You are currently browsing the monthly archive for February 2009.

Everything I Ever Needed To Know I Learned From The Eagles


Some dance to remember, some dance to forget. *** I used to stay out till the break of day; That didn’t get it.  *** Don’t let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy.  *** It’s a hollow feelin’ when it comes down to dealin’ friends.  *** We can handle some resistance if our love is a strong one. ***  You can spend all your time making money. You can spend all your love making time.  *** Sometimes you’ve just gotta let it ride. *** <Insert the entire lyric set for Desperado here – e.g.> Don’t you draw the Queen of diamonds, boy, she’ll beat you if she’s able – you know the queen of hearts is always your best bet.  *** But things in this life change very slowly if they ever change at all. ***  You can see the stars and still not see the light. *** We make it harder than it has to be. *** That same old crowd was like a cold dark cloud that we could never rise above. *** It’s so hard to change. *** You can leave it all behind and sail to Lahaina just like the missionaries did. *** So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains and we never even know we have the key. *** The big, bad world doesn’t owe you a thing. *** Find a place to make your stand. *** Some people like to stay out late. Some folks can’t hold out that long. *** Loneliness will blind you. *** Lighten up while you still can.

I have been thinking that I should put up a post describing my categories. Here goes (to get to them choose from the list at the bottom left):

Both Ways:  Describes and defends my Hyper-compatibleist twist of Calvinism. Since this is where I get the title of my blog, I really should do this more. It’s been more than a half year. I feel guilty. I’ll put one out soon.

Friday Everything : My weekly collection of euphoristic sayings from a single source. The sources are rather eclectic. Here is my set of disclaimers on the subject.

Attempts : Trying to be funny. You be the judge.

Saturday Poem: For the first several months, I posted a poem every Saturday, but I ran out of poems and I don’t write them that often. I see that’s it’s been more than a year since the last one.

Sunday Interesting Weekend: Self explanatory. This is a more recent addition and is not completely consistent.

Third Thursday Ogden: A collection of stories about a character named Ogden. See the full explanation here.

Tuesday Stand Alone Statement: A collection of observations about a variety of subjects. This has the most posts.

JamFam is heading to IHOP tonight for Free Pancakes!  Say around 6:00. At the Maplewood restaurant. We’ll be the family with 7 kids impressing the wait staff with their pancake-eating abilities. Anyone?

Update: Okay, maybe around 7:00 – we’re going to do a little shopping first. And hopefully miss the rush.

We had a guest preacher at our church yesterday and he brought to mind a Jamsco Principle of Preaching* that all pastors should consider.


He was talking about different ways of considering the future (whether optimistically or pessimistically) and he said something like “. . . or should we go the way of Isaac Asimov or Battleship Galactica?”


And at that moment I can guarantee that about 15 percent of the people in the congregation (mostly the men, mostly the less-cool men) were thinking (or even whispering to their wives) “No, no. BattleSTAR Galactica!” ** ***


So I thought of the Principle. But before I state it, let me set the table.


There are two schools of thought for pastors when it comes to pop cultural references.


1. Make no (or very few) cultural references.  Since Pastor Piper rarely (never?) watches television or movies, this is his modus operandi. **** I think this is extremely reasonable and very often wise.


2. Make references to shows and music that you know are a part of your congregation’s lives. This is also reasonable, but I think it can be more dangerous. Pastors who do this risk  listeners thinking you are endorsing the cultural elements you are mentioning, or looking like you’re trying to be cool.


So here comes the principle:

If you, as a pastor, are going to make cultural references, get it right!


The infraction from yesterday’s sermon was very minor – one syllable in an otherwise excellent sermon. But I have heard much worse.


         Decades ago, I heard a pastor denouncing a Macaulay Culkin movie based on the advertisement of the movie. He pronounced the actor’s name wrong and totally misunderstood the premise of the movie.

