Hope Lives: A Journey of Restoration

hopelivesbookSince joining the Convoy of Hope team, I’ve been amazed at the surprises I’ve encountered in the scriptures regarding God’s heart for the poor.  I’ve grown up in the church, but missed some pretty important lessons from the 2000+ verses where He shares how He feels about those in need.

Our interns and I discuss His heart for the poor and our passions to help them during each training session.  We talk, watch videos, hear from great people and read.  The most engaging book we’ve read on compassion and His heart is Hope Lives: A Journey of Restoration by Amber Van Schooneveld. 


The book challenges without sending anyone on guilt trips, and encourages without letting anyone off the hook. I especially appreciate the ways Amber connects life in our own context with ways we can help others in need around the world.   It’s a book for those who drink Starbucks, update their facebooks, don’t necessarily feel called to live in the jungle but who care deeply about Jesus and others.

I got in touch with Amber and she was gracious enough to share via Skype with our fall team on the last day of the term.  It was fun.
I thought I’d pass on my thoughts on this great book.  There is companion curriculum for small groups (or youth groups). 


Primal review and reflections

battersonJesus says the greatest commandment is to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. In his latest book, Primal, Mark Batterson takes readers on a journey to a deeper discovery of understanding just what the command means. It’s a journey to the core of Christianity, and indeed, it’s Primal.

I don’t know Mark (just met him in line to get a hot dog at a conference once), but I listen to his podcasts.  He writes like he speaks.  As I read I hear his voice in my version of an audiobook.  His words aren’t so much a theological dissertation as they are a practical account of his thoughts on each of these important areas.  He combines stories, examples from science and history, and insightful commentary.  I got a great new perspective on a command I’ve heard my entire life.

Consider these thoughts:                                       

 “A child dies from drinking contaminated water every twenty-one seconds.  Are you okay with this? That question can be and must be asked of all suffering and every injustice. Are you okay with this?”

 “The more of God’s creation I experience, the more I am convinced of this: awed silence in the presence of divine beauty is a form of worship that is often deeper and truer than sung words.”

 “I’d rather have one God idea than a thousand good ideas.”

 “Pray like it depends on God and work like it depends on you.”


 The highlight for me:

 The entire book is engaging, but I’m most thankful for his thoughts on loving God with our hearts.

 I’m on my way home from an emotionally intense trip to Bangladesh and Nepal, two of the world’s most fascinating yet poverty stricken countries.  While there are many ways we love Him with our hearts, Mark spends good time communicating God’s heart for the poor.  Loving God means loving what He loves and caring like He cares.  The words inspired me, and I’m thankful for their impact on all who will read them.   


This is a great book.  I suggest it as the first book for you in 2010.  It’s relevant, challenging, inspiring, thought provoking and practical.

 The message to me?  Let’s love deeply, dwell in awestruck wonder, think creative God given ideas, and work really, really hard for Him. 


Lastly, thank you Mark for sipping coffee at Ebenezer’s with our fall ’09 Convoy of Hope interns and now for stopping by this site on your blog tour…

Mark Batterson, our interns, Primal

Last month our interns served at an outreach in the DC area.  While there, they met up with author/pastor/leader/thinker/twitterer, Mark Batterson.  Mark lived here in Springfield for a few years while in college and from what he tells us, enjoys Andy’s Frozen Custard.  Why am I blogging about him?

Two reasons: 

1.  He took an hour out of his schedule to meet with our interns.  They drank coffee and talked about life.  He really poured into them.  Many have mentioned that it’s a highlight of their internship.  Thank you Mark

He also gave us copies of his books In A Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day and Wild Goose Chase.  We’ll keep a copy of each in our intern house for the future generations of interns to read around the world.  Thanks for these as well.

2.  He has a new book, Primal, coming out soon.  His publisher is giving away 500 copies to bloggers who agree to review it.  I submitted my name and this blog and would love to give my meticulously and beautifully worded review of the work.  Plus, I’d love a free copy of what I know will be some great reading.


Hence, this post. 

1.  Thanks Mark!
2.  I pray Primal impacts a lot of people.

PS:  Thanks Randy Whitlow for the heads up on this opportunity.





Nomad: The Great Reverse (reality series)

nomaddvdI loved my time with OneHope (was called Book of Hope International back then) leading interns and teams.  A few years ago on a trip to Ghana, a film crew from fearless films joined us to get about 100 hours of footage.  We wondered if it would ever be released…it’s been released and is now available on INO Records and is in stores. 

 “Nomad: The Great Reverse” is episode 2 of the Nomad series.  The first episode followed Sara Groves on her trip to Rwanda.  Anyways…Chip, Troy and co. did a great job editing the video and capturing the spirit of our time in Ghana.

It was fun reliving the trip.  It’s been great keeping in touch with the team since then…weddings, hard times, moves, new opportunities, babies and more.  Great team.  Great video.

Creative ways to solve big problems


There’s a hunger crisis happening in the world. While this isn’t new, it seems like hunger issues are getting more severe while technology and communication of the problem increases.

While I’ve never worked with them, I love seeing groups like the people who work with this miracle food, Plumpynut.

