Reading List 2019

Here is my annual list of books that I have read for the year.

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  1. One Thousand Gift Devotional by Ann Voskamp
  2. My Life With Bob by Pamela Paul
  3. The Love Letters by Beverly Lewis
  4. The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson
  5. The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp 
  6. Without God, Without Creed by James Turner 
  7. A Treasury of Miracles for Women by Karen Kingsbury
  8. Big Game by Mark Leibovick
  9. Letter to the Church by Francis Chan
  10. What Unites Us by Dan Rather
  11. The Lemon Tree  by Sandy Tolan
  12. The Tale of Beatrix Potter by F Warren &Co
  13. The Fabulous Bouvier Sisters by Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger
  14. Mrs. Sherlock Holmes by Brad Ricca
  15. The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa by Jeanne Theoharis
  16. Happiness in This Life by Pope Francis
  17. How to Read a Book by Mortimer J  Adler and Charles Van Doren
  18. The Road To Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson 
  19. Banding Together A Practical Guide for Disciple Makers (leader guide) by Jon Wiest
  20. Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan
  21. The Good Neighbor the Life and Work of Fred Rogers by Maxwell King
  22. The Red and The Blue by Steve Kornacki
  23. Stick A Geranium in Your Hat by Barbara Johnson
  24. A Cast For God by Karen Armstrong
  25. Another Great Day at Sea by Geoff Dye
  26. The Bullfighter Checks Her Makeup by Susan Orlean
  27. Fly Girls by Keith O’Brien
  28. The Ancient World in Minutes by Charles Phillip
  29. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  30. Home by Abu Bekr Al Rabeeah
  31. The Majesty of the Law by Sandra Day O’Connor
  32. King A Biography by David Levering Lewis
  33. The Husband Hunters by Anne De Courcy
  34. Be A people Person by John C. Maxwell
  35. In The Company of Women by Pat Heim and Susan Murphy
  36. Prairie Fires by Caroline Fraser
  37. The End of Me by Kyle Idleman
  38. Talking As Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham
  39. Sojouner Turth: Narrative of Sojourer Truth
  40. Sisters First by Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush
  41. Time Machine by H.G. Wells
  42. Democracy by Condoleezza Rice
  43. Bella Tuscany by Frances May
  44. The Rycort Campus by Robert Rust and Kitty Turgeon
  45. M Train Patti Smith
  46. Women Rowing North by Mary Pipher
  47. Magnolia Table by Joanna Gaines
  48. Rising by Elizabeth Rush
  49. A Nervous Splendor by frederic Morton
  50. Breaking Busy by Alli Worthington 
  51. Code Name: Johnny  Walker by Jonny Walker and Jim DeFelice
  52. Ever Ancient Ever New by Winfield Bevins
  53. Decision Point by George W Bush
  54. Someday, Someday,Maybe by Laren Graham
  55. Just Immigration by Mark R. Amstutz
  56. A Table in the Presence by Lt. Crarey H Cash
  57. Poem By Robert Frost
  58. The jamestown Furniture Industry by Clarence C. Carlson
  59. Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City
  60. Wrecked and Redeemed by Benji Kelley
  61. The Throne by Beverly Lewis
  62. Last Team Standing by Matthew Algeo
  63. The Elephant in the Playroom by Denise Brodey
  64. Turtles All The Way Down by John Green
  65. Planet Middle School by Dr. Kevin Leman
  66. The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan
  67. The Matriarch by Susan Page
  68. The Feather Thief by Kirk Wallace Johnson 
  69. At Full Strength by Denny Howard and Hugh White
  70. No Dream is Too High by Buzz Aldrin
  71. Voices in the Ocean by Susan Casey
  72. The Nature Principle by Richard Louv
  73. Plain Wisdom by Cindy Woodsmall and Mirian Flaud
  74. Then Birth Order Book by Dr. Kevin Leman
  75. Mrs. moreau’s Warbler by  Stephan Moss
  76. Ladies Who Punch by Ramin Setoode
  77. The Everything Guide to coping with Panic Disorder by Rudolph C. Hatfield PHD 
  78. One Last Word : Wisdom From the Harlem Renaissance by Nikki Grimes
  79. A Tale Of Three Kings by Gene Edwards
  80. Supreme Decisions, Combined Volume: Great Constitutional Cases and Their Impact by Melvin Urfsky
  81. Dewey by Vicki Myron with Bret Witter
  82. The Stranger in the Woods by Michael Finkel
  83. Rocket Men by Graig Nelson
  84. Kind Regards : The Lost Art of Letter by Liz Willison 
  85.  Sonnets  by William Shakespeare
  86. How to Fake A Moon Landing by Darryl Cunningham
  87. Honey and Lemon by Grace Akerman
  88. Mansfield Park by  jane Austien
  89. Lafayette in the Somewhat United States by Sarah Vowell
  90. Make Space by Regina Wong
  91. Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahay
  92. The Tudors by G.J Meyers
  93. Random Acts of Kindness; Then and Now
  94. The Hemingses of Monticello by Annette Gordon- Reed
  95. Almost Amish by Nancy Sleeth
  96. Favorite Father Brown Stories by G.K Chesterton
  97. The Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt by Elanor Roosevelt
  98. Don’t Know Much About the American Presidents by Kenneth C. Davis
  99. Letters from Max by Sarah Ruhl and Max Ritvo
  100. The Innocence if Father Brown by CK Chesterton 
  101. Inheritance by Dani Shapiro
  102. First Man by James R Hansen 
  103. Pray for Me Robert Moynihan
  104. Grown- Up Faith by Kevin Myers with Charlie Wetzel
  105. Love Santa by Sharon Glassman
  106. Healing for Damaged Emotions by David A. Seamands
  107. The Year Less by Cait Flanders
  108. My Utmost for His Highest | Oswald Chambers
  109. New King for a New Kingdom | Bishop Robert Barron

