July 30, 2007

Why I Love Jesus (Meme)

I haven't been tagged in quite a while, so I wasn't sad about getting tagged from truegrit.

Here are the Rules:
Those tagged will share 5 things they “love” about Jesus. Those tagged will tag 5 other bloggers. Those tagged will provide a link in the comments section here with their name so that others can read them.

1. He loves us. I have to give this reason as number one, because the only reason why I love Him at all is because He first loved us.

2. He was one of us. I love Him because He walked the dust of this earth. I absolutely love that about Christ. He was a baby, a toddler, an adolescent... He was one of us, yet without sin. In every way He was tempted like us, but He did not sin. He maintained perfect communion with the father, even though He was a man. If that is not enough to win the respect and love of every man, I don't know what is.

3. He was moved with compassion. While He was on this earth, there are so many times that He looked on crowds of people, or on one beggar, and He was moved with compassion.

4. He died for us. He became sin for us, and took the wrath of God for us. He did it, and He did it at our hands. The very hands He came to save are the hands that drove the nails and held the handle to the whip. He knew all of this before He came, and still He came.

5. His name. I love the fact that one day every knee will confess His name as Lord. All of the doubters, all of the mockers, all of the people who believe that He is just one of many truths... One day there will be no more doubt. I love that.


Now I need to tag five people...
1. Joe
2. the gnarly dudette
3. Rick Boyne
4. Rodney Olsen (unless he has already done this one)
5. and even though she usually doesn't do this kind of stuff, my wife

July 24, 2007

crassus

I am currently reading the book titled, Not Even a Hint, by Josh Harris. It is a book that I have wanted to read for a long time, but kept putting it off in favor of other books on my reading list. I finally picked it up the other day and dove in. I am only through the first three chapters, and it has been good so far. I am sure that I will give a quick review of this book when I am done with it, but I read something today that I wanted to share with you. It isn't anything profound, but I thought that it was interesting and blog worthy.

I once read the true story of a duke named Raynald III, who lived during the fourteenth century. His sad life illustrates how giving in to our lustful desires -- the very thing we often equate with freedom -- actually robs us of freedom and true joy.

Raynald III had lived a life of indulgence and was extremely overweight. In fact, he was commonly called by his latin nickname, Crassus, which means "fat."

After a violent quarrel, Raynald's younger brother, Edward, led a successful revolt against him. Edward captured Raynald but did not kill him. Instead he built a room around him in the Nieuwkerk Castle and promised him he could regain his freedom as soon as he was able to leave the room.

This wouldn't have been difficult for most people since the room had several windows and a door of near-normal size, and none was locked or barred. The problem was Raynald's size. To regain his freedom, he needed to lose weight. But Edward knew his older brother, and each day he sent him a variety of delicious foods. Instead of dieting his way to freedom, Raynald grew fatter. He stayed in the room for ten years, till his brother died in battle. But by then his health was so ruined that he died within a year -- a prisoner of his own appetite.

Many men and women today are prisoners to their appetite for lust. Like Raynald, they look free, maybe eve happy. They're doing what they want. They're doing what feels good. But the sad truth is that every bite of lust's delicacies only makes them more of a prisoner. When we indulge in a life of sin and do whatever feels good, we're not free. We're slaves to our sin.
I just thought that was a really interesting, yet sad, story. It illustrates the point that Harris was trying to make rather well, but it also got me to thinking about this guy Raynald. What a tragedy to be known for your lack of ability to get out of your prison cell because you don't have enough self-control to stop eating. I know that I have some trouble saying no to a Big Mac, so I am not being judgmental towards him. It just seemed so sad.

It got me to thinking about what we are known for. When people see us, what do they think? When your name comes up in a conversation, what do people say about you? I doubt that I will be remembered for anything when I am gone, but if I am, I hope that, by God's grace, they won't remember me, but will remember how Christ has worked in me.

July 22, 2007

Christian School?

In 1893, the National Education Association had this to say about the role of God in the schools,

If the study of the Bible is to be excluded from all state schools – if the inculcation of the principles of Christianity is to have no place in the daily program – if the worship of God is to form no part of the general exercises of these public elementary schools – then the good of the State would be better served by restoring all schools to church control.
I could not have put it better. I have believed in Christian School for a long time, and it is for those very reasons mentioned in this quote. What is the purpose without God? Can we pull ourselves up by our own merits? Are we improving ourselves without Him?

Do I think that the public schools should be abandoned... ?

(Actually, yes.)

The Hobbit - Book Review

Ok, I know that I am a little late with a review of The Hobbit, but I just finished reading this with my boys. Their ages are currently eight and five, and I knew that the 8-year-old could handle this book, but I was a little worried about the 5-year-old. Those worries were soon quenched after I read the first few paragraphs.

Anyway, here is my review...

Summary: (Just in case you don't know this already...) This book is the somewhat autobiographical rendition of the journey of one Hobbit, by the name of Bilbo Baggins. The title that he gave to this book is There and Back Again.

Hobbits, as you know, are comfortable creatures. They enjoy their ale, their pipes, and their many meals each day. Adventures are not a part of their makeup.

