Friday, October 18, 2013

Haiti Journal - Day 2

Sorry for the delay.
Here's my journal entry for my second day in Haiti:

The morning commute is so much more intense than any I've seen! Atlanta's got nothing compared to Haiti! Yesterday we visited School of the Good Sower and the girl that showed us around, Dora, is from Hungry. She asked that we pray for someone to come in to do praise and worship with the children.  The person that was doing it before had to leave and the kids are really missing that experience. Especially the kids in the special needs area.

Our first school we visited today was having their first day of classes. Some of the children, mainly the younger ones, were definitely missing the moms.  There was one small boy who came to school but was not allowed in to class because he didn't have a uniform, which are required of all students; and his parents did not meet with the school director.  So when we pulled up he was sitting under a tree listening to the class he would be in from the outside.  I think if a student in the States was not allowed in class he would have left.

As we are driving around Haiti I'm surprised at the number of cell phones that I see. Plus the advertisements for smart phones.  A country that is the poorest in the Western Hemisphere I wonder where they get the money for these "luxuries?" Plus, I see a lot of signs for a national lottery! AMAZING!

I've tried to take a number of "postcard" pictures of Haiti. It's such a beautiful country! However, no matter where you look you can't see the beauty of this country without seeing the devastation and the poverty.  I think God has done that on purpose - He doesn't want me to forget that the people here are truly struggling and have real needs.

On our way to the next school we passed a beautiful housing complex. There were hundreds of apartment homes - all vacant! I was told that the reasons were: 1 - the trees had been torn down, 2 - too far from any market, and 3 - too much red tape to qualify.  Seems like when the government thinks they are doing some favors they really are not helping at all.  Sound a little familiar?

We also passed one of the largest tent cities in the country. Nearly four years after the quake people are still living in makeshift tents. There are so many unfinished construction projects throughout the country.  I was told that most construction costs nearly $1,000 per square meter! An average size house could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. No wonder nothing is finished.

We stopped by the only monument to those that lost their lives in the earthquake.  At one time it was a huge crater that was used as a place to dump the bodies found.  The earthquake caused nearly 300,000 people to lose their lives and 200,000 are buried at this site.  A private citizen built the monument because he thinks his wife is buried here.  The place is eerily quiet. That place made a huge impact on me.  (I found a rock there that I have to this day. I have it to remind me of those that survived the quake and continue to struggle.  I pray for them daily).

The second school we visited had nearly 180 students. The youngest was about 3 years old.  We had a great time here. Sang and played - actually had one little girl bounce me out of musical chairs! She thought it was funny a little thing like her was able get me, a big guy, out of the way! So far on this trip we haven't been confronted with poverty or heartbreak. I mean, we've seen it at the schools and through the windows of our SUVs but not really face-to-face. Until...

The third school of the day was the poorest yet.  The buildings were made of grass walls and tin roofs. When we pulled up we were greeted at the gate with cheers and songs. I kinda felt like a rock star! I had the chance to visit with a sweet little girl. She didn't say much as we sat together and colored. Her face said enough. Once I showed the picture I took of her on my phone she opened up a little and smiled.

While we were there we also had the chance to visit a family at their home.  At first I was little aprehensive about this visit. I don't think I do to well in those situations.  We began our walk which seemed to be for miles (remember - I'm in long pants and in 98 degree heat with a heat index of 130 degree plus). We passed through a few homesteads and farms and finally made it to the family we were going to visit.  The father was a former government messenger who lost his position when the new president came in to power.  He now farms bananas and eggplant. While we were talking he shared how much he appreciates the work of Cross and our partnership with them.  He was grateful for the school we were supporting because he knows his children will get an education and have at least one meal a day.

Our final vist was to Together in Christ (TIC). This place is amazing! A school, an orphanage, and even a place where area pastors can be equipped. We met with Gladys and her husband Pastor "Henry" who both shared how the property was acquired and what they have done in the last several years. The verse they live by is 1 Samuel 7:14 and they wish for me to pray that their children will receive kindness.  They don't want us to pray for an easy life but to pray for them to be stronger people.

What a overwhelming day! So much emotion and so many thoughts.  What do I do with all this?

My final journal entry will be posted later.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Haiti Journal - Day 1

Well it's been a week since I was in Haiti and I've had so many ask about my trip. Obviously I wish I could share everything that I experienced but that would take more time than most have available.  After a lot of thought I have decided to share my journal that I kept while in Haiti. Today's post is from my first day.  I hope that it will adequately share how I was feeling.

Haiti - Day 1
After a turbulent flight to Florida and a good dinner with mom and the Cross Team I hoped to get a good nights rest but I tossed a lot, not quite getting comfortable. Before I knew it, 3am came around and it was time to get up and prepare for the trip.

