Thursday, December 12, 2013

When the Enemy Strikes by Charles Stanley

I'm finally getting back to one of my favorite Charles Stanley books. It's about spiritual warfare. It's a very thorough description and prescription on the subject. I thought I would give just a tidbit of it here. Charles talks about how everyone has a propensity or bent toward a certain type of sin. One is a lust of the flesh. This can be manifested in overheating, drug addiction, sex, etc. Another type is the lust of the eyes. You feel a need to have what you see. It can take the form of wanting material possessions, jealousy, covetousness, greed, etc. the third type is the pride of life. This person craves awards, fame, recognition, value and esteem. They pursue higher education, better jobs, political office, the arts just to get respectability and recognition. Charles goes on to discuss the importance of knowing your bent because the enemy will use that to convince yourself of your need and lack of God's supply in that area. Then he will convince you to do and think things that will destroy you. This is a great book for anyone who is interested in being aware of how the devil operates. We should all be this aware so we are not tripped up. What I touched on is 1/100th of the wealth of information in this book.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Answer to Arguments

From the book Let the Journey Begin by Max Lucado.

Sometime ago my wife bought a monkey. I didn't want a monkey in our house, so i objected.

"Where is he going to eat?" I asked.
"At our table."
"Where is he going to sleep?" I inquired.
"In our bed."
"What about the odor?" I demanded.
"I got used to you; I guess the monkey can too."

Unity doesn't begin in examining others but in examining self. Unity begins not in demanding that others change, but in admitting that we aren't so perfect ourselves...

The answer to arguments? Acceptance. The first step to unity? Acceptance. Not agreement, acceptance. Not unanimity, acceptance. Not negotiation, arbitration, or elaboration. Those might come later but only after the first step, acceptance.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Do You Have a Hole in Your Heart?

Continuing with the book, Let the Journey Begin by Max Lucado, I enjoyed this entry:

Perhaps the wound is old. A parent abused you. A teacher slighted you.

And you are angry.

Or perhaps the wound is fresh. the friend who owes you money just drove by in a new car. The boss who hired you with promises of promotions has forgotten how to pronounce your name. your circle of friends escaped on a weekend get-away, and you weren't invited...

And you are hurt.

Part of you is broken, and the other part is bitter. Part of you wants to cry, and part of you wants to fight. The tears you cry are hot because they come from your heart, where there is a fire burning. It's the fire of anger. It's blazing. It's consuming. Its flames leap up under a streaming pot of revenge.

And you are left with a decision. "Do I put the fire out or heat it up? Do I get over it or get even? Do I release it or resent it? Do I let my hurts heal, or do I let hurt turn into hate?"... Resentment is the deliberate decision to nurse the offense until it becomes a black, furry, growling grudge...

Unfaithfulness is wrong. Revenge is bad. But the worst part of all is that, without forgiveness, bitterness is all that is left.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

New Books

I, like many, have gone to Borders to raid the graveyard of unsold books at discount prices. I don't know whether to feel bad for scavenging the misfortune of our town's best bookstore, or feel good for helping their poor bottom line. Nonetheless, I bought 10 books and have finished one and started on the second. In my usual form, I will pick a few highlights here and there and share them.

Today's selection (and probably a couple more) come from the book Let the Journey Begin by Max Lucado. It is a devotional-style book. It's titled Revenge Is a Raging Fire.

Resentment is the cocaine of the emotions. It causes our blood to pump and our energy level to rise.

but, also like cocaine, it demands increasingly larger and more frequent dosages. There is a dangerous point at which anger ceases to be an emotion and becomes a driving force. A person bent on revenge moves unknowingly further and further away from being able to forgive, for to be without the anger is to be without a source of energy.

That explains why the bitter complain to anyone who will listen. They want-they need-to have their fire fanned...Resentment is like cocaine in another way too. Cocaine can kill the addict. And anger can kill the angry...

And it can be spiritually fatal too. It shrivels the soul.

Hatred is the rabid dog that turns on its owner. Revenge is the raging fire that consumes the arsonist. Bitterness is the trap that snares the hunter.

