Monday, March 02, 2015

Two Rows by the Sea

Terrorists from Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) recently beheaded 21 expatriate Egyptian Christians who were working in Libya. The viral video showed the row of terrorists in black and the innocent Christians in orange (designed to draw attention to the prisoners of Guantanamo Bay).

While the world reacted in horror, Egyptian Christians saw an opportunity – An opportunity to share Jesus. Within days they put together this simple, but powerful brochure (this is the English version).

It was a basic pamphlet. Four questions, five Bible passages, and this simple text:

"Two rows of men walked the shore
of the sea,

On a day when the world’s tears
would run free,

One a row of assassins, who
thought they did right,

The other of innocents, true sons
of the light,

One holding knives in hands held

The other with hands empty,
defenseless and tied,

One row of slits to conceal glaring
dead eyes,

The other with living eyes raised
to the skies,

One row stood steady, pall-bearers
of death,

The other knelt ready, welcoming
heaven’s breath,

One row spewed wretched,
contemptible threats,

The other spread God-given peace
and rest.

A Question... 
Who fears the other?

The row in orange, watching
paradise open?

Or the row in black, with minds
evil and broken?"

  So I ask “Who are the true victims?”

Friday, December 27, 2013

Falling Plates

Four minutes that could change your life forever....

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Tough Questions about Faith and Darwinian Evolution

Here's a great video produced by Living Waters ministry that asks tough questions about Darwinian Evolution to university professors and students. It's a bit long at 38 minutes but I HIGHLY recommend grabbing a cup of coffee, sitting back, and thinking through the questions asked and the answers given.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Atheist Church

If you’re an atheist what do you do on Sunday mornings? Sleep in? Relax? Picnic? How about go to church? While “atheist” and “church” may seem to go together about as well as oil and water, two atheist stand-up comics in London are trying to change that.

On the way to a stand-up comedy performance, Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans began talking to each other about their mutual enjoyment of ritual, music, church architecture and lack of belief in God. They knew they both wanted to do “something in a church, but without the God bit.”

After reading a significant number or articles and interviews I’d like to take the next few moments to look at what Jones and Evans have created and ask a few questions and make a few observations.

The Sunday Assembly

Sanderson, who plays the role of pastor of the church (and ironically looks a bit like Jesus probably would have with his long hair and beard), is a stand-up comic and former salesman. He doesn’t view himself as a charismatic preacher rather “I just get very excited about things and want to share that with people.” (But isn’t that exactly what a charismatic pastor would say about themselves?) Nevertheless, Sanderson claims the death of his mother greatly influenced his own spiritual journey. (On a side note, I think he is more right about this than he realizes. I’ll have much more to say about this topic in a future post.)

In January 2013 Jones and Evans opened the doors to The Sunday Assembly. They were expecting 20 people and 200 showed up. Soon they had 300, then standing room only, then overflow, then streaming via the web, and now, less than two months later, there is talk of expanding into neighboring countries.

The audience, which is mostly young, white and middle class, crams together in an old church building where they listen to sermons (which range from science lectures to reading from Alice in Wonderland), pray (it’s formally called “silent time”), have fellowship, share food, sing songs, and collect an offering. Furthermore, they are currently seeking the UK equivalent of 501c3 status (non-profit, charitable organization) so that they can become better organized.

As I read more and more about the structure and format, I realized that other than absolutely no mention of God, it would be hard for a visitor to differentiate The Sunday Assembly from a normal church in terms of flow of the service.

While Jones and Evans claim that they don’t put down other religions at their services, it’s hard to support those claims with sermon titles such as “Everyone will die and there is no afterlife” and song titles like Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” or “Don’t look back in anger.” In fact, to be honest, while watching the videos about the church and reading the sermon and song titles I got the feeling that they are more hurt and angry and are trying to channel those emotions into something that makes sense to them, more than they are trying to truly be church.

