Category Archives: Personal

Olivia’s night out

Let me just be a bragging grandpa for a bit here. Tonight we had the privilege of keeping our granddaughter Olivia while her parents had a night out together. It was our first time keeping her without them. The first couple of hours were touch and go, meaning, one moment she would be crawling around, playing and laughing and then bawling the next. After quite some time she had become a very sleepy girl and was not about to give it up. We fed her a bottle and some cereal. That seemed to do the trick but after we laid her down she’d be right back up again. I’m sure it was pretty exciting for her. New environment without mom and dad, lots of puppy dogs to play with and all. But after some tender care by her Aunt Crysta, and the loving touch of grandma, she finally took the gentle voyage to Dreamland. At the time of this writing she is sound asleep under a pink quilt and on a soft fleece pillow. Please observe the picture for the proof. Sleeping like a real angel.

Photo credit goes to Aunt Crysta.

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Posted by on January 27, 2008 in grandparents, Olivia, Personal


A question of self-control

I first want to apologize for not posting anything for a few weeks. I have been in the midst of a personal struggle that hasHand Stand affected my family and I dramatically. I will not get into the details in this forum but I would ask for your prayers. I would ask that we would seek God and His strength as we all get through this season of hurt and healing. As a friend once told me, no matter what the question is, Jesus is the answer, and I believe that.

With that being said, I would like to begin posting again with the fruit of the Spirit. In particular the attribute of self control. Our associate pastor Erik Raymond did a sermon on this very attribute recently and I would like to share some of my notes from it. I have since gone back with re-newed interest as of late and it is really great stuff.

What is the need for self control?

Ephesians 2:1-3 says this:

1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

Ephesians tells us that we were once dead in our sins and that we once lived in the passions of our flesh. I love the verse 4 that follows these mentioned above. God, who is rich in mercy, and loved us even when we were dead in our sins, made us alive with Christ. We need to rely on the Spirit in our self control because we were woefully condemned and enslaved to sin. Were being the keyword here.

How do we strengthen our self control?

Lately I have been hearing this expression, “preach the gospel to yourself” and this is especially true in the case of self control. Galatians 4:4-7 is a great place to read for preaching the gospel to yourself.

4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, Abba! Father! 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.

You see that God has made a provision for us who were once enslaved to sin. He has adopted us as sons and joint heirs with His own son Jesus Christ. If we live in utter dependence on our Abba Father for His grace, then we have the hope of overcoming those the sins of losing our self control. Ephesians 2 and Galatians 4 have become very special passages for me lately. I pray that you will also read and meditate on them.

If you’d like to hear the wonderful message presented by Erik Raymond click here.

Sola Gratia!

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Posted by on October 26, 2007 in fruit of the spirit, Personal, self control


I pulled it off …. sort of

This past Saturday we celebrated my wife’s 50th birthday. Yes, Robin is older than me but don’t let on that you know it. I started planning for this party weeks ago and was able to keep her from finding out about it until the very day of the party. It is a feat to be sure. Keeping a secret from my wife is like trying to keep the paparazzi away from Lindsay Lohan, impossible, but I pulled it off…. sort of.

As the day of the party approached I was finding it difficult logistically to get Robin to the party without letting her in on it. We live about 30 minutes from Omaha and most of our friends which are mostly folks we have met from our local church and previous church. In order to get a good turn out to her party I needed to find a place to party locally. My mother-in-law graciously scheduled for us to use the clubhouse of the apartments she lives in which is closer for everyone I had invited. Now I just needed to get Robin to it. Unfortunately my pea brain could not come up with a believable excuse to get my wife to her mom’s clubhouse for the party. So, the morning of the day of the party I approached Robin with a dilemma that I had. It was a bit comical to see me trying to come up with the right words to let her know of my problem and her trying to figure out what was wrong and growing more concerned the more I hemmed and hawed. I finally blurted it out and much to her relief she smiled and then laughed. She could not believe I kept this from her for so long without any suspicions what-so-ever.

The party was a great success and she was indeed honored by it, which was goal. My intention was for the party to be a celebration of her birthday so I used bright colored decorations and a brightly decorated cake. I wanted to stay away from the traditional dirge, you’re getting old, style of birthday party. I think that was appreciated. Many of the folks I had invited came. It was good to see some friends that we had not seen in quite awhile. God is awesome and His grace was evident with the success of the celebration.

Her official birth date is July 25th, so if you are reading this please take the time to go to her blog site here and wish her a happy birthday. 

Thank you.

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Posted by on July 23, 2007 in 50th Birthday, marriage, party, Personal, Robin


Happy 4th of July!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

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Posted by on July 4, 2007 in Personal


New widget logo

I am playing with some functionality with WordPress. I have created a new Share Box widget. It is located down the right column right after my Blog Stats. I have included some songs that I like and will share with you. The first tune is Wind In My Sails by Spoken. Spoken is one of my favorite heavier Christian bands. They get a lot of video circulation on TVU, the Christian 24 hour music video channel. The next tune is Sweet Euphoria by Chris Cornell. Chris Cornell is well known for his powerful lead vocals with Audioslave, formally with Temple of the Dog, and the more popular Soundgarden. The last song in the list, at least for now is a new song by Third Day called Cry Out To Jesus. This is an excellent song by them and if you are a fan you will thoroughly love it. In order to use these songs on your site, all you need to do is follow the directions in the box. It will provide you with HTML code to embed into your web site or blog site.

