Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Urban Youth Impact Needs Backpacks

imageUrban Youth Impact's annual Back2School Blast is August 8th and we need backpacks.  We will be collecting new backpacks until August 4th.  You can bring your donation to the Dream Center at 2823 N. Australian Ave. in West Palm Beach or the following locations:

Boynton Beach Chick-fil-A 
1560 W. Boynton Beach Blvd.

Lake Park Chick-fil-A
1262 Northlake Blvd.

West Palm Beach Chick-fil-A
2070 Palm Beach Lakes Blvd.

Boca Raton Family Christian Stores
4701 N. Federal Hwy.

Boynton Beach Family Christian Stores
1100 N. Congress Ave.

Palm Beach Gardens Inspiration House
9920 Highway A1A, Suite 805

West Palm Beach Inspiration House
1969 S. Military Trail

Thank you!  May God bless as you bless others!

Heartbeats from the 'Hood: Urban Youth Impact Needs Backpacks

If I'm not mistaken, you can drop them off at my home church, Calvary Jupiter, this Sunday.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Book Review: Dred Scott's Revenge

image Author: Judge Andrew P. Napolitano
Nashville, Thomas Nelson, 2009
Number of pages: 253

Our Heroes and Their Prejudice

I'm deeply convicted that I wouldn't normally buy a book like this. I chose to review for Thomas Nelson Publishers and I'm glad I did. I learned much and I unlearned more.

I thought the terms "states rights" vs. "federal interventionism" were current political rhetoric. I always thought that this was current liberal vs. conservative (liberal being "federal interventionism" or "big government" and "states rights" being conservative). But this is the political language of slave owners "rights" vs. big abolitionist government. And when the an administration didn't want to step in and do the right thing concerning civil rights from Lincoln right up through JFK, they laid responsibility on the states. And many states, as we all know from fairly recent history, and one set of laws for white men, and separate codes for black.

image I prejudged this book since I've seen Judge Napolitano often on Fox News. I expected this book to be the same kind of non-news propaganda pumped out by Fox News. But I found that Napolitano was more fair as an author than I am as a reader. Napolitano pulls no punches in this book. He gives the straight scoop on many of our political heroes. Men we've built monuments to and close banks and schools for were less pure than our school books portray. Napolitano is not cynical or unpatriotic, in fact, he is quite patriotic and just in his exposé of the double standard this country has governed by since its inception. Justice and reconciliation demand that one tells the truth about one's shortcomings. Our greatest sins cannot be swept under the carpet for the greater good. No good can come from wrongs glossed over, or worse, spun into something more palatable for mass consumption. Napolitano does his work well.

This book covers the topic of slavery, war, and the catastrophic consequences visited on every generation of Americans since our country's founding.

Napolitano demonstrates that the New World was founded and built on slavery. Christopher Columbus comments to his sponsors: "From here one might send, in the name of the Holy Trinity, as many slaves as could be sold."

Commonly accepted as a part of early (even current, occasionally) American Theology is "that God or nature selected the black race to do the labor in the harsh conditions of the Southern climate."

More humane states limited the flogging of slaves to only thirty-nine lashes. Sound familiar?

"The federal fugitive slave law allowed a master to claim a runaway slave even if he were found in a free state."

"President Andrew Jackson once offered a $50 reward for the capture of his fugitive slave and $10 extra for every hundred lashes any person would give the slave to the amount of $300."

Federally sponsored and/or permitted racism existed even in my lifetime both in the civilian and military realms. It's hard to believe that a black man was elected to the presidency in my lifetime. It demonstrates that there is hope for real race reconciliation in this country if people are willing to not be passive and vindictive.

I don't have room to get into what you will learn about the Great Emancipator Abraham Lincoln. Napolitano does the research and unearthed the documents punching holes in that rosy portrait.

I have to say again how impressed I was with the authors objectivity and balance. He had the opportunity to push other agendas and restrained himself. I was pleasantly surprised.

When you read the book (and you should), read the notes, acknowledgements and bibliography. Those, too, are impressive and thorough.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

RAPPING Flight Attendant!

I'm on the road this week and this guy was on the Tampa to Houston leg of my flight. I was giddy; star struck. I saw a piece on CNN a couple of weeks ago about this guy and here he was on MY flight.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Book Review: Not for Sale

image I've been listening to Not for Sale in audio book format on my walk man while I run (listening to audio books or studies is a brilliant way to continue learning while getting in shape).

