Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Priceless- A book Recommendation

“Priceless: A Novel on the Edge of the World” A novel which I generally never read and usually don’t like. But this is one I can highly recommend, I could not put it down once I started it. It is a story of an American photojournalist who travels to Russian for an assignment, but ends up involved in a bigger job than he ever expected. He becomes involved in trying to free girls, specifically orphans, who are caught up in the sex trade/slave business.


The author, Tom Davis, is president of ‘Children’s Hope Chest’ a organization that helps care for orphans in a number of different countries (www.hopechest.org)

I enjoyed this book so well I am tempted to get his other novel, “Scared:A Novel on the Edge of the World”

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Accountability

In a national survey by the Barna Group among people who describe themselves as Christian and involved in a church discovered that only 5% indicated that their church does anything to hold them accountable for integrating biblical beliefs and principles into their life. http://www.barna.org/

The scripture states, "Obey your spiritual leaders, and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this with joy and not with sorrow" (Hebrews 13:17, NLT).


I think it is interesting that in the mega church there seems to be no accountability of the leaders and in the small churches the people want to hold the pastor accountable but do not want the pastor to hold them accountable

Friday, December 03, 2010

Chasing Francis

“Chasing Francis” by Ian Morgan Cron and published by Navpress

This is a novel about a mega-church pastor who becomes disillusioned with rational, church as usual, Christianity. He takes time away from his church to visit his Franciscan priest, uncle in Italy. He then is taken on a journey to visit places and the teachings of St. Francis of Assisi, which revitalizes his faith. He returns to share his new found faith and his new vision for the church, only to be voted out of his church.

The pastors new vision is born from 5 words that is the essence of the teachings of St. Francis: transcendence, community, beauty, dignity and meaning.

I am not big into reading novels, but I was looking forward to reading this one because I thought it would apply some of the teachings of St. Francis in a more practical way, even though in a fictional account. I was disappointed. The book talks about his teachings but fails to bring it home. For instance, talking about Francis living for the poor, the best it could say for us is that we should learn to live more simply-What does that mean?

I appreciate the stance many in the church are taking against materialism and our consumerist life styles. But why wont someone draw a line? Why don’t the church be specific and say to purchase this item or to live in this size house or to drive this type of car is a indication of greed and materialism? The apostle Paul told the church at Corinth not to associate with covetous people. So that would indicate that the church knew who would be covetous. So, who do we say today is covetous? Have you ever heard of a church disciplining a member because they were coveting? When is enough enough?

With that said, if you enjoy novels and are interested in some of the basic teachings of St. Francis I would recommend the book. You will probably enjoy it.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Reasons To Work

Reasons to work

1. For the money
2. To be challenged
3. For the pleasure/calling of doing the work
4. For the impact it makes on the world
5. For the reputation you build in the community
6. To solve interesting problems
7. To be part of a group and to experience the mission
8. To be appreciated

Why do we always focus on the first? Why do we advertise jobs or promotions as being generic on items 2 through 8 and differentiated only by #1?

In fact, unless you're a drug kingpin or a Wall Street trader, my guess is that the other factors are at work every time you think about your work.
from www.sethgodin.com

Friday, November 05, 2010

"Outlive Your Life" book review

"OUTLIVE YOUR LIFE” By Max Lucado

Contrary to about everyone else’s taste I am not a big Lucado book fan. For me he is a little too wordy and takes too long to get to the point. In some instances this book is the same way.
This book is also dealing with a popular topic in book publishing circles and among churches these days. That we need to help those who are hurting, we need to be concerned about issues of poverty, hunger, homelessness etc. not just here at home but globally. This book is not the best on these subjects that I have read, but if you are a Lucado fan and have not read up on any of these topics it may be a good place to start.

With that said, the book begins with a fable entitled, “Father Benjamin”. Father Benjamin has died but what he has done is still living. Very touching and motivating story to begin with. Another story I enjoyed was the story of the football team in Texas who did what they could do to cheer and help their opposing team.
The chapter I enjoyed the most was the chapter on hospitality. Where Lucado encourages Gods people to be people of hospitality. He says this,

“Call us a fast society, an efficient society, but don’t call us a personal society. Our society is set up for isolation. We wear earbuds when we exercise. We communicate via e-mail and text messages. We enter and exit our houses with gates and garage-door openers. Our mantra; “I leave you alone. You leave me alone.”
Yet God wants his people to be an exception . Let everyone else go the way of computers and keyboards. God’s children will be people of hospitality.
Long before the church had pulpits and baptisteries, she had kitchens and dinner tables.”

