Not For Sale – David Batstone Friday, May 29 2009 

My wife and I just returned from a wonderful weekend. We drove to Amish country, visited Gettysburg, biked all over the nation’s capitol, and had a nice dinner in Annapolis. We decided that with all of the time in the car we were going to download a few audiobooks to our ipods. We thought it was a great way to redeem the time we were going to be in the car driving.

 

One of the books we recently downloaded was Not For Sale, a book about the current state of slavery in the world today and the effort being made to end all slavery around the world. This book by David Batstone was amazing. It brought to light so much about this terrible reality of modern day slavery that my wife and I had never even known about until we listened to the book. Not For Sale walks through story after story of slavery that is taking place today in places like Cambodia, India, Peru, and even in our own backyards in places like San Francisco and Virginia. The reality of the global slave trade is almost unbelievable. With the knowledge of it, my wife and I are now determined to become abolitionists. I greatly encourage everyone to read or listen to Not For Sale.

 

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52 books in 52 weeks Saturday, Jan 24 2009 

I know we are a few weeks into the year, but I did want to share my reading plan for this year. I want to ready 52 books this year, one every week. I made this decision after reading the editorial in the Wall Street Journal that said talked about President Bush and his love of books. In 2006 he read 95 books, in 2007 he read 51, and in 2008 he read more than 40 books. If the President of the United States can average more than a book a week than so can I. 

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123025595706634689.html

Rick Warren, Jon Meacham and Tim Russert: History, Christianity, and the United States Wednesday, Apr 18 2007 

Here is a great interview with Rick Warren and Jon Meacham done by Tim Russert on Meet the Press. It addresses Christianity in America, in history and in the world today.

MTP Transcript for Dec. 24
Rick Warren, Jon Meacham
Updated: 1:17 p.m. CT Dec 24, 2006
MR. TIM RUSSERT: Our issues this Christmas Eve morning: faith in America. Can religion unite the country for the greater good? And what role will God and values play in the 2008 presidential election? With us, the pastor of one of America’s largest churches and author of the best-selling hard-cover book in U.S. history, “The Purpose Driven Life,” Dr. Rick Warren; and the editor of Newsweek magazine and author of “American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers and the Making of a Nation,” Jon Meacham. Then, two MEET THE PRESS holiday traditions, our MEET THE PRESS MINUTE from Christmas Day 51 years ago with poet Robert Frost and a special performance by the U.S. Navy Band Brass Quartet.
But first, we are joined by Pastor Rick Warren and Jon Meacham. Welcome both, Merry Christmas.
DR. RICK WARREN: Thank you, Tim. Merry Christmas to you.
MR. RUSSERT: Jon Meacham, let me start with you. Ninety-five percent of Americans say they believe in God. (more…)

Who? The lack of recognition of Christian leaders explored Saturday, Apr 14 2007 

I was reading through the Willow Creek Association magazine the other day and found an article titled Major Christian Leaders Are Widely Unknown, Even Among Christians. Quickly running down the list of facts I found the following appalling statistics:

57% of Americans have never heard of James Dobson
67% of Americans have never heard of Joel Osteen
68% of Americans have never hears of T.D. Jakes
72% of Americans have never heard of Rick Warren
73% of Americans have never heard of Tim LaHaye

It is amazing to me that even if you are the author of the best selling non-fiction hard cover book in American history (Rick Warren) or the co-author of the best selling fiction series of all time (Time LaHaye), or pastor of a church that is larger than most athletic stadiums most people still do not even recognize your name. Even among Christians the only name that the majority of people had heard of was James Dobson. Aren’t these statistics amazing?

*The research for this was done by The Barna Group (www.barna.org). The results of much of their other research is available at their website also.

Time Magazine’s cover story on the Bible Thursday, Mar 29 2007 

20070402_107.jpgThis weeks Time Magazine features a cover story on teaching the Bible in schools. After all of the controversy and court cases over the past fifty years is the United States going to change it’s mind and put Bibles back into the schools? That is the question Time asked saying, “Should the Holy Book be taught in public schools? Yes. It’s the bedrock of Western culture. And when taught right, it’s even constitutional.” In a well written and fair article David Van Biema makes the case that the Bible should be taught in American schools. He writes:

SIMPLY PUT, THE BIBLE IS THE MOST influential book ever written. Not only is the Bible the best-selling book of all time, it is the best-selling book of the year every year. (more…)

vacation in the bahamas and theology Wednesday, Mar 14 2007 

bahamas.jpgThis week I am enjoying a wonderful vacation with my family in the Bahamas on the island of Grand Bahama. I plan to do a lot of reading, scuba diving, sailing, and swimming in the ocean, all while enjoying some much needed time away with my dad, mom, brother, and sisters. For books, I brought along Chosen for Life by Sam Storms, The Cross of Christ by John Stott and, of course, my Bible (ESV). So far Chosen for Life has been very good. As someone who just a couple of years ago would have called himself an Armenian Christian (more…)

