Friday, April 30, 2010

Book Review: Fogotten God

I finished reading Forgotten God by Francis Chan...what a great book! Right from the start, through solid scriptural support, Francis brings us back to the Holy Spirit as the Bible portrays Him. He explains how we have missed a huge blessing in the Holy Spirit and our neglect is causing disastrous results. Not only does he point out where we are missing the Spirit, but he also address how we can bridge that gap.
In between chapters he also gives examples of people he thinks are truly living by the holy spirit. That is very encouraging to have examples who are living by the Holy Spirit and how that has impacted their daily lives.
This book challenged me in my daily living. One part that has stuck with me, Chan addressed how some people say "I wish I knew God's plan for my life." Chan explains that a lot of Christians today use that more as an excuse not to have faith in God. He points back to the Bible and asks how many people in the Bible does God lay out a 5 year plan for their lives. More often than not, God asks us to follow him by faith, not because we know exactly where we are going. That has really stuck with me and challenged me to live by faith on a daily basis.
Another part that I am still thinking about, Chan says what if you heard God's voice say to you "Sell all your possessions, give them to the poor, I have a plan for you." What would you do? Chan says before we start making reasons why God wouldn't do that, try and answer honestly. I have been wrestling with that, I would like to think that I would follow God, but there are a lot of "things" that I really enjoy in my life, Chan reminds us that although God may not ask that of us, it is not out of God's character to ask us to surrender things in our lives for Him.

A little bit about the author: Francis Chan is senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Simi Calley, CA. I subscribe to their podcast and as I was finishing this book I listened to one of his sermons and then for this interview on Catalyst website.

Francis Chan is stepping out in faith... from Catalyst on Vimeo.

It is pretty amazing and encouraging to hear that Francis Chan is willing to follow the Spirit even if that means leaving his position as senior pastor at his church. He is following by faith as he describes in his book.

This book is a great read, I would highly suggest it. Francis Chan is a great writer and he writes with such transparency, I feel like a know him and I can't wait to read his next book, Crazy Love.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Signs of Spring

I have definitely started to see more and more signs of spring popping up all over. The ferns are slowly unfolding in our backyard...
Our lilac bush is blooming...
...and tonight, for the first time this spring, I got out the lawn mower and mowed the grass.

Welcome back green grass, it is good to see you in my backyard again!

Woody's Smoke Shack

One of my new favorite BBQ spots in Des Moines is Woody's Smoke Shack on Cottage Grove. This small establishment delivers huge taste with award winning championship bar-b-que and catering. Woody is nationally known and has been featured on Good Morning America. Needless to say, the food is great!
Heather and I stopped into Woody's a few weeks ago for lunch and we were both amazed. The sandwiches are fantastic and there is fresh cornbread as you walk through the door! Today, Derek picked me up for lunch and we headed to Woody's to enjoy some good BBQ. We both went with the brisket sandwich.
I also snapped a picture inside of this huge "1st Place Rib" of many trophies and awards that hang on the walls!
If you haven't tried Woody's yet, I would highly recommend it. If you are going to try it, call me...I will go with you!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Hillsong United!

Last night, Hillsong United played at Wells Fargo Arena. They are a worship team from Australia who know how to rock out and worship God! It was more than a concert, it was a worship experience that was awesome.
Heather is super excited on our way to Wells Fargo! Heather's brother Rob and his wife Erin came down from Orange City to go to the concert. We were all excited for the night!
And what a night it was! Sorry about the quality of photos, we forgot our camera, so these were taken with my phone.
They know how to worship and what was awesome to hear was their heart as they explained that they are not here to put on a show but the reason they play is to worship Jesus...awesome!
Here is another picture from the night.
This video is from last year when they were in Chicago, but it gives you a feel of the night.

If you have a chance to see these guys it, it is not to be missed! Absolutely amazing!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Garage Sale Friday

As winter turns to spring we begin to see signs of the changes in climate. Flowers are popping up, green buds are appearing on the trees, the grass is turning green and another sure sign of spring...Garage Sales. Yes, that's right, garage sale season is starting up again. Veteran garage salers would still consider this "spring training" and the sales are few and far between, but to me, garage sale season has begun!
Today, Derek picked me up to hit the garage sales over lunch. This is our traditional Friday lunch routine and yes, we do get funny looks, but it is worth the deals! Here are my finds for today:
I found a new (looks new) Bontrager Race Lite bike saddle (bike seat) for $3! I couldn't pass up that up. I also found a free bag of empty card envelopes, roughly 30 envelopes. Heather and I have gotten into making our own cards, so I thought empty envelopes would be useful. Lastly, an old canvas seed corn bag, also in the free pile! Not sure what I am going to do with that, but I have a few ideas. Not bad for only spending $3!

