Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Book Review: Matthew for Everyone Part One


Book title: Matthew for Everyone Part One
Author: N.T. Wright
Publishing information (place, publisher, year): Great Britain, John Knox Press, 2004
Number of pages: 205 pages

N.T. (Tom) Wright is one the world’s foremost New Testament scholars. Wright has taken C.S. Lewis’s seat at the table. I’ve not read anyone that can relate difficult biblical concepts better than Wright. Lewis is actually lucky Wright was not his contemporary. He might not have had a job beyond writing books for kids

Matthew for Everyone Part One is Wright’s commentary on the first fifteen chapters of Matthew’s Gospel. The Genealogy of Jesus through The Feeding of the Four Thousand is the ground he covers.

Wright is a Greek scholar and Bible interpreter. He gives his translation of the text in very accessible language and terms which, of course, was the intention of the Gospel’s authors; to reach common people with the message of Jesus.

Wright has taken the time to examine the historical context of the text. He is able to bring out nuances, political implications, and present day application often glossed over in our church culture of sin management. We often get so bogged down in avoiding sin, the way the Pharisees tried to (and failed) that we often miss the point. Wright brilliantly brings the message home.

If you are looking for a fresh perspective in New Testament Bible Study, check Tom Wright’s For Everyone Commentary Series. The charming and beautiful Susan and I have signed up for it. In fact, two more books just arrived in the mail today.

Something to think about

I finished up a commentary on the Book of Matthew written by N.T. Wright last night. This quote gave me something to chew on, especially in light of all our focus on he effort to bailout Wall Street.

We too in our world have discovered so much, learned so much, invented so much, and yet are without power to do many of th things that really matter. We have invented wonderful machines for making war, but nobody has found one that will make peace. We can put a man on the moon, but we can't put food in hungry stomachs. We can listen to the songs the whales sing on the ocean floor, but we can't hear they crying of human souls in the next street.

Monday, September 29, 2008

FOXNews.com - Breakdown of Votes for $700B Bailout Bill by Party (Arranged by State) - Politics | Republican Party | Democratic Party | Political Spectrum

Follow the link below to see if your state reps. voted your way on the bailout bill.

FOXNews.com - Breakdown of Votes for $700B Bailout Bill by Party (Arranged by State) - Politics | Republican Party | Democratic Party | Political Spectrum

PETA Wants Ben and Jerrys To Use Human Breast Milk

did you see this one.shocking.i think that's what PETA's going for...

read more | digg story

What about Hip Hop?

I don't know if you all already saw this bit where Obama comments on Hip-hop and the music he listens to. By the time I see these things, they've already made the rounds.

I can't say that I'm totally on board with everything this dude says, but I love the admonishment he gives to rappers about the message in their music.

HT: Already Been Chewed

Christian Financial World Sees Silver Lining in Banking Mess | Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction

image "We have for some time needed something that would grab our attention and say, 'Hey, this can't go on forever. We can't spend more than we're making,'"  Said Dick Towner, director of Willow Creek Community Church's Good Sense financial ministry.

The current state of Wall Street might be a more appropriate application of the infamous Rev. Wright statement: "the chickens have come home to roost."

In light of the shake up financial markets and today's failed bailout bill, not evry financial institution is in trouble. It appears that the one's who are in trouble are the one's who tried to conjure up something from nothing. Christianity Today has some good news in the mess that is today's money market:

Deposits are up 12 percent this year at the Evangelical Christian Credit Union (ECCU). While the stock market was suffering its worst one-day loss since 2001 in September, the Christian Community Credit Union (CCCU) added 200 accounts, swelling its membership to nearly 30,000.

"We don't do residential mortgages or investment vehicles that have underlying mortgages," commented Mark Holbrook, president of ECCU, which manages $3 billion in assets. "We do banks and loans for ministries. The vast majority of churches and ministries are fundamentally sound."

"We've never made any subprime loans," said CCCU CEO John Walling, pointing out it has had no write-offs in 32 years of offering home mortgages. "We have very low losses; our delinquencies are less than one percent."

