Monday, July 25, 2005

The Happiest Baby on the Block

Two weeks ago a friend loaned us a DVD called The Happiest Baby on the Block. It's by a doctor named Harvey Karp. It's teaches parents how to calm a fussy baby. I was a little skeptical, but I must say that I was amazed by the results. In a nutshell, he talks about the 5 S's.

1. Swaddle
2. Turn baby on his side
3. Jiggle baby
4. Put pacifier in baby's mouth
5. Sshh softly in baby's ear

You're probably wondering where the 5 S's are. I'm not too sure either...but the point is that this stuff is good. Adam is a good baby, but occasionally he gets mad at the world, and is not afraid to let it be known. It's at this point that I go through the 5 S's (of course after making sure that he is fed and his diaper is changed). Works like a charm every time.

Billy Graham a DEMOCRAT???

There's no doubt going to be rioting in the streets after this news gets out.

Here's the link.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Update on Adam

It's a little after 7:00 a.m., and I just rocked Adam back to sleep. I thought I'd take this probably brief time to give an update on him. Even as I held him this morning, it still shocks me a little that we have a baby. Life has changed in a dramatic way. It's been tough, especially since our family left. But it's been great. Yesterday was Adam's birthday (5 weeks). He had his best day yet. He has times when he just smiles and laughs.

So, here are a few pictures (hopefully I'll get this done before he wakes up again).


I've been hoping for a basketball player. Howard, Adam's grandfather, is pushing for baseball. However, if you look at these photos, you'll see what resembles the heisman pose. Hmm.

Or...perhaps Hulk Hogan?

Looking adorable as usual

Adam's family

Adam's baby dedication

Monday, July 18, 2005

Cutting Edge

Here's the link to the Spring, 2005 edition of Cutting Edge, Vineyard's church planting magazine. There are some good articles about the church's need for a more global focus.

Health Insurance costs a primary reason for self-employment plunge


Sunday, July 10, 2005

International Justice Mission

This morning at Hillside Larry Martin, from International Justice Mission, spoke. It was such a great message, right in line with much that I've been thinking through. He's a very gifted communicator. His text was Matthew 5:14-16, and the title of his message was "Rescued to be Rescuers."

His three points were:

1. Truly receive your rescue - we can't save ourselves
2. Advance into the darkness - we are often afraid that our light will get snuffed out, so we all huddle together
3. Believe the promises of God, offer your obedience, and leave the miracles to God - we often underestimate what God could do through us.

He shared three amazing stories. The first was of Morali, a little girl in South Asia. When her father got sick, and the doctor refused to come to their village unless they first paid him $25, her family was forced to borrow money, which meant that they would become slaves to the lender. They were moved to a rock quarry, where they were to spend the rest of their days. Larry shared that there are over 20 million slaves being held illegally like Morali's family.

The second story involved Esther. Esther had finished high school in Burma and hoped to go to Bible College. She was told about a restaurant job in Thailand, but when she went, she was taken instead to a brothel, and forced to become a prostitute.

The final story was about David, who is from Nairobi. One day five drunk policemen forced him into their car, and demanded that they would not release him until he gave them all of his money. He gave them $1.50. They let him out of the car, but then one of the cops shot him twice. They then proceeded to arrest him. His arm ended up having to be amputated, yet he was handcuffed to a bed while he recuperated.

Fortunately, all of these stories had happy endings. Morali and her family, along with all of the other slaves in the rock quarry, were set free after IJM bought their freedom. They ended up owning the quarry. Esther was set free after a lawyer from IJM heard what was going on. David was released, his charges were dropped, and all five policemen were convicted. He is now in lawschool. When asked by an interviewer on NPR what he was going to do after school, he responded by saying, "Injustice is going to have a new enemy!"

Larry ended his talk with the following passage from Micah:

He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8

Brian McLaren

Here's a great message by Brian McLaren regarding the situation in Darfur.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

The End of Poverty

Here's an Time magazine article by Jeffrey Sachs.

