. It was a pleasure reading this book again, and I learned even more this time. The disciplines explained in this book are Bible intake (including hearing, reading, studying, and memorizing God's word; meditating on and applying God's word), prayer, worship, evangelism, serving, stewardship, fasting, silence and solitude, journaling, and learning.

My favorite part of the book is Whitney's chapter on prayer, and how we can learn to pray by meditating on Scripture. He says, "Meditation is the missing link between Bible intake and prayer. The two are often disjointed when they should be united. We read the Bible, close it, and then try to shift gears into prayer...meditation allows us to take what God has said to us and think deeply on it, digest it, and then speak to God about it in meaningful prayer. As a result, we pray about what we've encountered in the Bible, now personalized through meditation. And not only do we have something substantial to say in prayer, and the confidence that we are praying God's thoughts to Him, but we transition smoothly into prayer with a passion for what we're praying about." Especially if you are ever bored with prayer or feel it is a chore, consider exploring this "missing link." This is also a great principle to use when leading prayer groups or meetings.

A little nugget in the end of the book was particularly meaningful to me this time through. In the chapter on perseverance in the disciplines it says this: "If you are simply waiting until you have more time for the Spiritual Disciplines, you never will...Because life never really settles down, because we will always have plenty of things to do, if we are ever going to make progress in Godliness through the Spiritual Disciplines it must be done when life is like it is now."

Whitney emphasizes throughout the book that the disciplines are for the purpose of godliness. Not to show off or be puffed up or legalistic, but to pursue godliness. I have enjoyed the past twelve weeks of Discipleship class, meeting with this group of ministry wives, and pursuing godliness together.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Thoughts after one semester...

Classes are done! I have a week off and then I take four finals and the first semester is complete. I want to share some thoughts about seminary over the next two weeks. My first thought is this: Choose the books you read carefully. Kimberly and I have both been affirmed that we have chosen good books to read. In each of the classes we have taken we have owned and read about half of the books that were required. There are so many good books out there. Let me encourage you to read and to read wisely. Read your Bible daily. Read good theological books, books about Jesus, the trinity, spiritual disciplines, etc. Read biographies and autobiographies of people like Hudson Taylor, George Mueller, Jonathan Edwards. Read to your children. You will be amazed at how much they pick up and how much you learn as well. Enough thoughts for today, however, I would like to hear from you. What books would you recommend? What book would you read again? I will be compiling my top ten list sometime in the next week or two and will post it when finished.

p.s. Reading fiction is fine, actually we love to read fiction. My caution to you is this: do not read fiction alone. If you love fiction and that is all you read, start alternating between fiction and good theology and biography.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A Fun Season

This NFL season has been fun to watch. A great joy for me has been watching the Packers win more games in the first half of the season than I thought they would win all year. This has been a pleasant surprise. But the great joy of the season has been Calvin's enthusiastic love for the Packers this year. On Sunday we sat together and cheered the Packers on to another victory (a 34-0 demolition of the Vikings...ok, I took too much joy in writing that, please forgive me). As I think about it, I find more joy in spending time doing what I love (watching the Packers) with one of the three most important people on this earth. With the boys growing up so quickly, I find myself enjoying every moment I get with them. Being a father and a husband is such a great gift from our heavenly Father.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Jesus Storybook Bible

A couple of months ago, we purchased for our family a wonderful new children's Bible called The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every story whispers his name. We have now read through this Bible two times with Calvin. It is quite delightful and Calvin loves it.

Each Bible story is 4-6 pages of text. At first, I thought it was going to be too much for a two-year-old. Really, though, it is written in such an engaging way, with great illustrations, that Calvin is hooked. Every so often, the illustration and text will be turned vertically down two pages--an extra fun element.

But here is the best part: it teaches children that the entire Bible is about Jesus. For example, tonight we read Noah and the ark. The end of the story reads like this, "It wasn't long before everything went wrong again, but God wasn't surprised, he knew this would happen. That's why, before the beginning of time, he had another plan--a better plan. A plan not to destroy the world [by flood], but to rescue it--a plan to one day send his own Son, the Rescuer. "

And this from the story of Joseph: "One day, God would send another Prince, a young Prince whose heart would break. Like Joseph, he would leave his home and his Father. His brothers would hate him and want him dead. He would be sold for pieces of silver. He would be punished even though he had done nothing wrong. But God would use everything that happened to this young Prince--even the bad things--to do something good: to forgive the sins of the whole world."

This Bible is probably best for ages 2-6, perhaps even a little older, and would be good for young readers, too. The parenthetical text is sometimes a little too silly for a Bible, and I often skip those parts. Aside from that, a wonderful children's Bible!

Friday, November 9, 2007


There's no one who could possibly delight in Calvin and Teddy as much as Ken and I do. But their grandparents are a close second. Grandpa John and Grandma Patti visited us this week. For five days, we were able to share with them the joy of hearing Calvin sing and say funny things, watching Teddy try to take steps on his own, seeing the boys play together and wrestle, and discovering Teddy's first tooth. Teddy Dean was nearly inseparable from Grandpa. He cried whenever Grandpa put him down or handed him over or left the room. Grandpa and Grandma did all the special things that grandparents do, like new toys and treats and Chuck E. Cheese. Grandparents sure make life extra fun for little boys.

On Thursday, we drove to the outskirts of Lexington, Kentucky, to see the Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill. It was a beautiful day, sunny and full of fall color. The village was serene, well preserved, and quite a learning experience.

Thanks for coming, Grandpa and Grandma!

Friday, November 2, 2007

The Green Bay Packers and Calvin

Well, Calvin has officially become a Packers fan. Ask him and he will tell you that his favorite football team is the Green Bay Packers. On Tuesday morning we awakened and went right for the computer to find out if the Packers won. When Calvin saw Brett Favre's picture on the computer he gave me a high five and shouted woo-hoo.

Calvin also officially knows that daddy is a softy and he knows how to exploit my weaknesses. He gets one jelly belly for going #1 in the potty and two for #2. The other day he went #1 and asked me, "Can I have two jelly bellies daddy, one green and one yellow for the Green Bay Packers?" I gave him two and a big hug and a kiss.

Teddy isn't speaking yet, but he cheers for the Packers and he tackles daddy, so he has football in his blood. His new trick is waving at everybody. Calvin and Teddy were able to pet and feed a giraffe at the zoo today! We learned that giraffes do not bite when they fight. They swing their necks and bonk each other with their heads! Calvin thought that was funny.