3 Questions

Giving serious thought to some of the claims made by Jones and Evans I have come up with a few questions and observations that merit further discussion. The official purpose statement of The Sunday Assembly is “Live Better, Help Often, Wonder More.” My question is How and Why? What does it mean to live better? Better than what? Aren’t you already living better than the 200,000 men, women and children that die every week in India due to malnutrition and treatable diseases? You live in a very wealthy and expensive first world country with access to some of the best health care and sanitary conditions in human history. What is it you want better? An even better question than that is Why? Why should I help often? What is the purpose of that? Why is that a good thing to do? Both of these questions are very important, because outside of an objective moral standard set by God, you cannot say that helping others is good or that dying in poverty is bad. You can say “I would personally choose to help someone” or “I would prefer not to be in poverty” but you cannot say “It is good for you to help someone.” Goodness, outside of God, cannot and does not exist. God, by definition, is the only being capable of setting that standard. (Volumes of books have been written about this subject so I cannot, in the space of a paragraph, give a full explanation of my argument here.)

Jones and Evans claim that they “celebrate life.” My question is “How can you celebrate something that happened entirely by random chance?” Or even better, “Why should you?” And “Why is life a worthier cause to celebrate than death?”  If there was no intentionality or causal factor to our existence, what is worthy of celebration? That you lasted one more day before the lights went out in a world full of tragedy, violence and pain where children are abused and humans trafficked the same way you buy milk or bread at the store? If there is no God, than those things are equally as virtuous as honesty, kindness and love. Even serial killer Jeffery Dahmer saw the consequences of an atheistic worldview.

My last question deals more with the structure and content of The Sunday Assembly. If fellowship is truly your goal, then why not come together at a community center and share a meal together. Why make your event virtually identical to the antithesis of what you believe in? Many atheists I’ve talked to told me they used to believe in God, but didn’t like what they saw in the church. Whether that be hypocrisy, distrust of well known clergy, churches always asking for money or a number of other issues. I’ve experienced some of those things as well in my own story. The Sunday Assembly however, collects an offering, has a celebrity as their pastor, soon will be a legally recognized organization and meets in a church building, but few seem to have a problem with that. Furthermore, why is getting up on Sunday morning and going to a building that historically represents what you are completely opposed to, to listen to depressing sermons that speak of no afterlife and no hope to sing songs openly mocking others, a worthy endeavor? If you’re truly seeking community, is that where you find it?

3 Wake up Calls for Christians

 In my research about what The Sunday Assembly truly is and isn’t, I realized there are several implications for the church today.

First, one of the articles states “A gathering of nonbelievers in an old deconsecrated church in North London has apparently discovered that once you’re free of all that drab God mumbo jumbo, church can be a blast.” Why is the assumption that church is a drag? Why is it not enjoyable now? Followers of Jesus know the only cure for the most deadly disease in the history of civilization (sin has a 100% mortality rate), shouldn’t sharing that with others be cause for joy and celebration. When did our houses of worship turn to drab and boring? Why are they perceived that way? How can we change it back?

Second, Evans says “The idea is about keeping a center of community for those who are losing their religious faith.” I find it very interesting that she says “losing” and not “lost.” These are disenfranchised people. Rather than embracing them we’ve (the church) ended up pushing them away. At another point in one of the articles it states “Many attendees wouldn’t actively identify themselves as atheists, yet have decided to abandon their Christian faith.” Reading firsthand accounts from those that enthusiastically attend The Sunday Assembly, I wonder if their problem is really with God or, more likely, with the church? Is it any wonder that while The Sunday Assembly has over 300 people attending their service, the St. Paul’s church next door has only 30?

Third, perhaps The Sunday Assembly attendee Gintare Karalyte says it best when she says “I think people need that sense of connectedness because everyone is so singular right now, and to be part of something, and to feel like you are part of something that’s what people are craving in the world.” I couldn’t agree with her more. People are longing to be part of something. Even a cursory reading of Acts 2:42-47 or Hebrews 10:24-25 shows that a huge part of the purpose of the church is fellowship. A place where people belong, are welcomed and loved.

I sincerely hope that those attending the atheist church will soon see it for what it truly is; empty, depressing, and providing all the wrong answers because if there is truly is no God, than science lectures, Alice in Wonderland, and songs by Queen is as good as it will ever get until the lights go out for good.

All quotes were taking from the following articles:


Thursday, February 28, 2013

Long Time No See

Soooo it's been a while since I last updated this site. That's my bad. Life has been pretty hectic. I just wanted to say that I'm still here, the site is still active and I hope to begin posting regularly again very soon.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Just One Question....

I guarantee that watching this will be the most meaningful, thought provoking and impacting 33 minutes you'll spend all week......

