Friday, December 30, 2011

The Innkeeper by John Piper: Book Review

One of the books that my wife gave me for Christmas was The Innkeeper by John Piper.  It only took about 5 minutes to read this book, but I was was already deeply emotionally moved before I was half way through the book.

The inside front cover gives this description:

Only two weeks from His crucifixion, Jesus has stopped in Bethlehem. He has returned to visit someone important--the innkeeper who made a place for Mary and Joseph the night He was born. But His greater purpose in coming is to pay a debt. What did it cost to house the Son of God? 
Through this imaginative poem, John Piper shares a tale of what might have been. The story of an innkeeper whose life was forever altered by the arrival of the Son of God. 
Ponder the sacrifice that was made that night. Celebrate Christ's birth and the power of His resurrection. Rejoice in the life and light He brings to all. And encounter the hope His life gives you for today--and for eternity.
Just like the description, it tells a story of what might have been if Jesus had visited the innkeeper just before he was crucified.  It gives a different take on how we usually portray that innkeeper.  Normally we think of him as being unfeeling or unkind in allowing a baby to be born in a manger, but it didn't have to be that way.  It is quite possible, and maybe more believable that the innkeeper was showing a kindness in allowing the manger to be opened up to travelers.

The book that I have is dedicated to any who have lost a child.  As you read this, you can see why this is mentioned at the beginning.

There is also that great glorification of Jesus.  I love how Piper does this.  He doesn't come right out and say, "Jesus is great!"  Instead, he uses his words to draw you to that conclusion yourself.  You suddenly find yourself thinking, "Jesus is Great!" before you know that you are thinking it!  He pulls on your heartstrings to magnify our Lord.

The version that I have linked is different from the version that I have in front of me.  The version I have in front of me is illustrated by paintings from Glenn Harrington, whereas the version I have linked is illustrated by John Lawrence.

If you have a few extra bucks, this is a worthwhile purchase.  I believe that Amazon has a few of these that are used where you will basically pay for shipping.  Check it out.


Sunday, December 25, 2011

Man's maker was made man...

And here is that quote from the end:
Man's maker was made man,
that He, Ruler of the stars,
might nurse at His mother's breast;
that the Bread might hunger,
the Fountain thirst,
the Light sleep,
the Way be tired on its journey;
that the Truth might be accused of false witness,
the Teacher be beaten with whips,
the Foundation be suspended on wood;
that Strength might grow weak;
that the Healer might be wounded;
that Life might die.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Shepherd's Response

The shepherds responded to the Angel's pronouncement.  Does our response match the magnitude of the announcement?  Do we think of Christmas in a way that corresponds adequately to the message of Christmas?

Last Sunday I approached this topic, using the announcement of the Angels as my text.  Consider listening to this message as you consider your own thoughts and actions this Christmas.

Or you can click here to download this message.

Christmas in a Nutshell


Friday, December 23, 2011

Netflix Pick of the Week: Miracle on 34th Street

Being so close to Christmas, my Netflix Pick of the Week (which I haven't done in a few weeks) is Miracle on 34th Street.  Right now, Netflix has three versions of this movie to watch instantly.

The first one is, which might be my favorite, was released in 1947 and stars Maureen O'Hara and John Payne.  The guy who played Santa won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role in this movie.  If you've never seen any of these movies, this would be a good place to start.  If you are already using Netflix, click here to watch it now.

The second one is the version that was released in 1955.  I've seen this one, but it doesn't stand in my mind as much.  Still a great movie.  Click here to watch it now on Netlix.

The final version that Netflix offers is the 1994 version.  This one stars Richard Attenborough as Santa.  It has the element of being more modern.  Sometimes, when  a movie has been remade this many times, it gets perfected.  I don't know if I would say that about this movie, but it is definitely quite enjoyable.  And, if your family doesn't have a taste for old movies, this one might break them in to this old story that is a great holiday special.  Click here to watch now on Netflix.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

One does not simply walk into Mordor.

My family has embarked on a Lord of the Rings (extended edition) marathon.  We started watching yesterday afternoon.  Everyone fell asleep last night before the end of the last movie, so we are finishing this morning.

If you have never watched these movies, you may have to devote a day to it, but I think its worth it.  The only thing better is the books.

If you've watched the movie though, you might enjoy this little easter egg from Google.  Go to Google Maps and get walking directions from The Shire to Mordor.  You will get this helpful bit of caution:

Monday, December 19, 2011

First Day on Christmas Break

It's my first day on Christmas Break and I feel like a kid again.  I'm trying to plan out my day already: Hmm... Let's see... watch a movie?  Play a video game?  Both of those at the same time?  I could always play with Legos? Or maybe I could break out the Hotwheels?

Honestly though, I've had enough of these breaks now to learn a few lessons:

  1. Start the break off right by continuing to read the Bible.  (So often that seems to fall to the wayside along with the work schedule.)
  2. Plan the downtimes a little bit better.  Time flies by so fast when you are simply browsing the web or browsing tv viewing choices.  I don't think that I need to continually have productive things to do, but when there is downtime, I feels so much better when it isn't nothing time.
  3. Relax.  Being a full-time teacher and a full-time pastor can add to the stress level, more than I realize sometimes.  I need to let all of that flow off to the side and not worry about it.  It will be there, but it doesn't do any good to keep that stuff scrolling through my thoughts.  With that in mind though, it leads me to my next point.
  4. If there is some job to get done for school, get it done right away.  The longer I wait to grade a final or work on a project, the less motivated I become.
Well, that's where I am at.  Going to start on #1 right now.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Support your Local Blogger

I know that you've probably never thought to yourself, "Hmm.  How could I help support a blogger?"  But if you ever do, I would like to share with you one way that you can.

Many bloggers like to put links up on their blog.  You would be surprised at how many of those links will lead to a small dividend for the blogger.  For example, when I put up links to Amazon books, it has a reference code built into that link so that when you click it, it will show that it came from me.  If you make a purchase, even if it isn't the original item, it will lead to an even larger referral fee.

So, if you are going to purchase something through Amazon, visit a blogger first.  Find a link off of their blog and click through.


Click Here :)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Black Squirrel

There is a squirrel living in my neighborhood that is jet black.  After talking to a few people, this isn't as weird as I originally thought it was, but this is the only black squirrel I've ever seen in my life.  Supposedly there are more of them living in other parts of the country, but I've never seen one in Danville before.

Anyway, I finally snapped a picture of it.  (Just to prove it to the Danville People.)

Click to Enlarge

Friday, December 2, 2011

A Theologian Discusses Harry Potter...

From Justin Taylor's Blog:
Jerram Barrs—Professor of Christian Studies and Contemporary Culture at Covenant Theological Seminary, and Resident Scholar of the Francis A. Schaeffer Institute—talks about his love for the book Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. (Warning: contains spoilers!)
I think this is worth a few minutes of your day.