This Hobbit finds himself in the middle of an adventure when a wizard, a dwarf king, and eleven other dwarves show up on his doorstep one night. Before he knows what has happened, he finds himself facing trolls, trekking mountains, fighting goblins, killing giant spiders, riding on giant eagles, fleeing wolves, hiding from wood elves, trapped in life-or-death riddle games, and (worse for a hobbit) missing meals. All of this while knowing that at the end of the journey is a dragon and a dwarf treasure.

My Thoughts: In my humble opinion, this book should be moved amongst the classics. I can't tell you how happy I was when I saw that my school has this book on their reading list. I guess that I am not the only one who thinks that it is a must-read. I am telling you, if you have never read this book, might I suggest that you do it.

Tolkien is an amazing writer. In fact, I don't know if you could find a book that is as detailed as this and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. The histories that he wrote before he wrote these books just blows my mind. There was a book, called The Silmarillion, that was never meant to be published, of the history of middle earth. The way I understand it, he wrote it to get his facts straight before he started writing the other books.

You could also check out The Essential Tolkien Library for all of the books.

July 8, 2007

Gardner Needed

This isn't a reference to my own garden, though I haven't weeded yet, and I need to before my wife gets home. No, this is a reference to a devotional that I just read from Spurgeon's devotional book called Morning and Evening. My sister gave me this book for Christmas I think, quite a while ago. It is a really nice hardback book that looks great on my shelf, but I hadn't gotten around to reading it yet. Well, about a month ago, I picked it up because I was really struggling with being in the Word on a daily basis, so I thought I would try a devotional for a while.

I have to say that it has been surprisingly good. I usually consider Spurgeon really stern and unyielding, but as I read these devotionals, I have found his material strongly flavored with mercy and grace. But not just any mercy and grace, I am talking about the kind of mercy and grace that can only come from one who realizes how much of a recipient of mercy and grace that they are.

Let me share with you a clip. This comes from the July 1st evening devotional. The scripture was Genesis 3:8 which says, "The voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day." Consider this bit of his thoughts to this verse, I won't share the whole thing with you, but here is a tidbit:

Come, therefore, O Lord, my God, my soul invites Thee earnestly, and waits for Thee eagerly. Come to me, O Jesus, my well-beloved, and plant fresh flowers in my garden, such as I see blooming in such perfection in Thy matchless character! Come, O my Father, who art the Husbandman, and deal with me in Thy tenderness and prudence! Come, O Holy Spirit, and bedew my whole nature, as the herbs are now moistened with the evening dews. O that God would speak to me. Speak, Lord, for Thy servant heareth! O that He would walk with me; I am ready to give up my whole heart and mind to Him, and every other thought is hushed. ... My Father, my elder Brother, my sweet Comforter, speak now in loving kindness, for Thou hast opened mine ear and I am not rebellious.
Oh, how I need to echo these words every morning! I prayed them again as I typed them and proof read them. I like that phrase, "... deal with me ..." I flinched a little when I said that; I thought, man is that going to hurt, but then Spurgeon comes back with "... in Thy tenderness and prudence." I need God to deal with me. Truly I do, but I always hope that He does it in tenderness.

I also love that last sentence, "My Father, my elder Brother, my sweet Comforter, speak now in loving kindness, for Thou has opened mine ear and I am not rebellious."

This has been my prayer this morning. I hope it may have been an encouragement to at least one who has stumbled upon this blog today.

July 7, 2007

Ice - Book Review

Ice by Shane Johnson

Summary: The author is a Christian author, and writes with a Christian world view. This is a fictional story, written as if the Apollo missions had continued on through to the original plan. The story starts with Apollo 19's expedition to the southern pole of the moon, where they are searching for ice that had been detected there. Once the two astronauts are there, they find that they cannot return because of a failed rocket to get them off of the surface. In their remaining time they decide to drive off as far as they can in their rover. To go further than they originally anticipated. Once they get to the end of their road, they find more than ice waiting for them.

My Thoughts: I had this book on my Froogle Wish List for a long time. I had put it there on a whim, because it sounded interesting. Also because I enjoy Christian fiction, and there isn't a whole lot of that out there.

My mom must have seen the book on my wish list and bought it for me last Christmas (Thanks Mom). Since we have recently been doing a little less TV lately, I have had some more time to read, so I just finished this book this morning.

I have to be honest here in my book reviews, so I must tell you that it did start off a little slow, and there were a few of the dialogs between the characters that seemed to drag out a little bit. Once the story started going though, it pulled me in. There was just enough suspense to keep me going. The author didn't tell too much, so I kept trying to figure out what all of the events were leading up to.

It had a good Christian perspective to it, and I always love when an author ties in some science fiction to the Bible. I love hypothesizing how things could tie in, in those ways. I don't have a book rating system yet, but I will say that this was worth a read, if you enjoy science fiction writing.

July 4, 2007

This Too...

I did a post a while ago called, This Too Shall Pass. It is my all-time most visited post. Partially because of that, but also because of life itself, I have grown to love that phrase.

And because I am so bored, here is a T-Shirt...

