Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Not Ashamed to Call Them Brethren

It has been a long week-and-a-half here in the Red River Valley. Many have given of their time, energy, blood (especially anyone holding a sandbag while I shoveled), sweat, and tears. [It's not my fault ...I'm a "computer guy", I'm just not very good with tools. I learned that quickly during the sandbagging efforts and opted to be a "holder" or a "passer" instead!]

But, I digress...

I wanted to send a "thank-you" out to my two brothers who over the past week have demonstrated again and again that money isn't everything--despite what the world (and the media) might tell us.

Jared has basically lived in OakPort Township north of Moorhead since the flood fight began. You can read about some of his exploits here and here on his family blog. He has devoted his time, effort and resources into helping that little community survive the flood of 2009.

Jalon has taken the employees at Mill Creek Custom Cabinets out several days for sandbagging around people's houses that they don't even know. He's also spent a fair amount of time at the FargoDome making, passing (or tossing!), and stacking sandbags.

I'm proud to call them my brothers--because they consistently demonstrate to me an example of hard work (1 Corinthians 10:31), concern for others (Philippians 2:4), and genuine faith lived out by works (James 2:18).

I know there are heroes throughout our community this week--I'm just blessed to call two of them my brothers also.

[Yes, I realize that Hebrews 2:11 isn't talking about our relationship with our flesh-and-blood brothers. It is our Lord who is "not ashamed" of us as believers. But the title seemed to fit my thoughts, so please pardon the usage of the phrase out of its typical context.]

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Sandbagging at the FargoDome - Part 2

Three million is a big number! But according to officials that is the number of sandbags that have been made in Fargo over the course of the past seven days. It is hard to even fathom that many sandbags--but having been a part of the process at the FargoDome, it's not surprising that it was accomplished. The two primary bagging facilities have been operating around-the-clock for the past week! Sand bagging operations have now stopped (as of 6:30PM Friday evening) and we are now in "watch and respond" mode until the water recedes.

I posted earlier about this same topic--but that was before I had time to download some additional pictures from my phone. There are also some pictures here, here, and here from the local newspaper.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Fargo Flood 2009 Update

Here is a set of high-quality photos of the Fargo flood of 2009. [As always with external links, I only guarantee the first click--after that, let your conscience be your guide.]

The National Weather Service is now forecasting a Sunday crest of the Red River at 42 feet. However, it could still rise to 43 feet. Most of the twelve miles of dikes surrounding the city are at 43 feet high and are being checked every two hours to ensure their integrity. Officials have also informed the public that the dangerously high water levels could continue for 5-8 days.

Some have been asked to voluntarily leave their homes--but most seem to be staying for now. Portions of Interstate-94 heading eastbound from Fargo to Jamestown were shut down this afternoon to test the feasibility of using both sides of the highway if a mass evacuation becomes necessary.

The Floods Have Lifted Up

At approximately 2:15AM this morning, the Red River at Fargo reached 40.15 feet, breaking the highest ever recorded height of the river (40.1) in 1897.

According to the National Weather Service, the crest is expected between 41 and 42 feet on Saturday. However, due to the fact that no one has ever seen the river this high--they are struggling to accurately make a prediction--saying it could reach 43 feet on Sunday.

The LORD reigns; he is robed in majesty;
the LORD is robed; he has put on strength as his belt.
Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved.
Your throne is established from of old; you are from everlasting.

The floods have lifted up, O LORD,
the floods have lifted up their voice;
the floods lift up their roaring.
Mightier than the thunders of many waters,
mightier than the waves of the sea,
the LORD on high is mighty!

Your decrees are very trustworthy;
holiness befits your house, O LORD, forevermore.

Psalm 93 (ESV)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Sandbagging at the FargoDome

The FargoDome is has been hosting perhaps the most unique event ever this week--sandbag construction. Below is a time lapse video showing the efforts during a portion of March 24th. As the night wore on, the floor of the dome became nearly covered with pallets filled stacked "hip-high" with sandbags. Many of the bags had to be stored overnight in the dome due to the cold temperatures outside.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Red River Rising

The Red River of the North continues to rise in Fargo. The crest is now expected Saturday at an all-time historical height of 41 feet.

