April 11, 2014

Plumb Tuckered Out

Friends, I'm plumb tuckered out. The day after the first day of tending the gardens is always interesting. Every muscle in my body is protesting. Yesterday I hauled bricks, moved four heavy piles of compost, and picked up yard debris for around five hours. Then in the evening, we rearranged the upstairs to have a larger office area. I am quite sore today and I know this means I am too soft.

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A small start to our gardens

This morning I thought of an old book and pulled it from the shelf.

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The Fat of the Land by John Williams Streeter (1904)

I cherish old books with rough cuts pages and notes from previous owners. Inside the well-loved pages, the previous owner made a note near this passage:

I was dead tired when I reached home;  but there wasn't a grain of depression in my fatigue, --rather a sense of elation. I felt for the first time in thirty years real things were doing and I was having a hand in them. The fatigue was the same old tire that used to come after a hard day on my father's farm, and the sense was so suggestive of youth that I could not help feeling younger. I have never gotten away from the faith that the real seed of life lies hidden in the soil, that the man who gives it a chance to germinate is a benefactor, and that things done in connection with the land are about the only real things. I have grown younger, stronger, happier, with each year of personal contact with the soil. I am thankful for seven years of it, and look forward to twice seven more. I have lost the softness which nearly wilted me that 5th day of August, and with the softness has gone twenty or thirty pounds of useless flesh. I am hard, active, and strong for a man of sixty, and I can do a fair day's work.


I wonder who previously owned this book and how it spoke to them? The culture and lifestyle of 1904 America was vastly different from today. People were more connected to the land which God gave for cultivation and provision.

It is good to work so hard that you are plumb tuckered out. I have let myself get soft over the years and have a mass of useless flesh to lose. I am so tired of being soft.

By God's grace, I will lose it a pound at a time. As I journey along the way, I hope to plant many gardens that will flourish and provide for family and friends. I think I have many more plumb tuckered out days ahead this spring and summer. This is good.

Friends, what are you planting this year? I would love to see pictures of your gardens.

February 10, 2014

{Review} Romans 1-7 For You by Timothy Keller


Romans is, at its heart, a letter about the gospel. It is written by a man whose life and work revolved around the gospel, showing the difference brought and worked by the gospel. Unsurprisingly, the beginning of the letter is all about the gospel. -Timothy Keller, Romans 1-7 For You 
 
Romans 1-7 For You
by Timothy Keller is another great release in a set of God's Word For You bible guides designed to meet the study needs of readers from new believers to seasoned Christians. This resource features three main purposes for use, as presented by The Good Book Company:

  • Read: As a guide to this wonderful letter, helping you treasure and live out the freedom of the gospel.
  • Feed: As a daily devotional to help you grow in Christ as you read and meditate on this portion of God's word.
  • Lead: As notes to aid you in explaining, illustrating and applying Galatians as you preach or lead a Bible study. 

 



Romans 1-7 For You is a helpful expository guide that walks through chapters 1-7 of the book of Romans. It is not a comprehensive commentary, but it covers a great deal of ground in a condensed work. This book is suitable for readers of all backgrounds from pastors to laymen.  


Romans 1-7 For You covers the first seven chapters of Romans in twelve succinct chapters.

  • Introduction to to Romans 1–7
  • 1. Introducing the Gospel 1:1-17
  • 2. The Pagans Need the Gospel 1:18 - 32
  • 3. The Religious Need the Gospel (Part One) 2:1-16
  • 4. The Religious Need the Gospel (Part Two) 2:17-29
  • 5. Everyone Needs the Gospel 3:1-20
  • 6. A Diamond on a Black Cloth 3:21-31
  • 7. When Justification Started 4:1-25
  • 8. What Justification Brings 5:1-11
  • 9. Why Justification Comes 5:12-21
  • 10. United to Christ 6:1-14
  • 11. Slaves of God 6:15 – 7:6
  • 12. Warfare with Sin 7:7-25

Romans 1-7 For You takes a chronological journey through the first seven chapters of Romans. Each section of the guide is followed with thoughtful questions for reflection. The questions provide an engaging aspect for interacting with the book. They can be used for personal reflection and journaling during a devotional time. The questions can also be used in a small group or Bible study discussion period. The questions for reflection offer opportunities for practical life application.

My first introduction to this series came through my review of Galatians For You. I appreciated the condensed, yet meaty aspects of this expository series. Romans 1-7 For You is laid out in the same logical format and it is an easy read. However, the thoughtful life-application questions delve into spiritual issues of the heart and allow for the transforming work of God's Spirit. Though it may be an easy read, the introspective nature of the questions for reflection may cause you to pause and consider your own faith journey. Keller writes on the power of the gospel with such clarity and precision.  

