Let me introduce you to our valley

Various friends introduced us to our valley throughout our first year in Spain. We were invited, encouraged to visit, and physically taken to villages and sites around our amazing valley, El Bierzo. This photo book includes photos from 25 of those villages and sites.

Let me introduce you to our valley…

PDF (free): Un Año En El BierzoUn Año en El Bierzo

iTunes iBook (free): Un Año En El Bierzo

Kindle ($2.99 due to Amazon.com rules): Un Año En El Bierzo


As always, leaving a review is helpful in spreading the word.

Crucial Conversations

I just finished listening to:

Patterson, Kerry, and Joseph Grenny. Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, Second Edition. 2 edition. New York: Business, 2011.


There were many helpful suggestions in the book. Here are some questions I need to ask myself during crucial conversations:

  • What do I really want?
  • Am I engaged in silence, violence, or dialogue?
  • How can I make this conversation safe?
  • What stories am I telling myself about this person that are skewing my perspective?
  • What is the common ground we share on this topic?

Perhaps you have read it, or another book similar to it. What would you add?

Serving with Eyes Wide Open by Livermore

Book: Livermore, David A. Serving with Eyes Wide Open: Doing Short-Term Missions with Cultural Intelligence. Updated. Baker Books, 2012.Screen Shot 2016-04-14 at 8.35.22 AM


(For a full review, click on title above)

Point: Short term missions needs to be evaluated, not because we should abandon the idea, but because we have drifted from the central purpose. That purpose is to properly love God and love others.


Favorite Quote: “How does our lack of cultural intelligence diminish our attempts to love God and love others? That’s the heart of the matter” (Livermore, Seeing, kindle 2560).

Stars:  4 out of 5

It would be worth another read and I would recommend it to someone who:

  • Is leading a missions trip
  • Has been on missions trips
  • Wants to interact with other cultures right at home

Other books along this theme would be:

Lanier, Sarah. Foreign to Familiar; A Guide to Understanding Hot- and Cold- Climate Cultures. McDougal, 2000.

Lingenfelter, Judith E., and Sherwood G. Lingenfelter. Teaching Cross-Culturally: An Incarnational Model for Learning and Teaching. Baker Academic, 2003.

Livermore, David A. Expand Your Borders: Discover Ten Cultural Clusters. Cultural Intelligence Center, 2013.

The Art of Neighboring by Pathak and Runyon

Book: Pathak, Jay, and Dave Runyon. The Art of Neighboring: Building Genuine Relationships Right Outside Your Door. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2012.

For a full review – click the link above

Point: Until we recognize that “neighbor” in the second greatest command in Scripture can actually mean “someone living next to us,” we will fail to see our responsibility to those God has placed in our lives to love.

Agreement: I appreciated the challenge. How easy is it for me to generalize “neighbor” to everyone, and miss the individual right next door. It was very convicting to see what was, and at the same time, exciting to see what could be.

Personal App: Am I loving my neighbor specifically? Do I know my neighbor?

Stars:  4.5 out of 5

It would be worth another read and I would recommend it to someone who:

  • Is interested in obeying the Great Commandment
  • Is looking for good ideas about how to love their neighbor

Other books along this theme would be:

  • Coleman, Robert E. The Master Plan of Evangelism. Revell, 2006.
  • Dever, Mark. The Gospel and Personal Evangelism. First Edition. Crossway, 2007.
  • Stiles, J. Mack. Evangelism: How the Whole Church Speaks of Jesus. Crossway, 2014.

Would Daddy Love Me More?

Here is a short board book written to relieve my daughter from the overwhelming burden of trying to earn her father’s love. That love cannot be earned. It is given.

I wrote the text and Andrew Nolan illustrated it for me. He did an excellent job, and it passed its ultimate review (Tanzen loved it).

Free PDF here: https://t.co/cQ8szmsoxV
Kindle book here: https://t.co/bwndJOxVqg

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Good Books

Here are some of the Good Books of 2015 and who I would recommend them to:

Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Minds by Jen Wilken

Who should read it? Those who want to learn some new methods of studying their Bible

A Gospel Primer for Christians by Milton Vincent

Who should read it ? Anybody who wants to appreciate the gospel more and see how it connects to daily life

Give Them Grace by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson

Who should read it? Anyone who has children, grandchildren, teaches Sunday school, or has any contact with children

Found In Him: The Joy of the Incarnation and our Union with Christ by Elyse Fitzpatrick

Who should read it? Anyone who wants to know more about their identity in Christ

Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert by Rosaria Champagne Butterfield

Who should read it? Anyone who lives in a culture where homosexuality is present and endorsed

Proof: God’s Grace

Point: The doctrines of God’s grace are not a club with which to beat people, nor a logical sequence to foster our argument, but a window through which we may see more clearly our great God.

