Saturday, October 31, 2009

Preview: Halloween '09

More pictures to come on Monday.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Eschatology: What do you believe about the end times?

I have been doing some listening and thinking lately about eschatology. I have not done much thinking about this before. Of course I have read through the book of Revelation and vaguely remember my pastor growing up preaching through the book, but I don't remember much of it. My views come more from osmosis and popular culture. This is probably where I was at prior to my investigation.
  • Jesus is coming back. We don't know when. He'll come in what is called the rapture.
  • He'll set up a reign on earth for 1000 years. I was cloudy on the details.
  • At some point, there will be a judgment.
  • At the end, whenever that is, Christ will defeat Satan and throw him into Hell or the lake of fire.
  • There's a tribulation (7 years?) in there somewhere.
If you're like me and don't really know what you believe or even what the differing views are, then I've got a couple of good resources.

Pastor John moderated a discussion entitled "An Evening of Eschatology", of the three main views of the millennium: Premillennium, Post-millennium, and Amillennium. It was very interesting and very spirited. They do a pretty good job of giving an overview of the three viewpoints.

Since I think I am leaning toward an Amillennial view of the millennium period and of eschatology, I sought out one of the experts in this area, Kim Riddlebarger. He is also one of the guys on my oft mentioned favorite podcast White Horse Inn. If you're interested in a more extensive explanation of Amillennialism, you can listen to Kim's lectures here. I finished the first one today at lunch and it was a great overview. One thing I appreciate about his argument is that he says all of us come to every argument with certain presuppositions. These need to be brought out in the open and tested.

Here is a helpful article by Pastor John with some definitions of important terms in these discussions.

A few main texts that are always talked about in these end times discussions are the following.
  • A couple of places in Daniel
  • Matthew 24
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11 & 2 Thessalonians 1:5-2:12
  • Revelation 20
What do you believe about the end times? Is this something that you ever think about? Any other resources that you think might be helpful?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Read Alouds--Tales of Robin Hood

The boys are really enjoying our latest read. What could be better than stories of men running around the woods, stealing money from rich people to help their friends and sticking it to people of power? This is why the tales of Robin Hood have been perpetual favorites of all kids. It is so much fun to be reading something to which the boys long for me to keep reading every night. This book takes old tales and updates them in language, while still being rather advanced, is still understandable. Another recommended read.

Read Alouds--The Little Riders

We finished last week a great little book by Margaretha Shemin, The Little Riders. When we first started it I thought it was going to be a snorer. It is about a little girl who lives with her grandparents in German occupied Holland during World War II. She loves sitting in her attic bedroom, watching the little riders in the clock of the church across the square. This all changes when a German officer takes her room and begins to live with them. It is the classic story of stereotypes shattering once you get to know the "other". Apparently it has been made into a Hallmark Channel movie. We'll have to see if we can get it from the library. This is a definite recommended read.

Hymn of the Week--Rock of Ages

With a hymn like this one, I wonder how much teaching I should do. I know that the kids don't get many of these words and the concepts are pretty huge. I decided to do none last night. I think the tunes and the words are important in and of themselves. The concepts will come down the road, Lord willing.
Hymn of the Week

Rock of Ages
Words by Augustus M. Toplady
Music by Thomas Hastings
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood,
From Thy wounded side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure;
Save from wrath and make me pure.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Hymn of the Week--I Need Thee Every Hour

On Monday, thumbing through the hymnal after dinner, I said to everyone, we need a hymn about how much we need Jesus right now. Ben piped right up and said, "How about 'every hour I need thee.'" It's a good one.
Hymn of the Week

I Need Thee Every Hour
Words by Annie S. Hawks
Music by Robert Lowry

I need Thee every hour, most gracious Lord;
No tender voice like Thine can peace afford.
I need Thee, O I need Thee;
Every hour I need Thee;
O bless me now, my Savior,
I come to Thee.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Music to Suffer to

Suffering is relative. Our whole house is in some degree of the flu. We're not suffering right now though. Our friends the Colberts are suffering. The family at church who's mom has "one foot in heaven" is suffering. But many people that we know right now are struggling through difficult things: sickness, sadness, loneliness, lack of sun, boredom, grief.

