Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Two Natures in Christ "The True Mode of the Communication of the Majesty"(Revelation in the Word)--Martin Chemnitz

"But that which might be investigated or disputed, which does not have the express revelation in the Word (since we cannot in this life explore or fully understand the depth of this great mystery), must be deferred and held in abeyance until we enter that great heavenly, eternal, and enlightened school where we shall see the glory of Christ, our Savior and Brother, face to face. Although I cannot explain these things, I must not depart from what is expressly revealed in the Word.

If this reply appears rather rude, simple, and puerile, I will not deny it, but I know it is the truest, surest, and safest of all. For we must not believe or say anything about God but what is expressly revealed in the Scripture."

Chemnitz says this in his discussion of the communication of the majesty. His words are so important, and all theologians need to heed them. Too many try to go beyond God's Word speaking about God. That is a very dangerous road.

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

I found this an interesting novel, although from what I've read apparently this was the most controversial and perhaps least popular of Austen's novels. The book features the character Fanny who is from a poor family, but is taken into her rich aunt and uncle's home and grows up with her four cousins. Her two female cousins are vain and shallow. Her cousin Tom is irresponsible and gambles and parties. Her cousin Edmund is kind to her and she forms a special bond with him and grows to love him. Things get interesting when Sir Thomas, Fanny's uncle leaves for awhile on business and a brother and sister move into the village. I found the interactions between the characters quite amusing at times--the flirtations, the shallowness. I really liked Fanny's character because she could see through everyone, see who everyone really was. And she was determined to marry for love rather than marry for a good financial and social position, and didn't give in easily to what other people thought she should do (a theme seen in Austen's other work); she followed her heart.

It's interesting too to get a glimpse of what life was like in this time for the wealthy. For one thing these people have all this time on their hands and seem to not know what to do with themselves. This leads at one point to some of the characters deciding to act out a play and they go to great lengths in rehearsing, building sets in the house etc. just so they can amuse themselves. Some of the characters strongly disapprove of this play being put on, so that is a big drama too. For some reason, I think the whole play thing in the book will always stand out to me. The play they were acting out, "Lover's Vows" was included in the back of the book, so I read that too. I didn't think the play was all that.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Dogwood Trees

I think the Dogwood are beautiful trees. There are lots of varieties of them. I especially love the pink and white Dogwoods.

The Two Natures in Christ "The True Mode of the Communication of the Majesty"--Martin Chemnitz

"He wished to take our assumed nature into communion with His divine activities, particularly as an instrument in the work of the Messiah, so that He might give to us in His person a definite pledge that our nature will be blessed, and that we may know that we have access to these works and have fellowship in them and in the benefits of the Son of God, our King, Priest, and Head. In order to accomplish this and to make us partakers in His works and benefits, He added His assumed nature to our nature, He became of the same substance with us, He became our kinsman, our very brother, flesh of our flesh; and no one hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cares for it, as the Lord does for His church." (Eph. 5:29)

Misery (Movie)

This movie is based on the Stephen King novel of the same name. James Caan plays Paul Sheldon, a writer who is in a car accident while driving during a blizzard. Annie Wilkes (played by Kathy Bates), an ex-nurse, pulls Paul from the car and take him into her house, setting his broken bones and caring for him. Annie tells Paul she is his number one fan, and as time goes on, Paul begins to see how disturbed and psychotic she is. This is a very suspenseful film. Kathy Bates won the Best Actress Oscar for her outstanding performance. My dad and I like to watch this movie together.

Some quotes:

Annie: Now that's an oogie mess.
Annie: Anything else I can get for you while I am in town? How about a tiny tape recorder, or how about a homemade pair of writing slippers?

Paul: Annie, what's the matter?

