Dec 10, 2019

Book Review: Gay Girl, Good God

Pick one up on Amazon!


Jackie Hill Perry recounts how from an early age her heart was drawn to other young women and how male abuse and neglect only fueled this. Her testimony about life before Christ does not exalt her former darkness, but it does outline her former shadow life. There is no sugar coating, nor anything explicit, but Jackie takes you on a short walk in her old shoes. The intended effect is that we would see her, and others like her, as needing good news, The Good News.

In the midst of Jackie’s darkness, Jesus shined his truth and poured his water of grace on her barren soul. Her testimony is that “without asking my permission, a good God came to my rescue.” One night on a couch, Jackie was struck with the thought that her girlfriend would “be the death of her.” Truth from Sunday school of years past was bubbling up in this crucial moment. She reflects how God confronted her more clearly, not with just her homosexual lifestyle, but with her unbelief. Jackie was unaware of the scope of what was going on, but she felt the call of God to trust him, and with that call came a change of heart.

The morning after that couch-encounter with Jesus, temptation came searching for Jackie at work. Knees weak at her workplace register, she whispered a prayer of desperation and moments later tasted something new: victory over sin. She shares more about her ongoing struggle and how grace is greater than her sin. This part of the book shines for the clarity expressed about what sin is and how Jesus meets us in our sin with grace and truth. As a Christian, your story and Jackie’s story overlap here. Her fight with returning to an old life is no different than anyone else’s. For this reason, her story can encourage anyone about the power of the Gospel to save and also continue saving from temptation.  

The last part of Jackie’s story brings us to her new, unexpected life. She never imagined she would marry a man, let-alone bear his child. She followed Christ not knowing what was next. Through her poetry, she met Preston and learned hard lessons about trusting a man. She closes out with encouragements about how to share the gospel with those living a homosexual life. These suggestions are born from experience, but also biblical clarity about Jesus, the cross, sin, and salvation.

Jackie wrote this book for outsiders who have not walked this path. For Christians, so they can look with compassion on sinners and rejoice in the saving power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And for homosexuals, so they can hear a story of someone who believed in Jesus and found power to overcome sin instead of being overcome by sin. 

Having finished Augustine’s Confessions recently, the purpose of this book seems very similar: to give praise to God for his work and to share that with others. And like Augustine who turns a phrase to make you pause, reflect, and then pulls you back in, Jackie mirrors this. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy; you won't want to put it down. 

Dec 3, 2019

October - November 2019: Ministry, Finals, & Family Visits

October and November were filled to the brim with ministry, finals, and family visits. Here are the highlights!

In October, we started out with a weekend retreat with the youth. The theme was "Love your neighbor [across the aisle]." We talked about how Jesus' ethic of love even applies to politics in the heat of political fervor. We had a photo scavenger hunt, ate too many snacks, and enjoyed each other's company on top of it all. Please pray that we would be a light in the upcoming dark season in America: presidential election season.

Here is a game of chair basketball the kids got REALLY into.
(Maybe even a little too much)

Here's a photo of some strong high school youth 
completing a "push up challenge" for the scavenger hunt.

Also, Amber and I invested in some bird seed and feeders to enjoy birds on our deck. Here's some of the best photos we could snap:
House Finches

Sometimes you watch birds and sometimes birds watch you.

Sparrow (Clearly the inspiration for "angry birds")

Titmouse

Nuthatch

 Cardinal (Male)

Mockingbird

Downy Woodpecker

Chickadee
Finally, Amber and I visited Mulberry Orchard with some friends. We picked apples and had a yummy apple-barbecue lunch.




November was a whirlwind with church renovations, finals, and thanksgiving in VA. If you want to see the church renovations, then come visit or watch a recent service online. πŸ˜ƒThe biggest deal with finals was Hebrew. I exhausted myself on the paper and final exam. I learned a lot though, so I am thankful! On our visit to VA for thanksgiving we saw most of our family and it was a nice break from the pace of life leading up to finals. We took some photos with Amber's side of the family (seen below). Our other family gathering had too many moving parts for a photo op, but we still had a great time. πŸ˜€

And finally, driving through West Virginia is usually uneventful, but this was...different. At Burger King there were more cats than people. Since when do cats come in packs? And naturally, a dog was quite intrigued.

That is six cats in one Burger King parking lot. Watch out folks, they are organizing. 

One concerned dog. Who could blame him?

If you read until the end, then you must really love us, because that was a longer-than-usual post.  I hope your December is starting well and you take time to intentionally celebrate Jesus throughout. It is too easy to neglect and be washed away by a deluge of busyness.


"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, 
glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. ...
16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace." 
John 1:14, 16


Oct 11, 2019

September 2019: Netflix is how much?

Family and Friends,
here is an overview of September!

New
Early September we got to lead some youth on a local service project to help Good News Homes. I failed to take many good pictures, but here is a glimpse:
Cleaning up trimmed bushes


Also, My parents came in town to visit us. We had a great time with them at Bernheim Forest and downtown Louisville. We walked the park, ate out, and talked/prayed with a homeless gentleman downtown Louisville. (shortly after he showed us this camera) It was a joy to see family and it made us anticipate more time like this during the holidays! Also, my dad has a favorite "Youtuber" that films in Louisville. I usually only hear youth at church talk about their favorite "Youtubers," so that was funny. Sorry we didn't have time to visit him, Dad!




I preached a sermon on the conception and birth of Jesus, so I showed clip of me on my 1st birthday as an illustration. The youth thought it was fun and it worked to get their attention. Here it is if you want to check it out. (It starts at 10:50)






Funny

Elementary school kids are endlessly funny around Amber. Here are two boys discussing finances:  (with names changed, of course!)

Bill: We never subscribed to Netflix.
Ben: how much even is Netflix?
Bill: I don't know - maybe a couple hundred...or couple thousand...a month.


Also, Amber found this meme and sent it to me. I can vouch for its truthfulness! Hebrew this semester is an (arduous) labor of love.


Pray
Would you pray for me, Bronson, for grace and discipline to persevere to the end of the semester? The last few weeks I have been burning the candle at both ends. Consequently, I have acutely experienced fatigue.

I asked Amber how you all could pray for her and she did not respond. It could have been the mouthwash she was using at the time, but I choose to think she just does not want you praying for her. [Can you hear the sarcasm?] I know she would like prayer for wisdom to be a loving teacher, co-worker, and employee. Sometimes work is hard and she wants to do best by the Lord and by those of whom she serves. She is great like that. Your prayers are appreciated.


Book Recommendation
I had to read some dull books this last month, but this one challenged and encouraged me. It is about how the church can reclaim the home as a primary place kids and youth are built up in their faith. I am still praying and thinking about how it changes my daily practice, but I commend it to you. It is a book directed towards Pastors, but parents would find gems within also!



Finally, we leave you with this compelling quote about a Christian's love for God:

"Little children, guard yourselves from idols." 1 John 5:21