A Story of Redemption

Tim Burge, a member of the 2 Pillars Church community, shared a before-and-after snapshot of his new life in Christ on the 2PC blog today:

He willingly paid the horrible penalty necessary for humanity to be redeemed and reunited with Him in eternity, and in paying that price and rising again, He defeated the hold that sin and death had had over us. Despite my horrible brokenness (and my tendency to revert to seeing Him as a scowling, disappointed patrol cop), I know that He loves me perfectly and fully. It paints a sharp contrast for a journey I know I’ve only just begun.

Praise God.

Battling Sexual Sin

Rosaria Champagne Butterfield:

Today, I now stand in a long line of godly women — the Mary Magdalene line. The gospel came with grace, but demanded irreconcilable war. Somewhere on this bloody battlefield, God gave me an uncanny desire to become a godly woman, covered by God, hedged in by his word and his will. This desire bled into another one: to become, if the Lord willed, the godly wife of a godly husband.

And then I noticed it.

Union with the risen Christ meant that everything else was nailed to the cross. I couldn’t get my former life back if I wanted it. At first, this was terrifying, but when I peered deep into the abyss of my terror, I found peace.

Butterfield provides a strong testimony about the power of the gospel over sin as well as a helpful introduction to John Owen's writings on sin, temptation, and repentance:

Indeed, John Owen’s understanding of indwelling sin is the missing link in our current cultural confusion about what sexual sin is — and what to do about it.

Dangerous Calling Bonus Chapter

At Crossway's request, Paul Tripp wrote a bonus chapter to his incredibly helpful book, Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry. The chapter, A Personal Letter to Pastors and Leaders, is available for free.

While you're at it, pick up a copy of his book if you haven't already done so.

The Missional Legacy of Saint Patrick

Bob Thune:

It’s no accident that St. Patrick’s Day is identified with all things Irish. Within 200 years of Patrick’s arrival, Ireland was a Christian nation. One man gave his life to see a nation reached with the gospel – and today that nation still celebrates his influence.

Thune's post honoring "one of the greatest Christian missionaries in history" is a must-read this St. Patrick's Day.

About Ash Wednesday and Lent

On today's episide of The Wednesday Conversation, a great podcast produced by Coram Deo Church Community in Omaha, Mike Kresnik discusses Ash Wednesday and the season of Lent with Pastor Bob Thune and Pastor Dusty White.

Before you blow off Lent as irrelevant or legalistic, invest 25 minutes and give this a listen.

Then subscribe to The Wednesday Conversation.

Parenting and the Glory of God

My wife and I are currently reading through Tedd Tripp's Shepherding a Child's Heart together. Here are a couple of choice gems from chapter six:

If you faithfully hold out God’s standard, you are keeping before [your children] the Law of God that is a schoolmaster to take them to Christ.

And:

Teaching your children to live for the glory of God must be your overarching objective. You must teach your children that for them, as for all of mankind, life is found in knowing and serving the true and living God. The only worthy goal for life is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.

 

The Pursuit of Self-Glory

Paul Tripp:

I’m deeply persuaded that we’re addicted to the pursuit of self-glory because, when we look in the mirror, we think we see someone who deserves to be glorified. Instead of using the mirror of God’s Word to keep our judgment sober, we see an aggrandized version of who the Bible says we actually are.

IKEA Norberg Standing Desk

A couple of weeks ago my wife and I made our first-ever trip to IKEA. Our shopping list included the parts needed to build a Standest 2200. I've been wanting to hop on the standing desk train for some time now and $22 seemed like a reasonable price for a trial run.

Right before the trip I ran across this post from Ben Brooks about his Norberg standing desk. His conclusion:

Overall: cheap, ugly, but perfectly useable.

I was intrigued.

As it turned out, the wall-mounted drop-leaf table checked all of my standing desk boxes:

  • Inexpensive. At $39, it's more expensive that the Standesk 2200, but only slightly.
  • Compact. I don't have a ton of room to work with in my office and my sitting desk isn't going anywhere in the foreseeable future. A standing desk must either sit on my existing desk or be small enough to fit in my current office setup.
  • Convertable. Here's where the Norberg shined. I need to be able to sit and stand in my office. Sure, I'll stand while I'm working on my computer, but I won't be holding standing counseling appointments. The Standesk 2200 satisfies this requirement, but just barely. The process of transitioning between a standing and sitting setup wouldn't exactly be smooth and seamless. The wall-mounted option, on the other hand, promised a quick transition from standing to sitting without any work at all.
  • Tasteful. I'm game for "hacking" together a standing desk solution, but let's keep this reasonable. The less tacky, the better.

So, after much thought and deliberation, we left IKEA with a Norberg.

Size

I've since installed the desk and I'm really liking it. The size is sufficient, especially since it isn't the only desk in my office. If it served as my only workspace then it would probably feel a bit cramped. It also folds down and stays out of my way when I'm not using it. Bonus.