Charles Spurgeon’s Testimony Monday, Mar 12 2007 

Reading Sam Storms’ book Chosen for Life I came across a testimony of Charles Spurgeon that sums up a much of what I have experienced over the past two years. Spurgeon writes…

One week-night, when I was sitting in the house of God, I was not thinking much about the preacher’s sermon, for I did not believe it. The thought struck me, “How did you become a Christian?” I sought the Lord. “But how did you come to seek the Lord?” The thought flashed across my mind in a moment- I should not have sought him unless there had been some previous influence in my mind to make me seek Him. I prayed, I thought, but then I asked myself, How came I to pray? I was induced to pray by reading the Scriptures. How came I to read the Scriptures? I did read them, but what led me to do so? Then, in a moment, I saw that God was at the bottom of it all. And that he was the Author of my faith, and so the whole doctrine of grace opened up to me, and from that doctrine I have not departed to this day, and I desire to make this my constant confession, “I ascribe my change wholly to God.”
–Charles Spurgeon, in his Autobiography

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom Tuesday, Mar 6 2007 

10631067.gifI just finished reading The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. It is a very well written and powerful first hand account of the torture that Jews and non-Jews alike had to live through in the concentration camps of Nazi Germany during World War II. Corrie and her family were Christians in Holland who had always been ministers of Christ’s love to those around them. They continually opened their home to the poor and needy, at times having as many as eight orphans living with them at once. This love did not change when Nazi Germany took over and occupied Holland in 1940. At the risk of her life, Corrie began work in the underground system helping to move hundreds of Jews from the city to safe houses around the entire country. Eventually Corrie and her family were caught and they were sent to concentration camps. In this book Corrie recounts the tremendous horror that took place in those camps as well as the continually faithfulness of God to preserve and protect her and her sister Betsy.
One specific occasion Corrie wrote about that really impacted me was when she and her sister, Betsy, were at a concentration camp in Germany. They were standing outside, nearly naked, in the middle of the winter. Unclothed and freezing, the thousands of prisoners were standing in line waiting for their name to be called during the 4:30 AM roll call that happened every morning. While they were standing in line, women were literally collapsing from the lack of food, clothing, and extreme winter weather’s impact on their bodies. As if that was not enough, they were also pushed around and beaten by the guards who treated them worse than animals. Standing there, sick and freezing, Betsy said to Corrie that they needed to pray for these poor and sick women. Corrie said she agreed. It wasn’t until later that day that Corrie learned her sister was speaking of the prison guards who were torturing them. Corrie marveled that the amazing grace God had given her sister to love the very people who eventually killed her.
This book is an important book for Christians to read. The Hiding Place is a picture of Christians living out their faith in the most extreme of circumstances and God’s faithfulness through it all.

Humility: True Greatness Friday, Mar 2 2007 

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C.J. Mahaney writes in this great book:

Here’s an essential truth: To learn true humilty, we need more than a redefinition of greatness; we need even more than Jesus’ personal example of humble service. What we need is His death.

Jesus said, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45

Praise Habit Saturday, Sep 30 2006 

Who would think a worship leader would make a great
theologian? I sure didn’t but I had $15 worth of
credit to the book store so a few days ago I bought
Praise Habit by David Crowder, worship leader of
University Baptist Church in Texas and lead guitarist
and singer of the popular David Crowder Band. I didn’t
know what to expect, maybe a fun and happy book about
God but I never expected to be challenged and have my
thinking changed. I was wrong.
This book was written in an easy to read and engaging
manner that made me turn every page. I flew through
this book not because the content was easy but because
the content was so engaging and challenging. David
starts off by talking about habits and how most people
automatically associate the word “habit” with “bad
habit.” He then goes into the habits of our lives and
how we can alter silly things like a greeting if we
only cognitively think about it for 21 days (on
average). A word study he did revealed that our
English word habit is the same word for the dress of
nuns. It is a dress that sets them apart, makes them
radical and everyone knows what they are doing when
they wear it, why they wear it, and almost everyone
respects them for it. Their “habit” is part of their
lives. We too should have a habit we put on everyday157683670301_bo2204203200_pisitb-dp-500-arrowtopright45-64_aa240_sh20_sclzzzzzzz_.jpg
but this habit is not a tangible outer layer but the
spiritual layer of Christ as Romans 13:14 says,
“Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no
provision for the flesh to arouse its desires.” Our
praise habit should become our “praise Christ” as we
“put on Christ.”
This is a simple yet profound idea that I found really
challenging and encouraging. More on this book later,
but I surely recommend it along with David’s music.

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