Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Sometimes I feel like I am promoting myself when I invite people to church. After all I lead worship (out of necessity) do the announcements (because nobody else wants to do them) and preach (because this is what I love to do) so when they come to our church they get a whole lot of me. The problem is that I am not really all that in to myself, and I spent most of my growing up years trying to be invisible unless I was doing something I was good at doing. So inviting people to come to church sometimes seems like inviting them to check me out, and I need more people to come to church because churches need to grow.

I don't want to preach messages because I have made some cool observations about the Bible. The best messages are the ones that I have to preach because they won't let go of me. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves that we are not selling a church or ourselves, we are showing people our God who can transform their lives. It is the Holy Spirit that both convicts and changes people. I just have to show people that Jesus is alive in me.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Spring has Sprung

April is coming to an end, and I am entering perhaps my busiest time of year. Saturday is Elijah's birthday, and our food pantry will be open for the first time. We are still working out the kinks for this new compassion ministry. We also have a leadership training event most of the day. Noah has his first t-ball practice too! Next weekend is our church rummage sale. Our church raises money so that all of our kids can go to camp.

The following weekend is Mother's Day. The weekend after that we have a missionary speaker and in the evening we host a Baccalaureate service for Okaw Valley High School. The following weekend is Memorial Day and May will be over. The first Saturday in June I have a wedding. Then community VBS starts that next Monday. In the midst of this we have three kids playing baseball and softball. Two of them are on travelling teams.

Life gets really busy. As a pastor I have some of the same challenges that everyone else does. In the midst of busyness I have to make time for prayer and Bible study so that I can deal with the pressures of life.

Monday, April 21, 2008


I am slogging through a beautiful Monday. I would love to be outside in the spring air. Instead I am slogging through my course work for Intro to Humanities. It is not something that I want to do at all! The quizzes are absurdly easy requiring just reading through the chapters. So it seems like a bunch of busy work. I guess I should be thankful that it isn't too taxing because I have a busy week ahead.

We had another earthquake last night at about 12:45. I felt it and so did Kaitlyn. It measured 4.0. It is strange to feel two in a couple of days since I live in Illinois!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Weird Stuff

I felt an earthquake for the first time that I can remember. I was awake because Noah had a nosebleed. All the sudden the bed started shaking and the windows and the doors. We had an earthquake that was 5.2 on the scale. There was an aftershock around 10:15. I would have felt it but there was a train going past across the street, which rattles the house anyway.

When we returned home from running an errand, the dog was on the roof. I had opened the window in Kaitlyn's room. It currently doesn't have a screen. Since the bugs aren't bad yet I left it open to air things out. Bailey got upstairs because someone left the gate down. When we pulled into the parking lot there she was on the roof. I am surprised she didn't jump off and kill herself.

Weird day.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


We returned home from vacation tonight. I will be glad to be sleeping in my own bed. The highlight of the trip was Monday. We went to the Lincoln Park zoo with our friends Greg and Samantha Connour and their daughter Blinn. We always have a great time with Greg and Sam. I don't think we have ever been able to hang out with them and all four of our kids. We finished the day at Lou Malnati's for Chicago style pizza. Good times!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Wisconsin here we come

Tomorrow we are off to Kenosha, Wisconsin. Rebekah's family lives there and we haven't been back for almost a year and a half. Gramma Evie will be 80 soon, and we want to wish her a Happy Birthday! in person. So after the morning service we will take off in the van, and arrive in time for dinner hopefully. She always makes fried chicken when we come, and the kids are looking forward to it.

Monday we are going to go down to Chicago, and go to the Field Museum. We will meet friends there and spend the day with them. It will be nice to get away. I know Rebekah is very excited to see her granparents.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Noah Paul

Happy birthday to our third child! Noah is six today! Seth feels ripped off that it's not his birthday yet.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

American Idol Gives Back

I'm not knocking the show for trying to do something good. I hope they help some people, although I suspect that good intentions don't have quite the impact that those people who give would hope. People who already give and serve the poor don't need celebrities to tell them to give to the poor.

I knew my blood pressure would soar watching although not closely last night. About a million people die every year from malaria. What is the response of many people? Give them a net to sleep under. (Or in the words of a certain French queen, let them eat cake!) Several things irritate me about this approach. Remember a few years ago when there was an outbreak of West Nile virus? The uproar bordered on hysteria. We won't stand for disease carrying misquitos, but we just throw nets at people in poor countries.

Second, the nets have to be treated with insectiside to be effective. The insecticide lasts anywhere from a few months to three years. After that, the nets have to be retreated. And if the nets are washed or get holes in them they lose there effectiveness. Nets reduce the mortality rate by about 20%. That's not good enough when there are other options.

The efforts must be combined with vector control, or abatement, and internal residual spraying. IRS was a part of the Global Malaria Eradication Campaign from 1955-1969. According to the CDC:
IRS with DDT and dieldrin was the primary malaria control method used during the Global Malaria Eradication Campaign (1955-1969). The campaign did not achieve its stated objective but it did eliminate malaria from several areas and sharply reduced the burden of malaria disease in others.

However the environmental movement decided that they didn't like DDT even though it was completely safe for humans. After pressure from groups like the Environmental Defense Fund the GMEC fell apart and the burden was placed upon poor third world countries. Eventually the United States government in the 80's officially threatened to withhold financial aid to countries that used pesticides such as DDT. When EDF chief scientist Charles Wurster was told that banning DDT would result in millions of deaths he replied, "This is as good a way to get rid of them as any."

