Here are the books I found most enjoyable or profitable during 2013. They are not in any particular order, because it would require too much thinking to figure out the order of enjoyment.
If there are any stand out reads for you from last year why not share them with us in the comments section
Supernatural Living for Natural People (studies on Romans 8) by Ray Ortlund
I first heard Ray Ortlund in October. Since them I am a fan of his preaching and writing. Clear, insightful and greatly encouraging
Escape from Camp 14 by Blaine Harden
Life in North Korea is unknown by the rest of the world. Shin is a young man born in a North Korean labor camp. His story is a shocking view of the depravity and isolation of life in that country.
Sensing Jesus: Life and Ministry as a Human Being by Zack Eswine
We unwittingly try to be “like God” when we think we can have an answer for every difficulty, be there for every person, and fix every problem. Zack tells us to stop and value how God does use us
The Admirals: the 5 Star Admirals Who Won the War at Sea by Walter Borneman
For those who are fans of history, WWII or the US Navy. This is an interesting look at the lives of Admirals Nimitz, Halsey, Leahy, and King
First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers by Loung Ung
A personal history out of the horror of the Khmer Rouge’s bloody tyranny in Cambodia
The Greener Grass Conspiracy by Stephen Altrogge
A short and enjoyable book on contentment that I’ve read a couple times. I highly recommend it for small group discussion.
Captive in Iran by Maryam Rostampour & Marziyeh Amirizadeh
This falls under the MUST READ category. Story of two young Iranian women imprisoned for their faith. This is a highly inspiring story!
Titus Groan by Mervyn Peake
A quirky novel for those who like the highly descriptive style of Charles Dickens. Don’t feel bad if you hate it from the beginning
Jack: A Life of C.S.Lewis by George Sayer
A good biography for C.S. Lewis fans by a former student and close friend of Lewis
Rome 1960: The Olympics That Changed the World by David Maraniss
If you are a fan of the Olympics and 20th century history this will be interesting to you
Inside: One Man’s Experience of Prison by John Hoskison
Join a former British professional golfer who finds himself in prison. Most of us know someone who has been in prison, do we have any idea of what that experience is like?
I Am a Church Member by Thom Rainer
Another MUST READ to understand what it means to be part of our local church
Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully) Short Book about a (Really) Big Problem by Kevin DeYoung
We are all busy, but is it really a condition that we cannot control? How does our view of God and of life affect our sense of busyness
Multiply: Disciple Making Disciples by Francis Chan
All disciples are meant to be disciple-makers. This book looks at Why and How
Found In Him by Elyse Fitzpatrick
One of the most important truths of our salvation is our union with Christ. Elyse Fitzpatrick begins with God’s union with a human nature followed by our union with Christ.
On the day Debbie and I were married; friends went around our outdoor reception with one of those big old clunky video cameras and asked people to share their advice for the newlyweds. After our honeymoon we received the fun gift of that video tape.
There were many words which meant a lot to us, (and a few that were forgettable). However two comments stood out to us. Actually it was one comment shared by two different people. Those two individuals happened to be our mothers! Without knowing what the other had said, they both gave the same advice which was to quote Ephesians 4:26:
“Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger”
Over the years there have been many lessons in our marriage that have been slowly (by me) learned. But I can say that we have been faithful to keep the wisdom of Ephesians 4:26. That by itself has protected our marriage from lists of offenses or hurts taking root and becoming bitterness.
Debbie in her wisdom, has taken this counsel a step further and faithful shares the words “I love you” before we go to sleep. When I have been in sour moods, those words are almost magical in the immediate affect they have had on my heart. I am reminded that yes I do love her, and I have only good reason to act that way.
I hope you will follow the good counsel of our mothers AND God’s word.
by Debbie Huber
Today our youngest child Elyse graduates from high school. I remember when she was young and I was feeling overwhelmed with raising three children that others would say to enjoy it now because time goes so fast. Even though I believed them, it did not seem real because of the busyness of the moment. So here we are today, on the verge of a new phase of our lives – and it really did go too fast.
Elyse is the daughter who would always give hugs. She would chatter persistently on every car ride, happily maintaining the conversation even if no one else was talking! I remember times when I may have been too busy for hugs or talking and those are regrets now, but God has given me a gracious daughter who still seems to enjoy hugging and talking to her mom. She is a joy to Kyle and me with her constant sweet smile and encouraging disposition.
