Thankful for my pastor

Phil Nelson has been called many things. Some would say he's radical. Others may call him crazy. Why would people say those things about him, you ask? Because he upholds the Bible as true from cover to cover.
He spent years as an open-air apologist, traveling to college campuses all over the state of Illinois, proclaiming the truth of God's word, defending the faith, and engaging students with the gospel of Christ. For the last two years he has taken the role of pastor of Lakeland Baptist Church. Because of him, Lakeland has become a church where membership is not easy.
When he began teaching at Lakeland he decided to start in Genesis and work through the entire Bible from front to back. Many people did not expect him to stick with this plan. Who preaches for extended periods of time from the Old Testament these days? It wears on people who do not want to be constantly reminded of their own depravity by the repeated failures of the Israelites. Nonetheless, he preaches it faithfully.
This week he will preach on Deuteronomy 15. Those of us who are still sitting under his teaching are blessed. Phil opened my eyes to the beauty and richness of God's plan spoken through the entire Old Testament. He knows and loves God's word so much that his excitement overflows and stirs me to love it more too.
I am blessed to call him my pastor.


Advice from an excellent student

If on the last day before Thanksgiving break, in a class in which you have secured a solid 'A' and do not have to take the final, you find yourself extremely bored and questioning why you bothered to show up, do not, I repeat DO NOT pull out your iPhone and start reading from cakewrecks.com. Chances are you will find yourself laughing so hard that you will not be able to hold it in. This, in turn, will draw a reasonable amount of attention to the fact that you are not listening to your instructor drone on about the minute workings of the inner ear, or whatever subject you are studying.

This, of course, is purely a hypothetical warning. Being the excellent student I am, I would never do such a thing. Just trust me on this one.



1. Choose the 4th picture folder on your computer
2. Choose the 4th picture
3. Explain the picture
4. Tag 4 other bloggers

This is part of my team from the summer I spent as a missionary in the Smoky Mountains. From left to right-Laura, Me, Jacob, Rachel, David, and Travis (missing quite a few people). This was taken at the Tennessee Baptist Convention in Brentwood, TN. We spent the weekend with other student missions teams in training and then we were commissioned and sent back to the Great Smokies!

I tag Amanda, Kyle, Shannon, and Chase.


In Another Life

In another life, another place and time, if I didn't have to think about any responsibilities, I think I would have been an Art History major. I took a class in it, and it was my favorite class of all time. I would have learned about world cultures, drank a lot of wine, sponged off my parents, traveled the world, lived in England, been an eternal adolescent, etc.

I love what I do now, but I think I could have been fairly happy doing many other things as well. Most likely unemployed, but still satisfied.

What would you do?


Monopoly, anyone?

Has anyone played this new electronic version of Monopoly?

As a Dave Ramsey fan, I must say that I find it a bit disturbing. Teaching kids to use plastic? Isn't half the point of the game is teaching them to count and handle money? Also, what's with all this "fast" business? Why in the world is a 9-year-old in such a hurry? Lastly, the attitude. This little girl's got one that just rubs me the wrong way. Am I over-analyzing this? Maybe parents will have more insight.


Making Your Husband a Priority

This was a timely devotional today from Nancy Leigh DeMoss at Revive our Hearts. Please listen or read the whole program. I've linked to it below.

It’s a challenge to keep up with all the needs in a busy household. As you’re deciding what to tackle, who becomes a higher priority—your kids, or your husband? The Bible speaks to that question.
  • I wish young women knew how to reverence and adore their husbands, to protect their reputations, and to affirm them in public. Men blossom when you do that.
  • If you are a married woman, loving your husband is the number-one way that you demonstrate your commitment to sound doctrine.
  • Loving your husband means enjoying him. It means being his friend, taking pleasure in him
Read or Listen to the full "Make Your Husband a Priority"

Of course, this video from Fiddler on the Roof makes much more sense after listening to the message, but a classic nonetheless.


What are we giving?

