Monday, February 08, 2010

New Blog for Scott

In case you hadn't noticed, we haven't updated this blog in a LONG time. We first created it to let family and friends know what we were up to. Well, Facebook has taken over that role, so we haven't needed this blog for that.

Occasionally, I would use this platform to rant about something. Melinda didn't like me using our "family" blog for that. Since then, I have created my own personal blog found simply at scottdwinter.com. You can find my random observations there.

Well keep this blog up for posterity, as long as Google allows us to. Otherwise, find us on Facebook to see what's new!

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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Happy Birthday Anna!

Here's a "snapshot" of Anna's birthday celebration. Thank you to our wonderful family and friends for all the birthday wishes and "Disney dollars". I love doing themed parties and Anna loves so many "themes", I made a run to Party City and turned our patio into "Anna heaven". The party room was very pink and sparkly and guest included Barbie, Hello Kitty, Disney princesses and anything else I could find that was fun.

Anna brought all "her friends" to the party and that included a Strawberry shortcake doll and many bears. She loves to pretend play and her teachers at school constantly remark at what a great imagination she has when playing. The party was great and it was fun to watch her open her cards and gifts from all of you. Anna sends great big hugs to everyone for making this day special. We love you all and since we all couldn't be together, please enjoy a few moments and pictures from her special day!




video

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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Diary of a Church Hopper - Chapter Two

Well, it's been a while since we've written. We have been so busy! We have traveled as a family, I have traveled for work, Melinda worked some over the summer, and with our kids on this crazy school schedule, they have actually been in school for over a week! This summer has been full of blessing, adventure, and joy. I can honestly say that it has been a GREAT few months!

Last we wrote, we were looking for a new church. While we haven't found "the one", we have been blessed to see several different types of churches and hear some exceptional teaching. I'll take just a few lines to describe a couple...

As we alluded to before, worship is a big sticking point for us when it comes to church. We aren't die hard classicists in that we have to have a magic formula of choir, piano, and organ, but we do like a good balance. We have never been fond of the "rock 'n roll" scene on Sunday morning that dominates so many churches these days. For example, we went to one church that had great music from a quality standpoint, but their worship experience left a lot to be desired. We just don't like going into a dark auditorium with multi-colored lights on the stage where the focus is on a single person and participation seems optional. In other words, you feel you are at a concert to be entertained not to worship collectively. The contrast was the teaching at this church was amazing. Still we couldn't reconcile the two.

We went to another church where they decided to eliminate the discussion altogether and didn't have any accompaniment with their worship - just voices. While I like a good a ccapella song now and again, that was on the other side of the extreme for us.

Then we attended another church where we had one of the best worship experiences we've had in a long time. It was refreshing to hear something so contemporary in style, but conservative in execution. We definitely want to go back there, but we have at least one more church on the list to visit.

The great thing through this adventure is that we are being fed every time we go. All of the messages we have heard have been solid and appropriate. It has been proof that God's Word is living and powerful. We love sitting under good teaching and learning how to live a more faithful life for our Savior.

I would like to clarify one thing - the title of these posts. I used the term "church hopper" as a semi-indictment to the process we are going through. I do not advocate church-hopping, and firmly believe that we need to establish ourselves in a local body so that we can minister and be ministered to. Our desire is to find a grace-based, God-centric group of believers that have the desire to accept us for who we are (flaws and all), and very importantly have the ability to care for Anna so that we are free to experience church in a way we haven't been able to for a long while.

I will let Melinda write more on some of the other things that have happened this summer. We are at a great time in our lives and we love being together as a family and seeing what is around the corner as a family. As we enter into another season of school and work after our summer break we have so much to be thankful for and can't wait to share more here!

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Diary of a Church Hopper - Chapter One

I am convinced more and more that when we get to heaven we are all going to be surprised at how wrong we were/are about this thing called "church". With so many different interpretations how could we not have messed it up? It's frustrating and, frankly, distracting.

Recently we made the very tough decision to leave the church we were members of for almost 5 years. There wasn't one thing that happened to make us do it, but years of various preferences, issues, and differing philosophies added up, and the timing was right, so we cut the cord. Enough said about that.

So, here we are looking for a new church. One of the things that we challenged ourselves on was to question everything. We didn't want to assume that anything was right simply because we had always been taught that. Anything that comes up that is different, we want to carefully examine before passing judgment.

We visited our first post-exit church this past Sunday. It was different. That didn't make anything wrong, but it was different than what we had experienced for the last 5 years. The music was louder, the people were more animated, and it was a whole lot bigger. We were quickly faced with the very thing we were trying to avoid - automatically judging because our of preconceived notions of how church is "supposed" to be done.

We had done some research online and the one thing that we wrestling with was that this church does infant baptism. They were very quick to point out that the act of baptizing the infant doesn't mean that the child is saved. They would still be responsible later on to come to faith and trust Jesus on their own, through the teaching and influence of their parents and their church family. However, they didn't advocate another public baptism after the profession of faith - something completely contrary to what we have always been taught. We had to make a choice - would we hide behind our current beliefs, or would we open up and explore that their might be other interpretations of Scripture that weren't necessarily wrong?

For the most part, we enjoyed the service although it was harder to open our minds than we thought it would be. We aren't sure if we will go back, but I will tell you this - it has nothing to do with the infant baptism. As long as they aren't misleading the parents into thinking that the act of baptism saves the child, I can't really argue with the reasons why they do it. Just like I can't argue with the fact that they have drums in their worship music. It is one interpretation among many that does nothing to dilute the message that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life and that no one comes to the Father except through Him. That is the one undeniable fact that bonds all believers together, and that is what church is - not a building, not a constitution, and certainly not a person, but the corporate group of people called by God into a relationship with their Savior.

I look forward to writing more as we make this journey. I have no idea how long it will take, but we already have several churches lined up that we plan to visit over the coming months.

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Sunday, June 08, 2008

Be a Part of History

Firefox is an alternative browser to Internet Explorer. The latest updates you see in IE7 are direct results of trying to compete with features that have been in Firefox. Even still, Firefox is faster, more secure, and overall easier to customize (if you are into that). I've used Firefox for years now and would never go back to IE.

If you want to have some fun, and help Mozilla (Firefox's creator) to break a world record, click on the badge to the left. They are trying to break the software download record in a 24-hour period when they release Firefox 3.0.

In the meantime, you can download Firefox 2 from the link above, or if you are a little more adventurous, you can preview Firefox 3 here.

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