You’ve heard the statement that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions; well by God’s sheer grace I am no longer on that road, but I get the point. Since the new year has rolled around I had intended to be more consistent in updating this blog. At the same time I intend to be more disciplined in study and prayer. I can say that my study and prayer time has been reviving, while my blogging has been non-existent.
But rather than try to get all of my thoughts in order and post an article I have decided to relay to everyone who reads what exactly has been taking up the bulk of my time the last few weeks. Here’s a list of what I have been up to lately in no particular order.
I renewed my commitment to read some of the books that I’ve had sitting on my shelves for a while. Here is a list of what I am currently reading:
- D. Martyn Lloyd Jones The Fight of Faith, volume two of Ian Murray’s biography. I read volume one this time last year and loved it, but volume two has proven to be even more profitable. It is interesting to me how the battles fought in England in ML-J’s day compare to the evangelical crises of America in our own.
- The Holy Spirit, by John Owen. Few authors stir the soul like the Puritans and Owen was their chief in many respects. One small paragraph from Owen will fuel my meditation and praise more than an entire chapter from most contemporary authors. Think on this opening paragraph from the book, “When God planned the great work of saving sinners, he provided two gifts. He gave his Son and he gave his Spirit. In fact, each person of the Trinity was involved in the great work of salvation. The love, grace and wisdom of the father planned it; the love, grace and humility of the Son purchased it; and the love, grace and power of the Holy Spirit enabled sinners to believe and receive it (Owen pg. 1).”
- Total Church, by Tim Chester and Steve Timmis has been a great read and one I have slowly worked through. It is refreshing and challenging, but altogether God honoring in it’s scope and purpose. I highly recommend it and would love to sit and discuss it’s content with anyone. Also, the guys over at The Resurgence have made available the media from the 2008 Total Church conference.
- Institutes of the Christian Religion, by John Calvin. This is something that I have used a a reference over the year, but have never taken the time to read through completely. Tim Brister over at Provocations and Pantings posted last month that this year marks the 500th anniversary of Calvin’s birth and he also provided a link to a reading schedule. I took him up on his advice and have thoroughly enjoyed my reading, it’s much simpler than it may sound because Calvin was inclined to a more practical Biblical theology. He said, Doctrine is an affair “not of the tongue, but of life…it must enter our heart and pass into our daily living, and so transform us into itself that it may not be unfruitful for us (Calvin 3.6.4).”
- Through the bible this year. Over the years I have used many different reading plans to read through the Bible in one year and this year i am using one that Tim Pointed out, here is a reading schedule if you want to try and catch up.
In addition to reading I am currently preparing these series for preaching:
- History of Christianity, supplementing the DVD series put out by Dr. Timothy George. I will be teaching this series, starting Feb 18th, to our youth. The videos are pretty straight forward and in my case will require much in the way of supplemental material, but this is a great tool to introduce any generation to their Christian heritage.
- Just finished, a four week series on Luke 15: the Prodigal son parable. I recently read Timothy Keller’s book The Prodigal God and enjoyed it very much. His presentation of the parable of the prodigal son is thought provoking and convicting. I spent some time myself after reading the book, studying and meditating on the parable and the fruit of that study became a series for our youth.
- A series on personal relational evangelism for teaching on Sunday nights. This study has been interrupted by youth events and family sickness, which i would rather not discuss, but in the end it has been fruitful for me and will, with the Holy Spirit’s power, prove profitable for the congregation as well.
I am also getting excited about Spring gardening. For those of you who don’t know I have been planting a garden for the last three year and I greatly enjoy this. Here’s what I am doing to get ready
- Planning what to plant. At this time each year I pull out my seed catalogs and my gardening books and think about what I want to raise. I haven’t finished my planning, mainly because i have to whittle my wish list down to a manageable workload. I only have so much space to work with and so much time to work. This is the worst part.
- Preparing the soil, tilling and fertilizing. This is the back breaking joy of late winter for me. The smells, the feel and the anticipation makes me feel like a kid sometimes.
- Getting together with friends who also love to get their hands dirty. This year a neighbor of mine is planning to start a garden and this has afforded me several conversations about the work. On top of that, Roger Nelson, my gardening mentor, and I can’t help but talk about putting seeds in the soil. The communal aspect of gardening is a plus that makes all the work worthwhile.
So this is what I have been up to. What about you?