Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Things About Hearts

My good friend David Greco needs your help. (Check out his Vimeo channel here and his Kickstarter project page here.) Please give. Even $5 helps. This is a worthy goal, my friends... And yes, the rumors are true. This project will be produced by Derek Webb! Yes, Derek Webb.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

2011 Reading List (So Far)



I'm on a Fiction Spree. It's like 2011 is The Year of the Novel for me or something. I started caring about critics again and reading the New York Times book review section and the Amazon "Best Of" section. Here's what I've been reading...

Alphabetical, by author.

Fiction:
  1. Connolly, John - The Gates
  2. Cronin, Justin - The Passage
  3. del Toro, Guillermo & Chuck Hogan - The Strain
  4. del Toro, Guillermo & Chuck Hogan - The Fall
  5. Donoghue, Emma - Room
  6. Egan, Jennifer - A Visit from the Goon Squad
  7. Eugenides, Jeffrey - Middlesex
  8. Franzen, Jonathan - The Corrections
  9. Franzen, Jonathan - Freedom
  10. Herlihy, James Leo - Midnight Cowboy
  11. Ishiguro, Kazuo - Never Let Me Go
  12. King, Stephen - Full Dark No Stars
  13. Larsson, Stieg - The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
  14. Larsson, Stieg - The Girl Who Played with Fire
  15. Larsson, Stieg - The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest
  16. Lewis, C.S. - The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
  17. Lewis, C.S. - Prince Caspian
  18. McCann.Colum - Let the Great World Spin
  19. Murray, Paul - Skippy Dies
  20. Rachman, Tom - The Imperfectionists
  21. Shin, Kyung-sook - Please Look After Mom
  22. Shteyngart, Gary - Super Sad True Love Story
  23. Udall, Brady - The Lonely Polygamist
  24. Watson, S.J. - Before I Go To Sleep
Non-fiction that reads like a novel:


Memoir:


Right now I'm reading Jennifer Egan's The Keep. It was a slow start, but I'm completely hooked at this point.

And of course this does not count the books I have had to read for seminary. Right now I'm reading two fascinating books for Church History. They feel more like books I want to read than books I have to read: Justo Gonzalez's The Story of Christianity, Volume 1 & Volume 2.

How 'bout you? What have you read lately? What do you recommend?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Transformation, Part 2

Yesterday I wrote about the amazing work of transformation God does in people's lives, and how Redeemer folks lined up to share about it Sunday night. I really thought about adding a second "cardboard testimony" to the lineup. If I had, it might have read something like this:

Then: 240...
Now: 163. Maintaining a healthy body weight for the first time in my adult life.

That, my friends, is some kind of miracle. I haven't talked about it here at all, but I have undergone a pretty radical transformation in the last year. In fact, it was one year ago today that I decided to surrender my life and my will to God in the area of food. I radically changed the way I ate. I got input from a doctor and a nutritionist. I chose a food plan. And I haven't deviated from it, not even once, for 365 days now.

But here's the deal. I don't do this on my own. It's not that I'm just so amazing and disciplined. No, I have a lot of support and encouragement and accountability from other people. And, more than anything, I have an amazingly gracious Father who loves me and wants the best for me. And as I surrender to Him every day, He gives me the strength to make these healthy choices.

Here I was back on Father's Day in 2010, pretty miserable at approximately 235 pounds (although Emily was pretty wonderful). My face says it all - and you can't even see my body here!



And here I was on May 14, after finishing the Full Moon Run in 28:10. Feeling really healthy and happy.



And here I was right around Father's Day 2011 with my kiddos. What an amazing difference a year can make.



I break my silence on this whole topic today out of gratitude. Gratitude for health and life, gratitude for the willingness to finally surrender. Gratitude for a great plan to follow and great people to walk the road with me. And gratitude for a loving God who is the Center of it all.

I haven't talked about the specifics of my plan... The internet doesn't need one more guy giving his advice on how to lose weight or get healthy. But I am happy to talk to you about it one-on-one if you want more information. You can contact me via email or Facebook.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Transformation


Cardboard testimonies from Redeemer's WORSHIP::LOUD service last Sunday night. I'm so grateful for the stories of transformation that were brought into the light. Thank You, God! And thank you, sisters and brothers in Jesus, for sharing your lives with us.

Relationship destroyed by sexual abuse...
Relationship restored through Christ's forgiveness.

Dependent on alcohol...
Dependent on Christ!

Liked to rush God, to "make His plans"...
Learning to trust in His perfect timing.

Insecure...
Secure in His arms.

Didn't go to church, and I was lost...
I was found.

Childless. No hope for giving birth...
God blessed us four times through adoption. All of them love the Lord!

Angry at God. Hurt by Christians. Left the church...
Found by grace. Now I'm a pastor.

Lost: Daughter (16) in car wreck...
Found: Peace that passes understanding.

I used to have a very bad temper...
God set me free. I seldom get angry now.

Lost a father to suicide...
Finding peace in God.

Three miscarriages...
Prayer ministry for expectant couples.

I don't have all the answers...
I follow Jesus - one day at a time.

Broken. Running from God...
Trusting God. Healed by the Healer.

Victim of attempted murder...
No more fear of death. I've been given eternal life!

Lost myself in a guy...
Found myself in Christ.

We were two...
Now we're one.

Angry and abusive...
Loving because I am loved.

Witnessed my brother killed by a car...
Found Jesus. Still healing.

Hamster died...
But now I have a bunny!

Hiding behind a "perfect" mask...
Known, loved and forgiven "as is."

Search for love ended in abortion...
Found forgiveness and true love. Blessed with a family.

Crohn's Disease. Four years of pain, problems and pills...
Remission. No pain, no problems, no pills for seven years.

Self-centered...
God is now the center of my life.

Best friend died in a car wreck (age 8)...
It brought us closer to Jesus Christ.

Busted ear drum...
Prayer for healing answered with complete restoration. No surgery needed.

Lost a best friend... who later had early sex...
Found everlasting friends in Christ!

My firstborn went to be with Jesus at age three...
Jesus continues a deep healing in me.

Nervous about mission trips...
Gone on two. Looking forward to more.

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