Thursday, January 31, 2008

My First Political Post

I'm treading on thin ice.  I know I may catch some heat.  This is my first political posting.  

Last night I was watching the Republican debate on CNN.  Four candidates Romney, McCain, Paul and Huckabee, in that order from right to left.  Anderson Cooper moderated the debate.

Here is what happened.  The questions were all aimed at McCain and Romney.  The purpose was obvious they were intending to get these two guys to pull  Clinton/Obama debate fight.  The problem I have with this is CNN wasn't out to hear these candidates share their ideas and their plans, CNN was just going for ratings and wanted to enhance their own agenda.

Poor Huckabee, who is a much more polished speaker than Romney and McCain combined, and poor Paul were just sort of sitting at the end of the table getting totally ignored.  If CNN really wanted to benefit Americans and help us with our decision on who we are going to vote for they would have spread the questions and the debate out among all 4 candidates.  What CNN has done, in their silence towards Huckabee and Paul, has endorsed Romney and McCain and I bet they lean more towards McCain.

Quite honestly McCain scares me because he has been a senator for a long time and I'm one American that is sick of the junk going on in our Capital.  I respect his career, I look up to him as a war hero but I wonder if he won't say one thing and do another like most senators.  I don't trust our government anymore, it is broken.

Romney makes me nervous.  He looks good, speaks good, has a good reputation as a business leader.  I'm just not sure that I line up with his thoughts and plans.  I'm reminded of President Bill Clinton and the fact that he looked good and spoke well whenever I look at Romney, it's  gut feeling.

Paul cracks me up.  I wish they would let him talk more.  I don't agree with some of his points but then there are some I totally agree with.  It appears to me he is sick of our broken government as well.  He is right that we need a revolution, a change in our government, just some of his views scare me a bit.  I did like his comment last night that the debate should focus more on the issues and quit wasting time with frivolous arguments of who said what about whom.

Huckabee is a great speaker, he knows how to clearly articulate his thoughts.  Huckabee doesn't go for the jugular on his opposition.  He is fighting a clean fight and not slinging mud.  I can't find anything in my gut that tells me to not trust Huckabee (I do with the other three).  I know that if my president was sitting down to talk with a foreign leader I know I could trust Huckabee because he knows how to make a point without ticking someone off or coming across as arrogant and power hungry.  Finally I know I can trust Huckabee because Chuck Norris trusts Huckabee.  Chuck Norris can take his left little toe and place it very swiftly to my right temple and knock me out.  The eyes of the ranger are upon you". . ."When you're in Texas look behind you.  Cause that's where the Ranger's gonna be."

Chuck is politically conservative which totally goes against the grain of Hollywood and the acting elite.  If Chuck likes Huckabee, why can't I?  

"How'd ya like a round house from one of these babies?  Forget about it." - Rex Kwando, Martial Arts Instructor in Napoleon Dynamite.

These are some political thoughts from the ADD mind of American citizen.
I'm Andy Lawrenson and I approve  this blog.


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Are you safe?

Feeling  little shakey, a little nervous about life?  Wondering why you are going through a storm in life?  Thinking about turning back to the way you were before you encountered God and a relationship with Him through Jesus Christ?


I read this chapter this morning as I had "coffee with God" and found it very encouraging to me. 

Hope you do as well.


Psalm 16

1 Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge. 2 I said to the Lord, "You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing." 3 As for the saints who are in the land, they are the glorious ones in whom is all my delight. 4 The sorrows of those will increase who run after other gods. I will not pour out their libations of blood or take up their names on my lips. 5 Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure. 6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. 7 I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.

8 I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. 9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, 10 because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. 11 You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.


Is your "heart glad" today?  Do you know real security?

Put your faith, your trust, in Jesus as your Savior, the one who died for your sins and you will know the peace described in the above verses.





Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Go back? No way!

When Misha and I were newlyweds we had been given a hand-me-down double bed.   Now I had no problem with that because I was used to sleeping in a single bed and so was Misha.  There were the occasional incidents where I would roll over in my sleep and nail Mish in the face with my elbow.  That usually didn't wake her up but it would wake me up.  So for a few years we slept peacefully in the double bed and were quite comfortable with it.

Misha came home one day and announced she had bought us a king sized bed at one of these truck load sales.  It was delivered shortly thereafter.  We moved the double bed out and set the king size mattress and box spring on the floor because we didn't have a bed frame for a king size bed (that came a few years later).  I guess we were going with a sort of Asian decor theme. :)

The first night we slept in the bed I felt like I was sleeping on the state of Texas.  It was huge!!  "Misha!  Are you over there?!"  I heard her yell back, "Yes!"   There was almost an echo.

Now we had been comfortable with the double bed but this new king sized bed was amazing!  I slept the best I had ever slept and I didn't nail Misha in the face with my elbow.  I had room to roll around in comfort.  Our whole sleeping world had radically changed for the better but before that we were totally clueless about what we were missing out on.

There have been times when we have gone on trips and stay with family and friends and we sleep in a double bed again (or even a queen), I'm reminded that I won't buy another double bed for our bedroom.  Once you have moved up you can't move back.  I don't want to go back to a double, or even  queen.  I want to continue to experience the king sized.

When I read about the Hebrew nation as Moses is leading them through the wilderness and they start complaining and want to go back to Egypt I wonder, "What were they thinking?"  They would rather live in slavery and bondage because they have to eat the same food everyday in the wilderness.  They would rather be whipped and forced to do extreme physical labor and even do jobs that put their lives at risk!  What's up with that?

