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Middle East Home Visit

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

IMG_7344 A member of our team is of Lebanese decent and a former Muslim. Now she's a believer. She has been a tremendous benefit to our team here. Her fluency in Arabic has been instrumental.

One night this week, the female members of our team were invited to a local girl’s house for a party. Our team member shared her testimony freely and openly with about 50 women. The local women hung on her every word. They were spellbound by what she shared and I doubt they'll forget her visit any time soon.

Please pray for more open doors to share about our Savior with the people we meet in this country.

Pray for this city

Wonder why I’m not blogging? I’m out and about. Below is a panoramic view of a city I’m visiting. Please pray for this Middle Eastern city and ask that the Lord will bring the Gospel with power.

Broward Children's Center

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

When the Charming and Beautiful Susan and I first walked into the Broward Children's Center, we were terribly disoriented. We were checking the place out as a possibility for Allie to go to school, but I think our default mindset is that no one will measure up; our child is too hard to deal with. It's really not them; it's us.

But the tour of the place and especially the interviews with the principal, the nurse, and Allie's, teacher put us at ease. They asked all the right questions, had all the right training, and obviously had the confidence that accompanies experience. Plus, right away, Allie was comfortable.

Allie's in her second week at Broward Children's Center. The first day was the only day she complained. So far, ever other day has been better than the day before. Allie's teacher is sweet and obviously loves her job and the kids in her class. She sets the kids up in little groups so that each child never feels alone. Allie always has something fun or interesting to do and little friends to do it with.

We're looking forward to the coming year. And we're thankful for the time school frees up for Susan and I.

Book Review: Outlive Your Life

Friday, October 15, 2010

image Author: Max Lucado
Nashville, Thomas Nelson, 2010
Number of pages: 173 plus discussion questions

Get out? Or get in? You’ve heard the saying, “she’s so heavenly minded she’s no earthly good.” In a time when Christians in American culture myopically focus on their own heavenly evacuation, Max Lucado issues a challenge: leave something behind. Be a world changer.

In his newest book Outlive Your Life, Lucado celebrates the otherwise uncelebrated. In vivid prose, unsung heroes are brought to life as examples of people whose work benefits the world beyond the span of their lives. They’ve left a legacy behind that continues to point people to Jesus even though they’ve gone to be with Him.

Lucado is a master wordsmith. While so many writers churn out books to impress would-be pastors and academics, Lucado writes with the rest of us in mind. He tells the stories of Edith, Joe, Liz and Caleb. Edith is an eighty year old woman on a small, fixed income who lives to serve cancer patients. Joe and Liz are an average couple who make clothes for premature newborns. Caleb is a nine year old who took cash he squirreled away for a video game and challenged his dad and everyone else in his grade school rolodex to match it. The result: two clean water wells funded in impoverished El Salvador neighborhoods. Anyone can be a world changer, Lucado posits. “God doesn’t call the qualified. He qualifies the called.” The Bible is packed with odd and unsavory characters whose surrendered lives were used to change their generation and point people to God.

If you’re a discontented Christian, maybe it’s because you’re too aware that you are odd and unsavory, too. Take action. You’ll appreciate the distraction. Lucado's words exhort and encourage and challenge and cause someone to look well beyond herself and her limitations. It will inspire the Christian to build something that lasts into eternity while leaving God’s fingerprints here for now and tomorrow. This is how living becomes abundant.

Lucado is a next level encourager. As I thumbed back through the book, I was hard-pressed to pick a favorite chapter. Lucado comes at exhortation from multiple angles and develops themes that left me challenged differently than the chapter before it. Lucado demonstrates that anyone, even you, can contribute significantly to changing the world. As two or three gather in Christ’s name, God bursts onto the scene making Himself known, transforming everyone He touches. This is the key to unlock a heart that’s shut tight to the gospel.

Outlive Your Life impacts beyond its final chapter. The book includes tools and study questions perfectly designed for study in a community group. But beware, the book is not for those that want to just chat, pontificate, and converse. It’s designed for the friendships that are the by-product of taking action around mutual ministry. Outlive Your Life is written to be the catalyst to get your crew moving and doing.

A Day in Her Life

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I was asked to put together a video of a typical day for Allie for an upcoming court case. It’s about ten minutes long, but if you’re interested, it’ll give a handle on how things run around here.

Forgive but can you Forget?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

“I, I am he
        who blots out your transgressions for my own sake,
        and I will not remember your sins."
(Isaiah 43:25 ESV)

Does an omniscient, all-knowing God really forget your sins? Is there something that the Uncreated God of the universe has to learn about me? Is there something about me I can tell Him that has slipped His mind? That's hard to fathom. God knows everything there is to know.

This past week was full of doctors appointments for Allie, new school interviews, and communication with the San Francisco district attorney's office. These provide plenty of opportunity to remember horrific crimes against our innocent little girl.

Allie is our biological granddaughter, my daughter's daughter, who we've adopted. A little over three years ago, her biological father abused her by shaking and squeezing her until she quit breathing. Paramedics "bagged" her forcing air into her lungs all the way to the hospital where she was put on artificial breathing apparatus. Upon initial examination, it was discovered that Allie had three broken bones all in different stages of healing. Her father confessed he had been abusing her for over three months, ever since my daughter and Allie moved into his apartment in San Francisco's Tenderloin district. Allie remained on a breathing machine for seven of the ten days she was in a coma. She suffered moderate to severe brain damage and has cerebral palsy and quadriplegia as a result.

Child Protective Services in San Francisco was prepared to put Allie into the foster care system once she was discharged from the hospital which was to be eight weeks later. My wife and I wanted to be the ones she was released to, but in order for that to happen, we had to be in California. I resigned from my job as an assistant pastor, left my house in the care of my 18 year old son, and moved from Florida to California so the Charming and Beautiful Susan and I could become foster parents and then adopt Allie.

