Small steps in faith

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Where Will My Help Come From?

We met for "Stepping Up" study and video tonight. These 2 weeks we've been studying the Psalms 120,121, and 122. These psalms talk about the pilgrimage to Jerusalem and the Lord being our shelter.
I found the following passage from the study interesting:

Many Christians hope to go to Jerusalem someday "when things settle down over there" And understandably so. Have you ever noticed that things rarely settle down over there? The ancient words of the psalmist cry out with fervor to us today. "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!"
....I yearn to see peace in their land, but according to Scripture certain things must happen before peace will reign within her walls.

What is the ultimate reason peace eludes the holy city according to Luke 19:41-44..
They rejected Christ as the Savior

In the video she talks about the creation of song and how important it is.

Emotions and experiences can be expressed through song in ways spoken words can never satisfy. Song is the fluent language our soul understands best.

That is so true for me. A worship song speaks to my heart and mind. It strikes emotions in me that at times can cause tears ,at times pure joy, and at times an overwhelming sadness.

Paper or plastic? Neither :^)

We have the reusable bags from DLM so I thought this article was interesting. When I went to visit my sister in Vermont, using reusable bags was the normal there. You do get 5 cents off your groceries at DLM if you use the reusable bags and now they come in a lovely green(how appropriate) with the logo "Eat local" to promote the local farmers who supply food for them. I also thought it was interesting that paper isn't better than plastic.

Questions About Your Community:
Shopping Bags: Paper or Plastic
or . . .?

Did you know plastic grocery bags consume 40% less energy to produce and generate 80% less solid waste than paper bags? Did you know plastic bags can take 1,000 years to decompose whereas paper bags take about a month to decompose? The debate over whether plastic or paper bags are better for the environment has a long history and is often rekindled each time we check out at the grocery store when we hear that familiar question: Paper or plastic? Many of us have not been able to resolve this question, but there is an alternative --read on below.

There seem to be pluses and minuses on both sides of the debate. For paper bags, the life cycle stages consist of timber harvesting, pulping, paper and bag making, product use and waste disposal. For plastic (polyethylene) bags, the steps involve petroleum or natural gas extraction, ethylene manufacture, ethylene polymerization, bag processing, product use and waste disposal. In all of these steps, energy is required and wastes are generated.

Some more facts about these two products may help us to answer this age-old question:


Plastic bags were first introduced in 1977 and now account for four out of every five bags handed out at grocery stores.

Paper sacks generate 70 percent more air and 50 times more water pollutants than plastic bags.

Paper bags are made from trees, which are a renewable resource. Most plastic bags are made from polyethylene, which is made from crude oil and natural gas, nonrenewable resources.

2000 plastic bags weigh 30 pounds, 2000 paper bags weigh 280 pounds. The latter takes up a lot more landfill space.

It takes 91 percent less energy to recycle a pound of plastic than it takes to recycle a pound of paper. It takes more than four times as much energy to manufacture a paper bag as it does to manufacture a plastic bag. Energy to produce the bags (in British thermal units): Safeway plastic bags: 594 BTU; Safeway paper bags: 2511 BTU.

Paper is accepted in most recycling programs while the recycling rate for plastic bags is very low. Research from 2000 shows 20 percent of paper bags were recycled, while one percent of plastic bags were recycled.

Current research demonstrates that paper in today's landfills does not degrade or break down at a substantially faster rate than plastic does. In fact, nothing completely degrades in modern landfills due to the lack of water, light, oxygen, and other important elements that are necessary for the degradation process to be completed.
* Incineration can decrease the quantity of plastic and paper bags. However, incineration causes air pollution and creates ash which has to be landfilled.

So, what is the answer, paper or plastic? NEITHER! Look into purchasing reusable bags or reusing your paper or plastic bags at the store. Reusing a bag meant for just one use has a big impact. A sturdy, reusable bag needs only be used 11 times to have a lower environmental impact than using 11 disposable plastic bags.


In New York City alone, one less grocery bag per person per year would reduce waste by five million pounds and save $250,000 in disposal costs.

When one ton of paper bags is reused or recycled, three cubic meters of landfill space is saved and 13 - 17 trees are spared! In 1997, 955,000 tons of paper bags were used in the United States.

