11.22.2022

Great Reminders from Joshua

As the year winds down, I am thankful for the way the calendar is set up. 

- Be thankful.
- Remember Jesus.
- Wrap up the old year and start a new year.  

These year-end reminders should be an ongoing lifestyle.

Be thankful for who God is and what He has done.  
Trust in Jesus.
As you reflect on the past, live in the now, and anticipate the future, be thankful and trust in Jesus.

This year has had its blessings and its challenges and God is good no matter what.  

Recently in Bible club and Children's church, God has used the book of Joshua to remind me of some BIG truths at the end of 2022 and I am very thankful for this.

The book begins with a repeated reminder to "Be strong and courageous."  

Chapter 1, verse 9 says

Be strong and courageous.  Do not be frightened and do not be dismayed, FOR THE LORD YOUR GOD IS WITH YOU WHEREVER YOU GO.  (emphasis mine)


The people of God are strong and courageous because of who God is.

Then the story of Achan shows the seriousness of sin.  In Joshua 7:20-21, Achan says he has sinned against the LORD.

  • he saw the cloak, gold, and silver (not a sin)
  • he coveted them (clearly a sin)
  • he took/stole them (clearly sin)
  • he hid them in order to deceive God and others (clearly sin)
His personal sin had a wide-reaching impact.  Thirty-six soldiers died at Ai and his family was stoned with him because of his rebellion against God.

Sin is a serious problem for people because it is against God.

At the end of the book, it is a faithful man of God wanting to remind others of God's faithfulness and how they should live because God is faithful.

 He told them that the Lord your God has fought for you (23:3, 10).

He reminds them to be very strong (23:6). 

And then he says,

You know in your hearts and souls, that not one word has failed of all the good things that the LORD your God has promised concerning you.  All have come to pass for you; not one of them has failed.  (23:14)

Chapter 24:1-13 is a rehearsal of what God has done. Followed by a challenge to fear the LORD and serve him in 24:14-28.


Fear the Lord and serve Him.

Remember,
  God is good.
  Sin is a serious problem.
  Fear God and Serve Him.

Once again, I am so thankful for God's Word and how it challenges me to grow.  

 

11.18.2022

November Prayers

Two November prayers

The first is from Valley of Vision, a collection of Puritan prayers.
https://www.challies.com/quotes/a-prayer-of-praise-and-thanksgiving/
There are 17 different things listed in this prayer to praise God for.

The second is a Black Friday Prayer written by Scotty Smith and shared at www.thegospelcoalition.org
I made some modifications to the original content so the prayer could be used leading up to Black Friday, not just on the day it was originally posted.

If we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 1 Tim. 6:8 (ESV 

So do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matt. 6:31-33 (NIV)

Click scripturetype.com for this graphic and a coloring page

You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way. 2 Cor. 9:11 (ESV)

Lord Jesus, they should have called it Black Thursday this year, or Black Week, because before we even had our Thanksgiving coffee, the stores [will be] opening and beckoning shoppers with tantalizing markdowns on all kinds of stuff.  [We will wake up ] with more cyber deals in my email inbox than I can possibly shake 10 credit cards at.

I judge no one, Jesus, for I am as spoiled and covetous as anyone. I praise you that I’ve never had to be concerned about what I’ll eat, drink, or wear; and I’m very happy a lot of people will get some really great deals the next few days.

But on Black Friday, I’m especially grateful for Good Friday, and what you accomplished for us by your life, death, and resurrection. It’s only because of your finished work that we have peace with God—the Father who knows our every need and answers before we ask; the ├╝ber-generous Lord who gives us all things richly to enjoy, and freely to share; the One who satisfies our hunger, slakes our thirst, and clothes us—not only with cotton and wool, but in your righteousness and grace. We are wealthy beyond measure and deserving.

As we begin the season of Advent, grant us grace for seeking your kingdom first, and our fiefdom of self, last. Rather than spending more money and expending more worry on ourselves, where would you have us invest our time and treasures, talent and tears? Jesus, free us to love and serve others with joy during the season of Advent. So very Amen we pray, in your grace-full and glorious name.

 

11.01.2022

Picture Perfect Posts

A Facebook post I wrote tonight and wanted to share here for those who may not have Facebook.

Often times Facebook seems like the place for picture-perfect posts. THIS IS NOT THAT POST.  

It has been a couple of emotionally draining days. On Thursday, it was the 18th anniversary of my dad's death. It was a hard day and part of that was because Friday was Josiah's last football game of his first season playing. I was thinking about how much my dad would have loved to see Josiah play. 

Sunday was a good, but tiring day of teaching - Adult Class lesson on Jonah, a Children's Church lesson on Joshua and Ai, and leading a small group Sunday night. Ministry in the midst of challenging times is hard AND God is good. 


