Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The New Challenge for 2011

Last year when I began this blog and set up the parameters for the challenge, I hoped it would change my life. I realized the impact that one domino has. I desperately wanted something big to come out of setting my goals and achieving them. Knowing my personality though, mostly my propensity to over commit and under deliver, I wanted to make the goal realistic and the focus tangible. I wanted to start at point A and actually arrive at point B without excuses.
2011: I would like to think of this year as "Point B, C, and D"
Point B: Read.
This year I am challenging myself to read 12 books from my own book shelf. Books I already own and haven't read completely or books I should read again.
Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God
Mere Christianity (I read this over 10 years ago!)
Get Out of That Pit: Straight Talk about God's Deliverance
Competent to Counsel
The Vanishing Conscience
Etc,. I will be posting all finished texts just like last year, and all of the twelve must be non-fiction, serious texts.
Point C: Research.
Along with reading my way through this year, I want to research the Word of God. I don't want to only read about the Bible in great Christian Living books, but I want to dig into the Bible for myself. Again I am committed to reading it through in a year, and in addition I will be asking more questions, looking up more answers, and seeking to understand it more. So far I have secured a Strong's, and a box full of commentaries, other translations and I'm looking for a Vine's Dictionary - anyone have an extra?
Point D: Write.
As you can see, I love to write. I want to be able to make a living doing what I love. I don't presume to have the knowledge to write something life changing and best-selling, rather, I am just willing to articulate the things I've learned. I don't know how God is going to work out this desire, but I do know I trust him. He will make a way; He is the Way. I'm just a traveler.
Let's walk together.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Challenge Completed

Wow did that title roll off the fingers with ease! I'm so amazed to be writing the end of year post and be able to proclaim - I finished! Now before I bore you with all the sentimentality of the things learned, favorite authors, and other general details - let me get down to business, I have the last books to report!
From Ashes to Beauty: Spiritual Truths for Rebuilding and Revitalizing Your Marriage
Based on the Beatitudes in the gospel of Matthew, Jeff Colon addresses both spouses and admonishes men and women to be biblical in the home. It isn't a book that "defines roles," "explains behavior," or "sympathizes with the reader." Colon focuses on Jesus and the truth of the Bible while encouraging the reader to apply it to their life, to their marriage, and to their faith.
Mocha with Max by Max Lucado, was given to me by a dear friend from Florida (thanks again, Amy!). I started reading it long ago, but because it is such a "pleasure read" (in my categorical system) I put off finishing it for the sake of other "serious Christian Living" books (like the one above :) ). Boy was I wrong, it was very rich with insight, hope, deep biblical truth, scripture, and even sketches. I was edified and uplifted. I needed a break from books saying "be a doer doer doer" and this book helped me to sit down and reflect on "Jesus Jesus Jesus" - the sweetest name I know. It's a beautiful book - you need to read it.
The Cross Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel The Main Thing
I have been recommended this book a number of times by C.J. Mahaney, and just today I saw it on my parents book shelf. I thought, "huh, I can read this one for the '24th book' and still finish today!" So I did. I still have 4-5 unfinished books to tackle and I admit to starting this book new today, but I'm so glad I did. The truth preached in this small book are HUGE: the Gospel! The good news! Back to the motivator of the book Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream by David Platt, I needed to be reminded of how truly life changing (an ongoing life change) the gospel is! Jesus Christ died for my sins! I have been justified freely and there is no condemnation! Also, in this book was amazing end notes for further reading! I can't wait to get my hands on
D.A. Carson's works: The Cross & Christian Ministry: An Exposition of Passages from 1 Corinthians & How Long, O Lord?: Reflections on Suffering and Evil
David Prior's THE MESSAGE OF 1 CORINTHIANS, life in the local church (Bible Speaks Today)
John Stott's The Cross of Christ
Jerry Bridges' The Discipline of Grace: God's Role and Our Role in the Pursuit of Holiness
Charles Spurgeon's Discovering the Power of the Cross of Christ (Christian Living/Classics) (Discovering the Power Series) (Life of Christ Series)
Maybe you'll see those titles on this blog throughout the next year.
I'm still formulating the new challenge that begins tomorrow...check back to find out...for now I just want to say it feels amazing to have fought my way through so many books this past year. I'm not proud of all of them (The Bad Beginning & Very Valentine) but I am extremely honored by others (the Bible!). I still reference many of them, and I will never be the same because I gained discipline. I grew in perseverance. I refined my definition of "entertainment" and I am closer to my ultimate goal in life.
Thank you for reading, commenting, and providing me with accountability. Like I already said, check back for the next big challenge! And please share with me what you're challenging yourself to do this year! I'd love to know.