Monday, July 29, 2002

The St Louis Summer (Bummer) Weather
Wow! Another action-packed weekend. The weather was sweltering hot here in St Louis. Yesterday was 98 degrees and 85% humidity. It was a great stay-at-home weekend. But, we didn't stay at home. We ventured out to the St Louis Science Center and enjoyed the nice cool indoor exhibits. My kids love the "Puzzles" display they have featured right now. Sunday we went to church twice with a nice nap in between. Ah, the benefits of a wonderful, cool basement! Today it feels about 10 degrees cooler, so I think we will go visit the Missouri Botanical Garden tonight. It is a great place.

Mission St Louis 2002
We have 500-600 short-term missionaries staying in our church this week for Mission St Louis 2002. They will be here until August 2nd and will be working with inner city kids and adults in St Louis, MO, and East St Louis, Alton, and Belleville, IL. They will be doing God's work, but I am worried that after these short-term missionaries leave there won't be enough emphasis on following-up to ensure their work is fruitful in the long-term. We met with the missionaries at church last night and they are eager, excited, inspired, and anxious to get started serving.

Sunday Morning Bible Study
Yesterday we had 11 attend the 9:45am Bible Study. It was a great time of fellowship and growing in the Word. We began having an individual share his or her personal testimony, something I think we will do every other week or so. The students seemed to think sharing our testimonies was very worthwhile, and gives them an opportunity to open up and share their life experiences with any who care to listen. We are progressing through the book of 2 Samuel, and learning about how King David handled his life when he encountered trouble. It applies to us today and we can learn many great applicable lessons through studying his life.

Bible Verse of the Day
Psalm 150

A Psalm of Praise.
Praise the LORD!
Praise God in His sanctuary;
Praise Him in His mighty expanse.
Praise Him for His mighty deeds;
Praise Him according to His excellent greatness.
Praise Him with trumpet sound;
Praise Him with harp and lyre.
Praise Him with timbrel and dancing;
Praise Him with stringed instruments and pipe.
Praise Him with loud cymbals;
Praise Him with resounding cymbals.
Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD!

Thursday, July 25, 2002

Wednesday Night Bible Study
I am very excited at how well the FBCOF College and Career Wednesday Night Bible Study is going. Last night we studied 1 John 1:1-4 in some detail. The group has made lots of strides this summer at going deeper into God's Word and applying it to their lives. The quality and depth of our relationships and understanding have increased dramatically over the summer. The group is working together better as a unit. The only downside is that we continue to have lots of visitors who float through the group and come once or twice and then move on. Our core of 10-12 students is slowly growing, but we need to make a better effort at contacting the visitors and incorporating them into our community. Rusty and Eleanor Bean are doing a great job of leading the Bible Study. God is really working through them.

Is Heaven the Ultimate Goal, or Simply the Ultimate Destination?
In our Bible Study last night I made the statement that "Heaven might not be the ultimate goal, only the ultimate destination." I said this because I am convinced that over the course of the last century that Evangelists have made too big of a deal of the "If you died in your sleep tonight would you spend the rest of eternity in heaven or hell" line. Of course, the eternal future destination of our souls is important and a big deal. But, rather than hook, or scare, potential converts into accepting Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior by using the "where will you spend eternity question", I believe we should be focusing a little more on the present day benefits of a restored personal relationship with God. In short I think evangelists have over done the "benefits of justification" side of accepting Jesus as our Savior and have not spend enough time talking about the "benefits of sanctification" that we experience each and every day of our walk with Jesus as our Lord. There is so much more to our walk with the Lord than simply "becoming saved."

What I'm talking about is the change we experience in our lives when we know we can stop trying to save our souls through good works, and rest up in our daily walk. The joy we experience in living for the Lord each and every day is really undersold. Good works are a part of our Christian life, but not because we are trying to save ourselves; they are the fruit that flow out of a right relationship with God. I think it is important that we stop pushing people toward accepting Jesus Christ as the final step in the process of God drawing us near to Him, and start realizing it is really the first step in the process of us growing near to God.

Kids Kamp
I am looking forward to serving as a Kids Kamp 4th grade counselor in August. My son and daughter will be in the group, and it is their first experience at Kamp. I'll bet they love it. It looks like I will be my son's counselor, and I am not sure whether or not that is good, but I know God will work it all out.

