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Non-Fiction Read in 2009



August 20, 2009

Terrify No More by Gary A. Haugen

Earlier this year, a man representing the International Justice Mission came to speak to my church. I was so fascinated by what he said that I bought all three books written by the president and founder of IJM. I finished the first two in a week or two. Oh that there were more doing what this Christian organization does! Continue reading.

Death by Love: Letters from the Cross by Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears

The book arrived by mail during Holy Week this year and so, fittingly, I began to read it on Good Friday. Each of twelve chapters illustrates a truth about what Jesus accomplished on the cross: victory, redemption, sacrifice, gift of redemption, justification, propitiation, expiation, atonement, ransom, exemplar, reconciliation and revelation.

Each chapter tells the story of a traumatic event that changed one person’s life. These are reflected in chapter titles such as, “Demons are Tormenting Me,” “My Wife Slept with my Friend,” “I Molested a Child,” “My Daddy is a Pastor,” “My Wife has a Brain Tumor.” The story is brief, outlining what happened and how it has affected the person’s life. Continue reading.

Killing Fields, Living Fields: An unfinished portrait of the Cambodian Church--the Church that would not die is written by former Cambodian missionary, Don Cormack and, with gardening and farming imagery, is the sometimes dry and sometimes riveting history of Protestant Christianity in Cambodia, beginning in 1923 with the first converts and continuing until the time the book was written in 1998. Continue reading.


July 4, 2009
Sabbatical Journey by Henri Nouwen
Good News about Injustice by Gary A. Haugen
Sarah's Key
Death by Love by Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears
Terrify No More by Gary A. Haugen
Behind the Ranges by Geraldine Taylor

April 9, 2009

Maus: A Survivor's Tale a graphic story by Art Spiegelman

Spiegelman makes a number of visits to his elderly, cantankerous father to hear the older man's story of how he survived Auschwitz and World War II. Written in comic format, Spiegelman (both author and artist) tells his story of trying to learn his father's story amidst the father's daily life so that both stories are intertwined into one. Continue reading.


Three Cups of Tea: On Man's Mission to Promote Peace... One School at a Time
by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin

Greg Mortenson is an avid mountain climber who works night shifts as Emergency Ward nurse, living out of his car and storage locker to save all the money he can for climbing. Coming down from an aborted trip to the peak of K2, Mortenson becomes separated from the rest of his group and finds himself in an isolated village who take care of him and help him reconnect with his porter. When he sees the village children sitting outside in the cold wind, trying to school themselves with no teacher, he promises to build them a school. Continue reading.


February 27, 2009
Expecting Miracles: True Stories of God's Supernatural Power and How You can Experience It by Heidi Baker and Rolland Baker was a disappointment. It was interesting enough that I read through to the end, but it was simply a series of blog posts that seemed very matter-of-fact. I guess I expected more drama or at least a dramatic telling of miracles. It's hard to catch the awesomeness of miracles when they are blithely covered in a single sentence such as "The God who has raised at least 53 people from the dead among our churches in Africa...." p. 89 Continue Reading.


February 17, 2009
To End All Wars by Ernest Gordon

"Our experience of life in death had taught us that the way to life leads through death. To see Jesus was to see in Him that love which is the very highest form of life, that love which has sacrifice as the logical end of its action. To hang on to life, to guard it jealously, to preserve it, is to end up by burying it. Each of us must die to the physical life of selfishness, the life controlled by our hates, fears, lusts and prejudices in order to live in the flesh the life that is of the spirit. This is a basic law that cannot be broken except at great cost." [From the book.] To read my thoughts on the book go here.


Sunday, February 8, 2009
More Books
I have a hard time resisting good books and I just finished spending an entire weekend promoting my own book in YWAM's bookstore at Missionfest in Manitoba. The cool thing about books for sale at Missionfest is that they are books often not available in regular Christian bookstores so this is a good opportunity to stock up on books with a missions theme. While that's true, YWAM has more than just books on missions so I got a varied selection.

House: The Only Way Out is In by Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker
[See "Fiction Read in 2009]

Saint by Ted Dekker
[See Fiction Read in 2009]

Vanya: A True Story
by Myrna Grant
"This is the true story of Ivan (Vanya) Moiseyev, a soldier in the Soviet Red Army who was ruthlessly persecuted and incarcerated for his faith. Through two years of trial and torture, he never denied his Savior, and he never hestitated to share the gospel with anyone who would listen. Twenty years after his martyrdom, Vanya's powerful testimony--which included angelic visitations and a miraculous appearance of the apostle John--continues to change lives." A young man in the bookstore while I was there said that this is the best book he ever read. You can't get a recommendation higher than that!

To End all Wars: A True Story about the Will to Survive and the Courage to Forgive by Ernest Gordon
"Waking from a dream, I suddenly realized where I was: in the Death House--in a prison camp by the River Kwai. I was a prisoner of war, lying among the dead, waiting for the bodies to be carried away so that I might have more room." I have a particular passion for World War II stories.
Thoughts after reading

Chasing the Dragon: One Woman's Struggle against the Darkness of Hong Kong's Drug Densby Jackie Pullinger
I first learned of Jackie Pullinger in 1989 when Tom and I took our four young sons (ages 2-9) to Hong Kong for a family reunion (Tom grew up in Hong Kong). During our six weeks there, I had one day to myself and went looking for some of the things Tom would never consider important on such a trip, such as Afternoon Tea in an elegant hotel dining room. This particular hotel had a small gift shop and one book caught my eye. It was about the Walled City in the New Territories of Hong Kong, a square mile of land that had become, in effect, one large building of rabbit warrens where no law but crime reigned. Into that most dangerous of places, Jackie Pullinger, a 20-year-old, newly arrived from Britain, entered and began an incredible ministry that continues to this day, over 40 years later.