         Back when the Seinfeld show was popular, I heard a sermon talking about the Yada Yada episode in a way that made me doubt whether the pastor had seen it. He certainly didn’t understand what ‘Yada Yada’ meant as used on the show.


So Pastors – you walk a thin line every time you do this. Take care. Do a little research.


To paraphrase Twain: Better to not talk about our culture and have your listeners wonder if you are clueless about it than to talk about our culture and remove all doubt. Or worse, look like a poser.


What do you think? Am I being too harsh?


* Yes, I’m able to make these up even though I have had not a single hour of seminary training. That’s what having a blog means.


** And I know this is wrong without having watched a single minute of the show.


*** Yes, since he was going to give the sermon again at the second service, I did consider going up and pleasantly informing him of his error. This is a little like the “frosting-on-the-public-speaker’s-face” conundrum. It is better to tell him or to not tell him?


**** He does keep up with the news, however. A few weeks ago he gave a helpful primer on what a ponzi scheme is and showed how each religion had one.

Everything I Ever Needed To Know I Learned From Calvin’s Dad.

How can you stand these cartoons? They’re just half-hour commercials for toys. And when they’re not boring, they’re preachy. And these characters don’t even MOVE. They just stand around blinking! What kind of cartoon is THAT?  *** Ahhh, what a day! Up at dawn! Fresh air! Tranquility! No demands, no phones, no pressure! The whole day is one’s own! Isn’t this great? Isn’t this the life? *** Once upon a time there was a boy named Calvin, who always wanted things his way. One day his dad got sick of it and locked him in the basement for the rest of his life. Everyone else lived happily ever after. The end.  ***  Gee, I wonder where Calvin went! And his tiger’s gone too! Now’s my chance to get away before they get back! Won’t Mom be glad when she hears I lost them! What? You’re here?? Oh rats … I mean, good! *** When I was a kid, I thought grown-ups never worried about anything. I trusted my parents to take care of everything, and it never occurred to me that they might not know how. I figured that once you grew up, you automatically knew what to do in any given scenario. I don’t think I’d have been in such a hurry to reach adulthood if I’d known the whole thing was going to be ad-libbed. *** The next time I see one of those smarmy Kodak commercials I’m going to put an ax through the TV. *** The sun sets in the west. In Arizona actually, near flagstaff.The sun goes out as it sets. That’s why it’s dark at night. *** You can’t believe everything you read. *** Once upon a time there was a noisy kid who started going to go to bed without a story. *** I’m going to the office and get some sleep.

For this week’s Friday Challenge: Bring Rock‘n’Roll to the Star Trek Universe – My submission.

I don’t know . . . does the basic plot here seem familiar to anyone else?

Aug 19th, 2022

An outdoor New Jersey amphitheatre: Cheering teenagers and young adults – thousands of them. Banging drums. Keyboard pulsing. Electric guitar playing arpeggios. A singer, with a strong voice singing bright, haunting, quick, instantly memorable melodies.
And twenty thousand feet overhead, un-noticed, a large dark harshly angled craft from another solar system. It was listening.


Two months later. . .
Benjamin Fenfert sat down in the coffee shop in the north suburban Twin Cities and was pleased at how he easily he could relax these days. His multi-city concert tour had finished only two weeks previous, and unlike other tours, he was able to wind down more quickly. It helped that he had cut his hair and was dressed like a normal human being, so few recognized him. Those who did just smiled and nodded. Or maybe they were just being cordial.
He pulled out his current paperback and began to read. Five, ten, twenty minutes sped by and then he noticed that someone was standing in front of him, looking down at him . . . .


To: Commander Maddox
From: Lieutenant Commander Data
Stardate: 46988

I am breaking from my normal method of communication with you and sending this message on a secure channel. No doubt you have heard some, but not all of what you are about to read.
You will be pleased to know that your theories involving my positronic neural network, transporter technology and time travel have been proven correct. You will perhaps be more pleased to learn that I was able to employ them to save perhaps thousands of humans from the spacecraft that threatened us (as I am sure you are aware) with it’s strange and damaging form of radiation. The Enterprise D just happened to be in orbit around earth for shore leave and the Captain ordered us to look into the matter . . . .