I am meeting an old friend for a "job interview" at lunch today. I will be retireing from the Air Force soon and am looking for a job. My friend runs a consulting firm in the local area and is looking for somwone to work as a consultant for Department of Defense Information Operations Exercises. I really want to get as far from the military as I can after I retire, but the pay and benefits are great, and it is the only way that I will be paid for the knowledge I gained while serving in the Air Force. So, we'll see what happens at the interview today. At the very least it should help me firm up the decision of exactly when I plan on spending my last day as a "Blue Suiter."

Daily Bible Reading
2 Chronicles 34-36
Psalm 150
2 Thessalonians 3
Luke 12

Bible Verse of the Day
1 John 5:13-- These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.

Wednesday, July 24, 2002

Overextended Again
I have decided to bite off another chunk of my free time and teach a World Regional Geography class at Southwestern Illinois College in Belleville, Illinois. I have been going to school forever and it is about time I put all my degrees (read knowledge) to work for me. It is a pretty good part-time job, and it will give me some much needed teaching experience and opportunity to share Christ with some college students that otherwise might not hear the good news, but at the same time it represents another opportunity to lose more family time as I try to figure out what I want to do when I grow up.

My growing up is coming quickly as I begin to think about retirement from the US Air Force sometime in the next few months. It will be weird to have the umbilical cord severed from Uncle Sam after 20+ years of not having to worry about missing a paycheck, or what clothes to wear to work (those decisions are all taken care of for you in the military). But I am looking forward to having a little more creativity in my life and "letting my hair down" for once.

Daily Bible Reading
2 Chronicles 30-33
Psalm 149
2 Thessalonians 3
Luke 12

Bible Verse of the Day
Proverbs 24:5-- A wise man is strong, and a man of knowledge increases power

Monday, July 22, 2002

Ahhhh Vacation!
I have been on vacation for the last couple of weeks. We traveled up to Minneapolis, Minnesota with "Nomad" and "Babe" the Blue Ox. Eventhough we had a bout with migraine headeaches and another bout with strep throat it was still good to be off work and together as a family. Minnesota is a wonderful place with lots of energy, and the Mall of America may just be responsible for 10% of America's Gross National Product. I can't believe how busy the Mall was. We had a long day driving home on Saturday. It took 12 hours to get home and we were exhausted when we got there. But, the two days recovery time before going back to work on Monday was worth it.

While on vacation I finished Andrew Careaga's book eMinistry. What a great read. He has inspired me to try harder to make my ministry more effective to the Net Generation and to begin a hard-core Internet ministry. There is no reason why the church can't be more effective in ministering via an electronic community. All we have to do is make up our collective minds that this is where we are headed, invest in the future of our faith, and forge ahead. We can begin the process by beginning individually if we can proceed collectively.

The other books I read on vacation were John Brickerhoff Jackson's Discovering The Vernacular Landscape and I am about half way through John Fraser Hart's The Rural Landscape. I am pursuing a PhD in American Studies at Saint Louis University and am doing my dissertation research on the Landscape of Consumption in California's Central Valley, 1848-2002. these two books are "classics" on the art of landscape analysis. I highly recommend them to anyone interested in studying the Cultural (or manmade) Landscape.

Daily Bible Reading
2 Chronicles 25-27
Psalm 147
2 Thessalonians 2
Luke 12

Bible Verse of the Day
1 Thess 2:3-4-- For our exhortation does not come from error or impurity or by way of deceit; but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak not as pleasing men, but God who examines our hearts

Tuesday, July 02, 2002

I have been reading Andrew Careaga's book eMinistry over the last couple of days. He does such a great job of explaining the Net Generation, or N-Geners as he calls them, and their reliance on and fluency in the internet. It really is a generation different from the modern Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers. N-Geners are the first generation truly submersed in postmodern thought. Combine that with a digital education and it is easy to see how we must treat and minister to them differently from the generations that preceeded them. I will post observations from this book as I wade through the waters it describes in some detail.

Daily Bible Reading
1 Chronicles 1-2
Psalms 123-124
Colosians 1
Luke 7

Bible Verse of the Day
Psalm 123:2-- Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God, until He is gracious to us.