Saturday, July 19, 2014

Story Warren and Why the Ocean is Salty

I wrote a post for Story Warren sharing three short stories I made up for Katie.  Please check it out and poke around their website - they have some great resources for encouraging creativity in children.

Grace and Peace,

Friday, July 11, 2014

Worship and Missions

Yesterday, I returned home with my teammate Jeremy Smith and four Harding University interns from our survey trip.  Each year we take the students with us to look at a nearby people group and consider with them a potential site where a mission team could serve.  This year's trip was to visit the Mwani people who live along the coast.  We took a boat to the island of Ibo and saw what is happening among that predominantly Muslim people group.

On Sunday, we spent time in worship and prayer asking God to bless the Mwani people.  And as we sang together, I thought about the following quote, considering again the link between missions and worship.

"Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church.  Worship is.  Missions exists because worship doesn't.  Worship is ultimate, not missions, because God is ultimate, not man.  When this age is over, and the countless millions of the redeemed fall on their faces before the throne of God, missions will be no more.  It is a temporary necessity.  But worship abides forever.  Worship, therefore is the fuel and goal in missions." (John Piper, Let the Nations be Glad, p. 11)

A few years ago, the kids on our team and I studied the parables of the lost sheep, lost coin and lost son from Luke 15.  Together we wrote another verse for the Doxology and our group here in Montepuez has sung it often to remind us of what we're really here for.

And as we worshiped together on the island of Ibo last Sunday we sang the Doxology.  Later on an additional verse for it came to my mind.  It connected for me more clearly how the praise due the Lord of creation and his longing to rescue humanity leads us to praise God and join Him in his work of re-creation.  May we always hold tightly to the strong link that exists between missions and worship.

Grace and Peace,

(with additional verses by Alan Howell and Montepuez team kids)

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heav'nly host;
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost!

God loves to find lost people;
He looks for them everywhere;
And when He finds his children;
He throws a big party!

We'll go with God to every land;
And follow Him to farthest seas;
Till every tribe and tongue will sing;
Praise to our Lord - the Risen King!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

A few favorite books

A few weeks ago a friend asked me to come up with a list of my favorite books and this is what I came up with.  Hope you find a new favorite. Enjoy!



1.       The Divine Conspiracy - Dallas Willard

2.       The Secret Message of Jesus - Brian McLaren

3.       Surprised by Hope - N.T. Wright

4.       God of the Possible - Greg Boyd

5.       A Long Obedience in the Same Direction - Eugene Peterson

6.       Run with the Horses - Eugene Peterson

7.       Working the Angles - Eugene Peterson (best book on the practice of ministry)

8.       Desiring the Kingdom - James K. A. Smith

9.       Telling the Truth - Fredrick Buechner

10.   Keeping the Sabbath Wholly - Marva Dawn

Science Fiction

1.       Perelandra - C.S. Lewis

2.       The Sparrow - Mary Doria Russell

3.       Children of God - Mary Doria Russell

4.       The Left Hand of Darkness - Ursula LeGuin

5.       Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card

6.       Dune - Frank Hebert

7.       Out of the Silent Planet - C.S. Lewis


1.       The Brothers Karamazov - Dostoevsky

2.       A Thread of Grace - Mary Doria Russell

3.       Watership Down - Richard Adams

4.       The Idiot - Dostoevsky

Understanding the World around us

1.       The Social Animal - David Brooks

2.       Good to Great - Jim Collins

3.       David and Goliath - Malcolm Gladwell (all his books are great, but this is the best)

4.       How the Irish Saved Civilization - Thomas Cahill (the first in his terrific 'Hinges of History' series)

5.       Team of Rivals - Doris Kearns Goodwin

6.       Where Good Ideas Come From - Steven Johnson

7.       Emergence - Steven Johnson (His 'The Invention of Air' is more fun, but this one is more interesting)

8.       Home Economics - Wendell Berry

9.       The Big Short - Michael Lewis (interesting look at USA financial markets)

10.   Boomerang - Michael Lewis (interesting look at global financial markets)