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Best Reads of 2010

Several years ago I began keeping an annotated list of every book I read each year.  It has been a very useful discipline and resource for later.  As part of my own review of this past year I will post here what have been the best books I have read this past year.  Included in […]

“All My Heart This Night Rejoices”

Here is wonderful 17th century Christmas hymn by Paul Gerhardt which expounds the meaning of the Incarnation. This is hymnic gospel proclamation! Let us take great comfort in the work of Christ, God come to get us. All my heart this night rejoices, As I hear, far and near, sweetest angel voices; “Christ is born,” […]

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from the Van Nestes May the peace of Christ be with you.

Dickens’ Disappointing Book on Jesus

This is a recent post from the Children’s Hour: The Life of Our Lord, Written for His Children, Charles Dickens (Simon and Schuster, 1934), hb., 128 pp. A few years ago I stumbled across a first edition copy of this book which Dickens wrote from 1846 to 1849 for his own children and was only […]

Tolkien, Old Norse Poetry and Preaching

J. R. R. Tolkien was captivated by Old Norse poetry and described it this way: “Old Norse poetry aims at seizing a situation, striking a blow that will be remembered, illuminating a moment with a flash of lightning- and tends to concision, weighty packing of the language in sense and form …” (The Legend of […]

Keep Your Greek

Keep Your Greek: Strategies for Busy People, Constantine Campbell (Zondervan, 2010) pb., 90 pp $9.99 This little book is the best thing I know of for encouragement and advice for how to maintain and increase your ability to read and use Greek.  I almost can’t say too much good about this book- and it would […]

How People Commonly Relate to Pastors

I noticed this paragraph in Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead which accurately describes a very common element of life as a pastor. “That’s the strangest thing about this life, about being in the ministry. People change the subject when they see you coming. And then sometimes those very same people come into your study and tell you […]

John Newton, Poem on Pastoral Ministry

Tom Ascol posted this poem by John Newton, and I thought it was a powerful portrait of pastoral work. A Minister’s Burden What contradictions meet In ministers’ employ! It is a bitter sweet, A sorrow full of joy: No other post affords a place For equal honor or disgrace. Who can describe the pain Which […]

Incarnation poem from Bede

In Bede’s A History of the English Church and People, he includes a hymn in honor of a woman named Etheldreda.  I can’t endorse all that is in the poem, but I appreciated this portion on the Incarnation. See! God most high resigns His royal throne, Descends to earth, and enters Mary’s womb; To free […]


Last year one of the things I requested and received for Christmas was a couple of volumes of Journibles, from Reformation Heritage Books. I have loved them! It is a pretty simple concept (see the series website).  They essentially journals- like ones you might purchase from any bookstore- devoted to certain books or collection of […]