Archive for December, 2008

Tony Reinke tells us how we can redeem our reading time better.

I’m considering what a good weekly goal should be for me.

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Karl Rove writes a terribly interesting article showing the reading habits of President Bush.

Bush is a Book Lover

Commit to a a good number of books in 2009. I’m a little tentative about posting a number, but I need to up the ante for next year.

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Sometimes you can. Jim Brooks’ grandkids now have smell and sound experience to go with their grandpa’s stories of flying the P-51.

Gray Eagle’s Foundation video

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Wexford Carol

Alison Krauss and Yo-Yo Ma

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“Great is our Lord, and of great power.”

Over and over again this year, we have been able to testify to the truth of these words from Psalm 147. God’s power and greatness have become more evident to us as a family as we have called on Him in 2008 and found Him to be sufficient and sweet.

Last year’s Christmas letter found us standing surprised that God was uprooting us after having spent our whole lives in Michigan. We were surrounded by the benefit of a large family. In June we moved to Ashland City, TN (8 miles west of Nashville’s city limits), a little town on the banks of the Cumberland River.

By moving, we were staring at many new changes including a new climate, culture, speed of life, and lack of family. But our adjustment has been sweetened by joining such a wonderful church that has embraced us and welcomed us with sincere love. We are so appreciative to our new friends, who are fast becoming family, at Charity Baptist. The new school drew us here, but the church was the clincher.

We moved to help build Jonathan Edwards Classical Academy, and things are progressing by degrees. We love the idea and have a real burden and a beautiful vision that we can’t wait to see come to fruition. We have many friends who have helped the school and are thankful when others see what we see and join us.

We want to assist Christian families in rearing their children to be lifelong learners who, with wisdom and beauty, shape and influence their world for Christ. JECA has a prime opportunity to do that in so many ways. We look forward to seeing what God will do.

The boys are thriving and enjoying life here. Karsten is six and has an explorer’s heart. He loves the new sights and experiences that are found in new places. He loves climbing the two trees in our front yard. He (and we) have really enjoyed home-schooling for this one year. He is flourishing.

Haddon is now five. He just got his first bike in November and is experimenting with bravery. He thoroughly enjoyed his first year of soccer and is looking forward to the Spring League. He recently discovered the joys of coloring.

Lincoln is three and is our thoughtful and tough boy. Those don’t always fit together, but he’s making it work. He has a vivid, hilarious imagination that we find highly amusing.

Knox is perhaps officially a TN boy. He only lived in Michigan four full months. He is now 10 months old and really wants to be a toddler before Christmas. The laugh he gives when he is excited would be worth the drive if you can make it. He has a sweet disposition and may be the real reason so many of our friends want to be our friends.

We post lots of pictures, videos, anecdotes of our boys online and will love to direct you to them if we aren’t connected already.

We love where we have been so kindly led. During this Christmas season, we pray that God would bless, keep and lead you also, and that you would know the sweet peace that is found in Him. May you also see His greatness and power this year.

Ryan and Christie

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It is. And kudos and accolades to those who tell the story well. Some of them are pastors. Some are poets. Some write and sing music. Some are just regular old papas.

Last night we went to the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville to hear Andrew Peterson tell the story of the Old Testament and the incarnation in music form. We had already been introduced to it and iTunes says we have listened to it 60 times or so (since November). It was beautiful in so many ways, especially since we were with treasured friends.

Then during the night, Andrew Peterson explained why yesterday was such a wonderful day for him. He says, in part:

That Gospel draws us like the call of a jubilant voice deep in the woods.  We hear, and we follow, and though we scarcely know how we know, we believe the source of the voice is good and the only thing worth knowing.  All at once, we emerge from all sides in a clearing.  We are cut from the thorns and weary to the bone.  In the center of the clearing swirls a warm, symphonic light within which glows–depending on the tilt of the head–a patient eye, or an open hand, or the slender form of a man with his hands on his hips, laughing.  And you know that it’s Him.  Then the skill in your fingers, the ache in your heart, the talent in your soul–all of it–strains to do His work.  It strains like a warhorse pawing the ground in the moments before the charge.

Then comes the downbeat, and the crowd falls silent as the story is told.

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The Dullest Blog in the World

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Now you can see them all six of them for free for a limited time. I encourage you to read the parable from the Bible  first.