The problem is centered on the housing sector and at Wall Street's upper echelons, said Rusty Leonard, founder and CEO of Stewardship Partners Investment Counsel of Matthews, North Carolina.

"Christian firms, financial and otherwise, are generally better off because they tend to avoid debt and speculative practices."

Read more: Christianity Today

Babes in the Pulpit

image Mark Driscoll's worst nightmare has come true. image http://www.gospeltoday.com/

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A Perspective on the Ground

A couple of years ago, I lead a team to do some work in a country on the Arabian Peninsula. We held language clinics at an English/Arabic school. At the end each day, we held debates to discuss aspects of Muslim culture and East/West relations.

This opened the door for incredibly engaging conversation. I took the opportunity, both in public and private conversation, to explain why I follow Jesus. This, ultimately, is what I want to do anywhere I go. Believe it or not, in Muslim countries, religion is much more openly discussed than it is here at home in the West.

As the people we met became more comfortable with us, often conversation turned to the U.S. military action in Iraq. The people I discussed this topic with understood why we went after the Taliban and Al Queda in Afghanistan. One man I spoke with, a high school teacher that allowed me to address his students, told me, "America is like a tiger. Osama bin Laden has foolishly pushed out its claws."

Another man I met on another trip, Mahdi, and Iraqi, befriended me. He is one of the most respectful, engaging, and courteous men I've met in all my travels. He is from Falluja. He began to tell me of the suffering and pain his family and friends are experiencing at the hands of our government and I was silenced. I didn't know what to say. I didn't justify; I didn't debate; I just listened.

Mahdi has kept in touch with one of our team members ever since the trip. He has since returned home to Iraq. What follows are his observations. He draws conclusions based on his own experience and world-view. While I don't come to the same conclusions, I've not walked in his shoes. But here's a chance for us to take a few steps with him in them.

Hi Luann:

How are you? How is your life, work and everything? I hope you are fine and doing well.

I would like to write you before this time but I have been busy so much with my travel to Iraq during the last 2 months. I arrived Iraq 2 weeks ago and I'm between my family now, I'm so happy, I can't describe to you my feelings here in our house, my father and my mother and three little sisters. I have 7 sisters 4 of them are married and live far from my city. They will come soon to see me. They miss me so much and me too.

My 2 brothers living and working in Dubai. They will come at the end of this month.

Actually, when my feet touched the land of Baghdad airport I felt that the Iraq is not the Iraq; everything has changed. And everything is damaged, destroyed and misshaped. Even the weather becomes very hot and always dusty because of the thousands of tons of the bombs and the chemicals weapons that were thrown on Iraq during the war.

Streets are blocked with hundreds of concrete walls to isolate the cities and also inside the cities to isolate areas from each other.

In my city if I want to go to visit my uncles who live 10 minuets drive  from our house, I have to pass 3 check points to verify my ID and search me.

The temperature degree is 45 to 50 [113-122 Fahrenheit], imagine, and no electricity. We receive the electricity power only 5 hours per day. And now we are in Ramadan month which is the fasting month. We keep fasting from 4 AM to 6 PM, we don’t drink and we don’t eat.

My city, "Falluja" located on the biggest river in Iraq, however, we don't have clean water and many cholera situations raise nowadays.

Iraq is believed to have some of the world’s largest oil reserves, and now we have to queue 10 hours on the gas station to get fuel our cars.

Most of Iraqi doctors left Iraq because of the war and the miserable life, so the hospitals empty from the doctors and the people are suffering so much.

The problems in Iraq are endless. Actually the life in Iraq is not only difficult but its unbearable. I'm sorry if I give you headache about my country and our daily problems, but at the same time I would like to explain to the good American people what is going on in Iraq and what your government have done here, because we hear that your government hide many things in Iraq from you.

In spite of all these difficulties and problems, people here have a great faith and they pray everyday to Allah to stop this war and suffering and make our life easier.

Many people here say that Allah will punish America because they kill many innocent people and children and they destroy very beautiful life and country.

