Monday, June 30, 2008


Piper writes a great blog about God's control over everything. I love this aspect of God and no one has helped me see it more than JP.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

New Books to Read

Thanks to those who offered insight into what books for me to take on next. Here's what I decided to read:

First = Of Mice and Men
Second = The Idiot
Soon = Religious Affections

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


I was helped by this this morning
O Lord of grace, I have been hasty and short in private prayer,O quicken my conscience to feel this folly, to bewail this ingratitude;My first sin of the day leads into others, and it is just that thou shouldst withdrawthy presence from one who waited carelessly on thee.

Keep me at all times from robbing thee, and from depriving my soul of thy due worship; Let me never forget that I have an eternal duty to love, honour and obey thee, that thou art infinitely worthy of such; that if I fail to glorify thee I am guilty of infinite evil that merits infinite punishment, for sin is the violation of an infinite obligation.

O forgive me if I have dishonoured thee, Melt my heart, heal my backslidings,and open an intercourse of love. When the fire of thy compassion warms my inward man, and the outpourings of thy Spirit fill my soul, then I feelingly wonder at my own depravity, and deeply abhor myself; then thy grace is a powerful incentive to repentance, and an irresistible motive to inward holiness.

May I never forget that thou hast my heart in thy hands. Apply to it the merits of Christ’s atoning blood whenever I sin. Let thy mercies draw me to thyself. Wean me from all evil, mortify me to the world, and make me ready for my departure hence animated by the humiliations of penitential love. My soul is often a chariot without wheels, clogged and hindered in sin’s miry clay; Mount it on eagle’s wings and cause it to soar upward to thyself.
from the Valley of Vision

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Preaching to myself

One of the most valuable things I have been taught in the last couple of years comes from a book I read two years ago by D. Martyn Lloyd Jones called Spiritual Depression. The idea is that we should be preaching Truth to ourselves rather than passively listening to ourselves. After having conversations with people, it's so easy for me to run off in my head and continue a made up conversation. And often I can get upset at a situation or a person because of this made up conversation. This also happens in my spiritual life. I often forget the promises that God has given to me in the Word and merely rely on worldly insight.

One of my biggest struggles is in the area of seeking the approval of others. I want everyone to like me. I want everyone to think I'm cool. I want everyone to think I'm smart, handsome, funny, etc. So, when it comes to this struggle, I am constantly trying to remind myself of promises that I am "approved by God...[speaking] not to please men, but God" (1 Thess. 2:4) and that I am "loved with an everlasting love" (Jeremiah 31:3) through Christ, not needing any other approval. Also, when I feel the weight of this sin or any other I need Truth to keep me from being crushed. I love the line in the famous hymn that says "When Satan tempts me to despair, and tells me of the guilt within, upward I look and see Him there, who made an end to all my sin." That is preaching to yourself.

The psalmist does this in Psalm 42, which is where Lloyd Jones basically gets this idea. He asks the question "Why are you cast down, O my soul?" And then tells himself to "hope in God." Here's how Lloyd Jones talks about preaching to yourself:
"Have you ever realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself? Take those thoughts that come to you the moment you wake up in the morning. You have not originated them, but they start talking you you then bring back the problems of yesterday, etc. Somebody is talking. Who is talking to you? Your self is talking you you. Now the [psalmist in Psalm 42]'s treatment was this; instead of allowing this self to talk to him, he starts talking to himself. 'Why art thou cast down, O my soul?' he asks. His soul had been depressing him, crushing him. So he stands up and says: 'Self, listen for a moment, I will speak to you.'...The main art in the matter of spiritual living is to know how to handle yourself, preach to yourself, question yourself...then you must go on to remind yourself of God, Who God is, and what God is and what God has done, and what God has pledged Himself to do."

Right on. By the way I was stirred by all of this a couple of days ago, when listening to a Piper sermon from a couple of weeks ago. Click here to read it, or choose to watch it or download it. It's really good.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Our Prayers Being Taken Into Account

This is an encouragement to me as I often wrestle with God's sovereignty and my praying to Him. It comes from Letters to Malcolm by C.S. Lewis.
“To think of our prayers as just ‘causes’ would suggest that the whole importance of petitionary prayer lay in the achievement of the thing asked for. But really, for our spiritual life as a whole, the ‘being taken into account,’ or ‘considered,’ matters more than the being granted.”
As I lay in my bed last night, I was humbled by this fact: that the great and holy God of the universe actually listens to what this sin-stained heart speaks. Pretty cool.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Evan's wedding

This past weekend was good times as my roommate Evan got married. We had a poker night Friday night, rehearsal dinner Saturday night, and the wedding Sunday night. It was action packed. And since Sunday was Father's Day, I got to grab lunch with dad and the family before I headed off to the rehearsal. Here are some pics:

the familyEvan and Becca at the Rehearsal dinnermy good friends...the ur-shursJamie and I tearing up the dance floor
The rest of the pics are here and here

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Oh, what to read...

