Tag Archives: Audible

The Joy of Books

When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments. 2 Timothy 4:13 (ESV)

Now here is a kindred spirit: Paul is writing his protégé Timothy from prison, and apparently, the younger man is coming for a visit. So Paul tells him that when he does finally hit the road, he should be sure to bring three things: first, a cloak he lent to Carpus (Roman prisons can be cold), books, and then, especially, the parchments.

So, aside from wanting to be warm in prison, Paul wanted something to read.

Ah, books.

As for me, my first love for books was of the comic variety. Sometime after 2nd or 3rd grade I began to purchase comic books at Reeves Drug store in downtown Antioch, Illinois. Action Comics, Superman, Batman, etc. I know that you non-comic readers probably think this a very juvenile appreciation, and I actually was pretty young, but I did read them through high school, and loved them. My dad had been a comic book fan in his day, and while Mom thought they were a waste of money, in contrast Dad would often ask me if he could read them after I was finished. So I can be thankful for Mom trying to teach me thrift, and for Dad…well, just thankful for Dad.

In English class during 6th or 7th grade, I remember being able to order books, along with a cool kids mag called “Dynamite!” Oh, the days when the box of books would arrive and we could take our beloved possessions home. Perhaps it was here that I began to love my books. And it developed quickly. In high school, visiting in my room one day, my good buddy Ed joked that I had a book on every subject imaginable. Not quite…but it would have been nice.

Then I became a Christian in 1982, and I discovered the Great Book. Oh my. A book of God’s words! Could there be anything greater? Answer: No, not at all. And on a lesser but happy note, it was at this same time that I discovered there was actually something called a “Christian book store”. No way. This was glorious. I had passed by “religious book stores” in my pre-Christian days, but they were largely invisible. Now I got it: a whole bookstore devoted to Jesus. And they had Petra and Amy Grant records too. Life was good.

And then God called me to full-time vocational ministry. This was clearly one of his great kindnesses to me. I don’t know if you know this, but a lot of churches give their pastors what is called a book allowance. It’s true here: every year at Edgewood, they give me more money to buy more books. You should be me.

My latest joy in books was discovered 3 or 4 years ago when I happened onto Audible books. I had listened to books before, of course, but never so conveniently with an app on the phone. Now I could literally read almost all the time (bike rides, showering, doing the dishes, etc). My kids were home for Labor Day weekend, and I drove them back to college Monday night. After saying goodbye, it was just me and three hours of highway, during which I enjoyed good time with my latest “listen”: Exodus by Leon Uris, historical fiction about the establishment of a Jewish homeland. No wasted time, just joy.

So all this is to say that I appreciate Paul’s desires, and I would concur. And if you ever hear that I’ve been locked up (hopefully for preaching the gospel and not grand theft auto), and you’re coming for a visit, well you know…don’t come empty handed.


Tomorrow: Thursday, September 10th: Titus 1




Posted by on September 9, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Life Without My iPhone

iphone and me

iPhone, sweet iPhone

About two weeks ago, I sent in my iPhone for repairs; the port for power connecting had begun working only intermittently. Happily, however, I didn’t have to do without: the folks at U.S. Cellular gave me a old fashioned flip-phone replacement.

Honestly, I thought it would be a good experience. Sort of a forced unplugging, you know…going back to ancient times, when our forefathers could only call and text with their devices. I too would join in their happy throng, smelling more flowers, watching more sunsets, and living at peace in a world without Facebook.

The timing, however…was poor. My new flip phone era coincided with the theft of our GPS right out from under our noses as our van sat in the driveway one evening. This meant that drop-off-your-student weekend at Wheaton College was going to be somewhat GPS-less for me.  Diane had her phone, but we would not always be together…and besides, it was hers, not mine.

Readers of this blog will know that we already have another student, our Junior – Josh, at Wheaton, so you would think we would know our way around by now. Not so. And after all, why should we? We always had our GPS.  Going to Wheaton was almost as simple as selecting 500 College Ave., and tucking in for a three hour nap. Not anymore. Yet truthfully, getting there wasn’t the problem. It was getting around during the long three day weekend to our lodgings and various eateries that would be tough. The positive was that, indeed, by the end of the weekend, I had the Wheaton-Glen Ellyn area more figured out than ever before.

Now…about texting. I’ve grown accustomed to speaking out loud my texts into my iPhone. Though my kids think I’m hokey, I think it’s genius. And oh how I wanted to talk to that flip-phone with its abc and def etc. buttons. Purgatory, if I believed in it, would be mandatory flip-phones and forced texting. And that brings up another problem: Whensendingatextonmynewflipphone,Icouldn’tfindthespacebar. The upside was that Elisabeth received some entertainment from her dad’s flip-phone goofiness and started showing my run-together texts to her new college pals. It wasn’t until we arrived at the school and met up with tech savvy Josh that my messages got a bit easier to read. (# button = space)

Of course I was app-deprived. Email, Safari, Audible books, Olive Tree Study Bible, My fitness pal (apparently without tracking calories, I would just need to eat whatever I wanted). And forget actually watching sunsets, midday, I just longed to consult my Weather Channel app to see whether a sunset would be hypothetically viewable that evening. A very mild depression descended, and I was unable to discern if it came from leaving two kids at college or not having Evernote.

The culmination of my troubles came when we needed to kill an hour before dinner and headed to…Kohl’s. I like to think that Steve Jobs invented iPhones primarily for men whose wives were going to spend more than 5 minutes at a Kohl’s. I once killed almost two hours sitting in a manchair at Kohl’s while reading from the Kindle app on my iPhone. I got at least one good thought for my Easter sermon that day. But nothing either productive or entertaining was going to be happening in this hour. In desperation, I tried to connect to something called “easy edge” on the flip phone, thinking it would provide me with baseball scores or stock tips or the latest news from AP…anything…anything. But the flip phone failed to connect to easy edge. It was just me…and clothes.

My iPhone is back now – actually Apple gave me a new one (or refurbished – I can’t tell) as it was under warranty. And all I can say is that I have a newfound appreciation for that grey rectangle in my front pocket. Dear iPhone, I never knew you, and I’ll never take you for granted again.

And why do I bring all this up? Well, Scripture, of course:

But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. 1 Timothy 6:8 (ESV)

And somewhere up in heaven…the Apostle Paul is shaking his head at me.

For tomorrow, Thursday, September 3rd: 2 Timothy 1


Posted by on September 2, 2015 in Uncategorized


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