Archive for December, 2011
December 26th, 2011 | 3 Comments | Posted in » Just For Fun..., My Life / Family, Pictures
If you give a kid some tools for Christmas…
… you’d better be prepared for him to use them!
Yep, that’s what’s left of our Swiffer.
December 25th, 2011 | Comments Off | Posted in » My Life / Family, Pictures
What can I say… I’ve got family that needs to see a few photos from Christmas.
For those of you who are bored by this… these are my kiddos, and it’s my site. Yes I’m gonna share.
A bit wound up on Christmas Eve!
So calm and peaceful here when everyone’s in bed…
There’s a monkey on my back!
My Christmas gamer…
Hope everyone had a wonderful and blessed Christmas!
December 24th, 2011 | Comments Off | Posted in » My Life / Family
As I write this, the smell of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies lingers throughout our home. Christmas songs ring out from the iPod, and our kids are playing in the living room. We’re thinking about all of the Christmas traditions we observe each year, and are preparing for a normal Christmas Eve at the Stickley house.
Baking Jesus a birthday cake.
Dinner as a family.
Attending Christmas Eve worship at our church.
Reading the Christmas story from the Bible.
Watching the kiddos exchange gifts from each other.
Wondering what “Santa” will bring in the morning.
Quite simply put… we love Christmas and all of its traditions.
This year, though, there’s something more lingering in our hearts. This Christmas, we can’t help but have our thoughts extend to the millions of orphans throughout the world.
So many of these children wait, hoping that one day they’ll have a family of their own. They’ll go to bed tonight not worried about what Santa will bring, but simply longing to have a family that loves them and cares for them. Likewise, there are perhaps millions of families throughout the world, preparing for adoption, who celebrate this Christmas with empty spots in their hearts, their sole Christmas wish being that their adopted child could be with them right now.
With that in mind, enjoy this touching Christmas song from Third Day.
Merry Christmas everyone.
[Reposted from our orphan-care ministry site: just-1.org.]
December 22nd, 2011 | Comments Off | Posted in » My Life / Family, Pictures
Yes, we’ve finally given in to the trend… this year, we put together a photo card.
Merry Christmas everyone!
December 19th, 2011 | 1 Comment | Posted in » Bible in a Year, Devotions / Bible Studies, My Life / Family
The new year will be here before we know it. As of today, it’s just 12 days away. Hard to believe, isn’t it?
I don’t want to call it a “New Year’s Resolution”, per se, but one thing I always kick myself for about two weeks after the beginning of each new year is that I don’t have a concrete plan for studying Scripture like I should. I think to myself, “Sure wish I’d have started a Bible in a Year plan or something”, and then proceed to NOT do so and flounder in my devotional life.
Not so this year.
I’ve ran across a very interesting plan that I’m excited about: “Professor Horner’s Bible-Reading System”.
It’s different than most I’ve seen, and perhaps that’s what has me excited. Ten chapters a day… from ten different locations in Scripture.
Yeah, sounds like a shotgun approach to Scripture initially, I know.
But dig into the details.
The genius that I see in the system is precisely that it DOES have participants reading so many different parts of Scripture. You see, readers have the opportunity to digest the whole of the Bible quickly. You’re not just honed in on one particular passage… you’re in Genesis, Joshua, Isaiah, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Matthew, Acts, Romans, 1 Thessalonians… simultaneously. You’re constantly bombarded by the entirety of Scripture, resulting in the big picture of God’s revelation coming across.
As described in the link above and in the program literature, the plan allows Scripture to interpret Scripture. You’ll see prophetic verses or history from the Old Testament referenced by Jesus or the writers of the Epistles. You’ll read the Psalms and receive nourishment from them, as well as wisdom from Proverbs. And you’ll see the growth of the church in Acts. And as you proceed through the plan, you’re never reading the same group of verses… you start over with each of ten sections of Scripture at different points throughout the year.
The result of all this?
Theology revealed. Practical instruction. The story of God. Constant nourishment.
Can you tell I’m excited?
Anyway, if you’re interested in participating along with me, let me know. I’d love to see a group of other believers working through Scripture together.
December 18th, 2011 | Comments Off | Posted in » Christian Living, Devotions / Bible Studies
I’ve written previously that we were walking through the book of Galatians in Sunday School at my church (Missouri Valley Baptist). I’ve obviously missed getting into this Scripture here since my introduction. Better late than never.
Again, some background on the audience of Paul’s letter.
The church at Galatia is in turmoil. Big-time church conflict between Jewish believers and Gentile believers over adherence to the Law. The Jewish believers are pressuring Gentile believers to undergo circumcision. It’s a big deal for Gentile believers (after all, it’s not a pleasant procedure!), and they’re resisting. The rift is causing major issues.
So they receive Paul’s letter.
He introduces himself to the church once again, lest they have forgotten who he was (not likely):
1Paul, an apostle — sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead — 2and all the brothers with me,
To the churches in Galatia:
3Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
It’s quite an introduction, isn’t it? Would you introduce yourself that way?
Probably not. I know I wouldn’t.
But it sets up what is yet to come.
6I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel — 7which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! 9As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!
10Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.
There’s conflict in the church… Paul addresses it HEAD ON.
He’s ASTONISHED that people are deserting what they know and turning to a false gospel. He writes that those who are preaching a false gospel should be eternally condemened… they’re fit only for the fires of hell.
And Paul doesn’t care if his message of truth offends. “If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.”
Loads of truth there for us to consider. False gospels. False teachers. Unhealthy doctrine. Messed up priorities.
Here’s the context of the church of Galatia.
People of Jewish decent, now followers of Christ, pressuring Gentile believers to enact every bit of the law. A false gospel. False teachers. Leading people astray.
It’s the ongoing conflict between law and grace. How should believers live their lives?
Sin is a BIG deal. We should avoid it at all costs.
But what saves us?
Faith. Not perfect obedience to the law. Not physical acts. Certainly not circumcision (as was being taught at the time).
Faith. Salvation is by grace alone through faith in Christ.
So how does this apply today?
Well, think about it. Legalism versus grace. Church conflicts. False gospels taught by false prophets.
Christians being lead astray.
I think Paul would write a similar opening to churches today.
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel — which is really no gospel at all.
We’ve got to keep a watchful eye. We’ve got to be faithful to the gospel of Christ.
Simply put… it’s EASY to stray, losing focus on the truth we know. Even as a result of good things.
Caring for the poor. Creation care. Social justice. Being “seeker-sensitive”. Caring about our “witness”.
All of these are good.
But they’re not the entirety of the gospel.
The gospel is the good news of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. It’s a cause worthy of everything we can give.
When we let anything other than truth be our primary focus as believers, we’re treading dangerous ground.
Any other gospel is simply no gospel at all.
December 17th, 2011 | Comments Off | Posted in » Just For Fun..., My Life / Family, Pictures
Literacy is a huge difference-maker in a society. In fact, it’s been written that “No skill is more crucial to the future of a child, or to a democratic and prosperous society, than literacy.”
It’s a big deal, for sure. Literacy allows knowledge to recorded and passed on. It allows children’s minds to expand and soar. It enables hopes and dreams.
And it allows kids to read wonderful books such as these:
Yes, you’re reading those titles correctly: “Walter the Farting Dog”, and “Doctor Proctor’s Fart Powder: Bubble in the Bathtub”.
Literary classics, indeed.
(For the record, I was definitely not searching for these books… just happened to run across them in the Barnes and Noble childrens’ section as Nancy and I were shopping last night, and had to share!)