Tuesday, May 29, 2007

More reasons to love TCC...

(l to r: Ryan S., Ben M., Ben R., Matt T., Joy H.)

... my community group!

I always love our fellowships - the church wide ones, I mean. You get to hang out, talk, laugh, learn more about those you're laboring with... but I really love it when our community group does this.

On Sunday, we went to Lake Johnson after church. We took our bag lunches, walked over the foot bridge to the picnic area to dine. I must confess, being out there, doing things like that, isn't generally my favorite thing to do... I just don't like getting hot, etc.

But, I knew I'd like hanging out with everyone...

So anyway, there are hiking trails, runners, bikers, the lake - obviously -, etc... You can rent canoes (which several people did), kyacks, even little dingy fishing boats. The boaters were troopers because I just couldn't make myself do it...
Kristin and Hannah

Paul and friend, Joe

The rest of us just stayed in the tree-shaded picnic area and chatted... watched the ducks, etc.

Here are some more pictures for you. :o)

Ryan S.

Cathi T.

the ducks (and Kristin and Hannah off to the right)

Julie W.

Paul G. (so happy after flipping Ben and Matt's boat)

Friday, May 25, 2007

interactive blog. i need input!

for those of you twisting your eyebrows around ... yeah, so it doesn't mean anything to me either. not just yet, anyway.

Great news! I just started Violin Lessons with my friend Grace.
Right now, I have to practice holding the violin and the bow, as well as scales and begin memorizing the FACE and Every Good Boy Does Fine. (if you read music, you probably know what I'm talking about)

Anyway, I am super excited.
But I need help! If I get frustrated about it when you're around - remind me that its going to take time. If I look at you with disdain, just pray for me. I know what your intentions are, but even last night, I could tell that some days are going to be hard for me than others.

I promise that as soon as my scales sound good, I'll post them on youtube so you can all hear!

Now - since I'm sure you're all on the edge of your seats wondering about the title of this blog - I need your help. In the form of comments, please post some of the following:

a) some of your favorite hymn or song titles that the violin is played in
b) some of your favorite hymns or songs that the violin should be played in
c) any encouragement about your violin lessons - even if they were 20 years ago.

that's all for now. it helps me to hear in my head what songs i may one day be able to play. the one that keeps playing in my head is "Fairest Lord Jesus," for example. can you hear it? ah!

anyway - pray! (for me and my roomates - they'll have to listen)

p.s. - for fun, the next time you scan thru your ipod or are in your car, try and listen for the violin. you wouldn't believe how much i hear it now since it's on my mind!

pictures soon.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

sometimes you have to just be silly

i get a lot of forwards. at work, at home, etc...
this came today - just now - and i really laughed a lot.

so, in the hopes that you can read and smile... here you go

Thoughts on Love and Marriage

You got to find somebody who likes the same stuff. Like, if you like sports, she should like it that you like sports, and she should keep the chips and dip coming.
-- Alan, age 10

No person really decides before they grow up who they're going to marry. God decides it all way before, and you get to find out later who you're stuck with.
-- Kristen, age 10

Twenty-three is the best age because you know the person FOREVER by then.
-- Camille, age 10

You might have to guess, based on whether they seem to be yelling at the same kids.
-- Derrick, age 8

Both don't want any more kids.
-- Lori, age 8

Dates are for having fun, and people should use them to get to know each other. Even boys have something to say if you listen long enough.
-- Lynnette, age 8 (isn't she a treasure)

On the first date, they just tell each other lies and that usually gets them interested enough to go for a second date.
-- Martin, age 10

I'd run home and play dead. The next day I would call all the newspapers and make sure they wrote about me in all the dead columns.
-- Craig, age 9

When they're rich.
-- Pam, age 7

The law says you have to be eighteen, so I wouldn't want to mess with that.
-- Curt, age 7

The rule goes like this: If you kiss someone, then you should marry them and have kids with them. It's the right thing to do.
-- Howard, age 8

It's better for girls to be single but not for boys. Boys need someone to clean up after them.
-- Anita, age 9 (bless you child)

There sure would be a lot of kids to explain, wouldn't there?
-- Kelvin, age 8

And The #1 Response... (note from Nicole - i think i have to agree. #1. hilarious)

Tell your wife that she looks pretty, even if she looks like a dump truck.
-- Ricky, age 10

Thursday, May 17, 2007

I told you I can't really share good things...