The book I bought that day was full of photos and told some of her story. A few years later, she came to Winnipeg for a conference sponsored by the Vineyard church I am now attending. I didn't miss a session and was strongly impacted by what I heard, saw and experienced. A number of years after that I bought Chasing the Dragon for a friend, knowing it to be good even though I hadn't read it. Now, finally, I have a copy for myself. I expect to be challenged in many ways by what she has to say.

Expecting Miracles: True Stories of God's Supernatural Power and How you can Experience It by Heidi Baker and Rolland Baker
Is it possible to see real and astonishing miracles today? Many say it is. What would it be like to be part of that kind of work of God? I am hungry to see as much of God as he chooses to reveal to me, including his miraculous power. Authors who have given praise to this book include James Goll and Jackie Pullinger--Christians who hold out to me the possibilities of something more in my walk with God.
Thoughts after reading

Finally, A Spiritual Formation Journal created by Jana Rea with Richard Foster.
I've been collecting books produced by Renovaré because spiritual renewal is something that matters greatly to me. The book is meant to be written in and I usually write on my computer instead of with a pen, but at the very low price I paid for it, I figured the ideas, thoughts, suggestions and quotes would be beneficial. If I keep it clean, perhaps I can pass it on to someone else who does use pen and paper.

I know I have a lot of other unread books waiting to be picked up but many of them require a lot of thinking, praying and engagement--which takes time--whereas these will be quick and easy reading for when I want something a little bit lighter.


February 6, 2009
In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership by Henri Nouwen.
A small book with a lot of white space on each page, I read it through in a day. Then I discovered the study guide at the back so each day I'm trying to answer a question during my prayer time. Today's question was about conversation on burning moral and political events. How do these conversations usually take place? How would the conversations be different if the parties involved were "based on 'the experience of God’s first love'” and rooted in the experience of contemplative prayer."

I've seen a lot of antagonism between people with differing views. It's sad because it is possible to share conflicting sides with listening, gentleness, prayer, silence, thought and a willingness to hear. I believe it is possible to do this when we are speaking out of our connection to and relationship with God.

Sabbatical Journey: The Diary of his Final Year by Henri Nouwen.
February 6: I have just started reading this book but already it is intriguing me. Nouwen didn't know it was his final year of life when he took a sabbatical leave from the community he had worked and lived in for nine years but he made a commitment to write in his journal every day. I see a lot of things in Nouwen's journalling and life that I would like to emulate.

Embracing the Love of God: The Path and Promise of Christian Life by James Bryan Smith
This will need several hours for me to pull out the nuggets to share. Hopefully soon.

Pursuit of the Holy by Corey Russell
I thought I had finished reading this book produced by the International House of Prayer in Kansas City but apparently I haven't. No wonder I can't remember what I read!


January 3, 2009


Connecting with God: A Spiritual Formation Guide by Renovaré
I decided to take a break from The Complete Works of Oswald Chambers to spend time with other authors of spirituality. Richard Foster, founder of Renovaré--a non-denominational Christian organization dedicated to fostering and developing spiritual formation and disciplines, is perhaps best known for his Celebration of Discipline, first published in 1978. I admire his strong but gentle call to developing our spiritual lives and so, when I saw a series of spiritual formation guides in the Wheaton College bookstore two summers ago, I knew I had to buy them. I bought a lot of books that summer, so it's taking me time to get to them all--especially since so many of them are full of good meat. Continue Reading.

Archaelogical Study Bible by Zondervan
I'm on my eighth reading of this NIV study Bible since March, 2006.
It's beginning to fall apart but I've scribbled so many notes on the pages, that I'm reluctant to start using a different Bible. My preferred time of reading is the last half hour before I go to sleep. It's one habit I've been able to develop and keep. Why can't I do that with other things?

January 2, 2009
I started the following two in 2008 but haven't finished them yet:

The Conquering Indian Volume 2 Compiled by Jim Uttley Jr.
Jim has collected a variety of short testimonies of native Indian people. Most of the stories were originally published in Indian Life, a newspaper aimed at native North Americans, and tell of the amazing work God can do and does in the lives of even the most messed up of us. It's a book that would bless not only those walking with God but those who think there is no hope for them with God because of all they've done and been.

The Heart of Female Same-Sex Attraction by Janelle Hallman
February 6, 2009: I saw so much of myself in this book and there is so much to share but I will need several hours to do so--hopefully soon.



Updated August 27, 2009

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You listen to my prayers
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your goodness
your love
your admonition
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You expand my love
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near and far
family and stranger
people as pins on maps
clustered and scattered
who know you and reject you
for those in need
and those too full to need.


















You draw me close
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You fill my heart with joy
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