Most Viewed Posts of 2012
I’m so grateful for the many readers who visit the iCrucified blog from day to day and I enjoy the interactions that I have with my readers, both comments and thought provoking questions. As we wind down another year, I thought I would share your most viewed posts from 2012.
The blog is a very active place for book reviews. Looking over the stats, it is very clear that the vast majority of iCrucified visitors come to check out the reviews. I appreciate this and will continue to do my best to provide opinions on most (if not all) the books I read. Thank you again for your support.
Now, without further ado, here are the 2012 most viewed posts.
- Book Reviews
- Advent: Actively Waiting in Hope
- Spiritual Direction
- A Ram in the Bush
- Invisible God
- False Gods
- Imaginative Prayer
- Saturday—Holy Week
- A Lenten Reflection
- A Personal Rule of Life
- Holy Spirit: Union With God
Back to Normal
Things are starting to get back to “normal” around here now. About four days ago we received an unnatural amount of snow for the lower Puget Sound region; estimates ranged from 12″—18″ in Olympia, WA (where we live) and some surrounding areas. While the snow is beautiful to look at as it makes everything seem to clean and serene… and it provides some fun with sledding, skiing, snowmen, and snowball wars, the long and short is that it can get tiresome and quick. And, it did.
We lived in the Northeast (Northcentral, PA and Western, NY) for most of twenty years, so we are accustomed to long seasons of heavy snowfall. The difference between living then & there and here & now is preparation and familiarity. When living in the Northeast, it was not uncommon to get a foot or more of snow with temperatures below zero and winds gusting 20—30mph and still not see roads and businesses closed or school cancellations. The type of weather there was expected; people learned to live with it and prepared accordingly so their lives would be minimally impacted. Conversely, when you do not see weather of a particular magnitude but every ten or more years, it doesn’t make practical sense to prepare and budget for it every year…you just deal with and take your lumps when they come.
That’s where we were for the past few days, dealing with our big, frozen, and no electricity lumps. We have our power back now and most roads are cleared, so life is returning to normal for the most part; however, there are still thousands of people who continue to be without power. This is serious stuff, well past the minor inconvenience stage, so prayers are welcome for restored services…
This post isn’t all about inconvenience though. The approximate two days we were without power were good days for me. I enjoyed the quiet. I enjoyed having my wife and son huddled under blankets hanging out together with me in the same room. I enjoyed our conversations and listening to them share the random thoughts that popped into their heads. I liked looking around at times to see each of us buried in a book reading… wondering what adventure they might be on in the story they were reading. I liked when the sun went down and we illuminated our dark apartment with candles and flashlights…there was something cozy and intimate about those moments. I enjoyed writing in my journal by candlelight while Laurie and Josh combined efforts to complete a jigsaw puzzle. While it might not have been four-star cuisine, it was comforting and satisfying to eat food out of a can and it was neat to be able to legitimately justify the reason for having peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for every meal. I was a little bit disappointed, like when a great vacation comes to an end, when all of the sudden at the end of our second day of being “snowed in” the power came back on. While shouts of exuberant joy went forth from my wife and son, my heart sank a wee bit… knowing that this “inconvenience” was ending and now going into the memory book.
And so, we’re settling into our “back to normal.” I don’t know that I like that, back to normal… too many things it seems get taken for granted and I don’t like that I am so quick to presume, assume, and take those things for granted.
You know the things I talk about: electricity, food, the ability to come and go as you wish, the convenience of going to a store to get what you need and/or want, light, entertainment, internet…the list continues. There are other things too that we take for granted: the closeness of our family, meals together, conversations…random thoughts shared unconditionally between loved ones, hearing their dreams and their fears too…listening to them breathe while they sleep next to you. And, realizing how blessed you are and thankful that you have been reminded of things that are truly important. Snowmaggedon 2012, I will miss you and I am grateful to you for the days we had together in the quiet, in the cold, and making memories together…me, Laurie, and Josh. May we never get swallowed up in the “normal” of life, but always be ready to make the most of those sacred “abnormal” moments.
[22DEC2011] Advent – Week 4: Readings, Reflection, & Prayer
♦ Psalm 80 ♦ 146, 147
♦ Readings – Baruch 4:21-29 ♦ Gal. 3:15-22
O God, who, seeing the human race fallen into death,
willed to redeem it by the coming of your Only Begotten Son,
grant, we pray, that those who confess his Incarnation with humble fervor
may merit his company as their Redeemer.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever .
