Sunday, February 27, 2011

Lay's Hot & Sour Fish Soup Flavor Chips Are Da' Bomb Diggity!

Last week we had some absolutely beautiful days. We had some days where the sun was shining brightly, and there was virtually no wind. I was thinking that spring was sneaking up on us, but yesterday morning we woke up to a blanket of snow. On days like this, I am completely content with staying inside and reading. In fact, even on days when the weather is pleasant, I have the tendency to want to stay inside and be antisocial. However, on one of those nicer days last week I did the right thing by closing the MacBook and getting myself out of the apartment so Rose could zip around on her little red bike. I even decided we would actually interact with other people by paying the bank and local mini-mart a visit. At the mini-mart I picked up some Lay's chips unlike the ones you can find in the States - Hot & Sour Fish Soup Flavor Chips. Ah yeah, that's what I'm talkin' about. These chips might sound straight up nasty, but I really dig these guys. This is not the first time I have had these chips, and I do not plan on it being my last. If you have a hard time believin' that these chips are da' bomb diggity, ask Megan and the girls. They can back me up. Do you smell what the Wick is cookin'?

Lay's Hot & Sour Fish Soup Flavor Chip
are intense and stimulating!

Reviewing Anthony T. Selvaggio's The Seven Signs

Anthony T. Selvaggio's book, The Seven Signs, is a small book, but within the 116 pages, you will find more meaning than in most books. Selvaggio examines the seven signs found in the first half of the Gospel of John. Selvaggio's purpose in writing this book is the very same reason the Apostle John wrote his Gospel nearly 2000 years ago - he wants the readers to know that "Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing (they might) have life in His name" (John 20:31). A major component of Jesus' ministry on earth was the performance of signs and wonders. The book consists of nine chapters and four to nine study questions at the end of each chapter. It is a great little book for individual or group studies. It should be noted that the author teaches at a Reformed church and a Reformed seminary, and the publishers distribute books in the Reformed tradition.  

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Daddy Date #2 & #3: KFC & Pizza Hut - Tianjin, China

Because Megan and Grace are still in the States (they come back to TJ on March 6th), I have been able to have some extra quality time with Rose. Last weekend we ate at one of the 3200 KFCs in China. Although you can dine at American eateries in China, the experience can be a blend of two worlds. I chose to order a side order of shrimp with my chicken sandwich at KFC. I wonder what Colonel Sanders would have thought about that.

Today we chose to walk to the local Pizza Hut for some Western-style dining. Eating at Pizza Hut in China is quite different from eating at Pizza Hut in America. Eating at a Chinese Pizza Hut is a rather nice dining experience. In America, you might take a little league baseball team to the Hut whereas in a Chinese Pizza Hut it is not uncommon to see a young couple on a date. The menu also has a Chinese flavor to it. Rose ordered a pasta dish while I ordered a rice dish with cheese and chicken. I was not in the mood for pizza. :-)

Rose chose to bring the $1 binoculars we bought her for Christmas. Those things have been quite the hit!

There are lots of restaurants and stores near our home.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Reviewing Sherwood Pictures' Flywheel

I picked up this DVD at the TIS school library so I could watch something that both Rose and I could possibly enjoy (Megan and Grace do not return to Tianjin until March 6th). Knowing that Flywheel had amateur actors and lacked a big Hollywood budget, I was not expecting much. However, to my surprise, I give it the thumbs up. There were times I was actually moved while at other times I found myself laughing out loud. Some might criticize the cookie cutter ending, but I am a sucker for happy endings. Of course life on Earth often does not end in the way Flywheel depicts, but I am not a big fan of watching movies that give me the blues. Like many people, I enjoy movies with themes of redemption and transformation. In Flywheel you have a used car dealer who is a crook and a lousy leader in the home. God opens the man's eyes and pierces his heart, and he begins to live a radically new life that gives God all of the glory. If you are looking for academy award performances and amazing cinematography, look elsewhere. If you want a family movie that will tug at your heart, I recommend Flywheel.

Some Recent Articles That Brought Out Some Emotion III

This made me feel a little sad... The Marketplace of Ideas — Why Bookstores Matter by Albert Mohler - "The function of a good book is to stand like a signpost guiding the reader to the Truth and the Life." A.W. Tozer  

This made me rejoice... Despite Us, God Works by Michael Oh - "if we are faithless, he remains faithful - for he cannot deny himself." 2 Timothy 2:13

This made me applaud... Rather Than Face Girl, Wrestler Defaults, Associated Press - "I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:14

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Reviewing Emily Colson's Dancing with Max

During my two weeks in Indiana in January and February, I was pleasantly surprised to receive some Christmas presents. As is often the case when I am given gifts, I saw a few gifts in the shape of a book and was very pleased. One of those gifts happened to be Emily Colson's 200-page book, Dancing with Max. Dancing with Max is divided into 26 short chapters with a Prologue and Epilogue. Although this was not a typical read for me, I placed it on my Amazon Wish List several months ago for a few reasons...

