Wednesday, April 30, 2008

No More Bottle

Yes...you read that right - no more bottle. Since Hannah is getting close to one (May 26), we've been working on switching her to a sippy cup. Some days have been harder than others but I'm excited to announce that Hannah has been bottle free since Monday! ;) I wasn't expecting to fully switch her over so soon but since she's not having a problem with it, why not? Here's a picture of her enjoying her very last bottle Sunday night. I can't believe how fast she's growing up! Take Care,
Terra

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Tuesday's Testimony - Or lack thereof

Sorry but no one gave me a testimony this week! If/when I get another, I'll be sure to post it. I'll be thinking about whether or not to change the format of this topic.

Take care,
Terra

Monday, April 28, 2008

Monday's Music Review - The Word is Alive

Song Title: The Word is Alive(#5 on album)
Album Title: The Altar and the Door
Artist(s): Casting Crowns

(Hear the song here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ukMix2pUpPo):


Looking out from His throne,
the Father of light and of men
Chose to make Himself known
and show us the way back to Him
Speaking wisdom and truth
into the hearts of peasants and kings
He began to unveil
the Word that would change
the course of all things

With eyes wide open, all would see

Chorus:
The Word is alive
And it cuts like a sword through the darkness
With a message of life to the hopeless and afraid
Breathing life into all who believe
The Word is alive
And the world and its glories will fade
But His truth, it will not pass away
It remains
yesterday and forever the same
The Word is alive

Simple strokes on a page
Eternity’s secrets revealed,
carried on from age to age
It speaks Truth to us even still
And as the rain falls from Heaven,
feeds the earth before it returns
Lord, let Your Word fall on us
and bring forth the fruit
You deserve

With eyes wide open, let us see

*Repeat Chorus

Spoken:
The Bible was inscribed over a period of 2000 years.
In times of war and in days of peace.
By kings, physicians, tax collectors, farmers, fisherman, singers, and shepherds.
The marvel is that a library so perfectly cohesive could have been produced by such a diverse crowd over a period of time which staggers the imagination.
Jesus is its grand subject, our good is designed and the glory of God is its end.

*Repeat Chorus

My thoughts:

Wow! What a beautiful and powerful song! I immediately think on Hebrews 4:12: "For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart."

To the Christian, the Word of God (the Bible) is the fountain of life. Everything we know about how to live a life glorifying to God can be found in it's pages. As this song says, it gives life to the hopeless and afraid. It also gives warnings to the stubborn and evil at heart. As they pray, I pray, "Lord, let me not just read the words on the page and move on. Let me LIVE the words on the page. Let Your Word produce great fruit in my life!"

The part that is spoken during the song is also a great encouragement. As diverse as the Bible is, it's overall cohesiveness is astounding. What a great God we serve! I pray this song encourages you to read and love His Word this day!

In Christ,
Terra

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sporting a New Look

Don't turn away! You haven't gone to the wrong place, I've changed the look of my blog! Though I loved the main image on the old setup, I didn't like the overall layout. I found this one and fell in love with it. I hope you enjoy the new look as much as I do!

In Christ,
Terra

Peek A Boo!

Hannah is just figuring out how to interactively play peek a boo. Watch this cute video. Pardon my bad videography. I got so wrapped up in watching her, I wasn't watching the camera! :)

Take care,

Terra

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Chapter 5 - Examining Your Goals

Saturday's Shepherding a Child's Heart

All parents have goals for their children, whether conscious of it or not. Tedd Tripp notes that "however we define success, we wish it for our children." I don't think anyone can argue that. We all have hopes and dreams for our children and pray for the very best in their lives. Yet in the midst of wanting good for our children, we often set unbiblical goals. Tripp mentions seven different goals that fit into this category. I'll mention each one and comment briefly.