And mercy is the choice that can set them all free.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Light Speed

Life is passing by at an incredible speed. Each week I tell Greg, "It's youth group day already! It was just Thursday last week! It was just Sunday!" Where do the days go? I guess it means I'm enjoying life more now than I ever have. I love directing Sunday School. I love working a couple of hours and coming home to do church stuff. I love seeing the kids from church twice a week. I love teaching them on Sunday and deciding what they'll be learning. I love having the college group here on Friday nights. I love leadership meetings. I love retreats. It's all fun!

I'm exciting to see our backyard taking form. I got an iPhone a couple of weeks ago and have told everyone that I didn't think I could love an inanimate object this much! It's amazing what that thing will do.

So I have to ask myself, what is different now than what was going on a few years ago? One thing is that I'm not landscaping, which caused my body great pain. I'm not reading as much, which I would like to be doing, but I just don't seem to have the time, and when I have the time, my brain doesn't have the concentrating power because it is wiped out. I think the main reason that everything is amazing right now is because I have a focused purpose in ministry. Being an administrator is great and easy, but coordinating children's ministry is even better. I recently learned that the main reason people are depressed is that they lack purpose in their life. I've never had to deal with depression and hope I never do, but I can see that. I also learned that one of the major causes of healed depression is having a purpose in your life.

Time to get ready for work. It's youth group day! Again!

Have a blessed sunny, beautiful day.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


I love to see God working in people's lives. It's more exciting than a Super Bowl game. Whether I'm spectating from a distance or God allows me to help encourage someone in His will, it's an absolute blast! I guess it's God's way of encouraging all of us.

Have you ever been around a new believer? Their enthusiasm is catchy. It continues to fan the flame in all of us on this amazing journey.

The only way we miss this joy is to keep our faith to ourselves and not get involved in other people's lives. Discipleship is on way to get up close to where the action is. If you're not a Paul or a Timothy in someone's life, I encourage you to do so. Find someone to mentor you or find someone to mentor. Sure, there will be bumps, but it's like the real estate market . . . it always goes up eventually.

Have a blessed, foggy day!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Long Time, No Write

Let's play catch up. Hmmm. I think I last wrote in early August, when we got our kitten Faith. She's doing well. Has 'kitty flu' at the moment, but getting her spunk back.

Work is good. I continue to work on writing a book, but am currently facing writer's block. It's a good challenge to work through. I've got the skeleton of the book and am working on putting the muscle on it. The muscle is about 60% done.

Church is good. We're working on our Harvest Party, then we tackle Christmas, then an advance (leadership retreat), then VBS.

Greg and I have been working on a layout for the backyard. Still! Today we got sod. We haven't tapped into the mainline yet or installed sprinklers, but we have sod in the backyard. I guess landscapers can put the cart before the horse sometimes.

I'm reading two books, slowly. The first is Mentor Leader by Tony Dungy and the second is Crazy Love by Francis Chan. Both are good. Crazy Love is kicking my backside, though. Ouch!

Had a cool experience yesterday at work. A friend of one of the ladies came in with her 1 year old daughter. Very cute. I waved and smiled at the baby. The mom was around the corner and the baby strained to see me. I waved again. Then the baby arched her back to be put down. Mom put her down and she walked around two corners and right up to me in the office, stopped, put her arms up for me to pick her up, (and of course I did!) and she sat happily on my lap playing with my necklace, glasses, mouse, pen, paper, and calculator for about 15 minutes. My boss, who is pregnant with her first, said, "She just walked right up to you!", repeatedly. She was so cute! Yeah, I like babies, at least the ones that don't scream when they see you.

Kristen is in MacBeth as a drummer. Lots of late nights rehearsing. Glad when she can come home after school again.

Mark is doing well. It seems like overnight he grew up.

Not much else is happening. Have a blessed Saturday!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

She's turned a corner!

For the first two weeks we had Faith, our kitten, she was very sick. Between an upper respiratory infection and an infected eye, not eating too much and sleeping a lot, it reminded us of Sputters, our pukey kitty we had to put down after 13 years. Faith hadn't gain any wait in 9 days. She had a constant fever. The eye ointment was working but the antibiotics didn't seem to fix anything. Then the eye infection went to the other eye.