This week's Fighter Verses, 2 Corinthians 4:17-18, is a good reminder at times like this.

[For] this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, ¹⁸as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

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9.25.2022

Bible Study for Growth 3

During the first two weeks of the Bible Study for Growth In Me and Others class, we have been developing a UNIQUE theme.
By saying a UNIQUE theme, I am not suggesting I have come up with a unique and new way to study the Bible.
I do mean the Bible is a UNIQUE book (week 1) and because of this fact, it needs to be thought of and studied in a UNIQUE way (week 2).


One quote that helps show the uniqueness of Bible reading and study is 
"No amount of advice on Bible reading techniques can compensate for minds that are not willing to humbly follow God." (Read the Bible for a Change by Ray Lubeck)


It is my prayer that as we continue this class study our minds will be challenged, our hearts will be stirred, and actions and attitudes will be transformed by God for His glory.

Next week will look at Seeing and Understanding God's Word.  The class will cover pages 11-21 in the workbook and chapters 4 and 5 in Reading the Bible for Change.

Also, the homework is READ THE BOOK OF JONAH and MAKE BASIC OBSERVATIONS..

9.10.2022

Bible Study for Growth in Me and Others

Starting tomorrow, I am teaching one of the new Fall Adult Christian Education (ACE) classes at Trinity Baptist.  It is "Bible Study for Growth in Me and Others."

The Bible is the most important book at Trinity and for life!  We believe it is of supreme and final authority.  

Because this is true, we want to offer classes like this that help people learn how to study the Bible. While classes that cover specific books of the Bible are important, God's people must know how to study the Bible to verify that what is being taught is true, like the Bereans.  Trinity offers four types of ACE classes:  Engaging God's WORD, Engaging God's FOUNDATIONS, Engaging God's WORLD, and Engaging God's WORK.  This Bible study class is listed as Engaging God's FOUNDATIONS because it is designed to grow the foundational skill of Bible study.  

This class will be looking at how to study with God's glory, the original context, proper interpretation, and the growth of one another in mind.  

Studying with God's glory in mind helps us remember this life and this book is not about us.  The Bible tells us who God is and how we should live in relationship to who He is. 

Studying with the original context in mind means there is an intended meaning in the text.  While there may be different applications, the meaning of the text is not subject to our current day and age. 

Studying with the growth of one another in mind is why the title of this class has "for growth in me and others."  The goal of this class and Bible study, in general, is to know God more and see our lives changed as we grow in this understanding.  In genuine Bible study, the Holy Spirit works in our hearts and minds to help us know and change.

This is meant to help people improve in their study of the Bible whether they are new believers or senior saints.




While there are several different resources recommended/suggested resources, the one REQUIRED book for the class is the Bible.  "The Bible is unique, which means it is set apart from every other book written and every other voice spoken."

During this first week of class, the big question we are going to ask is What is and isn't the Bible?

Some online resources:

8.28.2022

One Crazy Summer

This summer, my first on staff at Trinity Baptist Church, has been filled with so many blessings and some challenging situations.

In thinking about the highlights, I have grouped them into two categories:

  • ministry/personal connections
  • unified teaching
MINISTRY CONNECTIONS:

I love making connections between things that are being taught and ministries the church is involved in.  This summer there were several different connection points.  Some were planned, some were unplanned, and all were God-ordained.

We started the summer off with Vacation Bible School from June 13 - 16.  The Australian-themed Zoomerang study provided us with the opportunity to share a video from one of our missionary families - the Mayos.  It was great to hear what God is doing right now down under.  Another VBS connection was having Lisa Koppenhofer share.  She, her husband Hugh, and their children have been regular attendees at TBC.  Lisa was born and raised in Australia.  So, thankfully, we did not have to do false Australian accents all week.  We had someone who speaks "Australian" share about growing up there.  The final "program" connection was with a local ministry TBC recently began supporting,  Alpha Grand Rapids.  We raised over $1300 to help Alpha show the love of Christ to pregnant moms.

There were also a couple of "personal" connections during VBS week.  Three East Oakview Elementary Bible Club kids came to VBS.  Krista and I also had the chance to briefly reconnect with friends from West Cannon. 

Personally, I am very thankful for the workers from TBC who stepped up to help in so many different ways.

The connections continued after VBS.  God provided the opportunity for me to speak at Camp Michawana a couple of times this summer.  On the first Tuesday night, I spoke at Kids Camp there were two girls from East Oakview's Bible Club.  The other Tuesday night I connected with several kids from Community Kids, another ministry TBC supports.  Along with these two camper connections, it was awesome to be at camp where 19 people from TBC were serving in different ways.  Several of the Community Kids I met at the camp were also at the Community Kids' Bible Club hosted at TBC this summer.  