Listening to this blew my mind. My first instinct about the idea of modern slavery is to stay ignorant. But what do you do once you know? Is there a way to just go back to comfortable, blissful ignorance? It feels unnatural to wish for that.

How does one become an abolitionist in the 21st century? Here's one place you can go to get involved.

The narrative weaves its way around the globe. From Cambodia, Uganda, Russia, Serbia, to the good ol' USA. Slavery exempts no place on this planet from the horrid practice of humans putting humans into bondage for profit. Why shouldn't they? There's big money at stake: $31 billion annually.

There are heroes in this book, though. Ordinary people empowered with nothing but a passion for justice are the champions in Batstone's book. Not governments or militaries; just regular people.

You're a regular people.

Watch the video and then get the book.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

this will end in schism...

Much easier to ask God to command what we already love, and promise what we already desire. But much less like the challenge of the Gospel.
---Tom Wright's comments on the split in the Anglican community over the issue of unchaste clergy...

"unchaste" may not be the right word...

read the article here: The Americans know this will end in schism | Tom Wright - Times Online

Corner Chair

Dancer Joan at physical therapy gave Allie this chair to take home the other day. Allie loves her new-found independence.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Day 13 - Rest day in Siem Riep |

Ryan Gunn brings some stunning contrasts to light in his list of observations about life in Cambodia.

Thanks, Ryan!

image DAY 13 – We spent Monday relaxing while six members returned to the US in exchange for three fresh ones. The group toured the famous Angkor Temples where the movie Tomb Raider was filmed. It’s sort of sad because people have worshiped these stones since the 12th century, but if you like ruins, it was cool. My highlight was the elephant ride.

The off day gave me an opportunity to make some observations about life here in Cambodia. Some of the notable differences include:

• I’ve never seen so many amputees in my life. Live landmines from Cambodia’s bloody past continue to kill and maim.
• Children begging or selling souvenirs – All souvenir sellers in Cambodia are aggressive and ignore the word “no.” The kids are exceptionally gifted since they have the cute factor. While most of these children are poor, some sell as a regular job outside of school. Today I met five really sharp kids no older than 15 who spoke perfect English and were quite charming (see pics on facebook).
• There are tons of “massage parlors.”
• Water – We only drink bottled water. All running water is brown.
• Food – Rice is obviously the staple. Cambodians prepare meat by simply chopping an animal up, so there are tons of bones and cartilage. In restaurants, image all plates, cups, silverware, etc. must be wiped with a tissue prior to use.
• Hygiene – Our shoes only leave our feet when we get into bed. You don’t dare walk on the bathroom floors unless you’re in Phnom Penh or Siem Reap.
• Animals – While touring the Cambodian countryside and villages, we commonly see water buffalos, cows, roosters, chicken, pigs, dogs, ducks and cats.

Tomorrow morning we leave at 8:30 for the first of eight straight days of rice distributions. Wednesday will be especially fun since we’ll do 3 distributions and drive 500+ miles.

Thanks for reading!

Day 13 - Rest day in Siem Riep |

Backflip off of ancient ruins


I have no buyer's remorse over my travel insurance purchase for Aaron's trip to Cambodia...



Video from Bubba.

Cast: Aaron Mondok, Proverb Newsome,

A Likeness


Bubba found a long lost relative in Cambodia...


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Day 10 - 100 uniform giveaway & rice |

Ryan Gunn is currently my favorite blogger. He's doing an awesome job of keeping everyone at home updated about his trip to Cambodia.

Kudos, Ryan!

image DAY 10 – Friday began with another 10 ton rice distribution and medical clinic. Seeing so many sick people - especially children – is depressing. As we continue to move north in Cambodia we are seeing more and more amputees. The northern border of Cambodia is littered with landmines from past wars. Pol Pot’s region is especially bad. After his Khmer Rouge was overthrown, Pol Pot turned his territory into a landmine field so no one could get in or out. Unfortunately, these countless mines are still active. I’ll have much more on this as we get into mine territory later in the trip.

The highlight of Friday took place in the afternoon when we visited an orphanage and gave away 100 school uniforms. The recipients were between the ages of 7 and 14 and HAD NEVER BEEN TO SCHOOL BEFORE because their parents couldn’t afford a uniform. Knowing that these 100 kids will begin their education is awesome!