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Oprah Winfrey and the One World Church

I came across this video today that does a great job of explaining exactly what Oprah Winfrey believes about God via her own words and the words of her spiritual leader.

Considering how many millions of followers she has, it is worth taking five minutes to develop a good understanding of her spiritual beliefs so you will know the truth next time her name comes up at the water cooler.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Men Who've Had Abortions

When one thinks about abortion and its victims, the first thought that comes to mind is, of course, the killing of an innocent human being. After that perhaps thought is given to the millions of women who have spent every day since having their abortion, regretting the decision they made (See Here). But what about the father? Are men affected by the decision of a woman to have an abortion? Here is a look at that very question.

The following was written by Albert Mohler, President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. It appeared on his blog on January 8, 2008.

A new voice is emerging in the abortion debate, and this voice is a powerful witness to the tragedy of killing the unborn. This voice is the voice of the fathers of abortion.

"We had abortions. . . . I've had abortions," says Mark B. Morrow, a Christian counselor and participant in arranging four abortions. Morrow was speaking to a gathering of men who have become antiabortion activists through reflection on their own experiences and their own lost children.

Stephanie Simon of The Los Angeles Times provides a report on this new movement in "Changing Abortion's Pronoun," published in the January 7, 2008 edition of the paper. Here is her introduction to the story:

Jason Baier talks often to the little boy he calls Jamie. He imagines this boy -- his son -- with blond hair and green eyes, chubby cheeks, a sweet smile. But he'll never know for sure. His fiancee's sister told him about the abortion after it was over. Baier remembers that he cried. The next weeks and months go black. He knows he drank far too much. He and his fiancee fought until they broke up. "I hated the world," he said. Baier, 36, still longs for the child who might have been, with an intensity that bewilders him: "How can I miss something I never even held?"

That question haunts many men, as Simon's report makes clear. These men are raising their voices against abortion and the Culture of Death, and they call themselves "post-abortive men." As Simon explains, "Abortion is usually portrayed as a woman's issue: her body, her choice, her relief or her regret. This new movement -- both political and deeply personal in nature -- contends that the pronoun is all wrong."

The concept of "post-abortion syndrome" has gained currency in recent years as women who have experienced abortions speak of their trauma and pain. As the paper's report acknowledges, these reports of post-abortion pain and deep distress were cited in the U.S. Supreme Court's decision allowing the government to ban partial-birth abortions.

The focus on the voices of men is new, but it reveals again that abortion takes a toll on all concerned, including those who are the fathers of aborted babies. The stories vary with the individuals involved. Some of these "post-abortive men" demanded and facilitated the abortion, others never knew of the pregnancy until it was too late.

More from Mark Morrow:

Morrow, the counselor, described his regret as sneaking up on him in midlife -- more than a decade after he impregnated three girlfriends (one of them twice) in quick succession in the late 1980s. All four pregnancies ended in abortion. Years later, when his wife told him she was pregnant, "I suddenly realized that I had four dead children," said Morrow, 47, who lives near Erie, Pa. "I hadn't given it a thought. Now it all came crashing down on me -- look what you've done." A few months ago, Morrow reached out to the ex-girlfriend who aborted twice. They met and prayed together, seeking peace. After they parted, she spilled her anger in a letter: "That long day we sat in that God-forsaken clinic, I hoped every moment that you would stand up and say, 'We can't do this'. . . but you didn't."

"Look what you've done." Those words come with a haunting sense of reality, guilt, and grief. These voices are also causing concern among abortion rights advocates. As Simon reports:

Abortion rights supporters watch this latest mobilization warily: If anecdotes from grieving women can move the Supreme Court, what will testimony about men's pain accomplish? "They can potentially shift the entire debate," said Marjorie Signer of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, an interfaith group that supports abortion rights.

We can only respond with the hope that she is right. While the primary focus of the pro-life movement should be on the unborn baby who deserves to be born, a focus on the effects of abortion on both the women and the men involved holds the potential of reaching more minds and hearts.

A new voice is being heard in the abortion debate -- and it's about time.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Case for the Real Jesus by Lee Strobel

I’m a really big fan of The Case for Christ and The Case for Faith by Lee Strobel, so when Zondervan asked me to check out Lee’s newest book, The Case for the Real Jesus, I happily accepted.