The entire world flipped upside down for us. Our daughter was distraught over her daughter's injuries, the betrayal of her partner, and the fact that the City of San Francisco terminated her parental rights. She wasn't allowed to stay under the same roof with Allie so she couldn't live with us and ended up homeless in her post-traumatic state. We were three thousand miles from home and friends with a hopelessly disabled child we had to learn to care for. We were in mourning and shock. Our heads were swimming.

But, somehow, we adopted a posture of forgiveness toward the young man that put all of this chaos in motion. He has not asked for it, but this is our attitude. We found it impossible to focus on Allie and each others needs while harboring bitterness or working through fantasies of revenge. Our marriage suffered until we made a conscious decision to forgive and began to actively pray for the repair of not only our broken lives, but also his. We decided not to relate to him as a criminal, but as a damaged human being much like us.

It doesn't mean that we don't have pain in our situation. And, so, forgiveness isn't a one time event. We have to forgive over and over and over because our wounds hurt so often.

And forgiveness doesn't mean that justice is overlooked. Especially in light of his apparent legal strategy to suppress his confession. However, We pray that over the course of time, he'll meet true forgiveness at the foot of the cross. We also pray that he'll own his behavior.

But if he doesn't own it, he can't get better, he can't heal, and he can't change. He'll be stuck.

God didn't forget what I did yesterday. But if I say about my offences what He says about them, and turn away from them, He doesn't deal with me like I'm a sinner. He treats me like a son.

Clerk talks Jesus, foils robbery and comments from Pastor Bob Coy

Friday, October 08, 2010

You may have seen the video below on the news. A guy goes into a store to rob it and the clerk shares Christ with him and he relents. As the discussion between them develops, they learn that they frequent the same church.

If you watched the video above, you heard the name "Pastor Bob" mentioned. Below are comments on the event from Pastor Bob Coy, the pastor mentioned above.

HT: Active Word

Dr Tom Wright: 'The long failure of the enlightenment project'

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

The retiring Bishop of Durham, Dr Tom Wright, has called for a renewed focus on social mobility in the light of "the long failure of the enlightenment project".

Speaking to James Naughtie, he said that in an "increasingly religious age" we needed to find new ways of dealing with the way "human beings mess things up".

This is an extended version of the broadcast interview. Click here to listen.

HT: BBC

Book List from Church Planting for the Rest of Us

I love these book lists. I can't always get to every book, but I usually try and learn along the way.

Planting:

Radical Reformission by Mark Driscoll

Confessions of a Reformission Rev. by Mark Driscoll

Church Planting Landmines by Tom Nebel and Gary Rohrmayer

Leadership:

The Next Generation Leader by Andy Stanley

7 Practices of Effective Ministry by Stanley, Jones, Lane

Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni

Making Vision Stick by Andy Stanley

The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell

The 17 Irrefutable Laws of Teamwork by John Maxwell

Gospel:

According to Plan by Graham Goldsworthy

How People Change by Lane and Tripp

Growing Your Faith by Jerry Bridges

Living the Cross Centered Life by CJ Mahaney

The Gospel for Real Life by Jerry Bridges

Eldership:

Biblical Eldership by Alexander Strauch

Preaching:

Refining Your Style by Dave Stone

Podcasts:

Acts 29 Network

The Resurgence

The Leadership Moment

The Starbucks Experience

Preaching Points (Haddon Robinson)

The Sermonators

These look like some great resources. Have a look. Have a listen.

HT: Dustin Neely

Pastor Mark Driscoll Discusses Humility

This is an insightful video from a man whose notoriety and influence has rocketed into the stratosphere.

Thanks for sending it, Greg.

Great Morning for a Run

Monday, October 04, 2010

Hello October. I've waited six muggy months for you to get here. You don't always deliver the weather I hoped for, but the past few days, especially this morning, have been glorious.

Today's run:

Run time: 1:51:02
Distance: 11.1 miles
Average pace: 10 min/mile
Best pace: 7:48/mile
Calories: 1627

My pace is a little slower than I'm shooting for. I'm still mixing in a little walking after the first 5 miles. I run a mile, walk a minute. I took 5 one minute walking breaks and sipped some water I carried.

About twenty years ago, I had a job I hated. I delivered bread for a local bakery to all the big chain stores. I was up at two in the morning every day. One morning, I was driving on my route at sun up in Coconut Creek at the intersection of Lyons and Sample. I saw a runner and envied him for the normal job he had that allowed him to enjoy the early morning solitude of running. I prayed on the spot and asked God if He would allow me to have a life like that. This morning I ran past the spot before sun up and remembered that prayer. I'm grateful for my life this morning. How about you?

The Hajj to Mecca

This is a video CALLING Christians to pray for Muslims going on the Hajj to Mecca. This is a spiritually sensitive time for Muslims, seeking forgiveness. May Christians pray into this time, November 14 - 17, 2010. Go to, http://www.pray-ap.info/ for more information.

Lesser of Two Evils?

Friday, October 01, 2010

This year's political season is getting fun. Keep your head down because the mud is a' flyin'. Especially up in Delaware where former witch Christine O'Donnell is running against a former Marxist Chris Coons. I caught one of Sean Hannity's broadcasts this week and, apparently, witchcraft is much more forgivable than Marxism.

In the 1680's, before the first Tea Party, if you professed witchcraft, they burned you at the stake. But a confession of witchcraft in the 1980's gets you on the ballot and, if Neo-Tea Partiers get their way, a seat in the Senate.

It reminds of when the Good Witch asked Dorothy, "Are you a good Marxist or a bad Marxist?"

 

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