Tuesday, March 30, 2010

To de-crankify

Around our house, as Allie goes,

the whole house goes. If she's happy, everybody's happy. If she's unhappy, well, you know the rest.

Hey. I don't need a lecture about fatherhood and leadership. Are you trying to tell me things are different at your house? What? You don't have kids? That's what I thought.

Well, around the Mondok house when Allie's "in crisis", we drop everything and have some father/daughter time at the swing set.

That always does the trick.

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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Driscoll and MacDonald visit Haiti

This video is quite long, but incredibly informative. Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church teamed up with James MacDonald of Harvest Bible Chapel and launched a ministry specifically targeting Haiti called Churches Helping Churches.

HT: Allison Helvey

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Artist Known as Allie


An artist comes in once a month to Allie's school to put together fun projects for the kids. The kids are photographed with a popular motif the artist is known for and dressed up as the artist. This is Vincent van Gough.


The Charming and Beautiful Susan steals the scene from Allie in this picture featuring Georgia O'Keeffe.


Van Gough again.


Draped in red.


The Charming and Beautiful Susan and Allie in O'Keefe motif. Hey, that rhymes.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Book Review: Love and War


Love and War
By John and Stasi Eldredge
New York, Doubleday, 2009
Number of pages: 222

“We live in a love story, set in the midst of a war. Love is our destiny, and all hell is set against it,” write John and Stasi Eldredge in their latest book Love and War. Written in classic Wild at Heart style, the reader is drawn in early. We are characters in a story much larger than ourselves. This is information we need to have. Ignorance is what causes so many marriages to fail.

An enemy is hell bent on the destruction of our marriages and the decimation of our lives. Like Elisha with his servant, the Eldredges peel back the thin veneer of our present dimension to reveal the spiritual reality of an enemy arrayed around us and the war taking place. The authors give our spiritual sight a boost of faith. Faith gives us the reason to fight for our marriages.

They also show us that God and his legions are our allies in battle. The Eldredges explain that God created us with the same weapons and strengths he has. "Love and intimacy are the core of his being,” they write, “so he gives to each of us a heart like his. When God does this, he reveals our deepest purpose--to love and be loved." When we bring this heart to the fight, we have the strength and courage of David as he faced Goliath. We all know how that story ends.

However, like David, our own sin and individual selfishness work against us. "Our mutual brokenness plays off each other so perfectly that it is frightening. It's like throwing a dog and a cat in a dryer. Is he absolutely mad? Why would God do such a thing?"

We’re not fighting each other. Our enemy is a common one whose main strategy is turning one partner on the other. It’s God’s plan to use marriage to unite and transform us.

The authors are profoundly and humbly transparent. They candidly tell stories of personal struggles and solutions. Their struggles will ring familiar as you read them yet the solutions are within reach.

In the chapter “Back-too back with swords drawn,” we learn the imperative of prayer together as a couple. This is difficult because each person must be transparent and vulnerable. The level of transparency and vulnerability necessary for intimacy with God can be terrifying to share with our partner. The fear is that one will stash the other’s defenselessness away and bring it out later as a secret weapon in a battle down the road. The enemy dangles this fear as bait to derail husband and wife joining in prayer. What the enemy uses in an attempt to take us down God uses to take us to the next level.

This book is full of forgotten fundamentals that need to be revisited and put back into practice. Every page of the book is worth reading. Then hand the book off to your spouse and see what happens next.

Ransomed Heart Ministries

Review in the Good News

Patmos and Adventure Learning Centre

I had the privilege of speaking to the missionaries at The Adventure Learning Centre in the Bahamas, several of which are Shepherd’s Staff Missionaries. The topic I covered was raising support and communication. Within 36 hours of my talk, the ministry sent out their newsletter. Coincidence? I think not.

The Patmos and ALC team are busy, busy. Here’s a peek at what they have to say:


- 25mi.South of Port au Prince

- 4000 Injured

- 500 Reported Deaths

- 70% of Homes Destroyed

- 5000 People displaced


The Adventure Learning Centre sent Quest staff along with Patmos staff and students to Jacmel to help with the relief efforts. Although Port-Au-Prince received a lot of relief after the earthquake, smaller cities like Jacmel needed help immediately.


We worked along side Calvary Chapel of Fort Lauderdale as they have committed to rebuild Jacmel over the next 3 years.

We helped create VBS programs, assisted medical staff at the hospital, rebuilt homes, served at several orphanages, built a security wall at a school, assisted in translating during the UN meetings, organized storage facilities, and helped establish a birthing clinic.



