福音歌 (The Gospel Song)

So the second half of this video didn’t quite go to plan…

Thankful for a family that loves to sing!

福音歌 (The Gospel Song)

聖潔神以愛成為
完美人承擔我罪
十架上受苦犧牲
祂受死我得永生

Holy God in love became
Perfect man to bear my blame
On the cross he took my sin
By his death I live again

Credits:
Music by Bob Kauflin, words by Drew Jones. Translated by Joffrey Hsu, Wong Bo Sang and Andrew Jong-Shin Liau (廖忠信).
© 2002 Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI)/Sovereign Grace Worship (ASCAP). Used with permission.

Song info
Download the MP3
Chinese translation

Grapefruit cookies

yellow_grapefruit

Many months ago, the first shape for which E learnt the word was ‘circle’.  At breakfast one morning, she stared out of the window, pointed, and said ‘circle’.  And indeed there were: little spheres sprouting on the tree in our next-door neighbour’s garden.

As the circles grew, so did E’s vocabulary.  Other words were added: tree, oranges, and eventually, as citrus spheres ripened from green to yellow, ‘grapefruit’. Since then our neighbour has kindly allowed us to gather little harvests from this tree, and now E may turn to us and request “dada take you in the onbu pick some grapefruit?”

Thank you God for giving growth, change – and fruit.

On the less metaphoric side, little girl’s Mama is now responsible for stewarding a really generous pile of grapefruit.  We can only drink so much grapefruit juice (keeping in mind it is yellow grapefruit, the really sour one, not the red, milder one).

We’ve gotten in contact with a local fruit harvesting/distributing charity, but while we’re waiting for things to get sorted we still have a large pile of grapefruit.  So for the last few weeks I’ve had the privilege of exploring how to fit a lot more grapefruit into our diet.  We’ve tried a variety of ideas.  Some have been great, some have been embarrassing, all have been fun.

Today was cookies.  The classic sugar cookie (I was using a strict 1:2:3 ratio) requires no liquid, so I had to reduce the grapefruit to as little liquid as possible to avoid ending up with cake or scone.  I zested and juiced two grapefruit, then simmered it in a pan to evaporate it into a gel.  I then creamed butter and sugar into this gel, spices including salt, and finally flour with baking soda.  E cut hearts in the dough with a cookie cutter, and into a hot oven they went until they started to singe.

The result was fun.  It looked like shortbread, smelled like shortbread, but tasted like, in William’s words, “that tree out there!”  It had a flavour as intense as the filling of a centre-filled cookie, only there was no filling.  We kept tasting it (grapefruit!) and then smelling it (shortbread!) repeatedly because it was so bizarre that there was no visual/olfactory/tactile sign of the extreme grapefruityness therein.  A pleasant surprise to the end of a busy Saturday.

Other recipes we’ve tried:

  • grapefruit, lemon and ??? citrus jam
  • grapefruit juice
  • grapefruit sorbet
  • grapefruit and feta salad
  • citrus pasta (grapefruit zest + grapefruit-based dressing)
  • grapefruit pancakes
  • pumpkin grapefruit and coconut cream soup/pasta (treat grapefruit like tomatoes)

What are your suggestions for how to use grapefruit?

Amazing grace that saved a wretch like me


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Throughout 2014, our church family at Howick Baptist have been learning and memorising one hymn of the faith each month. By doing this we hope to store these songs, and their truths, more deeply in our hearts. You can read more about this project here and download the hymn booklet here.



John Newton’s famous hymn that we know as “Amazing Grace” was originally titled, “Faith’s Review And Expectation.” It was written to go along with a New Years Day sermon that he preached at his country church in England in 1773, based on the text of 1 Chronicles 17:16-17:

“Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far? And this was a small thing in your eyes, O God. You have also spoken of your servant’s house for a great while to come, and have shown me future generations, O Lord God!” 1 Chron. 17:16–17

This hymn calls the believer to wonder at the amazing grace (undeserved favour) of God. King David found God to be faithful in the past, and we can likewise trust God will continue to be faithful to His people in the future. 

