A Gracious Place

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

A Good Book

I just finished The Lost Letters of Pergamum by Bruce Longenecker. I think this is the first novel I’ve been required to read while in seminary, and initially thought it strange that this text would be required for my Intertestamental History class. Don’t get me wrong; I (and most of my professors) love well-written fiction! This book is great, and I highly recommend it!

The format is similar to C.S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters wherein the plot of the story is conveyed through a series of correspondence between the main characters. In this case, the main characters are Antipas and Luke the Apostle. Longenecker based Antipas off a reference in Rev 2:13, “Antipas, my faithful witness,…was put to death in your city [Pergamum]- where Satan lives.” From this, Longenecker builds a character. Antipas is an Elite in Roman society and comes into contact with Luke (and his account of the life of Christ) through the correspondence of mutual friends.

The story is well written, and the reader is simultaneously introduced to the culture, politics, and history of the first-century Roman world (hence the reason why this text is required for the class). This book will give you insight into the world of the text, and give you a perspective into the dynamics of the times- very important to interpreting the Bible. I found it fascinating to consider the enormous barriers the Gospel faced in the first century. Indeed, Jesus Christ was a radical fellow, not only to the Jews, but to the Gentiles also, who lacked the historical perspective of the Jews as well as their messianic expectations. I found my heart edified as I pondered the reality of persecution and the cost of discipleship. The style is elegant and easy to read. The plot will keep the book in your hands.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Nameless Faces and Faceless Names

A new semester, and it looks good so far. I have 12 hours: Hebrew II (3 hrs), Christian Counseling (2 hrs), Intertestamental History (1 hr), Readings in John Calvin (3 hrs), and History and Philosophy of Christian Education (3 hrs). I’ll be teaching at the Center for Biblical studies for five weeks this semester. CBS is a ministry of DTS that offers night classes to lay people. I’ll be co-teaching with Johnny, The Christian Spiritual Life. I’ll teach the first five weeks, Johnny the second five weeks.

The Intertestamental History course mentioned above is my first online education experience. Basically I watch the lectures on my computer, participate in discussion threads, and post assignments on this special website. The weird thing is that the lectures have been recorded sometime in the past, and John Mark is sitting in the front row! So its kind of like I have a class with John Mark, but not really. I can see him, but he can’t see me. In fact, none of the people sitting in that class are the people I’m actually taking this class with. My classmates are faceless names, just like me participating in this new “cyber-community.” An interesting experience… The subject matter is fascinating, especially since it has direct correlation to our trip to Israel last summer. We’re covering the history of Palestine between 586 BC and the first century AD. The payoff is major insight into the political, social-economic, and cultural background of the NT.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Happy Birthday!

Happy 50th Birthday, Mom! Wish we could be there to celebrate with you. We could throw one of those morbid parties with all the black balloons. Enjoy your day! Auntie Di used to say, "Fifty is fun!" I guess you can be the judge of that. Are you having fun? Dad, take her out for lobster or something. She deserves it! We love you!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Bebo Norman

Diedra and I had the privilege of attending a Bebo Norman concert Saturday night at Northwest Bible Church. Saturday morning Apartment Life was having a free breakfast event in the clubhouse. We went, got some food, and met a new girl who told us about the concert. It sounded like fun, so we made plans to go. I’m not real familiar with Bebo, but what little I know, I really like. This was a benefit concert with proceeds going to an area Young Life club for special needs kids.

The concert was cozy, with two other artists, Jonah Werner and Christopher Williams. These three all occupied the stage together and each took his turn to play for several rounds until the end of the concert. It was a great show. Very acoustic, each played his guitar and sang. We simply sat and enjoyed the music. The lyrics were simple, about life and faith. The banter was friendly as each one would introduce his song and give some history for its inspiration. The attitude was humble.

Special to me was Bebo singing The Hammer Holds, an old favorite (a close friend of mine sang it often in college). Diedra especially enjoyed Werner’s creative admonitions to live each day as a gift, and to not be too hasty to wish for the next phase of life. This has spawned some wonderful conversations for us as we seek to hear the music and see the beauty in each day.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Some Christmas Pics

Originally uploaded by dandeelines.
Click on Owen to see a few of our Christmas pictures.

Our Trip

How can it be the eleventh of January already? My, how the time flies. I’ve mentioned nothing about our great trip home for Christmas. We were home for about ten days, and we had a blast. Both of our families live in Goshen, IN, which is about 1000 miles from Dallas. We drove straight through, and it took about 17 hours both ways. Clear roads, no complications, praise God!

Half the week we were with Diedra’s fam. Highlights were: playing with the nephews, shooting skeet with my father and brother-in-laws, acting out Luke 2 in a Christmas production directed by Diedra, eating, talking, throwing snowballs, and more.

The other half of the week we were with my fam. This is really special, because we’ve spread out, and Christmastime is the only time we were all together in 2005. Highlights include: hot-tubbin’, Dad’s new corn stove, Eric and Leah’s rottweiler (Macy), eating, laughing, talking by the fire.

One night we were with the Gegner fam (very close friends), which has become a bit of an annual tradition. We enjoyed great food, playing with the kids, and talking with Joel and Kim.

As always, our brief time in G-town flew by, and we came home exhausted.:-) We love you all, and look forward to more good times!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Happy Birthday!

Diedra is 25 years old today! Happy Birthday, Love! This picture was taken at the Olive Garden in Elkhart, where we celebrated her birthday with her parents, my parents, my grandparents, and my brother and his wife. The Birthday Girl is working today until 7:00 pm, so feel free to call, send an email, or post a birthday wish in the comments.