Thursday, April 28, 2011

Digital Era Publishing Infographic

Some Recent Articles About Books III

Crossway Impact - A gospel-centered rewards program for readers who want to invest their resources wisely.

Dramatic Non-Fiction by Andrew LePeau (InterVarsity Press) - What options do you have for holding your audience's attention?

E-book Sales Top Paperbacks for First Time by Julianne Pepitone (CNNMoney) - The publishing tide is shifting fast.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Rose Gets Dunked: Easter 2011

"Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life." Romans 6:3-4

A nearby hotel's swimming pool serves as a baptismal tub every Easter.
We took some pictures together prior to Rose's identification
with the Son of Man's death, burial, and resurrection.
After Rose shared a short testimony, I had the honor of performing Rose's baptism.
We are extremely thankful that Rose publicly proclaimed her trust in the Son of Man.
To God be the glory both now and forever.

Rose and others who were baptized stand in front of the TJIF congregation.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Getting A Grip On Your Emails

One thing that has drastically changed in my life this past year has been the volume of emails I am reading and writing every day. Back in October I received an iPhone, and this has helped me read and respond to emails quicker. My current system of handling emails has been working for me, but I am always open to learning the email practices of others. Below are some links that might assist you if you receive a large number of emails on a daily basis.

Email Etiquette 101 by Michael Hyatt (Chairman of Thomas Nelson Publishers)

Are You Suffocating From The Oxygen of the Internet? by Jeff Large (LifeWay)

How To Get Your Email Inbox To Zero Every Day by Matt Perman (Director of Strategy at Desiring God)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Recent Tianjin Outings I

Megan is purchasing some veggies at a local market.
This gentleman made part of my dinner last Saturday - fried tofu. There are
lots of vendors selling food from their bikes near our apartment complex.



















We are big fans of Uyghur food - naan (flat bread), roast mutton, & polo (pilaf)

This lady put a new pedal on the mountain bike that serves as my wheels.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Picking Up Dead Critters

Last week Rose came across this guy at our apartment complex. We live in a big city (23rd largest in the world according to worldatlas.com) so seeing the occasional fury little critter doesn't bother me. The problem was she was holding the guy with her sleeve. That be straight up nasty! Our girls are constantly wanting to pick up junk from the ground, but I never thought a shriveled up ratatouille would be one of them! What up wit' dat?!

A buddy of mine kicked the dead dude away from the area we were at.

Using Used Coffee Grounds

Recently I assembled an IKEA breakfast station that I purchased for Megan. It looks really nice and is quite handy, but it did not take long for the pine wood to attract some big ol 'ugly stains. That's when I got all clever. I remember surfin' the net and reading how you can use old coffee grounds as a stain. Check out the pics below. I'm thinkin' the station is lookin' pretty sweet if I don't say so myself.

Sad to say I broke the coffee pot as I was staining the wood. I'm smooth like that.
The new coffee machine was ordered through Amazon China. Very convenient.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Reviewing Carol Heyer's The First Easter

This is one of the Easter books we currently have out for our girls to read. There are many positives about the book, but I do have some criticisms. As far as the favorable aspects of the book are concerned...

1. It begins with the Christmas story.
2. The artwork is excellent.
3. Children of different colors are seen coming to Jesus.
4. Jesus does not look like a white American.
5. Jesus is shown getting righteously angry.
6. Many Holy Week events are part of The First Easter - Palm Sunday, the temple clearing, temple controversies, the Last Supper, the Gethsemane prayer, the second Roman trial before Pilate, the crucifixion, empty-tomb witnesses, and the resurrection appearance to Mary Magadalene.
7. Important words like Magi, prophets, sin, Passover, disciples, priests and temple elders, blood, will, crucified, and tomb are part of the story.
8. Important places and people like Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Golgotha, Garden of Gethsemane, Golgatha, Caiaphas, Pilate, and Mary Magadalene are mentioned.

These are some of the negatives I found with the book...

1. Jesus looks a little feminine in the picture showing children running to Him.
2. There are no Scripture references, and the Scripture is paraphrased.
3. There is no blood shown when Jesus is wearing the crown of thorns.
4. Jesus is not shown on the cross, and three crosses are not next to one another.
5. Jesus' wounds are in the hands when many scholars would say his wrists were actually pierced.

Despite my criticisms, it is a nice book for young children. I would simply supplement the book with a Bible and discussion.

Monday, April 18, 2011

I am a Middle-Aged Midwestern Dude

I used to laugh at the way a lot of middle-aged Midwestern men dress, but tonight I accepted the fact that I am one of those guys that I used to make fun of. Before I wore stretched out undershirts and dress socks with athletic shorts, I used to wear the hippest clothes. Now I realize that might be difficult to believe, but it really is true. I used to actually look kind of cool. Remember Guess jeans back in the late 80s? Yup, I used to have the triangles on my back pockets. Levi's weren't always good enough for me. I was pretty sad, but look at me now! Fortunately I am not always looking like a middle-aged Midwestern guy. Thanks largely to my mom, mother-in-law, wife, and brother, I still occasionally manage to wear something that looks stylin' and profilin'. Honest, it's true. Don't sweat the technique.