Book Review: Life Together

In my book club, we finished reading Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. It is a fantastic book that I will probably return to and read again (hopefully each year). It is a short read, my version has 147 pages, but it is filled with wisdom and biblical truth's. The book is about living life together in Christian community. The chapters breakdown the different aspects of life together.
The book starts with an introduction that gives a background on Bonhoeffer and his life. He was born in 1906 and was martyred at the hands of the Gestapo in 1945. It is amazing, to me, to know that he wrote this book while living in a concentration camp, yet he writes with a peace that can only come from God.
Chapter 1: Community - talks about the importance of the Christian community and how it is not only an essential but a tremendous blessing to our lives. He explores how we should serve one another as Christ served the church and how it is only because of Christ's love that we can love our neighbor.
Chapter 2: The Day with Others - this chapter lays out, almost hour by hour, what a typical day could/should look like in a Christian community. He talks about prayer life in the morning and evening. He also address the importance of reading Scripture on a daily basis. He doesn't forget the fact that people have to work too. He says we all need to work and do the job God has set before us. I love this part, he says "Without the burden and labor of the day, prayer is not prayer, and without prayer work is not work." It's like prayer gets us through the work day and work makes our prayer life significant.
Chapter 3: The Day Alone - this chapter addresses silence and solitude. Bonhoeffer explains how even when we live in community, we still need times of solitude, prayer, silence, meditation and intercession. He hits on this but at the end of the chapter he again reminds us that we are apart of the body and that after a time alone, we should again be joined in community.
Chapter 4: Ministry - this chapter is about the ministry of serving each other. I learned a lot in the chapter as he talks about the ministry of holding one's tongue, the ministry of meekness, of listening, of helpfulness, of bearing, of proclaiming and of authority. He address these in the context of sharing our lives with each other.
Chapter 5: Confession and Communion - this chapter is just what the title explains, confessing to one another and then celebrating communion.

Overall, this book is a great read and I would highly recommend it. He definitely challenged my thinking of community and how I can serve those around me. Bonhoeffer writes with such wisdom but also with humility. He really addresses how important it is to live in community. A final quote "In a Christian community everything depends upon whether each individual is an indispensable link in a chain. Only when even the smallest link is securely interlocked is the chain unbreakable."

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wall Art

Heather had some ideas about some fun projects that we could hang on our wall. I took on the task of making them myself! The first one is for the guest bedroom. The thought was hang 9 squares, 3x3 and use fun scrapbook paper to add some color to the wall.
I started off making the frames using some 1x2 boards that I ripped down to 1x1 and some thin mdf board for the top.
Gave them a couple coats of paint, yellow base with a dry brush khaki finish over the top.
Added the paper squares. Here is the layout on the floor before I hung them on the wall.
The finished product hanging on the wall (don't mind the empty base cabinets, that is a bathroom project in the making). I think they turned out great!
The next project was to hang up pictures. I started off making two empty frames, one square one and another rectangle. Painted them brown...
I then used some of the leftover fabric from the kitchen as the backing.
Using upholstery tacks, I strung some wire across the frame. We found these great clips at Ikea, and now we have a photo board! This is the tall rectangle frame.
Here is the square frame. Heather then cropped the Christmas cards that we received and they got hung up!
What a fun way to display our Christmas cards year round!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I-Cubs Lunch

Last night, Derek texted me saying he had tickets for the 12:05 I-Cubs game today if I wanted to meet him for lunch. Today's forecast "Sunny with a high in the 80's" could I pass that up. So, I rode my bike down to Flynn Wright to meet Derek and we walked over to Principal Park. We got to the diamond and found our seats.
7 rows back...awesome! What a great afternoon for a baseball game!Cubbie Bear was walking around shaking hands and he signed the guys foot cast sitting in front of us.
Derek and I taking in the game and the sun.
We only stayed for 3 innings, because we both needed to get back to work. It was a great break from my desk and a nice way to spend an hour in the sun! Thanks for the ticket D!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Puss 'n Boots

