Showing posts from January, 2010

book report: A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life is Donald Miller's latest exploration of the soul and a life well-lived. Miller sticks close to the writer's maxim, "write what you know." He knows nothing better than himself, so he writes about his inner struggles, insecurities, relationship Cover via Amazonfailures, and victories.

Navel gazing as art is tough. Who wants to pay to look at your disgusting navel with you? That's why there are so many blogs, like mine, that don't make any money or get many visitors. It's not that Miller has a more interesting navel, he's forthright that it's average and stinky and linty, but he can describe it with humor and a clear eye. His writing flows smoothly and reads quickly. I received the book, free for review, on my 40th birthday from Thomas Nelson Publishers through their reviewer program called Book Sneeze. If I didn't have a family to celebrate the day with, I would have fini…

Prayer request for Haiti

I just got word that American Airlines has canceled flights to Haiti for the next couple weeks, which means our team's tickets with AA aren't any good. Our team leader is looking for other options. Please pray for us. Thanks.

Heading down to Haiti

The day of my 40th birthday this weekend, I got a ticket and a spot on a relief team to Haiti with Mission E4. They have a few locations away from Port-au-Prince closer to the epicenter of the earthquake. They have an orphanage in Leogane, and the building is not safe. They were there when the earthquake struck. Leogane is 80-90% destroyed. They started treating injured people. They have a small clinic on the orphanage property. It became an ER.

I'll be helping prepare the property to be used as a refugee camp. The team I'm part of consists of doctors, surgical techs, EMTs, and pastors. I am representing my church, Calvary Chapel of Southeastern Ct., as a missions pastor. As my day job is a biologist, I will probably be slinging cinder blocks. Afterward, my job will be to help organize subsequent trips. As Mission E4's website shows, right now they need medical supplies. Here is their list. They need cash. We need prayer. Haiti needs prayer. I'll be leaving on February …

Another Haiti ministry - Floresta

I found out about Floresta from the occasional e-mail I get from To the Source. Here is a highlight from the article. Floresta has a blog, Plant with a Purpose.
Working together we have accomplished small but remarkable things, but they represent the accomplishments of the poor themselves. More than 420,000 trees have been planted by farmers who are practicing a whole new type of agriculture, suited for steep hillsides and far more productive. Because it makes sense for them economically, these farmers will go on planting trees long after we are gone. Thousands of small business loans have been made. Fruit production has been improved. Hundreds of miles of soil erosion control measures – often living barriers of trees - have been installed and hundreds of rainwater harvesting systems have been built. Dozens of Bible studies have been held. 

But Plant With Purpose, and our Haitian staff have merely been a catalyst for their success. The loans we have made (with a repayment rate of 98%) a…

updates from Haiti from the blogs

Calvary Chapel of Old Bridge, NJ sent a team in overland from the Dominican Republic last week. They are in the southwestern coastal town of Jacmel. But their docs need lots of equipment. Please pray. They hooked up with an American missionary in Jacmel. They are feeding people and hoping for more tents to hand out.

Back in Port-au-Prince, the Livesay family's rented house held up in the earthquake and has become a field hospital, where people are saved and lost. They tell of an amazing story that made me cry of walking by faith and God providing. They were able to get some people on the US hospital ship even before the medics got set up, even before anyone knew where they would set up. but they are realizing that big NGO's take care of each other and are not sharing with the little NGO's like them. The politics are discouraging. Please pray for them and for the Lord to provide for them. Like many, they are getting supplies from the Dominican Republic.

Pray. Pray. Pray.

cinema review: The Book of Eli (2010)

My brother and I both have January birthdays. In the past few years it has been our tradition to get together to see a guy movie. In the past we've enjoyed shows like Cloverfield, but this time we both regretted seeing The Book of Eli. I didn't want to spoil the movie for myself, so I didn't research it too thoroughly. I watched a preview and thought the action would be good. I like Denzel Washington. I knew the movie was about the Bible. I knew there was an interview with Denzel about his faith in Christianity Today. I thought that this might be one of those movies Image by Getty Images via Daylifethat tries to do some pre-evangelism by speaking the cinematic language of our culture. I kept hoping this despite the growing evidence over the first hour. Eventually I gave up. The theater was full, but I'm not sure what message they heard. I will be spoiling the movie because I don't think it's worth saving or watching.

I have the same problem with this movie that …

any lessons learned from Katrina?

Three and a half years ago I wrote a book report on The Great Deluge by Douglas Brinkley, about the responses of various agencies to Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. I encourage anyone concerned about the devastation to read Brinkley's book, or at least some of the quotes I pulled from it. I didn't quote one account in the book about the black residents trying to cross a bridge out of New Orleans into a white suburb and being turned back by the white police officers of that suburb. One of the stories I did quote was the fear of the Red Cross who pulled out of the city when things got rough.

