Thursday, March 25, 2010

quick prayer request

i am leaving right now for the airport to fly home for my grandfather's funeral.

please pray:

*for safety in traveling
*that non-christians in my family would contemplate their lives in light of God and eternity
*that Christ would be honored at the memorial service

thank you!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

simply tasty: chicken noodle soup

for the last week and a half, i have been sick.  sick to the extent that my life has existed of eating, sleeping and working and little else.  i cannot even remember the last time i have been feeling this low.

in His grace, God has provided a great husband who has been helping to take care of me.  on sunday, he made me a big pot of delicious chicken noodle soup.  yum!

chicken noodle soup not only feels good to the body when you are sick, but research also supports the idea that chicken noodle soup may have anti-inflammatory properties, help people sleep better and help a sick person stay hydrated.

besides helping you to feel better when you are sick, i posted some of the other benefits of soup here, which includes the fact that soup is easy to make in large batches (to be frozen for future use), very inexpensive and full of nutritious ingredients.

here is the recipe that i use when making chicken noodle soup:

2 large chicken breasts
1 brown onion, diced
3 carrots,sliced
3 celery stalks, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, pressed or minced
1 T salt
1/2 T pepper
pinch of saffron (optional- this is just for coloring)
1-2 cups of egg noodles (you can also substitute any kind of pasta you have on hand)

add chicken breasts, 8 cups of water, and spices to a large soup pot.  bring to a boil, and cook for 15 minutes. (in the meantime, you can chop the veggies).

when chicken is cooked through, remove it and add the veggies to the water in the soup pot.  simmer the veggies for about 20 minutes.  allow chicken to cool on a cutting board for a few minutes, then chop it into bite-sized pieces, and return it to the pot to simmer with the veggies.

after the vegetables are cooked, add 1-2 cups of egg noodles, depending on how noodle-y you like your soup.  note that the noodles will absorb water and get MUCH bigger.  simmer 10 more minutes (or until the noodles are done).  remove from heat, serve and enjoy!

chicken noodle soup is especially delicious with homemade egg noodles, if you are feeling adventurous.

my favorite way to eat chicken noodle soup is to serve it with peanut butter toast or peanut butter celery.  what do you enjoy with your chicken noodle soup?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

there are no great women theologians: part 3

the video below describes better what i was trying to say in this blog.

the main reason that i started this blog is because every woman is a theologian, whether or not she knows it.  and it saddens me how very little most women know about God.  sadder is that most women dont even care to know more about God.

my prayer is that this video would make you think. from Covenant Life Church on Vimeo.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

the real saint patrick

in honor of st patrick's day, i want to share with you about one of my favorite church fathers, so that you can truly appreciate the day to honor him.

patrick was born around 390 AD.  though his family was christian, and his father and grandfather were church leaders, patrick was a rebellious teenager living without God's gift of salvation.  when he was 16, patrick was captured by pirates and taken from britian to ireland.  during that time, God opened his eyes to his wretched condition and saved him.

eventually, God miraculously provided a way for patrick to escape the island, and brought him back to britian and his family.  he enrolled in seminary and became a pastor.  it wasn't long before God called patrick to be a missionary to his former captors, and he went back to ireland.  previously, ireland had been seen as a country that was without hope; no churchmen dared go there and try to share the gospel with these barbarious people.  using unique (for that day) methods, patrick related to the irish people and God allowed him to see thousands saved, and patrick himself trained at least 1000 pastors.  (more on his life here)

to learn more from the man himself, i highly recommend his confession, which is also available for free online (you can even download a pdf to your computer).  it is an easy read, a mere 15 pages, but well worth it.  the book starts out like this:

"I, Patrick, a sinner, a most simple countryman, the least of all the faithful and most
contemptible to many... was taken captive [by pirates].  I was at that time about sixteen years of age. I did not, indeed, know the true God; and I was taken
into captivity in Ireland with many thousands of people...
And there the Lord opened my mind to an awareness of my unbelief, in order that, even so late, I might remember my transgressions and turn with all my heart to the Lord my God, who had regard for my insignificance and pitied my youth and ignorance. And he watched over me before I knew him, and before I learned sense or even distinguished between good and evil, and he protected me, and consoled me as a father would his son"

one of my favorite quotes from the book is this:

"but i know for certain, that before i was humbled i was like a stone lying in deep
mire, and he that is mighty came and in his mercy raised me up and, indeed, lifted me high up and placed me on top of the wall. And from there i ought to shout out in gratitude to the Lord for his great favours in this world and for ever, that the mind of man cannot measure."
 read the whole thing here.

Monday, March 15, 2010

simply tasty: homemade granola

as promised yesterday, here is a recipe for homemade granola, which will compliment your fruit and yogurt parfait.

Homemade Granola

4 cups rolled oats
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F

In a large bowl, stir oats, nuts and sunflower kernels together. In a separate bowl, mix together oil, honey, vanilla and cinnamon. Add to dry ingredients; mix well. Spread mixture onto two ungreased baking sheets.

