National Teacher Appreciation Day

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by John Ellis

This year, National Teacher Appreciation Day is being observed on May 9, which is today. Over my life, I’ve had many excellent teachers. I’ve also had the privilege of working with and befriending many excellent teachers. I’m thankful for all of them. In fact, I’m even thankful for the “bad” teachers that I had, because I learned quite a bit from them, too (to be fair, I wasn’t always the easiest student to have, and the “bad” teachers generally exhibited far more patience and grace than I deserved). However, and surprising no one who knows me, one of those teachers occupies far more space in my memory than all of my other teachers combined. That teacher is my mom, of course.

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The Most Popular Posts on A Day In His Courts

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by John Ellis

When I was a kid, I loved baseball cards. Specifically, I loved looking at the stats on the back of the baseball cards. I still know Andre Dawson’s stat line from 1987: 49 homers and 137 RBI’s, leading the league in both, while batting .287. I also used to love to construct imaginary stat lines for, well, myself for when I would inevitably play for my beloved Chicago Cubs. I would usually give myself a twenty-one or twenty-two year career. Of course, by the time my career was ended, I had set MLB records for hits, runs, doubles, triples, home runs, RBI’s, batting average, on base percentage, and, obviously, golden gloves won (I would also create stats for my lengthy career as a pitcher). That love of looking at numbers and playing with numbers has never left me.

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I Didn’t Want to Become a Christian

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by John Ellis

“A man is not saved because he believes in Christ; he believes in Christ because he is saved.”[1]

The above quote is from Lorainne Boettner’s seminal book The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination, which I am currently reading. Why it’s taken me so long to finally read this great book is a question that is irrelevant. Why I’m reading it at this point and time is relevant, however. Recent conversations with a brother in Christ from my church about Calvinism prompted me to begin writing an article titled, “Why I Believe in Limited Atonement.”[2] That was a month ago.

(Edit: “Why I Believe in Limited Atonement” is finished and can be read here.)

The article is taking longer than I anticipated, which, ironically, doesn’t surprise me. Considering the topic, I want to be thorough; being thorough includes washing myself with robust and God-honoring articulations of the topic. Hence, the Boettner book. While reading The Reformed Doctrines of Predestination, the quote above reminded me of a topic that my friend and I briefly touched on during one of our conversations, and I thought that it would make a good “tune-up” article, whet appetites for the coming, much longer, and much denser article, and, Lord willing, be edifying and encouraging[3].

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Bob Jones University, Abercrombie & Fitch, and PJ Media

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by John Ellis

This month marks a year since I was hired as a staff writer for PJ Media. For those who are unfamiliar with PJ Media, the website is a medium sized political news and opinion site – from a deeply conservative perspective, to be clear. Over the last couple of years, the site has expanded to include Faith, Lifestyle, and Parenting sections. I was initially hired to write for the Faith and Lifestyle sections, but over the last year, I have been given the opportunity to branch out and write about politics and parenting, too.

But what does my time with PJ Media have to do with Bob Jones University and Abercrombie & Fitch (which is probably the reason the majority of the readers clicked on this article to begin with)? Well, change. Specifically, change in me.

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My Favorite Articles of 2016

journal-writingby John Ellis

Between this blog and PJ Media, I wrote almost 150 articles, well over a quarter of a million words, and have had millions of people read what I’ve written over the last twelve months. I have been mocked and excoriated by NPR, The Village Voice, and Richard Dawkins’ website, to list three out of many. In terms of writing, 2016 has been a banner year for me[1]. I praise God for that, and look forward to continuing my writing for as long as He allows. As I begin the new year, and taking a page from other blogs and sites, I’m going to rank my articles. Unlike most other sites, though, I’m not going to rank my articles by popularity; I’m going to rank my articles based on my affection for them. Below are the sixteen articles that I’m am most proud of having written this past year[2].

Thank you for reading, both here at A Day In His Court and at PJ Media. If there are any topics that you think that I should tackle in 2017, please let me know.

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Going Back to Greenville

 

greenvilleby John Ellis

Three years ago this past August, Danita, the kids, and I woke up early one morning and headed north to our new home in Arlington, VA. After eight years in Greenville, SC, we knew that it would be hard leaving friends we loved and a place that had become home. More than anything, we knew that leaving our church family would be painful.

The Sunday before we left, I stood up in our church’s morning prayer service and delivered a tearful goodbye. After briefly recounting some of the ways in which the Holy Spirit had used Emmanuel Bible Church to teach us about God the Father and to grow our faith, I asked for prayer. Specifically, I asked the church to pray for the Holy Spirit to knit our hearts to our new church family as we were sure to be lonely and homesick. At the time, I had no idea how prescience my prayer request was.

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A Tribute to My Mom

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by John Ellis

Years before the most recent financial crisis turned “staycation” into a buzzword, my mom was planning our family’s staycations. As a Christian schoolteacher married to an independent, fundamentalist Baptist pastor, she turned resourcefulness into a finely honed character trait. Although we lived below the poverty line, it rarely felt like it in our house. Our lives were packed full of curiosity and creativity.

Summer programs at libraries, participation in art contests and costume contests, and the seemingly endless supply of books on our family’s many bookshelves were a few of the ways that our mom stoked me and my sibling’s understanding that the world was much bigger than our circumstances. Towards that end, one summer, she planned and organized a series of staycations around the Pensacola area. Taking into account everyone’s preferences and desires, she did her best to create a fun-filled and interesting summer for all.

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