Wednesday, December 31, 2008

25 years ago: my first homeschool "parent-teacher conference"

We've recently begun the process of digitizing some old cassette tapes.

Among them is this 20 minute jewel. My parents started homeschooling me in August, 1983, back when home schooling was still new and scary in America. This recording of my first 'parent-teacher conference' is from November 11, 1983.

The sound quality is not great after all these years (a lot of 'buzz' to try to hear over, and the end of the recording seems to be missing).

You will, however, get a kick out of hearing how my voice sounded back then. (There are some really cute moments on this recording.)

You will see what good parents God has blessed me with.

And you will see the faithfulness of God, who has continued working in us all these years, drawing us closer to Himself. How patient He is! Looking back 25 years gives me courage to trust Him for the next 25.

If you don't see the embedded player above, click here to listen in a separate window.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Sharing the Good News Using Your Hand!

This is a very creative way to share the good news about Jesus using your five fingers as a teaching tool. I am looking forward to trying this out.

Click here to see it.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Thoughts on Narnia

A younger friend recently asked for my opinion on the Narnia books.  Here, for what it's worth, is what I told him:

Narnia.  Wow.  That is a toughie.  My parents first read me the Narnia books when I was very young and I have read them many times since then.  They are extremely well written and are hard to put down.  I have also watched the movie versions of some of the books (the older movies which were produced in the early 80s, not the ones produced in the last couple years).  They are, as you know, Christian allegory which depict truths from the Bible.  There is no doubt that Lewis was a brilliant thinker.  However, as you have already probably heard, he uses characters from pagan Greek mythology as some of his “good” characters in Narnia.  Doug Phillips of Vision Forum has written a couple of articles about how detestable these ‘gods’ were in Greek mythology.  You can read what Doug said at,

This is one reason why some people feel that Narnia books blur the lines of distinction between what is good and evil magic (in a similar, but much milder way, to what the Harry Potter books have done in our generation).  Bottom line: when I was young I enjoyed the Narnia books.  The movies had some really great parts (but also some immodest dress).  (The newer movies, I hear, are less faithful to the books and are even more worldly.)  They did not cause me to think highly of pagan gods (I didn’t even know what ‘dryads’ were because I had not studied Greek mythology).  They did awaken a sort of desire in me to escape into a Narnia fantasy world myself and have fantastic adventures like the Pevensky children did.  (As if I, or any normal child my age, would have been as brave in combat as they were!!! Ha!)  This desire is of course futile and to some extent counterproductive.  My conscience was not as sensitive then.  I guess if I had kids now I would not encourage them to read the books or watch the movies.  Not so much because the stories are terrible but because there are better things to do with our lives.  

We tend to want a spectacular adventure like fighting a werewolf.  For Christians, the adventures we get sent on are far more difficult: washing feet, or perhaps dishes!  That reminds me of what Oswald Chambers said (

"Arise, shine." Isaiah 60:1

We have to take the first step as though there were no God. It is no use to wait for God to help us, He will not; but immediately we arise we find He is there. Whenever God inspires, the initiative is a moral one. We must do the thing and not lie like a log. If we will arise and shine, drudgery becomes divinely transfigured.

Drudgery is one of the finest touchstones of character there is. Drudgery is work that is very far removed from anything to do with the ideal - the utterly mean grubby things; and when we come in contact with them we know instantly whether or not we are spiritually real. Read John 13. We see there the Incarnate God doing the most desperate piece of drudgery, washing fishermen's feet, and He says - "If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another's feet." It requires the inspiration of God to go through drudgery with the light of God upon it. Some people do a certain thing and the way in which they do it hallows that thing for ever afterwards. It may be the most commonplace thing, but after we have seen them do it, it becomes different. When the Lord does a thing through us, He always transfigures it. Our Lord took on Him our human flesh and transfigured it, and it has become for every saint the temple of the Holy Ghost.

Well, I’m getting off on a rabbit trail there.  Hope that helps some though with thinking through for yourself what to do with Narnia.

Books like “The Three Comrades” {another book we had discussed}, although not as beautifully written as Narnia, are more beneficial to our lives in the end.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Dad's Christmas letter

We don't always get around to writing Christmas letters, but this year, my father did. It came out so well I thought you all would be blessed by it. -- Daniel

Well here we are again – the end of another year. This year has been a year of growth, physically and spiritually. Physically a little too much growth around the middle – so I now exercise most mornings upon rising and eat less – especially at dinner. I have been working less in town, so I have been sitting too much in front of the computer.

