Thursday, November 27, 2008

"We Praise You, O God"

We praise You, O God, our Redeemer, Creator;
In grateful devotion our tribute we bring.
We lay it before You, we kneel and adore You;
We bless Your holy name, glad praises we sing.

We worship You, God of our fathers, we bless You;
Through trial and tempest our guide You have been.
When perils o'ertake us, You will not forsake us,
And with Your help, O Lord, our struggles we win.

With voices united our praises we offer
And gladly our songs of thanksgiving we raise.
With You, Lord, beside us, Your strong arm will guide us.
To You, our great Redeemer, forever be praise!

Text: Julia B. Cory
Tune: Nederlandtsch Gedenckclanck, Haarlem, 1626

This is such a wonderful hymn of praise and thanksgiving, that clearly reminds us of all the wonderful things our Lord has done and continues to do for us.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Monsters, Inc.

This is a cute and funny Disney movie about a monster-inhabited world whose power company, Monster's Inc., employs monsters who scare children and use the screams generated by the children to power the city. The monsters are scared to have contact with the children and have the CDA (Child Detection Agency) take action if contact is made. Things go haywire when a child enters the monsters' world. Sully (voiced by John Goodman) and Mike (voiced by Billy Crystal) are lovable monsters who end up doing everything they can to help the child "Boo" get back home.

Psalm 23

A psalm of David.

1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

This a well known and well loved psalm and for good reason--it gives such a comforting image of our LORD. He is our Shepherd taking care of us, the helpless and often stupid sheep. We need not fear death or anything else with our Shepherd taking care of us.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Book of Concord by Various Theologians

From the Overview of the Book of Concord, "The Book of Concord contains documents Christians have used since the fourth century to explain what they believe and teach on the basis of the Holy Scriptures. First, it includes the three creeds that originated in the Ancient Church: the Apostles' Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed. Second, it contains the Reformation writings known as the Augsburg Confession, the Apology of the Augsburg Confession, the Smalcald Articles, the Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope, Luther's Small and Large Catechisms, and the Formula of Concord.

The Catechisms and Smalcald Articles came from the pen of Martin Luther; the Augsburg Confession, its Apology, and the Treatise were written by Luther's co-worker, the scholarly Phillip Melanchthon; the Formula of Concord was given its final form chiefly by Jacob Andreae, Martin Chemnitz, and Nicholas Selnecker."

Confessional Lutherans believe these confessions in the Book of Concord are a correct exposition of the Scriptures. So, it's a pretty important book! It is awesome to read and re-read the confessions and see how clearly articulated all the doctrines are. Evey time the Book of Concord is read, something new can be gained or something significant can be reinforced.

Kitchen Nightmares

This show features the chef Gordon Ramsay. The formula of the show is pretty much this: Someone who is somehow involved with a struggling restaurant calls upon Chef Ramsay for help. Ramsay comes to the restaurant, finds a lot wrong (can be lousy food, unclean kitchen, poor management, all of the above, etc.), he then tells the people involved with the restaurant what needs to change, usually at one person involved is resistant to the changes, typically everyone eventually gets on board and the restaurant has a chance to be successful and everyone is grateful for Ramsay's help. Ramsay is blunt and foul mouthed, but I think he does genuinely care about making a difference and ends up helping people. Ramsay is just fascinating to me. Outside of it being a bit frightening how many restaurant kitchens are so unclean, it's really an interesting show to watch.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Beauty and the Beast

This 1991 animated film is one of my favorite Disney movies. It's about love and about how it's not mere outward appearance that's most important. There are some great songs in this film like "Gaston," "Be Our Guest," and "Beauty and the Beast," and there is humor in the movie as well. Wonderful flick.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Psalm 16

1 Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge.
2 I said to the LORD, "You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing."
3 As for the saints who are in the land, they are the glorious ones in whom is all my delight.
4 The sorrows of those will increase who run after other gods. I will not pour out their libations of blood or take up their names on my lips.
5 LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure.
6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. 7 I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.
8 I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure,
10 because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay.
11 You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Truly apart from God we have no good thing. Though we face many difficulties in our pilgrimage here on earth, because of the LORD we can say we are not shaken. All our security and confidence is in what our LORD has done for us. And we know the grave cannot hold us because it could not hold our Savior. We have eternal life and joy that knows no end because of Christ.

Friday, November 21, 2008


This is a multi-sport event for athletes with physical and sensorial disabilities. The current explanation for the "para" is that it derives from the Greek preposition meaning alongside or parallel referring to how the Paralympics is a competition held in parallel to the Olympic Games.