Bake in preheated oven, for 10 minutes, remove from oven and stir. Return to oven and continue baking until golden, about 10 minutes.  Turn off the oven, but leave the granola in the oven for another 30-60 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely before storing in an air-tight container.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

simply tasty: fruit and yogurt parfait

here is an easy recipe for a healthy dessert, breakfast or snack.

i make this all the time.  instead of a frozen berry mix, you can also use fresh cut fruit.  any combo of strawberries, blueberries, pomegranate seeds, raspberries, blackberries, mango and/or bananas will taste awesome!

Fruit and Yogurt Parfait

      2 cups of plain yogurt
      1 package instant vanilla pudding mix
      2 cups frozen berry mix

Mix 2 cups of plain yogurt with 1 package of vanilla pudding mix.  Stir well with a whisk, and put in the refrigerator to set.

In the bottom of each of 4 glass cups or dessert dishes, put ½ cup of frozen berries. Allow this to sit out as the pudding-yogurt firms, so that the frozen berries can thaw.  After they thaw for a bit, cover with the yogurt.

optional: Serve with granola.  (recipe for homemade granola to come!)

tonight i am planning on making pita chips.

what kinds of culinary adventures have you had recently?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

a video that was both encouraging and made me think...

this video is well worth the time watching it.

for me as a christian, i find this video encouraging.  because of the gospel, and jesus' teachings, i try to live simply.  there are very few people and things in the world encouraging me to do this, but this video gave me another reason to continue to fight for simplicity.

what are some ways that you have chosen to live simply?  what helps you to go against the flow in a society that tells us that we need more stuff?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

the unamerican parable

"Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, 'Come at once and recline at table'? Will he not rather say to him, 'Prepare supper for me, and dress properly, and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink'? Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, 'We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.'"
-jesus, in luke 17:7-10

this is one of my favorite parables. its hard to exactly describe why, but i just love it because its so anti american christianity where everyone thinks that they are the center of God's universe (see: God's little princess bible, gag me with a spoon).

we should be serving God in realization of our own unworthiness, without demanding our service be recognized.   our continual thought should be "we are unworthy.  praise Him, praise Him."   

praise Him because he doesn't need us, praise Him because he allows us to serve him.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

they like jesus but not christians: i doubt it

recently there has been a lot of talk about people liking jesus but not His followers.

to which i respond: i doubt it.

i definitely don’t doubt that people hate christians (we shouldn't make it our goal to be disliked, but it is biblical and to be expected: john 15:18, 2 timothy 3:12).  and i don’t doubt that people truly think that they like jesus… but i do doubt that the jesus they like is the real jesus… the same jesus that called sinners to repentance, called for radical self-sacrificing, claimed to be the only way to God and showed us that our sin is so bad that it could only be paid for by the torturous death of a perfect lamb.

and the jesus who says “unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (john 3:3).

i would say that this is possibly the most or one of the most offensive sayings of jesus. basically he is saying:  “your sin is so awful, so deeply rooted and disgusting that you need to be born all over again”.   

and that idea leads to this thought: did we have any control over our birth from our mom? no.  we did not conceive ourselves or do anything so that we could be born.  we were brought into this world by the loving kindness of our parents.  then what can we do to be born again?  we must depend on the loving kindness of God our Father to make this happen. 

to further drive home his point, jesus follows it with this: “you must be born again.  the wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit."

this leads to another rhetorical question: do we control the wind?  can we see it?  can we know where it is going to blow and when it is going to change direction or stop?  no. 

it is humbling to know that though we try to micromanage our lives, we can’t even control or predict the weather (even the weathermen can’t!). 

however, its immensely humbling to know that we are at the mercy of God for our eternal destiny.

so are people offended by jesus?  most would say no.  its en vogue to like the pop-culture, hippie, dress-wearing, limp-wristed jesus.  but i think that if people were actually familiar with His teachings most would be offended.  but by God's mercy, some would be born again.

in second place for most offensive sayings of jesus I would put as luke 4:23-27.  what would you add to the list of offensive sayings of jesus?

Saturday, March 6, 2010

is there racial equality in the abortion industry?


it would be rather difficult to argue that the abortion industry is "equal opportunity" or color blind.  cosider these facts:

*over 40% of african american pregnancies end in abortion

*the rate of black women getting abortions is 3x higher than the rate of white women

*over 12 million african american children have been aborted since roe v wade.  many are using the word "genocide" to describe this tragedy.  and considering the fact that this number is almost double the number of jews killed in the holocaust, the number of tutsis killed in rwanda during the 1994 genocide AND the number of people killed in the darfur conflict COMBINED, genocide may indeed be the correct word to describe it.

i encourage you to do two things:

*stop right now and ask God how he would allow you to be involved in ending this genocide.  pray that he would graciously give you the opportunity to be a part of standing up for and with african americans for the sake of their people.

