Archive for December, 2009

But God has it all scripted. For those who know Him, we are standing here on a brink of this great opportunity and joy, safe in Christ. A pilgrim is a person who lives for another time and another place. Go be valiant as you go onward.

The Things That Haven’t Been Done Before

by Edgar Guest

The things that haven’t been done before,
Those are the things to try;
Columbus dreamed of an unknown shore
At the rim of the far-flung sky,
And his heart was bold and his faith was strong
As he ventured in dangers new,
And he paid no heed to the jeering throng
Or the fears of the doubting crew.

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Merry Christmas From Us

The mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children.”

If 2007 was the year of the surprise (We are moving?!!?), and 2008 was the transition year, then 2009 has been a year of settling-in and standing in wonder at God’s provision.

Tennessee is fast becoming home. We love exploring Nashville and the surrounding areas and are endearing ourselves to our wonderful new family at church and school. We have been inundated with visitors too, which suits us just fine; we had seven nights in November with no overnight guests.

Thankfully, we moved in June to a larger house in Whites Creek. It’s closer to church, school and the city and it gives us a more flexibility to be hospitable. It was providential that God provided it for us. It was also a blessing to us that Andrew and Dana Blondo moved here in June; it’s good to have family nearby.

We have been amazed at how God has blessed JECA this first year. We have had something like four amazing miracles (spread from January through December) that have demonstrated to us that God is in it and He is the Doer and Sustainer of it. It is crystal clear that this school exists because He allowed/made it to be so and maintains it only with his grace. We could not have done this without His help. It is a joy and a benefit to be involved in this wonderful work with a wonderful bunch of people.

We were pleased to have a little girl added to our home in September. Claire Danielle is all that a baby girl ought to be. She is much-adored by her larger and more cantankerous brothers. We look forward to showing her our homeland when we go north for Christmas.

Karsten, Haddon, Lincoln and Knox are well. The older two are graced with wonderful classroom teachers who are improving them to good degrees. The younger two are faced with the rigors of dragon-slaying and have shifts of Queen-and-princess-protection-duties throughout the day.

We are blessed greatly. But there is nothing mundane or regular about it. God upholds us each day and gives us strength and provision for all of our trials, needs, doubts and tumbles. “Every hour is a precious boon. Every breath is a mercy.” We are, very imperfectly but sincerely, trying Him, finding Him faithful and wonderfully good, and we are grateful for tongues and keyboards and strength to live and tell others (especially our children) how He is always good and always faithful and always true.

And while we trek toward our final home, while we face the rigors of our own imperfections, we still give thanks and we enjoy the parts of Creation that were gifted to us here: baby giggles, bananas, adventure stories with horned hounds, loose teeth, Facebook, the Natchez Trace, The Dog of Nashville, Narnia, MoonPies, the Food Network, and the 100 cute little fingers and toes attached to the 5 cutest little kids anywhere.

May God find us faithful,

Ryan and Christie

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A new liberal arts school is forming in New England. It’s called the C.S. Lewis College, and it has a beautiful home to move into when it starts in two Falls.

There’s a very interesting triangle involved here: CS Lewis, DL Moody and Hobby Lobby (and it’s close to Jonathan Edwards’ old stomping grounds, too). Good story you can piece together on the Press Releases page!

C.S. Lewis College

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A brief lesson in economics. Sit up. Pay attention. There will be a quiz.

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On December 26, 1944, Second Lieutenant Hiroo Onoda of the Japanese army was sent to the Philippine island of Lubang.  His mission was to resist the American advance, and he was ordered to fight on indefinitely.  Onoda never got word when the war ended some months later.  For thirty more years he went on fighting World War II.  He lived in hiding, came out at night to steal food from the villages, shot at people now and then.  About ten years into it he found a newspaper article about himself, but he thought it was a trick to get him to surrender.  The Philippine government dropped leaflets into the jungle, asking him to come out.  They brought loudspeakers in and shouted, “Onoda, the war is over.”  One day his own brother stood at the microphone and begged him to give up, but he didn’t believe it.  He fought on until 1974, when the Japanese government sent in his old commanding officer, Major Taniguchi, who ordered Onoda to surrender.  He finally gave up.