When I saw the Paralympic coverage of the Beijing '08 games on TV, I was incredibly moved and inspired. The coverage included not just the events themselves, but stories about the athletes and the struggles they had overcome and the hard work they had put it to be at the games. These athletes have so much to teach about determination, perseverance, and courage.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Cannelloni is a rectangular pasta sheet rolled with a filling. Sometimes cannelloni refers to a cooked crepe. Usually when I've gotten it, it's been stuffed with a mixture of beef and veal. And I like it when it's served with both a creamy white sauce and a tomato based sauce. It's one of my favorite things to order at Italian restaurants.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Psalm 4:6-8

6 Many are asking, "Who can show us any good?" Let the light of your face shine upon us, O LORD.
7 You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine abound.
8 I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.

Greater joy--that is what we have because of our LORD. It's a joy that is not found in the things of this world. It's a joy we can have even in the face of the greatest adversities. And peace is ours too. V. 8 is such a wonderful verse to think of as you go to bed at night.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

"Rock & Roll" Eric Hutchinson

This is one of those songs for me that when I heard it on the radio, I had to right away track down based on a snippet of lyrics who sang it and download it. The chorus is catchy, and I can play it over and over again. I wasn't really familiar with Eric Hutchinson. He kind of reminds me of Jason Mraz.

"If she wanna rock she rocks
If she wanna roll she rolls
She can roll with the punches
Long as she feels like she’s in control
If she wanna stay she stays
If she wanna go she goes
She doesn't care how she gets there
Long as she gets somewhere she knows"

Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article XI God's Eternal Foreknowledge and Election (par 48-49)--Chemnitz, Selnecker, and Andreae

Regarding election:
"Furthermore, this doctrine provides glorious consolation under the cross and amid temptations. In other words, God in His counsel, before the time of the world, determiend and decreed that He would assist us in all distresses. He determined to grant patience, give consolation, nourish and encourage hope, and produce an outcome for us that would contribute to our salvation. Also, Paul teaches this in a very consoling way. He explains that God in His purpose has ordained before the time of the world by what crosses and sufferings He would conform every one of His elect to the image of His Son. His cross shall and must work together for good for everyone, because they are called according to God's purpsoe. Therefore, Paul has concluded that it is certain and beyond doubt that neither 'tribulation, or distress,' neither 'death nor life,' or other such things 'will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.' (See Romans 8:28, 29, 35, 38, 39)"


Melissa is one of those people you're just drawn to because she has such a positive energy, light, and joy. That is why I sometimes call her Sunshine. Melissa had a battle with an aggressive cervical cancer and when she wasn't around work for awhile, I really missed her smiling face. Though obviously she had struggles and low points in her battle with cancer, I really admire how she relied on her faith in Christ and was a witness to others through the whole thing. She always has that desire to share her faith in Christ and to show His love to others in her words and actions. I pray she stays healthy for a long long long time because this world needs her light. Something else I appreciate about Melissa is what an affectionate person she is; I know I can always count on a hug from her. And she is incredibly easy to talk to.

Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article XI God's Eternal Foreknowledge and Election (par 45-47)--Chemnitz, Selnecker, and Andreae

Regarding Election:
"This doctrine also provides the excellent, glorious consolation that God was greatly concerned about the conversion, righteousness, and salvation of every Christian. He so faithfully provided for it that even before the foundation of the world was laid, He considered it, and in His purpose ordained how He would bring me to salvation and preserve me in salvation. He wanted to secure my salvation so well and so certainly, since through the weakness and wickedness of our flesh salvation could easily be lost from our hands, or through the devil's and the world's craft and might it could be snatched and taken from us. Therefore, He ordained in His eternal purpose what cannot fail or be overthrown. He placed salvation for safekeeping in the almighty hand of our Savior, Jesus Christ, from which no one can snatch us (John 10:28). Therefore, Paul asks in Romans, because we 'are called according to His purpose' (8:28), who 'will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord'? (8:39)."

Saturday, November 15, 2008

"My Sweet Love" John Mellencamp

My Sweet Love (Viral Video) from Concord Music Group on Vimeo.

This is my favorite song (right now anyway) from Mellencamp's 2008 album Life Death Love and Freedom. The music sticks in your head. There are a couple versions of the music video, but I prefer this one and think it's very creative.

Listen or download here

Job 19:25-27

25 I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.
26 And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God;
27 I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!

