Do you have children? Would you like to give them more fun in studying? Do you want to help them in ace-ing their tests at school? If so, you should definitely continue reading, as there are amazing things your child can learn from you! After reading this article, you will be a personal mind-mapping coach for your child.
A Call To Resurgence: Will Christianity Have a Funeral Or a Future | Mark Driscoll's next book
This isn’t the time to wait or debate. Hell is hot, and forever is a long time. Lost people need to be reached, churches need to be planted, and nations need to be evangelized. Let’s have some amazing, Jesus-empowered stories to tell our grandkids.
You worked at it. If you guide them right your kids will work at it, too. And one day they might even take a killer, life-altering photo and thank you for it.
Help me—grant me grace to go with you into the sufferings of friends and family; sit longer in the groans and birth pangs of my own heart (Rm. 8:23); and engage more fully in the injustices and brokenness of my community. This is who you are and this is what you’re doing; for your name is Redeemer.
Miss my Mom!
Trying to capture a memorable moment during a sporting event isn't easy. You never know when it's coming. You make guesses and take lots of pictures that are just ok at best. I think I got a good one with Elijah running in a cross country meet. You can also check out the rest of my photography.
I enjoy catching moments in which the mundane becomes interesting. This was a touristy spot in a touristy city with my touristy kid with a touristy dad with a touristy camera. But a mild post-processing filter plays with the light and makes it interesting to me.
Check all of my photography. If my photography is new to you, check out the 10 photos people have favorited most on my Flickr stream.
We're bacon Christmas cookies. What are you bacon?
See previous years of McCoy family Christmas photos.
Sarah and I were walking out of Java Planet yesterday just after a storm passed and I asked her to do that one superhero thing she does. If she aims it at you, you die. Beware. Actually, just after I took this a double rainbow showed up and I didn't take a picture. I was too busy wondering what it meant. See more of my photography.
Danny in a waiting room while Molly was getting an MRI. It was on the 2nd floor overlooking a bunch of people working out at a sports medicine facility & gym. | My photography.
1. Ads: You can see that I'm gearing up for some advertising on the right sidebar. I've thought about it for a long time & had some advertisers express some interest. I'm going to give it a go. It would be financially helpful for my family during tight times. If you are interested, click on an "Advertise Here" link.
2. Links: I also want to add that whenever you see a link of mine to a book or music on Amazon with the Reformissiona-20 tag on it, that means I get a small cut for recommending it. It adds nothing to your cost. It's the same as if you went straight to Amazon. Essentially by buying products with my link you get same good price and help supply my book budget. I have no other book budget than this. Thanks for supporting it. And I work very hard not to just point you to anything in the hope of making some cash. I skip over recommending many deals that I don't personally want to recommended.
4. Writing Projects: I have several blog articles in the works that have been fermenting for a while and that I'm excited about. I want to get a regular schedule for posting articles in the next couple of weeks. Look for that. I'm saying it publicly so I feel guilty if I don't get it started. :)
5. Phriday is for Photos: I haven't been very active in photography lately, but I'm also planning on getting it kicking again.
6. Molly: I know it doesn't seem like a very cool "coming attraction," but expect more soon about my wife's battle with Chiari I Malformation. The blog has helped her to connect and minister to many women who are suffering the same things and scared.
7. Tim Keller Resources: It's been a while since I seriously worked on my TK Resource page. Without doing anything a few things there look broken. I hope to get it back in shape for your resourcing pleasure.
A great little video on Fotoweek D.C. 2010. I love photography even more because of stuff like this.
This was a favorite playground ride as a kid. It's existed a lot longer than me, and now my kids get to play on it. That's Elijah in the first photo. While you can photoshop blur into a picture, this is just as it was taken. I was riding the other side and my camera was moving at the same speed & direction as E's head while the rest of him wasn't. Pretty cool. The second pic from left to right is Sarah (13 1/2), Daniel (7 1/2), Jack (12) and Elijah (10). See all my photography.
