Books


Is anyone still out there checking my blog??! Well, if you’re one of the faithful few, here’s a post for you! 🙂

This is the second time I’m sitting at Starbucks in the last 2 weeks trying to write a blog post. When everything in your life has changed and you haven’t blogged in forever and a year, it’s a daunting task to sit down and write! I mean, where would I begin? What would someone actually find interesting from the past 6 weeks of my life and care about reading? Would you like to hear about my 4th of July and the fun of kayaking, yummy food, a bike ride, fireworks so close debris was falling on us, and homemade cookies and milk? Maybe you’d like to hear about my first few weeks of work – how overwhelmed I have felt, how I made my first bulletin misspelling the week my pastor asked me to add an announcement about my working in the office (including my picture), how the copier and I have not been getting along at all (although, I think we’re starting to make progress, but I could be wrong)? Perhaps you’d rather hear about the chaos of my house – moving things over and over and not being settled, stuff being moved out, new floors going in, my bed being in the middle of my room while waiting for new base boards, purchasing a new oven and dishwasher? I would like to proclaim to the world that as of yesterday, our house is in order (and looking so beautiful!) and I unpacked the last of my boxes! HOORAY! What a relief! Would you find it interesting to read about the copious amounts of Big Spoon Frozen Yogurt that my mom and I have consumed, how many times we’ve eaten homemade popcorn, apples, and cheese slices, and how we can’t wait to start cooking and entertaining now that the house is in order? (I got to cook the last 2 nights – so fun … and yummy! recipes to come!) Or maybe you’d like to jump in on the conversation regarding my decision of purchasing a road bike – tested an amazing Cannondale last week that I really want (oh, and I have the peddles and clips thanks to my friend!!). If you’re into working out, perhaps you’d be interested to know that I miss my membership at LA Fitness like crazy; like I might literally go insane!! I would kill to be in Spin Class with Amy (the best instructor of all times) tonight or Saturday morning!! And if you’re in Southern CA – maybe you’d like to hear about how much I miss you (believe me when I say “I DO!”). And if you’re in Northern CA – maybe you’d prefer to hear me say that I’m so glad to be home and near you again (please know that I am!).

If I had to describe the last month and a half in one word, I’d choose this word: sanctifying.

Don’t you just love it when life goes easily, according to plan, smooth like butter? I LOVE it when life is like that … and that’s not exactly how I’d describe the way things have been. I feel a little like nothing has gone according to my plan lately … and that’s a problem. But the problem is with me. You see, I want to live for my own little kingdom – where I control every little detail and everything goes exactly as I want it to. Circumstances and people all sync with my master plan. But … God’s Kingdom operates quite differently, and He delights to graciously, lovingly, and kindly remind us of this. And thankfully, He’s shown me that I love control and ease way too much. And I’ve had to remind myself that, “… his [God’s] focus isn’t so much on what you will experience and enjoy, but on what you will become. He is committed to using every tool at his disposal to rescue you from yourself and to shape you into the likeness of his Son” (Paul Tripp). So that means moving, being unsettled, starting over, changing churches, remodeling the house, buying appliances, making new friends and rekindling old friendships, being new, living in a mess, not getting to go on vacation to a beautiful island in Florida, and learning a new job are all tools in God’s hand to make me more like Christ. How amazing is that?! God’s love chisels the imperfections out of me and purifies the dross out of my soul. Easy? Painless? Enjoyable? No way! But the end result … wonderful, freeing, God-glorifying, joyful (not to mention so much more pleasant for those around me).

Can I quote Paul Tripp again? His book A Shelter in the Time of Storm (which the above quote was also taken from) has been convicting, encouraging, helpful, refreshing. I highly recommend it! This portion greatly spoke to my heart the other day, so I’ll leave you with his words …

Trust in God isn’t a thin hope in some not very sure outcome. Hope in God is rather a present investment in a future guarantee. What God says will be done. What God has promised will come to pass. His word is reliable because in his grace he wants to bless us, and in his power he has the ability to do anything he has promised to do. When you live with his promises in view, you live with confidence, courage, and unshakable hope. You then become free of anxiety and worry. You become free of vain attempts to manipulate people and situations in order to get what you want. You place yourself in the hands of a sovereign God of grace who knows exactly what you need, when you need it, how you need it, and where you will need it. And because your Father is good, he will never turn a deaf ear to your cries, and he will never abandon you in your hour of need. No, you won’t always understand what he is doing, and you will be tempted to think that he has gotten his timing wrong, but the more you entrust your life to him, the more you will experience his faithful grace again and again.

I know, I know … 2 posts in one week? Who am I and where has the real Hannah gone? This is more like a 2 second commercial really. So don’t get too worried.

Kevin DeYoung has recently (like … in the last year and a half to two years) become one of my favorite preachers/authors/bloggers. I was first introduced to him through listening to the sermons from the Next Conference (which is this weekend! that means there will be more awesome sermons to listen to shortly!). A message that really impacted me from a few years ago was called “Just Do Something,” which is also the title of DeYoung’s book I’m reading. Amazing! Go buy it … now. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did. Consider buying an extra copy for a friend, too (I may or may not have recently purchased 4. Yes, it’s that good). Although I haven’t followed his blog real religiously, I’m always blessed, challenged, encouraged and provoked to thought when I do. Such was the case yesterday. I’d encourage you to read this – Thinking Theologically about Memorial Day. Like he says, it might rub some of you the wrong way. But I believe his points are all valid and more importantly founded in Scripture.

Speaking of Memorial Day … I’m about to drive home. And.I.cannot.wait. 🙂 Tonight, I will see these guys!

