Thursday, December 25, 2008

Mary's Dream

Mary's Dream ~Author Unknown

"I had a dream, Joseph, I don't understand it, not really, but I think it was about a birthday celebration for our Son. I think that was what it was all about. The people had been preparing for it for about six weeks. They had decorated the house and bought new clothes. They'd gone shopping many times and bought elaborate gifts. It was peculiar, though, because the presents weren't for our Son.

"They wrapped them in beautiful paper and tied them with lovely bows and stacked them under a tree. Yes, a tree, Joseph, right in their house. They'd decorated the tree also. The branches were full of glowing balls and sparkling ornaments. There was a figure on the top of the tree. It looked like an angel might look. Oh, it was beautiful.

"Everyone was laughing and happy. They were all excited about the gifts. They gave the gifts to each other, Joseph, not to our Son. I don't think they even knew Him. They never mentioned His name. Doesn't it seem odd for people to go to all that trouble to celebrate someone's birthday if they don't know Him?

"I had the strangest feeling that if our Son had gone to this celebration He would have been intruding. Everything was so beautiful, Joseph, and everyone so full of cheer, but it made me want to cry. How sad for Jesus - not to be wanted at His own birthday celebration.

"I'm glad it was only a dream. How terrible, Joseph, if it had been real."

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Enemy of Thankgiving

There is a very devious enemy who revels in residing inside a person's heart undetected to the victim. It wages battle every day against you and me. When this enemy wins even a bit of ground, it's hard to truly be grateful for what God has given us. It hinders authentic thanksgiving.

Our foe's name is Pride. Even while God has extended the riches of His grace to a sinful humanity, nevertheless we cannot seem to comprehend or appreciate what that means because of a pride-filled heart. For some the question pertains to "Why do I need a Savior when I'm as good as I am?", but for most Christians pride manifests itself through looking down on others, a judgmental spirit, criticism, and the need for approval (which is our ego needing to be coddled).

How can I be thankful for what others have done if I'm centered on the "good" which I have done? Why count the blessings I have received from God when I get a good feeling from the "blessings" I have bestowed? The answer is because nothing I have done is anything compared to the good and the mercy God has given. Nothing. Our pride suffocates when we die to ourselves at the foot of the Cross. Herein lies our daily battle.

Quotes On Pride:

Jonathan Edwards:

[Pride] is . . . the first sin that ever entered into the universe and the last that is rooted out. It is God’s most stubborn enemy!

"Pride is much more difficult to be discerned than any other corruption because of its very nature. That is, pride is a person having too high an opinion of himself. Is it any surprise, then, that a person who has too high an opinion of himself is unaware of it?"

Charles Spurgeon:

"Pride is self-deceit. Those who are sure that they have no pride are probably the proudest of all. Those who are proud of their humility are proud indeed. The confidence that we are not deceived may only prove the completeness of the deception under which we labor.”

C. S. Lewis:
"The essential vice, the utmost evil, is Pride. Unchastity, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere flea-bites in comparison. It was through Pride that the devil became the devil. Pride leads to every other vice. It is the complete anti-God state of mind.

If anyone would like to acquire humility, I can, I think, tell him the first step. The first step is to realize that one is proud. If you think you’re not conceited, it means you are very conceited indeed."

John Stott:
"At every stage of our Christian development and in every sphere of our Christian discipleship, pride is the greatest enemy and humility our greatest friend."

"But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word." (Is. 66:2)

"But He gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: 'God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.' " (James 4:6)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

60 Seconds With A Living Hero of the Faith

Author, pastor, and theologian John Piper is one of my modern day heroes of the faith. I love his books, his teaching, and his ministry Desiring God. All of it has helped me to more fully grasp the message and heart of the gospel as well as to understand that the purpose of man is to be completely satisfied and happy with God as our supreme treasure in life. Dr. Piper opened my eyes to the beauty of Christian Hedonism. When my family found out John Piper had a Desiring God conference coming to Austin, we immediately decided to attend the event, giving up a debate Round Robin and my last cross-country meet of the season.

