A few Quotes:

Speaking of using Scripture in Biblical Counseling:
“Comfort the disturbed and distrub the comfortable.”

“Real repentance is a working our hearts to such a grief as will make sin more odious unto us than punishment, until we offer an holy violence against it.”
Richard Sibbes

“Ah, souls! When you shall lie upon a dying bed, and stand before a judgment seat, sin shall be unmasked , and its dress and robes shall then be taken off, then it shall appear more vile, filthy, and terrible than hell itself; then, that which formerly appeared most sweet will appear most bitter, and that which appeared most beautiful will appear most ugly, and that which appeared most delightful will then appear most dreadful to the soul. Ah, the shame, the pain, the gall, the bitterness, the horror, the hell that the sight of sin, when its dress is taken off, will raise in poor souls! Sin will surely prove evil and bitter to the soul when its robes are taken off… Till we have sinned, Satan is a parasite: when we have sinned, he is a tyrant.”
Thomas Brooks

“You may over-love the creature. You may love wine too much, and silver too much; but you cannot love God too much. If it were possible to exceed, excess here were a virtue; but is our sin that we cannot love God enough.”
Thomas Watson

Back to Life as Normal….?

Yesterday we got back from our last winter camp and now it is on to life as normal, or as normal as it can get. Before I go one, let me discuss what our Jr High Camp was like.

Teaching

Unlike the previous year, the teaching was great. The speaker was Brett Kunkle from Stand to Reason. His main teaching point was communicating that truth is not subjective, but is objective. He taught that you can know what you believe and its not a blind faith. He did a great job at getting the point through to the kids that Christianity is exclusive and it is ok to say that it is the only way.

Wycliffe

The camp partnered with Wycliffe this year and it was based a really great idea. While there were issues is how it was carried out, I loved the idea behind it. And most importantly, the kids were really struck with the idea that there are thousands of languages that don’t have the Bible available in their own language. The Wycliffe people did a great job at communicating the sense of need and urgency to the kids, and also showed them what they can do. We have decided that we will continue to give through the organization under Wycliffe called OneVerse. Under OneVerse, they have figured out how much it costs per verse to translate a Bible into a new language. For $24 you can get one verse translated. On their website you can determine which people group you would like to help.

We were already running a program where the kids bring in bottles and cans and we turn them in for money. the good news is that CA approved a bill where each can gets an extra cent. Now we will regularly be putting the money earned through that to OneVerse. At the camp, the kids wanted to get it started and gave $67! That’s 27 kids putting forward $67.

Fun and Games
Like most camps, we also had our share of fun and games. The camp had a thing going where if you went to special things, or did different things, they would give you a pin. By the end of the weekend, most kids had around 20 pins they earned doing different things. Either you’d go to meetings, get spirit pins for cheering at rec, get pins for winning games, get pins for solving translation riddles, or even eating flavored grasshoppers. My grasshopper was bacon and cheese. And no, it tasted nothing like bacon and cheese. It was like a bad corn nut.

During free time we entered two teams into the dodgeball tourney. We all cheered each other on, and ended up steamrolling all the teams and our two teams met in the finals. It was fun to play our own group in the final, and our kids really stood out as good sports. Actually, the whole weekend, the staff of the camp kept telling leaders how great our kids were. One missionary was sitting at our table during a dinner and she asked the kids what they thought of the speaker. They said they liked him and he was nice. She asked if they had ever heard teaching like that, and they said, “Yeah, Tim is like that all the time.” That was good to hear about 🙂

We also had fun playing in the game room, playing Mafia, or on the Bungee Run. The kids all stuck together and had a great time. Overall, the weekend was fun and a good weekend of growing relationships with the kids. The kids were really struck with the challenge of having a part of bringing the Gospel to the whole world.

Back to Life
Now I’m able to concentrate on classes. I was looking at having this semester a little easier, but it appears that I was incorrect. I now basically have four significant classes. I have Theology IV, in which we’re covering Ecclesiology and Eschatology. I have a few books to read for that, a big term paper, along with a few other things. Then I have a Biblical Counseling class i added late. I have ten hours of observation on dvds to do, a day of pastoral counseling observation in person, read a few books, a term paper, and a couple other papers as well as 20 verses to memorize and three HUGE tests (25 page study outline each). I also have an Old Testament Intro class, which covers textual concerns, canon formation, and all the background stuff. I have a huge term paper in that class, a few tests, a few books, as well as a few other things. Then on top of all of that, I have to add a class to take arranged, in which I will have to watch all of the classes on dvds and do all the homework. If I don’t finish that class before May 13th, I don’t graduate.

