July 29, 2014
Good News from a Far Camp
Iguatu Camp from the air
Many will remember that, during our first term here in Brazil, we served as interim directors of the Iguatu Camp in Ceará. Word has come to us that the camp, up until this point financed and administered by the mission, is now in the process of being turned over to the association of churches. This is a very positive development, something we saw the dire necessity of back when we were in charge of that particular ministry. We rejoice that this ministry--which has impacted thousands of lives for Christ--will continue for the foreseeable future.
First Baby Dedication
Last Sunday the Ebenezer congregation marked yet another first--the first every dedication of a newborn baby. Little Nicholas Levy came into the world amid much prayer, as his was considered an at-risk pregnancy. We praise God for this new arrival, and earnestly pray for his parents as they seek to raise him in the "nurture and admonition of the Lord."
July 24, 2014
Drive By Book Reviews
It's high time for another look at some of my reading over the past few months. As always, it's a fairly eclectic mix.
Strange Fire by John MacArthur
I feel I am not exaggerating when I say that this is one of the most desperately needed books in today's Evangelical Christianity. MacArthur deconstructs Pentecostal and Neo-Pentecostal theology with the precision of an open-heart surgeon, and unblinkingly exposes it's devastating effects on the modern Church. As soon as this book comes out in Portuguese I will be getting a copy for every pastor I know.
The Triumph of Christianity by Rodney Stark
This was my introduction to Stark's scholarly defense of Christianity and Western Civilization. Stark, a professed agnostic, gives a a more able apologetic for Christian history than many Christians. The Protestant reader may be a little dismayed with his refutal of some popular conceptions about the Reformation and the Puritan work ethic, but these are a small price to pay for his careful dismantling of current secular/atheist myths.
If you are an atheist, only read this if you want to have all of your preconceived notions systematically destroyed.
How the West Won by Rodney Stark
Along the same lines as the previously mentioned book, although with more of an emphasis on the technological/cultural advances of the West, with explanations as to why those same advances did not happen in other cultures. In many cases, the answer is "Christianity".
The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell
I try to keep a regular dosage of fiction in my reading diet. I am really enjoying the Saxon Chronicles series by Bernard Cornwell. This well-researched historical fiction is action-packed and keeps the reader engaged in the story. It is not just escapism, however, as the reader learns much about the time when Vikings almost overran England, and is forced to compare the two worldviews (pagan and Christian) in the process. The author, frustratingly, comes down on the side of the pagans in many instances, but is sufficiently honest in his research to show that the Christianity of Alfred the Great came with some distinct societal advantages.
Disclaimer: This book describes pagan practices and brutal medieval battles--not for the faint of heart.
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Musical Interlude: Amazing Grace on the Sax
You may think you have heard Amazing grace played on the saxophone, but I assure you, you have not. Until now.
July 23, 2014
And Speaking of Weddings...
This weekend it was my privilege to officiate in what is only the second wedding of our church plant (and the third one I have conducted). We have watched Wandretcharlles (his real name) and Athyla grow in their walk with the Lord (I had the privilege of leading Wandretcharlles to Christ about a year ago). Now we have the privilege to watch them, together, illustrate that Great Mystery--Christ and His Church.
Some pictures of the ceremony:
Beautiful setting, outdoors, overlooking one of the most spectacular vistas on the island.
Yours truly, with the groom.
Brazilian Bombshell beside blushing bride.
Yours truly with some members of the Ebenezer congregation.
Mikey plays his first gig.
Officiating the wedding.
After the vows.