The first unbiblical goal is developing special skills. Tripp mentions children being hustled from baseball, football, hockey, dance class, etc. He's also clear to point out that having these skills is not evil. The question is: is the child being measured by his abilities or number of skills being developed? As a teenager, I set this standard for myself. I was in just about every single activity possible. It gave me a sense of belonging and self confidence. However, I truly linked "who I was" to "what I was in." As Christian parents, we should ask what values are being implied and taught by the coaches and instructors of these activities. Will involvement in these activities point our children to the Lord? I believe they can, if we choose wisely. If not, we could be inadvertently teaching our children things we never imagined.

The second unbiblical goal listed is psychological adjustment. Much of today's culture presents a pop psychology that is simply not biblical. And in the process, makes us think it is the only right way to teach our children! I liked Tripp's comment regarding esteem. He mentions how so many of these books teach us to build self-esteem in our children and yet there are no books teaching children to esteem others (as the Bible instructs us). Christ calls us to be servants to those around us - shouldn't that be our teaching point?

Third, is the goal of saved children. Oh, how so many Christian parents fall into this camp. I must admit, it will be tempting for me to do the same as Hannah gets older. The parents are so concerned about "getting their children saved" that is their sole focus. This is a sensitive issue because parents do want their children to become Christians. And yet, when it becomes the sole focus, there are two facts (as pointed out by Tripp): 1) You can never know with absolute certainty whether your child is saved and 2) A child's profession of faith in Christ does not change the basic issues of childrearing. Tripp reminds us that there are many passages of Scripture that call us to train, instruct and discipline our children. Yet none that tell us to get the child to say the "sinner's prayer." We point our children to the Lord the best we can and God works in their hearts as He chooses.

Fourth, the goal of family worship. Many Christian parents think that if they are having daily devotions and prayers with every member of their family, things will be okay. The problem is that oftentimes there is no connection between this routine and life. As is, such a family is reflecting a defective spirituality.

The fifth unbiblical goal is well-behaved children. We discussed this a little in the last post so I won't elaborate much. We need to remember that good behavior is, as Tripp puts it, "a great secondary benefit of biblical childrearing, but an unworthy goal in itself." Good manners apart from biblical roots is deceiving. And in the end it will not produce godly fruit.

Sixth, is the unbiblical goal of good education. Many parents have the sole goal that a good education will make their children succeed. Again, good education is a great thing. But there are many educated "disillusioned and broken people."

Last is the goal of control. This is similar to the goal of well-behaved children. More specifically, as Tripp points out, "the concern is personal convenience and public appearance."

All that being said, what does the Bible have to say about goals and cultural influence. Well, we see clearly in the Old Testament that Israel (God's people) were to not be influenced by the people around them. They were to follow the laws of their God. Our purpose in life is to glorify God and enjoy Him in all we do. We need to evaluate our goals next to this purpose. Instead, we are teaching our children the idolatry of materialism. We send mixed signals and expect our children to "turn out okay."

In next week's post, we'll discuss reworking these goals. In the meantime, what unbiblical goals are you struggling with? If we're honest with ourselves, we can probably name a few. Repent to the Lord for those and ask what He wants of you.

In Christ,
Terra

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Learning to Walk

A few nights ago, Hannah took her first step. The next night, she took 3 steps. However, she hasn't really done much since. ;) She's on her way to walking but not there just yet. It's exciting though! Here is a short video of her using a push toy and "walking."




She's also learning to point and play peek-a-boo (interactively). That's always fun. If you're interested in some recent (and random pictures) click here: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=33576&l=7091a&id=607147099



Take care,



Terra

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Tuesday's Testimony - Starring You?

While I LOVE doing the Tuesday's Testimony, I've really struggled with getting people to give me their testimony for posting.

Are you a lady?
Have you trusted Jesus Christ as your only Savior?
Are you interested in blessing others with your testimony of change?

If so, email or message me and I'll send you the details. If I can't get enough interest, I may have to shift the Tuesday's Testimony to something else.

Take care,
Terra

Monday, April 21, 2008

Monday's Music Review - East to West

Song Title: East to West (#4 on album)
Album Title: The Altar and the Door
Artist(s): Casting Crowns

(Hear the song here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6zdihmwy1M):

I wrote about this song a long time ago (on our family blog) so I'll just copy that post here. This is truly an amazing song on forgiveness. I pray it blesses you as it has me.

