Thursday, October 31, 2013

Bible Overview, Fast

English speakers today have the blessing -- and responsibility -- of access to more Bibles and Bible tools than any other language or time in history.  Men and women throughout history have died horrible deaths so their people could read God's Word in their own language, a privilege we take for granted today. 

Recently Tyndale gave me a free copy of a new Bible they've produced, for my review.  I wasn't required to give it a positive review, but I see great potential in this "Wayfinding Bible".  It is specifically good for people who want to get a good overall grasp of the Bible quickly.  Think of a serious seeker or a new believer or someone who has dabbled in the Bible for years but now realizes they need to go all-out.

The basic idea is that this Bible provides three reading tracks to take you through the most essential portions of the Bible: flyover, direct, and scenic.  The tracks are easy to follow, just look for the colored arrows.  There are also helpful section and book introductions that orient readers to where this part fits into the overall storyline of the Bible and how it points to Jesus.

This Bible uses the New Living Translation (again, aimed more for introductory readers than for seasoned Bible students).  It has a nice weighty feel in your hand and the pages stay open nicely.  All of the pages are full color; there are even color photographs, maps, and infographics sprinkled liberally throughout the text.  There is not much room for writing marginal notes, and it does not include cross references. 

If you would like my copy, send me a note and I might send it to you for free!  Also, check out the video below for more information. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Women in Combat?

I found Lt. Col. Maxwell's way of explaining it very compelling -- Daniel

(Reprinted from Ken Korkow's 'eFax of Life' newsletter)

Tim Maxwell has been in combat.  This medically-retired Marine Lt. Col. has the medals / post traumatic stress / traumatic brain injury to prove he's the 'real deal'.  Though his brain injury and physical limitations are very significant - his passion and tenacity have driven him to help many, many 'wounded warriors'.  Below (and unaltered) are his thoughts.

As you consider what he has to share - especially in light of all the military sexual-abuse and female-casuality reports currently being reported - what are your thoughts?   
"As memorial day comes to an end, the shrapnel in my brain bounces   
around with confusion.  Why is it that women and men don't play   
against each other in any sports, not even tennis, which is one of the   
least violent game,  but government has decided that women should be   
part of infantry teams? Even more confusing and depressing is the fact   
that the public has supported this decision. Do they think combat is   
easier than tennis?  Do people think that in combat, women only play   
women and men only play men? Can't they see how dumb this is?
To be in an infantry squad during a battles is kind of like a...   
professional football, with no periods, no breaks, no replacements,   
no food, no water...nothing but your team.  To win, you have to be the   
last team standing. You kill them, or they kill you.  Often, people in   
the stands are killed, even when they are children with their mothers,   
 but they are worth no points, so you should ignore it, but you   
probably don't. Bodies are everywhere.  Blood is everywhere. Those who   
win this game look around, amazed that they are still alive.   
Immediately thereafter, they look for their teammates, assessing the   
situation, figuring out who needs to be medevaced .  All the while, a   
new game may begin. 
 If combat was a professional sport, a violent sport, like this, would America order every team to accept women? 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Recommended Free Audiobook: A Short Life of Jonathan Edwards

A Short Life of Jonathan Edwards is available for free download this month.  I have been listening to it and it is surprisingly helpful for putting modern church problems in context.  Grab it while you can, even if you don't have time to listen to it right away.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

If You Can't Afford ObamaCare...

Andowan, a friend of mine, sent me a very helpful report summarizing who has to sign up for government health care, and a way for Christians to save on medical costs. I got her permission to share it with my readers.  Everything below is written by her unless otherwise noted.  -- Daniel

Minimum essential coverage

To avoid the fee in 2014 you need insurance that qualifies as minimum essential coverage. If you're covered by any of the following in 2014, you're considered covered and don't have to pay a penalty:
    • Any Marketplace plan, or any individual insurance plan you already have
    • Any employer plan (including COBRA), with or without “grandfathered” status. This includes retiree plans
    • Medicare
    • Medicaid
    • The Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
    • TRICARE (for veterans and veteran families)
    • Veterans health care programs (including the Veterans Health Care Program, VA Civilian Health and Medical Program (CHAMPVA), and Spina Bifida Health Care Benefits Program)
    • Peace Corps Volunteer plans
Other plans may also qualify. Ask your health coverage provider.

