The first 40 seconds of this video is EASILY the best example of what Sunday morning is like as a preacher. It's from The Gathering Storm, and this is Winston Churchill. Warning: He's in a bathroom after waking up, so...you know.
Here's an artist that will make my best albums of 2014 list. It's John Fullbright with "When You're Here" off of his album Songs (physical CD $1 cheaper & has instant download). Love his elastic, yet gravely-voice and creative songwriting. I have this song on repeat lately. Selection of lyrics...
Ever changing, Ever moving
Ever finding, Ever losing
Every moment of our choosing bears a cost
As for lonely, I can show you
How to live a life alone
All it takes is getting used to getting lost
In my heart stands a scarecrow
If he’s hurt he doesn’t say so
And he chases everything he loves away
But at night when its colder
There’s a bluebird on his shoulder
And he whispers that he’ll hold her one bright day
Don’t I feel like something when you’re here
Don’t I feel my lungs losing air
Don’t I feel like I can show you
I’m the one you can go to
When you need another heartbeat near
Don’t I feel like something when you’re here.
"Let us never forget the sprawling genius of a midnight dream, and then how silly it seems in the light of day. ... We write to find out how it ends. So let us keep writing. And let us never forget how it feels to hold life in your hands."
I've been diving deeper into the world of notebooks, pencils, and pens lately in order to rework how I use some tools for daily tasks, projects, note-taking, journaling, etc. I'm always tweaking something, but I realized I was in a slump and needed some changes. I'm working on a lengthy post about pencils and how I'm geeking out on them right now. I think they are often taken for granted and underappreciated. I think they are remarkable and handy and enjoyable. And my pencil discoveries have put me in a generous mood. I'm giving away some pencils.
But I want to do more than just give some pencils away. I want to give you something to write in. Something beautiful to write in.
I use Field Notes brand of notebooks every day. I keep one in my left front pocket. The newest edition of Field Notes, which is still available to buy, is just lovely and I want to get some in your hands. It's the Ambition limited edition Field Notes. They have gilded pages, beautiful covers, and useful formats (explained below). When I knew I wanted to do a pencil giveaway and these came out, I just had to contact the fine folks who make Field Notes and ask if they would be willing to provide these for my readers. They sent three 3-packs just for you guys. They threw in their pencil as well since they knew I was doing a pencil giveaway.
So here's the giveaway. Three readers will win:
- One 3-pack of Ambition Field Notes with bookmark
- 5 pencils I love
- 2 extra pencils that are a little different & interesting to try out
- 1 Staedtler Mars Plastic eraser
- 1 Pencil cap
- 1 two-size pencil sharpener
Other than the notebook sets, bookmark, and pencil, I bought everything else myself and I'm paying for shipping. It's my Christmas gift to three of my readers. I just can't wait to get some good pencils and notebooks into the world!
Who is eligible for the giveaway? My desire is to give these to my normal readers -- pastors, seminarians, writers, workers in various ministries, missionaries, etc. If this giveaway isn't for you, would you please share it with your pastor/pastors so they can enter? If you have these books already, please don't enter. I'm also limiting this to the U.S. Sorry international friends!
Here's more info on the specifics of the notebooks and pencils...
Ambition - Limited Edition Field Notes Notebooks - One sealed 3 pack
These are gorgeous pocket notebook sized productivity jewels. Gilded pages, sturdy covers with rich colors ("Olive," "Chocolate," & "Wine"), and light brown inner lines. To see more about what they look like outside and in, go here.
- Book One - Weekly Planner/Memorandum Notebook -- I'm keeping this at my desk for briefly recording daily happenings worth remembering including weather, family activities, church happenings, world events, etc. Some of your grandparents did this, like mine did. Trying it out for 2015. You can use it however you like!
- Book Two - Ledger Lined -- Even if you don't need a true "ledger" book, it's very useful. I'm using one for a dash/plus organization system for myself. It's also a very handy format for todo lists, a personal or family prayer list, a project/next actions list, shopping list, or just writing across the lines like a journal.
- Book Three - Grid/Graph -- This is a more traditional form of pocket notebook that can be used in a million different ways. Grid paper of various types is my "go to" paper for everyday notes and lists and all sorts of work.
Here's a short video preview of Field Notes Ambition edition...