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

How can so many people say they are Christians?

The newest Barna research confirms that cities in the South have the highest proportion of residents who describe themselves as Christian. Ninety-eight percent of those surveyed in Shreveport self-identified as Christian, as did 96 percent of those in Birmingham and Charlotte and over 90 percent of residents of Nashville, Greenville, SC/Asheville, NC, New Orleans, Little Rock and Memphis.
The lowest number of Christians, according to the study, inhabit the coastal states, particularly in San Francisco (68 percent Christians), Portland, OR (71 percent), Portland, ME (72 percent), Seattle (73 percent), Sacramento (73 percent), New York City (73 percent), San Diego (75 percent), Los Angeles (75 percent), Boston (76 percent), and Miami (78 percent). Even in the states with the lowest percentage of Christians, however, nearly three out of four residents call themselves Christians in every city studied. Additionally, weekly church attendance rates were found to be highest in Birmingham, Baton Rouge, and Salt Lake City, while the largest percentage of unchurched adults reside in San Francisco, Portland, ME, Portland, OR, Albany, Boston, Sacramento, and Seattle. Cities with the largest rates of megachurch attendance included Las Vegas, Orlando, Dallas, San Diego, Tampa-St. Petersburg, and Houston.
The Barna Group, 10/12/10

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

66 Love Letters

“66 Love Letters: A conversation with God that invites you into His story” by Dr. Larry Crabb published by Thomas Nelson
I like what the author said in the introduction, “The Bible is a love story that begins with a divorce. Everything from the third chapter of Genesis through the end of Revelation is the story of a betrayed lover wooing us back into His arms…”
From there the author attempts to figure out what God is trying to say to us in each book of the Bible. I enjoyed many of the authors insights, especially from the minor prophets. eg. In Amos the writer brings out the idea that the book is about ‘relational sin’ which ‘destroys relationships and eliminates the source of identity and joy.’
In the NT the writer brings out that the word translated ‘prayer’ in the book of Luke means to ‘wish forward’.
There are a lot of good insights from someone who is not a biblical scholar in this book. I would recommend having it on your nightstand to follow along as you read each of the chapters of the Bible.

Monday, October 04, 2010

"ABOUT YOU" Book Review

“About You” by Dick Staub and published by Jossey-Bass. This book is not just about being a Christian, but it is about what being a Christian will do for you- make you fully human. The author covers the topics from creation, to the fall, to our restoration and how all of them effect our humanness and how Christ has come to fully restore us. I particularly liked chapter 7 where the author gives 8 characteristics of what being fully human may look like.

To be fully human means:
1) to seek God and nurture your soul
2) cultivate your mind
3) creativity and excellence in all you do
4) developing In-person relationships in a virtual age
5) means learning to love, forgive and accept each other
6) means to embrace moral and intellectual certitude in a relativistic age
7) Rediscover the proper rhythm of human life
8) means to see the Image of God, value and worth in everyone you meet.

This is a great book. A nice read and easily to be understood. A good book for new Christians, someone wanting to understand what being a Christian is about and your pastor (there is a lot of good preaching material). I would give this book 5 stars.

MEXICO: THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE BEAUTIFUL

10 observations (not in any order of importance) from my recent trip to Mexico

1. Their bigger cities are no different than ours.
2. A wide divide between the rich and the poor. Average person makes $10.00 per day.
3. For the most part the people are content with what they have, though they have nothing of the luxuries that we have.
4. Their churches seem to share some of the same problems that we have eg. What type of music to use in worship.
5. Church location is not a priority. Many churches are in hard to find places.
6. People are very hospitable. Eager and excited to serve visitors.
7. Lots of tortillas and salsa
8. Did not see any overweight people.
9. No toilet seats (Why?)
10. They need a real move of God.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Heresy-"Colors of God"

“Colors of God” by Randall Peters, Dave Phillips, Quentin Steen published by Biblica Publishing. This book is subtitled, ‘Conversations about the Church’. It is a conversation by 3 guys who are part of an emerging church in Canada.


