Monday, November 24, 2014

New Book from Desiring God

A couple of days ago Desiring God released a new book that sounds interesting. The title is Mom Enough: The Fearless Mother's Heart and Hope, and it is a compilation book by the following authors: Christina Fox, Gloria Furman, Christine Hoover, Rachel Jankovic, Rachel Pieh Jones, Carolyn McCulley, and Trillia Newbell. The book is edited by Tony and Karalee Reinke.

The Desiring God website describes the book in a blog post this way:
Our new book cuts through the nonsense of competitive mothering. Eight bright women expose the spiritual corruption of it and explore how gospel grace is relevant for the daily trials and worries of motherhood. In the trenches, these moms have learned to redirect their hope and trust from the shifting sands of popular opinion to the unchanging all-sufficiency of God.
I haven't actually read this book yet, but it sounds interesting, so I am sharing it for all of the mothers in my life that I know.

There are three digital formats of this book that are currently free and will work on your kindle or ipad. You can find these free versions by clicking here.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Friday, November 14, 2014

Strategy of the month for November

The strategy is "questioning" and the character is The Question.

Free Advent Devotional

In a recent post on the Desiring God website, the new Advent Devotional by John Piper has been made available. The book can be purchased through Amazon as a paperback or a Kindle e-book, but Desiring God has made the pdf available as a download for free. 

Here is the description of this book (and Advent) from the Desiring God website:
Advent is for adoring Jesus. 
The Christmas season is one of the busiest times of the year. But it is also a season of reflection and preparation for that special day when we mark Immanuel’s coming—the arrival of our eternal God in our own frail humanity. 
This is the greatest of history’s many wonders, something too stupendous to celebrate just on one day. Advent is a way of lengthening and intensifying the joy of Christmas. 
These 25 brief devotional readings from John Piper begin on December 1 and carry us to Christmas Day. Our hope is that God would use these meditations to deepen and sweeten your adoration of Jesus and help you keep him at the center of your Christmas season.
Head on over to the Desiring God website and download this devotional today. Read it with me through the holiday season.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

not for incarnation's sake

"... Jesus did not become incarnate for incarnations sake, as if the incarnation were itself sufficient to save his people. Our plight is not that we are finite, that we are not-God; and the remedy for our plight is not some new metaphysical connection to God. Rather, our plight is ethical: We have sinned, and therefore we are in a state of personal estrangement from our Creator. Jesus' in carnation was a means of bringing about reconciliation between ourselves and God."
~John M. Frame (pg. 899 Systematic Theology)

This is really important.

How the Gospel Brings Us All the Way Home by Derek W.H. Thomas - Book Review

I finished reading the book How the Gospel Brings Us All the Way Home on the bus, on my way to school this morning. I don't remember exactly when I started this book, but it was my "morning plug and chug" book.

How the Gospel Brings Us All the Way Home, by Derek Thomas is a book that is an exposition of Romans 8. Each chapter deals with a few verses from the chapter, explaining their meaning and their application in the Christian life, according to the larger context of the Epistle to the Romans.

The Gospel truly does bring us all the way home. The Gospel message is not just for those who are hearing it for the first time. It is not the message that gets you to be a Christian, but is never revisited... The Gospel is for when you were saved, when you are being saved, and for when you will be saved.  The Christian lives and breathes the Gospel. We are to preach it to ourselves and remind ourselves of the Gospel every day of our lives. This book does a wonderful job of highlighting how the Gospel flows to every part of the Christian's life and being.

There are three things about this book that I would like to point out:

1) This book had a very "Pastoral" feel. While reading it, I felt as if I was being shepherded by a brother in Christ... someone sharing their learning experiences with this chapter in the Bible. I would assume that Derek Thomas is a pastor of a church, and I would make the guess that this book was an outpouring of a sermon series that he had worked (and preached) through at his church.

2) This book is very helpful. I suppose that this point could probably fit into the previous point, but not every helpful book is pastoral in nature. These two things don't always go hand-in-hand, but in the case of this book they were arm-in-arm. With each passing chapter, I found myself applying some point or other that Derek Thomas was making. Quite often there were aspects of the teaching that were directly applicable to that very day when I was actually doing the reading in the morning. Several times there were issues that sprang up one day, and the next morning, while I was reading, I found something perfectly relevant to the issue from the previous day. These are my favorite sort of books.

3) This book was full of relevant quotes. Sometimes when I read a book that is full of quotes, it is almost as if the author is attempting to show-off his literary prowess. It can feel bragadoscious to keep quoting obscure portions of text from famous authors. That was not the case with this book. I found many, if not all of the quotes that he shared to be very fitting for the occasion, and would often serve as a summary of one teaching or other that he was attempting to get across.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Sermon Doodling

I often doodle in order to concentrate. Here is this morning's doodle.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Preaching Christ Crucified

I am currently preaching through The Gospel According to John at Church. I don't remember how long ago we started this expositional process, but much has happened along the way, and I am nearing the end of that journey. We started John 18 two weeks ago, (There was a missionary visiting our church last week.) and I am planning on finishing chapter 18 and possibly 19 tomorrow. These are the chapters in John that cover the crucifixion of Christ.