All the Iraqi people here curse W. Bush and his administration every day. Many people lost their family members, relatives or friends.They are very angry and pray to Allah to revenge from Bush. So the middle eastern people prefer Obama to be the president of the united state because John McCain is criminal like Bush and they believe that if McCain becomes the president of United States, the world will witness a new big war may be with Iran or any other country. Those kind of people like Bush or McCain don’t care about the American or Iraqi people even if half of you or us died. They just care about their own benefits and their own businesses. The war for them is a picnic and the bloods of people equal nothing.

You have asked me in your last message about Obama whether he is Muslim or not, actually what we know here that Obama's father is Muslim and his mother is Christian and obviously he followed his mother's religion. I don’t think that he hides his religion or deny his faith. Many Muslim live in the west and marry by Christian women, when they have kids, their kids may follow their father's religion or mother's religion, its not a big deal. But in US, it’s a political game before the elections.

I think Obama is much better than McCain because he calls for peace and he wants to pull out your forces from Iraq and end the occupation and the war in Iraq.

It's up to you my friend to decide your destiny.

I'm sorry to reply late, but I really was so busy with my family and relatives and friends here. I missed your messages, news and your words.

I was so happy when I opened my email to find your message.

I would like to write more to you and I have much talk to tell you but I have to leave now coz my friends invite me today to go around the city and to have our dinner with them.

I hope that I meet you once again somewhere to talk about so many things, I like your opinions, and we have many common thoughts.

May Allah Guide us to the right way and shower us with his mercy.

My best wishes

Mahdi Alani

Friday, September 26, 2008

Sweet Illustration

image I was thinking about this illustration for a tattoo.

What do you think?

Scot McKnight: The Eschatology of Politics | Out of Ur | Conversations for Ministry Leaders

I couldn't agree more with the view that Scot McKnight writes about in this article I've linked to. Here's an excerpt from the first paragraph:

If John McCain wins and the evangelical becomes delirious or confident that the Golden Days are about to arrive, that evangelical has an eschatology of politics. Or, alternatively, if Barack Obama wins and the evangelical becomes delirious or confident that the Golden Days are about to arrive, that evangelical too has an eschatology of politics. Or, we could turn each around, if a more Democrat oriented evangelical becomes depressed and hopeless because McCain wins, or if a Republican oriented evangelical becomes depressed or hopeless because Obama wins, those evangelicals are caught in an empire-shaped eschatology of politics.

All I've got to say about politics today is that McCain better show up at Ole Miss tonight or I might not show up on November 4th.

Scot McKnight: The Eschatology of Politics | Out of Ur | Conversations for Ministry Leaders

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Downtown Walk Three

IMG_0375 Allie started doing this rally cute thing a couple of months ago. She makes a little shrieking sound. It's a call out. She expects us to answer back. It reminds me of those recordings of dolphins under water calling out to each other. Allie does this to figure out where we are in the house; whether we're upstairs or in the kitchen.

It's funny because she used to make a sound with just one pitch. But now I vary the pitch of the sound I make to high and low, short and long, and Allie imitates it and keeps up. It's funny and exciting at the same time. She doesn't have the motor skills yet to make words, but she still has fun while trying to communicate.

It's unbelievable how much personality this little booger has.

Downtown Walk Two

IMG_0372 Allie is so at home in this stroller. The charming and beautiful Susan and I were thinking back at how hard it used to be to go out with Allie. A year ago, we couldn't walk more than three blocks or so before Allie would have a meltdown in her stroller. It was so frustrating. I felt chained to our apartment. It got me so angry. And then I'd feel guilty about feeling worse about my situation than what this poor child must be going through to cause her to cry so bad and so often.

Here in this picture, Allie is so at ease. See her little tongue sticking out. She's making a "clucking" sound. That sound means: "my world is wonderful and I'm soooo glad my Pop-pop is here even though he won't get out of my face with that camera".

Here's video of that. And again, the charming and beautiful Susan didn't know that I was digitizing all of her actions.


Downtown Walk One

IMG_0369 The charming and beautiful Susan and I took Allie for a walk downtown in Allie's new stroller.