That man’s mind was trapped in 1945, he shut out the good news of peace and lost 30 years of his life hiding in the jungles, loyal to a lost cause.  We can be like him today, with our thoughts and feelings trapped in a war that ended long ago.

The night Jesus was born, the angels stepped up to the microphone and shouted, “Peace on earth” (Luke 2:14).  For 2000 years God has been dropping leaflets of the good news into the jungles of our minds.  Through his cross Christ won the victory over everything against us.  It’s time to give up our lost causes, come out of hiding and live again in a new, post-war world of grace, ruled by Christ.

Written by Ray Ortlund

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Probably my decade review will be limited to just two installments. It was fun.

1. The birth of Karsten, Haddon, Lincoln, Knox and Claire – Nothing like progeny to make you wish you had slept in more when you were a kid.

2. September 11, 2001 – I’m still floored…and mad.

3. October 2008 – Introduced to the music of Andrew Peterson. Behold the Lamb of God: The True Tall Tale of the Coming of Christ!

4. June 2008 – Moved from Michigan to Nashville to start a school. Good move.

5. November 13, 2008 – The day my Grandpa died. Sad day, but his funeral was a triumph of God’s favor to us for having known him.

6. January 2, 2000 – My last moving violation

7. May 12, 2006 – The first post on TBAP. Still a good one.

8. The resurgence of pirates – Pirates rip me off!

9. Travel: Eight weeks spent in New England, NYC and Philly (2005-2008) / Two weeks in England and Paris (2004) – I was built to be a tour guide.

10. June 12, 2009 – 10 years with Christie

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Charity: Who Cares?

This is not an advertisement, just interesting info.

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Decade Review

As we close out the decade, I was thinking of being a listmaker.

10 Cool Things That Weren’t Yet Invented in 2000

1. Karsten, Haddon, Lincoln, Knox and Claire

2. Firefox / Gmail / FaceBook (and general internet explosion)

3. iPods and iPhones (replacing entertainment centers and making phones more like computers than phones)

4. Wii (I’ll get one next decade)

5. GPS (replacing paper maps that were unfoldable)

6. Bose Companion 3 Speakers (oh, that’s what that sounds like!)


8. EZ-IO (invented by Christie cousin/saving lives worldwide)


10. ? (what did I miss)

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This video is heavily biased and has a great deal of ridiculous commentary; much of it is junk. But it does a good, fun job summarizing what the whole Cap and Trade racket is.

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Glut of What?

I don’t have a reference, but I remember reading once that the amount of news that a frontier family (early 1800s) would have learned over the course of a lifetime, would be equivalent to one of today’s daily newspapers. I am professedly an information devotee. Almost all of mine comes from internet.

Since the article discusses it, I thought about where I get my information. I suppose that my regular, weekly routine of information intake would come from internet (50%), print (25%), music (10%), radio (10%) and TV (5%).

This Times article states that Americans consume approximately 34 gigabytes of information every day. Is this a glut, or is this just who we are.

Is it bad?

The American Diet

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HT: Online Education

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The holiday season–what we generically just call Christmastime–is actually a long sequence of holy days, festal revelries, and liturgical rites stretching from the end of November through the beginning of January that are collectively known as Yuletide.

Beginning with Advent, a time of preparation and repentance, proceeding to Christmas, a time of celebration and generosity, and concluding with Epiphany, a time of remembrance and thanksgiving, Yuletide traditions enable us to see out the old year with faith and love while ushering in the new year with hope and joy. It is a season fraught with meaning and significance.

Unfortunately, it is also such a busy season that its meaning and significance can all too easily be obscured either by well-intended materialistic pursuits–frenzied shopping trips to the mall to find just the right Christmas gift–or by the less benign demands, desires, wants, and needs which are little more than grist for human greed. The traditions of Yuletide were intended to guard us against such things–and thus, are actually more relevant today than ever before.

George Grant

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Well said. Well said.

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Ray Ortlund posted a very brief article suggesting three points that would help godly men love and build each other up. There is so little written about this; I would love to see a more lengthy treatment of the topic.