Who doesn't have to pay the fee

Uninsured people won't have to pay a fee if they:
    • are uninsured for less than 3 months of the year
    • are determined to have very low income and coverage is considered unaffordable
    • are not required to file a tax return because their income is too low
    • would qualify under the new income limits for Medicaid, but their state has chosen not to expand Medicaid eligibility
    • are a member of a federally recognized Indian tribe
    • participate in a health care sharing ministry (such as Samaritan Ministries)
    • are a member of a recognized religious sect with religious objections to health insurance If you don't qualify for these situations, you can apply for an exemption asking not to pay a fee. You do this in the Marketplace.

What kinds of health insurance don't qualify as coverage?

Health plans that don't meet minimum essential coverage don't qualify as coverage in 2014. If you have only these types of coverage, you may have to pay the fee. Examples include:
    • coverage only for vision care or dental care
    • workers' compensation
    • coverage only for a specific disease or condition
    • plans that offer only discounts on medical services

{Daniel: The part below was written at the beginning of 2013}
Dear Friends, Happy New Year.

As most of you know, Obama won the election which means “Obama Care” will stand starting 2014. This means Americans are required to have health care by 2014. For those of us who are not independently wealthy, do not fall into medicare/Medicaid, or have free or employer provided health care, the step to comply with the law will be costly.

As a result of the changing laws, and a run in personally with 2 medical issues in 2012, I’ve done some research to find alternatives or a health insurance company that meets my needs.
I’m writing this letter to give you all the health care information I discovered that may help with some decisions that need to be made over the next year. I’ll start with the summary and for those who want the details, keep reading.


I’ve chosen to go with a Christian health care sharing plan for multiple reasons (read the details below – it’s good). There are 3 Christian sharing plans that were written into the Obama care law eligible to meet the requirement for individuals to have health care. Out of the 3 organizations, I found Samaritan Ministries to be the best.

After reading the details, if you decide to go with Samaritan Ministries, PLEASE CONTACT ME FIRST. I’ll get credit for referring people to Samaritan Ministries. This is NOT the reason I went with this organization, but it would be great to get credit for referring people. Consider it a thanks for taking the time to write this email if it helps?  {Daniel: contact me and I'll put her in touch with you.}


After going to the emergency room last year with a pain that I thought was appendicitis, and then getting an inner ear problem that left me dependent on others for about a month, I thought it was time to look into health insurance.

The more I looked the more disappointed I got. However, a friend told me about Samaritan Ministries (SM). After asking an onslaught of questions, I went to the Internet to do more research.

I’ll share a little about how it works (since you can go to for more info) and then the main questions that were answered for me when comparing SM to regular insurance.

SM shares the cost of health care across its members. Depending on whether you are an individual or a family, your monthly share amount goes to a member who has a “publishable” health need. Your membership fee monthly does not change unless the board votes for this. The specifics for the board to vote are clearly stated on their website.

Not only do you help another believer in need, you have the opportunity to pray and write a note of encouragement. This means if you have a “publishable” health care need, you too will receive checks from many people to cover the need, along with notes of encouragement and prayer.

KEYS to SM for me.
  1. By sending your check directly to the person in need, you by pass the laws that say this is an insurance company. SM does NOT manage the health care funds. You are assured some one in the company is NOT absconding with the funds either.
  2. Because SM is NOT an insurance company, they are NOT required to cover some ethically questionable procedures and medicines.
  3. It’s Christian based and therefore applies Biblical principles to caring and helping others, especially with prayer.
  4. To be a member is affordable for many who otherwise could NOT afford health insurance.
  5. Price comparison per month with health insurance seemed the same or better with SM.
  6. You pick any hospital or doctor you want, covers emergencies overseas or anywhere in the USA.
  7. You are a “cash pay” which tends to bring bills lower, and for larger amounts, SM has a group that negotiates to bring the price down.
  8. It meets the Obama Care requirement to have health care.
  9. Had a tremendous reputation after reading multiple user reviews from various websites. I searched for a negative review and could NOT find one on SM. Yet I did find some issues with at least one other health care sharing organization.
  10. They have 2 programs, one up to $250,000 and a second additional program up to 1 million.
  11. The website is VERY CLEAR and does NOT seem to have hidden things like how member fees increase, etc. So I felt like I wasn’t wondering when and if an insurance company would raise my premiums. How many times have I heard people saying “my premiums are so expensive” and “my deductible are so high”? People DON’T use their health insurance because they fear increased premiums. What’s the point then?
  1. This is NOT an insurance company and is NOT regulated by certain laws.
  2. Pray, as it takes faith to know this is what God wants you to do.
  3. Not all needs are publishable (such as dental) but the do put the “unpublishable” needs sometimes in the newsletter for those who wish to give extra.
  4. Do your research on medicine as it may or may not be covered with SM.
  5. Preventive care is NOT covered.