After all of that, do I even need I to expound on how special this picture is to me?

Monday, October 27, 2008

James 3: A Story

Here's a great short film made by Desiring God ministries. My brother Pat posted it on his blog.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Growing Up

Hour after hour, day after day, week after week. It all adds up, and we grow older.

Today, I turn fifteen. 15. I like it. It seems good. I guess I have a year to find out.

But it makes me think. If every birthday is a chapter in my life, then one day I'll find out that I'm on the last chapter, right? Chapter 78, Chapter 53, Chapter 36, or maybe Chapter 15. Will I look back and wish the storyline had been different?

Sometimes I wish I could be a teenager forever - full of energy, ability, and potential. But sooner or later I'll die (yes, that's blunt). What will matter then? What will last? People who know me will die too, and I will lie forgotten 6 feet under the ground. Sounds depressing now, yet even if my existence is forgotten here on earth, I don't think that I'll care at the time. I'll be too busy worshiping God. He knows my name among millions of others.

As I grow older, the question pops up all the time, "What are you going to do?" The answer is found in pondering what the point of life is and consequently how I should live my brief chapters. Of course, live to the fullest. Sure, live all out. Take the risk. But that will still fade away. What does it mean to leave a legacy? Is that important anyway?

Last week, I read Ecclesiastes. It is a very depressing book about the futility of life and how everything we do is a "vanity of vanities". Oh, how it resonated with my heart as I reflected on how true it was! Is there anything that is not just "striving into the wind"? At the very end of the book comes the answer:

"This is the conclusion when all has been heard, fear God and keep his commandments." ~Ecclesiastes 12:13

It sums up what life is about: God.

Of course, I've known for years that "the purpose of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever" as the Westminster catechism says. Sure, I agree, but it was so generic that I could never fully grasp how that truth specifically applied to my life. But now I have a better understanding because of...a tomato.

Co-Creator of VeggieTales and voice of Bob the Tomato, Phil Vischer recently told his life story at a chapel service at Baylor University. God gave Vischer a big idea to create Christian children's animated films, and it became an actual reality as his company, Big Idea, began to thrive and reach out to thousands of families all across the world. Then it all came crashing down due to finances and some unwise business decisions. The company closed and was auctioned to a secular company, and Vischer lost it all. Amidst a very trying time, Vischer asked God why He would give someone a big dream, grow it into a thriving ministry reaching thousands, and then let it die?

It was then that Phil Vischer heard the quote I wrote in my last post:

"He who has God plus many things has nothing more than he who has God alone."

That quote helped me understand that the only thing that matters in life is God. Nothing else matters. The purpose of life is "To know God and to make Him known" as the famous slogan goes. And now I understand it. If all I ever did was know God closer and deeper, I would have lived my life well. Only one thing makes life meaningful: God. He is so great, transcendent, merciful, righteous, and gracious that He commands us to "love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength" (Mark 12:30). Everything really does mean EVERYTHING.

Life is about God. It seems like I'm saying the obvious. I guess I am. But I pray it becomes more and more real in each of our lives this coming year.

"Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness. And all these things shall be added unto you." ~Matt. 6:23

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

God Alone

"He who has God plus many things has nothing more than he who has God alone." - C.S. Lewis

Think about that quote. That means:

"He who has God plus a wonderful, godly family has nothing more than he who has God alone."

"He who has God plus a beautiful house and fancy car has nothing more than he who has God alone."

'"He who has God plus a perfect SAT score has nothing more than he who has God alone."

"He who has God plus a thriving ministry reaching thousands has nothing more than he who has God alone."

It's easy for jealousy to creep under our skin when we look at the possessions, the gifts, the talents, the circumstances, the family, or the ministry other Christians have. But in reality, it's all about Him. Nothing else. It's all about Jesus. God alone.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Christa Taylor is hosting a Modesty Carnival for the next couple of weeks. Check it out!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

See Spot Run

Sports is one of those areas that I believe has been idolized by pop culture which exalts outward appearances and temporal things. The "in" crowd at schools are made up of the Football Stars and the Cheerleaders. You notice that the heartthrobs in tween/teen movies such as "High School Musical" and "Air Bud" are captains of their sport. Apparently today: Sports Star=Cool=Popular.

