Saturday, November 14, 2009

Spiritually Significant Films

In his Nov. 11 blog post, "100 Spiritually Significant Films," Greg Wilbur aptly writes, "While one could argue about some of the particulars, this list of Spiritually Significant Films offers a guide for viewing and discussing a wide array of movies."

I have by no means viewed all of these films. Of those I have viewed, it's been so long since I watched some of them that I don't know if I'd recommend them or not. But, here are some of my favorites from the list:
  • The Mission
  • The Hiding Place
  • Chariots of Fire (One of my all-time favorites!)
  • To End All Wars (Highly recommended.)
  • Shadowlands (Both: the one starring Anthony Hopkins & the other: C.S. Lewis: Through the Shadowlands starring Joss Ackland.)
  • The Passion of the Christ
To this list I would add:
  • Tom Brown's School Days
  • The Kingdom of Heaven
  • Amazing Grace
  • Glory

Monday, September 21, 2009

Some Aftershave Favorites

For years I didn't mess with aftershave lotions. Vanity! But, I'm beginning to realize that we're to enjoy simple pleasures, within the loving boundaries God intended, provided we do not allow them to become obsessions that replace Him as Priority One. So, now I splash on some good smellin' stuff regularly. Here are a couple that you might enjoy yourself:

I cut this "barber-shop-smell" stuff 50/50 with witch hazel. Some swear by Thayer's or Dickson's but I buy the less expensive witch hazel brands from Dollar General here in the wee town of Owensville. I have to drive all the way to Princeton (12 miles) to get the Clubman from CVS or Walgreen's. But hey, if I time it just right, on the way I can stop by Kempf's Donut Bank for a coffee and glazed sour cream donut!
Now this here aftershave I had to drive a ways to the big city of Evansville (30 miles) because that's the closest Sally Beauty Supply. No big deal, though. I'm often in the big city making pastoral hospital visitations. (That's not to say that I don't ever stop at a Donut Bank while there, too!) In my opinion, the Master's Bay Rum aftershave has a clovey aroma, kind of Christmasy. However, my older daughter says it just smells nice and clean to her. Anyway, it's my favorite for right now and it's not expensive either. Plus, if you think you might have splashed on a bit too much of it, the fragrance dissipates rather quickly.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Thursday, July 16, 2009

My Smoothest Double Edge Shave Thus Far

Well, in my quest to turn some every-day tasks into simple pleasures, I've been studying the art of the wet shave. To help educate myself, I've been spending some leisure time at the Badger & Blade forum.

To transition from twin blade disposables to old-fashioned double edge and single-edge safety razors, I started using the inexpensive Bic Sensitive single-edge disposables. I ordered some quality shave creams (Proraso and Musgo Real), picked up a puck of VDH shaving soap and pulled out from "storage" my old shaving mug (coffee mug) and boar hair shaving brush. I also bought some Aqua Velva Classic aftershave. Using a few pre-shave and post-shave techniques I learned on Badger & Blade, I experienced some of the closest and most enjoyable shaves in my shaving history.

I planned to order a Merkur Classic double edge razor in a few months. I still may but just last Saturday I stopped by an antique shop looking for a vintage Gillette double edge (DE) razor. $6.40 later, I walked out with a Gillette DE and three single edge (SE) razors--a 1912 Ever-Ready, Gem Micromatic, and a Gem with an ivory-colored handle!

Well, after three shaves with the Gillette, loaded with a Red Personna blade, I've experienced my closest DE shave to date. But, it took some tweaking. Here was my routine:
  • Pre-Shave: Washed face with Grandpa's Wonder Pine Tar Soap; splashed with hot water; applied Proraso with brush after lathering in a bowl; held hot, wet wash cloth over lathered face for 30 seconds or so.
  • Shave: First pass with the grain; rinsed with hot water; lathered; held hot, wet wash cloth over face again; second pass against the grain.
  • Post-Shave: Rinsed with warm water; rinsed with cold water; patted dry; splashed with Swan Witch Hazel; let air while I cleaned up my shaving tools; applied Aqua Velva Classic aftershave.

This is the first time I've had virtually no razor burn on my neck!

Now, I'm looking forward to trying one of my single edge razors loaded with a Gem single edge blade!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Personal vs. Private

A personal faith in Christ? Priceless.

A private faith in Christ? Worthless.