All of the senior officers were present in the Observation lounge. “Okay” said Captain Picard. “What do you have for me?”
Wesley Crusher responded. “Reports from several nationalities of local but significant damage to buildings under the flight path of this ship. No deaths or injuries yet, due to quick responses to emergency evacuations, but it is only a matter of time.”
“I see” said Picard, and then thinking aloud “But what is it’s purpose?”
“I have a theory.” replied Laforge. “Call it crazy, I think this could be some kind of communication – like a musical language.”
“It can’t be!” exclaimed Ryker “It’s too rhythmic. Too pulsing. And it isn’t like any music I’ve ever heard.”
“Yeah, well, me neither,” agreed Laforge, “But there is a clear melody in what they are broadcasting, and –“
“They are obviously a danger to all of earth” said Worf, nearly growling, “I recommend they be destroyed.”
“If I may” began Data, just before Troi began stating the obvious response to Worf. The captain nodded to Data.
“I think I may have discovered something of potential importance. I was listening to the sounds emanating from this ship and thought it sounded familiar. I then recalled from my human cultural history research that there was a similar sound in a kind of music popular on earth in the twentieth and twenty first centuries. I scanned several thousand instances of this form music and I have isolated the sounds to be very similar to that of a musical Rock group with the name Bulwark, which was popular in the 2010s and 20s. My working theory is that this space craft visited the earth at that time and are now back and . . . . looking for them.”
“I see.” said the Captain “So what do you propose?”
“I have an idea.”

And after a few minutes of discussion – “Make it so.”


Back in the coffee shop and the year 2022 . . .

Benjamin wondered if he should simply keep his face in his book and ignore the man who he was pretty sure was staring down at him. But,no, sooner or later, he would have to look up. So he put on cheerful face, looked up and said, “Um, . . . . Yes”

Even before the other man spoke, Benjamin could tell that this was going to be an interesting conversation. His face seemed to be covered with some kind of make-up. And his eyes looked odd. . . and the way he was standing. Too stiff. But when he spoke, he was very polite:

“You are Benjamin Quinton Fenfert?”
Benjamin looked around. Thankfully, it seemed that no one had heard him.
“Yes, I am”
“May I sit?”
“ . . . . Sure.” Why not? He didn’t have any other plans.
The other man sat.
“To make sure I am speaking with the correct person . . . you are primary singer for . . a musical group named ‘Bulwark’?”
He had never heard himself described that way, but “You got it.”
“I am glad to have found you. My name is Data.”
“Data, huh. . . a unique name.”
“That is not the only . . . unique thing about me.”
“I gather that.”

Surprising, he took my claim that I was from the future in stride, after I provided him evidence that I was an android by surreptitiously taking off my hand and did other non-human activities. And then, quite reasonably . . .

“So. . . ,” asked Ben after he’d had a few seconds to process all of this “What does this have to do with me?”
“Yes, a fair question. The truth is, we need you. And your music. In the future.”

As I explained to him the plan of bringing him back to our time period, I expected a rejection of the plan or at the very least, great concern. Instead, he just smiled.

“Okay. . . . I’m in.”
“You are able to agree this quickly. You trust me already?”
“Not remotely. But I was just beginning to think that my life was starting to get too predictable. I need something new in my life. But there are some conditions.”
“Let us discuss them.”
“If you want a sound that will be like my typical music, we will need my full band.”
“I see. How many?”
“Oh, . . . let’s say five guys. I doubt we need the orchestra. But the five are scattered around the Midwest. It’ll take time”
“Oh, we have time. Time is not the problem. We will just collect the other musicians, transport to my time period, you can do your . . . rock music and –“
“Oh, we don’t play ‘Rock’. We play Rock’n’Roll.”
“I . . . but I thought – ”
“No, Vox, I mean, Data. Rock music and Rock’n’Roll are not the same thing, although this is a common misconception. The generally agreed way of discerning between the two is like this: A kid likes Rock’n’Roll because he likes to hear it, or sing it, or dance to it, or whatever. Rock, on the other hand, is chosen by a kid for the primary purpose of bugging the kid’s parents. So while parents might disagree with their child’s tastes when it comes to choosing the Rock’n’Roll that they like, they don’t fear that their teenager is lacking a soul (for example) or wonder if they should start keeping a gun under their bed, as they do when their kid starts listening to Rock. Does that make sense?”

