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Status Report: August

Sitting…on the couch in the living room.

Drinking…nothing, but I did just finish a bowl of vanilla ice cream topped with hot chocolate mint sauce. 

Feeling…tired from the big road trip. We ended up driving for 9 of the 14 days we were gone,  travelling over 6000 miles (9500k). If you ask my son, he’ll say he drove nearly half of those miles. If you ask me, I’ll tell you I drove at least 3/4 of them. We attended my niece’s wedding in Pella, IA and visited with my dad, my sister, and her kids in Minnesota. 

Finding…it hard to get back to regular life. (Do you find it difficult to return to normal after a trip?) There’s so much to catch up on, like mowing the lawn and weeding the garden. And laundry. So much laundry. I wake up wondering where to start!

Listing…a few of the things I learned on the trip: 

  • The best food on the Alaska Highway is at the Toad River Lodge.
  • There are lots of bears around this year. We saw at least ten, including a mama grizzly with two cubs walking on the side of the highway. 
  • Tourists can be dumb when it comes to wildlife viewing. Rule number one is don’t get out of the car to take photos of a mama grizzly.
  • In southern Saskatchewan there are still major roads closed due to flooding and one that is open is covered with water 4 inches deep for a 1/4 mile section. 
  • You can’t always trust Google Maps directions.
  • Pella IA has 9000 people and 11 Reformed Churches, including a First, Second and Third Reformed Church. The Second Reformed Church is across the street from the First Reformed Church. What do you think happened there?
  • My son’s dog David is easy and fun to travel with. He ended up doing everything we asked of him except riding an elevator.
  • It can get so hot and humid that my glasses fog up when I exit the air-conditioned car. I’ve never had that happen before.
  • Minnetonka moccasins are the most comfortable shoes i’ve ever worn. 
  • If the front yard doesn’t get mowed for two weeks, it grows twenty or thirty 12 inch saplings. If the backyard doesn’t get mowed for 2 weeks, it turns into a jungle. 

Asking…myself why I bothered to bring books on the trip. When did I think I’d have time to read?

Planning…to make jam: Raspberry-peach jam tomorrow and strawberry-rhubarb jam on Wednesday. I love the steaming kitchen and the popping lids of jam making. 

Also planning…to get back to regular blogging. A status report is perfect for resuming gently. And let’s see, tomorrow is Tuesday, so I need to come up with a theological term. Any ideas?

Anticipating…being a Grandma. 

Forseeing…the end of summer.

Wishing…I lived somewhere with summers just like ours—no heat and humidity, and no dark, either—only twice as long. No, that’s not quite right. I’m wishing the summers right here were twice as long because I’m not going anywhere else.



Sunday's Hymn: O Splendor of God's Glory Bright

O splendor of God’s glory bright,
From light eternal bringing light,
Thou Light of light, light’s living Spring,
True Day, all days illumining.

Come, very Sun of Heaven’s love,
In lasting radiance from above,
And pour the Holy Spirit’s ray
On all we think or do today.

And now to Thee our pray’rs ascend,
O Father glorious without end;
We plead with Sovereign Grace for pow’r
To conquer in temptation’s hour.

Confirm our will to do the right,
And keep our hearts from envy’s blight;
Let faith her eager fires renew,
And hate the false, and love the true.

O joyful be the passing day
With thoughts as pure as morning’s ray,
With faith like noontide shining bright,
Our souls unshadowed by the night.

Dawn’s glory gilds the earth and skies,
Let Him, our prefect Morn, arise,
The Word in God the Father one,
The Father imaged by the Son.

— Ambrose of Milan, translated by Lou­is F. Ben­son.

Other hymns, worship songs, sermons etc. posted today:

Have you posted a hymn (or sermon, sermon notes, prayer, etc.) today and I missed it? Let me know by leaving a link in the comments or by contacting me using the contact form linked above, and I’ll add your post to the list.


Thankful Thursday

Guess what? I’m going on a road trip. My youngest son and I leave Saturday morning, heading to Minnesota first and then to Iowa for my niece’s wedding. I’m thankful that I have a car to make the trip and a son to help me with the driving. I’m thankful for the opportunity to travel the Alaska highway again. 

I just saw some cell phone photos of my neighbors’ new baby girl. She was born last Saturday, several weeks early, and medivacked to Edmonton immediately. Things were touch and go for a while, but she’s doing very well now and will probably be home within a month. It will be fun to have another baby in the neighborhood. I’m very thankful that God gave her and that he protected her. I’m thankful that her parents will have a baby to take home after losing twins in the same sort of circumstances a couple of years ago.

I’m thankful for fresh broccoli, lettuce, and spinach from the garden. 

(This might be the last post from me for a couple of week. I planned to have a post on the last chapter of Christianity and Liberalism up today but things are crazy around here. Maybe I’ll have it up and maybe I won’t. And maybe I’ll post photos of my trip, but I’m not making any promises there, either.)

Throughout this year I’m planning to post a few thoughts of thanksgiving each Thursday along with Kim at the Upward Call and others.


What to Do with a Reluctant Reader

A tweet by Jules this morning reminded me of this old, old post, and I decided to repost it.

What do I mean by reluctant reader? A reluctant reader is a child who has reached 10 or 12 years old, who can read, but doesn’t enjoy reading on their own, a child who almost never picks up a book to read for pleasure. And yes, avid readers can produce reluctant readers; two of four of my children fell into this category.