Book: Montgomery, Daniel, and Timothy Paul Jones. PROOF: Finding Freedom through the Intoxicating Joy of Irresistible Grace. Zondervan, 2014.

(For the full review follow the link above)


Path: The authors help to explain the doctrines of grace by jettisoning the confusion-creating acronym of “TULIP” in favor of their own, “PROOF.” They take the reader through each of the doctrines:

  • “Planned Grace – Before time began, God mapped out the plan of salvation from first to last. God planned to adopt particular people as his own children; Christ offered himself as a sacrifice for these people’s sins and as a substitute who satisfied God’s righteous requirements in their place (John 10:11 – 18; Ephesians 1:4 – 12).
  • Resurrecting Grace – Everyone is born spiritually dead. Left to ourselves, we will never choose God’s way. God enables people to respond freely to his grace by giving them spiritual life through the power of Christ’s resurrection (John 5:21; Ephesians 2:1 – 7).
  • Outrageous Grace – God chose people to be saved on the basis of his own sovereign will. He didn’t base his choice to give us grace on anything that we did or might do (John 15:16; Ephesians 2:8 – 9).
  • Overcoming Grace – God works in the lives of his chosen people to transform their rebellion into surrender so that they freely repent and recognize Christ as the risen King (John 6:44, 65; Ephesians 2:4 – 10).
  • Forever Grace – God seals his people with his Holy Spirit so that they are preserved and persevere in faith until the final restoration of God’s kingdom on the earth (John 10:27 – 29; Ephesians 1:13 – 14; 4:30).”

Favorite Quote: ““The message here was vastly different from what we were used to! Learning that there is no way to earn God’s forgiveness was so freeing.” (Kindle loc 2847)

Stars: 4.5 out of 5

It would be worth another read and I would recommend it to someone who:
wants to see themselves and their God in a greater way
struggles with the terms “Calvinist” and “Arminian”
has ever used the phrase “I don’t know if I could worship a God like Calvin’s”

Living Christ

I recently read Robert L. Peterson’s biography entitled, “Robert Chapman: A Biography”. It was a challenging book, making me consider my own life. You can read the review here.

Here are several excerpts from the book:

“After hearing his first sermons some of Chapman’s friends offered the opinion that he would never be a good preacher. This undoubtedly cause him a lot of anguish, and his reply was telling: ‘There are many who preach Christ, but no so many who live Christ. My great aim will be to live Christ.'” (29)

“One of Chapman’s customs was to clean the shoes or boots of his visitors. After showing arriving guests to their rooms, he would instruct them to leave their footwear outside their doors so that he could clean them by the next morning. Typically they objected to his doing such a menial task, but he was quite insistent. One guest recorded Chapman’s answer to his objections: ‘It is not the custom in our day to wash one another’s feet; that which most nearly corresponds to this command of the Lord is to clean each other’s boots.'” (82).

J. Norman Case, missionary with Hudson Taylor, wrote, “The whole ordering of the household had in view not only the comfort, but the general spiritual, mental, and physical well-being of the many who came there for rest. It struck me at the time as being in its arrangement and conduct an ideal Christian household. The wisdom of retiring and rising early was forcibly taught by precept and example. Love and reverence for the Scriptures, and subjection thereto formed the very atmosphere of the house. There too, the ‘table-talk’ was turned to spiritual ends as I have never to the same degree elsewhere known. An ordinary meal became an agape, more helpful than many a long meeting. The living was plain but good. It was recognized that the body was the Lord’s, and should be treated accordingly. It was an ideal home for a tired or discouraged worker, or for a desponded or perplexed Christian. There one seemed naturally to be in the state of mind to hear the question and heed the exhortation to one of old: ‘Seekest thou great things for thyself? Seek them not.’ A stay there of days or weeks could not but deeply influence the whole aftercourse of a young Christian.” (82-83)

“In Chapman’s day the subject of prophecy was popular among many Christians. Although he occasionally preached on prophecy, he seemed not to have given it much prominence, in contrast to many preachers who gave the subject overriding importance. Perhaps he fel that too much ink and pulpit time were being devoted to a subject in which much interpretation was speculative and that such speculation was taking away time and energy from other essentials of the Christian life.” (169)

“Chapman new the difference between the essential doctrines of the Christian faith and those not essential to a saving faith. He did not permit his ego to defend nonessential, inferential doctrine at the expense of unity.” (172)

“During his last decade Chapman often said that those were the best days of his life. He had often prayed that his last years might be his best and God answered his servant’s prayer. Chapman reminded his friends that ‘the present times are the best for all of us; since our lot is cast in them, there is abundant grace to enable us to fully please God.’ He determined not to become a crotchety old man who just looked back at opportunities lost or what might have been. There was still abundant grace for living and pleasing God, and Chapman sought to serve the Lord as long as he was physically able.” (177)