Two-Dollar Catheterizations at McDonald’s

One of my brothers refers to McDonald’s as “McLaxatives” because of the unintended medicinal value of their food products.  Now they have apparently decided to expand their healthcare services.  At the McDonald’s near my house, they’re offering help–and comparatively inexpensive help–for those who are having difficulties ridding their bodies of liquid waste products.  Here’s the proof:

I’ve heard of fast food, but that’s a little too fast.  I think I’ll stick to the natural processes.

Published in: on March 31, 2009 at 10:12 am  Comments (2)  

Stuff That’s Been Going On

Lots going on lately.  A brief recap:

  • On Wednesday I was able to visit briefly with Carolyn’s kindergarten class.  Those kids are always so much fun!  She doesn’t have too many days left there–her last day is May 1.
  • On Thursday I started a new Bible study called The Creative Call.  I’m doing the study with some very creative people!  We met for breakfast at Denovo’s.  I’m looking forward to our meeting this week as we dive into the book The Creative Call, by Janice Elsheimer.
  • On Friday we held CPR training at CrossWay.  We encouraged all of the volunteers in our children’s ministry to come for CPR certification for adults, children, and infants.  There was a pretty decent turnout, and we’re working on scheduling another session for those who couldn’t make it.
  • On Saturday Carolyn and I went for the second week of our childbirth class.  It’s a good thing this was the second week instead of the first, because it was pretty intense!  We had to watch a video of a baby getting born.  The class ended at lunchtime, but we didn’t have much appetite.  I never thought I’d know so much about cervix dilation, the two sides of a placenta, or perineums (or it could be perinea–for some reason they never taught us the plural of perineum in school; probably just as well since I never knew such a thing as a perineum even existed until a week ago).  As if that wasn’t enough, we also did a whole unit on pain.  Scary stuff!  (Because it makes you wonder: why are we spending so much time talking about pain…?)  But the information in the class has been very helpful and our instructor is very good.  It’s also nice getting to know the other first-time-parents-to-be in the class.
  • On Sunday we finished our three-week series “TXT” at church.  Next week is a stand-alone message, then we launch the Easter series called “i am second.”  We went to Ledos for lunch with Carolyn’s parents and some friends from church–Pete, Flor, Dulce, and Bryan.  In our painting group that afternoon, I finished my first big painting on actual canvas!
Published in: on March 31, 2009 at 5:08 am  Leave a Comment  

How Do I Study the Bible?

Yesterday at CrossWay Church we wrapped up a three-week series called TXT with a message about how to study the Bible.

The very term “Bible study” can be intimidating, but it’s actually a process we learn very early in life.  Carolyn’s kindergarten students use a similar method whenever they begin a new unit in their curriculum.  It’s essentially three parts:

(1) Read the Bible passage and ask: What does it say?

(2) Read the Bible passage again and ask: What does it mean?

(3) Read the Bible passage a third time and ask: What should I do in response?

A good dose of prayer woven throughout is especially helpful.

Major bummer–the podcast was lost!  Not sure what happened, but it cuts off around the time the offering was taken.

Published in: on March 30, 2009 at 12:25 pm  Comments (2)  

Bugs Have the Most Fun

Carolyn was reading a science book about animals to her kindergarten class yesterday.  She showed them a picture that looked something like this:

When she asked if anyone knew what this was, one little guy raised his hand and said: “It’s a playing mantis!”

Published in: on March 26, 2009 at 1:33 pm  Comments (5)  

