Thursday, March 16, 2017

My Normal Life (Now)

Monday - Friday
  • 5:00 - 6:30 AM get up, breakfast, get on track with God, drive to work, bus pre-trip
  • 6:30 - 9:00 AM drive bus from garage to beginning of route, drive 2 trips on route 59 serving customers
  • 9:00 - 11:00 AM drive bus back to garage, to Snap Fitness for workout, drive home, half hour nap
  • 11:00 AM - 2:00 PM free time to do whatever chores need doing, talk or otherwise communicate with family and friends etc., study and write, have lunch with Toni, quick nap
  • 2:00 - 2:45 PM drive to work, bus pre-trip in bus garage
  • 2:45 - 6:45 PM drive bus to beginning of route, drive 3 trips on route 19 serving customers, drive bus back to garage, drive home or...
  • 6:45 - 9:00 PM home (M, Th, F) to do whatever, except, on Tuesday I often go to to my parents and to choir rehearsal on Wednesday.
  • 9:00 PM get ready for bed, read, usually I'm asleep by 10
I thought I was going to do laundry today but our renter had monopolized the washer and dryer, so I decided to write this instead. Now I'll get to other chores until I hear from Toni about lunch. I assume she's at work. She has been doing really well with her business with appointments most days Tuesday - Friday. On Mondays she's often with our grandkids!

Weekends are unscheduled except for church on Sunday mornings and small group in the evening every other week. So thankful for weekends free, even though they do fill up with so many things. I love it when we don't have much planned.

Ever since we started the process for buying this house, and since we got it, I haven't been doing any volunteer work in the community. My service to others mainly consists in serving customers on my bus routes, and the study and communication I do during my time off, study and communication that aims to clarify and speak the Truth in Love.

Praise God for each new day.

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Saturday, February 25, 2017

Baby Jonas and The Common Good

The house is quiet at the moment. It's just after 4:30 PM. I was just now over at Toni's computer looking at some of the pictures that she took last night when we were over at the birth center meeting our grandson, Jonas Steven Krueger. Naomi wrote this about her son:
Our baby boy arrived a week early yesterday! Meet Jonas Steven, born Feb 24 at 6:18 pm at 8 pounds, 7.5 oz and 21 inches long. We are so thankful for this baby! We're all doing well.

His first name is is a derivative of the Hebrew word yonah (Jonah), which means dove--which is a symbol for peace. It's also a very common northern European name, which points to his heritage. His name was also inspired by the main character in the book The Giver, one of my all time favorite young adult novels. We hope our child will have many of the attributes of the character Jonas--courage and the ability to "see beyond" to a better and more beautiful world.

His middle name is after his Grandpa Steve, his Uncle Steve (Tim's brother), and his Grandpa Ron (whose middle name is also Steven.)
My sister Karen commented that it's a "great and honorable name," and I am honored to be one of those who shares his middle name. I don't know Tim's brother very well, but Ron is a great man. As I was praising God for this baby boy, our daughter and husband Tim's first child, Ron offered a blessing. We all joined in. So thankful! Naomi and baby are doing just fine.

This baby, and all children, need a lot of help. God designed human beings, not to leap out of the womb ready to walk and forage, but to be utterly dependent on others. Most needs are provided for by parents and other family and loved ones, and, yes, our Lord God is the ultimate source for all good.

In today's world, either sadly or just realistically, there are a whole lot of things that he will need that his parents won't be able to provide. You might call those things a part of "The Common Good." Jonas will need good clean air and water, food that isn't full of harmful substances or organisms, warmth and light that come through public utilities, an environment in which doves and peace can thrive and a multitude of other things that almost everyone depends upon in our modern world. And, it seems to me, many of those things in our modern world are protected by "The Administrative State." I've been listening to a debate about that today.

In a bit, I'll post a pic of the blessing. I wonder about the connection between God's blessing and the common good. The debate goes on. [Blessing pic finally posted March 13.]
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Monday, February 20, 2017

Listening to Understand

I'm starting this at noon and will publish online before 2:00. At 2 I leave our Roseville home for my afternoon work. Toni's gone today, as she usually is on Mondays. She's out in Cokato helping Jon & Breanna with the grandkids. Toni and I were both out there on the 11th & 12th. We were tag-teaming with Breanna's parents as, together, we cared for, and enjoyed, Jon & Breanna's 3 daughters as they were at a wedding in Iowa. It was a good time.

There's always lots to do around here. There's one more project to do on our rental space downstairs -- I've got 6 feet of used cabinets, a used countertop, and a used stainless steel kitchen type sink be installed down there. Our current renter will be glad when that is in and working. We will too.

