Monday, July 23, 2007

Hotty McMelterton

It's really HOT in Winnipeg. Humidity hot. Steamy hot. It doesn't let up at night hot. Lay a cold, wet rag on your belly while you sleep hot. I told you too much didn't I?

But being here is great. After a long absence, I'm teaching at a YWAM Mission Adventures program. It's good stuff. There is a team here from my former hometown of Kitchener, Ontario (from Kitchener Gospel Temple) and another team from Saskatchewan. They're cool and receptive and seems like, ready to learn.

The theme this year is "Lazarus, wake up dead man!" We talked tonight about the fears that hold us back from being who we were made to be. The things that cause us to put up false selves because we're afraid of...whatever...the death of our selves, our cool, our friendships, the way people view us, etc.

Pray for us this week, that God would minister to this group and the thousands of teens all over the world going through Mission Adventure programs. That Jesus would help us to tear away the grave clothes that bind us from moving freely as he intended us.

After this few days of training, the kids will hit the streets here and bless this city with the love of God. This is a model for our spend time with God in the secret place, to let him pull the world's junk off of us, set us free and send us into a dying world that needs him. It's what I want to do for the rest of my life.

And did I mention it's really hot here? Cause it is. Hot. Expletive hot. hot.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Books, glorious books!

Alrighty, I know I haven't posted in a long while. Thanks for all the encouraging emails wondering if I've been ship wreaked or eaten by hungry lions. I have not. I must say that I have not been too inspired to write or do much online at all really. While recently away in Kentucky (yes, I went back...some "all the sudden" stuff with my Dad) I just started reading books...a lot.

I love books and I love reading. It's a way for me to be alone while not being alone. I'm one of those people that can read in a noisy, distracting environment. A book can suck me into it's world and I'm gone. Amie hates it. But I gotta have something to do while she watches "Scott Baio is 45 and Single"...ok...I watched that one with her. But otherwise...

So I've been reading so much, I haven't really taken the time to do this. I liked all the books I read and I shall now recommend them to you. Feel free to post your own recommendations in the comments below. Perhaps I could pick up one of your favs soon and we could talk about it and junk.

"The Black Rood" by Steven R. Lawhead

It's been hard to get people into Lawhead. Several attempts to give these books to friends have fallen to the ground. I have loved most of the things I have read by him and this book is the 2nd in a trilogy called "The Celtic Crusades". It's good stuff! But a good entry level Lawhead book is "Byzantium". It's good and only one book...not three. History and fantasy woven together beautifully.

"A Long Way Gone" by Ishmael Beah

Whoa. This book is intense. I picked it up at a Starbucks of all places. They donated a dollar a book I think to help the people helping child soldiers and this book is a chronicle of a boy soldier (written by the boy) from Sierre Leone. It a fast read and quite heart breaking. I couldn't believe the things this kid experienced and then the realization that it's happening thousands of times over in war torn parts of the world. If you're feeling sorry for yourself and your current situation, this is a great cure. It's a great story to give one perspective. And this kid made it out of the unfathomable with dignity and grace. His story humbled me.

"To Own A Dragon" by Donald Miller

I've yet to read "Blue Like Jazz". And I have read "Through Painted Deserts" but I got a copy when it was called "Prayer and the Art of Volkswagen maintainance. I guess he's added a bit more to that story for the re-release. I don't know why but I usually avoid the "all the rage" books. It's dumb, I know, cause if I just get around to reading some of these things, I usually find out that they are popular for a reason. Heck, I even liked "The Prayer of Jabez"!

We're reading this with our youth guys as a discussion starter and I really loved it. The by line is "reflections on growing up without a Father". His honest, humorous and easy style makes it a joy to read. I even laughed out loud a couple of times. I would give this book to every guy and say..."This is the man you want to be" and I would give one to every girl and say, "Hold out for a man like this". It's good advise for the fathered and fatherless alike.

"Orthodoxy" by G.K. Chesterton

I know I said "whoa" before in this entry but...WHOA! I got this for my plane ride home from Kentucky following C.S. Lewis' advise to read an old book after you've read a new book to balance out your perspective. With "Orthodoxy" after Donald Miller it's like saying, "Make sure you eat a 72 oz steak after you eat that green bean. You know, to balance yourself out."

His style is at once heady, philosophical, rambling and wistful. It's quite the ride. It's a "read the paragraph over a few times" book. It's really his explanation to colleagues as to why he has decided to be a Christian. If Lewis is the NIV, Chesterton is the KJV. This was fun and good exercise for my brain. It brought tears to my eyes a few times and the whole lot was worth reading to get to the last sentence.

And currently underway...

"Looking For God in Harry Potter" by John Granger

I know, I know. I must say along with my good friend Aaron who loaned it to me that I never buy these kinds of books. I'm more in line with the "just let a story be a story" camp. But this Christian, home schooling, English literature teacher's enthusiasm for Harry is quite contagious. He provides keys for wary parents to unlock some of the beautiful symbolism in the series and is upfront, intelligent, educational, a bit nerdy in his facination and having fun all the way. What's cool is that he admits to banishing Harry from his house when he first heard about the books and then, after reading the first one (through the night) he could not believe this wonderful story had almost passed him by.

I'm a Potter fan and so this is a fun read. It's a good through and through read but also, a good skimmer. For any squeemish parents out there, the introduction and the first chapter I'd highly recommend, "Magic, Fantasy and the Christian Worldview". Even if you don't agree, it's good stuff to chew on.

And you can probably guess what the next book will be after all that...

I'll try to be better so you don't get these horrid long entries. Blog you later!