Rock On!


Posted by on June 14, 2007 in, Music, Personal


Learning to be content

Last night at OBC we had a guest speaker. Pastor Don White from Wahoo Community ChurchSerene lake spoke to us about contentment using scripture from Philippians 4:10-20. Contentment is an attribute of life that we all can learn how to increase. It is something that I struggle with and I imagine that I am not alone in this. Go to the Don White audio link to listen to the audio from last night.

I am going to transparent here. The reason I know I struggle with contentment is because I tend to overeat at times. I am learning that I overeat to gain instant gratification for my senses. There are things in my life that are outside of my control, mainly the behavior of adult children. So in my time of stress and anxiety over them I will turn to food. Whenever I have a conflict with my wife, I turn to food, and usually it’s food high in carbohydrates. Much of these things are outside of my control and in order to deal with it I eat. It is a weakness I am praying about more and more each day.

After last night’s lesson about contentment I am beginning to understand where I am failing in my contentment. The contentment the apostle Paul writes about in Philippians is a contentment much like joy. It is not determined by our outward circumstances. Paul’s lesson through his letter is to teach us to be content in all circumstances. The key to this contentment is found in 4:13 a verse that is quoted out of context as often as John 3:16. When we learn to trust in Christ for all things then we are truly learning contentment. For whatever circumstances we find ourselves in, these circumstances are the result of the decree of God. So if the sovereign God who directs all things has placed me in the situations I am currently in, He is also the same Lord who cares for me and knows what is best for me. The secret Paul says that he has learned is to trust in Christ in all things, whether he is in humble means or in prosperity, being filled or going hungry, having abundance and suffering need. Paul says:

I can do all things through Him (Christ) who strengthens me.

Last night Don White referenced another book that I have now added to my wish list. It is “Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment” by Jeremiah Burroughs. Don spoke something either out of this book or out of his own study that really hit home with me. He said grumbling is offensive before the Lord. Grumbling is a huge contrast against contentment. In my circumstances I believe the grumblings from my circumstances is the comfort food I seek and consume. It is a hard lesson to learn but if is important to the Lord and it was obviously important to Paul, it should be important to me. If the contrast, grumbling, is offensive before the Lord, I need to learn to deal with my circumstances by trusting in Christ and not in my comfort food. True contentment is peaceful and quiet.


Guitar project (Part 1)

I have been chomping at the bit all winter to get started on my guitar project. I have sanding guitarbeen waiting for the weather to warm up so I can get outside and do some sanding. I have been playing guitar off and since I was a teenager and I have always wanted to create an electric guitar myself.

Over a year ago I found some information about how to paint your own guitar using spray cans. I did some research and found some glowing reviews on this method of guitar building. The method I found can be found at this web site. I purchased their electronic books and I received a ton of information including instructions with pictures, video, guitar graphics templates, and so many more resources.

Armed with these resources I proceeded to get online and find an electric guitar body, neck and hardware (electronics and such). Ebay here I come. I selected a Stratocaster type body made of Adler wood which is a decent type of wood for sustain which is important for some of the music I like to play. I found a nice looking Yamaha Stratocaster type neck where the fret board looked barely worked in. I purchased two Mighty Mite single coil pickups and a Seymour Duncan Screamin’ Demon humbucking bridge pickup. It will scream! I got all chrome hardware that will go nicely with the color I intend to paint my guitar.

The color and pattern is going to be orange and white checkerboard just like the end zones of my favorite college football team. Over the winter I put the body and neck together and installed all of the electronics and hardware to see how it would all sound together. I can honestly say it really sounded great. The Seymour Duncan humbucker screamed through some Van Halen, and when I selected the neck pickups the blues had some really great tone.

So this past Saturday I pulled the guitar out of my basement and removed all of the hardware, took apart the body and neck and began sanding off the original paint from the guitar body. I will be reporting several of the stages of the project on my blog. Hopefully it won’t bore my regular readers. Yeah all two of you. Above is the first picture. I can’t wait to rock. 


Posted by on April 18, 2007 in guitar building, Personal


Trusting in future grace

I am currently involved in a bible study surrounding a book written by John Piper. The Future Gracebook is titled Future Grace. We’ve been doing the study for about 4 weeks now and it is great. The first thing Piper educates us on is this thing called future grace. Piper contrasts future grace with gratitude. He challenges us to find anywhere in the bible where believers were motivated to obedience out of gratitude. He contends that this good deed behavior out of gratitude is called debtor’s ethic. It says that since you have done something good for me I am indebted to do something good for you. This is contrary to what God intended. God intended for true gratitude to be a spontaneous expression of pleasure in the gift and the good will of another. There is a good quote in the very first chapter that kind of describes it with clarity for me.