Tullian Tchividjian: Counterfeit Gospels
The good news of the gospel is that both inside and outside the church, there is only One Savior and Lord, namely Jesus. And he came, not to angrily strip away our freedom, but to affectionately strip away our slavery to lesser things so that we might become truly free!
As I was just talking to Jayne about this she said many people are willing to do the basics of hospitality, but shut down once it gets difficult and messy. It is at this point, where the Gospel gives us strength to continue AND where the opportunities to give a reason for our hope (1 Peter 3:15) open up because most people (believer and unbeliever alike) know how to be “good neighbors”, however, very few are willing to “suffer” (if we can call it that) for the sake of others.
We have found that the mess and the difficulty of loving hospitality done in the power of the Gospel is one of the most powerful witnesses we’ve had to our neighborhood.
Don't start with a big program. Don't suddenly think you can add to your church budget and begin. Start personally and start in your home. I dare you. I dare you in the name of Jesus Christ. Do what I am going to suggest. Begin by opening your home for community...
How many times in the past year have you risked having a drunk vomit on your carpeted floor? How in the world, then, can you talk about compassion and about community--about the church's job in the inner city?
Joe Thorn: Do You Love the Law?
But here's the rub: we can only love the law after it has been fulfilled by Christ on our behalf. The law will only be a delight to us after we have found life by the gospel.
Lifehacker: Create your own QR-Code, like this one for my Tim Keller Resources...
>< Starting to read Introverts in the Church by Adam McHugh soon. So much good buzz out there on this book. I've needed a book like this for years, and now it's here. From the introduction...
My hope is that, through this book, God will begin or continue a process of healing introverts--helping them find freedom in their identities and confidence to live their faith in ways that feel natural and life-giving, the way that God intended.
>< I'm still working on a review for Holy Ground: Walking with Jesus as a Former Catholic by Chris Castaldo. I really like it. If you are doing outreach to Catholics or have Catholic family and/or friends (that's pretty much all of us), I recommend this book.
>< Phriday is for Photos tomorrow. Some of the photos from the photography project for 5th grade art are up at the school and I snapped a couple of pics. Proud of these kids.
>< The last few days have been an explosion in good, new music. Looking forward to a few great recommendations on Monday.
>< New Lots-o-Links post middle of next week or so.
>< I'm planning to put a post up next week on resources I've been using to study and understand Catholicism.
>< Getting a lot of ideas for posts on both evangelism and discipleship. Hope to start getting to those next week.
>< April is coming up fast, which means National Poetry Month comes once again to Reformissionary. Can't wait!
The 5th graders at Mary Endres Elementary School have just about finished up their digital photography project with me. Most photos have been taken. They are working on cropping them and printing them. Then they will be displayed at the school. Hopefully I can get a couple to post here, and I'll get a photo of them when they are on display. For now, here are a couple more of my photos from my time wandering the halls with them. Check out the rest of my photography.
Other upcoming posts...
Left to right: Jack (11), Steve (37), Daniel (6 1/2), Elijah (9), Molly (38), Sarah (13) and Calvin (5). Check out my Christmas card photos from 2007 and 2008. Full disclosure: I don't enjoy doing "pose" photography like this. But they are a nice yearly stamp for our family to have and to share with our friends. Enjoy!
Another, earlier version with a slightly different pose...
The last two years we have taken a creative route with our Christmas card photos. It's been a blast for us to create and people love getting them in the mail. With Thanksgiving a few days away and Christmas cards going out soon, why not think outside the box, er, the card?
I want to encourage you, even if you don't consider yourself a photographer, to get more creative this Christmas season. Surprise everyone on your Christmas card list with something a little more fun and they just might keep your ugly mug on the refrigerator a bit longer.
Had a great trip to Louisville for the Acts 29 Boot Camp: Ambition. Thankful for a church like Sojourn and good friends who serve there as well as many friends in Acts 29. It was a like a family reunion and I'm not even in Acts 29! It was a great couple of days. Check out Chuck Heeke's Flickr account for Ambition photos. (Photo on this post is from Chuck.)