Health insurance (blue cross/shield)
Higher cost monthly
Low cost monthly
Deductibles range and affect monthly cost
First $300 per incident, responsibility of person/family
Unknown issues raise monthly costs
Clear when/how monthly costs rise
FINE PRINT what’s covered
Clear list of what’s publishable
Money motives based (shareholders)
Christian based
Government Regulated
Regulated by a board / Biblical principles
Choose needs to be covered
Not all needs publishable
Choose doctor/hospital depending on coverage.
Choose your doctor/hospital
Coverage limits
Some items not publishable
No one prays
People pray

Hope this helps you. Remember to contact me if you decide to go with SM.

All choices made regarding your health care must be made based on your own personal circumstances. Please do your due diligence and research before deciding as fees, rules, and many other factors change from system to system and person to person. I will take NO responsibility for any choices made regarding health care decisions.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Out of Bed At Last!

Today Mom was able to transfer from her bed to a wheelchair for the first time since her injury on September 27th. Grateful for the very helpful staff and therapists at Kachina Point, and to Jesus for His kindness to us.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

And They Think Humans Evolved?

So let me get this right.  People believe that this automaton could NOT have evolved, but the human who built it evolved from apes?

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Jesus Reigns in Room 214

Last Saturday was a hard day.

I woke up tired and crabby.  I had lost an hour's sleep worrying in the middle of the night, mostly about the logistics of Mom's transfer from the hospital to a nursing home. She didn't get to go to Page Springs Assisted Living -- the one we had originally hoped for; they couldn't accommodate her needs. 

The hospital was eager for us to leave, due to Medicare regulations that declared Mom ineligible for hospitalization.

Around 11 AM a friend prayed for me and thereafter the fog lifted and I finished the day with more energy than I started.  The things I worried about didn't happen. The transfer itself went efficiently.
Outside the main entrance of the hospital, on her way to the nursing home.

But a new heaviness came instead.  I guess I was hoping the nursing home would seem like something other than a nursing home.  But when we arrived, it was very much a nursing home, with bad smells and flaccid people staring vacantly and hurried staff. The hospital had been intimidating through its professionalism and sterility. But the nursing home was oppressive through its apathy and deathliness. It is one thing to visit strangers in one of these places. It’s another to leave your own mother in one.

Right after we arrived I got a message from a friend warning me that his mother had nearly died in the very facility Mom was entering.  I didn't tell Mom about this message -- she was scared enough already.  Leaving Dad to spend the night at the nursing home with her, I headed home with a heavy heart.

I sent out an email that evening asking friends to pray, and spent time in prayer for Mom myself.  On Sunday four dear Christian friends came to encourage and pray with Mom.

And, I don't know how to describe it, but the atmosphere in room 214 has changed.  The oppressive cloud of fear has departed.  Jesus reigns!  The staff have been friendly and helpful, and I don't think it can be just explained by differences between weekday and weekend staff.  