But I think that often as Christians we do the same thing spiritually.  We experience spiritual growth, a closer walk with God, a new level of maturity and then decide we would rather go back to living like we lived before.  How can we experience the King and want to go back to our old way of living?  Christians do this all the time.  What are we thinking?

No one who puts their hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.
Luke 9:62

If you have experienced God in a new way, grown spiritually, taken new steps in your faith, don't look back and think you would be comfortable living like you did before.  

Monday, January 28, 2008

Core Truth #2

This is the outline for our youth group meeting this week.  We are continuing our study on the Core Truths of Christianity.

Core Truth's You Must Know For An Unshakable Faith


Core Truth #2 – Virgin Birth


Christians Believe Jesus was Born to a Virgin Named Mary.



This week and next we will look at Core Truth #2 – The virgin birth of Jesus Christ.


•    The Virgin Birth was Predicted in the Bible


This belief is a core truth of Christianity and if found throughout the Bible, Jesus’ birth was the first sign that He was set apart from he rest of humanity—His birth was a complete miracle, a supernatural event.


Matthew 1:22-23

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him  Immanuel”—which means, “God with us”.


God is the father of Jesus.


Luke 1:28-35



•    Why the Virgin Birth Matters


An unshakable faith rests on the Bible’s truthfulness about the virgin birth of Jesus Christ.  The virgin birth is central to establishing that Jesus is God.

His virgin birth is vitally important to understanding why he came to earth and died on the cross and rose from the grave.  Everything that is supernatural about Jesus is dependant upon His supernatural entry into the world.


There are lots of verses in the Bible that point to virgin birth.  Check out Genesis 3:15.


“her seed,” or Eve’s offspring, is an unusual reference to children.  Normally in ancient times children were referred to as, “the seed of  the man”.  But Jesus was no product of a human father.

Isaiah 7:14 – Isaiah wrote this 700 years before the birth of Christ.




Parent/Teen Discussion:


Do your friends believe in the virgin birth of Jesus Christ?


Do they believe that Jesus is a real person?


How can you back up your belief in the Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ?


Spend some time together with a commentary or do an online search on crosswalk.com on the subject of the virgin birth and see what you can come up with in the way of Old Testament prophecies of Jesus Christ.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Bounce to Nate's Blog at 9am

OK.  Because I have google analytics I know that 90% of those who read my blog bounce from other blogs, mainly Nate's blog.  If you aren't bouncing from Nate's blog make sure you check his out around 9am for the best post in the world.

Yesterday we made some more play doh creations.  I thought I would share a pic with you of our artistic talent.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Faith Part 3


Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Phil.  4:4-7

Rejoice in the Lord always?
There are times in life when we question God.  I've heard some say "you shouldn't question God".  I'm of the belief that God is big enough for my questions.  If we want answers we have to ask.  For years I wanted to be a dad.  Doesn't seem like much to ask of God, people have children everyday.  Right?  God can handle that, after all He is God.  The desire to be a father soon turned into a frustration for me.    Wasn't God listening?

Several years ago I made a conscious decision to have faith in God, to totally surrender.  I have been a Christian since I was 7 years old, but did I truly trust Him with every aspect of my life? The point in my life that I made the decision to trust God the fact that I was childless no longer a frustration, peace settled in on me.  Even though the desire of my heart was to hear a little voice say, "daddy", I was content with whatever God's plan was for my life.  If God didn't want me to be a father I was OK with that.  It was a relief to live without that frustration any longer.  It was wonderful to be at the point where I had moved past my anger about the situation.  This was the process of learning to rejoice in the Lord always.

When something consumes your life like this sort of frustration or disappointment it is such a relief to get past it.  That relief only came when I put my faith in action by totally surrendering to God's plan for my life whatever it might be.  The peace of God that went beyond my understanding came over me.

I'm reminded of that peace, that decision to totally surrender every time I hear the sound of a little guy shuffling down the hallway in his footie pajamas and I hear that little voice say, "Good morning daddy!"  God taught me a lesson, it took many years to learn the lesson but God taught me a lesson (actually several).  God is God and His plans are best, even when we don't fully understand at the time.  God sees the big picture, He knows the future, I can only see what is in front of me at the time.  Faith is trust, total surrender.  

It is puzzling to me how we, as believers in Jesus Christ, can trust Jesus with our salvation but can't trust him with our finances, family, career, relationships . . .
What do you need to let go of and trust God with totally?


Thursday, January 24, 2008

Faith Part 2


Anyone that has ever done the "trust fall" knows faith.  The "trust fall" goes like this.  You climb up onto a platform, behind you on the ground is a group of people, this group lays their hands out to catch you, then you stand on the edge of the platform with your back towards the group and then fall backwards.  When doing this you are trusting that this group is going to catch you.  Trust is a part faith.  Once you lean back to fall you have totally surrendered control.  

Faith is total surrender.  Surrender is not an easy thing for us to do as humans.  We naturally want the control.  I fly, but for me it isn't easy to hop on that jet and relax.  Why?  I'm not in control.  I have to trust someone up front in the cockpit knows what he or she is doing.   I have to trust that a mechanic, that I don't know, has given the jet a thorough check up.

As a 7 year old boy I trusted Jesus Christ as my Savior.  Now at 7 I didn't know much other than the fact that Jesus died on the cross for my sins so I could have a relationship with God and spend eternity in heaven when my life on earth is over.  That was an act of faith.  Faith of a child.  Children often simply accept things at face value don't they?  They don't try to confuse things.  As adults we have a hard time not confusing things or making things more difficult than they really are.

