50,135 — so one free book!

Thanks to my many visitors and readers for pushing my blog past 50,000 visits since 2007. I am really honored by the attention to my little posts. Of course, 5% of the visitors were simply searching for “feather pen” and they somehow landed here (and looked around, I hope). I can say that taking time to write here helps me better reflect on things above.

In celebration of this milestone — and of the fact that YOU are reading this post — I am giving away a FREE book: FOR THE FAME OF GOD’S NAME (about John Piper & his ministry) by Sam Storms & Justin Taylor.

TO ENTER:  subscribe to this blog (either by email or by RSS) and leave a comment to this post saying you’ve done so. If you subscribe this week (or already subscribe) and comment below you will be entered in the drawing. On Monday, September 10th, I will select someone at random from all those who’ve entered. Please make sure I have some way to reach you (an email address; I will not keep those after the give-away). I hope this works.

Thanks for visiting!
~ pdb

For the love of books…

I liked this poster, and thought to share it with my blog readers. You can click through to the artist’s site. He has a couple more I liked…
~ pdb

Happy New Year 2012 AD

What a blessing to be given a new year. May we each be grateful to God, and intentional in making the most of our time (Psalm 90:12 & Ephesians 5:15-16).

As for “celebrating” — I’m glad we do so! Here is a bit of timely background from Dr George Grant from his blog:

The celebration of the New Year did not occur on the first day of January until after the introduction of the Gregorian calendar in 1582—and even then only in France, the northern Italian city states, Portugal, and in the Spanish nations of Castile and Aragon. The new calendar was not accepted until 1600 in Scotland and 1752 in England and America.

From the earliest days of the Roman imperial calendar the New Year was celebrated on March 25—which is why September, October, November, and December are derived from the Latin words septem (seven), octo (eight), novem (nine), and decem (ten).

Throughout Christendom, January 1 was instead celebrated as a day of renewal midway through the Yuletide season—it was thus a day for vows, vision, and vocation. It was on this day that guild members took their annual pledge, that husbands and wives renewed their marriage promises, and that young believers reasserted their resolution to walk in the grace of the Lord’s great Epiphany.

In Edinburgh beginning in the seventeenth century, revelers would gather at the Tron Church to watch the great clock tower mark the last hours of Christmastide—which was the inspiration behind the much more recent Times Square ceremony in New York. In Edinburgh, of course, the purpose was not merely to have a grand excuse for a public party, but was a way for the whole covenant community to celebrate the grace of Epiphany newness.

Friday fun with a bookcase!

Here is a short video clip of a bookcase as you’ve not seen it before! Great music too. (you may have to click through to the Youtube site to view it; less than two minutes long.)

– pdb

Quotes from Ben Franklin…

Thanks to Dr George Grant for
these quotes from Ben Franklin

A good conscience is a continual Christmas.

A learned blockhead is a greater blockhead than an ignorant one.

A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small bundle.

All mankind is divided into three classes: those that are immovable, those that are movable, and those that move.

As we must account for every idle word, so must we account for every idle silence.

Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.

By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.

Creditors have better memories than debtors.

Do good to your friends to keep them, to your enemies to win them.

Friday fun: funny plural words

Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day is a profitable email I receive each day, based on the reference work by Bryan A Garner. Today’s “Tip of the Day” was about the plural form of certain nouns (stay with me, here; fun just ahead).

Garner writes: Some words change in the plural from a final “-f” to “-ves,” but others simply become “-fs.” He then lists a few of the common ones —

“calf/calves,” “elf/elves,” “half/halves,”
“hoof/hooves,” “knife/knives,”
“leaf/leaves,” “life/lives,” “loaf/loaves,”
“scarf/scarves,” “self/selves,”
“thief/thieves,” “wharf/wharves,”
“wife/wives,” and “wolf/wolves.”

BUT ONE I’D NEVER HEARD OF IS WORTH A SMILE:

“Beef/beeves” (fattened cattle)

But do note, that there are some which don’t change:

“Beef/beefs” (types of meat or complaints),
“dwarf/dwarfs,” “handkerchief/handkerchiefs,”
“oaf/oafs,” “proof/proofs,” “roof/roofs,”
and “staff/staffs” (except in music).

