Monday, February 9, 2009

Our baby in 3d

Here is our little baby in 3d!!! This is a picture taken from my phone of the sonogram picture.... I'll try to replace this with a scanned version as soon as I can.

I have updated this post with a better picture... Click on it for full resolution excitement!

We weren't planning on getting a 3d picture taken, but the nurse who took the sonogram wanted to test out her new machine! =)

She has Jen's nose and my cheeks! =)

For those who don't know, we are due to have our baby on March 16th!!!!

James - Week 2 - James 1:5-8

James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6 But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That man should not think he will recieve anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.

Thoughts on James 1:1-4

Here is a compilation of my thoughts on James 1:1-4... I use a site called to track all of my scripture notes. It's a great program created by Nick Hauenstine. The best part is that it allows you to write notes for one or multiple verses of the scriptures, even placing multiple notes on a single verse. But even better than that, you can share your notes with individuals or entire groups of people. All of the sudden this tool for tracking notes can become a powerful tool for sharpening iron if you know what I mean (Prov. 27:17)...

Anyway, here is a compilation of notes I wrote regarding James 1:1-4:

James 1:1
I think it interesting that James decided to say he is a servant of God and Jesus... I think it is because James knew his audience (the twelve tribes) knew God, but maybe they didn't know Jesus yet.

James 1:2
I think we have to change our perspective on the "stuff" we go through. We may not be able to control all of the things we go through, but we can control what our attitude towards those things is. James is asking us to change our perspective... instead of getting down on ourselves about what happened to us, we give God glory for being in control and helping us through.
We need to not just focus on changing our attitude about the easy stuff, but we need to change our attitude regarding every event and situation we face in life.

James 1:3
I think it's interesting that he says "the testing of your faith"... he was just talking about trials of many kinds and now he's talking about the testing of your faith... I spend the better part of the day thinking about this and came to the conclusion that James is connecting the idea of going through trials and testing of faith.
Really, when you think about this on a deeper level, how you react to the trial you face says a lot about the state of your faith in God to help and carry you though that trial. I think the more aware of that we can become, the more we will be able to be intentional about our reliance on God in everything we face.
The NIV version says "Because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance". This is so true...and I think it true in every situation. The more experience we have in anything, the better equipped we are to handle those situations in the future.

James 1:4
It is through the testing of our faith, through facing the trial, through developing perseverance that we can become mature in our faith. Great will be the day that I am not shaken or moved by anything that might stand in the way of God working in my life.

If you are interested in using, let me know and I can add you to our church (Southwest First Assembly of God).

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

James - Week 1 - James 1:1-4

James 1:1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations: Greetings. 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

9 months... memorizing the entire Book of James

So I had a conversation with my pastor the other day (Pastor James Brummett) regarding strategies of Bible verse memorization. He said that he has started memorizing chapters in Psalms and has really been blessed by it. He suggested that I try the same with the Book of James. I was pretty nervous about the endeavor at first, but the more I thought about it, the more excited I got!

As I said, it seems pretty overwhelming to memorize an entire book of the Bible, so I tried to break it down. The Book of James has 5 chapters with a total of 108 verses. I figure if I memorize about 3 verses per week that I can memorize the entire book in about 9 months. All of the sudden, this doesn't seem so bad. I remember back in High School when I was part of discipleship, we would memorize 3 passages per week of 1-5 verses each... So 2-5 verses per week will be cake!

I am planning on memorizing the book using the NIV version.

My memorization strategy has several methods behind it. First, instead of just memorizing precisely 3 verses per week, I am breaking the verses into logical chunks. The result is that some weeks there will be more to memorize than others. The benefit is that it's a lot easier to memorize verses if you understand the major theme behind them, as well as being able to put these verses in context.

Also, I have formatted (or rather am in the process of formatting) these verses in such a way that I can print them onto perforated business card stock for easy dispensing and reading. If you are interested in using these documents (formatted using Microsoft Word), let me know, and I’ll send them your way… I may also post a link to them once I have finished them.

Next, I will follow a flexible, but useful daily plan, to help me stay on track and fully absorb these verses I am trying to memorize.

I plan on spending the first day (Monday's) immersing myself in the memorization of the verses. Reading the verse over and over, both out loud and in my head, until I am familiar with the content. Also, I will write it down several times so that I interact with the verse using multiple parts of my brain. Start saying the verse without looking. And finally commit the verse to memory so that I am able to say it comfortably without the need of an aid. It seems reasonable, considering we are only talking about 2-5 verses per week, to be able to commit the verses at least to short term memory in a matter of 1 day. I will continue to practice these verses throughout the week.

On day two (Tuesday), I plan to break the verses down and start thinking about what James and God are actually saying. Analyze and contemplate why he uses certain words and what the deeper meanings might be, and how these verses can apply to my life. I’ll be using a website called to write down my personal notes about these verses and how they apply to my life. The great thing about this site is that it allows you to store and share notes about the Bible. You can create a group or multiple groups where each person in the group can store their thoughts about these verses. It’s a great way to encourage, challenge, and corroborate with each other about these verses.

On day three and four (Wednesday & Thursday), I plan to break each verse down and do some deep study into what the verses really mean. If we can understand the meaning behind the verses, it will be a LOT easier to remember what the verses actually are. I plan uses tools like (they have many commentaries and concordances available all in one place) to examine the verses one or two at a time to gain a better understanding of what these verses really mean.

On day five (Friday), I plan to build a visual outline of these verses giving visual meaning and understanding to these verses. It may be that more than one week’s verses are compiled into a single visual outline. This outline will bring together the verses, my personal understanding, and the knowledge of others into a single perspective, possibly along with images, diagrams, and anything else that will bring a clearer understanding to the meaning of these verses. The end result will be a full understanding and outline of the entire book of James, broken down into meaningful segments.

On day six (Saturday), once I have a solid understanding of what God is trying to tell me through these verses, I plan on praying these scriptures over the lives of my family, friends, ministry and myself, to continue to meditate on them, and to find ways to constructively apply these verses to the various areas of my life.

Finally, on day seven (Sunday), I plan on sharing my newly memorized verses with others, along with whatever I have learned over the past week. Also, I will review verses from previous weeks so that I don’t “loose” the information I have spent time memorizing.

Studies have shown that by engaging multiple parts of your brain in these exercises, more of your brain is utilized in the memorization process. So I fully intend on using the visual, auditory, cognitive, emotional, and creative parts of my brain in this process. By mixing together these various techniques together, over the course of the week, I hope to speed up the process of moving memorized chunks of scripture to my long term memory.

Finally, I plan to surround myself with as many people as I can who are willing to take on this challenge with me (I already have 11 who are onboard). This way we can hold each other accountable, encourage each other in the process, and share knowledge and insight we learn as we travel this journey together.

I am going to start this journey right away (well, I actually have the first 4 verses memorized), and I’ll try to post the verses and insights each week as they come.