After I took her back to the vet, her fever broke that night. It was back a little the next day, but then was gone for good. He eye infections completely subsided. Saturday she started playing, running, jumping, chasing our other cat, and being a kitten. What a joy!

She's hilarious. It's so entertaining watching her and Kira play together. Today Faith gets her stitches out and hopefully gets off her antibiotics.

Wahooo, we have a kitten!

Monday, August 16, 2010

A Little Respite

A week ago Sunday our church celebrated their one-year anniversary. It was great seeing friends we haven't seen in a while. It was also great to hear Greg reminisce about the last year in the life of God's church. Each time we put on some sort of event, it gets easier. I think I don't stress as much, as I get more experience under my belt.

Preparations weren't too hard. We bought almost 20 lbs. of tri-tip. Greg and I prepared it the night before, then we popped it in the oven Sunday morning. When it was done, I wrapped each roast in foil and put it in the ice chest to get it to church. The grill was cleaned and fired up and on they went. Pretty good stuff for our first try. Many people, from leadership to neighbors, prepared dishes and brought them to share. We even had a cake made by one of the mom's of the kids on our kid's leadership team. A wonderful thing happened at the celebration. Greg had Kristen go up front with all the kids that go to the Saturday swim parties. She had taught them the books of the New Testament. She demonstrated how she taught them and taught the congregation as well, and had the kids do them. Everyone was very into it. John DuPree, one of our Elders, and the top guy of The Harvest Group was very impressed. So impressed that he asked Kristen to be one of the speakers at the Traction Conference held in Sacramento in January. Traction is a missions conference for 18-24 year-olds. She will be teaching the books of the New Testament as a drama presentation. As a speaker she gets to attend the whole conference, Wednesday through Saturday, for free. Cool, huh?

On Tuesday after the celebration, we got our new kitty Faith. She came home with a bad cold. Sneezing, runny nose and eye, then her eye became infected. She's on amoxicillan and eye ointment. She no longer has to be on pain medicine which made her sleep alot. We're just waiting it out. Some days are better than others.
Last weekend we went to A Lovely Place, and once again, loved it! I got to work on a project I've been hammering away at, which was great. We saw a fox carry a rabbit up the hill in its mouth, 4 deer, and a squirrel. We love that place!

I think that's about it for now. Keep praying Kristen gets a job soon! School starts in 2 weeks!

Have a blessed warm Tuesday.

Saturday, August 7, 2010


The vet called yesterday to ask all the pre-op questions and then let me know since we were doing a de-claw, we couldn't bring Faith home until Tuesday after 10:00 a.m. (which means 12:00, when I get off work). Bummer!!!!! A whole week since we adopted her! The wait is killing me! I guess if I can wait 6 weeks for Mark, I can wait a week for the kitten!

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Best Week Ever!

We've had a wonderful week! These are not in any particular order.

1. Mark is home!!!!!!!! With a cold, but he's home!!!!!!!
2. We adopted a kitten! I named her Faith. She comes home Monday afternoon. She's a total snuggler. Our other cat is aloof and is Kristen's so this one is mine. She's perfect! Not the best picture of her, but she's 3 months old and just beautiful.
3. Kristen had 2 job interviews. The hospital, and a vet office. I hope she gets the vet office one. She's much better geared towards animals. Michael's is interested in her, they just have to get permission to let relatives work together.
She wants that job the most.
4. I don't have to do landscaping anymore! That means that I can work my other job in the mornings, which I prefer.
5. The weather is supposed to be in the 80's for the next week!
6. It's Friday and Sunday is our one year celebration of our church!!!!!
Have a blesssed Friday!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Relief! Joy! Anticipation!

Mark is back in the states from his trip to Turkey! He called last night and we had a great chat. I can't wait to see him! Kristen washed his car. This valley is notorious for layers of dust and dirt on things that don't move.

We had a great leadership meeting yesterday. We planned our 1-year celebration coming up this Sunday. Can't wait!