The ALC is committed to bringing change to the Bahamas by bringing the Gospel to the youth. Patmos is dedicated to discipleship and raising up the next generation to make an impact for the Kingdom. Camp is focused on building the family and training them to fulfill the great commission. Help us expand our calling! Your financial support has allowed us to serve in the Family Islands, Brazil, the US.S, and now Haiti. Please commit to support us this year so that you can continue to send us out!


Down Town Jacmel: This gas station was destroyed by the earthquake.




VBS Ministry: Every day we sent teams to teach and love on 60 students at a school that met under tarps. This is a picture of the pre-school children.


Traveling in style: From jobsite to jobsite our team packed into buses like this. This trip brought our team a lot closer together, and we were blessed to serve side by side. 


 Displacement Camp: This was one of several "tent cities" in Jacmel. Disease and frustration become prevalent in these communities and so much more help is needed to restore what was lost.



Unlivable: Many homes, schools, Church buildings, and offices were demolished and marked as condemned. The people had no choice but to sleep outside and now fear the upcoming rainy season. Please pray for Haiti.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Glenn Beck versus Jim Wallis

Over the last couple of weeks an intense debate has erupted over the Biblical definition of “Social Justice”. From the political right, Glenn Beck, a Mormon, redefines “social justice” simply as code for “Nazism” or “Socialism”. From the political left, Jim Wallis, an Evangelical Christian, takes Beck to task and calls him out to public debate. Beck has refused to debate Wallis but rather is planning an all out attack on the Christian using his Fox Cable News television show and his talk radio show as the platform to “expose” Wallis.

Christianity Today posted a great article citing both sides of the debate with links to sources to help you formulate your own, hopefully balanced, opinion.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Update on Jeff Jackson

Here’s an update on Jeff Jackson that was emailed to my boss Ron. Thanks for praying.

Hi Bryon,

Here's the text I got on Wednesday evening:

"Angiogram showed a blood clot in his left kidney. They found he has an extra artery as well. For now they are focused on pain management."

I called today to see if I could get an update but I was unable to connect. We'll keep praying.

Father's Day is around the corner

Allie and I walked the mall today and she spotted the perfect gift for my man cave. Of all places, this item was on display in an art gallery.

Now I told her that Mother's Day is just a month or so away so she should have her eyes open for the Charming and Beautiful Susan. But Allie has a special place in her heart for her Papa. Isn't she sweet? She always puts my needs before anything else.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Bald is beautiful

wig-2 A funny has been happening on my Twitter account lately. I’ve been targeted by a couple of wig companies lately.

I have never even flirted with the idea of wearing a wig. The thought has never entered my brain. I am so comfortable with baldness that when my hair grows long enough for a comb, I start to get panicky. I’d rather put on 15 pounds wig-3than grow hair. I’ve been bald more than half my life.

I realized I was going bald when I was about 19 the first time I scraped my cranium clean with a bic. When stubble began to appear, I noticed it was a little sparse in regions that were previously in the shadow of my regulation crew cut. I didn’t panic; I began to formulate a plan to search for the woman I would spend my life with. I found the Charming and Beautiful Susan and kidnapped her and forced her to marry me when I was twenty and it wasn’t until I was wig-123 that she realized “for better or for worse” meant sharing a house with a man that was rapidly losing his hair. The joke’s on her. I was as bald at 29 as I am at 44.

The Charming and Beautiful Susan and I are good with it. I’ll read your tweets, guys. But I won’t be buying a wig anytime soon unless you can hook me up with one of those Rasta-dreadlock numbers. But then I’d have to change my whole wardrobe.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Please pray for my friend Jeff

My dear friend and mentor Jeff Jackson is in the hospital and needs your prayers. Pastor Jeff Jackson is founder of the organization I work for, Shepherd's Staff. Jeff is a pastor and mentor to pastors and missionaries around the globe. He's faced more than his share of medical challenges over the past several years. He's been an incredible example of a man of faith during the trials, strain and stress that accompany health problems.

Here's an email that came from our director's office today:


For those of you who haven't heard, Jeff Jackson is back in the hospital. Some of you are aware of what happened last week with the blood clot to one of his kidneys that caused it to become damaged. Apparently, he was ok the latter part of last week but on Saturday the kidney pain hit him again. So he's back in the hospital on pain medication and will have more tests done to try and find out what's causing this. Please continue to pray for him and for Helen.