Here are a few tips drawn from my experience:
  1. Take advantage of the times your child is held captive. Keep good books for children in the bathroom. Stack a few by the bed and make reading the only activity allowed after bedtime. Unless your child is prone to carsickness, take lots of books on a long car ride. Never ever draw attention to these books or suggest that they try reading one.

  2. Notice what type of television programs your child likes most. Do they like dramas or are they drawn to documentaries and science shows? It’s my own opinion that many reluctant readers are “just the facts” people who prefer nonfiction to fiction. Try leaving biographies, nature books, science books, books of math puzzles, books on W.W.II, sports books, joke books, books about foreign countries, or collection-of-facts books scattered about the house. If you can’t resist pushing novels, make them factually based novels. 

  3. Don’t worry that their reading material is too lightweight. Lightweight is good; dumbed down is not. Your purpose at this point is not to produce a well-read child, but a child who knows that books can be fun and reading doesn’t have to be a chore.

  4. Have quiet time at your home and make sure that everyone (Dad, too!) is included. After the supper dishes were done was the time that worked well for us. Only quiet activities are allowed—drawing, homework, paying bills, reading, etc. Half an hour is long enough, but you can try longer if you think you can swing it. Chances are that at some point your reluctant reader will run out of other entertaining quiet activities and open a book.

  5. Don’t stop reading to your child. Ask your child to read out loud to you once in a while. Ask them to read a page or a paragraph from the book you are reading to them. Try reading aloud from a really engaging book, but only a chapter or two—just enough to intrigue them—and then be too busy to read for a few days. See if they will continue on their own.

    The all-time best novel for reluctant readers is Scott O’Dell’s Island of the Blue Dolphins. It’s easy to read and I’ve never met a kid who didn’t like it. Read a chapter or two to your child and see if they don’t read on ahead to see what happens. Other Scott O’Dell books are good, too, but introduce these after they’ve been hooked by Island of the Blue Dolphins.

  6. Tidiness may be a virtue, but being too tidy doesn’t promote reading. A reluctant reader does not love reading enough to go find a book that has been put away. Books strewn everywhere is a good thing when it comes to getting kids to read.

  7. Buy appropriate books at garage sales, thrift stores, and used book stores. If you pay the new book price for a book, it’s going to eat at you when it doesn’t get read, and pressure to read a book is counterproductive when you are dealing with reluctant readers.
If you have more ideas, feel free to add them in the comments.

Theological Term of the Week

“The view that baptism is appropriately administered only to those who give a believable profession of faith in Jesus Christ”;1 also called believer’s baptism.

  • From scripture: 

    Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:2-4 ESV)

  • From The London Baptist Confession of Faith 1689, Chapter 29:  
    1._____ Baptism is an ordinance of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ, to be unto the party baptized, a sign of his fellowship with him, in his death and resurrection; of his being engrafted into him; of remission of sins; and of giving up into God, through Jesus Christ, to live and walk in newness of life.
    2._____ Those who do actually profess repentance towards God, faith in, and obedience to, our Lord Jesus Christ, are the only proper subjects of this ordinance.
    3._____The outward element to be used in this ordinance is water, wherein the party is to be baptized, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
    4._____Immersion, or dipping of the person in water, is necessary to the due administration of this ordinance. 
  • From Baptism, a Divine Commandment to Be Observed by John Gill:

    II. To shew that the ordinance of water-baptism, being a divine command, it ought to be kept, and observed, as directed to in the word of God. First, I shall shew, by whom it is to be kept and observed. 

    1. By sensible, repenting sinners. John’s baptism was called the baptism of repentance (Mark 1:4); because repentance was previous to it; and the very first persons that were baptized by him, were such who were sensible of their sins, repented of them, and ingenuously confessed them; for it is said, they were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins; and whereas others applied to him for baptism, of whom he had no good opinion, he required of them, that they would first bring forth fruits meet for repentance; and not to think with themselves, we have Abraham to our father (Matthew 3:6-9); since such a plea would be of no avail with him; and the very first persons that were baptized after our Lord had given to his apostles the commission to baptize, were penitent ones; for under the first sermon after this, three thousand were pricked in their heart, and cried out, Men and brethren, what shall we do? To whom the apostle Peter gave this instruction and direction: Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38); and accordingly, on their repentance, they were baptized. 2. This command is to be kept and observed by believers in Christ; he that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved (Mark 16:16). Faith goes before baptism, and is a pre-requisite to it; as the various instances of baptism recorded in the scriptures shew. Philip went down to Samaria, and preached Christ there to the inhabitants of it; and when they believed Philip, preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized both men and women (Acts 8:12).

Learn more:

  1. Rick DeMichele: Believer’s Baptism in the Bible
  2. William H. Brackney: Believer’s Baptism
  3. Stan Reeves: FAQ on the Reformed Baptist View of Baptism
  4. Baptists on Believer’s Baptism: A List of Quotes from Baptistic Confessions
  5. Sam Storms: Why I Am a Baptist
  6. John Piper: How do Circumcision and Baptist Correspond?
  7. Tom Schreiner: Believer’s Baptism (mp3)

Related terms:

1From Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem

Filed under Ecclesiology.

Do you have a term you’d like to see featured here as a Theological Term of the Week? If you email it to me, I’ll seriously consider using it, giving you credit for the suggestion and linking back to your blog when I do.

Clicking on the Theological Term graphic at the top of this post will take you to a list of all the previous theological terms in alphabetical order.