Though I'm not going to talk about any details, the wives' track really impacted Molly. Huge. Just what she needed.
Otherwise, throughout the conference a couple of reoccurring themes stuck out to us. We are still processing and praying about what we learned, but we wanted to share a four things with you that we.
1. Believe the Gospel. -- We all struggle with unbelief with all sorts of issues, at all kinds of times. This was hit upon by many speakers, of course. But it was lasered into me by Steve Timmis (Total Church, http://twitter.com/stimmis). We need to always be encouraging each other to believe the Gospel, not just seek practical advice. We need Gospel intentionality, to bring Gospel truth to bear on our lives and the lives of others.
A part of this is the overarching emphasis at the conference of recognizing our sin and having a life marked by confession and repentance. In a time when conferences are more and more practical, Acts 29 has done well to keep it theological, doxological, and Gospel-centered.
2. Know and love your city. -- Kevin Cawley (http://twitter.com/kevincawley) talked about decoding your city and knowing it like a life-long resident, a cab driver, a geographer, and a spiritual anthropologist. We need to get on the inside of our city and then speak as one of them. We need to let our ambition for the Gospel drive us to become students of the space we are in. We need to learn the questions people are asking and speak the truth of the Gospel as the answers.
Other speakers talked about calling and how our call should affect our heart for our city. A great reminder and encouragement.
3. Be yourself. -- Matt Chandler (http://twitter.com/mattchandler74) said, "You wanting to be anyone other than you is sinful." I chatted with and sought advice from an Acts 29 church planter and friend who said much the same thing, but from the angle of freedom. Be free to be yourself as you serve and love your city. You will be bad at being anyone else.
Don't seek to be like another pastor, or preacher, or whoever has a similar calling. Darrin Patrick talked about knowing our divine design. Who are you? How has God made you? Go be you. That's who Jesus made you to be.
4. If you want to know more people, blog about your wife's health and tweet photos of your kids. -- Holy cow. Everyone knew Molly. Ok, overstatement. But so many we didn't know came up and said they've been praying for Molly's health issues. One couple said they've been praying together for her for years. How much blessing have we received from the connections made through Reformissionary and Twitter? We'll only learn on That Day. We are continually blown away by the love and prayer of brothers and sisters all over the world.
We had a similar experience with our kids, as people recognized them from the blog and Twitter. They were at Sojourn on Wednesday afternoon because there was no room for them at the inn, and we heard that one person said (when we weren't there to hear), "Hey, those are the McCoy kids." Weird, but cool.
I regularly tell other pastors of the blessings of blogging/Twittering. It can connect you to a community of coworkers and friends that you wouldn't otherwise know.
Let me add this here at the end, as something worth spreading from the conference. Matt Chandler gave an outstanding and devastating quote during the last message of the conference. It's from Eugene Peterson's Working the Angles: The Shape of Pastoral Integrity, which I read way back in Bible college. Here it is for you...
For a long time, I have been convinced that I could take a person with a high school education, give him or her a six-month trade school training, and provide a pastor who would be satisfactory to any discriminating American congregation. The curriculum would consist of four courses.
Course I: Creative Plagiarism. I would put you in touch with a wide range of excellent and inspirational talks, show you how to alter them just enough to obscure their origins, and get you a reputation for wit and wisdom.
Course II: Voice Control for Prayer and Counseling. We would develop your own distinct style of Holy Joe intonation, acquiring the skill in resonance and modulation that conveys and unmistakable aura of sanctity.
Course III: Efficient Office Management. There is nothing that parishioners admire more in their pastors than the capacity to run a tight ship administratively. If we return all phone calls within twenty-four hours, answer all the letters within a week, distributing enough carbons to key people so that they know we are on top of things, and have just the right amount of clutter on our desk—not too much, or we appear inefficient, not too little or we appear underemployed—we quickly get the reputation for efficiency that is far more important than anything that we actually do.
