Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Quote for the Day - Social Justice

This week I am writing my final paper for my class on the Old Testament prophets on the subject of the contribution of the book of Jeremiah to the issues of social justice.

Studying the Old Testament prophets is something I have really enjoyed and been challenged by, and in general the message of the Bible regarding issues of social justice is something that has interested me for some time now.

Perhaps the most challenging thing in regard to social justice is figuring out how concern and care for the most vulnerable members of society works out practically in your given life and situation - but like many other things, I think that it has to begin with getting the right attitude and perspective, because once you have the right heart, situations will find you and God will bring them to you.

So, here is the quote for today:

Proverbs 14:31 says, “He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker.” The God of the Bible says, as it were, “I am the poor on your step. Your attitude toward them reveals what your true attitude is toward me.” A life poured out in doing justice for the poor is the inevitable sign of any real, true gospel faith.
Keller, Timothy (2010). Generous Justice: How God's Grace Makes Us Just (loc. 2113). DUTTON ADULT. Kindle Edition.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Quote for the Day

This week I need to finish two final assignments to finish my semester in seminary.

I really love studying theology, and the way the courses help me to dig deep in the scriptures and get beyond the surface meaning to get a broader perspective on what God is communicating through the scriptures.

One of the papers I am writing is about the contribution of the book of Jeremiah to the issues of social justice - something I have really been blessed and challenged by as I have studied it, and the other is on the theology of the book of Proverbs.

Here's a quote for today about the book of Proverbs:

Specifically religious language is seldom used in Proverbs - although it is present, it does not predominate. Not everything in life has to be strictly religious to be godly. Proverbs can serve as a corrective to the extremist tendency to spiritualize everything, as if there were something wrong with the basic material, physical world; as if God had said, “it is bad” rather than “it is good” when he first look on what he had made.
Fee & Stewart, How to Read the Bible for All its Worth, p.217

Friday, June 24, 2011

How to Save Money as a Parent - Part 1: Rescue Toys from the Trash

Being a parent is expensive.

According to this report from the New York Times, the U.S.D.A. study shows that the average cost for a middle income family in the US to raise a child is $222,360.
If you can manage to spend no more than $2.50 on your child every day, it will still cost you $16,500 to raise them to age 18.

The point is, it is expensive.
We are not a wealthy family, but we want our kids to have a nice life - and I'm sure that there are many others of you out there in a similar situation who feel the same way.

Here are a few tips for how to save money as a parent whilst ensuring your kids enjoy themselves:

Tip #1: Rescue Toys.

Toys are extremely expensive.

However, we have a dump truck which we found outside an óvoda, which was going to be thrown out. It was trash, but we rescued it, cleaned it up, and our kids love it. And it was free.

Here's a video of our kids playing with the dump truck:

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tall and Silly

We've never really measured Nate at home. Sometimes people ask me how tall he is, and I have no idea. I also have no idea how much he weighs - I just know that he's heavy.

I took this picture of Nate at óvoda the other day, to show Rosemary how tall he is now: 117cm (3' 10")

After that nice photo, Nate told me to he wanted me to take some photos of him making a silly face:

This is actually just one of the "silly faces" that he likes to make these days. He has another one where he pulls his face down, and another where he pushes his nose up.
I'm not really sure where he picked this up from - probably from óvoda, like a lot of other things - but it's funny either way. He even practices them in the mirror :)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Blessed to be a Dad

Rosemary and the little ones just surprised me with some handmade fathers day presents and a thermos coffee mug. (Nate wrote his name on the card all by himself!)

Earlier today we went out to a lake in Egerszalók and had a picnic.

I feel so blessed to have such a wonderful family.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Good News for Calvary Chapel in Hungary

Magyar verzióért, katints ide.


Since the Fidesz party came to power in the last parliamentary elections in 2010, they have been working on a new constitution for Hungary.
One of the things which will change in the new constitution will be the law regarding churches - which groups can legally be called a church (egyház) and what requirements a religious group must meet in order to be registered as a church, among other things.

