Read Faster?

This week I have been thinking through my year-end post about which book(s) were most meaningful to me. I set a goal for the number of books I wanted to read and while I came close I think I will end a bit shy of the 50 goal.

While there are a number of reasons for not meeting my goal I think the speed of reading is a big part of it. So in the next year, I want to try some techniques to increase speed while maintaining comprehension. Who wouldn’t want that?!

Here are some suggestions from Tim Ferris that I am going to implement right away. What are the techniques you use to read faster or better?

Images of Advent

Most years when December hits and the Christmas season gets underway our family scrambles to prepare well. We don’t want to lose the hope and longing for Christ in the midst of a commercialized cultural moment. So to that end, we have tried a number of different books, guides, and calendars to get our hearts fully engaged in Advent (the month-long reminder and celebration of the arrival of Jesus and expectation of his return). But each year we feel like we have to start over with materials more appropriate for our season of life and worthwhile for our kids.

This year, instead of hunting for and ordering what might work, Stacy set out to write a devotional for our family that would make much of Jesus and instill an increasing sense of hope in our hearts. The result is our Images of Advent Family Devotional.

Image 11-29-18 at 3.43 PMImages of Advent shares Scripture and a simple devotional with questions for the days leading to Christmas. There is also a paper ornament families get to decorate for each day as a reminder of the good news of Jesus at Christmas.

We are excited to freely give print copies to our friends at Reservoir Church this Sunday but for those of you far off we are glad to make the pdf of the devotional available to you to download.

Please feel free to print, share, and enjoy Jesus in the Images of Advent Family Devotional. Click the links to download:

Images of Advent.

Advent Ornaments.

Union with Christ

418yhfsumyl-_sy344_bo1204203200_Having just finished Rankin Wilbourne’s Union with Christ, I wanted to share some highlights with you. It is a splendid and accessible book on what is vitally important for the Christian to understand; that in faith you are united with Christ, joined to him for all of eternity, secure, empowered, loved and approved. Among Wilbourne’s goals in writing is to see the church reclaim this important doctrine and believer living in its power.

Be encouraged Saints, you are in union with Christ. May you know and enjoy God.

“One way to think about the Christian life—not the only way, but a powerful and too-little-used way—is that believing the gospel means having your imagination taken captive and reshaped by a new story.”

“Could anything about the Christian life be more precious than this? This is what God has saved you for—communion, relationship, and intimacy with himself. This is what Christ suffered for, “that he might bring us to God” (1 Pet. 3:18).”

“You can rest. In Christ. You don’t have to be intimidated by anyone, ever. Who are you? You are in Christ! And you no longer need to fear the judgment of God (1 John 4:18). When God looks at you, he sees you hidden in Christ. This is freedom. This is confidence. This is good, good news.”

“Being a Christian is not about absorbing certain doctrines about God. Nor is it about being a better or different kind of person. The goal is having a personal, vital, profoundly real relationship with God through Christ by the Holy Spirit. The goal is enjoying communion with God himself. Union with Christ is not an idea to be understood, but a new reality to be lived, through faith.”

‘“Only those who believe obey” … and “only those who obey believe” … If the first half of the proposition stands alone, the believer is exposed to the danger of cheap grace, which is another word for damnation. If the second half stands alone, the believer is exposed to the danger of salvation through works, which is also another word for damnation.… It is all-important that the pastor should be ready with both sides of the proposition: “Only those who obey can believe, and only those who believe can obey.”’

“The work of Christ sets you free from sin’s penalty. So rather than turning away from God, you can turn toward Christ precisely when you might be tempted to hide from him. You can boldly approach his throne with confidence because you remember you are completely covered by Christ’s righteousness. Only those who believe can obey.”

“To be sure, we should strive to proclaim the gospel clearly (Col. 4:4). But sometimes our desire for clarity ends up narrowing our view of the gospel, even to the point of placing us at the center of it. But we are not the center of the gospel because we are not the center of the universe. When we make the gospel primarily about us, we make it small.”

“Union with Christ gives us permission to rest. We don’t have to be burdened by the weight of the possible. We do have so many choices. But union with Christ says there is one choice more important than any other choice you will make: Thy will be done or my will be done? As long as your will is set on following Christ, you can rest in the choices you make. You don’t have to be frozen in fear because your life is no longer in your own hands. You can surrender your plans to Christ, who has joined his life to yours.”

“Where is your life headed? Now you have an answer. Jesus is your horizon. And because he deigns to make us one with himself, this horizon is not only beautiful but also accessible. Jesus already went the distance, and now he takes hold of you to bring you there. One day, you will see him face to face, and that face will have a form you recognize. But you will not only see him. On that day, “when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2). This glorious destiny is where you are headed.”


Diving into the Depths of the Gospel

depthsLast year I wrote a daily devotional following the Robert Murray M’Cheyne Bible reading plan. In each post I attempted to see Jesus and the richness of the gospel in all of the Bible. It is now my joy to share the complete devotional with you.

While February is not a good time to make a daily devotional available, you really can jump on any day and hopefully be encouraged. Download the PDF here.

Open your Bible and dive into the goodness of Christ!