This book follows the same format as the other books in the series in that Strobel begins each chapter with a story from his life as an investigative reporter, poses his question, and then interviews an expert in order to seek out an answer.

From the recent production of The Da Vinci Code to Islam’s denial of Jesus’ resurrection, the constant bombardment of attacks on the historical Jesus is a reality in American culture today.

In The Case for the Real Jesus, Strobel addresses six of the most common assertions against Jesus. Those questions are:

1. Scholars Are Uncovering a Radically Different Jesus in Ancient Documents Just as credible as the Four Gospels.
• This chapter deals with issues such as the Gnostic gospels, the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Judas, The Gospel of Mary, and many others.

2. The Bible’s Portrait of Jesus Can’t Be Trusted Because the Church Tampered with the Text.
• This chapter deals with areas of textual criticism, has the Bible been changed, alleged contradictions and errors.

3. New Explanations Have Refuted Jesus’ Resurrection.
• In this chapter, Michael Licona presents a 5 point argument defending the resurrection.

4. The Cross-Examination.
• Lee attempts to counter Licona’s arguments defending the resurrection, and presents alternative theories including the Islamic view of the resurrection.

5. Christianity’s Beliefs about Jesus Were Copied from Pagan Religions.
• This chapter of the book examines the story of Jesus compared to other pagan gods such as Mithras, Dionysius and others.

6. Jesus Was an Imposter Who Failed to Fulfill the Messianic Prophecies.
• A close look at who the Messiah was to be, the system of sacrifice used in Ancient Israel, and what requirements the Messiah was to fulfill are all addressed in this chapter.

7. People Should Be Free to Pick and Choose What to Believe about Jesus.
• Questions such as “what is truth?”, statements such as “All religions are equal” and a close look at postmodern thought are all examined here.

All things considered I really enjoyed this book (especially the Islamic Catch-22 explain on page 132). I really appreciate how Strobel is able to take complicated concepts, such as postmodern thought, and present them in a way for all to understand. This book is timely and relevant to today’s world. Some parts of the book seemed like they were written quickly to meet a publisher’s deadline but the chapter on the resurrection of Jesus alone, was worth the price of the book.


If you enjoy contemporary apologetics or are seeking answers to discover who Jesus really is in light of “new discoveries”, I’d recommend this book.

Timely and Relevant Questions
Clearly written and easily able to be understood by all

This book didn’t have discussion questions at the end of the chapters the way his previous ones did.
Zondervan went a little heavy on the promotion for Strobel’s other books.

You can purchase this book from by Clicking Here.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Just Stop and Think

A friend told me about this website,, and suggested I check out the movie.

I'd highly encourage you to check it out. It's about 15 minutes long and could change your life forever.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Dangerous Christianity?

On the September 12, 2006 edition of The View, actress Rosie O'Donnell stated:
"Radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam in a country like America."
I've often thought about this quote. What exactly does she mean by "radical Christianity?" Why would she say that? Simply for shock value? Or does she truly believe it?

I thought about it again this morning. I was doing some research and thumbing through Josh McDowell's classic apologetic Evidence that Demands a Verdict. In reference to the late D. James Kennedy and Jerry Necombe's book What if Jesus had never been born?, McDowell pens the following:

They [Kennedy and Necombe] begin with the assumption that the church, the body of Christ, is Jesus’ primary legacy to the world. Then they examine what has happened in history that displays the influence of the church. Here are a few highlights they site:

  • Hospitals, which essentially began during the middle ages
  • Universities, which also began during the middle ages. In addition, most of the world’s greatest universities were started by Christians for Christian purposes
  • Literacy and education of the masses
  • Representative government, particularly as it has been seen in the American experiment
  • The separation of political powers
  • Civil liberties
  • The abolition of slavery, both in antiquity and in modern times
  • Modern science
  • The discovery of the new world by Columbus
  • Benevolence and charity; the good Samaritan ethic
  • Higher standards of justice
  • The elevation of the common man
  • The high regard for human life
  • The civilizing of many barbarian and primitive cultures
  • The codifying and setting to writing of many of the worlds languages
  • The greater development of art an music. The inspiration for the greatest works of art.
  • The countless changed lives transformed from liabilities into assets to society because of the gospel
  • The eternal salvation of countless souls

Have there been abuses by the church? Unfortunately yes, no one is denying that. But to say radical Christianity is as dangerous as radical Islam, well, I'll let you be the judge of that.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Did They Really Say That? # 3

“If a person doesn’t think there is a God to be accountable to, then…what is the point of trying to modify your behavior to keep it within acceptable ranges? That’s how I thought…I always believed the theory of evolution as truth, that we all just came from the slime.”

