Thursday, February 26, 2015

"Three Adoptions? You're So Good, Wick."

"You're So Good, Wick." It's something I hear from time to time. Typically I'm told this when people find out I've adopted three children. Although I'm tempted to tell others that they're so right, that I'm really a nice guy, I usually tell them that I'm actually bad - downright wicked bad. If others knew all of the evil things I've thought of, said, and done, I would never want to show my face anywhere. Any good seen in me isn't me, that is the Spirit's work in me. He's good, and He's the one producing the good.

I've adopted three Chinese children not because I'm good, but because this is what I've been called to do. It's a beautiful calling that God has blessed me with tremendously. Although I taught at a children's home in Indiana and occasionally visited orphans in Korea before Megan and I got married, little did I know how much adoption would impact my life. Not all are called to adopt; however, all believers should be involved in adoption in some way or another. Some are called to visit orphanages, foster children, donate finances to adoption causes, intercede for orphans, and/or read adoption material. Believers should all be involved in adoption care to point to the Father who adopts us and to bring Him the glory.

If you're interested in learning more about adoption, below are some great links that can get you thinking how you help children who are without parents. Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Psalm 82:7

Adoption Guide
Adoption Resources
Financing Your Adoption
Tianjin ICCO

My children - Grace Noel, Josiah Lee, and Rosalie

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Reviewing Ella K. Lindvall's The Bible In Pictures For Toddlers

The Bible In Pictures For Toddlers contains 70 Bible stories (36 from the Old Testament) and is designed for children ages 1-4. Award-winning author Ella K. Lindvall certainly has the credentials to write such a book. She is a mother, has taught kindergarten and first grade, and has written other Bibles for children. There are many positives to the 144-page book. They include...

  • It's a small book that a toddler can hold.
  • It has a slighty padded cover.
  • A foreword and table of contents are included.
  • The colorful pictures are very kid-friendly and found on every page. Almost everyone is happy - even the monkeys during the flood.
  • The stories and their titles are short and use simple words (e.g., God Makes People, Ruth is Kind).
  • Every story has Bible references.
  • Many of the stories ask questions (e.g., Do you share?, Where is the lady?).
  • Difficult topics are gently addressed (e.g., sacrificing animals, disobedience, the destruction of a city, war, Satan).
  • It shows the birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension of the Son of Man.
There are several aspects of the book that some people may not like such as...

  • Only on one page do we see people of different ethnicities. Apparently Adam and Eve, Egyptians, angels, the children the Son of Man loves and the people He feeds are all white. I really do love white people (I'm married to one, and I'm half white); however, updated illustrations would make this book much better.
  • The author states that God no longer talks out loud to people.
  • Only three magi are shown.
  • John the Baptist is pouring water on the Son of Man's head during His baptism.
  • The Son of Man turns water into juice and not wine. Because I'm a little boy I'll take juice over wine any day, but let's not change what the Bible says.
  • The book ends with Acts 16:25-31. What about Romans to Revelation
  • There is no mention of Hell.
Despite what I've mentioned above, I have absolutely no problemo reading this book to my Chinese son. I believe The Bible In Pictures For Toddlers will bless us tremendously, and any theological differences or literary criticisms I have can be addressed as we discuss the contents of the book. 

to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen. Romans 16:27

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Reviewing Charles Spurgeon's All of Grace

Charles Spurgeon, the "Prince of Preachers," was a Reformed Baptist preacher who lived from 1834 to 1892. All of Grace was his best selling book and written just seven years before his death. Although the wording in the 20-chapter book is clearly not that of today's American, All of Grace is a gospel presentation that can be easily understood. Despite being a believer for nearly 14 years, it was good for me to be reminded of how I am not saved by my works, but by the Father's grace alone. I must preach the gospel to myself on a daily basis and Spurgeon helps with that. Spurgeon provides excellent illustrations, logic, stories, and Scripture in an effort to reach people for the Son of Man. I am thankful to have read this book and must do a better job of reading books that have stood the test of time. I wholeheartedly recommend this classic to both mature believers and inquisitive nonbelievers. Below are the chapter titles.

because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9

1. To You
2. What Are We At?
3. God Justifieth The Ungodly
4. "It Is God That Justifieth"
5. "Just and the Justifier"
6. Concerning Deliverance From Sinning
7. By Grace Through Faith
8. Faith
9. How May Faith Be Illustrated?
10. Why Are We Saved by Faith?
11. Alas! I Can Do Nothing!
12. The Increase of Faith
13. Regeneration and the Holy Spirit.
14. "My Redeemer Liveth"
15. Repentance Must Go with Forgiveness
16. How Repentance is Given
17. The Fear of Final Falling
18. Confirmation
19. Why Saints Persevere
20. Close

Reviewing R.C. Sproul's The Lightlings

I purchased The Lightlings through Amazon China, and it's the second book by R.C. Sproul that I've read to my children. In The Lightlings, Dr. Sproul tells us the biblical story of redemption in a way that is both enjoyable and deep. It's an allegorical tale where a grandfather tells his grandson about fairylike creatures who shine brightly. One day these creatures disobey their Creator and King which brings them into a great darkness and shows them their need for the Light. The story ends with the boy and his grandfather having a conversation.

The Lightlings consists of 30 pages with more than half of the pages being illustrations that are a mix of fantasy and realism. The last three pages consist of 13 questions with Bible references that children can be asked in an effort to help them better understand the story. Although the book is meant for elementary students, I believe many of my sixth grade students would enjoy hearing me read The Lightlings to them. It's a meaningful book, and I recommend it to anyone who desires to help young children better understand what life is all about.

God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. 1 John 1:5