Archive for April, 2008


I burned my finger

This morning I did a very stupid thing. I tested the iron with my finger to see if it was hot. I KNOW! that was a really dumb thing to do! You don’t have to affirm my stupidity. I guess I could file a lawsuit against the manufacturer, but that would be ridiculous. I know better than to touch a hot iron, so the burn is well deserved. I honestly do not know what I was thinking. Maybe I wasn’t quite awake yet. Of course after burning my finger, I certainly woke up.

With the immediate onset of pain, my lungs ballooned insisting on more oxygen. I rushed to rinse my finger under cold water for several minutes, gently glazed on some neosporin and protected it with a bandage. After a couple hours the pain really started to surge and I found myself gripping my hand and inhaling deep for relief. It felt like my finger was fused to the hot iron and I couldn’t pull away. A relentless burning sensation, I was ready to buckle over and cry, but I was at work.

Although the burn on my finger is a very minuscule and unworthy taste of what Christian martyrs burned at the stake would’ve endured for the sake of the Gospel, I couldn’t help but think of their testimony to the Faith. It is a humbling thought. At least it shut me up about the pain.

My brilliant co-worker asked me “why don’t you take pain killers?” Honestly I did think of that but for some reason I didn’t think that would help. I take pain-killers for menstural cramps or headaches. I never took it for burns before. (Isn’t that the classic trigger on a new idea–listen to me rationalizing like a stubborn old fart!)

I immediatly took my co-worker’s advice. And yes, it does work. What a difference. Clearly I am not the sharpest tool in the shed, least of all today.


Dinner Talk

I work in a church office. Part of my job is to produce a worship bulletin for the children. We call this the “children’s bulletin” because that is what it is.

The front panel of the children’s bulletin features a new drawing each week, all submitted by the children (their art is always fun to look at). A check list inside helps the children follow the order of service. There’s always a little activity or puzzle, designed to help the children learn the significance of various doctrines, elements of our worship service, or monumental events in church history–What are the five solas? Why do we sing hymns? What was the council of Nicaea? That sort of thing… On the back panel of the bulletin is a brief summary of the sermon, written for the children to read and understand. It is supposed to stimulate discussion with their parents at the dinner table after the service. This back panel is therefore given the name “Dinner Talk”.

On Fridays I labor over the children’s sermon summary. At eleven o’clock I pop my head in the door of the doctor’s office and he gives me a sketch of his sermon. I spend the whole rest of the day trying to render the main points in terms that children are able to understand. I am sure I benefit from this more than the children do, because I learn so much from its applications. It forces me to really examine the Scripture text more than I typically would.

By the end of the day I am wiped out. Mining for jewels is tiresome… Writing the children’s sermon summary gives me a new appreciation for what our hard-working pastors do. All I have to do is summarize what they deliver. I don’t know how they manage to compose their 30-minute sermons every week. I get exhausted just thinking about it.

The entire composition of the children’s bulletin is intended to train children in worship and discipleship. But it is, nevertheless, a work of human hands. And as human efforts so often fail to match their actual intent, only the Holy Spirit can make this tool effective in the lives of children. (John Owen taught me that.)

On occasion I may share the children’s sermon summary with you. Maybe you will find it interesting, even if it is just supposed to be for children…

Scripture text: Matthew 25:1-13 –In the entire previous chapter and continuing, Jesus is speaking to his disciples about the end of the age and his final return. In this Scripture text he tells them the Parable of the Ten Bridesmaids.

Now on with the Dinner Talk…

Some people pretend to be your friend. They might be your friend just so they can play with your Wii video game system. But as soon as they get the Wii for Christmas, suddenly you never see them anymore. Or Maybe they like you for your grades and they act like your friend in order to cheat off your homework. In the long run their friendship proves fake. But your true friends–the ones who really care about you–are faithful to the end.

In the Parable of the Ten Bridesmaids, five were wise because they were faithful all the way to the end. They were prepared to wait as long as they needed for the groom to arrive*. They took enough oil to keep their lamps burning the whole day and whole night. It did not matter how late the groom arrived, they were sure to be ready. But the five foolish did not bring extra oil to refill their lamps. Their readiness for the groom was short-lived and their light burned out. They were not even there when the groom finally arrived! In the end they were shut out from the banquet.

The five foolish bridesmaids may have seemed at first like they belonged to the wedding party. After all, they stood among the wise bridesmaids waiting for the groom to come. At first it would be hard to tell them apart from the wise bridesmaids, but in the long run they are exposed as fools and shut out from the banquet.