This got me thinking about good music when things hurt. Abraham did a post about your favorite song for sadness. I answered "Everybody Hurts" by R.E.M. That's not the kind of music that I'm talking about though. I'm thinking about my two favorite suffering albums. They both help to acknowledge and lament the fallenness in which we find ourselves and yet point us to the hope that we have in Christ. This is how the psalmist laments in Psalm 73. This is how I want to walk through suffering (whether lack of sun or watching someone I love die.) I want to weep for a time and then turn to God in hope. This is the kind of thing that happens multiple times a day: weeping . . . hope, weeping . . . hope, weeping . . . hope. If you are struggling right now or if you love someone who is, buy one of these albums and send it to them. Better yet, buy it and listen to it with them. Weep . . . hope.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Go Vikes!

Yesterday we watched another nail biter from the Minnesota Vikings. As I've previously mentioned, this is a great time for the boys and me and it also gets pretty intense. The Vikings are now 6-0. It is so much fun to watch a winning team. I grew up watching the Lions lose; my dad used it as an excuse to take a nap. I remember Tricia getting excited about watching the Pittsburgh Steelers when they lived there. Well it's our turn.

I did get some of my old Lions feelings though yesterday when the Vikings did almost everything they could do to lose the game. If the Ravens hadn't have missed a list second field goal, we wouldn't have won. It's been a great season though so far. If we can just keep the old man (number 4) healthy and make sure that Adrian Peterson stops coughing up the ball, we'll be all set. Go Vikes!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Read Alouds--Twenty-One Balloons

We have all really enjoyed William Pène du Bois' novel "Twenty-One Balloons." In this story, a retired school teacher decides he will live in a hot air balloon for a year. His balloon drifts to the south pacific and on to the island of Krakatoa. There he discovers a community of very wealthy individuals living a tremendously interesting life. The boys have loved the story and especially du Bois' illustrations.

Hymn of the Week--O For A Thousand Tongues To Sing

In our catechism this week we are reading about how God did not leave man in his misery but sent a redeemer. What better hymn to choose to celebrate that redeemer?! This is a great one. It is so short that I want to sing all four verses. We usually just sing the first first a couple of times.

Hymn of the Week
O For A Thousand Tongues To Sing
Words by Charles Wesley
Music by Carl G. Glaser
O for a thousand tongues to sing
My great Redeemer’s praise,
The glories of my God and King,
The triumphs of His grace!

Monday, October 12, 2009

You did that for me

There is a family in our church that is struggling with cancer. I have been following their journey on their blog. Yesterday at church most of our singing was about the realities of heaven: prophecies from Isaiah and John, joining the angels and saints singing "Holy, Holy, Holy." As I looked at this brother and prayed for him to trust the God that he AND his wife would sooner or later see face to face it was grace.

In our small group we are talking about preaching the "gospel to yourself." This idea that the gospel is more than what we accept when we become Christians. It is our life and breath every day. It is all that Christ bought for us on the cross. One thing that I am so thankful for is that he bought for us an eternity with him free of sickness, pain and struggle. Check out the song below. It is by Sara Groves but Pierce Pettis wrote it. I have his version and it is also great.

I am thankful that He did that for me.

First (and Second) Snow

From October

We woke up to snow again this morning. Check out some great pictures from our friend Teresa's new blog. It will show up soon in our blog roll to the right.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Another Great Door County Vacation

From Door County

For the past few years, we have traveled to Door County, Wisconsin to meet up with Amanda's mom's family. This year's vacation was made a little less fun by Shirley not being able to join us. But we felt it was our duty to have a great time on her behalf. We did our duty well.

The rainy weather did not dampen the spirits of all those present. We hit all of our favorite places and enjoyed some new haunts as well. Here are some highlights.
  • Al Johnson's Restaurant--I had a delicious lunch of Clam Chowder and perch sandwich.
  • Door County fish boil--We ventured from our normal spot of The Old Post Office restaurant to try White Gull Inn. It was even more quaint and "Door Countyish". If you don't know what a fish boil is, you can see my video from last year here.
  • The view from the Fjlander's condo and lobby. See picture below.
  • Our day at Peninsula State Park, Wisconsin's largest state park. If you have an opportunity to go here, it's great. Camping here would be a dream.
  • Climbing the Eagle Tower just before dark with my family on Monday night.
  • Swimming in the poll every day with the kids.
  • Seeing and spending time with the Wendt clan.
Although we missed have Shube with us, it was great for our family to be together all day for four days. Thanks so much for a great vacation, Shirley. It will be one that we'll all remember. You can see all of our photos by clicking the photo below.
Door County
From Door County