My Favorite Songs of the Year

While I Wait | Lincoln Brewster
Scars | I AM THEY
Nobody | Casting Crowns w/ Matthew West
Only Jesus | Casting Crowns
Well Done | The Afters
Raise A Hallelujah | Bethel Music
Confidence | Sanctus Real
Red Letters | Crowder
O Praise the Name (Anastasis) | Hillsong
Reckless Love | Cory Asbury
Warrior | Hannah Kerr

2019 New Worship Songs

This is my annual list of “new” worship songs that I have found helpful in worship. After the six or so songs, there will also be a list of “newer” Christmas songs that I have enjoyed.

Hannah Kerr – Emmanuel
Phil Wickham | Great Things
Your Name is Power | Rend Collective
Is He Worthy? | Andrew Peterson
Come Behold the Wondrous Mystery | Matt Boswell
King of Kings | Hillsong Worship
Who You Say I Am | Hillsong Worship
Raise A Hallelujah | Bethel Music
Make Room | Casting Crowns w/ Matt Maher

2019 Running Wrap-up

It is December 31 and time for several end-of-year posts. First up is a running update. This year I averaged 74 miles per month. The lowest amount of miles in any month was January with just 23. June tops the highest mileage month with 101 miles. What is rare is that I only had 1 100+ mile month. Normally, May through October are all over 100 miles.

For 2020, I am aiming for 1,000+ miles this next year and hope to average 80 miles or more a month. So that about wraps it up for the year. But I continue to Press On!

Almighty God, you have poured upon us the new light of your incarnate Word: Grant that this light, enkindled in our hearts, may shine forth in our lives; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Massacre of the Innocents

First Sunday in Christmas | December 29, 2019

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Isaiah 63:7-9 • Psalm 148 • Hebrews 2:10-18 • Matthew 2:13-23

13 After the wise men were gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up! Flee to Egypt with the child and his mother,” the angel said. “Stay there until I tell you to return, because Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”

14 That night Joseph left for Egypt with the child and Mary, his mother, 15 and they stayed there until Herod’s death. This fulfilled what the Lord had spoken through the prophet: “I called my Son out of Egypt.”

16 Herod was furious when he realized that the wise men had outwitted him. He sent soldiers to kill all the boys in and around Bethlehem who were two years old and under, based on the wise men’s report of the star’s first appearance. 17 Herod’s brutal action fulfilled what God had spoken through the prophet Jeremiah:

18 “A cry was heard in Ramah—
    weeping and great mourning.
Rachel weeps for her children,
    refusing to be comforted,
    for they are dead.”

19 When Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt. 20 “Get up!” the angel said. “Take the child and his mother back to the land of Israel, because those who were trying to kill the child are dead.”

21 So Joseph got up and returned to the land of Israel with Jesus and his mother. 22 But when he learned that the new ruler of Judea was Herod’s son Archelaus, he was afraid to go there. Then, after being warned in a dream, he left for the region of Galilee. 23 So the family went and lived in a town called Nazareth. This fulfilled what the prophets had said: “He will be called a Nazarene.”

Matthew 2:13-23 New Living Translation (NLT)

Today’s passage is typically labeled the Massacre of the Innocents. It happens following the visit of the Magi to the Christ child. The Magi are warned in a dream not to return to Herod. We learn that Herod has no plans to worship the child but to kill Him. Herod was in many ways a puppet ruler, but was given leeway by the Romans.