Course IV: Image Projection. Here we would master the half-dozen well-known and easily implemented devices that that create the impression that we are terrifically busy and widely sought after for counsel by influential people in the community. A one-week refresher course each year would introduce new phrases that would convince our parishioners that we are bold innovators on the cutting edge of the megatrends and at the same time solidly rooted in all the traditional values of our sainted ancestors.
(I have been laughing for several years over this trade school training with which I plan to make my fortune. Recently, though, the joke has backfired on me. I keep seeing advertisements for institutes and workshops all over the country that invite pastors to sign up for this exact curriculum. The advertised course offerings are not quite as honestly labeled as mine, but the content appears to be identical—a curriculum that trains pastors to satisfy the current consumer tastes in religion. I’m not laughing anymore.)
A few weeks back I wrote about connecting with suburbanites during the summer. I mentioned participating in cultural events, being servants through things like coaching sports, and having hospitable events like cookouts. With 5 full weeks left we still have a lot of great opportunities to connect. I’ve noticed in my life and in the life of my family that 5 tools have stood out this summer as helpful for connecting with our neighbors. Here they are for you. I hope you’ll add to the list.
1. Invite Cards — My church, Doxa Fellowship, just recently had some branding work done and immediately had some invite cards created. If your church doesn’t have them, I highly recommend getting some done. They are simple, attractive business cards with key church info. On ours we have the church name, website and email on the front and our Sunday location and time, including a map, on the back.
I have invite cards in my wallet, backpack, both cars, camera case, etc. I don’t drop them under windshield wipers or “accidentally” leave them lying around. The last thing people need is to feel like your church is the same as the going-out-of-business furniture store. I use them relationally. They give a better connection to our church when meeting someone or having a conversation.
I think after a shipping snafu we ended up paying $25 for 1,000 cards. You can get them plenty cheap, and they are of great value. I pass them out all the time. I keep them in front of my face as an encouragement to use them. I have a stack by where I set my wallet and keys. I put 3 on the table at the café when I sit down to read or work and see if I can give them out before I leave. It’s a great tool.
2. Tennis Ball — I have two sports-oriented kids who will watch girls softball if nothing else is on. One thing we have learned to do is always keep a tennis ball in the car, in our swimming pool bag, in Elijah’s bat bag, etc. When we are at the pool and they force that 15 minute break, we grab the ball and play “hot box” in the grass. Hot box is where you have two bases, a guy catching at each base, and everyone else is a baserunner trying to advance but not get an out. And guess what. Kids see us playing and want to join in every time we play.
A few days ago we had about ten kids playing hot box at the pool. Just last night we were on the Woodstock Square for a band concert. We took the tennis ball and started up a game of hot box well off to the side. Sure enough others joined in. We’ve connected with parents and kids by just having fun with my kids and inviting others to join in.
A tennis ball is nice because it’s heavy enough to throw hard and soft enough to not damage someone. But if you aren’t baseball oriented try a good nerf football (you need to be able to really throw it or it’s worthless), a frisbee, hacky sack, bag toss (sorry, I won’t call it “c*orn hole). You have nerdy kids? Cool. Embrace it. Bring extra magnifying glasses and invite kids to burn ants. Or if nothing else works, just play a game of tag.
3. Extra ______ — It’s happened to you. You are at the pool or the park and someone didn’t bring something they needed. Maybe it’s a water bottle. Maybe it’s bug spray or sunscreen. I was golfing several weeks ago and someone needed a Tums. I had one. When you go somewhere, bring extra consumables and be aware of folks around you who might be suffering from forgetting something or a lack of planning. Be over-prepared and generous.
It doesn’t need to just be consumables. Early in the Little League season it was cold and we would have plenty of blankets in the van for our family and for others if needed. Bring an extra umbrella if it might rain. It’s snowing? Bring an extra sled.
