Archive for July, 2007

A Fun Read

Tuesday, July 31st, 2007

This image won’t really allow you to “search inside”, but if you go to the Amazon book site, you can sneek a peek inside the book before ordering it.

Many of my favorite books have been recommended to me by my daughters Kayla, Rebecca and Lydia. Avalon High, by Meg Cabot, is one of those books. This book is a modern-day morphing of the legend of King Arthur and friends. The book is a fun read, addresses some serious issues (but not in a heavy-handed way), and isn’t predictable, amazingly enough.

WARNING: This is not a guy book. 😛 It is not written from Arthur’s point of view, or Merlin’s, or Sir Lancelot’s, so just be warned, OK?

Forest Fire Fighters lining up at the chow wagon

Tuesday, July 31st, 2007


Back in 1974, Rick was stationed as a fire fighter with the California Division of Forestry (CDF) in Weott, CA.

Rick told me that this photo was taken on top of a mountain somewhere in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. The fire fighting crew was brought to this location by helicopter. In this photo the men are lining up for chow. The “clouds” in the sky include lots of smoke from the fire as well.

This summer job went along with Rick’s college major, which was Natural Resources Management.

Singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord

Tuesday, July 31st, 2007

My online friend, Kerri, commented on one of my posts regarding singing of the Psalms in the worship of the Lord. I had never heard the quote which she cited, but I liked it. So, here is that portion of her comment, for all of you to read:

James Jordan in his _Thesis_on_Worship_ says “Ephesians 5:19 says that we are to speak ‘to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord.’ We don’t need even to discuss what ‘hymns and spiritual songs’ are because we have not yet mastered the psalms. Once we know all 150 psalms, we can then decide what are appropriate hymns and spiritual songs.”

I guess that would sum up what I think as well. I don’t know if God forbids the use of hymns in worship, but we certainly could do no wrong, and would protect ourselves much better from error if we would learn the psalms and then worry about the rest. 🙂

Boys at the Beach

Sunday, July 29th, 2007


Austen and Seth went on a beach camp out at the mouth of Tomales Bay in CA with Rick during our vacation. Hard to believe it’s been about a month ago now.

This random picture posting is brought to you by me, feeling guilty that I’ve been overwhelming you with words. This is your break. Hope you all have a good week!

A Holy Church

Sunday, July 29th, 2007


As an enjoyable and profitable thing to do on Sundays, I’m continuing to read portions of the book The Church: One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic by Richard Phillips, Philip Ryken and Mark Dever. This afternoon I read Chapter 3, “A Holy Church”, by Philip Ryken.

The Scripture verses referenced by Rev. Ryken for this chapter are from I Corinthians 6:9-11:

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

One point emphasized by Rev. Ryken is that this holiness is by grace. He says, in part:

What brought about this change? Or to ask the same question in a different way, what does it take for the church to be holy?

What it takes is nothing less than a supernatural work of divine grace. After describing their old sinful lifestyles, Paul writes, “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (I Cor. 6:11). There are three main verbs in this verse: washed (apelousasthe), sanctified (hegiasthete), and justified (edikaiothete).

These verbs have several things in common. They all occur in the past tense. Also, they all refer to things that happened at some point in the past: the Corinthians were washed, sanctified, and justified. Another feature these verbs share is that they are all passives (technically, apelousasthe is a middle, but here it has the force of a passive). In other words, they do not tell what the Corinthians did, but what they had done to them. It is like the all-important difference between “I hit you with my car” and “I was hit by your car.” What the police officer wants to know is who hit whom! Paul is clear in this passage as to who did the washing, the sanctifying, and the justifying. These were not things the Corinthians did for themselves, but things that were done for them by God the Holy Spirit. Salvation is not something we accomplish on our own. Rather, our holiness comes by grace. – page 54

This is such an encouraging truth to me: It is God Himself who makes His church holy. The holiness of the church is by God’s grace, just as the salvation of the individual sinner is by His grace. Ephesians 5:25b-27:

Christ loved the church, and gave himself for it;

That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

There are so many more thought-provoking and profitable points made in this chapter. Read it for yourself and be edified.

Excuses, excuses

Friday, July 27th, 2007

I’m feeling bleary-minded tonight, courtesy of a summer cold and plain, old-fashioned tiredness that comes at the end of a busy day. That’s why I’m not doing a real blog post tonight. But, those little quizzy things always manage to entice me, no matter how tired I say I am, so here’s another one. 😛

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The Trinity in the Psalms

Tuesday, July 24th, 2007

Rev. Iaian Campbell, minister in the Free Church of Scotland in the Back Free Church, Isle of Lewis has posted a sermon dealing with the fact that the Trinity – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit – are all revealed in the Psalms. This sermon came to my attention courtesy of a posting by Carl Trueman who writes for the Reformation 21 Blog.

So many people downgrade the songbook which the Lord has provided for His church. They are sure that the Psalms do not speak sufficiently of Christ and the New Covenant. Man-made hymns are a necessity, they think. What a mistake! The Lord provides for His people, including the songs to be sung in His worship. May God’s truth prevail in His church!