Random Thoughts in Alphabetical Order: The Letter D

D is for…

  • Daughter.  I still can’t believe I’m going to have a daughter!  “Daughter.”  The word just suddenly sounds awkward in my mouth, yet it makes my heart jump with excitement.  A day is coming soon when I’ll answer questions about my family not just by saying “my wife,” but “my wife and daughter.”  In that day I’ll regularly go down that aisle in Walmart that glows pink.  I’ll find myself buying dresses and little pink toys and coloring books.  And I’ll be on a first-name basis with all the Disney princesses.  I can’t wait!
  • Dad.  That word to me has always meant my dad.  It’ll be so weird to have someone calling me that!  My dad did a pretty good job of defining the concept for me.  If I can imitate a lot of what he did, I should do alright.
  • Dr. Pepper.  This is the best drink ever.  My consumption these days is mostly limited to the diet variety because I’m quickly becoming an old fat guy.  By the way, the Diet Dr. Pepper people did a brilliant job of spreading the rumor that Diet Dr. Pepper tastes just like regular Dr. Pepper.  What a lie.  But for some reason a lot of people actually believe it.  All you have to do is taste them both and the whole thing is quickly revealed as a marketing sham.  But it’s still better than drinking tea or something dainty like that.
  • Doo wop.  This is good stuff.  Whenever I think of oldies, especially 1950s, doo wop is what comes to mind.  The beat, the harmonies, the melodies–I love the stuff.
  • Dylan.  Every kid has a weird uncle.  I thought that my younger brother Dylan would be Laura Marie’s weird uncle.  Then I realized that all four of her uncles are weird… most of them are really, really weird… like Dylan, for example.  But he’s a pretty cool guy.  And it only took three decades of my influence to make him that way.
  • Dog.  There’s one in the hallway right now.  Not sure what’s up with that.  But that’s okay, because dogs are awesome.  A lot of ’em are, anyway.
  • Drums.  When I first started playing the drums at church exactly a year ago, it was terrifying.  I would actually tremble with nervousness as the worship service started.  But now I have so much fun playing them that when I’m not behind the set, I ache to be banging on the kit!  We’re blessed with a great group of music folks at CrossWay, and it’s a lot of fun to play God songs with them.
  • Daniel.  I’ve been studying the book of Daniel, in the Old Testament of the Bible, for over a year now.  It is so fascinating!  One of the really cool things about the Bible is that you can read it literally countless times and always see something new.  I’m just now beginning the verse-by-verse part of the study, and it’s already blowing me away.
Published in: on March 25, 2009 at 5:29 am  Comments (2)  

Childbirth Class #1

On Saturday Carolyn and I had the first of our three childbirth classes.  This one was held in Salisbury, and the next two will be at a church that’s right across the street from our neighborhood (that’ll be nice!).

The class was from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., and there were seven other couples there.  Well, one young lady was with her sister and another was with her mom, while the rest were with their husbands.  It was pretty interesting!

We learned about how the baby is developing and what changes are taking place in Carolyn (translated: we saw pictures of how her guts are getting all squished up).  We learned what will happen when it’s time for the baby to arrive.  I’d always wondered just what exactly it meant for a woman having contractions to be “dilated”–now I know a little more than I actually wanted to.

A nurse came in and talked about child safety, then gave a quick crash course on infant CPR.  It made us nervous to hear about all the creative ways that kids find to get hurt, but it also helped us feel a little more confident to be aware of some of these schemes.

Then we learned some relaxation exercises to use during labor.  I just hope we can remember this stuff!  The giant bouncy ball things were amazingly comfortable.  I think I might have to get one to use for an office chair.

One of the best parts was the last hour when we went over to the hospital (PRMC) and actually toured the maternity ward.  Our instructor, Diana (who was really good, by the way), showed us where we’ll come in the hospital, which elevator to take, and exactly where to go.  We went to the labor & delivery room and she showed us some of the equipment that the doctors will use.  It’s very comforting to have seen that room, because it’s helpful to fight anxiety when we don’t have to imagine what the place might look like.  She showed us the waiting room where family and friends can go, then showed us how to navigate the maze to the parking lot where we’ll all go to take our newborns home.  Oh yes–she also showed us where the operating room is where they do C-sections, and the NICU area, but of course we didn’t go in there.

It was cool getting to meet some other people in our same situation–it’s a first baby for everyone, and all the women are due right around the same time.  One of the moms-to-be is carrying twins!  It’s also neat that the other couples probably live nearby, since everyone signed up for a Berlin class instead of a Salisbury class.  We may have some future Training Station children inside the wombs in that class!

Diana gave us some helpful materials to take with us until next week.  She even gave us homework!  Of course, that homework is watching some videos online, and that’s my kind of homework.

Published in: on March 24, 2009 at 5:16 am  Leave a Comment  

How Do We Know the Bible is True?

Yesterday at CrossWay was week #2 in the series TXT.  This week we explored the question: How do we know the Bible is true?

We broke this question down into three tests that are used by historians to test the reliability of ancient documents:

(1) The internal test.  This asks the question: Do the writers of the Bible claim that their writings are true?

This one is the easiest to answer.  Passages like 2 Peter 1:16 and John 19:35 give us a resounding yes.  The Bible passes the internal test.

