TD Fri – “The Books We Love”/mp3’s

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Hey TD!

We’ve had a great summer series hearing from some of TD’s leaders in “The Books We Love”!

This Friday will be the series finale, as we hear from Kathy, Daniel, and Rebecca! Don’t miss it!

Last week, we had a blessed time hearing from Abigail, Robert, and Sandra ūüôā You can listen to their “book reports” on mp3 below, including a full-reading from Sandra:

Abigail (incl. an intro on reading from Arthur) –¬†The Lord of the Rings¬†(mp3) by J.R.R. Tolkien

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Robert –¬†The Scarlet Letter¬†(mp3) by Nathaniel Hawthorne

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Sandra (full reading) –¬†The Velveteen Rabbit¬†(mp3) by Margery Williams

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“Christmas: Celebrate the Humble King” (Robert)

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Merry Christmas, TD!

On this Christmas Day, Robert shares an article he wrote for a local paper. ¬†It’s an appropriate read for this special day. ¬†Thanks, Robert!

Christmas: Celebrate the Humble King by Robert Chan

Last year in our home we celebrated our first Christmas together as a family of three. Our baby daughter had just turned four months old. She couldn’t do much except let out gas and look adorable, and yet her presence during that special season opened our eyes in a fresh way to the wonder of Christmas.

It wasn‚Äôt because the piece of real estate underneath our Christmas tree was much more crowded than usual; and, no, it wasn‚Äôt because our daughter received the most gifts out of anyone in our family. (She received toys and clothes that she probably won‚Äôt be able to wear or really enjoy until after¬†this year‚Äôs¬†Christmas celebration.) The fresh wonder came as we held in our arms a living reminder of the heart of this holy day. Beyond the lights, trees, songs, and scents‚ÄĒeven beyond the shepherds, angels, and animals‚ÄĒthe heart of Christmas was laid in a feeding trough two thousand years ago as a baby boy in Bethlehem.

Now this wasn‚Äôt what many expected when they were waiting for the fulfillment of God‚Äôs Word from the prophet Isaiah:¬†‚ÄúFor to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore.‚Ä̬†(Isaiah 9:6-7, ESV) With those credentials, shouldn‚Äôt this king be born in the palace of the greatest existing empire?¬†Instead, he was born in a feeding trough in a very small town of Israel, which in turn was a conquered nation under the rule of the Roman Empire. The all-powerful God did not send His Son to overwhelm the world with might and glory; instead He sent his Son in the weakest form of humanity: a baby. My wife and I could only catch our breath in wonder when we fed our daughter so that she would not starve, changed her so that she would not rot, and carefully bathed her so that she would not drown.¬† She was totally dependent on us; and it floored us to think of why someone who is used to having everyone dependent on him would willingly place himself in such a position.

The Bible tells us why God humbled himself to such a point: Jesus became human like us in order to stand in our place before God. We all have sinned against our Maker and no amount of sacrifice or penance we can make on our own would overrule the rightful justice we deserve. And so Jesus¬†‚Äúemptied himself by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.‚Ä̬†(Philippians 2:7-8) He took no shortcuts in living the life we could never live‚ÄĒfrom birth to death, Jesus lived in perfect obedience and with perfect love for God the Father. He used his human eyes to see needy; he used his feet to move toward the hurting; he used his hands to lift the lowly; and he used his lips to praise his Lord.

But his body was not formed only to do good in our place; it was also formed to be broken for our evil.¬†‚ÄúWhen Christ came into the world, he said, ‚ÄėSacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body you have prepared for me.‚Ä̬†(Hebrews 10:5)¬†Jesus himself would be the perfect sacrifice. The hands that God the Father fashioned in the womb of Mary were made to be pierced. God made that heart knowing that it would stop beating for the salvation of many. He breathed air into those lungs so that they would one day collapse under the weight of Jesus‚Äô body hanging on the cross. He wove that skin knowing it would be wrapped in grave cloths only to burst out from them in the triumphant defeat of death. Truly, ‚ÄúGod so loved the world that He gave His Son, so that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.‚ÄĚ (John 3:16) This Christmas, take time to marvel at this humble King and the costly peace bought by the sacrifice of the Prince of Peace

These Verses Changed My Life

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Hey TD!