I'm having a little difficulty picking out the next book/books I want to read. I've got too many too count on the to-read queue, and don't know what to read next. So, I thought I'd open up to my readers out there and let you help me. Below I'll post several book titles and if you could, in the comment section, put down your choice. By this weekend, as I should be done with my current book by then, I'll choose the winner/winners. Thanks.

1. The Idiot by Dostoevsky
2. Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor by D.A. Carson
3. This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald
4. He is there and He is not silent by Francis Schaeffer
5. The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis
6. Religious Affections by Jonathan Edwards
7. Praying: Finding our way from duty to delight by J.I. Packer
8. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Monday, June 09, 2008

Back from the land of smiles

I made it back Sunday night from Bangkok, Thailand. It was about a 24 hour travel experience, and I was pretty worn out by it all. But, it was very refreshing to JY waiting on me in the airport. Monday and Tuesday were pretty rough. I was constantly tired and wasn't getting much sleep at night. But by Wednesday, I think I was finally back to normal.

The trip itself was great. I actually had some anxiety the week before the trip about some of the discomfort that I would probably experience while over there, namely the heat, food, and just not being in my normal comfortable setting. So, excitement wasn't much of what I was feeling, until I actually arrived in Bangkok.

After stepping off the plane, and having an encouraging ride to our hotel with a Canadian missionary from the Thai church, I knew I was finally excited to be there. The next day, we wanted to get out and about around the city, both to experience the city as well as to get over some of the jet lag. We visited the reclining Buddha, rode on a water taxi, walked through the smelly fish markets, rode on a motorized rickshaw called a took-took, ate some authentic Thai cuisine (for only $1), and finally visited one of the massive malls right near our hotel.

The next day we went to a university campus nicknamed Ram U. It has the most amount of students enrolled in the world, with something like 450,000 enrolled! Basically what we did that day (Wednesday) and when we went back on Friday, was to spend time with the very small Christian club there. We had some good prayer time with them and assisted with them in their goal to get more people to join. The successful, and highly exciting time for me, was when we went out to all the different students hanging around the campus, and just talked to them. But we tried some things at first that were...a little awkward. In order to try and attract people to the group, we were told that we should sing or play a game or something. So, in sight of a couple hundred Thai students, we first sang "Jesus loves me" while dancing to the Electric Slide, while following that up with a little game of "Hokie-Pokie"!! Needless to say, I'm glad everyone agreed after that that we should go out and try to meet people.

The next day we went to a Buddhist school and got taught how to "why" people. This is the traditional way of greeting someone in Thailand, as opposed to the handshake, high-five, head nod, etc. To the left is a picture of Brianna being taught how to "why." We also had some Q & A time between us as we shared about life as an American. We also went to a Christian school Friday morning, where we did a lot of the same thing, but talked more specifically about life as a Christian in America. Here's a picture or our team with some of the students.Saturday, we went to a very poor area of town and dialogued with some kids (8-16 years old). We talked some about sex and the influence of the media on us, but then moved on to some more personal dialogue telling them about our interests and hearing from them about theirs. They all gave us Thai names and my name means "one who has gold," I guess because I told them I work at a bank. I then played a miniture game of soccer with a few of the kids. Then we walked through some of the poorest areas I've ever been in contact with. One of the girls that we were talking with wanted us to show us her home. It was small and only had one bedroom for maybe 4-5 people. To get there, you go through narrow alleys that are paved with concrete but are directly over an open sewer system. It was a very humbling time. It helped us all remember how much "stuff" we have as Americans. Here's a picture with one of the boys I played soccer with, and then of everyone there from that morning.Overall, it was truly a great experience. One of the many highlights for me was getting to know all of the high school students that were on the trip. They all were really fun and had such cool, unique stories. I hope to remain connected with them. Also, the Thai Christians were an encouragemnt to us in many ways, and I do believe we were an encouragement to them in a few ways. We serve a big God, with a big heart for the world. It was a blessing to be able to see among the millions lost in Buddhism over there, that he is really working through a select few to impact that country for Christ. Thanks again to all who supported me on this trip and to all who were praying for us.

You can check out the rest of the pictures here.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

I'm here...

...and I'm a little tired. Check out our blog here to hear from our team throughout the trip. That's all for now.