--------

I sit awake tonight, wondering why I can’t sleep. It’s past 11 and I have a 7 week old baby – I should be tired, right? Why am I not? As I listened to a new song by Casting Crowns, I think I know why. Here are the lyrics:

East to West
By Casting Crowns

Here I am Lord and I’m drowning,
in Your sea of forgetfulness
The chains of yesterday surround me,
I yearn for peace and rest
I don’t want to end up where You found me
And it echoes in my mind
Keeps me awake tonight
I know you’ve cast my sin as far as
the East is from the West
And I stand before You now as though I’ve never sinned
But today I feel like I’m just one mistake away
From You leaving me this way

Chorus:
Jesus can you show me just how far
the east is from the west
‘Cause I can’t bear to see the man I’ve been
Rising up in me again
In the arms of Your mercy I find rest
‘Cause You know just how
far the east is from the west
From one scarred hand to the other

I start the day, the war begins
Endless reminding of my sin
And time and time again
Your truth is drowned out by the storm I’m in
Today I feel like I’m just one mistake away
from You leaving me this way

I know You’ve washed me white
Turn my darkness into life
I need Your peace to get me through
To get me through this night
I can’t live by what I feel
About the truth Your word reveals
I’m not holding on to You
But
You’re holding on to me
You’re holding on to me

Tonight some of the sins of my past crept into my mind. I’m not sure what brought the memories to me. Well, actually – I am sure – it was Satan. He always tries to remind us of how unworthy we are by resurfacing the sins of our pasts. Tonight, I let him get to me. My problem is that I’m trying to fight the memories on my own. It won’t work that way. Apart from Christ, I’m exactly the person Satan makes me out to be. However, I “have been crucified with Christ. It is not longer I who lives but Christ who lives in me.” “By grace [I] have been saved by faith, not a result of works so that [I] may not boast.” Jesus Christ has washed me white as snow. This song is so perfect for this night. Each word rings truer then I could have penned. I want to know how far the east is from the west because that’s how much Christ loves me. As the song says, the length is “one scarred hand to another.” Jesus Christ died for each and every one of the sins of my past, present and future. I must rest in Him and Him alone this evening. Praise God for His mercy and grace!

I pray this post encourages others who may be struggling in the same way.

Take care,
Terra

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Saturday's Oops

How do you like that for a title?

Well, I've been out of town since Wednesday and completely forgot to read and prepare the blog for Saturday's Shepherding a Child's Heart! I'll be sure to get back up to speed and I'll have the chapter up next Saturday. Please forgive me for my lack of preparation!

Thank you for grace,
Terra

Friday, April 18, 2008

Earthquake!

Since Wednesday, Hannah and I have been in Western Kentucky spending time with my family. We're staying with my sister and my bro-in-law. Well, last night (or more precisely, early this morning), I woke up feeling the entire trailer shaking. Completely freaked out, I looked out the window to see if it was really windy or something. My first fear was that of a tornado. However, the winds were calm and nothing was really going on outside. Considering I'm not familiar with the part of town I'm in, I went back to sleep assuming I was near a train or something.

This morning, I first asked my sister if she had felt the house shake. No. Later, when her husband got up, I asked him the same. He joked and told me I must either be crazy or imagining things. Only later did I find out through my husband that I experienced an earthquake! Some how, out of 3 adults and 3 children, I was the only one to wake up (much less get scared to death)!

Nothing fell, no one was hurt, just me - a bit scared. ;) Apparently it was a 5.2 magnitude earthquake about 173 miles North of where I'm staying. They say the earthquake was felt over 400 miles away! Wow. I know that something like this is probably no big deal for the Californian, but here in Kentucky - it was a little on the crazy side.


View Larger Map

For the full news story, click here.
Until next time,
Terra

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tuesday's Testimony - Elisabeth Elliot

Though my last two testimonies have been on people I know personally, this week will be a little different. For those of you who do not know the story, Elisabeth Elliot was the wife of Jim Elliot, one of five missionaries speared to death by the Auca Indians in Ecuador in the '50s. By God's great mercy, the women and children left behind were able to be used as a great testimony to the Indians, many of whom became Christians. Because I do not wish to plagiarize, I'll simply point you to the link of her testimony: http://www.elisabethelliot.org/about.html.

