Wednesday, May 27, 2015

VOM's "Hearts of Fire" Free!

Several years ago, the Voice of the Martyrs published Hearts of Fire, a book profiling 8 modern-day women who have suffered for Jesus.  Today, I noticed that they are giving the printed version of the book away for free, along with a free subscription to their monthly newsletter.  To get your copy, go here.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Catching Christian Draft-Dodgers

What would convince you to move overseas as a missionary?  What would get you to pray, "Send me, I'll go"?

If you are a Christian, you have already been drafted to participate in the greatest war in world history.  It is a war won with Bibles, not bullets, and its aim is to turn enemies into brothers, not corpses.  But it is a war that requires real sacrifice and real suffering.

Sadly, many people wearing the Christian uniform are content to stay in the mess hall, the commissary, or the barracks.  Those who do fight, usually choose to fight where our forces are already heavily concentrated.  Meanwhile, the most important battle lines are being advanced by a few courageous but heavily outnumbered and often ill-equipped men and women. 

I recently finished reading a stirring book aimed at correcting this tragedy.  Jake Taube's Send Me, I'll Go aims to uncover and explode every excuse that Christian draft-dodgers offer.  I warn you: this book may cost you a lot.

He also seeks to destroy false ideas about what missions is.  My guess is that while missions recruiters will love this book, some missions strategists will not, because it attacks a number of their slick techniques currently in vogue.  If you are hoping that you can just teach English or feed hungry people instead of actually speaking the gospel to them, Taube makes it clear that in this war, Christians have no "Peace Corp" alternative to the Great Commission.

I don't mark up many books as heavily as I did this one.  I underlined frequently and wrote a number of marginal notes.  I am still praying through what the implications of the book look like for my own life.  Taube does not answer all the questions that he raises, and you may not agree with all of the answers that he does give.  But the book stirs you to think outside your box.  It disturbs your equilibrium. 

However, the book motivates with joy rooted in the gospel, not with guilt.  Jake makes the Great Commission so compellingly beautiful that by the end of the book you are left feeling, "Why would I ever want to do anything else with my life?"  You will think more of the rewards to be gained in heaven than of the treasure to be lost on earth.  Think of this book as the Christian version of Henry V's Crispin Day speech.

You can read an excerpt from the book here.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

May Her Reward Be Great

May Her Reward Be Great

May her reward be great
Who once had sought to rate
But gave up all in trade to gain
Philippians 3:8.

May her reward be great
Who shunned the world’s sweet bait
And even saw the lie in fruit
Which other Christians ate.

May her reward be great
Who through the narrow gate
Did press and plead and pray for souls
And changed eternal fate.

May her reward be great
Who smell of sin did hate
And rang the anti-siren bell
To see her men sail straight.

May her reward be great
Who often stayed up late
With words for weary wanderers
Reflecting Jesus’ trait.

May her reward be great
Who trimmed her ship of freight
To sail more speedy to the prize
Which waits at heaven’s gate.

May her reward be great
Who on that joyous date
With all earth’s pains forever past
Finds in the Lamb her mate.

Mother’s Day, 2015

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Hiding Place for Kids

One of my favorite books is Corrie ten Boom's The Hiding Place.  Part of this is because of John and Elizabeth Sherrill's exceptional writing skills.  But mainly because of it is a faith-stretching true account of a Christian family that shone for Jesus amidst the darkness of Nazi Germany's occupation of Holland.  It is really an unforgettable story. 

So when I saw that Chosen Books had released a "Young Reader's Edition" of The Hiding Place I was worried.  What were they doing, tampering with such a classic story?  Was this just an attempt to make some money by tweaking a beloved book?

Chosen Books was kind enough to send me a free copy for an unbiased review on my blog.  To my joy, this book has not mangled the beauty of the original.  Much of the book is identical to the adult version.  Some of the secondary stories (such as her mother's stroke) have been removed to make the book shorter.  And some of the harsher details of Corrie's life have been omitted, for example the foul bedpans and flying bandages in the camp "hospital" just before her release.  But thankfully while adapting to the emotional capacities of youth, it still presents the reality and brutality of the suffering she experienced: the fleas, the early morning roll calls, the brutal guards, the cold, the endless physical labor are all still there.  It also includes beautiful line art sketches (in a 50's style) to illustrate the book.

I highly recommend this version of The Hiding Place, and hope that it will whet young appetites to read the full version when they are older.