Once we arrive at the airport I began to feel those anxious feelings - what am I doing? How will this affect me? Even now, as I'm on the plane, I still feel lost in all of this.  It all feels surreal.

(This part of the journal entry was written at the end of the day)
We visiting 3 schools today.  The word that best describes my feelings is "overwhelmed." The first  school, Santo School, they sang and quoted Psalm 23.  These were some of the sweetest faces that I've seen. One little guy - while we were praying - had such a precious face while praying.

The next school was Bute Boyer (sp?). The director of the school is the son of the founder who was killed during the earthquake. The school building crumbled on him. The school (year) started late and had only 7 students the first day. Today there were about 20-30. I had the chance to serve lunch to the students.

The last school, School of the Good Sower, is a school and orphanage. They also have a special needs wing. These children are the forgotten ones. Made eye contact with a little boy there who just lit up! What a precious smile he has! There was one little girl who was found in a trash heap. This was an amazing day! Tomorrow promises to be another great one. I'm so grateful for the team around me - especially Frank Sontag. Frank is becoming a good friend.

Tomorrow I will have my journal entry for day 2.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Georgia Gold - Sautee Shadows

I recently had the chance to talk with native Georgia resident Denise Weimer about her newly released book in a new series that traces the history of northeast Georgia (click here for the interview).  Book one of The Georgia Gold Series, entitled Sautee Shadows, is a sweeping saga of four families whose lives intertwine through romance, adventure and murder.  A book for everyone!

The story traces the character Richard Randall amd his family as they move from New York to Savanah to establish a shipping company.  Richard's son Jack struggles to fit in to the southern culture which only intensifies with the death of his mother.  Evantually the Randalls do like most of the influential families of the area and build a summer home in the Habersham county foothills.  Jack sees the future railroad tourism as a way to make a good living and purchases a hotel.  He soon meets an unexpected competitor in the young and lovely Mahala Franklin.

Mahala, orphaned daughter of a man murdered for his gold and part Cherokee Indian on her mother's side, was raised by a family in the Sautee Valley and eventually torn from them by her maternal grandmother as a young teen.  Mahala has been determined to find out what happened to her father and his gold by tracing the clues her father left behind.  Is her father's murderer still among them?

Book two of The Georgia Gold Series, The Gray Divide, will be released later in September.  To learn where Denise will be signing her books or to learn more about her writings check out her website here.

Denise recieved her degree in journalism with a minor in history from Asbury University.  Her novella, Redeeming Grace, has recieved high praise.  Plus, her articles about Northeast Georgia have appeared in a number of regional publications.  She's a wife and mother, a life-long historian, and the director of the mid-1800s dance group, 1860s Civilian Society of Georgia.  For more information on Denise

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Remembering 9-11-01

It's hard to believe that it's been 12 years since that day.  Twelve years since the day that changed everything.  I remember it like it was yesterday.  I guess that's how those that experienced Pearl Harbor or those that witnessed the assignation of President Kennedy feel.  I will always remember 9-11-01.

I was working for In Touch Ministries.  My co-worker and I were attending a regional religious broadcasters event in Michigan and were having a great time.  It's always good to see old friends and make new ones at events like that one.  The night before we heard a great message from a local pastor and were blessed by music from Charles Billingsley and Sela.  I went to bed that evening feeling very relaxed.  That wouldn't last too long.

The next morning I got up a little earlier than normal and took my time getting ready for the day.  There were no televisions in the rooms so I still had not heard of the horror that was taking place in New York.  Once ready for the day I made my way to the dining hall for a much needed breakfast.  Once I entered the building I noticed a number of my colleagues gathered around the only television on the premises discussing some accident that had just happened.

I walked up to a good friend of mine, Les Lamborn, and asked what was going on.  He told me a plane had struck one of World Trade Center buildings.  I was a little shocked but thought it was one of those smaller planes where the pilot had lost control.  I heard more of the report on Fox News when it was said that it was larger plane.  I couldn't believe it.  The day was gorgeous both in Michigan and in New York.  What could have possibly gone wrong.

As I entered the discussion we all watched as the second plane hit! At that point we knew this was a planned attack! It had to be!  Then more news of a plane hitting the Pentagon and a little while later another plane going down in Pennsylvania.  What was going on!?

I was on the phone with my wife in Atlanta and my co-workers at In Touch.  Everyone worried and wondering how we were going to get home.  My partner and I were on the phone calling rental car companies to secure a vehicle.  I found out that my in-laws were stuck in Detroit and had no where to go and no way of getting home.

Once we got a car we were on our way to Detroit to pick up my in-laws and then on our way to Atlanta.  To say the least, this was one of the most stressful days in my life.  I look back on it and see how God did some marvelous things to let everyone know that He was in control.