Job had been through a lot; he knew suffering. And he went through times of questioning God and not understanding why he had to suffer. Yet here he expresses his faith in his Redeemer. He speaks boldly about the resurrection of the body and eternal life. We too, by faith in Christ, can say these words with confidence! We need not fear death; because our Savior lives, we too shall live.

Refined by Fire by LTC (RET) Brian Birdwell & Mel Birdwell

This is the true story of LTC (RET) Brian Birdwell who had 60 percent of his body burned when the terrorists crashed a plane into the Pentagon on 9/11 only 15 to 20 yards away from where Brian was. Brian and Mel detail his miraculous survival, his long and painful recovery, and how their faith in Christ enabled them to get through this ordeal. It is very moving to read this, and very inspiring. God gave them remarkable faith, and they are now able to help others and point them to God's love and grace.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Finding Nemo

This is a cute and funny Disney movie about an overprotective clownfish on a quest to find his son Nemo who swam out into the open water and was taken by a scuba diver. Dory (voiced by Ellen Degeneres) is a hyper fish with short term memory loss who helps Nemo's dad. There are lots of funny characters they encounter along the way like the sharks in a recovery group whose motto is, "Fish are friends, not food." Great themes here--love between father and son, friendship, thriving though having limitation or disability (Nemo's one fin is much smaller than the other). This won the Academy Award for Best Animated Film.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Esther 4:15-16

15 Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: 16 "Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish."

Esther bravely states she will go ahead and speak to the king in order to try to save her people, even though it means she could be killed. Though God isn't mentioned by name in the book of Esther, we see God at work in passages like this. He strengthened Esther and enabled her to speak these words and to risk her life.

This verse is special to me because it is part of the deaconess motto. I pray God will give me the strength to serve Him to the best of my ability no matter what the cost. Even if it would mean my life.

"Run Runaway" Slade

The first time I heard this song was when I played an 80s compilation CD I borrowed from I guy I was dating at the time years ago. I loved the music, and I played it one time in the car when my parents and I were going to Michigan. My mom loved it, and from that point on it became our official road trip song that we have to play everytime we are traveling somewhere. It's one of these songs that lyrically isn't that profound, but it sure is fun!

"See chameleon, lying there in the sun. All things to everyone. Run runaway."

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article VIII The Person of Christ (par 96)--Chemnitz, Selnecker, and Andreae

At the end of the section that discusses errors people put forth regarding the natures of Christ:

"Since in the Holy Scriptures Christ is called a mystery upon which all heretics dash their heads, we admonish all Christians not to arrogantly indulge their reason in crafty investigations about such mysteries. With the beloved apostles, they should simply believe. They should close the eyes of their reason and bring their understanding into captivity to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5), and rejoice without ceasing in the fact that our flesh and blood is placed so high at the right hand of God's majesty and almighty power. In this way we will certainly find constant consolation in every difficulty and remain well guarded against deadly error."

Friday, November 7, 2008

Spinach Artichoke Dip

This is one of my favorite appetizers to order in restaurants such as Applebees. When I get it, I usually get it as my meal. Very delicious!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Esther 4:14

14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?"

Mordecai speaks these words to Esther upon finding out about a plot to kill the Jews. I like this passage because it is a reminder to us all that God can use the positions we're in and allows for us to be in certain positions for a purpose. God worked through Esther in her royal position enabling her to prevent this plot from being carried about, and thus saving her people. It's awesome how God works through various people and circumstances.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Mickey Mouse

Mickey Mouse was created by Walt Disney in 1928. Mickey Mouse is so much more than just an animated cartoon chracter. He is a widely recognized symbol all over the world. For a lot of people, seeing Mickey Mouse brings a happy, magical feeling. He reminds people of their childhood. For me, Mickey Mouse reminds me of when I was a kid and how I loved having a Mickey Mouse theme for my birthdays, AND it reminds me of my trips to DisneyWorld which I took as an adult. I am truly a kid at heart, and absolutely love DisneyWorld. So seeing Mickey Mouse evokes such happy memories, and brings out the kid in me. And we all need to be a kid again from time to time and have a break from reality or"the adult world."

Monday, November 3, 2008

"Solsbury Hill" Peter Gabriel

Solsbury Hill - Peter Gabriel

It's only in recent years that I've really grown to like this song a lot. It's kind of unique with its 7/4 time signature that's used a lot throughout the song. Gabriel wrote this after he left Genesis. There are a couple good covers of the song too. I like Erasure's acoustic cover of it and I found a Dave Matthews cover online.