With each hour the Christmas day celebration draws nearer, the more frantic and rushed the flow of society becomes. The feverish pitches of television commercials, email “last minute to order before Christmas” solicitations, postal sales circulars, and radio commercials stir our collective psyche like a mixing whisk beats an egg into a bubbly froth. The mob mentality takes over so many folks and the swarm begins. I just want to sit…and reflect…and adore…and worship. It’s not that I don’t value tradition and the memories that Christmas evokes, but it is so easy to get sucked into the current that pulls me away from the real object of Christmas, the Christ.
O King of the Gentiles and the Desired of all, you are the cornerstone that binds two into one. Come, and save poor humanity, whom you fashioned out of clay.
This has been a somber week. We have been caught up in the difficult journey of a young couple from our church over the past few months that climaxed this past couple weeks (you can read about their story here). The heartbreaking climax of the story has been the passing of an infant daughter. Additionally, I shared grief and sorrow with my own family as a very dear uncle passed into eternity earlier this week…and two days ago my wife’s grandmother lost her struggle with a lengthy illness. It has been a somber week indeed as we travel headlong into one of the most glorious celebrations on the Christian calendar. This juxtaposition of death and life has created some interesting intellectual feelings and stirred some odd emotions, difficult to describe the ebb and flow of the soul-feelings in the midst of these passings.
Take courage, my children, cry to God, and he will deliver you from the power and hand of the enemy. My children, endure with patience the wrath that has come upon you from God. Take courage, my children, and cry to God, for you will be remembered by the one who brought this upon you. For the one who brought these calamities upon you will bring you everlasting joy with your salvation. -Baruch 4:21-29
To Christ our Redeemer, who comes to save us from our sins, let us cry out with joy: Come, Lord Jesus!
Mysticism is for all, not just for a few special people. Based on our baptism, all are called to a mystical life, to communion with God. We need to claim that, to taste it, and feel it, to trust that the deeper we live this communion, the more our behavior will witness to the truth. For many, religion has to do with what we are allowed to do and not allowed to do. In the end, that does not bear fruit. The great challenge is to discover that we are truly invited to participate in the divine life of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. -Henri Nouwen
I am comforted by the promise and the knowledge that communion and union with God is for us today and the hope we look forward to for tomorrow. The days that spin wildly out of control and the days when friends and loved ones leave us sobbing with grief are the days that make my soul sing the loudest: Come, Lord Jesus!
Because of God’s tender mercy,
The morning light from
Heaven is about to break upon us,
To give light to those who sit in
Darkness and in the
Shadow of death,
And to guide us to the path
Of peace. -Luke 1:78-79
Last week I asked for your help in understanding how you might “hear” the voice of God. Your responses were great! I’m still receiving input on this survey and ask you to respond as well if you feel as though you’d like to share your thoughts on this topic. Here’s a link to the original survey, or if you’d like, you can respond anonymously through my contact form here.
This week I’m pushing in a slightly different direction with hopes of finding information on the following questions:
“Not” Hearing God’s Voice
- Are there specific times, places, and/or circumstances you do not “hear” God’s voice? (Please explain your answer)
- Do you struggle to hear God’s voice? In what ways?
- Can you share a specific time or circumstance when you wanted to hear God’s word to you and you did not hear it? Please share your thoughts about this experience.
Please feel free to share in the comments section of the blog, or if you prefer to remain anonymous, you may use the contact form here which emails me direct. Thanks for your sharing!
- Do you “hear” God’s voice?
- What does God’s voice sound like to you? (In what ways do you hear God’s voice?)
- How often do you hear God’s voice?
All responses will be kept anonymous. You may reply to this post in the comments section or you can use the contact form on this link.
Thank you in advance!
I sincerely appreciate your time and your perspective.
Top Ten Popular Posts — October 2011
October was another big month for Book Reviews, so I’ll start out with a link to the whole list of reviews and follow that with the most popular reviews from this month. Thanks again for all the views, comments, and encouragement. I always appreciate your interaction with comments and emails. Without any further ado, here are your top-ten visited posts the month of October.