As a wife (and some of you as mothers), you are busy. You go to work, go to school, lead Bible studies, disciple young women, do laundry, wash dishes, prepare meals, tend to your body, change diapers, wipe noses, and do all the other beautiful, wonderful, tasks that come with the territory. You give so much of yourself away. Your husband is proud of all you do and supportive. He is ever-patient and doesn't mind sharing household responsibilities because he knows how much you have on your plate. But your Bible sits there unopened, the laundry piles up, the dishes sit for days in a dirty pile, the pizza place is on a first name basis with your household, the bills get stacked on the counter and shoved aside, the forgotten fish go a night without dinner.
One day something happens that causes you to crack. You finally crumble into a pile of tearful, mushy goo, and cry out to Jesus to change you, to use you. You know what He wants, but you're so unwilling. Through a cloud of tears, you look up at your husband. He stands over you in prayer, holds out his hand, and tells you that it's all going to be okay.
That's when it hits you. This man who loves you, who you love more than anything, is a rock. Wait, you knew that already. What you didn't know is that you've been neglecting him. You have been giving your best energy to everything else. All he's been getting is your stale, soggy leftovers when he's supposed to be getting your very best.
This breaks your heart. You are finally ready to make the hard decisions. You are finally ready to say "no" to all of those extra causes, no matter how worthy or high the calling. Your calling as a wife comes second only to your call as a child of God. You miraculously quit worrying about what others think. So what if you can't do it all? You don't want to be a Martha, you want to be a Mary. You want to love Jesus and love your man.
So are you giving your husband your best for the glory of God, or are you exploiting his patience and giving him your leftovers?


Worlds Apart

... by Jars of Clay
I am the only one to blame for this
Somehow it all adds up the same
Soaring on the wings of selfish pride
I flew too high and like Icarus I collide
With a world I try so hard to leave behind
To rid myself of all but love,
To give and die

To turn away and not become
Another nail to pierce the skin of one who loves
More deeply than the oceans,
More abundant than the tear
Of a world embracing every heartache

Can I be the one to sacrifice
Or grip the spear and watch the blood and water flow

To love you - take my world apart
To need you - I am on my knees
To love you - take my world apart
To need you - broken on my knees

All said and done I stand alone
Amongst remains of a life I do not own
It takes all I am to believe
In the mercy that covers me

Did you really have to die for me?
All I am for all you are
Because what I need and what I believe are worlds apart

And I pray,
To love you - take my world apart
To need you - I am on my knees
To love you - take my world apart
To need you - broken on my knees

I look beyond the empty cross
Forgetting what my life has cost
And wipe away the crimson stains
And dull the nails that still remains
More and more I need you now,
I owe you more each passing hour
The battle between grace and pride
I gave up not so long ago
So steal my heart and take the pain
And wash the feet and cleanse my pride
Take the selfish, take the weak,
And all the things I cannot hide
Take the beauty, take my tears
The sin and soaked heart and make it yours
Take my world all apart
Take it now, take it now
And serve the ones that I despise
Speak the words I can't deny
Watch the world I used to love
Fall to dust and thrown away
I look beyond the empty cross
Forgetting what my life has cost
So wipe away the crimson stains
And dull the nails that still remain
So steal my heart and take the pain
Take the selfish, take the weak
And all the things I cannot hide
Take the beauty, take my tears
Take my world apart, take my world apart
I pray, I pray, I pray
Take my world apart 

I've been listening to the Shane and Shane "Similar Artists" station on Pandora Radio. Let me tell you, it is great stuff! It's not fluffy or cheesy. This song takes me back to the first year Kyle and I were dating. We went to see Jars of Clay and Caedmon's Call at Assembly Hall. It was a great concert and we praised God together.

The song, "Worlds Apart" always breaks me, but hearing Kyle sing every word of it right next to me that night, I was in awe. I was in awe of Christ, and in awe of this amazing, godly man He had just put in my life. I had never seen Kyle filled with such passion, such worship. My world changed forever. Jesus changed everything about the direction of my life that year.

Tonight I sit even more in awe of Christ, and even more thankful for that amazing, godly man. Tonight I understand that when God takes my world apart, He does so in a way that only makes it better. To Him be all the glory, forever and ever. Amen.