3 Types of People

I've heard it before and it's likely that you have too. But as I'm reading Jim Tressel's "The Winners Manual" I read it again and determined it to be worth repeating:

There are three types of people:

1) Those that make things happen,

2) Those that watch things happen,

3) And those who say, "What happened?"

Which one are you?


Books

If you've followed my blog for any length of time, you may have noticed that as 2009 concluded I did not post a top 10 books list from my annual reading.  The explanation for the missing list is simple: I only read 8 books in 2009.

After averaging over 20 books per year since 2006, last year ended up being a year for little reading - at least by my standards.  Between a crazy work schedule, a change of schedule for the boys' school days and simple fatigue, I never really got into a reading rhythm.  I vow that 2010 will be different.  I'm already halfway through my first two.  And I've got a big stack on the night stand ready for action:

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A Million Miles in a Thousand Years

Million I recently began reading this new book (A Million Miles...) by one of my favorite authors, Donald Miller.  It is another "memoir" or look into his life, primarily stemming from the experience of making one of his former memoirs (Blue Like Jazz) into a film.

Here's how Miller starts the book:

IF YOU WATCHED a movie about a guy who wanted a Volvo and worked for years to get it, you wouldn’t cry at the end when he drove off the lot, testing the windshield wipers. You wouldn’t tell your friends you saw a beautiful movie or go home and put a record on to think about the story you’d seen. The truth is, you wouldn’t remember that movie a week later, except you’d feel robbed and wanted your money back. Nobody cries at the end of a movie about a guy who wants a Volvo.

But we spend years actually living those stories, and expect our lives to feel meaningful. Truth is, if what we choose to do with our lives won’t make a story meaningful, it won’t make a life meaningful either. Here’s what I mean by that:


The Persecuted Church

I picked up a book out of the church library a couple of weeks ago that I have been really enjoying.  The book is called "God's Smuggler."  It is the story of Dutchman Brother Andrew (founder of Open Doors) and his early years of smuggling Bibles and support into communist countries such as Bulgaria, Romania, Poland and the Soviet Union.  It has been a fascinating read (and I'm almost finished).

I had heard of Brother Andrew prior to reading the book, but knew little about his ministry and his adventures.  Elizabeth and I have been discussing the risks and sacrifices of Brother Andrew and other Christians like him and comparing them to our own lives.  Simply put....there's no comparison!  It's almost embarrassing how cushy and easy we have it as Jesus-followers here in Canada/North America.

This morning I decided to take a look at the Open Doors website to read more about what is happening around the world.  My heart broke as I read some of the stories of the suffering that so many people are enduring in the name of Jesus.  I actually wept.  They were tears of sorrow, tears of guilt and tears of compassion.

My first response was to pull out my credit card and make a big fat donation, which I knew would result in some serious marital counseling later on.  We're already stretched pretty thin with supporting our local church and another international ministry.  And then I noticed another link on the Open Doors website that peaked my curiosity.

I discovered that I can write letters directly to churches and individuals who are persecuted and/or imprisoned as a result of their faith.  And so I did!  I wrote three letters this morning and included some of the Sunday School artwork that my kids had recently done as a way of encouraging those who are suffering.

I will pray that God might provide a way for us to help in a financial way, but in the meantime, for the cost of a letter, I can help.  And I want to do that.

If you want to know more about the Open Doors letter writing campaign, you can check that out here:  LETTER WRITING GUIDE


10 Years Too Late

Deity_2 If you look to the left of this post, you'll see that I'm currently reading Jarrett Stevens's book The Deity Formerly Known as God.  I picked up this book as an impulse buy a couple of weeks ago.  I'd heard of Jarrett because I've watched a few services of 7:22 online so I thought I'd give the book a look.

I wish I'd read this book 10 years ago!  Basically, what Jarrett has done is written a book about how our life experiences shape our view of God.  And how we force our view of God to fit into the packages that we create for Him.

As I've read the book, I've reflected on how my view of God through my teens and twenties was formed by the church I attended as well as the authority figures I had in my life (parents, teachers, neighbors, etc.) all whilst growing up.

For the most part, I've personally worked through many of my misconceptions about who God is and how He expects me to relate to Him.  However, the life-long training is always the fallback response to who my God is.  It's often wrong and completely unbiblical.

I'm also now given a new perspective on how my interaction with my own children shapes the God that they will come to know as they grow up.