Monday, May 25, 2009

Will You Also Leave?

Yesterday I had the blessing of giving a message at Village Park Baptist Church in the Village of Oak Creek. I spoke from John 6:66-69, about why some people who follow Jesus walk away after a while. I started out by proving the rather startling assertion that the Word of God alone will not keep a person from abandoning Jesus, then discussed some ways we can keep our relationship with Jesus strong.

Here is the video if you want to watch it. (I can't stand to watch myself on video... I have so many quirky mannerisms when speaking!) You'll also need to turn the volume up a bit because the camera's audio reception is poor.

At the end (not shown on video) I asked if anyone wanted to come up for prayer. A young married couple and another woman came up, and to my surprise they shared their prayer needs with the whole church rather than (as I had anticipated) waiting for people to come pray with them privately. It takes courage to open up your heart in front of a group of people like that. The married couple was just visiting the church for the first time, too!

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Lesser is Blessed by the Greater

Last Sunday I had the opportunity to give a sermon at a church near my home. The pastor of this church is taking a 9 week "preaching fast". If you don't enjoy public speaking, you don't know what a sacrifice this is for a pastor. He is using this time to strengthen his personal relationship with God and to watch how the church adapts to not having its figurehead in the pulpit. I admire him for doing this.

Even though I have a lot of friends at this church, I was still kind of nervous beforehand. A young man named Jair sat down to me and introduced himself. He and his wife had come out from Michigan to visit and encourage his grandparents. His grandpa is going to be with Jesus soon.

During the singing I noticed how dry my mouth was getting and knew it would be even more dry when I got up to talk. So I went out to the drinking fountain in the foyer. Jair apparently noticed how nervous I was and as I was walking back to the sanctuary, Jair was coming out. "Hey, can I pray for you?" he asked. Of course I gladly accepted, and he put his hands on my shoulders and prayed a beautiful prayer. First time I’ve ever had anyone do that for me before I spoke. It did seem to calm my nerves (pretty well) too.

The message came out reasonably well. One of the better deliveries I have experienced. (It is amazing to me how messages can come out of the same mouth dry and dead some times and vibrant at other times. Preachers are more dependent on God's empowerment than sometimes thought.)

When we stand before Jesus, I think the pastor and Jair will get the reward for this message. Hebrews 7 gives the principle that "the lesser is blessed by the greater". This is another way of saying "It's more blessed to give than to receive".

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

My (Belated) Take on Fireproof

I know I am probably the last person in the world to watch Fireproof, but I thought I'd throw in my two cents.

Fireproof was a fantastic movie. Even after watching numerous trailers and hearing glowing reviews from every direction, it still exceeded my expectations.

Fireproof has a clearer gospel presentation than either of the two previous Sherwood Films (Flywheel and Facing the Giants). And, as with the previous two, it really does a great job modeling interracial friendships, the importance of prayer, and the radical change that takes place in a person's life after they truly meet Jesus. Most remarkably, it is very romantic without being seductive or inappropriate.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Gracia Burnham speaking at free VOM conference in Flagstaff!

I’m pleased to announce that Gracia Burnham will be one of the speakers at a free conference being sponsored by the Voice of the Martyrs in Flagstaff, Arizona, this summer. You may know of Gracia as the author of “In the Presence of My Enemies”, which describes her experiences as a hostage of the Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines.

I got to hear her speak at VOM’s national conference in Oklahoma last year. (You can the blog comments I posted about it then: She is a good speaker, with genuine depth.

However, honestly I am actually looking forward even more to messages by two men you’ve probably never heard of, Mujahid el Masih from Pakistan and Getaneh Getaneh from Ethiopia. I’ve had the blessing of spending time in person with both of them and the experiences were unforgettable. You can read my blog about my time with Mujahid here:

There will be a couple of other good speakers there as well, including a key person regarding VOM’s North Korean work.

It’s in Flagstaff, Arizona, Saturday, July 11th, from 9 AM to 5 PM.

As I said, the conference is totally free but you do need to register because seating is limited. You can find more information and register at

If you have any questions about the conference, feel free to contact me. I hope to see you there!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

On Twitter now

For whatever it's worth, I'm now on Twitter. I'm still trying to figure out how to use Twitter in a way that is not frivolous but genuinely helpful. (Timmy Brister has some suggestions at

My Twitter address is

If you Twitter, please let me know your Twitter address too!

To the rest of you: don't worry, Twitter won't replace my blog. This will remain my primary avenue for disseminating important information.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Free, Online MIT Courses

As many of you know, I'm not a big fan of American universities. I fear that the artificiality of academia, the extremely liberal faculties, the parties and sororities, and the inefficiencies of classroom learning (to name a few things!) normally far outweigh any content that will prove genuinely helpful to their future lives. I'm not a university graduate myself, nor do I plan to seek a degree.

However, there are a few situations in which a college education can be helpful, and there are ways to avoid the bad parts of college. Several years ago I had the opportunity to edit Brad Voeller's book, Accelerated Distance Learning, which details many strategies to get the good side of college without the bad.

Part of Brad's strategy involves selective use of online courses. That's why I was recently interested to learn from my uncle that MIT has made some of their courses available online--for free. Check it out:

There are your typical liberal university courses (Magic, Witchcraft, and the Spirit World, Feminist Political Thought, etc.) but also some helpful scientific and engineering courses. Particularly for residents of third-world countries desperate for higher-level education who don't care if they get college credit for it or not, these courses might prove a blessing.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Update on Mom

Mom is doing worse physically. Emergency Room is starting come back into conversation now. The colonics and enemas are providing less and less relief and she is eating less and less food and experiencing more and more pain.

As much as her pain and fatigue allow, her attitude has been good. She has really worked hard investigating (and trying) treatments.

Thanks for your prayers. I will continue posting updates here when there is more news.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

A Few More Pics from Albuquerque

Here is our table at the homeschool convention. It was a blessing to have Matt there from VOM HQ for most of it. He gave me some tips that were very helpful.

Estimated attendance was 1538. Other vendors who had been there in previous years said it seemed like sales were down a little this year.

The layout of the exhibitor area was cumbersome. Vendors were not in one big room like AFHE-Phoenix, but scattered throughout various Sunday School rooms in the church where the convention was being held. We were in a room with Good Steward Books (a very popular vendor) which helped us (“picked” people off the edges of their crowd).

My fellow rep John and his wife drove down from Santa Fe in a snowstorm on Friday to host a lunch for contacts from Calvary Chapel of Albuquerque. He is a natural host who makes you feel welcome almost instantly. I'm praying that God heals him from the aftereffects of last year's heart attack. His energy flees in the mid-afternoon and he wasn't able to stay for our team dinner that evening. I really appreciate the effort he made even to come down at all.

Here is the team dinner. VOM has been blessed with growth in the New Mexico region in the past year. At the beginning of 2008 we had no reps there and now we have 4. Two of them weren't present at the dinner.

As you can see God gave us beautiful weather on the day we left Albuquerque. You can also see the snow on the mountains (which was not there on Thursday when we arrived!).