Monthly Archives: April 2007

Church & Chicken

For the last two Sundays Mark & I have been attending a church that, so far, we have really been blessed by & excited about (if you know what our search experience has been like over the last 14+ months, you know that this is truly a monumental thing! :)) This morning the message was on Revelation 2:1-7 — the letter to the church in Ephasus. It begins with Jesus commending the Ephesians for what they have been doing right: resising evil, keeping impure doctrine/false apostles from infiltrating the church, etc. — but then he says to them (and I’m paraphrasing) “But I have this one thing against you: you have lost the love you first had”. The pastor then gave a very interesting illustration. He said it would be easy to assume that Jesus was “taking inventory” of the church, simply weighing the pros & cons (“Well, you’re doing all these things right, but you just need to work on this one little thing & then you’ll be OK”), but that this was not the case. He then asked us to imagine that we were at a meeting for a bunch of Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise owners, where the owner was standing before them all, offering this evaluation: “Well, you do a great job of keeping your stores clean and well-maintained, and your employees are timely and cheerful…but I do have one problem with you: you aren’t selling chicken!”. The pastor suggested that this was the kind of warning Jesus was giving to the Ephesians — that in spite of all the wonderful things they were doing (and not doing), they’d forgotten the point of it all.

It got me to thinking about my own life — how easy it is for me (especially in this day & age with all the Emergent garbage happening in the Church) to get so caught up in what to fight against that I forget what it’s all about. Make no mistake — Christ wants us to continue to fight for truth…but without forsaking our first love.

So may we continually ask ourselves: “Are we selling the chicken?”

🙂

Is it Weird That I Kind of Want to See This Movie?

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Beeper’s Blog

Well, it seems our baby is quite advanced: he/she already has a blog! 🙂 You can check it out at:

www.babywally.blogspot.com

On Mommyhood

One site I’ve really begun to enjoy is the “Girl Talk” blog run by the Mahaney women (thanks to Bethany R. for the recommendation!). As I was browsing through it yesterday, I stumbled across a couple great thoughts on motherhood that I thought I’d pass along. They’re the kind of things I want to keep in mind as I enter this adventure of being a mom myself (and they’re the kinds of things that my own mom kept in mind, too! :)).

The first quote is from “Stepping Heavenward” by Elizabeth Prentiss (my blog’s namesake :)).  She is responding to some questions and criticisms she was receiving from someone as she prepared to welcome her third child into the world:

“She says I shall now have one mouth the more to fill and two feet the more to shoe, more disturbed nights, more laborious days, and less leisure or visiting, reading, music, and drawing. Well! This is one side of the story, to be sure, but I look at the other. Here is a sweet fragrant mouth to kiss; here are two more feet to make music with their pattering about my nursery. Here is a soul to train for God; and the body in which it dwells is worthy all it will cost, since it is the abode of a kingly tenant. I may see less of friends, but I have gained one dearer than them all, to whom, while I minister in Christ’s name, I make a willing sacrifice of what little leisure for my own recreation my other darlings had left me. Yes, my precious baby, you are welcome to your mother’s heart, welcome to her time, her strength, her health, her tenderest cares, to her lifelong prayers!”(Stepping Heavenward, p.228-229)

The next quote is from the reader who sent the previous quote in to the website (sorry, I have no name to credit for it). I was blessed by it, though:

The world says that children are a burden. The Bible tells us they are a gift from God (Psalm 127:3). The world tells us that our significance is found in making a name for ourselves. The Bible tells us that we are to make God’s name great, in whatever He has called us to do. I need to remember, in however mundane the task, that God has bestowed on me the high and holy honor of raising children to live for His glory. May we embrace our calling as Mrs. Prentiss did, with great joy and purpose, making a willing sacrifice of time, love and leisure for the sake of the precious children the Lord has entrusted to us.

