It is with great excitement that I announce our new blog open. A Hill to Die On is now up and ready for reading. Please just click the link above to get there and thanks for coming by. We will keep this blog open for a while (largely to just direct traffic), and maybe some of our old posts will find a home over on the new blog as well. For the few who have been following us, we hope that you will continue to do so at the new blog.
Author Archives: John
Just over one year ago today, our moving truck pulled into Village Manor apartments (amazingly with our car still in tow) and we began our life in Louisville. In some ways it is hard to believe that a year has passed, and in other ways it seems like we have been here a lot longer.
God brought us to Louisville to learn to trust him more. A year ago, while I knew we were trusting in God when we came down here without a job, we still had so much to learn. God has used the past year to teach us a great deal about trusting him. One of the biggest lessons that I needed to learn was that this lesson is one that never goes away. Trusting God is meant to be a continual occupation of the Christian. This is something that really struck me as I studied for the lesson that I taught last Wednesday night at church. We are going through the Psalms and last week we were on Psalm 62. Read the rest of this entry »
I recently had the opportunity to teach through Romans 8 in our adult Sunday school class at church, and I may have mentioned listening to Jason Gray’s new CD on more than one occasion. I have been thinking a lot about the middle portion of that awesome passage of scripture lately.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. (Romans 8:18-23 ESV) Read the rest of this entry »
While it is still a month and a half away and while I have not yet read these books there are a couple of Christmas books coming out that look really, really good. They look like they would be great for families to read together as they focus on the beautiful story of redemption in the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Sally Lloyd-Jones writes the first one called, Song of the Stars, a Christmas book that focuses on the celebration of all creation at the birth of Jesus. Sally is the author of The Jesus Storybook Bible, a book that we loved reading through with our son more than once. The other book is called Behold the Lamb of God: An Advent Narrative by Russ Ramsey. While I have never read anything by Russ Ramsey, I have been profoundly affected by Andrew Peterson’s “Behold the Lamb of God” CD which in part serves as the inspiration for this book. I say in part as it has the same title as Peterson’s CD and because Peterson writes the forward to the book, but it should be obvious to all that the real inspiration is the gloriously beautiful story of God becoming flesh and dwelling among us. Read the rest of this entry »
In keeping up with my long term goal of reading a biography on every president (you can read a previous post which contains a list on the books I have read so far by clicking here), I recently finished reading this book on our sixth president, John Quincy Adams. In reading the book, I have gained quite a bit of respect for our little known 6th president.
John Quincy Adams grew up the oldest son of John and Abigail Adams. Growing up in the tumultuous revolutionary years of our country, seeing the way in which his father labored for the country and was so maligned despite the sacrifices he made to help establish America, it is a wonder that he pursued a life of a politician. He was a man very much beholden to duty; a characteristic instilled from a very young age. Sent on his first diplomatic mission at the age of 14-15 as the aid to the US minister to Russia, he demonstrated a capacity for languages and for diplomacy. However, upon returning to America, John Quincy tried to follow his own path as much as his father would let him. He graduated from Harvard and began to pursue a career as a lawyer. It was a pursuit that would be interrupted by the call of duty, the call to serve his country. The call to serve was made harder to turn down as it came from the first president and revolutionary war hero, George Washington. Washington tapped the younger Adams (27 at the time) as minister to the Netherlands in 1794. It was in this diplomatic post that John Quincy would flourish in many ways. I wonder if being out from his father’s shadow had anything to do with the growth of John Quincy. I do know that the distance across the pond encouraged some boldness in finding a wife on the part of Adams. Having his plans dashed earlier in life by his meddling parents, Adams moved quickly in securing the hand of his wife Louisa Catherine Johnson, the daughter of Joshua Johnson, the US Consul to Britain. To give credence to Adams’ short courtship, one must understand the meddling of his parents. John and Abigail had very strong opinions on the shape the future should take for their children, and when Abigail found out about her son’s intentions she wrote him, “Time will trim the luster of the eye, and wither the bloom of the face.” Abigail further encouraged John Quincy to “seek a more lasting union of friendship.” With the Atlantic separating them, John Quincy boldly replied back to his mother’s annoying meddling by writing that if he waited to find a woman that would suit her, “I would be doomed to perpetual celibacy.” Read the rest of this entry »
I am watching the Lord of the Rings extended edition, and thoroughly enjoying being able to see the epic that Tolkien so beautifully penned. If you have read the books and then seen the movies as I have, then you will understand what I mean. This is one movie series that did a great job in staying true to the book. During the course of the first movie, there is a scene when Frodo knows what he has to do regarding the ring and he tells Gandalf that he wishes the ring had never come to him in the first place. Gandalf replies to Frodo, “So do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.” Read the rest of this entry »
I just recently came across some quotes by JD Greear on the gospel. He has written a book titled, The Gospel: Rediscovering the Power that made Christianity Revolutionary. I have not read the book, but based on these three quotes that I am going to share, it seems like it might be a good read.