Of course, there is the other side of the issue that of not exercising enough which is very prevalent as well. The "People-Don't-Get-Enough-Exercise-Because-Their-On-Their-Video-Games, -Ipods, -Laptops, -and TVs" statistics are true. The obesity statistics can prove that they're true. Or for some teens (like a lot of home schoolers who mostly read, study, practice music, and use the internet), they simply don't eat much so that they don't have to exercise yet can still remain thin.

Balance. That's the magical word. The key is keeping our body fit, active, and strong while not letting it define you, plant pride, do it for attention, take over too much of our time, or make our bodies an obsession. Easier said than done though, right? Sometimes we find ourselves leaning both ways... at the same time... because it is hard to live out a "healthy" balance (no pun intended). We'll never do it perfectly.

I love playing many sports (my favorite is Ultimate Frisbee). I played on the community basketball team from grades K-6th. It was fun, but playing beyond that point wasn't an option. So now I run. I ran in the fall of 05 and 06 with a home-school cross-country team. In 07 there was no team. This year my team has been practicing pre-season during the summer, and our first meet of the year is this Saturday in Wimberly. Hello Pain, Heat, and Total Exhaustion, I'm expecting to meet you.

My modern day running hero is Ryan Hall. He's a solid Christian who ran the Marathon in Beijing for the U.S. getting 10th place in the world. In this video he was still training for the Olympic trials, but it tells his testimony and he shares how running brings him closer to God. Check it out:

Friday, June 27, 2008

Brother's Blog. Bookfair. Rebelution.

Just to let you know, lately I've been posting on my brother Paul's blog. I'd like to say that I'll post more often on here now, but I can make no promises. You'll just have to wait and see. Quite honestly, blogging is not high on my priority list, and I hope that reading my blog is not high on your list either. =)

Today, my family went to the homeschool bookfair, and we head out tomorrow morning at 4:30 am to attend The Rebelution Conference in Dallas! I AM SO EXCITED! Please pray for a safe trip tomorrow both ways (it's going to be a long day), and check out the Rebelution website.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

My Newest Cousin

Introducing Leah Sirin Mynhier! She was born on Tuesday, May 20, 2008, at 5:20 a.m., and I absolutely love all 6 pounds and 12 ounces of her. Oh, what a precious darling (only a girl would say that :-)!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Disregarded Beauty

Life is more beautiful than any of us can begin to understand. And normally we don't even try to comprehend. The glory of just being alive. Of breathing fresh air, tasting the goodness of milk, listening to trees rustle or a Casting Crowns song, soaking in the rain, a little girl's smile, laughing at a joke Paul told, the gleam of the sun on the skyscrapers in downtown. Oh, life is so full and vibrant and delightful, if we only look around, and take the time to saturate ourselves. To count our blessings.

But we become busy, and we forget. Instead, we get caught up in the ruts, the rituals, the things that aren't going our way. If only our happiness was content with God's way and not our way. Everything would be so much easier. But our desires and sin nature won't let that happen. Praise God for sanctification.

God, please mold my will, my heart, and my desires to where you want them to be. To be content in all circumstances. Help me to surrender. And
everyday to see the beauty in life.

Of course, there will still be the times when we feel like nothing can get rid of the pain, the grief, the hurt. BUT...
"The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold." Ps 18:2
Sometimes, healing is even more beautiful because we come closer to our Comforter.

By far, the most beautiful thing in the world, is the grace of God. Oh, how sweet the sound! I fall so, so, so short of being consumed with the gospel, short of being gripped and awed by the cross, and short of living it out. But that's why I'm thankful he gives me grace, and picks me right back up to keep moving forward.

This is the heart of my journey for the rest of my life.