Just like the foolish bridesmaids, there are people within the church who look to us like they might be Christian. They may even express an intense enthusiasm for God. But they do not anticipate the cost of discipleship. Their enthusiasm is short-lived and their light burns out. They may even become bitter towards God. In the long run they are exposed as false disciples (kind of like a friend who turns out to be fake). Their faith and devotion to the Lord was false from the beginning.

Those who are faithful to the end are true disciples of Christ. God gives us the command to keep watch and be ready for His Son to return. Will you be ready? Will the light in your lamp be shining when He comes? If the light of Jesus is shining in you, it will never burn out.

* When the senior pastor provided his sermon sketch, he explained to me that in Jesus’ day wedding celebrations were quite different than we typically do them today. He said it is believed that the bridesmaid would wait outside her house for her groom to come. She would wait on her wedding day of couse, but she could not know at what time he would come for her. That part was a surprise (and added to the suspense). I imagine she would anticipate his arrival like a child eagerly awaits for Christmas. When the groom finally arrives, the whole party joins with him in parade through the streets with their lanterns burning bright. The parade would end at the house of the groom where they would enjoy a big banquet feast.


The Office

Every week at work, the staff meet together in the board room to discuss very important business. Some items brought to the table are really important and require a lot of serious staff discussion. Consequently, they also consume a good chunk of the meeting time, as in the following… (The names have been changed to protect the innocent):

Andy: Well the big news in the Bernard household is that our blue bird bird house now has blue birds in it.

Ryan: What is a blue bird? Is that the same thing as a blue jay?

Pam: Oh no. Blue birds are really small. Much smaller than a blue jay. Blue jays are big and really aggressive.

Andy: Yeah, blue jays are vicious birds.

Pam: They even scare some cats!

Karen: Really! They can scare cats??

Angela refused to comment. Dwigt has a blue jay tattoo.

Ryan: I don’t think I ever saw a blue bird.

Karen: I’ve seen them in Disney movies!

Kelly started to sing a song about blue birds.

Oscar: I went on a hike last weekend, and I strongly recommend the hike if you want to see eagles nests.

Toby: There’s an eagle’s nest on Route 6 near where I live.

Oscar: No that one is vacant. That eagle is dead.

Toby: Are you sure? because I think I’ve seen him recently.

Oscar: No. They have confirmed it–the eagle of that nest is dead.

Toby: I don’t know about that. Seems to me I still see that eagle.

Oscar: No. That eagle is dead. The eagle brood has died.

Kelly: Blue birds are very fussy about where they build a nest.

Andy: That’s right. A blue bird bird house has to have a hole of a certain diameter, and it has to face a certain direction…

Phyllis: Sparrows drive the blue birds away, that’s why you don’t see them often.

Ryan: Can they fit in the hole of blue bird bird house and make a nest?

Andy: Oh sure and they do! We’ve had sparrows in our blue bird bird house for years.

Toby: I don’t like sparrows. I think sparrows are Premillennial and Arminian.


Cleaning the Attic

This week…I put on my insane muscles and my flashy red cape and I hauled an oversized club chair down two flights of stairs and out the front door to the curb for the trashman. (Stand out of my way, I’m cleaning out the attic!) The chair was snug going down the steps and too big to take the tight corner from the attic stairs to the narrow hallway. So what did I do? I got a flathead and tried to pop the pins off the hinges on the attic door. They wouldn’t I unscrewed the screws and removed the hinges from the door frame. (I did all of this by myself).

After maneuvering the chair out of the attic door and down the narrow hallway to the start of the next flight, I decided to hang the door back on the frame again. You might think you need two people to hang a door. Maybe five if you’re a brunette. But I am a blonde. I handled it alone. I held the door in place (a foot above the floor) with my right hand, aligned the hinges and held the screws in place with my left hand, and turned the screwdriver with my other hand. Too many hands? Well I did the latter two things with my other hand tied behind my back.

With the door on it’s hinges again, I continued my battle with the club chair. The second flight of steps down was considerably easier than the first–at least there was no door at the bottom of that flight. Once down, well…the hard part was all done. Aside from the clumsy armchair, I also carried down a 10 X 12 foot carpet. Not in the same trip with the club chair of course. But all of it all by myself.

Did I mention I weigh only 98 lbs?



I think I learn better when I think out loud. We’ll see if that’s true…

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