Friday, February 29, 2008

The Ultimate Life by Jim Stovall

Jim Stovall wrote two books (The Ultimate Gift and The Ultimate Life) that could cause significant life changes if the twelve principles (Gifts) he presented in story form were applied to our lives. Even though neither book is overtly Christian, I think most Christians would quickly find wisdom from the Bible in each of the gifts. He uses mild humor and basic human nature to draw us in and cause the reader to hunger for more in life - not to get, but to give more. Both books can be read relatively quickly. The twelve gifts he shares are: Work, Money, Friends, Learning, Problems, Family, Laughter, Dreams, Giving, Gratitude, Day, and Love. I highly recommend both books.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Reading Meme

My online buddy, Kay, posted a reading meme in her blog today.

Here is the meme as it is supposed to be played:

The Rules:

1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages), or whatever book you are currently reading.

2. Open the book to page 123.

3. Find the fifth sentence.

4. Post the next three sentences.

5. Tag five people.

I am reading several books, but chose Be Still and Know that I Am God Compiled by Amy and Judge Reinhold.

"And time spent letting His love flow through you to others is an investment in eternity. Ask your Friend to slow you down and teach you the value of wasting time with Him. Take some time and meditate on how much God loves you and wants simply to be with you today."

I'm not going to tag anyone, but feel free to leave a comment here if you decide to play along.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

When the Nile Runs Red by Diann Mills

When the Nile Runs Red is a novel set in Sudan written by Diann Mills. Follow the journey of several characters of various religious beliefs in this action packed story. One of the main characters, Abdullah changed his name to Paul following his conversion to Christianity because of the similarities between his life and that of Paul of the New Testament. His wife, Larson is a doctor providing aid in the war torn country. They are in constant danger from many sources as they live out their faith with courage.

John Garang, the first Vice President of Sudan is mentioned in this story.

At the end of the book Ms. Mills offers information on organizations that provide aid to the Sudanese around the world.

Head Office
P.O. Box 21033
00505 – Ngong Road

Aid Sudan
7561 FM 1960 East # 301
Humble, TX 77346

Christian Solidarity International USA
870 Hampshire Road, Suite T
Westlake Village, CA 91361

SEA Partners
1221 Flower Mound Road, Suite 320
Flower Mound, TX 75028

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Tortured For Christ by Pastor Richard Wurmbrand

“Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.” Hebrews 13:3

I just finished a tough book that is on the reading list for my church's missions group - Tortured For Christ by Pastor Richard Wurmbrand. I highly recommend this book to all Christians because we need to know, care, pray and do something about the plight of our brothers and sisters in the Underground/Persecuted Church. It is unbelievable to us here in the land of plenty to think about the sacrifices they obediently make just to tell one of their neighbors about Jesus. They truly love their fellow man enough that they are willing to be tortured, imprisoned and martyred for their faith. Below are some quotes from the book that spoke loudly to my heart:

Pastor Wurmbrand said, “In the first days after my conversion, I felt that I would not be able to live any longer. Walking on the street, I felt a physical pain for every man and woman who passed by. It was like a knife in my heart, so burning was the question of whether or not her or she was saved. If a member of the congregation sinned I would weep for hours. The longing for the salvation of all souls has remained in my heart and the Communists are not excluded from it.” How can we turn our heads when we see our neighbors in need of what we possess and keep it to ourselves?

Persecution has always produced a better Christian – a witnessing Christian, a soul-winning Christian. Communist persecution has backfired and produced serious, dedicated Christians such as are rarely seen in free lands. These people cannot understand how anyone can be a Christian and not want to win every soul they meet.”

Goals of The Voice of the Martyrs

1. Provide Christians with Bibles, literature, and radio broadcasts in their own language in restricted nations where Christians are persecuted. Page

2. To give relief to the families of Christian martyrs in these areas of the world.

3. To undertake projects of encouragement to help believers rebuild their lives and witness in countries that have suffered Communist oppression.

4. To win to Christ those who are opposed to the gospel.

5. To inform the world about the atrocities committed against Christians and about the courage and faith of the persecuted.

For more information or to make a contribution please contact:

The Voice of the Martyrs
P.O. Box 443
Bartlesville, OK 74005

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Signs of Life by David Jeremiah

Since Monday is the start of Random Acts of Kindness week (February 11-17, 2007) I wanted to share a little from a book that I am reading, Signs of Life by David Jeremiah. I was planning on just giving you a little taste of a few of his ideas, but I couldn’t decide which ones to eliminate because they are all terrific ideas. I'm sure I'll have more to say about the book, once I finish reading it next month.

Before I give Pastor Jeremiah's ideas to you, I challenge you as his book has challenged me to make a list of five people you plan to encourage this week – and write down an idea or two about how you might encourage each one of them.

So what are some specific ways we can roll up our sleeves, use our muscles, and sweat out some kindness for Jesus’ sake? The simplest answer is the oldest one: find a need and fill it. Ask God to show you a specific need and then to empower you in meeting it.

· Do you know someone undergoing chemotherapy who could use a meal brought in on the day of the treatment?

· Does a single mother in your neighborhood need help with lawn mowing or yard work?

· What about volunteering at your local school or hospital? Or visiting a nursing home to chat with the elderly, pray with the lonely, and perhaps organize visits by children’s choirs or choral groups?

· If there’s a homeless shelter or soup kitchen in your area, consider offering your time on a regular basis.