The key here is to think of others when planning for your events and
outings. Whatever you need for yourself, just add more. We leave bug
spray, sunscreen, umbrellas, sweatshirts, wet wipes, lawn chairs, and
water bottles in the car pretty much at all times.
4. Camera — I can’t tell you how many times I have my camera with me and see someone trying to get a “family picture” with one member of the family holding the disposable camera. I let them get their shot and then tell them I’m happy to get a photo with my camera and email it to them. They love it. Most often I just tell them I’ll take the photo and they can see and download it on Flickr. I carry Moo mini cards with my name, email address and Flickr address on it.
I also like to grab photos of other people and/or their kids in the park, playing baseball, etc, and then give them a Moo card. In the last few weeks Elijah (8) played on the 7-8 year old all-star team. I took a handful of photos, put them on Flickr, and gave a Moo card to every parent and coach. Same with the 9 year old team. Same with Danny’s (6) bittie ball team. The commissioner of the entire Woodstock Little League organization has been grabbing my photos for next year’s book because of it. Lots of great connections. A few weeks ago a woman in Woodstock was getting a photo of her kids by a piece of local art and I told her to pose with her kids and I’d email her the photo.
If you have a decent camera, it can be a great tool for making connections with your neighbors.
5. Courage — How often do you kick yourself for not striking up a conversation? Or are you so bad at it that you just gave up and don’t even feel bad about it anymore? We need a renewed courage to strike up conversations along the way.
I’m an introvert. Everyone in my church thinks I’m an extrovert because I’ve forced myself to learn to strike up conversations when in public, though I’m still learning how.
Having invite cards, tennis balls, a can of Cutter and a Nikon won’t get you anywhere without a little courage to gently push into the lives of others with an opportunity to serve them. Too often people won’t ask for help. They will swat the mosquitoes rather than asking if you might have spray. Often the kids will stand on the sideline and watch us play catch rather than ask to join in.
Once you are prepared with a few “connection tools” you have to be looking and longing to be involved in the lives of others. You have to find opportunities, and open your mouth. “Want to play with us?” “You know, that picture of your wife would look better with you in it. How about if I get a picture for you?” “Skittles?” Once you have a way to connect, go ahead, connect!
Let me know some tools you have found helpful for connecting with your neighbors.
*Originally posted at sub•text
First, Elijah pitching in his first all-star game this year. Second, the chair I preach from on Sunday mornings at the Waverly House in beautiful downtown Woodstock. See all my photography.
A couple of pictures from the Southern Baptist Convention in Louisville, Kentucky. In the first some color blind dude tried to get away with something. In the second...uh...maybe the same thing? Second is Timmy Brister. I just want to make sure the search engines locate that picture with anyone searching for "Timmy Brister." Thanks for the pose, Timmy Brister! All my photography.
First photo are my three boys studying on the Woodstock Square. Well, except that Danny saw me and posed. The second is a swarm of bugs in rural Wisconsin at the resort where I played golf a couple of weeks ago. See all my photography.
I was asked a while back to speak at the Band of Bloggers event at The Gospel Coalition conference, which was this month in Chicago. I was happy to go and be one of the eight panel members discussing being "Servants and Stewards" through our blogs. Each panelist was given 7 minutes to answer a particular question on blogging. Mine was "What is the place for art and culture in Christian blogging?" Here's a general outline/recap of my talk. It always comes out differently than I write it down, but should still be helpful. You can also view the handwritten notes from my Moleskine that I used for my talk (page 1, page 2 - page 2 is really my talk outline and page 1 quotes that I referred back to).
*As I stood to talk I took a shot at my friend and co-panelist, Justin Taylor, who has yet to spent $9 on a domain name, but still has one of the best read Christian blogs in the universe. Justin, seriously, buy a domain name. :)
1. Art - Beauty -- mention I don't have the time to explain a theology of the arts; assume the audience assumes it (later quotes should be an encouragement to look further into the arts)
2. Blogs -- mention that because we have different kinds of blogs with different purposes (pastor blogs, church blogs, personal blogs, family blogs, resource blogs, etc). I will explain what I do on my personal/pastoral networking blog and let the audience determine how to best blog on art & culture on their blogs.
