It’s been a rough week. Our entire family has been sick with the flu (yes, the one you hear about on TV) and we even spent time in the ER with our daughter Avery because we weren’t sure if she was throwing up blood. By God’s grace, we don’t think that was the case, and she is doing fine….but it was still scary. As I’m writing I can hear our two-year old son coughing in our kids’ room and Bethany has been feeling nauseous tonight. Like I said, it’s been a rough week.
I sat down tonight to write some thank-yous to friends who are graciously supporting us in our ministry to Czech Republic. As I wrote my first one tears began to fill my eyes. I guess I was a little overwhelmed with God’s amazing grace and the sacrifice of our friends and family who are joining us in this ministry. Writing these little notes always reveals how God’s plan has come together in one way or another. One of these notes was to a family who were crucial in helping shape my thinking about missions. Another family are close friends of ours who we will miss greatly when God moves us. A few were to individuals who I have served in ministry with the past few years. These people are all people that God has used in our lives to shape us, help us, mold us, and encourage us. Isn’t that amazing?
We serve a big God. His ways are not my ways. He can see the entirety of my life in a single moment. He knows every person we will meet, every person will we do ministry with, and he knew that maybe one day He would use those people to send my family to another culture to tell people about His Son Jesus. He knew how important each relationship would be in shaping Bethany and I and how crucial these people would be in encouraging our hearts when we’re weak. He knew this week that I would need that kind of reminder and encouragement and for that I’m very thankful. It’s just what I needed.
Our family has been severely under the weather this past week. We just spent the last 4 days at home together and really have done nothing but try to take care of each other. I (Shay) came down with this crazy sickness first and proceeded to pass it along to every other member. Though I’m working on my 6th consecutive day of feeling sick, I do believe I might be heading for recovery here. However, I can’t remember a time in any recent history of feeling as sick as I have this week–it’s been awful.
It’s very hard to keep your focus on Christ when you are having a 103 temperature. I’m thankful to Bethany for reminding me more than once that God had ordained in this for us and that He always desires our best. And I’m thankful that the Lord allowed this to happen during a time when we didn’t have any major commitments to keep as we were all literally stuck in bed.
If you think of us, pray for a speedy recovery for all of us. It’s hard to be sick, but it’s harder when you’re trying to take care of your family too so we could use a little break from the coughing and sneezing!
This 30 minute message from David Platt is worth every minute.
I don’t think I’ve ever made a New Year’s resolution. You always read around the new year about how resolutions never work and how people break them with a few weeks…yada, yada, yada. Well call it a resolution or whatever you want, but this year I decided to start Professor Horner’s Bible Reading System. Prof. Horner was actually one of my professor’s in college. He taught many of our English classes at The Master’s College and both Bethany and I took him for World Lit. We actually had the same class together while we were dating! But his Bible reading system pops up every year on blogs around the Internet as a legitimate reading program and now that I’m full engaged in it I can’t recommend it enough.
The basic idea is that you read 10 chapters in 10 different books of the Bible every day. If you look at the photo above you’ll see my book marks which hold my spot in all 10 different places. But instead of being a yearly Bible reading program, you actually finish the entire Bible in 8 months and while you read there are some books you will read multiple times. It might sound complicated, but it’s actually very simple–it’s just not what we’re used to.
In his notes on the reading system, Prof. Horner says that “you’ll realize you were starving yourself from God’s Word” and honestly I think that’s exactly what has happened to me and it’s only been 8 days. This system is no doubt intense and requires discipline, but it engages my mind in a way I never thought possible and the more you do it the easier it gets. By reading in many different books I’m seeing how my mind is trying to put the pieces together of God’s story. If you believe the Bible is one cohesive story, then this system makes sense. All the parts can start to come together and you can see the story of God just unravel–it’s mind blowing!
If you’re interested at all in starting this kind of system, I recommend going to Tim Challies blog and seeing his review of it. I think you will be blessed.
And one more side note about Prof. Horner: he’s also written what I believe is the best book on film and worldview out there for Christians. The book is called Meaning at the Movies: Becoming a Discerning Viewer and it will greatly challenge your heart as we think about art, film, and in general how to use our movie watching to the glory of God.
Not new methods, but only an understanding of how the Gospel works, can provide an adequate foundation and pattern for dealing with sin.
Read the whole article for a great short study out of Colossians on mortifying or killing sin by Sinclair Furguson (via TableTalk magazine).