City leaders at the 1:30 PM news conference called for more volunteers as 500,000 additional sandbags will need to be made, distributed, and installed to increase the height of the dikes we've been building for the last week. Complicating everything going on with the flood preparations is the snow that we received last night...and as you might expect it is a little chilly outside today too!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


I love to listen to the kids' conversations when they are playing. It is so cute and often times very insightful. Today Chloe convinced Sam to play "husband and wife". Sam was kind enough to oblige her. Here's how the conversation went:

C: How about you are Jeremy and I am Lois
S: (leaving the room) Come on let's go, Lois
C: You know, sometimes Daddy calls Mommy "Love", so how about you call me "Love"
S: No, that's too embarrassing. :-)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Enjoying the Snow

Even though we still have huge piles of snow left, it IS melting very quickly and so the kids were outside today playing in it. Sam and Chloe were out most of the afternoon and they were having fun throwing snow balls and building snowmen. I couldn’t resist and so Lydia and I decided to go out and join them. I can’t remember the last time I made a snowman. It was a lot of fun and we made good memories. If you can’t tell from the pictures—they pretended it was each of them. They wanted to do the whole family but we ran out of time and energy to do “Daddy and Mommy”. :-)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Men of Prayer

I was up to the hospital to visit our dear brother Frank today. He was expecting to be released--but I have not heard yet whether that happened.

Frank is a prayer warrior. I owe much to the hours He has spent before the Lord in prayer for me and my family.

If you think of Frank, please remember to pray for him--and for Carolyn and the extended family.

After seeing him this morning, I was reminded of another segment from Horatius Bonar's True Revival and the Men God Uses entitled "Men of Prayer":

It is true that they laboured much, visited much, studied much, but they also prayed much. In this they abounded. They were much alone with God, replenishing their own souls out of the living fountain that out of them might flow to their people rivers of living water. In our day there is doubtless among many a grievous mistake upon this point. Some who are really seeking to feed the flock, and to save souls, are led to exhaust their energies upon external duties and labours, overlooking the absolute necessity of enriching, ripening, filling, elevating their own souls by prayer and fasting. On this account there is much time wasted and labour thrown away. A single word, coming fresh from lips that have been kindled into heavenly warmth, by near fellowship with God, will avail more than a thousand others.

Did Christ's faithful ministers act more on this principle, they would soon learn what an increased fruitfulness and power are thereby imparted to all their labours. Were more of each returning Saturday spent in fellowship with God, in solemn intercession for the people, in humiliation for sin, and supplication for the outpouring of the Spirit our Sabbaths would be far more blest, our sermons would be far more successful, our faces would shine as did the face of Moses, a more solemn awe and reverence would be over all our assemblies, and there would be fewer complaints of labouring in vain, or spending strength for nought. What might be lost in elaborate composition, or critical exactness of style or argument, would be far more than compensated for by the "double portion of the Spirit" we might then expect to receive.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The BIG Dig Out!

Yes--it's March 11th and we are trying to dig out from underneath a TON of snow. I think over 2 days we got a total of 10 inches--but when it blows around like it did, it looks more like 10x that. I think this is one of the worst blizzards I can remember in my 13 winters here.

My wonderful husband is out there now in the driveway trying to get through drifts that are taller than the tractor. Thanks, Jeremy, for doing that for us in the freezing cold. I am REALLY ready for spring! Anyone else agree?

View out of the front Door

Yes....the drift is higher than our car

You can't see our neighbor's house or the road out in front of the house

This is what it looks like when Jeremy was finally able to get through it

Friday, March 6, 2009

Thursday, March 5, 2009

And Let Us Not Grow Weary

"We are made partaker of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end" Hebrews 3:14.

From The Streams in the Desert daily devotional by Mrs. Charles E. Cowman:
It is the last step that wins; and there is no place in the pilgrim's progress where so many dangers lurk as the region that lies hard by the portals of the Celestial City. It was there that Doubting Castle stood. It was there that the enchanted ground lured the tired traveler to fatal slumber. It is when Heaven's heights are full in view that hell's gate is most persistent and full of deadly peril. "Let us not be weary in well doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." "So run, that ye may obtain."
In the bitter waves of woe
Beaten and tossed about
By the sullen winds that blow
From the desolate shores of doubt,
Where the anchors that faith has cast
Are dragging in the gale,
I am quietly holding fast
To the things that cannot fail.