3. Christians in general -- mention the need to enjoy, support, and create the arts; our blogs are a good place for us to do that
Abraham Kuyper quote, found in Art for God's Sake by Philip Ryken -- "Like God himself, we have 'the possibility both to create something beautiful, and to delight in it.'" - and I add "...on your blog"
Use the quote for a two part outline, in reverse. As we delight in and create art (and blog on it), we encourage others to do the same.
1. To Delight
Someone who delights in the arts is called an arts patron (observer, supporter, advocate). Use the questions from and Tim Keller quote in "Are you a patron?"
Have you attended an arts event or venue in the last six months? (live music concert, museum or gallery, play, dance performance, independent film, etc.)
Do you have a favorite art form that you particularly enjoy experiencing and learning about?
Do you occasionally attend different types of arts events/venues, besides your favorite?
Do you have a favorite artist or arts organization whose work you follow closely?
Do you ever spread the word about a particular arts event or artist?
Do you sometimes look through the Arts section in newspapers or magazines?
Have you financially supported an arts organization or artist (outside of purchasing tickets) in the last year?
Do you know an artist, are you involved in his/her life, and are you actively supporting his/her career?
- The more "yes" answers = the better patron. Where there is a "no" it's good to stretch ourselves.
"Christians cannot abdicate the arts to secular society. We must consume, study, and participate in the arts if we are to have a seat at the table. Whether it has a religious theme or strikes us as irreligious, we must be patrons if we are to have an impact on how the world interprets and responds to the arts. We cannot be wary, we cannot be afraid, we cannot be self-righteous. Christians must look, listen, read, and experience the arts if we are to lead our culture to renewal." - Tim Keller (via)
*As I mentioned I was going to quote Keller I took a second to mention my Tim Keller Resources page. Then I told the attenders that they received a Tim Keller book in their bags (each received 10 books as a part of attendance). I told them Keller's new book is very short and titled Unfashionable, which includes a lengthy epilogue by Tullian Tchividjian. As you probably know, attenders did get Tullian's book which includes a 3 page forward by Keller. People laughed. [By the way, get Tullian's book. Like it a lot so far. He graciously signed my copy after.]
How I delight in the arts at Reformissionary...
Music Monday: I use my enjoyment of music to fuel a weekly post on music, CD's, music videos, concert experiences, etc. Illustration: recently at the Brandi Carlile concert my wife, Molly, for the first time heard the background singers because she could see them. It was a learning moment for her. Patronage increased her appreciation for and delight in music. Now the CD sounds different to her. As we blog on these kinds of experiences we will encourage others to become a patron and delight as well.
National Poetry Month: Each April I blog on National Poetry Month with numerous poems, poet highlights, videos of poetry readings, etc. We can take advantage of nationally recognized arts emphases to become patrons and to encourage patronage.
2. To Create
"The characteristic common to God and man is apparently that: the desire and the ability to make things up." - Dorothy Sayers in The Mind of the Maker
"The primal artistic act was God's creation of the universe out of chaos, shaping the formless into form; and every artist since, on a lesser scale, has sought to imitate him." - Perrine's Sound and Sense
How I blog on my creation of art at Reformissionary...
Phriday is for Photos: The last few years I have taken up photography. While I've been a little too infrequent in my Friday photographs lately, it's been a staple at Reformissionary for a long time. When I've slacked I've gotten notes from friends and readers mentioning they've missed it. Because I'm creating and blogging my art, my readers have been an encouragement to me to keep creating. And through blogging my photography I hope I've encouraged my readers to create themselves. Actually I can say that I have talked to several readers who have taken up photography because (at least in part) they have enjoyed my Phriday is for Photos posts. [One Band of Bloggers attender talked to me after the event and said he just upgraded from a Nikon d50 to d90, to some degree because of my blog. I'm jealous.]