Check this out…http://www.theywilldie.org/.  It’s a combination of locally grown peanut butter mixed with powdered milk and a vitamin pack.  Their website says a 3-week supply can literally save the life of a child.  Thinking not only with the head, but with the heart is such a good thing. 

We at Convoy of Hope have communictated with the PlumpyNut people, and who knows what partnerships could be ahead.

There are solutions still to be found, and I hope some of our interns find some of those solutions.

Here’s a good place to mention the moringa tree. Many of our interns, and Convoy of Hope family members have worked with this miracle tree. This site describes them well, http://tinyurl.com/3gcjs3.  Maybe I’ll talk more about them another time.


EE-TAOW It’s True!

There are still millions of people who’ve never heard that Jesus is the Son of God…some have never even heard his name. 

The story of Jesus, and what He means is powerful…and it doesn’t begin in the New Testament.  In the Wednesday night Bible Study at my church, I recently shared this story of EE-TAOW, which means, “It’s True!”  The story is about some indigenous people in Papua New Guinea, near where I spent 3 months back in ’03.  In fact, here’s a man I met on the trip…



Here’s a clip from EE-TAOW from the web…and it can be ordered on line.  Good stuff…

Here are some boys I met on the same island where the video was filmed…


I’ve been pondering the ascension…

In the mid-late 90’s, I shared with the Park Crest college group from Philip Yancey’s book, “The Jesus I Never Knew.” Great book. I’ll confess I’d forgotten his thoughts on the ascension. I revisited the book and his thoughts a few months ago, and have pondered them since. Without getting too theological, or footnoted, etc. here are my conclusions. These are simple thoughts, but a new perspective for me.

If Jesus were here today, there would be two really big things happening:

1. People would do everything they could to get near him to ask Him to help them, heal them, pray for them, etc. It would be like this, but 1000 times over. He would help the poor.

2. People who loved Jesus would be clamoring to find ways to serve Him…can I get you some tea? Can I wash your feet? Here, have the comfortable seat, etc. It would be like Mary and Martha but 1000 times over. People would serve Him.

Jesus isn’t here (at least physically). He ascended. He’s not back yet. But…

1. People still need help. Since He’s gone, we can be stand in for Him and do our best to help those in need. As Audio Adrenaline sang a long time ago, we can be “His hands, His feet.” We can help the poor.

2. We can serve Him as we would if He were present in the “Can I get you some tea or wash your feet” sense. We do so when we serve others. In fact, that’s the point of much of Matthew 25, which says, “When you do this unto the least of these, you do this unto me”. We can serve Him.

Anyways…as you can see, #1 and #2 happen simultaneously when we serve others in His name.

These are some of the thoughts I’ve been pondering since mid-December. Our interns leave for Haiti on Monday to do just that. I’ll join them in the Caribbean soon. My friend Travis just left for Honduras to do just that, you can read more here.


New memorization venture…

I’ve wanted to memorize and pray for all the countries of the world for about 5 years. I figured since I’ve actually started, that blogging about it may help provide added accountability.

I heard a speaker at Book of Hope quite some time ago. His name is Dick Eastman and he’s with a ministry called Every Home for Christ. http://www.ehc.org/

If I remember correctly, he spoke of praying for every country in the world every day on his way to work, or wherever he was going that day. I love that idea. Of course, it’s a listing thing where he would simply fly through a list. However, with his decent knowlege of the world a passion for those people, and a greater love for God, I bet some cool things happen in response to those prayers.

The prayer…

  • helps keep his passion alive and growing.
  • reminds him to pray for the places he’s been and the people he’s met
  • helps him be more aware when he hears of places on the news or in conversation
  • connects him with the desire God has to receive worship from the nations
  • is heard by our Savior, who responds

He passed out prayer maps that day. I have mine with me most of the time, wanting to actually start the memorization process. The idea is to pray for a few countries a day each day for a month, but I like the idea of just learning them all. I’ve told other intern teams of my desire to learn them all. Haven’t done it. Will do so starting now, or last week actually.

Click here to see the list.

I’ve gotten Africa, but am a bit worried about all of those Oceanic islands. Wish me luck…or even order the map (it’s free). Accountability in cyberspace has arrived.


Which is the worse tragedy? Your thoughts?

Our Convoy of Hope interns and I talked Monday of two great tragedies…

Tragedy #1. There are people today who haven’t decided to follow Jesus. Maybe they’ve never heard, or maybe they’ve rejected. Either way, this means they don’t have the comfort/strength/guidance/etc. from the Holy Spirit. They don’t have the “full life” that John 10:10 promises. And then a future without Jesus after their death is quite a tragedy too. All tragic.

Tragedy #2. God created man to worship Him. He sent His Son to die for us. His Son (that’s Jesus) sure worked hard and sacrificed for us. God is love, you know. He “dwells in the praises of His people.” Many people around the world don’t know about Him so they’re not worshipping Him. Many who do know about Him have chosen not to worship Him. He’s wanting praises, our attention, our love, and our lives and not receiving them. Tragic.

John Piper is a pastor/author who’s written about this. http://tinyurl.com/ilikepiper includes a 14 point sermon that touches on the topic…good stuff.

So from your perspective, which is the worse tragedy? Which is a stronger driving force? Their bleak future here and after life outside of Jesus, or a deserving Jesus not receiving their praises today?