Update on Tim: “Thank you Lord for another day of life and the strength to enjoy it.”

JP: Thanks for continuing to pray for Tim. Below his an except from his status today

Tim VanderVeld Caring Bridge site

My hospice nurse is on vacation so I did not have a home visit this morning. Late last night I did get a call from hospice seeing if everything was ok. It was and so we decided that unless I was in any immediate danger we would not meet. She asked me the normal questions which were answered satisfactory and agreed to talk later in the week.

I always praise the Lord when I am alive and strong enough to do the many things I love. Every night Deb and I take a late walk together with the dog and when we come to the bend in the path which goes slightly uphill I say and I quote “Thank you Lord for another day of life and the strength to enjoy it.” The simple things of life like movement, a good mind, and strength to do the many things in life we love to do are important. Add on top of that the people who you love the most by your side and this has to be close to heaven in many ways.

This weeks report reveals that I am alive and well. I did play nine holes of golf the other day. I am able to study and prepare my new lesson which I will launch this week in Sojournerers and Potter Clays. Call Kay Larson or Mike Herzog to get on the teaching schedule. It is a message about the church, our church! The greatest institution ever created which I have served with joy and gladness for the past 7 years. A total of 29 years through a lifetime of work.
So as the weeks come and go know that the Lord and His purposes are being lived out through my life and the life of my family. We are honored to be part of all of this and cannot wait to see what God is going to do in the future.

As some of you may already know I am scheduled to see my oncologist on Monday afternoon at 2:45 pm. I am anxious to see him again. He knows that I am alive because he gets the weekly hospice reports each week which say he is still alive! I am sure we will embrace and shake hands but will he understand the miracle we have been living the past 6 months? I almost have difficulty believing it myself. When God says let us take an adventure together He means it. Thank you Lord for the adventure. Now we move to chapter two with this new message and hope it brings truth to the church and glory to the Savior.


Marry Outside the Faith? The Logic of Christian Marriage

JP: A worthwhile read

Marry Outside the Faith? The Logic of Christian Marriage


Statistics indicate that a growing number of Americans are marrying someone from outside their own religious commitments. Is this a trend we should encourage? Not if you are committed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

“Whatever”: a verbal cover for an embrace of relativism

JP: More on Moralistic Therapeutic Deism. Earlier post here

Moralistic Therapeutic Deism–the New American Religion


When Christian Smith and his fellow researchers with the National Study of Youth and Religion at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill took a close look at the religious beliefs held by American teenagers, they found that the faith held and described by most adolescents came down to something the researchers identified as “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.”

As described by Smith and his team, Moralistic Therapeutic Deism consists of beliefs like these: 1. “A god exists who created and ordered the world and watches over human life on earth.” 2. “God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions.” 3. “The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself.” 4. “God does not need to be particularly involved in one’s life except when God is needed to resolve a problem.” 5. “Good people go to heaven when they die.”

That, in sum, is the creed to which much adolescent faith can be reduced. After conducting more than 3,000 interviews with American adolescents, the researchers reported that, when it came to the most crucial questions of faith and beliefs, many adolescents responded with a shrug and “whatever.”

As a matter of fact, the researchers, whose report is summarized in Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Eyes of American Teenagers by Christian Smith with Melinda Lundquist Denton, found that American teenagers are incredibly inarticulate about their religious beliefs, and most are virtually unable to offer any serious theological understanding. As Smith reports, “To the extent that the teens we interviewed did manage to articulate what they understood and believed religiously, it became clear that most religious teenagers either do not really comprehend what their own religious traditions say they are supposed to believe, or they do understand it and simply do not care to believe it. Either way, it is apparent that most religiously affiliated U.S. teens are not particularly interested in espousing and upholding the beliefs of their faith traditions, or that their communities of faith are failing in attempts to educate their youth, or both.”

As the researchers explained, “For most teens, nobody has to do anything in life, including anything to do with religion. ‘Whatever’ is just fine, if that’s what a person wants.”

The casual “whatever” that marks so much of the American moral and theological landscapes–adolescent and otherwise–is a substitute for serious and responsible thinking. More importantly, it is a verbal cover for an embrace of relativism. Accordingly, “most religious teenager’s opinions and views–one can hardly call them worldviews–are vague, limited, and often quite at variance with the actual teachings of their own religion.”

The kind of responses found among many teenagers indicates a vast emptiness at the heart of their understanding. When a teenager says, “I believe there is a God and stuff,” this hardly represents a profound theological commitment.