In Haiti, right now, things are getting rough. But I'm wondering if more lives could be saved if the planes bringing in aid and leaving empty would leave with Haitian families and bring them to the nations around Haiti, from the US to Venezuela as well as European and African nations, especially the French speaking ones. For example, Canada is working on legislation to fast-track Haitia…

Haiti, Pat Robertson and theology

In the immediate aftermath of Haiti's earthquake, Pat Robertson the American televangelist reveals that he doesn't read his Bible. The video is on the bottom, but here is the key transcript by CNN.
The Haitians "were under the heel of the French. You know, Napoleon III and Image by Getty Images via Daylifewhatever," Robertson said on his broadcast Wednesday. "And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, 'We will serve you if you will get us free from the French.' True story. And so, the devil said, 'OK, it's a deal.' "

Native Haitians defeated French colonists in 1804 and declared independence.

"You know, the Haitians revolted and got themselves free. But ever since, they have been cursed by one thing after the other."

But the Bible, does not support this. In the midst of the fall of the nation of Israel two of God's prophets made similar statements from God.
Jeremiah 31 v.29 In those days they shall no longe…

updates from Haiti after the earthquake

I follow a few missionary blogs in Haiti. A few of them have chimed in with personally good reports but despair over the magnitude of destruction.

From Calvary Chapel in Port-au-Prince where I served last year, see my story here. Pastor Seige called this morning and he is fine. The kids and the staff at the orphanage are fine, but the church and orphanage buildings are cracked, so they are staying out of the buildings. He was able to reach some of the people who attend the church and they were fine also. We'll keep you posted. Pray for Haiti!

From the Livesay family.
The few things we can confirm – yes the four story Caribbean Market building is completely demolished. Yes it was open.Yes the National Palace collapsed. Yes Gov’t buildings nearby the Palace collapsed.Yes St Josephs Boys home is completely collapsed. Yes countless countless - countless other houses, churches, hospitals, schools, and businesses have collapsed.There are buildings that suffered almost no damage.Right next …

Ian Kershaw on Germany and the Fuhrer cult

When I started Ian Kershaw's biography of Hitler 6 months ago, I expected to be done by now. I Cover of Hitlerhave a ways to go. I was re-interested in it after the last book on Patton, Montgomery, Rommel: Masters of War, by Brighton. The last time I quoted from Kershaw, I was reminded of the political enthusiasm for Palin and Obama. This quote did the same thing to me.The hopes long cherished of the coming great leader eradicated the critical faculties of many intellectuals, blinding them to the magnitude of the assault on the freedom of thought as well as action that they often welcomed. Many of the neo-conservative intellectuals whose ideas had helped pave the way for the Third Reich were soon to be massively disillusioned. Hitler turned out for them in practice to be not the mystic leader they had longed for in their dreams. But they had helped prepare the ground for the Fuhrer cult that was taken up in its myriad form by so many others.

Hardly a protest was raised at the purge…

book report: Patton, Montgomery, Rommel by Terry Brighton

Terry Brighton's Patton, Montgomery, Rommel: Masters of War, 2008, read much faster than I Cover via Amazonthought I'd need for a 400 page three character biography. I was pleasantly surprised at this Brit's lack of sympathy for Monty (General Montgomery, UK). I was equally surprised at his affection for Rommel. Brighton spent a great deal of ink showing the hubris of these generals, but he gave much more ink to the effects of Monty's pride and analysis on it. Patton's (US) horrific mistake of slapping soldiers in hospital beds due to battle fatigue was embarassing enough to leave many other effects of his pride, except for his marital infidelities, to the wayside. But the effects of Rommel's (Nazi) pride on his fellow soldiers and officers is hardly mentioned, at least negatively. Perhaps the source material available on Rommel was limited, but I sense Brighton was soft on Rommel due to his affection for him.

If anything, Brighton admired the pride of Rommel, t…

Family Bible Reading Plan for 2010

As a family, we finished reading together the New Testament. Now I want to get them through the Old Testament in year. I don't want them to languish in despair at some of the harder books, so I looked for a plan that had readings from a different section of the OT every day. Here is what I found.

I told them the weekend NT readings were optional but that they can use the weekends to catch up on the longer readings in the OT during the week. Six chapters of Ezekiel in a day may be too much for my 10 year old.

I plan on reading the NT sections. I might read them in English first then Greek or use my NET diglot. I did succeed in reading through the NT in Greek this year. But I'm no scholar. I needed much help from Kubo.

Good News for 2010

The good news for every year starts with Jesus.

As Paul writes to Titus, his protege in Crete.

3 Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled by others and became slaves to many wicked desires and evil pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy. We hated others, and they hated us. 4 But then God our Savior showed us his kindness and love. 5 He saved us, not because of the good things we did, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins and gave us a new life through the Holy Spirit. 6 He generously poured out the Spirit upon us because of what Jesus Christ our Savior did. 7 He declared us not guilty because of his great kindness. And now we know that we will inherit eternal life.
Titus 3 (NLT)
Hear it read aloud. Image via Wikipedia