The End of Poverty
In a world of plenty, 1 billion people are so poor, their lives are in danger. How to change that for good.
Sunday, Mar. 06, 2005

We can banish extreme poverty in our generation--yet 8 million people die each year because they are too poor to survive. The trag edy is that with a little help, they could even thrive. In a bold new book, Jeffrey D. Sachs shows how we can make it happen.

It is still midmorning in Malawi when we arrive at a small village, Nthandire, about an hour outside of Lilongwe, the capital. We have come over dirt roads, passing women and children walking barefoot with water jugs, wood for fuel, and other bundles. The midmorning temperature is sweltering. In this subsistence maize-growing region of a poor, landlocked country in southern Africa, families cling to life on an unforgiving terrain. This year has been a lot more difficult than usual because the rains have failed. The crops are withering in the fields that we pass.

If the village were filled with able-bodied men, who could have built rainwater-collecting units on rooftops and in the fields, the situation would not be so dire. But as we arrive in the village, we see no able-bodied young men at all. In fact, older women and dozens of children greet us, but there is not a young man or woman in sight. Where, we ask, are the workers? Out in the fields? The aid worker who has led us to the village shakes his head sadly and says no. Nearly all are dead. The village has been devastated by AIDS.

Click here for the rest of the article.

Facts on Poverty

More than one billion people in the world live on less than one dollar a day. Another 2.7 billion struggle to survive on less than two dollars per day. Poverty in the developing world, however, goes far beyond income poverty. It means having to walk more than one mile everyday simply to collect water and firewood; it means suffering diseases that were eradicated from rich countries decades ago. Every year eleven million children die-most under the age of five and more than six million from completely preventable causes like malaria, diarrhea and pneumonia.

In some deeply impoverished nations less than half of the children are in primary school and under 20 percent go to secondary school. Around the world, a total of 114 million children do not get even a basic education and 584 million women are illiterate.

Click here for the rest of the article.

G8 a Success

Geldof delighted at G8 action on aid
Mark Townsend
Sunday July 10, 2005
The Observer
Further increases in aid to Africa will be unveiled by G8 countries this summer amid signs that the political momentum generated by last week's summit will continue to tackle global poverty.

As attention swung from Gleneagles to the UN World Summit in eight weeks, sources at the G8 negotiations indicated that Germany and Japan are expected to unveil extra aid packages.

Officials believe that the new money will form a key component of attempts by the two countries to secure a place on the Security Council. It follows Friday's announcement by Tony Blair of the biggest African aid deal in history, a triumphant finale to Gleneagles overshadowed by the attacks in London.

Click here for the rest of the article

G8 a Success


Links to Darfur

Here are a few links I came across tonight.

Save Darfur
BBC News

Sojourners, among others, is organizing a few prayer services beginning this weekend. Here are a couple of links for it:

Worship in the Spirit of Justice
Host a Darfur Vigil

What now?

The movie's over. A few more tears were shed. I spent some time with God tonight. A lot of questions. A lot of confession. Ok, a lot of tears. When I first saw Hotel Rwanda I was so frustrated that I had knew nothing about this. If no one had told me, I would have never guessed that this had taken place only a decade ago.

This same thing (genocide) is happening today in the Darfur region of Sudan. I don't want to wait until the movie is made about this. I've been doing some reading tonight about this. I can no longer claim ignorance. What will I do about it?

Steven Curtis Chapman has a new song called "What now?" Here are the lyrics.

I saw the face of Jesus in a little orphan girl
She was standing in the corner on the other side of the world
And I heard the voice of Jesus gently whisper to my heart
Didn't you say you wanted to find me?
Well here I am, here you are

So, What now?
What will you do now that you found Me?
What now?
What will you do with this treasure you've found?
I know I may not look like what you expected
But if you remember this is right where I said I would be
You've found me
What now?