Jeff shares on his blog what he's been going through.

The CT [scan] showed that a blood clot had somehow clogged one of the main arteries to my left kidney and cut off the blood supply so that 50 percent of the kidney had died! The pain was from the kidney tissue dying, having had it's blood supply cut off abruptly. And, since it had been about 10 hours already, there was no fixing it--I just lost the use of 50 percent of my left kidney.

And apparently, this happening is almost completely unheard of. Blood clots usually go to the lungs, brain, or some other place. Almost never to the kidneys. So, doctors from different specialities started showing up and asking me questions, and all of them said things like, "this is very unusual", "unique", "out of the ordinary", and so forth. [read more...]

Please pray for Jeff.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Allie update from the ophthalmologist

098 Here Allie is pictured with therapist Pam playing an educational game on the computer. In front of Allie is a big red button connected to the computer via a USB hub. If you look closely at the screen you'll see the edges of a jack-in-the-box. Allie pushes the button which plays a tune busting Jack out of solitary confinement.

Allie is legally blind. She mostly depends on sound and touch to get the job done in these little computer labs. But don't despair. Allie has come a long way. Through the power of prayer, the incredible design of our Wonderful Creator, and maybe even a miraculous touch, Allie is doing better now than at the beginning of our journey.

Allie's first eye doctor report after she emerged from her coma was dismal. The diagnosis was atrophied (gray) optic nerves and cortical visual impairment (CVI). Check out what one Medline Plus has to say about Optic Nerve Atrophy:


Once it has occurred, damage from optic nerve atrophy cannot be reversed. The underlying disease must be found and treated, if possible, to prevent further loss.

Outlook (Prognosis)

Vision lost to optic nerve atrophy cannot be recovered. If the cause can be identified and controlled, further visual loss progressing to blindness may be prevented.

"Optic nerve atrophy cannot be reversed." That news sucked the soul out of me when I heard it. The CVI diagnosis was a little easier to live with because that was the result of brain damage. The brain adapts more easily in small children. With early intervention and therapy there is hope; the sky is the limit. But once the optic nerve is damaged, that's it. It's like losing a finger; you don't grow new fingers. Limits hover closer to the ground with optic atrophy.

One year later, the same doctor examined Allie and said, "Her optic nerve appears pink and healthy... that's good."

I jumped out of my chair and said, "Last year you diagnosed her with optic atrophy! What are you saying."

"I guess I made a mistake."

Or is there another answer to my question?

That was about a year and a half ago. She still has CVI, but, like I said, that improves. Last week Allie had another eye exam. Everyone that works with her wonders just how much she sees. The doctor determined that she definitely has vision. The diagnosis has been slightly upgraded to delayed visual attention exotropia. (Sorry. I wasn't able to find easy access to articles at my reading level to link for you. You can google the italicized word if you like and read some pieces posted in medical journals.) I know, a diagnosis that has to pull from a Latin vocabulary to have a name can't be good. But it's actually improvement. The work Allie is putting in at school is paying off. So are your prayers. Keep up the good work.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Tweets from Church

Sunday Lee Strobel spoke at Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale. I'm a note taker, but this time I did something a little less conventional than scribbling in my notebook: I tweeted the main message points. Yep. Sent them straight to my Twitter account then out into cyber space to forever float around and hopefully land on the computer screen of someone curious about the resurrection.

twit-1 This was a pleasant surprise. I read Lee's book and was happy that both my kids did, too, when they were in their teens.


twit-3 Strobel is a polished speaker with a great sense of humor.


twit-5 Theories abound but history demonstrates that the Romans perfected a slow, torturous, cruel, humiliating execution. It was excruciating. The word 'excruciating' comes from the practice of crucifixion. The Romans were good at this and they liked it. They didn't leave men alive on crosses. 

twit-6 Accounts of the resurrection were in print and in circulation and were foundational in the establishment of churches very early.

twit-7 Again, tons of theories. Bottomline: empty tomb; no body.



twit-10 In a court case, how many witnesses are needed to establish the facts? I rest my case.



Church Planting Lesson Fifteen

Pastor Jeff continues to plow through the book of Acts discussing the Biblical model for church planting.

Check out the entire podcast here.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

the least of these...


This is a little boy I met in an orphanage. He has a mental disability and he weighs not much more than twenty pounds and he is nine years old. --Aaron Mondok

Aaron posted this picture on his Facebook account today. He wrote yesterday in his update to us that he met this little guy and that he planned on seeing as much of his new friend as possible.

