Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Reviewing Byron and Robin Yawn's What Every Woman Wishes Her Father Had Told Her

As the father of two daughters, I thought Byron and Robin Yawn's book, What Every Woman Wishes Her Father Had Told Her, should be something I read. It was definitely a good purchase. The book is filled with Scripture, real-life stories, humor (you might laugh out loud a few times), and practical advice on how to be a Godly father that draws his daughter (s) to Christ. The Harvest House published book is less than 200 pages and consists of the following 12 chapters.

  1. A Man Gladly Wrapped Around a Finger
  2. Life - You're Not Crazy
  3. Love - Find This Man (Lt. Todd Weaver's Letter to His Infant Daughter)
  4. Purity - There is no Such Thing as Casual Sex (Adoniram Judson's Letter to His Future Father-in-Law)
  5. Biblical Womanhood - It's More Ridiculous Than You Think (Adoniram Judson's Letter Regarding Marriage to Ann Hasseltine)
  6. A Spiritual Leader - Be Careful What You Ask For (The Seven Stages of the Married Cold)
  7. Marriage - Complex Problems Start from Simple Failures (Husband's Communication Safety Guide)
  8. Freedom - Never Fear Answering the Door (The Good Wife's Guide)
  9. Beauty - You Are Beautiful (Safe)
  10. Husbands - Seriously, You Cannot Change Him (Application for Permission to Date My Daughter)
  11. Strength - You Cannot Do All Things in Christ (Rules for Dating My Daughter)
  12. Grace - You Must Love Christ More to Love Him as You Should

I like how you get two Christian perspectives throughout the book - one from a reformed pastor endorsed by John MacArthur and the other, a pastor's wife and mother of two daughters and a son. It's a book written specifically for dads; however, I know the book has been a blessing to moms and daughters as well. If you desire to communicate more effectively with your daughter (s) and be someone she/they can trust, I highly recommend What Every Woman Wishes Her Father Told Her.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Reviewing John Murray's The Atonement

Although The Atonement is only 34 pages and can be read in less than an hour, it's not light reading. Written by the Scottish-born Reformed theologian, John Murray, The Atonement covers important theological topics such us justification, predestination, propitiation, reconciliation, and redemption. These are topics I used to teach to international 6th grade students in China; however, if you're unfamiliar with these terms, I wouldn't recommend starting with Murray's book. Murray taught at Princeton Seminary and helped found Westminster Theological Seminary before going Home to be with the Lord in 1975. His language is not from 2017, and it's of an academic nature. Murray defines the atonement as "the term that has come to be widely used to denote the substitutionary work of Christ which culminated in the sacrifice of Calvary." If that excites you, I recommend dropping 99 cents for the Kindle edition or four bucks for the booklet. The Atonement is divided into five short chapters and contains a preface, conclusion, a bibliography containing several works from the 1800s, a short biography of John Murray, and a description of Chapel Library Resources, the book publisher.

Reviewing Ryan Haack's Different is Awesome!

In case you didn't know, my son Josiah Lee was born with only his right hand. Because of that, I'm often looking for resources for people with limb differences. Megan purchased this 30+ page book, Different is Awesome!, so we could read it to Josiah Lee and show him that there are others like him who don't have two hands. The book is written for children ages four to eight years old and contains fun and colorful artwork from cartoonist Wes Molebash.

The story of Different is Awesome! takes place in an elementary classroom. A little boy named Joey brings his older brother Ryan to show and tell. The story is actually a real life experience of the author's. It emphasizes how everyone has challenges in life, but having one hand doesn't mean you won't be able to accomplish much - life's tasks might just need to be done differently. The students ask Ryan various questions like if he can tie his shoes, ride a bicycle, and play baseball. Joey notices that each person that asks his brother a question is a little different. He has classmates of different sizes, skin color, and facial features. The story concludes with author Ryan Haack stating that being different is awesome.

If you have a young child with a limb difference or know of a child with a limb difference, I highly recommend getting them this book. If definitely would make a great addition to a children's library. You can learn more about this Jim Abbott endorsed book at http://www.livingonehanded.com/differentisawesome/.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Happy Birthday to my Father-in-Law

Today marks my father-in-law's 72nd birthday. I first met Fred more than two decades ago when I was a new teacher at Frankfort Middle School, home of the Hot Dogs. I was a 6th grade geography teacher, and he taught math. We didn't have much of a relationship back then, but a few years later Fred asked me if I would be interested in meeting his oldest daughter. The rest is history.