5 Pencils I Love (& Extras)
- Field Notes Pencil -- Cedar, natural, & nice firm graphite for holding a fine point longer (sharpen less often). I use this everyday with my memorandum notebook because a sharp point that lasts allows me to write smaller.
- Staedtler Norica -- This black beauty writes like butter. It leaves dark marks and is wonderfully smooth. We got a big stock of these for the kids for school.
- General's Cedar Pointe -- A favorite all-around pencil for me. Beautiful with natural wood grain.
- Musgrave Test Scoring 100 -- My kids LOVE this one because it's so smooth and so dark. Rich writing experience.
- Palomino Golden Bear -- This cool looking orange pencil with blue eraser is perfect for everyday use. Writes fairly dark and holds the point longer than many. This is what I keep in my pocket whenever I'm out of my office.
- Staedtler Wopex Pencil -- One of two Staedtler pencils in the pack, this one is unique in that it's an eco pencil. It's made of recycled wood and plastic. It's weird and heavy and interesting. A fun one to add so you can try something different.
- Dixon Tri-Conderoga Pencil -- The Dixon brand is a decent pencil you can buy most anywhere (Target, Wal-Mart). They are hit-and-miss for me because the brand is so big and the production quality varies. But I like the Tri-Conderoga a lot. It's an interesting one because it's slightly oversized and three sided. A comfortable pencil for writing.
- Staedtler Mars Plastic Eraser -- Go ahead and try this next to any other eraser. It's amazing. I use mine every single day.
- Two-Size Pencil Sharpener -- Nothing special, just giving one to each so you can sharpen the pencils I'm sending. They have seen mild usage but should do well enough to get you started. Just don't take these excellent pencils and eat them up in a bad electric sharpener.
- General's Pencil Cap -- Take a pencil in your pocket or throw it in a bag with this cap. Keeps it from breaking or impaling your leg.
HERE'S HOW YOU ENTER
1. Comment Below. In your comment tell me two things: A. What kind ministry you do, and B. Something memory you have about pencils and/or erasers. Make sure you give your real email in the comment form (not in the actual comment) so I can contact winners.
2. Share. Please share the following on Twitter minus the quote marks (Facebook too, if you can):
" Pencils & Paper for Pastors Giveaway: limited edition notebooks & amazing pencils. Enter: http://bit.ly/getpencils "
On Friday I'll tally the number of entries and use random.org to pick 3 winners.
May the odds be ever in your favor!
In the new batch of $5 albums at Amazon I found some gems.
- Sharon Van Etten: Are We There
- Four Tet: There Is Love In You | Album of the Year for me in 2010
- The Rolling Stones: Exile On Main Street
- Hiss Golden Messenger: Lateness of Dancers
- Angel Olsen: Burn Your Fire For No Witness
- Andrew Bird: Music of Hair
- Field Report: Marigolden
- Flogging Molly: Drunken Lullabies
- Bill Evans Trio: Sunday at the Village Vanguard
- John Coltrane: Blue Train
- MIles Davis: Steamin'
- Brandi Carlile: Bear Creek
- Ryan Adams: Gold
- Chevelle: This Type of Thinking
- Animal Collective: Centipede Hz
- Dirty Projectors: Bitte Orca
- Elliott Smith: XO & Figure 8
Danny had an extra credit project for Thanksgiving this year. Despite having never gotten a grade below an A, he did it anyway. Pretty funny kid. And the family helped out!
As the end of the year approaches I am working on my Best Albums of 2014 list. So much fun getting to the end and thinking through all the great new stuff out there. Coming soon!
STREAM FREE - Mogwai: Music Industry 3 Fitness Industry 1 EP | I expected this to be just ok and I'm enjoying it a lot more than I expected!
WATCH - Kendrick Lamar's performance of "i" on Saturday Night Live a couple of weeks ago is one of the best live performances I've seen on SNL. Or anywhere. I've watched it multiple times and shown it to some others. Now I want to share it with you. First, the performance. Second, the lyric video with the album version. There is colorful language in the second video, but the lyrics are well worth reading through and thinking through. We need more music like this. His 2013 album good kid, m.A.A.d. city is only $5.99 right now.
My wife made me aware of this. Not new. Still relevant. Not secular. Funny! I laughed pretty hard at this. Enjoy and happy Friday!
