Sunday, November 15, 2009

Books, don't ya love 'em?

*Sighs* Oh how I love books. If you were to come to my house and meet me, you would be sure of this fact. And some of you have, and are. To me, to read is to breathe. There is no difference. Life without books wouldn't be life at all.
Arnold Lobel said,
"Books to the ceiling,
Books to the sky,
My pile of books is a mile high.
How I love them! How I need them!
I'll have a long beard by the time I read them."

And Charles Elliot,
"Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counsellors, and the most patient of teachers."

So why this random post on books, you ask? Well, I am reading a lot currently, and I have recieved a new book today.
#1. Crazy Love by Francis Chan

This book is and most likely will change my view on how God's love is, has, and will be demonstated to his people.
This is one must read. Check out it's back cover:
Have you ever wondered if we're missing it? It's crazy, if you think about it. The God of the universe--The Creater of nitrogen and pine needles, galaxies and E-minor--loves us with a radical, unconditional, self-sacrificing love. And what is our typical response? We go to church, sing songs, and try not to cuss. Whether you've verbalized it yet or not...we all know something's wrong.
Does something deep inside your heart long to break free from the status quo? Are you hungry for an authentic faith that addresses the problems of our world with tangible, even radical solutins? God is calling you to a passionate love reationship with Himself. Because the answer to religious complacency isn't in working harder at a list of do's and don'ts--it's falling in love with God. And once you encounter His love, you will never be the same.
Because when you're wildly in love with someone, it changes everything."

#2. The Life Book by The Gideon's International

There are 17.5 million high school students in the U.S. Studies say that only 4% of students are Bible-believing Christians, that means over 16 million high school students are missing God's gift of grace in Jesus Christ. Do you wish you could have a greater impact on the next generation? Getting involved with The Life Book Project allows you to help Christian students all over the U.S. saturate their schools with God's Word as they give The Life Book to their friends and classmates. How can you be involved? Go to the above link, or view, download, send a free copy of The Life Book here:

The life book is for students to hand out in their schools, organizations, sports clubs, and oher places where they can develope a relationship with those they give the book too. Find out more info at the website.

#3. By the Sword by Richard Cohen

Well, after the above two, I feel kinda out of place talking about this one. It's a boo about the history of swords. And it is entirely fascinating. Never had I known there was so much to a long piece of steel. Cohen tells his tale in a quirky, narritive way that captures and keeps hold of your attention. I picked this up becuase I needed to know about swords for my story, but I didn't plan on getting a history lesson. This book will definately inhabit my shelves for a long time after.

Anyways, hope you enjoyed this little book critique and gave you some interesting books to pick up soon. More to come from Fall Retreat soon, and Red River pics, and Dancing pics on their way this week!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Tid bits from Fall Retreat

Spent this last weekend away in Kentucky fellowshipping with old friends, new friends, and The Greatest Friend. Four Sermons: Four Different Passages of scripture.
  1. "The Original Nic @ Night" John 3, with special emphasis on John 3:16
  2. "A Camel, a Needle, and a CEO" Matthew 19:16-30
  3. "A Fat Dent" Isaiah 6
  4. "Survival Kit Info" 1 Kings 19
I'm going to go through each of them during this week and share what God revealed to me. I'm not going in order, so bear with me. Here is #2:

The Rich Young Ruler asked Christ 3 questions. Notice where his emphasis lies.

"What good thing must I do to get eternal life?"
"Which [commandments] must I follow ?"
"What still do I lack?"

Nothing we could ever do could give us salvation. This guy comes running to the one who could do all this for him, and he asks what he has to do to earn his salvation. This is a guy who is used to earning things. He is rich. He has a high place in the temple. He has stuff.
But Christ asks him to follow the six commandments that have to do with your relationships with people.
"Do not murder, Do not steal, do not commit adultery, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother, and love your neighbor as yourself."
This guy had money. He didn't have to steal, he could buy it. He could bribe people to do what he wanted, ect. He had "followed" these commands. So the guy asks what more must I do?
Christ replies,
"If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."
Jesus knows that this guy just wants the easy way out. He wants to do what he can to get by, he doesn't want to sacrifice something for the one who made the Greatest Sacrifice.
This guy is justifying himself on external actions. If he sells everything he has, he will lose his position, power, authority, place in society, ect. He will be destitute and will have to rely on Christ, and accept the amazing gift that surviving off of God is.
But he doesn't. He just walks away. And Christ turns to his disciples and makes a very interesting remark.
"I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."
In Jewish society, the camel is one of the most unclean animal in their culture. Christ is essentially saying "The path to heaven is narrow and it's gate small, nothing unclean gets past it."
Hearing this, the disciples are greatly concerned, for the Jews thought that wealth was a sign of God's blessing on your life. And while that maybe so, the Jews took it a step further in saying that if you were rich, you would have eternal life.
The Disciples panicked. They had grown up with this ideology. But they were dirt poor. They had left everything behind in following Christ. If this rich man can't get to heaven, how could they?
But Jesus responds with this,
"And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first."
The Ruler had everything but lacked Jesus. The disciples had everything in Jesus, but were envious of what the Ruler had. Following Jesus isn't about "getting blessings". The reward for following Jesus, is Jesus. He is the only thing you can take with you to heaven.
After all, when was the last time you saw a herse with a U-haul attached to it? You can't take jack-nothin' with you when you die.

So who of the two was the richest in the end? The ruler, or the disciples?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

For Lissi

Found this and I couldn't resist posting it. This song is so sweet and amazing.