Early this year we finally found a church home. We visited a lot of churches in the process and have made a lot of new friends. The church is not large, but it is growing slowly. The music is basically hymns and some choruses. Our pastor and the adult Sunday school teacher both have a passion for the word of God and love to teach/preach expositionally. We are being fed the word of God every Sunday. Currently Pastor Jim is preaching through Leviticus and it is really exciting what we are learning. For the month of November I have been reading the book of Leviticus over and over and am learning just how serious God is about our worship of Him only! For the past 2 years I have been reading a different book of the bible over and over for the entire month - this method has really changed my life and walk with our Lord. The richness of the scriptures really begins to rise off the pages of the Bible when reading this way!

Another benefit that we have enjoyed at our new church is that Ann can listen to the Sunday school and church services at home by using Skype over the internet. We put the Skype program on the church’s computer so that whenever the computer is turned on the Skype program starts up. All Ann has to do is connect like doing an internet phone call and she can hear everything. Often Ann connects others to the church services – people who cannot also go to church, sometimes people in China listen with her. On Sunday evenings we all listen from home – we are 20 miles each way from church. If you would like to see or hear a sermon go to:

Pastor Jim’s passion is the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ! The Gospel has also become our passion. Every sermon contains a presentation of the gospel. We have no altar calls, just an invitation to meet with the pastor or a deacon to discuss what God is doing or has done in your life. To become a member, you must have a genuine salvation experience with our Lord, with evidence of a changed life. There must be fruit. And you must be able to present the gospel to others. Such as the following:

The gospel or good news of Jesus Christ is that God the Father, who is holy and righteous in all His ways, is angry with sinners and will punish sin.

Man, who disobeys the rule of God, is separated from the love of God and is in danger of an eternal and agonizing condemnation in hell at the hands of God.

But God, who is also rich in mercy, because of His great love, sent His eternal Son born by the virgin Mary, to die as a payment for our sin and a substitute for the sins of rebellious people like you and me.

And now, through the perfect obedience of the Son of God and His willing death on the cross as payment for our sins, all who repent and believe in Jesus Christ, following Him as Savior and Lord, will be saved from the wrath of God to come, be declared just in His sight, have eternal life, and receive the Spirit of God as a foretaste of the glories of heaven with God Himself.

In these last days, the gospel is really all that matters. Most of all, the way we live our lives should be a real demonstration of the gospel. The four spiritual laws are good, but they do not go far enough.

The question is NOT: “Do you know you’re a sinner?” But “Has God changed your heart so that you hate sin?” “Do you now hate the sin that you used to LOVE?” “If you do not have a new relationship with sin, you do not have a new relationship with God!

The question is NOT: “Do you want to go to heaven?” Everybody wants to go to heaven; they just do not want God to be there when they get there. The question is: “Has God changed your heart so that you desire Him?”

Have you become a new creature with new desires? Have you grown since you made a decision for Christ? Do you continue to repent – even daily? A mark of true Christianity – When we sin, we grieve and repent for it. The desire of your life will be that you want to be like Jesus. Do you want to be with the people of God?

Once a month Daniel and I go to the local jail (400 inmates) and do two or three church services. Sometimes we meet old friends? Anyway, we love this ministry and opportunity to serve others and present the gospel to those who are usually open to hear the truth of the gospel.

We are still living in the mountains of Arizona where you can see the stars and enjoy fresh air most of the time. We have a beautiful view of the red rocks of Sedona in the distance. Traffic is usually very mild except on the freeway on the weekends.

Our health is fairly stable and we enjoy walking most days. We have a walking group of “old folks” that enjoy serving each other and the community. All three of us enjoy encouraging people and customers over the internet using “Skype”. Our hearts desire has been to spend our lives for “Jesus Sake”.

Anyway, we are still learning new things every day – so life is never boring. We are not able to travel very far, so we are at home most of the time. God has blessed our home businesses in remarkable ways. He loves to prove that His ways are the best, so we try very hard to be in the center of His will – a great place to be!

May our Father in Heaven bless you in remarkable ways during this coming year and give you a fresh testimony of His faithfulness to you and your family that you can share with others and encourage them greatly. Our MOTTO: It is ALL about JESUS!

Love, Ward

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Google Chrome: surprisingly speedy but frustratingly buggy

From the amazing engineers at Google (whom I expect to be putting a film of everyone's life on the Net soon, if their current rate of data collection continues), comes Google Chrome, a lightweight alternative to Internet Explorer.

It's now out of Beta. It is really very fast loading web pages compared to either Internet Explorer or even Mozilla Firefox. But it has some odd and intermittent glitches which seem to hit at frustrating moments.

Bottom line: if you are medium to advanced in computers, give it a try. If not, stick with Mozilla Firefox (or IE in a real pinch).

Monday, December 22, 2008

Another Good Reason to Get Rid of Cats

This is just for fun. Confirms my general opinion about cats! (If you can't see the embedded video, click here.)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Gospel in Christmas for Hip Hoppers

Some friends of mine who run an Internet-based Hip Hop radio station asked me to record a short message about Christmas for use in their broadcast last night.  Although they're not Christians, for some reason they gave me this opportunity to speak.  

