Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween to all!

Halloween is a particular favorite with our kids as dress up is their favorite past time! The girls have begun to eagerly anticipate Halloween, not necessarily for the candy (although that is a plus), but more for choosing a costume and dressing up. We began a tradition a few years ago of getting together with our good friends the Lycklamas and the James' and the Hartungs, when they are able to make it, for a Halloween party, instead of trick-or-treating. We realized that our kids were scared of all the crazy decorations, costumes and motion triggers at people's doors. "Why are we scaring our kids for the sake of candy?" I thought. Emily Lycklama agreed and we began our own Halloween night tradition. So, our kids are looking forward to heading over to the Lycklamas tonight for a candy treasure hunt, cheesy ham chowder, crafts, stories, games, cookies, and all while dressed in their finest costumes. We hope you all have an enjoyable and safe Halloween as well.

Isabel is a Southern Belle!
Acacia: Go Team!
Bumble Bee Jamesy
Jack-O-Lantern Brenton

On another note, Jason reminded me this morning as he left for work that today is also "Reformation Day". When you really think about it, what a wonderful day to remember and celebrate, even if it doesn't include dressing up and candy. Think about what it meant when Luther nailed those 95 theses to the Whittenberg door. What an amazing change in history that day brought. I am so grateful that God rose up Martin Luther to read and understand the scriptures and to bring about the reformation, in face of possible death. Luther would not back down from what he new to be true even though threatened with ex-communication from the church he loved and gave his life to, and almost certain death. But God graciously allowed him to live through such threats and lead the way for the protestant church. I don't know if many of you have seen the movie "Luther" but I highly recommend it. It showed so clearly the direction of the catholic church at the time of Luther's life and how God used him to shine light on the truth of the gospel and bring people out of the problems of the Catholic church. Perhaps watching that movie might be your choice tonight (after "The Great Pumpkin"?). Happy Reformation Day!! May God continue to use us, His people, to proclaim the truth of His gospel to those who haven't heard or have been confused by other belief systems.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

TV in the Bedroom!

Heidi and Amalia Best were at our house recently and we decided to move a small T.V. into the girl's room so that the kids would have a place to watch a show while the adults talked in the front room. Well, we haven't moved the T.V. yet. I know...we are horrible parents. But, it has produced a very funny picture (see below). I only wish I knew what they were watching when we snapped this.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Cousins come to call

Last weekend we had the privilege of Dena and her kids coming to visit. It was the first time Dena got to meet Brenton and we enjoyed seeing Cooper, Paige and Zeke as it has been almost a year since we have seen them. They had all grown so much and the kids had a wonderful time getting to play with their cousins!

Brenton meets his Auntie DenaJason and all the boys: Brenton, James, Zeke and Cooper
All the Worsley/Pischke cousins

Monday, October 20, 2008

Oh the Joy!

Oh the joy of the adoring look from a baby! I just finished feeding Brenton and in his post-bottle, full tummy state he just laid in my arms gazing up at me with that look of adoration and unquestioning love only seen in the face of baby. No one looks at me like that, not in that way. There are many other looks of love that I receive from others in my family but this one is from Brenton alone, for his mommy, and it reminds me that he is a beautiful blessing and I love him so!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Called Out By My Savior

Recently my wife, Heather, wrote a thought provoking blog entry about our interesting Thursday last week. I appreciate her honesty about what God taught her that day. I love reading about what God is doing in her. She encouraged me to do a write up to express what God is taking me through right now, especially as it relates to last week. God is doing mighty things in our lives right now and we are very thankful that He is. However, it doesn’t make the time any easier. It is often “hard” on all of us when God is teaching us. Humanly speaking we don’t want to go through trials and tests to grow our faith. We want a life of ease and a faith that is rock solid. But, that rarely happens. I am becoming more convinced that a “life of ease and a faith that is rock solid” doesn’t exist. The two are at odds with each other. Those that have rock solid faith are those who have gone through the fire and have had their faith confirmed, sharpened and strengthened. James is very clear when he writes:

“Count is all joy, by brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2,3)

It seems that God has been doing that very thing in my life as of late, especially last week. And I have a strong feeling that I asked for it.

The story starts about 3 weeks ago. I found myself giving in easily to the temptation of being anxious and worrying about several things. I think it all started when the stock market started to plunge and banks started to announce their financial troubles. My heart was burdened with the prospect that our family could be negatively affected by all of this. This quickly turned into anxiety and worry over what would happen to us. Would I lose my job? Would we lose our home? Where would we go? What would happen to my extended family?… Sin started to dominate my heart and it manifested itself in a depressed attitude. That attitude had an impact on my relationship with my wife, my kids and how I did my job. I found myself living under a cloud of doubt, uncertainty and a bit of fear.