God is revealing to us the gifts he has given to Elyse and it is exciting to begin to see how God will use them for His glory. He has provided many godly influences in our church, from the Sunday school teachers to her friends in the youth group to give her a love for missions and serving others. I am excited to see how God will use her passion to be a sign language interpreter to reach the deaf community which is considered by missions’ organizations to be an unreached people group. Christian deaf ministries estimate that only 1 percent of American deaf children will attend church as adults. Less than 7 percent will ever have the gospel presented to them in a way they can understand.
We know that her future is in God’s hands and much of the day to day responsibility of raising her is done for us. I am praying that this will cause me to have an even greater love for and a dependency on spending time in prayer and God’s word because He loves her more than we do! Because she is now an “adult”, it will not stop us from being a strong influence for godliness in her life. We will encourage her to use the gifts God has given her and we will do all we can to lovingly help her. We will still strongly encourage her in spending time with God and serving Him faithfully in church because there are few voices in the world that will do that. We will speak the truth in love if we see that she is pursuing a sinful path. But we will trust in our great God who plans for Elyse are greater than our plans.
Congratulations Elyse! We love you.
My life has been wonderfully affected by the lives of two moms, the one who raised me, and the one I married.
Susan Huber is my mother and Debbie Huber is my wife. They are uniquely different people and yet in what matters most, they are similar. When I think about their lives, two defining qualities always come to mind. These qualities are so obviously apparent that everyone who knows them and reads this blog will be able to give an enthusiastic “amen”!
The first quality is love for God. They want to serve Him and please Him in every way they can. As with anyone, they have to labor at living for God, but His rule is not an imposition to them. I have regularly seen them take joy in the opportunities they have to follow God.
Being around them causes me to more easily see and be convicted by my own half-heartedness toward God. This truly is a gift, because it routinely prods me to work at being faithful. Their maturity and love for God doesn’t stay within themselves, God wonderfully uses it to grow me, and so eventually touch even more people!
The second quality (which flows out of the first), is their consistency. Each day their attitudes are the same. Like everyone, some days they are tired, frustrated or harried. However, that does not keep them from living the same way as they do on cheery days.
I have never had to wonder, “How will she be today”? This is also a great gift to me, because it has made my life smoother and much more pleasant. And it causes my sour moods to stand out and helps me to recognize that they are out of place.
These two entwined qualities have been a tremendous benefit to me and to all whose lives are touched by them. These character traits have turned their lives into resplendent displays of God’s grace. We can take encouragement in knowing that these qualities will grow and bear an abundant harvest in any heart that is fertile soil.
For all the moms who read this blog – your lives are appreciated far more than you probably know. May God allow you to see that reality with fresh eyes!
Happy Birthday Kyle!
Yes, today is Kyle’s birthday and as my husband’s number one cheerleader I am taking over his blog today.
There are many things that Kyle would enjoy in honor of his birthday, but tops on the list would probably be: a good book and extended time to read it, a relaxing meal at a nice restaurant, a homemade pie, and all of his family being together.
Because God has given me the privilege to share my life with him, I get to see first hand his heart for God and for God’s people. There is no greater joy in his life than to serve God. He loves all of you that he has been called to serve and he prays for you regularly!
To those of you who consider him one of your pastors, I believe that you would truly bless him on his birthday by:
1. Praying for him, his preaching, and your church
2. Being consistent in reading God’s Word
3. Serving and loving each other
4. Living out the Gospel and intentionally sharing it with others around you
When it comes down to it, it is not about Kyle on his birthday. It is about a Savior who died for you sins once and for all and He desires your whole heart.
Loving God, seeking to serve Him, and being guided by the Holy Spirit will keep God at the center of your life and you will honor Him.
And that would truly bless a pastor any day of the year.
(But I will still be baking that pie…)
My blog began two years ago this week. Since there were very few readers in those early days, I am re-posting the first couple days of my blog. Today you can read my second article which was posted on Thanksgiving Day 2010.
This morning our kitchen is filled with the activity and smells of pie baking. I enjoy many forms of dessert, but nothing can beat a pie (for those who claim a great dessert must be chocolate, that’s why there are chocolate pies). I think I came by this love of pie from my granddad who, when asked what foods he liked, would answer, “Just as long as it’s pie.”