When one ton of plastic bags is reused or recycled, the energy equivalent of 11 barrels of oil are saved.

Many grocery stores now offer for sale sturdy cloth grocery bags. Some of these stores even give you a little discount (e.g., five cents per bag) if you bring your own bag. So, keep a stash of reusable bags in your pantry or if you drive to the store simply keep them in your trunk.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

"What's Love Got To Do With It? "

These are my notes from Rob's sermon this morning.
We decided to go to the morning service and then eat our lunch at Cox Arboretum.
Neil Rogers led worship..I like his voice and he was military so he marches barefoot ..I think maybe unconsciously.
We sang "White As Snow" by Jon Foreman which I love and...."Divine Romance" by Phil Wickham.
Kendall sat behind us with one of the girls she met when she lived in Namibia. She has been an au pere here in the US and will be returning to her family to figure out where God will lead her next.
I was definitely convicted by this message. Unresolved anger is something I do struggle with and I've learned the hard way to let it go. It serves no purpose in the big picture of things. It took me months to realize that I can't change someone else's behavior and attitude and I need to let go and move on.

1 John 3:11-24

What's love got to do with it?.....Everything.
Sin redefines and redirects love
John is talking about agape love in these passages.
Rob's definition of agape love..."I don't need something from you to love you"
These churches have been through a hard time.
Every follower at times says "Am I really in the Lord?" We struggle with our assurance.

1. Loving each other protects us from killing each other

Jesus never separates our heart from our actions.
Murder is always birthed in the heart..latent anger.
James 1:15
James 4:2

When you are latently angry with someone, you are creating your own religion. It's not biblical. It's murder in the mind. If you hold on to that anger you are hurting yourself.
John goes back to Genesis 4 to the example of Cain and Abel. Cain slits Abel's throat ..the same thing that was done with lambs who were sacrificed. He made a mockery of his sacrifice to God.

2. Loving each other confirms our faith...God gives us that agape love to love others

3. Loving each other fights off inner condemnation. Do acts of mercy. We need love to love others

4. Loving each other is a product of the spirit. He has poured his love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit.
The world would get over the hypocrisy of Christ if they would see us love each other through our actions.

5. Loving each other is perfectly modeled in the person of Jesus.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Hanging out with the sinners

One of our favorite things to do on a nice evening is go to the Fraze and sit outside and listen to the music. Tonight it was "Hippiefest". When we pulled up to park we noticed there were 2 men on the corner with billboards and megaphones. As we walked past them they asked if we wanted tracts. We said no we didn't need tracts we're Christians. That's where the judgment started

Them: "Why are you listening to this trash if you're Christians"
Us: "We like the music"
Them: "It's rock music. It's not glorifying God"
Us: "It doesn't say that anywhere in the Bible. Jesus hung out with the sinners."
Them: "Name 3 verses that talk about salvation" (They obviously didn't believe we were Christians and felt we needed to be grilled on our knoweledge of the Bible..ridiculous!)

At that point I knew it was going to be an ongoing argument so I said "It's time to go"
and they countered by saying to Kristen .."You need to have more clothes on" (Kristen had on a perfectly appropriate sundress which did not show anything inappropriate).

Unbelievable and wonder Christians get a bad name.

Someone must have complained because when we walked back around they were gone.

The rest of the night we hung out chatting with some very nice people and listening to very old school music :) Darrell did get the autograph from Jack Bruce from "Cream" for our friend Doug because we happened to walk by as he came out of the tour bus.

Randy Pausch...a great inspiration

In October of 2007 I did a couple of posts on Randy Pausch. I posted "The Last Lecture" and did a follow up in April of this year when he did Primetime. Randy died early yesterday morning at the age of 47 from complications of pancreatic cancer. His outlook on life was a true inspiration. I can't imagine how much his family will miss him. He had 3 small children..the oldest being only 6. If you haven't seen the video or read his book "The Last Lecture" you should.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Hey..I'm on an album cover :)


One of my favorite worship singers...I'm on the cover:)...2nd rectangle down..3rd row down..6th in starting at the right. It's free so make sure you download it!!!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