And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." Matthew 28:18-20 (ESV)

So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.--
Jesus, Matthew 10:32-33 (ESV)

Some Fountain Pen Appreciation

Friday, June 26, 2009

A Special Place for Rest

For years when I was younger, I heard various folks talk of having their “special place” to go on vacation. They spoke about how relaxing and rejuvenating it was to make their annual trek to their favorite spot of respite. I didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to their comments, just enough to wonder if such places really were that enjoyable and re-creative. On the other hand, I wasn’t very good at resting anyway, and when your children are young and you are working and pursuing further education, you don’t feel like you can afford financially or in time to go away to some haven of rest long enough to make the trip worthwhile anyway. Honestly though, if I’d planned better and had some priorities rearranged, I could’ve probably done a better job at it than I did. Hindsight is 20/20, so they say.

But I’m a bit older now, not old, just older enough to notice fatigue more than I did in my twenties and thirties. I’ve also learned to enjoy and look forward to, even covet, a day of rest each week. And, when I can take an additional day or part of a day to take care of non-ministry “work” around the home place (the stuff many folk do on Saturdays before resting on Sundays), I consider that a blessing as well. Plus, Deloris and I have learned to see the value of occasionally getting out of town together for two to three days to rest, enjoy one another’s company and a change of scenery.

This brings me back to the idea of having a “special” get-away place. Deloris and I now have one. We first experienced the peacefulness of it about a year ago and we’ve been back twice since then, the latest being in early June. It’s far enough away to say we went somewhere but close enough to get back home quickly if we really need to do so. It’s affordable, the food is great, the atmosphere is relaxing and has an historical feel, and once we’re there, we don’t have to get off of the property unless we just really want to do so. The lodging is comfortable, the common places where folks gather to read or visit or play games, or even dose off are uncommon, and there is plenty of beautiful scenery to go out and experience if we desire. Where is this place? Spring Mill Inn located in the middle of Spring Mill State Park near Mitchell, Indiana. It’s hard for me to explain how restful it is, but as soon as we walk into the inn’s large main lobby, furnished in the arts & crafts or mission style tradition, we’re relaxed. I think clearly there. It’s easy for me to focus on my devotional time and to write in my journal. Reading is such a pleasure there for both Deloris and me. And, we enjoy talking and going on walks on the surrounding trails. God sure has blessed us during our times at that tranquil place.

As much as Deloris and I enjoy going there, it doesn’t even compare with what heaven will be like. The rest and activities that God has in store for those who have accepted by faith His wonderful gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ and His sacrificial work on the cross is difficult to comprehend. Even the inspired authors of various books in the New Testament seemed to have trouble trying to describe in words the beauty and wonderfulness of heaven.
We mustn’t forget that we’re strangers here. Though we’re saved by grace and not any goodness on own account, God is God and we are not. An obedient response to His grace is essential and our salvation didn’t come cheaply. The apostle Peter reminds us,

“And remember that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites. He will judge or reward you according to what you do. So you must live in reverent fear of him during your time as “foreigners in the land.” For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God” (1 Peter 1:17-19, NLT).

But there is a greater rest coming, one that begins when one is born again, an inner rest that is experienced as we respond to His Word each day. This rest will grow exponentially when Christ returns and we enter the gates of heaven to that place prepared for the faithful: “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God's rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest…” (Hebrews 4:9-11, NIV).

You know, when, by God’s grace through Jesus Christ, I get to heaven, Spring Mill Inn won’t look all that great. But in the meantime, like Solomon tells us in Ecclesiastes, God willing, I hope to continue to enjoy that special place in the woods in southern Indiana. And, I hope that if you haven’t already, you find a nice place to relax when needed as well.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Choosing Others to Manage Our Affairs

"It really is difficult to imagine how people who have entirely given up managing their affairs could make a wise choice of those who are to do that for them. One should never expect a liberal, energetic, and wise government to originate in the votes of a people of servants." --Alexis de Tocqueville in Democracy in America, 1840

Friday, April 24, 2009

Without Armor or Sword

Without Armor or Sword
David, a young man of nineteen,
Fought the biggest man he’d seen.

Goliath cursed with his gods
Not realizing the terrible odds
Of victory against him would be.

For David, without armor or sword,
Trusted the might of His Lord,
And felled him with a rock from the stream.

By Bart W. Newton ©2009

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Three Nails

Three Nails
The church service today was meaningful:
Christ is Eternal King Beautiful!

