Saturday, July 31, 2010

Book Review: The Jesus You Can't Ignore

Do you know a pharisee when you see one?  Do you picture Jesus as a meek and mild person?  In The Jesus You Can't Ignore, by John MacArthur, your beliefs about who Jesus is and how he confronted the masses may be dramatically changed.  And it is a change that you can't ignore--according to MacArthur, "...no one who listened to Him preach for very long could possibly remain unchanged or apathetic."

With an prologue and an introduction, this book feels a little like a heavy train trying to get moving from a complete stop.  Finally, a few chapters in, it hit me and took off from there.  I began making notes and sticking little paper flags in pages so I could refer back to interesting points.  It is not a bad thing, though, MacArthur carefully takes time to defend his point of view and build a good foundation for the book in those early pages.  He gives a great background to the problem with many churches today (to my satisfaction he sheds much light on the "Emergent Church"), especially so-called "seeker-sensitive" churches.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book:
"A positive response to Jesus should never be taken as proof of authentic trust in Him.  There is a shallow, fickle brand of 'belief' that is not saving faith at all."

"The gospel must be defended against lies and false teaching, and the fact that gospel truth often offends even the most distinguished religious people is never a reason for trying to tame the message or tone it down."

"Like many today who wrongly think fantasies are harmless if not acted upon, [the Pharisees] felt free to arouse and indulge in sinful appetites in the privacy of their own imaginations--as if their hearts were somehow exempt from the law's standards.  Indeed, that very misconception lay at the root of all the Pharisees' errors.  It was how they justified all their hypocrisy." 

"For those who were not interested in hearing the truth, He did not try to make it easier to receive.  What He did instead was make it impossible to ignore."

Do you find that last quote (or any of the others) hard to believe?  Perhaps I would have before I read the book.  However, MacArthur does such a great job of building his case and presenting the evidence, that it is easy to believe now--and difficult to view any other way.  It was a fantastic book.  It took me longer to get through than I wanted to, but I have been a little distracted these past couple weeks.  I look forward to donating this one to my church library so that many others can read it!!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com <http://BookSneeze.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Friday, July 30, 2010

Grieving and Moving On

Months ago when we looked ahead to this time, we knew it would be hard, but it was still difficult to grasp and comprehend.  Now that the time is here, I find that I am grieving.  I think that Mitch's emotions are different--he is filled with joy and gratitude, and I definitely am too, but I also find myself feeling more sad than I expected.  So if you happen to see me in town anytime soon, and ask me how I am doing, be prepared for a teary-eyed mess.  It's pretty easy to make me cry.  :)  Though it seems impossible to move on, time marches on and drags me along with it. Already it is starting to feel like having Patrick here was a dream.  There's not a thing I didn't like about that boy and I will miss everything about him!

Everyone wants to know how our children handled saying goodbye.  Of course I don't think Tirzah has a clue yet that Patrick is actually gone.  On our way home from the airport we stopped and visited the Bondy's.  She was very overtired and cried almost the whole way home.  Even a bath couldn't calm her down once we were home.  We had to leave almost right away to go to a Pre-Arrival Orientation with YFU for our next student coming (more on that later).  She napped on the way and woke up in a better mood, then went to bed without any problems but woke up screaming around 11:30 and spent the rest of the night in our bed.  I think we may see a reaction out of her when we are able to skype with Patrick.

Like Tirzah, Malachi doesn't really seem to understand what it means that Patrick is gone.  Patrick's dad sent me some pictures this morning from greeting Patrick at the airport and Malachi enjoyed looking at those with me, so I think he understands at least a little bit.

Josh hasn't mentioned it much, but he does understand that Patrick has gone home.  A few months ago when we sang "Happy Birthday" to Patrick's dad over skype, Josh said, "Why doesn't he just come over?"  So Josh possibly still doesn't understand that Patrick is really, really far away now.

Zeke was very funny.  He copied Caleb and said, "We can play Ages of Empires over the internet together."  Patrick said, "Maybe in a few years."  LOL

Caleb was sad, but seemed to pull out of it quickly and promised to email Patrick right away.  He also said he hoped they could get a game of AOE going over the internet sometime.