Gotta eat breakfast and get ready to go to work. Lots of errands this afternoon.

Have a blessed warm, sunny Monday.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Very Satisfying Day

The weather is beautiful, upper 80's, low 90's. I've been able to cut back on landscaping. Kristen is over her toe infection. Mark comes home from Turkey in a week. This afternoon I'm going to organize the bathroom cabinets.

The last two days at work I've been able to organize the file cabinets, do payroll, and program! I never thought I would miss it. As I dug in, I found myself in that 'zone' again. Working on big, long, hairy formulas. Looking up function names online, in help, and in an Excel book (the book was no help at all). Focused, talking to myself, raising my hands up in the air and saying "Yes!" when I fixed a problem. It took me back to my days at Gallo, and the time flew by. What my boss was expecting me to work on sporadically over the course of the rest of this year, I have almost done. I think. We'll see what he says when he sees my graphs when he gets back. Tomorrow I get to make everything look pretty, since the data is there and the graphs are working. Exciting!

Worship practice is here tonight, so I'll be getting the words into the laptop for Sunday. Speaking of church, we are celebrating our one year anniversary of starting weekly Sunday services. It's August 8th at 9:00 a.m. if you would like to join us. BBQ to follow. Go to our website here. I've been making a little gift for everyone. They turned out great! I can't believe I did it. I bet everyone who knows me won't be able to believe I did it either!

We're also planning a community-wide evangelistic seminar where people can learn how to share their faith. It will be held at Family Bible Center, 5 East Main Street Turlock, CA on September 11th from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon. Evangelism resources will be available for browsing and buying. This will be the first of a 3-part series on evangelism.

Blessings on this beautiful Thursday.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Days of Middle-Age Have Come

I dare glance at the bookcase, I fear
My old friends, many more to be read, I tear.

Days gone by, enthralled, empassioned, I read
A heap of work, a mountain to climb, I dread.

The days of middle-age, have come
The brain forgetful, coming more quickly, for some.

The desire still remains, to read, to write
The days sift through my fingers, and too, the night.

Monday, July 19, 2010

God's Perfect Timing

Yesterday at church sure had it's moments! It was one of those days when you think the enemy is up to no good and working overtime. It was a test of my attitude and patience. I give myself a B-. We got a couple of calls the night we came back from Monterey that our refreshment person and our Sunday school teacher (married to each other) got very sunburned the day before while rafting and wouldn't be going to church. I had to pick up the refreshments and do set up the next day. Not a big deal, everything was ready to go.

Our worship leader got a call 15 minutes before he came to church that his guitar player wouldn't be coming to church.

Our AV person was camping for the weekend so I was asked to set up the projector to the computer and run the words for worship. I didn't think it would be too hard since I had set up that kind of projector many times at Gallo for presentations in PowerPoint. However, running our worship software proved a little different. For the whole hour before service, I worked on it. I had an image for a while, but not the right size. My monitor on the laptop was doing strange things. Then I lost the signal all together. A quick call to our AV guy proved futile as he was out of range. On my own. Greg and our worship leader were great trying to help. Greg got the kids to set up the refreshment table and called us to prayer about the AV equipment.

I got a call while working on the projector that our greeter, who was also scheduled to work in the nursery, had an eye infection and wouldn't be coming to church. I was also to fill in doing the greeting as well, as well as my normal duties. Fortunately, the babies and toddlers we were expecting didn't come either.

At about 3 minutes to 9:00 I finally got the projector and computer working together and the words were just like they were supposed to be. I quickly handed the bulletins out and sat at the laptop to start worship. The first song wasn't going well on the screen so Greg gave me a quick tutorial he learned from our AV guy. Then the rest of the songs went smoothly.

Mid service I was asked to get a watermelon and knife out of the fridge for an illustration Greg was doing. While I was in the kitchen, the new baby arrived with mom. She was 4 lbs 6 oz, so tiny! They came into the service, Greg stopped the service and prayed for them and they stayed for the rest of the service. Fortunately, the person who translates for her was at church yesterday.

