July 29, 2010

God's Masterpiece

This a great little film about being God's masterpiece by The Skit Guys. I hope that it encourages and edifies you as it has me.

July 23, 2010

The Christian Life

This life, therefore, is not righteousness, but growth in righteousness
not health but healing,
not being but becoming,
not rest but exercise,
We are not yet what we shall be, but we are growing toward it;
the process is not yet finished but it is going on;
this is not the end but it is the road.
All does not yet gleam in glory but all is being purified.

July 17, 2010

Stuff Christians Like: an Audiobook Review

I've been thinking for a while how I would approach reviewing Stuff Christians Like by Jonathan Acuff. To begin with, listening to an audiobook always feels a little awkward (this is only the third one I've ever listened to), and Acuff's book is not exactly one that would normally be grouped with the books I usually read (John Piper, John MacArthur, CJ Mahaney, etc.)

However, I say neither of these things to discredit Acuff or say that I disliked it. To the contrary, as an overall statement I enjoyed Stuff Christians Like immensely. It had me laughing and thinking deeply about some things that deserve much thought. But before I get into that more, let me express the purpose of this book.

In his book, Jon Acuff uses satire as a means of communicating the absurdity of certain things that Christians do, or that are associated with Christians. And he does this as a Christian, often poking as much fun at himself (if not more so) than others. Acuff uses his satire expertly, in such a way that he is able to disarm the reader (or listener, in my case) and present a side of an issue that they might not otherwise listen to. However, there was at least one time when listening to the audiobook when I was confused as to what Acuff was trying to defend. Also, one caveat I would give is that, once or twice, I feel that I would have used different words or language than he used in the book. But I maintain that any such language was minimal.

For all the sarcasm and the laughs that came from it, at times, I was saddened by some of the things Acuff pointed out. It is unfortunate that Christians are perceived in certain negative lights. But it is especially unfortunate that Christians are perceived this way often because these things are true.

The final chapter of this book, in my opinion, was the most helpful. In it, Acuff puts aside the sarcasm and bares his heart for all to see. Much of what he says in that chapter resonates with my own soul, and how I too often rely on and love Christ too little, and depend on myself too much.

Ultimately, I am thankful for what God has taught me through Jonathan Acuff in this book. It was good to let down my guard enough to be able to laugh at myself and the foolish things I (and others) try to do to impress others or earn favor with God. I recommend this book to you if you can spare your pride long enough to read it (or listen).

NOTE: I would recommend listening to this book rather than reading it for two reasons. 1) There is something about hearing the author's sarcastic, satirical tone that is simply irreplaceable. 2) There are a few points throughout the book where Acuff stops reading for a few minutes to give background or extra information regarding what he is saying.

July 14, 2010

Piper's Caution to the Young, Restless, and Reformed Crowd

Justin Taylor shares John Piper's advice to New Calvinists. Whether you are a New Calvinist or not, I believe all Christians should hear this. I urge you to take five minutes out of your day and watch this video.

As a young Calvinist and, therefore, a part of the "New Calvinism" crowd, I find this word of advice extremely relevant and in need of being heeded. Thank you John Piper, you have expressed where my heart is better than I could once again.

July 6, 2010

Memorial to a Father

About two weeks ago, an excellent local surgeon by the name of Robert Rudolph passed away. While I did not know Dr. Rudolph personally, I went to school with his two sons and had seen him on occasion through the years.

Recently in a post on Facebook, one of Dr. Rudolph's daughters wrote a tribute to her father that I would like to share here with you. Whether you knew Dr. Rudolph or not, I encourage you to read this moving tribute to a remarkable man.

"Memorial for My Dad":

I’ve spent my whole life sharing my dad. It used to bother me when his beeper was relentless. His cell phone stuck to his ear. And then blue tooth came out…don’t even get me started on the blue tooth and the many conversations I thought I was having with him, but really he was having with someone buzzing in his ear. We’d be talking about something like my kids and then suddenly he’d be discussing someone’s colon or urine output, the light bulb would turn on and I’d then realize my conversation was being cheated on. There were moments that I thought about writing my name on a chart and dropping on the table in front of him to earn some time with him. It always made me mad to share him, until one day...

One day someone thanked me for sharing him. They told me their amazing story about how my dad and his blessed, skilled hands had healed their loved one. I then realized I shared my dad for thousands of reasons and they were all lives that he had touched. shared my dad because God was making it possible through my dad’s hands to save lives. My dad was giving other people their dads, their moms, their brothers, sisters, spouses, and the list continues on. Growing up, I spent hours at the hospitals learning which nurses would provide popsicles and pop. What stools on wheels were best to race on in the hallways, where the Xerox copiers were and what old school computers would print off pictures of Snoopy made from stars. But, best of all I got to see what amazingness my dad’s hands were capable of. I saw him advocate for his patients, shake hands, hug the families, I saw his handy work surrounding me. I saw God’s miracles through my dad. His hands…………My dad’s hands. My sister Julie admired my dad’s hands after he passed. It was a beautiful moment when she held onto him remembering all the stitches he had sown, all the lives had touched, all the surgeries he had performed.

