Friday, 28 December 2007

The Presence of The Present

Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift
II Cor 9:15

I hope your home today will be filled with joy, laughter and the presence of the loved ones. Perhaps even that eccentric uncle or the cheek-pinching aunt will make their annual appearance.

Children, grand children and maybe even some "greats" will fill the halls of your home with their rapturous echoes of delight. The food, festivities and the fun are all a part of making this day's presence on our calendar memorable.

Of course, the presence of the presents is always a high point at this holiday season. However I sincerely hope and I don't mean ti be sanctimonious that the present of HIS presence will be fully manifest at your house. The presence of the greatest Present ever sent to mankind is the Lord Jesus Christ. He is no longer a Babe in a manger but the coming King of all that exists in Heaven and on earth! What a present God gave the world that first Christmas Day!

Some of you dear readers may be absent from the presence of your loved ones today. The distant miles could not be traversed or scheduling conflicts were too huge to overcome, and you are alone.

No, I think not, for the presence of God's greatest Present is with you today, Christ Jesus the Lord.
For He said "Lo, I am with you alway..."

Tim Green

Sunday, 23 December 2007

Christian Fellowship

We had a great time of Christian Fellowship in Pastor Roger Tooley's house right after the Carol service in Orchard house. To my apology, we are not allowed to take any picture in Orchard house and therefore there is no picture of our Carol service there at all. But in summary, we had a great time there and guess what.... they wanted us to come once every month to hold a mini service there!!! What a blessing!!!

So we head to pastor's house and had a little bit of games and chat about before continuing with the food (remember we are baptist... fellowship = food, hahaha!!!).

First... introducing the church crowd.

And then we have gift exchange... and Lo and behold, here comes... Pastor Christmas to distribute the gifts!!!

And children busy playing..!! We are INDEED had a great time. Thanks to Country Mama and Pastor for making such a pleasant fellowship. Stay tune for more picture of the the very first Candlelight service in our church.

Sunday, 16 December 2007

Chrismas Carol Picture!

I'll let the picture do the talking :-)

Geek Wife

Carol Service

We just had our annual Carol Service at the church last night. Everything went well. It is hard sometimes when you do not have your own building to make sure everything makes it's way to the car. When we have special things like this, it makes it even more difficult because you have to take decorations as well. But, all in all I think the room looked very nice for about a 1/2 hour of work.

Talk about nervous! Here we were trying to get everything decorated as quickly as possible (once everything is toted in from the car) so that we have time to run through a few specials that were being sung. Not to mention trying to then give the pianist a chance to warm up also. Talk about a mad 1 hour time frame. Ha! Ha!

In the end it all turned out just fine. We had a few visitors and that was nice. One of our church ladies husband actual came in as well as her mum/mom. She travels about 25 miles to the services (for Americans that is nothing, but for here it is alot) and her lost husband usually sits in the car and waits for her. It was such a blessing to see him come in. Pray the Lord will convict his hard heart and that he will be saved. We had 2 Salvation Army ladies visit. It is nice to know that they will have heard the gospel at least once in their lives. Also, Mr & Mrs. Lane visited with us again. They are the grandparents of one of the young men in the church. They really enjoyed themselves. They stopped off at his house on the way home and was telling his family what a lovely time they had had. His mother was not well pleased. Pray for these folk, as they need the Lord.

We had an added blessing to the service. Bro. Hendy, from Indonesia; was able to be with us last night. It was a blessing to have him in the service. He is an accomplished pianist and played one of the very hard pieces for us. I believe the Lord sent him just for us!! He was sent here (Nottingham) with his job for about a month and was visiting one of the families at church whom he attend school with. He leaves next week and we are grateful to have had the opportunity to meet him and for his willingness to help us.

Pastor did an excellent job preaching the message. It was really good. I know that it gets hard to go think of new ways to present the Christmas Story, but I thank the Lord for the message we heard last night. Some of the lost people had heard it before, but there were some who have never heard and I'm thankful that Pastor tells it straight (with love) and does not beat around the bush. Our society today is hard and calloused, sometime it takes being very direct to get their attention. It just depends on the kind of spirit that is behind the directness. You can say a whole lot more in love than you can get away with if you have a bad spirit about you. Anyway, he did a good job. Thanks, Preacher!!!!