Don’t you love kids? ¬†I do. ¬†There is this raw, real, unpolished, unpretentious, unpackaged authenticity and realness to them, for better or for worse! ūüôā ¬†I also love young spiritual children as well (though they may be chronologically older, even adult-aged). ¬†They too can have that wide-eyed hungry (even naive), teachable way about them that is refreshing and alive. ¬†I love being around real life like that. ¬†But with having children (biologically or spiritually) comes an enormous amount of spiritual responsibility.

It is when I had my first child, Nathaniel, that this hit me like a lightning bolt. ¬†I read Deuteronomy 6:4-9, and it changed my life’s focus, calling, and passion. ¬†Here it is:

4 “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as [b]frontals [c]on your forehead.9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

There they were, my marching orders from the Commander Himself.  My duty and calling as the father to my children was to first and foremost teach and train them to walk with the Lord, even before my responsibilities to train and take care of them physically, socially, academically, etc.  I have been charged to constantly bring them before the voice, heart, desires, and will of our God Almighty, through the priceless gift of His matchless Word; and I am to do it passionately, authentically, creatively, and in heavy doses.  Every chance that I get.  Waking.  Sleeping.  Walking.  Playing.  Eating.  Talking.  Traveling.  Every chance that I get.  That was really the underlying impetus behind us homeschooling them.

That’s why I get so excited when I see a young couple like Robert and Kathy take that charge to heart as well, as they begin exposing their daughter to God’s Word at her young age (these pics are the first pics of Hannah “doing” Bible study ūüôā wink, wink). ¬†They know that even though she’s the cutest little thing (did you see her last night??? Sooooo cute!), God’s Word tells us the truth: little Hannah is a born-sinner, depraved at her core. ¬†Little Hannah needs a Savior and needs to come to Jesus and to grow in His grace. ¬†And that cannot happen without the power of His Word.

And you cannot grow in grace without the power of His Word either.  Deuteronomy 6:4-9 applies to YOU.  YOU need to talk of His Word when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up.  YOU need to bind them as a sign on your hand and as frontals on your forehead.  YOU need to write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

As a spiritual father to some of you, and a spiritual uncle to most of you, I charge you and plead with you to examine the life you’re living, who you’re living it with, the way you spend your time, the activities you engage in, the conversations you have, etc. Then, I ask you to do some re-organizing of your life to make more time to study, sit under, meditate on, pray through … God’s Word.

Do it this summer, so that by the time you return to school, more time in His Word will be ingrained into your schedule! РArthur

 

Introducing the Newest Member of the TD Family …

Introducing …

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Hannah Elizabeth!  (Soooo cuuuuute!!!)

Congratulations to Robert and Kathy on the birth of their brand new daughter! ¬†As you can imagine, they are very excited and very humbled to receive God’s blessing in this way. They understand well that Hannah is the Lord’s child and vow to raise her in a way that highlights how awesome He is.

But they cannot do it alone. ¬†We all need to come alongside them and do our part as well! It is our responsibility and privilege as a TD family. ¬†You can begin by taking a moment to stop and pray for their family, as they continue to work through the heavenly home going of ¬†Robert’s mom, Liz, as well as the earthly arrival of Hannah.

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“Behold, children are a gift of the LORD …” Psalm 127:3

Liz (Robert’s mom) is Home With our Lord

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Hello TD,

It is with heavy heart that we inform you that Liz Chan, Robert’s precious mother, had her Homecoming on June 29 at 5:40 p.m. ¬†Thank you for your support, love, and prayers for the Chans during these last two months.

It has been a stressful and emotionally and physically difficult time since Liz’s hospital admittance on April 18. ¬†Robert and his sister, Judy, took turns sleeping at the hospital every night for 2 1/2 months, and one of them was with her nearly 24/7. ¬†However, it was also a very spiritually strengthening, encouraging, and inspiring time. ¬†Jesus so clearly shone through her as she always used every ounce she had to praise Him, pray, and worship Him in song, even when she could no longer speak.