Herod, not knowing exactly how old Jesus is, gives the command to kill all the baby boys in Bethlehem under the age of 2. Mary and Joseph are also warned and escape to Egypt. This would not be the first time a Hebrew or Jew escaped to Egypt. Abraham fled to Egypt during a famine and do did Jacob. It is Jacob’s moving to Egypt that eventually triggers the events of the exodus.

This Sunday I connected two events that I had never seen before. Between the time of Joseph and the Exodus it was 400 years. The time between the Old and New Testaments is also 400 years. Both of these 400 year seasons are not well documented – at least in the Bible. The Apocrypha does give us more history of these 400 years, but for 400 years God appeared to be silent – before the arrival of Jesus. Just as God raised up a leader for the Hebrews in Egypt, so God also provided a deliverer for his people. This time he would deliver them from sin – the sin that happened in the Garden of Eden.

Obviously this did not sit well with Satan. Just as he tempted Adam and Eve successfully so did he successfully tempt Herod to go after Jesus. Herod went after Jesus but was unsuccessful. A great cry was heard in Judea. This massacre of the innocents was another of the prophecies that Jesus fulfilled. As I mentioned in a sermon a few weeks back, the chances of Jesus fulfilling just 8 prophecies was 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000 or the chances of finding a specific silver dollar – that are covering the state of Texas two feet deep. Those are quite insurmountable odds. Even early in his life, Jesus has fulfilled several prophecies.

This passage signifies the war in the heavenlies. This spiritual battle comes to life in Revelation 12:

12 Then I witnessed in heaven an event of great significance. I saw a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon beneath her feet, and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant, and she cried out because of her labor pains and the agony of giving birth.

Then I witnessed in heaven another significant event. I saw a large red dragon with seven heads and ten horns, with seven crowns on his heads. His tail swept away one-third of the stars in the sky, and he threw them to the earth. He stood in front of the woman as she was about to give birth, ready to devour her baby as soon as it was born.

She gave birth to a son who was to rule all nations with an iron rod. And her child was snatched away from the dragon and was caught up to God and to his throne.

Revelation 12:1-5

The dragon – Satan was trying to silence Jesus – and the war continues to this day. We are reminded that we need to keep our eyes open to all of the enemies tricks. Jesus came as a human – He was God in the flesh – so that he would know the shortcomings of what it means to be in these mortal bodies.

As I close let me quote from this week’s Hebrews passage:

or only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. 15 Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying.

16 We also know that the Son did not come to help angels; he came to help the descendants of Abraham. 17 Therefore, it was necessary for him to be made in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Then he could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people. 18 Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested.

Hebrews 2:14b-18

Jesus knows what we are going through, after all, Satan pursued him immediately after coming to Earth. Jesus is her for us – he knows what it is to be tempted, he knows what it means to suffer, he knows what it means to be tested – and he is able to help us through.

Christmas Day | December 25, 2019

Isaiah 52:7-10 • Psalm 98 • Hebrews 1:1-4, (5-12) • John 1:1-14

In the beginning the Word already existed.
    The Word was with God,
    and the Word was God.
He existed in the beginning with God.
God created everything through him,
    and nothing was created except through him.
The Word gave life to everything that was created,
    and his life brought light to everyone.
The light shines in the darkness,
    and the darkness can never extinguish it.

God sent a man, John the Baptist, to tell about the light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony. John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light. The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.

He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.

So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.

John 1:1-14 New Living Translation (NLT)

The writer of Hebrews pens these words:

Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son he created the universe. The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven. 

Hebrews 1:1-3

In the beginning…GOD created the heavens and the earth…our congregation heard these words this past Sunday. They are the words that begin the holy scriptures in Genesis 1. These words begin the old covenant. John’s gospel the fourth gospel begins in a similar way. In the beginning the Word already existed. God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit – the Trinity have always been, always is, and always will be. They were there at the creation of the world and now in John’s gospel, we learn that the very one who created the universe, humbles himself to come into the world He created. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.

The writer of Hebrews states: The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command.

Yet this very same God came to earth to save us from our sins through the shedding of his blood. It is a gift that many people reject – even God’s own people rejected Jesus. But we are given this promise:

But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.

Jesus loved us so much that He gave up his own life to save us from our sins. God’s grace is evident, even in the coming of Jesus to Bethlehem. He didn’t have to save us, but because of his grace and mercy, He came anyway to give us life.

On this Christmas morning, I encourage you to receive the gift that Jesus has given to you so freely and so richly.

Prayer for Christmas

Almighty God, you have given your only-begotten Son to take our nature upon him, and to be born [this day] of a pure virgin: Grant that we, who have been born again and made your children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by your Holy Spirit; through our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom with you and the same Spirit be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.