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Showing posts from March, 2010

My Wife Kicks Like Chuck Norris

Relationships are a very odd thing when you stop and consider them. We all have these relationships. We need them, depend on them, sometimes use them, but all of us are driven crazy by some or all of them.

I think that, though she loves me, I am that crazy relationship for my wife. Consider a ‘normal’ conversation between us.

Me: I need your help getting the kids bathed and put down for bed.
Her: I’m coming, just give me a second.
Me: I won’t be able to do this on my own.
Her: I know. I’m finishing the dishes, massa.
Me: Can you pleeeeease help me?
Her: Do you hear me when I’m talking?

Then, in one swift motion, she somehow un-twirls a kid from their bath towel straight into their pajamas, managing to send them spinning directly towards their bed. With her other arm she grabs another kid by his ankles, shaking the clothes off of him and dropping him in the bathtub. With her left foot she pins another kid in a corner so she can wait her turn. With her free leg, she roundhouse kicks me out o…

Choosing Better Makes Sense

Philistines were seriously delayed in their thinking. I don't know any better way to say it. There is this story in 1 Samuel 5 about the Philistines capturing the Ark of God. The Ark was a special thing for the Israelites as it was a physical way for them to see that God was with them. Of course, God never said that the Ark had special powers. The power still rested with God and His blessing came with their continued obedience. Since the Israelites weren't so great at keeping up their part of the bargain, God allowed the Ark to be captured.

So now the Philistines have this Ark of God. The only problem is that whenever they put it near the idol of their own god, their god keeps falling over. That can be very embarrassing for a god. Add to that the fact that God, the true God, was afflicting the Philistines with tumors and you can see why the townsfolk wanted to get rid of the Ark.

They start moving the Ark from town to town, causing great panic whenever people see it. That is u…

Things I Learn From Samson

I just read the story of Samson again. It's not my favorite story from the book of Judges, but it's got some good stuff. Here's what I get out of it;

1. Tying the tails of foxes together is probably tricky, but pays off when you light them on fire (Judges 15:3-5).

2. Parents can only suggest things to their children. They'll marry whomever they want (Judges 14:1-3).

3. I never should have let a razor touch my head (Judges 13:5).

4. Riddles just make people angry when they can't solve them (Judges 14:12-20).

5. Women shouldn't be trusted, period (Judges 16).

6. Strength does not equal smarts. After all, if Samson had read #5, he would have stopped giving Delilah ideas.

7. Philistines were kind of stupid (Judges 16:22). This is like taking the kryptonite away from Superman just to see if he gets strong again.

Samson was strong, had great hair for awhile, and liked to take chances. But if God can use a muscle-head like him, then I guess there's hope for me as well.

Oops, She Did It Again

"Oops." That's what she said. Oops. My wife. Oops.

If you read The Bathroom Incident (03/11/10) then you already know that what follows won't be good. For those that refuse to be subjected to more than one post of mine at a time, a few weeks ago my wife called me at work to let me know I would not be happy with the current state of our bathroom wall, which had been painted over wallpaper, but was then half torn and looking like a war-ravaged bathroom. We resolved that nicely, while discussing how later home renovations would be done with less impulse and more planning.

Enter oops. It all started reasonably. My wife was cleaning the kitchen counter. Apparently there was a ripple in the contact paper. My wife, with her Schwarzenegger-like arms, decided to scrub real hard, leaving a hole in the middle of the counter top. Like all reasonable people, she knew that wouldn't go unnoticed, so she decided to tear the rest of the contact paper off. What she found underneat…

God vs the Iron Chariot

It's just sad. Here I thought God could do anything and yet, if I read Judges 1:19 correctly, it sounds like an iron chariot is more powerful. The verse clearly says that the Lord was with the Israelites, but they were unable to take out people living in the plains.

It gets worse. Some of the saddest scripture, for me, is found in Judges 1:27-36. Let's put it in context. The entire book of Joshua appears to be one big coming out party for Israel's fighting men. They conquer city after city and plunder kingdom after kingdom. It's just as God said it would be. And God should get the credit as all the Israelites had to do was go where God pointed and at times, just shout victory.

Then Joshua dies and the book of Judges begins. All the conquests suddenly stop. We read about each tribe and how they suddenly became ineffective in kicking butt. So they settle. In their promised land. With other people still living there. This might not have been a big deal except that God had…

Start Here

For everyone who wonders what to do with themselves. For anyone who wonders what they are accomplishing. For those that believe they could be doing more. This book by Alex and Brett Harris is for them.

I read Do Hard Things when it came out and this book is the natural, and perfect, follow-up to that. Written for teens by teens, this book was a simple and fast read, complete with chapter discussion questions and a whole section of hard things to get people's creativity started.