I'm not exactly sure what Fred saw in me back in the day, but I will never be able to thank him enough for all that he has done for me. Fred is a man of few words, but he has spoken volumes into my life. He is undeniably a man of God that I desire to emulate. Below are just a few of his traits that display our King of Kings and have made a profound impact on me and countless other people.

1. Patient - I get impatient when driving, when things break, and when my children don't follow my instructions, but this isn't what I see from Fred. Fred has been given an increasing faith in God's timing, power, and love. Various trials in Fred's life have helped develop this Christlike patience, and I so look forward to seeing Fred being rewarded in the end.

2. Faithful - Fred is faithful to his family, friends, and fellowship. You won't find a single person that would say Fred hasn't devoted himself to helping his family, being a good neighbor, and serving in a local body of believers. If the Lord allows me to live as long as Fred, I would be honored if people said I was half as reliable, steadfast, and loyal as him.

3. Gentle - Sometimes I forget that toughness isn't one of the fruits of the Spirit - not Fred. Fred is not one to boast, desire revenge, or be impolite. He's humble and understands that God's ways and thoughts far exceed our own. Fred accepts God's righteous judgment on people and circumstances, and he overflows with the fruit of gentleness.

4. Servant's Heart - Fred serves our Heavenly Father by doing His will and not his own. I desire to have this mature spirituality and leadership ability that Fred possesses. I certainly know that Fred isn't perfect; however, it's quite evident that Fred gives himself to others in order to bring God glory. He has the power of the Spirit and is always pointing me to Jesus.

Happy Birthday, Fred. I'm so thankful you are my father-in-law. May the Lord bless you and keep you. May He make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you. May He lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.


Sunday, January 1, 2017

My Six Most Popular Facebook Pictures From 2016

Below are my most popular Facebook (via Instagram) pictures taken during 2016. Five of them include a little guy named Josiah Lee, and three of them were taken at birthday celebrations. All of them include smiles. Enjoy.

After living in China for a few years (19 for Megan & 13 for me), we moved back to Indiana - this time with three kids.

I ran into one of my former sixth graders at my birthday celebration at the Frankfort Great China Buffet. He grew.



Our last visit to the Great Wall of China (near Beijing)

Megan took this fun birthday pic when Josiah Lee turned the big five.

Rosalie turned 14 this summer, & Grandma Downs made a special birthday cheesecake that was super yummy!

There were many tears during the season, but Josiah Lee enjoyed being a Red Shark this day.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

My Six Most Popular Posts From 2016

Last year I blogged about my 15 most popular posts from 2015. This year I'll only be sharing my 6 most popular posts from 2016 since I posted far less this year than in past years. You could say it was kind of a busy year for the Wickershams. Although I blogged less this year, "Wick I Am" received quite a bit more traffic in 2016 compared to past years. I would like to think it's because my writing has captivated millions of readers, but I'm thinking it has more to do with the big move. That's okay. If the blog has blessed you in even the tiniest of ways, I'm happy. Happy New Year!

6. 13 Ways How I Became More Asian in the Last 13+ Years
5. Reviewing Eric Liddell's The Disciplines of Christian Life
4. My Hobby of Writing Amazon Reviews
3. 10 Cool Facts About Tianjin, China
2. "Name That Chip!": Spring Edition
1. Moving From Tianjin to Evansville

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Wick's 2016 Highlights

2016 was a year of major changes. Some of the changes were challenging, but they were also good. Read below. Here are past Wickersham highlights: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, & 2015.

January - I preach my last sermon at Tianjin International Fellowship: Psalm 8. Praise, worship, and bring glory to God.

February - After a 13 year break, I return to coaching a high school girl's soccer team. Go Lady Eagles!

March - We visit Grace Noel's orphanage in Hubei Province and meet her foster mother. It's hard to believe it has been ten years.

April - We accidentally leave Rosalie's $3600 French horn in a taxi, but it's returned to us a few days later. We're thankful for the police and our Chinese friends. Why are French horns so crazy expensive?!

May - I accept a new position as a 6th-9th grade assistant principal at Evansville Christian School (ECS). God is good.

June - We leave Tianjin and move to Newburgh, Indiana. I start driving a 1997 Plymouth minivan.