God speaks in echoes

I got an email from my friend Adam to let me know that Phil Wickham is on 722 this week. I love Phil Wickham. He releases his live CD in August.
What I didn't know until I started listening to 722 is that Margaret Feinberg is the speaker this week. She is an author who writes a lot for Relevant and she has a book called "God Whispers" that I really like. She has a new book called "The Sacred Echo". One of the things she talks about is that God talks in echoes..meaning that he repeats something for you over and over to emphasize what he wants you to do. I never thought of it that way. So many times you feel God leading you in a way and he validates it many times..he creates an echo. I love that description.
Margaret is talking about her book "The Organic God" as well which sounds good. She comes from a very interesting background and it's definitely worth the time to listen to her as well as Phil
Also, next month Dan Kimball is the speaker ...awesome!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Over The Rhine

Tomorrow night my house church is heading to the Fraze to see Over The Rhine perform.
The great thing is......It's free :) They got their name from the Cincinnati neighborhood Over The Rhine. There's a great article here in Relevant on their journey to where they are now

Monday, July 21, 2008

Chocolate Tower

The "Tower of Power" is composed of angel food cake mixed in cream cheese frosting, encased in a block of chocolate, and topped with stawberries and whipped cream.

I have no idea where you get this but it looks like the most awesome chocolate dessert to eat when you've had one of those stressful,crapola days and you just don't care how fat it makes you :^)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

God's love for you

These are my notes from last night's sermon at Apex. It was much cooler with the air conditioning. We sang 2 of my favorite worship songs..Beautiful Lord and Only You to start and ended with Jesus Paid It All. It was nice to see my friends Chad and Jeff again :^)

1 John 3:1-3

In these verses John is "gushing" about God's love.
Rob gave several quotes from authors. One of those was Oswald Chambers talking about the sense of wonder.

1 God's love for you did not stop at the cross.
He has adopted us as his kids

2 God's love for you has broken your attachment to the world
The world isn't the object of our affection. It's the destination of our mission

3 God's love for you gives you a preview of future glory
Heaven will be so much better than the preview

4 God's love for you compels you to be ready by being Holy.
We're not just in His waiting room. We need to pursue holiness

Rob invited a classmate from his class(he's studying for his doctorate in Louisville) to share his story. His name is Bill and he is a minister of outreach and care in Boca Raton. My notes aren't going to do justice to his story so I would recommend you listen to it online . He had a son who was born with a heart defect who was rushed to Boston hours after he was born. They had gone through a hard time prior to this financially and only had $250 to go but God provided a place to stay and food through the contacts of Christians with a heart. At age 3 he had another episode with his heart and he needed a heart transplant . The same team operated on him and it was again a difficult time but God was there with his family. The doctor told him that when he met him 3 yrs prior ,his son should have never made it. His son did well until age 13 when he started vomiting. They thought it was the flu but it turned out to be a heart attack. This time his heart was barely beating and he was struggling. His dad walked over to him and told him it was OK to go home and he died. There are 4 things about life and God that give him hope and let him know that God is love:

1 Life is unfair...whether you are born wealthy or poor,whether circumstances in your life are good or bad. Parents shouldn't bury their children.

2 God is good...through the unfairness of life...God is ALWAYS good.

3 Life is a gift..we are only given today. We don't know what tomorrow will bring.

4 God is in control.

Friday, July 18, 2008

A Night of Crosby Stills and Nash

There are a few bands that I love and would see at any opportunity..this is one of them. This is my 5th time..and they sound just as good as they did in the 70's.
It was a perfect summer night with a full moon and it was sold out. It was Darrell,Zach ,Matt( a friend Darrell made at Starbucks) and I. Originally Kristen was going but her friend came in from Lee so they hung out swimming at my neighbor's pool instead.
They played for an hour, took a 20 min break (They are in their 60's :) and then played for another hour. Most of the songs were their older hits. They did throw in some of their "war" songs. They had written a new one in the form of a prayer which I thought was very beautiful. They also sing a song called "Cathedral" which I heard them sing in 1984 and loved and they sang it tonight. This was definitely one of the highlights of my summer