It did, but Data was still curious.
“So . . . only young people listen to Rock?”
“Oh, no. But even a thirty year old guy, or a forty year old, when he hears new Rock music, thinks – “Boy, my parents would hate this! Alright!”


With that understood by me, he packed up and we began the fairly tedious job of collecting all of the Bulwark band mates, who required long hours of explanation to get them to help with the mission. I feared that some of them would not want to enter in, but in the end, all of them were excited at the prospect of this very different kind of ‘gig’, as they called it.

Finally we all transported directly to the Enterprise.


“Welcome aboard” said O’Brien, “You’re wanted in the observation lounge”
And five minutes later they were all there.
“Well, I imagine you have lots of questions” said Picard “but at this point we don’t have time to answer them.”
“How about just one?” asked Benjamin “Forgive my ignorance, but why can’t you just . . . you know, broadcast our music to the ship.”
Laforge answered him, “Believe me, we have tried. Apparently they don’t have radio-wave technology.”
“So what we need to know is. . . how long, after we get you down somewhere, will you need to set up.”
“About an hour, why?”
“They are flying at a low Earth orbit in a predictable search pattern. They started over the state of New Jersey and have been slowly circling the earth ever since, leaving destruction wherever they go. Fortunately they haven’t gone directly over any large cities or thousands of buildings might have been destroyed.”
“And we would have had to destroy them first” stated Worf, with no glee in his voice. Almost.
“Just Buildings?”
“Yes.” said Data, “Their. .. sound emissions apparently do not affect biological life. And the affected swath is very narrow.”
“But we have projected that they will be over Albuquerque in two hours.”
“Well, no harm – “ began Derek, the drummer, but a look from Benjamin stopped him from speaking further. But not from chuckling to himself.


And so our Commander Laforge projected the ship’s path to match the required time specifications and chose a little town in the Rocky Mountains. We transported all of us, the band and its equipment to an outdoor theatre there and they began to set up.

Word got around town and soon there were thirty-seven people sitting in the chairs waiting to see what was going to happen. Finally, after several ‘sound checks’ the band got on stage . . .

Benjamin walked up to the microphone, “Okay. . . . Hello- . . !” and he stopped, looked off stage at Data and whispered, “Where are we, again?”
“Egnar”, Data whispered back, at the same time as Laforge and Troi.
“Hello, Egnar! We are Bulwark and we are gonna save this town and this planet!”

An outdoor Colorado amphitheatre: Cheering teenagers and young adults – dozens of them. Banging drums. Keyboard pulsing. Electric guitar playing arpeggios. A singer, with a strong voice singing bright, haunting, quick, instantly memorable melodies.

A few members of the audience found themselves smiling, then moving to the rythm of the music, and then calling their friends to transport themselves in to Colorado.  And so the audience grew.

Bulwark had fun.

And twenty thousand feet overhead, not un-noticed, a large dark harshly angled craft from another solar system. It was listening. It was satisfied. It had found what it was looking for.

And when the show was over. It went home.

. . . that I like pop music?

The Plain White T’s first song was good.

This is better.
And a sweet video.

(Do you generally agree with this?)

If you see someone in a situation* that would cause embarrassment if you gossiped about it, and if they see you seeing them – (1) decide right away not to talk about it and then (if appropriate i.e. it won’t cause more embarrassment) (2) tell them that you aren’t  going to talk about it.