The VBS, Bible Club, Community Kids, Camp MIchawana connections were amazing!  Praise God for multiple opportunities to share with kids!!




UNIFIED TEACHING:

Two of my responsibilities at TBC are children/family ministry and adult Christian education.  This summer I was able to bring both of these together with a combined Summer study for our Sunday School class.  The adults and the 2-year-olds through 5th graders did the same Fighter Verses passage each week. While there have been challenges in preparing and planning the study, it is my hope that this study will help people see the impact of Bible memory and meditation along with equipping parents to do family devotions.  In July and August, we focused on Psalm 91, and in July, I taught a class of children and parents.  While there are a lot of ministry specifics I would like to share, I need to write about how God has been using Psalm 91 in my life.  

Today (8/28) was the last day of the combined study and I shared with the adults that it is my prayer that Psalm 91 would serve as an anchor, a reminder, that points each of us to God, our refuge and our fortress.  Spending the last two months in this Psalm has been such a blessing.  All too often my Bible reading becomes something to get done quickly.  This long, focused time in one chapter has been such an encouragement.  He is the Psalm.  
    
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
You will not fear the terror of the night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
You will only look with your eyes
and see the recompense of the wicked.
Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place
the Most High, who is my refuge—
no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
no plague come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways.
On their hands, they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the adder;
the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.

“Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
I will protect him because he knows my name.
When he calls to me, I will answer him
I will be, with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
With long life, I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”

Protection is in the refuge and fortress that is God himself.  (1 - 2)
Protection is with feathers and shields from the snare of fowler and pestilence.  (3 - 4)
Protection is during day or night (5 - 6)
Protection is from the judgment of sin (7 - 8)
Protection is in a dwelling place (9 - 10)
Protection is by angels and ultimately Jesus (11 - 13)
Protection comes from God  (14 - 16)

Throughout this summer, I needed reminders that God is in control.  This Psalm, with its Biblical truth and visual imagery, served as a constant reminder. 

God, my refuge, my fortress, my protector, my shield,
I have been reminded over and over again these last two month
that you protect.
Help me remember this in everything I go through.
Amen.

7.11.2022

A Midsummer's Night Update

I know August 7th is officially the midpoint of summer. 
But doesn't the middle of July actually feel like midsummer? 
FYI, July 15 is the midpoint of Meteorological Summer. 

I haven't posted an update in quite some time.
This lack of posting is NOT because nothing is happening.  Actually, quite the opposite.


In the "tent" Jadyn and Joel built in our backyard.

It has been almost a year at Trinity Baptist Church (TBC) has been great.  It really is amazing to look back and see how God has worked and is working.

Here is a ministry and family update.

MINISTRY UPDATE:

During this past year, God provided many opportunities to begin and grow ministries at and through TBC. 

During the school year,

I taught some adult Sunday School classes including Biblical Understanding of Contemporary Issues and Reading Letters Together - Philippians and Titus

With the help of Rochelle Visser, one of TBC’s supported workers, Krista, Jadyn, some others, and I started an After School Bible School at a public elementary school near the church.

 

This summer has also been filled with some great ministry opportunities including

VBS (Vacation Bible School) –

A combined summer study using the Fighter Verses, which includes a parents/kids class starting this Sunday (July 10th)

Also, I am going to be speaking at Camp Michawana a couple of Tuesday nights.

 

FAMILY UPDATE:

We continue to be amazed at God’s great provisions in so many ways – friendships, gifts, encouraging words, and all of these things and more coming at just the right time. 

  • Joel finished his first year at Grand Rapids Community College.  He has taken some photography classes and really enjoys going around Grand Rapids and Michigan to get pictures.  He is helping with the children’s ministry at TBC and does a great job with the kids.
  • Josiah finished his sophomore year at Northpointe Christian School (NPC).  This summer he went on a mission trip to NYC with our church.  The trip was a great opportunity for Josiah and the rest of the group to share the Gospel, help a local church’s pantry/meal ministry,
  • Jadyn finished 6th grade at NPC.  As I mentioned earlier, Jadyn helped with the elementary After School Bible Club.  It has been awesome watching her serve there and at VBS. 
  • Krista finished her 5th year as a para pro/intervention teacher at NPC.  She has also been an amazing help and encouragement to me in my ministry at TBC. 

While this update has been filled with a lot of great, positive things this past year hasn’t been without its challenges.

  • We continue our search for a house.
  • Parenting obviously has its good days and bad days.
  • As many of you know ministry is filled with amazing blessings and challenges.
  • There are the challenges of life in general

As part of TBC’s combined summer study, we studied and memorized 1 Peter 5:6-10.  

Here is the passage followed by a prayer you can pray for us.


Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, ⁷casting all your anxieties on him because he cares for you. ⁸Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. ¹⁰And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

 

Here is a prayer based on this passage.

