Friday, May 30, 2008
He drew his design, inventoried the wood in the garage, submitted his plan to Papa, went back and made some changes, and then built it on Memorial Day, since Papa's holiday gave them the time they needed.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Two of you visit our blog multiple times every day. (Hmm... I think I could name at least one of those?)
Two of you visit once a day.
One of you visits at least once a week.
Two of you just visit every once in a while.
One first-time visitor voted. Welcome, and we hope you come back!
Four of you are Google reader people. See, this is why we had to have a poll, since you all certainly count as regular readers, but you only show up on our statcounter.com page when you decide to vote in a poll or feel inspired to leave a comment. :-)
Thanks for voting, everybody!
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
It took me about ten tries to get an almost-good picture of myself, so no complaining.
Birds are okay, but I'm starting to think there's entirely too much wildlife on this beach.
Now I'm having serious second thoughts about going swimming.
Ummm...what is this thing?
(I'm on a business trip at a conference on South Padre Island, by the way.)
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
I’ve been thinking: how can we be adaptable without being changeable? What I mean is, as followers of Christ, adaptability and flexibility are essential. There’s no telling what the Lord may ask of us next. He may ask us to do something new, to lay down our rights, to give up something we treasure, or to befriend someone different from us. Any of these changes would require a person to adjust, and fit in to a new situation. We have to be ready for any adventure, and to be able to be content with many different circumstances.
But how do we avoid stepping over the line into changeability? If we are like chameleons, always fitting in completely with our surroundings, then we aren’t fulfilling the command to be lights in the world. We have to stand firm in what we know is right.
It helps to think about what elements in our lives are dispensable, and not get those mixed up with the values that must not be compromised. What we believe in and who we really are is not defined by where we live, our pace of life, our economic status, or even what language we speak. Those are the kinds of things we have to hold onto loosely, while never letting go of our true identity in Christ.
Monday, May 26, 2008
From Becca, 11 … I have been reading a book called Daughters of Destiny. It has poems and essays at the beginning followed by stories of real women, some famous, and some just ordinary. Some of the stories are about brave women on the frontier, defending their cabins from Indians while their husbands are away, and then there are some about lovely princesses and noble men. There are also women like George Washington’s mother, who is not well known herself, but was really important. I like the book a lot.
From Seth, 15 … Recently most of us went to a homeschool support group meeting at our church. The speaker this time was a leader of the homeschooling-rights movement in Germany. I left sobered by how bad things are there. In Germany the government is very controlling, homeschooling is illegal, and parental rights are very few. Looking at the harsh laws regarding homeschooling in Pennsylvania, and the recent challenge to homeschooling rights in California, we can see that it is probably only a matter of time before our rights to disciple our children, share the gospel, meet for church, etc. are seriously under attack in America as well. The meeting made me very grateful for the freedoms we do enjoy here, but I also realized how we don’t utilize them nearly as well as we could.
From Anna, 18 … On May 16-18 our church sponsored a conference on the spiritual disciplines of the Christian life. The speaker, Dr. Donald Whitney, talked about praying through Scripture and meditation on Scripture. I came away realizing that these are not “extra” things that only really mature Christians will do, but rather they are a means of making prayer and Bible reading, which all Christians ought to be doing, meaningful and interesting. Too many of us regard prayer as a mere duty because we feel like we are merely repeating the same thing every day. Praying through Scripture gives us fresh ways of expressing ourselves, and it keeps our prayers focused on God, instead of being focused on our list of petitions. Many people have a similar problem with Bible reading. They read because they know they are supposed to, but they feel like they aren’t getting anything out of it, or they can never remember anything they’ve read. Meditation really just means that we actually stop to consider what we are reading. Whatever the exact method is, it means slowing down and thinking about what it means and how it applies.
From John, 23 … Last Friday, I did some work for a realtor I know on a house which is about to be sold. The homeowner had not met me before I arrived that morning, and when I got out of my truck, the first thing she said was “Are you old enough to be doing this?” If I were an actor or a model I suppose youthful looks would work in my favor, but in my business it is not helpful that when I show up on site I inspire a visual first impression that makes people wonder whether I’m old enough to be driving, let alone doing open heart surgery on their house. If I age the same way my father has, I can expect to look old enough to be trusted by the time I’m forty. Probably. Perhaps I will be blessed with early baldness or a disfiguring scar, but even if not, I am prepared to bear the burden of my cara del niño.