* Assuming that this isn’t some dark sin that someone in authority should hear about. I’m thinking more along the lines of an inadvertent action.

Here’s what I bet you’re thinking right now (two days after the fact):

I wonder what I’d get if I went over to John Piper’s website and searched on the word Valentine.

Well, I’ll save you the trouble! And here is the warning – he has a romantic streak.


As many of you know the biopsy of my prostate was taken on our 37th anniversary and the surgery happened on Valentine’s Day. That is enough to set a lover’s heart to pondering the meaning of things.


Noël and I went downtown for a special Valentine‘s Day dinner last February 14. It was one of the many dates I have botched over the 20 years of our marriage. The restaurant I had chosen especially for her was closed. It was cold as we walked around trying to find another one. We wound up at a fast food place in the center of the city sitting by a window overlooking 8th Street.


It’s only fit that in our little span

Of married life the good and secret plan

That governs all our feasts and Valentines

Should order some to be blue sky that shines

And others gray and even ominous:

Both serve our love, and sweetly couple us.


But here’s a recommendation. Don’t “surprise” her on Valentine’s

Day, or her birthday, or an anniversary. Sure, plan something for

February 14. But a true surprise is unexpected.


If sunshine

Is a happy sign

That the divine

Is oft benign

And can design

A living shrine

And us refine

And so align

That what is mine

Is also thine,

Then you will surely not decline

To be my only Valentine

The novel Blink, By Ted Dekker, is pretty good Christian Fiction. It has the same basic premise as the Nicholas Cage movie, Next (which is completely secular and came five years later). I generally like Cage movies, but Next isn’t his best.


The shared premise is that of a man who can see minutes, but only minutes in the future. And he can see several different scenarios. The book is better. I recommend it as entertainment, not literature. At the very least, it was a nice break after ‘Atlas Shrugged’



Everything I Ever Needed To Know I Learned From Blink – By Ted Dekker


If God exists, he knows what will happen in the future *** Mohamed was not perfect. *** Hitler was a devout Christian as much as I am a toad. *** There is only one God. *** All evidence points to the existence of a creator. *** Prayer may just be the most powerful tool mankind has. *** Dear God, help me. *** We can always hope. *** Hindus have faith in what they can’t see just as much as Jews or Christians or Muslims. So do evolutionists. You can’t convince any of them that they’re wrong, because they ignore evidence in favor of what they want to see. *** Pray to Jesus. *** The future can be changed. We can change it. God can change it. *** God’s smarter than we are. *** I will die only if God has decided I should die. *** God of Jesus, hear our prayer to you. Make a way for your will to find its end in us this day. ***  Don’t lose faith. *** Accept the will of God. *** There’s always danger. *** God is indeed great.

23 Ways To Glorify God When You’re In Front Of A Kindergarten/ First Grade Church Wednesday Night Activity Class


  1. Get the kids to laugh.
  2. Help them know that they are safe.
  3. Point out the youth passages.
  4. Point out ways that individual kids are glorifying God.
  5. Encourage them to listen to what goes on in the big sanctuary.
  6. Pray with them.
  7. Show them you are interested in them.
  8. Give them things that will help them think about God at home.
  9. Get them to listen to the teachers.
  10. Get them to sing hymns, psalms and spiritual songs.
  11. Encourage them to honor their parents.
  12. Pray for them.
  13. Learn from them.
  14. Point out something surprising and happy in the bible.
  15. Point out sobering things in the bible.
  16. Encourage them to honor each other.
  17. Show them that they can have a relationship with God.
  18. Show them that they can read the bible.
  19. Honor missionaries.
  20. Honor the pastors of your church.
  21. Ask them questions.
  22. Show them what kids through history have done to glorify God.
  23. Smile.


* Or, if you like, as their small group leader

So here is the question:


Is it ever okay (non-sinful, decent, respectable) to choose to do something because it will make people think you are great? Is it okay for this to be on your mind when you are deciding whether or not to do something: I wonder if this will make people say about me – “Boy, he’s great!”?