- Jeffery Dahmer, a convicted serial killer responsible for the murders of 17 young men and boys, many of which involved necrophilia, dismemberment, and cannibalism. (Quoted from an interview with Stone Phillips - Dateline NBC, 11/29/1994)

The consequences of our worldviews are very real.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Small Change to the Site

I just made a small change to the site. For some time now I've noticed that with all the pictures and videos that I post, it was taking F-O-R-E-V-E-R to load the entire page. Well I've finally done something about that. I chopped the site down into 25-post increments. That means that only the last 25 posts will show up on the main page every time you visit the site. To see the previous posts you'll need to either:

1. Click on "Older Posts" at the bottom of the page to see the next 25 posts


2. Use the Table of Contents on the middle of the right side of the page


3. Use the search bar at the top right side of the page

This should make the load times much, much quicker.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Beqaa Valley and the Cedars of Lebanon

We traveled from Beirut to a location in the Beqaa Valley. The Beqaa Valley is the most agriculturally fertile region in Beirut. It was also home to many cities mentioned in the Old Testament such as Baal-gad and Mount Hermon.

Now these are the kings of the land whom Joshua and the sons of Israel defeated beyond the Jordan toward the west, from Baal-gad in the valley of Lebanon even as far as Mount Halak, which rises toward Seir; and Joshua gave it to the tribes of Israel as a possession according to their divisions, - Joshua 12:7

The Beqaa Valley. The right side of the picture continues on to Israel while the left side enters into Syria.

During our travel into the Beqaa Valley we went up into the mountains and saw the cedars of Lebanon. These trees are phenomenally beautiful and smell fantastic (see Hosea 14:6). I think each of us were a little bit surprised at how majestic these trees are. Truly fitting to be used to craft the Lord’s temple in Jerusalem (see 1 Kings 5:5-6). I was shocked to learn that they grow at the rate of only 1 centimeter per year. Many of the trees we saw were no less than 3000 years old. Amazing.

In a forest of beautifully smelling, Cedars of Lebanon

Through your servants you have reproached the Lord, And you have said, 'With my many chariots I came up to the heights of the mountains, To the remotest parts of Lebanon; And I cut down its tall cedars and its choice cypresses. And I will go to its highest peak, its thickest forest. - Isaiah 47:24

The righteous man will flourish like the palm tree, He will grow like a cedar in Lebanon. - Psalm 92:12

The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars; Yes, the Lord breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon. - Psalm 29:5

Beirut, Lebanon

After a few days in Cairo I headed over to Beirut. As I mentioned in my Cairo post, due to the sensitive nature of the work going on, I cannot post any pictures or write about any of the work being done over there.

Lebanon is a wonderful country. I wasn’t quite sure to expect when I stepped off of the airplane but it didn’t take long for me to begin to appreciate it. A beautiful city located on the coast, Lebanon is a stark contrast to Egypt. Despite its violent nature the city is beautiful. The people there are very warm and friendly and the word hospitality takes on a whole new meaning. Arabic is the most predominate language but many also speak French and English.

Beirut is a tough place to live and even tougher to minister in. Day in and day out I met with those who live and work here, hearing about some of the amazing things God is doing, and helping them to strategize new ways to reach even more people

Beirut is a beautiful city located on a peninsula jutting out into the Mediterranean. The northern half of the city (right side of the photo) is predominately Christian while the southern half (left side of the photo) is exclusively Muslim. Beautiful mountains surround the city on the east side and in the distance you can see the Mediterranean Sea.

Lebanon is a country with an extensive history of violence. On Valentine's Day of 2005, Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was killed when a car packed with over 1 ton of explosives detonated beside him. This is the location of his assassination. The fresh asphalt on the road is where the 30 foot crater left by the explosion was repaired.

The explosion was so powerful it completely destroyed this nearby building.

The final resting place of Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

This statue was located in the center of town during the years of the Lebanese Civil War. Looking closely you can see that it is completely covered with bullet holes from the war.

A close up of the statue.

