Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Family Favorites

I don't think I've ever really written a book review on the blog, and I don't think I'm going to this time But this post is probably as close as I'll get.

Our family has been reading Detectives in Togas for the third time. When we study Ancient Rome (first Leah and I, then Noah, and now Ethan) we always read this.

So this is the third time and we're still all sitting at the table after breakfast asking Daddy to "read just one more chapter, please?" He reads Ethan's history books in the morning and Noah's history books at lunch and when lunch comes around we're asking him to put Noah's on hold and read another chapter of Detectives in Togas. We have, in the past week, had two extended reading times: school, work, e-mails, phone calls, laundry....it all gets put on hold and Daddy has read for an hour or two. It's a great story.

The whole reason for this post (which sounded much better in my head at 11:00 last night when I thought of it, than it does written out here) is to share a great point that I heard in a sermon one time. I don't remember who it was who said (maybe G.K. Chesterton?) that the great thing about good stories is not the surprise of them, but the surprisingness of them.

It's like this: we've read Detectives in Togas three times. It's not that we don't know if everything's going to resolve at the end (though it's funny that we do forget how it really ends every time we read it), but it's not that. It's rather that the story draws us in and we relive it again and again. We know what happens. We know who the burgler is. We know that none of the boys get killed. We know the story. But in good stories, it's that we can be drawn in again and again and again and it's like we're hearing it for the first time.

The same way we can read The Chronicles of Narnia a hundred times and every time we weep when Aslan is killed. We hope that somehow the cords can be broken. We long for him to look like a lion again. We're afraid the Witch won't die after all. Of course we know how it ends, but it's the surprisingness that gets us every time.

Forgive me laboring the point, but it's the same thing when you read Goodnight Moon five thousand times. "A comb and a brush and a bowl full of mush. And a quiet old lady whispering 'hush.'" Or when your little munchkins ask you to read the same Curious George story again that you read before lunch, and you read before bed the night before and the afternoon before that and the afternoon before that. "This is George. George was a good little monkey but always very curious." It's not that they don't know what happens. They could probably recite the whole thing. But it's rather the entering into the story again. There's something about it that they can get inside of and they want you to let them get inside again....and again and again.

It's the very same thing when we come to the Gospel. We've read the Gospel hundreds of times. We know the Gospel. We read it in the morning when we get up. We read it in family worship. We read it before we go to bed at night, and along the way. We read it and hear it preached at least twice on the Lord's Day. We know what it says. We know that Christ is going to Jerusalem. We know He's going to ask the Father to let the cup pass and the Father will say no. We know He will suffer and be beaten and hung on a cross and die. We know He'll be buried. And we know that on the third day He will rise from the dead. We know that we're joined with Him and that our sin died with Him and we rose with Him and that we're ruling and reigning with Him now - seated in heavenly places. We know all of this. This is what's true and we've heard it hundreds of times. But do we ever get tired of hearing it? Perhaps the difference between good stories and the best story is that the best story gets better every time we hear it. A little sweeter. A little more precious. And we always need to hear it again and it never grows old. It's far more glorious now than the day I first believed!

What a precious story the Lord has written for us in our redemption. "O for a thousand tongues to sing my great Redeemer's praise!"

Friday, March 25, 2011

Notable Quotable on a Friday

This is another one of those for the bathroom mirror. Wake up to this on a Friday morning!
"To give a poor sinful soul a comfortable persuasion, affecting it throughout, in all its faculties and affections, that God in Jesus Christ loves him, delights in him, is well-pleased with him, hath thoughts of tenderness and kindness towards him; to give, I say, a soul an overwhelming sense hereof, in an inexpressible mercy." ~John Owen

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Ten Pages A Day, Part Four

Well, after The Greenville Conference last week I took a break from my Weekends Are For... and my Multitude Monday posting. You can see the new ticker for next year's Greenville Conference on the side bar. You can look forward to a new Weekends Are For.... post, Lord willing, on Saturday. And I took a slight break from the Multitudes on Monday, not because I couldn't think of anything to say, but rather because the multitudes were overflowing from a grace-filled, glory-expectant week at The Conference and I'm overwhelmed with the gifts.

And so for now, Part Four (which has grown to at least a five part series because I added some reading at the conference!) of my Ten Pages a Day Series:

The Ben Miller Goal for 2011!

This is the year of (all) the Ben Miller suggestions. Isn't the beginning of the year great? I feel so free to make these outlandish goals and see what happens in the next months. Grace reigns!

While I was in New York I asked Pastor Miller what books he used particularly when preaching the series on The Fatherhood of God. Ya know, the series I keep linking to on Sermon Audio (maybe one day you'll get the point and go listen to the series). The series that got me reading Volume II of Owen (which I finished on December 30 and truly think was the best book I've ever read). The series that, to borrow Pastor Miller's words from a different sermon, is "paradigm shifting stuff." The series that got a hold of my heart and did some "plough running deep" stuff. Pastor Miller graciously, untiringly (you would think he'd be done with me by now), eagerly gave me the list, and more. So this is the year to read the Ben Miller suggestions. They all came in the mail recently and are eagerly sitting on my shelf waiting to be dug in to.

