January 27, 2012

Book Review: Sherman, Ruthless Victor by Agostino Van Hassell

If I didn't know that author Agostino Van Hassell was of German origin I would be tempted to suspect he was from Georgia.

I picked this book out in hopes that it would shed some light on one of the greatest figures in the Civil War. I was deeply disappointed. Far from giving a "fair-and-balanced" view of the life of William Tecumseh Sherman, this book relied on heavy speculation as to what motivated him, and presented an overwhelmingly negative view of the man who--together with General Grant--made the northern army a victorious fighting force.

The author seemed unable to get past the warts and see the genius. His formative years were emphasized, his Civil War experience was spoken of in the broadest of terms, and his post-war years were given the briefest treatment. An example: no mention at all is made of his lasting friendship with his Civil War foe General Johnston.

I suspect that if Sherman himself were to read the book, he might say something like "Vox biographer, vox humbug!"

Brief Legal Notice: The book was free, the review is me.


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January 26, 2012

Max Moment: Missionary Max Giveaway!!!

Have a new e-reading gizmo? (and according to recent research, chances are you do!) Interested in a free e-book? (who isn't, right?) Today is your lucky day! We are proud to announce the first Missionary Max Giveaway. From now to the end of next week I will be giving away twenty (20) copies of The Astonishing Adventures of Missionary Max, Part 1.

Here is what you have to do:

1. "Like" the Missionary Max Facebook page*

2. Post either this link for the Kindle version, or this link for the Nook version, on your social media site of choice (e.g. Facebook/Twitter)

3. Leave a comment on this post telling me you have done so. Be sure to tell me in the comment if you prefer the book in Kindle or Nook format.**

The first twenty people to follow the above steps will receive a free copy of The Astonishing Adventures of Missionary Max, Part 1!

Happy reading!

*If you already "like" the Missionary Max Facebook page, that's cool! Just post one of the links on a social media site, and leave a comment on this post.

**If you already have The Amazing Adventures of Missionary Max, Part 1, but know somebody who you think would like to read it, follow the above steps, then send me an e-mail with their information and I will be happy to send them a copy. Unfortunately, I will only be able to send one copy per person.


Thumbnail image for max.jpgThe Astonishing Adventures of Missionary Max, Parts 1 and 2 are now available for Kindle and Nook!

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A Thoroughly Christian Response to Cancer

I've tried a couple times to write an introduction to this, and have failed. I'll make it simple. My Dad, upon being recently diagnosed with cancer, wrote these words at his blog:

I would be much more interested in talking about the trustworthiness of my Lord than about the untrustworthiness of the medical profession. I want this phase, wherever it takes me, to be exactly that platform I mentioned above: a time to express confidence in my God. By that I mean, not confidence that he will remove the overall threat of this particular cancer, but that he will see me through to the best conclusion and, in the grand scheme of things, that he will draw others to his unconditional forgiveness, love and destiny.

I can't think of anything better to say. Of course your prayers for our family are greatly appreciated.

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January 25, 2012

Brazilian Musical Interlude: Real in Rio

I have some issues with the movie Rio. I hated the entirely predictable glorification of Carnaval. I did not appreciate the unnecessary paeans to destructive alternate lifestyles. And it really bugged me that the Brazilian hero of the story only found his American female companion beautiful once she was decked out in the outlandish Carnaval costume that is long on feathers and short on...er...coverage.

Having said that, what I do not hate about Rio is this opening number. When I saw it the first time it took my breath away, and it continues to do so. Real in Rio has just been nominated for an Oscar in the "Best Original Song" department, and if it wins, it will be well-deserved.


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Some Online Updates

The last few days have been somewhat hectic. Our boys began their studies in their respective schools, the youth group began it's 2012 ministries, English classes started again, and planning began in earnest for several ministries that will take place this year.

Another reason for the lack of posts here is that we have been busy working on our online presence of the Kerigma Baptist Church here in São Luís. Since last week we have updated our church website with a map and a retrospective of 2011 activities. And on Monday we launched the Facebook page of Juventude Kerigma--our church youth group. Both of these are works in progress, but they are already beginning to bear fruit in terms of visibility for our little congregation.