Eden and Micah both cried at the parting, and have talked about missing Patrick.  Micah likes to tell "Remember when Patrick would..." stories and Eden is stuck on "I wish I would have...".  I understand and relate to both of them!

Like I said before, once we left the airport and headed toward home our day was still full of activity and we kept moving, so that helped really distract everyone.  I now need to work on some large diaper orders that I put off for the past couple weeks (I haven't sewn anything in a while), so I will have that to keep me busy.  Life goes on!

We were excited to harvest some vegetables from our garden this week.  Patrick was busy and didn't get to try any of them.  :(  But I was surprised, because I didn't think we would have anything to harvest until after he had left.  So it was a nice blessing anyway.

Next week is the Benton County Fair.  I haven't entered anything in the past couple years, but this year I have some things I would like to enter.  The days snuck up on me however, and I have to get my preregistration forms in today--yikes!!  I am not sure how or if that will happen, and I will be bummed if I don't get it done.  I have a blanket to enter, plus I would like to do some pictures (haven't even picked those out yet), and I was thinking that Mitch should enter some of our sweet corn (only we would have to enter SIX ears...hard to give that up...LOL).

Here are some pictures for you (click to see a larger version):

{We love Nutella...Patrick got me hooked...eventually I got my game on and started saving the little gold foil seals from the top of the jar.  Only 3 seals gets you a free t-shirt from Nutella.  I surprised him with this t-shirt, and soon we'll have enough to order another one.}

{Cute Tirzah after a rain storm on Tuesday night.}

{Mitch's first harvest.}

{"Three of Larry and three of Bob" was what Mitch put on his facebook status.}

{Sweet corn is probably the best thing we could harvest, since nearly all of the kids like to eat it.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Saddest Day of the Year


Today was a hard day.  We were blessed by having Devona and Anna Emerson over to watch daycare children so we could all accompany Patrick to the airport.  Overall things went very well, but it was a long ride and I was trying hard not to cry until the end.  Check-in took quite a while as Patrick tried to shuffle his luggage around and get his suitcases down to 50 lbs each.  Finally we gathered around in a tight family huddle while Mitch prayed for Patrick.  Then we each got hugs.  I took pictures of everyone, and while not all the pictures are good I just can't skip posting any of them (I don't want to leave anyone out).

{Tirzah}

{Malachi}

{Joshua}

{Actually Zeke lucked out and got 2 hugs...I just missed the first one.}

{Caleb}

{Eden}

{Micah}

"Well, here at last, dear friends, on the shores of the Sea comes the end of our fellowship in Middle-earth.  Go in peace!  I will not say: do not weep; for not all tears are an evil."  Gandalf, The Return of the King

{Mitch}

{Steph}

Goodbye, Patrick, we love you!!

Auf Wiedersehen

"The Road goes ever on and on
    Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
    And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
    Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
    And whither then?  I cannot say."
(Bilbo, The Fellowship of the Ring)

Patrick's flight takes off at 2:30 pm from Minneapolis and heads to Chicago.  He leaves Chicago at 6:30 pm and will land in Frankfurt at 3 a.m. our time (10 a.m. Germany time).  Please pray for a safe trip and that he will feel well.

Naturally this is a difficult time for us, but we are also FULL of joy thinking of all the wonderful memories and knowing that Patrick's family in Germany is eagerly waiting his arrival.  It has been an amazing 11 months having Patrick here, and our hearts are very heavy.