Praise God that the Holy Spirit quickly revealed my sin to me. After a few days of prayer and meditation on Scripture I realized that the sin of anxiety and worry was grabbing hold of my heart. I confessed my sin to God and searched out the truths of Scripture to replace the sins I just put off. The Spirit led me to a very familiar passage of Scripture in Matthew 6. I began to study Jesus’ words on the issue of anxiety and found myself very encouraged. We have a God who loves us and values us. Not because of anything that we have done or because we deserve it, but because He is a God of love, of mercy and compassion. He is a God who is faithful to provide for His Children.

The encouragement from Matthew 6 soon turned into conviction as I studied the passage further. Jesus makes it very clear that our Heavenly Father loves us. He also makes it clear that the reason that we (I) get anxious over things like food, water, clothing and our bodies is because of “our little faith.” Wham! I have been a Christian for a long time now and I have just been accused of having a “little faith” in my God. This accusation would be easy for me to dismiss if it had come from any other source. "He brother, take out the plank in your own eye before you address the twig in mine." But this was coming from my Savior. Jesus, who is God, who is never wrong, who never tells a lie, has just blasted my faith. He didn’t destroy my faith, He just revealed it for what it really was, small.

What do I do now? My Savior has just called me out. Can I ignore what the Bible clearly says? I don’t think so. I got on my knees and asked God to forgive me for having such a small faith after being a Christian for so long and asked that He would increase my faith. I need His strength to do that. In my own strength my faith in Him would only shrink. In my own strength my faith in myself would only grow and that would bring me only more anxiety and more worry. He and He alone is the only one who can build my faith.

The question naturally comes: How does God go about building our faith? Going back to James 1 gives us the answer to that question. James clearly says that the “testing” of our faith is the way that God goes about growing, maturing, and building our faith. God is going to put you into situations where you are forced to trust yourself or trust Him. He will bring circumstances into your life that will cause you to need to lift your eyes above yourself and to look to Him to bring you through. Does He do this to be cruel? Let it never be! He does it because He loves us. He does it so our faith in Him will be proved true. He does it so our faith in Him will grow stronger and stronger. And I asked Him to do it. I asked Him to grow my faith. I asked him to bring into my life trials to grow my faith and He did not turn away my request. Why would He? He is my loving Father, why would He ignore a request to build my faith? So He brought difficult situations into my life to do exactly what I asked.

With all this in mind the circumstances last week were painful. Having a vacation cut short is not what I would have planned. Sleepless nights with Brenton, our 3 month old son, is not what I would have ordered. Someone breaking our car door, costing nearly $1,000.00, and 4 days of a rental car, is not what I asked to happen last week. But it is what God had planned for me to honor my request that He build my faith. These times are painful. They are not fun to go through. But, I will not ask God to stop doing what He is doing. My faith in Him was small, it still is. For it to grow, I need to go through these trials and am very excited about my faith will look like on the other side.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

ESV Study Bible

It seems that the good folks at ESV are coming out with a new Study Bible. I am a big fan of the English Standard Version and am excited about this new resource. If you are interested in getting a good study tool to help you with your Bible study I would recommend investigating this new Study Bible. There is a great video that you can watch and a pretty in-depth web-page with a lot of good information about it. Another positive is that they are coming out with a number of different formats of the Bible. It looks like the Bible is being released tomorrow!

A good review of the ESV Study Bible itself can be found here.


Monday, October 13, 2008

My Sister, My Friend

Isabel is class captain this week. Her class has a pirate theme and every week one student gets to be "Captain" which is basically the same as being the student of the week. Over the weekend we filled out a little questionaire about who she is so that she could share it when she went back to school this morning. One question asked who her favorite person was. Without even pausing to think she answered "my sister"! Jason and I glanced at each other with the same thought: How wonderful! May our daughters always know the joy of a sister as a best friend!!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Dramatic Reading of Hebrews 9 and 10

Jeff Howell, our church's office manager and a good friend of mine, preached this morning in our church out of Hebrews 9 and 10. His message reminded me of a video that I first came across a few years ago of Ryan Ferguson's dramatic presentation of these two chapters. If you haven't watched this yet, it is well worth the 1o or 11 minutes it takes. I get excited each and every time I see it.


Saturday, October 11, 2008

Award For Brenton

I nominate Brenton for the Best Looking 3 Month Old On The Planet Award.

