Monday, September 25, 2017

The Church is the Temple of God

The Church being the Temple of God seems to be something that many have heard at one time but many also don't seem to truly understand that and what it means. Let me explain....

  The background for this figure of speech refers back to the temple that was built in the Old Testament. God gave the pattern for this temple (which was planned in David's day and actually built in Solomon's) see 1 Chronicles 28:10-19 "All this", said David, "the Lord made me understand in writing by His hand upon me, all the details of this pattern." The temple was the place where the service of God was performed.  The temple was also the place of God's symbolic presence. It was God's house.

  What I get trouble by in our current culture (and probably even more so in times gone by such as the Middle Ages) is that many people seem to confuse Church buildings with the temple and see them as the same thing. They aren't!

  1 Corinthians 3:16 says: "Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?" 2 Corinthians 6:16-17 says: "Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, "I will dwell in them and walk among them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate", says the Lord. "And do not touch what is unclean; and I will welcome you."

 The church is the temple of God and that is not talking about any building. It is talking about people. Christians! In 1 Timothy 3:15 the church is also referred to as the house of God: "but in case I am delayed, I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth."

 Here are some more verses that refer to the church /Christians being built into a temple of God:

Ephesians 2:19-22 "So the you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit."

1 Peter 2:5 "You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ."

Like the temple in the Old Testament this temple also is one in which God dwells. He has sent His Spirit to dwell within every Christian. Acts 2:38 and 39 says: "Peter said to them, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to himself."

Let's remember too that Jesus is the builder of this Church (not one made with cold stones but rather living stones - People!). "I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it." Matthew 16:18

Are you a part of God's church?  Have you heard this little children's song before:
"I am the church, you are the church. We are the church together. All who follow Jesus, all around the world. Yes, we're the church together!

The Church is not a building, the church is not a steeple, the church is not a resting place. The church is the people!"

That little song explains much of what I have been writing about today.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Jackpine Retreat 2017

 Last weekend we headed up North to go to the Jackpine Retreat. That is an annual weekend church camp that I have attended since I was a baby (I have missed two years of my life - both times I lived out of state and one of those times I was nearly due to have Mara). It is one of the highlights of our year. We meet up with a bunch of other Christians (and most of them homeschooling families) in the woods of Northern MN to do some rustic camping together for a weekend. We sing praise to God sitting around a campfire and spend some time listening to sermons together as well. It is a blessing to us. We love the relaxed times of fellowshipping with others.

 Most all of my extended (brothers and sisters and nieces and nephews and my parents for one day) go as well. It is always fun to spend more time with them.
 My sister Anna and my Brothers son, my nephew, Buirlen.
 My in-laws got to go for the first time this year as well. It was fun to have them there. They are used to camping but I don't think they normally have gone when it is this cold and wet. But they came prepared.
 Ken and his Dad enjoy playing games together (our family in general enjoys games) and here they and Ken's cousin Christy and Mara and cousins were playing Settlers of Catan.
 We all set up our own little campsites here and there and cook our own meals though some groups tend to cook together. My nephew Ephraim who is one was camping at a different spot but he walked over on Saturday afternoon to say "Hi" and then he and I had fun hanging out together for a little while.
 My brother Luke built a new outhouse for one end of camp while we were up there this weekend. The one that had been on that end was rather old so it got burnt down. Many turned out to watch. :-)
 Rain coats were the jacket of choice this past weekend as it rained off and on sometimes really hard and sometimes really lightly. My niece Molly had been wearing her papa's raincoat around and she thought it was rather big so she and Bea (another niece) decided to share it.
When cleaning up from camping Ken always likes to vigorously shake out the tarps. I guess that was something that he learned from his dad and he remembers fondly doing that with his dad as a child. It was fun to come up on them shaking a tarp together when we were packing up at Jackpine.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

A Weekend In Southern Minnesota at a 4-H Shooting Sports Event and then Visiting Plum Creek

 Harvest season is still in full swing around here and I have been trying to get something canned, frozen or dried every day but we still have been able to take the last two weekends and go places. That has been rather fun. On September 8th we headed down to Fairmont which is very close to the Iowa border. I had never been there before and so as we got closer it was rather fun to see new territory that we had never seen before.
     Our whole family except Jonathan went. We had thought that we would all go but Jonathan didn't feel like taking a long trip (6 hours of driving each way - so not that bad but still quite a while in the car) and wanted to be in church here on Sunday to try to connect more with a new young man that had started coming. His staying home meant that he could do the chores and he was able to go help my dad with barn building so it seemed to make sense. While he was home my Sister and Brother-in-law also had him over for supper one night and my father-in-law came over to go kayaking with him so he stayed fairly busy and didn't get to lonely. Jonathan also cleaned the house while we were gone so that was a big plus for him staying home!