"Do not be too sad, Sam.  You cannot be always torn in two.  You will have to be one and whole, for many years.  You have so much to enjoy and to be, and to do."
(Frodo, The Return of the King)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

German Food

I recently found a restaurant in St. Cloud that claims to serve German food.  Mitch says he found it first, and that he and Patrick talked about it, but nobody told me...so...  When I was on the shop-n-save for our local Christian radio station I saw gift certificates for this restaurant on sale--a $10 certificate for only $6--and I bought some.  We planned to go out to eat last night before Patrick goes home.  As we were getting ready to leave, a large storm rolled through (we were even under a tornado warning), so I decided not to take my camera.  The storm went through quickly and was nearly gone by the time we pulled into the parking lot at Michael's Restaurant on the south-side of St. Cloud.  It's very close to the airport, where we just happened to pick Patrick up exactly 11 months earlier (August 27-July 27)...very fitting.  I regretted not bringing my camera (or at least asking Patrick to bring his) from the moment I stepped in the door.  The place was not very busy, and no one was around at first.  Finally a woman greeted us and asked if we were there to eat.  :)  She walked away quickly calling for "Heinrich." (hine-rick)  Patrick very quietly said, "his name is Heinrich," with the correct pronunciation.  LOL.  From the moment Heinrich walked into the room until we left we were all smiles.  We were wonderfully entertained and cared for.  Heinrich is actually from Austria, and when we introduced Patrick from Germany he said he wouldn't hold it against him.  Heinrich has been in America since 1967.  We ordered for the kids from the kids' menu, which was standard American fare.  I can't remember the names of the dishes we had to spell them correctly, so I will have to ask Patrick.  I thought they were good, but he is the only one who could tell us if it was actually German food or not.  :)  He said it was good. We opted to not eat dessert afterward, but Heinrich came out of the kitchen with a tube of whipping cream and to the boys' delight gave them dollops of cream on their hands to lick off.  It was quite funny.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Ubuntu

My pictures are causing problems again.  A few months ago it was a shortage of hard drive space.  A 1.5 Terabyte drive solved that issue.  Now it is an organizational issue...moving through photos is time consuming.  I have been using Creative Memories Memory Manager for years and while it was great at the beginning, it just cannot handle the workload of pictures I am taking now (I have over 30,000 pictures).  Part of my problem is my trigger finger--I shoot and shoot and (almost) never delete.  So I need to get better about rating my photos every time I unload my memory card.  More than that, though, the program itself just can't handle loading the thumbnails for all those images.  So I have been exploring new options (including Picasa and My Photo Index).  It became ultimately more evident that using Ubuntu would expand my horizons.  I only wish we had done it when I first got the hard drive...seems a little late now, with Patrick leaving, but I think it will be ok...it's amazing what I can learn when I'm motivated!  So far I'm loving it.  :)

Part of the trouble is that Memory Manager stores all the photos in its own folders, in a random sort of order (I'm sure it's not really random, but is more likely based on a formula or algorithm).  So I can't just go into the program folder and copy out pictures that I want.  If I want pictures, I must open the program itself and export the pictures.  Deleting also takes a little longer than just manipulating the folders.  So I need a better system of organization.  Formerly I would pop my memory card into the computer, upload pictures into Memory Manager, and then not really do what I was supposed to do with them (rate, journal, edit, print, etc).  Going back to a system where the pictures are stored on my computer in organized folders will make much more sense.  If I still want to use Memory Manager for my "best of the best" or album projects, I can certainly add only those photos into Memory Manager.  Memory Manager has excellent photo-editing capabilities that are SIMPLE, and if you are into digital scrapbooking it works seamlessly with Storybook Creator (but so far I'm not into that).  For now I want ease of use and speed, combined with basic editing and the option to get into more complex editing.  But I have to "rescue" and reorganize my 30,000 pictures currently locked in the program folders and go from there.  I already did some practicing on Mitch's computer (where I had a backup of my memory vault) and seemed to cause some problems in Windows...all the more reason for me to switch to Ubuntu!  I don't know if I will end up going back to Memory Manager, simply because there are programs compatible with Ubuntu that seem to meet my needs better.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Goodbye Party

The goodbye party today was as close to perfect as I could have ever hoped!  Only bummer is I didn't get as many good pictures as I wished I would have.  I wasn't in my groove...I uploaded these pictures with blogger, so you can click on them to see the full size.