Conclusion: A quote by Luci Shaw from her chapter "Imagination, Beauty, and Creativity" in The Christian Imagination (Ed. Leland Ryken)
"We were each, in the image of our Creator, created to create, to call others back to beauty, and the truth about God's nature, to stop and cry to someone preoccupied or distracted with the superficial, 'Look!' or 'Listen!' when, in something beautiful and meaningful we hear a message from beyond us, and worship in holiness our creator who in his unlimited grace, calls us to become co-creators of beauty."
Select art/culture websites:
Select art/culture podcasts:
Here's two photos taken with my camera phone. Just goes to show you can do some pretty cool things without shelling out a bunch of money for a digital SLR. The first is from this week when the boys were at a laser tag place for a birthday party. That the floor of an upstairs party room. The second is from a year ago tomorrow in downtown Woodstock, IL.
The first is something fun I did with Elijah's concert photo from this week. The second is rural Kentucky in April of 2006. Got some great photos from that trip. My photography.
I need to get back into my Phriday Photo posts, so I'm vowing (right hand raised, left hand on my Nikon) to make my best effort. Thanks to those of you who gently nudged me to get back to it. So for today a new photo and an older one. First, my son Jack on Monday in a waiting room at the University of Wisconsin Hospital in Madison. The second is from March of 2007, a sunset photo.
Kent Shaffer over at Church Relevance has determined that Reformissionary is the #27 church blog in the world. Some good blogs on the list, and I'm honored to be there. It's the best system of measurement I've seen for judging the popularity of a blog. Impressive, Kent.
I've started a new church blog (Doxa Blog), though I don't know exactly the role it will play yet. Working on it. I have the domain doxablog.com, but right now it's only masking the link to this blog and it's a headache. Also working on a Facebook group for Doxa.
My new article: When Doctors Are Stumped
Scot McKnight says some nice words about my photography, which I have long neglected
Brief Molly Update: Mayo Clinic has turned Molly away. Twenty minutes before leaving for my Dad's house for Christmas Molly received the letter saying that they turn down a lot of people and that Molly isn't a good candidate for an appointment. Essentially they don't think they would find a solution to Molly's Chiari issues. Maybe it's because they know Molly's surgeon is already a recognized expert and he would know more than they would. Dunno. We can appeal that decision by sending any info that may change their minds. I don't know that we have anything like that. Still looking into it, and other options. Molly has been sleeping a lot better with her new sleep meds. Glad for that.
Two quick prayer requests...
Run to Amazon to download The 99 Most Essential Beethoven Masterpieces for $1.99. World class orchestras and artists in this collection. I'm listening to it now and it's wonderful. C'mon, 2 bucks! Go get it now because the SALE ENDS TODAY!
2009 is the 500th anniversary of the birth of John Calvin, so decorate your church stage with tulips! Or maybe make it a year of reading Calvin. Here's a year through the Institutes reading guide. The Reformation 21 guys are blogging through Calvin's Institutes in 2009 (You can request a reading schedule). John Piper's new book John Calvin and His Passion for the Majesty of God is officially released tomorrow. Piper's pastor's conference message on Calvin is also worth a listen (or re-listen).
I don't think I've linked to this yet (and it's late), but Tim Keller had a Christmas article in Christianity Today: "The Advent of Humility."
Todd Hiestand: Books of 2008 - Leadership
Barnabas Piper: 22 things I admire about my parents on their 40th anniversary
Tim Chester has a new book coming out - The Ordinary Hero: Living the Cross and Resurrection
Despite a pretty lousy year for our family (for obvious reasons) we are enjoying the beginning of our Christmas break. And during this Christmas we are especially thankful for the birth of our Lord, who gives us peace in our difficulties, hope for tomorrow, and joy in the forgiveness we don't deserve.
This photo was put into our Christmas cards and we wanted to share it with you here. You can also view our Christmas card from 2007. That's a tough one to top.
Merry Christmas to all!