Wednesday, November 26, 2008


I LOVE the fact that we take the time as a nation each year to be thankful, at least for one day.  Even in these uncertain times, there is still so much that we have to be thankful for as a nation.  We still have our freedom to worship God, freedom to assemble, freedom to speak our minds... And even in this economic downturn, we are still economically blessed far beyond the wildest dreams of most of the world. God has blessed America greatly and for that I am grateful! My prayer for the nation is that we will open our eyes and see how blessed we are and turn our hearts towards the One who blesses!

On a personal level, this has been a year of great growth - which means a year of great difficulty.  I am so grateful to God for every struggle, every heartache, every pain, every trial.  It is through these difficulties that I am learning to go deeper and draw closer to Jesus.  If that is what it takes, then I am truly grateful for it all!  I am also grateful for the many blessings God has chosen to give me: for my family, for my church family, for the opportunities He has given me to share the hope that I have in my heart because of Jesus - every day on the air and through worship at church.  I am so amazed by and grateful for the life God has given me.  Saying thanks just doesn't seem to cover it!  How can I respond but to worship God with all that I am?!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Our Assignment for this Week

On Sunday, Pastor Wes asked us to answer a question, well.... actually finish a sentence in Home Groups this week.  In relating the story of Jacob wrestling with God (Genesis 32), Pastor Wes said that one of the steps we needed to take was to name what and who we are; to finish this sentence: I am a(an)________________.  For Jacob, his name meant Deceiver.  When God asked him his name, He was looking for a confession of who Jacob was.  God was looking for Jacob to get real with himself and with God.

As we started into the discussion of this last night in our Home Group, there was a part of me that was struggling with the idea of focussing on the negative.  At least that is what it felt like.  I understand the 4 steps that Pastor Wes was talking about and have lived them on different levels as I have grown in Christ throughout my life.  The four steps being: 1- Admit that the struggle is with God, 2 - Refuse to let go, 3- Admit that you are the problem and 4 - Get a new identity. I so desperately want to be walking by faith in the calling God has placed on me (the new identity) that the idea of looking at the sin that is in me seemed like a step backwards.  The reality is that those thoughts were just another deception to keep me from looking at the sin in my life!

As we started praying about taking these steps, the confessions came. One by one the areas of neglect and rebellion were named and a release came - not just for me but for others as well.

Then I read this blog this morning by John Piper.  I really want to encourage you to check it out. John Piper is one of my favorite bloggers! God is so amazing that He confirms His word to us so faithfully.  To see that God is dealing with the same issues with someone else that I have never met in a different part of the country at the same time is really encouaging to me.

Thank You, Father, for your faithfulness!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Politically Correct Red Riding Hood

-by Bryan Hupperts.

There once was a young person named Little Red Riding Hood who lived on the edge of a large forest full of endangered owls and rare plants that would probably provide a cure for cancer if only someone took the time to study them. 

Red Riding Hood lived with a nurture giver whom she sometimes referred to as "mother", although she didn't mean to imply by this term that she would have thought less of the person if a close biological link did not in fact exist. Nor did she intend to denigrate the equal value of nontraditional households, although she was sorry if this was the impression conveyed. 

One day her mother asked her to take a basket of organically grown fruit and mineral water to her grandmother's house. "But mother, won't this be stealing work from the unionized people who have struggled for years to earn the right to carry all packages between various people in the woods?" Red Riding Hood's mother assured her that she had called the union boss and received a special compassionate mission exemption form. 

"But mother, aren't you oppressing me by ordering me to do this?" 
Red Riding Hood's mother pointed out that it was impossible for womyn to oppress each other, since all womyn were equally oppressed until all womyn were free. 

"But mother, then shouldn't you have my brother carry the basket, since he's an oppressor, and should learn what it's like to be oppressed?" And Red Riding Hood's mother explained that her brother was attending a special rally for animal rights, and besides, this wasn't stereotypical womyn's work, but an empowering deed that would help engender a feeling of community. 

"But won't I be oppressing Grandma, by implying that she's sick and hence unable to independently further her own selfhood?" But Red Riding Hood's mother explained that her grandmother wasn't actually sick or incapacitated or mentally handicapped in any way, although that was not to imply that any of these conditions were inferior to what some people called "health". 

Thus Red Riding Hood felt that she could get behind the idea of delivering the basket to her grandmother, and so she set off. 

Many people believed that the forest was a foreboding and dangerous place, but Red Riding Hood knew that this was an irrational fear based on cultural paradigms instilled by a patriarchal society that regarded the natural world as an exploitable resource, and hence believed that natural predators were in fact intolerable competitors. Other people avoided the woods for fear of thieves and deviants, but Red Riding Hood felt that in a truly classless society all marginalized peoples would be able to "come out" of the woods and be accepted as valid lifestyle role models. 

On her way to Grandma's house, Red Riding Hood passed a woodchopper, and wandered off the path, in order to examine some flowers. She was startled to find herself standing before a Wolf, who asked her what was in her basket. Red Riding Hood's teacher had warned her never to talk to strangers, but she was confident in taking control of her own budding sexuality, and chose to dialogue with the Wolf. 

She replied, "I am taking my Grandmother some healthful snacks in a gesture of solidarity." 

The Wolf said, "You know, my dear, it isn't safe for a little girl to walk through these woods alone." 

Red Riding Hood said, "I find your sexist remark offensive in the extreme, but I will ignore it because of your traditional status as an outcast from society, the stress of which has caused you to develop an alternative and yet entirely valid world view. Now, if you'll excuse me, I would prefer to be on my way." 