If even hundreds of white Americans or Europeans were dying of malaria something would be done quickly. Because malaria kills the most in Africa and southeastern Asia, we throw nets at them. It's good that more attention is being paid. And some countries are using DDT again. So there's hope that thousands of lives can be saved. Sorry for the long post, but I become angry when people talk about misquito nets but don't follow up with medicine and spraying. People, especially children shouldn't have to die from preventable diseases when we have the power to help them.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Happy Birthday!

To my blushing bride!

Warning Controversy Ahead!

I would like to see Barrack Obama talk about why he is a supporter of abortion rights. He purports to be a strong defender of civil rights. According to many studies a black baby is almost as likely to aborted as to be born. Why don't we ever talk about this tragedy? It is certainly a tragedy that the most prominent abortion organization often places their clinics in minority neighborhoods. Democrats don't like to acknowledge this problem in part because any deviation from the party line is dealt with harshly. Our other Senator from Illinois Richard Durbin, was once pro-life but found out he couldn't go very far as a pro-life democrat.

Alright, I'm off my soap box for now.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

2nd time guests

Historically we haven't been very successful at seeing first time visitors become second time visitors. This is a problem because as a smaller church in a small village we don't have a lot of traffic. The people who have become members after visiting for the first time in large part had existing relationships with people in our church.

This means two things for us. First we need to be more active in inviting our friends and people we already know to church. Pray for them and look for opportunities to talk to them about Abundant Life and your faith. Second, we need to work harder at assimilating our guests and we need to find out what we can do to make their experience more sticky.

Monday, April 07, 2008

You never know what you will find.

I was cleaning the church office recently and found this:

What might be inside this round box?

Is this anointing oil?

No it is a cologne of some sort and it smells like a cheap Avon aftershave that you might buy at a garage sale for a dime.

I wonder how much you had to donate to receive this?

Saturday, April 05, 2008

My Bracket is done.

Now that Kansas defeated North Carolina, I am officially out of contention in all my brackets. I picked North Carolina to win it all. They dug themselves a deep hole, and they were almost able to climb out of it before they ran out of gas. Good job Kansas. I liked Bill Self a lot when he was at Illinois, and I am happy for him. I really want Kansas to win it all on Monday now, but I won't be watching for the most part, because I am taking my beautiful wife out for dinner. Her birthday is on Wednesday, but Monday is my day off, so we will go out Wednesday.

Next Sunday we will be taking off for a few days to go to Kenosha. Rebekah's gram is turning 80 so we are going to visit her. We also hope to catch up with some friends in Chicago at the Lincoln Park zoo.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Would They Miss Us?

One of the core principles we have as a church in a small village is that we are here to make the community a better place. So I have asked the question, if our church ceased to exist, would anyone miss us other than our small group who regularly attend? We have talked about serving the community for a while. We are now taking steps to do something about it. Step one is a food pantry. I have a couple of people who are really moving this forward. Some other things are in the works. The key right now is to not allow our small budget to limit our vision.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Why I am a Conservative and what that means...

I am politically a conservative. This does not mean that I oppose change. I am not a reactionary. I am conservative. I believe in limited government. Why?

Government can never bring redemption. Politics cannot redeem anyone. Liberalism believes that the government can save people from themselves. I believe that only God can save us. Government will always be run by sinful people no matter what party is in charge. To me, this means that government will always be flawed and we must always guard against too much government intrusion. So I am a conservative.

And I don't believe that John McCain or Hillary Clinton or Barrack Obama are even remotely conservative. McCain obviously is the closest one to being conservative. I am okay with this because I do not place my hope in government. My hope comes from my savior. No matter who wins the election, Jesus is still Lord. Keep that thought in your heart during the next six months of turmoil and nastiness.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Politics and Religion

I find politics to be interesting. In the wake of the fallout over Obama and his pastor, of course McCain receiving and endorsement from John Hagee got some play. I find Hagee to be a fairly responsible exegete. This means that to me, he doesn't take too many leaps of faith, nor does he speculate too wildly. I don't agree with all of his conclusions on end times prophecy, but I think in all he is solid. Many have called him anti-Catholic because of some of his statements about anti-semitism in the Catholic church.

Let's consider a few things while we analyze this criticism. First, who is doing the name calling here? As far as a I can see, it is Catholic people who are always on the lookout for real or perceived anti-Catholic bias. More often than not it is perceived. Most of the time, they label Hagees statements as anti-Catholic without actually speaking to whether or not the statement is true. One example is the Spanish Inquisition, which did have anti-Jewish elements to it.

Second, keep in mind that those who are calling Hagee anti-Catholic view protestant teaching as heretical. People may demand apologies for anti-Catholic language, but who demands an apology from the Catholic church for anti-evangelical speech? Third, the media trumpeting these anti-Catholic charges are firmly in the democrat camp. They want to deflect some attention from Obama's pastor even as they are forced to report on the statements of Rev. Wright.

As always, please try to think critically about criticism of religious leaders that are trumpeted in the mainstream media. Take the time to track down exactly what was said, in what context it was said, and what it actually means. Is John Hagee anti-Catholic? This article is an interesting read. Especially read all the way to the end.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Happy April Fool's

I hope that most of my readers understood my last post in the context of this day.
Also I would like to wish my mother-in-law a happy birthday! Yes, her birthday is on April 1. If you would like, you may insert your own joke here.


I have decided to repent of my backsliding. I am switching to using the King James Bible only. After all it is the authoruzed version! I have been resisting this move for years but the time has come.