MODERN PARABLES is an original film-based Bible study curriculum that transforms the way people see Jesus’ parables. It is being used by hundreds of churches, ministries, and families in the U.S. and around the world.

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So, Ryan, What’s It Like?

Christie with Karsten, Haddon, Lincoln and Knox

Christie with Karsten, Haddon, Lincoln and Knox

Four little boys in one house is pure treasure–especially boys who climb trees, love mama, sing loudly, prize stories, esteem cardinals.

[This story was submitted to 22 Words as a contest entry.]

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It’s been a long time since I’ve read Jeremiah Burroughs. He said,

“The way to be rich is not by increasing wealth, but by diminishing our desires.”

HT: Justin Childers

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Johnny Carson and Jack Webb

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Spreading Christmas Cheer

The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.  – Zephaniah 3:17

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Man, this makes me smile! I’ve been thinking about this a lot since I saw this yesterday. In a good number of ways, this is just plain cool and takes significant a) money, b) time, c) fortitude, d) courage, e) strength,  f) endurance and g) gumption.

Italian Alex Belini took a rowboat and decided to cross the Pacific (from Chile to Australia). It took 10 months.


I was just thinking of my life here in TN the last few months… I walked home from work once. But hey, it was almost all uphill.

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Before I loaned a book away today, I checked to see if I had anything between the pages. In the book I found this article that I clipped out of the London Daily Mail when I was in London (4/23/04  – p. 16). This is such high-level knuckleheadeness, it is dizzying.

White Line Blackout on Road

CENTRAL white lines are to be removed on a road in a bid to cut the number of crashes.

Experts in Bath want to test if the lack of markings will make drivers more cautious because the highway will appear more dangerous.

Transport consultant Ben Hamilton-Baillie has been called in to carry out the trial, which could be repeated across the city if it is successful. He said growing ‘clutter’ on Britain’s roads is tending to make drivers abdicate responsibility for their driving.

‘No one has questioned why we have white lines or whether they work,’ he said. ‘They’ve become a habit. The more you introduce rules and regulations, markings, signs, and speed cameras, the less your brain allows you to concentrate on your surroundings.’

Brilliant! Ben talks like he’s 50 but sounds like he’s 5. Hope that worked out for them.

This is how it works in India:

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…the bad thing is that I still live a mile away.

Though I don’t put a lot of credence in it (because the school that shares our parking lot is 60+ positions lower down the list), the school I teach at  part-time this year has the worst air in the nation.

Ashland City Elementary School – We’re #1

I can stop wondering why I get headaches on recess duty when the wind is blowing toward the school.

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Nice Genes

Like father…

Like son…

Barry Sanders, Jr. is a high school freshman in OK.

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Amazing Grace

Powerful rendition performed by Il Divo

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I’m so glad a good friend sent this to me. It was almost too late.

Beware of the Dog House

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Read and consider this article (The Eschatology of Parenting) on the consequences of shirking our parenting duties. It says in part:

A parent who will not discipline a child for disobedience, or who is inconsistent in doing so, is teaching that child not to expect consequences for behavior. In short, a parent who will not discipline is denying the doctrine of hell.

I don’t think he’s taking things too far. I think we are just stunted think that ramifications only last until our child dies. The article is brief. Please read it.

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The last chorus from Andrew Peterson’s kid’s song Dreams:

Oh, and I’m just a kid with a head full of dreams

And a dream full of things to get done.

Yeah, but all of my life it’s the same old routine

And I’m ready to have me some fun.

Oh, I’ve never spelunked in the caves of the moon

Or stun-rayed a Zorbian fiend,

And I don’t have a tunnel dug under my room,

But who knows what tomorrow will bring.

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Last month, several families from Charity were able to go to hear Tedd Tripp’s two day seminar on biblical parenting. It was a good condensed img_0879-copy-2version of his two wonderful books Shepherding a Child’s Heart and Instructing a Child’s Heart which are the books I would most urge parents to read to complement your understanding of Scripture. The sessions of the conference are Scripture-soaked and can add freshness and needed help to every home.

Just before we saw him in Franklin, he was at Mark Driscoll’s church in Seattle. Mars Hill has released full online video of all the sessions, and I strongly commend them to you to view online, or, if your internet connection won’t handle the stream, to download it. It is free.

The sessions are rich with just the sorts of things that will make our homes to be bent more toward Christ. I hope you and your spouse will watch them together as a parenting unit.