Well, I think I'll go relax for a few minutes until it's time to get ready for church tonight. God bless!

Until the Shout,
Country Mama

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Turning ONE is 2 days!!!

My little 'bandel' of joy (bandel = naugthy in Indonesian) will soon turn ONE year old on 15th December. Guess what.... we had not plan for ANYTHING yet.
What a surprise!

Geek Wife
playing with my chihuahua dog doorstopper

see, this is no eyelashese extension, this is for real *wink wink*

Sunday, 9 December 2007

the controversy around "Christmas tree"

editted by Geek Wife
taken from Wikipedia
(this means that I didn't type ANY of this! On the other hand I am quite SHOCKED on my findings!!! Is this really what secular world think of us fundamentalist? scroll to the bottom most to find my comment)

A Christmas tree, Yule tree or Tannenbaum (German: fir tree) is one of the most popular traditions associated with the celebration of Christmas. It is normally an evergreen coniferous tree that is brought into a home or used in the open, and is decorated with Christmas lights and colourful ornaments during the days around Christmas. An angel or star is often placed at the top of the tree, representing the host of angels or the Star of Bethlehem from the Nativity story.

With likely origins in European pre-Christian cultures,[1] the Christmas tree has gained an extensive history and become a common sight during the winter season in various countries.

Illustration of Yggdrasil from the Ockelbo Runestone, Sweden.
Patron trees (for example, the Irminsul, Thor's Oak and the figurative Yggdrasil) held special significance for the ancient Germanic tribes, appearing throughout historic accounts as sacred symbols and objects. According to Adam of Bremen, in Scandinavia the Germanic pagan kings sacrificed nine males (the number nine is a significant number in Norse mythology) of each species at the sacred groves every ninth year.[2]

According to Church records, Saint Boniface (who, also according to Church records, had felled the Thor's Oak) attempted to Christianise the indigenous Germanic tribes by introducing the notion of trinity by using the cone-shaped evergreen trees because of their triangular appearance.[3]

Other notable traditions in relation to Christmas have also been derived from Germanic paganism, including the Yule log, Christmas ham, Yule Goat, stuffing stockings[4], elements of Santa Claus and his nightly ride through the sky, and surviving elements of Pre-Christian Alpine traditions in the Alps.
Throughout all the ages, evergreen plants were used for decoration in the winter, from laurel, mistle or conifer, and trees had a cultural importance (cf. maypole).

A Christmas tree from 1900.
The modern custom can be traced to 16th century Germany, but apart from that, there was neither an identifiable inventor nor a single town to have been the sole trigger for the tradition, which was a popular merge from much older traditions mentioned above; in the Cathedral of Strasbourg in 1539, the church record mentions the erection of a Christmas tree, in that period, the guilds started erecting Christmas trees in front of their houses, which hints to an even earlier tradition in the area. Ingeborg Weber-Kellermann (Marburg professor of European ethnology) found a Bremen guild chronicle of 1570 which reports how a small fir was decorated with apples, nuts, dates, pretzels and paper flowers, and erected in the guild-house, for the benefit of the guild members' children, who collected the dainties on Christmas day. Martin Luther is said to have decorated a small tree in house to symbolise the way the stars shined at night. Another early reference is from Basel, where the tailor apprentices carried around town a tree decorated with apples and cheese in 1597.

During the 17th century, the custom entered family homes. One Strasbourg priest, Johann Konrad Dannerstuart, complains about the custom as distracting from the Word of God.
By the early 18th century, the custom had become common in towns of the upper Rhineland, but it had not yet spread to rural areas. Wax candles are attested from the late 18th century. The Christmas tree remained confined to the upper Rhineland for a relatively long time. It was regarded as a Protestant custom by the Catholic majority along the lower Rhine and was spread there only by Prussian officials who were moved there in the wake of the Congress of Vienna in 1815.

In the early 19th century, the custom became popular among the nobility and spread to royal courts as far as Russia. Princess Henrietta of Nassau-Weilburg introduced the Christmas tree to Vienna in 1816, and the custom spread across Austria in the following years. In France, the first Christmas tree was introduced in 1840 by the duchess of Orleans.

