From Laura, 12 … Next weekend our family is attending a church conference. We will watch the movie Divided (a documentary on the tragedy of young people leaving the church), and then discuss it. For many people, church programs aren’t places to hear the gospel and mature as a Christian but rather as a place to enjoy themselves. Combined with it, they will talk about the impact media has on our lives. I am looking forward to hearing what they have to say on this issue.
From Becca, 15 … I have been thinking about the importance of not being focused on ourselves. I mean that in two ways. We should not proudly rely on ourselves for strength but instead recognize our weakness and trust in God for everything we need. And we ought to think more about other people and their good than about our own desires. Both of these require us to be humble and not centered on ourselves.
From Seth, 18 … This week I had lunch with a classmate and two other students, and I was confronted by the need to balance being “in the world, but not of the world.” It’s the question of how to build enough of a relationship with someone to continually impact them for Christ without getting so close to them as to be “sitting in the seat of scoffers.” After having lunch with these students, I realized I had been too silent with them. Their conversation was evil, and I must either flee evil or confront it. I have to offer more than tacit, silent disapproval.
From Anna, 21 … I’ve been reading Ben-Hur lately. I read it once several years ago, but at that point I was reading it purely as an adventure story and a lot of the deeper themes went over my head. As I’ve been rereading the book, one point of dramatic tension that has stuck out to me is the debate over the purpose for which the Messiah would come. Most of the characters are of the typical Jewish mindset that the Messiah would come as a mighty warrior and powerful king, who would overthrow Rome and establish an earthly kingdom rivaling the splendor of Solomon’s. There is one character, however, who steadfastly affirms his belief that the Messiah would come to save souls, not to establish an empire.
This has all been especially interesting to me since we’ve been reading through the Gospel of John as a family. Over and over John describes how Jesus was misunderstood, mischaracterized, and deliberately unheeded by those who heard him. Some refused to give any consideration to Jesus’ claims to be the Christ. Others simply couldn’t reconcile the things He said and did with their preconceived ideas of who the Messiah would be. In the end, though, Jesus accomplished what He had come to do in His first coming: the way was opened for the salvation of souls. But that is not truly the end, for He’s coming back, and, when He does, His rule and His kingdom will be established over the new heavens and the new earth.
About John, Megan, and baby-on-the-way … (by Judith) We enjoy seeing John and Megan from time to time over here. I still cut John’s hair, so that affords us some visits. John stops by occasionally for a tool or to do some work for us and we occasionally see Megan when she’s out on errands. They have an ultrasound scheduled on Oct. 6th to see how the baby is growing and to find out if the baby is a boy or girl. It will be fun to see John as a father! He was great with his younger siblings. I particularly remember how much he helped with baby Becca when he was 12. I could always count on him to get her to sleep.
From Ray, Katie, Peter, and Samuel … (by Katie) We flew to Washington a couple of weeks ago for a ten-day trip. We visited lots of family members on Ray’s side of the family, most of whom got to meet Samuel for the first time. We also did some sight-seeing while we were there, including the Seattle aquarium. Peter really enjoyed that one, and went around saying excitedly, “ish! ish!”. We were in the Seattle area at the very end of summer, apparently, because the first part of our trip had beautiful weather, but then it turned cooler and rainier.
From Judith … I feel like I never really got all the way moved into this house over two years ago. Between the ongoing work on the house and various huge transitions in our family, many boxes were just left in tall stacks and scattered heaps, primarily in my bedroom. Think: wall of boxes -- the warehouse look. Finally, I am digging in to sort, thin, and properly store the items. (It’s very satisfying to toss the cardboard boxes!)
One interesting observation I have made is that, over time, many things have become of little value to me. Over and over I hear myself say, “I’ll never use this.” I initially thought additional storage would be needed, but I decided to wait to see exactly how much would actually exceed our available storage. Though not finished, I’m far enough along to know that we won’t need that extra storage after all! I’m very pleased about that.
From Gerald … We have recently been listening to a series of lectures on the Holy Spirit. One of the roles of the Holy Spirit is that of a “paraclete.” This Greek word is translated as “Comforter”, “Counselor”, or “Helper”. Its literal meaning is one who is called to be alongside. In the culture of Jesus’ time, a paraclete was an advocate or a family attorney who could be called upon to defend in time of need. In John 15, Jesus said that he would send another Paraclete. He himself is our advocate before the Father at the throne of judgment, and the Holy Spirit is our advocate before men in the midst of persecution. The translation of this word as “Comforter” makes sense if we think of the literal meaning of the root words (com = with; forte = strength). As the Comforter, the Holy Spirit gives us strength and courage for the battle.
With love from the Pedersen clan