<Okay now, as a favor to me, answer that question in your mind before you read further.

Here’s a completely unrelated picture to look at while you ponder. The answer is below.>



Up until two days ago, I would have said ‘No’, but I would have been wrong. Here’s where you should be thinking – he better have a biblical basis for that declaration. The good news is – I do! And I must say, it surprised me.


Have you ever considered this in Matthew 5:19b?


. . . but whoever does <these commandments> and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.


So here, Jesus, in the sermon on the mount, is telling us that we should obey his commandments and teach others to obey his commandments and the motivation he gives us (in this case) is that if we do so, then later in Heaven people will call us great.


Before you get upset with me, please note that in my original question I was careful to say “Is it EVER okay . . .”.  So to be clear, it may only be Heavenly Declarations of Greatness that are proper motivations for us.


This makes sense to me, because in Heaven, everyone there will be very aware of the True Source of every kind of greatness. And we will know Who is infinitely greater than every other kind of greatness. And that is the person we will worship.


And that God will be worshipped should be our primary motivation in everything we choose to do.


What do you think?


By the way, the picture is completely unfair – Of all of our kids, Barrett is the most likely to have fun with Foster, and Foster is largely a blessedly silent baby.

Everyone has a talent to be creative in some way.  Figure out what your way is and use it to glorify God.

*Perhaps not original

**Also wise for adults

To my surprise, last week’s post  (with more than 700 hits)  is very close to becoming my all time most viewed post. I appreciate those who have linked to it.

In the meantime, my wife (who wasn’t a part of writing the first post) has been itching to add clarification to my rather loosely formatted list of tips.

So I told her to go ahead and this is what she just sent me:


Here are some specific things we do to get ready for church:



Our kids have church-only clothes that we keep in a separate place in their closet or dresser (or even our closet.)  Then on Saturday, the clothes are not difficult for us (or the older kids) to locate.  Each child has a certain spot where they set out all of their church clothes so they are ready for Sunday morning.


We also have what we call a “Sunday basket,” which is just a laundry basket that holds church-only socks, tights, shoes, etc.  Everyone’s  items  are all together, but easy to find since they are different sizes.  While putting away clean laundry for the week, these church items go directly into the Sunday basket.


Also, (and this might be too Spartan for some,) the kids basically have a church “uniform” which is black tights for the girls and navy pants and black socks for the boys with black shoes—all of them.  Their dresses/shirts have to go with black/navy.  There have been many Sunday mornings when we have discovered that someone’s pants or shoes are too small, so we go to the “extra Sunday shoes box” or “extra Sunday pants box”  and get the next size up! 


Church bags:

We have a stash of labeled bags for the kids to bring to church, and every Saturday they need to put into their bag a Bible, paper and pen.  Those bags then sit in a pile in our living room until we walk out the door on Sunday.


Sunday breakfast:

We get as much of the breakfast ready as possible the night before; even cracking the eggs into a bowl and setting the table.  In the morning, Scott and I take turns preparing breakfast while the other gets ready for church.  (The kids are still sleeping.) 


Regarding spills: We never have the kids put on their church clothes until after breakfast.  Breakfast is at 7:30 am, and that gives us 40 minutes to clean up and get the kids ready; Scott and I are mostly ready to go by breakfast, except I eat in my pajamas, as well! 



I have been known to make a two-hour, minute-by-minute schedule for Sunday morning prep time, especially when we have a baby.  If I find that breakfast is not ready by 7:30, then the next Sunday I get up earlier, and if 40 minutes is not enough time to get ready after breakfast, then the next week Sunday we try eating at 7:20 (and get up earlier!)   I sometimes jot down notes for the next Sunday and put them in my “Saturday folder” which I look at every Saturday.




I must admit, her attention to detail has enable us to have more peaceful, and thus more God-glorifying Sabbath mornings.

By the way, we’d sure appreciate any comments you have on this subject.