July - We drive to Florida and attend a family wedding. It's great to catch up with those we haven't seen in a long time.

August - Rosalie tries a new sport, cross country, Grace Noel makes the 5th-6th grade soccer team at ECS, and Josiah Lee joins Newburgh Youth Soccer as a Red Shark.

September - Megan and I speak about our Tianjin lives to a group of Chinese at St. Paul's Lutheran Church. It's good for us to be able to connect with Chinese in the Evansville community.

October - The University of Southern Indiana (USI) hires Megan as an ESL instructor. Go Screaming Eagles!

November - I start coaching soccer players at the Metro Sports Center and decide to start playing on a team. The knees aren't the same, but I can still kick a ball.

December - Megan gets hired as an ESL instructor at Vincennes University. We owe a few people a debt of gratitude.


Saturday, December 10, 2016

Reviewing Kevin DeYoung's The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is a 32-page booklet by Kevin DeYoung, pastor of a reformed church in Michigan. It was published by The Gospel Coalition almost six years ago, and I believe it's one of 14 booklets produced by this broadly reformed network of churches that champions the gospel. I've read a couple of Pastor DeYoung's books, and once again I did not come away disappointed. The Holy Spirit has just three chapters:

1. The Holy Spirit in All the Bible
2. Who is the Holy Spirit?
3. The Work of the Holy Spirit

The second chapter consists of three sections (see below) and is very short like the first chapter.
1. A person
2. God
3. Distinct from the Father and Son

The third chapter is the bulk of the book and is organized in the following fashion:
1. The Holy Spirit Convicts
2. The Holy Spirit Converts
3. The Holy Spirit Applies
4. The Holy Spirit Glorifies
5. The Holy Spirit Sanctifies
6. The Holy Spirit Equips
7. The Holy Spirit Promises

The book concludes with 21 endnotes and a description of The Gospel Coalition. If you're wanting a better understanding of this often forgotten member of the Trinity, check out Kevin DeYoung's The Holy Spirit. The book is filled with Scripture and Scripture references, and it can help us better understand the person and powerful work of the Helper that Jesus promised His followers.

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. John 14:26

Reviewing Paul Washer's Ten Indictments Against the Modern Church

Paul Washer's 55-page booklet, Ten Indictments Against the Modern Church, is a free Kindle download I picked up four years ago. It's actually a sermon he preached at a conference in Atlanta nearly a decade ago. Although I found the book to be a good read, I could see many Christians being offended by Washer's direct charges against the American church. Paul Washer was a missionary in Peru for ten years, and today he preaches passionately against false gospels. After a brief introduction, the Ten Indictments Against the Modern Church is organized in the following chapters:

1. A Denial of the Sufficiency of Scripture
2. An Ignorance of God
3. A Failure to Address Man's Malady
4. An Ignorance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ
5. An Unbiblical Gospel Invitation
6. An Ignorance Regarding the Nature of the Church
7. A Lack of Compassionate Church Discipline
8. A Silence on Separation
9. A Replacement of the Scriptures Regarding the Family
10. Pastors Malnourished in the Word of God

The book concludes with a brief mention of Chapel Library Resources and 45 endnotes. The Ten Indictments Against the Modern Church will take maybe a little over an hour to read, and it's not for those who are looking for a positive message and a pat on the back. However, if you are seeking something with lots of Scripture and much to ponder, I recommend checking out the book.


Reviewing Trace Wilson's Uniquely Me

Since Josiah Lee was born with one hand, Megan saw the importance of purchasing Trace Wilson's Uniquely Me. Last year Uniquely Me was written by Trace Wilson, a marketing student who was born with only a left hand (Josiah Lee has a right hand). The story consists of 24 pages and is geared towards those who are four to eight years old. Words are found on just over half of the pages, and the book contains very colorful pictures from illustrator Ana Sebastian. The children in the story are different from one another although if you're looking for a book that contains kids from every ethnic group, you'll need to go elsewhere.

As far as the story itself, it is not the same as Different is Awesome, another children's book with a person who was born with only one hand. I like both books for different reasons. Something I like about Uniquely Me is how it's a story of a young child where Different is Awesome is focused on someone who appears to be in high school or college. Uniquely Me's story concerns a little boy who one day notices his friends have two hands. This starts him on a special journey to figure out why he wasn't born with two hands. Four wild animals help him come to understand that we are all uniquely made.

