Monday, June 23, 2014

Growing up in between Van rides

A week ago yesterday I left Clearfield in a 15 passenger van; to be fair there were some other people in the van too, 12 of them to be exact: one other adult and 11 tweens and teens. It was a weighty responsibility to say the least. But at least I can now  imagine what it might be like to travel with the Duggar family, at least part of the family.
Friday afternoon, after several hours in that same van, the group returned to Clearfield, tired and in need of showers, but safe. Mission accomplished. Yesterday morning, 5 of the youth joined me on the proscenium at Ogden First Baptist and talked about their experience, and amazingly enough the main topic of conversation was not the van ride: crowded together with duffle bags, suitcases, and sleeping bags under, over and in between.
Yeah, some other things happened in between Sunday morning, and Friday afternoon – some things that might have caused our young friends to grow a little in their faith and some things that definitely had some impact on other people.
This wasn't a road trip. We went to serve like Jesus served and to love like Jesus loved, and along the way we found some very appreciative people, and a few more that were not quite as willing to show their appreciation. We had to deal with hunger, hurt, pain, and all the things that go with that negativity. We met kids who by the age of 8 were basically caring for themselves; some children who missed a lot of meals and other who had suffered greatly and were afraid to trust.
And through it all there was our own angst and teenage drama.
There was excitement, and there was fun. There were moments when we wondered why, and moments when we knew exactly why.
And if you ask if we would do it again, well, the answer changes by the minute. Yes! No. Maybe?
But it’s over for this year, or is it?  It certainly doesn't have to be. There are hungry and hurting people in this city too, and just like the Jews in the time of Jeremiah, we should be looking at how we can
“…seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you                               into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper."
 (Jer 29:7, NIV)

And maybe a few years from now instead of having to travel in a van to love like Jesus loved and serve like Jesus served, one of our servant-hearted youth will have figured out a way for us to love and serve right here at home. 

But I do have to admit that the van ride was fun, and who would want to pass up on a week of cold showers and sleeping on the floor?

Thanks YouthWorks for putting Meg, Joy, Trevor and Ben in place at Cortez, CO to guide us on our journey.

Monday, June 9, 2014


God likes it when His people pray boldly, and as Naeem Fazal found out, sometimes those bold prayers get answered in ways that we might not expect. Ex-Muslim: How One Daring Prayer to Jesus Changed a Life Forever (Thomas Nelson, 2014) is the story of how Fazal came to pray that prayer, the unexpected answer, and what happened next.
            Fazal, was born and raised a Muslim in Kuwait. He ended up in North Carolina, and experienced a change that resulted in him leaving his Muslim faith in favor of Christianity. Not only did he become a Christian, but he has become a church-planting pastor.
Ex-Muslim is his story, and it is a fascinating story, a story which grasps the tensions inherent in a conversion story of this type.  I was hooked from the beginning. The story is fascinating, it’s written by a master story-teller, the tension between the old and the new, between the Muslim faith of his childhood, and the Christian faith that he now claims as his own is compelling. The evidence of Jesus in his life can’t be denied.
As an autobiography, this book makes for a great read. As an account of how God, how Jesus, how the Holy Spirit works in the lives of non-believers this is a ‘must-read’ book. But beyond that, this is a not so subtle reminder that Jesus’ Great Commission is still as applicable today as it was when He gave it to the Apostles 2000 years ago (Matt 28:19-20).  Someone shared the gospel with this militantly anti-Christian, and at the proper time, Fazal accepted the good news. But he didn't stop there. His life since has been one of proclaiming Jesus.
With whom have YOU shared the gospel recently?
I received a copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review. 


"a Short Walk" falls short

Scott Hubbart’s story has the elements needed for a great book. There’s travel, adventure, excitement, tension, faith, but somehow the book, “A Short Walk to the Edge of Life: How My Simple Adventure Became a Dance with Death – and Taught Me What Really Matters” (WaterBrook Press, 2014) falls short.
            To be fair, I had my reservations about reviewing this book, but from the available choices, it seemed like the one that I would most enjoy reading. In retrospect, I wish I had waited for the movie. The scenery, the adventure, the touching moments might have come across better on the screen, than on the written page.
            Long story short, the author is in Peru, and decides to do some exploring of his own after hearing stories about his wife’s grandfather. While in the Air Force he’s learned to trust the instruments, but two compasses and expert map reading skills can’t keep him on the route that he should be following. He gets lost, spends several days wandering around in the wilderness, and before his is rescued realizes that some of the things that he may have taken for granted, really do matter.
            This book will appeal to some people, but unfortunately I’m not one of them. Again, all the elements for a great book are in place, but the transition to the written page just didn't work for me.

There is information about the book at:

 "I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review."