 

Lord God, you are mighty, perfect, loving, and victorious.

Because you are mighty, help us live a humble life for your glory.

Because you are perfect and mighty, help us remember that your mighty hand will lift us up at the proper time.

Because you care for us and love us, help us cast our worries and anxieties, of life, parenting, and ministry, upon you,

Help us be sober-minded and watchful.

God, we know that you are so mighty and powerful, and we also know that our enemy the devil wants to destroy us.

Thank you for the victory over sin and death we have because of you.

 

This victory helps us resist the devil and stand firm in our faith, knowing that there are believers all around the world going through suffering and challenges. 

 

Lord, God, restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish us.  

 

Amen.

 

Thank you!

4.10.2022

Opposites Attract

 


Krista recently found this article written by a high school student at Santiago Christian School in the Dominican Republic.  It was from 1998, right after we were married.  It made us laugh.  And I did not say "hey chick, marry me" when I proposed.

Opposites Attract: The Rodgers Story

by Marie Jimenez
When the names Mr. and Mrs. Rodgers pop up in your head, what do you think of? Perhaps the usual among us students - the unlikely pair that recently got married. Well think again -there's a lot to this crazy pair!

The romance started with a chocolate pudding fight between Mr, and Mrs. Rodgers (romantic huh?). Well, strangely there are two different versions which differ slightly (okay, slightly isn't the right word!). In Mr. Rodgers' version, they were having a pudding-eating contest when "it got out of control" and they started throwing pudding at each other. Mr. Rodgers couldn't help admitting, "It was all her fault. Nothing is ever my fault. It's all her fault!" Mrs. Rodgers' version is a bit different. She said that Mr. Rodgers had a sudden urge to eat pudding without a spoon. Meanwhile, Mrs. Rodgers along with Miss Hubers and Miss Loveday, had planned to gang up on Mr. Rodgers and throw pudding on him. Mrs. Rodgers found herself throwing pudding at Mr. Rodgers, abandoned by her friends that chickened out. She remembers, "there was pudding on the floor, walls, couch, and even the dog!" While all this was going on Mr. York, who had never been to Mrs. Rodger's house, went for a visit and found Mr. Rodgers, Mrs. Rodgers, and practically everything covered in chocolate pudding! After this incident, the other teachers began to suspect that there was some kind of attraction between the two.

Try picturing Mr. Rodgers proposing marriage to Mrs. Rodgers. No, no, forget the Superman suit. Can you imagine Mr. Rodgers down on his knee, actually being serious? Well, that's how it was. He went up to the monument, got on one knee, and said, "hey chick, marry me" (that's a quote!). He said he had the ring but didn't plan a specific day. He said, "the moment just presented itself"

According to both, the wedding turned out excellent. Mrs. Rodgers sang a song she wrote to Mr. Rodgers. She admits, "I was so nervous before the wedding that I started crying, thinking that I couldn't do this, but I prayed a lot and I was comfortable the whole day, including the singing." She also said that the wedding went well except for a minor mix-up. Mr. Rodgers, even though he knew better, got a little confused about where the ring was supposed to go. Perhaps a little bit stressed about the fact that it was his wedding day, Mr. Rodgers gave his right hand to Mrs. Rodgers, instead of his left. It took him a while to realize his error. Everything else went well.

Enough seriousness!! Let's talk about the real Mr. Rodgers. Mrs. Rodgers remembers Family Day when Mr. Rodgers sang the theme song from Titanic, "My Heart Will Go On." She says, "I thought he was crazy, but I wasn't embarrassed. That's just him." Mrs. Rodgers also recalls a prank that he pulled on her on April Fools' Day. He went to Puerto Plata to take his sister to the airport, and he told Mrs. Rodgers beforehand that he was going to go. Mr. Rodgers made it back to Santiago and went to the colmado across from Mrs. Rodgers' house. He called her, telling her that he did not know where he was. She was worried out of her wits. When she went out of her house and into the street, she met Mr. Kaufman who she explained everything to. Mr. Kaufman said, "What do you mean, he's lost? He's right
there." He pointed to Mr. Rodgers who was walking towards her and all he could say was, "April Fools." She was so mad that she
threw her keys at him.

Did you know that Mr. Rodgers is a 90's man? Don't be surprised at what you're about to read. Mrs. Rodgers was kind enough to give us some juicy tidbits. Mr. Rodgers does the dishes voluntarily, enjoying them, and drying them too. Do you have problems drying your clothes? Well, Mrs. Rodgers gives us Mr. Rodgers' technique to dry laundry (yes, he even does the laundry). He takes the dining room chairs, puts them in a semi-circle, lays out the clothes on the chairs, and puts the rotating fan in the middle to dry the clothes. This technique has been clinically proven by Mr. Rodgers.

Whoever said two different people estimate the power of love!