I have this camera that I got for father's day that I love. It takes little videos, too.

The fun thing about it that the charming and beautiful Susan never knows if I'm taking pictures or if I'm shooting video. So you guys get to see the Suzie I see; charming and beautiful.

Collide Magazine | ARTICLES +

Carlos Whittaker pointed out this article by blog warrior Ben Arment. Arment points out that the churches that make the lists that are the envy of every other church in America are the usual suspects of current Pop Church Culture that focuses on glam and glitz and ignores ministry in the trenches.

It cracks me up when I see a blog or a magazine list "the most innovative churches" in America. The list reads like a high school yearbook where the same homecoming king gets crowned every year because he looks like a Ken doll and stars on the football team.

Somehow, we've changed the meaning of innovation to popularity. We're not measuring innovation as much as we're rewarding impression. The same mondo churches win every year because they've erected something close to Space Mountain in their children's wing.

Listen, your church doesn't need to be large to be innovative. If you've got zero funds and limited resources, out-of-the-box thinking belongs to you. If you've got a small church, creativity is your playground. So take heart, innovation is not as exclusive as you think it is.

For a decade I worked with volunteers and staff that had to make church happen in one school on Sunday and another school during the week. Air conditioning went down, teachers launched political attacks ambushes against us, hurricanes forced us out of school owned buildings and have church in alternate locations with just a few hours notice. Youth group and ladies' bible studies happened in other schools, church fellowship halls, coffee shops, craft stores, and living rooms. The children's ministry and sound systems lived on trucks and we set up and tore down with skeleton crews in record time. Observers heads would spin at the way it was unloaded and re-loaded week in and week out.

Making all this happen is innovation. This forced the church to interact in the community and allowed missionaries to be sent into the field. I was privileged to work with a group that knows how to operate armed with a Bible in one hand and duct tape in the other.

The first shall be last and the last shall be first.

Collide Magazine | ARTICLES +

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

2008 NW Calvary Chapel Pastors' Conference: Ricky Ryan

rickyryanJudas: last on every list. Did not finish well.

Peter: first on every list. Finished well.

Peter is the most quoted disciple. He talked the most, but definitely the most quoted.

Power comes from the Holy Spirit.

We're either getting our power from God or we're not getting any power.

New Hope Uganda

These guys have a pretty cool ministry. They were at the conference and showed this video.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

2008 NW Calvary Chapel Pastors' Conference: Tom Stipe

stipeTom Stipe can bring it. It's obvious he's reader and a thinker. And he's not too taken with himself which is wise.

He focused on he Paul's testimony. Paul, in several places, declares that Jesus told him that he was going to suffer for the Name of Jesus.

  • Jesus prepared Paul.
  • Jesus trained Paul.
  • Jesus made promises to Paul.

These helped Paul in his ministry. It set proper expectations. Paul didn't think more highly of himself than he should. Paul was able to keep things in perspective and trust Jesus to bring him through trials.

Jesus places value on training. High value. Twice in the gospel accounts Jesus trains His disciples. In Matthew 10, we see a training exercise for the Twelve and in Luke 10, Jesus trains the Seventy.

Authority; Wisdom; Training:
Many believers haven't been exposed to enough of these to be properly prepared for ministry, Stipe asserts.

In 2 Corinthians 11:22-28, Paul tells us about his ministry training. No shortcuts and it ain't cheap.

We need to toughen up.

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God's Block

image Kenny from God's Block rapped at the Seattle Conference.

It was off the chiz-ain.

2008 NW Calvary Chapel Pastors' Conference: Wayne Taylor

Wayne_Taylor_smI want to be Wayne Taylor when I grow up. I look forward the whole year to the Northwest Pastors' Conference because Wayne is a great host. He's humble and makes the conference about everybody, not just the keynote dudes. Worship leaders are shuffled around and different styles highlighted. Every Senior pastor at the conference is heard from at least briefly (more on that at the bottom of the post). Tomorrow missionaries (like me) will be given the floor.