1. Book Reviews:
- Speaking of Jesus
- Dictionary of Christian Spirituality
- Not a Fan
- The King Jesus Gospel
- Renovation of the Church
- Holy Listening–The Art of Spiritual Direction
- True Self / False Self
- Sanctuary of the Soul
2. About (The page that tells a little “about” Jeff)
10. It’s Coming!
Well, if you are a regular here at the iCrucified blog, you’ve noticed the new look. Although I had been thinking about freshening things up a bit, this redesign was somewhat thrust upon me. Early last week I started experiencing some intermittent connectivity issues with the blog and finally had to contact my Host provider (the company who stores my website). I was told there were some known issues being addressed and my downtime would be minimal. This turned out to be the case and within twenty-four hours we were back online…sort of.
I continued to notice slow loading and intermittent connection problems with my site and contacted the Host provider again. This time I was told the problems were specific to my site. I was out of town and unable to test and trouble shoot my site, so I put off pursuing the issue further until I could do so. As I was returning from my trip I received an email from my Host advising me that there was an issue discovered on the server and my site was back online (well, yes and no)… Upon inspection I found I was able to reach my site administratively, but the actual site was still having problems.
In the end I realized something had happened to the code that created the theme for the site. It must have happened when the tech support for the Host provider was trouble shooting my connectivity issues. I decided rather than reconstruct the template, I would work on a redesign… so, almost a week later we’re back. I hope.
And, I hope you like the new design. I’m not sure I’ll stick with this look, but this is it for now. I apologize for the silent blog over the past week, but we should be able to resume normal activity and posting now. Peace!
(There is no embellishment whatsoever in the following story. None.)
Monday night: We left our home to drive to Seattle to pick up Garrett (our son) who was arriving from college for his summer break. Just before we were to get on the interstate I noticed a “thunk-thunk” sound coming from the rear tire area of the car. I immediately pulled over and had Laurie (my wife) get into the driver seat and drive slowly ahead so I could figure out what was happening… we were hoping nothing serious was happening so we wouldn’t be late to meet Garrett’s arriving flight. I spotted the problem! I large metal shank was protruding from the tire… I tried to remove it, but couldn’t. I retrieved a tool from the glove box and began to pull the metal from the tire while praying I wouldn’t hear the hissing sound of escaping air. What emerged from the tire was a large flat razor, but PRAISE GOD, no air! We pressed on to Seattle and were there in plenty time to pick up Garrett with no delays!
Tuesday: No problems with car or tire… business as usual.
Wednesday Morning: We left out to take Josh (our son) to school and drop Laurie off at work. I was going to have to pick up some guests (from the SeaTac Airport) who were/are arriving today to visit with us for the week. Just before we pulled out of our apartment complex I noticed a weird feel to the car. I pulled over and looked at the rear tire (the one that had a razor blade in it two nights ago) and it was almost completely flat. I pulled back up to our apartment to put on the spare donut tire. It was looking like everyone was going to be late today and I might even be late to pick up our guests at the airport. On another note… we don’t really have an extra hundred bucks in the budget for a replacement tire. I got the emergency spare on and headed out… Laurie got to work on time and I decided rather than try to repair the tire, I would drive to a tire store and just purchase a new one. When I arrived at the store, before I was even out of the car a young man was at my door telling me he noticed I needed a tire. We chatted a moment and the next thing I knew my car was on a lift. Before I could even explain what I was looking for, the fellow told me he’d warranty my tire and it wouldn’t cost me the full price of the new tire. When everything was said and done I walked out (in time to meet our guests at the airport on time!) with a new tire, balanced, mounted, and the old tire disposed of for $28 and some change.
The remarkable chain of events for these past three days and the way we were taken care of is a glorious testimony to the God who watches over us. Now… I better get on the road to pick up Meg and Nicole. PRAISE GOD!!!
Psalm 37:1-18 NLT
Vs1. Don’t worry or envy.
Vs3. Trust in the LORD and do good.
Vs4. Take delight in the LORD.
Vs5. Commit everything you do to the LORD.
Vs7. Be still in the presence of the LORD, wait patiently for Him to act.
…Don’t worry or fret.
Vs8. Stop being angry! Don’t lose your temper.
Vs9. Trust the LORD.
Vs16. It is better to be godly and have little than to be evil and rich.
Vs17. The LORD takes care of the godly.
Vs18. The LORD takes care of the innocent.