Thursday, December 31, 2009

Last Post of 2009

Well, this is my last post of 2009!

I want to say thank you for all of you being willing to spend time on my blog, reading and even commenting. It is very humbling to know that you are out there and stopping by as time permits.

I have made a concerted effort to post more often in 2009, I'm fairly sure to this is my best year thus far. I really enjoy sharing my thoughts, opinions and experiences.

I for one am expecting and hoping for a bigger & better 2010!

May God bless you and keep you safe this coming year as you continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ!

I Remain,
Pastor Steve

Pastor's Kids Retreat - 2009

What a great opportunity & blessing to be asked to speak at the Pastor's Kids retreat at the Iowa Regular Baptist Camp. This is a three day retreat, which actually runs from Monday afternoon through Wednesday noon. We had a total of only 18 kids from the Junior High and High School age group but everyone really seemed to have fun.

I was given the task to speak three times, once each day. Monday evening I challenged these young people with four foundational principles for the Christian life, 1. Please God - 2 Cor. 5:9; 2. Be Christlike - Rom. 8:28-29; 3. Glorify God - 1 Cor. 10:31 and 4. Diligently Seek God - Hebrews 11:6. This really set the pace for the rest of our time together. Tuesday evening we walked through a Bible study on the life and Asa, a Godly king of Judah. This was a long Bible Study but it was productive. Wednesday morning I used the text from John 21 where Jesus is speaking with Peter and concludes by telling Peter "YOU follow me!" Don't worry about anyone else just focus on walking with in the Will of God.

At the conclusion of the Bible study on Tuesday evening, I gave the challenge that we must not only start out well but we must finish strong. I asked these teen if there were thing in their lives that they knew did not honor God. Were there things in their lives that had replaced God as their hearts as the most important thing in their lives? To drive this point home, I used an exercise I call "a letter to God". The students write a letter to God confessing the change in love and loyalty and whatever else they deem necessary to include. The letter are folded and placed in self-addressed envelopes, SEALED and given to me. In about 8 to 10 weeks, I will begin to drop a couple of letter into the mail per week and the students will receive these letters that they have written to God. The point is that often we make commitments and promises to really change but so often we just forget and life goes on, this exercise is a simple reminder of decisions made & an opportunity to do a self check!

Well, as always, when we talk about Camp we need to mention the great food. The ladies at the camp just out did themselves with wonderful meals. That includes a meal Tuesday evening that I got to help with! As we were planning the event and desiring to do something "different", I came up with the idea of a cookout; and that is exactly what I got to do. Tuesday evening we enjoyed marinated chicken breast cooked on the charcoal grill! It was a lot of fun and I really like getting to help in this way!

Other activities included sledding, snowmobiling, floor hockey, basketball, Rook, Skip-bo, board games and large group games. One of the coolest things I noticed is how the young people are able to make their own fun and games. You don't need to schedule every minute, these kids will just start a game of Rook or Mafia, without being told to do so! This is a great group of young people and it was truly a blessing to get to hang out with them for this retreat.

That's The Way I See It!
Pastor Steve

Monday, December 28, 2009

10 Things You Probably Didn't Know about "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing"

This article first appeared in The Baptist Bulletin, December, 2007; It is also posted at blog: Sharper Iron

1. The original song was published as “Hark, How All the Welkin Rings” in the 1739 Wesley hymnal, Hymns and Sacred Poems. The second line, as written by Charles Wesley, read “Glory to the King of kings,” not “Glory to the newborn King.” And he originally wrote “Universal nature say,” not “Sons of men and angels sing.”

2. “Welkin” is an old English word for “the expanse of the heavens.” Chaucer used it in The Canterbury Tales: “This day in mirth and revel to dispend, / Till on the welkin shone the starres bright.” It is likely that “welkin” was becoming obsolete even when Wesley used it in 1739.

3. The change from “welkin” to “herald angels” was made by none other than George Whitfield. Ironically, he also changed the meaning of Wesley’s metaphor. What was once a hymn about Heaven’s response to God became a hymn about humanity’s response to God’s redemption.

4. The Wesleys weren’t too happy when people changed the words of their songs. In the preface to the 1780 edition of Hymns and Sacred Poems, John Wesley said, “Many gentlemen have done my brother and me (though without naming us) the honour to reprint many of our Hymns. Now they are perfectly welcome so to do, provided they print them just as they are. But I desire they would not attempt to mend them; for they really are not able. None of them is able to mend either the sense or the verse. Therefore, I must beg of them one of these two favours; either to let them stand just as they are, to take them for better or worse; or to add the true reading in the margin, or at the bottom of the page; that we may no longer be accountable either for the nonsense or for the doggerel of other men.”

5. Charles Wesley originally intended this hymn to be sung to the same tune as his Easter hymn “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today.” Sure enough, the words to “Hark the Herald” perfectly fit the tune EASTER HYMN. This is an intriguing idea. In Wesley’s mind, Christ’s birth was inexplicably connected to His death and resurrection—a point Wesley wanted to clarify by using the same tune for both songs.