Book Review: The Gospel and Personal Evangelism

It has been said that if you want to humble any Christian you should ask him/her how their prayer life is going or how they are doing at evangelism. That statement would most certainly apply to me regarding evangelism (we will leave my prayer life for another post.) I must admit that evangelism was not something on my radar. I rarely thought about sharing the Gospel with people, and when I did I always had some excuse to give to not share. Even the remorse, sadness and guilt at missed opportunities was quickly dashed away. I was blissfully going through my days without a second thought about sharing the Gospel with those around me that were blinded by their sin and on their way to hell and I held in my hands the news that they needed to hear, the news that would rescue them from condemnation, the news that would restore a right relationship with God. Something was wrong and something needed to change in me. It is with that in mind that I picked up the book “The Gospel and Personal Evangelism” by Mark Dever.

Dever is senior pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. He also serves as the executive director of 9Marks Ministry, a ministry that seeks “to build biblically faithful churches in America," and as co-founder of “Together For The Gospel,” an organization that seeks to bring together different denominations without sacrificing doctrine. On top of these three major ministries he can also be found speaking at conferences around the country such as the Desiring God Conference, Shepherds Conference, Together For The Gospel Conference and Ligonier Ministries Conference. Somehow he manages to find time to write some pretty good books too (Nine Marks of a Healthy Church, The Deliberate Church: Building Your Ministry on the Gospel).

There are many fine books on evangelism that I could have benefited from reading. But, Dever’s book attracted my attention because of its length, it is brief at only 124 pages, its brutal honesty, its real life application and most important: it’s Bible based.

The chapter titles are:
1. Why Don’t We Evangelize?
2. What Is the Gospel?
3. Who Should Evangelize?
4. How Should We Evangelize?
5. What Isn’t Evangelism?
6. What Should We Do After We Evangelize?
7. Why Should We Evangelize?

Each chapter is very important to Dever’s purpose in writing this book. Dever states on page 16 “(this book) is meant to be an encouragement, a clarification, an instruction, a rebuke, and a challenge all rolled up into several short chapters. My prayer is that because of the time you spend reading this book, more people will hear the good news of Jesus Christ.” His work does not fall short of his desire. Pastor Dever pulls no punches when he reminds his readers of Christ’s command in Matthew 28. We are called to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." The words of Jesus are clear. We are to be those who tell others of the good news: Jesus has paid the price for our sins. And if we know the good that we are to do and do not do it James is very clear with his warning: So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. (James 4:17).

The words of Pastor Dever and more importantly the words of God have struck me in a very painful way. I have sinned every time I chose not to share the Gospel because “It’s not the appropriate time, it’s not the appropriate place, I don’t want to ruin the relationship.” I sinned every time I shrugged off a missed opportunity to tell others that without Christ they will justly be condemned by a holy God to eternal separation from Him to a place that is described in Scripture with words like “weeping and gnashing of teeth,” and “the lake of fire,” and “where the worm does not die and the fire is not quenched?” Yet, all the while it was I who was sinning. It was I who did not love them enough to share the most amazing news of all time: Jesus Christ, for our sake he (God) made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (11 Cor. 5:21)

The rebuke in the book is very heavy, but it is well balanced with encouragement to get on with sharing the Gospel. Through thought provoking questions and solid practical answers you will be ever mindful of sharing the Gospel with those around you. I now enjoy asking God each day to give me opportunities to share the Gospel with the people around me. I would highly recommend it.

For another review of the book refer to:


Thursday, October 9, 2008

My Plan vs. My Portion

While reading A Deeper Kind of Calm a couple of days ago Linda Dillow talked about our plan vs. our portion. Listing a number of examples she stated that she had planned certain activities and had certain expectations for her life and circumstances but her portion turned out to be much different. It was an interesting read at the time. Today it became more real for me. My plan: Jason is on fall break, but Isabel and Acacia are back in school. For a few hours of the day there were only 2 kids at home instead of 4 and my husband was home to help. Yipee! I get to finally sit down and scrapbook, my passion and something I don’t have a lot of time for. Jason agreed that this was to be a scrapbooking day and he would take care of the kids so that I could do it without interruption.

My (our) portion: Jason took the boys with him to run a few errands just after Acacia went to school. After folding some laundry I would sit down and begin my work on the kids’ books. However, at the carwash there was a problem; one of the workers didn’t know how to work our automatic side doors on the van and broke it. Jason called me and we were a little unsure of what to do. He had the boys and I don’t have a working remote to the car, the only vehicle available for me to be able to come and help him. The van door was stuck in the open position and he certainly couldn’t drive the boys home with the side door open. Well, we thought we’d try the non-working remote and see if today it would work. By God’s grace, the remote worked today and I was able to rush to Jason, James and Brenton at the carwash.