... so I resort to posting other people's blogs!

This is a new fav of mine - http://solofemininity.blogs.com/
Carolyn McCulley is becoming a dear friend...

I'm posting this because this has come up in several conversations I've had over the last few weeks - with various people, mind you. I've had a pretty firm opinion about it, but this helps me. I finally have something good (i.e. - Biblical) to say when I talk to people... instead of "I just don't like it," or "I don't think its best."

So, enjoy!... and believe me, don't think I haven't thought about it!

Ten Points to Ponder About Online Dating

Ah, yes. The first frost, the bare trees, and the retail stores all decorated for Christmas. We're in the season the Solitaire Triple Crown – with Thanksgiving just past (where the turkey is the only single male around, and look what happened to him!), Christmas (you know you’re lonely when you’re trying to catch the eye of the mall Santa), and New Year’s Eve (Blockbuster, here I come).

Then one day your eyes are drawn to an advertisement for online dating. "Hmmm, maybe this is my ticket to a date for the holidays." Perhaps. But before you fire up that computer, you might want to ask yourself some questions first. Here are ten points to ponder about online dating before investing your cash or your time.

Is it wrong to use the Internet? No. The Internet is just a tool. People use it for good and for evil. Inherently it has no moral value. Thus Christians have to consider their motives for using this tool. I've been asked if those who are using online dating services are not trusting God. My answer is, "I don't know. I can't possibly know the motives of millions of people."

There's a lot to be said about motives, but before we get there, let's just consider the cold hard facts. Online dating is one of the most profitable activities on the Internet, according to numerous industry articles published online. Successful businesses are built on repeat clientele. So you have to be savvy about what the numbers really mean. According to a recent syndicated news report, one leading company claims approximately 12,000 couples have gotten married through its service. That's since its inception five years ago, presumably, but if you compared those 12,000 couples/24,000 individuals against the six-million user benchmark that this same company recently announced, that's less than a one percent return on investment. So if you are considering such a service such, you have to remember that first and foremost it's a business. A very profitable business.

Speaking of that low return on investment, let's consider another factor in the equation: how we steward our finances as Christians. The Bible has a lot to say about money and how we are to handle what we receive from God. (I don't have time to develop this thought now, but I'll refer you to an excellent book on the topic – Randy Alcorn's "Money, Possessions, & Eternity.") So I would ask those considering such a service if they have prayed about it and if they believe before God that this would be a good use of their money. I'm not saying that the answer is automatically no. I'm not God. I'm simply recommending that we talk to our heavenly Father before we presume to make such an investment. We will have to give an account one day about what we did with what He gave us.

Money is not the only thing to be invested in online dating – much time is required, as well, which is another gift from God. Given your other responsibilities, is this the best use of your time in light of eternity? Have you prayed about it?

Have you considered how you'll be accountable for your interactions with others online? Just as there is safety in being observed and accountable in your "carbon-based" relationships, there is the same, if not greater, need in cyberspace. Would you be willing to share your user IDs and passwords with others so that your correspondence could be observed?

Now, back to those heart motives. Here are some questions to consider. Are you feeling panicked or anxious that you have to "do something" about your singleness? (Please note the emphasis here on anxiety. I'm not saying that it's bad to be proactive about getting married.) Are you believing the best about God's plan and timing for your life, or are you thinking this is your last available option? Are you sinning in your thoughts against the opposite sex, judging them for not responding to you? Have others submitted observations to you about your previous relationships that you have ignored or left unresolved? Are you anxious about your impending birthday? Are you trying to get a date for a future event or holiday celebration because you dread being alone in those situations? And finally, have you considered the strong possibility (given the data I presented above) that you might end up paying to be rejected? That sounds harsh, but obviously that's a common experience in such a clinical environment as online dating. Have you thought about the effect that this might have on your soul? Have you counted that emotional and spiritual cost?