“Being able to articulate the gospel with accuracy is one thing; having its truth captivate your soul is quite another. The gospel is not just supposed to be our ticket into heaven; it is to be an entirely new basis for how we relate to God, ourselves, and others. It is to be the source from which everything else flows.”
What an awesome reminder that we all need from time to time. The gospel must captivate our soul; it is not just our “ticket to heaven.” How often though, do we live as if that were what we believe, that knowing the gospel is my way in and that is all I need. The right understanding of the gospel will not allow the “ticket to heaven” mentality to stay with us for long as we are transformed more and more into the image of God. We will see that the gospel enables us to relate in a New way with God, ourselves, and others. It will help us to apply the next quote:
“In Christ, there is nothing I can do that would make You love me more, and nothing I have done that makes You love me less.”
In Christ there is true liberty, spiritual freedom from the bondage of our sin. With the proper understanding of the gospel mentioned in the previous quote, we will understand that this knowledge doesn’t encourage us to live how ever we want, but that it enables and encourages us to live God-glorifying lives that point others to our Redeemer.
I think the last quote I wanted to share sums up really well, what I was trying to say.
“The amount which you understand the gospel is measured by your ability to be joyful in all circumstances. If you grasp what a treasure the presence and acceptance of God are, then even when life goes really wrong you will have a joy that sustains you, because you’ll recognize the value of what you have in Him. When life punches you in the face, you’ll say, ‘But I still have the love and acceptance of God, a treasure I don’t deserve.’ And the joy you find in that treasure can make you rejoice even when you have a bloody nose. You have a joy that death and depravation cannot touch.”
That is the power of the Gospel, the power that made and still makes Christianity revolutionary.
I am not a literature expert by any means, but I do like good literature, and in my opinion the book of Ruth is the greatest short story ever written (sorry Edgar Allen Poe). The short story that is the book of Ruth has all the elements that make a great short story. It has twists and turns, the element of surprise and suspense, and probably the greatest element in all great literature is the theme of redemption. The redemption theme presented in this story works out on a personal level for a few of the characters, a national level for the nation of Israel, and on a cosmic level as the redemption promised in this book reaches out to all peoples though out all ages. Read the rest of this entry »
How many times have you got yourself saying, “It is what it is” but really knew that there was actually so much more to it than that. How often have you resigned yourself in a giving situation with this catch-all phrase? Well, I hope you think about the fact that it is not just what it is; that there is so much more to every life situation than can be captured in this phrase of resignation. I just read a great post over at the Rabbit Room that captures beautifully what I am trying to say and I think it is well worth a read so I will share it here. It was titled, “It is What it is, but It is not What it Shall Be.” Read the rest of this entry »
I am sorry if you are getting tired of me talking about the new CD by Jason Gray we have been listening to, but I like it a lot so here is one more post about what the CD is all about.
The CD is aptly titled “A Way to See in the Dark” and each song follows along this theme of how we can see in the dark times of life, whatever they may be. One reason we love this CD is because we have an understanding of the background of the artist as we have read posts by him and see interviews of him. He is a singer, songwriter, pastor who has a stutter, though not when he sings. Imagining how hard that has been for him and hearing him talk of the transformation that God has done in his life helps make the meaning of these songs come to life. Another reason we like the CD so much is that it really strikes a nerve with our lives, and because it so beautifully proclaims that the only way we can see in the dark is because Jesus has shined a light into our darkness and made a way for us to see. We have been through many difficult circumstances in our life, and the truth proclaimed in these songs of how Christ faithfully provides the escape just when it seems there is nothing else to do, you are seemingly at the end of your rope and are about to lose hope. That is not to say that it is the rescue we always want, but it is always the rescue that we need. Read the rest of this entry »