>THE SHELL GAME – Entertaining, Provoking, Scary

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“The Shell Game” by Steve Alten is almost five hundred pages in length.

It is provocative. Scary. For me, well written.

Could the American government have averted Sep 11, 2001? Would the government stage an attack on an American city to earn the “right” to counterattack?

Are these beyond comprehension?

Whatever your view, if you like suspenseful, thought-enducing fiction-that-might-not-be-all-fiction, this book is worth your time.

I am NOT saying I agree with it all…but the factoids that are included are, in many cases, new information for me, anyway.

If you think a certain politician is beyond reproach and infallible, you’d probably better take blood pressure meds before reading. If you think America is always right, you won’t like the book.

If you are open to possibilities that may make you uncomfortable, I suggest the book strongly.

It may make you think..re-think…furious…curious…wondering.

And that’s okay.
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>Congresswoman Michele Bachmann – Politically Incorrect – Praise God!

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I type Saturday afternoon as the annual Bible Quiz Fellowship National Tournament races to tonight’s championship quiz.

But I post not of quizzing, but of Congresswoman Michele Bachmann from the 6th Congressional District in Minnesota.

Why?

She made time to be the speaker for this mornings’ devotion. Imagine 400 teens, a couple hundred adults, gathered together to sing, pray, and then hear a challenge from a woman of faith who, among other things, challenged the students to seriously consider that the Lord might have a call on their lives to enter the realm of politics.

The congresswoman is a phenomenal speaker, mother of 6 (if I remember correctly) and foster parent of 23! Obviously of most importance is that she is a follower of Christ, and that several of her children have participated in Bible quizzing with our Minnesota/Wisconsin ministry.

She said that Bible quizzing is the “ultimate reality show,” because it is based on Ultimate Truth – the Word of God. She provided hope as she declared that she and several other members of Congress gather regularly for prayer because, in her words, “our problems are so big that they are beyond our collective wisdom.”

Her stated purpose was to remind the students of the incredible potential each one of them has; and that God’s Word hidden in the heart equips them for every good work.

I had the chance to speak with her briefly, and she asked for prayer. She is a first termer running for reelection this year; and the Democrats have “targeted” her because of her conservative stance.

I committed to pray for her daily; and I respectfully ask you to consider praying for her daily, weekly, monthly, whatever.

If this morning’s challenge was the only “plus” on this trip (and, by far, it is not), all the effort would be worth it.

An afternoon of quizzing awaits, so I’m out…

>Christ in Me; Me in Christ – A Comparison

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I type in the Marriott hotel in downtown Minneapolis. The Bible Quiz Fellowship National Tournament is underway. For those of you who “know” quizzing; yesterday I quizmastered ten quizzes and had two regular overtimes and one triple overtime! Never had one of those before in my almost-three-decades of doing this! Almost 400 students competing on 55 teams…Amazing stuff!

Read this at 5.45 this morning…Ponder, marvel, and practice your position:

To be in Christ – that is redemption; but for Christ to be in you – that is sanctification! To be in Christ – that makes you fit for heaven; but for Christ to be in you – that makes you fit for earth! To be in Christ – that changes your destination; but for Christ to be in you – that changes your destiny! The one makes heaven your home – the other makes this world His workshop.

W. Ian Thomas

We quiz all day today (Friday); seedings are posted tonight; and tomorrow eliminations begin until the champion is crowned Saturday evening.

Then the 28 students representing Family Life and the more-than-a-dozen adults who are giving their time to serve as coaches and chaperones board our charter bus and head back East. Your prayers are appreciated…

>On the Road – Again

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Tonight, Monday the 21st, I leave for Minneapolis, Minnesota with 28 fantastic teenagers and 16 adults for the Bible Quiz Fellowship National Quiz Tournament. Would appreciate prayers for the bus trip; for unity among the students (and adults!); and that we would reflect well on His Name throughout the journey. Pray for divine appointments to “brag on Jesus” at our meal stops, trip to the Mall of America, and to the hotel staff. Fifty-five teams will be competing; pray for a grand time to be had by all, and that we would all “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

Don’t know if I’ll be able to post while on this whirlwind trip; and won’t be back until Sunday the 27th.