It's worth mentioning that IKEA has two additional wall-mounted drop-leaf tables: Norbo ($39) and Bjursta ($39.99). They are wider and have better color options but they didn't offer quite as much depth.

Sturdiness

I had concerns about sturdiness and stability, but so far it's holding up just fine. Instead of trying to hit studs, I have it attached to a whiteboard which has a wood backing that provides extra strength.

I'd sleep better at night if it came with beefier hardware, but this'll have to do.

Conclusion

If I had it to do all over again, I would make the same decision to go with the Norberg. If you're looking for an inexpensive standing desk solution and have some wall space to spare, then it might be a good fit for you as well.

Wading into the Standing Desk Kiddie Pool

You’ve probably heard by now that sitting is killing you, right? "Sitting is the new smoking."

“This is a Sitting Free Zone."

"Friends don’t let friends work sitting."

“Think before sitting."

“This is your brain. This is your brain on sitting.”

Well, I’m convinced and ready to start standing with the cool kids. In addition to the health benefits, I also find that I’m much more focused and productive while standing. Sitting less will likely be just as good for my work as it will be for my body.

Unfortunately, we’re talking about a fairly cost-prohibitive endeavor here. Have you priced standing desks lately? An entry-level standing desk can easily set you back several hundred dollars. Want an adjustable desk that offers a sitting position too? That’ll cost you even more.

So before taking the plunge, I’m going to get my feet wet and wade into the standing desk kiddie pool for a while. I’m planning to make my first-ever IKEA visit this week and while I’m there I’ll be picking up supplies to build my very own Standesk 2200.

Twenty two bucks seems reasonable for a standing desk experiement and, assuming it goes well, I’ll consider making another trip to IKEA in the future.

What’s So Great About AeroPress?


Shawn Blanc:

In short, the AeroPress hype is real. If you like variety then the AeroPress lets you mix it up. If you mostly prefer this or that type of coffee, you can find a great way to brew it with the AeroPress. Regardless of the coffee beans or the style of coffee you prefer, there’s a good way to brew it with the AeroPress.

I finally got my hands on an AeroPress a couple of years ago for Father’s Day and I’ve never looked back. It’s my favorite way to make coffee and I’m thinking about getting a second one to keep at my office.


The Manger Throne

The well-known Christmas song, What Child Is This, was written by William Chatterton Dix, an insurance company manager in Scotland in 1865. The lyrics were based upon his poem, The Manger Throne:

Like silver lamps in a distant shrine, The stars are sparkling bright The bells of the city of God ring out, For the Son of Mary is born to-night. The gloom is past and the morn at last Is coming with orient light.

Never fell melodies half so sweet As those which are filling the skies, And never a palace shone half so fair As the manger bed where our Saviour lies; No night in the year is half so dear As this which has ended our sighs.

Now a new Power has come on the earth, A match for the armies of Hell: A Child is born who shall conquer the foe, And all the spirits of wickedness quell: For Mary’s Son is the Mighty One Whom the prophets of God fortell.

The stars of heaven still shine as at first They gleamed on this wonderful night; The bells of the city of God peal out And the angels’ song still rings in the height; And love still turns where the Godhead burns Hid in flesh from fleshly sight.

Faith sees no longer the stable floor, The pavement of sapphire is there The clear light of heaven streams out to the world And the angels of God are crowding the air, And heaven and earth, through the spotless birth Are at peace on this night so fair.

I hope that your Christmas season has been worshipful and joy-filled.

What Is Advent?

In my latest post on the 2 Pillars Church blog, I shamelessly use Husker football in an illustration. I know, I know…how novel!

For Christians, much like the Huskers’ Tunnel Walk is a tradition established to build anticipation prior to Husker football games, Advent is a season of celebration and anticipation of the coming, or advent, of Christ.


eBook Deal: The Dawning of Indestructible Joy

The Kindle version of The Dawning of Indestructible Joy, the Advent devotional my family will be reading through this year, is on sale for $0.99 today.

You can also pick up the PDF for free over at the Desiring God website.

 

Update:

Looks like you can pick up the audiobook version of The Dawning of Indestructible Joy for free this month, too.

 

Link List for November 26, 2014

14 Best Books of 2014 Tony Reinke lays out his list of the best books of 2014, including runners-up. Admittedly, I was a little surprised to see that What’s Best Next didn’t make the cut.

The Sheep Aren't Stupid

"The sheep are not dumb. In fact, we would do much better if we thought of the sheep in the way in which the Puritan, Thomas Watson, described them in his sermon, 'The Good Shepherd.'"

#InTheRoom Podcast

“The concept is simple: I want to bring you into the room with pastors, authors and artists for conversations about the craft of ministry.”

I’ll definitely be adding Ryan Huguley’s new podcast to my subscriptions list. The first episode drops December 1.

Unrelated: It appears that Huguley is not a fan of the Oxford comma.

Tim Challies’ Review of Prayer by Tim Keller

“He has written a winsome, well-rounded book that leads through theory and into practice. It is one of the strongest books on prayer I have ever read and it receives my highest recommendation.”