Is faith, total surrender, easy?  Not for most of us.  But all we need is the tiny faith, faith of a mustard seed.  Why not surrender totally (have faith in) to God?  After all He created this world we live in.  Since God can make life why not trust him with life?

Tomorrow I'll share about a time when I came to realize what total surrender is all about.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Faith

Sometimes we get this idea that faith is some sort of mysterious, mystical, magical formula.  I have been amazed (there is that word again) by the faith of Tricia and Nathan over the past few months.  Scratch that, I've been blown away by their faith.  As I read thousands of comments on Nate's blog I see this word "faith" popping up.  Faith rising to the surface of most of the comments.  I'm not the only one that has been stirred by this story of faith, as a matter of fact I probably think that for those of us that know Tricia and Nathan this event has had even more of an impact on our faith.  Their story of faith is obviously impacting thousands.

Last night as I went to bed "faith" was on my mind.  Our son is only 3 and a half.  I don't know how much a 3 year old can comprehend when it comes to God and the topic of faith.  I do know that we read Bible stories to him, he goes to his 'Lil K class at church, and we pray with him a few times  day.  How much faith can a 3 year old have?  I have no idea.

As I tucked my boy into bed last night I prayed with him.  Usually, for some reason, he likes me to pray with him and then leave the room and then he wants mommy to pray with him (he is a momma's boy) so usually I don't get to hear him pray or hear his prayer request, usually he wants to pray for  his school teacher.  Last night he prayed with me and this was the content of his prayer, "Pray for baby Rose.  Amen".  
  
15 I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." 
Mark 10
These were the words of Jesus Christ.  I think we tend to measure faith with some sort of measuring stick.  Jesus said it only take the faith of a little child.  
5 The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!" 6 He replied, "If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it will obey you.
Luke 17
That is not a whole lot of faith, mustard seeds are tiny.  I'm not downplaying Nate and Tricia's faith, they have amazed me.  But I wonder do you and I realize the power of our faith?  Do we realize that when we say, "I wish I had more faith" or "bigger faith", that all you and I need is a little tiny bit of faith?

May we have tiny faith today.


Monday, January 21, 2008

How do I know it is real? Part 2


This is the second installment of "How do I know it's real?".
This is an excerpt from our Wednesday night youth gathering.

Evidence #2 – There is Unity in the Bible

*Did you know 40 men wrote the Bible over 1500 years time?

These writers included Amos ( a farmer), a doctor (Luke), ministers such as Ezra and James, political leaders (David, Solomon), political prisoners (Daniel, John), a musician (Asaph), a fisherman (Peter), and a tax collector (Matthew).

Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible and he grew up in Egypt, became a fugitive, worked herding livestock, and eventually led a nation.

Paul, who wrote 13 books of the New Testament, professionally trained in religion, in theology, philosophy, and before he trusted Jesus as Savior was a professional hunter of Christians.

The Bible writers came from all sorts of economic backgrounds all sorts of careers and lifestyles; some were educated and some not so educated.

So you take all these different writers with different points of view, different backgrounds and yet the Bible contains a unified and consistent message.  The agreement in all 66 books strongly argues in favor that the Bible gets its origin from God in heaven.

 Here is your big Bible knowledge tid bit for the night.

 The Canon of Scriptures  is the collection of documents that make up the Bible.  There were some canonicity tests for the books of the Bible. 

Authorship (who wrote it)

Acceptance by the Church (remember these early Christians were eyewitnesses of Jesus Christ and the disciples.)

Acceptance by church leaders – some of the church leaders actually walked and lived with Jesus Christ

Spiritual Value – was the content of the book useful for helping Christians grow.

During the early church era there were some books that didn’t pass the canonicity tests and so the church rejected them.

 

Evidence #3 – Archeology evidence

The past couple centuries the science of archeology has advanced our knowledge of the people, places and culture of Bible times.

Read 2 Kings 9 & 10

Example:  This is cool.  King Jehu was an early king of Israel found in 2 Kings 9-10.

An obelisk was discovered in 1846 with information about Israel’s defeat and capture by an Assyrian king.  Up until this discovery the only evidence of King Jehu’s existence was found in the Old Testament.  Many discoveries have meshed perfectly with the Bible.

 

Evidence #4 – The Bible has fulfilled prophecy

Now some of you might say, “every religion has had prophecies so what makes the prophecies of the Bible any different?”

The answer is very simple; the Bible’s prophecies have been fulfilled, they actually happened as the Bible said they would.  The other religions have nothing but unfulfilled prophecies.

Sometime between AD 30-32 Jesus predicted that the Jewish temple would be reduced to nothing but rubble.  Now the Jews of the day thought that was impossibility.  The Jewish leaders thought of this an unthinkable occurrence.  There was no way their massive temple would be destroyed.  Yet in AD 70 the temple was totally destroyed.

In the book Isaiah written more than 700 years before the birth of Christ predicted that Jews would return to Israel.  At one point the skeptics pointed to this prophecy as on that wasn’t fulfilled but since Israel became a nation once again in 1948 there has been a steady increase of Jews returning to Israel.

These are just a couple examples of fulfilled prophecy.

Why Inspiration Matters?

If the Bible is God’ Word and what it says was true when it was written, it is still true today and will be true tomorrow and forever.  In the most crucial issues of life—I’m talking about subjects like God, human nature, right and wrong, sin, forgiveness, death and eternity—you can’t afford to guess what is true.  Your life now and in eternity, depends on whether or not what you believe is, in fact, true. 

