Monday, July 8, 2013

Thankful for the Ordinary

I wrote the following shortly after midnight--very early Tuesday (and revised it later Tuesday)--but I'm posting it as if it was written late Monday.  After writing this I ended up staying up until after 4:00 a.m. putting together more about Islam and the 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World that I speak of below.  I am so thankful for the "ordinary" life we have--ordinary ONLY for those who are secure and certain in the Love of God given to us through Jesus Christ.
Good morning!  Though I think of writing every day, it's been a week now since my last post.  Toni and I had the privilege of spending 5 days with her parents, plus a good amount of time with two of our kids and their spouses and our daughter-in-law's parents.  The time went by quickly.  In addition to just being with the family, I was able to finish a book I'd been reading for the past several weeks (The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind) and I started a little theological book I picked up in Brazil 30 years ago.  There is always lots to learn.  On the way back we stopped for a few hours at some friends in Taylors Falls; their daughter graduated from high school and her high school graduation party was Sunday afternoon.

We arrived back home late Sunday evening.  Today was a full day, capped with a Crossroads board meeting.  Toni had appointments today for her massage business and tomorrow she works at the drug store.  I'm up now in the middle of the night just because it was taking awhile to get to sleep so I decided to try to get a few things done beginning with this.

As I was doing a few chores late this afternoon I started listening to a recording of the worship service from Crossroads, the service from Sunday (July 7), the one I missed when I was up north.  I heard good things about Louis King's message and I have appreciated what I've heard so far.  I hope to listen to the rest either tonight or tomorrow.  I'm also needing to get a start on praying through and studying the scriptures and themes for this coming Sunday's message.  I'll be back in the saddle on July 14 and then gone again July 21 as we have the second part of our family time, this time with Toni's sister & brother & families in the mix too.  On that Sunday Steve Basney will be preaching.  Please keep praying for him as he is in Bangladesh.

Today is the beginning of "30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World."  This will be a challenge because we have not been all that educated about Islam or Muslims.  We have booklets at church that you can you can use to guide your prayers... I'm hoping to send out emails each day as reminders to pray.

Here's a very quick introduction to Islam -- this and more can be found at for a more in depth look go to the Wikipedia article  As time goes by through these 30 days I'm hoping to post more information about this faith. We are praying for Muslims because Jesus loves them and God wants them to come to know Jesus as He really is -- the Savior of All. Let us pray that all Muslims and all "religious" people throughout the world will trust only in Jesus!
These "Pillars of Islam" do not give assurance or security to those who follow the Muslim faith.  Though a Muslim may observe each of these pillars, in Islam there is no "guarantee." Islam is based on self-righteousness. "Muslims often think about the Day of Judgement where they believe Allah (or an angel) will take a balance and weigh each persons deeds. His hope is that his good deeds will outweigh his bad deeds, but even then Allah’s judgement is based solely on Allah’s will – not on justice. Another interpretation is that man’s deeds are written in a book and on the Day of Judgement Allah will open the book and the sum of a man’s account will be placed in either his right or left hand. The only sure way to paradise is to die as a martyr during an Islamic Holy War, Jihad." (quote from

If you'd like to hear from someone who works among Muslims on a regular basis, have a listen to a message focusing on the difference between Islam and Christianity that was held at one of our network churches back on April 28 by clicking here.  The speaker is a man named "Rick E."  Yes, "Rick E."  That's how his name is listed on the North Heights website.  Some Christians who work in Muslim countries need to keep their full names private.  It's not always safe to be a Christian believer in those places.

Speaking of North Heights, we received an email today (Monday) from Gina Mueller, the director of student ministries there.  She wrote to notify us that our youth and their adult leaders have the opportunity to visit a mosque in the Twin cities as a part of the Urban Ventures mission trip.  She writes: "we are not going to the mosque to worship – but to get a better glimpse into their culture and religion. The people taking us are believers [Christian believers] who are called to work with this people group."

That's enough for now.

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