Here is the announcement from Robert:

“Hi loved ones. Today my mom passed from this life into eternal joy in the presence of her Savior and God. She finished her race well, comfortably, and with beloved family all around her. She’s been unconscious with everything in her body shutting down. She breathed on her own for 30 minutes before her heart stopped at 5:40 p.m. We had absolutely precious hours beforehand with her relatives all around. Uncle Kenny and my dad read Psalm 103 and 1 Corinthians 15:50-58 out loud together in Cantonese. Judy, Kathy, and I led the family in many worship songs. We prayed for her. This was the most emotional and real I’ve seen many of my relatives as they thanked mom for her love and her impact on their lives. There were many tears before and not a dry eye in the room when she passed. Death is ugly, jarring, violating… it’s not what God designed us for. I miss my mom so much. Yet it’s all the more amazing that Jesus went through death under God’s wrath for our sin so that we could enjoy a restored relationship with God forever. While we’re home without mom, mom was lovingly carried home before us. Thanks for your prayers throughout. They really are the best support we could ask for now.”

Liz was such a trooper and an inspiration every time we visited her. ¬†I always left our visits having drawn closer to Jesus, having been inspired to love our Lord more authentically. Whenever we would visit, and when she could no longer speak, she would motion for us to sing praises and pray, or she would write it on her portable board, as well as to encourage us with things like “Unconditional love from God for U” (see pics above).

God bless you, Liz.  He has raised you up!

“But someone will ask, ‚ÄúHow are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?‚ÄĚ You foolish person! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies … So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power.” 1 Cor. 15:35-36, 42-43

– Arthur

Dying Well

Hey TD,

There are few events like a funeral that can set the vision of our lives straight.  John Piper said this,

I thank God for funerals. Or to put it more personally, I thank God for the ministry of the dying in my life. Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints (Psalm 116:15) …¬†I would rather preach at a funeral than at a wedding, not because I love death more than I love marriage, but because the gospel of Christ crucified and risen shines more brightly at a funeral. At a wedding there are so many earthly reasons to feel happy. At a funeral, if the gospel of Christ is not true ‚Äď if the blood and righteousness of Christ are not sufficient to make us acceptable to God ‚Äď then there are few reasons to be happy. The effect of death on my life in the ministry has been profound, and I thank God for it and for all those who in their dying taught me so much.”

Robert and Bobbie Wolgemuth are literary giants in the world of Christian publishing, and are the literary agents for many of Christendom’s biggest authors, including RC, Ravi, and Joni.¬† In fact, Bobbie was one of Joni’s best friends … was.¬† They used to sing hymns together every chance they got … used to.

Bobbie past away last month from a two-year battle with cancer.¬† I have never seen anyone die so well from cancer as Bobbie did.¬† The radiance of Christ always came through her, but never so much as these last two years.¬† She was possessed … by Christ.

My family has had the privilege of knowing the Wolgemuths over the years.¬† Bobbie even had Daniel and Angela sing with her on stage during one of Joni’s conferences.¬† They radiate Jesus.¬† We had a chance to pray with Robert a few days after Bobbie’s passing while we were in Florida last month with Ravi’s ministry, and he was trying to encourage US! ¬†Please pray for his days ahead.

You NEED to watch¬†the portion of the Bobbie’s memorial service above (already queued for you), beginning from her granddaughter singing to the end of her daughters’ eulogy.¬† It is inpsiring and provides a vision for us on how to live life well daily in Jesus’ presence.

Notes of interest:

–¬†the pianist for her granddaughter is the same pianist that accompanied Bobbie 48 years ago when Bobbie sang the same song, when Robert first saw Bobbie.

–¬†at the very beginning of the service are wonderful paintings she drew (many have hymns woven in)

Рworld-renowned preacher, Alistair Begg, gives a short but powerful gospel message later in the service Рat 1:07:56

–¬†a few weeks before her passing, Robert took video of Bobbie taking a walk in her neighborhood, singing Trust and Obey – at 1:48:53

– Arthur

“Good For Nothing” – TD Bible Study

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Hey TD’ers!

Thanks to Robert for¬†not only giving our message last Friday, but for¬†preparing this week’s small group Bible study, even though he and his family are enduring severe trial right now.¬† Please pray for them.¬† One way you can support and encourage Robert is to take the time to work through and engage with the study he wrote for us during difficult circumstances.¬† That would encourage him.¬† Your edification and growth¬†are the reasons he persevered.¬† Please honort that commitment.

We look forward to our small group time together this Friday, where we’ll engage, share, study, and grow¬†together. ¬†Please work on the study BEFORE Friday and give God the opportunity to help you actually become the Christian you’ve become. Enjoy! – Arthur

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” 2Cor. 5:17

Below you’ll find links to the message and Bible study.

“Good For Nothing” (Bible Study)

“Good For Nothing” (message)