Don't be jealous. That would be sinning. We all can't look this cool.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Passion Week

It is Palm Sunday so I thought I would post a few articles that fit the season most appropriately.

What is Passion Week/Holy Week? by Got Questions Ministries - I encourage you to read Matthew 21-27, Mark 11-15, Luke 19-23, and John 12-19 this week.

5 Books To Read Before Easter - by Tim Challies - I have not read four of these books, but I hope to one day.

6 Preaching Tips For Easter by Mark Driscoll - Download the PDF if you desire.

Free Good Friday Movie by Resurgence - A 30-minute movie is online as a free download for churches that wish to use it in their Good Friday services. The film is very graphic and not recommended for children under the age of ten.

Make Holy Week Holy to the Lord by John Piper - "Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end." John 13:1 

Great book. I am thankful for Pastor Mahaney.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Family Devos - The Wickersham Way

Over the years we generally have had regular family devotions after dinnertime. The devotions have taken many forms and might be structured differently during special seasons (e.g., Advent and Lent) of the year. Sometimes Megan and I have read and taught a section of Scripture (e.g., The Sacrifice of Isaac or The Parable of the Good Samaritan) or even covered a whole book. Sometimes we have worked on memorizing a verse or maybe a Psalm. At other times I have brought out the recorder and played classic hymns or contemporary praise songs while the girls have sang and busted a move. We should definitely do this more. Central to our family devotions have been the Bible and prayer. Usually we get out Daddy's big Bible (the ESV Study Bible) and a book given to us by some friends called Training Hearts Teaching Minds: Family Devotions Based on the Shorter Catechism by Starr Meade. We learn to memorize the questions and answers, and Megan and I explain the questions and answers in simpler terms. At times I do a stinky job explaining theology in little kid terms and Megan laughs, but she is helping me grow in this area. There is a short paragraph or two supported with Scripture that comes with each Q & A. Even if you are a believer in credobaptism (Believer's Baptism) like me, I still highly recommend Training Hearts Teaching Minds.

After discussing the lesson, we go around the table and pray for each other and others, praise and thank God for who He is and how He has blessed us, and confess our sin. Our family devos do not always go as pretty as how it may sound, but God is working on us and we are learning much. To Him be the glory.

Below are some links that can help you worship our Heavenly Father with your family.

15 Ways to Observe Holy Week With Your Family by Barbara Curtis (Crosswalk)

11 Reasons to Worship With Your Family by Jason Helopoulos (The Gospel Coalition)

Holy Week: Prepare For Easter With Your Family by Noel Piper (Desiring God)

Is Mandated Bible Reading Healthy for Kids? by Erik Raymond (Ordinary Pastor)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

TIS Dad's Day 2011

Today was Dad's Day at TIS. This is a day in which we invite dads to come to the school and spend some time with their children. After more than three years of waiting, we received Rose's referral to adopt her on Dad's Day last year. You could say Dad's Day is kind of extra special to me.

I am amazed that God has chosen me to be a father to two girls. At times I seriously fail at being a good daddy, but I am thankful that Rose and Grace are so quick to forgive. Of course they mess up on a daily basis like me, but they also regularly display Christ to me. It absolutely floors me that God would bless me with this. I deserve nothing but everlasting punishment, but instead I am showered with love and grace. Our Heavenly Father is truly an awesome God!

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!" Romans 8:15

This was my 4th Dad's Day, but my first with my youngest daughter, Grace.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

"KJB: The Book That Changed the World"

This DVD was released a few days ago in honor of the 400th anniversary of the most influential book in the history of the English language: The King James Version of the Bible. The KJV was first published on May 5, 1611, and a copy of the New Testament and the Book of Psalms in this translation sits on my desk at school. Although I rarely read this version of the Bible, the first Bible I ever purchased was a KJV (back in the summer of 89 before my junior year in high school). Regardless of what you may believe, you cannot have a proper understanding of Western culture and English literature without some knowledge of the KJV.

"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." II Timothy 3:16-17

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Recent Good Book Reading & Preaching Articles

Book Buyers & Book Readers by Tim Challies - Don't hunger for books.

Tiny Church Finds Original King James Bible by Richard Allen Greene - A little English village church discovers it has an original edition of the most important book ever printed in English.

6 Month Bible Reading Plan for Kids by David Murray - Weekly morning and evening Bible reading plans are found in one document.

Books that Help Us Become Better Readers of the Bible by Kathleen Nielson - Books that help explore the Bible's amazing union of literary beauty and gospel truth.

Transform Your Bible Reading by Dane Ortlund - How do you read your Bible?

Six Keys to Poor Preaching by Darryl Dash - This I want to avoid.

The Legacy of R.C. Sproul and John Piper by Justin Taylor - Read about two men who have taught me much about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.