But it's not family stuff or work around the house that's kept me from posting here since the last time I published something back on Jan. 15. What's been going on is a lot of conversation, much personal thought and prayer, and hours and hours of study. My aim has been to try to understand why it is that many of my Christian friends have come to such different conclusions in regard to the current political situation in our country.

It hasn't been easy, but I'm beginning to understand somewhat. Online conversations have been a helpful to a certain point. I've wanted to have personal conversations with good friends, deeply thoughtful Christian friends, who have ended up with different positions but those haven't yet worked out. In the meantime, I've been listening to many hours of lectures from "The Francis Schaeffer Institute" at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis. Fortunately, I'm able to do other things at the same time.

More later. I hope.
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Sunday, January 15, 2017

Minutes After

I need to head to bed now, but I just wanted to say, before I go there, that minutes after I published that last post (see "I Didn't Go") I got involved in a short (10-15 minutes) but meaningful conversation with one of our church small group members about "the end times." I guess I need to go back and see how much I've said about this on this blog in previous months and years, but this is an example of a topic that I think I have some insights about that need to be shared. I started something about this in a January 8 post ("Prophecies and Politics"). How can I find time and energy to do the background work on this and other topics so I can write in a helpful way. It's a prayer area for sure.

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I Didn't Go

We'll be heading back to Roseville soon. This morning there was a Bible reading discussion. I didn't go, partly because I wanted some time in the cabin when to shower and rest, and partly because, as I told Toni, I'd either say too much in the group or be frustrated that I couldn't say more. She said that just listening would have been good. She appreciated the spiritual depth of the participants in her group.

I know I missed something by not going. What I said above is true though. I have so much to share, believing, as I do, that the Lord has taught me a lot in recent years. I have strong "opinions" about the Bible and about Christianity, ideas that are worth consideration, thoughts that aren't "mainstream," convictions that aren't well known.

More later.

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Saturday, January 14, 2017

Retreat at Covenant Pines

Toni and I are at a church retreat this weekend. Some might not say that sort of thing online, but I've never been too worried about security. Besides, our renters are at our home, standing guard. ;-)

I hear there are well over 100 people here: older adults (like Toni and me), younger adults (some with small children), and lots of youth. Right now I'm sitting in the "retreat center." People are relaxed by the fire, in circles playing cards, doing puzzles, coloring. I think it's almost time for lunch so I won't have much time to write now. That's okay.

I suppose that our decision to go on this retreat, after being invited by people from choir and the church small group we joined (also after being invited by choir members), marks some sort of transition for us. Toni and I haven't been on any kind of church retreat together since the days of Alpha in Cokato. This particular retreat isn't purposeful in the sense of being educational or overtly spiritual, though there will be a church service later today. I've been out on skis and snowshoes and I've enjoyed good conversation. I'm looking forward to more.

One thing I've been thinking a lot about lately, and not only in anticipation of this retreat, is how much of "church" life is about community. People just like to be together, and whether it's a church retreat some other sort of "being together" thing, it's something people yearn for, even if they don't know it. Many of the people who are connected with this church know it, and they're willing to spend the time and money away from their individual lives to make it happen. It's really a tradition among these folks. I'd like to hear the story of how that came to be.

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Sunday, January 8, 2017

Prophesies and Politics

I’ve heard from some people that they voted for Donald Trump because they believe certain prophecies that were made about him. Have you heard of that?

I’m interested because I think that some Christian believers are strongly influenced in their citizenship and voting by (1) certain kinds of Biblical prophetic interpretations or (2) dreams, visions and prophetic “words” or (3) both.

I’ve been searching for some analysis of the election and other aspects of current politics that is asks about what political influence these prophetic or charismatic leanings have in the USA and beyond. I’m sure that American politics is influenced by these things, and not only in relationship to the USA’s uncritical support for the present state of Israel.

Let me know if you've heard about this. I've been looking for a serious analysis of this phenomenon among Christian believers.

(I wrote something like this first as a comment on this blog post: evangelicaliberal.wordpress.com/2016/11/21/was-gods-will-done-in-the-us-election-result/)

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Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Open Secret

Truth is true. It's open to independent investigation. Those with different spiritual beliefs should be able to check it out. #notgnostic

1 Corinthians chapter 1 & 2 speak of special "spiritual knowledge," but that is connected with spiritual values, ethics & morals (such as humility and the idea that greatness comes through sacrifice), not special "truths" that can only be accessed by those who have inside information such as "facts" that no one else can see. Those who want to reject what the so-called "main stream media" reports in favor of conspiracy theories and those who reject the scientific consensus on various topics including climate change need to be really careful that they aren't falling into believing in a sort of "secret knowledge" that everyone else is blinded to. The only "mystery" worth spending time on is the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and that's open to independent investigation like anything else in history. The resurrection validates the "secret wisdom" of Jesus' humility and self-sacrifice for us. That's the extent of the secrets Christians have on their own, and that's the "secret" that they are desperate to share.