From Katie, 26 … I, too, appreciated the conference our church hosted recently. It was both insightful and practical. I especially appreciated the session on prayer. I learned that we become weary of our prayer time because it's always the same and we merely go through the motions, give God our daily monologue, and read him our list. Dr. Whitney showed us how we can use Scripture, especially Psalms, as launching pads for our prayers. For example, Psalm 23 would lead a person to thank God for being his shepherd, or to pray for a friend who is "walking through the shadow of death." Praying this way allows it to be more like a real conversation, and also focuses our prayers more on God and less on ourselves.In other news, I'm off to South Padre Island for a few days next week. It should be a relaxing time of sand and sun. Oh, yeah, I'll be working at a conference down there too. So, it won't be entirely relaxing, but it's true that my boss didn't have much trouble convincing me to go to this one!
From Judith … Dr. Whitney (see Anna’s and Katie’s entries) also taught on Sunday morning while he was here. He gave a powerful message on family worship. He pointed out the evidence of family worship in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. He also showed how very important it was in the family life of well-known Christian leaders through history, specifically in the discipling of their children. Dr. Whitney then gave the “tools” and inspiration for including this in our lives regardless of our life situation or how many, if any, children we have in our homes. Personally, we Pedersens can give testimony to the great joys and delights that await any family who maintains regular worship in the home. It is a huge part of what the Lord has used to do his good work in our lives individually and to keep us close to each other.
Here is one of the highlights for me of the message on family worship: Yes, memorization of Scripture may seem rote, but it will provide the “fuel” when the “ignition” of the Holy Spirit enters that person’s life. When Dr. Whitney conveyed that idea, I immediately pictured building a campfire with tinder, kindling, and fuel. It’s all there and ready, carefully arranged to allow air flow, so that when the lit match is slipped into the center, it flames up giving off the needed heat and light. What a great thought! May each of us burn brightly and warmly for the Lord, fueled by the powerful words of Scripture.
From Gerald … I have recently heard a couple of radio programs regarding China’s one-child-per-family policy. The reality is that most of the children and young people under age 30 in China are only children; they have no brothers or sisters. It was very interesting to me to hear what these young people had to say about it.
They say that they are self-centered and more concerned for themselves than for others. They have experienced great academic pressure growing up and were expected to excel in school, yet had very low expectations placed on them at home in terms of household or family responsibilities. Even though they do not outwardly object to the policy, they themselves would like to have more than one child.
Traditionally, there have been multiple siblings to care for aging or needy family members. One young man commented that there is only him and his wife to assume responsibility for their four parents. This has the potential for creating a huge burden on the next generation.
So, as I reflect on this situation, I am reminded that the Bible refers to our children as arrows, and a man is blessed if he has a quiver full. We have seen first-hand in our family how the children hone and refine one another. As we teach, train, and equip them to be faithful disciples of our Lord, we are not only preparing them for service in God’s kingdom, but also to be better citizens in this world.
And, for those of us who have been blessed with more than one child, as we age and become more needy, the responsibility for our care can be spread out among all of them.
Our Love, Gerald, Judith, Katie, John, Anna, Seth, Becca, and Laura
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Guess what kind of car the person sitting beside me drove (the younger-than-me person, no less)?
Excuse me while I crawl under the table and weep bitterly.
Moral: Never make derogatory comments about any make or model of automobile. Remember, all cars are beautiful in their own way.
(No, I don't know why I am posting my verbal disaster on the internet for everyone to see.)
Friday, May 23, 2008
I was reading WORLD magazine's review of the new Prince Caspian movie, and I wanted to comment on these quotes concerning the characterization of Susan.
Andrew Adamson, the director, says, "When the issue of Susan not participating in the fight for Narnia was introduced in the first film, I rejected it then. I was like, 'Well, if she's just gonna make sandwiches then give her a plate and a knife.' It's something that I don't agree with so I wasn't going to make a movie like that."
Christopher Markus, one of the screenwriters, speaking of the actress playing Susan, says, "In Anna [Popplewell] you have an actress with such authority, that person is not sitting back and going, OK, you guys fight."
The underlying assumption these men seem to be making is that a woman who does not go out and fight alongside men is weak, inferior, maybe even cowardly.
I beg to differ.
