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September 2009

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years--Book Review


I so enjoyed this book.  I received it in the mail on Friday, started reading it on Friday evening and finished the book on Sunday morning (and I had a very busy weekend!).  I didn't even have time to list it in the "What I Am Reading" sidebar of my blog.  I laughed, cried and reflected my way through this book and when I came to the last page, I was sad that it was over.  I will read this book again.

I love the idea of "story" as it relates to life and faith--and that is what this book is all about.  It is about realizing that our personal stories are important and significant parts of the larger story of God.  Throughout Miller's narrative he encourages the reader to recognize the important parts of our life stories, to acknowledge how they affect the overall stories of our lives and to realize that our stories can be edited.  Each person has a lot to do with the writing and the editing of their own stories.

As Miller shared stories about himself and others I was reminded that there is an "author" in each of our lives that give our life experiences purpose.  "Without story, experiences are just random." (pg. 27)  Miller doesn't skirt the issue that not all stories in this life turn out "happily every after."  Like the best stories, life is filled with conflict, antagonists and risk to overcome.

As I read Miller's book I found myself wanting to live a "good" story and help others get out of a "bad" story.  Reading Miller's words confirmed in my mind that I know what it takes to live a better story than I am living.  And now, I don't have a choice because, "Not living a better story would be like deciding to die, deciding to walk around numb until you die, and it's not natural to want to die." (pg. 66)

There is someone writing each one of us.  There is a plan, there is a way, there is a path--there is a great story that each of us needs to let God write in and through our lives.  "People love to have lived a great story, but few people like the work it takes to make it happen." (pg. 100)  When I landed on the last page of Miller's book I found myself wanting to live a great story and willing to pay the price for the joy that accompanies a great story.

"Sharing a story with somebody [makes] the story more meaningful." (pg. 154) This is true when you go to the movies and it is especially true when you are living life.  Thanks for letting me share a bit of the story of A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.  It is a good read.

Fearless--Book Review

Fearless book

Max Lucado’s newest book, Fearless, is a very satisfying read.  Every chapter touches on a very real place in the human heart and feeds that hunger with the promises of God.  The book is filled with illustrations, personal testimony and Biblical reflections that touch on the genuine places, feelings and experiences of life.

I love the way that Max Lucado casts the light of scripture upon the path of human experience.  He often puts into words what so many people feel, but can’t or are afraid to express.  As I read this book, I felt his voice was reminiscent of the Max Lucado that I enjoyed reading in his first books so many years ago.  He is an artist with words.  Max Lucado can say more in one sentence than can be read in a multi-volume set of theological textbooks—because he speaks to the heart.

In this book he addresses the issue of fear and moves the reader into the realm of fearlessness through many different perspectives.  He reminds the reader to avoid the things that lead to fear and he does so in a meaningful and memorable way.  Here is quote from the book that I won’t easily forget, “Worry is the darkroom where negatives become glossy prints.”

Fear is a very big and real issue in each person’s life.  It is not a place where God wants his children to reside.  Max Lucado makes this very clear in his book and he offers the reader a very clear picture of the Fearless life that Jesus offers and provides to all who will look to him.      


"When you admit Jesus into your heart, nothing is predictable but everything becomes possible."  --Henri J. M. Nouwen

I like this.

Luke 18 tells of a good upstanding rich man who was a likely candidate to fill the role of a God follower, yet he couldn't quite let it all go and let God have his way in his life.    Jesus told the crowd that it was nearly impossible for a rich man to leave all and follow God.  Nearly impossible...

In Luke 19 we read of Zacchaeus--a mean, ornery, heartless rich man who was a very unlikely candidate to be a God follower.  However, we see that he let it all go for Jesus and went from lost to found.  Jesus told the crowd that salvation had filled the house of Zacchaeus.  Unpredictable...

In Jesus, nothing is predictable but everything becomes possible.

I like this.

Must Reads

End_of_the_spear_book I have read these two books over the last thirty days.  I didn't have time to read them with my responsibilities in work, studies, family etc., but I had to read them.  I needed to read them.  For me, they were must reads. I carved out reading time wherever and whenever I could get it.  Most of my reading of these two books was realized in the early morning and late night hours of the day.  Every minute of lost sleep was worth it.

Both of these books are related to the story of the five missionaries that were killed in South America in the late 1950s.  End of the Spear is a book that was written by Steve Saint, the son of Nate Saint, who was one of the five martyred missionaries.  This book was made into a movie and I own the movie and have watched it many times.  The movie is great, but the book is better. (of course)  I loved the story (it is a true story) and I marked many portions in the book that I want to reread and share with others.Unfolding_destinies

Unfolding Destinies is a book that was written by Olive Fleming Liefeld who was the wife of the martyred missionary, Pete Fleming.  Thirty-plus years after she lost her husband on a river beach in South America she wrote a book reflecting upon the "unfolding destiny" of God through the incident and throughout her life.  In the book she cites Pete's journals and affords the reader a "real life" glimpse into the hearts of the missionaries, their wives and their families, as it relates to God's ways, presence and work in their lives.  The book is another perspective into the seemingly tragic missionary tale.

I am fascinated by the story of these missionaries.  They were great men with great faith and a radical commitment to Christ, but that is not the part of the story that fascinates me.  I am amazed at God, who is undeniably enmeshed within and throughout the real life narrative.  From the first missionary calling in the men's hearts to me writing about the story nearly sixty years later--God is present and working for good and in love.

I became a follower of Christ as a teenager.  I was a reader and for Christmas one year my parents bought me the books: Through Gates of Splendor, Shadow of the Almighty: The Life and Testament of Jim Elliot, and The Journals of Jim Elliot.  I am so glad that they bought me these books.  These books began my journey with the story of the five martyred missionaries.  These books served as my gauge for what real Christian commitment looked like.  These books and their story have inspired my service and haunted my theological wrestlings over the years.

Obviously, I can't say enough about the story of the Auca Indians and the lives of the missionaries who loved them enough to die for them.  The story is rich, multi-faceted and replete with the very essence of God.  God was there on that bloodstained beach in South America sixty years ago and he is present even now in each of our lives and he is working for good and in love.

All of the books I have mentioned are must reads.

(I would also recommend the biography of Nate Saint called Jungle Pilot.  I read this one a few years ago.)