(Found this great song by Skillet--which happens to be one of Mitch and Patrick's favorite bands)















Defend vs. Contend

One of my favorite blogs, The Narrow Way, recently posted this video.  It really struck home with me because not only do I see defensiveness in my children's lives, but in my own.  Ouch.  I am reading a book for review called "The Jesus You Can't Ignore" by John MacArthur, and I'm almost done.  MacArthur builds the case of how and why we should contend for our faith (Jude 1:3) by looking at Jesus' interaction with Pharisees and other religious leaders in his day and even his followers.  Contention for the faith looks much different than defensiveness.  Unfortunately many people do not see this difference, and to avoid conflict in our post-modern culture they do not contend for the faith but they do still get quite defensive about matters in their own personal lives (again I say, ouch).  This video unpacks defensiveness and the root of the sin therein.  Hopefully when I write my review I will be able to convey contention.  (I am taking notes...)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Goodnight, Russ

Dear Russ Arndts passed away yesterday.  It was sad news, indeed.

I remember the first time I ever really "met" Russ.  I was in a Sunday school class and we were discussing the topic of absolute truth.  One member of the class raised a hand and said that there are some absolutes that no one can deny--such as 2 + 2 = 4.  I raised my hand immediately and refuted the statement (although I DO believe there are absolute truths, that is not one of them).  In higher level math classes I learned that this is not always true (particularly in an alternative geometry).  It really all depends on your assumptions.  Well, that got a murmur of disbelief from the crowd and I caught Russ's attention. :)  Later I was invited to attend some classes in the evenings discussing Creation vs. Evolution.  I don't think that I ever impressed Russ quite as much as that first meeting, simply because I was busy shaking off the cobwebs and dust that had cluttered up the "academic" side of my brain.  Russ was a Chemistry professor, retired from St. Cloud State University.  But I thoroughly enjoyed the discourse and the breaks from my Mom routine.  In fact, this post, about unpacking Einstein's theory of special relativity, attracts visitors from google and other search engines every single day still as they search for "boy sense" (whatever that is supposed to be).  Even more recently, while I was recovering from surgery, Russ and his wife, Betty, brought our family meals and food on two occasions.  What an outpouring of generosity on our family is this, that the elderly care for the young, still!  I smile to think that now Russ finally has all the facts and information he needs surrounding Geocentricity, Relativity, and the Big Bang

Goodnight, Russ, until we meet again!

<a href="http://matthewsmith.bandcamp.com/album/goodnight">Goodnight by Matthew Smith</a>

I journey forth rejoicing
From this dark vale of tears,
To heavenly joy and freedom,
From earthly bonds and fears;
Where Christ our Lord shall gather
All His redeemed again,
His kingdom to inherit.
Goodnight, goodnight till then!
Why thus so sadly weeping,
Beloved ones of my heart?
The Lord is good and gracious,
Though now He bids us part.
Oft have we met in gladness.
And we shall meet again,
All sorrow left behind us.
Goodnight, goodnight till then!
I go to see His glory,
Whom we have loved below:
I go, the blessed angels,
The holy saints to know.
Our lovely ones departed,
I go to find again,
And wait for you to join us.
Goodnight, goodnight till then!
I hear the Saviour calling,
The joyful hour has come:
The angel guards are ready
To guide me to our home,
Where Christ our Lord shall gather
All His redeemed again,
His kingdom to inherit.
Goodnight, goodnight till then!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Many Partings

"When the days of rejoicing were over at last the Companions thought of returning to their own homes.  And Frodo went to the King as he was sitting with the Queen Arwen by the fountain, and she sang a song of Valinor, while the Tree grew and blossomed.  They welcomed Frodo and rose to greet him; and Aragorn said:
   'I know what you have come to say, Frodo: you wish to return to your own home.  Well, dearest friend, the tree grows best in the land of its sires; but for you in all the lands of the West there will ever be a welcome.'
...'In seven days we will go,' said Aragorn. 'For we shall ride with you far on the road, even as far as the country of Rohan.'"

(Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King)

7 days...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

St. Cloud Times

I forgot to mention, when we were at the park on the 4th of July, waiting for the fireworks to start, a photographer from the St. Cloud Times came by and photographed Mitch and Patrick. The next day they were on the website for the newspaper!


