Monthly Archives: August 2006

Update on Are We Being Manipulated?

I was glad to see this Michelle Malkin column today. It’s all about Hezbollah’s manipulation of the media. We will probably never know an accurate count of civilians who have died.

I feel sorry for the people in Lebanon. Many of them are not involved with Hezbollah and would probably prefer their country had not been hijacked by this terrorist organization. Bridges are out; communities have been destroyed; and there are children growing up in the midst of this. I do not want to trivialize the horror that is happening in Lebanon and Israel. But it takes a special kind of depravity to use the bodies of dead children for propaganda. It takes a special kind of evil to pose dead bodies for the media, to do several takes and transfer bodies from one stretcher to another to try to get a better picture. It takes a mind completely given over to sin to dig up the bodies of dead children in order to get one more photo op out of them.

What can we do? It seems so frustrating. First, we can realize that not everything we see is real and that we can’t rely on the 6 o’clock news to tell us the complete truth. We need to get our news from several different sources and be very aware of the bias from each news source. Next, and this is probably the most important — we can pray for the Christians in Lebanon and Israel. I recently heard reports from a Christian pastor in Lebanon. He said Christians are risking their lives to give help and aid to unbelievers. Though it would be easy for the Christians to hide out in their homes, many are risking everything to share what they have and give care to those around them. In some places, people who would never normally enter a Christian church are coming there for safety or food or some other sort of aid. What an opportunity this gives for Christians to share the hope that is within them. Let’s pray that God — who is a Master at bringing good from evil — would use this time to bring many to Christ.

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NTM-Video

Hey! Check out NTM’s brand new two minute video.

http://www.ntmfm.org/videos/REACH/

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Homeschooling — Journals

OK, I want your ideas! This year, I have decided that my girls will each do a journal with me. I will write in the journal — asking questions, giving assignments, and answering their questions or giving them encouragement. Then each morning, I’ll give them their journals which they will work on throughout the day. They will answer my questions/assignments and they can tell me anything or ask me anything in the journal. It will be a safe place to share ideas. They’ll put the journals on my pillow and I’ll read it and write in it before bed so they can get it at breakfast the next morning. Make sense? (I know I’m not the first person to think of this, and some of you may also do this.)

We started the journals today — sort of as our first little toe in the water of homeschooling for the year.

Lauren is doing 3rd grade work. I had her read Revelation 21 about The New Jerusalem and then I asked her several questions — what she thinks The New Jerusalem (Heaven, Eternity with Jesus) will look like and be like based on these verses, what will not be there, how she will feel, what she looks forward to most. I have a feeling we will discuss eternity for several days in the journal.

Rachel is doing 2nd grade work. I simply asked her what her favorite song is and to tell me why. (She was a little intimidated and asked for something easy to start with.)

I look forward to seeing their writing skills develop throughout the year, as well as their handwriting. But, most of all, I know this will deepen my relationship with each of them. We don’t always have the time and space to sit and have private conversations, so these journals can really fill that gap.

So . . . I’d love your ideas for topics! Fill up that comment box. 🙂

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Peter

First, let me say that I welcome your comments. I would love to hear your thoughts. 🙂

OK.

I’ve been thinking about Peter for a while now. I relate to Peter. Peter was a talker. It seems like things were in Peter’s mind and out his mouth without spending a lot of time in a filter somewhere in-between. I can relate. But Peter was also right in the middle of things. He wanted to be involved, right there with Jesus. Peter is the one who walked on the water. Then, later, when Peter saw Jesus far off, he put on his outerwear and jumped right out of the boat. (Did he expect to walk on the water again?) Peter is also the one who was ready to battle for Jesus, cutting off the ear of the high priest’s servant. So Peter was in the middle of the action and tended to act impulsively. I can relate to that too.

So, I enjoy studying about Peter. It’s encouraging to me to see the transformation in Peter and it gives me hope that God can do something with me too.

Recently, I had a sort of light-bulb moment about Peter. As I read about Peter’s denial of Christ and then looked at Peter’s preaching and teaching in the book of Acts, I was astounded at the difference in him. What caused that difference? Here’s the light-bulb part —- the Holy Spirit. Of course Peter denied Christ before the Crucifixion. At that point, the only power Peter had within him was his own power. His own power and his own good intentions were not enough. So Peter denied Christ. Then, per Jesus’ instructions, Peter and the others waited in the upper room for the power of the Holy Spirit to indwell them. Wow! This made all the difference! Now, look at Peter! After the Holy Spirit indwells him, it’s not just Peter and his own good intentions; it’s Jesus-In-Peter. And Peter cannot deny Christ because God cannot deny Himself.

So many times, my attempts to live for Christ result just like Peter’s good intentions before the Crucifixion. That’s because I rely on my own power and my own good intentions. But when I shrink down and have Christ-In-Jennifer living and working, I can do all things!