Consider these contrasting quotes from Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (edited by John Piper and Wayne Grudem):
"Suppose a man and a woman (it may be his wife or sister or friend or a total stranger) are walking along the street when an assailant threatens the two of them with a lead pipe. Mature masculinity senses a natural, God-given responsibility to step forward and put himself between the assailant and the woman. In doing this he becomes her servant. He is willing to suffer for her safety. He bestows honor on her. His inner sense is one of responsibility to protect her because he is a man and she is a woman...
"She is not condemned as a coward because she feels a natural fitness in receiving this manly service. And she may well be more courageous than he at the moment. She may be ready to do some fearless deed of her own. A man's first thought is not that the woman at his side is weak, but simply that he is a man and she is a woman. Women and children are put into the lifeboats first, not because the men are necessarily better swimmers, but because of a deep sense of honorable fitness. It belongs to masculinity to accept danger to protect women.
"It may be that in any given instance of danger the woman will have the strength to strike the saving blow. It may be too that she will have the presence of mind to think of the best way of escape... But this does not at all diminish the unique call of manhood when he and his female companion are confronted by a danger together. The dynamics of mature masculinity and femininity begin the drama with him in front and her at his back protected--however they may together overcome the foe or suffer courageously together in persecution. A mature man senses instinctively that as a man he is called to take the lead in gurding the woman he is with."
"We need to heed a caution here about the differing strengths of men and women... boasting in either sex as superior to the other is a folly. Men and women as God created them are different in hundreds of ways... If it is true that manhood and womanhood are to complement rather than duplicate each other, and if it is true that the way God made us is good, then we should be very slow to gather a list of typical male weaknesses or a list of typical female weaknesses and draw a conclusion that either is of less value than the other. Men and women are of equal value and dignity in the eyes of God-- both created in the image of God and utterly unique in the universe."
Isn't God's design glorious? I am grateful to be a woman, and hope, by God's grace, to embrace and glory in the unique sphere He has given me. I am grateful for the mature men He has placed in my life, men who take their God-given responsibilities seriously, and hope that I, as a woman, can support and nurture them in their roles as leaders, providers, and protectors.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
One of you holds it to your ear and sings along. (Don't be tempted to think that I don't know who you are.)
For the three of you who "bang it again, louder this time," please read Titus 3 as soon as possible. "At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions...."
It reminds me of how fun it is to go to the church of someone who is, as his wife says, "semi-famous." The first time I saw Dr. Baucham was at a worldview conference a year ago. (I started attending his church about a month later.) There were a couple of families from GFBC there, and when they told people they attended Voddie Baucham's church, the response was usually something like, "Yeah, riiiiight!"
Monday, May 19, 2008
"But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
let them ever sing for joy,
and spread your protection over them,
that those who love your name may exult in you.
For you bless the righteous, O LORD;
you cover him with favor as with a shield."
Psalm 5: 11-12
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Friday, May 16, 2008
"When we pray through a passage of Scripture, God's words become the 'wings' of our prayers....It becomes more like a real conversation....In the Psalms, God reveals how we should praise him."
We also made a Cartesian Diver. We filled the eyedropper with enough water to make it just barely float, then pressed on the sides of the bottle to force more water into the eyedropper, which made it sink.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
2. Forget the traffic rules you learned elsewhere. Houston has its own version of traffic rules...Hold on and pray. There is no such thing as a dangerous high-speed chase in Houston. We all drive like that.
3. All directions start with, "Go down to Loop 610".... which has no beginning and no end.
4. The morning rush hour is from 6:00AM to 10:00AM. The evening rush hour is from 3:00PM to 7:00PM. Friday's rush hour starts Thursday morning.
5. If you actually stop at a yellow light, you will be rear-ended, cussed out and possibly shot. When you are the first one off the starting line, count to five when the light turns green before going, to avoid getting into any cross-traffic's way.
6. Kuykendahl Road can ONLY be pronounced by a native Houstonian.
7. Construction on I-10, I-45, US 59 and Loop 610 is a way of life and a permanent form of entertainment.
8. All unexplained smells are explained by the phrase, "Oh, we must be in Pasadena!!!."
9. If someone actually has their turn signal on, it is probably a factory defect.
10. All old ladies with blue hair in a pink Cadillac have total right-of-way.
11. The minimum acceptable speed on Loop 610 is 85 mph. Anything less is considered downright sissy.
12. The wrought iron on windows in east Houston is NOT ornamental.
13. Never stare at the driver of the car with the bumper sticker that says, "Keep honking, I'm reloading." In fact, don't honk at anyone.