*learn more at

Thursday, March 4, 2010

why i love the church: part 2

Why We Love the Church: In Praise of Institutions and Organized Religionanother thing that i like about why we love the church is that in a culture where its cool to dis church and think of all the things that christians/churches have ever done wrong, these authors uphold and celebrate what churches and christians are doing right.  they are balanced in admiting that some churches have their faults, but point out (rightfuly so) that there is no perfect church structure (or lack thereof), no perfect church, and [because] there are no perfect christians.  and rather than apologize for all the faults, they list countless examples of churches who are (by God's grace) living as jesus would.

something i have thought about before, but have been reminded of through this book is everything i love about all of the churches i have ever been involved in.  i have always wished that i could string together all the things that i have loved about all of the churches i have been a part of to make the perfect church.  but obviously, this isn't realistic, so i have learned to live in the tension of seeing positives and weaknesses in things (including in churches).

so i am writing to celebrate God's grace.  anything good in any church is completely God's grace, and i want to share the evidences of grace that i have enjoyed seeing in the 3 most recent churches i have been a part of.

berlin projekt

i was involved in berlin projekt for about 6 months while i lived in germany.  this church was planted about 2 years before i started going, by two single german guys in their late 20's who studied under tim keller for a while before planting berlin projekt.  the flavor of the church reminded me a lot of what i know about keller's church in new york.

there are so many things about this church that i loved, i dont even know where to start.  one of the main focuses of this church was to reach artists, which was reflected in the services.  each week our service opened and closed with a local musician.  their styles ranged from opera to jazz to digital music, and they were always very talented.  this not only gave the service a very cool feel, but also brought people into the church [namely, these artists] who never would have come otherwise.  the church office doubled as an art gallery, which also allowed for a lot of contact with the community.

the sermons were deep yet accessible.  the pastors always had pop-culture references that served to enhance (rather than take away from) the preaching of God's word.  the gospel was preached every week.  my favorite part of the service by far was communion.  it was served every week (i love when churches do this!!), and it was always made clear that communion was just for the believers in the room (though each week there were numerous nonchristians there).  i cant explain why, but during these times of communion i always met with God deeply and intimately, more so than communion at any other church i have ever gone to.


i was a part of xenos during my senior year of college and just over a year after i got back from germany.  xenos was a church of about 5,000 people, but you would never guess it for the small, hospitable feel that it had.  it was started in the 70's by two hippie ohio state college students who had recently become christians.  it started as a home bible study that grew into a church.  as a result, it functioned as a network of home churches (with centralized leadership and large group gatherings on sundays).

i love xenos!  alex and i were both deeply affected by our time there.  one of the strengths of xenos were reaching people who had little exposure the bible and the gospel.  nearly everyone at the church that i knew of regularly spent time with non-christians (outside of formal settings such as work).  and more than that, they were engaging them in spiritual conversations and introducing them to other christians.  we rarely went a week at home church without a non-christian present at the meeting.

another thing that we loved about xenos was the emphasis on serving and loving one another as a body of believers.  people would hang out with each other a lot, and were deeply involved in one another's lives.  we lived within walking distance of at least 10 people from our home church, and hung out with friends from our group at least four times a week, but often more.  furthermore, people were very willing to serve one another with physical needs.  for example, alex and i needed rides to and from the airport at least 10 times during our first year of marriage, sometimes at crazy hours, and there was always someone (usually multiple people) who were willing to drive us.  people also served us at various times through lending us their car, helping to decorate and make things for our wedding and helping us to move, among other things.

anchor community church

alex and i moved to long beach in august and immediately started to look for a church.  in november we decided to put down our roots at anchor community church.  anchor was planted about two years ago and has grown to about 50-100 people (i am bad at estimating numbers).

we love anchor!  the very first week we went we noticed two things: the pastor loves the gospel deeply and the people are very welcoming.

now that anchor is our home, we continue to appreciate these things about the church.  we love the sermons, our pastor is deeply studied and always makes the gospel the rock solid foundation of all that he teaches.  theologically, we are very in line with the church, and we especially love the emphasis on male leadership, something that is usually glazed over by churches.  we have clicked very well with people and they have been really great to bring us in and be our friends and family in our new city of residence.  we look forward to continuing to get involved and serve with the gifts God has given us.

praise God for these churches!

[read part 1 here]

Monday, March 1, 2010

those are some big buts

what is the most important word in the bible?

i would argue that pretty high on the list would be the word “but”.  rc sproul would probably agree: for years he had a pillow in his office with the word “but” embroidered on it.

how so?

and you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ [Ephesians 2:1-5]

for we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us.  [titus 3:3-5]

"none is righteous, no, not one;
no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
all have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one."
"their throat is an open grave;
they use their tongues to deceive."
"the venom of asps is under their lips."
"their mouth is full of curses and bitterness."
"their feet are swift to shed blood;
in their paths are ruin and misery,
and the way of peace they have not known."
"there is no fear of God before their eyes."

...But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. [romans 3:10-18, 21]

we are by nature enemies of God.  BUT…
we were disobedient.  BUT…
we hated God.  BUT…
we cant earn his love.  BUT…

…BUT he is rich in mercy.
…BUT God is righteous.
…BUT God is lovingly kind.
…BUT God chose to love us.

that’s the best news I’ve ever heard.

what are some other important and easily overlooked words in the bible?