- Tim Keller - Prayer (Amazon) | I'm partway through and it's excellent. Inspiring. Refreshing.
- Paul Tripp - New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional (Amazon) | These are dated, so perfect for 2015.
National Book Awards for 2014 | I'm going to check out Louise Gluck's winning book of poetry, Faithful and Virtuous Night. Check out winners and finalists for fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and young people's literature.
Christmas music on my radar...
Global HAIKU Project by Baron Fig | These creators of great notebooks are trying to help you collaborate on great poetry. A neat idea! Nothing complicated. In the span of a few minutes you can contribute to three poems. Can't wait to show my kiddos and get them involved. Also check out Baron Fig notebooks & company. (Also, don't miss my earlier post on the most beautiful, affordable notebooks I've come across for daily use. They aren't Baron Fig, but I love those too!)
For the last few months I've been using the Bible Speaks Today (BST) New Testament commentary series on Logos. They supplied me with the digital copy in my Logos library for use and review. I reviewed Logos 5 in March and my review for Logos 6 will be up in a few weeks. It's an outstanding program.
The BST commentary series isn't new to me. Commentaries from this set have been a blessing to me for years and are some of my favorite commentaries because they do so well at blending Bible exposition, pastoral considerations, and theology. They are deep without isolating folks who don't have knowledge of the biblical languages. Excellent work by John Stott.
Like any commentary series with multiple authors, you have some outstanding commentaries and a few that just don't trip your trigger. Stott's commentaries in this series (Sermon on the Mount, Acts, Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, the Timothys) are amazing. I've read the Acts commentary multiple times and used all the others I listed in part or in full. But Stott's volumes aren't the only good ones. Motyer, Clowney, and Milne are just a few of the others I've used in some form and really like.
I've been using BST on Logos almost exclusively on my iPad. It's super quick. I have BST on the left and ESV on the right and it's the most fun I have using a commentary. I've used it on my iPhone when I forgot my iPad at home.
Having a top notch New Testament commentary series everywhere I go is a delight. I'm currently using it Milne on the Gospel of John for my sermon series on John. I've typically used paper commentaries to read through once either in my home office or at a cafe and I take notes from it and don't look at it again. I find myself referring back more, and reworking my thoughts on a passage better, by having the commentary with me.
I've had Logos for a while and have a number of great resources to use on it. Most of the resources I've used are individual books or small sets on theology or culture. This is the first set of newer commentaries for Logos that I have and it's proven to be everything Logos has promised. I've replaced a piece of my library and I'm using it more than ever and better than ever.
What to replace next?
Check out Logos 6 and The Bible Speaks Today New Testament Commentary Series. For $99.95 you get the whole set, 22 volumes (8 are from Stott). A great deal.
Two of the everyday carry (EDC) things are a pocket notebook and a pencil. I'm nerding out over them and they are making my daily work more efficient, my mind less cluttered, and my productivity apps on my phone a little more lonely. My favorite pocket notebook, a recent discovery of mine, is Field Notes. And what a discovery. Small enough to keep in a front pocket or throw in a bag. It's barely noticed, yet it gives me the freedom to have the original "white board" with me everywhere I go to do with as I please. I use it as a paper planner, mind dump, quote collector, todo list, journal, and more. I plan to share more about how I'm using my Field Notes/pocket notebooks another time.
Right now I want to talk to you about one particular Field Notes book that just might make you fall in love with this size of notebook.
On top of a number of always-available and very useful notebooks (Kraft, Cherry Wood, Pitch Black, County Fair) Field Notes has what they call a "Colors" collection that goes to yearly subscribers and those who place special orders until they sell out.
The newest "Colors" Field Notes is called "Ambition." You can buy a pack (three books) for $9.95. In each 3-pack there is one schedule book, one ledger, and one graph paper notebook. You can use them as they are intended or hack them to use as needed, which is what I might do. These feature gorgeous covers and colors, gilded pages, and even gold colored staples. A perfect companion for you as you journal, take notes, or write out a new idea.
They will sell out and, as I've learned the last couple of months, they will even go up in price as unused limited edition Field Notes always go up in price. Yet they are only $9.95 for three packs and no more expensive than their regular, always-produced editions. Amazing. I'm buying a bunch. I thought some of my readers might want to buy some to use or to give as gifts this Christmas season.
A couple more photos below.