As I remember his hands and talk about his work I can hear my dad in my head and the lecture begins, “Jennifer, you’re missing the point! Tell them about how God created my hands; tell them about how God used a stubborn doubting man of science to show His love through healing and hard work. Tell them about how God forgave me and how God used my greatest weaknesses for His greatest glories in my life.”

My dad was a strong man in his scrubs with scalpel in hand, but he always struggled with family. Family was his weakness. And God waited patiently for my dad to ask for help. When my dad finally realized that he needed God and came to God desperately seeking Him in all aspects of his life, God began to work miracles in our family. Beautiful, healing, awe-inspiring, loving miracles.

Although my dad absolutely, undeniably loved surgery and medicine, I believe that if you asked his greatest accomplishments in his 60 years, he would list his relationship with Jesus Christ and his family at the top. When the Rudolph family began multiplying my dad said he didn’t know how he felt about being a grandfather. We teased him about what the kids would call him and Sarah tried persistently to train the girls to call him “Pap-Paw.” It didn’t take long for Launa to wrap my dad around her little finger and he came running when he heard “Granddad.” One of my favorite memories will always be when I was pregnant with my second daughter and my husband Nate was out of town. So my dad offered to take Launa to the motocross track with Jonathan for the day, and it sounded like a great idea. Around 9p.m., they brought Launa home filthy dirty with a diaper that probably weighted 5lbs. sagging down to her knees causing her to walk like a duck, and on a caffeine-high from Lord knows how much sweet tea. The whole point of the trip was to give me some rest, and when Launa returned I was up until close to 2a.m. trying to go to sleep! Needless to say, my dad earned the title Granddad quickly through spoiling and returning her home to me. God uses our weakness to show how strong He can be for us when we need Him the most. And my dad’s life is a magnificent illustration of how God shows up big when we allow Him in our hearts.

11 years ago we lost my mom to colon cancer and I distinctly remember thinking how cruel it was that the world around me just continued on like nothing had changed, like no saint was lost, like no lives were devastated. I left my mom’s memorial service mad at the world, mad at God, closed fisted and ticked off. After a few years of bitterness and anger, I slowly began to see how awesome God’s plan was; how he was trying to hand me pieces of joy, but I had my hands closed to him. And when I opened my hands and allowed him into my heart he showed up big and small. He showed me how He healed my mom by bringing her home. He showed me the extended family I could have because she was home with Him. He gave me sisters and sisters and more sisters! He revealed how beautiful my mom’s faith was through her notes and Bible and sisters in Christ who continue to share stories about my mom. He continues to reveal His plan and I ask us all to leave our hands open today so that we can receive His love, His comfort; and I pray we keep our eyes and hearts open to His will so that we don’t miss the many blessings that will pour out from how God used my dad’s life. As I stand before you today, I look around at how the world continues on after the death of my dad and how glorious and beautiful it makes the world that we can keep going and the thread of my dad’s life continues on through us.
I leave you with this scripture, 1 Corinthians 15: 50-57:

I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory."

"Where, O death, is your victory?

Where, O death, is your sting?" The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

July 1, 2010

The Glories of Christ

John Flavel, a preacher who preceded the great American preacher Jonathan Edwards by about fifty years wrote a series of sermons entitled The Fountain of Life Opened Up in 1671. In the opening letter, he writes:

My dear and hounoured friends

If my pen were both able, and at leisure, to get glory in paper, it would be but a paper glory when I had gotten it; but if by displaying the transcendent excellency of Jesus Christ, I may win glory to Him from you, to whom I humbly offer them, or from any other into whose hands providence shall cast them, that will be glory indeed, and an occasion of glorifying God for all eternity...

Alas! I write His praises but by moon light; I cannot praise Him so much as by halves. Indeed, no tongue but His own (as Nazianzen said of Basil) is sufficient to undertake that task. What shall I say of Christ? The excelling glory of that object dazzles all apprehension, swallows up all expression. When we have borrowed metaphors from every creature that has any excellencey or lovely property in it, till we have stript the whole creation bare of all its ornaments, and clothed Christi with all that glory; when we have even worn out our tongues, in ascribing praises to Him, alas! we have done nothing, when all is done.



© 2009Mind in Renewal | by TNB