Posted by Picasa
(Screen shot taken of the website, since I am not sure how long it will be up on the site)

I'm tired of writing

It's time for some pictures, don't you think??  :)

These are from yesterday:

DSC_1250
{Zeke and the corn...he is SUPER excited to see the corn growing.}

DSC_1251
{Wow, our cherry tomato plants (there are at least 2 here) are growing quickly now!}


DSC_1253
{The smallest tomato is new growth since we planted this one, so it has taken off well.}

DSC_1254
 {I'm so sad--something has stripped my pepper plants.  There are no tracks in the soil, though.}


DSC_1256
{Cucumbers doing well...you can literally watch these things grow, I check them every morning and every night just because it is so amazing to me!}


DSC_1257
{This cherry tomato plant has some new growth since we've planted it, too, so I am wondering how much it will actually produce. Actually, all of our tomato plants have new growth. The ones that looked the sickest are finally beginning to look healthy.}

DSC_1258
{The very first cucumber to grow out of all the plants, looking so big now!}

DSC_1260
{My naughty little girl loves dirt.}

DSC_1266
{After supper Patrick left to hang out with Luke and go wake-boarding.  Mitch & I took the kids out for a walk.  We tried to help Zeke learn to ride a bike...he didn't do so well overall, but here Mitch was able to let go for a brief moment!}

DSC_1281
{Malachi was zooming...look at Tirzah's hair flying in the wind.}

DSC_1294
{Zeke took a turn pushing Tirzah while Josh took a turn on the bike.}

DSC_1305
{From my neighbor's flower bed, I think I can almost smell them just looking at the picture!}

These are from today:

DSC_1314
{Our sunflower has a visitor--yay!  Bees to help pollinate!}

DSC_1319
{Oh my the corn!!}

DSC_1321
{Future cherry tomatoes}

DSC_1325
{Is it me, or does this little guy look better today?}

DSC_1349
{Tirzah is just about ready to fall asleep in the swing.  Ahhhh...I think I could too.}

DSC_1371

(As a side note...I completely screwed up all my html code on this post, so if you normally click on a picture to link to my flickr page and see the photo in a larger size, you can't do that this time...sorry. I like using flickr because the pictures show up much more clearly, however blogger is so much more user friendly as far as being able to click and see a larger size image. Sigh. I might just go back to using blogger.}

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Zeke and Dr. Seuss

DSC_1245

Zeke has fallen in love with Dr. Seuss.  I don't mean just looking at the books, but he is actually reading the words.  This is a great encouragement to me.  He has a lot of people to look up to--all his older siblings love to read, and usually you can find me or Mitch relaxing with a book as well.  But up to now in reading, when Zeke comes across a word he doesn't know how to sound out, he quickly loses interest and stops reading.  Or he whines about not knowing it as an excuse to get out of reading.  But he has picked up Dr. Seuss completely on his own, his own desire motivating him to get through the difficult words.  And he's rewarded for his diligence--Dr. Seuss repeats a lot of words, so he is quickly memorizing new ones, and also he's caught on to the rhyming patterns and is using those to help him sound out new words.  I love to see him grin or laugh when he figures it out.

Yesterday he was reading One Fish, Two Fish.  He was on the page that says, "Yes. Some are red.  And some are blue.  Some are old. And some are new."  And he looked up at me and said, "But all of them are wet, aren't they?"

He loves the silliness of Dr. Seuss and all the silly pictures.  It definitely fits his personality.  :)

(Special thanks to Marilyn Hostetler for bringing us a big basket of books--the kids haven't stopped reading for days!)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Enough of Jesus

Thousands of screaming fans stand in line for hours just to get a glimpse of their favorite star (ie: famous person).  The star appears, waves, does their thing, and before parting shouts out to the crowd, "I love you all!"  And disappears.  It was so brief, but it was so worth it.

Wasn't it?

What would it feel like to really know that star?  To be part of their closest circle of friends.  To hear the star say "I love you" and really mean it.  To have that person answer the phone when you call.