In Christ,

Terra

Hannah and Falling

Ever since Hannah Mai learned to sit, we've played a little game. Basically, when she's on the bed (because it's soft), we'll gently push her until she loses her balance and falls backwards. She's always gotten a kick out of it. Well, in the last couple of days, she's added a new twist. Now, she doesn't even wait for the push, she simply falls backward! It's too cute. The downside is that she hasn't quite figured out she can't do it on all surfaces. She decided to do it in the kitchen floor the other day - not a pretty thing! Enjoy the video!

Take care,

Terra

Monday, April 14, 2008

Hannah's Physical Therapy is Complete!

I'm excited to announce that Hannah Mai has completed her six month long, weekly physical therapy sessions for her Torticollis! Her PT, Beth Green (pictured at left), has been a tremendous blessing to our family and she'll surely be missed! Though Hannah started off skeptical with her (as everyone else), after time and patience, she really took to Beth. I'm so thankful to the Lord for First Steps, a state sponsored organization that provided the physical therapy in our home for free!

Beth has not only been friendly and helpful with Hannah, she's been a great Christian encourager as well. Thank you Beth! I pray we stay in touch!

In Christ,
Terra

Monday's Music Review - Every Man

Song Title: Every Man (#2 on album)
Album Title: The Altar and the Door
Artist(s): Casting Crowns

(Hear the song here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQn1DEv4z3U):

I’m the man with all I’ve ever wanted
All the toys and playing games
I am the one who pours your coffee, corner booth each Saturday
I am your daughter’s favorite teacher
I am the leader of the band
I sit behind you in the bleachers
I am every man

I’m the coach of every winning team and still a loser in my mind
I am the soldier in the airport facing giants one more time
I am the woman shamed and haunted by the cry of unborn life
I’m every broken man, nervous child, lonely wife

Is there hope for every man
A solid place where we can stand
In this dry and weary land
Is there hope for every man
Is there love that never dies
Is there peace in troubled times
Someone help me understand
Is there hope for every man

Seems there’s just so many roads to travel, it’s hard to tell where they will lead
My life is scarred and my dreams unraveled
Now I’m scared to take the leap
If I could find someone to follow who knows my pain and feels the weight
The uncertainty of my tomorrow, the guilt and pain of yesterday

There is hope for every man
A solid place where we can stand
In this dry and weary land
There is hope for every man
There is Love that never dies
There is peace in troubled times
Will we help them understand?
Jesus is hope for every man

------------

What artists say about this song:

This is the anthem of the world. The world is full of normal everyday people who
are on a search for hope and happiness. For many, darkness has pulled the wool
over their eyes, and they are trying to make it happen on their own. They’re
searching and they’re listening. Question is, are we saying anything?

~2 Corinthians 5:16-21 / 2 Corinthians 1:3-5

Written by Mark Hall, Bernie Herms, and Nichole Nordeman


My thoughts:

I really don't feel the need to add much to this song. It's a pleasant song to listen to and a great reminder our broken world. I really appreciate the lyrics: "If I could find someone to follow who knows my pain and feels the weight; The uncertainty of my tomorrow, the guilt and pain of yesterday." There IS someone to follow that knows our pain and feels the weight. Jesus Christ understands. And because of the forgiveness He offers, we can deal with the guilt and pain of yesterday. If you're interested in reading about that, check out an older post of mine about another song by Casting Crowns entitled East to West.

In Christ,
Terra

Neighborhood Changes

Notice the construction equipment in the background? Yeah... so this is the view from my kitchen window. There used to be a ton of trees here. I heard they were building some condos and another subdivision. :*( Why the sad face? Two reasons: I'm not looking forward to the noise all summer (or however long it takes to build) and the traffic on our road is already horrendous. The city recently postponed widening our road until 2010 because of budget cuts. Rats. Well....what can I do about it. Trust in the Lord.

