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Showing posts from September, 2010

Beyond the door greeter: The most important contribution of Tim Wright

My sons Jacob and Zachary have baseball cards. Hundreds of them. They like to spend time with them, because the cards feed two of their passions: baseball and numbers. They organize and re-organize the cards. They play fictional baseball games, complete with playoffs, with them. Most important, they show the cards off to their friends. Even adults who come over to the house are likely to be introduced to the baseball cards collection by my sons.
I have a friend named Frank. He's retired, and is an expert woodworker. Visitors to his house will be treated to the tour: he loves to show you the gorgeous cherrywood rocking horse, the grandfather clock, and countless other items he has made out of wood. They're all quite beautiful; very impressive. It's Frank's passion, and he loves to share what he has done with others.


For the last 15 years, I have had a friend named Tim Wright. His title was Pastor of Small Groups and Assimilation. We all know what a small group is, but &…

Outlive Your Life--A Book Review

In "Outlive Your Life," author Max Lucado takes the reader on a journey through the book of Acts, painting a picture along the way. A picture which describes the need for all believers to carry out God's work and make their life count for something. Ideally, such work will last beyond the lifetime of the worker. Lucado skillfully uses the history of the beginning of the Church, as told to us in the book of Acts, to teach the reader why helping others in Jesus' name is part of Christian life.

Along the way, he backs up this idea not only with verses, but with statistics and with real-life stories of modern believers who chose to make their lives count by blessing others.

If this sounds familiar, it's because the ground treaded by this book has been covered over and over again. I could not read "Outlive Your Life" without being reminded of "Purpose-Driven Life", "The Hole in Our Gospel", "Don't Waste Your Life", "A M…

You Changed My Life--A Book Review

"You Changed My Life" is Max Lucado's companion piece to "Outlive Your Life". "Outlive your Life" is about the need for Christians to take action by blessing others in their lives. In "You Changed My Life," the author takes the reader into the lives of many people who have done exactly that.

The book's inner flap says it's a gift book intended to be awarded to someone who has made a difference in the life of someone. It consists of several inspiring anecdotes about real people who made a conscious choice to love others in some way. My favorite is "Love Makes a Difference", about Catherine Lawes, wife of a prison warden, who treated prisoners as if they were just as important as she was.

"You Changed my Life", while a companion piece to "Outlive Your Life", would go well alongside other books such as "Crazy Love", by Frances Chan, or "A Million Miles in a Thousand Years", by Donald M…

Book review: "Permisson to Speak Freely", by Anne Jackson

Anne Jackson's "Permission to Speak Freely" is an astounding piece of work. It’s amazing. In my many previous book reviews, I save my superlatives and only bring them out on rare occasions. But I’m unleashing the floodgates for this one. This book will touch anyone who feels they are or have ever been “damaged goods”, which means just about all of us. I got this book for free from the publisher, but in hindsight, I’d have paid $100 for it. It’s that powerful.

It's divided into 3 parts. The first part consists of Jackson's background story, mostly sad vignettes of how she was betrayed by people in the church. This betrayal was extended in many cases to her other family members, and clearly had a lasting effect on the author.

Part 2 explains her adult life so far, and how she has come to realize some truths about her past. Of all the things she learned, the biggest impact came from the realization that many people in churches everywhere have hurts, secrets, pasts, …

Following in the footsteps of Gomer, Jed Clampett, and Barney Fife

As a kid, I watched a lot of TV after school. At that time of day, the choices were soaps, game shows, and reruns of shows which were popular in the 50's & 60's. I typically chose the reruns. The list of shows I liked included Gilligan's Island, I Love Lucy, Lost in Space, and many more.

Five TV shows in this rerun rotation had one thing in common. See if you can tell what that one thing is:



Gomer Pyle
The Andy Griffith Show
The Beverly Hillbillies
Petticoat Junction
Green Acres

That's right: they all featured hillbillies: characters with Southern accents, limited formal education, and a glaring absence of sophistication. When the hicks crossed paths with non-hicks, hilarity ensued. Many laughs were squeezed from the contrast between the hillbillies and "book-smart" people. Of course, the moral of many of the episodes was that the dumb hicks often had more wisdom than the city folks whom they were up against.

Around 2000 years ago, a God-man named Jesus…