1. Emily Colson is the daughter of Chuck Colson, a Christian leader and worldviews expert who has written over 15 books. I have greatly enjoyed a couple of Chuck's books and knew he wrote the Prologue and Epilogue to this book. Chuck calls Dancing with Max the most personal book he has participated in since his first book, Born Again.
2. I was also attracted to reading a true story about a Christian lady who has persevered through some difficult circumstances. In Dancing with Max you read the story of a mother whose husband walked out on her and their autistic child Max. I know a little about desertion and have a fun-loving autistic nephew so I can identify a little with this story.

Ms. Colson's writing style could be described as a little over the top, however, I enjoyed her way with words and feel Ms. Colson is a gifted writer. Perhaps I could argue some theological points, but we can do that with every book. If you are not a Christian, I would still highly recommend this book. It is evident what Ms. Colson believes, but she comes across in a very non-threatening manner. If you are looking for a real message of hope and endurance, I highly recommend taking an evening or two to read this wonderful testimony of God's grace.

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Trip to Target's Vision Center

During my recent trip to the Land of Hoosiers, I somehow lost one of my contacts. It has been around 12 years since my last eye exam (in China I am able to purchase contacts at a super low price without a prescription) so I thought seeing an English-speaking optometrist and getting some new glasses would be acceptable. Besides, I never cared for my old glasses and Megan has been encouraging me for years to invest in some new specs. The old pair are a little scratched, faded, bent, and dated. I met with a very nice eye doctor that allowed Rose and Grace to come to my appointment. The girls were quite impressed with the optical refractor, and I now know that my nearsighted eyes are healthy. In addition to that, I have some cool Wrangler glasses in gunmetal. I think they fit me well. As cool I as look in my Wrangler Burnout glasses, I am looking forward to the day when glasses will be a thing of the past.

Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen. Revelation 1:7

Friday, February 11, 2011

Some Recent Articles That Brought Out Some Emotion II

This made me feel convicted... How To Provoke Your Children To Anger by Mark Altrogge - I am trying to bring up my girls in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

This made me think... To Be Forgotten by Darryl Dash - He must increase, but I must decrease.

This made me laugh... Our Own Propaganda: Wives Must Not Believe It by Carl Trueman - A wife of noble character is worth far more than rubies.

This made me reflect... Are You A Joy? by Counseling Solutions - Leaders will give an account to God.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Rose's First Winter in America: Winter Storm 2011

Grace's snowsuit was crackin' me up. Think The Christmas Story.
The girls and I went sledding down the same hills that I sledded when I was a boy. 
Grace almost fell out of the sled a couple of times and we nearly hit a tree, but it was fun!  
This was some major work, but the girls were happy.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Daddy Date #1: Flap Jacks Restaurant - Avon, Indiana

At the end of December, I decided that it would be good if I was more regular about takin' Rose and out on Daddy Dates. When I arrived in the States in late January, my dad stopped at White Castle and purchased a couple sliders for the girls so I decided to take Rose and Grace to another restaurant for our first Daddy Date of the year. I think you can see from the pictures that I picked a winner. I chose to have biscuits and gravy, sausage links, and scrambled eggs, but Rose and Grace ordered something a little less traditional for breakfast. :-)

If you want to win points with your daughters, order the French toast and waffles that look like this.
The girls were quite happy to see all of this cream and pink and purple sprinkles in their hot chocolate.

Running the Race Set Before Us

Nearly three years ago I read a great book about Eric Liddel by Dave McCasland. The biography interested me because Eric served in Tianjin, China during the first half of the 20th century, and I thought reading this book would assist me in analyzing the 1981 Oscar Winner for Best Picture, Chariots of FireTim Challies recently posted a couple short biographies about Eric Liddell that I highly recommend reading. Learn about this Olympic gold medalist who ran for the glory of God.

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing. 2 Timothy 4:6-8

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Reviewing R.C. Sproul's Chosen By God

Back in 2000, I started worshipping at Christ Covenant Church, a small Southern Baptist Church in Zionsville, Indiana. It was here where I was introduced to Dr. Sproul's Chosen By God. I was a new believer when I first read Sproul's examination of predestination, and I felt a second read was in order.

Chosen by God is over 210 pages long and is divided into nine chapters. Topics covered include the sovereignty of God, free will, regeneration, hyper-Calvinism, eternal security, the unpardonable sin, limited atonement, evangelism, and more. If these terms are unfamiliar to you, I highly recommend reading Dr. Sproul's book. If you are familiar with the terms but struggle comprehending that God chooses who goes to Heaven and who does not, I recommend this book. Chosen by God contains easy-to-read charts and lists, many pages of Scripture, and simple summaries at the end of the chapters. My second reading of Dr. Sproul's book was beneficial and enjoyable, and I will be sure to recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in learning about God's perfect plan.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Christian Books That Are Making Their Mark

It's interesting to see what American Christians like. I have yet to read any of the award winners.

2011 Christianity Today Book Awards - 427 submissions are whittled down to 11 winners.

Evangelical Christian Publishers Association's Top 50 Bestsellers - The top 20 bestselling Christian authors are also provided.