What a crazy Sunday service! I'm thankful God pulled everything together and that the kids came early and helped with the refreshments and other setup responsibililties.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Day Away

Yesterday Greg, Kristen, and I went to Monterey for the day. You gotta love traveling from 100 degree weather to high 60 degree weather. It was great. We did the typical touristy things: Fisherman's Wharf, the beach at Asilomar, Cannery Row. We had lunch at the Grotto at the wharf and dinner at Pea Soup Andersen's on the way home. We ate too much and still had leftovers. Here are some pics:

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

All Kinds of Good Things!

Seeing my last post was 5/30, I thought I would update you on all kinds of good things that have happened in the last few weeks.

1. Mark went on his mission trip to Turkey on 6/21. He should be back August 5.

2. Kristen is job hunting. We had fun shopping for 'work clothes'!

3. I got a part-time job as a bookkeeper for Vail Creek Jewelry Designs, Inc.

4. I'm working for Greg 2 5-hour shifts per week.

5. We're trying to schedule a few days away. Can't wait!

6. We took Kristen and Mark to San Francisco Saturday to see Wicked for Kristen's
18th birthday. It was fantastic!

7. We're doing a lot of organizing around the house. Yeah!

8. Sascha has recovered very well from her stroke.

9. Casey is calming down. Puppy stage is finally ending.

10. A family in our church just had a baby girl, a month early, but mom and baby
are doing fine. The baby's name is Casey and will be home in 6 weeks or
less. Only 2 lbs. at birth!

11. Saturday swim parties are a hit! Greg is developing 3 student leaders.

12. My mom had back surgery and is doing fine.

Off to work. Praying for cool wind today.

Have a blessed warm Thursday.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Trying to Relax

This month has been a whirlwind. So much busier than I ever remember Mark's last month of high school. Work was busy, I finished Kristen's scrapbook, took her to catch her bus for her senior trip at 5:00 a.m. last Saturday, picked her up at 3:00 a.m. on Tuesday morning, planned and decorated for her party, went to her graduation and hosted her party, was on a procurement committee for Sober Grad Night, chaperoned Sober Grad night Friday night from 12:15 a.m. to 2:00 a.m., had an overnight guest for graduation night who showed up unexpectedly at my house that afternoon, interviewed and got a part-time job, have a full-time job possibility, and am planning on starting a women's Bible study on the Old Testament this Saturday. My body is trying to catch up on sleep but it's having some trouble. Too overstimulated from all the excitement I think. Enjoy the pictures.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

End of the School Year

We're in the home stretch. Last Friday night we went to Kristen's Junior/Senior Banquet. The theme was Phantom of the Opera. We entered a brick cave and all the Juniors were dressed in white dress shirts and black slacks. Some of the Juniors had roles to play, like Carlotta. She had a beautiful burgundy gown and a white wig that was over a foot tall! The opera house owners were in tuxedos and of course, you had the stars and the phantom who wore a tux with cape, and a half white mask. After entering the hall, each family was assigned a host to escort them to where their pictures were taken, then to their assigned table.

The tables were beautifully set. Each graduate had a long-stemmed rose at their place setting. Each table sat 3 graduates and their parents. There was an appetizer bar set up with fresh fruit, different kinds of cheeses and crackers, and pastries, and punch.

After opening in prayer, the first course came. The dinner consisted of salad, chicken cordon bleu with green beans and roasted potatoes and chocolate mouse finished the meal. Each table got a bottle of Welches white and red sparkling grape juice.

We were entertained by the performers mouthing the words to 3 or 4 phantom songs as they acted out the songs. After dinner, there was a slide show of the graduates from infant to senior picture. The graduates had an opportunity to share their thoughts during 'open mic'. The principal got up and shared the scholarships the kids had been awarded as they applied to different schools as well as what schools they planned to attend.

The evening was closed in prayer. It was a wonderful experience!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Our First Baptism!

Yesterday we did our first baptism. It was a beautiful, warm, sunny day. After the baptism, we had a BBQ. Yummm!!!! Can't wait until the next one! Enjoy!