Read This: Kidnapped by the Taliban

On December 5, 2012, American medical doctor Dilip Joseph and two colleagues are driving back to Kabul, Afghanistan, after serving villagers that morning at a rural clinic. Suddenly a man waving an AK-47 blocks their path. More armed men jump out of hiding. For Dilip, it is the beginning of a nightmare—he’s being kidnapped by the Taliban.

So begins the description on the back of a very exciting book—a true story describing the events that forever changed the lives of Dr. Joseph and his companions.

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What’s Your Thing?

Recently, a friend of mine expressed his frustration about all the problems in the world, and his inability to really solve any of them. I felt his pain. We live in the “outrage” decade. Just read the comments after pretty much any news story, and you’ll see what I mean. Everyone is offended about everything. In many instances, that outrage is warranted; the world is full of injustice. This is nothing new.

Perhaps we’re more aware of it all in an age of instant communication, but people have always been mean and selfish, violent and greedy. Thankfully, most of us manage to live as civilized adults—but there are plenty of exceptions. Nature tosses in her share as well, with hurricanes, earthquakes, and other natural disasters. And then there’s politics. Right.

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How to Pray for 31 Days

Untitled-1Can you spare a little time to pray? Can you dedicate the next 31 days to seeing God be glorified all around the world, in every nation, among every people? This 31 day prayer guide will tell you everything you need to know to pray effectively for just that.

When Jesus told his disciples to go make more disciples (you can read his Great Commission in Matthew Matthew 28:16-20), He told them to go to every nation. The world translated nation is actually ethne, from which we get the word ethnic. I like the Wycliffe translation: “Therefore go ye, and teach all folks…” We call them people groups—a group of people with the same cultural identity, separated from other groups with different cultural identities because of their differences—languages, customs, socio-economic status, caste, or even a physical or political barrier such as a mountain range or closed border. Continue reading

Cool Christianity

I recently read an article titled “Meet the Woke Young People Trying to Make Christianity Cool Again.” (I’m a bit confused by the “woke” in there, but whatever.) The article bemoaned the gap between public opinion and the opinions of evangelical Christians. To quote: “It doesn’t help that Christian communities can be out of step with the rest of the country when it comes to certain issues.” This assumes that being cool is a good thing.

Furthermore, the authors insist that Christians are the ones who need to change. In other words, we need to bring the ignorant, regressive Christians into line with the majority of Americans. In our efforts to be cool, we should embrace the world’s values. That would make Christianity “cool.” Continue reading

A Better Book for Understanding Islam

seeking allah finding jesusDylan was right. “The times they are a changin’.” One change is that Muslims now make up about 1% of the US population—about 3.3 million people. That number is expected to double by 2050. More and more, our neighbors and coworkers, will be Muslims. Will they be our friends as well? What are we doing to reach out to this growing minority?

In an effort to better understand a Muslim worldview, I’ve been reading a series of books on Islam.  Ignorance breeds fear and misunderstanding. I recently wrote about one book, Wholly Different, by Nonie Darwish, that I found informative but largely lacking in love and compassion. Well, the book I just finished is filled with love and compassion. If I had to recommend one book on the subject, this would be it! And it’s not just me—Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus won the Christian Book Award for both “Best New Author” and “Best Non-Fiction” of 2015. Continue reading

A Challenging Read: Wholly Different

Wholly-Different-e1488317368277I debated a long time about this book review. Should I write it? Should I post it?

The book has issues. The author often repeats herself, making the book much longer than necessary. The pain and anger that permeated her early life can be seen in her forceful and unapologetic approach. Her conclusions are certainly not politically correct. Many who read this book will be upset by her claims, and I hate making people upset. Yet, author Nonie Darwish presents both information I was ignorant of, and a viewpoint that I had not seen before. I think it’s important that others hear these facts and consider them carefully. Actually, I think it’s very important.

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Slaves to Bricks

So they put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor…. But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread; so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites and worked them ruthlessly. They made their lives bitter with harsh labor in brick and mortar and with all kinds of work in the fields; in all their harsh labor the Egyptians worked them ruthlessly. (Exodus 1:11-14)

I had no idea.

It’s the dry season in India. Temperatures soar well over 100° F. Low caste men, women, small children workers sit in the hot sun making bricks by hand., scooping up wet clay with rough, chapped hands, slapping it into rectangular molds, hauling them to the kiln, stacking them on pallets. They may earn as much as $1.50 for a twelve hour day. Others are paid a pittance to keep the kiln fires burning, working two six-hour shifts in every 24 hours, seven days a week, six months of the year. Continue reading