The only thing I can say is that I am glad that I am not part of that church. In chapter 5 Quentin says that they are wanting to deconstruct our modern understanding of the gospel and they propose that their idea is “more faithful to the New Testament, to the scriptures as a whole, and to church history”. I am not sure what NT they are looking at, what scriptures nor whose church history they are reading but it sure does not measure up to the NT, scriptures and church history that I am aware of.

These guys are strong ‘once saved always saved’ believers, no matter what. They would fall into the category of ’easy believism’ or as Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, they preach ‘cheap grace’.

Just for one example, on p.60 Quentin says that even though, in the face of death (persecution) I deny Christ because of my fear of death, ‘God and I are as good as ever’.

If this is the case what does ‘persecution’ even mean? Too bad that all the martyrs of church history and even present day martyrs has not heard these guys’ message. They would have lived a long time and many would still be with us today (sarcasm).

These guys must not be aware of what Jesus says in Matthew 10:33, But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.

The problem that those who believe, as these guys do, is that in their attempt to emphasize grace, they rob grace of its transforming power. Yes, Gods grace is powerful.

Through grace God not only forgives our sin but he transforms our lives. Our sinful past is forgiven and we have power to live above it. Paul says, >“I have become a new creation in Christ Jesus, old things have passed away and behold all things are new” (2 Cor.5:17)

Stay away from this book. It will not help or encourage you. If someone happens to give you a copy-trash can it.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Why Muslims Commit Sucide

Everyone seems to be wondering why Muslim terrorists are so quick to commit suicide.

Let's see now... No Jesus, No Christmas, No television, No Cheerleaders, No car races, No football, No soccer, No pork BBQ, No hot dogs, No burgers, No chocolate chip cookies, No lobster, No nachos, No Beer nuts, No alcohol, No Beer !!!!!!!!

Rags for clothes and towels for hats. Constant wailing from the guy next-door because he's sick and there are no doctors. Constant wailing from the guy in the tower. On your knees facing east most of the day. More than one wife. You can't shave. Your wives can't shave. You can't shower to wash off the smell of donkey cooked over burning camel dung. Your bride is picked by someone else. She smells just like your donkey.

Then they tell you that when you die it all gets better!
I mean, really, is there a mystery here?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

T.S. Eliot

You say I am repeating
Something I have said before. I shall say it again.
Shall I say it again? In order to arrive there,
To arrive where you are, to get from where you are not,
You must go by a way wherein there is no ecstasy.
In order to arrive at what you do not know
You must go by a way which is the way of ignorance.
In order to possess what you do not possess
You must go by the way of dispossession.
In order to arrive at what you are not
You must go through the way in which you are not.
And what you do not know is the only thing you know
And what you own is what you do not own
And where you are is where you are not.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Wanted: Navigators not map readers

The quote is from Margaret Wheatley and was part of a reflection on the US Gulf crisis:

“…People who are lost in the mountains or wilderness, who either survive or die by the choices they make, at first fight to make their old maps work. They do everything possible to make the old maps fit the present circumstance—but they never can. In wilderness situations, this grasping goes on until the person is confronted with the fact that they’re about to die. They will survive only if they acknowledge that there’s no way out of their present peril; they must give up their old maps and acknowledge that they’re truly lost. Once they recognize this, they begin to notice where they really are, what’s going on, what’s useful information available here and now. They make new maps and find their way home.

A good article found at www.nextreformation.com titled 'navigating missional waters'. It is about the need for the church to put away their old maps and become navigators

Monday, June 07, 2010

Bosnia

I thought this was some great words and testimony from our missionary in Bosnia

Reflecting

It’s been rewarding to sit and reflect over the past two years living in Bosnia. Missional living has transformed my life. I am not an extraordinary person but just wholeheartedly believe that just as Christ lived among those who were considered the least of humanity, so will I. As my head grew in knowledge of the small Bosnian community tucked away in the mountains my heart also grew to really love the people. I love them so much that I faced the humiliating struggle of learning language, and I was accepted into the culture.

I spent my time with women who are waitresses by day and prostitutes by night. I slowly realized that I was the only person in their lives who truly cared about them. My dear friend Ivana recently made a plan to pursue a new career, she now believes she is capable to do something valuable. The night before I left, I found Ivana in tears. The men in her coffee bar were so drunk that there was a physical fight and as Ivana tried to calm the situation she was cursed and spit upon. She said, “No more. I can’t do it anymore.” We cried together, she hugged me really tight, and said softly in Bosnian, “Crystal, you are the only person who ever saw me and loved me. Everyone treats me like a machine. I never knew what love looked and felt liked until I met you.”