A few months I wrote about the concern that the change in this law would have serious repercussions for Calvary Chapel in Hungary, and how there was a chance that we would lose our status as an egyház, and would therefore not have the legal rights of a church, e.g. we would not be able to operate any institutions, such as schools, homeless shelters, etc. This would have serious implications for the Bible College in Vajta, which received accreditation last year, and for the soup kitchens run by the Budapest church.

Well, after a lot of speculation over the past few months over what the new requirements would be (i.e. how many members a group must have and how many years they have existed in Hungary) and who the government would allow to keep their status as an official church, the official proposal for the new law was submitted to parliament, and can be downloaded here: http://www.parlament.hu/irom39/03503/03503.pdf

Over the past few months reports were going around, that the new law would require that a group have at least 10,000 members and have existed in Hungary for at least 100 years. Later, the number was said to have increased to 50,000 - but the official proposal lists the requirements as roughly 20 years and at least 1000 members.
Most importantly, Calvary Chapel is included in the list of groups which will retain their status and legal rights as a church.

Thank you to all of you who joined us in praying for this issue!
Please continue to pray for Calvary Chapel in Hungary to have a great impact on this country for Christ.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Nate Says the Darndest Things

Last night before bed Nate told me: Dad, I'm an adult.
I told him, No, Nate, you're a kid. Mom and Dad are adults. You and Felicia are kids.,
to which he responded, Dad, I want to be an adult!

He's already in a hurry to grow up. If he only knew how many adults there are out there who are jealous of his lifestyle, and would love to be a kid again!

Right after that, Nate pointed at the top of my head - where my hair is thinning - and said, Dad, your hair is just like a Grandpa!


Monday, June 13, 2011

Reflections on a Semester of Religious Ed

This past Tuesday Rosemary and I had our last Religious Ed class of the school year at the "gypsy school". It was our first semester there and we definitely learned a lot.

Here are some reflections on it this past semester:
  • When I met with the director of the school last year and she asked us to come and teach Religious Ed, she told me that years ago some Catholic priests used to come to the school to teach, but they stopped coming because they couldn't handle the kids. When I heard this, my first reaction was to assume that they probably just didn't like the kids because they were gypsies, or maybe their program was so boring that it didn't hold the kids' attention.
    However, I must admit that there were many times this semester when I found myself thinking: "I totally understand why those Catholic priests stopped coming to this school..."
    Almost all of the kids are really poorly behaved - they are disrespectful and run around and curse and fight during class - and it is very tiring to work with them and keep things in order.
    BUT - sometimes there are breakthroughs. And the breakthroughs are what makes it all worthwhile. When you see some kid understand the basic truths of the Gospel, and you realize that there is no one else in their life who tells them about the things of God or even simply that they are valuable - that is what makes all the frustration involved with teaching them worthwhile.
  • MUSIC is the best method I found to reach these gypsy kids. I could have talked until I was blue in the face, and they wouldn't have remembered anything I said - but as soon as I pulled out a guitar and taught them some songs, they immediately memorized them, and the lyrics stuck with them.
    Charles Wesley wrote literally thousands of songs, which in his time, in the 18th century in England, were "Contemporary Christian Music". He said that one of his main goals in writing music was to teach the uneducated working class the doctrines of the Bible. Many of them couldn't read, and many of them wouldn't sit through a long sermon and retain all the information - but if they could easily learn doctrine through songs. So Charles Wesley wrote music to teach the poor of England the truths of the Gospel.
    I found that this is the most effective way to teach these gypsy kids about Jesus as well. At the beginning of the semester I taught them a song called "Ó Én Hiszek Jézusban" (I believe in Jesus). The song is really just a very succinct statement of faith - and it is catchy. And for the rest of the semester, whenever I asked them a question about Jesus, most of the time they answered by quoting the lines of that song! That means that they remembered it - and it stuck in their minds. MUSIC is a wonderful resource for teaching the deep truths of the Bible.
  • One thing I will do more next year is kick more kids out of class if they misbehave. Because there are some kids who want to be there, and some kids who think that they are doing you a favor by being there, and so they just do whatever they want, and they are a drain on the entire class.
  • Another thing I would like to do more next year is to do more big programs. We had a group come from New York, who did a big program for the entire school, and it was a great success. I would love to have groups come who do puppet shows and stuff like that.
  • It seemed to me that a lot of these kids had problems at home. Some seemed neglected and some had a lot of anger. There comes a point when you stop being frustrated at these kids for being so badly behaved, and you start feeling compassion for them because most of them are products of the environments in which they are raised.
  • I think the opportunity to teach Religious Ed is a great thing, and I would like to do this in more schools, and I pray we will have open doors to do so.
Please join us in praying for these kids, their families, and the future of this ministry.

