Showing posts from December 30, 2018

"You Welcomed Me" by Kent Annan. A Review

You Welcomed Me: Loving Refugees and Immigrants Because God First Loved Us by Kent Annan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

According to the U.N. Refugee Agency website, around the world there are some 40 million internally displaced people, 25.4 million refugees, and 3.1 million asylum seekers. Those are staggering numbers, making the head swim with incredulous vertigo! How should Christians think of refugees, and what are we to do? On top of this, what are the ways to treat and respond to immigrants? Kent Annan, director of humanitarian and disaster leadership at Wheaton College’s Humanitarian Disaster Institute, cofounder of Haiti Partners, and author, makes a try at helping North American Christians navigate this condition in his new 144 page paperback "You Welcomed Me: Loving Refugees and Immigrants Because God First Loved Us". As the author declares, "In this book, I hope to inspire you with stories of refugees and immigrants and those who are involved with them. I hope to i…

"Blood and Thunder" by Hampton Sides. A Short Review

Blood and Thunder: The Epic Story of Kit Carson & the Conquest of the American West by Hampton Sides
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What an handsome read, that is simultaneously horrible and heartbreaking. Handsome in that Hampton Sides is a good historical writer. Though it's a long endeavor, yet he made the subject interesting - even in the tedious spots. Handsome, also, in that the personalities came through nicely, with all of the quirks and kinks.

But it was horrible and heartbreaking in the treatment of Native Americans, Jingoism, ethnic pride, might-makes-right, deaths, etc. The misguided policies and plots made me cringe. But the horrible is part of the manliness of the book. Sides does not shy away from the less-than-glorious details. Not for voyeuristic pleasure, but to chronicle the realities of the day. And the heartbreaking comes at the end with the final moments of Josefa and Kit, that opens up into brokenhearted celebration with Navajos on the way home. I cried!

This is …

"God and the Transgender Debate" by Andrew Walker. A Book Review

God and the Transgender Debate: What does the Bible actually say about gender identity? by Andrew T. Walker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It's a touchy subject, full of societal pitfalls and skittish passions. But Andrew T. Walker, Director of Policy Studies for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, is not afraid of either in his 176 page paperback, "God and the Transgender Debate: What Does the Bible Actually Say About Gender Dysphoria?" Truly he's not afraid, but neither is he mean-spirited or uncaring. In fact this volume is awash with sympathy and solicitude. The aim of the book is "that God's voice is heard in this debate." And it is written "for you if you want to learn more, love better, and are open to consider what God has to say about sex and gender in his word" (16).

The volume unfolds quite simply. The first three chapters tackle how we got to this point in Western society, following the trends o…

Scripture Memorization, Prayer, and Running

Not too pretty, but these are my Scripture memory cards that I have used for years, adding to them as time goes by. They are worn and weathered with sweat, stains, and soaking rain. I carry them with me almost every time I run (three to four times a week), and review the ones I'm firmly comfortable with; and repeat and rework those that I have trouble with. On a closer look you will see I have also interjected prayers from various sources: Reformed, Lutheran, and Anglican. It adds texture to my running (4 miles or so is a long time for an idle mind). I have done this kind of thing for over two decades - run and work on memorizing Scripture, meditating on Scripture, and praying for myself, my family, my church, my Presbytery, and my denomination.

I present this as an encouragement to you to look at ways you can fold "mindless" activities together with Scripture memorization and prayer. This is not a mandate, not a competition, not a "look at how much holier I am than …

Following the Little Ones to Jesus - 30 December 2018

[Here is the audio file. I highly recommend you listen as you follow along]
Following the Little Ones to Jesus Genesis 17.1-14; Luke 18.15-17 Lord Jesus, shape and sculpt our hearts and mindsets that in real humility we may receive the kingdom of God like little children do. And help us to better grasp the value of our own baptism, as well as Christian baptism for infants and children. For those who find this subject difficult, help them to see clearly why we biblically do this, and why it is important. And if they are still unconvinced, may they at least be grateful that we are trying to follow you and your Scriptures, and may all of us be grateful for the Gospel of Grace displayed in baptism. Amen.
Do you ever get frustrated because you have ideas in your head that are clear as day to you, but you can’t get them into someone else’s head? That happens at our house quite regularly. For example, Anna gets this picture of what she wants in her mind’s eye. It makes good and solid sense to he…

"Holy, Holy, Holy" - 30 December 2018

We add our voices to the 4 living creatures and the 24 elders who worship you, saying: “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come! … “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created” (Revelation 4.8b, 11). Glory to you, Lord God, Most High!
Lord Jesus, who loves your church, and cherishes each local, particular congregation; we pray for your church in all places, including this fellowship, and all of our sister churches in Oklahoma: Redeemer-Edmond, City Pres., Christ the King, 1st Reformed in Minco, Grace in Stillwater, Shawnee Pres., Christ Presbyterian in Tulsa and Claremore, Ethos, Three Rivers, Riveroaks, and Trinity-Owasso. Bring us ever closer to you, draw us ever upward that we may always reach outward. Through us bring to light what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in you who created all things; and may your manifold wisdom be made known …