The orphanage where the uniform handout took place is called Hope For Cambodia. Most of its kids were abandoned by their parents (some lost parents to death). The orphanage, which keeps children until they turn 18 or graduate college, gives the kids a positive and safe environment. Hope For Cambodia is supported by United States Churches through Pathway To Hope. Each child is raised in a Christian environment which includes Bible studies each morning and evening.

Tomorrow (Saturday) we’ll take a 3 hour ride into the mountains for a rice distribution and medical clinic. This will the 8th rice distribution for those keeping score.

Have a blessed weekend!

Day 10 - 100 uniform giveaway & rice |

Friday, July 10, 2009

Allie and Emey

We had friends over one afternoon this week. This is their daughter Emey playing with Allie on her favorite toy.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

paradoxuganda: Scouring the Byways

You  think your job or vocation is difficult? If you're like me, you whine to anybody who'll listen. I've found that pushes people away. I learned that what I really need is a good dose of perspective. So I read the Parodoxuganda Blog for a much needed dose as often as I can...


The pediatric ward is full of some pretty pitiful people, and this morning I found my hard heart wishing that it wasn't. When I bent over to examine malnourished twins and smelled the alcohol wafting up on their mother's breath, I was annoyed with her. Then there was the two-year-old with a tiny head and puffy body whose father admitted he was tired of this handicapped child who cried all the time, which explains why the kid keeps landing on our doorstep as our problem in spite of months of supplemental food (third time he's shown up for admission in six months). Another frighteningly malnourished child's grandmother started complaining that she had not brought pans with her to cook in (which everyone does) and as we talked I realized in spite of her apparent helplessness and angling for yet more assistance, there were three competent women in this girl's life, both maternal and paternal grandmothers AND HER OWN MOTHER, gathered around the bed. It seems that when her father was arrested for stealing cocoa, her mother abandoned her to the care of one grandmother, and three years later they are all suddenly realizing that the girls is inches away from death. Then there is the abandoned-to-another grandmother cerebral palsy kid whose problems already seemed pretty unsolvable, even before she also tested positive for sickle cell disease today. Or the little girl with severe malaria whose mother complained she had no mosquito net, though whenl I pointed out that it was documented on her chart that she had received two within the last year, she quickly explained those had holes in them. In short there is hardly a patient on the ward whose suffering is not in some way related to poor parental choices, marriage quarrels, neglect, substance abuse, carelessness, or just plain hard knocks in this life. And it is like there is a neon sign on the roof of the hospital, calling all of the most un-fixable problems, the most mired-in-distress families, to pour on in.

But isn't that just what Jesus would want? Sure, I'd rather invite the relatively competent, "deserving", one-concrete-medical-issue-only types into the ward, the kind of kid that gets three doses of Quinine and smiles and walks away healthy. The kind of kid that one can feel a sense of accomplishment in helping. Instead Jesus tells the story of filling his feast from the highways and the byways, pulling in those at the margins, those that have messy lives and dysfunctional relationships. Because in reality, that is who we all are. Struggling parents, making bad choices, failing to love and provide, and needing grace.

Praying for a byway-scouring heart.

paradoxuganda: Scouring the Byways

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Day 6 |

image Ryan Gunn is Blogging from Cambodia. He's on the Musicianaries team along with my son and South Florida rapper, Proverb. In a week or so, a small contingency from Calvary Jupiter will join them.

DAY 6 – Monday we visited a women’s shelter on our way to Pursat. Opened in 1999 by Transform Asia (, the shelter rescues women from the sex trade, prostitution and abuse. Most girls arrive between the ages of 13-17.
In addition to protection, free room and board, the women receive an education and are taught new trades like cosmetology, sewing, gardening, housekeeping, etc.
“Women learn to trust again. They’ve been manipulated and used all their life,” said Transform Asia founder Setan Lee.
The women’s center employs a full-time guard to protect the rescued girls from criminals who want to recapture them. When thugs come by, the guard first tries to scare them away by firing shots in the air. If that doesn’t work, he’s instructed to shoot at their feet. So far one thug learned the hard way and caught a bullet in his Achilles.