Take care,
Terra

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Zoo Times

This past Tuesday, Hannah and I had the chance to visit the zoo with some of my lady friends from church. It was Hannah's first zoo trip and my first one since at least middle school or so. Hannah's favorite part? The wood chips and wooden fences. Seriously... she could have cared less about the animals but she was awfully interested in the fences! At one point, we were in this room with a giant Orangutang (he was behind glass of course). Hannah was right up at the glass, within a foot of this massive creature. He was so entertained by Hannah and I could hardly even get her to look at him! What else did she enjoy on her trip? An hour long time in her stroller! Oh well.... I'm sure as she gets older, she'll appreciate things like that more. :) Here are a few pictures from our trip.





Take care,

Terra











Saturday, April 12, 2008

Chapter 4 - You're in Charge

Saturday's Shepherding a Child's Heart

"Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord." - Eph 6:4 (ESV)

Before I even get started with this post, I want to make a general comment on the topic of the chapter. There are many different parenting philosophies in our culture today. Some are biblical, most are not. Without passing any immediate judgment on the topic of this chapter I ask you to do two things: read the entire thing with as little bias as possible and then study what the Bible itself tells you about the topic. Do we have a deal? Great! I'll move on.

Not only did I start this post with a disclaimer, in a sense, the author, Paul Tripp, does the same. Our culture does not like authority - plain and simple. We want to do whatever we want, whenever we want, however we want, regardless of whether or not anyone says we shouldn't. But we should desire to have a biblical understanding of authority, not a wordly understanding. Tripp mentions several questions to think about (p.29):

  • What is the nature of the parent's authority over a child?
  • Are we in charge because we are not sinners and they are?
  • Do we have the right to tell our kids to do anything we want them to do?

A Christian parent is called to be in charge. But what kind of "in charge" and why? God has given us the authority to act on His behalf over our children. I love Tripp's comment, "You may not try to shape the lives of your children as pleases you, but as pleases Him." Deuteronomy 6 underscores the view of parental responsibility. Also, quoted in the opening of this blog, Ephesians 6 commands us to provide the training and instruction of the Lord on God's behalf. If we do allow unholy anger to "muddy the process" we are in the wrong.

So what exactly are we expecting of our children? We are expecting obedience. Why? Because God says we must. As Tripp mentions, "there is tremendous freedom here for a parent. When you direct, correct or discipline, you are not acting out of your own will; you are acting on behalf of God." God has given us a duty and we must follow through.

In addition to the simple fact that God has commanded us, it is important to establish that the parent is in charge for other good reasons. When the younger child continues to go against his parent and be his own decision maker on all occasions, by the time he is elementary aged, he is his own boss. By the time he is a teenager, he's out of control. Tripp also dealt specifically with a common argument against this. He says, "Some may argue, 'Children only learn to be decision makers as parents allow them to make decisions. We want children to learn to make sound decisions.' This misses the most important issue. Children will be good decision makers as they observe faithful parents modeling and instructing wise direction and decision making on their behalf."

Tripp does not stop there. He continues to go against the grain of our culture. Parenting is not just a call to "providing care." Not that we should not be doing that. However, we are called by God to train and shepherd our children (towards Him) at all times and not just when it's convenient for us. Here are a few points Tripp suggests:

  1. We must have clear objectives for our children. What do you expect of your children specifically?
  2. We must have humility in our task. When we wrong our children or express anger towards them, we must ask them for forgiveness. Not only is this God's standard, it's teaching them forgiveness in a very real way. You are not perfect and you will sin against your child - be prepared.
  3. We must have no place for anger. "...for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness that God requires." - James 1:20 (ESV)
  4. We should remember that requiring obedience benefits the child. "Whoever ignores instruction despises himself, but he who listens to reproof gains intelligence." -Prov 15:32 (ESV)

In the end, Tripp summarizes this way:

  • Discipline: Corrective, Not Punitive
  • Discipline: An Expression of Love (see Prov. 3:12, 13:24, Heb. 12, Rev. 3:19 to name a few)

This chapter was an encouragement and a conviction to me as a parent. When we're lax in our discipline, we're disobeying the Lord. And yet the call is to lead our children in a way that shows love and points them to Christ. Wow. What a calling! Praise God for His grace and patience with us along the way!