· Establish a family tradition of taking a basket of groceries to a needy home every Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter.

· Ask your church leaders about the congregation’s benevolent ministries and find a place to help.

· Take the lead in helping your church adopt a section of local roadway to keep clean.

· Consider taking a missions trip to help build a church, give immunizations, teach VBS, or renovate an orphanage.

· Investigate the possibilities of helping refuges settle in your town or city.

· Volunteer to teach English as a second language in your church or community.

· Donate books to the local prison, linens to the local rescue mission, or tutoring time to the local school.

For additional ideas to let your neighbors know you care go to Actions Speak Loudest.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Safely Home by Randy Alcorn

Randy Alcorn is one of my favorite authors. I have read all of his fiction and some of his non-fiction. His books have helped me change my perspective on a lot of things most importantly eternity. He takes the fear (and some of the sadness) out of death and gives the reader a longing for being united with Jesus and reunited with loved ones who have gone on ahead to their eternal rewards. Randy’s books have encouraged me to delve deeper into God and HIS Word.

About a year ago, I found the book Safely Home at the library and could barely put it down. It is a gripping story of two college friends who met in the United States. Both had the potential to become influential in their chosen fields. Twenty years later, they live a world apart in many ways, but find themselves reunited in China under disturbing circumstances.

American business executive Ben Fielding has no idea what his brilliant old college roommate is facing in China. After 20 years he expects to pick up where they left off. But when they're reunited in China, the men are shocked at what they discover about each other. The paths they've walked have shaped their lives and loyalties in radically different ways.

Thrown together in an hour of encroaching darkness, watched by unseen eyes, both must make choices that will determine not only the destinies of two men, but two families, two nations...and two worlds.

Quote from Safely Home
“One moment after men die,” Li Tong said, “they know exactly how they should have lived. But then it is too late to go back and live their lives over again. Too late for the unbeliever, in the jaws of hell. But also too late for the believer, who cannot relive his life, remake his choices, this time following his King more faithfully.”

Starting this month Randy's blog will feature a book giveaway of the month! Each month three randomly drawn winners will receive a brand new, signed copy of one of Randy's books. Go check out his blog and leave a comment for a chance to win Safely Home. If you don't win, check your local library or buy a copy from your local Christian bookstore or from Randy's website, its a book that could change your life or at least the way you think about the persecuted church and those who would be thrilled to have one page of God's Holy Word to read.

In my opinion, one of the most exciting things about this book is that the author and cover artist pledge to donate all royalties to help the persecuted church around the world. Let's all strive to do something that matters for our persecuted brothers and sisters.

*February 25, 2008 - Update*
For winners to the contest check Randy's Blog.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Turn: Remembering Our Foundations by Max Lucado

Max Lucado wrote a book that focuses on returning to the foundations of our faith. It is the official 2005 National Day of Prayer Theme Book. He expands on the Scripture 2 Chronicles 7:14 "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." He gives advice in four basic turns:

Turn #1 Toward God's Glory
Turn #2 Toward God in Prayer
Turn #3 Toward God's Word
Turn #4 Toward God in Repentance

In the first turn the author suggests the reader to apply the filter of 1 Corinthians 10:31 to our government. With the presidential primaries in full swing, its a good time to consider this quote, "Elect officials for the glory of God. Not for the glory of Democrats, Republicans, or Independents. Not for the glory of my crusade or your cause, her race or his gender, but for the glory of God." Why do we elect a candidate?"

In the second turn Max reminds us of Jesus teaching on prayer: "Did Jesus call us to preach without ceasing? Or teach without ceasing? Or have committee meetings without ceasing? Or sing without ceasing? No, but He did call us to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

In the third turn he challenges each of us to apply God's Word to our lives. "Apply it to your finances. Test God’s Word on your job. Test the Bible on your relationships. But most of all, apply the Bible to your soul."

In the fourth and final turn he discusses repentance. He modernizes the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector from Luke 18, "In the same meeting, a man of humble heart, too contrite to even look to the skies, prayed, “God, have mercy on me – a sinner. Like m brother on welfare – I’m dependent on Your grace. Like my sister with AIDS – I’m infected with mistakes. Like my friend who drinks – I need something to ease my pain. And like those You love who are gay – I need direction, too. Have mercy on me a sinner." That makes it real by bringing it into our neighborhoods!

I pray that this book of less than 100 pages is both an encouragement and a challenge as we look deeply into the Word of God and make applications in our prayer lives.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


I just logged on and found out my music was somehow changed without my permission to music I do not know or appreciate. I removed that option for the time being until I have time to investigate further and I changed my password.

Friday, February 1, 2008

In the Heart of the World by Mother Teresa

I found this little book, In the Heart of the World by Mother Teresa, at the library yesterday and read it quite quickly. It may have few pages, but they pack much wisdom and compassion. Basically it is a book of stories, thoughts and prayers that help us focus on meeting the needs of others, thereby meeting the needs of Jesus in (many times) a distressing disguise.

"It may happen that a mere smile, a short visit, the lighting of a lamp, writing a letter for a blind man, carrying a bucket of charcoal, offering a pair of sandals, reading the newspaper for someone – something small, very small – may, in fact, be our love of God in action. Listening, when no one else volunteers to listen, is no doubt a very noble thing."

I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to be challenged and encouraged to serve and love others.