Friday, January 27, 2012

New Bible

For Christmas this year, I asked for a new Bible, and my husband kindly gave me one. When I first became a Christian, I discovered the John MacArthur Study Bible. I purchased a hard cover New King James version of it and used it until the cover started to fall off. Our church uses the New English Standard version so Greg and I purchased a Crossway ESV Study Bible when they first came out. It is a good Bible with comprehensive notes but slightly too scholarly for me in its presentation. I've always enjoyed the way John MacArthur presents his study notes and I seem to be able to divide historical note from personality and opinion with him. He now has the ESV Study Bible version available (which was not available until recently). So, that is what my husband gave me, a lovely leather bound John MacArthur ESV study Bible (even put my name on it). I look forward to the two of us growing old together (okay the three of us, myself, the Bible, and Greg). 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Book of Acts Part 6

As mentioned before, our pastor at church is currently preaching from the book of Acts in the Bible (love the book of Acts!). I'll be sharing those sermons with you on a weekly basis. Click here to listen to the sermon or to download it so you can listen to it at another time. This week's sermon is from Acts 2:14-47 "The Coming of the Spirit: What is the Meaning of This?". Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Praying Life

Another book I read in 2011 was A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World by Paul Miller. I can't say I loved this book, but I can't say I didn't learn from it either. It challenged some of my thinking on prayer (particularly the ideas on cynicism found in chapter 10). I also took an idea away from this book that I am still using. The author suggested prayer cards for each person you're praying for (writing their name on a 3x5 card, Scriptures you're praying for them, and a few specific areas of prayer for them). I adapted this idea to dedicating a specific section in my journal to prayer and writing the names of those I'm praying for within that section. I've found it most helpful to open the journal to those pages when I'm praying and have the names and needs in front of me. It quickly brings it to my mind.

This book had an emotional overtone that I found distracting a great deal of the time. It was difficult to divide the information being presented from the personality (and emotions) of the author. Though the book presented really good information, it also presented a lot of personal experience (which some of that information was based off of).

I'm glad I read this book and certainly took some good information away from it but I'm not sure I would recommend it. I think there are better books out there on prayer. If anyone else reading this blog has read A Praying Life by Paul Miller, I would be curious to hear your thoughts on the matter OR recommendations on good books on the subject of Prayer.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Husband Encouragement Challenge

A few posts ago, I mentioned the 30-day challenges from Revive Our Hearts ministry. I mentioned that I participated in the 30-day Husband Encouragement Challenge last year but neglected to tell what it was about. The premise of the challenge is that for the next 30 days (after you start the challenge) you can't say anything negative about your husband, to your husband, or to anyone else about your husband. Ladies, I think even in the best of marriages, we could all agree, that is a challenge. The fine people at Revive Our Hearts took this challenge a step further and provided material that gives an extra challenge each day (Example: Day 1: Identify a way that your husband is serving you or your family. Let him know that you see his unique service as a great strength.) They also provide supporting ideas and Scripture readings. If you would like to check it out, click here. There is a free download available to help you get started. I highly recommend it.

Tip: I printed out the challenge and pasted it into a notebook (each day with its own page). This helped me concentrate on it, keep it all in one spot, and give it the daily attention it required.

Monday, January 23, 2012

A Day With A Niece 01/23/12

Today was a scheduled Cookie Baking Night but it was cancelled due to snow and unpredictable driving conditions.

Emily was here on Saturday helping me try out a new filled cupcake pan I received for Christmas, so I thought I'd share a picture from that experience. I wanted to try it out ahead of time with the idea that we would use it on a Cookie Baking Night. It worked pretty well, and we learned a few things in the process.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Give Me Jesus

This is a very simple song with few words. They are as follows: In the morning when I rise, give me Jesus. When I am alone, give me Jesus. When I come to die, give me Jesus. You can have all this world, but give me  Jesus. 

Just a few words, but it addresses the biggies doesn't it? The three areas that define a human being: in the morning (the time that sets the course for your whole day and determines who you will serve that day, Jesus or yourself) when I am alone (that's really when we are who we are isn't it?--when no other human is looking and only God sees us) and when I come to die (and that's when it matters because no one will escape death and everyone will be judged by God).

One more astounding phrase in this very simple song: You can have all this world, but give me Jesus (now is that true? and am I living that way?)

A simple but thought-provoking song (with a beautiful melody I might add).

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Book of Acts Part 5

As mentioned before, our pastor at church is currently preaching from the book of Acts in the Bible (love the book of Acts!). I'll be sharing those sermons with you on a weekly basis. Click here to listen to the sermon or to download it so you can listen to it at another time. This week's sermon is from Acts 2:1-13 "The Coming Holy Spirit". Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Not God's Type

The first book I read in 2011 was Not God's Type by Holly Ordway. I had listened to Greg Koukl interview the author on his radio program Stand to Reason and I was intrigued by her story, so I purchased the book.

The back cover of the book gives a good explanation for the premise of the book, so I've included it here for you:

"I thought faith was, by definition, irrational, that it meant believing some assertion to be true for no reason. It had never occurred to me that there could be a path to faith through reason, that there were arguments for the existence of God, and evidence for the claims of Christianity. I thought you had to 'just have faith'--and the very idea of faith baffled and horrified me.

I was not looking for God. Make no mistake. I did not believe that He existed. I was a college professor--logical, intellectual, rational--and an atheist. 

