Friday, December 31, 2010

Unreached Peoples - Do You Know The Real Deal?

2010 Year in Review: An Interview with Rose & Grace

Dad: 2010 is almost over. We only have one hour and 45 minutes before 2011 arrives. Do you girls think you will be able to stay awake to ring in the new year?
Grace: Yes. 
Rose: Well, I'm not really sure.
Dad: Grace, do you know what it means to ring in the new year? 
Grace: It's almost the new year. That's what it means. Does it mean that daddy? Does it really? Daddy, is it? Is it daddy? Daddy!
Dad: Yes, you are right Grace. To ring in the new year means to celebrate the beginning of the new year at the stroke of midnight. Rose, what are some things that you liked that occurred during 2010?  
Rose: What does occurred mean?
Dad: I'm sorry. When something occurs, that just means that something has happened.
Rose: Oh. Well, friends came over for dinner, and I really liked that. And the whole morning we went bowling, and we had lunch at the bowling place. I really liked that too.
Dad: Now you understand that I'm asking about the entire year and not just about today, right?
Rose: Oh okay. I'll tell the whole world about it. This Christmas was fun because I got this new game called Cadoo and our family played it once, and I really liked it. You can draw and like, uh, play with some play-doh that came with it, but ours didn't have it so mom made it.
Dad: What else did you like about 2010?
Rose: I also liked on December 3rd we had a fun play that my music teacher directed. I think she got it from a book called The Plane Truth.
Dad: Now you know that you are only telling me about events that occurred in December, right?
Rose: Right, I know. But I'm still trying to think about other events like Easter and stuff like that. But I have my mind on like other years like 2008 or 7. Well, this Easter we watched other kids get baptized and one of the kids was my friend Maya.
Dad: That was special to see your friends get baptized, huh?
Rose: Yeah, that was kind of interesting. When Maya made her speech she added a song to go with it. The speech is how you became a Christian. 
Dad: We need to talk about that with you soon. It is important to be able to share your testimony with others.
Rose: I really do, but I don't know what to say in my speech so we might need to talk about it like you said.
Dad: No worries. We'll do this very soon.
Rose: Okay. 
Dad: Grace, what did you think about 2010? What did you like that occurred this year?
Grace: On Christmas, we got to open presents on Jesus' birthday.
Dad: That was cool. What else did you like about this year?
Grace: Going to school. I'm still going to school, but on January I'm going to school for a couple of days because I'm going to America. 
Dad: That will be nice, huh?
Grace: Yeah.
Dad: Do you girls know what I liked about 2010?
Grace: No.
Rose: What did you like? 
Grace: What did you like dad? What is it?
Dad: Well there were many things that God did in 2010 that I liked, but one thing that comes to mind is that Rose was officially adopted into our family.
Rose: Yay.
Dad: I think we'll stop this interview. Is that okay?
Rose and Grace: Yeah.
Dad: I love you girls.
Grace: I love you too.
Rose: Me too.
Dad: That's nice.

Playin' video games on the Mac

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Reduction of Melanin

Last night Grace and I read a children's science book about our bodies, and this morning I was explaining to Rose and Grace how my body is unable to do the things that it once could years ago. My girls have a hard time believing this about their daddy, but I am no longer able to sprint as fast or lift as much weight as I once could. In addition to that, I take a lot more to time recover from pickup soccer games and workouts in the gym.

All this talk about how God made our bodies led to a discussion of how some of my body hair is now white. Rose and Grace found it amusing to watch me pluck a couple of white hairs from my head as well as one from my soul patch. The graying of my hair does not bother me, however, I do find it a little amusing that this is occurring while I still get zits. Lookin' forward to that glorified body in Heaven!

"Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life." Proverbs 16:31

Reviewing Brian "Head" Welch's Washed By Blood: Lessons from My Time with Korn and My Journey to Christ

I was surprised to be gifted with Washed By Blood: Lessons from My Time with Korn and My Journey to Christ for Christmas by a family friend. Brian "Head" Welch is the former lead guitarist for Korn, an American heavy metal band that has won many awards, earned millions of dollars, and has had a huge following for more than a decade now. It is my understanding that the book is quite similar to Welch's first book and New York Times bestseller, Save Me From Myself. Apparently, the difference between the books is the version I have is written for teenagers so it does not contain the profanity and graphic details that Head's bestseller possesses. Washed By Blood also contains study questions at the end of each chapter, unlike Head's first book.