We're thankful for Trace Wilson and those who supported him in writing Uniquely Me. Uniquely Me is a great book for families with children with limb differences and would be a wonderful addition to any children's library. We're thankful Josiah Lee is growing up during a time and in a culture where he can be taught that there was no mistake in how he was created.

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. Psalm 139:14

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Three Resources That Have Impacted Me & Many Others

Although I wrote less Amazon reviews and blog posts this year, I did have the privilege to write for a few publications that produce a significant amount of exceptional content. These sites include ASCD, ChinaSource, and Master Teaching.

ASCD (formerly the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development) is a nonprofit organization that supports the global community of educators dedicated to excellence in learning, teaching, and leading. It comprises of 125,000 superintendents, principals, teachers, and education advocates from 140 countries.

Do you want a window into Christianity in China and the key issues that impact the Church? Then you want to check out ChinaSource. It is a reliable resource connecting Christians with important information for working with and contributing to the Chinese church and community.

Nurturing the development of education in Asia is Master Teaching, sponsored by LEAPAsia. Their purpose is "to begin a crescendo of praise for Yahweh starting with what the authors write and growing into classrooms around the world."

I'm thankful for the work these organizations are doing and encourage you to spend time at their sites. If you would like to receive ASCD's free e-newsletter twice a month, click here. You can also provide financial support to the publications and projects of ChinaSource and LEAPAsia.




Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Ten Things I'm Thankful for in 2016

Although the Thanksgiving holiday is over, being thankful shouldn't be. Below are ten things I'm thankful for this year. What are you thankful for?

1. I have extremely fulfilling jobs at Evansville Christian School and the Metro Sports CenterNearly 8 million Americans are unemployed.

2. I have a beautiful rental home in the small town of NewburghOver 500,000 Americans are homeless.

3. I have new friends in our Southern Indiana community. Loneliness can be a serious health issue.

4. I have a wonderful family that supports and loves me despite my countless flaws. There are approximately 150 million orphans in the world.

5. I have good insurance to help pay for crowns, physicals, and shots. Nearly 30 million nonelderly Americans lack insurance.

6. I have a healthy body which enables me to lift weights and play indoor soccer. Every year diarrhea kills 760,000 children under the age of five.

7. I have unrestricted Internet access that allows me to stay connected with family and friends around the world. 1/3 of Internet users worldwide face heavy Internet censorship.

8. I have a fantastic education that provides me unique speaking, writing, training, and employment opportunities. 32 million American adults are considered functionally illiterate (1 in 7).

9. I have serious sin issues that show me my many weaknesses and how much I need Jesus. Less than half of all American adults think the Bible contains everything a person needs to live a meaningful life.

10. I have the love of the Father Almighty who graciously gives me purpose and everlasting life. Do you know His love?
         

Friday, October 7, 2016

Reviewing C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity

Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in 1898, Clive Staples (C.S.) Lewis wrote more than 30 books, several of which are classics of children's fantasy literature and Christian apologetics. You'll find C.S. Lewis on the lists of greatest 20th century writers, and rarely will you not find Mere Christianity at or near the top of the most influential Christian book lists. I read the theological classic as part of a book study soon after moving to China back in 2003. Mere Christianity is less than 200 pages and is divided into four books:

1. Right and Wrong as a Clue to the Meaning of the Universe (five chapters focused on the law of human nature)
2. What Christians Believe (1942 - five chapters that include rival conceptions of God)
3. Christian Behaviour (1943 - twelve chapters covering topics such as marriage, forgiveness, hope, and faith)
4. Beyond Personality: Or First Steps in the Doctrine of the Trinity (1944 - eleven chapters comprising of time, the cost of following Christ, and more)

The books were originally given as a series of BBC radio broadcasts during World War II in which C.S. Lewis provides much-needed answers to complex questions for both believers and nonbelievers. If you have any interest in learning about the fundamentals of the Christian worldview, it is explained in a sensible and logical manner in Mere Christianity. Some, such as the late Chuck Colson, have stated the book was instrumental in helping them know Christ. If you have an interest in apologetics or you consider yourself to be an intelligent skeptic, I recommend checking out Lewis' Mere Christianity. It is a significant piece of work that has impacted many.

For a more in depth look at Mere Christianity, check out this outline provided by the C.S. Lewis Society of California.