Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Links of the Week: 11/28

In a late attempt to get somewhat back into the blogging game, here are a few links from the interwebs that I thought were noteworthy this week.

Christians and Alcohol - Depending upon your age, denomination, and geographic location, this may or may not be a big issue. Regardless, Tim Challies writes a good article on thinking through the different views of alcohol use by Christians. If you want to extend the argument to ask why some Christians consider alcohol permissible but not narcotics, here is a good followup.

The Theological Church - Kevin DeYoung talks about why he is glad that his church has a reputation for being "quite theological." This section is key: "Now–and this is an important caveat–if we are arrogant with our theology, or if our doctrinal passion is just about intellectual gamesmanship, or we are all out of proportioned in our affections for less important doctrines, then may the Lord rebuke us. We should not be surprised theology gets a bad name in such circumstances. But when it comes to thinking on, rejoicing in, and building a church upon sound biblical truth, we should all long for a richly theological church."

Child or Fetus? - Denny Burk thinks through our vocabulary when we are talking about children in the womb.

Seminary Lectures - Reformed Theological Seminary is now offering a lot of their seminary lectures free from their their new app.

Pastors Worth Listening To - Tim Raymond over at Credo Magazine offers some expositional preachers who are worth listening to. Per his suggestion, I listened to a sermon from St. Helen's Bishopgate last night and was really encouraged by how thorough and sound it was in how it handled the Bible.

Most Important Election Issue - With election season upon us, this blog post gives three possible answers to the question "What is the most important election issue."

Celebrity Pastors - As a member of a church whose pastor might be deemed a celebrity, I found this article a helpful way of distinguishing between those who are celebrity because of their gifts and hard work and those who simply seek to be a celebrity.

Carson's Theological Method - I put this at the end because I think most will find it dreadfully boring. D. A. Carson is probably my favorite commentator and one (if not the) leading New Testament scholars alive today. Andy Naselli is his research assistant and manager and has a scholarly article on his theological method that looks fascinating.

Beautiful Feet Project - This video is a powerful look at the vast need for spreading the gospel in Asia.

The Zipper Incident - This one is just a funny clip that Kevin DeYoung posted earlier this week on his blog. If you can look past the awesome early 90s hairdos of the people in the crowd, it's pretty funny.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Baby Elizabeth is here!

Wednesday, September 21st at 7:45am, my sweet niece, Elizabeth Kate, was born.  Ryan and I were able to spend the weekend with the new mom and dad (my sister Leigh and her husband David) and their precious daughter.  She is absolutely adorable and we are all completely in love!  My sister is already a wonderful mom, I am so proud of her!  Here are some pictures from the weekend.



Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Book Review: The Hunger Games

   So  I am well into my fall reading list, staring with "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins.  I had planned to finish "The Historian" first, but I reserved Hunger Games for myself at the library so once it was available it jumped to the top of my list since it would be due back in a couple weeks.  As a side note, I checked it out from my county library collaboration, JCLC.  If you live in Jefferson county and don't have a library card get on it!  One card gets you access to the entire collection in Jefferson county which is about 15-20 libraries and you can reserve titles and have then sent to your local library for pick up, amazing.
   So as I mentioned several weeks ago, I love the Harry Potter series.  After I reread all 7 books this summer I was craving to read something else similar.  Something with an intricate story that was fun to read.  So that is where "The Hunger Games" came in and it was just that; a story that had history, interesting characters, and an exciting plot line.  While the story was not as intricately planned or as well written as the Harry Potter Series, it was creative and interesting.  
   The story is set in North America after wars have destroyed what we know as America.  Now there are 12 districts that report to one capitol who continues to punish its constituents by forcing one young girl and one young boy to be chosen from each district to compete in the Hunger Games where they will fight to the death to win wealth and food for themselves and their district.
   I would definitely recommend this book to someone wanting a fun book to read.  It also had the ability to provoke thought on the sinfulness of man when resources are scarce and power is desired.

   So now my reading list has been updated... book II of the Hunger Games Trilogy will likely be the next one I pick up!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

"Is everything sad going to come untrue?"

Photo Source:
    About six weeks ago, my cousin and her husband, due to complications with her pregnancy, lost their baby girl and boy at 19 weeks. Obviously this was a great tragedy for them, and my family. Below is a letter than Ryan wrote to them trying to express our sorrow with them and our hope that they be comforted. I share it in the hope that it will stir in your heart, as it did mine, to a great hope in the promises of our God. 
    Ryan's note: My thoughts here are deeply indebted to Tim Keller's excellent chapter on suffering in his book The Reason for For God (Dutton Press, 2008), which I would highly recommend. In particular, the example from The Lord of the Rings and the sentence that follows is taken nearly word from word from the book (p. 33). 

