Sunday, December 30, 2007

2007 in the books

For several years I've compiled a list of the books I was able to read during the year. It's a way of recommending some good reads to others and to push me to read more and better books in the coming year. A couple of those lists from previous years are on-line here: 2005, 2006.

Here's the list for 2007 (reviews can be found for most of these books by searching on the title in the search window above).

  1. Called to the Ministry. Edmund Clowney. A short work full of challenging points to consider.
  2. Each for the Other. Bryan Chapell. A pretty-good, complementarian perspective on marriage. Most-lasting point: the self-sacrificing nature of love.
  3. Bringing the Gospel to Covenant Children. Joel Beeke.
  4. The Mortification of Sin. John Owen. The time-tested, definitive work on putting sin to death in your life.
  5. All of Grace. John Bunyan. Autobiograpghy.
  6. The Faithful Preacher. Thabiti Anyabwile. Re-introduced us to 3 faithful and theologically-sound African-American pastors.
  7. The Reformed Pastor. Richard Baxter. The time-tested and definitive work on shepherding your flock.
  8. The Best Sermons of Jonathan Edwards.
  9. No Place for Truth. David Wells. The first in a set of wise books on modernity.
  10. The Young Peacemaker. Carole Sande. Great for families with children in elementary school and up.
  11. The Freedom and Power of Forgiveness. John MacArthur.
  12. The Bruised Reed. Richard Sibbes. Classic, Christ-exalting, puritan exposition of Isaiah 42.
  13. The Life and Diary of David Brainerd. Edited by Jonathan Edwards. One man who reminds me what it means to live for God.
  14. The Cross He Bore. Frederick Leahy. A moving, short treatment of the sufferings of Christ.
  15. When People are Big and God is Small. Edward Welch. Helpful for fighting peer-pressure and fear of man.
  16. On the Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul. Philip Doddridge. A book-length evangelical track in the puritan style. Also provides good prayers.
  17. The Love of God. D.A. Carson. A great approach for daily Bible reading with a brief, daily commentary.
  18. The Heart of Anger. Lou Priolo. Very helpful ideas on preventing and overcoming anger in children and parents.

This list leaves out works of fiction that I read to the children as part of their homeschooling curriculum.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Friday, December 21, 2007

My visits with Paul

Remember the various members of royalty that would take occassional breaks from their pursuit of affluence and power to spend a few minutes listening to the words of the Apostle Paul? When they had heard their fill they would send him back to his cell (out of sight, out of mind) and return to their plans or leisure.

This is me. I occassionally send for Paul so that I may wonder at the intensity of his faith and puzzle over his message. But, pretty soon the clock summons me to send him away, back into his slot in the bookcase. I have to get on with my life.

The truth is that I'm doing a much better job imitating Felix or King Agrippa than I am obeying the command stated by Paul himself, "imitate me."

Friday, December 14, 2007

More on discipling little children

While three of our five kiddos can't read yet, they can listen. With that in mind, here are the best (that we know of) songs for discipling little ones:

Judy Rogers' "Why Can't I see God" (songs based on the First Catechism) and especially "Go to the Ant"

Songs for Saplings (compliments of Our Hassienda)

For older children (~2nd grade and up) Seeds Family Worship. We have the praise album; the music is upbeat and better quality music and lyrics than much of what airs on Christian radio stations.

Last, Kristin wanted me to link to this post about what happens to hobbies when you have several little ones and to post this poem.

God, I want to do great things for you,
And speak to all the nations!
God replies:
That’s well and good,
But for now
Fix your children’s complications.

Lord, I want to straighten up the world,
Feed the hungry and fulfill someone’s wishes!
God says:
Fine, but for the present,
You need to wash the dishes.

Lord, I want to preach, proclaim your name
And bring salvation to the earth!
God says:
Good! Then teach your children
And preach my name to those you’ve given birth.

At the end of the day,
I think of all I’ve done.
But as I look it seems,
I’ve accomplished nothing for the Son!
God I had no time to witness one on one,
I couldn’t join my church group,
They said I missed out on lots of fun.

My household is the only thing
That managed to be cleaned,
My neighbor is the only one,
Besides my family I could feed.

The only ones I’ve read Your Word
Are those within my home.
God I’ve done so very little
And I feel so all alone!

God says:
I’ve seen the way you cleaned and cooked
And taught your kids My name.
Tomorrow morning at eight o’ clock,
I’ll watch you do the same.

The work you do at home,
Though no one really sees,
Is helping to raise little ones
To grow and worship me.

My ways are not your ways,
I don’t expect you yet to see,
But the precepts that you’ve taught your children,
Will help others bow the knee.

Your children will reach out to others,
Your example in their mind.
They’ll do great work for Me
And their children will respond in kind.

The hand that rules the world,
Also rocks the cradle.
Because of you, your children love Me,
All their hearts are stable.

Though your house is your domain,
Your tasks seem rather plain,
Your efforts will reach the multitudes,
Though from humble work they came.

© Copyright 2002-2007 by LAF/

Sunday, December 09, 2007

When People are Big and God is Small

On the way to church this morning, Katie was in the car of front of me. At the stoplight I made sure to keep the enjoyment of my tunes to myself lest Katie (or anyone else) see through a rear-view mirror a humiliating view of me singing along.

The fear of man, the desire to be accepted and thought well of by other people, is common to us all. In this book Welch defines the fear of man like this: a fear of exposure or humiliation, a fear of rejection or ridicule, or a fear of physical attack or oppression. In one way or another, every human being struggles with this.

The central thesis of Welch’s argument is: “Regarding other people, our problem is that we need them (for ourselves) more than we love them (for the glory of God.)." If this person will accept me, if this person thinks I am okay, if I can be identified with this person, then I feel good about who I am. If they reject me, though, or do not give me the attention I feel I deserve, then that will just prove me to be the loser I suspected I was all along. When that occurs, our lives and thoughts begin to center on gaining the acceptance of that person, and other people become what Welch calls “person-idols.” As a result, we find ourselves “in bondage, controlled by others and feeling empty". "What or who you need will control you”.

The remedy for this sin: He must increase, while we must decrease. Realize and remember that seeking acceptance from others is often just a desire for self-glory. We must care more for the praise of God than the praise of men. Secondly, grow in the fear of the Lord. “If the gaze of man awakens fear in us, how much more so the gaze of God. If we feel exposed by people, we will feel devastated before God." See Christ as so glorious that we forget about our perceived needs.

What, then, is a healthy need for people and when is needing other people sinful? The answer is in the motive. So long as the need is centered on us (to feel good about ourselves), the need for other people is sinful. Healthy relationships with other people are built on recognizing that we exist to make the image of God (compassionate, gracious, faithful) more visible. Bottomline: "need other people less, love other people more."

I especially recommend this book for teenagers who seem most caught up in peer pressure, but Welch does speak to us all here. It's available for checkout in the church library.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Shadow Claws vs. the Indomitable Snowdog

Una is visiting for the weekend which provides the family with plenty of entertainment and our cat, Shadow, a new target. This video shows the best Una has got; Shadow retains her dominion over all dogs.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Zeke's on the move (plus a bonus track for Pinky)

Zeke auditions for the next army promo demonstrating his power crawl and smackdown.

Also we had a special request for a "happy Zeke" clip. (sorry about the sideways shot).