This morning during my show I had my friend Les call in to share some words with my audience.  To hear his encouragement click here.  I pray that on this day of remembrance we never forget those that gave the ultimate sacrifice and what God did in the days and months that followed.

Monday, July 15, 2013

One Question

If you could ask one question to the people you admire the most what would that one question be?  Do you have a habit of asking questions - being inquisitive?  Ken Coleman, a radio talk show host and emcee of the Catalyst Conferences, has made a career of asking questions - tough questions - to those that have made a difference in our culture.


In his latest book, One Question: Life-Changing Answers from Today's Leading Voices, Ken Coleman invites you to listen in on as he talks with some of the most notable leaders, authors, politicians and newsmakers of our time.  You will be inspired and motivated by some of their responses.

Ken uses conversational style of interviewing to get to the heart of three primary areas:  Succeeding, Surviving, and Sustaining.  For example:
  • What is Coach Tony Dungy's advice for success while maintaining integirty?
  • How does Dan Cathy of Chic-fil-A view the value of passing the torch of leadership through the generations?
  • What does New York Times bestselling author Jim Collins believe to be the biggest roadblock to achieving success?
Filled with not only portions of his interviews but also personal stories, Ken gives the reader a source of wisdom that will last for years to come.

I had the pleasure of flipping the tables on Ken and interviewed him on the power of asking questions and what he personally gleaned from his interviews for the book.  To listen, click here.

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Soul of Atlas

Mark David Henderson, author of the book The Soul of Atlas, looks to bring together the worldviews of Christianity, that he learned from his biological father, with objectivism, an area of thought that he learned from his step-father.  He begins his quest with this question, "Do the two most influential books in modern culture, the Bible and Aya Rand's Atlas Shrugged, share common ground?"

I had the chance to talk with Henderson about his book, life with competing worldviews and how he has reconciled his Faith in Christ with his upbringing.  The Soul of Atlas attempts to cover both the biblical worldview and Rand's objectivism in areas like:  capitalism, relationships, reason, meaning and more.

Probably the most fascinating part of Henderson's book was his thoughtful look at Rand's hero in Atlas Shrugged, John Galt.  Reading Rand's book, you can't escape how closely Galt parallels Jesus Christ (despite Rand's hostility to religion).  According to Henderson, "When you understand that Jesus is not only the Ideal Man, but that he is the One who brings us to Joy, all of the good things in your life will pale in he comparison to His surpassing greatness."

Henderson, in a recent interview with The Christian Post and echoed in my conversation with him, said, "My hope isthat as Christians and followers of Ayn Rand, or even more broadly, as people of faith and reason come together I want them to find common ground so that we can accomplish much more together than we would separately."

To learn more about Mark D. Henderson and his book check out his web site,  To listen to my conversation with Mark, click here.

Atlas Shrugged is now a movie (Mark's step-father is one of the producers)! Parts one and two have already been released with the third part to be coming soon. Here are the trailers for parts 1 and 2:

Thursday, June 13, 2013

A Heart for Lebanon

This morning I had on my show Camille Milke of Heart for Lebanon.  He shared on the issues that have come about due to the over 4,000 refugees flowing into the country (and you thought the US had an immigration problem).  Click here to listen and visit their website here to learn more on how you can help this wonderful ministry.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Confessons of a Scholarship Winner

It's that time of year again! A chapter in life is about to be concluded and a new one to begin! GRADUATION!  High school students around the country will be anxiously waiting to hear their name called, walk across the platform and receive their diploma! I remember my high school graduation like it was yesterday (in reality it was a few decades ago) and the excitement of moving ahead to a new life.  What I didn't realize was how much money it was going to take to make that move.

College education is becoming more and more expensive and yet there are over 1.5 million scholarships available that total over $3 billion just waiting to be awarded.  What does it take to qualify for those scholarships?  What kind of grades are needed?  What about test scores?  Are the applications difficult?  Where can I find help to apply?  All these questions and more are answered in Kristina's book, Confessions of Scholarship Winner.  Kristina shares, on her first day of high school, how she was told by her single mom that if she wanted to go college she would need to find the money because they didn't have it.  That put Kristina on the quest to find the money needed to realize her dream.  Not only did she find money for college but also money for graduate and post-graduate work.

I had the chance to talk with Kristina and ask her some of the questions I, as a parent of a soon-to-be college student, had and what I needed to do help my son achieve his goals.  She gave me a lot of advice and encouragement from explaining the ins and outs of college financing and how to find niche scholarship offerings to sound advice on nailing a scholarship application and seeking out letters of recommendation.  Kristina's desire is to make sure that money is not the reason a student is unable to go to college.

