John Piper on Gun Control

Piper so often has a way of making me think of things in a new light. I never had any plans to own a gun, but now I'm quite certain that I will not.

What do the supreme court ruling on guns and the martyrdom of missionaries have to do with each other?

Noël and I watched Beyond Gates of Splendor, the documentary version of End of the Spear, the story of the martyrdom of Jim Elliot, Peter Fleming, Ed McCully, Roger Youderian, and Nate Saint in Ecuador in 1956. That same day we heard that the Supreme Court decided in favor of the right of Americans to keep firearms at home for self-defense.

Here's the connection. The missionaries had guns when they were speared to death. One of them shot the gun into the air, it appears, as he was killed, rather than shooting the natives. They had agreed to do this. The reason was simple and staggeringly Christlike:

The natives are not ready for heaven. We are.

I suspect the same could be said for almost anyone who breaks into my house. There are other reasons why I have never owned a firearm and do not have one in my house. But that reason moves me deeply. I hope you don't use your economic stimulus check to buy a gun. Better to find some missionaries like this and support them.


Coming Down the Mountain

We have a mighty, glorious God who knows us and has raised us from the dead so that we could know and enjoy him forever. If you are a Christian, this is true. This morning Mark Warnock spoke from Luke 9:28-43. I thought I was going to Super Summer to instruct and serve. In the process of doing so, I saw the face of the most high God. Now it is time to come down from the mountain and enter the world again.

I am filled with all sorts of new knowledge, a fresh perspective, and an all-around high after spending so much time worshipping God this week. While I cannot begin to describe this experience, I must say that I am challenged by three big things from the preaching of wiser men.
1. My general lack of self-discipline is sin. It isn't just something with which I struggle. It's sin.
2. We have been called to make disciples, and I have not. I am so looking forward to pouring my life into younger women.
3. Nothing is more valuable than knowing the word of God. I am challenged and want to be held accountable for scripture memory.

As I made my way home, I also realized a few things that happened to me this week of which I was not even aware at the time.
1. I spent so much time in God's word and praising him, that I am now craving his presence even more. I want to dwell at his feet.
2. The things of this world do seem strangely dim when you encounter our sovereign Lord. Things on the radio and television sound like junk because they are junk. Counterfeit, if you will. (Thanks for that analogy, Lonnie, as it applies to so many things)
3. God accomplished his purposes through me, even though I didn't want him to do so. Last Friday night, I was begging for God to let me off the hook, but to his glorious praise, he did not. At some point during the training weekend, my attitude towards this experience went from that of obligation to that of great honor and privilege.



Everything is going well here. God's glory is being proclaimed. I can't wait to tell more about it when I get home. I can't believe I forgot my camera. Dang.


Yeah, It's Always Better When We're Together

Tomorrow I leave for Super Summer. I won't be back until next Friday. I may or may not be able to blog while I'm there. Honestly, I have some mixed feelings about it. I'm excited to go, and the only thing that's really filling me with dread is that I will miss Kyle.
I just don't feel like I function properly when he's not around. Since we've been married, we've never been apart this long. Maybe it's a stronghold for me. Maybe I shouldn't be so dependent on him. I like to think that, in part, it's because we weren't meant to be apart. God made Eve for Adam so he wouldn't be alone, so he'd have a helper.
Oh, if every bride longed for their groom the way I long for Kyle, the world would be a better place. I pray that Jesus' bride, the Church, would long for him with this much passion and eager anticipation.
Your prayers are highly coveted for this coming week. I want to be able to focus and teach the Gospel effectively. I want to be full of joy for the Lord. I need Jesus to be enough, not just this week, but all the time.


$$ Why I Dislike VBS $$

Disclaimer: This is a response to Jim's comment/question on the previous post. This is only the perspective of one person based on her own experience and observation and does not necessarily represent the views of her employer.

The reason I dislike Vacation Bible School is simple. We spend way too much money on it! Most of the thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars spent are for DECORATIONS! This year's, by the way, are made up of hula girls and tiki gods, many of which have been torn down by our honorable pastor. I am all about having a fun place for the kids, but we can do better than this.

In my experience, far more time is spent decorating than preparing to teach and disciple children in the way of Jesus. I can't think of anything more important than teaching the Gospel, but I can think of better ways to do it that (in my opinion) would use our funds more wisely.
I think we could spent 1/3 or less and put on a great day camp, or a bunch of Backyard Bible Clubs.

When I think back to my summer missionary days in the Great Smoky Mountains, I am astounded by what we were able to do with very few supplies and little funding. We did day camp 5 days a week, three hours a day, for ten weeks. We had no money, only donated snacks and materials. We quickly became very creative and very good stewards.

I think we only need a fraction of what's in the budget for VBS to actually do a quality VBS, let's give the rest to missions! The Nine Mile Baptist Association (which is the one our church belongs to) was offering a mission trip to Juarez, Mexico for just $440! When I think of how many missionaries we could send to (insert destination) for what we spend on entertaining our kids, it makes me sick. There are tons of other fantastic ways to spend our money. I'm sure everyone reading this has a cause that is near and dear to them.


VBS Week

Let me just say, I'm not a huge fan of Vacation Bible School. I think Churches could put their energy and money (so much money...) towards much more important things. That being said, I am really enjoying VBS this year. I am in charge of the crafts for the 1st-6th graders. While my job isn't that important, I get to listen and watch as they learn truths about God, memorize Bible verses, and grow in their faith. The teachers are doing an awesome job, and (I think) the kids actually like to do the little crafts I created.


There's been an accident in the Bass home.