Annie: What's the matter? WHAT'S THE MATTER? I will tell you "what's the matter!" I go out of my way for you! I do everything to try and make you happy. I feed you, I clean you, I dress you, and what thanks do I get? "Oh, you bought the wrong paper, Anne, I can't write on this paper, Anne!" Well, I'll get your stupid paper but you just better start showing me a little appreciation around here, Mr. MAN!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Hell's Kitchen

I just started watching this show in the 2008 season. People on the show compete on teams in cooking challenges. Chef Gordon Ramsay tries to whip these people into shape, and often yells and screams or throws food that hasn't been cooked properly against a wall. He's tough and often nasty. It's interesting to watch people compete and try to prepare food that meets Ramsay's high standards and provide a good dinner service to the people dining in the restaurant. The best person on the losing team has to put 2 people up for elimination, and after they've each had a chance to plead their case, Ramsay eliminates one of them. To stay in the competition, a person needs to be a good cook, work well with others, be a strong leader, and be able to put up with Ramsay's harsh ways. The winner of the 2008 season is promised the title of Executive Chef at Ramsay's restaurant in Los Angeles.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Plans Quote--Daniel H. Burnham

"Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men's blood."

--Daniel H. Burnham (Director of Works, World's Columbian Exposition, 1893)

Chocolate Covered Cherries (Fannie May)

I love Chocolate Covered Cherries, but not just any Chocolate Covered Cherries. For instance, I don't really care for those Queen Anne Cherries you can buy in a box at Wal-Mart. But Fannie May Chocolate Covered Cherries--that's the good stuff! Dark or milk chocolate are good.

Ephesians 3:20-21

20Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

These verses continue the previous Scripture post's passage. Paul here finishes his prayer. God can do not only more than what we ask, but more than what we can even imagine or conceive of! These words have become more and more meaningful to me through the years. Sometimes when we ask God for things, we ask in a half-hearted way, as if we don't know if He will really answer our prayer. Or we ask thinking we know what's best and God had better answer according to our wishes! This passage reminds us God is God. He knows and does what's best for His children. And He does amazing things that are beyond what we could think of. In prayer, we can ask God boldly, and we have faith God will answer in the way that's best for us. And God blows us away with the awesome things He does!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Ephesians 3:14-19

A Prayer for the Ephesians
14For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

What an awesome prayer! I love how Paul speaks of the Holy Spirit here. We know the Holy Spirit does strengthen our faith through Word and Sacrament. And such beautiful language speaking of Christ's love is found here--wide, long, high, and deep. That love is so vast. It is boundless.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Rain Man

In this 1988 film, Tom Cruise plays Charlie Babbitt, a selfish, closed off man who goes to goes to Cincinnati when his father dies, and is angry to find he is not getting any money from the estate. He then finds out he has an autistic savant brother Raymond (played wonderfully by Dustin Hoffman), who lives in an institution. Charlie takes Raymond from the institution and hopes he can somehow get the money he is entitled to. As Raymond and Charlie travel cross country, Charlie is often infuriated at his brother, but gradually makes a connection with Raymond and comes to realize he has missed out on not knowing his brother before that week. This movie is funny in parts, but is very touching. Ultimately it's about the relationship between these brothers and how Charlie changes because of his brother. This movie won 4 Oscars--Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Director, and Best Actor (Dustin Hoffman).

Monday, April 21, 2008

Andy Capp (4/21/08)

Double click to enlarge.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Children's Singing

There is nothing sweeter than hearing children sing, especially when they are singing about Jesus. Hearing children sing about Jesus Christ can easily reduce me to tears. Children sing from the heart, and it is very moving. These children in the picture are from Unity Lutheran School in East St. Louis, IL. They sing from the heart, with gusto, about their Savior. They know what Christ has done for them and want to share that with others. Hearing children sing brings me so much joy!

"Suspicious Minds" Elvis Presley

I think this is my favorite Elvis song. This was the last #1 hit he had during his lifetime.
Listen and download here

Saturday, April 19, 2008

World Market

Since I love different cultures and different countries, I love this store which features stuff from all over the world. There are dishes, rugs, furniture, plates, candles etc. And my favorite section--all the food and candy. It is so much fun to try food and candy from other places. I also enjoy looking at all the different kinds of wine they have. This is a unique store, and it is always a treat to go there.

The Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article V Love and Fulfilling the Law (paragraphs 57-60)--Philip Melanchthon

"Christ's death and satisaction ought to be placed far above our purity, far above the Law itself. This truth ought to be set before us so that we can be sure of this: We have a gracious God because of Christ's satisfaction and not because of our fulfilling the Law.

Paul teaches this in Galatians 3:13, when he says, 'Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us.' This means that the Law condemns all people. But Christ--without sin--has borne the punishment of sin. He has been made a victim for us and has removed the right of the Law to accuse and condemn those who believe in Him. He Himself is the Atonement for them. For His sake they are now counted righteous. Since they are counted righteous, the Law cannot accuse or condemn them, even though they have not actually satisfied the Law. Paul writes the same way to the Colossians, 'You have been filled in Him' (2:10). This is like saying, 'Although you are still far from the perfection of the Law, the remnants of sin do not condemn you. For Christ's sake we have a sure and firm reconciliation, if you believe, even though sin dwells in your flesh.'

The promise should always be in sight. Because of His promise, God wishes to be gracious and to justify for Christ's sake, not because of the Law or our works. In this promise timid consciences should seek reconciliation and justification. By this promise they should sustain themselves and be confident that they have a gracious God for Christ's sake, because of His promise. So works can never make a conscience peaceful. Only the promise can."

Friday, April 18, 2008

Caramel Creams "Bulls Eyes" (Goetze's)

"A unique flavor combination of softer, chewy caramel wrapped around a rich, creamy center."
These are so good and very addicting. Once you eat one, it's hard to stop!

Trader Joe's Late Harvest Moscato, Paso Robles Estate Bottled

"Wonderfully distinctive, this wine offers intense aromas and flavors of ripe peach, apricot and honeysuckle enhanced by a luscious finish."

This is a wonderful sweet wine, and I was so excited to find a bottle of wine like this for only $5 or so.

Charlie's Angels (TV Show)

I got into watching reruns of Charlie's Angels when I was in junior high, and as an adult, I still enjoy watching episodes on DVD. My mom and I find it very funny to watch (though it wasn't meant to be funny for the most part). The angels are always tramping all over the place in their high heeled shoes chasing the bad guys. It's not a profound show and wasn't meant to be. It's just fun to watch. Sabrina (Kate Jackson) was my favorite angel. She was "the smart one." And I liked Cheryl Ladd way better than Farrah. I don't really care about the Charlie's Angels movies that have come out in more recent years. To me that's not Charlie's Angels--only the original TV show is!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article V Love and Fulfilling the Law (paragraphs 43-44)--Philip Melanchthon

"If the regenerate afterward think that they will be accepted because of the fulfilling of the Law, when would a conscience be certain that it pleased God! We never satisfy the Law! So we must always run back to the promise. Our infirmity must be recognized in this matter. We must regard it as certain that we are counted righteous for the sake of Christ, 'who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us' (Romans 8:34). If anyone thinks he is righteous and accepted because of his own fulfillment of the Law, and not because of Christ's promise, he dishonors this High Priest. This cannot be understood. How could someone imagine that a person is righteous before God when Christ is excluded as the Atoning Sacrifice and Mediator?"

Disney Store

Since I am a kid at heart, I love going into the Disney Store. I love Disney World. I love Disney movies. So it is cool to check out all the Disney merchandise--shirts, stuffed animals, etc. And usually whenever I go to the Disney Store, I buy some Disney dollars to put away for my next trip to Disney World. The Disney Store is a fun place.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


I have always loved reading! My mom read to me often when I was a child ( I especially remember the Ramona books), and as I got older she encouraged me to read. I remember one time when I was little, the library had a reading program and you put a sticker on a chart for each book read. I filled quite a few of those charts! As a kid I loved reading Encyclopedia Brown, Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew etc. Now I enjoy reading a variety of things. I love to read fiction (Stephen King, Christian fiction, all sorts of novels). I am into reading literature, some of which I read years ago, and some I have never read. I also like to read history because I feel like I didn’t retain a lot from the history classes taken in schools since you are rushing to go through in several weeks time stuff that happened over hundreds of years. I also like reading books that have to do with entertainment—TV, movies, and so on. And I love reading theology. I am usually reading several books at the same time—some theology, a novel, something else.