Just Have to Quote This

Sunday, July 22nd, 2007

Rev. Richard Phillips in the book The Church: One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic speaks of the unity “among all who adhere to the apostolic gospel that bounds the true church”:

How is this possible, many respond, when we don’t agree on everything? The answer is to be found in the manner in which we hold our disagreements within the fold of the true gospel church. Though we are organized outwardly in denominations, we must oppose the party spirit of denominationalism. The great Puritan Jeremiah Burroughs, a champion of truth but also notably charitable toward true believers with whom he disagreed, wrote this:

  • We should labor to find out what is truth, search for it as silver, and go according to what light we have; but yet so, though we might differ, to ‘keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace,’ and join in all things that we can, and so walk so lovingly that it may appear that, if there are differences, it is merely that which conscience makes, because we dare not deny what we are persuaded in our consciences is a truth.

Book Report (chapter report, really)

Sunday, July 22nd, 2007

I’m slowly making my way through the book The Church: One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic by Richard Phillips, Philip Ryken and Mark Dever. I’m on Chapter 2, One Church, by Richard Phillips. The verses considered by Rev. Phillips in this chapter are from Ephesians 4:1-6:

I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,
With all lowliness and meekess, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;
Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

Here are a few interesting and thought-provoking excerpts from the chapter:

We hear today a constant cry against the “problem” of Christian division. Roman Catholic apologists use this as one of their main arguments against the Reformation and its doctrine of Scripture alone. One group argues, “Today there are tens of thousands of competing denominations, each insisting its interpretation of the Bible is the correct one. The resulting divisions have caused untold confusion among millions of sincere but misled Christians.” Catholics and Protestants who bemoan this problem point to Jesus’ prayer as proof that visible unity should be our top priority. Jesus prayed, asking “that they may all be one” (John 17:21).

What are we to make of this matter? I think the best answer, and the one Paul gives in our passage, is not to solve the problem of Christian unity but to deny its existence. Let me state that again: according to Paul the church is already united. He says, “There is one body and one Spirit” (Eph. 4:4). Not that there ought to be one body, but that there is one body, one unified church. We are not exhorted to “create”unity among Christians, but to maintain it, that is, to serve and promote the unity that is already a fact (Eph. 4:3). Likewise, Jesus prayed to the Father, not to us, for church unity, and we can be sure that his prayer was answered. This was the assertion of the Nicene Creed, the formula of which shapes our treatment of the church in this book. There is “one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church.” There is no problem of unity in Christ’s church, for it is already one. (page 26)

On page 29, Rev. Phillips continues:

The true church is not divided, Paul insists, for there is one church, one body. We have unity, but are now called to maintain and serve it, “eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3). If we are to do this, we must rightly discern the boundaries of Christian unity and truth. If there is one church with one faith, then we must be prepared to discern what is the content that defines the boundary between brother Christians and false professors. With whom do we have unity? This is what we must discern.

To discover the author’s answer, you will have to read this excellent little book for yourself.

An Easy Company Dinner

Friday, July 20th, 2007

Yesterday, we enjoyed a good time fellowshipping with old friends. Even though my day had been busy, we were still able to enjoy a good meal with the help of my trusty slow cooker. The Jello dessert was easily assembled early in the day, leaving me with only the potato casserole to assemble an hour before dinner. These are all family favorites.

Onion-Coated Beef Roast

(This recipe is from the Hamilton Beach Slow Cooker cook book.)

½ cup steak sauce

5 pounds (more if it fits in the slow cooker) bottom round or rump beef roast

2 Tablespoons dried minced onion

Pour steak sauce into 5 ½ to 7 quart crock.

Brown meat and place in crock, coating both sides with the sauce.

Sprinkle with the dried onion.

Cover and cook: LOW – 10 hours OR HIGH – 5 hours.

Makes about 14 servings.

Company Potato Casserole

6 large potatoes, unpeeled

¼ cup butter (or less, as preferred)

1 cup chopped onion

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 cup grated cheese

1 cup sour cream

Cook the potatoes in boiling, salted water until almost tender, about 20 minutes. Drain off the water. Hold potatoes with a hot pad and grate them coarsely, discarding the potato skins.

Sauté the onion in butter until golden. Add the cream of chicken soup, the grated cheese and the sour cream and heat slightly.

Pour the sauce over the grated potatoes and toss gently. Pour into a covered casserole and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Peach Jello Dessert

1 large box peach Jello (orange is also quite good)

1 cup boiling water

1 8 ounce package cream cheese (softened)

1 regular size can crushed pineapple

½ cup chopped pecans (optional)

11 ounce can mandarin oranges, drained

½ cup diced celery

1 large carton Cool Whip

Dissolve the Jello mix in the boiling water; set aside.

Whip the cream cheese until creamy; slowly add the Jello dissolved in water, on low speed, until blended. Stir in the remaining ingredients EXCEPT the Cool Whip. Once everything is nicely blended, fold in the Cool Whip carefully. Refrigerate until set; serve.