Ivana is seen by the community as someone who is unlovable. My time in Bosnia has opened my eyes to learn that it is easy to love people who are kind, honest, and have something to offer you. It is much harder to love those who lie, cheat, and are corrupt. However, to truly be salt and light to the world, you cannot separate yourself. In order for salt to be effective it must be out of the container. Light naturally penetrates darkness.

Home for the summer:

Monday, May 31, 2010

Jesus Manifesto

“Jesus Manifesto” by Leonard Sweet & Frank Viola published by Thomas Nelson

This book is about Jesus, not his life while on earth, but his life lived through you. The authors contend that we must get back to Jesus. “If the church does not reorient and become Christological at its core, any steps taken will be backwards.”

The beginning of the book began slow, the authors seemed to want to be devotional and inspirational, but failed on both counts.

With the chapter titled, “A Ditch on Either Side” the book became more interesting and practical. That believing the right things or doing the right things is not what being a Christian is all about-it is about following Jesus. The way, the truth and the life.

From there, they say, that following Jesus is not a cause. But it is a life lived beyond ourselves, stressing the point that it is not about us but about Him.
That in our desire for justice, it is not justice per se that we need or want but the Just One who is Jesus.
The authors state that Jesus was rejected everywhere except at Bethany. Then they give some ways that he was accepted and relates that to how we should accept Him.

I liked this quote, “While Jesus wasn’t political in the modern sense of the word, He was political in this sense; Christ was the beginning of the change of the world. He inaugurated a new creation. And he showed us how prayer might set us on the right road to peace before politics.” p. 119

Another quote, “The earth awaits a body of Christians in every city who will receive Jesus utterly and completely.” p.158

I give this book 3 stars. It was to propositional (something you would not expect from Sweet) and clich├ęd. It would have been better with some real life examples of people who are allowing Jesus to live through them today.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Book Review

“The Gospel You Never Heard,“ What a Protestant Bible written by Jews says about God’s work through Christ, by David I Rudel

I had mixed feelings about the book. At times it seemed the author was working on a study of certain words without really knowing exactly where he was going with it. For example he begins by questioning that Jesus was the only way to heaven, but then he never gives a solid answer nor does he return to the question.
Another example is that he never seems to answer the question that is on the cover of the book, Who goes to hell?

On the other had he does a good job of emphasizing and putting a new perspective on many words that we relate with the gospel. 'Repentance' is not faith but a changed direction in life, too many times we fail to distinguish the difference between faith and repentance. I like how John Wesley distinguish the two he said that salvation is the house, faith is the door and repentance is the front porch. In too many evangelical circles we have failed to cross the front porch.
Another word the writer stresses is 'salvation'. Salvation is not saved to go to heaven but saved to live a new life which was preceded by faith and repentance.

I would have liked to seen the author do a better study on the word sin. For I feel a lot of theological controversy surrounds a working definition for sin. For example some questions for sin that needs to be answered would be, What sins are we accountable for? Do we and must we sin everyday? And if we have to sin everyday how does that equate with us having salvation from sin?

I would give the book 2 stars

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

A book review of "Bonhoeffer:Pastor,Martyr,Prophet,Spy"
by Eric Metaxas
published by Thomas Nelson

This is the first book that I have reviewed that I would give 5 stars. Approaching a biography of over 500 pages seemed at first somewhat intimidating. But once I began it was the best biography I have read. Beginning with Bonhoeffers childhood you could see the things that would influence him in later becoming a pastor, theologian, spy during Hitlers reign of power.

Bonhoffer felt that the church in America was way to shallow and the racism bothered him tremendously.
He remarked, "In New York they preach about virtually everything, only one thing is not addressed...namely the gospel of Jesus Christ, the cross, sin and forgiveness, death and life."

I thoroughly enjoyed and the author made it clear how the church in Germany during WW11, succumbed to the influence and propaganda of Nazism. This was the best section of the book, with parallels and questions for our own time. How much should the church connect itself to the nation and culture it finds itself in?
The author did a good job of bringing in key people/influences of the church during the time without getting bogged down into to many details.