6. The tune we usually associate with “Hark! The Herald” was written by Felix Mendelssohn in 1840—and it was not intended as a sacred song. Mendelssohn wrote it to commemorate the four hundredth anniversary of Gutengberg’s printing press (No. 2 “Vaterland, in deinen Gauen” from Festgesang zum Gutenbergfest). It was first sung by two hundred men, accompanied by two brass bands on either side of the town square, as a new Gutenberg statue was unveiled in Leipzig, Germany.

7. Mendelssohn immediately sensed his tune would be successful, but he never thought it was suitable for the church, saying, “If the right words are hit at, I am sure that piece will be liked very much by the singers and the hearers, but it will never do to sacred words. There must be a national and merry subject found out, something to which the soldierlike and buxom motion of the piece has some relation.”

8. So it is with some irony that the text was edited against the author’s wishes and combined with a tune the composer felt was unsuited for church! The version we know as “Hark! The Herald” was first published with altered text and tune in 1857.

9. Charles Wesley always considered himself an Anglican, and the hymn is still used every year for “The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols” at Kings College, Cambridge.

10. Wesley’s carol made a famous television appearance in 1965, serving as the climax to A Charlie Brown Christmas. While this was probably the first and last time a network television show will present the song in its true context of Luke 2, it has not exactly slipped from our national conscience. Currently 150 versions of it are available for download on iTunes.

Hark, How All the Welkin Rings: A Hymn for Christmas Day
[Original version, 1739]

1. Hark, how all the welkin rings,
“Glory to the King of kings;
Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconcil’d!”

2. Joyful, all ye nations, rise,
Join the triumph of the skies;
Universal nature say,
“Christ the Lord is born to-day!”

3. Christ, by highest Heaven ador’d,
Christ, the everlasting Lord:
Late in time behold him come,
Offspring of a virgin’s womb!

4. Veil’d in flesh, the Godhead see,
Hail th’ incarnate Deity!
Pleas’d as man with men to appear,
Jesus, our Immanuel here!

5. Hail, the heavenly Prince of Peace,
Hail, the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
Risen with healing in his wings.

6. Mild he lays his glory by,
Born that man no more may die;
Born to raise the sons of earth;
Born to give them second birth.

7. Come, desire of nations, come,
Fix in us thy humble home;
Rise, the woman’s conquering seed,
Bruise in us the serpent’s head.

8. Now display thy saving power,
Ruin’d nature now restore;
Now in mystic union join
Thine to ours, and ours to thine.

9. Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface,
Stamp thy image in its place.
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in thy love.

10. Let us thee, though lost, regain,
Thee, the life, the inner man:
O, to all thyself impart,
Form’d in each believing heart.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Bracing For The Winter Storm - Christmas 2009

Word is out that we are ground zero for a very bad winter storm: Rain, freezing rain, sleet, snow and blowing snow is on the menu from Wednesday 3 PM Dec. 23 through Saturday AM Dec. 26.

Here is what the National Weather Service has to say at this point:



Our family's Christmas plans for this year were to stay in Clear Lake and have all the kids come home . This is now in serous doubt! We have already told our family that there is no reason to take chances. We can get together and celebrate another day AND be safe.

Trust you will be safe and your families will be safe as you travel and move about over this Christmas holiday.

Merry Christmas To All!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Greetings All,

Just a note to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Trust you are looking back on a year filled with many blessings and some challenges and very few heartaches. Our prayer for you is that God will fill your 2010 with a multitude of blessings, more that you can even begin to imagine!

It has been a good year for the Cox's of Clear Lake, everyone is doing well and serving the Lord in the place that we have been planted! Daniel & Maggie, their son, Elijah are living in Oskaloosa, Amy is in the Des Moines area, Philip is in Bible College in Ankeny, Iowa and Susan is still stuck in Clear Lake with her parents!

The ministry in Clear Lake is moving forward and we are seeing the blessings of God so abundantly around us. Thing are moving forward and we are blessed for being able to serve here! As with every situation things could always be better but we are not working on our time schedule but on God's. So, we serve and do the things that we are called to do and watch Him bring the increase.

God bless everyone of you and your families as well. We look forward to being able to see you as the Lord permits!

Pastor Steve & Lynn Cox

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Gift Buying Tip #71

Tough time of year and sometimes you just need a little help getting the right gift. Some of us really need serious help, this tip come from a calendar Lynn gave me last year called "You 'da Dad". Here you go:

Gift Buying Tip #71

A gift certificate to Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers is not a good Christmas gift for our wife. Most men would know better especially the ones who have learned the correct response to "Do these pants make me look fat?" If you are one of the poor souls who still doesn't get it and purchased a gift like this be prepared to receive the silent treatment for a month.

Along those same lines do not buy her anti-wrinkle cream, or the book "How not to be Nasty Sunday Through Saturday. These are not considered gifts they are considered reasons for seriously injuring the person who bought them and just may court of law.

Bits & Balderdash

1. When dose life slow down? Have you ever noticed that we all seem to look forward to the end of summer so that our lives will return to some kind of "normal" schedule, only to realize that we are trading one set of "busy" for another?