The Queen's Christmas tree at Osborne House. The engraving republished in Godey's Lady's Book, Philadelphia, December 1850
In Britain, the Christmas tree was introduced in the time of the personal union with Hanover, Germany, by king George III's Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz but did not spread much beyond the royal family. Queen Victoria as a child was familiar with the custom. In her journal for Christmas Eve 1832, the delighted 13-year-old princess wrote, "After dinner...we then went into the drawing-room near the dining-room...There were two large round tables on which were placed two trees hung with lights and sugar ornaments. All the presents being placed round the trees...". After her marriage to her German cousin, Prince Albert, the custom became even more widespread. In 1847, Prince Albert wrote: "I must now seek in the children an echo of what Ernest [his brother] and I were in the old time, of what we felt and thought; and their delight in the Christmas-trees is not less than ours used to be". The generous Prince Stuart also presented large numbers of trees to schools and army barracks at Christmas. Images of the royal family with their Christmas tree at Osborne House were illustrated in English magazines, initially as a woodcut in the Illustrated London News of December 1848, and copied in the United States at Christmas 1850 (illustration, left). Such patriotic prints of the British royal family at Christmas celebrations helped popularise the Christmas tree in Britain and among the Anglophile American upper class.

Several cities in the United States lay claim to that country's first Christmas tree. Windsor Locks, Connecticut, claims that a Hessian soldier put up a Christmas tree in 1777 while imprisoned at the Noden-Reed House, thus making it the home of the first Christmas tree in New England. The "First Christmas Tree in America" is also claimed by Easton, Pennsylvania, where German settlers purportedly erected a Christmas tree in 1816. In his diary, Matthew Zahm of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, recorded the use of a Christmas tree in 1821 -- leading Lancaster to also lay claim to the first Christmas Tree in America. [5]

Other accounts credit Charles Follen, a German immigrant to Boston, for being the first to introduce to America the custom of decorating a Christmas tree.[6] August Imgard, a German immigrant living in Wooster, Ohio, is the first to popularise the practice of decorating a tree. In 1847, Imgard cut a blue spruce tree from a woods outside town, had the Wooster village tinsmith construct a star, and placed the tree in his house, decorating it with paper ornaments and candy canes. The National Confectioners' Association [7] officially recognises Imgard as the first ever to put candy canes on a Christmas tree; the canes were all-white, with no red stripes. Imgard is buried in the Wooster Cemetery, and every year, a large pine tree above his grave is lit with Christmas lights.

Many cities, towns, and department stores put up public Christmas trees outdoors for everyone to enjoy, such as the Rich's Great Tree in Atlanta, the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree in New York City and the large Christmas tree at Victoria Square in Adelaide. During most of the 1970s and 1980s, the largest Christmas tree in the world was put up every year on the property of The National Enquirer in Lantana, Florida. This tradition grew into one of the most spectacular and celebrated events in the history of southern Florida, but was discontinued on the death of the paper's founder in the late 1980s.

In some cities festivals are organised around the decoration and display of multiple trees as charity events. In some cases the trees represent special commemorative gifts, such as in Trafalgar Square in London, where the City of Oslo, Norway presents a tree to the people of London as a token of appreciation for the British support of Norwegian resistance during the Second World War; in Boston, where the tree is a gift from the province of Nova Scotia, in thanks for rapid deployment of supplies and rescuers to the 1917 ammunition ship explosion that leveled the city of Halifax; and in Newcastle upon Tyne, where the 15m-tall main civic Christmas tree is an annual gift from the city of Bergen, Norway, in thanks for the part played by soldiers from Newcastle in liberating Bergen from Nazi occupation.[8]

The United States' National Christmas Tree is lit each year south of the White House in Washington, D.C. Today, the lighting of the National Tree is part of what has become a major holiday event at the White House. President Jimmy Carter lit only the crowning star atop the Tree in 1979 in honour of the Americans being held hostage in Iran; in 1980, the tree was fully lit for only 417 seconds, one second for each day the hostages had been in captivity.
The term Charlie Brown Christmas tree is used in the USA to describe any sad-looking, malformed little tree. Some tree buyers intentionally adopt such trees, feeling sympathetic to their plights. The term comes from the appearance of Charlie Brown's Christmas tree in the TV special A Charlie Brown Christmas.

In New Zealand, Pōhutukawa trees are described as 'natural Christmas trees', as they bloom at Christmas time, and they look like Christmas trees with their red flowers and green foliage.The christmas colours are yellow green and white.