I go to the library occasionally and check out books, but I really like to buy books. The problem is, I have so many books, they have pretty much filled all my shelves at home and at my office at church. But that won’t stop me from buying more books. I actually can get overwhelmed in a bookstore, but overwhelmed in a good way. I stand there and look at all those books, and am so excited about the possibilities. Each book offers an opportunity to learn or to be entertained or to be challenged in the way I think. Books can take you to another world. Writers are pretty amazing, and I hope someday I can write a book that will make people say, “Wow!”

In addition to reading books, I also read magazines (Time, Entertainment Weekly, Good News, Lutheran Witness, etc.). And I enjoy some online reading--my friends' blogs, and also other random blogs. It's cool to read people's stories or their opinions about things. The Internet offers many possibilities for learning about various things, and I often can find articles about things I'm interested in and do research for the book I'm trying to write.

Monday, April 14, 2008

IHOP (International House of Pancakes)

I remember going to IHOP as a kid and loving how they had all the different syrups on the table. Though I am not a huge breakfast person, I do enjoy IHOP once in awhile. I usually like to get something sweet there like the French crepes (4 crepes with orange sauce) or stuffed French Toast or pancakes with all the different syrups or a Belgian Waffle. Lots of delicious stuff to choose from there.

The Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article V Love and Fulfilling the Law (paragraphs 26-29)--Philip Melanchthon

"But someone may say, 'Since we confess that love is a work of the Holy Spirit, and since it is righteousness, because it is the fulfilling of the Law, why do we not teach that love justifies?' To this we must reply: In the first place, it is certain that we do not receive forgivenss of sins through our love or for the sake of our love, but only for Christ's sake, by faith. Faith alone looks upon the promise. It knows that because of the promise, it is absolutely certain that God forgives, because Christ has not died in vain. Such faith overcomes the terrors of sin and death. If anyone doubts whether sins are forgiven him, he dishonors Christ. For he judges that his sin is greater or more effective than Christ's death and promise, even though Paul says, 'Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more' (Romans 5:20). This means that mercy is more comprehensive than sin. If anyone thinks he receives forgiveness of sins because he loves, he dishonors Christ and will discover in God's judgment that this confidence in his own righteousness is wicked and useless. Therefore, it is necessary that faith alone reconciles and justifies."

Sunday, April 13, 2008


I think this is one of the coolest game shows. It first aired in December '07 as a week long tournament and came back in April '08 as a weekly show. Two players compete against each other in answering multiple choice questions. The game goes like this, "Before each question is asked, a screen rises between the contestants to hide their answers from one another. The question is read by the host and the contestants use their chips to cover choices, one chip per choice. They may cover any number of choices, provided they have enough chips. After both players have locked in their answers, the screen is lowered so contestants can see each others' choices, and the correct answer is then revealed. Contestants keep chips covering the correct answer, while chips placed on wrong answers are taken by the chip girls. While there is normally no time limit for locking choices in, contestants can "press" each other to impose a seven-second time limit, after which their opponent's answers are locked in automatically. Each contestant has one press per duel. The duel continues until at least one contestant fails to cover the correct answer to a question." So strategy comes in when deciding how many chips to play. Sometimes a person may need to play it safe and cover all the answers to guarantee staying in the game. But if one can use fewer chips initially, he/she has the advantage later on if the other person runs low on chips and can't cover all the answers. The questions can be on history, science, pop culture, etc. I think it's a lot of fun. It can be played online by going here: You can either play solo or challenge someone else online.