Dear Jennifer and David,
     I have no way of articulating how truly sorry I am, nor do I have any way of really knowing and understanding the grief that you feel now. Cards, phone calls, hugs, and even letters seem like paltry comforts in the midst of great waves of pain, anguish, and even anger. For every tear that Laura and I have cried, I am certain you have cried your hundreds.

     In such times, I think it is only natural for all of us to ask “why?” Why is there such agony, such loss that we go through? The question reaches out even farther, asking why a good God, Creator of all things, would allow such pain. Yes, there are times where it is clear after some time has passed that God was at work to turn sorrow into glory, the ashes of our grief into a garland of praise, making people grow in relationship with him and with others. But for every situation where God is obviously at work there seem to be other situations where it is difficult, if not impossible, to see through the midst of grief. What then? Why then?

     In all honestly, I can say I don’t know why every painful situation comes about, and those who think they do are typically trite and glib. Even Job, the archetype of biblical suffering, is never told why he underwent so much loss.

     Still, there is a great divide between suffering without reason and suffering without hope. One leads to questions that may not be answered in this life; the other leads to despair that is overwhelming. The good news of the gospel is that although we might not see every reason, we still have reason to hope. That hope lies in Jesus Christ. Though he was fully God and fully man, he humbled himself by dying. God the Father gave his son on our behalf. Jesus is not an impersonal deity who is unacquainted with our sorrows. He himself was homeless, mocked, flogged, crucified, the most humiliating and unjust suffering ever possible. He is even acquainted with our unanswered prayers, as he cried out to the Father in the Garden of Gethsemane. Our God is the One who bled, died, and suffered for us in order that he might be with us as we cry, grieve, and even die. We hope because he is with us.

     More than this, we can hope because he is at work in renewing all things, preparing a place where we will be with him for all eternity. And his renewal is not merely forward-working, but it will bring glory out of our former sorrow. It is a complete restoration. After the climax of The Lord of the Rings, Samwise finds out that Gandalf was not dead as he thought, but alive. Upon seeing him, he cries, “I thought you were dead! But then I thought I was dead myself! Is everything sad going to come untrue?” The answer of Christ is yes, everything sad is going to come untrue and will somehow be greater for having been broken and lost.

     Mine and Laura’s prayer for you is that the God of all comfort will be with you and comfort you in your grief and that the God in whom our hope rests will carry you through such a difficult time. We love you so much and eagerly await the day when we will worship with Lily and Tate at the feet of Jesus for all eternity.



Hebrews 4:15-16: For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4a: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction.
1 Corinthians 15:19: If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Thank goodness it's September!

Here are my reasons for LOVING that it is finally September:
1) September means cooler weather is close.  This summer has been a hot one.  I think everyone is ready for a little coolness in the air.
2) Baby Elizabeth!  Leigh and David's little girl should be with us by the end of the month.  I cannot wait to meet her!
3) The return of football:  September brings the season for Friday night lights at local high schools and Saturday tailgates on college campuses everywhere.  We love watching football on TV and love going to games, especially once the weather turns nice and crisp.  We will kick the season off right tonight by watching the televised games with friends. 
I know this is technically a NFL preview and I have way more love for the NCAA, but it still makes me happy.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Fall Reading List

Last week I took my National Board Dental Exam Part II, so I am now refilling all the time I was spending studying.  Of course a lot of that time is spent with my wonderful husband.  The other time I am using to try and work out more often and start my fall reading list.  Here it is:
1. The Historian - Elizabeth Kostova ( I have started this one before but life happened and I never finished it.  I was really enjoying it so I have picked it back up.  The story has a neat twist between history, folklore, and fiction.)
2. Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins (This one is actually waiting for me a the library.  Pretty excited to read it.  I heard it is what you should read if you miss Harry Potter. haha)
3. Power in the Pulpit - Jerry Vines and Jim Shaddix and The Supremacy of God in Preaching - John Piper (These two are the reading assignments for the IDM class Ryan and I are taking at Brook Hills with our pastor, David Platt. Should be challenging but a really good way to help me learn best how to teach the bible to my college girls small group.)
4. The Help - Kathryn Stockett (I know I am behind since the movie is already out and it seems everyone has already read this book, but my mom lent it to me and I have heard it really is great.)

Monday, August 29, 2011

What I'm listening to...

Such a fun song, love it!