So what I thought would be a good last semester will in fact be a bloody fight to the end. Oh, and we’re having a baby in 8 weeks. So if you will excuse me, I need to write a paper!

…and as I return from camp.

Thank you for all of you who were laboring in prayer over our high school winter camp this past weekend. God worked through His clay jar and the Word was heard and applied to the hearts of many high schoolers. We ended up bring 30 high schoolers, including a few who had never really come to anything at our church before. God granted us safe passage there and helped us overcome more bus issues the day before we left. The reservation that I had made was apparently never made official and they would not return my calls. So the day before I was faced with the decision to either cut bait and hire a new company, or hope that the other one would show up. I decided on the former, and the latter never happened.

But we set off and the weekend started well with the first session. I spoke about how we should define sin and how our society and culture views it. We looked at quite a few passages that spoke on the subject and hopefully better defined such a frequently used term. The next morning we spoke on what Christ did and how it relates to our sin and our battle with our sin.

During the afternoon we were supposed to go tubing at a ski area down the street. We got everyone excited and drove there, only to find that there were hardly any kids over 9 there, they had one little dinky hill open, the snow was more brown than white, and you could about walk faster than most were going. I decided that we would not be spending $15 on each kid for two hours of waiting in lines to cruise down a 150 foot hill. So we packed back into the cars and made our way back to the lodge. Conor, one of our leaders, decided to lead an expedition into the woods in search of snow. I had initially joined them, but had to turn back when we could not account for a kid that was thought to be hiking with us. Thankfully, he was at the bottom of the hill, keeping himself occupied.

The rest of the kids hung out in the lodge, and we started the fire in the lodge. We decided that we’d bring the kids to the local mom and pop grocery store and let them buy $5 worth of whatever they wanted. The kids thought it was the greatest thing ever, which was nice in light of the failure of the tubing. the store kept being amazed every time I walked in with 5 new kids that I would shuttle back and forth. Most kids either stocked up on Ben and Jerry’s or just pure sugar candy. This inevitably brought the insanity that too much sugar consumption can lead to.

That night we came together for another session. This one focused on dealing harshly with our sin and not entertaining it. We used the story of Samuel killing Agag as an illustration on how to deal with our sin after Saul refused to obey the word of the Lord and follow through. Too often we let sin sulk around and keep it as the shameful pet in the closet. We know that our sin is bad, but we keep it accessable just in case we need that pleasure.

That night brough a ton of good conversations. We told the kids that the leaders would be available if they wanted to talk and for the next half hour, almost all our leaders were talking to kids somewhere. I had the awesome opportunity to explain salvation to one young man and he made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ. We had a great conversation about sin, forgiveness and repentance. Afterwards I got snagged by another young man dealing with things in his life and had a great long conversation with him.

That night we played more games and it almost felt like a celebration in the room. The next morning we spoke about how we will never have consistent victory over our sin in our lives until we are in love with God and regularly pursuing a knowledge of God. We must first love God, and then desire godliness. If we become enthralled with the beauty of Christ and the holiness of God, then our lives will automatically change in light of that.

The camp finished with some worship and a time of testimonies where people talked about what they learned this weekend. Please pray for the decisions that these kids made and that they would attempt to do this in their own stregnth and power, but rely on the power of God to live for Him!

As I Leave for Camp…

Just wanted to write a few notes before I left for our high school winter camp. Though I have been looking forward to this and have known what I’m going to be teaching, the closer I get the more terrified I get. The terrified feeling that I have before I speak has nothing to do with my lack of faith that God will use it, but more with my feeling of ineptitude and unworthiness. We have a good group of kids going. We have 32 high schoolers going with a good mix of regulars and new kids.

There are a few kids that have a great need to hear this message. i can’t get into specifics, but it just raises my overwhelming feeling of inadequacy. We’re talking about the power of sin and how to overcome sin in our lives. I know that it is a very timely message and that Satan would very much like to keep a strangle hold on some of these kids. This week I’ve had to deal with a failed bus company, we had to move the camp a couple months ago because we got double booked out, and this morning I found out that the freeway will be closing at 9pm for freeway construction. We have some kids coming up late and now we’re going to have to figure out another way to get them there.