Zephaniah 3:17

17 The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.

There is a lot packed into this one verse. This speaks of how deep God's love for us is. We have a God Who delights in us, Who rejoices over us! When we think of our sinfulness and how unworthy we are, that doesn't seem like it could be possible; who are we? But we remember God created us. He lovingly made man in His image. And He was mighty to save in sending Jesus to die for us. This deep love is beyond human understanding. Human reasoning or logic cannot make sense of it. But by the faith God has given, we believe it, count on it, and rejoice that our LORD rejoices over us.

Brookfield Zoo--Brookfield, Illinois

Usually when I visit a city, I like to check out its zoo. I have been to quite a few zoos, but Brookfield Zoo in IL is still my favorite. There are so many animals there. You can easily spend the whole day there and not see everything. And I love this zoo because they have Tropic World. Tropic World is a created rain forest atmosphere that has many monkeys and gorillas which are my favorite animals. They also have an area called The Living Coast that has penguins, sharks and sea turtles. I like how this zoo is set up, and always enjoy my visits there. There is a nice interactive map on the website that shows all they have.

The Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article V Love and Fulfilling the Law (paragraphs 17-18, 20)--Philip Melanchthon

"Human nature is far too weak to resist the devil by its own powers. He holds as captive everyone who has not been freed through faith. There is need for Christ's power against the devil. For we know that for Christ's sake we are heard and have the promise. We may pray for the goverance and defense of the Holy Spirit, that we may neither be deceived and err, nor be pushed to to anything agaisnt God's will.

...When forgiveness of sins has been received, then we are truly certain that we have a God (Exodus 20:3), that is, that God cares for us. We call upon Him, we give thanks, we fear Him, we love Him as 1 John 4:19 teaches, 'We love because He first loved us.' In other words, we love Him because He gave His Son for us and forgives us our sins. In this way John shows that faith comes first and love follows."

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Number 23

I usually wouldn't buy a movie without having seen it first, but the idea of this movie intrigued me even before I saw it, so I did buy it and was fascinated with it. This is a different role for Jim Carrey, and he is great in it as Walter Sparrow, a happily married man and good father who starts reading a book his wife buys for him on his birthday. The book of course, is The Number 23, and Walter is profoundly affected by this book and becomes obsessed with it.

I was unaware of "The 23 Enigma" before this movie. Even though I am always saying I am not a numbers person at all, I really find this interesting. The 23 Enigma is, "an esoteric belief that all incidents and events are directly connected to the number 23, some permutation of the number 23, or a number related to the number 23."

This movie was suspenseful, and has a good twist. Very interesting!

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Wounded Healer by Henri J. M. Nouwen

This is an awesome book, especially chapters 3 and 4. I have found it very helpful as a church worker. The description on the back of the copy I own summarizes it well: "According to Nouwen, ministers are called to identify the suffering in their own hearts and make that recognition the starting point of their service. For Nouwen, ministers must be willing to go beyond their professional, somewhat aloof role and leave themselves open as fellow human beings with the same wounds and suffering as those they serve. In other words, we heal from our wounds."

In one part of the book, Nouwen gives a verbatim of a visit of a theology student with a man who is going to have surgery. He examines the dialogue in the visit and talks about why the student did not make a meaningful connection with the man. Nouwen also really delves into the loneliness people experience, and how people in the ministry actually experience a double loneliness, but how understanding one's wounds instead of ignoring them or closing oneself off from them actually becomes the point of connection with others since all people experience loneliness and suffering.

Some quotes from the book:

"For one man needs another to live, and the deeper he is willing to enter into the painful condition which he and others know, the more likely it is that he can be a leader, leading his people out of the desert into the promised land."

" one can help anyone without becoming involved, without entering with his whole person into the painful situation, without taking the risk of becoming hurt, wounded or even destroyed in the process. The beginning and the end of all Christian leadership is to give your life for others."

" God can save us except a suffering man can lead his people except the man who is crushed by its sins."

"A Christian leader is a man of hope whose strength in the final analysis is based neither on self-confidence derived from his personality, nor on specific expectations for the future, but on a promise given to him."

