“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

I missed this because I was on vacation, but Jan 8 was the 54th anniversary of the deaths of the Auca martyrs: Jim Elliot, Pete Fleming, Roger Youderian, Nate Saint and Ed McCully. Justin Taylor has some interesting links.

Maybe in glory we will know how many missionaries went to the field– and how many heard of Christ– because of the example of Elliot and his friends. I’m one and I know there are many others.

“Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies it remains alone, but if it dies it bears much fruit.” (John 12:24)

“For all the saints, who from their labors rest
Who Thee by faith before the world confessed,
Thy name, O Jesus, be forever blest!
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!”

Environmentalists vs. actually feeding hungry people

Norman Borlaug, an American agronomist (I have never used that word before), died this weekend. His advances in seed technology have been credited with saving the lives of 245 billion people.

There’s a good summary of his work here. This section stuck out to me:

Borlaug warned that the Green elites tended to be wealthy, urban individuals who saw the “wilderness” as a place to vacation, but wouldn’t want to live there. “Our elites live in big cities and are far removed from the fields. Whether it’s [Lester] Brown, or [Paul] Ehrlich or the head of the Sierra Club or the head of Greenpeace, they’ve never been hungry.” Borlaug warned that the urban elites in the West “are easily swayed by these scare stories that we are on the verge of being poisoned out of existence by farm chemicals.”

Environmentalists have long championed coercive measures “to make the world a better place.” Normal Borlaug actually did make the world a better place. His only crime was that, he wasn’t saving insects, but the lives of people in Asia, Africa, and Central America. And in the Green heirarchy of values humans come last.

HT: JT

Sarah and Michael

Two people especially were in the news last week. One is a middle-class mother of five, including a soldier in Iraq and a special-needs baby. She’s been married to the same man for over 20 years, and has had a pretty remarkable public career while simultaneously helping raise her family. She was in the news because she announced she would resign from her job after a year of the most hateful, subhuman attacks on her family you could imagine.

The other was a singer. He made the best-selling album in history over 25 years ago. Since then he had engaged in a long, slow, public free-fall. He had 2 brief marriages. He was quite possibly a child molester, and certainly known for all sorts of bizarre and personally destructive behavior. He was in the news because he died of a heart attack, apparently brought on by an overdose of a powerful drug his doctor illegally obtained for him.

The difference in the media’s and the public’s treatment of these two people is a great illustration of how royally screwed up our country is.

Slow News Week

At least I didn’t flake out & quit blogging on the same week that North Korea tried to nuke us, the conservative movement’s best hope went down in flames, and the King of Pop (apparently) dropped dead.

Time Magazine on the New Calvinism

Time Magazine has The New Calvinism as #3 on their list of 10 Ideas Changing the World Right Now. And the writeup is pretty good.

(HT: Jeremy Echols)

Deals on Baker Books at WTSBooks.com

While putting the last post together I saw that Westminster Books has several Baker books at 45% off. All of these would be great to have on the shelf:

HumanLight

There is an alternative holiday for atheists in December: HumanLight.

The first thing I thought of is, if we religious people are so foolish for celebrating the birth of Christ (or even Hanukah), why develop an alternative? I mean, it’s almost like you’re saying people long for certain days with a special meaning or something, like there should be a point to life at all. Which atheists really shouldn’t believe. Why not just skip all the superstition and foolishness altogether and volunteer to work an extra day?

Then I noticed a few other things. You can’t get very far into Humanlight without seeing its inherent inconsistency. For example, Humanlight celebrates “Humanism’s positive secular vision”. But what’s positive? Who’s to say? Seriously, if everything just evolved by pure chance then there is no positive, no negative. What’s there to celebrate?

There’s more. HumanLight celebrates “a Humanist’s vision of a good future.” This good future (again with the value judgments!) includes the following:

  • “A future in which all people can identify with each other.” How? As fellow members of a highly-evolved species of mammal? How do chimpanzees identify with each other? And why should we want to identify with each other anyway?
  • A future in which all people can “behave with the highest moral standards.” (This is my favorite.) Why, that’s the most narrow-minded thing I’ve ever heard. Who do they think they are telling me how to live my life? Why do they get to decide what the “highest moral standards” are? What is a moral standard anyway? No room for that in a secularist worldview.
  • A future in which all people can “work together toward a happy, just and peaceful world.” But why should we work together? I mean, survival of the fittest, right? What’s justice? (See previous bullet.) And why is peace a good thing? It’s almost like they’re assuming some sort of absolute standard of right and wrong.

And these are the people who think we’re a bunch of drooling idiots. Well, Happy HumanLight, everyone (whatever that may mean). Here’s hoping we can work toward a nice, God-scrubbed society. After all, it’s worked so well every time it’s been tried.

“Ow! That really hurt! Who throws a shoe, honestly?!”

You may have seen that an Iraqi reporter threw his shoes (both of them!) at President Bush during his farewell visit there this weekend. Best comment I’ve seen so far:

Only because of the U.S. was an Iraqi journalist allowed to throw that shoe. On some level, he knows that.

Yeah, it’d be interesting to see what happened if you threw your shoe at the guy who was in charge before the imperialist bastards came in and ruined everything…

(extra points if you can name reference in title)<!–

A Step Toward Prague

I quit my job.

Support-raising has gone well for us; people have been very generous. The biggest limitation we’ve faced has been time. I’ve had a fulltime job, and with Sam Melissa basically does too. Then support-raising is a part-time job on top of that. So we’ve considered it a great week if we could spend 8-10 hours on support. At that pace, it would take a L  O  N  G  time to raise all the support we need.

But the good news is that we have enough money raised that it’s financially viable for me to start working fulltime on support. So starting Monday, that’ll be my gig. It will help us to be more organized and deliberate, it will free Melissa up not to have to do all the admin work, and we hope that putting in more like 40 hours a week will mean that God provides all the support we need quickly, so that we can get to Prague in early spring (hopefully March).

Please pray for my work– that I’ll be organized and disciplined, and that God will bless our efforts and get us to Prague ASAP.

The Weakened Dollar and Missionaries

When I came back from Prague I meant to write about the drastic effect of the falling dollar on missionaries serving overseas. To give some perspective, the first time we went to Prague (November 2006) the exchange rate was 24 Czech crowns to the dollar. Now it’s about 15, which means the dollar is about 30% weaker than it was 18 months ago, which means everything costs about 30% more if you’re being paid in dollars.

Anyway, I now no longer need to write this because Sunday the Charlotte Observer beat me to it, profiling none other than my future boss Phil Davis, pastor of Faith Community Church in Prague. Read the article, and be sure to look at the pictures– the Davises are a good-looking bunch.

For those of us in the States, a few action items to think about:

  • Pray (regularly!) for the dollar to regain its strength. This is affecting lots of missionaries all over the world, and they’d rather be focusing on ministry than trying to build their support back up.
  • If you have missionaries you regularly support, consider trying to raise your monthly pledge to help with their added costs. Where could you trim from your budget to help them out? Think of it as a move of wartime efficiency to get the troops in the field what they need.
  • If you’re not regularly supporting any missionaries, this would be a great time to start, as nearly all of them are feeling the crunch.

Our God is sovereign over all things, including currency exchange rates. Let’s pray that he will work quickly on behalf of his workers in the fields.

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