Amazon's $5 albums have been a bummer lately, but this most recent batch has some gems. Here they are...
- Andrew Bird: Things Are Really Great Here, Sort Of...
- Chvrches: The Bones of What You Believe
- Tove Lo: Queen of the Clouds | Her song "Habits" is one of my favorite songs of the year. Amazing. Right in the same wheelhouse as Sia's "Chandelier."
- LCD Soundsystem: This Is Happening
- Explosions in the Sky: Take Care, Take Care, Take Care
- The Gloaming: The Gloaming
- J.D. McPherson: Signs & Signifiers | Try out: "North Side Gal"
- Damien Rice: O
- Sturgill Simpson: Metamodern Sounds In Country Music
- Ellington, Mingus, Roach: Money Jungle
Taylor Swift pulled her music from Spotify. Spotify claims she would have made millions. Dave Grohl has some choice (and adult) words for Taylor Swift. Taylor says...
Next time you think you can't do something because you don't have the perfect tool to use to create it, watch this.
I'm convinced a movie night with his wife, and specifically hearing the song and the lyrics below, convinced Rob Bell to write The Zimzum of Love. Oh I know "zimzum" is from the Hebrew and all that. Blah blah blah. I'm not dumb, Rob. I know. Just check out these lyrics and the song below to find the real inspiration for crazy relationship words. Maybe they didn't use the word "zimzum" but it would of fit right in.
We're one of a kind
Like dip da-dip da-dip doo-wop da doo-bee doo
Our names are signed
Boogedy boogedy boogedy boogedy
Shooby doo-wop she-bop
Chang chang changitty chang sha-bop
We'll always be like one, wa-wa-wa-waaah
- Preaching & Preachers by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones ($3.99)
- Pilgrim Theology by Michael Horton ($5.99)
- For Calvinism by Michael Horton ($2.99)
- A Place For Weakness by Michael Horton ($2.99)
- A Meal With Jesus by Tim Chester ($0.99)
- Church History: A Crash Course for the Curious by Christopher Catherwood ($0.99)
- Historical Theology by Gregg Allison ($5.98)
- Rediscovering Holiness by J.I. Packer ($2.99)
- Worship By The Book by Carson, Hughes, others ($2.99)
- Telling the Truth by D.A. Carson & others ($0.99)
- Learning Evangelism From Jesus by Jerram Barrs ($0.99)
- Holy Subversion by Trevin Wax ($0.99)
- The Gospel At Work by Traeger and Gilbert ($3.99)
OUT TOMORROW - I'd like to highly encourage you to stream FREE the new The Twilight Sad album, Nobody Wants To Be Here and Nobody Wants To Leave. It's out tomorrow. I still regularly listen to their 2007 album, Fourteen Autumns and Fifteen Winters. Love this band! Their music is wonderfully moody.
BURNING UP MY iPOD
- Delta Spirit: Into The Wide | I'm desperate to get as many as possible to discover this album. And it's only $5. A steal. I've listened to no album more this year and it's still pretty new.
- Hozier: Hozier | A bluesy, rock-soul album. Lots of enjoyable stuff on this one.
The Gray Havens have released a new song before the release of Fire & Stone in January 2015. Check out "Songs in the Night"...
One more. I often rediscover old albums and songs I loved and mentally misplaced for a while. Check out "Charlie Darwin" by The Low Anthem off of their outstanding 2009 album, Oh My God, Charlie Darwin.
- Exploring Grace Together by Jessica Thompson ($0.99)
- Galatians by Todd Wilson ($0.99)
- Church History by Christopher Catherwood ($0.99)
- Redemption by Mike Wilkerson ($0.99)
- Jesus + Nothing = Everything by Tullian Tchividjian ($0.99)
- Finding Faithful Elders & Deacons by Thabiti Anyabwile ($0.99)
- Holy Subversion by Trevin Wax ($0.99)
- Learning Evangelism from Jesus by Jerram Barrs ($0.99)
- A Meal With Jesus by Tim Chester ($0.99)
- What's Best Next by Matthew Perman ($3.79)
- Facing Leviathan by Mark Sayers ($3.82)
- The Road Trip that Changed the World by Mark Sayers ($3.82)
- I recommend: Kindle Paperwhite
I watched this as research for a project I'm working on. Awesome.