In Christ,

Terra

Friday, April 11, 2008

Aren't Asians Cute? ;)

This video is not my daughter (though Hannah may look like this in another year or so, hehe). But it is really cute. My friend Kelly sent it to me. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Tuesday's Testimony - Ines Lindner

Meet Mrs. Ines (pronounced Ee-nes) Lindner. Mrs. Lindner is the mother of Kristy Horton (my last Tuesday's Testimony) and that is how I met her. She's a sweet woman of the Lord and one in whose presence I've always felt like family. If you were at our wedding, you can thank Mrs. Lindner for the amazing wedding cake. ;)
Her testimony in Christ, in her words:

My name is Ines Lindner. I was saved March 25, 1979. Prior to that, I thought I was a Christian. I was raised in a home where we believed in God and we went to church on holidays and went through all the required religious ceremonies but we were not consistent in attending church nor did I have assurance that if I died that I would go to heaven.

I met my husband Charles in 1971 and we were married in 1973. We had a four year old daughter and 17-month-old twin daughters by 1977. It was at that time that I felt even stronger the need to be in church but again, only went on special occasions and sporadically.

I developed what doctors called a ganglion cyst on my right wrist and sometimes they go away. Mine did not but I persevered with it until I couldn’t stand the pain anymore. One day while cleaning the bathroom tub, I put the cleaning rag down and decided that very moment I needed to go see the doctor. I would later find out that at the very same time, a woman by the name of Charlotte Pharoah was working in her garden, not very far from where I lived, who had decided to go see the same doctor about her weight!

We met each other in the waiting room of the doctor’s office that day. As we began to talk to each other, I shared with her how I felt the need for my family to be in church. She asked me if I had a stable and went into it everyday would I become a horse? That was somewhat strange to me but I kept listening to her. She then shared that it was a personal relationship with Jesus Christ that I was seeking and she gave me a pocket testament of the book of John.

Charlotte’s words caused me to want to seek peace and security that when I died, I would live with the Lord in the next life! That led me to visit Charlotte’s church with my sister and our children. When the invitation was given to receive Jesus as my Savior, I went forward to pray that my sins would be forgiven. Such peace and joy filled my heart! However, because I always wanted to measure up to people’s expectations and I wasn’t confident of my earthly father’s love, I struggled with doubts about my salvation for two years!

Pregnant with our fourth child in 1981, we were in a different church where a message was given about Salvation and I cried and said, “Lord, I’m not leaving this place until I know without a shadow of a doubt that I belong to you!” The pastor there went over the plan of salvation with me and asked me if I believed it? I said, “ yes!” Then he handed me a pen saying, “If I want to give you this pen as a gift, when does it become yours?” I said, “When I take it!” Then he said, “If you believe in Christ and you received His gift but you still have doubts, then there must be some sin in your life keeping you from having peace.” I thought about it and realized the sin was not trusting Jesus to do what He said He would do. His Word says, “For by grace are you saved through faith; and not of yourselves: it is the gift of God; not of works lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8,9). I realized that what I was trying to do was still earn God’s favor when I already had it. I didn’t earn it; He freely gave it to me. That was the day my heart found complete assurance that I WAS a child of God and nobody could take it away from me, not even myself! :o)

You may be serving the Lord faithfully and doing everything you believe you should and yet have doubts about your own salvation. Or you may not know the Lord and you want to. Here are Scriptures that were helpful to me and gave me assurance to never doubt again.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:9)

“These things have been written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that you may KNOW that you HAVE eternal life, and that you may believe on the name of the Son of God.” (I John 5:13)

“To as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them who believe on His name.” (John 1:12)

Monday, April 7, 2008

Monday's Music Review - What This World Needs

Song Title: What This World Needs (#1 on album)
Album Title: The Altar and the Door
Artist(s): Casting Crowns


(Hear the song here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=StF1r0GysEE):

What this world needs
Is not another one hit wonder with an axe to grind,
Another two bit politician peddlin` lies,
Another three ring circus society.