After the civil war the government spent 31 billion dollars to rebuild downtown Beirut. However, fear of car bombs grips the hearts of many in Beirut and the downtown area, including the Parliament building (shown above) remains a ghost town except for the soldiers who are stationed every hundred yards [soldiers not photographed].

Rebuilding of a bridge after it was destroyed by Israeli troops during the war in July 2006.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Moses, Baby Jesus and the Pyramids

Myself and another member of my team got up early one morning before our day really began to try to beat the heat and the crowds and see some of historic Egypt. While obviously sightseeing is NEVER one of our objectives when we travel for ministry, every once in a while we find a few hours in the schedule that are available and we try to squeeze something in. I was very fortunate on this trip.

Beating the heat turned out to be harder than I anticipated. Even early in the morning it is already roasting. In the past I had often wondered "What are the Israelites problem? God rescued them from Egypt and all they do is complain and turn to idols. What is the deal?

After having now been to Egypt I have a whole new understanding for what the Israelites endured during their time of slavery and the subsequent exodus. The country is so hot and so sandy, I cannot fathom how they survived wondering for 40 years in the desert. Add to that a strict diet of manna and I can now begin to understand why they always seemed so grumpy and constantly made poor decisions (although it certainly doesn't justify or excuse their behavior).

We first went to the alleged location that baby Moses was found hiding amongst the reeds of the Nile:

Now a man of the house of Levi married a Levite woman, and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. When she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months. But when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile. His sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him. Then Pharaoh's daughter went down to the Nile to bathe, and her attendants were walking along the river bank. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her slave girl to get it. She opened it and saw the baby. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him. "This is one of the Hebrew babies," she said. Then his sister asked Pharaoh's daughter, "Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?" "Yes, go," she answered. And the girl went and got the baby's mother. Pharaoh's daughter said to her, "Take this baby and nurse him for me, and I will pay you." So the woman took the baby and nursed him. When the child grew older, she took him to Pharaoh's daughter and he became her son. She named him Moses, saying, "I drew him out of the water."
- Exodus 2:1-10

The round well is the location that Moses was allegedly found. The Nile has changed course over thousands of years but looking down the round well there is still water today. The wall is supposedly the wall to Pharaoh's palace. I am a bit skeptical as to the authenticity of this historic site but the Egyptian Antiquities Department believes it is legitimate.

When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. "Get up," he said, "take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him." So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: "Out of Egypt I called my son." - Matthew 2:13-15

The exact location where Jesus and his family hid. There is now a church over the location so the marble floors were added after Jesus was gone. I am also skeptical about this site but the Egyptian Antiquities Department has certified it as legitimate.

One of the 7 wonders of the world

Camels are not nearly as docile as horses.

Fun Fact of the Day: The odd colored stones at the top of the pyramid are not the original stones. The original stones were removed in the 18th century to build a mosque for the ruler of Egypt.

Garbage City and the Cave Church

They are called the untouchables. There are almost 50,000 of them, they are almost entirely Christian, and they literally live in the dumps.

In Cairo, for one reason or another, the Muslims will not work as trash collectors. Perhaps it has to do with their religious beliefs or maybe because as the majority population, they just refuse to do such a disgusting job. Whatever the reason, the job falls to the Christians.

Driving through the dump I discovered that this wasn't just a place to work, it was where they lived. You can imagine the incredible stench produced when garbage from a city of 16 million is piled together and bakes in the sun in temperatures above 115 degrees. Yet the Christians complete their work, many with smiles on their face.

I ponder the reason for these smiles. Surely it isn't that they enjoy their circumstances. Perhaps it is because they have discovered the difference between happiness (which is a temporary emotion) and joy (which is the assurance of their salvation and anticipation of being with Jesus).

Daily deliveries to Garbage City

A Child at Play in Garbage City

But, as he always is, God is at work. One must drive through Garbage City to come to the cave church. A massive church cut deep into a rock of sheer limestone. You can tell from the photos how big the place is. What you can't see is that the church conducts services every day of the week, filled to capacity.

Cave Church Panoramic

Cave Church from halfway up

Cairo, Egypt

I realize that it has been quite a while since I last posted. I even heard some teasing this weekend about "I don't know how many times I can watch this video." There have been quite a few things happening that have kept me away from my computer. Quite a few graduations, weddings and even a quick vacation.