Or the Mug!

Mover for life.

I have come to accept the fact that I will never be able to escape two fields. The teaching field and the moving field. I am not talking about destiny, I think I might be talking about a life sentence.

Anyway, since I have been doomed to summerly servitude, moving people's sleeper sofas and refrigerators, I decided to make a T-shirt. (I would just go out and start my own company, if I could afford the insurance.)

Here is the emblem that I created.

And here is what it looks like on the back of a T-shirt.



I would like to change the little tag line, but I couldn't think of anything quippy enough. I thought about, "Taking the pain out of the moving process" or "Movers that help not hurt" or something like that. But I haven't decided yet.

If you have any suggestions, please feel free to drop them in the comments section, or to give me a quick e-mail. To see all of my other stuff just click here.

July 3, 2007

it will come when it will come

Ceasar --
Cowards die many times before their deaths;
The valiant never taste death but once.
Of all the wonders that I yet have heard,
It seems to me most strange that men should fear,
Seeing that death, a necessary end,
Will come when it will come.
William Shakespeare in Julius Ceasar

keep us

Every once in awhile, I will read a passage of scripture that will stay with me for days. My mind will keep coming back to it. It is usually a passage that I don't ever recall reading before and I don't recall anyone else reading to me.

The passage that I posted about a couple of days ago has been like that for me. I know I said this in that post, but it all started with a little curiosity over the "it is written" when Jesus rebukes the Devil and says that "man cannot live on bread alone but on every word of God."

This last weekend I was asked to give the devotional on Sunday morning. Our checkout time was 10:00 from the cabin that we rented, and it just wasn't possible to get all of us ready and out the door and to a church on time, so we decided to have church right there. The "service" ended up just being me giving the devotional, but that was alright, we were about out of time.

I shared that passage from Deut. 8, because it was still so fresh on my mind. I don't know if anyone else got anything out of it, but I have simply been drawing off of it.

Here is an example of this passage in my own life: This next little while, I am going to be alone. My wife and my children are all spread across the nation visiting relatives but I am down here, bringing home the bacon. That is OK, because me and the dog need bacon. It isn't necessarily that I need companionship from anybody, I usually turn down or avoid most dinner offers, but I do start to miss my family.

Like that passage says, I start to get hungry. I want my family here. I don't like to live alone. These aren't bad things that I want, just like the Israelites desiring food. They weren't wanting or hungering after something bad, but God will sometimes let us go hungry, just to see what is in our hearts.

Hezekiah went through something similar. Consider II Chronicles 32:31,
"Howbeit, in the business of the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon, who sent unto him to enquire of the wonder that was done in the land, God left him, to try him, that He might know all that was in his heart."
Sound familiar, doesn't it? We know that God didn't actually abandon Hezekiah, but God left him on his own to reveal his heart.

My first response was that I needed to just prepare myself for these times, but Spurgeon, in his devotional book called Morning and Evening, had a little bit of a different response. And I love the way he puts it,

"Therefore let us cry to God never to leave us. Lord, take not they Holy Spirit from us! With draw not from us Thine indwelling grace! Hast Thou not said, 'I the Lord do keep it; I will water it every moment: lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day'? Lord, keep us everywhere. Keep us when in the valley, that we murmur not against Thy humbling hand; keep us when on the mountain, that we wax not giddy through being lifted up; keep us in youth, when our passions are strong; keep us in old age, when becoming conceited of our wisdom, we may therfore prove greater fools than the young and giddy; keep us when we come to die, lest, at the very last, we should deny Thee! Keep us living, keep us dying, keep us laboring, keep us suffering, keep us fighting, keep us resting, keep us everywhere, for everywhere we need Thee, O our God!"
May "keep us" become our heart's cry!

July 2, 2007

Pigeon Forge 2007

All of the...
relaxin, socializin, hot-tubbin, game-playin, shop-walkin,
dog-rule breakin, out of park by a ranger kickin mountain
trekkin, flea-marketin, traffic-sittin, go-kart racin, phone
losin (during the go-kartin), food-over-eatin, philosophisin,
pool-playin, dance-dance revolutionin, grocery store raidin,
and grandma about viagra talkin
...that you can handle in a weekend.
Click here if you would like to purchase a T.

The Castle in the Attic - Book Review

The Castle in the Attic is the first full length book that I read with my boys. It is a book that my mom read to me when I was a kid. She even bought three extra copies of it (with the cover that is shown to the right) for each of her kids.

Summary: A young boy is given a toy castle as a parting gift from nanny, who is moving back to England. The castle is unique, not only because it seems to be made out of stone and has all working parts, but also because the small lead knight comes to life the moment the boy touches him.

The knight, the lady, and the young boy all need to make it back to the knight's homeland to stop an evil wizard. Sounds like all of the proper elements to a good story to me.

My Thoughts: I can remember this book from the first time that my mom read it to me. It was good enough that it stuck in my mind over all of these years, and it must have been good enough for her, because she bought all three of her kids a copy of it.

It is not a Christian book, but it has some good themes in there as far as good vs. evil and how selfishness can hurt others.

I would definitely recommend this book.