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Follow Jesus to the Ends of the Earth

Month: January 2016

A Wind in the House of Islam

One of the most encouraging books on missions that I have read for several years is this one, A Wind in the House of Islam, by David Garrison. Garrison has done extensive research on movements of Muslims turning toward Jesus over the centuries. Remarkably, this current century has seen more of these types of movements than the previous thirteen centuries combined.

Garrison’s book is filled with stories about Muslims from all over the world, or as he describes it, the nine “rooms” in the house of Islam, each representing a different geographical area where Islam in prevalent. Muslims are moving towards Jesus in every one of these “rooms” and Garrison shares stories from each.

The books closes with Garrison suggesting why God is drawing Muslims to himself today, and he shares ten bridges that God is using. He also shares suggestions for how the Christian world should respond. Especially interesting was his insight that many Muslims are turning to Jesus because they are frustrated and frightened by the violence they see in radical Islam. Jesus, the Prince of Peace and a prophet in Islam, is seen as a better alternative. What follows is that we as Christians need to continue to offer peace towards Muslims in our midst, as opposed to fear.

A Wind in the House of Islam is a great book, especially if you are interested in missions and the Muslim world.

The Leadership of Martin Luther King Jr.

Today is Martin Luther King day and I’m proud to say that MLK has become one of my leadership heroes.

Why?

First, the way he applied his Christian faith and the scriptures to the plight of the African-American in our country. King used what was good and right to move our country a little closer towards goodness and righteousness.

Second, his belief in, and practice of, non-violence. Inspired by Gandhi’s action against British rule in India and the teachings of Jesus, Martin Luther King promoted and practiced non-violence. In reality non-violence was slow, frustrating for his followers and seemed to lack results. However, today we see that it was powerful and mind-changing. How callous must you be to not be moved by the marchers on the Edmund Pettis Bridge in Selma, Alabama, carrying Bibles and singing hymns as they are swept away by vicious state troopers?

These good people were committed to non-violence and to freedom, largely due to the teaching and leadership of Martin Luther King. The changes they marched for did come about, in Alabama and elsewhere.

Contrast Martin Luther King’s philosophy of leading societal change with the current group we see trying to to the same – ISIS. Islamists have embraced jihad and taken violence into their hearts. Terror is their watchword and the killing of innocents their practice. I cannot think of a group more opposite to the philosophy of MLK and more destined to fail.

As you celebrate MLK day, think of the leadership of this man, and think of what you might do in response. How do we help our brother flourish, regardless of skin tone or religious creed? Remember, another teacher taught us a similar lesson many years ago when he encouraged us to do unto others as we would have them do unto us.

What shall Jesus create for you?

The extraordinary story of Jesus feeding the 5,000 is found in Luke 9. Jesus takes all the resources at hand, five loaves of bread and two fish and somehow manages to feed 5,000 people. With no caterers or fast food joints nearby, people are either going to go hungry or Jesus will need to make something happen.

Jesus does make it happen. He takes all the food available for this crowd into his two hands, looks to heaven and gives thanks, and starting tearing apart the loaves and fish. He gives the food to the disciples who disperse it through the crowd. Everyone has plenty to eat and 12 basketfuls are left over.

How did Jesus do this? Jesus was able to accomplish the miracle because Jesus is the Creator. Jesus can literally make fish from thin air. Ex Nihlio, as they say in Latin, which means “out of nothing.”

In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth, he did so Ex Nihlio. Jesus was present at the creation (see Colossians 1) and as God in the flesh Jesus kicked back into Creator mode and started reforming matter and the elements at hand to instantaneously create more bread and fish.

If Jesus created enough food to give each man present one loaf of bread and one fish, therefore making one fine fish sandwich, then he increased the loaf availability by a factor of 1,000 and the fish availability by a factor of 2,500! That’s a solid return on investment. It’s also a glimpse into Jesus’ power and control over creation. The world is his and he will do with it what he will.

Why worry if Jesus is around? I can take what I have, paltry as it is, put it into the hands of Jesus and he can make more. Jesus gave the crowd enough to be satisfied. Won’t he do the same for you and I? We just have to trust him enough to let go of what we cling to so tightly.

Ex Nihlio, “out of nothing.” What are you trusting Jesus to create for you?

 

Books I read in 2015

A someone who loves to read and loves to hear what others are reading, I share my list of books I spent time in this past year. I liked some books more than others (and some not so much), but the ones I particularly enjoyed I’ve highlighted. I reviewed a few in past blog posts, so you can check those out as well. I hope this helps you settle into a good book in 2016!

Here’s my list with Title and Author:

* Wheelmen – Albergotti & O’Connell
Leadership is an Art – DePree
20,000 Days and Counting – Smith
* All the Light We Cannot See – Doerr
The One Thing – Keller & Papasan
Work Simply – Tate
The 5 Levels of Leadership – Maxwell
Outliers – Gladwell
The Death of Ivan Ilyich – Tolstoy
Confession – Tolstoy
The Eleventh Draft – Conroy
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – Skloot
The Faithful Executioner – Harrington
* Gone Girl – Flynn
* They Shall Not Have Me – Helion
* Mission at Nuremberg – Townsend
The Heart of Everything That Is – Drury & Clavin
The Question That Never Goes Away – Yancey
Giving Up Control – DeJonge
* Amazing Grace – Metaxas
Pirate Latitudes – Crichton
* Essentialism – Greg McKeown
American Lightning – Blum
American Sniper – Kyle
Divergent – Roth
* Sensing Jesus – Eswine
Insurgent – Roth
Thou Shall Prosper – Lapin
Allegiant – Roth
Start with Why – Sinek
Risk is Right – Piper
* The Keepers of the House – Grau
Ignore Everybody – MacLeod
The Girl on the Train – Hawkins
Dancing with Cinderella – Harlow
The Innocent Man – Grisham
Darkly Dreaming Dexter – Lindsay
13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do – Morin
* King’s Cross – Keller
Abundance – Sena Jeter Naslund
* The Great Santini – Conroy
The Road to Character – Brooks
What To Do When It’s Your Turn – Godin
Brain Rules – Medina
All Marketers Are Liars – Godin
The Burning Tigris – Balakian
With – Jethani
Guerrilla Marketing – Levinson
* An Army at Dawn – Atkinson
Making Ideas Happen – Belsky
Leaders Who Last – Kraft
Sophie’s Choice – Styron
* Life Together – Bonhoeffer
* Road to Valor – McConnon
Auschwitz, A Doctor’s Eyewitness Account – Nyiszli
The Art Forger – Shapiro
The Exorcist – Blatty
* A Wind in the House of Islam – Garrison
* A Man Called Intrepid – Stevenson
* The Spirituality of Gratitude – Kang
A Sailor of Austria – Biggins

 

 

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