Aaron has always had a tender spot in his heart for the marginalized and less fortunate. To be honest with you, I never thought much about those with disabilities until we adopted Allie. She has opened a whole new world to us. I spend time and hang out with disabled kids every chance I get at her school new. Something drastic happened in my life that has brought about a change of heart. But that isn't the case with Aaron. He has always been naturally tender. On the mission field, in urban ministry, or in children's ministry at our local church, he has always both given and lived the gospel around little kids. If a child is the under dog of the group, Aaron makes the kid king of the world.

Pray with us for this little guy. If you look closely at his hand, its deformed because he continually sucks it. That could be due to a combination of under nourishment coupled with his attempt to self-soothe.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Aaron’s first report from Haiti

I just received this email from Aaron. He arrived in Haiti yesterday with his team from Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale.

It's only been two days, but it feels like it's been much longer. As team leader I've been able to connect with a couple Haitian pastors. They find work project for the team.

Yesterday we began to dig up the ground where a house once stood, and today part of my team began to build a new foundation for a new house in its place. It’s cool to be working alongside the Haitian people to rebuild their community.

Today the other half of my team, including myself, lead a VBS at a local school. We talked about heaven and how one day God's children will wear crowns and will reign with Christ. Then we made each child a balloon hat to remind them of their future with Christ.

Later on today we visited an orphanage. I think I will be spending alot of time there. There I met a little boy. He looked like he was about two or three years old. He has a mental disability and sits in a crib and sucks his fingers all day. His hand is raw from how much he sucks on it. He looks like he weighs about twenty pounds. The sad thing I learned later about him is that he isn't only two or three years old, but nine. It would blow your mind if you saw his picture, but due to our limited Internet, uploading a photo could knock out our connection for 24 hrs.

Aaron's Missionary Page

Friday, March 05, 2010

Good to Be Alive

Jim Sitton posted this on his Facebook account.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

My book review in the Good News

The Good News of South Florida published my review of Chris Tomlinson's book "Crave."

Funny story about that. I was so stoked to get an email from Chris asking me to review his soon to be released book here on my blog. Not only would he send me a free book, but he'd send me two free books; one for me and one to give away.

So right away I fire back an email and tell him that I'd be honored and, "by the way, I heard that you and Louie Giglio started a church up there in Atlanta. How's that going?"

Within minutes Chris emailed me back and said, "I don't know. You'll have to ask Chris Tomlin. I'm Chris Tomlin-SON."

I continue to discover new venues for sticking my foot on my mouth.

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Monday, March 01, 2010

N.T. Wright for the rest of us

N.T. Wright The Challenge of Easter As Easter approaches, the perfect little resource to equip yourself to have an intelligent conversation about human history's most significant event is now available. Adapted from N.T. Wright's the Challenge of Jesus, the Challenge of Easter is a quick read at only 62 pages long. If you have an hour and a half to put into boning up on the historical facts surrounding the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, this book is for you.

Wright makes the case that the church would never have existed if Christ's resurrection were not a fact. "We better learn to take seriously the witness of the entire early church, that Jesus of Nazareth was raised bodily to a new sort of life, three days after his execution."

Alternative theories about Jesus's fulfilled prophecy about himself being raised from the dead have been discussed, debunked, buried, and themselves resurrected and recycled for the past two millennia. In sixty-two pages, Wright not only strengthens the resolve of believers by affirming their faith and giving them the tools to boldly converse about Christ, he politely and respectfully punches holes in the arguments of skeptics.

If you are unfamiliar with Wright's writings, this is a great book to cut your teeth on.

Free Stuff

Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.

In light of the above verse, I am compelled to tell you something I would rather keep to myself. ChristianAudio is not giving away just one audio book this month, but two. Bonhoeffer's classic The Cost of Discipleship and Piper's Fifty Reasons Jesus Came To Die.

Here's what you do:

1. Go to the website 
2. Click 'add to cart'
3. Follow the steps through check out. It seems like you're going to be charged. But then you enter the code in the next step.
4. Enter MAR2010 when prompted to receive this month's free download.

Now go grow.

Finally. Something new from OK Go

I've been waiting for a few years for OK Go to come out with another one of their cool videos. OK Go got popular through the use of the viral video. But as they got more popular, the record companies that handled them made the band take their videos down because they lost a few pennies every time someone like me re-posted it on their blog. OK Go was all for it. The record companies were the ones with the beef.

Here's the new video.

Here's the back story.