Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Inspiring, Intriguing, and Unnerving Links

I am an avid student and reader about many subjects, and one of the joys of the internet age is the availability of various stories, articles, and tools that allow me to learn, to be inspired, and sometimes to be challenged and made a bit uncomfortable, all through excellent stories and writing. Here are some links to some matters I have found interesting, and two programs/apps that have increased my opportunities to listen.

Inspiring Story...
Sixty Nine Days, by Hector Tobar appeared in The New Yorker magazine and is the true story of the Chilean miners who survived underground over two months after a massive cave in. The story was powerful at the time (2010), but having it told through the voices of the men involved is even more so. You will be impressed by the role Christian faith played, and how the experience revealed the positive and negative extremes of human reaction.

Middle East Mess Made Clearer...
This video by Dennis Prager is a concise look at the Middle East problem from an historic perspective. Prager simplifies, but not in a way that interferes with understanding. There are certainly wrongs done by Israel, as well as the Palestinians, but the political dilemma is pretty straight forward. View the following video and see.

Summer "reading" with New Audiobook resources...
This summer, Kathy and I have been enjoying our reading, and also enjoying audiobooks on our long car drives. What has made this even better has been learning of two programs available through our local library where we can borrow audiobooks, ebooks, and even movies and TV series if we want.

The first program is "hoopla," and it has apps and programs that allow you, in partnership with your local library, to "borrow" audiobooks, music, and videos. They have quite a wide variety, and you can stream or download.

The second is Overdrive, and it offers a large selection of ebooks and audiobooks, but limited numbers of copies of items, where hoopla has unlimited copies of what it offers. We have found some titles on one service that are not on the other. Overdrive requires you to sign up for an Adobe account when you begin service.

Both require you to have a library card number, and that your library be in partnership with the program.

Two great books on love and marriage...
Speaking of reading, I've read two great books related to love, and especially to love in God's economy. Paul Miller has become one of the authors I've greatly appreciated for his insights and applicational teaching. He has followed up a personal favorite of mine, A Praying Life, with a new book about God's love seen in the life story of Ruth in A Loving Life. This book challenged, convicted and encouraged me, and it will you, too.

The second is about love and marriage, by another of my favorite authors, Tim Keller. Along with his wife, Kathy, he has written The Meaning of Marriage, and it is one of the best surveys of material about on Christian marriage--for anyone from those who are considering marriage, to those who are fearful of it, to those who may be finding it much harder than they bargained for. You will benefit from reading this book, no matter your marital status.

Some thoughts on children crossing the U.S. Border
I have made no secret of my concern for immigration reform, and my desire to see a plan that takes care of the millions of undocumented people here as well as the problem of border security. The issue has blown up recently due to thousands of children who are crossing the southern border without parents or guardians from central America. What do we do? My friend, David Hegg, pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Santa Clarita, California, has offered a well-thought answer here.

Here's a review of a new book I may need to read pretty soon, but some of you better read now!
It's the newest book by J. I. Packer, and it sounds pretty inspiring. The book is titled Finishing Our Course with Joy: Guidance from God for Engaging with Our Aging. The review that tipped me off, and makes me think will be good is found at Desiring God's website here. Of course, J. I. Packer has been a favorite since his book, Knowing God, was used by God to change my way of thinking in my late teens. Packer, at the age of 88, insists that the Christian must not buy into the world's perspective on retirement--calling it "worldliness" and "folly." Read the review, and then you might decide to get the book!

Making sense of crazy days...
If you know me well, you know that I have strong opinions about political matters, leadership, and cultural morality (if I hear another person say "you cannot legislate morality" I may just call that person the dunce that they are--ANY law passed about human behavior is a legislating of morality!). I have watched national and international developments with amazement and, when I am not thinking rightly, dismay. But I am getting better at reminding myself that the ills and sins of this world are what we should expect, and God is using them for his purposes, even when I find them infuriating. May you have peace in your heart, even as our world has none.