Nearly 500 years ago the great reformer Martin Luther gave us his take on God’s Word:

“In the Bible God speaks.  The Scriptures are His word.  To hear or read the Scriptures in nothing else that to hear God Himself.”

Parent/Teen Discussion Questions:

Have you ever thought there were some discrepancies, contradictions, or mistakes in the Bible?

If your son or daughter say “yes” ask what they think is the contradiction or mistake?

If he or she comes up with one and you know the answer or explanation please spend some time helping them understand.  If it is one that stumps you please write it down and say, “That’s a great question, let me see if I can find the answer to that one because I don’t know the answer off the top of my head.”

Better yet, spend some time digging in some commentaries or study Bibles together searching for an explanation. 

*information in italics is taken from Alex McFarland's book Stand.

 

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Home Safe and Sound

We had a good visit with Tricia this morning.  She seemed, to Misha and me, to be much improved even from yesterday.  Our prayer is that her body continues to strengthen and that she is off the vent and breathing on her own soon.  We can't wait to hear the news that she got to hold baby Rose.  I can't even wrap my mind around the thought of being just three floors away from each other.  
I know Tricia is the toughest person I've ever known.  I think her maternal instincts (she's a momma bear now so don't get in her way) are going to drive her to heal up and strengthen up even quicker.  We know she is going to be a great mom for two reasons:
1.  She is Tricia
2.  She risked her life to give life to her baby girl.

I was in with Nate and Gwyneth, video taping her and her surroundings, when the nurse explained to Nate that Gwyneth was almost down to the same oxygen level that you and I breathe.  That was awesome to hear, I listened to it again tonight as we watched the video back.  My plan is to have that video to Nate by tomorrow sometime.  I'm still figuring out all this Mac (it's not a lap top) stuff out.

How cool would it be when Tricia gets to leave the hospital to have her friends and family there lining the hallways cheering her on?  I think there is a bus trip in the future for the NHC family ;).

Thanks to our good friends, Clay and Esma, for sharing their home with us this weekend.  We got to see the gift of hospitality in action.  They went above and beyond by  feeding us some great food.  I "experienced" Fiber One cereal for the first time, it was pretty good stuff. Esma and Clay also hooked us up with some great chocolate chip cookies and sent a big bag of them to Nate.  Ty had a blast with them and enjoyed watching the snow fall yesterday and he really enjoyed sleeping in a sleeping bag on the floor.   Clay and Esma were just teenagers when we lived in Oklahoma now they are Med students at Duke.  How cool is that?

You never know how strong your faith is until your faith is tested.  I think Nate and Tricia are passing the test.  

Saturday, January 19, 2008

A Great Morning!

We had a fantastic morning today.  Tricia is sitting up, alert and communicating well.  Misha went in to see Tricia first while I hung out with Ty and the boys in "the hole".  Tricia seemed so much more like Tricia today.  Again, my theme word, Amazing!    Tricia, after all she has been through, asked Misha if anyone had looked at our house yet (it's for sale).  Here she lies in ICU and she is concerned about others, and thinking about us. 

After Mish came out it was my turn to go in and see Tricia.  Now usually I have something to say but I found myself sort of speechless.  It was simply great to be there by her side and talk with her.  I've said this before but I shall repeat myself, Tricia is the toughest person I've ever known.  Even in the surroundings of the ICU she has the same sweet attitude.  It was just fantastic to get to see her.  The girl is truly an inspiration.

Oh, it's snowing!  Ty was stoked to see the snow fall.

I won't be at church tomorrow so I've sent Rick back to hold down the fort.  Hopefully his delivery of the sermon will reflect the amount of work I put into writing it for him. ;)

Boys in the hole - It's a new boy band









Who said you can't play in the hospital?

Friday, January 18, 2008

We saw Tricia and Gwyneth tonight!


>departed at 1:45
>arrived at 5:15
>wrote two Bible study lessons in route on the Mac (Mish was driving)
>Ty napped part of the way
>we got coffee at Bojangles at a potty stop.  Coffee was OK
>checked in "the hole" and said hey to the gang there
>ate supper with Rick in the cafeteria, it was OK.  Coffee is good.
>got to go in and see Tricia.  She was asleep but woke up briefly to crack  smile and flash her eyes.
>stared at her while she was sleeping.  that's got to be weird if you knew someone was watching you sleep like that.
>Tricia looks much better than the last time we saw her the morning of her surgery and birth of Gwyneth
>Gwyneth is one tiny little teenie weenie girl.  She was moving her arms and legs around when I was in there.  Her head is slightly smaller than the size of a tennis ball if that helps you get a better idea of just how little she is.  Oh, and there is about as much fuzz on her head as their is on a tennis ball :)  
>I'm still AMAZED by all of this
>Ty saw the aquarium of the 5th floor, watched the helicopter take off the roof, watched some veggie tales and Toy Story on the lap top.
>He was excited about sleeping in a sleeping bag.
>Found out at around 9pm that someone is looking at our house tomorrow (figures that would happen while we are out of town)  Sell our house Cathy!
>Both Mish and Ty are now asleep and I'll join them soon.
>God is awesome and I'm glad that having faith in Christ is not about religion but about a relationship.
Goodnight!

Journey to "the hole"


Today we leave for the Lawrenson/Kirschner hole.  We will be spending the weekend with Nate, Tricia and baby Rose at Duke.  Ty's excited about the trip we hope he will be happy just seeing Nate and the aquarium, doubt he would get to see baby Rose and Tricia.
Toy bag is loaded for hours of entertainment in "the hole".   