And I saw the face of Jesus down on Sixteenth Avenue
He was sleeping in an old car, while his mom went looking for food
And I heard the voice of Jesus gently whisper to my soul
Didn't you say you wanted to know me?
Well here I am, and it's getting cold

Friday, July 08, 2005

Rwanda Pt. 2

Tonight we're watching Hotel Rwanda again. We're about halfway through it and are taking a break. Once again the tears have flowed again. I'm reminded that I cry during a lot of films. I cried during a Keanu Reeves film called Hardball (not because of Keanu's acting). I know some people who don't cry. I sometimes feel bad for them. But here's what I know: if I do not change, if I am not transformed, then there will come a time when I will cease to cry. My heart will not be the same. My prayer for Adam last night was that his heart would hurt for people who are being mistreated. I pray that his heart would be soft towards those who are hurting. My prayer for myself is the same. But it is time that I take action with my prayers. I must once again ask the question, "how should I then live?''

No longer a rookie

Before Adam, I think I had changed one or two diapers in my life. Over the last three weeks that number has risen significantly. I'm probably the best diaper changer I know (a Napoleon Dynamite reference). Not really. However, I am getting better. Just last night I demonstrated the technique in front of a couple of other rookies. I felt in a way like the Godfather. Or something like that.

Baby Dedication

Last night we had Adam's baby dedication here at the house. Mandy's parents, and my mom, were in town. We also had several of our friends here. We had a great meal, heard words of encouragement and advice, had a meaningful prayer time, and sang a couple of songs. Raising a child in this world, at this time, at times scares me. (This was all the more apparent when I woke up yesterday morning and heard about the bombings in London). That's where my trust in God comes in, though. God has given us an amazing gift, and last night was our way of saying, with our family and friends, that we are giving him back to God.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Make Poverty History

I think Alan Creech has it right. The point is transformation. Tonight I've been watching the Live 8 special. A few days ago I saw the documentary The Corporation. A couple of months ago I saw Hotel Rwanda. Through each of these, and through many other voices, God has spoken to me. I have spent most of my life in ignorance. Perhaps much of this has not been my fault. But now I have to make a choice of how I am going to live my life. I once heard a guy named Shane Claiborne say that the problem is not that we don't care about poor people, but that we don't know poor people.

My other thought has been that the church is not at the forefront of fighting evils in the world such as poverty. The followers of Jesus should be leading the charge with creativity and passion. Yet, it often seems that we're lagging behind. This must change. We must change.

Here's the link to the Live 8 site.

A great post by Alan Creech

The point is TRANSFORMATION of life, our life, the lives of our community, the whole Church, the world, everything in this broken dimension. And the more our lives are transformed into the image of Full Life - Unlimited Life - God's Life existing in unbroken reality - the more that unbroken reality fills our own realm. That's the point.

Just read this tonight. Worth a read!

Thom Wolf

Andrew Jones gives a nice tribute to Thom Wolf. Dr. Wolf used to be a professor at Golden Gate Seminary. I was only able to take one class with him before he left.

Here's a link to his teaching on Universal Disciple.

I've used these questions for Bible Study before, but didn't realize until just now that they came from Dr. Thom.

1. What word or phrase "shimmered" or stuck out?
2. What did you like best about the passage?
3. What did you like least?
4. What did you learn about God?
5. What did you not understand or find puzzling?
6. What do you think applies to people today?
7. If you were to choose a sentence or phrase to meditate on this week, which would it be? And why?

Jim Collins

Here's a good article on decision making by Jim Collins.

Update: Just realized that you can't read the entire article online. Fortune makes you pay. Boo! I had first read the hard copy of the article.

Real Estate: Is it time to cash out?

 From Fortune magazine

A decision on a RSS reader

Finally, after three days of trying different newsreaders out, I think I've come up with one I really like. It's called Sauce Reader. It's very user-friendly when it comes to selecting news feeds as well as uploading those feeds to a blog.