And fierce though the fiends may fight,
And long though the angels hide,
I know that truth and right
Have the universe on their side;
And that somewhere beyond the stars
Is a love that is better than fate.
When the night unlocks her bars
I shall see Him--and I will wait.
--Washington Gladden
Disclaimer: I don't know much of anything about Washington Gladden--apart from what I can read on Wikipedia. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Descriptive, Instructive, and Convictive

Frank Turk from the Pyromaniacs...Setting the World on Fire blog posted a review about a book called, "What He Must Be...If He Wants To Marry My Daughter". I haven't read the book yet--but I intend to order it tonight. But...all that aside, the point of this post has nothing to do with the book, really--but rather with one quote from the review itself. Mr. Turk writes (ephasis, mine):
There's nothing sort of subtle about this book, and that is a strong compliment. Let me put it this way: non-fiction comes in three categories, more or less -- the descriptive, the instructive, and the "convictive". A descriptive book tells you that something was done, or is being done -- like a history book, or a biography -- and can be entertaining or somewhat instructive. An instructive book tells you how something can be done -- one perspective on the tactics involved, like Joe Carter's book on how to argue persuasively -- and is totally useful and serviceable. The "convictive" book doesn't just tell you about what happens or has happened, and doesn't just talk about how to do it: it seeks to show you why this stuff it is talking about is important, and moves you from being an observer to being a practitioner because your heart is in it.
I have been thinking about these three types of non-fiction with relation to preaching and teaching the Word of God. There are occasions when a descriptive message is appropriate, for example when describing the person or character of the Lord Jesus. There are also times when an instructive message is proper--for example a study on a particular doctrine. But, oh to have the heart, passion, discernment, and steadfastness to preach with conviction. We dare not merely create hearers (or observers) of God's word--our goal ought to be creating doers. 

Monday, March 2, 2009

Men of Boldness and Determination

An excerpt from Horatius Bonar's True Revival and the Men God Uses.

Adversaries might contend and oppose, timid friends might hesitate, but they pressed forward, in nothing terrified by difficulty or opposition. Timidity shuts many a door of usefulness, and loses many a precious opportunity; it wins no friends, while it strengthens every enemy. Nothing is lost by boldness, nor gained by fear. It seems often as if there were a premium upon mere boldness and vigour, apart from other things. Even natural courage and resolution will accomplish much; how much more, courage created and upheld by faith and prayer. In regard, for instance, to the dense masses of ungodliness and profligacy in our large towns, what will ever be effected, if we timidly shrink back, or slothfully fold our hands, because the array is so terrific, and the apparent probabilities of success so slender? Let us be prepared to give battle, though it should be one against ten thousand, and who shall calculate the issues?

There is needed not merely natural courage in order to face natural danger or difficulty; there is, in our own day, a still greater need of moral boldness, in order to neutralise the fear of man, the dread of public opinion, that god of our idolatry in this last age, which boasts of superior enlightenment, and which would bring everything to the test of reason, or decide it by the votes of the majority. We need strength from above to be faithful in these days of trouble, and rebuke, and blasphemy--to set our faces like flint alike against the censure and applause of the multitude, and to dare to be singular for righteousness' sake, and to fight, single-handed, the battles of the faith. The sneer, the scoff, the contemptuous smile of superiority, the cold support, the cordial opposition, the timid friendship, the bold hostility, in private and public, from lips of companions, or neighbours, or fellow-citizens--often under pretext of reverence for religion--these are fitted to daunt the mind of common nerve, and to meet these nothing less than divine grace is needed. Never, perhaps, in any age has wickedness assumed a bolder front and attitude; and never, therefore, was Christian courage more required than now.

Men of the world, and mere professors, can tolerate, or perhaps commend the customary routine of ministerial duty; but to step beyond that--to break the regularity of well-beaten forms--to preach and labour in season and out of season--in churches, or barns, or school-houses, or streets, or highways--to deal faithfully and closely with men's consciences wherever they may happen to be brought into contact with them--to be always the minister, always the watchman, always the Christian, always the lover of souls--this is to turn the world upside down, to offend against every rule of good breeding, and to tear up the landmarks of civilised society. Ministers and Christians require more than ever to be "strong and of good courage", to be "steadfast and immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord". This has ever been one of the great secrets of success. Them that honour God, God has never failed to honour and bless.