I'm thinking there needs to be an official "the Hole"  t-shirt.
 
Thanks to our good friends, Clay and Esma, for putting us up at their place for the weekend. Clay and Esma are med students at Duke and were teenagers in Atoka, OK when lived there several years ago.
Thanks to our good friends, Ron, Lynn and Ronnie for taking care of the house and Sasha (big brown dog) for us while we are gone.

Trip Destination:  "The Hole"
ETA: 6pm
In Drive Movies:  Toy Story and Cars
Nap in the car:  Yes
Drive Through Window:  Possible
Coffee:  Most definitely (McD's new coffee is pretty good stuff and Sonic's new frozen coffee drinks are excellent) 

We are excited to see the changes in baby Rose in 10 days time.  We are super excited to get to talk with Tricia.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

How do I know it's real?


"Dad, how do I know that what the Bible says is real?"

What if that was your son or daughter asking you that question?  What would your answer be?

My mind drifts back to the early 70's and the Christian college chorales.  You know the ones with the guys in powder puff blue leisure suits and the girls in dresses that went from the top of their neck to the floor and to the end of their wrists with something frilly or doily looking material around the neck.  They would stand in pairs, boy and girl, (that was cutting edge) and share a mic.   (Which, by the way, was a copy of the culture at the time because Lawrence Welk show was huge and that is how they sang on his show.  Ever thought about that one?  The church was copying the world yet no one was freaking out about that.  You can still catch Lawrence on PBS if you are going through Lawrence withdrawals.  I do it for the entertainment factor and Misha thinks I'm nuts.)
I think of the Christian chorale because they sang, "God said it and I believe it and that's good enough for me."

Now that might be an OK answer for you but what if you had a young inquisitive mind and you were searching for what to really believe in.  What is truth?  Is Christianity true?  

Now I grew up with getting the answer of "It's the Bible, you have to believe it."  Now that was fine with me because to be honest I didn't question much growing up.  The result of that was the discovery, during my adult years, that I couldn't tell you why I believe what I believed.  That's not good.  Real people want real answers, not "Sunday School" answers. 

Parents, if we are to disciple our children, we have to give them real answers.  If we don't they will get to school and some friend with doubts and questions will influence our children rather than our children influencing them.  If we don't some professor in college that is struggling with his own bitterness and doubt will crush our children's belief system.

At Contagious, NHC's youth gathering, we are taking the next several weeks looking at some core truths our kids must know to have an unshakable faith.  Mom's and Dad's of Contagious students I want to help you disciple your teen.  This means if you don't already you need to schedule some time with your son or daughter and ask questions, get them to ask questions.
My friend, (this is where I name drop) Alex McFarland, wrote a book entitled, Stand.  In this book Alex gives some core truths to Christianity that we, our children included, must know so our faith will be unshakable.   Last night we looked at Core #1 - Inspiration.
The Bible is the inspired (God-breathed) word of God.  

The Christian faith is only as certain as the Bible is trustworthy.  If the Bible isn't true, then people who call themselves Christians would have no truth to stand on -- their faith would be worthless.
The Bible was written by God through men.  (2 Peter 1:20-21; 2 Timothy 3:16)

Evidence for inspiration:
Evidence #1 - It has been preserved and is indestructible.  For centuries different people have tried to destroy, get rid of, the Bible and have failed.
Part of this evidence is the manuscript evidence.  We talked about how Scribes were literally letterd counters.  They would copy the manuscript and then count each letter and if there was a discrepancy they would scrap it and start over.

Additionally, scholars say that even if none of the 5,500 ancient New Testament manuscripts existed, the whole text of the 27 books could be recovered.  How is that?  The entire new Testament -- Matthew through Revelation -- could be known from quotations of verses found in the writings and letters of early Christians.

So as Christian parents I hope we take the responsibility to teach these core truths to our children, it is our responsibility.  What answers will you give your child?

Next week I will post more evidences for core truth #1 -Inspiration.
Another great resource is The Case For Faith, by Lee Strobel.
Mark this date off on your calendar, April 4-5.  Alex McFarland will be here at NHC leading an apologetics conference.
Now I have to go check Nate's blog.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

As I go to bed

I was thinking tonight as I was driving home from youth group.   Tonight there will be two nurses working all night to take care of Tricia and baby Rose.   My prayer is that God would give these nurses a great night taking care of our two miracle girls.  I also pray that God will reveal himself to them in a powerful way as they take care of the Lawrenson girls.


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Lawrenson/Kirschner Hole

Well a week ago today we sat in the Lawrenson/Kirschner hole and experienced a short period of time that seemed to take an eternity.  On that day I go to see a miracle as I looked through the glass at Gwyneth Rose.  I got a glimpse of Tricia coming back from OR.  I look forward to getting to talk with her and see her again.   It's been hard to be at home and wondering how Tricia is doing and how Gwyneth is doing.

In that day and the 24 hours that followed God taught me and reminded me of so many lessons.  I don't think I have whined or complained about anything during this week.  Every detail of life is being viewed with a different perspective.

This Friday we will load up and head to Durham again to see Tricia, Nate and Gwyneth.   This time Ty will be traveling along with us.  I think he will be pretty excited to get to see Meka. That boy thinks that little flat faced doggy is hilarious.  Not sure what a 3 1/2 year old can grasp in his mind but each night he makes sure to pray for baby Rose.





shifted focus


When I was deer hunting I used a high powered rifle with a scope.  The purpose of the scope was to zero in on my target, the deer.  (Its been a long time since I have deer hunted and as a matter of fact I have lost all desire to hunt.  And all the Bambi lovers shouted, "Hallelujah!)  I would look through the scope and place the cross hairs on the deer, that was my focus, I focused the scope on nothing else.