My favorite part of their style is that they keep the focus on God and what He is doing. And they highlight success and failure, noting that not all hard things are meant to be done when we first conceive them. This guidebook, for that is what it is, will give teens, and others, a very realistic view of what doing hard things will take.

It just may be my hard thing to convince my youth group to undertake reading this book and acting on it.

"Doing hard things for Christ is one of the primary ways we can…

The Bathroom Incident

My wife called me at work. She called me to warn me. See, we recently moved into a new home. We did some painting, but we're well aware that more work is needed in time. Time being the key word.

She called me to warn me that the bathroom may not look like it did when I had last seen it. Now, we have three children, so there are any number of scenarios which could cause this to happen. They're all mostly potty-trained, but you never know, right?

But this mess would not be blamed on the children. This one was all wife. Which is why she called. Apparently the ripple in the wallpaper was calling out to her, 'Pull on me! I bug you!" So she did, revealing plain ugly wood.

That was on a Tuesday. We did not discuss the wall until Friday, which actually ended up being a good thing. No, actually, a great thing. As we scraped at the remainder of the wallpaper and whatever gunk lie beneath it, we laughed with each other and discussed what else we could have been doing with that w…

Swiss Cake Roll God

This past Sunday I was talking with children about what we put into our bodies. I gave them a choice between a Swiss cake roll and an apple. I compared this to what we put into our hearts and minds. I overstated my case so there would be a Swiss cake roll left for me.

The choice between a Swiss cake roll and an apple seems obvious when we read the ingredients. If we care for our bodies at all (and I'm speaking about a regular basis kind of thing here) we will choose the apple.

But shouldn't it be the same in a spiritual sense? If we look at what we put into our hearts and minds and see the affect it has in us, our decisions would be made much easier. That is, if we could see God face to face, and see what sin looked like in His eyes, it should make enough of an impact on us that we would choose not to sin.

In my recent daily Bible readings, I'm getting to the end of the giving of the Law. As long as some parts are, there have been sections that have really made me think. T…

Going to Jail for Good

So the phone call came and I said yes. I'm going to jail to help support the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Actually, I'm attempting to raise $1600 bail money to support the MDA. That's where you come in. You can click here and help this cause. So far I only have $50, so any support you add would be greatly appreciated.

I remember watching Jerry Lewis every year as a kid, raising money for MDA. the need has not gone away, but we can continue to help. I have included a letter I received about one type of muscular dystrophy. Check it out and please donate.

Rick Nier Woo!

Letter of Hope from Casey Van Houten, mother of Blake Van Houten, 2010 Northeast Indiana Goodwill Ambassador
Dear Jailbird,
December 21, 2000 was one of the greatest days of our lives. We welcomed a beautiful baby boy into the world and named him Blake Thomas Van Houten. He sat up, crawled and walked when he should have; he was a perfectly healthy boy. It wasn't until school that the teachers started to not…

Cities of Refuge

9 Then the LORD said to Moses: 10 "Speak to the Israelites and say to them: 'When you cross the Jordan into Canaan, 11 select some towns to be your cities of refuge, to which a person who has killed someone accidentally may flee. 12 They will be places of refuge from the avenger, so that a person accused of murder may not die before he stands trial before the assembly. (Numbers 35:9-12)

This is an interesting addition to the Law, don't you think? It seems to me that if someone accidentally killed someone else, all they should have to say is 'oops' and that would settle it. Or, as happens in my house, when one child reigns blows upon the other, I make them sound really apologetic as they mumble 'sorry'.

But I'm not God, so if this system sounds good, then we'll go with Cities of Refuge. Can you imagine what these cities were like? These designated cities were some of the cities given to the Levites, so it sounds to me like after enough accidents, you…

Memory Tester

I'm not sure why I forget. But enough time passes and I do. See, what I think I want is a day without responsibilities. I guess I should have been more specific. A couple of weeks ago I got a sick day. Sick days sound like a really good time when you're healthy. After all, what better way to catch up on reading, perhaps do some deep thinking (read: nap), and maybe even catch up on some banking.

Into my seventh hour of ESPN's Sportscenter I realized that the only thought that had gone through my mind all day was a repeated prayer; 'Why God is this happening to me?' I felt horrible, despite hearing the latest in basketball trade rumors and seeing justice served in Court TV.

I recently read a book called Love and War, by John and Stasi Eldredge, on the topic of marriage. In it they hammer home the point that marriage is a gift from God that helps us to grow. In this wonderful gift of marriage we are given a mate who sometimes causes us to ask God why he (or she) is happ…