It was interesting to see that Bonhoffer’s participation in the conspiracy against Hitler was not driven because of culture, but because he felt this was what God was wanting him to do. For him it was a matter of obedience.

If you have looked for a biography on Bonhoffer or even if you are into WW2 history this book should not be missed.

A few quotes from Bonhoffer:
“Christianity conceals within itself a germ hostile to the church.”

“If you board the wrong train it is no use running along the corridor in the opposite direction.’

“The question is really, Christianity or Germanism? And the sooner the conflict is revealed in the clear light of day the better.”

Regarding marriage he said, “It is not your love that sustains the marriage, but from now on, the marriage that sustains your love.”

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Boring

This “boredom” is “in most cases...the state of mind of those who lack imagination and therefore require all kinds of stimuli to prevent them from losing interest in things, and even in life.” That’s why people, adults as well as kids, are “constantly fiddling with their cellphone.” The alternative to all this fiddling is being alone with your own thoughts, which terrifies people used to the constant stimulation provided by our media-saturated culture.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Religion v. Relationship

We spoke last Sunday about how our relationship with Jesus can easily degenerate to a religion. The relationship is built upon our love for God first and our neighbor 2nd. When we begin to lose our love we become religious. Here are 4 indications that our relationship has turned into a religion

1. Jesus/God becomes a vehicle/tool to promote a personal goal or ambition.
eg. when the Israelites use the ark of the covenant to try to win the battle against the Philistines

2.We become more willing to sacrifice for our belief than we do for God

3. There is a change in who we consider our friends and who we consider our enemies.
Pilate and Herod became friends over how to deal with Jesus

4. We lose our sense of humor. Have you ever seen a picture of Bin Laden smiling or laughing?

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

THE HIDING PLACE

This Friday, April 9 @ 7:15pm in the church, we will be showing the film, 'the hiding place'. It is a classic about Corey Ten Boom and her family hiding Jews during the Nazi reign. I have seen the movie a couple of times through the years and I am looking forward to seeing it again....Everyone is invited

Sunday, March 14, 2010

SPANK YOUR KIDS

In a new study by Marjorie Gunnoe, a Calvin College psychology professor, she finds that children who remember being spanked do better in school, volunteer more, and are more optimistic than unspanked children

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

JOHN BUNYAN

“John Bunyan“, by Kevin Belmonte, is one of a series of little biographies from Thomas Nelson publishers.
Outside of the classic book, ‘Pilgrims Progress’, most of us know little of its author John Bunyan. Whereas Bunyan is known for this book, he had authored a number of books, including a second part for ‘Pilgrims Progress’, where the main character is Christiana.
The ‘Pilgrims Progress’ was written, while Bunyan was in prison. For 12 years he served time for failing to agree with and join the confessing church of England. Though a time of hardship for Bunyan and his family, the end result has been a blessing for many throughout the years
I am reminded of the story of Samuel Logan Brengle, a officer with the Salvation Army, who had authored a number of books while in a hospital after being hit in the head from a thrown brick. During a time of discouragement, for being laid up, the Lord whispered to him, “no bricks no books”. Possible the Lord could have said the same to Bunyan, “no prison no Pilgrims Progress”.
Bunyan delivered his last sermon on Sunday August 19, 1688 and died aprox. 2 weeks later with pneumonia. on August 31, 1688, probably of pneumonia.
If you would like a quick overview of the life of John Bunyan, this book may be a place to start.

Monday, March 01, 2010

A Prayer

A prayer by Sir Francis Drake, an adventurer, wrote it as he departed to the west coast of South America.


Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, when
With the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wilder seas
Where storms will show Your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.

We ask you to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push back the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.

This we ask in the name of our Captain,
Who is Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Who attends church the most?

A new study released by Gallup has found that self-professed church attendance levels by state did not change significantly between 2008 and 2009. Nine of the top 10 states in self-professed church attendance are in the South (the only non-Southern state is Utah). States at the bottom of the church attendance list are in either New England or the West.

Respondents were asked how often they "attend church, synagogue or mosque — at least once a week, almost every week, about once a month, seldom or never." Nationally, 41.6 percent of all Americans in 2009 said they attended either "at least once a week" or "almost every week."