It is a challenge for me to know what to say.  I don't have much in common with hip hoppers, other than an utterly sinful heart.  Mom suggested a song, and after prayer and lots of script-rewriting and recording, this is what I came up with.

(If you don't see the embedded audio player, click here to listen to it.)

Pray for God to save the two young men who run the station.  They both have great voices which could be speaking His praises.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Contentment of Childhood

After our church potluck, the pastor's son fell asleep in Dad's arms. Hard to tell who is more content in this picture!
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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Trouble Sharing Jesus? Join an Evangelism Accountability Group

Christian friends, does fear or apathy hinder you from speaking with others about Jesus?  

I’m thinking about starting a weekly, one hour evangelism accountability group. It’s been my observation that I am more alert to seize opportunities to evangelize when I am accountable to someone else. So, I figured maybe others want to be accountable too.  Think of it as a sort of "Evangelists Anonymous" meeting.  

The hour would include components like these:
  • Accountability
  1. Whom did you share Jesus with last week and how did it go?
  2. What opportunities do you feel you missed, and how can we avoid this failure in the future?
  • Prayer 
  1. For more laborers
  2. For boldness
  3. For the people we have been sharing with or are preparing to share with
  • Training
  1. How can we make our evangelism more Biblical?
  2. What aspect of the gospel do you struggle to share clearly and/or accurately?
  3. Tips on conversation starters, places to witness, etc.
I will try to do a "test meeting" or two.  Probably using some combination of Skype and telephone.  If you are interested in participating, send me an email or leave a comment on this message, telling what times / days of the week are best for you.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Pilgrim's Progress, The Movie

My friend Arne Gasch recently alerted me to a recently released movie of John Bunyan's classic work, Pilgrim's Progress.

As a reviewer noted, "Pilgrim's Progress: Journey to Heaven is a faithful and creative adaptation of a timeless classic. The genius lies in bringing Christian and his fellow travelers into a modern context.

I haven't seen the movie, but the trailers I have seen are gripping, and yet seem to accurately portray the message of the book.

Check them out for yourself:

(watch the trailer on the main page)

(slight differences from the main trailer)

(much different from the first two trailers)

It's impossible to film the whole book in 1 hour and 43 minutes, so hopefully the film will motivate people to read the book.  If you don't own a copy (shame, shame!) you can read it online here.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Prescott Christmas Parade

Thank you to those who prayed for our time of evangelism in Prescott last Saturday. God blessed us with great weather and a large number of people showed up for the parade.

Due to my not taking into account the fact that the streets would be blocked off for the parade, we wound up missing the turn to join the rest of Karl Borman's evangelism team before the parade.

By the time I spotted Karl he was already engaged in a one on one conversation with an elderly woman. I chatted briefly with his wife and kids, then picked a section of the route that seemed to have no one else passing out tracts. I distributed about 200 copies of my favorite tract to adults and about 100 "Ten Commandment Coins" to kids. This took me about an hour.

Then I had to find Dad to "reload" (he had a bag with more tracts). Karl was just finishing talking with the same woman! He was really a good example to me of not overlooking the individual. I tend to concentrate more on reaching large numbers (quantity instead of quality).

On my way back to the crowds, I bumped into some more people from the evangelism team. Several of them were itinerant evangelists from Oregon. Two young families (related by marriage) have taken to the road in small RV's, traveling the US together to share the gospel. You can check out their ministry, Agents for Christ.

We also had the joy of bumping into Mike McLeod, a brother in Christ who lives near Prescott. We communicated with him via email and phone but never met in person before. Here he is, looking very serious as he studies a "big money" tract that he was preparing to use.

I then gave out about another 80 tracts and some more coins, but after a while I reached an area which I believed had already been "tracted" by other evangelists, so I started (nervously) looking around to see if I could find someone to talk with. Back behind the main lines of parade-watchers were some people less interested in the parade.

Praise God, I got to talk with 4 very different people.

The first one was a young man who seemed to have a genuine sense of his sinfulness before God. This is extremely rare to find. He comes from a Christian home but is struggling to find truth for himself. I attempted to point him to Christ as the cure for his sinfulness. I felt like the conversation was going well but after a while he abruptly told me he needed to leave. Richard Wurmbrand said he won more people to Christ by listening to them than by talking to them, and in hindsight I think perhaps I should have listened to this young man more.

Next, I spotted a nerdy looking young man (even nerdier than me!) wearing all black with a skull printed on his shirt. He was standing by himself. By the time I had gotten over to him he was climbing behind a railing and walking out on top of the men's restroom. (This was not quite as bizarre looking as it sounds, due to the layout of the courthouse building.) I did hand him a tract as he went. I handed out some more tracts and looked back at him periodically. He was reading the tract. When he finished, I asked him (from down below) what he thought of it. He said he basically agreed with it. Hmm, that's not good!... I chatted with him a bit more... he is still in school but hopes to work for a video game design company when he graduates.