What this world needs
Is not another sign wavin` super saint that's better than you,
Another ear pleasin` candy man afraid of the truth,
Another prophet in an Armani suit.

What this world needs
Is a Savior who will rescue,
A Spirit who will lead,
A Father who will love them in their time of need.

A Savior who will rescue,
A Spirit who will lead,
A Father who will love,
That's what this world needs.

What this world needs
Is for us to care more about the inside than the outside.
Have we become so blind that we can't see?
God's gotta change her heart before He changes her shirt.

What this world needs
Is for us to stop hiding behind our relevance.
Blendin` in so well that people can't see the difference
And it's the difference that sets the world free.

What this world needs
Is a Savior who will rescue,
A Spirit who will lead,
A Father who will love them in their time of need.

A Savior who will rescue,
A Spirit who will lead,
A Father who will love,
That's what this world needs.

(Spoken)
People aren't confused by the gospel,
They're confused by us.
Jesus is the only way to God,
But we are not the only way to Jesus.
This world doesn't need
My tie, my hoodie,
My denomination, or my translation of the Bible,
They just need Jesus.
We can be passionate about what we believe,
But we can't strap ourselves to the gospels.
Because we're slowing it down
Jesus is going to save the world,
But maybe the best thing we can do
Is just get out of the way.

What this world needs
Is a Savior who will rescue,
A Spirit who will lead,
A Father who will love them in their time of need.

A Savior who will rescue,
A Spirit who will lead,
A Father who will love,
That's what this world needs.

Jesus is our Savior,
That's what this world needs
Father's arms around you,
That's what this world needs
That's what this world needs

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My Thoughts:
To be completely honest, I'm not a big fan of the style of music in this song. But that's a personal preference and nothing more. Regarding the lyrics...this song says a great deal. Casting Crowns does a good job of pointing out hypocrisy in both the world and the church. Unfortunately, even Christians are not without hypocrisy. I know that I'm personally not without hypocrisy, as much as I'd like to be.

"What this world needs is a Savior who will rescue, a Spirit who will lead, a Father who will love them in their time of need." While this world does not need me, it needs to be balanced with verses like Romans 10:14-15, "But how are they to call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, 'How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!'" We should be telling the world about Christ but we should not be imposing our personal agendas at the same time.

It's interesting how the lyrics mention "God changing her heart before her shirt." Upon first hearing, that may not make much sense. And it may actually mean two different things from my reading of it. One: Sometimes as Christians, we get so wrapped up in mercy ministries (such as feeding the poor, clothing the homeless, etc) that we never get past the outward problems to the inward problems. Mercy ministries are definitely necessary. And yet God is still blessed when we deal with the sin in these people's hearts and point them to Him. Two: it may be referring to the person that wears shirts that are not glorifying to God (eg. immodest, tight and low-cut or t-shirts with nasty comments or graphics on them). A person will not "change her shirt" until her heart has first been changed. We cannot expect a non-Christian to act like a Christian.

This song has many good admonitions for the Christian hypocrite. When balanced with Scripture and the need to proclaim Christ, the message is relevant in today's culture.

In Christ,
Terra

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Chapter 3 - Your Child’s Development: Godward Orientation

Saturday's Shepherding A Child's Heart
"Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse, and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury. Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight."
-Prov 9:7-10 (ESV)
Tedd Tripp begins chapter three by focusing on a child's orientation to the Lord and how he either draws nearer or further away from Him. He reminds us (straight from Scripture) that it is the fear of the Lord that will make one wise and wisdom will determine how the child will respond to correction. I love how clear he was in explaining that "children are worshippers." All children (as well as adults) are worshippers. "Either they worship Jehovah or idols. They are never neutral." I was first made specifically aware of my idolatrous heart about a year ago when I listened to a three part series by C.J. Mahaney called "The Idol Factory." Tripp also does an excellent job explaining this. If we are not worshipping God, we are worshipping something else. That something else is an idol. Let me give a personal example. Often times when I feel the need for a quick little pick-me-up, I inevitably go grab my idol - a Hershey's Dark Chocolate bar. Is chocolate sinful? Not in and of itself. However, if I'm consistently reaching for chocolate instead of reaching for the Lord during times of struggle - then it has become an idol.