To listen to me and Kristina's conversation click here.  To learn more about Kristina's book check our her web site, The College Ninja.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


New York Times best-selling author Tosca Lee has released a new novel on the life of Judas entitled Iscariot: A Novel of Judas.  She builds the story line on extensive research on the life and times of Judas and has created a fantastic story that leaves the reader asking, "Would I have done the same thing?"

Judas, the only disciple that Jesus called, "friend", is most known for his betrayal of Christ and has been the personification of evil.  However, Tosca's fictional account of Judas shows that we all err in ways that make sense to us and we never intend to commit evil acts.  Her years of research brings the times of Christ to life that I have never seen.

Tosca gives the reader another view of Judas' life and asks the questions, "Was Judas' part in Jesus life pre-planned or outright betrayal?"  She says, "As I wrestled with these questions and the ideas of religious agenda, legalism, personal stymie, and spiritual failure, I could not help but see myself in Judas - at times, too well."  She also said, "One of the things I looked forward to the most in the writing of this book was the opportunity to slip into the skin of one of those closest to Jesus. To sit, even virtually, at his side. Ultimately, this novel became as much about the person of Jesus as Judas."

In her unique and creative style that you find in her other books (Havah: The Story of Eve and Demon: A Memoir) you will be transported into a story line that will grip your heart and force you to ask yourself, "Am I any different?"

To listen to my conversation with one of my favorite authors click here.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

What Will You Do Today?

Every February some look at a groundhog to let them know if we are going to have an early spring or another few weeks of winter.  In Pennsylvania they make it a huge event that rivals most high school football games.

This is such a phenomenon that there’s even a pretty popular movie entitled “Groundhog Day.” The movie goes beyond the holiday to ask a poignant question, “What would you do if you could repeat today?”  Recently, I got to thinking about that very question. What if God were to allow me to repeat this day over and over again? What would I do with those 24 hours?

What would you do?  There are so many things that I feel we all would like to do over again.  There are probably words we would want to say – or not say.  There would be places where we would want to go.  Unfortunately, we are only given these 24 hours to do the things God would have us do.  According to Scripture we are not even guaranteed tomorrow.  God has given us today to share with others; to give of ourselves; to minister and encourage.  

Friday, February 15, 2013

Red Letter Christians

In their new book, Red Letter Revolution, Tony Campolo and Shane Claiborne talk openly about the teaching's of Jesys and how they give Christians a map for living out their faith in a broken world.  Imagine living in this broken world in a way that Jesus described in His Sermon on the Mount.

I had the opportunity to talk with Tony about this compelling new book and the challenges that I felt while reading it.  I was surprised to learn that he was challenged in the same way.  I've had the pleasure of talking with Tony a number of times over the years and have found myself challenged and encouraged.  You might not agree with everything he says, but you will come away with fresh ideas and will be compelled to go back to the red letters in your Bible.

To listen to our conversation click here. If you would like to learn more about the Red Letter Revolution and to stay informed check out their web site here.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

As I See It - An Interview with Tom Sullivan

Born prematurely in 1947 and as a result of too much oxygen, Tom Sullivan lost his eyesight.  Growing up feeling isolated in a fenced backyard, he heard the sounds of the world around him and he wanted to be a part of it.  Everything changed when he decided to jump the fence and discover what was on the other side.

As I See It: A Perspective on Life, Love, and Purpose is Tom's inspirational memoir where he shares moments in his life that would allow him to become an acclaimed entertainer, actor, musician and author.  But not only that but also how he experienced God's grace during a life-changing moment.

During my conversation with Tom we talked about the victories and failures in his life and those moments that brought him the greatest joy.  To listen click here.

In As I See It, Tom shares insights he gained including a person's true worth, growing close to others without exceptions, how to celebrate individual uniqueness and thoughts on other issues including:
  • Societal Labels
  • Pride
  • Interdependence
  • Faith
Tom believes every person living with a disability has a unique gift to offer society.  His hope is that we can make a difference by having more interaction with those that are disabled and offering them a proper education and opportunity to participate in some facet of employment.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Having a Generous Spirit

Have you made any resolutions for the new year? How are you doing with them? I know sometimes it's easy for us to make goals like these completely unattainable, and sometimes we get so busy that we just plain forget about them.  I've made a few for this year but the one I hope I can reach and not forget about is to be more generous.

That's my goal - to be more generous.  More generous with my time, more generous with my words and more generous with my finances.  Now you may be thinking to yourself, "Time and words I've got plenty of but money - that's a different story!"  This is what I've learned recently about my finances - God has given me exactly what I need for my daily living and exactly what I need to give to others. Some months that amount may be one thing and some months it may be something else. Either way, God has made us to be generous just as He is generous.

Let me challenge you this way - ask God how he would have you be generous with your finances this month. Ask where he would like you to give and then give with all your heart. If you would like to learn more about organizations that need people just like you please drop me a line.