Friday, June 10, 2011


Most of my free time these days is spent with my kids. There are times when I wish I had more time for myself, to pursue hobbies or hang out with friends, but I realize that these few years that Nate and Felicia are small and need a lot of attention will be gone before I realize it, and it is a privilege to be able to devote time to them.

Felicia is not even a year and a half old, but she has a big personality and is already very girly. She loves her "babies" and her stuffed animals, and likes to pack them into a stroller and push them around.
She talks a lot already, and recently started picking up some words in Hungarian, which is interesting because we only talk to her in English. She even started calling Rosemary "anya" (mother in HU).
Felicia's favorite article of clothing to wear is a miniskirt... It doesn't even reach her knees - she could easily be kicked out of some Baptist churches for wearing it.
She's so cute it hurts.

Today Rosemary taught Nate to play Candy Land and I taught him to talk like a pirate - both things which I always looked forward to teaching my children to do one day :)

Every day Nate says stuff that just cracks us up.
When Nate was first born my parents bought him a farm set, and we still use the box that it came in to store toys for the kids in our kitchen. Nate is interested in instructions these days, so he decided he wanted to read the instructions on this box for the farm set. He pointed to each paragraph and "read" down the line: "Play with toys...play with toys...play with toys..." and then he looked at me and said, "Dad, I do all of the instructions!"

Nate has been picking up more and more Hungarian at óvoda. Every day he comes home and surprises us with stuff he has picked up. Óvoda has been really good for him.

Balázs is finishing school next week, and will turn 17 this month. The change in his life over the past 2.5 yrs since he joined our family is huge. His grades have gotten so much better, he takes part in ministry in the church, he helps a lot with the kids, and is generally just a really great person. It is such a witness to God's redemptive power, that he was able to take the bad events in Balázs' life that led him to joining our family, and use them for Balázs' good.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Finally a Mobile Version for Blogger

A few years ago, when we started a church newspaper, we made the decision to do it online rather than have a printed version, for various reasons. One reason was because having an online newspaper would make it possible for us to reach more people with our articles and another reason was because paper is so passé.
Seriously, who reads on paper any more? I barely even read books on paper nowadays - and I read a lot of books!

Just as paper is now passé - it seems to me that desktop computers are also passé, and it is a matter of time before laptops will also be passé.
Even if laptops will not be passé for a long time to come, more and more people are using mobile devices like smart phones and tablets so they can be productive on the go.

I have used both Blogger and Wordpress to blog. Our church's blog is on Wordpress, and I like many things about it - but I started this blog on Blogger, and I like how simple and easy to use it is, so I have kept it here.

The thing I really like about Wordpress is how well it works on mobile devices.
I have an Android phone, and I can easily write and post on Wordpress through their official Android app - which is superior to any of the apps for Blogger.
Furthermore, I prefer reading Wordpress blogs on my phone because they are automatically switched to the mobile version, which doesn't take as long to download and is easier to view on a phone.

So, I was glad today, when I signed into Blogger, to find that there is now a mobile optimized setting for Blogger blogs - and I must say, that I think the Blogger mobile versions look better than the Wordpress ones.

If you want to check out how this blog looks on an iPhone or Android or other smart phone, you can either look it up the old fashioned way, or scan this picture with the Barcode Scanner app.