Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Different Way To Do Devotions

For my time in the Word as of late I have been listening to the Bible using the YouBible app on my IPad. 
This morning I just completed listening to 1&2 Samuel, 1&2 Kings and Ecclesiastes. This has been a very profitable couple of days! 
There is something very cool about hearing and reading alone through extended portions of Scripture, you really get to see the flow and connectivity of God's Word.
Give it a try!

I Remain,
Pastor Steve

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Creation Corner w/ Lowell Washburn

Dove migration -- Cold Snap Brings New Arrivals‏

Last week's sudden "cold snap" must have really gotten the attention of doves living to the north of Iowa.  By Thursday afternoon [Aug 16] dove numbers appeared to be showing a noticeable increase across North Central Iowa.

By Saturday morning [Aug 18] there could be little question that the 2012 dove migration was on.  At weedy gathering points, dove hunting enthusiasts reported flushing a dozen or more doves at a time.  Birds were everywhere --- on the ground, in the air, roosted in nearby tree lines.

A friend of mine visited a willow batt he plans to hunt Opening Day.  Although only a dozen to 20 doves normally exit the willow patch at daylight, there are usually doves flying back and forth around the area most of the morning.  But what my friend saw this weekend was incredible.  As daylight arrived, he witnessed what he estimated to be at least 250 doves exit the willows with a roar of wings.  Doves were soon flying everywhere and he said that it was the most [doves] he'd seen anywhere --- ever.
Final Thought:  The doves are here.  Local hunters are poised and chomping at the bit.  The big question will be if we can keep the new arrivals here until the September 1st Dove Opener finally arrives.  I remember hunting a Sept. 1st Dove Opener near Princeton, Missouri two days after a sharp cold front had rolled across the area.  Although the area had been crawling with birds, more than half [most?] had departed just before the opener.  Needless to say, our weekend success was a huge let down!   

Friday, August 17, 2012

Bits & Balderdash

Just wanted to check in and give an update on stuff. This has bee a whirlwind couple of weeks for the Cox's!

Senior High Camp: I was privileged to serve as a counselor at the Iowa Regular Baptist Camp for the week of senior high camp. What a blast! Somewhere around 450-500 campers, counselors and staff; great weather and incredible activities not to mention the chapel services.

A couple of highlights from Sr. High Camp: 1.) The FBBC Contenders skits were off the hook! These guys & gals did a great job in communicating biblical truth in a serious and sometimes hilarious way! My favorites were "Baggage"; "Grace"; "Adam & Eve" & "Superhero Superstore". Good stuff! 2.) The music for the evening services was again this year fantastic! Tim Jones did an incredible job of once again using a mix of hymns and praise and worship music to set the stage for God to work. I'm so thankful for Tim's ministry!

Vacation Bible School: the week following Sr. High Camp our church hosted a VBS. our theme was Ancient Babylon looking at the lessons to be learned from Daniel. Our VBS is headed up by Doreen Nichols and she always dose an incredible job. Again this year, she transformed our fellowship hall into a Babylonian marketplace complete with shops and a bakery!

We had our highest attendance on Wednesday evening with 33 and for our church that is a great number of children! Our offer project this year was for the Shepherds ministry "Christmas in July".

Family Camp #5: Following a week of VBS, Lynn and I transitioned out to Family Camp at the Iowa Regular Baptist Camp; not for a week of vacation but I had been asked to be the evening speaker for the week. This was a huge honor and I chose to preach the series on the Book of Ruth which I had just preached in our church. These messages were very well received and judging from the feed back I've gotten, well used of God in the lives of the family campers.

Others speakers for the week were Missionary Gerald Hawk and Pastor Scott Onofrio. The program chairman for the week was Pastor Doug Farrell. The theme for the summer at camp was "Superhero Training Camp". It was a tremendous pleasure to serve with these men!

The Hawk Family
The Onofrio Family
The Farrell Family
Wow! A very busy three weeks of ministry, but we would want it no other way! What is next on the agenda....

I Remain,
Pastor Steve  

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Creation Corner with Lowell Washburn

It may be later than you think...

This morning I picked my first batch of fall mushrooms -- found three patches of Chicken of the Woods.  The mushrooms were so fresh that you could literally squeeze water out of them.  Last year I didn't find any until mid-September, and was still eating them during the early duck season [attached teal photo].
Immediately after cooking my first skillet full, I stopped by Doug Duesenberg's Downtown 66 [a.k.a. Doug's Thrift Shop] to let him know that the hatch was on.  Doug loves Chicken Of The Woods, but noted that while delicious, the fungus is also extremely rich.  Steve Schutte was also on hand at the Thrift Shop -- dispensing his usual free advise from atop the cracker [or in this case oil] barrel -- and gave Doug, along with the rest of us, a free cooking tip.
"If you dramatically increase the amount of butter you're using to fry the mushrooms, it will automatically reduce the richness," said Schutte.  WOW -- None of us had ever thought of that one.  The suggestion certainly made sense.  Guess that's why Steve is considered a culinary genius.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Lessons from Colorado

There is, has been and will continue be a plethora of words written about the shooting in Aurora, Colorado. However, to this point I have read nothing better than the essay written by Dr. Bauder. I'm posting it here for your convenience.


I find it very thought provoking...


I Remain, 

Pastor Steve

Lessons from Colorado
Kevin T. Bauder


For the third time the state of Colorado has witnessed a murderer run amok. The first occasion took place in 1999 at Columbine High School. The second occurred in 2007 at the offices of Youth With A Mission in Arvada and in the New Life Church in Colorado Springs. The most recent, and the bloodiest, has just taken place in the Century 16 Theater in Aurora. Given these episodes and others like them, certain lessons are worth pointing out.