JWs at the Door

Well, the weather this weekend finally took a turn for the warmer, which means alot of great things…but also that the local Jehovah’s Witnesses are out knocking on doors again. Our house happens to be located quite close to the local Kingdom Hall, so we’ve been hit up a couple of times since our move here last September. So yesterday afternoon when the doorbell rang and I saw two men  – an older one and a younger one – in suits, carrying briefcases and holding pamphlets in their hands, I knew what they were up to. Mark was in the next room, so I thought “What the heck, I’ll answer the door and engage them in some conversation”. For some reason, the prospect sort of excited and invigorated me (looking back, it probably should have scared me a bit more than it did — I really did not go into it very prepared!)…so I answered the door, and sure enough the older gentleman said hello, handed me a couple of Watchtower pamphlets, and asked if I would like to talk about the Bible. “Sure!”, I said (I wasn’t lying; I’d always like to talk about the Bible! :)). A very interesting, challenging, frustrating and saddening conversation ensued at the front door for about 20 minutes or so. I  first made it clear that I was a Christian, and I knew a little bit about their religion, and that I believe they have a different Bible translation than I do. They skirted this (the man just said something like “Well, now we do, but we used to use the King James”). They then told me that many people consider themselves Christians, but are really just following traditions, not studying what the Bible really has to say. I assured him that I am definitely the kind of Christian that believes in studying what the Bible has to say. I  asked them how they believed one obtains salvation, and he told me that it was because of Jesus’ death. I then asked them why they were going door to door, and if they didn’t, if they believed they were still going to heaven. His response was basically “Well, the Bible says that my obedience to God’s commandments is a sign of my faith. So if I don’t obey, then I don’t have faith, so no, I wouldn’t go to heaven.” He showed me some verses, completely out of context, to back this claim up. I asked him about the verse in Ephesians that says “It is by grace you have been saved…it is a gift of God, not by works, so no one can boast”. He responded with the same argument as before: “It is because of Christ that we have salvation…but we have to obey to show that we have faith, otherwise we won’t go to heaven” (Such a twisted view of the “faith without works is dead” concept!). I asked what sins Christ died to forgive them of then, and somehow this question never got answered. By this time Mark had joined me (it was so good having him there!!) and he tried to explain to them that obedience is a by-product of faith, not the means of it…but it was like talking to a blank wall. The man kept coming back at us with out of context verses from their edited Bible…he had clearly been so indoctrinated with such messed up interpretations of the Bible that the conversation was just going to go nowhere. Finally I just point blank told them I believed they were being misled, that salvation is through faith alone, we told them it was good talking to them, and that was that. Whew. What a draining – yet GOOD conversation to have.

The biggest thing I came away with is the realization that I need to know the Bible better. These guys may be a part of a freaky cult with a severely mangled version of the Bible – but they know their Bible backwards and forwards. I found myself frustrated as I tried to recall references to basic verses to share with them. I left with a great desire to memorize more and just spend more time studying the true Word of God.

I came away with a stronger faith. It is an odd feeling to have someone put you on the defensive, telling you you are wrong and trying to convert you to their religion…just not a position I find myself in alot these days! But what a great exercise, for someone like me, at least, to have to dig up everything you can think of to help give reasons for the faith that you have.

Finally, I came away with a desire to be better prepared for such situations. Today I did some research and found a website with some great background information on Jehovah’s Witnesses – truthnet.org. Wow, is that religion messed up…a cult  in every sense of the word. I had no idea. These  people are essentially being brainwashed and manipulated…so sad. Truthnet also has a great, step by step idea on how to respond to JWs at the door (by helping show how broken down the validity of their founding fathers was) as well as tips on how NOT to respond to them (apparently debating verses and doctrines with them never goes anywhere…wish I would have read that one before!).

Anyway, I encourage you all to check out that site – and if you get any JWs at your door, to try the tactic presented. Let me know if you have any luck!

Pants

So this afternoon as I was getting ready for work, I decided to wear my grey slacks…truly one of my favorite pairs of pants, and one of my few pairs suitable for work at the store (where jeans are a no-no). But then something odd happened: they didn’t FIT! I pulled and I tugged, but it didn’t even come close to buttoning. My tummy’s too big! And…no complaints here. Maybe I’m weird, but I LOVE the idea of looking pregnant. I’ve actually felt a little sad when people told me I don’t look pregnant at all.

I just need to dig out some new work pants. 🙂

Far Too Long and a C.S. Lewis quote

Well, it has been far too long since my last blog post. I would be amazed if anyone is actually still keeping up with this thing! Life is good. Mark is on spring break this week, which has been fun. Tuesday morning we had another appointment with the midwife, and baby seems to be doing great. 🙂 We got to hear the heartbeat for the second time, which is always a thrill. As the baby grows, the heartbeat gets much stronger and easier to hear. I continue to be amazed by the wonder of how human life begins! I’m also starting to really feel where the baby is – and (I’m pretty sure!) am even feeling the baby once in awhile, just a little bit. It’s kind of weird!! Anyway, Mark & I are both looking forward to May 11 — the day of our ultrasound and the day we’ll find out (or at least get a good guess :)) if we’ve got a baby boy or girl on our hands! (no wagering, please! :)). I think it will all seem more “real” by then…

On a completely different note, I’ve been keeping up with the daily readings in my “Year with C.S. Lewis” book. Yesterday’s entry struck me, so I thought I’d share a piece of it. (note: it is taken from the book “The Screwtape Letters” – which is a collection of fictional letters written from a “Sr. Demon” to his nephew/protege, advising him on how best to keep his human subjects from God. To put it simply – bear in mind as you read that it’s written from the perspective of the devil — so “the Enemy” is actually referring to God, etc. :)). Here it is:

“The Christians describe the Enemy as one ‘without whom Nothing is strong’. And Nothing is very strong: strong enough to steal away a man’s best years not in sweet sins but in a dreary flickering of the mind over it knows not what and it knows not why, in the gratification of curiosities so feeble that the man is only half aware of them, in drumming of fingers and kicking of heels, in whistling tunes that he does not like, or in the long, dim labyrinth of reveries that have not even lust or ambition to give them a relish, but which, once chance association has started them, the creature is too weak and fuddled to shake off….It does not matter how small the sins are provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing. Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick.”
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