To bring you up to date on Mom's condition:
  • People here have been very considerate of her environmental allergies.  Most of them are already trained to not wear fragrances.  
  • She qualified for hospice and we cautiously signed up for it today.  It's obvious that she has been declining the last four years since the osteoporosis really kicked in.  Having her tibia snap while showering is pretty good evidence for how fragile her bones are becoming.  No one knows when another fracture will happen or whether she will walk again.  Through hospice, Medicare will provide a hospital bed, wheelchair, and other medical equipment for our home so that we can care for her there.
  • Meantime, she is getting some great help from a physical therapist and occupational therapist here at the nursing home.  Today the PT and I got her sitting up with her legs off the bed -- the first time in 9 days.  Thank You Jesus for people like Suzan and Alicia who have medical knowledge that works, and the "people skills" to impart it.
My sister-in-law and niece who live 100 miles away showed up for a surprise visit!
And here is how you can be praying for us:
  • Ultimately, we are here in room 214 to be Jesus' ambassadors in a dark place.  Pray that God will open our mouths and our visitors' ears and hearts so that powerful conversations about Jesus take place.
  • Pray that the three of us will get more sleep at night.
  • Pray for Mom's bowels to move more consistently so that she can eat more. 
  • Pray for wisdom for us know when to bring her home.  We want to get her the knowledge of the therapists here, but we also know after a certain point she will recover more quickly at home.
Lessons we're learning:
  • Jesus is more powerful than our worst fear.
  • Visiting suffering people is incredibly nourishing -- for both parties.  I can see why Jesus mentioned "I was sick, and you visited Me" right up there along with "I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat."
  • The medical system is really messed up but has some really great people.
  • If churches developed ways to provide even just basic medical care just to their members Christians could strengthen their relationships with each other, save a ton of money (which could be used to fund foreign missions instead), and wow the world with a medical system that runs on love, not legislation.  What would that look like?  Much prayerful brainstorming is needed, but here are a few ideas from the top of my head:
    • What if church members with large homes set aside a bedroom and made a bathroom wheelchair accessible for use by other members who needed non-hospital medical care?
    • What if church members with medical training held classes to share that training, at no charge, with other members?  What if they provided medical services to other members?
    • What if church members used their combined savings to partially self-insure each other?  Everyone could get high-deductible policies (or, if the congregation was large enough drop them altogether) if the members were willing to pledge their savings to cover each other in the event of catastrophe.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Update From Room 2010

The last few days have been some of the most strenuous our family has ever undergone. Caring for Mom was proving to be more than Dad and I could do on our own. 

Yesterday Mom was taken by private ambulance from our home to the bone doctor. He said she should not have been released from the ER last Friday and so last night she was admitted into the hospital. 
the view from Mom's hospital window

A dear friend Cindy Witt spent from 10 pm last night to 2 pm today here at the hospital with Mom so that dad and I could rest and regroup. Cindy worked tirelessly to care for mom and interface with the many people who came in to her room during those 16 hours. 

When we arrived at the hospital a Christian from Senegal was in Mom's room praying for her. 

As odd as it may seem the hospital is struggling to find Medicare proof reason for Mom to stay here. Just having terrible osteoporosis and a broken leg isn't enough. She will probably be released on Saturday. 

The cast will probably be put on her leg on Friday. The bone doctor is a godsend. He is also reading More Than a Carpenter right now so keep him in your prayers. 

All of the medical staff here seem to be kind and well intentioned. But some are very competent while others are frighteningly not. The good ones are refreshing lights in a place like this. 
We are hiring a woman to stay with Mom in the hospital from 10 pm to 10 am. This will allow Dad and I to get a good night's rest and keep up with things at home.
A big thing to pray about. From what we have learned it sounds like the best place for mom to go when she is discharged is Page Springs Assisted Living. It is run by Christians who are friends of friends and they have a small group home which can give individualized care while also having two caregivers on duty at all times. (Other small group homes have only one.). The question is whether they are willing and able to care for someone with Mom's degree of needs. A person from PSAL will come tomorrow to the hospital to meet Mom and assess whether PSAL is a good fit for her. We hope that it is. She is not strong enough for a rehab facility. And with the hospital's strong push to get her moved out we don't have much time to figure it out. 

Mom's environmental allergies have bothered her here due to fragrances she is exposed to and she is having trouble eating enough. Having a bowel movement is the hardest, scariest and most painful part of the day. (Forget about building a better mousetrap and see if you can find a better way than a fracture pan to relieve yourself when all your bones are frail.) Pray also that they will be able to get the X-rays they need with a minimum of trauma. Moving her off her hospital bed is excruciating to her.
The long term picture does not look too rosy. Will Mom ever be able to walk again? There are a lot of things we don't know yet. 

What we do know is how profoundly grateful we are to you for the outpouring of love and prayers and concern we have experienced from you. Although I have not had time to respond to all of you personally please know that every one of your visits, notes, phone calls, emails or Facebook likes is seen and encouraging. It is truly amazing to find out how many people Jesus has put around us who care for us far more than we deserve. 

Also pray that we will have power to evangelize. It is harder for me than I expected. The natural inclination for me is to turn inward and forget about trying to minister Jesus to anyone other than myself. The hospital seems to be an amazing mission field. Many of the hospital doctors seem to be from other countries. One today was from Syria.