Sunday, November 12, 2017

trust and be trustworthy

There is a certain something required to make any relationship work. We all know that; sometimes we know what it is that’s missing, but don’t know how to get there, and sometimes we don’t even know what it is that’s lacking.

Mac Richard, in his book The Trust Protocol: The Key to Building Stronger Families, Teams and Businesses (Baker Books, 2017) suggests that the key ingredient is trust.  Without trust, we stumble through the trials of life, often finding that it’s easier to bail than it is to stay and work on the issues that are causing the problems in the first place.

Mac manages to incorporate any number of personal experiences, ranging from football, to marriage, to parenting, to church, and even a few interviews with some senior military officers. And in doing so he makes a strong case for being willing to do what it takes to earn that trust that all of us are so desperately seeking, and so passionately want others to see in us.

As someone who has struggled with this issue in the past, I think that this book has the potential to awaken an awareness in us: that we have to be trustworthy in all our relationships; and that if we’re not willing to demand that we can trust others than sometimes we might just have to settle for less that we deserve.

I received a copy of this book from BakerBooks in exchange for my review.


Saturday, November 11, 2017

The Man Who Invented Christmas opens in theaters Nov 22

Christmas is just a few weeks away.... (I know some of you are already counting down the days), and for many families, reading or watching A Christmas Carol is a favorite tradition.  This year you can add to the fun by planning on making time to watch "The Man Who Invented Christmas" starring Dan Stevens, Jonathan Pryce and Christopher Plummer. 

The Man Who Invented Christmas tells the magical journey that led to the creation of Ebeneezer Scrooge (Christopher Plummer), Tiny Tim and other classic characters from A Christmas Carol. Directed by Bharat Nalluri (Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day), the film shows how Charles Dickens (Dan Stevens) mixed real life inspirations with his vivid imagination to conjure up unforgettable characters and a timeless tale, forever changing the holiday season into the celebration we know today.

In Theaters on Nov 22nd-just in time for the holidays

We all know the story of Tiny Tim and Ebenezer Scrooge, but other than his knack for taking life as he saw it in London, we know little of how Charles Dickens came up with his classic literature. All right, let's be real, after watching this movie, due in theaters on Nov 22nd, we still won't know for sure; but this is a whimsical idea of how it might have happened. Watch as Dickens 'meets' the characters that he brings to life in the pages of the novel that has brought so much joy to so many people since it was written in 1843.

It's brought joy, and inspired people to become the new and improved Mr. Scrooge.  For the last 8 years, the 6th graders at a local Jr High read A Christmas Carol each year, and then do a Tiny Tim project on the last day of school before Christmas break.  For most of those years they've collected socks and hygiene items which are donated to the local Rescue Mission.   The Ogden Rescue Mission is a non-profit organization that serves the least of the least in our community. Each evening the offer supper and a bed for transient guests, they provide turkeys or hams for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Last week they had a coat giveaway. And they have a residential, Christ based recovery program.  

I’ve been privileged to volunteer with the Ogden Rescue Mission for the past 15 years, chapel services, bible studies, and encouraging 6th graders to step up and give a gift of dignity. There are always needs, plumbing, roofing, food for guests and participants in the residential treatment program. The rescue mission provides such an incredible service for the community, but receives no government funding.  Maybe this year, you can make a difference by supporting the Ogden Rescue Mission.

Where did Dickens get his inspiration? Why did he write this book? We may never know, but thanks to a writer from 175 years ago, homeless people today are a little better off than they might otherwise have been.  And a special giveaway of some Christmas movies, thanks to my friends at Grace Hill Media.

Watch the trailer here

Friday, November 10, 2017

Mi Casa Uptown: sermon and Story

Everybody loves to hear a story, probably because we all have a story. Or stories. Family, community, jobs, military service, divine encounters. We especially like stories when they are well told, and we haven’t already heard them a myriad of time. Good preaching incorporates good stories; and good stories can certainly be used to incorporate preaching. So I’m hard pressed to decide if Pastor/Storyteller Rich Pérez is preaching or telling a story in his book Mi Casa Uptpwn, (B&H Publishing, 2017).

                This is a story about growing up as an immigrant family from the Dominican Republic settling in New York.  It’s a story about family and community. It’s a sermon about love.
                Pérez loves his family, and his community, and that love comes through on every page of this engaging work. Somehow he manages to paint a picture of community and family and how they are intertwined, especially in immigrant communities. The barrio, the neighborhood where people settle because they have something in common with the other people who live there. And that commonality makes them stronger.
                Rich takes us to a day when we knew and talked to and with our neighbors, when the neighborhood bodega was the place to be (and the sense of loss when Big Box stores took over the Mom and Pop stores.
                And this book is also a reminder of grief, of loss, but more importantly hope.
                I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a review.