By this time it was time for Brenton to eat again so we transferred the boys to the car and Jason drove the van to the dealership with the side door open and I followed in the car. Brenton had a little snack while we waited for the damage report. However, that was going to take a few hours so we all got in the car and headed home. Will I get to scrapbook now? Well, not yet as James hadn’t had lunch yet and it was about 1:30. I got lunch together and then it was time to pick up Acacia from school. We got the call from the dealership just after picking her up with the grave news. While Jason received the call I left to go get Isabel from school. It turns out that because of the door being forced open the motor was burned out along with some other problems that I can’t explain here because I’m really not sure what they were. The result: $900 and the van being in rehab until Sunday. Now what do we do with four kids in car seats with our little Honda Accord? Isabel got home from school and we sat down to work on homework and Jason got a call for us to go pick up a rental. He just walked in the door, it is now 5:30 and time for me to start dinner very soon.

Have I scrapbooked yet? Nope. My plan: relax, do what I want to do. My portion: a $900 van repair bill and a day of being all over Santa Clarita as well as doing the normal at home (making food, homework, caring for baby, etc.). I am so thankful for the beautiful insights shared by Linda Dillow a few days ago to prepare me for today. How often does our plan match our portion? Yet, through it all I have been reminded that God knew this would be our portion for today so therefore it was His plan even though it wasn’t mine. It would be very easy to despair at these circumstances but by God’s grace and an answer to a prayer I prayed yesterday that His Spirit would anoint my mind and grant me peace, I am currently at peace about these circumstances.

Dillow refers to Psalm 77 where Asaph despairs, and feels forgotten by God; yet he makes a conscious choice to remember the goodness of the LORD instead of the disparity of his circumstances. Today, I will make a conscious choice to “not travel on the track of pain that descends into darkness; instead, I will shift to the track that embraces WHO God is and WHAT He has done in the past.” I just pray that He will continue to sustain me tomorrow when I may not feel like choosing this path. What did God do for us today even though my plan was not realized? He caused the un-working remote to work so that I could get to Jason and help him and get our boys home. He allowed such a situation to occur when Jason was home on break instead of having it happen to me, alone with four kids. He has given us a savings account that will cover the cost of the repairs, even if we didn’t want to use if for this, the money is there and we don’t need to worry. He has reminded me that His plan is perfect and therefore I and my family is never out of His care. He was not surprised by our day, so I don’t need to be either. I am so grateful for a heart that can recognize His goodness today as that has not been so easy for me lately. O God, may I always remember how good You are!!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Big Bear 2008

This past weekend we were able to enjoy some time in Big Bear. We stayed in a little house that is owned by a family in our church. The home is not on the lake, but it is only a 5 minute drive. The best part of being up there is the temperature. It is so nice to actually have to wear a sweatshirt in October. The high during the day was usually 61 to 63 degrees. The low was down into the 30s. It beats sweating in Santa Clarita. Big Bear also has real trees!

One of the kid's favorite things to do at the lake is to throw rocks into the water. I don't know about you, but when I was a kid this was a big "no-no." My grandfather trained me that fisherman were more important than me throwing rocks. We were supposed to respect the sanctity of quietness and stillness that fisherman needed to catch fish. I still respect fisherman and their desire to catch fish. We just go to a place that has no one fishing near it and throw rocks to our hearts content. For some funny reason throwing rocks into a lake is actually quite addicting.

Going on walks is also a favorite past time. Heather took the girls on a walk and took this great picture. One of the reasons for taking this specific walk was so that Isabel can do one of her assignments from school. The assignment focused on things that we see, hear, smell and feel during the fall. Since Santa Clarita, California does not have a "fall" season we thought doing this assignment in Big Bear would help us out.

The Big Bear Zoo is always a treat for the family. This is not your normal zoo. The animals are actually out and about in their cages. At the Los Angeles Zoo the temperatures are too hot for the animals to want to come out and play. But in Big Bear, the temperatures are cool enough for the animals to be out on display. Our kids love seeing the animals and this zoo allows you to get real close to them. Most of the animals are no more than 10 ft. away from you. Whether we were looking at birds, owls (like the Snow Owl that Heather took a picture of), eagles, bears, wolves, cougars, a minx or snakes they were within arms reach of us.

Go Dodgers!

Yes, that's right. The Dodgers are still in the playoffs.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Welcome To The Worsley Family Blog

Welcome to our new family Blog. The purpose of this blog is to update family and friends with what is going on in our lives and some pictures of everyone.

Heather and Jason Dedicating Brenton

James, Acacia and Isabel

Baby Brenton