But in the spring of my thirty-first year, 'I was drawn, against my conscious will, and against my own inclination, to be interested in matters of faith. I had an incoherent and inchoate desire to push into territory that I vaguely feared and yet found compelling.

At (some) point, I realized my naturalistic worldview was inadequate to explain the nature of reality in a coherent way: it could not explain the origin of the universe, nor could it explain morality. On the other hand, the theistic worldview was both consistent and powerfully explanatory; it offered a convincing, rationally consistent, and logical explanation for everything that the naturalistic worldview explained plus all the things that the naturalistic worldview couldn't.

The following pages are the account of how I turned from death to life..."

That summary from the author explains what you will find in this book, and that premise along is compelling. It was a quick read and interesting story.

Two things I enjoyed about this book:

  1. The author is a professor of composition and literature, and she is a talented writer. The book is so well written, I flew through it (reading it in about two days). The thoughts were well put together, the sentence structure was free of extra words and unnecessary rambling, and the editing was flawless. It was truly a joy to read from that standpoint. The story was also compelling and begged you to turn the next page. 
  2. The author spent most of the book retelling her conversion story but several times throughout the book inserted a section she called "interlude" where she stopped to tell an account from her life after she became a Christian. It was an interesting mix of the past and the present and allowed the reader to get a glimpse into the mind of an atheist, a new Christian, and one growing in her Christian faith all within the same book. 
I think this book is definitely worth the read. It will sharpen you and cause you to think deeply about your own worldview and tradition of faith as you process the story of this author and simply enjoy her retelling of events. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Knowing God

One of the books I will be reading this year is Knowing God by J.I. Packer. If you're more of a listener than a reader, then I wanted to pass this information on to you. Christian Audio offers a free downloadable book each month. The book for the month of January is Knowing God by J.I. Packer. Click here to find out more information on how to download this book.

Monday, January 16, 2012

An Evening With A Niece And Nephew

It's an off night for Cookie Baking Night, so I thought, instead, I'd share with you some pictures from Friday evening when we babysat the the youngest niece and nephew (not quite old enough to attend Cookie Baking Night).  Posted below, you'll find pictures of Allison and Rylar (and Greg makes an appearance in a few pictures as well). The kiddos are 16 months old and 1 month old. It was a fun night.

             Hmmm. Get used to this, kiddo. You have that kind of uncle. 


Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Books of 2011

I enjoy reading, and I enjoy learning. Here's a list of the books I've read in 2011. There isn't one I wouldn't recommend reading, for various reasons, but some I certainly liked more than others. Some I loved from start to finish and some I enjoyed only parts of.  I will be blogging about some of them in the days ahead. (If you click on the book cover below, it will bring you to an page with information on how to purchase that book). 

Not God's Type by Holly Ordway

Evidence Not Seen by Darlene Deibler Rose

Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands by Paul Tripp

Humility by CJ Mahaney

A Gospel Primer for Christians  by Milton Vincent

Tortured for Christ by Richard Wurmbrand

A Praying Life by Paul Miller

You Can Still Trust the Communists to be Communists by Fred Schwarz and David Noebel

Song of the Nightingale by Helen Birhane

Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor by D.A. Carson

Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Elliott

Girls Gone Wise in a World Gone Wild by Mary Kassian

Compelled to Love a Stranger by Teri Sharbaugh

What is the Gospel by Greg Gilbert

Friday, January 13, 2012

30-Day Challenges

As mentioned in previous posts, I will be spending this month blogging about last year and looking ahead to some plans for the year to come. If I had to name one radio ministry that I gleaned the most from in 2011, it would have to be Revive our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss. This particular ministry is geared toward women and offers much in the way of tools for growing in your faith. One tool I utilized this year was "The 30-day challenge". This ministry offers several of them including "The 30-Day Husband Encouragement Challenge", "The 30-Day Choosing Gratitude Challenge", "The 30-Day TV Free Challenge", "31-Days of Praying For Your Pastor" and others. I did the "30-Day Husband Encouragement Challenge" and "30-Day Choosing Gratitude Challenge". The website provides printable downloads for each challenge. I printed off the downloads and pasted them into my journal so I had them in one place and could work through them day by day. I found them very encouraging and (as the name implies) challenging! I only made it halfway through the gratitude challenge in December so will be repeating that this year as well as checking out one of the other challenges. Ladies, I highly encourage you to check out this resource. Click here to find the information you need to participate in one of these challenges.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Book of Acts Part 4

As mentioned before, our pastor at church is currently preaching from the book of Acts in the Bible (love the book of Acts!). I'll be sharing those sermons with you on a weekly basis. Click here to listen to the sermon or to download it so you can listen to it at another time. This week's sermon is from Acts 1:15-26 "The Replacement of Judas". Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

2012 Book Club Selections

I have decided on the Book Club Wednesday selections for 2012. I will start reading them in February. I'm posting them now so you have a chance to plan. I encourage you to follow along with me this year and participate in the "book club" via the comments section at the bottom of each post. This year I've chosen a couple missionary biographies, a couple books on knowing God deeper, and a book on prayer. I hope you'll pick up copies of the books and read them with me. The schedule for this year is as follows:

February - April
A Chance to Die: The Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael by Elisabeth Elliott

May & June
Knowing God by JI Packer

The Life and Diary of David Brainerd by Philip E. Howard Jr.

The Complete Works of E.M. Bounds on Prayer

The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer

Cookie Baking Night 06/25/18

Tonight was Cookie Baking Night. In attendance this evening: Ethan, Carissa, and Enzo (Allison and Rylar were attending a birthday party els...