We think, "It will be so nice when the kido's are back in the school mode and things slowdown", only to realize there are fall/winter/spring sports seasons, music activities, the fall and/or spring play, homeschool group activities, science fair, field trips and the list goes on and on and on!

The next thing we do is catch ourselves thinking ... "I cant wait until summer so we can slow down and relax a bit!" Not so much!!! Living life takes so much time and effort that we sometimes miss the really important because of the constant roar of the urgent!

Here is a great little booklet that I take time to read every once in a while:

2. The Tiger Woods saga continues. Here is a shocker...I do have an opinion! However, I'm waiting in the wings for a bit, I see far too many who are ready to lambaste Tiger and I'm not sure we've seen all of the fall out. I'm sure there is more to come.

3. Here is a quick bit.... I have learned in life you need to know what your doing and then be careful you do not believe that something is so "old hat" that you may take uncalculated risks. If we're not careful, stupid take over and this is what happens:

I'm thinking of having bumper sticker made up and sell them for $2.50 and they would simply say: "You Can't Fix Stupid!" Would you buy one? Got a friend that needs one?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Bible Reading......December 15th

At the end of November I posted an article about a 30 day bible reading plan and asked if anyone would like to give it a go. Well, today is the 15th of the month and we're half way through the month.

So, if your reading through Psalms
and Proverbs, how are you doing? Have there been certain verses from Psalms and Proverbs that really stood out to you? if so, what were they?

Today I read: "He who disdains instruction despises his own soul, But he who heeds rebuke gets understanding. The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom, And before honor is humility." (Pro. 15:32-33)

The more I read God's Word the more I realize the truth of Hebrews 4:12 & 13 "For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account."

Leave a comment and let me know how your doing....

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Festival of the Carols @ FBBC

Last Saturday evening Lynn, Susan & I attended the Festival of the Carols at Faith Baptist Bible College in Ankeny.

The evening was incredible! The FBBC choral, orchestra, concert band, hand-bells and a string quartet were part of the ministry in music and song.

We were able to travel down with the Nichols family and we saw lots of good friends at the event.

What a blessing it is to be so close to a place like FBBC where the training and equipping of young people for ministry is job 1! I'm so very thankful for their ministry in my life as well as my family!

At least ... That's the way I see it!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

This Made Me Laugh!

A father received the following letter from his son who was off attending college:

Dear Father,
$chool i$ really great. I am making lot$ of friend$ and $tuding very hard. With all my $tuff, I $imply can not think of anything I need, $o if you would like, you could ju$t $end me a card, a$ I would love to hear from you.
Your $on.

After receiving his son's letter the father immediately relpied by sending the following letter:

Dear Son,
I kNOw that astroNOmy, ecoNOmics and oceaNOgraphy are eNOugh to keep even an HoNOr student busy. Do NOt forget that the pursuit of kNOwledge is a NOble task, and you can never study eNOugh.
Your Dad

I hope you smiled!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Deer Hunting

Saturday was the opener for Iowa's first gun deer season. As always I was using my CVA Hawken, a .50 caliber rifle using 80 grains of REAL black powder and a patched round ball, the difference this year was that I carried my Remington 870 Express for back up as needed.

Well, it was not needed! At 8:15 AM, a really nice 8 point buck wondered within 15 yards of my stand and I welcomed him with a black-powder breakfast. After a 20 yard sprint, he was done! A large bodied deer with a very typical antler set - but I was very happy because last year I got NOTHING!

The rest of Saturday was filled with field dressing the deer, hanging and removing the hide. Sunday afternoon began the process cutting, packaging and freezing the venison. With my sweet wife at my side we finished the project at about 10:30 PM following the evening service and fellowship at the church.

You might ask ... "I wonder if venison is very tasty?" I'm really glad you asked because tonight we had both inside tenderloins marinated in McCormick's Grill Mates Teriyaki Marinade and cooked on the grill. And the answer is YES, they tasted great and YES I was grilling in the midst of a major snowstorm! (My Dad would be so proud!)

I still have my archery deer tag to fill and I'm looking forward to getting out as soon as the gun seasons are completed. I'll keep you posted on my progress!

Before you ask ..... there were no pictures taken of this deer harvest! Maybe next time!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Tiger Woods Reworks Contract; Not Marriage

There is much being said about the Tiger Woods saga.

The real problem is that we really have no idea what is going on, what happened and what the ultimate outcome will be when it is all said and done.

What we do know.....Tiger bolted from his home at o'dark thirty in the morning, backed over a fire hydrant and drove into a tree. When the police arrived Tiger's wife was standing over him holding a golf club. Since then at least two women have come forward to claim that they were having an adulterous relationship with Tiger, a married man with a family.

From the news reports that have come out in the past few days, the word is that Tiger's wife is willing to stay with him after the prenuptial contract is reworked.

Think about this from strictly a "sports" point of view....What really happened was Tiger's wife just got her contract reworked and then received a signing bonus. The word is that the prenup was rewritten (w/ 75 million guaranteed) and she was given 5 million dollars to stay with Tiger.

That is not a marriage as God defines it - - - that is a contractual relationship! What a mess! Jeremiah 17:9 tells us: The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? (New King James Version)

That's the way I see it...