14. The Sam Houston Toll road is our daily version of NASCAR.
15. If it's 100 degrees, Thanksgiving must be next weekend.
16. When in doubt, remember that all unmarked exits lead to Louisiana.
17. You don't have to wait for an exit to get off a freeway, just follow the ruts in the grass to the frontage road like everyone else.This is how Houston residents notify Texas Department of Transportation where exits should have been built.
BONUS: You Know You're From Houston When...
...You're on your way to work one FEBRUARY morning and suddenly you're trapped in a traffic jam caused by a chuck wagon and fifty horses with riders and you look around to see that everybody in the cars around you is wearing a cowboy hat.
...The "farm-to-market" roads have seven lanes.
...You have to turn on the air conditioning in January, two days after a low of 29 degrees.
...You have a Roach Story: You opened your flatware drawer to find a roach the size of the Taco Bell Chihuahua. He stood up and looked you in the eye. You closed the drawer, bought new flatware - and stored it in the oven. Or your friend has a Roach Story - about a dive bomber who crashed her formal dinner party, made several passes at guests whose heads were bobbing like little dogs in car windows, and finally landed in somebody's soup.
...When you see your neighbor dancing around the front yard, you don't think he's won the Publisher's Clearing House Sweepstakes; you know that he just stepped in a fire ant bed.
...You know that the Astrodome will always be the Eighth Wonder of the World.
...You wander into a section of town where you can't read the street signs because they're written in Asian characters instead of English, but you don't care because you can get great prices on fake designer merchandise there.
...The "Killer Bees" are not stinging insects, but rather members of the Houston Astros.
...You think "Y'all" is perfectly good usage if you're referring to more than one person.
...Spring is not the season, Katy is not the lady, and 1960 is not the year.
...You can leave your house, head out of town, and an hour later you still haven't left the city limits (during rush hour, you haven't left your NEIGHBORHOOD).
...If the humidity is below 90 percent, it's a GOOD hair day.
...You know that while saving you money, "Mattress Mac" has amassed more than the U.S. treasury.
...You're happy to have beaten Los Angeles out of a football team, but you'd rather they keep the title of "Smog Capital."
Monday, May 12, 2008
This came up a couple of days ago when our family was discussing “girly” activities. The girls in our family tend to not fit in with the female stereotypes. My mother sometimes has occasion to talk with other women about the pressure there is to fit in with what all the other women seem to like. She offers them advice, saying basically to be willing to let it go. (Maybe she should be writing this post!)
It got me to thinking: Does our definition of femininity come from our culture or from the Bible? The question is not as simple as it sounds because femininity is necessarily tied to the culture in a lot of ways. Something that might be feminine in one culture might not be in another culture. However, we are in great danger when we place the culture above Biblical principles.
Our culture defines femininity by such things as wearing makeup, loving shopping, being afraid of bugs, being emotional, loving flowers and jewelry, and so on. If these things don’t come naturally to a woman, it’s easy for her to think that something is wrong with her, like she’s somehow a lesser-quality woman.
The question is: Can you still be feminine without liking all that “girly stuff”? Certainly, the answer is yes. Femininity as the Bible defines it starts in the heart. It comes from character qualities such as reverence, gentleness, wisdom, meekness, strength, submission, dignity, purity, and beauty that comes from within. God has made women in so many different ways, but whatever our personality, interests, and abilities, all of us should strive for these character qualities, which will then affect how we live. Exactly how it all plays out, though, won’t look exactly the same for everyone.
The challenge (that I must remind myself of also) is to not react against girlishness and go to the opposite extreme, but rather to turn to the Bible and review the true definition of femininity.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Angelina Baker, age of forty-three,
I gave her candy by the peck, but she won't marry me.
It's fare-thee-well my own true lover,
I never expect to see you again.
For I'm bound to ride that northern railroad,
Perhaps I'll die upon this train.
-Man of Constant Sorrow
Once I had a girl on Rocky Top half bear the other half cat,
Wild as a mink but sweet as soda pop, I still dream about that.
At the crossroads fair I'll be surely there
And I'll dress in my Sunday clothes
And I'll try sheep's eyes and deludhering lies
On the heart of the nut-brown Rose.
-Star of the County Down
Friday, May 9, 2008
"Cockroaches can indeed swim, they can also hold their breath for 45 minutes. Cockroaches can actually perform what could be called "swimming" as they don't simply float on top of the water, but can propel themselves to some extent."