(2) The external test.  This asks the question: What does the outside evidence say about the Bible?

We looked at other ancient writings, archaeology, and other sources and discovered that the Bible does indeed pass the external test.

(3) The bibliographic test.  This asks the question: How well were the original documents translated up to today?

Looking at various pieces of evidence such as the Dead Sea Scrolls, we found that the Bible passes the bibliographic test; in fact, much more so than any other ancient work.

Lastly we looked at how Christ’s mind-boggling fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy verifies their truth.

I’ll give you a warning that I gave everyone in church: If your heart is hardened to God and your mind is closed to receiving His truth, this message will do nothing to change your mind.  Even people in New Testament times who had plenty of firsthand evidence chose disbelief over faith.  Faith is a gift from God, and if we ask Him to show Himself to us and help us believe, He will.  Hopefully this message can at least persuade people to consider that maybe God really is who He says He is.

After all, the Bible really is true!

The podcast should be up soon.

Published in: on March 23, 2009 at 5:47 am  Leave a Comment  

Little Laura Marie’s Foot

For my latest painting I decided to paint my favorite picture from Laura Marie’s first sonogram.  Here’s her precious little foot after 19 weeks in the womb:

Published in: on March 22, 2009 at 6:16 pm  Comments (2)  

Kindergarten Kid Stuff

Carolyn showed the 3-D ultrasound pictures to her children.  It freaked them out!  Some of them said the pictures scared them and covered their eyes.  Others said the baby looks like a stone.  It is seriously tempting to wait until the baby is born, put her in makeup so that she looks like she does in the ultrasound pictures, and take her to Carolyn’s school to visit her students.  That would really mess with them; but like Carolyn always tells me when I make these suggestions, it’s not her job to mess with them.

In other Carolyn’s-kids news, one of her little boys was telling her about a dream he had that ended abruptly.  When Carolyn asked him what happened next, he said he woke up before the dream ended.  “But,” he assured her, “when I go to sleep tonight I’ll finish the dream to see what happens next.”

Published in: on March 19, 2009 at 5:51 am  Leave a Comment  

What’s A Sermon?

Just now I went to the kitchen here at work to get the goods to make some coffee.  As I passed one of the classroom doors, a boy came over and asked what I was doing.  “Writing a sermon,” I said.

He asked, “What’s a sermon?”

If you ever want to force yourself to bring clarity into your life, get a preschooler to follow you around for a day and ask questions.

When he asked this question, I realized I had about two seconds to clearly and succinctly explain my life’s calling.  Preaching is the central task not only of my job, but my vocation (the distinction between the two will have to wait for another post).  Suddenly I was faced with explaining in simple terms what exactly it is that I do.

So I told him, “A sermon is where you study the Bible and then share with people what you learn.”

I’m grateful for that encounter and that penetrating question because it forced me to return to my task with renewed purpose, intentionality, and clarity.  A sermon is where you study the Bible and then share with people what you learn.  That means a sermon is not:

  • a chance to tell that story I’ve been itching to tell (which, of course, could somehow be squeezed into the sermon disguised as an “illustration”).
  • a platform for airing my opinions, frustrations, and personal biases.
  • an opportunity to relive my childhood dreams of being a performer.
  • an avenue for telling my favorite jokes.
  • a channel for voicing the latest trends in church ministry.
  • a way for me to tell people what I think… supported, of course, with Scripture.  (If anything is supported with Scripture rather than based on Scripture, that should be a red flag.)
  • the time to try to impress people and get them to like me.
  • for the purpose of showing everyone how spiritual or knowledgeable I am.

Now obviously it’s okay–and often even helpful–to tell stories, crack jokes, share personal illustrations, implement effective speaking practices, and so on.  But all of these things are secondary to the biblical text.  The point of a sermon is to share what God says, not what I say; it’s about God’s Word, not mine.  If I begin with my ideas and simply wrap it in Scripture like a Bible fajita, where the meat is my ideas instead of God’s, I’m not preaching a sermon.  An authentic sermon begins with God’s thoughts and expresses them through the preacher.  It will look different with every preacher, just as the sunlight looks different shining through different stained glass windows.

By the way, after giving my definition of a sermon, the boy merely said, “Oh,” and ran off to play.  Sometimes that’s the same response I get after preaching a sermon, but again, that’s for another post….

Published in: on March 18, 2009 at 10:55 am  Leave a Comment