Random Reflections

I'm finding it difficult these days to find the energy to blog. Our beautiful daughter, Susannah, has been here for six weeks now and we're still in the frequent night feedings stage. Holly is nursing Susannah, but we are supplementing with one bottle late each night. This allows Holly a few hours of uninterrupted sleep and will (hopefully) make the transition to bottle easier a little later on (we had a hard time making that transition with Matthew). So, my normal routine now is to stay up late and do the bottle feeding - usually around midnight or 1 am, although some nights I'm up as late as 3 am. I don't usually mind, as it does give Holly a longer stretch of sleep, I enjoy late night hours alone, and I like the father-daughter time when Susannah is awake! I spend a lot of those late hours reading or listening to sermons/lectures (most recently working through the General Sessions of the 2007 Shepherd's Conference), and sometimes watch a movie (I've especially enjoyed rewatching some of my favorite guy movies, including Master and Commander and some good submarine films!).

One of the books I've recently read was Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point. This is the first Gladwell book I've read (at Del Fehsenfeld's recommendation) and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Gladwell explores the causes behind "social epidemics" - ideas and trends that catch and spread quickly. He traces the spread of social epidemics to three causes: (1) the power of the few (i.e. certain kinds of people who carry and spread ideas); (2) "stickiness" (i.e. ideas/trends that "stick" - are memorable - for one reason or another); and (3) the right context/conditions. A fascinating and stimulating book!

I also read again Iain Murray's biography on Arthur W. Pink. I've read this before, but this was the first time through the revised and expanded version. Pink was an unusual character - a brilliant and godly man who was consumed with a passion for the truth. His monthly magazine Studies in the Scriptures was nourishing food for hundreds of people during his lifetime, but although his early ministry was marked by preaching to large crowds, he ended his life in relative obscurity, not even connected to a local church. He was something of a recluse in those final years. And yet, the Lord used his faithful labors over the Word, to feed many - especially after his death, when his articles were compiled into books and sold. And his writing really is powerful. One of my best friends was saved after reading Pink's The Sovereignty of God as a teenager. This book was also a source of great blessing and encouragement to my Dad in his early years, and it has blessed me. I especially benefited from his books on Spiritual Growth and Eternal Security about 9 years ago, and have enjoyed reading The Letters of A. W. Pink. I think what encourages me most about his life is seeing how God used him in ways that he never would have dreamed of in his lifetime. Despite his personality flaws and lack of training, he has left a legacy in his books.

Some recent book purchases for me include Tolkien's The Children of Hurin (which I've not started yet), Leland Ryken's Worldly Saints and Kelly Kapic's The Devoted Life (both books on the Puritans; J. I. Packer's chapter on The Pilgrim's Progress in the latter was easily worth the price of the book); and The Works of John Owen, Volume 10. By far the most edifying reading I'm doing right now is in Overcoming Sin and Temptation by John Owen and edited by Kelly Kapic/Justin Taylor. I'm now in book three on "indwelling sin" (which I've never read before) and am finding it extremely helpful in dealing with my heart. I've also just finished reading through 2 Corinthians and am slowly working my way through Leviticus with journal and commentary. In light of my lack of energy for blogging these days, I doubt I'll resume posting my journal entries on my other blog in the near future.

With a guest speaker in this Sunday (Dr. Marais from South Africa) and next (Virgil Tanner), I'm enjoying some time away from regular sermon preparation. Today I started with some time in Owen, then worked around the church for a while (cleaning up a few places and returning a phone call), then did some long overdue visiting of the elderly. I missed one widow who wasn't home, called on another who was, grabbed a quick lunch at Taco Bell after a 15 minute call from my brother, then got a message that yet another widow had just gone into the hospital. By the time I drove to the hospital, visited her, and left, it was 4 o'clock and after a little time on e-mail and working on some scheduling things for the future, it was time to go home.

The main task for this evening was mowing the yard, which turned out to be a chore, as the mower wouldn't start. After fiddling with it for a while, I finally got it going. Then literally mowed until a wheel came off! (Actually, I kept mowing for a bit even after that!). One wheel has been wobbly for a while, and I hadn't fixed it; I ended up in Lowe's to buy what I needed to repair it. After my repair and a shower, we watched American Idol (Holly and I, both music lovers, have enjoyed keeping up with AI this season - the first time for us) and now she's in bed and I'm blogging. So that was my day (for those who had enough interest to keep reading a rather random, stream-of-consciousness-blog-post!)

On another note, we greatly enjoyed my family's visit last weekend, culminating in a great day of worship together with my Dad preaching. I don't get to hear him often, but am blessed when I do. His message on Hebrews 2:1-4 was simple, practical, and Christ-centered. The balance of serious exhortation (to take heed to the word) and Christ-exalting proclamation (reasons why we have "so great a salvation") was typical of his preaching and a blessing to my soul and others. Very special during this visit were the late-night visits with my 13-year-old sister who we see far too little of. She is as sweet as ever, with none of the typical teen attitudes. She is creative and brilliant (a fun conversation centered around unusual vocabulary words and she knew many that I did not!) and wants to be a writer. I read the prologue to her novel and was impressed with her grasp of English and her ability to poetically turn a phrase. As diligent as she is in reading and writing (she almost always doing one or the other while they were here!), I wouldn't be surprised to see her publish something someday.

Well, I've used up my "energy" for blogging now! Some day (hopefully pretty soon) I would like to resume this blog with more or less daily entries. But this is it for now. Thanks for reading!


lisatatj said...

was just getting ready to make a comment on if you were going to keep blogging ;) glad to see the updates...thanks

cgl said...

Master and Commander is my favorite movie! I am also enjoying the Aubrey/Maturin books.

Brian G. Hedges said...

I've thought about diving into the books, but haven't taken the plunge yet. If I do where should I start?

M & C is excellent, not least b/c of Russell Crowe, who may be the best actor of our day.

Unknown said...

Yes, good to see you blogging again. I was beginning to wonder.
Congratulations on the new baby! Since I'm not a member of your church I didn't know you were expecting.
You've convinced me to read some A.W. Pink. Sounds like he will be worthwhile.
By the way, how do you do it? Pastoring, fathering, blogging, reading, etc. You must not waste much time sleeping!