They were all beneficial, but I loved Session 2 the most and Tripp commented that it was the most important part of the five.

Shepherding a Child’s Heart Conference

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Losses, crosses, heaviness, sickness, poverty, and a thousand other ills, are of the Lord’s sending, and come to us with wise design.

and perhaps one of the dearest Spurgeon quotes I know, one I’ve carried in my head 15+ years.

He who would glorify his God must set his account upon meeting with many trials. No man can be illustrious before the Lord unless his conflicts be many. If then, yours be a much tried path, rejoice in it, because you will the better show forth the all sufficient grace of God. As for his failing you, never dream of it—hate the thought. The God who has been sufficient until now, should be trusted to the end.

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She died in May. A friend just commended this video to me.

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These are cool stories, but they aren’t usually this high dollar.  Murfreesboro woman finds and returns $97,000.

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Click the book to purchase

Click the book to purchase

Whether you are a toddler or a seminarian, you need to read and be filled with the truths of the remarkable book: The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name. Every story points to Christ. Every story remembers the big picture. I refuse to call it a children’s book. Our family is working through it for the second time together.

From the introduction:

No, the Bible isn’t a list of rules, or a book of heroes.  The Bible is most of all a Story.  It’s an adventure story about a young Hero who comes from a far country to win back his lost treasure.  It’s a love story about a brave Prince who leaves his palace, his throne–everything–to rescue the one he loves.  It’s like the most wonderful of fairy tales that has come true in real life!

You see, the best thing about this Story is–it’s true.

There are lots of stories in the Bible, but all the stories are telling one Big Story.  The Story of how God loves his children and comes to rescue them.

It takes the whole Bible to tell this Story.  And at the center of the Story, there is a baby.  Every Story in the Bible whispers his name.  He is like the missing piece in a puzzle–the piece that makes all the other pieces fit together, and suddenly you can see a beautiful picture.

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Today you would have been 400 years old. Do you know how much we fear stillness and quietness today? Do you know we are scared to death of seriousness and depth? Do you know how incapable of enjoying your works 400 years later? Our world is about updates, restraints and appointments. We both thrive and choke on busy and movement.

God, teach us differently…and thank you for Milton.

On His Blindness – John Milton

When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide
Lodg’d with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he returning chide,
“Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?”
I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies: “God doth not need to
Either man’s work or his own gifts: who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed
And post o’er land and ocean without rest:
They also serve who only stand and wait.

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The story has several forms of animal, but Doug Wilson says it like this:

Abraham Lincoln once asked how many legs a sheep would have if we called the tail a leg. “Five,” came the answer. No, Lincoln replied, it doesn’t matter what we call it, a sheep will have four legs regardless of what we say.

Honest Abe was a straight shooter. He seems like the sort of fella a guy could name his kid after.

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It’s been 11 months and the iPhone has improved several times over (upgraded programs, selections and options) since when I first opened the box. That makes it totally unlike any device or vehicle I’ve ever owned.

Today I read this quote from an article called One Phone to Rule Them All. I’ve been thinking lately about how absolutely wonderful AND how dreadfully awful the iPhone and Facebook are. I love the phone because it improves my downtime. I hate the phone because it can distract me from interacting with people (namely with my boys in the van at a store waiting for Christie) and during downtime can distract me from fellowship with Christ. I love Facebook because it promotes friendships and familiarity that would wane, and it is the best medium for keeping family abreast of daily life. I would like to expound on this sometime. I hate Facebook because it causes me to think of me too much. I would only kind of like to expound on this sometime.

It certainly is all a matter of personal responsibility before God. Here is that quote from the Christ and Pop Culture blog:

The iPhone has affected my downtime. It’s safe to say I can’t remember a time I was forced to simply sit and think. When I’m walking somewhere, waiting in line, or trapped in a room with no food (it could happen), I always have the ability to read the Bible, check my calendar or email, twitter, check facebook, or listen to some music. The benefit here is it enables me to more easily keep up with various tasks. I like to communicate with friends through email, facebook and twitter. I need to keep on top of my schedule with my calendar. If anything’s a necessity, isn’t scripture?

And yet, another necessity is simply thinking about all of these things. In an iPhone culture, the single most frightening danger is that we will all be too busy reading, checking, tweeting, and updating that we forget to think about how and why we do those things at all.

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