One day while deer hunting I was standing on the ground by a tree deciding which tree stand to use I heard something moving through the tall grass coming straight at me.  I looked up and saw a badger coming at me, and he was a big 'un. The badger was even growling at me.  Now if you nothing of badgers they are some seriously mean animals with sharp teeth and sharp claws.  They will tear you up in a heart beat. Speaking of heart beat that is exactly what my heart started to do, beat, pound.  I was scared.  

It dawned on me at that very moment I didn't need to be scared, in my hands I held a 270 rifle. I knew this would blow my chances on getting a dear but it was either me or the badger.  So I raised my rifle, chambered a bullet.  I looked through the scope and took aim at the badger, lining up the cross hairs on the growling little beast.  Click went the safety, squeeze went the trigger, boom went the rifle, drop went the badger.

That day my scope, which was for focusing on deer, changed it's focus to badger.  Why?  The badger at the moment required my attention.

This blog of mine started last June with the target aimed at those that had anything to do with youth ministry, parents, youth workers.  That was the focus that is where I had placed the cross hairs.  Last week the focus changed because something else (some very special people) required my attention.

So for my blog followers that read my blog before last Tuesday unfolded, all 4 of you, (Thanks C.J.)  I'm letting you know that while my focus is still on Tricia, baby Rose and Nate.  I'm going to try to have another scope targeted back at youth ministry and discipling teens.
Now excuse me while I go to www.cfhusband.blogspot.com and check on the latest.

Monday, January 14, 2008

The three little pigs

If what you believe isn't true then what you believe is false.

One of my favorite childhood stories is the three little pigs.  The three little pigs that I grew up with is different than the original story of the three little pigs.  I believe the story was changed so as to not freak out little kids.  The story was made politically correct.  This discovery took place a couple of years ago as I read the story to Ty and I was shocked by what I discovered.

In the original three little pigs story  the pigs build their own homes, this is the same in both versions.  The wolf then comes along and does his huff and puff business blows down the first house and eats the pig!  The wolf then moves to the second home and does the same!  Wait I always thought the first pig just ran to the second pig's home then both of them ran to the third pigs home?  

Ultimately the wolf goes down the third pig's chimney, into the pot over the fire and is cooked and eaten by the third pig.  Wait!  I always thought the wolf slid down the chimney got his hind quarters burnt and went flying out of the chimney and running away and the 3 pigs lived happily ever after. 

Both are three little pig stories but the one I grew up with isn't the true story.  It was slightly changed to make the story seem nice but with tweaking the true story was diluted to the point that is was no longer the truth.  What I believed about the three little pigs wasn't true.  So, if what I believed wasn't true then what I believed was false.

What about your faith?  Is what you believe true?  How do you know?  Can you back up what you believe with evidence?

Alex McFarland says in his book, Stand, "Unshakable faith begins with the Bible."
Where does your faith begin?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Worship at church was some kind of good today

At least it was for me....
Rick's sermon was on the money.  It's great to be reminded of what your church values.  
The hangin out together before and after the service was great.  
The worship in music was fantastico!  
From where I sat up on the platform slapping the cajon I could tell, when I occasionally opened my eyes, that many were putting their focus on God.  Can't say it was "new" music that made the difference because the songs weren't new to us.  
I think the difference was this:  You take a room full of believers that have spent a lot of time before  God in prayer and worship is bound to be good.  You take a pastor, delivering a message, that has experienced God in a new way during the week and the worship in the Word is bound to be good.  I think prayer made the difference.  What if we spent more time in prayer on a weekly basis?  Imagine what would happen at NHC!  I believe we would get flat blown away by the power of God and I think our community would feel the aftershocks.

By the way, I thought this while I played the cajon during the service, Misha mentioned this while we ate cheesy tortilla soup for lunch, Nathan picked our songs for today.  We wondered how many knew this?
For those of you around the country and world that didn't get to worship God in song with us this morning these are the songs: (Google them sometime and read the lyrics)
Meet with Me  (I'm here to meet with you...)
Holy Is The Lord (For the joy of the  Lord is our strength...)
From the Inside Out (And the cry of my heart is to bring you praise...)
You Never Let Go (Even though I walk through shadows...)
Everlasting God (strength arises, we wait upon the Lord....)

My worship will be more focused

Great Grandma touching a miracle.


I remember going to see Mee Ma and Nanna, my grandmother and great-grandmother.  I always looked forward to that trip up to the mountains outside of Front Royal, Va.  I enjoyed getting to see my Mee Ma and Nanna as most kids enjoy getting to visit their grandparents, they spoil you a little and show you attention, not to mention the occasional financial gift.  After being at their house for a little while I would start hunting around for things to do.  Nanna's magnifying glass would often give me hours of fun.  Funny, on our trip this past Thanksgiving, Ty discovered fun with his great grandma's magnifying glass.

When I was a kid one of my favorite things to do was to play with a magnifying glass.  I liked to walk around looking at different objects with a bigger perspective.  I also liked taking the magnifying glass and focusing the sun's heat and burn things with it, don't worry I'm not a pyro, but like most kids I liked to burn a leaf or the occasional ant (sorry, didn't seem cruel when I was 7).  Medical experts refer to this as "the Sherlock phase", not really, I just made that up.  (for some you will get this in a few minutes)

Today I will enter Nags Head Church.  I'm there a lot since I work there during the week.  Today will be different.  It's Sunday, a day to gather with other believers for corporate worship.  Corporate worship should be the normal outflow of our personal worship during the week.  The way we worship God personally during the week affects the way we worship God on Sunday at church.  

