dord (dôrd), n. density of mind; chiefly exhibited by one who attempts to demonstrate supposed knowledge --adj. dord'ish


2009: The Year That Was

A few reflections on this past year.

Favorite class:
Heat Transfer

Longest time spent studying for a single test:
Six and a half hours -- straight -- for my second Design of Mechanical Components midterm.

Number of nightmares about final exams:
None. (Two years in a row. Interesting.)

Miles on my car:

One thing I won't miss:
One shower for a family of nine.

One thing I will miss:
... I guess I feel pretty content to move on to the year ahead.

Best memories from an event:
A day at Cedar Point with my dad's side of the family.

Best memories from life in general:
Random, hilarious moments with my family that, frankly, can't be described--not that anyone outside the family would necessarily understand anyway. Wait, I said that last year, and the year before, and the year before that. But seriously, what from "life in general" is going to beat that out? [Although I wonder, for how many more years will family moments be "life in general" moments? Life is changing. Ooh. Next question.]

Book that impacted me the most (after the Bible):
The Holiness of God, by R.C. Sproul.

Song that impacted me the most:
I'll have to give two: Forever (West Coast Revival) and All the Way My Savior Leads Me (Chris Tomlin)

Doctrine that impacted me the most:
God as Father.

A Good Piece of 2009 Trivia:
[to be provided by a reader]

A whole year later...
Moving day has been reinvented: the family moves; I stay.

Share a few reflections of your own in the comments section.



Books, Books, Books (2009 ed)

Once upon a time, it was my intention to write frequent book reviews. I haven't totally given up, but I have come up with a new plan: a brief year-end summary. While this is (at a minimum) for my own benefit, hopefully some of you, my faithful readers (who keep coming back even when I'm five weeks between posts), will find some good books to read as well.

This list will be limited to Christian non-fiction. While I enjoy reading other genres (fiction of various stripes, history, biography... ), this is the only genre that I carve regular time out to read during the course of the year [though perhaps grouping it all into a single genre is too broad].

How then shall I order them? Start with the best? End with the best? Alphabetical by title... or author? I'll just order them in the order I read them. [Note: * denotes a book I previously read]

This Momentary Marriage
By John Piper

While I can't claim to have read all of the best books on marriage, this is my favorite so far. So how can I briefly summarize just why I feel this way? I think it's important to note the subtitle: A Parable of Permanence. This book did more to shift my vision of marriage toward its Ephesians 5 Christ-and-the-church meaning than any other resource has. Not that Piper is in the clouds, far removed from real life and the day-to-day. On the contrary, it's his application of the parable of permanence to the momentary that makes the book particularly rich.

His two chapters on singleness (yes, in a book on marriage) are also the most helpful words I've read on that topic.

I already want to re-read it.

Rating: Must Read

Why Small Groups?*
Edited by C.J. Mahaney

A book our church small groups went through together.

Previously reviewed.

Rating: Recommended

Spectacular Sins
By John Piper
Challenging? Yes. But John Piper is interested in being Biblical -- not just challenging readers for its own sake. God is sovereign, and He will be glorified. So what do we make of the presence of evil -- not just generally, but even in specific, heinous sins? John Piper examines the most "spectacular" sins recorded in Scripture, from the fall of Adam and Eve in the garden to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, in light of "their global purpose in the glory of Christ" (the subtitle).

Rating: Highly Recommended

The Holiness of God
By R.C. Sproul

I finally read this book. And I intend to read it again.

Previously reviewed.

Rating: Must Read

Just Do Something
By Kevin DeYoung

I really like a lot of what DeYoung has to say in this book. He addresses the fears that paralyzes so many young people about life decisions (big and small). The subtitle explains: A Liberating Approach to Finding God's Will OR How To Make Decisions without Dreams, Visions, Fleeces, Open Doors, Random Bible Verses, Casting Lots, Liver Shivers, Writing in the Sky, Etc. DeYoung follows through, untangling (or sometimes simply slicing right through) the questions that leave so many of use feeling all knotted up about what to do.

On the other hand, parts of the book left me frustrated: what then do (or should) Christians mean when they talk about "calling"? Some of his points I think he deliberately overstates. And again, he says a lot that many young people really need to hear. The book is short, easy to read, and provides plenty of challenging food for thought. (But don't just sit around thinking about reading it. Do something!)

Rating: Recommended

Finally Alive
By John Piper
It's a thorough book on a topic that most Christians probably think they know everything about. It's also a book on a topic that most Christians should know much more deeply. Yes, regeneration is a deep topic, and wonderful to study. I'll have to stop there if I'm going to stop anytime soon.

Summarizing thought: I'll probably never know how much this book has impacted my thought and understanding. (Yes, that could be said of most good books, but particularly so here.)

Rating: Highly Recommended

Don't Waste Your Life****
By John Piper

My favorite book. That's why I read it every year -- and will continue to do so until it ceases to convict me of falling prey to the American Dream.

Have I still not written a full review on this book? My, my.

Rating: Must Read

The Great Exchange
By Jerry Bridges & Bob Bevington

My sin for his righteousness. That's the subtitle of the book, and that's what every page of the book explores, unpacking Scripture after Scripture, starting with Old Testament passages that foreshadow Christ the Messiah, and continuing book by book through most of the New Testament. In this way, I found it to be a great companion book while reading through the New Testament this past fall.

"For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." That verse is 2 Corinthians 5:21, but that message pervades the New Testament.

Rating: Recommended

The Reason For God
By Tim Keller

A recent release that has been (seemingly) universally praised as a sort of 21st Century Mere Christianity, Tim Keller's The Reason for God addresses skeptics in a way that is both respectful and uncompromising.

At times, I felt as though Keller was beating around the bush. But on second look, I'd say that Keller said what he needed to say, when he needed to say it. He doesn't aim to give quick, easy answers. Instead, the first half of the book addresses common criticisms of the Christian faith, both through giving specific answers to questions and through unmasking the faith assumptions of the unbeliever's worldview. The second half of the book centers on making a reasoned approach toward faith in God as revealed in the Bible.

Rating: Recommended

The Peacemaker
By Ken Sande

Do you experience interpersonal conflict? Unless you're a Tibetan monk (who somehow has internet access and found your way to my blog), I'll assume the answer is yes.

Ken Sande provides a thorough, Biblical guide on peacemaking -- written not for professional mediators, but for each one of us in our relationships. As someone who regularly experiences conflict (of which I am to blame for more than I'd like to admit), I'll be returning to this book often.

Rating: Must Read

The Message of Ephesians
By John R.W. Stott

This is the second title I've read in "The Bible Speaks Today" commentary series, having previously read The Message of Acts. My summary? Solid, readable, pastoral, instructive. And a great resource to read in conjunction with an expository series at church.

Rating: Recommended

What He Must Be To Marry My Daughter
By Voddie Baucham Jr.

[Disclaimer: As of this post, I'm actually a couple of chapters from finishing.] Why read a book written to fathers? Plenty of reasons: (a) if I'm going to be a father someday, it's never too early to start studying (b) I'm already a brother with five sisters to watch out for [maybe I should write the companion: What He Must Be To Marry My Sister] (c) to see how I need to grow (d) to find out if I should just quit now.

So far, I'd say that I agree with most of what Baucham says about men and marriage. There's a lot to think about and plenty of good topics for discussion.

On another note, the book was poorly edited. I expect better from Crossway. [And Jacob did not have to wait another seven years before marrying Rachel. A pastor should get that right.]

Rating: Recommended

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