2009 was a good year. God challenged me and exposed my short comings in a variety of ways by which I am grateful. I was given unique opportunities but experienced the greatest privilege of all in reading and understanding His Word. Here are a couple things I appreciate about 09′.
- I started blogging again in 2009. That has been tremendously helpful for me, to investigate particular issues and come to a greater understanding of who God is and what He stands for. I love to write and blogging helps keep the rust away.
- The Sacramento Kings went from being the worst team in the NBA to being a competitive and entertaining group to watch.
- I was extended numerous opportunities to speak. It was an incredible blessing to be able to carefully study a topic or passage and then share with my peers. Youth Sunday was a great learning experience for me and I pray that I was faithful to God and His Word.
- I learned that my parents were right. Everything they tried to place value on as a child/teen I neglected until this year. They wanted me to read and I wanted to play video games. They wanted me to play piano and I wanted to take a nap. They wanted me to get off the computer and I wanted to waste my life doing nothing of eternal value. It’s odd how I want to shape 2010 by getting off my computer to spend more time reading and with music.
- I learned not to procrastinate and cram in college, the hard way.
- I have a stronger sense of discipline in my spiritual life. This was the first year I had been faithful to the Word and prayer. I feel like a new Christian and in many senses, I am. Studying the incarnation reminded me of the privilege of reading and understanding. Also, one of the most humbling things I learned this year is that I know nearly nothing about everything, which should destroy any pride in the little I do know and bring me to the foot of the cross.
- I have a sister. She is cool.
- I love apartment life. It is quiet so I can get more things done and I appreciate the way it forces you to grow up a little faster (cleaning, cooking, grocery shopping).
- I have a brother. It’s great that he is serving and he’s lightyears ahead of me in spiritual maturity, well in just about everything except tennis. It often goes unspoken but I appreciate him a lot.
- Juan Del Potro won the U.S. Open. I am thankful for new faces in tennis and 100+ mph forehands. I still like Roger Federer, and he’s a lot cooler now because his counterpart, Tiger Woods, has gone down in flames making him the most successful athlete in the world in my humble opinion. Laker fans will argue for Kobe Bryant, but professional basketball has got nothing on professional tennis.
- I see the value in tennis in every sport I play. I am so glad I picked up a sport that places more value on technique, anticipation, and footwork than on pure strength because these traits are fundamental to all sports.
That is quite a list I have amassed. Reflecting on the things I had the opportunity to do and learn makes me look forward in great anticipation to 2010. Here are some goals for 2010.
Quit Wasting Time
Thanks to Tim Challies, I was made aware of Leech Block. I have installed it, at least for this quarter, in attempts to ween myself off certain parts of the internet that have no eternal value. Currently I have blocked sites like facebook, ESPN, and youtube for 19 hours a day, and for the remaining five hours, I limit myself to 10 minutes per hour.
I am confident that Leech Block will manifest itself in a number of positive ways.
- If I am staying up late, I usually am wasting time doing nothing, whether it’s watching highlights, youtube covers, or idling on facebook. Hopefully I will sleep earlier or use that time in a more God-glorifying way, like studying His Word, reading helpful articles, or reading my textbooks. My self-imposed block of these things will make time spent much more effective (I could have never gotten through the link if I had ESPN and facebook available).
- I will have more time to read and hone my pitiful piano improvisational skills. Though I will most likely never be as good as my brother, I still want to reach a level of proficiency. I realize that there is so little I know, whether about the world or about Christianity and I want to broaden my horizons for the sake of godliness.
- It grosses me out how the first thing I do when I get home is to check facebook or basketball scores. It’s a poor reflection of my heart and what I value. I want to shift that focus to something more beneficial, like google reader or playing praise songs on the keyboard.
I made my own image to appear when I access the mentioned sites. You can check it out by clicking the link. I don’t completely agree with thief XI, as you’ll see later, but I understand the merit behind why Baxter says what he says.
I don’t want to be a sophomore, at least in it’s most true definition. I want to be well read in all areas of life. In terms of Christian literature, I have a seemingly endless amount of books I have amassed, but I also want to read some other books like Freakonomics. I am convinced that we live in an illiterate generation, thus we have a small and selfish view of society. Christ did not call us to live ignorantly.
2 Timothy 4:12-13
If Paul, the divinely inspired apostle calls for books should not I? I love this quote by Spurgeon in the ‘calls for books’ link and I want to ‘join the cry’; I also do not know why the font is so big…
How rebuked are they by the apostle! He is inspired, and yet he wants books! He has been preaching at least for thirty years, and yet he wants books! He had seen the Lord, and yet he wants books! He had had a wider experience than most men, and yet he wants books! He had been caught up into the third heaven, and had heard things which it was unlawful for a men to utter, yet he wants books! He had written the major part of the New Testament, and yet he wants books! The apostle says to Timothy and so he says to every preacher, “Give thyself unto reading.” The man who never reads will never be read; he who never quotes will never be quoted. He who will not use the thoughts of other men’s brains, proves that he has no brains of his own. Brethren, what is true of ministers is true of all our people. You need to read. Renounce as much as you will all light literature, but study as much as possible sound theological works, especially the Puritanic writers, and expositions of the Bible. We are quite persuaded that the very best way for you to be spending your leisure, is to be either reading or praying. You may get much instruction from books which afterwards you may use as a true weapon in your Lord and Master’s service. Paul cries, “Bring the books”—join in the cry.
Play more piano. My parents got me a weighted keyboard for Christmas so I could hone my skills. My parents always placed great value on the piano, but I never saw the value until I learned about improvisational piano. Suddenly seven years of grueling theory tests actually became useful and I now know I can play any song and shape it the way I want if I become skilled enough.
I suck at piano, I really do. I never practiced or played seriously. Piano was always the last thing on my priority list, but hopefully this will change. My mom would be smiling saying, “I told you so,” if she read this. Playing is a great way to relax and meditate, for which I am grateful.
1(A)Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth.
2(B)Serve the LORD with gladness;
(C)Come before Him with joyful singing.
3Know that (D)the LORD Himself is God;
It is He who has (E)made us, and [a]not we ourselves;
We are (F)His people and the sheep of His pasture.
4Enter His gates (G)with thanksgiving
And His courts with praise
Give thanks to Him, (H)bless His name.
5For (I)the LORD is good;
(J)His lovingkindness is everlasting
And His (K)faithfulness to all generations.
Stick to the Plan
I made a Bible-reading plan for myself. It seems a bit much, for it combines elements of two plans into one. I took some ideas from Grant Horner\’s Bible reading program and combined it with what I am already doing under John MacArthur‘s recommendation. It feels a little ambitious, but my ignorance to God’s Word will hopefully move me to greater discipline and a desire to fight for godliness. It’s about 15 chapters a day. If you’re interested in what my plan looks like, just shoot me an email or message on facebook.
6In pointing out these things to (M)the brethren, you will be a good (N)servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the (O)sound doctrine which you (P)have been following.7But have nothing to do with (Q)worldly (R)fables fit only for old women On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of (S)godliness;
1 Timothy 4:6-7