When I learned about Head's profession of faith a few years ago, I shared it with my brother who was once a fan of Korn. Although Washed By Blood is written for younger audiences, Head talks about his battles with anger, depression, drugs, suicide, and other serious topics. Part One (chapters 1-10) is called Life Without God, and Part Two is called God Finds Me (chapters 11-19). Part One and Two are quite different in that if you are not a Christian, portions of Part Two might seem a little odd to you. I totally respect Head's authenticity, humility, desire to be a good father, and hunger to grow in his relationship with Christ, but it should be noted that some of Welch's theology (prophetic dreams, prayer language, visions from Heaven) is very unorthodox. His association with controversial evangelists such as Todd Bentley and Kim Clement have undoubtedly influenced him. Despite this, I love hearing testimonies, and I am sure God will continue to use Head and his books to make an eternal impact on the lives of others.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Some Of My 2011 Commitments

As the year comes to a close, I have been reflecting on the challenges and joys of 2010. I have also been thinking about what I believe God wants me to work towards in the new year. A number of thoughts come to mind, but there are three specific goals I am setting out to accomplish in 2011. They are...

1. Recommit Myself To A Fasting Plan - For a number of years, I refrained from eating for at least 24 hours once a month. Unfortunately much of the time I spent fasting was not spent in the best of ways. I felt led to fast so I could grow in my relationship with the Lord, but during many of my fasts, I did not truly focus on the Lord. Fasting is a spiritual discipline that I have been neglecting that is going to be brought back in my life, but this time I plan to have the proper perspective in mind. Read Matthew 6:16-18.

2. Focus On The Book of Romans - Martin Luther called the Book of Romans the chief part of the New Testament and the very purest Gospel. I plan on taking a class on this profound book in the near future, but before I do so, I am going to read a couple of books that will bring me a greater understanding of what Paul wrote. I will also work on memorizing more portions of this book. Although I have memorized many verses over the years (and forgotten many verses over the years), I need to be more diligent in memorizing larger portions of Scripture. No excuses.

3. Taking My Girls On At Least One Daddy Date A Month - Occasionally I take one or both of my girls out on daddy dates. We usually go out to eat at a fun restaurant. We might go to a restaurant that has a playground or one that prepares the food in front of you. We have a good time enjoying the meals and talking about life. However, our dates have been sporadic and could be better if they were planned out. So that is what I am going to do. My girls are already looking forward to January's date: White Castle. Oh yeah - it's what you crave.

So what commitments do you plan on making in the New Year? Below are some links that can help you think about New Year's Resolutions and how to go about them.

Celebrating Rose's 4th Gotcha Day at Pizza Hill

Make Plans Not Resolutions: Reflections On Proverbs 16 by Jeremy Carr

Ready For The New Year?  by T.M. Moore

Resolutions  by Tim Challies

Why Most People Don't Keep Their New Year's Resolutions  by Matt Perman

Reviewing Elizabeth George's God's Wisdom for Little Girls: Virtues and Fun from Proverbs 31

We purchased God's Wisdom for Little Girls for Grace as a Christmas gift and to my delight, she has become a fan of it. Although Rose has not shown interest in the book, I plan on reading it to her soon. Much can be taught from the book, and children need these reminders. God's Wisdom for Little Girls is written for young girls and focuses on the qualities and traits found in Proverbs 31:10-31. After some opening rhymes, every other page says in a large and bold font, "God's Little Girl Is...". The qualities and traits highlighted are priceless, kind, eager, helpful, cheerful, busy, hearty, diligent, caring, prepared, creative, prayerful, artistic, confident, gracious, careful, thoughtful, God's child, and cherished. I'm not a big fan of busy, but I understand what the author was intending. Below each quality or trait is a cute little rhyme that focuses on the actions that make up the daily life of a little girl. Below the rhyme is a verse or two from Proverbs 31. The paintings by artist Judy Luenebrink are delightful. On the next-to-last page, you can place the picture of your child. The last page has a mini-glossary and matches words to verses in Proverbs 31. I do wish that the girls in the story came from a variety of ethnic backgrounds, but it is still a nice book nonetheless. I definitely see myself reading and discussing this book with my girls from time to time.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Why Christmas?

A Gotcha Day Interview with Rose and Grace (Part II)