   We camped at the fairgrounds in Fairmont where the event was being held. It was a pretty nice place (lots of trees and grass) but unfortunately somebody had very recently spread pig manure on the field right next to the fairgrounds and the place smelled horribly like a hog farm much of the time. We thought about wearing kerchiefs over our nose. I felt very thankful to not live on a hog farm.
 Aaron is the one who is in 4-H shooting sports. They have a very good program here where we live. There are volunteers who train the kids and provide all the guns and equipment for them to use. They have been very successful too. Our county tends to take home a lot of the awards at state shoots such as this one (that was true again this year) and the older kids usually go to Nationals and they also have a team that goes to the Junior Olympics.
 Aaron's first event to shoot in (at 7:45 am on Saturday morning) was shooting the .22 rifle. Aaron came in 5th in this event with a score of 227 (the highest score for the intermediates was 256).
 After they shoot they each take somebody else's target and score it, then the person it belongs to looks at it and checks to make sure it was scored correctly. If they don't think it was then they stand in line to talk to an adult field supervisor and they can contest the score they were given. This happens more often than not and Aaron had to do it every single time. By contesting the scoring on this event he was able to gain 11 points. I heard about one time somebody gained around 100 points from doing this. It would seem like some kids aren't very careful to do a good job when they are scoring for others.
 Aaron shooting 3 position Air Rifle. Aaron was 11th in this one (just out of medal range) with a score of 198.

 We were happy that Ken brought binoculars as we used them regularly to check out the targets while Aaron was shooting. We could actually tell whether he got a bulls-eye or not and just how well he was doing.
 Mara brought books along and had fun reading.
 Megan enjoyed trying out a video game that was available in the display building.

Aaron also shot in Air Pistol and got 10th place (score of 286) , another 10th in Silhouette Rifle (score of 10), and a 7th place in Standard Air Rifle (score of 231). His team (of 4 intermediate shooters from our county) place 1st in 3 of their 4 events and 2nd in the other one. We are pretty happy for them.
 It was a neat time to hang out with others from the 4-H community in our county. They had a area set up where one man (who doesn't even have kids in the program!) volunteered to cook meals for all of us. We brought along side dishes to go with the meals. Dwight is in the background of the picture above working hard at the grill. He and Mike (who trains the kids to shoot) don't want their shooters to eat much sugar at all so they served fairly healthy meals. Mike believes that sugar makes kids jittery and they won't shoot as well so tries to keep them off of it anytime close to either shooting practice or competition. I observed that many of the other counties did not follow that protocol (they had sugary cinnamon rolls and other things of that nature in their tents) and our kids did tend to shoot better than they did.

    Aaron just did one shooting event early Sunday morning and then we drove over to Worthington, MN to go to church. My roommate from college moved their to marry a man a few years ago and I was hoping to surprise her at church. It just so happens that a guy that I grew up with (he is several years younger but his older sister is a great friend of mine and his parents and younger sister still live here and go to church with us) had recently moved there as well to be an associate minister in the church there so I thought it would be fun to see them too. We did see Dan and family but my friend Stacy was out of town though I did get to meet her husband.

  After church we headed up to Walnut Grove, MN because we wanted to see Plum Creek and the area that Laura wrote about in "On the Banks of Plum Creek".
 We went to the gift store by the museum and Megan bought herself a parasol. She is standing on a rock that is on the banks of Plum Creek just down from the dugout site.
 Plum Creek
 At the dug out site.
 Prairie area nearby.
The bridge over plum creek. It was pretty there and we even found plums. We also enjoyed a picnic at by the creek.

 I really love the Little House Series and my family has enjoyed it as well. It was fun to finally see this spot which was the setting of the one book. We have also gone to see the spot where they lived in Little House in the Big Woods. I also was able to see Desmit, ND when I was a teen.

  Exploring new places is fun but it is always lovely to come home! Have you gone traveling this summer? Did you have any favorite places to visit?

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

BBQ Grill Light {Product Review}

 Each fall we buy a portion of a grass fed (and finished) beef to provide much of our meat for the year. Because we buy our beef in bulk like that we are also able to get steak and such for basically the same price as hamburger. Which is really nice because I have noticed that buying steak at the store is incredibly expensive.

  Anyway, we like to grill steaks or hamburgers from time to time. For most of the summer we have long days and we have plenty of light for our grilling but as fall draws near the days get shorter and if we have a late supper we can be left grilling in the dark.

  Cave Tools offered to let me have their BBQ grill light so that we could try it out and do a review for them. We like lights so that sounded like a nice offer to us.

  The grill light came in a nice padded box along with a little screwdriver that you could use to open the area where you change the batteries. The light seems to be quite sturdy and well made.
 The light it also quite bright. It is easy to turn on and off which is both a positive and negative about this light. It is positive because who really wants things that are hard to turn on a off? Also, if you hands are full all you need to do it just tap the little icon on the top with the back of your hand or whatever and the light will turn on or off. Really simple. The downside to that is that if you wanted to leave it on the grill with a cover over it the cover could quite likely hit it and turn it on and you wouldn't know and it would wear out the battery.
 The light also has a nice clamping device so  you can hook it to something to hold it in place. That is handy but it is a little bit challenging to direct just the way you want it as it wiggles to easily. Also how our grill worked it seemed like the only place available for clamping was on the handle of the lid and then it was in the way when you opened and closed the grill. It was doable but just not real easy.