Top 10 States
% Attending weekly or almost every week

Mississippi 63
Alabama 58
S. Carolina 56
Louisiana 56
Utah 56
Tennessee 54
Arkansas 53
N. Carolina 53
Georgia 51
Texas 50

Bottom 11 States
% Attending weekly or almost every week

Vermont 23
New Hampshire 26
Maine 27
Massachusetts 29
Nevada 30
Hawaii 31
Oregon 31
Alaska 31
Washington 32
Rhode Island 32
Connecticut 32

With these statistics in mind, a question I would have is this, Where would Jesus spend his time (which states?) and where would he desire to start a church?

The Voice

A new type of Bible translation, somewhat different. You can download a copy of the gospel of John here

www.hearthevoice.com

Friday, February 12, 2010

"LOVE AND WAR" a book review

After 30 yrs of marriage one thing my wife and I agree on is that people need to be warned better before tying that knot. Marriage is not what it appears to be on many tv shows, films and in many love novels.
In the book “Love and War” by John and Stasi Eldredge they say that there are 2 things everyone needs to know 1. Marriage is hard 2. Everyone brings their own brokenness into marriage.
Everyone has a lot of baggage that they bring with them into the marriage relationship, thus making marriage the hardest thing most of us will ever go through. The authors also state that most marriages, though we are not honest enough to admit it, are a disappointment.

There are some things we can do to improve our marriage relationships.
1. Beware of our common enemy, satan. Satan will do all he can to disrupt our marriages. The authors suggest that the main way to overcome is by praying-praying together.

2. A shared adventure ( this was the best chapter in the book). We have to have more than just ourselves to live for. The authors say, “…adventure helps to build companionship in a marriage…the highest of all adventures are those where we find ourselves partnering together for a cause.”
Thus when we are joined together for a cause it helps us to

3. Fight off “the little foxes”. Those small things that can spoil our marriage.

4. The authors also have a chapter on sex (though not to helpful). They sum that chapter up to three lines. Pg 175 in the book J

The authors state that the odds of a marriage making it is about 50/50. They say that on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 being bad 10 being great most people rate their marriage at about a 3.

A few thoughts regarding the book
1. If there are that many people disappointed in their marriage (and I don’t necessarily disagree) why is it that so many people that are divorce and/or widowed want to get married again?
2. Would stronger pre-marital counseling help in couples decision to marry? Like making it clear that when you get married some of these things you will have to do, weather you like it or not: cook meals, clean house, work at a job, have sex.
3. Too many books on marriage explain the general psyche of the male and female. What about those couples whose make up is the exception eg. Where the wife does not want to sit down and have a conversation about how the day went, but the husband does?

I appreciate the books that are given to me by by WaterBrook Multnomah to review. This book and others may be purchased at http://www.randomhouse.com/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9780385529808

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Mission Trips

The Last few years God has really been speaking to me about Matthew 24, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked etc. So back in Sept. I took a short trip to Haiti, more for observation and to see possibly what I could do about offering some humanitarian work/aid. While there I spoke to some pastors at a leadership conference, sponsored by ICDM. God began to deal with me about the need to help the churches and church leaders. This conviction has continued to grow in my heart.
Thus yesterday morning I had breakfast with Tim Hibschman from "Global Partners". We talked, among other things, about taking some short-term mission trips. Not for the purpose of seeing what others are doing, but being able to help the church in other parts of the world...so with that conversation we are tentatively scheduling a trip to Mexico to hold some seminars/meetings with pastors and church leaders. Your prayers would be appreciated.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

THE FAN

Watched the movie, "The Fan", with Patton Oswald (Spence from King of Queens). Good movie about a obssesed NY Giant football fan who gets beat up and hospitalized by his favorite player. The movie is about Pattons' struggles to know weather to press charges or not. If he does their team will lose, if he does not he recieves the ridicule from family and friends.

Good movie about people whose lives are consumed with sports. It helps us ask the question how much do I like my favorite sports team and is it worth it.

Monday, January 25, 2010

'LOST" A Book Review

"The Gospel According to Lost", by Chris Seay

If you watch the show “Lost” you know that the show is filled with mystery, unanswered questions and loose ends. Many of those questions have not and seemingly will not get answered. The Christian faith is filled with mystery, questions that we do not have answers to. The problem, within the church, seems that we are afraid of questions. We are afraid of asking things that we do not know about. I cant help but think part of our fear of questions is the fact that we may not like the answer, even if that answer is as non-threatening as, “I don’t know”.