By the way, the photo is of Midland Ministries quizzers…oddly don’t have one of a full Family Life team…this will be a weird year, my last (of 20) with Family Life…as soon as the house sells we will be moving to Saint Joseph, Missouri to join the staff of Midland; so this won’t be my last Nationals! And at least I’ll get to see some Family Life quizzers and staff annually (assuming the Lord raises up someone to oversee quizzing as I depart!)

>Toddler Wisdom (turn off my music list, left, before playing video)

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http://youtube.com/v/Stq7CLytk6s

So I got to the office to set up for the last quiz practice before we head to Nationals Monday night…loads on the plate, concerned about details, about selling a house, about a health issue with my wife…took this video (90 seconds) to remind me that God can turn water into wine; but He can’t turn whining into anything! Maybe you need a shot of encouragement? Don’t deny yourself the privilege of watching this!

>Three Hours of Pure Biking Joy

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One of my most favorite things is peddling my bicycle. Had a day off today; and spent part of the morning riding with Jacob (as evidenced in a photo posted a couple days ago), and this afternoon rode for about three hours as I traveled the west side of Keuka Lake.

This part of New York is beautiful, and it’s inherent beauty will be missed when we move to Saint Joseph, Missouri (as soon as our house sells…pray pray pray).

Riding is a wonderfully relaxing time to think, pray, breath, enjoy.

Can’t wait to explore Missouri on my bike…with family along!

One more quiz practice this Saturday; then off to Minneapolis for the national tournament…just me…28 teens…14 adults…on a bus…yippee! It really is a highlight of my life, ministry, and year.

>Vitalness of "Personal Responsibility"

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Christ invaded my life while I was in jail. Months later I was sentenced to prison. During those days I learned that one of the chief failings of the laughingly-referred to “criminal justice” system is that the very system meant to help programs inmates to fail.

How?

By giving them excuses for their behavior. The system told me I was incarcerated because I had a bad attitude because of my service in Vietnam. They might tell another inmate that being a minority was his downfall; or his parents’ divorce; or his economic status. Certainly these factors contribute, but Jack went to prison because Jack made some rather dumb choices!

The most disgusting phrase in our culture is, “It’s not my fault.”

I’m reading Chuck Colson’s newest book, “The Faith.” Thus far it is a very good read (and, if you have a desire, you will see it listed in the top left-hand column as one of “Jack’s Picks”)

Just read this sentence…which, like much of Colson’s stuff…is so patently obvious; yet I’ve never thought of it in precisely this way:

“And you get God wrong because without human responsibility there is no need for a Savior.”

Ponder that for a while…

>Unanswered Questions?

>I posted this in November when I was still a xanga ite. For a variety of reasons – yes, some related to the house – I’ve been thinking more of this; so I share it here:

I’m reading a great book by Alistair Begg, The Hand of God, which seeks to demonstrate God’s sovereignty throughout the life of Joseph. Though I’ve not yet finished it, I recommend it highly! Especially helpful for me during a foggy time when I’m praying about a major decision that will have a massive impact in me and my families life and ministry…

Anyway, in the book is told the partial story of Dr. Helen Roseveare who served in the Belgian Congo during the horrific uprising in the mid-1960s that resulted in dozens of missionaries being brutalized and murdered.

Roseveare was in the middle of all this chaos; saw friends shot and dropped into mass graves, and was a victim of brutalization beyond belief.

In a letter to Alistair Begg, Dr. Roseveare declared, “The phrase God gave me years ago, during the 1964 rebellion in the congo, in the night of my own greatest need, was this: ‘Can you thank Me for trusting you with this experience, even if I never tell you why?'”

Ponder that for a while. How often have we heard, or said, “Well, I sure don’t get this, but I’m sure God will tell me why I’m going through this situation….”

The question Dr. Roseveare heard from God echoes in my heart, and I pray continues to bounce around my heart and mind…”Can you thank Me for trusting you with this experience, even if I never tell you why?”
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