We hereby lay to rest the eye of our beloved sock monster, Wronky. We noticed he was having some troubles with his right eye (the one on your left). We soon found that his eye was popping out of his head. We are still investigating the root of this problem, but it is under control for now.
At 11am this morning, I performed an eye replacement surgery. Wronky was a very good patient, and he is recovering well. I think this even gives him a little more character.


Kashmir for everyone!

Kashmir is the name of an album the London Philharmonic made on which they perform Led Zeppelin music. I highly recommend it. Never has "Stairway to Heaven," or "All of My Love" sounded so epic.
You can sample a few songs here for free.


I am so proud.

For all the complaining I do about my husband's job, I forget to praise him for the wonderful work he does. Every day he works so hard, and his effort does not go unnoticed by his employees and supervisors. One even said they thought he should run the whole organization. He is a good manager. He puts out fire after fire, soothes person after person, and treats others with fairness and dignity, even those who have made mistakes. I could not be more proud of his leadership and perseverance.


Common Questions About Hell

Romans 11:22 says "Note the kindness and severity of God." The former is certainly more easy to think about in the latter. We dote on God's goodness and try not to be one of those "fire and brimstone" Christians. However, there are many who reject the existence of hell. I have done my best to study my Bible and seek trustworthy resources on this subject, but I am sure that my theology is not perfect. I would love to hear thoughts or corrections.

Do all Christians believe in Hell?
I believe, yes. There are some who claim to be Christian who say they do not believe in hell. I, however, feel that if one disregards hell, he or she discounts the Gospel. To ignore hell, one would have to ignore a lot of scripture, and Jesus' very own words.
I believe that the Bible is not a buffet. One cannot pick and choose the parts they want to believe. It's either all true, or all false.

If God is loving, how can there be Hell? 2 Peter 3:9 says that God does not wish that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. We spend our lives ignoring God. We
God is a God of love and his goodness spills over to us, even though we don't deserve it. He has made a way for us through Jesus. For God to be just in his condemnation of the unrepentant does not contradict his love. It means that God is more than mercy. He is also just, and his justness proves his love.

What is Hell? It is the just and fitting response to a person who commits the ultimate outrage of rejecting the grace of God. We ought to fear it. It is not, however, sufficient to save us. Heaven is for those who love God, not for those who merely fear hell. Some say that hell is the place where the presence of God is absent. I think I tend to agree with R.C. Sproul that it is not the absence of his presence, but the absence of his blessing. He says,
When we use the imagery of the Old Testament in an attempt to understand the forsakenness of the lost, we are not speaking of the idea of the departure of God or the absence of God in the sense that He ceases to be omnipresent. Rather, it’s a way of describing the withdrawal of God in terms of His redemptive blessing. It is the absence of the light of His countenance. It is the presence of the frown of His countenance. It is the absence of the blessedness of His unveiled glory that is a delight to the souls of those who love Him, but it is the presence of the darkness of judgment. Hell reflects the presence of God in His mode of judgment, in His exercise of wrath, and that’s what everyone would like to escape.


Making Memories

What a great weekend! It was precisely what we needed. Almost as soon as we hit the road, we were back to our old selves- happy and silly. God provided generously for us. Santa Claus, IN is a very small town. It was so quiet and peaceful. It was the perfect two-day getaway. I wouldn't recommend it for a week-long vacation, but it was just what the doctor ordered for us.

On Saturday, we started the day at the Santa Claus Museum. The best part of it was the preserved letters that children have written to Santa Claus over the years. One of my favorites- "Santa, please don't leave me sticks and rocks. If you do, tell me what I did. I love you, Santa. ~Joey"

After that, we went over to the Silent Night Cafe. Let me tell you, this tiny little place was wonderful! Though it is very small, it was probably the classiest little place to eat in Santa Claus.

We both ate turkey paninis, which turned out to be the best we'd ever had. The homemade wheat bread and Roma Tomotoes are (I think) what made it so delicious. It also came with a side of home-grown strawberries that were naturally sweet and juicy. Kyle enjoyed it.

After lunch, we made our way out to Abraham Lincoln's Boyhood Home. Lincoln spent his childhood there until he was 16. His mother is buried there. Being the spoiled Illinoisans that we are, we were somewhat unimpressed by the memorial. It was like an older, cheaper version of New Salem. Still we had lots of fun hiking back to the ground where our greatest President once stood. It could not have been a prettier day.

We also visited Santa's Candy Castle. All the candy was locally made and delicious. (You can see our trip was guided by our stomachs.) By far our favorite thing there was the Iced Hot Chocolate. It was the perfect thing to sip in Santa's castle on a hot day. It inspired us to try to recreate it at home. We found a boxed set for making your own on our way home. I cannot wait to try it out!

*On a side note- In this Christmas-obsessed town, this was the only place that mentioned anything about Jesus. How about that?

Following this, I forgot to take pictures! I must tell you, though, about Buffalo Run. They raise buffalo and have a little restaurant/antique shop/ historical site. (Sound awesome? It is!) We ate Buffalo Burgers, and they were wonderful. Apparently, buffalo is much healthier than beef, pork, or chicken. It tasted just like beef, but less greasy.

The day at Holiday World was great too. The weather was perfect, the water was refreshing, and the lines for every ride and water slide were very short. My favorite part of the day was relaxing in the Lazy River with my man.

On the way home, we decided to take the scenic route through Evansville. What a great town! I didn't realize how nice it was. We enjoyed the scenery through Kentucky and Southeastern Illinois.

Now it is over and we have to go back to the daily grind, but we made so many wonderful memories. I hope that we can take another trip very soon!