"Cockroaches can’t swim but they can come in through sewer pipes if the water has subsided."
"Cockroaches can swim (but coming up for air is tough since they breathe through their sides, not their noses or mouths). "
So far, the data is extremely inconclusive. Clearly, more research is necessary.
I have a bad feeling about this. I have visions of my entire family standing in the bathroom, having just thrown a cockroach in the tub.
Thursday, May 8, 2008
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Beyond the Sunday meal together, there is the ministry of hospitality. There are periodic small groups which last about 8-10 weeks and are, for the most part, made up of whole families and singles. That provides another opportunity for fellowship and intermixing of singles and families. That’s not all, though. Also families are often in each other’s homes informally sharing a meal and their hearts. The singles are routinely included in these gatherings.
In times past and in other circles, I’ve heard singles say it gets old just being with other singles. They find themselves yearning to be with families, especially if they have no or few relatives living nearby. Our lives are enriched when we spend time with people outside of our age group. Children help keep us from taking ourselves too seriously. Older adults may have wisdom and experience for us to draw from. If the single is Biblically marriageable, it’s particularly helpful to see Christian family life modeled. It can motivate, inspire, and equip them for the future.
This is all sweet and good yet perhaps there is even more that can be done to integrate the singles. Sometimes the family-integrated church is referred to as a family of families. One idea I’ve heard is to have each single actually be assigned to a family for accountability, household worship, outreach, and mutual service. I’d like to present here a few arrangements that could bring about this increased integration. (1) The singles could form households among themselves. (2) If a single were to be linked with a specific family, he or she could move to live very close to that family or (3) maybe even move in with the family. (In Colonial times it was unheard of to have young single men, particularly, living alone; they were quickly assigned to families. It was considered healthier for the community.)
The family-integrated model for church life, to the extent that it is utilized, really does work for singles also, and in fact may be arguably superior in terms of discipleship of single adults.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
The results are as follows:
Dark chocolate (but not too bitter): 7 votes
Milk chocolate: 6 votes
White chocolate (Yes, we've been told it's not really chocolate, but it's on the poll.): 3 votes
No chocolate: 1 vote
As dark as possible: 1 vote
Thanks for voting!
"My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding... then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God."
So, we are to actively seek wisdom and understanding, and, if we do, we will find it. But the very next verse reads:
"For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom for the upright... Then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path; for wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul..."
Although we seek wisdom, ultimately it all comes from God. He is the one who gives us the desire for wisdom in the first place. It seems like a cycle: God gives us a desire for wisdom, so we earnestly seek it. He rewards us with more wisdom, which in turn causes us to seek it even more.
Saturday, May 3, 2008
I had occasion to read about Solomon yesterday, and it got me thinking about wisdom. Solomon was actually quite a wise king before he asked God for wisdom. He secured his throne, recognized a usurper, expanded the empire, and made beneficial alliances with surrounding nations. God had obviously given him a certain amount of wisdom before he asked for it. It’s ironic, but I think you have to have some wisdom in order to ask for wisdom. A complete fool wouldn’t ask for wisdom, would he?
So I wonder, how exactly do we get wisdom? It comes from God, of course, but does he wait for us to ask for it? He certainly isn’t surprised when we ask for it. Like my father says, God never says, “What a great idea! I wish I’d thought of that!” But, how much of wisdom is a supernatural gift from God and how much of it grows over time through our life experiences? Or am I getting common sense and wisdom mixed up?
The conclusion I’m coming to is that wisdom is the ability to see the world the way God sees it, and that it comes from God, sometimes suddenly, but usually over the course of a lifetime. I think Solomon had a bit of both.
What do y’all think?
Friday, May 2, 2008
Thursday, May 1, 2008
"The human body is a carbon-based, chemically-fueled, force-liquid-and-air cooled, bipedal, communicative, photochromatic, binocular, cellularly self-replicating, self-diagnostic, self-repairing tissuewise, multidexterous, continuously adaptive, computer-controlled, biodegradable exhaust system machine, capable of short and long-term memory with conceptual retrieval and integration, and precise decision-making and creativity--truly the "Ultimate Machine."
--Carl Wieland, Creation magazine, Vol. 29, No. 2
The article goes on to make the connection that the "Ultimate Machine" must have had the "Ultimate Designer," aka. God.
You can read a much more complete report here.