His message today stressed the importance of pouring into, discipling, and raising up young leaders. He recalls that when he was young, he was reached for Christ by young people. That's a good point. We forget that as we get older (you all that is; not me).

When Calvary Fellowship in Seattle started, they were all young. And single. It was like a big youth group. Then they all kind of grew up and older together. And now is the time to make sure that young people are cared for and pastored through the transitions they will go through between adolescence and young adulthood.

After Wayne's message, he transitioned to a time of testimony and prayer. He passed a cordless microphone around to all the senior pastors in the conference and had them share a praise report and a prayer request.

I'm like "No! Everybody knows you don't turn a microphone loose in a room full of senior pastors. You didn't reserve this facility long enough." But I said this in my head so he didn't hear me and went ahead and passed the mic around anyway. He did this last year, too. It got a little more out of control last year with random sermonizing and all. This year, Wayne heaped a bunch of guilt on the guys so most of them (not all of them, mind you) towed the line.

There were a bunch of cool praise reports:
*Building programs went smoothly...
*God was continuously faithful...
*Many saw the youth population in the fellowships grow...

Which lead to requests like:
"Lord, please send youth workers..."
"Lord, send us dirty, rotten, sinners..."
"Lord, give us our cities..."
"Lord, give us vision..."
"Lord, show us how to minister..."

My favorite praise reports were the ones that were prayer requests last year.

God is at work...

In Crisis, Wall Street Turns to Prayer | Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction

image  This article grabbed my interest. For some reason I assumed everyone that worked there was greedy and deserved judgement (unlike me). But it turns out that people have serious jobs there and even more serious relationships with Jesus. Here's an excerpt of a recent article from Christianity Today:

Last Sunday night many Wall Streeters could not get to sleep. After midnight, an executive at one of Wall Street's leading investment banks, who requested that his name and his company's not be used, lay in bed watching CNBC report that his competitors were going by the wayside. "I was surprised how quickly it had come. By 8 P.M. we knew how Monday would open. I prayed, very selfishly, that my company would not be on the list." He worried "about my family, the economic environment, my church, and community."

His wife rolled over and asked, "Are you really worried?"

"No," he told her. "I am just interested in the news. I work for a really good company."

She asked again, "Are you stressed?"

He weighed what was important to them and answered, "Even if the worst happens, we will still be together as a family and have Christ who loves and cares for us." Reassured, his wife turned back over; 30 minutes later her husband turned off the television. He needed to be at work very early the next morning.

On Monday, Christians on Wall Street set up special prayer meetings for the week. First came the special prayer conference calls on Monday and Tuesday nights. Then, starting Wednesday, extraordinary prayer meetings were scheduled at Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, Deloitte, and elsewhere. Pastors began planning to gather for a sidewalk prayer meeting outside of the stock exchange.

In Crisis, Wall Street Turns to Prayer | Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction

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Monday, September 22, 2008

2008 NW Calvary Chapel Pastors' Conference: Chuck Smith

Pastor_Chuck_Smith_2.71144624_stdPastor Chuck kicked off the pastors' conference with an exhortation to be true to the Word of God.

As Paul was a mentor to Timothy and Titus, Pastor Chuck addressed the men he mentored in ministry.

"Do not compromise the Word of God," said Smith. Pastor Chuck does not come out and try to wow conference attendees around the country with something new. He has not wavered from his original mission.

When so many in ministry are looking for ways to meet "felt needs," Pastor Chuck exhorted the guys to not look for ways to scratch people where they itch. That ends up doing more damage than good.

The church is called to have a preserving effect on our communities the way salt was used in ancient times as a preservative, killing surface bacteria. When the teaching of God's Word is watered down, the church loses it's preserving effect on society. Chuck said that Europe and England are living in a "post-Christian" era as a result of this kind of compromise with modernistic and liberal philosophies. He fears the United States is heading down the same road.

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Great Run

I haven't blogged about running here in a while. I'm up in Arlington, WA, for a few days, but training for the Humboldt Redwoods Marathon can't go on hold at this stage. The race is less than a month away. I'm at the stage where my Saturday long runs are up to twenty miles.