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Psalms of Ascent

I'm hosting a women's bible study that started tonight using this book. We are studying the Psalms 120 to 134 which are known as the Psalms of Ascent. The thing I love about Beth Moore's studies is that she has a way of talking to anyone and everyone right where they are in life. She also has a great way of paralleling the old and new testament. She compares the pilgrimage of the old testament to the pilgrimage we are in now to heavenly Jerusalem. That pilgrimage can be is hard. The 15 psalms also parallel the 15 steps of the temple. As we ascend through the psalms, we will hopefully go up to the next level in our relationship with God. As we go up we also need to be on our faces in humility.
We are all at different places in our lives from early 20's to 50's but we hope to learn from each other and grow closer as well as grow in our faith.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Beautiful flowers and butterflies

It was a beautiful day to walk outside and to go to the Butterfly Fest at Cox Arboretum. These are some of the pictures we took of the flowers and a butterfly we saw. There was a long line to go into the Butterfly House but if you walked the red dot trail there were tons of butterflies in the flowers. We had a great grilled pork chop sandwich and Milwaukee sausage sandwich too :) Lots of kids with butterfly faces and butterfly wings.

"If I don't persevere in my faith,do I lose my salvation?"

These are my notes from Rob's sermon last night. A hot topic in a room with no air conditioning :^)
This topic is one of Rob's passions to speak on...If you listen to the podcast you will realize that
It was so nice to have Kristen next to me singing her little heart out on "None but Jesus"

1 John 2:24-29

This is a topic that divides. It affects how you pray,how you worship,how you live your life.
There needs to be a consistent time that you are examining your life.

1 The Spirit abides and it produces abiding - It indwells in us and we become a "living tabernacle"

2 The Spirit is the primary tutor for Godliness - In this passage John is mending nets again because they have just been through some false (bad) teaching and are insecure
Their reassurance is that they have the primary teacher ..the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the primary teacher...not our only teacher...elders are called to be teachers.
When we go to make bad choices..often you will feel that presence of the Holy Spirit trying to stop you

3 The Spirit is authentic...consistent with the nature of Christ in your life

The consequence of not abiding in the Spirit is a loss of confidence and shame when Jesus returns

People who are born of God , know and practice the righteousness of God. A lifestyle of sin is a theological oxymoron.

Can you sin after accepting Christ? Yes
Can you go through dark times ..Yes
Can you continue in a pattern of sin...NO

Perseverance is produced by God's preservation

Here is the elephant in the room:
If I don't persevere in my faith, do I lose my salvation?

The answer depends on....What is salvation? and takes into account 2 types of biblical passages
Warning passages
Assurance passages

Rob gives scripture after scripture with both warning and assurance passages If you look on the website or the podcast , the verses will all be on there in the note section. As my friend Bona said, "You're blog will be pages long" and I didn't want that.

Why I believe that believers are secure in Christ for eternity.(This is Rob's belief)

1 The role of God in Salvation... Salvation didn't start ,isn't sustained ,or end with us..It's God.

2 The role of the Holy Spirit in sanctification

3 The role of Jesus's work on the cross

4 Role of Jesus in prayer(John 17:11-17) Jesus is talking to God..I believe that God answers this prayer of His son.

What are the role of the warning passages?
1 We should never ever be casual about God's grace You should never spit on God's grace

2 Believer's should never separate works from God's grace. Faith without works is dead.
Good dirt is broken and hallowed out so that fruit grows

3 Believers can never have any assurance in Christ if they are taking part in sin
You may not be giving up your citizenship in heaven but if you are in a pattern of are miserable,scared,insecure in your faith. You need to repent.

4 Believers should see these warnings as a means toward final salvation

Peter and Judas...which one do you relate to?

Peter was sifted as wheat..He screwed up...He denied Christ but Jesus prayed for him..he returned..his heart was soft and he went on to share his faith for the love of Christ in him.

Judas..He spent 3 1/2 years with Jesus...he shared the gospel..he cast out demons..he heard every word of Christ in that time but he didn't soak in Christ..he had a hard heart..and he is separated for eternity

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Favre 'wants to end retirement'

I couldn't believe it when I started hearing this on ESPN . Anyone who knows me knows that I love Brett Favre. He's been my favorite player for a long time. I honestly felt he made the right decision to retire and now...I think it needs to be his decision. It's easy to sit on the sidelines and say "He should or He shouldn't" but it's not us.
At the same time, I do understand the position of Green Bay . They have already invested a decision in making Aaron Rogers their quarterback. It will be hard to see Brett play for another team...but I'm loyal and I will always be a Brett Favre fan wherever he decides to play.