There is a real sense of security in being certain, or even thinking that I am certain. And many times I would rather not know something that would make me question what I think I am certain about. I would rather believe a lie in security, than know the truth and be set free.

I like what the author says in the opening chapter, “The purpose of this book is not to erase the mystery, but to allow each of us to seek a posture that celebrates the things we do know and to embrace the mystery of things that have yet to unfold. We may find that the unknown is more valuable, meaningful and useful in stimulating the imagination than the know.”

The television show lost is about a group of people whose airplane crashes on an unknown island. The characters in the show are varied and unique. In each chapter of the book the author tries to tell some about each of the main characters.
I liked the way he attempted to describe each of the characters, but was disappointed in most cases of what he had to say about them and how it tied in with the ‘gospel’.
Some of the illustrations he used were unclear and a lot of the writing seemed to be choppy.

Two exceptions were in his discussion of ‘Sun and Jin: Patron Saints of Discontented Fisherman”. Where he makes the point that marriage brings out the best and worst in each of us, then quotes Dr. Joyce Brothers, “My husband and I have never considered divorce…murder sometimes, but never divorce.” And then Ghandi who said, “I first learned the concepts of nonviolence in my marriage.”

The other exception is the chapter on Benjamin Linus, who, for the most part, is the evil person in the story. The writer says clearly that the problem with Linus is that he does not love, he manipulates and uses people totally for his own purposes. Which I feel fits his character in the show perfectly.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Earthquake Hits Haiti

I just seen that Haiti was hit/struck by a earthquake. One of the last places on earth that needed that to happen to. Please pray for the people.

So what does a spiritual movement look like?

Dr Paul Pierson, a missions history prof at Fuller, and a pastor at Hollywood Presbyterian Church, compiled a very helpful list of characterstics of renewal movements. Here they are taken from www.tallskinnykiwi.typepad.com


- They always begin on the periphery of the institutional church
- They are motivated by a transforming experience (grace) of God by an individual or group.
- The result is the desire for a more authentic Christian life that often leads to concern for the church and world.
- Face to face groups for prayer, Bible study, mutual encouragement are important.
- New methods of selecting and training leaders become important. These are less institutional, more grass roots and lay oriented.
- There are theological breakthroughs, that is, rediscovery of aspects of the Biblical message that have been forgotten or overlooked by the Church, usually they involve a focus on the gifts of every believer.
- There is a leveling effect, distance decreases between clergy and laity, social classes, races, men and women, and denominations.
- The movement is countercultural in some ways, often because it reaches out to those who have not been valued by their society. - Consequently there will be opposition by many in the dominant culture and church. - There will often be manifestations of spiritual warfare. such movements sense the reality of evil and the need to recognize the vistory of Christ in the cross and resurrection.
- At times there will be unusual manifestations of the power of the Holy Spirit; healings, visions, glossalalia, miracles. etc.
- More flexible structures of church and mission will be needed and often emerge, different from traditional structures.
- The movement will be led to significant recontextualization of the Christian message, which will be communicated more widely by lay persons to those outside the church.
- New music is often a characteristic.
- Biblical concepts ignored by the traditional church but relevant to the hearers are often discovered.
- There will be a growing concern for the marginalized, often expressed in ministries of compassion.
- At a later stage this often leads to concern for broader social transformation.
- As the movement matures there will be concern for the renewal of the broader church.
- As the movement continues to mature many will see themselves not only as part of the particular movement but as citizens of the Kingdom of God, transcending their own movement.
- Finally, every movement is less than perfect and often messy at the edges and sometimes, at the center. This is inevitable as long as sinful humans are involved.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

WITHOUT THEM

One of the most common things I hear is, "I'd like to do something remarkable like that, but my xyz won't let me." Where xyz = my boss, my publisher, my partner, my licensor, my franchisor, etc.
Well, you can fail by going along with that and not doing it, or you can do it, cause a ruckus and work things out later.
In my experience, once it's clear you're willing (not just willing, but itching, moving, and yes, implementing) without them, things start to happen. People are rarely willing to step up and stop you, and often just waiting to follow someone crazy enough to actually do something.
I'm going. Come along if you like.

from http://www.sethgodin.typepad.com