The Christmas tree has seen an amount of controversy, mainly involving the secular and non-secular usage of the tree as well as groups who oppose usage of the tree on the grounds of interpretation of scripture and claimed pagan origins and/or pagan character of the custom. There are also those who view it as a Christian symbol. In 2005, the city of Boston renamed the spruce tree used to decorate the Boston Common a "Holiday Tree" rather than a "Christmas Tree". The name change drew poor reviews from the public and was changed back to "Christmas Tree" after being threatened with several lawsuits by Rev. Jerry Falwell and the Alliance Defense Fund. In the same year, Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., asked that the tree that decorates the Capitol grounds to be renamed back to "Christmas tree". It had been renamed "Holiday tree" in the 90s.[16]

Jeremiah 10:1-5 in the Bible says the following (KJV):

[1] Hear ye the word which the LORD speaketh unto you, O house of Israel:
[2] Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.
[3] For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe.
[4] They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.
[5] They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.

This is interpreted by some fundamentalist Christians as referring to a Christmas tree, and that therefore the Bible would explicitly forbid the practice. However, the more common interpretation is that the passage refers to idol worship, and it is the practice of making an object out of wood, silver, and gold, and then worshiping that idol, which is pagan.

Others feel that since "Christmas Trees" are not biblically ordained, they should not be used.

Such individuals and Christian denominations are unlikely to celebrate Christmas at all, for the same reason, such as the United Church of God.

Martin Collins from believes that that the origin of the Christmas tree is tied to the ancient myth of Gilgamesh and Horus,[17] which they associate with character Nimrod in the Bible. Interestingly, that association places the origins of the Christmas tree in to a celebration Nimrod as the "Son of Heaven." By associating this symbol with Jesus, many Christians are replacing that pagan symbology with a Christian one by celebrating the Birth of Jesus on December 25th instead of the Birthday of Nimrod.

Most churches however use Christmas trees as decoration at Christmas time. Some churches use the same stripped Christmas tree as a Christian cross at Easter. See the Old English poem The Dream of the Rood. Both Ezekiel 47:12 and the Book of Revelation 22:2 use trees as a symbol of new fruitful life, comparative to the Tree of life denied Adam in Genesis 3:22-23. Paul makes the link between Adam and Christ clear in Romans chapter 5:

Adam is a type of the one who was to come. (v. 14)

In the same way the Christmas tree can be seen as mirroring the tree of life, a symbol or type of the Crucifix which brings redemption.

Syncretising traditions in Northern Spain, the Bilbao airport displays the foreign tree and the Basque Olentzero.
In some Catholic countries, the tree is seen as a recent Protestant or American influence detracting from the Mediterranean traditions of the Christmas crib. However in many Catholic homes, both types of decoration coexist.


Geek Wife note : I actually had nothing against someone to put up Christmas tree, even after reading this article (but its quite shocking to me that wikipedia, the most famous encyclopedia on the internet mention what some fundamentalist view about it). Even though I don't put up christmas tree and this is my confiction, I certainly WON'T look down on one who does!!
God sees heart and not just the outward appearance. Just like when my pastor preaching about working on sabbath day. Many fundamentalist fail to know this and became like the pharisee. I know there is millions of christian that doesn't know what's behind christmas day, christmas tree, mistletoe etc, and I would think that God won't blame them for not reading wikipedia to learn that many things about christmas is actually pagan! It's became plain WRONG if you place all this things (decoration, gift, celebration) BEFORE the real meaning of christmas, that is the birth of the Saviour.

Friday, 7 December 2007

Standing on the promises!

Standing on the promises of Christ my King,
through eternal ages let his praises ring;
glory in the highest, I will shout and sing,
standing on the promises of God.

Standing on the promises that cannot fail,
when the howling storms of doubt and fear assail,
by the living Word of God I shall prevail,
standing on the promises of God.

Standing on the promises of Christ the Lord,
bound to him eternally by love's strong cord,
overcoming daily with the Spirit's sword,
standing on the promises of God.

Standing on the promises I cannot fall,
listening every moment to the Spirit's call,
resting in my Savior as my all in all,
standing on the promises of God.

Standing, standing,
standing on the promises of Christ my Savior;
standing, standing,
I'm standing on the promises of God.