We are His subjects and heirs;
He? The Ruler who cares.

We are nothing without Him.
We are everything with Him,
That He wills.

He never faults or fails.
We are made secure by three nails—
That He endured,
Through which He cured
Our sin that apart from Him prevails!

By Bart W. Newton ©2009

Friday, April 3, 2009

Not with Pen & Ink

Believe it or not, there is a time when pen & ink just don't get the job done:

"I have much to write you, but I do not want to do so with pen and ink. I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face. " --Apostle John, 3 John 1:13-14 (NIV)

"The only letter of recommendation we need is you yourselves. Your lives are a letter written in our hearts; everyone can read it and recognize our good work among you. Clearly, you are a letter from Christ showing the result of our ministry among you. This “letter” is written not with pen and ink, but with the Spirit of the living God. It is carved not on tablets of stone, but on human hearts.

"We are confident of all this because of our great trust in God through Christ."
--Apostle Paul, 2 Corinthians 3:2-4 (NLT)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Fountain Pen Inks Currently in Rotation

The following inks are loaded & in use:

Current Fountain Pen Collection

Fountain pens currently in my possession:
  • Cross Century Classic, gray matte, extra-fine nib (gift from wife in early 1990s)
  • Parker 88 Place Vendome, beige & burgundy, medium nib (gift from colleague in early 1990s)
  • Mont Blanc 144 Classique, fine cursive italic nib (A "too good to be true" clearance buy at Office Depot that was true! Purchased sometime around 2004 +/-. )
  • Lamy Safari, charcoal, extra-fine nib ("daily workhorse")
  • Pilot 78G, cinnabar red, broad (western light medium) stub/italic nib (Mainly for letters/notes to my wife.)
  • Dollar 717i, piston fill clear demonstrator, western fine nib (Main use is for underlining text & writing margin notes with Private Reserve Copper Burst ink.)
  • Cross Century II, classic black, extra-fine nib (Received as warranty replacement for Cross Century Classic listed above that developed a loose feed. Plan to send Classic to a repair shop.)
  • Sailor Profit Superscript, specialty 3-in-1 calligraphy nib (Use for highlighting with Noodler's Firefly ink.)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Raising the Next Generation of Believers

"And all that generation also were gathered to their fathers. And there arose another generation after them who did not know the LORD or the work that he had done for Israel." Judges 2:10 (ESV)

"There is just one way to bring up a child in the way he should go and that is to travel that way yourself." --Abraham Lincoln

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Rousing a Sleeping Giant

Peggy Noonan wrote a positive review of her experience regarding last week's Presidential Inauguration in her mostly weekly "Declarations" column in the WSJ Opinion Journal. Near the end, she wrote some insightful words about the potential pluses and minuses of President Obama's self-confident persona and how he might do what he doesn't intend to do:

"As for Mr. Obama, some thoughts that start with a hunch. He has the kind of self-confidence that will serve him well or undo him. He has to be careful about what he wants, because he's going to get it, at least at the beginning. He claimed a lot of moderate territory in his Inaugural Address (deepen and expand our alliances, put aside debates on size of government and aim for government that is competent and constructive), but no one is certain, still, what governing philosophy guides him. He would be most unwise to rouse the sleeping giant that is American conservatism. One thing that would rouse it, and begin to bring its broken pieces back together, would be radical movement on abortion, such as pushing the so-called Freedom of Choice Act.

"There was another great gathering in Washington this week, of those who themselves are not always invited or included, because of their unflinching views. The Right to Life march was marked, according to participants, by an air of peacefulness, and unusual sweetness. The attitude toward President Obama? They prayed for him. As great Americans, which is what they are, would."

Saturday, January 3, 2009

2009 Devotional Reading

Last year as part of my most-days devotional reading, I completed The Christian Almanac by George Grant and Gregory Wilbur and Experiencing God Day by Day by Henry & Richard Blackaby. I highly recommend both resources.

My 2009 devotional reading includes the morning readings from Morning & Evening (I'll save the evening readings for another year, Lord willing) by C.H. Spurgeon and The One-Year Christian History by Michael & Sharon Rusten. My personal reading Bible for the year is the English Standard Version Literary Study Bible. I plan to read through this Bible chronologically along with many others of the First Christian Church of Owensville congregation who are also reading through-the-Bible-in-a-year.