I just returned from a trip to the Middle East that was absolutely incredible. Most of the Christians I worked with, are very active in the underground church all over the Middle East so as I hope you understand, for their safety, I cannot show any pictures of them, their ministry, or anything that could potentially put them at risk.

Cairo and the Nile River

Downtown Cairo

Daily Life in Egypt

Monday, May 07, 2007

Reality Check

My heart broke when I watched this video. Partly because of what I saw on the video, but mostly because of what I saw in myself. There is nothing in life that brings me more joy that sharing the news of Jesus with someone whom desperately needs to hear it. Yet when I watched this video and took a deep, and honest look at my life, I think that more often than not I probably tend to act more like those in this video than how I want to be. Is it because of Ignorance? Spiritual Pride? Laziness? Busyness? Complacency? Could it even be Apathy?

Most likely it's all of the above.

That needs to change.

It's reality check time: Take a moment to watch this video. Don't just watch it for entertainment's sake, but listen to the words and really understand what's going on. For millions of people, your neighbors, acquaintances, and co-workers, this is real life.

Watch this video and than take a moment to absorb it. Then ask yourself "Who am I most like?" The question is NOT "Who do I wish I was?" or "Who am I supposed to be?" but "Who are you really like?"

I sadly suspect that you are just like me.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Photos from the Holy Lands

I've received a lot of positive feedback regarding the photos that I posted during my trip to the Bible Lands last January (Those photos can be viewed by CLICKING HERE). I wanted to recommend a great resource to everyone that I myself have found to be very helpful.

Todd Bolen is a Professor of Biblical Studies in Israel. Over the past 10 years, Todd has traveled to virtually every place mentioned in the Bible numerous times. (Okay, that may be a slight exaggeration but it sure seems like it). Each time he goes he takes new photographs so that he always has the best possible photographs (since conditions change) of a biblical site.

Todd has compiled thousands of these photographs into digital format and many can be viewed for free by visiting and then clicking on "The Sites." Here you can peruse many of the photographs. But if you're like me, you want more.

When I returned from my trip I discovered that several of my photos didn't turn out the way I wanted. The lighting was bad or I was at the wrong angle. After speaking with my professor, I discovered that from you can purchase the complete collection of photographs from the Holy Lands for a very reasonable price ($189.00 USD I believe - CLICKING HERE will take you to the ordering page).

I chose the 2 DVDs instead of the 10 CDs and when they arrived in the mail I was blown away. Not only were all the photos there, neatly organized by location for easy reference, but there was so much more. Perhaps the best "bonus" feature was that every location had a fully prepared Powerpoint presentation already made. The slides of the Powerpoint already contained the photos and their locations (so you know what you're looking at) and many of them had tons of information written in the notes section. Theoretically you could insert the disk, open up Powerpoint and begin teaching.

I've never met Todd personally and I have nothing to personally gain by endorsing these products, but I cannot articulate how highly I recommend these discs. Reading about a place in my Bible and then being able to visually see that exact location has really taken my study to the next level.

If you are in a teaching position or are a visual learner, like myself, these discs should be a mandatory part of your reference library, but you don't have to take just my word for it.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Free E-Newsletters from Christianity Today

While surfing the web today I discovered that Christianity Today offers over 30 free subscriptions to e-newsletters they produce on tons of different topics.

You'll probably find one you like. You can check them out here:

Monday, April 02, 2007

Why I Believe in the Resurrection of Jesus

Last night I gave a two hour presentation at my church on "Why I Believe in the Resurrection of Jesus." I spoke about what the resurrection is and is not and factors that increase reliability. Then I examined the evidence of the empty tomb, the multiple appearances and the changed lives of the disciples. I concluded with an examination of, and argument against, popular theories denying the resurrection such as the swoon theory, hallucination and legend.

This presentation was much more in depth and therefore a bit more heavy and intellectual than my series on the resurrection, so some readers may prefer just to read the series.

You can find a copy of my outline from last night's presentation HERE or click on the link under the "Topical papers" section.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Paradigms in Conflict: 10 Key Questions in Christian Missions Today by David Hesselgrave

In Paradigms in Conflict: 10 Key Questions in Christian Missions Today, highly respected Missiologist and former missionary to Japan, David Hesselgrave takes a detailed look at some of the most difficult issues facing missions today. These issues include:

Sovereignty and Free Will
Are there Other Ways to Heaven?