Saturday, May 10, 2008

Paul Graduates

Paul graduates from high school at 2:00 pm this afternoon. We've waited for this day for a long time. I am extremely excited.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Norris Family

Recently, I've been reminiscing over memories from our church's family mission trip to Morelia, Mexico in January of 2007 (here was my post about it). Imagine my surprise when the other day, I came across this page about the Mexico missionaries our church supports, the Norris family. Currently, the kids are actually 6 years older than the website states. I also found a testimony by Mr. and Mrs. Norris here. They work with Christian Missions In Many Lands (CMML). I'm privileged to know such a warm, open family dedicated to serving God wherever He leads, even when it means overcoming the obstacle of a different language and culture. May God bless their ministry.



Where have we been? It started at the beginning of March. The first weekend we went to Dallas, the next weekend Houston, during Spring Break we stayed home while Pat IV went to Florida for ministry with Campus Crusade, the next weekend was Houston once again (we spent Easter with Pat), and the final weekend of March found us in Dallas. In April, the very first weekend we traveled to Arkansas, and finally last weekend we stayed home. After the 24-26 of April, when Paul and I compete at the Regional speech and debate tournament in Houston, I hope things shall calm down.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

If Easter Be Not True

If Easter Be Not True

Henry H. Barstow

If Easter be not true,
Then all the lilies low must lie;
The Flanders poppies fade and die;
The spring must lose her fairest bloom
For Christ were still within the tomb
If Easter be not true.

If Easter be not true,
Then faith must mount on broken wing;
Then hope no more immortal spring;
Then love must lose her mighty urge;
Life prove a phantom, death a dirge
If Easter be not true.

If Easter be not true,
'Twere foolishness the cross to bear;
He died in vain Who suffered there;
What matter though we laugh or cry,
Be good or evil, live or die,
If Easter be not true?

If Easter be not true
But it is true, and Christ is risen!
And mortal spirit from its prison
Of sin and death with Him may rise!
Worthwhile the struggle, sure the prize,
Since Easter, aye, is true!

Have a blessed Easter everyone!


Thursday, March 13, 2008

Are You Bored?

Here is a great article written by Carolyn Y. Johnson published in The Boston Globe entitled "The Joy of Boredom". Regardless of whether or not you're bored at the moment I'd recommend reading it.


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Granny Is Home With Jesus

Dear Friends and Family,

On February 12, 2008, at around 6:10 pm, Granny went to be with Jesus. He called her to her true home.

The funeral viewing will be on Friday from 6-8pm at Beck Funeral Home in Cedar Park on 1431. The Funeral service will be at First Baptist Church of Jonestown, 19100 FM 1431, Jonestown, TX, 78645, at noon. After the burial, we'd like for everyone who can to come back to the church with us to enjoy a fellowship meal for all friends and family which is being provided by the church.

This was my Grandma's favorite bible passage:

"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." Matt.11:28-30

In Christ alone,

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

A Lot Has Happened Since My Last Update

Here's the quick facts:

-Granny was in Hearthstone until Jan. 10.
-She was moved to the Round Rock Hospital because she had contracted pneumonia.
-After being in ICU for about 12 days she was moved to an intermediary room (in between ICU and regular).
-2 days later she moved to back to Hearthstone.
-After nine days there, GRANNY WAS MOVED HOME last Saturday!!!

She's now under hospice care, and either my dad, mom, Paul, or I have to be with her 24/7. God has been so faithful, and He's answered the many prayers for her being able to come home. She's much happier now.


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Please pray...

  • Pray for wisdom for my parents as they make very difficult decisions.
  • Pray for the healing of my Grandma according to God's will.
  • Pray for her spirit to remain joyful.
  • Pray for her physical and mental strength to be built back up.
  • Pray for emotional strength for all of us, and especially my dad.
  • Pray for His grace and peace to envelope and sustain us during this trying time.
Thank you all so very, very much.


Thursday, January 24, 2008

Reflections On 2007

{Note: I wrote this the first week of 2008, and I sent it out as an email to some friends, but only now have I finally gotten around to posting it.}

2007. With the word comes a tumult of feelings, emotions, and fresh memories; a chaotic mix of joy and grief, love and hurt, peace and fear. Strongest of all, comes a sense of the truth that through it all, God was there. Guiding. Calling. Leading. Side by side. Hand in hand. Through the thick and the thin.