  But over all it worked fine for grilling and it is a nice light. I did also take it camping this past weekend and it came in handy there. I also think that it would make a nice bike light.

  If you would like to buy one you can find it on Amazon  or at Cave Tools. If you buy it at Cave Tools you can use this coupon code to get it 15% off: BBQLIGHT15 .

 Does your family like to grill? What is your favorite thing to cook on the grill? Also - who runs the grill in your household? I do the strong majority of cooking in this family but when it is time to grill - Ken is in charge.

Disclaimer: I did receive this product free for purposes of reviewing but all opinions expressed are my own.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Changes at Our Place

 Last month brought some changes with it. Jonathan turned 16 years old and shortly thereafter got his drivers' license. Shortly before that he had bought a car from my brother. So, now we have another licensed driver with his own set of wheels.
I knew that it would bring some changes but I didn't realize quite how much. Obviously Ken and I can choose to say "no" to his driving but so far everything he has wanted to do makes sense or is perfectly fine but it is a change.

   So far....

  • He has been driving himself to work most of the time rather than riding in with Ken when he goes to work and then hanging out at Ken's office for the extra time. I like this because that means Jonathan is home more. Jonathan thought it was really important because then he could do his school work here at home where I could be around to help when needed. He is able to give Mara rides some too when their schedules work out.
  • He has driven to baseball and church some just because it is fun or because he was already in town for work or he thinks he needs to go to the store afterwards. That is really kind of weird to me to be bringing multiple cars and not have my family all together but I think this will tone down a little and it isn't a big deal.
  • When the rest of the family went to a 4-H shooting event in southern MN last weekend Jonathan opted to stay home and do chores and was able to drive over to Grandpa and Grandmas to help out, go to church and go over to my sisters' for supper all in his own car.
  • He was able to take his siblings on errands.
  • He was able to go after work over to help his Granddad out.
  • And today he and Aaron headed off on their own to go camping. We do have other family members camping up north too and we are joining them tomorrow but still it is weird to have our boys just leave us and go like that. I think it is cool though too - Ken and I can't go early because of our work, Mara has schooling to work on and Megan actually did go early catching a ride with Granddad and Nana but the boys can go have fun all on their own. It was pretty fun watching them get ready for it as they planned all their food to prepare on their own until we get their tomorrow evening. They also took along tarps and all of our tents so that they can get the whole site set up before we arrive. It is looking rather nice to have a son with his own wheels.
This experience is also a good opportunity for Jonathan to learn about budgeting and managing money wisely. He worked and saved up to pay for his own car. He is also the one who pays for his insurance (under our plan so that he saves money but he pays for his part) and for his gas and any repairs that are needed. Ken had him work out a budget before he ever got the car to figure out how he would pay for everything. For us having the kids pay for things like this themselves makes sense as we think it makes them appreciate it a little more and to start realizing what they are going to be facing as adults and to prepare for that.

 Do you have children that drive? Did that change things a lot at your place? I am curious what your take is on having children paying for things like their own car and insurance - do you do it that way or do you prefer to pay for it for them?

Friday, September 8, 2017

Seeking to Simplify - Our Simple Homeschool

Well, another school year has begun! I meant to write this Tuesday which was our first day of school but that didn't end up happening. Septembers always seem to be a very busy time! :-)

I have been having fun continuing to go through things and get rid of excess. On Monday evening (just in time for school to start!) I cleaned out our school cupboard where we keep many of the books we are actively using that year. It was fun to get that organized again.

 Above your can see the mess left over from last year and then stuffing in that happened during the summer.
 So much better now! I was able to get rid of a lot of old papers and found a couple of books to move along as well.

This past week was successful in that I got rid of 25 plus things and went through 5 different areas. Hooray!

I was excited to start school again and though the youngest two denied it I think all the kids were kind of excited to start school too.

We keep our homeschooling pretty simple. I don't do any elaborate lesson planning. We don't buy tons of books at the beginning of our school year (that isn't really in the budget nor do we find the need for it). My kids for the most part are using Math books that I used when I was a child being homeschooled. It is Saxon math and it still works well and they have been used by many children now. For writing they do copywork out of the Bible into a notebook and also write letters and essays when I give them that direction. They are using some English books and Spelling books that we had gotten others years or had been given to us. The younger two are also going through some geography books that were given to us.
 For Bible we prefer to read and memorize straight scripture and we make that a big part of our school day. We do also read other edifying books together from time to time. Music is important to us but we don't use any elaborate program. We just do a lot of playing and singing together.
  We love History and read it thought living books just as much as we can. I read it aloud to them often and they read it on their own as well. Science we learn through various books and generally ones that I read aloud to them. Government/Constitution/Civics is learned together through books and discussions.
Mara is doing online college again this year and I didn't end up getting a picture of her first day. This is her senior year in our homeschool. Time does fly quickly.

How is your school year going? How do you make it simple for you?
I do realize when I write about our ways that others might find that overwhelming but it is what works for us. I do think that homeschooling methods though we can truly learn from each other they are highly personal. We each have our different styles and we need to figure out what is the best fit for us.


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