"The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray from birth, speaking lies." -Psalms 58:3 (ESV)

It doesn't take an adult to teach sin. If you've ever seen that sweet little baby throw a tantrum when you take something away from her, you know she's a sinner from birth. Tripp says, "We often are taught that man becomes a sinner when he sins. The Bible teaches that man sins because he is a sinner. Your children are never morally neutral, not even from the womb." Wow.

So now that we are aware that our children's hearts are not neutral, how do we know who or what they will worship? "Part of the parent's task is to shepherd him as a creature who worships, pointing him to the One who alone is worthy of worship." says Tripp. This is the issue that separates Tripp's book from most parenting books. Though we need to be providing the proper shaping influences (see Ch. 2), we cannot stop there. We need to dig further. Our child's Godward orientation will determine his response to life. Tripp cautions parents not to think that all of our children's issues are "simply a lack of maturity." What a good word. He gives examples such as selfishness and rebellion. Our children will not grow out of these things as they mature. They will only grow out of them as they rid their hearts of their idols and seek hard after God. We have the great opportunity to lead them in the right direction.

Tripp uses the story of Joseph to close the chapter. Though everything in Joseph's childhood (and even early adulthood) would assume the worst outcome, we see the opposite. Joseph was surrounded by negative shaping influences. However, his Godward orientation was strong and he became a great man of God.

Though I felt like the chapter was a little repetitive, it was still both encouraging and convicting. I have a great task ahead of me and I need the Lord's grace. I need to be pointing my daughter to the Lord on a daily basis - even now.

How have you helped shape your child's Godward orientation today?

In Christ,

Terra

Friday, April 4, 2008

Hannah Happenings

Recently James and I were asked if we'd be willing to allow Meijer (where James works) to use some pictures of Hannah Mai for their upcoming Photo Center Grand Re-opening. Considering it took almost zero effort on our part and we thought it'd be kind of cool, we said yes. Though tomorrow is the big event, they already had a big display up. Hannah is no model and the pics aren't even that big but she'll get her 5 minutes of fame at an early age. ;) Here are a few pictures.



In addition, Hannah Mai has been learning much and growing fast! She now has a 3 word vocabulary: Dada, Mama, Bye. Though she says them rarely - she says them none-the-less. :) She's starting to cruise (aka: walk while holding onto things like tables) and she can now stand alone for about 5-6 seconds before falling. It's both fun and sad to see her grow so fast.

Until next time,

Terra

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Prayer Thanks and Easter

I (Terra) want to thank everyone for the multitude of prayers that have been lifted up on our behalf. What a blessing it is to have such wonderful friends and family. Thank you. Know that we are continuing to lean on the Lord each day for strength and comfort. God has been a great refuge during this time and He has sustained us in amazing ways. Praise the Lord!

With all of the happenings, I didn't get the chance to post anything regarding our Easter. We had a wonderful day that day. From the amazing message in Romans at church, to lunch at the Cheong's, to dinner with Todd and Natalie - it was a great day celebrating Christ's resurrection. Here are two pictures of our little "flower" (one semi-happy, one not-so-much) and then one of the family.




In Christ,
Terra

Will Resume Blogging Saturday

Hello all! I want to thank everyone for their prayers and words of encouragement during our time of loss. Last week was a hard week but one in which the Lord has strengthened us tremendously. Your prayers and concerns have been a great blessing.

I wanted to update you and let you know that I will be resuming the flow of this blog on Saturday with Chapter 3 of Shepherding a Child's Heart. In the meantime, my husband has posted some observations on our family blog that he asked me to link from this site. You can read it here: http://jamesandterra.blogspot.com/2008/03/observations-over-my-wifes-pregnancy.html

Take care,
Terra Santos