Nothing like having a bunch of people over for a prayer meeting on a Friday night. Now it’s time to unwind with the new season of The Grand Tour and then maybe a few more chapters of Bird Box.

It’s snowing in Liverpool!!! ❄️

Having one of those days where I seem to only get a third of anything done.

Regarding the reading plan again, it is really helping me to be familiar with books of the Bible that I otherwise would only read once or twice each year. Constant rereading is proving to be very helpful.

The early morning belongs to the Church of the risen Christ. At the break of light it remembers the morning on which death and sin lay prostrate in defeat and new life and salvation were given to mankind. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together

Currently reading: Bird Box by Josh Malerman 📚

It’s a very grey day and it’s been perfect for working through reading the second half of a book for my counselling course.

The reading plan - a week in

I’m about a week into the new reading plan and so far my favourite aspects of it are:

  • My wife is following along with the same plan so we get to talk about what we’re reading and help each other grow in understanding.
  • This really accelerates becoming familiar with a text. If I was to go with a standard, in-a-year reading plan it would take me 20 years to read through Philemon or 3 John as many times as I have in the last week.
  • My kids are seeing my wife and I read the Bible more often. We keep the Bibles that we are using for this plan in our living room and are often reading while the kids play.

I hope this continues as we start to make our way into the longer books. Right now we’re sort of going from shortest to longest but as the next couple of years progress, I may decide to jump into a particular book that is interesting me the most.

“The very reason we pray is because of God’s sovereignty, because we believe that God has it within His power to order things according to His purpose.” - R.C. Sproul. Does Prayer Change Things?

It’s been a couple of years but I’m actually installing some stuff via the Terminal.

Your Friday isn’t funky enough until you’ve had this in your life.

truth in love

When communicating in person, one of the things that I have always struggled with is the love part of speaking the truth in love.

Accordingly, though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do what is required, yet for love’s sake I prefer to appeal to you—I, Paul, an old man and now a prisoner also for Christ Jesus— I appeal to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I became in my imprisonment. - Philemon 8-10

As I go through my reading plan for 2019/2020, this passage has stuck with me. It kind of feels like the first time I’ve been able to see how to speak the truth in love.

If we respond (to hardships) with, “I don’t understand all this, but I know that my Father loves me, and I trust him,” we will live with purpose, hope and perseverance. - Ed Welch, Side By Side

And the first new 📚 of 2019 that I’m starting is Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I figured it’s probably time to give him a go.

I made a pie!

Happy New Year, Micro.bloggers! It’s 2019 in Britain!

Roasted off some sweet potatoes, celeriac and beetroot for a vegan pie I’m making tomorrow. We’re not doing hashtag-Veganuary, but we are going to be having meat-free dinners for a month.

My favourite music (2018 edition)

One thing that sort of passed me by this year was music. We were so busy with the process of moving to Liverpool that I didn’t listen to anything when it actually came out. Some stuff made it through the mess, though.

My favourite song of the year

This year seemed to be the year that singles were released instead of albums and the one that ended up becoming a sort of theme for us as we went through the moving and downsizing process was none other than New Light by John Mayer. We made a point of listening to it every time we got into the car and it never got old.

My favourite albums

Three albums that were released this year ended up staying in rotation and basically not leaving.

Middle Kids - Lost Friends

While sitting in a Starbucks one morning waiting for a support raising meeting to begin, I heard a song that was so good I had to ask Siri to tell me who it was. On the drive to work, I ended up listening through Lost Friends all the way through over and over again.

There was something about the fact that it was new, guitar-based music in the era of the synthesiser. And we don’t even need to get started on Hannah Joy’s voice.

Tracyanne & Danny - self-titled

I was fortunate enough to see Camera Obscura before Carey Lander passed away in 2015. While the band has been quiet since then, Tracyanne managed to write some songs with Danny Coughlan and the pair released them on a self-titled album that became my summer soundtrack.

Natalie Evans - Better At Night

I first learned about Natalie Evans a few years ago when I was trying to make a go at music blogging. In the time since, she’s released a self-titled EP as 1/3 of the band YOU COULD BE A COP and a couple of short EPs on her own. This year, however, she finally released her full-length album Better At Night. While some of the tracks are tunes from earlier releases, the album’s strongest points for me were the opening title track and closing Postscript tracks. I’ve probably ended up listening to this album more than the other two combined because it has been a perfect writing companion.

Runners up

  • Gwenno - Le Kov (especially the single Tir Ha Mor)
  • The Innocence Mission - Sun On The Square
  • David Bazan - Yellow Bike (This is technically not a 2018 release but the single was released in 2018 so I’m counting it.)

Yard.

Another shot from our walk in Stanley Park the other day.

This guy’s illustrations always amaze me and I’m so glad he’s finally made one that can be downloaded and used as a wallpaper!

Reading through the Bible again

Thanks to the Christmas gift of the ESV Reader’s Bible (the single-volume one), it looks like I will be embarking on a new reading plan in 2019.

For 2017, I used the 5 Day plan and really enjoyed it. My favourite aspects of this were:

  • starting each quarter by reading through one of the Gospels
  • Reading through the Psalms, Proverbs and prophets within their contexts within the historical books
  • The flexibility of being able to catch up on weekends when the week was crazy (like the week I spent in Orlando going through a missions assessment)

For whatever reason, I decided that I wanted to try a different reading plan in 2018 so this past year I have used the classic plan that was put together by Robert Murray M’Cheyne. After completing it (sort of, I still have 3 days left), I have a lot of thoughts on it. I did enjoy reading through the New Testament twice in one year. Having the Old Testament stretched across the whole year has also been helpful.

My one complaint is that because the prophets are all read straight through, I found that I had to rely on previous times reading through them in order to get an idea of context. I much preferred reading Isaiah in chunks alongside 2 Kings and Chronicles.

Now that I’ve got this new Bible, I considered trying the reading plan for readers but the amount of reading that I have to do for the next module in my counselling course has made it a practical impossibility. I hope to make use of the plan after my course is complete, but for 2019, I’ll be trying Joe Carter’s plan to change my mind.

I’ve got some more reading stuff that will be happening next year and I’ll be sharing about it soon, but for today, I am glad that I have the most important part of my reading life in 2019 planned out.

A shot from the lake at Stanley Park this morning. It’s been a good day.

First time making/eating kedgeree. Omg.

That feeling when you’re drinking a glass of white wine, reading (for fun!) while you’re poorly daughter watches one of her favourite movies.

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