Read the rest of the article here: Day 6 |

Monday, July 06, 2009

Tunes Review: In the Name of Love - Africa Celebrates U2

U2, Africa Celebrates U2, Bono U2 reimagined and reinterpreted. This project captures Bono's passion for the plight of Africa.

Released over a year ago, this album only recently come to my attention. No big surprise. I rarely find the music I like. It finds me.

You have to appreciate a deeply ethnic vibe to enjoy these U2 covers. U2 offers the complete package lyrically and musically. But sometimes the music, even when you've spun the songs a thousand times, can detract from the meaning; the poetry of the words.

The artists on this album cause the poetry embedded in U2's rock-n-roll message to hover on a plane separate from the music; above it even.

Bono fights against the AIDS crisis, extreme poverty and rampant spread of malaria that vexes Africa. This album is African gratitude. You need to pick it up. You'll love it.

  1. Pride (In The Name Of Love) by Soweto Gospel Choir
  2. Mysterious Ways by Angélique Kidjo    
  3. Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own by Vusi Mahlasela
  4. Bullet The Blue Sky by Vieux Farka Touré    
  5. With Or Without You by Les Nubians
  6. Where The Streets Have No Name by Tony Allen
  7. One by Keziah Jones
  8. Desire by African Underground All-Stars Featuring Chosan, Optimus & Iyeoka (Sierra Leone)
  9. Seconds by Sierra Leone's Refugee All-Stars
  10. Sunday Bloody Sunday by Ba Cissoko
  11. Love Is Blindness by Waldemar Bastos
  12. I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For by Cheikh Lô (Senegal)

Saturday, July 04, 2009

As American As You Can Get

image In honor of Independence Day, July Fourth, Great Americans, Founding Fathers and Rugged Individualism, I cut and pasted several quotables from Benjamin Franklin. Franklin's influence on American life, culture, and thinking is still felt and will probably not come to an end soon.

A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small bundle.

A countryman between two lawyers is like a fish between two cats.

A learned blockhead is a greater blockhead than an ignorant one.

A house is not a home unless it contains food and fire for the mind as well as the body.

A small leak can sink a great ship.

Admiration is the daughter of ignorance.

All mankind is divided into three classes: those that are immovable, those that are movable, and those that move.

All wars are follies, very expensive and very mischievous ones.

An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.

Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain and most fools do.

Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.

As we must account for every idle word, so must we account for every idle silence.

At twenty years of age the will reigns; at thirty, the wit; and at forty, the judgment.

Be slow in choosing a friend, slower in changing.

Beauty and folly are old companions.

Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn.

By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.

Beware the hobby that eats.

Certainty? In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes.

Diligence is the mother of good luck.

Do good to your friends to keep them, to your enemies to win them.

Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.

Even peace may be purchased at too high a price.

Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Testing Part Three: Sifting

imageLuke 22:31, 32

And the Lord said, "Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren."

When I worked in Sudan, we bought grain, beans, and rice in bulk; it came in 100 pound bags. The grain was whole. It was bagged up husks and all. I had to have it ground.

The mill was in a hut that was built around a big diesel engine salvaged from some broken down truck. The grinder was hitched up to the flywheel. The grain would be weighed and then ground.

After the grain was ground, I'd deliver to the ladies who worked in the kitchen. They dumped the grain onto a tarp. Another tarp was spread out next to the first, and the grain from the first tarp was held up high over and then dumped onto the empty tarp. The wind would carry away the coarse husks covering the edible kernel, the nutritious heart of the grain.

The process of sifting removes the coarsest part of the grain. What remained was nourishing, filling and satisfying. It was consumable.

There needs to be a process for which coarseness is removed from our lives as well.

Because Peter needed refining, God permitted Satan to sift him.

God brings sifting and testing in our lives to purify us so that He may be magnified in our lives.

God uses infinite ways to test us. The following is not an inclusive list of the tests God will use to refine us by any stretch of the imagination. They are just a few Biblical examples. But God has a never ending supply of ways to refine each one of us for His own unparalleled purpose for our lives.

What is God developing in us as He tests us?

  • Submission of one’s will to God’s will (time test)
  • Humility (Word test)
  • The trying and refining of inner attitudes (character test)
  • Increase of glory to God (motivation test)
  • Purifying of motives (servant test)
  • Deepening of one’s message (misunderstanding test)

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Cambodia day two

Bubba is being faithful to send us videos of their mis-adventures in Cambodia.

That's my boy.