Yesterday (yes, on Feb 7th) we finally got all of our Christmas decorations put away.

I don’t know – does that count as interesting?

I have mentioned before that I am writing songs for the Fighter verse bible memorization program for our church.

I believe I also have mentioned that we’ve put out a couple CDs with the music on them.

Well, for those who are interested in listening to the music, a friend of mine (Andy Gammons) has put them online for anyone to listen to.

As we are going to be making more, our team would appreciate any comments (positive and negative) that you could give us – the more specific the better.

Here’s the main link – You’ll have to register with the Imeem system, but that’s easy enough. 

< We have taken down the link for now – more updates to come soon.>

Please let me know what you think.

Okay, if this guy* can do it


I can do it:

This is from my 8 year old son, Barrett:


Barrett's Artwork

Barrett's Artwork


Can you guess where he’d like to be these days?

Note that the two on the blanket are the parents and there are 8 kids (can you see the 8th?)

Since we have only seven kids, I asked who the 8th was and Barrett said “He’s a playmate for Foster.”

I asked “Do you want a playmate for Foster?”

And he replied “We all do!”

*If you go to this website, beware – it can be offensive. Including right now, apparently.

My friend Abigail has posted another meme which she acknowledges is similar to my last meme.

Here it is:

List the song or songs you would sing at your American Idol audition.
You get bonus points for:
-naming multiple songs
-naming songs that might cause you embarrassment or would surprise those who think they know you.
-naming your favorite judge
-telling what you think the judges would say

I am trying to think of a song that isn’t on my last list that I would want to sing if forced to audition and nothing is coming to mind right away, but I will answer the last two questions:

My favorite judge: Since I can’t remember ever watching AI, I can’t really say.
What the judges would say: “You have too little stage presence”, and “Your voice isn’t really made for live solo performances.”

I must say, even though I have heard no Jonas Brothers and very little Britney (sp?) Spears, I bristle a little when people say they have no talent. Anyone who does that kind of performing and has gathered that many fans (even if they are all young) has talent.

Okay, almost anyone.

May God bless Josephine Marie, born Sunday to new parents. May He bless the parents, too. Especially the mom – labor lasted 60 hours.

<Note: Comments made about this post (as well as its popularity) have motivated my wife to write some more specifics on how our family does this>

Peace at church is important. And we have found that one way to experience it is to not be late.*

Our goal is to be sitting down before the singing starts, having eaten a hot meal together and having left a straightened house. Ideally the dishes are washed or are being washed in the dishwasher.

If you want to know how we do it, the trick is to (A) get as much done as possible the night before and (B) get up on time.

(A) Here are the things we do the night before (and by the way, much of this helps with enjoying the Sabbath by doing the work early):
– Get clothes ready for the kids, making sure that we have clean socks and non-lost shoes and outfits for everyone.
– Get clothes ready for the adults.
– Plan the breakfast and prepare it as much as possible, cracking eggs if we’re making scramble eggs, mixing up the recipe if we’re having oatmeal bake.
– Pre-set the table.
– Make sure the house is straightened (Okay this doesn’t have anything to do with getting to church on time, but it’s more peace-inducing if you know you’re not coming back to a disaster.
– Make sure the kids have all taken their baths.
– Get the girls long hair combed.
– Get all of the kids’ bible bags ready, as well as whatever we’re bringing to church.

(B) Getting up on time is the tricky part. For us it comes down to the fact that we would probably always be late if it weren’t for Debbie telling me I had to get up. But we’ve learned what time we need to get up to get to church by 9. (6:30-7:00).

So having said that, I was humbled by this video put out a couple months ago by Desiring God:


It doesn’t matter if you are punctual if you have had to be angry at your kids (and each other) to do it. I just read this to my wife and she thinks I should confess that we are sometimes guilty of anger (when we get up closer to 7:00 than to 6:30). But this Sunday we did pretty good.

* If you don’t need to be on time to have peace in church, you may disregard this post.

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February 2009