I forgot how much I love to run in the Northwest. They have trails up here to accommodate runners. Today's run was flat - Florida flat. Back home in Eureka, the only flat spot I know is the high school track. Everywhere else is either uphill or down hill. And there's no place for off road running.

So I get here and find this great trail out by the local airport trails through the woods and bunny rabbits and junk. I got this five mile run done in 42:10. That's less than eight and a half minute/miles which is pretty good for me.

Tomorrow I have to do eight. If I go as quick or quicker, I'll let you know. If not, well you probably won't hear from me about it.

Saturday, September 20, 2008



I'll be at the 2008 Pacific Northwest Calvary Chapel Pastor's conference Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday manning a table for Shepherd's Staff Mission Facilitators. Look for our big blue banner.


Wait. image

Look for the area where they have the coffee. I might be there, too. Hey. Wait. I take my coffee black, no sugar. I'll be by our table with the big blue banner with this logo.

Check back occasionally. I'll be live blogging like I did last year. link 1 link 2 link 3

The Associated Press: 4 killed in SC plane crash; drummer, DJ injured

image COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Former Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker and a popular disc jockey were critically injured in a Learjet crash in South Carolina that killed four people, authorities said Saturday.

The Associated Press: 4 killed in SC plane crash; drummer, DJ injured

Friday, September 19, 2008

DIY: Save Your Automobile in a Hurricane Using Sophisticated Gadgetry


The Hurricane Rope Tether—because you can never be too prepared when it comes to protecting your beater car from being washed away in a storm. This fancy DIY project is brought to you via a KTRK TV viewer in Houston during their recent brush with Hurricane Ike. File this one under smart tips for suburban disaster survival.

DIY: Save Your Automobile in a Hurricane Using Sophisticated Gadgetry

Promises of God Video

Question: Should I disown this kid or embrace him as a son?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Allie's New Bingo

IMG_0361 Allie got a sweet new ride today. This Bingo stroller is state of the art. It turns on a dime. It flattens bumpy ground. It gives Allie a full view of everything around her.

 IMG_0363 Brian and Melissa took precise measurements. This chair custom fit to Allie's little body.

IMG_0364 We took Allie for a test ride and she loved it. The science behind the development of this stroller is incredible. But the thing is huge. But it fits no problem in Allie's new van.


This is Allie and Melissa working on balance...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

If Sarah Palin were mama...

If Sarah Palin were my mama, my name would be:Krinkle Bearcat Palin.

What would your name be? Click here and then let me know...

Book Review: The Shack

imageBy Young, William P.
Newbury Park, CA,
Windblown Media, 2007
251 pages

The church seems irrelevant and empty when it comes to answering questions about real pain and the gap between the knowledge of an all knowing all loving God and the existence of incredibly horrible evil in the world He made. “Where is God in a world so filled with unspeakable pain?”

God isn’t what you think. He doesn’t orchestrate evil; He brings good out of the bad that we’ve done or has been done to us when we allow Him to. He doesn’t cause bad things; He redeems them.

“Every time you forgive, the universe changes; every time you reach out and touch a heart or a life, the world changes…”

Young discusses anger at God and man, forgiveness, judging, sadness, thoughts of suicide, despair, the unfathomable love of God, and the incomprehensible future He has for His followers.

In the story, Young argues compellingly. God provides a retreat weekend for main character Mackenzie. Mackenzie learns about Himself, God, and how God is using a couple of days at the Shack to make sense of a lifetime – past, present and future – of bad baggage and horrible circumstances.

While Young argues compellingly, his argument was not compelling. He tells a great story, but the whole narrative made me uneasy; I had this squishy-fishy feeling. Young’s attempt to destroy my preconceived notions of God lacked real substance. Yes, the book is a tear-jerker. No, he didn’t leave any loose ends. But God never seemed like God to me. Young made the Father a strong black neo and the oracle woman who likes to bake cookies and took no guff – kind of like the Oracle in The Matrix. When our main character needed the Father to be a man, then He was a man. Jesus was a carpenter with middle-eastern features rather than whitesome and delightsome. The Holy Spirit was an Asian woman that appeared to be part human/part disco-ball.