And, the plural of “still life” is “still lifes.”

:) pdb

Touring Milwaukee, Wisconsin

After an unforgettable Fathers’ Day in Janesville, the family and I enjoyed a wonderful day here in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. We arrived last night at the grand old hotel we used for our wedding (the Marc Plaza is now a Hilton Hotel!), and saw the fancy Monarch Ballroom which we used for our wedding reception. Laurel’s parents gave us a much treasured memory there!

Today started for me at 5:00 AM, when I got up to send Andrew off to the airport (he flew to California to visit with a friend). Mid-morning, the rest of us toured several places where I grew-up, learned to ride a bike, walked/rode a city bus to grade school, the beautiful Milwaukee lakefront, and, the church where Laurel and I were married 26 years ago this week! Lots of stories for the kids to hear….

We spent the afternoon at a the Milwaukee County Zoo — a world-class zoo, which we almost had all to our selves! Great animals and good weather. And, we saw a little of the Miller Park (home of the Milwaukee Brewers baseball team) after that. Lots of fun — and tired feet!

I am very thankful to a gracious God for the past, and for the present.
pdb

Magnify!

Justin Taylor posts this excerpt from Chris Brauns

Here is a summer science project. Do this one at your own risk.

Choose an afternoon when the summer sun is burning down, get a magnifying glass and a pile of some dry combustible material. Dried leaves will work just fine. Gun powder will be more exciting.

Put the burning material down on the sidewalk and then use the magnifying glass to focus a beam of sunlight onto the material. You will be amazed at how quickly smoke begins to curl away. My boys and I do this and we think it great. Jamie rolls her eyes.

You know: the magnifying glass does not provide any power of its own. It serves only to direct the power of the sun. But, when it does, it brings light to a burning focus and things ignite.

That is what the local church is supposed to do. By itself, the church, God’s people, do not offer any power. But, a church is like a magnifying glass that God uses to focus and direct His power. Paul says in Ephesians 3:10 that God is pleased to make declaration of Himself both to people and the Heavenly realms by means of the church.

Maybe in your life, the presence of Christ does not seem powerful. You keep waiting for change and power to ignite in your life but it’s just not happening. If that is the case, then try another experiment this summer. Look for a church that centers on the Lord Jesus and His Word. Put yourself right underneath the magnifying glass on a warm Sunday and wait for Spirit and Truth to ignite in your heart.

On Wisconsin!

Hopefully you know the famous fight song, “On Wisconsin, On Wisconsin!” If not, I’ll be happy to teach it to you when we meet… or you can start online here as played by the mighty Wisconsin Badgers marching band! (Woo, go Badgers!)

The family is enjoying a wonderful, slow-paced vacation here in southern Wisconsin visiting my parents and siblings. (I say “slow-paced” for a few reasons – we are on a leisurely schedule, and everyone out here walks and drives very slowly!). It rained while we drove in on Monday/Tuesday, but we’ve had perfect summer days of sunshine so far. My parents are in good health, and the grandkids are drinking up lots of stories — and love. I am so thankful we are able to make this trip and reconnect. These things do not happen unless we plan and act.

I wish you were here — here’s a postcard for you from a site of a guy who is collecting such cards from all 50 states (click through for his link). You can spot Janesville at the bottom-center of the state. I’ve lived in a lot of towns (Beloit, Mosinee, Milwaukee, Kenosha, Middleton, Eau Claire, Watertown), so this definitely feels like home!

I am not able to get online much (so far) so very few blog or Facebook updates, but can update on Twitter (as ‘dbissett’) from my cellphone.

My reading progress has really slowed, but I am being greatly helped reading excerpts from Richard Baxter’s The Reformed Pastor, now published by the Banner of Truth as a mini-book. One good example is this, which particularly struck me as vacation means living in such “close proximity” with the kids (the boys and I all share a hotel room together!)….

“One proud, surly, lordly word, one needless contention, one covetous action, may cut the throat of many a sermon. Take heed to yourselves, lest your example contradict your doctrine.”

Yes, life is where the rubber hits the road — with real (even eternal) consequences.

Thanks for your prayers as we travel.
pdb