"A minister is not a doctor whose primary task is to take away pain. Rather, he deepens the pain to a level where it can be shared."

"Therefore ministry is a very confronting service. It does not allow people to live with illusions of immortality and wholeness. It keeps reminding others that they are mortal and broken, but also that with the recognition of this condition, liberation starts."

"Community arises where the sharing of pain takes place, not as a stifling form of self-complaint, but as a recognition of God's saving promises."

Such good stuff. All people in the ministry should have to read this book!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

"Closer to Free" Bodeans

I love the Bodeans! I first heard this song, "Closer to Free" as the opening for Party of Five, a TV show I really dig, but I didn't know at first who performed the song. After hearing it a couple times, I actually could tell by the singing that it was the Bodeans. They have such a nice blend when they sing; I love when they harmonize, and their music has a distinctive sound. This song is a lot of fun, and I think of Party of Five when I hear it too which is cool cause it was such a great show. The music video has shots of the characters at the family owned restaurant as well as the Bodeans performing in the restaurant setting. It's a feel good song! Clips

Everybody wants to live, like they wanna live
And everybody wants to love, like they wanna love
Everybody wants to be
Closer to free
Everybody wants respect, Just a little bit
And everybody needs a chance, once in awhile
Everybody wants to be
Closer to free
Everybody one,
Everybody two,
Everybody Free
Everybody needs to touch, you know, now and then
And everybody wants a good, good friend
Everybody wants to be
Closer to Free
I said everybody one,
Everybody two,
Everybody Free
Everybody wants to live, like they wanna live
And everybody wants to love, like they wanna love
Everybody wants to be
Closer to free
Yeah, Closer to free
Yeah, Closer to free
Closer to free

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


What a great candy bar! It consists of a butter cookie center topped with caramel and coated in milk chocolate. There are also variations of this from time to time that are good like the Java Twix.

This makes me think of a Seinfeld episode "The Dealership" where George goes with Jerry to the Dealership to help him in purchasing a car. George tries to buy a Twix from the vending machine cause he is starving, but the candy bar dangles and doesn't drop. When he comes back, there are no Twix in the machine, and he sees the mechanic happily munching on a Twix. George makes a scene about it, wanting the mechanic to be fired for stealing his Twix. Others try to tell George, maybe the mechanic was eating something besides a Twix, but George is adamant about knowing a Twix when he sees one. "It's the only candy bar with the cookie crunch." He later does a candy line up and stuff. It's a great episode. Actually I think Twix was kind of featured in another episode of Seinfeld, when people were eating Twix and other candy bars with forks.

Monday, April 7, 2008

The Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article IV Justification (paragraphs 110, 113-114)--Philip Melanchthon

"If faith receives forgiveness of sins because of love, forgiveness of sins will always be uncertain, because we never love as much as we ought to. Indeed, we do not love unless our hearts are firmly convinced that forgiveness of sins has been granted to us...

But forgiveness of sins is received by faith alone. Indeed, this is properly called faith because the promise cannot be received except by faith. Faith, properly called, is what believes this promise. Scripture speaks of this faith. Because faith receives forgiveness of sins and reconciles us to God, we are (like Abraham) counted as righteous for Christ's sake before we love and before we do the works of the Law, although love necessarily follows."

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Searching for Eternity by Elizabeth Musser

I really enjoyed this novel about Emile de Bonnery, a thirteen year old boy living in France who in the 1960s, is forced to relocate to Atlanta, Georgia with his mom. Emile does not know why they had to come to America, but only knows that his father was acting mysteriously and was seen with another woman right before his mother and he left France. Emile tries to figure out the story with his dad--is he having an affair, is he a spy? As he struggles to adjust to life in America and endures bullying, he meets a fascinating girl his age named Eternity, and they form a unique friendship.

Musser is a good writer, and in this book she explores topics such as the French Resistance, civil rights, alcoholism, faith, and forgiveness. It was an engaging book, and I found myself really caring about the characters.