Who is our Missionary Model: Jesus or Paul?

Do Missionaries get Called Individually or is there a Universal Divine Calling?

Due to my work with a mission’s organization, I am privy to see many of the issues addressed by Hesselgrave worked out on a daily basis so I can attest to the legitimacy of these issues.

What I really like about Hesselgrave’s approach is that he clearly and accurately (albeit briefly in some cases) presents both points of view and then runs them through a biblical analysis.

While many of these issues are very complex and one chapter from this book simply just cannot present every single detail, it does do a great job of giving an overview to some of the very real struggles facing missions today.

This book is very easy to read and Hesslegrave does a great job explaining what the issues are as well as the history that led up to their controversies.


If you are interested in, or find yourself wrestling with difficult contemporary issues in missions today, you will enjoy this book.

Hesselgrave more often than not takes a more conservative view as his conclusion so if you find yourself at odds with his view, you may find yourself squirming in your seat as you read.

You can buy the book by CLICKING HERE

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Generation Ex: Adult Children of Divorce and the Healing of Our Pain by Jen Abbas

I live in the United States where the divorce rate hovers between 50 and 60 percent. Tragically the rate of divorce for those who claim the name of Jesus is the same as those whom do not.

Another way to look at it is like this; as summer rolls around and the wedding season gears up, you may be invited to several weddings. At each and every wedding you attend, as the couple begins to recite their vows of love and commitment for each other, pull out a small coin from your pocket and flip it into the air. Heads the couple will stay together and tails they won’t.

I'm not trying to be cynical, rather that is the sad reality of our culture. But what is even more devastating is the impact that divorce will have on their children. As we move from a generation where a divorce was a cause for public shame, to a generation where divorce is accepted and oftentimes encouraged, we are just now beginning to see some of the consequences the decision to divorce has.

“Adult children of divorce” (ACOD) is the term given to those whose parents have divorced (when they were children or adults) and are now adults preparing for, or are already in a committed marriage. Many of these ACODs are just now beginning to see the traumatic effects their parents divorce have had on them.

From the back cover:

Finally, a book for adult children of divorce, written by an adult child of divorce.

One of the hardest truths about divorce is that every split – no matter when it occurs – will have lifelong effects on the children caught in the crossfire. While most people acknowledge our pain during our parents’ parting, few of us realize that our most significant insecurities, questions, and doubts may not show up until years later, when we seek our own intimate relationships as adults.

In fact, millions of adult children of divorce feel lost, displaced, or unwanted years after the ink has dried on their parents’ divorce decree. Like them, you may fear abandonment, betrayal, or failure in your own marriage. Despite outward successes, you may doubt your emotional abilities. You may notice that your parents’ divorce affects you more each year, not less.

You are not alone!

Through research, interviews, and personal stories, Generation Ex will help you understand the effect of your parents’ divorce on your identity, faith, and relationships and will give you the tools you need to create a dramatically different legacy.

Includes: questions for reflections.

This book is not a “quick fix” or a “self-help” rather it is designed to help you unlock the doors of your painful past, with the help of someone who knows how you are feeling, and allows you to begin the healing process.

If you are an Adult Child of Divorce, are married to an ADOC, are contemplating a divorce, or have already divorced, I HIGHLY recommend this book. I’d also recommend this book as an addition to pre-marital counseling curriculum when either person is from a divorced home.

You can purchase the book through Family Life by CLICKING HERE.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Tomb of Jesus?

Okay I realize the alleged discovery of the tomb of Jesus has been around for a few weeks and I haven't posted anything about it yet.

I came across a poll that said 97% of all people think that James Cameron's documentary is a fraud so I didn't think it was worth addressing. But after more thought I realized not everyone may see it the same way as I do and someone may come across a person from that remaining 3%.

Several well respected scholars and websites have already covered this topic extensively so I'm not going to reinvent what's been done. The following are the places I think do an excellent job while maintaining readability:

Associates for Biblical Research (By far the most thorough analysis, written by a friend of mine)

CARM (Always one of my favorite sites)

Stand To Reason (A review of the documentary from STR)

Bible Places Blog (This site has lots of links but you may need to do a little digging)

I also address the issue of the tomb of Jesus HERE, HERE, and HERE