Of course, that's not going to happen...it's quite impossible.  Or it's impossible for a star to really know and love all his/her fans.

But let's bring that thought down a level from stardom to just a popular person in your town, community, church, or even in your family.  Is there someone you wish knew you better, liked to spend time with you, or loved you?  When I recognize myself feeling these feelings, I call it jealousy.  Mitch dubbed it "social jealousy."  I'll describe it as I have seen it in one of my children--Zeke frequently whines to me:  "Mom, Eden will NEVER play any games with ME."  He wants one-on-one time with Eden, to not have to share her with anyone else.  I don't know where this desire came from, but it sure does break my heart to see his so broken.  How could his sister be so mean??  ;)

I struggle with it, too.  To give you a silly example, suppose Kristin goes out with her "other" friends and I'm not invited (why does she even have other friends anyway???), and I hear about all the fun they had later, I may feel jealous.  LOL.  I feel downright childish at times.  Now, that was a silly example, but perhaps I have other examples that hit home a little more and are more serious.  And what other kinds of evil thoughts does harboring such a jealousy lead me to?  Jealousy is such a selfish, self-centered, provoking sin which causes us to be discontent with the many blessings God has given us.

So, one day last week I sat pondering about heaven.  In trying to draw close to Jesus here on earth, I pondered what it would be like to be face-to-face with the real, live, breathing Jesus in heaven.  I have imagined many times receiving a hug from Jesus and just how oh-so-good that will feel.  But then I imagined the long, long, long line of people in front of me to get up to the throne (after all, isn't He the biggest superstar that has ever been?).  Would heaven really be just a great place to wait in line to get a glimpse--a few seconds--with my Savior--before once again returning to the back of the line to wait?  Immediately following that picture in my mind, I was given a new picture that in heaven there will be enough of Jesus to go around.  I can't explain how--if *I* am imagining walking around heaven all day talking with Jesus, and *you* are imagining the same thing of Jesus spending time with you, and we multiply that times millions, then how is it even possible?  My best friend on Earth can't be my everything.  My husband can't be my everything.  My kids can't be my everything.  My pastor can't be my everything.  Some superstar that never even knows I exist will not be my everything.  But Jesus IS my everything and He WILL BE my everything for all of eternity, and YES, THERE IS ENOUGH OF JESUS TO GO AROUND. 

And WOW, that thought brings me so much peace.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Sonshine Music Festival

Mitch and Patrick are at the Sonshine Music Festival this weekend with other members of the church youth group.  It sounds like they are having a blast!  I think there are something like 80 bands playing over the course of 4 days.  There are 4 or 5 different stages, so sometimes you have to choose between bands.  They got a great camping spot and their tent is within view of the mainstage.  Just to give you an idea, Mitch called me yesterday while the David Crowder band was playing in the background "There is no one like you, there has never been anyone like you..."  He said he had already watched Sanctus Real (love their new song Lead Me) earlier in the day and said that SuperChick was amazing.  He was super excited to hear Newsboys later after David Crowder.  Oh boy.  My friend Angie is there with her D80 getting some very cool pictures (at least I hope she is getting good shots), too.  I am only a *tiny* bit jealous.  It would be so fun to be 18 again, without a care in the world, just hanging with friends, worshiping and praising our AWESOME God to great music with thousands of other people.    Now I say that I am only a tiny bit jealous because I can't deny that I AM jealous, however I am not 18 and carefree and I am not sure I have the energy to "rock on" for that length of time.  :)

When Mitch called he also said that there are people walking around holding signs that say "Free Hugs."  So he decided he could one-up that a la Peanuts style and made his own sign that said "Premium Hugs $1".  Patrick decided to make a sign that said "German Hugs $1."  Then people stopped Patrick to ask if he is from Germany, and they had an opportunity to share their YFU story.  Mitch also said that Patrick was giving away his German hugs for free.  ;) I called him this morning and he said that Paul Coleman just showed up at their group of tents and sat down and started playing his guitar for them.  WAY cool.