Have you sought counsel from others about this idea? By others, I don't mean just your other single friends. What is your pastor's advice to you? What would your small-group leaders say? What is your parents' perspective? What about your accountability partners? Would they be willing to "shepherd" you through this process?

Have you thought about the narcissism factor? Let's be completely honest here. You won't be receiving all the normal visual and sociological clues about someone you meet online. So any giddiness you might experience while corresponding online has nothing to do with the other person. It has everything to do with the rush of thinking someone else finds you attractive. But you won't know that for sure until you meet. How are you planning to guard your heart in such a scenario?

We all know that there can be quite a gap between what a person will tell you about himself and what he actually does. When you go online, you initially forfeit a very useful research tool, which is the ability to observe a man's or a woman’s interactions with others. You also typically forfeit the recommendations of others. You only have an individual’s own recommendations to weigh. How are you planning to compensate for this?

About that Big Meet, you are aware that the collective testimony of online daters is that no one ever looks like their photo ... right?

In presenting these questions, I’m not taking a position for or against online dating. I realize that, yes, a small percentage of people have married someone they met online. I also know many more people who have not met anyone suitable online. This, like many aspects of modern life, has no clear chapter-and-verse directive in the Bible. It is a wisdom issue. So I am praying that these ten points will help many singles wisely discern their motives, seek counsel, and consider this activity against what Christians are clearly commanded by Scripture to do and seek.Even in the age of the Internet, God’s promises for our provision still stand. “Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:31-33).

Sunday, May 13, 2007

CDG - blog 1

I need to go thru my notes again. I should probably write them out, type them up - something.
At the end of April, my good friend Julie and I were given the privilege of attending the 2007 Children Desiring God conference in Minneapolis. It was great to spend this quality time with Julie, and I am so thankful for the soaked feeling I had upon my departure. I was literally dripping with the teachings of some of the most humble men and women! Everyone just wept over the thankfulness they felt had over the cross.

I'm sure I'm not articulating this well, so for now, you'll just get a photo walk thru of the trip.

More later and I continue to process...

the plane ride. one of four. :o)
i can't remember where this is ... but i'm pretty sure it's on the approach to Chicago.

our tiny rental car

the theme of the conference
and two cute boys.
(just kidding - I just noticed they were in this pic)

Bethlehem Baptist Church
Pastor: John Piper
also the home church of Desiring God Ministries

the entry way to the sanctuary at Bethlehem

Julie standing in front of their International Worker board. Look how many they have serving overseas! One day, Lord!

Hope Academy. One day, Lord.

Wayne Grudem. He taught 10 chapters from Systematic Theology in three hours. Talking about having a week of class with this man... WOW! Eat your heart out seminary boys.
CJ Mahaney. Eat your heart out Reformed Charismatics.

I loved worshipping next to this man. What joy he has in singing the name of Jesus!

by far the funnest picture - and the last picture - we took.

This little boy was rollin' in his Caddy to the convience store for some Bug Juice! His dad was walking behind him the whole way. SO FUNNY!

So, as unspiritual as it may be - I thought this would at least get me going in sharing with you about my time in Minnesota. (pronounced miny-SOOO-da)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

i love TCC

i just really do.
i love our monthly fellowships.
i love how much we are growing.
anyway, last night was our May Fellowship. here are some of my favorite photos of the night.
if you have facebook, there's a whole 55 picture album on there... so go see!

Eric: Oh, Man! I just struck out in WHIFFLE ball!

Travis: It's okay! It was God's plan. I'm your Pastor!


Me and Amanda


sweet Anna W

Kristin and our neighbor, Brendi