I will be completely transparent with you about my experiences reading anything from Keller. Typically, I begin one of his books feeling that I am in a healthy place spiritually. A chapter or so in one his books and I find myself repenting for sin issues in my own life that I need to overcome through God's spirit. My experience with Romans 1-7 For You is no different. Included in the appendix of the book is a section on Identifying the Idols of the Heart. It is powerful. Heart-rending. Life-changing.

Romans 1-7 For You is a wonderful resource that is suitable for diverse settings. You can use this study guide for:

  • personal study and devotion
  • expository teaching
  • small group setting
  • Bible studies
  • religious education classes

Timothy Keller is a favorite author of our family! Current titles in this series includes:

  • Romans 1-7 For You
  • Galatians For You
  • Judges For You




Product Details:
Title: Romans 1-7 For You
Author: Timothy Keller
Publisher: The Good Book Company
Format: Hardcover
Retail Price: $22.99

Connect with The Good Book Company:
Website
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Media:


 

About the Author:
Timothy Keller was educated at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Westminster Theological Seminary, and is Senior Pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City. He is the New York Times bestselling author of The Reason for God, The Prodigal God, and The Meaning of Marriage.

Disclaimer:
This book was provided by Cross Focused Reviews and The Good Book Company for review purposes. This author was under no obligation to offer a favorable review. All opinions shared about the product are the honest responses of Sharra Badgley.

February 6, 2014

{Review} Unstoppable DVD by Kirk Cameron

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Where is God in the midst of tragedy and suffering?
As Kirk Cameron says at the opening of
UNSTOPPABLE, this is one of the biggest questions we face, no matter our background or
belief system. UNSTOPPABLE tackles this question based on what we can know from
experience, along with what we can learn from history and from God’s Word.

-from UNSTOPPABLE Discussion Guide

UNSTOPPABLE
, a joint project between Kirk Cameron and Liberty University, addresses deep questions of faith related to pain, grief, suffering, and death. In UNSTOPPABLE, Cameron takes the viewer on a personal journey of his own wrestling of faith. He starts at the very beginning of Genesis and weaves the story of God's grace, mercy, and purposes working in the lives of His people.

UNSTOPPABLE tackles the tough issues of tragedy and suffering in a sober and serious manner. It is a reflective film that will cause you to consider your own faith journey with the Lord. Tragedy, grief, and suffering are the difficult parts of our human experience that can either lead us to a deeper faith or shatter our core beliefs. Cameron shares a thoughtful perspective on the eternal hope we have in the Lord in the midst of pain.

Kirk tells us he has “hope that every tragedy in my life and in yours, every future tragedy and
every future pain and struggle and suffering and death God can and will use those things for his
greater glory and for our good. Because that’s what He’s been doing all along.”

-from UNSTOPPABLE Discussion Guide

Product Details:

Title:  UNSTOPPABLE
DVD Release: January 28, 2014
Run Time: approximately 65 minutes
Closed Captioning: Yes
English/Spanish Subtitles: Yes
Retail Price: $14.99
Trailer: www.UnstoppableTheMovie.com

Publisher Description:
During its two night theatrical event this past fall UNSTOPPABLE: A Live Event with Kirk Cameron sold a staggering 260,000 tickets and reached a theatrical gross of over $3.2 million dollars. On January 28, 2014, Provident Films will released UNSTOPPABLE to DVD. UNSTOPPABLE is a joint production between Kirk Cameron and Liberty University.

Inspired by the death of Cameron’s friend who succumbed to cancer at the age of 15, Cameron wanted to gain a better understanding of the role of tragedy in our lives today by going back to the beginning – literally -to Adam and Eve. Cameron investigates the origins of good and evil and how they impact our lives … and our eternities.

In UNSTOPPABLE Cameron takes audiences on an inspiring visual journey to better understand some of the biggest questions regarding their faith including “Where is God in the midst of tragedy and suffering?”, and “Why does God allow bad things happen to good people?”

“This is a very personal journey for me. I have been researching the whole idea of God in the midst of tragedy for 25 years…my wife and I started a camp for terminally ill children and their families so we see the frailty of life,” says Cameron. “For a mother and father to deal with losing and burying a child, there is a ripping of the heart that is unimaginable.”

UNSTOPPABLE will prompt audiences to consider the role that pain and suffering have in our lives as they affirm their personal views on faith, as well as encourage conversation starters about God, suffering, and hope. 

About Provident Films:
Provident Films, a division of Sony Music Entertainment, produces, markets, and distributes faith-based films. The company is part of Nashville-based Provident Music Group, which has been one of the world’s leading Christian entertainment companies for more than three decades. Films from the company have included Courageous, October Baby, Fireproof, and Facing the Giants. More info is available at ProvidentFilms.org.

Connect with UNSTOPPABLE:
Visit the Official Website
Facebook
Twitter
YouTube

Enter to win your own copy of UNSTOPPABLE!

Disclaimer: 
Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Giveaway:
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