Welcome

Thursday
Oct122006

How to Pray Today

  • Elise is leading a women’s house group every Thursday morning and has a Mom’s in Touch prayer group every Thursday afternoon. She normally meets someone for discipleship, encouragement and fellowship at lunch. Pray for her strength and God’s power in this ministry. It is a great day for her. It is a tiring day as well.

  • Trey is part of a men’s group; I would say, “house group” except that we meet at a coffee bar near the main public transportation hub in Zagreb. This group meets Thursday at 5 PM. Ask the Lord to make us into better followers and to use us in ministering to others.

  • Please remember the possible volunteer projects through the Baptist Churches of Sisak, Petrinja, and Karlovac. Also, remember to pray for Toma Magda, the president of the Croatian Baptist Union, and Zeljko Mraz, the executive director of the Croatian Baptist Union.

  • Pray for our home heating situation. I won’t bore you with details, but let’s just say that a lot of work has been finished but a lot more still needs to be done. We are thankful for a good central heating system that provides part of the needed heat for winter. It is still working. The wood part of the system is in question. Ask that we could solve all of it within the next few days.

  • Remember to pray for Ryan and Bret. We, of course, thank they are the two greatest young men in the world. Ask that they can continue to be disciplined in their school work, would greatly enjoy their sports (both are currently on basketball teams), that Ryan would love his drama group at school (big play in a downtown theater next month), and, most importantly, will grow in their relationship with God.
Thursday
Oct122006

Suggested Reading

Links that will encourage you in your relationship with God

 

Links that will help you think more deeply about what you believe

Monday
Oct092006

I Hate the Eagles and Other Forms of Prejudice

Last night a miracle occurred at 10:55. An independent TV station in Zagreb showed a live NFL football game. It is the first one I have seen in two and a half years. The best thing is that the game was between my team - that is America’s team, God’s team, in fact - and the hated Philadelphia Eagles!

The game was a joke. The Eagles killed the Cowboys and the Cowboys looked like dirt. It was fun listening to the very knowledgeable Croatian commentators explain the first NFL game televised in Croatia. Very few in Croatia know anything about football so every rule and situation had to be explained. They really knew their stuff.

One of the commentators lived in Washington D.C. for many years and called the Redskins, “his team.” The other guy played the one who did not know anything and asked questions about everything. The funniest was when he asked (rough translation minus the cussing), “Why are there so many unnecessary long pauses in the game?” This launched the commentators into explanations of how marketing dictated the pace of the game and actually affected the game by giving extra time outs to each team. They had a lot of fun making fun of this very strange situation.

I really do hate the Philadelphia Eagles. I don’t know why? I don’t even know anyone from Philadelphia or Pennsylvania for that matter. At least they have not admitted it and I think I can understand their shame.

This got me thinking about prejudice in my own life. While I would love to tell you that I am not prejudice in any form or fashion, that is just not true. I have a good friend who is a Buckeye. I have since come to root against Ohio State, the imposter OSU named after the nut of a tree who play football in a league called the Big Ten while having eleven teams, every week. I eagerly await their demise this season. I consider the UT Longhorns to simply be demons in orange. Other examples are available but I want to get to the point.

Sports examples are not nearly as serious as national ones. Living in Europe gives me plenty of opportunity to make fun of the Italians and the French. I am convinced the Italians cheated to win the World Cup and the French are to blame for everything else. While I feel offended by these people, the reality is I don’t have one friend who is from either of these countries (no wonder they avoid me) and almost every person I have met from Italy and France has been very kind and gracious.

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I wonder why I like teasing people different from me. I wonder if it is really a sign of prejudice or just having fun. It is a very serious matter in a country where having the wrong name fifteen years ago could get you killed.  And can still keep you from a job and state benefits.

Pray that we could be kind, loving and accepting of every person we meet. Ask that through our listening ears, encouraging words, and helpful action that all we come in contact with would be drawn to the Lord. Ask that we would never put up artificial barriers between a person and the Lord or between ourselves and another.

Thursday
Oct052006

What Really Has Value: Only God’s Word and People Last Forever

I have often heard the phrase above, even preached it several times, and am certain you can at least paraphrase Scripture truths which teach this. My mind knows the truth. Intellectually, I realize my priority investments in life must be God’s Word and other people. My actions often show that I don’t practice what I preach.

Giving something value and priority is much easier intellectually than it is in action. I know I MUST spend time in God’s Word every day, if I am to bring honor and glory to Him and be transformed by Him. I know I MUST love, listen and be with others, if I want them to grow in their relationship with God. However deep that knowledge, I still manage to find ways of being distracted.

Pray that Elise and I may be focused every day on knowing God and being transformed by Him through His Word. Ask also that we can invest in others as God would have to. Ask for us to have the wisdom to stay focused and on task without distraction.

Thursday
Oct052006

We Commonly Assume Things About Value That Are Not True: Examples from Pro Football, Finances, and Impact of Environment on Children

Michael Lewis is one of my favorite authors. He wrote the book, Moneyball, which challenged commonly accepted facts about how to value baseball players. His new book, Blind Side, exams three things: the worth of a great left tackle in professional football, race relations, and the impact of environment on the personal development of the young. I have only read the review and am not sure how he feels about the value of a great left tackle but am quite certain he says the value of environment is underrated.

 

You can read the review of this book here: http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20061002/lf_nm/arts_lewis_dc_1

 

The basic theme in the books of Michael Lewis is that there is a common perception concerning the value of something and it is often wrong. His books have changed strategy in professional baseball (Money Ball) and affected the financial world through books on the bond market and wealth creation. Everything he writes is thought provoking and excellent. That is, if you don’t mind having some strongly held assumptions shattered.

I always need God to shape my assumptions about the value of others and of my time.  How I need to "make the most of the time" God has given and to invest myself in helping others know God.  This evening's Bible study with the men's group is an attempt to help us consider how do we determine what is of value and how do we know that our conclusions are correct.

Trey