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Monday, January 2, 2017

Post-Truth?

"The thing is that Christianity is truth based on truth. That is, the truth of Christ (who is the truth himself) was in the world in an objectively verifiable way. Our witness and our theology is 'scientific' in a way that other sorts of truth claims (religion wise) are not. The attack on Truth is an attack on The Truth. It will not win, because Truth does not change, but many will not come to THE TRUTH when they are blinded by lies."
I wrote that in response to an article someone pointed me to about the "Word of the Year" as chosen by Oxford Dictionaries i.e. "post-truth."

Post-truth is a descriptive word (an adjective) which describes "circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief." An article entitled "Art of the Lie" speaks about this in regard to politics. But I can think of many other ways in which truth has been covered up.

It's very dangerous stuff. Lies are a part of the work of the evil one, who comes to kill, steal and destroy. Lies hurt people, particularly the weak and poor. Love calls us to do all we can to bring truth to light and expose the lies now. It's a holy calling for people of God.

But, as I wrote in the paragraph above, the Truth (Jesus Himself) will win out in the end. As He told us:
"...Do not be afraid... for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known." (Matthew 10:16)
Lies, and liars, may win the day, but they cannot endure. God has made the world in such a way that Truth cannot die.

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Night Work

Sometimes when I don't fall asleep right away at night I find myself thinking about things (and people) I can't control. It doesn't help to just lie there. So I get up. Usually I can go back to bed and fall asleep after I've been up awhile... but usually during that time of being awake God gets through to me, gently, turning my attention away from the faults of others and to my personal relationship with Him. Sometimes I even get some things done when I'm awake like this, but the best is what God gets done in me.

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Sunday, January 1, 2017

Rejecting Bad News?

"Get behind me, Satan. You are a stumbling block to Me. For your thoughts are not of the things of God, but the things of men."

Jesus said that to Peter when Peter told him that the personal path he was forecasting was so bad that it "could not be."

Jesus had predicted a horrible future. He was going to suffer and he was going to die. It was all part of the necessary plan of God. God would bring glory from it. But this required Jesus to stay on that path.

Peter, however, being human to the core, could not see how this could be true. Peter pulled Jesus aside and told him that he (Jesus) should trust God to keep him (Jesus) safe from the future he (Jesus) was predicting. In effect, Peter said that he shouldn't "talk like that" or even think such things. Peter said something like the Devil had said to Jesus in an earlier temptation. Jesus should trust God to save him. He wasn't going to fall. (Matthew 4:6)

But, as Peter echoed Satan's words (foretelling his upcoming sufferings and death) Jesus resisted in the strongest possible way. He recognized the work of Satan, who continually promotes personal comfort and smooth personal relationships at the expense of the work of God.

You and I face similar situations. We are tempted to "go along to get along." We're tempted to ignore bad news and, instead, pursue peace of mind and an easy life. We're also tempted to not care too much about what may really be true or false. Sometimes that's because it's hard work for us to see out the truth. And sometimes it's because the truth hurts. Often it's both.

I can see examples of this in political life. I can also see it in my own personal walk with the Lord. I can see it in my family and in my closest personal relationships. I could include examples here, and I may do that later, but doing that now will distract from the main message that the Lord has laid on my heart to share.

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Friday, December 9, 2016

Encouragment

North Minneapolis Route 5
Today I was feeling less than positive about my life and my work... until I got to the garage and a more experienced driver/instructor said this:
"Good job yesterday on that 5."
Strange how those few words could just turn my whole attitude around.

I think my not-too-positive encounter with the safety manager yesterday left me feeling down. All it took was that one phrase from "Rich" to brighten up my attitude and make my work feel worthwhile again.

The driver who encouraged me was the one that trained me on the 5. He lives in North Minneapolis, and his wife's son is a high school student there. That particular bus (an artic) is full of N Mpls high school kids. Right now it's my favorite piece of work. I'm enjoying the kids and the challenge of weaving that 62 foot long machine down Fremont Avenue, curving in and out of stops. It felt good to be complemented by someone who knows the challenges well.

It's a good reminder to me of the power of words.

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