Red Riding Hood returned to the main path, and proceeded towards her Grandmother's house. But because his status outside society had freed him from slavish adherence to linear, Western- style thought, the Wolf knew of a quicker route to Grandma's house. 

He burst into the house and ate Grandma, a course of action affirmative of his nature as a predator. Then, unhampered by rigid, traditionalist gender role notions, he put on Grandma's nightclothes, crawled under the bedclothes, and awaited developments. 

Red Riding Hood entered the cottage and said, "Grandma, I have brought you some cruelty free snacks to salute you in your role of wise and nurturing matriarch."

The Wolf said softly "Come closer, child, so that I might see you." 

Red Riding Hood said, "Grandma, what big eyes you have!" 

"You forget that I am optically challenged." 

"And Grandma, what an enormous, what a fine nose you have." 

"Naturally, I could have had it fixed to help my acting career, but I didn't give in to such societal pressures, my child." 

"And Grandma, what very big, sharp teeth you have!" 

The Wolf could not take any more of these specist slurs, and, in a reaction appropriate for his accustomed milieu, he leaped out of bed, grabbed Little Red Riding Hood, and opened his jaws so wide that she could see her poor Grandmother cowering in his belly. 

"Aren't you forgetting something?" Red Riding Hood bravely shouted. "You must request my permission before proceeding to a new level of intimacy!" The Wolf was so startled by this statement that he loosened his grasp on her. 

At the same time, the woodchopper burst into the cottage, brandishing an ax. 

"Hands off!" cried the woodchopper. 

"And what do you think you're doing?" cried Little Red Riding Hood. 
"If I let you help me now, I would be expressing a lack of confidence in my own abilities, which would lead to poor self esteem and lower achievement scores on college entrance exams." 

"Last chance, sister! Get your hands off that endangered species! 
This is an FBI sting!" screamed the woodchopper, and when Little Red Riding Hood nonetheless made a sudden motion, he sliced off her head. 

"Thank goodness you got here in time," said the Wolf. "The brat and her grandmother lured me in here. I thought I was a goner." 

"No, I think I'm the real victim, here," said the woodchopper. "I've been dealing with my anger ever since I saw her picking those protected flowers earlier. And now I'm going to have such a trauma. 
Do you have any aspirin?" 

"Sure," said the Wolf. 


"I feel your pain," said the Wolf, and he patted the woodchopper on his firm, well padded back, gave a little belch, and said "Do you have any Maalox?" 

(c) Bryan Hupperts -

Friday, November 7, 2008

On the elections and the future of America

On Wednesday, I publicly congratulated Sen. Barack Obama on becoming the president elect of the United States of America.  This is not an endorsement of President-elect Obama's views, opinions or record in the Senate.  It is simply an acknowledgement of excellent strategy and tactics in one of the most vigorous campaigns I have seen! And also, trying to see the positive in a situation that I cannot change. 

This is an historic time for our country and one that we can find hope in, for one big reason, regardless of who you voted for:  We have, as a country, taken a huge step toward resolving the racial issues that have plagued our nation for centuries.  This is a good thing. This is a defining moment in our history!  And that one part of the definition, I can support and be proud of!

Do I have concerns over the future of the USA?  yes.  Do I fear the future? no.  Pres-elect Obama does not dictate our futures as individuals or even as a nation!  God is still sovereign and my hope lies in that fact. 

I have seen and heard so much about the judgement of God coming to America, now, like this is a new thing!  Have people had their eyes closed for 40 years?  We have been experiencing His judgement for a while.  Will it get worse?  Maybe.  But I believe in a God of mercy whose heart can be swayed by the prayers of His people.  I prayed, I voted and now I will pray some more.  

I believe that God's heart breaks for the deaths of the unborn. And that He greives with every mother and father who loses a child in the war on terrorism.  There are many things that we, as a nation, have allowed that are unholy; many things that we have perverted to placate the flesh and enemy alike.  But we will NEVER solve ANY of these issues with legislation (although I will still vote, lobby and pray pro-life every chance I get!).  What will change America is a radical change of heart and that is only accomplished by the Holy Spirit. Only when we fall more in love with Jesus than our wallets, more in love with the Son than our own ambitions, More in love with our Savior than our comforts.... only then will we see the changes in society that we all seek.

Now is the time for all Christians to unite in prayer for all of our elected leaders, to ask God to give them HIS wisdom as they plan out their administrations and chose those with whom they will work most closely.  Pray that hearts will be opened to a spirit of cooperation; that compromise can be found in ways to uphold morality and integrity while still moving this nation forward.  That God would change hearts and lives in our leadership and in our people. With God's help, I believe this is possible. But we MUST pray!

Proverbs 21

 1 The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD; 
       he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases.

1 Timothy 2

 1I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— 2for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

Hebrews 13:16-18 

16And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.17Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.

1 Peter 2:12-14 

12Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. 13Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, 14or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.

Romans 13

 1Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.2Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. 4For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. 6This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. 7Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

For those who have a love of Irony

Sometimes you just gotta repost someonelse's blog: This one is from John Piper and I just had to share:

How Could God Do This to Us?
Nov 1, 2008 3:34 AM

(Author: John Piper)

Thursday in Minneapolis it was so gorgeous walking home I thought: I should write a post on how astonishing it is that no earthquake swallowed up this city today.
Instead God sent warmth and crystal skies and cool breezes and golden leaves and hanging sea gulls over Elliot Park.
Amazing. Absolutely amazing!
We deserved the 52-story IDS tower to fall, and bridges to collapse, and poisonous gas to kill thousands. But instead God gave us over-the-top foretastes of heaven.
This is why everyone is crying out, Where was God on Thursday! Where were you God! How could you do this? Why did you let this happen?
Everybody is saying that, aren't they?