I have to be honest; I want to be scared of God. I want to love God, be like Jesus, walk in step with the Holy Spirit, but I also want to have a healthy fear – an awe – of God. I wasn’t in awe of the God characters in this story.

As you may have guessed, I got a little hung up on the characters, but I tried not to miss the point: God is higher than I am as are His thoughts. I get it. I’m not a stick in the mud; I loved Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia where Jesus takes on the form of a lion. But that symbolism consistent with scripture; it is borrowed from the Old Testament. Young’s characterization works in the story, but it doesn’t connect well with biblical description (except for Jesus, of course, who was a Middle Eastern carpenter).

That said, the themes and principles in the book are worth studying and discussing. They bring healing. The book, in fact, has helped and, no doubt, will help, many people look at suffering and how God uses it to make things right.

Young organized the story around the conversations people have about God. Volumes could be written about the topics handles in one line sentences.

  • “…judgment is not about destruction, but about setting things right.”
  • “If the universe contained only one human being, timing would rather simple.”
  • “What I see are people and their lives, a living breathing community of all those who love me, not buildings and programs.”
  • “It’s all about relationships and simply sharing life.”
  • “I came to give you life to the fullest.”
  • “That’s because my love is a lot bigger than your stupidity.”

I have to admit I’m a little out of touch with what it popular in church culture. I never even opened a Left Behind book. Most books I review I whole-heartedly recommend. I’ve never assigned stars to my books recommendations. This one, I’d only give a couple of stars. The author’s story about the story was more interesting to me than the actual story. I guess it comes down to taste. This book was not my cup of tea. But people I have great respect for loved it.

So there you go.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Little Help, Please

On May 8, 2007, Susan left Florida for California to join me in San Francisco when Allie was in a coma. We were numb at the time; in shock.

The charming and beautiful Susan and I are thinking back, trying to remember who we have to thank for getting her to the airport.

Do you remember? Leave me a comment, email us, or call. We'd really like to know...

Saturday, September 13, 2008


sanity these are funny.

thanks, los.

This is NEATO

This group may be a little too progressive for your church. Watch this video with an open mind.

Book Review: The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God


Written by Dallas Willard; 384 pages, hardcover from Harper, San Francisco, 1997

“Is Jesus part of your daily life—here and now? Or, by failing to take him seriously, have you relegated him to the realm of the ‘hereafter’?”

In this book, Dallas Willard handles a topic many of talk about, but few have up and running in their lives. The biggest problem we have with discipleship is that we really don’t know – have knowledge about, that is – what it looks like.

But Willard is confident that with some knowledge our faith can be strengthened and feelings that have a limiting effect on us can be mastered, instead of our masters. We can develop a practical plan to help us become more Christ-like.

Here are Willard's main points:

  • Christians for the most part consider the primary function of Christianity to be admittance to heaven.
  • Faith that guarantees a satisfactory afterlife, but lacks impact in the here and now, is "consumer Christianity" or "bumper-sticker faith.
  • We must step aside from the politics and pieties of church-ianity and embrace true Christian discipleship.
  • "[A]ctual discipleship or apprenticeship to Jesus is, in our day, no longer thought of as in any way essential to faith in him. It is regarded as a costly option, a spiritual luxury, or possibly even as an evasion. Why bother with discipleship, it is widely thought, or, for that matter, with a conversational relationship with God? Let us get on with what we have to do."
  • Being a disciple of Jesus is the very heart of the gospel.

The Christian life is about living in the present as Jesus’s apprentice in Kingdom living. We were never intended to only be consumers of His merits. We are invited to take part in a conspiracy – a divine conspiracy – with God as He invades this present darkness.

If you’re looking to make some difficult decisions or want to unburden yourself of habits that hold you back, read this book. Soak in its concepts and take on its challenges. It's both compelling and attractive.