 The events in the lives of Nate, Tricia and baby Rose will be my magnifying glass for worship today.  I will reflect on how big God really is, how this week He has been magnified.   God has been magnified to the world, shown how big He his.  My perspective of God is different through the magnifying glass of this event.  Magnified in the lives of the Lawrensons and Kirschners as we have seen God's miracles, touched God's miracle.  Today's worship will be focused, like the focusing of the sun's light with a magnifying glass, only I will be focusing on the Son.  It is easy in worship to allow our focus to move from where it should be.  Focus on the band, focus on what the singer is wearing, focus on that crying toddler in the back of the room who should be in the nursery, focus on the person behind me clicking their pen, focus everywhere but not focused on God .  

Will your worship magnify God today?  Has your perspective of God changed?  Will your worship be more focused today at church and in your times of personal worship this week?




Saturday, January 12, 2008

No, Its not a normal Saturday -

>We actually got to sleep in and woke up before Ty - not normal.
>Took Misha to work since her car is in the shop - not normal.
>Just Ty and I at home today - not normal (Misha's working, it's tax season)
>All three of us crammed in the front seat of my F-150 - not normal (Ty loves riding in "Daddy's Truck")
>Ty and I shopping in Home Depot - normal (purchsed a cordless circular saw, thanks to my father-in-law's Christmas gift to me, Thanks John!!)
>Thought about Tricia and baby Rose and Nate at least 10 times while in Home Depot - not normal.
>Prayed in Home Depot - not normal except when I buy too much and I'm praying to win Publisher's Clearing House 20 million.
>Took Ty to Food Lion - normal
>Prayed for Nate and Trica and baby Rose several times in Food Lion - not normal
>Didn't eat much for lunch - not normal :)
>Checked Nate's blog as soon as I got home - my new normal

This all boils down to praying without ceasing.  I think that too often prayer becomes a hinge in a church service to move from one part of the service to the next.  I think that too often prayer is something we only do when we are in a jam.  I think that too often prayer is self-centered.  It think too often prayer is something we only do when we sit down to eat or when we lie down to sleep.

Pray without ceasing = praying at work; praying at play; praying in Food Lion and Home Depot; praying while driving down the road; praying at school.  

Our prayers shouldn't cease and the awesome thing about our Father in heaven is that He never ceases to hear our prayers.

Enjoy your not normal Saturday!


Return to Normal?

Normally I don't check Nate's  blog several times a day. 
If I don't check every hour I wonder to myself, "What's happening?"
Normally there aren't many people reading my blog.
Why would there be?  :) Usually it is just a handful of friends.
Normally I can get frustrated easily by small things.  
I noticed the other day that things that usually frustrate me were not bothering me at all.
Normally I don't pray as much as I have been praying.
I hope my prayer life continues to be strong and grow even after we are through this time with Tricia and Gwenyth.
Normally I'm not constantly thinking about how amazing God is.
I'm amazed by God, I'm amazed about the faith and strength He has placed in the lives of Tricia and Nate.  I'm amazed by this little life He has brought into the world.
Today is Saturday, I doubt it will be a normal.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

What amazes you?

What amazes you?
Check out this tiny foot!  That amazes me.  For someone to look at this incredible little girl and say, "there is no God" would amaze me.  Look at the foot again!  You are looking at a miracle!
"Well, Andy, babies are born premature everyday."  Dang right they are so this means that there are miracles all around us.  Does that not amaze you?

I'm amazed that Tricia and Gwenyth both made it through Tuesday and Wednesday after two incredibly strenuous and stressing days.  I'm amazed!  I'm amazed that today is going good for them.

I'm amazed that God hears our prayers and is concerned about what concerns us.  That's amazing!  Our prayers probably sound like the rumbling of waves on the ocean, or the rapids on a river, constant, never ceasing.

I'm amazed!  I'm amazed that God the Father, the Creator of this universe would be interested in my life.  That's amazing!  I'm amazed that God knows how many hairs are on my spiked haired head.  That amazes me!

I'm looking out my office window at Jockey's Ridge State Park, the largest sand dune on the east coast.  That amazes me!  God is the Creator and I'm glad because as Creator he has the best creative abilities  so we don't live in a boring everything looks the same world.  A block from my office is the beach, the ocean is incredible!  That amazes me!

I'm amazed!  I'm amazed that God the Father loved you enough to send his Son, Jesus Christ to the earth to die on the cross for your sins.  I'm amazed that God did the exact same thing for me. I'm amazed!  I'm amazed because even though I would probably be labeled "a good person" I know that I'm not good.  I know I have fallen short.  But I'm amazed because God has saved me through His Son Jesus Christ.

What amazes you?

First thoughts of the day

Psalm 9:1;10-11
I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders.
Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.  Sing praises to the Lord, enthroned in Zion; proclaim among the nations what he has done.

>When we see God at work we are obligated to tell others, to share with others because God uses His works to impact lives. 
>Praise should be given wholeheartedly holding nothing back.
>Our trust in God the father is key to making it through the storms of life.  
>Trust is total abandon to self and placing self in the hands of another.
>There are those seeking God that will find him through the events of Tricia and Nathan and Gwyneth's lives.
>Sing praises to the Lord.  Will you sing to Him today?
>We see God being proclaimed around the world to the nations.  Pray for those that will hear this story today that they will come to know God through a relationship with Jesus Christ today.