A Few Quick Things I Discovered in 2007:

-John Piper, of Desiring God ministries, is definitely my favorite author. In terms of food for thought, his work is healthy (theologically sound), easily digested (understandable), and needed (applicable).

-We live in a hurting world. A world desperate for hope, crying out for love, dying for purpose, yet rejecting or ignorant of a God who offers all of that and more.

-Even Christians can hurt terribly. Christians still die, Christians still get sick, Christians still battle the old nature, Christians still backslide, Christians still are frightened, Christians still are tempted, Christians still fail.

-No one ever promised the sold-out life for Christ was easy… but it's totally worth it. In July, I went to an event in Dallas called The Rebelution Conference and it changed my thinking. I was inspired to rebel against the culture's low expectations and Do Hard Things. Check out their amazing website:

-For some reason, I'm naturally the kind of person who can whip up plans for my future right and left. I've got so many big dreams, so many delightful plans, so many driven goals. And why shouldn't I? After all, that's the question people ask me, "What are you going to do after graduation?" It's almost as if I don't "get a life" until the day I receive my diploma. Of course, I should be prepared and have plans, but since that comes so instinctively to me, and I don't know for sure what God's will is yet, I have to remind myself that I shouldn't have my focus on "someday". I should focus on today, not tomorrow. Live now, because later will come soon enough.

-Smiles are contagious. So is laughter. Joy is too. I wish I could spread them as well as I spread the colds I get. ;-)

-Time is precious. Where does the time fly?! I wish hours would go into the recycling bin so I could use them over again. Or else I wish I could buy minutes like a cell phone. But, alas, my dreams will never come true... My family is amazingly flexible as a whole, and I've been raised that way my entire life. Now, almost surprisingly, God is teaching me that I myself need to be more flexible. For example, when I'm left with an unfinished to-do list at the end of the day, I don't need to feel frustrated or overwhelmed. God hasn't called me to do everything I want to accomplish. He's called me to do whatever He wants me to accomplish. After all, He's the Potter, molding the clay (though sometimes I'm an awfully stubborn lump). When I mess up, His grace is always waiting for me.

-Here's simple algebra: Christina = human, Humans = sinful, therefore, Christina = sinful. It's just plain fact. We all fail, and we all fall. Yet it's then that I feel His strong, gentle hand lift me up, His tender embrace surround me, and His ever-patient voice beckon, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." We look to the cross, the blood shed, and the empty tomb, and we find forgiveness.

I could write on and on and on because there's so much more to say, but I won't. I doubt I wrote one thing you didn't already know (except for the personal information), and I didn't write a single thing that I didn't know before 2007. Then why did I say I discovered them? Because although I believed they were true, God showed me just how real they are.

It's wonderful to know that God was with me through everything. But the most beautiful part of the thought is that He is still here with me. This very moment. And He always will be. Forever. In 2008...and beyond.

God bless,

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

35 Years Ago

Today marks the 35th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade. Also, January 20-27, 2008, is Sanctity of Life week. For those who want to be a voice for the voiceless, check out Be A Voice.

Here are a few articles on the topic which I found interesting:

-Focus on the Family had this great article for those who fall under the category of "like many Americans, you know Roe v. Wade legalized abortion, but you may know little else":

-Focus on the Family is also hopeful for the future:

-The Houston Chronicle ran an article entitled "Study Finds Big Decline In Abortions":

-Reports on the "March for Life" at the nation's capitol today:

AFP, "Thousands rally on US abortion law anniversary"
Associated Press, "Thousands Protest Roe vs. Wade Decision"

-President Bush's remarks to the March for Life Rally participants:

-Vision Forum articles "in defense of life":

-And finally my own post written last March.

"For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother's womb.
I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth"



Saturday, January 19, 2008

A New Eagle Scout

Paul is now an official Eagle Scout.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

My first post...

in 2008...Happy New Year!