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Dinner with Ross

We spent the evening with the chairman of New Tribes Mission Australia. My husband (Patrick) met him last year in the Philippines and God used that encounter to help draw us to NTM. From our conversations, I have several thoughts running through my head. I’m not sure I can get them all into a cohesive, neat little essay, but I’m just going to do a little stream of consciousness writing. Maybe you’ll be blessed a fraction of how I was tonight.

We discussed God’s faithfulness in spite of our faithlessness.
2 Timothy 2:13 — If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.
This is a good thing for me to remember as our family embarks on this missions journey. Though we hope to have faith and trust in the Lord, especially as we are forced to really rely on Him to provide everything (more on that thought in a minute), there will be times when we will be faithless. No matter what, God will remain faithful to us. Ross encouraged us with stories of God’s faithfulness in his life and ministry, and the reminder of this verse from 2 Timothy.

We had some good discussion about how so many people will look to a family going into missions and say, “You have so much faith.” Then it’s easy to begin to believe them. (Why, yes, I do have a lot of faith, don’t I? I must be something special.) No, no, no. Often, our faith is so small, and God’s faithfulness is so big. You don’t have to have any more faith to be in full-time missions than you do to work an ordinary job. Every Christian must rely on God to provide her needs. Right now, God is providing through Patrick’s secular job. In a year (we hope), He’ll be providing through our brothers’ and sisters’ jobs. No matter what channels the money comes through, it all originates at the same source — with our Heavenly Father Who owns the cattle on a thousand hillsides. Will we need any greater faith to rely on God next year than we do this year? Not really. He may take us through some lean times to increase our faith; but we’ve been through some difficult circumstances already in the past 12 years that have grown our faith. Ross said he has found that often, it’s easier for full-time missionaries than it is for Christians who work full-time in the secular world.

We also talked about the goal of missionaries. His goal — and our goal — is to give people the chance to either accept or reject Christ. There are groups of people all over the world who have never heard the Gospel. They’ve never had the opportunity to accept or reject Christ. Our goal, the goal of New Tribes Mission, is to give those people the opportunity, to give them the choice. So, NTM goes into a tribe of people, learns their language, helps them create an alphabet to preserve their language and honor their language, and then begins the teach them in their own language the story of Christ. Over time, NTM translates the Bible into tribal languages, so people all over the world can read God’s Word in the language of their heart. NTM does not go into a group of people to try to Westernize them or force them to learn English or make them accept Christ. No. The desire is simply to give people a choice. A choice many of us in the Western world take for granted. And all over the world, amazing numbers of people are making the choice to accept Christ. So that one day, people from every nation, every tribe, every language will surround the throne of Christ and praise the One Who has redeemed us.

We talked about so much more — how the world wants to see that our faith is backed by actions and that our faith is authentic. We talked about how often churches that are really reaching out to meet people’s needs are failing to give the whole Gospel, and how churches that really teach the Gospel are failing to reach out to meet people’s needs. We’ve got to do a better job.

We talked about how encouraging it is to see in the Bible that God uses screw-ups. None of the 12 disciples/apostles sent out in Matthew 10 were of much importance by the world’s standards. Most of the people written about in the Bible messed up in big ways. I love that the Holy Spirit is honest about the sins and mistakes. I know my shortcomings, my failures, my sins; yet I am encouraged that God can use me. You know why? Because it’s not about me. It’s about Him. He can probably use me more the more mindful I am of my failures, because then I will know it’s all Him. And I’ll hide in Him more — crouching myself down as little as I can be so that I can be completely enveloped by Christ. His strength is made perfect in our weaknesses. (2 Cor. 12:9) Isn’t that encouraging?

That’s enough to chew on for tonight.

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Prairie Girl

lauren.jpg

Finally, Lauren got the dress she’s wanted for a couple years! She found these matching dresses for her and Samantha on EBAY and bought them with her birthday money. We also found another dress with pinafore on EBAY, which I bought for a great deal. That one even has the pockets buttoned on the front — just like Laura’s are described in the book.

Lauren loves to wear dresses, especially ones that are similar to Samantha’s or that look like something Laura Ingalls would have worn. I love that.

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Music, Books, Movies

What We’re Listening To

  • Jack Johnson’s Curious George soundtrack
  • Veggie Tales Worship Songs
  • Andrew Peterson
  • What We’re Reading

    Patrick:

  • Stephen Lawhead
  • Jennifer:

  • Anne Tyler’s “A Patchwork Planet”
  • Lisa Whelchel’s “Taking Care of the Me in Mommy”
  • Lysa Terkeurst’s “What Happens When Women Walk In Faith”
  • The Kids:

  • Sarah, Plain and Tall
  • Barnyard Boogie
  • McBroom Tells The Truth
  • Peril At King’s Creek (A Felicity Mystery)
  • What We’re Watching

  • Veggie Tale’s “Sumo of the Opera”
  • Finding Nemo
  • I Have Tourette’s But Tourette’s Doesn’t Have Me
  • Madeline’s Best Manners
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