My prayer today is specifically for the medical team at Duke.  I pray that God will give them wisdom (as he did in the OR) and guidance.  I pray that someone from the medical team will come to trust Jesus as Savior through their contact and experience with the incredible lives of Tricia, baby Rose and Nate.


Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Final thoughts of the day


>Rebecca has trusted Jesus Christ as her Savior!  Totally fantastic!  (see "thought rolling through my head" post below)
>People are praying in Korea!  Wow!!
>The world is much smaller than I originally thought.
>Tricia is an incredible mom!
>Gwyneth is beautiful.
>Nathan is my nephew!
>Matza ball soup is great.
>My brain is tired.
>God loves everyone and so should we.
>It's not about religion it's about a relationship
>God is in control.
>Prayer changes lives. 
>I'm looking at a miracle

Tricia and the sedative meds

I hear that they have backed off the first of three sedative meds that Tricia is on to keep her asleep.  She has responded well to that.

The thought rolled through my head....

Over the past week or so literally thousands have checked out Nathan and Tricia's blog (now add Gwyneth Rose).  Not just thousands but thousands around the world.  So, I'm not a genius, please don't chime in all at once in agreement, but I came to a realization this morning.  
Many of the comments that have been posted are from Christians, those who have trusted Jesus as their Savior.  Many have passed this story onto friends, coworkers, family members, etc...
This means that out of the thousands that are watching this story unfold that there are some who have never trusted Jesus as their Savior, they haven't come to that point in their life where they made the decision to follow Christ.

I don't want anyone to miss out!  I also know that someone may have the question: "If God is a God of love and compassion how can he let this, and events like this, happen?"  That is a legitimate question that deserves an answer.

1.  God is  a God of love.  God sent his only son, Jesus Christ to die for you and for me because we are in need of salvation because honestly we all sin.  Ever tell a lie?  Me too.  That's sin.  That one sin keeps us from a relationship with God but he didn't leave us without a hope.  He sent his son for you.  I love my son Ty and I know I wouldn't let him die for anyone, but that is exactly what God did for you.  So I ask you, "Is God a loving God?", think about this a while before you answer.

2.  God didn't create robots.  God didn't make us mindless robots.  He created us with the ability to make decisions.  Man made a decision in the beginning of history to go against God and because of this choice the world is not the perfect world that God originally created.  We make choices.  What choice have you made?

3.  Some in this world have been turned off to God because of bad experiences in church or watching the "hypocrites" live their lives.  Maybe that is where you are at. 
 >First of all there are hypocrites in every walk of life.  Christians are humans and as we all know humans do stupid stuff.  Christians still have to make choices daily and unfortunately some make poor choices that have an impact on the world around them.  If we truly lived avoided anything to do with hypocrites we would have to go live in a cave and eventually we wouldn't even be able to live with ourselves.  We are all hypocrites.  Ever said one thing and done the opposite?
>Second, religion isn't what saves a person.  The Bible no where teaches that being "religious" will get you into heaven or even into a relationship with God.  It's not about religion it is about a relationship.  Don't count on church as your ticket into heaven you will be gravely disappointed.  Jesus didn't live on earth and die on the cross to start a religion.  He did this so you and I could know God and have life in heaven with him when life on earth is over.

4.  You can't be good enough to earn salvation.  Listen God loves you already, you don't have to earn it.  We humans have a hard time with this because in life we basically have to earn everything.  God's love isn't earned, it is a free gift.  All we have to do is to accept his gift by trusting in Jesus Christ as our Savior.  The Bible teaches that we are saved by faith, not works.  I know that if at the end of my life my works were put on a scale the bad would more than likely tip the scale.  But I don't have to worry about that because unlike any other religion, or god out their, my Savior, Jesus Christ has wiped my scale clean by paying for my sin on the cross.  Only God offers forgiveness for all sins.

5.  What will you do with this gift?  I have never rejected a gift from anyone.  I'm not a smart man but if someone is giving me a gift I take it.  God is offering you a gift today that will radically change and impact your life.  I'm not saying life will be all of us running in slow motion through a field of flowers with cotton candy in our hands.  Life will have problems, we live in a messed up world.  But how in the world anyone can go through a storm in life (like Tricia, Nathan and their families are going through right now) without a relationship with God through Jesus Christ is hard for my mind to fathom.  

The Bible teaches us that salvation, a relationship with God, comes from simply believing in Jesus Christ as your personal savior, trusting him.  That's faith.  Faith like we have seen in the life of Tricia and Nate only comes through a relationship with God.  If you want to trust Jesus as your Savior, if you want to know God today, simply do so by putting your faith, trust, believe in Jesus right now.  You may want to do so by acknowledging your faith in Jesus by saying a simple prayer to God like this: "God today I trust Jesus as my savior."

That's all there is to starting a relationship with God.  It is so simple many can't grasp it because we expect to jump through hoops, do some religious ritual or something.

If you trusted Jesus as your Savior after reading this I would love to know about it.

Thanks for taking the time to read this blog.  It is the most important message I could share with you.  If you disagree I hope you will take the time to do a real investigation into the truth of Jesus Christ.
If you have been following Tricia's story and passing it along to friends I ask that you share this simple message with them.  This event is about more than you and I praying for this family, this event in their lives is about people coming to know God in a more personal way.

My Mission Trip Experience

I just returned last week from the island of Eleuthera.  On the island there is a Christian sports camp, Camp Bahamas.  Camp Bahamas is re...