Another reason I love pie is that early on I tasted the mountain peak of piedom, which is a still warm and fragrant Doris Morey apple pie. The apples have a soft texture and the flavor is a perfect mix of sweet tartness. The crust is never over-handled leaving it flaky and melting in the mouth. Oh my, it is good!
In his graciousness, God gave me a wife who among her long list of talents is a terrific pie baker. Debbie was raised in a proper farm home, where baking was a constant activity and pies were considered a major food group.
But my thoughts today are not only on pies, I would also like to extol the humble sugar snail. Sugar snails are made from the leftover pie dough that is sprinkled with cinnamon sugar and rolled. Before being placed in the oven, the roll is cut into small pieces or snails. We have to wait until after dinner to eat pie, but sugar snails are the special treat that can be enjoyed right away. A perfect sugar snail has a crust of caramelized sugar that oozed out and is still sticking to the foil wrapping.
I think there is a wonderful lesson to be learned from the sugar snail. They are a side benefit. No one goes into the kitchen to make sugar snails; their attention is on the lofty goal of producing a delicious and much sought after pie. During all the work and mess of making a pie no one even thinks about the sugar snails that will quietly show up in the end. Yet, when the big effort of pie making occurs, the humble sugar snail is also made possible.
So to those of you who are laboring for Christ, and want to do big things for His Kingdom; know that there are many small and very wonderful results that God will accomplish when we faithfully serve Him. When God enables us to be part of something big, we are rightfully amazed and thankful. Yet today let us not neglect being thankful for the privilege of taking part in little things for God – the “cups of cold water” we give in Jesus name.
As you go through this day wanting to be used by God, don’t forget the little things that are possible along the way. Even if the impressive pie you tried to make did not turn out perfect, you can still make and share a few sugar snails. Happy Thanksgiving to all!
On Sunday night, my daughter Jillian became engaged to Ryan Pattison (a.k.a. Mr Wonderful). They are both students at Moody Bible College in Chicago where the fateful moment took place. Debbie and I are entering exciting new waters that are deep, and I have been warned – expensive.
Ryan who always has a plan, had a friend hidden nearby to capture the moment. Just think what I will be showing you when I become a granddad!
Tomorrow morning (September 1) will be the 113th birthday of my grandfather, George Huber. He lived to enjoy the first 100 of those birthdays.
As a boy my paternal grandparents were around a lot. Until my grandmother became bedridden with cancer, they often drove down from Lambertville, NJ to spend Sunday with us. While growing up, a vacation meant going to my grandparents’ house for a week or two.
Yet it was not until my adult years that I really got to know my granddad (or Pop-Pop as I called him until I was too “grown up” to use such terms). While recuperating from surgery my granddad came to stay with my parents and lived with them most of his remaining years.
Since I love coffee shops and my granddad was looking for stuff to do, we began having breakfast together on Thursdays. This continued for the next 17 years. I estimate that we had breakfast approximately 800 times (he paid for about 794 of them). And I know we ate breakfast in 359 different restaurants – because I kept track of them and still have the list.
Sharing life over those thousands of eggs and many thousand cups of coffee I learned a lot about my granddad and I grew to love him more and more. I heard most of his life stories hundreds of times each, which also rooted them into my memory. His favorite saying was “As the old widow used to say, ‘Live and learn or die dumb as the devil’”. I think his favorite stories were those recounting his experiences as a mounted artillery scout during World War I.
I am thankful God allowed me to have those breakfasts with my granddad, and occasionally I wistfully look back and wish we could have one or two more.
Is there someone in your life who has always been there, but you rarely take advantage that they are there? Someone you would deeply miss if they were suddenly gone. Now breakfast may not be your cup of coffee, but you can still find a way to share life with those who God has put in your life.
We all have many regrets, make sure you do not add to them by neglecting the relationships that are precious to you.
People often ask which restaurant was our favorite place. I would have to say the Fox Manor Hotel on Pacific Avenue in Atlantic City, because we went there more than any other location. The walls of the small dining room were covered with photos of old Atlantic City. There was no menu, chef or servers. Tony would come out from behind the tiny front desk, peer into the refrigerator and offer a suggestion. After he cooked and served our meal, Tony would pull up a chair and sit down with us, while Italian opera played in the background.