If you’re a child of God by faith in Christ, then His grace has “brought you thus far, and will bring you safely home” – not because of anything we’ve done, but because of His amazing grace in keeping the covenant promises He’s made with His people.

The lyrics outline the progression of the Christian faith – being saved by God’s grace, being protected by his grace, and then praising him eternally for his grace:

Amazing grace how sweet the sound
that saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost but now am found,
was blind but now I see.

We were once lost in sin and wretched in his sight, but were given spiritual life by the gracious hand of God (Ephesians 2:1-5).

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
and grace my fears relieved;
how precious did that grace appear
the hour I first believed!

 

Through many dangers, toils, and snares
I have already come;
’tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
and grace will lead me home.

 

The Lord has promised good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be
as long as life endures.

The last verse found in most hymn-books today wasn’t actually written by John Newton, but was added nearly 100 years later by Harriet Beecher Stowe in the influential anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852). Tom was portrayed to have sung this hymn in his hour of deepest crisis.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
bright shining as the sun,
we’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
than when we’d first begun.

Newton’s amazement at grace continued until he died. It is reported that near his death, he proclaimed with a loud voice during a sermon, “My memory is nearly gone, but I remember two things: That I am a great sinner and Christ is a great Savior!” May our attitude be the same.


Further reading:

Haste thee on from grace to glory

Haste Thee On to Grace and Glory - artwork by Cheryl Chong

Artwork by Cheryl Chong. Lyrics from the hymn Jesus I My Cross Have Taken (the Indelible Grace version is our favourite).

We gave a print of this to the Fleener family as a goodbye present. I (William) think it’s a hymn lyric that captures the hope of eternity that helps us to press on in sacrifice – whether it’s moving to the ends of the earth to preach the gospel, or staying in your neighbourhood to do the same.

Go, then, earthly fame and treasure,
Come disaster, scorn and pain
In Thy service, pain is pleasure,
With Thy favor, loss is gain
I have called Thee Abba Father,
I have stayed my heart on Thee
Storms may howl, and clouds may gather;
All must work for good to me.

Soul, then know thy full salvation
Rise o’er sin and fear and care
Joy to find in every station,
Something still to do or bear.
Think what Spirit dwells within thee,
Think what Father’s smiles are thine,
Think that Jesus died to win thee,
Child of heaven, canst thou repine.

Haste thee on from grace to glory,
Armed by faith, and winged by prayer.
Heaven’s eternal days before thee,
God’s own hand shall guide us there.
Soon shall close thy earthly mission,
Soon shall pass thy pilgrim days,
Hope shall change to glad fruition,
Faith to sight, and prayer to praise!

Creativity for his glory – even more cards (Cheryl)

(W: Here are a few things that Cheryl has made in previous months. Really enjoy watching day by day how she’s using her time to image her Redeemer by getting stuck into creativity that serves others. In contrast, my knowledge of sewing and crafts is limited to opening my wallet and paying for materials…)

Custom-made cards

thank you card for baby stroller

Thank you card – we made this for a family that gave us their double stroller. Took awhile to find a good double stroller image to adapt. E loves getting involved with the cardmarking now, and each card we make usually has her signature touch (a deft scribble or two).

 

blue dinosaur birthday card rawrrr

A card for a dino-mite birthday boy! Some line art in the background, with a big dinosaur silhouette.

 

Windows Phone Metro themed greeting card with icons

A Windows Phone-themed card! Uncle Henry was in town for two weeks and we enjoyed having him stay with us for some of that time. Different icons for some of the different things we did together (building blocks, cycling, ramen noodles, cello, DS).

E got to go on the bike with her dada, and learn about how the postman takes the card from the postbox and helps get it to Taiwan. We were glad to learn that it got there in one piece:

Windows phone metro themed greeting card and some abstract art by Eden

One good thing about making cards from scratch is that it helps you to focus on the person you’re addressing it to – to pray for them, to consider their interests, what they like. It’s a good opportunity to learn to love others more.