Brothers Together in Christ

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To Delay is to Disobey

This is a portion of a daily devotional that Elizabeth Elliot writes. It addresses an important point about obedience.

To make a habit of repeating commands is to train the child to believe you never mean what you say the first time. If the first lesson in obedience is carried out as above, the child learns quickly that you mean exactly what you say. I know it works–my parents taught us this way, and I watched them train my younger sister and brothers. I found that it worked with my daughter Valerie.

If you run after the child and physically force him to do what you say (e.g. grab him when he doesn’t come, take something away when he touches it), you are training him not to pay attention to your words. He knows he can get away with anything until forcibly restrained.

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I love stories about making much out of nothing. Bob Kramer kind of wandered around until he found he knew how to make knives…and sell them for $300/inch.

The Cutting Edge

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“There are two paradoxical emotions that I aspire to encourage my children toward. I want to cultivate in them a healthy, God-honoring indignation, because the world is not as it should be. The second emotion I pray for besides this is an utterly unshakable peace. I want them to go through their days without a hint of worry, without succumbing to fear, without surrendering to despair. I want them to wake up every morning and to go to sleep each night completely at ease knowing that Jesus Christ reigns over heaven and earth. I want them to understand that things not being as they ought to be is how things ought to be. The not yet of the kingdom exists precisely because of the already. Sickness, death and poverty still assault us precisely because the Lord of lords has determined that they should.”

— R.C. Sproul (December issue of TableTalk)

HT: Adam Jones

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I like books, and I love lists of books–I even like books of lists. I read recommendations and like to give recommendations (i.e. this list of lists I made). But I haven’t read much literature directed primarily toward little girls (nor, I suppose, have I read much foreign pulp fiction, but that is probably only said because of my strong affection for speaking in asides–which I do frequently–in fact, sometimes the asides are required to steal the show–because what I was saying was far too pedestrian).

Anyway, not to downplay this list with a string of unimportants, here is a list of recommended read-aloud books for parents of little girls. It was compiled by Mrs. Erin Kornu, who God gifted to JECA to teach our 2nd graders. She loves lists like I do.

I hope you are able to find profit and enjoyment from these works. This list is not meant to be all-inclusive and was compiled with the ages of 2-7 in mind, primarily.

All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor
Betsy-Tacy (and others in series) by Maud Hart Lovelace
A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher
The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes
Heidi by Joanna Spyri
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski
Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink
The Best Loved Doll by Rebecca Caudill
Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder
The Borrowers by Mary Norton
Sarah Whitcher’s Story by Elizabeth Yates
The Courage of Sarah Noble by Alice Dalgiesh

And here is a fantastic $10 recommendation for the boys in your life.

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You are not an island unto yourself. Stop living like it.

The modern habit of saying “Every man has a different philosophy; this is my philosophy and it suits me”—the habit of saying this is mere weak-mindedness. A cosmic philosophy is not constructed to fit a man; a cosmic philosophy is constructed to fit a cosmos. A man can no more possess a private religion than he can possess a private sun and moon.

— G.K. Chesterton

HT: Andy Naselli

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Get Busy?

Productivity is not first about getting a lot of things done, but about getting the right things done.

If you are getting the right things done, you don’t necessarily have to be doing a large number of things.

In other words, you don’t have to be busy in order to be effective.

So don’t measure your effectiveness by how much you are able to do, but rather by what you do.

Matt Perman

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No, not at all, though some defeatist, sourpuss, misanthropes take it so. But some verses (like Acts 2:44-45) do have a lot to do with charity, mercy and grace…and not so much about public dole for the unwilling.

Here is an article that gives an historic summary of the way community has been, and should be, done:

Pilgrims Planted the Seeds of America’s Abundance

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Here is a great photostory from this summer. It’s one photographer’s best photos for each day of his 100 days in Glacier Mountain Park.

The Story and Pictures

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I showed you this chart a few days ago. Here is Glenn Beck talking about it.

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Here is a good summary of an incessantly ridiculous habit our culture has taken on. It exists in and out of the church…and sometimes in my head. This is the cover of Time magazine’s November 20th edition.

Helicopter Parents: The Backlash Against Overparenting

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