Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Memphis Mentoring Programs

Carmen mentioned the following links the other day.

The Amachi Mentoring Program

Big Brothers/Big Sisters

Converted Everyday

By Anonymous

Be converted to love every day.
Change all your energies,
all your potential,
into selfless gifts for the other person.
Then you yourself will be changed from within
and through you
God’s kingdom will break into the world.

Source: Rule for a New Brother

Some tips on having a quiet time

I ran across this blog this morning. In four previous posts, the author talks about the what and the why of a quiet time, and in this post discusses the how. This is a great help for anyone who has struggled with setting aside a portion of each day to spend time with God. Here are some excerpts, as well as the link.

The essential elements of the quiet time are prayer to God and meditation on Scripture and this can take a number of different forms. After talking about what it is and why it is important I thought I would give some practical advice for those who want to start or reboot their quiet time.

While there are some exceptions to the rule, I am convinced that it works best for most people to set aside a particular time each day for private worship. So pick a time: in the morning before work, at work on your lunch break, or before you go to bed in the evening. These quiet times of worship before the face of God are an essential element to your spiritual health. Consider that time sacred. Guard it. Look forward to it for what it is - you are meeting with God!

People sometimes set good, if big, goals for themselves when beginning or restarting this discipline. Unfortunately, instead of building up to those goals they attempt to immediately master it all. My advice is, if you have been disengaged in this discipline for a while, start small. Pick an epistle, commit yourself to reading one paragraph a day, write down any thoughts you have on that passage. Pray for God’s blessing, provision, guidance, etc (more on prayer in a minute). This may wind up only being 10 to 15 minutes in length, but that’s fine. The important thing is to get this discipline going in your life. I have found that once you start it, it is easy to cultivate it and see it grow.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Rich-poor gap keeps widening

This article was in the Commercial Appeal on Monday. Here's an excerpt:

A McClatchy Newspapers analysis of 2005 census figures, the latest available, found that nearly 16 million Americans are living in deep or severe poverty. A family of four with two children and an annual income of less than $9,903 -- half the federal poverty line -- was considered severely poor in 2005. So were individuals who made less than $5,080 a year.

The McClatchy analysis found that the number of severely poor Americans grew by 26 percent from 2000 to 2005. That's 56 percent faster than the overall poverty population grew in the same period. McClatchy's review also found statistically significant increases in the percentage of the population in severe poverty in 65 of 215 large U.S. counties, and similar increases in 28 states. The review also suggested that the rise in severely poor residents isn't confined to large urban counties but extends to suburban and rural areas.

About one in three severely poor people are under age 17, and nearly two out of three are female. Female-headed families with children account for a large share of the severely poor.

According to census data, nearly two of three people in severe poverty are white (10.3 million) and 6.9 million are non-Hispanic whites. Severely poor blacks (4.3 million) are more than three times as likely as non-Hispanic whites to be in deep poverty, while extremely poor Hispanics of any race (3.7 million) are more than twice as likely.

Friday, February 16, 2007


Open Doors has compiled a list of 2007’s 50 worst countries for Christian persecution. Those considered to have severe limitations or worse are:

  1. North Korea :: severe persecution
  2. Saudi Arabia :: oppression
  3. Iran :: oppression
  4. Somalia :: oppression
  5. Maldives :: oppression
  6. Yemen :: oppression
  7. Bhutan :: oppression
  8. Vietnam :: oppression
  9. Laos :: severe limitations
  10. Afghanistan :: severe limitations
  11. Uzbekistan :: severe limitations
  12. China :: severe limitations
  13. Eritrea :: severe limitations
  14. Turkmenistan :: severe limitations
  15. Comoros :: severe limitations
  16. Chechnya :: severe limitations
  17. Pakistan :: severe limitations
  18. Egypt :: severe limitations
  19. Myanmar (Burma) :: severe limitations
  20. Sudan (North) :: severe limitations
  21. Iraq :: severe limitations
  22. Azerbaijan :: severe limitations
  23. Brunei :: severe limitations
  24. Cuba :: severe limitations

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Articles worth reading

Over the last few weeks I've come across a couple of really good articles that I thought were worth linking to.

Living a Transformed Life Adequate to Our Calling, by Dallas Willard.
I was first exposed to Dallas Willard's writing about eight years ago. He's never been easy for me to understand (he teaches philosophy at USC). Still, I've attempted to read his books, and in doing so have been shaped by them. This is a 24-page article that seems to be his attempt at summarizing his previous works. If you've ever wanted to know more about the Kingdom of God, discipleship, or spiritual formation, this may be worth spending some time on.

We Aren't About Weekends, The Christian Vision Project's interview with Bob Roberts
Bob Roberts is the pastor at Northwood Church in Keller, TX. This church seems to truly understand why they exist. Roberts give a great explanation not only on the role of the church and its members, but also on the tasks of transformation and shaping culture.

Happy Valentine's Day

Last night Mandy and I spent our 10th Valentine's Day together. I'm very fortunate to have such a beautiful, loving, caring, understanding, and patient wife! She has put up with a lot living with me for the last seven years (10 years dating). I love you, Mandy!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Scientists issue new statement on global warming

Some excerpts...

"The observed widespread warming of the atmosphere and ocean, together with ice-mass loss, support the conclusion that it is extremely unlikely that global climate change of the past 50 years can be explained without external forcing, and very likely that is not due to known natural causes alone," said the 20-page report.

The phrase "very likely" translates to a more than 90 percent certainty that global warming is caused by man.

Here's the entire article.