Children of the Living God by Sinclair Ferguson.

The chapter on adoption in Knowing God by J.I. Packer.

Commentary on Zephaniah by O. Palmer Robertson (I'm so excited!) It's actually the commentary on Nahum, Habakkuk and Zephaniah. Not sure how much I'll read. Perhaps just Zephaniah or maybe the whole thing.

Treatise on the Law and the Gospel by John Calquahoun.

The Kingdom Has Drawn Near by Ben Miller (our next book club book. Look forward to rave reviews. And listen to the sermons that this book is based on: parts one, two, three and four. Of course, they're awesome!)

God's Way of Peace by Horatius Bonar.

The Inner Ring by C.S. Lewis (an essay in The Weight of Glory).

Were there any others? I think I got 'em all. Ten pages a day.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

0 Days

It's time for The Greenville Conference again. I'm off to Greenville this morning and will be back, Lord willing, in time for my weekend post on Saturday, if I'm not suffering too terribly from the post-conference blues.

Blessings on your week!

Friday, March 4, 2011


Has anyone noticed that I've been doing all the posting around here lately? And did anyone else besides me know that Lily's on Spring Break this week? I guess you couldn't tell, huh? Just wondered if anyone might be interested in that fact.

(this is my way of getting Lily to post...guilt. I mean, she's on Break, ya know? Don't you think she should catch up on her blog posting?)

Love you, Lily. Really, I do. Grace Reigns! And I hope you're enjoying your time off with family and getting to do all those things you don't get to do when life is a wild-crazy mess of paper and books and piano lessons and up early, to bed late, and just barely getting time for the "musts."

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Sipping Tea With Us

To all our blog readers:

I have added a "spot" on our sidebar for followers. Somehow there are some who were following us before but I'm not sure how. Now it's much easier: just click the "follow" button.

Hope you enjoy your cups of tea with us every once in a while.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Words of Wisdom

Words of Wisdom from my nine-year-old brother on a walk yesterday afternoon:
"Just don't even try to find good clothes in the mall. Especially at the entrance next to Maggianos."
For one thing, I can't even say what store is next to Maggianos. And for another thing, there are some good clothes at the mall. But to hear that my little brother had noticed that it's like digging in the garbage dumpster to find that one perfect thing at the mall was pretty cool. This was actually part of a longer conversation which was quite funny.

Wrecked Upon the Rock

I read this on the Girltalk Blog this afternoon. Precious.

As a newlywed, Darlene Deibler Rose served as a missionary in New Guinea with her husband from 1938 to 1942. Then, for four years, she was imprisoned by the Japanese during World War II and endured almost unspeakable hardships, including solitary confinement, near starvation, beatings and loss of her husband, Russell Deibler. Yet in her book, Evidence Not Seen, she wrote:

"Viewing those eight years from this far side, I marvel at the wisdom and love of our God, Who controls the curtains of the stage on which the drama of our lives is played; His hand draws aside the curtains of events only far enough for us to view one sequence at a time. Had those eight years been revealed to me in one panoramic view that misty gray January morning in 1938, would I have had the courage to board the ship? I wonder. Through the intervening years, tempestuous winds of gale force have buffeted me. Waves of tidal proportions have threatened to carry me under or dash me upon the rocks. But knowing now what I did not know those many years ago... I can thank my God for every storm that has wrecked me upon the Rock, Christ Jesus!" (pp.221-222)

Psalm 139

Month Two of my goal of memorizing a chapter of Scripture every month, is already gone! I can't believe it's so quickly March 1. Here is Psalm 139 from memory, as best I can remember.

O LORD, Thou has searched me and known me.
Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising; thou understandest my thought afar off.
Thou compassest my path and my lying down; Thou art acquainted with all my ways.
For there is not a word in my tongue, but lo, O LORD, Thou knowest it altogether.
Thou hast beset me behind and before and laid Thine hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high I cannot attain unto it.
Whither shall I go from Thy spirit and whither shall I flee from Thy presence.
If I ascend up into heaven, Thou art there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, Thou art there.
If I take the wings of the morning or dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea
Even there Thy hand will lead me and Thy right hand will guide me.
If I say, Surely darkness will cover me; the night shall be light about me,
Yea, the darkness hideth not from Thee; the night shineth as the day; the darkness and the light are both alike to Thee.

For Thou hast possessed my reins; Thou hast covered me in my mother's womb.
I will praise Thee for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Thy works, O God, and that my soul knoweth right well.
I was not hid from Thee when I was made in secret and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Thine eyes did see me, yet being unperfect and in Thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were formed when as yet there was none of them.
How precious, also, are Thy thoughts towards me, O God, how great is the sum of them.
If I should number them, they would be more than the sand; and when I arise, I am still with Thee.

Care to join us in memorizing Romans 6 in March?