Are these people for real?

My daughter showed me this. The one guy reminds me of an Eddie Murphy skit and the lady who thinks it's a "crackhead" makes me laugh every time. Enjoy :^)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Kristen comes home!

After spending the first part of the summer at Lee taking Algebra, the month of June and first week of July in Chile, Kristen is finally home. She drove home yesterday and got here in time to surprise Darrell at work.
She has many stories,many souvenirs and good memories and experience.
She did well in her spanish and cross cultural wasn't all fun..she had studying and tests and papers while she was there.
So she is back until mid August and then it's back to school!

Monday, July 07, 2008

"The Last Hour"

These are my notes from Rob's sermon at Apex Sat night
I have to start by saying that I love when Isaac sings..he just shows his heart when he sings. We sang "True Light" by Phil Wing, "Song of the Redeemed" by Charlie Hall, and "There is No One" by Jason Morant and "You Alone" by David Crowder

1 John 2:15-26

There are 3 questions to ask

1 What is the last hour?
2 How do we know it's the last hour?
3 Are you ready for the last hour?

What is the last hour?

It's not talking about literal's theological. It's talking about the last days from the cross until right now...we are in that period.

How do we know it's the last hour?

Christ talks about the last days having the antichrist as an influence.
There will be a literal person who embodies evil but also his influence is present with false prophets
An antichrist spirit actually comes from within the church.

An antichrist:
Departs from the community of Christ...leaves the church..they have "issues" with doctrine
Denies the rule of Christ
Demeans the Deity of Christ

What you need to think about? What is the theology of your day to day life? That's what tells you if you have the spirit of Christ or the spirt of antichrist

Are you ready?

Do you have the Holy Spirit? You're not ready if you don't.
Do you know the truth? Go back to the the word of God
Do you soak in his promises? You can have the head knowledge but unless you soak in it and make it part of your's no good.

If you disfellowship from the community..whether it's over the style of worship,the vision of the church, the leadership of the church, what it comes down to is "What do I believe about Jesus?"

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Rafael Nadal..the winner....YES!!!!!

Despite darkness,rain,delay and the toughness of Roger Federer...HE IS THE CHAMPION!!!

Beauty and Exercise

Darrell and I decided to get our exercise after serving at the Apex cafe this am so we went to Cox Arboretum. One of my friends said the butterfly house was open so I wanted to see it. I had forgotten how beautiful it is there. Their resident dog was taking a dip in the pond when we got there. Inside the butterfly house you can see the different stages from caterpillar to cocoon to butterfly. They have a butterfly bench that you can sit on and they are raffling one off next weekend at their butterfly festival.
We decided to walk one of their trails. It's good exercise because it has some hills to it. Afterwards, we went inside to look at their info and their little shop..and it was air conditioned :^) They have benches and swings where you can sit and reflect or read. I think I'll have to visit here more often.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy 4th!!

I love to watch fireworks like this one. We don't have a tradition for the 4th in our family other than trying to find a good place to watch fireworks. I talked to Kristen this morning and they obviously don't celebrate the 4th in Chile. In fact, she said they took offense to them singing "God Bless America". Kristen leaves tonight at 10 to come back to the good old U.S. She said she'll just be glad to hear English again :^)

We went to see Derek Trucks last night. What an amazing guitar player. His wife did most of the vocals. His other singer opened and sounded alot like Jack Johnson. The Cityfolk festival is this weekend in Dayton so we may go check that out if the weather clears up. I'm just glad for the extra day off today.

Things are very busy in "diabetes world" lately at the hospital and the office. So many people being diagnosed because of how overweight we are as a nation..23 million people. We are finally starting to break even with our practice which is a good thing for the doctors and job security for the rest of us. It's been nice to work at the office and see the positive results of our education as people come back in. At the hospital ,I see patients when their blood sugars are out of control and affecting their health so it's nice to see the other side.

It's been an interesting year spiritually. God has taken people out of my life but has also brought new friends into my life. I continue to work on my's hard at times because of hurtful past experiences but I'm realizing that time does help heal most wounds. My house church has helped a lot with that. I love the worship and messages at Apex and I'm feeling more connected.

I'm just trying to stay open to that" quiet little voice" that guides and comforts me.