Also, while you are on Facebook, don't forget to check out the Missionary Max Facebook page!


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January 17, 2012

Book Review: Our Last Great Hope by Ronnie Floyd

It's only fitting that, as a missionary, every once in a while I should review a book about missions. And Our Last Great Hope: Awakening the Great Commission, by Ronnie Floyd, bleeds missions. His purpose is to stir the hearts of believers for the task at hand.

If I had to summarize it in one phrase, it would call it "every missionary conference you have ever been to, between two covers--and then some."

First, the "every missionary conference" part. I must confess that I was a little disappointed at first. Not in what Floyd was saying, mind you--this successful pastor is right on the money when he speaks of the need for the Gospel in today's world, and for the resources necessary to meet that need. However, I was expecting some innovative ways to meet that need, and at the outset there seemed to be more of "here's what" than "here's how". So while I found myself nodding in agreement--and even voicing the occasional "amen", I came away feeling like I had read nothing that had not been written or spoken many times before.

But then came the "and then some" part. In chapter 5 he begins talking about "capturing our communities", and this is where the book really soars. In fact, I would say that chapter five is worth the price of the book for it's practical and innovative approach to missions. It has me re-thinking the way I look at the city of São Luís, looking for "people groups" and "cultural clusters". This section is peppered with details of his own church's ministry to people from the Marshall Islands and...cowboys. It is good reading for anybody considering missions.

So, I would recommend Our Last Great Hope. You will likely read some "more of the same", as well as some "new and improved."

Here ye, here ye: I received this book at no cost from Thomas Nelson Publishers, in return for a review. I am in no way obligated to give a positive evaluation.


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January 16, 2012

Brazilian Musical Interlude: Chega de Saudade...Father/Daughter version.

Of all the Brazilian musical styles, perhaps my favorite is Bossa Nova. The soft, incessant rhythm--accompanied by a deceptively simple melody--never fails to calm my nerves and cool my head.

Among my favorite singers of this style is Bebel Gilberto (you have probably heard her even if you don't know it...she was featured on a Kenny G album). Via Deep Brazil (congratulations, Regina, on this find marvelous find!) comes this version of the Bossa Nova classic "Chega de Saudade". In this video a 14-year-old Bebel sings with her father, Bossa Nova giant João Gilberto.

Enjoy!

The Deep Brazil post features some other father-daughter duets in some other Brazilian genres. It's worth the look.


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January 14, 2012

Laughing Baby from Brazil

This ad is showing on TV here in Brazil. It is for a bank, advertizing their paperless banking. But the star of the show is the baby. I have yet to tire of seeing this one.


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January 11, 2012

Max Moment: Part Two is Live!!!

For those of you who have read part one of The Astonishing Adventures of Missionary Max, and are dying to know what happens next--wait no longer! Part two is now available for Kindle and Nook.

And I must say--if you thought part one was exciting, part two takes things to a whole new level.


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The Next Chapter

Many will remember the sad saga of our truck breaking down in Minas Gerais back in 2008, and how this event led us to meet Eder, who came to study at the Cariri Seminary.

On Saturday, another chapter was written in this story of God's grace and sovereignty. At roughly 9pm on that day, Eder was joined in holy matrimony to Yonara, whom he met in the church he worked at as a seminary student. And I got to perform the ceremony.


Leading the procession


Eder and Yonara


A pastoral exhortation...apparently


Just married!


The couple at the reception


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January 3, 2012

Happy New Year!

Yeah, I know, it's a couple days late. My excuse is that we were on an island in the middle of the Sobradinho reservoir in Bahia. Internet access was "iffy".

The occasion was the New Years retreat (or Retiro da Virada, in Portuguese). Thanks to my friend Júnior (our camera is operating at a less than optimal level), here are a couple pictures of the event:

Virada
Kayaks!

Virada
With Júnor and Netinho

Virada
Sermon Prep

We are now in the Cariri, staying with friends Júnior and Cris (different Júnior) and helping a young couple prepare for their wedding on Saturday, in which we will be participating. Then it's back to Maranhão, and the many exciting adventures that await us there!


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