Then I found a middle aged man standing by himself and struck up a conversation with him. I didn't find any clues to his spiritual condition so I finally just asked him "What kind of church background do you have?" He told me that he'd joined a Methodist church but then quit when they refused to help a needy family he was trying to assist. Just then he said, "Don't say anything more on this topic--here comes my wife!" Then he added, "Don't worry, everything is fine between me and the Heavenly Father." I left him with a tract.

Last, I found a native American with an "Operation Iraqi Freedom" hat. I asked him if he'd been a part of Operation Iraqi Freedom and he said yes. Then he told me he'd been in the Navy from 1992 to 1998. I started scratching my head trying to figure out how he could have served in Iraq during those years. It turned out he was homeless, and surprisingly, he didn't ask me for a handout. He told me that there were plenty of agencies in Prescott helping the homeless, and that they even gave him food for his pet German shepherd puppy. After he shared with me about some of the hard knocks he had experienced in life, I asked him if he ever wondered why God had allowed these things to happen to him. He had. He told me he had tried praying to God / Jesus many times but that he'd never heard anything. He follows the Hopi religion more or less. He said, "I don't know why I've had such an unlucky life." I soon found why he felt this way. It turns out that he believes he has never sinned, not even told a lie! Another one of his homeless buddies walked up and showed me his "Operation Iraqi Freedom" flack jacket and told me he'd been in Iraq also. I am not the brightest person in the world and it wasn't until after the conversation was over that I realized the Iraq story was probably a lie. It might have been interesting to point this out to him. What I did tell him was that the reason God had never answered his prayer was because his sins were separating him from God (Isaiah 59:2; Psalm 66:18). I told him, "I don't know what your specific sins are, but you need to start reading God's book to find out. God's book says that we are all sinners. Without looking at God's book, it's easy for us to think we are OK, because we naturally draw the bullseye around our own arrow." I asked if I could pray for him and he agreed. The conversation ended amicably although I don't know if what I said penetrated very far.

Then the crowd evaporated because the parade had ended. The evangelists regrouped for a few minutes. Here's a picture of a few of us.

Then we headed home. I think the rest stayed to do more evangelism later in the evening at the courthouse lighting.

Karl's blog contains better pictures and reports here.

Thanks to my Dad for taking lots of pictures. You can see more of them (and even a few video clips) on my photo album.

And thanks to Jesus for making it all possible!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

One Reason US Carmakers Want a Bailout

I found this short news video fascinating. It shows that there are clear solutions that could help US car manufacturers, but unfortunately the UAW is unwilling to adopt them.

Friday, December 5, 2008

"Lost at Sea" has been found again!

Quite some time ago I posted a link to the short, gripping film produced by Christ For All Nations called "Lost at Sea". Since that time, the film has been removed from CFAN's web site. But I recently found it again on Google Video.

Since I'm not sure the person who posted this film to Google had CFAN's permission to post it there (they are selling a DVD series that includes Lost at Sea), I hesitated to post the video on my blog. But in the end I decided this would be a good advertisement for the series and perhaps even motivate some people to purchase it.

I recommend watching the film twice in a row (it's only 12 minutes). The first time through will be more or less just adrenaline for you, and rather confusing. The second time you'll be able to focus clearly on the message, which is stirring. If you don't see the embedded video below, you can click here to view it.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Evangelism in Prescott Saturday

God willing, Dad and I will be joining Karl Borman's team to evangelize in Prescott this Saturday. Click here for details. If you are nearby, consider joining us. If you're not, please pray for us! :)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Touching Movie about North Korean Refugees

The power of film to convey emotion and shape worldviews is remarkable.

The trailer for the South Korean movie "Crossing" is a great example. It is based on the true story of some North Korean refugees.

Take a few minutes to watch it by clicking on their web site below. It should start playing automatically for you once the site loads and you close the pop ups.

Here is a link that gives a short synopsis of the story.

I haven't seen any more than the trailer so I can't vouch for the movie, but it is nice to see a movie that is not based on sex, conveying an important message to the world. May God use this film to raise prayers and aid for the oppressed people of North Korea.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

World Evangelization Statistics Map

At church this week I saw a new, very sobering map on the wall. While I have seen maps depicting the status of world evangelization before, this one was better than any of them, because it takes population densities into account.

Here's the map. You can click for a full screen version, or visit to learn more about their work.

This map makes it clear that we live in a real "bubble" in the US. To me the saddest parts are the dark red dots, which are hard to see but even more needy for the Good News about how they can be freed from their sins.