Good Friday started out to be not such a good Friday when we found this little gem waiting on our front steps. Heather had the day off on Friday so she took me to work in the morning and as I was standing in the driveway waiting for her to pull out of the garage, I saw a pair of concrete eyes starring at me...Who could bear to part with such a treasure?
For those of you who don't know, Heather hates cats. Not just a dislike, but a full fledged hate. We spent the better part of our morning trying to solve the mystery of where this cat came from. Much to our surprise, Heather's friend Sarah Wilson found this work of art in the backyard of her newly purchased home. Being a good friend, she decided to share the joy of "puss 'n boots" with us! But such a gem can't stay in one place long...Without us hardly knowing, this "puss 'n boots" found its way to the back of our car.
Our dear friends, the Siskow's helped us out and let the dogs out for us on Saturday while we were at church playing on the worship team. "Puss 'n Boots" must have caught word of their generous deed and decided to bring the Siskow's an Easter treat...Happy Easter (better than an Easter bunny)
Where will "Puss 'n Boots" show up next...only time will tell!

Book Review: Essentials for Life

I read the book Essentials for Life by Marcia Ford. This is a great book that offers spiritual and Biblical truths that can be applied to all aspects of life. The book is comprised of 50 short chapters touching on the "essentials" for life. Of course, and the author says this too, this isn't an all encompassing list, but it definitely hits a lot of very essentials for living. I really enjoyed how much scripture is packed into this book. Each chapter identifies several scriptural references for further investigation. The book hits the big questions first, such as chapter 1, "Answer the Big Question" and then chapter 3 "Seek the Truth About Jesus." It also touches on topics of how to forgive, how to simplify your living and honoring your family. Each chapter also includes a section at the end of the chapter that summarizing the chapter into "Do's" and "Don'ts" I think that will be very helpful as a reference in the future. The book is also chalked full of interesting notes and quotes that encourage and challenge my thinking.
For me, a lot of the chapters were good reminders and encouragement to daily living. I was stretched in my thinking and challenged to make some changes in my life! I really enjoyed the chapter on reading the Bible and the chapter of meditation of scripture. During this season of Lent, our church studied spiritual disciplines and one of those talked about was the discipline of study, having that context in my mind really drove home the point of daily scripture study. "No one ever graduates from Bible study until he meets its Author face to face" - Everett Harris, that was a quote included in the book which I thought was great and encouraging. All in all, I thought this is a great book and will be helpful as a reference in the future. I would recommend it.
*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Resurrection: Rob Bell

This is a video from Rob Bell, I think it is great and thought I would share!

Resurrection: Rob Bell from The Work of Rob Bell on Vimeo.

He is risen indeed!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Happy Easter

Saturday afternoon, Heather and I headed up to Ankeny to have Easter lunch with the Pella VL's, Grandma Gloria and Brent and Doreen. Nathan was excited to see what was in his Easter basket!
Then we headed outside to see if Nathan could find some Easter eggs hidden in the front yard. He found the first one hidden in the tree!
Nathan showing us the yellow egg that he found.
Shay and Aaron enjoying the nice weather as Nathan hunts for eggs. Aaron is showing off his good fashion sense with his new polo over his jammies!
Everyone joined in and helped Nathan search for the last few eggs.
...and he found it, the last egg hidden under a rock!
Aaron was very interested in the Easter eggs that his big brother found...
Brotherly love!
Aaron enjoying the simple things in life, the green grass, while Nathan discovers the treasures hidden in his Easter eggs.
Nathan helping his brother Aaron experience the grass, what the grass feels like, how to pull it out of the ground...
After the egg hunt, Heather and Nathan played "Pass the Pigs"
The whole crew at church for the Easter service.
Nathan ran into his friend Jarrett...then the both started running around!
Heather and I played on the worship team for the Easter service, so I still had my in-ear monitors in...Nathan wanted to listen in!
The Pella VL' cute is Aaron, dressed up in his little suit coat!
Heather and Shay are all smiles as we celebrate Easter!
Heather couldn't resist a picture with this cute little man!
We had a lot of fun celebrating Easter with family and friends. Christ has risen...He has risen indeed!