With true gratitude there is such a delight in the worth of God’s past grace, that we are driven on to experience more and more of it in the future. But this is not done by payments of debt in any ordinary sense. Rather, it is done by transforming gratitude into faith as it turns from contemplating the pleasures of past grace and starts contemplating the promises of the future.

This future grace is grace provided by God in the next day, in the next hour, in the next minute. We have confidence from past grace to trust God for His future grace. It is an awesome thing to behold and trust in.

In our study we recently discussed chapter six. It contains one of the most convicting things I’ve ever encountered. Faith in future grace versus pride. The chapter discusses three competitors to God for the human heart. Wisdom, might and riches. We think these can be obtained by our own self reliance. It is radically humbling to confess that the source of all our joy resides outside of ourselves. Pride is such an obstacle to future grace it opposes the hope and trust in the promises of God because we trust in ourselves, or others, or material things. But when we trust in God and His future grace we put away this human pride and walk in the second, the minute, the hour, and the day of God’s future grace. 

As we continue in this study I will post some more information about it and review it as a whole. More to come. 


Highlights of the 2007 Shepherds’ Conference

Tonight I went to the Shepherds’ Conference web site to view the pictures they had Shepherds' Conferenceposted from this year’s conference. Viewing them prompted to to remember some of my personal highlights from the conference. I will list them out as I try to remember them in order of each day.

Arriving Tuesday afternoon we all headed to the traditional OBC tour stop to eat lunch at the Fish Market Outlet in downtown LA. This is always an experience. We then headed to the Santa Monica Pier which for a few hours of shopping, walking, and Starbucks coffee, and seeing Mike Abendroth at the same spot we met him last year. I did get quite a bit of sun that afternoon. We then checked in to our hotel in Valencia (yes 24 fans, it’s still there) and went out to dinner. Wednesday morning we headed to the conference, verified our registrations, got our authentic fountain pen gifts and settled in on the Grace Community Church campus for a day of great preaching and seminars.

Highlights for Wednesday were John MacArthur preaching on premillennial theology in the morning and CJ Mahaney spoke on humility in the evening. Sitting with most of the guys at Starbucks and talking about the days events.

Highlights for Thursday were Q&A session with John MacArthur in the morning and Dr. Albert Mohler spoke on Greeting Card Theology from 1 Cor. 1 & 2. Getting our stack of free books and hanging with John Slack and eating In-N-Out burgers at lunch.

Friday was a busy highlight day. They include Mark Dever preaching on Daniel and our only hope is in God. Meeting Tim Challies from Challies dot com. Eating dinner with Hank, Bob, Steve, Dean, and Walter at the California Pizza Factory. Listening to Dr. John MacArthur speak on Luke 18:9-14 about the Pharisee and the tax collector who went to the temple to pray. Listening to Dr. Mohler during the “soapbox” sessions. One of my favorite highlights was and hanging with the pastors and elders on Friday night drinking some brews and listening to Pat, Todd, and Bu talk about their days in seminary.

Saturday highlights were eating breakfast at Mimi’s, seeing Master’s College, driving down to West Coast Choppers, conversations with Chris along the way. More highlights were speaking of salvation with someone I met at the Crystal Cathedral, attending the evening service of the potentially self proclaimed “healthiest” church in America. The speaker presented an anger management seminar under the disguise of a sermon.  More on that in a later post.  

The highlights for Sunday our final day were, Dr. MacArthur and his sermon on Luke 18:35-43. This was Jesus’ last healing. The healing of blind Bartemaius. Flying home, conversations with Chris on the flight. Seeing my wife waiting for me at the airport gate. Sleeping in my bed.


Back in black

back in blackI have been away from posting anything for quite some time. As the title says I’m back in black …and white actually (the printed text). I was away because I have been busier and to some degree a bit discouraged by something someone said. But I thought about it and prayed about it and decided that God has allowed me to find this medium for me to think through things, personally and theologically. So I am returning, to the glory of Christ I will be posting my thoughts again.

Quite a lot has happened since my last posting. I have been to Shepherds’ Conference in sunny, southern California. I will post some thoughts about that trip in the days to come. Right now I am finishing up a book by Mark Driscoll. He is a very controversial person who has some controversial ideas about evangelism. Driscoll suggests that Christians invest into getting to know the culture in which God has placed them in. In his situation God has placed him into a culture in Seattle, Washington where folks are pretty culturally diverse. He describes some of his members as body pierced, gothic, and fully tattooed. A culture which would most likely be foreign to us Midwesterners. There are some of Driscoll’s ideas that I think are just too radical. I think he gets a bit too extreme with the movies, and television shows he consumes in order to understand his culture. But as a whole I agree with the things he writes about. If you think about it where did Jesus go with His ministry on earth. He associated with those who needed a doctor not the ones who were healthy. He associated with the sinners such as tax collectors and prostitutes. He went to places most religious people of that time would not be caught dead in.

Christ has given me a heart to reach folks for His name so I have been reading about reaching folks in the culture. We have a place, where folks similar to what Driscoll describes, congregate. Our local church has a ministry leader who regularly goes there. I am challenging myself this spring and summer to go there with him and engage folks for Christ.


Posted by on March 21, 2007 in Personal, Praise