So I would covet your prayers for myself, for safety and that everyone will get there, but most of all, that the message of forgiveness and mercy will be heard and lives will be changed by God’s message!

Babymooning in Boston- Day 2

Sorry for the gap, but I’m in the middle of a winterim class, as well as getting ready for two camps and my last semester. then the pics on this post didn’t want to cooperate. but i finally gave up trying to fix them and just finished the post that I actually started about two weeks ago.

For those of you just on the edge of your seats anticipating the second day of our Babymoon in Boston, here’s the thrilling conclusion!

Shopping!

For those of you who doubt that I let Leah decide what we do, I’d like to let you know that we went to the downtown crossings to ‘shop’. Thankfully, Leah’s definition of shopping doesn’t always involve actually buying things and spending money. She is mostly content to just look at things and like them from a distance. So in the morning after checking out of the hotel, we headed up to some shops to do some ‘shopping’.

We made our way into Filenes only to notice that they were going out of business in 4 days. We walked through empty displays and shelves only to walk into a room of pandamonium. Almost everything was 80% off so we poked around to see what was left. We did find a few shirts and shorts, and here are a few more things that you could have practically stolen from them.

this lovely lighting fixture could be yours for only $3,000, or a special of two for $6,000. Seriously, they were selling the fixtures.

then there was this lovely coat that was marked down 70% ! Now its only $4,045.00!!! Buy now before its too late!

now these next few pics just won’t cooperate, so you’ll have to risk getting a stiff neck to look at them. After doing some shopping we roamed the streets of Boston, running across a few interesting landmarks. Here is the birthplace of Benjamin Franklin:

Interesting that they now have a Sir Speedy on the grounds. It may be a tribute to his reputation with the ladies…

One thing I love about Boston is its history in the middle of the modern world. You definintely don’t see this here in the L.A. area. Here is the old South Meeting house where Benji Frankline (Sir Speedy) was baptized.

Here is a Sir Speedy statue infront of an old city hall. Now what do you do with an old city hall in Boston? You surely can’t tear it down. You could probably turn it into a historical spot, but there are plenty of those. The obvious decision is to…

…turn it into a Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse! That’s right, you can dine on a fine, overpriced piece of meat in a building older than the state of California!

Barna’s Reflections on 2006

George Barna is always a good source when it comes to Christianity in our culture. I ran across some of his observations and reflections over the last year and here is what I found interesting:

– “Although large majorities of the public claim to be “deeply spiritual” and say that their religious faith is “very important” in their life, only 15 percent of those who regularl attend a Christian church ranked their relationshi with God as the top priority in their life. As alarming as that finding was, its significance was magnified by research showing that on average pastors believe that 70 percent of the adults in their congregation consider their relationship with God to be their highest priority in life.”

-“The notion of personal holiness has slipped out of the consciousness of the vast majority of Christians. While just 21 percent of adults consider themselves to be holy, by their own admission large numbers have no idea what “holiness” means and only one out of every three (35%) believe that God expects people to become holy.”

-“The growing movement of Christian Revolutionaries in the U.S. distinguished themselves from an already-select group of people- born-again believers- through their deeds, beliefs and self-views. Revolutionaries demonstrated substantially higher levels of community service, financial contributions, daily Bible study, personal quiet times each day, family Bible studies, daily worship experiences, engagement in spiritual mentoring, and evangelistic efforts. They also had a series of beliefs that were much more likely than those of typical born-again adults to coincide with biblical teachings. Their self-perceptions were also dramatically different than that of other born-again adults.”

– “Relatively few people- just one out of every six- believe that spiritual maturity is meant to be develped within the context of a local church or within th econtext of a community of faith.”

The Free Will Song

Well, we’re back in SoCal and I’ve been getting my footing back at the job and preparing to jump back into classes. Later today I hope to make a post if things cooperate. Until then, check out this video.

Here are a few of my thoughts:

1. Those are the best 4 singers they could find at Pensacola?

2. The songs seems to be a total contradiction, almost a joke. It sounds like someone wrote it to mock the idea of free will. I mean, we’re watching it in my office and laughing because it sounds so absurd.

3. Someone better keep John Calvin and Jim Schettler away from each other in Heaven, if both will be there.