May this year be a year where you see the fingerprints of God in all the sensational and mundane places in the world and as a result, may you be filled with incredible gratitude because of His immense and evident faithfulness.
If you were wondering, yes, in fact, we are having resonate tomorrow night at our usual 6 pm time. We know it's a unique time to meet, but we're really looking forward to it! We can think of no better way to start the evening of celebration on New Year's Eve than to spend time reflecting, anticipating and celebrating together at resonate. It's going to be a unique worship experience where we look back on God's faithfulness in the past year, celebrate the joy of the present and look forward with anticipation to God's promises for His people in 2007.
It will have more of a laid-back, intimate Vespers-type feel...shorter teaching, extended worship time and an opportunity to engage with and participate in worship stations around the room. (If you're unfamiliar with worship stations, you can read more about it in a previous post I made here).
Maybe you've been reading about or hearing about resonate this fall, but haven't been able to attend yet. Consider coming out and joining us as we lean into a new year - and then head on to your New Year's Eve dinners, parties and celebrations afterwards.
Last year I created a 'Best of 2005' List. This year I thought, 'Why not...let's do it a second time and make it a tradition.'
Here's a sort of year in review/highlight list that may be of some interest to you.
Best film: Stranger Than Fiction See earlier post for my glowing review, but this was the best movie I've seen in the past three years.
Best Book I Read: The Great Ommission (Dallas Willard) Thought-provoking and well-written, Willard writes about the loss of discipleship in Christianity - and how we re-gain its importance and practice. This book messed with me...and I can't stop thinking about it.
Best Music Album: Continuum (John Mayer) I never thought I would ever pick John Mayer for album of the year, but it was terrific. Second place is Mutemath's self-titled album.
Best Concert I Attended: Starsailor at WXPN/World Cafe Life in Philly. I hadn't heard of this British band until the concert. They sound like a mix between Coldplay and U2, bands that I also love, and their lyric-writing is amazing.
Best Song: (tie) You Can Close Your Eyes (James Taylor) and Silence is Easy (Starsailor) James Taylor is my favorite artist, but for some reason I had not heard this song before. It's an old one, but I have it on repeat on my iTunes. Silence is Easy is the best Starsailor song - pretty addicting to listen to.
Best Television Show: The Amazing Race. Hands down, the best show on television. This season was good, but last season with the hippies was incredible. The mix of teamwork, adventure, travel, seeing people operate under stress and strategy make it a perfect show. I never thought I would be addicted to a TV show. (Thanks to Ryan and Missy for their incredible hospitality this past AR season).
Best Podcast: Rob Bell at Mars Hill Bible Church (Grandville, MI) I learn more from Rob's podcasts than almost anyone else. If you haven't heard him, log onto iTunes and subscribe to this podcast.
Best Book of the Bible I Read This Year: Job I've read the book of Job a great deal, but for whatever reason this time around proved to be extremely fruitful for me. Oftentimes when we read Job we focus on the first three chapters and the last chapter, but I found myself learning the most from Job's three friends. They taught me a great deal - especially how not to help people who are grieving, grasping a more developed theology of suffering, understanding the character of God and re-learning what it means to be a good friend.
Best Philly Cheesesteak: (tie) Pat's Steaks (South Philly) and Rick's Steaks (at Reading Terminal Market) If you've never had a cheesesteak at these locations you haven't really lived yet (but you're probably a lot healthier for it!)
Best Magazine: (tie) Fast Company and ESPN The Magazine. I devour each issue of these two magazines. Love 'em...
Best Blog: Serious: Scot McKnight I love the way this theologian, college professor, author and blogger thinks. (If you haven't read his book Jesus Creed you should get your hands on it).
Best Blog: FunnyMarko With how many hilarious links are on this blog (especially from YouTube) I sometimes wonder if Marko actually works.
Best Decision: Move to Pennsylvania. While the decision was difficult and we are so grateful for the way God has brought us to Pennsylvania. There is no doubt that this is where we should be. We're grateful that God's hand has been evident in the entire process. We've been blessed by so many friends, we've experienced so much support from people and we anticipate seeing God's faithfulness evidenced in the coming year.
What a year 2006 has been. We're excited about what will happen in 2007!
We saw another great movie: Blood Diamond. Finally, an action movie that has incredibly heavy social implications. Lots of violence, but this is the reality in parts of our world. It'll make you think twice before entering a jewelry store. It's worth seeing.
As I walked out of the theatre all I could think about was, 'Peace on earth, goodwill towards men.'
Check out these two videos on YouTube.
We've probably all seen Christmas lights set to music and wondered where they came from.
Well, these two videos are of a house in our little town of Perkasie. The Simpsons also attend our church.
The Create-a-Caption contest is back here at brokenstainedglass. Here's how it works: I post a picture, you post funny comments about the picture and then I pick the ones that are the funniest and announce the winners.
Feel free to post as many comments as you'd like. Winners will be announced next week.
Many of you have been asking for an update on the adoption process.
Well, we're three weeks away and counting to the due date of Baby Briggs. The nursery is completed, a name has been picked out and we're preparing our hearts - and our schedules - for the new arrival. The official due date is January 7th for the little guy (although the doctor said he's developing just fine and they may actually induce early if everything continues to go smoothly). He'll be born at Grandview Hospital -- just five minutes from our house.
Sometimes it seems so surreal, but we could not be more excited. Friends and family members are thrilled and have been extremely supportive and excited for us. [Thanks to many of you for all you've done to make us feel loved and supported!]
Many of you have been praying for the entire process and we're so grateful for that. Continue to pray for birthmother physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually in these final weeks. Pray for the little guy and his physical development. And pray for us as we prepare to be parents. We want to be the most loving, caring and God-honoring parents to Baby Briggs.
Have you ever had somebody tell you that you speak with an accent and you totally disagree with them? Or you have told someone else that they have one and they respond by saying, "Noo wahy...I don't heeave 'n eeaccent!"
I seem to have an ear to hear even the slightest bit of an accent (I've been accused of being a keen noticer of the way people speak..and much of the time I'm spot on). I've been known to ask waitresses after hearing them extend to me a one-sentence greeting after we've sat down at a table for lunch, 'So why did you move from Wisconsin to here?' or 'You're from South Africa, aren't you?' or 'So how long ago did you live in North Carolina?'
The rest of the conversation usually goes like this...
Waiter/waitress: 'Yes...I am from there. How did you know that?'
Me: 'Your accent gives you away.'
Waiter/waitress: 'I don't have an accent!'
Me: 'Then how did I know you were from Wisconsin/South Africa/North Carolina then without you telling me?!?!"
Well, this settles it. I found something that will give the objective truth to the study of dialects and accents in various parts of the country.
Take this accent quiz and find out the truth of your accent. (Applicable only in America - or "Amahricah" in Philadelphia, "Ahmeddicah" in Mexico or "Ehmerrica" in Texas).