The first is that human suffering is real. The mayhem within the theater was only the beginning of the anguish that will result from one individual’s sinful choices. The pain of this event will scar many people for many years. Individuals who were not touched by the bullets were nevertheless touched by the trauma. The victims include loved ones who were not even in the theater but whose lives will never be the same because of the terror that was let loose. In the face of such suffering, no feeling person can remain unmoved. Our hearts go out to those whose lives have been ended or forever altered by this crime. Our souls yearn for the appearance of the One who will bring true and lasting peace and righteousness to the earth.

The second lesson is that evil is real. The murderer has already been characterized by many as a psychopath, but even psychosis does not have to result in this kind of slaughter. An individual made a choice to unleash horror. He did not accomplish this deed in a moment. He had a bright mind, he planned carefully, and he acted in ways that were calculated to bring maximum hurt to people who had never harmed him. Whether or not some pathology was involved, this act was vicious and malevolent. The right word for this man and his deed is evil. In a fallen world, the existence of evil must be taken into account. Christians should allow no naïve utopianism to stand unchallenged. Evil is alive and well on planet earth.

Third, governments cannot stop the sort of evil that occurred at Century 16. They have only a limited ability to defend their citizens from this kind of violence. Officers of the law despair of being able to stop such crimes. Commenting on this kind of event—random shootings perpetrated by lone gunmen—former FBI agent Peter Ahern said, “There’s no way you can prevent it. There’s absolutely no way.”

In a sense, Ahern is too pessimistic. There are ways to strongly tilt the odds against another mass shooting. For example, the government could outlaw public gatherings of more than three people. Or it could release squads of police officers to conduct random searches in homes and on the streets, arresting anyone whom they suspect might commit a crime. Such measures, however, are so draconian that they would actually produce greater harm than good. The liberties that citizens would surrender are far more important than the risk of being caught in a random shooting.

Fourth, when governments cannot protect their citizens, it becomes prudent and even necessary for citizens to attend to their own protection. People have no obligation to permit themselves to be struck down by predators and evil men. On the contrary, they have a right to defend their lives, limbs, and property. They also have a duty (when it is within their power) to defend the innocent.

Fifth, sometimes the restraint of violence calls for violence. The cliché that violence always begets violence is an affectation of navel-gazing mystics and the Woodstock generation. Sometimes violence, when it is rightly administered, brings an end to violence. Sometimes the just exercise of violence is the only way to end unjust violence. Sometimes peace is achieved through strength. No qualitative difference exists between calling on someone else (such as the police) to exert force in one’s behalf and exerting force for one’s self. If they were consistent, people who object to using violence against violence would never call for the police when they were being assaulted.

Incidentally, the allowance of violence in the exercise of justice is one of the principal differences between Baptists and Anabaptists. This is not the time to revisit the arguments (though they should be reviewed, perhaps in a future essay), but Baptists have believed that Scripture supports the right of just authorities to wage war and to execute certain criminals. Together with other Christians they have also believed that, under most circumstances, Scripture allows for the use of deadly force in the defense of one’s self and the lives of others. Baptists have been willing to serve as magistrates, to fight in just wars, and to take (predatory) life in the defense of (innocent) life.

Sixth, if the defense of life is ever a right—let alone a duty—then any law that deprives people of the necessary means of defense is an unjust law. It is a law that moral people may disregard. When a government forbids the means of self-defense (as distinct from state defense, which requires weapons of war), then it is overstepping its licit authority. From a biblical point of view, it may and often should be safely disobeyed.

Seventh, one of the worst ways of exposing people to violence is to herd them into zones in which they are publicly labeled as defenseless victims. This is precisely what happened at the Century 16 Theater. The state of Colorado allows its citizens to carry the means of defense, but both Century 16 and its parent company, Cinemark Century Theaters, disallow it. The predator (a bright guy from all accounts) did not plan to shoot up a police station. He planned his assault for a location filled with disarmed, defenseless victims. If the Century 16 Theater had permitted the necessary means of defense, the result would have been much the same as if the shooting had occurred in a police station. The death toll could have remained as low as two: the first victim and the perpetrator. Century 16 and Cinemark bear part of the responsibility for this catastrophe.

To understand this point, one need only consider the disparity between Colorado’s three recent shooting sprees. The Columbine shooting and the Cinemark shooting both occurred in disarmed-victim zones, and in each episode the death toll was staggering. The other shooting spree (the one that began at YWAM and ended at New Life Church), however, was cut short when a church lady, Jean Assam, applied the necessary means of defense to the shooter. This is the spree that fewer people remember, probably because it hardly began before it ended.

Some have suggested that a believer should willingly exchange his life for the life of an assailant. They reason that the believer, if killed, goes straight to heaven, but if the assailant is killed he loses every opportunity for salvation. This theory may work when the believer is entering an assailant’s territory and no other good is being risked (e.g., Jim Eliot and Nate Saint refusing to fire upon the Aucas).

Imagine the chaos that would result if every Christian police officer tried to live (which is to say, die) by this theory. No, the theory is terribly myopic, in part because it takes no account of further harm that the assailant will do, both to believers and unbelievers. Granted, application of the means of self defense within the Century 16 Theater may have ended the assailant’s opportunity for salvation. Not being able to apply that means, however, ended the opportunities of many more people. Given a choice, it would be better to see the perpetrator being carried out and a dozen others granted the chance to repent.

(This essay is by Kevin T. Bauder, Research Professor of Historical and Systematic Theology at Central Baptist Theological Seminary. Not every one of the professors, students, or alumni of Central Seminary necessarily agrees with every opinion that it expresses.)