This is more emotional for me than I realized it would be. I have found myself angered by the treatment of Jesus... and yet I know that I am hoping (even though I already know) that He will make it to the end. I know that my only hope is if He accomplishes this task. This thought process, along with experiencing Jesus' ministry through the eyes of John, has opened my eyes to some deeper aspects of preaching.

To convert a long conversation into a semi-short blog post, I will simply say that I am beginning to embrace the concept of preaching Christ Crucified, as Paul describes it in I Corinthians 1:23. I am no longer interested in attaining the praise and admiration of my listeners. I no longer try to phrase things so as to not offend or cause people to stumble. The Cross of Christ is a stumbling block... it is a rock of offense... Why would I attempt to avoid this? I am called to preach Christ.

In Spurgeon's sermon on I Corinthians 1:23, we can read these thoughts:

Friday, November 7, 2014

Photo Friday - Blissful

"Blissful" is the title for this week's Photo Friday submission. For my entry, I have posted a picture of a bunny I found in my yard.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Desktop Background November 2014

I used to always share my new desktop background... I haven't had a new one for quite some time, but I just had to use this one when I found it. I believe it is a Ron Swanson quote.

source unknown (click to zoom)

Monday, November 3, 2014


When I was young, I used to doodle. As I got older, my doodling dwindled. Sure, there was the occasional doodle, dangling near the end of a diagram... There was also the doodle for my darling... wife. This kept up my drawing abilities, as I would occasionally divulge in my dangling, dwindling doodling.

My youngest son also doodles. His divergent doodles have reminded me of my own desire to draw, so lately my doodling has returned. It is the dawn of a new day of doodling.

click to zoom

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Mingling with Splendors

This is going to be an extended quote from the book How the Gospel Brings Us All the Way Home by Derek W.H. Thomas: (I believe it is worth reading all the way to the end.)

Derek Thomas introduces this lengthy quote by C.S. Lewis in this way:
Surely our vision of what lies before us is too small. Great things are in store for those who are in union with Jesus Christ. Allow C.S. Lewis to expand your idea of what glorification is:
And then he shares these thoughts from C.S. Lewis:
We are to shine as the sun, we are to be given the Morning Star. I think I begin to see what it means. In one way, of course, God has given us the Morning Star already: you can go and enjoy the gift of many fine mornings if you get up early enough. What more, you may ask, do we want? Ah, but we want so much more -- something the books on aesthetics take little notice of. But the poets and the mythologies know all about it. 
We do not want merely to see beauty, though, God knows, even that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly be put into words -- to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it. That is why we have peopled air and earth and water with gods and goddesses and nymphs and elves -- that, though we cannot, yet these projections can enjoy in themselves that beauty, grace, and power of which Nature is the image. 
That is why the poets tell us such lovely falsehoods. They talk as if the west wind could really sweep into a human soul; but it can't. They tell us that "beauty born of murmuring sound" will pass into a human face; but it won't. Or not yet. For if we take the imagery of Scripture seriously, if we believe that God will one day give us the Morning Star and cause us to put on the splendor of the sun, then we may surmise that both the ancient myths and the modern poetry, so false as history, maybe very near the truth as prophecy. 
At present we are on the outside of the world, the wrong side of the door. We discern the freshness and purity of morning, but they do not make us fresh and pure. We cannot mingle with the splendours we see. But all the leaves of the New Testament are rustling with the rumors that it will not always be so. 
Some day, God willing, we shall get in. 
When human souls have become as perfect in voluntary obedience as the inanimate creation is in its lifeless obedience, then they will put on its glory, or rather that greater glory of which Nature is only the first sketch ... And in there, in beyond Nature, we shall eat of the tree of life.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

A Great Decision

In October 1989, sometime near Halloween, there was a Ghost Rally hosted by the Lynch Fire Dept. I borrowed my dad's Chevy S-10 pickup, called a friend to see if they wanted to go, and then... called a girl.

Her name was Charity. I had had a crush on this girl for quite a while, but she was definitely "out of my league," if you know what I mean. It was a long shot, and I figured that at Ghost Rally would be casual enough that I could get a "yes" from this girl, even if she didn't actually like-like me.

She said yes... and she did like me.

I was eventually engaged to this girl (more than once). We were eventually married. And even though Halloween can be controversial (I guess) to some Christians, it has been redeemed for me. Twenty Five Halloweens later, we are still together and we are still getting ready to go on a Ghost Rally. I love her more now than I ever have, and I am fairly certain that asking her to that Ghost Rally was one of the best decisions that I have ever made.

For the last several years I have doctored up an old photo into a Halloween-themed image. Here is this year's rendition to celebrate 25 years.