So, once again, I haven’t been too faithful at blogging. So I figured, why not give a totally random post, in which nothing really relates? Here are some things that have been occupying my time as of late …

Reading

As a kid … all the way until college … I LoVeD to read. I always took a book (or more) with me … everywhere I went! Then I went to college … all I did was read … and I didn’t always enjoy it … and I didn’t read for pleasure. Since graduating from college, my high and lofty goals of reading have fallen a little flat. But over the past year, I’ve picked up my tradition of getting myself nice and sleepy by reading right before falling asleep. Normally, I make it through a few pages and my eyes start to close. That’s not to say the books I’ve read haven’t been enjoyable! I was on a Jane Austen kick. I read some modern books that look at a couple of the stories from the men’s perspectives – quite interesting! There’s a trilogy on Pride and Prejudice (middle book – really weird. 1st & 3rd – so good.) The one like this on Emma was really good (I hate the actual book, Emma. In fact, I tried to read it again and made it about 30 pages into it before I said, “Oh yeah, I remember why I hate this book!”). Then I read Sense and Sensibility, which was wonderful. I’ve now moved onto a different classic … Jane Eyre, which I absolutely love! Remember what I said about reading a few pages and getting too tired to continue … not the case here! I keep having to make myself stop so I go to bed! *sigh*

Church

So I don’t know that this is the best way to make this announcement but … I’ve “officially” switched churches. After several years at Grace Community Church, which I absolutely love and am so thankful for, I have moved on. I will always be grateful for Grace. The Lord used the teaching of many great men there, especially Rick Holland, to grow me and mature me in so many ways! I’m now at Church of the Canyons, which I’m loving. I was desirous of a small, local church … and that I have. I’ve gotten involved in children’s ministry, which has been so fun! 5 year olds say the funniest things! : ) Next month we have VBS, which I am SoOoOo excited about! I used to love serving in VBS at the church I grew up in, but because of schedules and such, I haven’t helped at VBS in years.

Next

Audio is now available for the Next 2010 Conference, which was held in Baltimore, MD over Memorial Day weekend. Months ago, I wanted to go to this conference, but it wasn’t working out with my schedule or finances. So thankful that I can listen to the sermons from men like CJ Mahaney, Kevin DeYoung, DA Carson and more! I downloaded all 7 messages tonight. You can listen here!

CHF

That stands for Children’s Hunger Fund, and it is the minstry at which I get to work! I love my job, which I have been at for 3 months today (just realized that)! This ministry is so amazing … Jesus Christ is central, the Gospel is proclaimed, the local church is equipped, people’s needs are met … what more could you ask for?!

Quotes

What more could be done than thou has done!

Thy death is my life,

thy resurrection my peace,

thy ascension my hope,

thy prayers my comfort.

– from The Valley of Vision, “Resurrection”

A few weeks ago, I started reading through The Valley of Vision again. If you are not familiar with this book, you need to! It’s a collection of Puritan prayers, which are encouraging, refreshing, convicting, and just plain great! I think this is my favorite one I’ve read so far … but it’s hard to pick a favorite!

“God the All” 

O God whose will conquers all,

There is no comfort in anything apart from enjoying thee

and being engaged in thy service;

Thou art All in all, and all enjoyments are what

to me thou makest them, and no more.

I am well pleased with thy will, whatever it is,

or should be in all respects,

And if thou bidst me decide for myself in any affair,

I would choose to refer all to thee,

For thou art infinitely wise and cannot do amiss,

As I am in danger of doing.

I rejoice to think that all things are at they disposal,

And it delights me to leave them there.

Then prayer turns wholly into praise,

And all I can do is to adore and bless thee.

What shall I give thee for all thy benefits?

I am in a strait betwixt two, knowing not what to do;

I long to make some return, but have nothing to offer,

And can only rejoice that thou doest all,

That none in heaven or on earth shares thy honour;

I can of myself do nothing to glorify thy blessed name,

But I can through grace cheerfully surrender soul and body to thee,

I know that thou art the author and finisher of faith,

That the whole work of redemption is thine alone,

That every good work or thought found in me

Is the effect of they power and grace,

That thy sole motive in working in me to will

And to do is for thy good pleasure.

O God, it is amazing that men can talk so much

About man’s creaturely power and goodness,

When, if thou didst not hold us back every

Moment, we should be devils incarnate.

This, by bitter experience, thou hast taught me concerning myself.

Another quote from A Fight to the Death by Wayne and Joshua Mack:

“Sin is more than doing what we want. It is doing the exact opposite of what God wants. It is doing that which God hates. That is why it is so often called an abomination to God. Sin is disgusting to God.

To take is a step further, when we sin we are doing what the devil desires. God hates sin; Satan loves it. So by sinning, we are doing what God hates and what Satan loves. Thomas Watson explained, ‘Sin gratifies Satan. When lust or anger burn in the soul, Satan warms himself at the fire. Men’s sins feast the devil. . . . How he laughs to see people giving up their souls for the world, as if one should trade diamonds for straws. . . .’ ” (p. 30)

 

That quote from Thomas Watson is just amazing! There is so much that could be said about it. The last line reminds me of what C.S. Lewis said in his illustration of the child content to make mud pies when he was offered a holiday by the sea. Just like the child, we content ourselves with things that ultimately bring no satisfaction and are just plain stupid in comparison to what we are offered from the Lord.

 

These two paragraphs I quoted from the book really just take my breath away when I read them. Sin is not just doing what we want instead of what God wants us to do … it’s doing what He hates and what the Devil loves. How often do we think of sin in that way? How often do I think – “I am about to gratify Satan by doing ___________?”

 

Will you chose straw and mud pies or diamonds and a holiday by the sea today?