DAD: So Rose, how do you feel about your Gotcha Day?
ROSE: I feel good about my Gotcha Day.
DAD: Please tell the world what we did today.
ROSE: For lunch, we went to Lotteria.
DAD: Okay, time-out. There are lots of people who don't know what Lotteria is.
ROSE: Lotteria is in the E-Mart complex, and E-Mart is in Tianjin, China. It is close to Ao-Cheng, an apartment complex. Your turn.
DAD: You still haven't told people what Lotteria is. :-) You've only told people where Lotteria is. :-)
ROSE: Lotteria is a restaurant which has a small playground in it. And our family kind of likes it - especially Grace, my little sister.
DAD: I like it a lot. Mom, Do you like Lotteria? What do think about Lotteria?
MOM: Yes, I like it too. It's not my favorite in the whole world, but I like it.
DAD: Grace, can you tell us more about what kind of restaurant Lotteria is? 
GRACE: It's a nice restaurant.
DAD: Anything else? What kind of food do they serve?
GRACE: Burgers and, um, cheese sticks.
DAD: Rose, what did we do after eating lunch at Lotteria?
ROSE: We went to a fun game place. There are lots of games there.
DAD: Grace, what kind of games did you play?
GRACE: A drum game. Um, a motorcycle game. 
DAD: Rose, can you remember any other games we played?
ROSE: I tried to get a little stuffed animal, but it was really hard so I didn't get it. And we played a little basketball game. It was really fun.
DAD: Grace, where did we go after playing games at the arcade?
GRACE: We went to Pizza Hut and got a dessert. It was good.
DAD: Pizza Hut? Are you sure? 
DAD: It was actually Pizza Hill.
GRACE: Oh, Hill.
DAD: What did you get there Rose?
ROSE: I got a Cookie Blast. It was really ice cream.
DAD: It's called a milkshake Rose.
DAD: Grace, what did you get?
GRACE: I got different kinds of ice cream in my special bowl.
DAD: Grace, isn't ice cream too cold to eat in the winter?
GRACE: Well, I like to eat ice cream.
DAD: Do you remember what daddy and mommy had? 
GRACE: Coffee.
DAD: Yup. So Rose, how do you rate your Gotcha Day?
ROSE: What does that mean daddy?
DAD: Would you give your Gotcha Day an A, B, C, D, or F?
ROSE: I would give it an A.
DAD: Really? You really enjoyed your Gotcha Day?
ROSE: Most of it I did.
DAD: What did you not like?
ROSE: I didn't like when the motorcycle was broken in my game.
DAD: Yeah, that stunk. Grace, did you enjoy Rose's Gotcha Day?
GRACE: Yes.  Especially when I got to eat, um, cheese sticks.
DAD: Yeah, cheese sticks rock. Grace, aren't you glad that God brought Rose into our family?
DAD: Isn't it super cool to have a big sis?
GRACE: Yes. I can play with her.
DAD: Yeah, God is good.
ROSE: God is good! 
GRACE: Yeah!
MOM: All the time.

Hunkering down on a mean burger

Mommy and Rose

Grace enjoyin' some ice cream at Pizza Hill

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Top Books of 2010 According to...

Barnes & Noble

The Daily Beast

Ligonier Ministries

National Public Radio

The New York Times

Publishers Weekly

I have read most of these books that are on our bookshelf. I am a big Piper fan.

A Gotcha Day Interview with Rose (Part 1)

DAD: Today is your Gotcha Day Rose. Why don't you tell the world what Gotcha Day is.
ROSE: Gotcha Day is all about when you got me from the orphanage.
DAD: What do you think about Gotcha Day?
ROSE: I think Gotcha Day is a great day because God put me in this family.
DAD: I think it's super great. What would you like to do on your Gotcha Day?
ROSE: Anything would be fine with me.
DAD: Would you like a bunch of worms?
DAD: But you said anything would be fine with you (We look at each other and smile.).
ROSE: Well, I wouldn't eat gross things or do gross things on my Gotcha Day or on any other day.
DAD: There are many cultures that do not describe eating worms as a gross thing. In fact there are people right now eating worms and enjoying it.
ROSE: Well, I wouldn't want to eat worms and enjoy it. I would want to go to a restaurant or mom cook for us...yummy food for us. 
DAD: What is mom cooking for you today?
ROSE: For breakfast, mom is cooking pancakes for us.
DAD: Yum. Where would you like to go for lunch or dinner?
ROSE: Probably Brazilian Barbeque.
DAD: Really? But mom does not like that food very much. What about the new Pizza Hut around the corner?
ROSE: No thanks.
DAD: Really? So where do you want to go? 
ROSE: I would want to go to a place our whole family likes.
DAD: But we all like Pizza Hut, and we have never been to the new one in our neighborhood. So where do you want to go? 
ROSE: Maybe the new place the Geswein family showed me...near Papa John' the building Papa John's the building where Coldstone Creamery is. 
DAD: But that place is far. The traffic will be bad. It will take a long time to get there. There are a lot of yummy options closer. What restaurant are you talking about? ROSE: It's a Hong Kong restaurant. And the dish I got there was really yummy so I want to go there again.
DAD: Hong Kong restaurant (with a puzzled face)? Really? Is this a Dim Sum restaurant? You really want to go there for your Gotcha Day (with a puzzled face)? 
ROSE: Really.
DAD: But it's far away and will take a long time to get there. Aren't there a bunch of closer restaurants that are just as yummy if not yummier?  
ROSE: Okay, we can choose a different restaurant. 
DAD: Let's talk more about this after breakfast.

It's Not About Santa

Christmas Is for Those Who Hate It Most by Matt B. Redmond

Disturbing Christmas  by C.J. Mahaney

Schulz Wanted Bible in Charlie Brown Christmas by Mark Moring

Six Ways Satan Is Stealing Christmas  by John MacArthur

Ten Questions to Ask at a Christmas Gathering  by Donald S. Whitney

Why is X Used when it Replaces Christ in Christmas? by R.C. Sproul