Josiah is officially can STAND (for 3 minutes 45 seconds without holding my hand)
Praise the Lord!

Geek Wife

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Six Types of Tongues Part 6

So far we have covered:

1) a backbiting tongue
2) a deceitful, lying tongue
3) a froward tongue
4) a naughty tongue
5) a perverse tongue

We will finish this series on a positive note. All of the above do not look very inviting, does the Lord have anything good to say about the tongue? Yes, and we will look at take a few minutes to look at it.

A Wholesome Tongue

Proverbs 15:4: "A wholesome tongue is a treasure of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit."

In contrast to the five other types of tongues previously studied, a wholesome tongue is a breath of fresh air or, as today's text describes it, a "tree of life." Unlike, the froward, perverse, naughty, deceitful and backbiting tongues, the wholesome tongue edifies or builds up other people. It refuses to speak deceitfully, hypocritically, selfishly or boastfully. The believer who possesses a wholesome tongue will "[keep] his soul from troubles" (Prov. 21:23). Just as the other types of tongues expose the true attitude of a wicked, deceitful heart, a wholesome tongue reveals a heart that is in conformity to the will of God, a heart that seeks to reflect the mind of Christ through words and actions that edify others.

The word wholesome in today's text is especially noteworthy, for the Hebrew word from which it is translated provides us with the key to discovering one of the primary purposes for possessing such a tongue. "A wholesome tongue" can also be rendered "a healing tongue." Rather than trying to tear others down, believers need to speak words of comfort, bearing one another's burdens and restoring those who are "overtaken in a fault" (Gal. 6:1-2). Imagine how much more pleasant life would be if we would use our tongues to heal rather than hurt. Of course, sometimes in order to "restore" an errant believer, words of rebuke are necessary. Nevertheless, every word we speak should be "with grace, seasoned with salt" (Col. 4:6), accomplished in a spirit of love (Eph. 4:15). Does the Lord view our speech as a putrefying "open sepluchre" (Romans 3:13) or as a beautiful "tree of life"?

Well, that is the end of our series. I pray it has been as much a help to you as it has been to me. I wonder what kind of tongue to we have? Some food for thought I reckon.

Until next time,

Country Mama

Six Types of Tongues Part 5

We are now on # 5, and I am sorry that there has been such a long time in between them. Maybe things will slow down again after the first of the year, but who knows!

A Perverse Tongue

Proverbs 17:20: "He that hath a froward heart findeth no good: and he that hath a perverse tongue falleth into mischief."

The word perverse in today's text means "overturned" or "changed." A perverse tongue, therefore, is one that distorts, changes or perverts that which is true. This tongue differs from many of the other tongues previously studied in that a perverse tongue does not necessarily involve spitefulness or intentional harm directed toward another person. Regardless of motive, all one needs to do in order to speak with a perverse tongue is to intentionally lie about someone or something. Despite the fact that many today often accept and sometimes even glorify dishonesty, God does not treat duplicity or deceitfulness lightly. In fact, He says He hates such wickedness and defines a "lying tongue" and "a false witness that speaketh lies" as and "abomination" to Him (Proverbs 16:16-19). Today's text presents the consequences of speaking with such a tongue --"He that hath a perverse tongue falleth into mischief."

Probably many of us have already learned the hard way that one lie often leads to another, and before we know it, we find ourselves in a terrible mess that could have been avoided had we only spoken the truth in the first place. While telling the truth may sometimes cause heartache and pain, lying will surely cause even greater distress, not only in our relationships with others but also in our relationship with God. By guarding our mouths against lying words, we "[keep our] soul from troubles" (Prov. 21:23) and keep our hearts pure and blameless before the Lord. As children of God, we must be careful that we "lie not one to another" (Col. 3:9), for a perverse tongue will result in calamity and inevitable chastisement from our Heavenly Father.

Something to think about,
Country Mama

I did NOT get lost!

Howdy everyone! I bet you all thought that I had gotten lost somewhere in cyber space. Well, no such luck. November was crazy and December is not looking any better, so I figured I'd better get to finishing my series on tongues. It is coming right up.

Talk to you soon,
Country Mama

Monday, 3 December 2007


by Geek Wife
dedicated to Lord Jesus

Many things in this World PROMISED Freedom
But only Truth GUARANTEES Freedom

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
John 8:32