I have enjoyed visits from friends both Thursday night (Kelly) and Friday night (Marilyn Hostetler, Sheila & Scott & kids, Maria, and Kristin).  Sheila and Scott (whom we met through the YFU exchange program) took Eden, Caleb, and Zeke overnight.  Today I will (hopefully) get my grocery shopping done and otherwise just preserve my sanity before fetching my missing children.  I think it will be a good day.  Mitch and Patrick's day will culminate with a Skillet concert tonight...I know they will enjoy that band a little more than I do, it's just not quite my style.  :)  Then they will drive home afterward, which will mean they pull in v-e-r-y late (2 am??).

Friday, July 16, 2010

Micah & I

DSC_1091

{See how tall Micah is! Just a couple months ago, he was about 1/2 inch shorter than me. Crazy.}

Book Review: Dug Down Deep by Joshua Harris

Back before we went on our trip, I finally picked up Dug Down Deep, Unearthing What I Believe and Why It Matters by Joshua Harris.  Our pastor had recommended it months ago, and I read the first chapter for free from amazon.com or somewhere.  It looked good, but maybe not good enough to buy, so I waited to borrow it from the church library.  Now I have had it for my 3 weeks, renewed it for 3 more weeks, and it's currently overdue.  Guess I should have bought it.  ;)

Despite how long it took me to finish the book, I really enjoyed it.  It is full of theology and scripture and the Gospel, so it took a little while at times to digest what I was reading...but it wasn't so bad as I make it sound.  Think about trying to read theology, then 2 sentences in to the first paragraph being interrupted by a child who needs help on the potty...it's just hard to get back into it sometimes!  :)  Josh makes the book easy to read by narrating it from his own point of view--he tells the story of how he came to believe what he believes.  It's compelling!  I could write more on what the book is actually about, but I just read a great review here.  Why should I try to rewrite it when I can't do that good??  It will only take a couple minutes, if you're even remotely interested, to read the review.  Besides, since I didn't read this book for book sneeze, I don't feel under pressure to come up with my own words.  ;)

What I do want to point out is how this is a stark contrast to the Plan B book I read a couple months ago.  Instead of a watered-down version of the Gospel and a soft retelling of familiar Bible stories as Pete Wilson did in Plan B, Josh brings the Gospel straight on.  He quotes scripture that is spot-on, and when he retells stories of people in the Bible he does not "fluff them up" with made-up information or presuppositions about what the person or persons in the story are really thinking/doing/feeling.  He pretty much stays on target and has an honest retelling of the stories, pointing out interesting facts.  Josh recently asked on facebook if his friends could help pick another chapter from the book to add online so people can read it for free.  I don't know if he ever figured that one out, because there was no one chapter everyone seemed to agree on.  I know I couldn't even begin to guess which chapter was the best.  But I do agree wholeheartedly with the review I just read--I would give this book to my children, to my friends, to anyone who is looking to grasp theology...or maybe even just a deeper relationship with God.  In Joshuah Harris' on words:

"The irony of my story is that the very things I needed, even longed for in my relationship with God, were wrapped up in the very things I was so sure could do me no good.  I didn't understand that seemingly worn-out words like theology, doctrine, and orthodoxy were the pathway to the mysterious, awe-filled experience of truly knowing the living Jesus Christ."
I found this video on Josh Harris' blog (Click the link to get the lyrics...very helpful for people like me who can't understand rap...OHHH click the link, and there's another link to download the mp3...sweet). 



I have thought many times just how sad it is that so many people have read and loved Plan B.  Dug Down Deep was a privilege for me to be able to read, even more so after having read Plan B.  Next up I'm going to try to set my teeth into something a little more meatier (we'll see if it turns out that way)...a book by John MacArthur that I'm reading for book sneeze.  Right away in the prologue he takes a firm stand against the Emergent movement, so that looks promising for sure.  I hope it doesn't take me 3 weeks to read it, but I'm only on the third page of the prologue and already hung up on some big words.  Seriously, my reading level is shameful!