Wednesday, November 14, 2007

In the Know...11/20/07

I can tell how many people click on this blog so as long as people are reading "I.T.K." I'll trust that means you want me to keep writing it!

Lisa and I enjoyed getting to know Jerry and Julie Burg a bit more last week. I first met Jerry when he was installing the room divider at the banquet center before the Cedarbrook band's first cd release concert. Jerry said that as he was installing the divider he sensed that God was going to use the banquet center but thought that was an odd thing to think. Then he heard about Cedarbrook and...well, I guess God IS using the banquet center! Jerry's dividers are the Cadillac of room dividers. He donated one to our Children's ministry. He said that before the internet they only sold in three states but now they sell worldwide!

I heard back from Diane Colson that we sent out 88 Christmas giftboxes last week for Operation Christmas Child. Good job! People seem to really like that. And now Darlene Huehn is helping to promote Angel Tree that distributes presents locally for Christmas. I appreciate people championing these various projects. By the way, did you know that Darlene is engaged to be married December 22nd?

Matt Deyo-Svendsen is getting his master's degree at the University of Minnesota but he is within striking distance of Cedarbrook and so we've invited him to share in January about his recent trip to Africa with Habitat for Humanity. Matt is also the guy who got us on iTunes!

I heard there was quite a crowd of soup-cookers at Janene Samples house on Sunday preparing for our Thanksgiving meal. Be sure to thank Janene, Suzie Ziebel, Lisa Diederich, Sandy Buckner, Jackie Williams, Jayne Rechtzigel, Elli Hunt, Jennifer Froseth, and Barb Prochnow.

I had a great discussion with Cherise Nielsen, Steve Jensen and Tiffany Ehlert tonight about how we can offer a variety of options for people to join one of our trips to New Orleans to work in our Center City Project. We are hoping to send off another team over Spring Break '08.

I'm curious about the success of our hunters. Tiffany told me that her husband Chris hunted with Andre Oldberg this past weekend in Medford where his Chris's brother took down a 17 point buck! Jon Spanger got an 11 point buck on Steve Jensen's farm. I think Diane Sinz said that Todd and their son Mitchell already got their tags by Sunday morning. Way to go guys. What about the rest of you? How about if you post your success below? Go on...don't be shy.

Cedarbrook Sermons Now on iTunes!

If you are an iTunes user you can now download and listen to Cedarbrook sermons for free through iTunes! You can listen to them on your computer or download them to your ipod or Mp3 player. You can also subscribe and get them automatically sent to you each week.

Hey, tell a friend who wants to check out Cedarbrook but never seems to make it. Or that relative in Sawdust, Wyoming who doesn't have a church nearby!

Go to then click on "podcasts" and do a search for "Cedarbrook Church podcasts". Enjoy.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Interpreting Parables Correctly

There's one thing I wish I would have taken the time to talk about in the parable series and that is that you have to be careful how to interpret them.

This was brought to my attention when I attended a small group discussion last week. Some people were expressing confusion at how they could love their children like the father in the parable of the Lost Sons (Prodigal). I said, "Whoa...don't go there. That parable wasn't given to teach parents how to parent. It was given to teach us about God's love. The only application Jesus wanted us to get from it was that we should rejoice when "sinners" respond to God's love and not be critical."

You see, God is able to love people unconditionally all the time because he is infinite and he can't be worn out by us. But we are not so fortunate. Our finiteness causes us to need to implement boundaries into our relationships to save us from being relationally burned and taken advantage of. There are indeed times when our love should be completely selfless and unconditional. But if we treated all people like that all the time we'd end up in a psych ward by the end of the week!

So, be careful with the parables in how you apply them. They have restricted application. The same can be said about judging. Jesus often taught through parables not to judge but he wasn't saying that we should NEVER judge. He was saying that we shouldn't judge sinners that show an interest in turning to God. I'll be preaching on appropriate times and ways to judge in January. Stay tuned.

R.U. "In the Know?"

Well, this is about as close as I can get to "gossip". Welcome to my world...

I dropped in on the Men's Meeting last Tuesday night (led by Jeff Ayres and Keith Nye) at the Cedarbrook House to touch base with the guys. They are working their way through a 16 week course called "Winning at Work and at Home". That night's topic was "Improving Your Sex Life"! Of all the nights to drop in! But seriously, it was one of the best teachings I've seen on the subject. I told the guys that I'm going to be recommending this to couples from now on. Guys, if you can't attend the meetings, buy the cd's or dvd's. You and your wife will be glad you did. If every man at Cedarbrook went through this series we'd be better men for it. Learn more here.

Working with other church youth leaders, Andy Britz helped schedule the first all-church ski trip for youth this February. Pretty cool team work.

Did you know that Children's Ministry is going wild? A year ago we had six people volunteering on a Sunday and now Brenda Brewer has 20 volunteers each week. They are attracting close to 100 children every Sunday! I'm hearing great things about the work of Kari Mogen, Julie Colson, Kristen Schroeder, Jon Farrell, Jon Kluver, Lisa Diederich, Kendra Hefner and a whole bunch more!

Speaking of big numbers, our Sunday services have taken a big jump. With children, we are fast approaching the 500 mark total for both services. Thanks for sitting up close to free the seats in the back (and we just started adding more seats too). Thanks to Dave Prestebak, Jon Lutz and Ken Jorandby for faithfully setting up chairs each week. I hear they could use some help though now that the load has increased.

I had some fellow Viking fans over on Sunday to watch the "big" game. I think I better keep their names anonymous. It's not something people want to brag about these days! Good thing the food was good because it was a real sleeper on the purple side of things (I gotta give that old QB some credit in the green and gold!) Maybe next year.

Dave and Lynn Prestebak shared the parents side of sending a son to war at Fresh Encounter on Sunday night and Kendra Hefner shared from her time in Saudi Arabia as a woman in the service. It was a good time of lifting up our past and present troops in prayer.

Orland Able just retired for the third time. This time from Fleetfarm. He says this time its' for good. I enjoyed a cup of coffee with him today in celebration. It's great to hear from one of our senior members how much Cedarbrook means to him. He's been in church all his life but much of it was the "toxic" version. He said it's been refreshing.

I heard second hand that Dennis Mentor received two gifts for the land debt reduction on Sunday as he tended the "Building 127" booth. It's great to hear that the booth is getting the word out and people are responding.

Jeff Ayres came off Upper Tainter lake today after fishing for walleyes one last time before the ice sets in. I love the patience that fishermen have (and I don't!).

Well, that's what I remember from my week. Now you are "in the know".