Thursday, December 20, 2007
No time to explain why I’ve not been blogging. (If I had time to explain, I would have had time to blog.) Briefly, I’ve been working on the Orphans First Christmas Project, trying to provide gifts for many poor children. For more info, see the O.F. website – www.orphansfirst.org where you can also download the Christmas Project flyer.
Meanwhile, while we try to help children all over the world, there are thousands of orphans and foster children here in America. Our prisons and homeless shelters are filled with foster children who’ve aged out of the system—and never connected with a good family. But it doesn’t have to be this way. We can change that—one by one!
Please—I know you’re busy at Christmas—but please read this and pass on to other. True CHRISTmas is to help those who are needy (James 1:27). Read on.
The following is posted by permission.
In a message dated 12/18/07 9:10:35 PM, writes:
As God's people, we are called to care for orphans, and we are also
called to seek the prosperity of the City in which God has placed
us. If we take care of the children living in foster care, we have
the opportunity to do both.
For those of you who are not familiar with Project 1.27, the church
and the state of Colorado are working closely together in getting the
kids in the Colorado foster system adopted into Christian homes.
What is happening there is unprecedented and can be read about here:
A lot of folks wonder if what is happening there can happen
elsewhere. I'm happy to say that yes, it can, and it will. The
Project 1.27 model is being replicated elsewhere and now, at a mini-
Conference coming up in January, others can learn firsthand how
they've done what they've done.
There are many churches in Southern California that are starting to
ask what they can do to serve orphans overseas and in our nation's
foster care system. This conference might answer some of those
answers (at least in relation to the children in foster care).
To all of you, I'm asking you to dream for a moment what could happen
if we, as God's people, began to really work together to help the
nearly 1000 children waiting for homes in L.A. County (not to mention
those in neighboring counties) find permanent, loving homes in
There is an incredible opportunity here...to not just impact the
lives of 1000 kids, but to impact society for the glory of God. Los
Angeles County is home to the largest foster system in the world.
What kind of an impact would it have on other foster care systems if
the church here worked together to find adoptive homes for all of our
waiting children? What kind of an impact would it have on those 1000
kids? Their natural families? Their children one day? Their
grandchildren? What kind of an impact would it have on society, in
light of statistics that paint a grim picture of the lives of foster
youth who age out without permanent families? Two stark statistics
tell the story: 45% of the homeless in California are ex-foster
kids; and about 3/4 of the inmates at San Quentin are ex-foster kids. Indeed, ex-foster kids fill our prisons, our homeless shelters, our skid rows, our abortion clinics, our rehab clinics, and even our cemeteries. Taking care of our foster youth today and getting them into loving, Christian homes where they will meet God and find love, acceptance and healing, will substantially help to empty our prisons, homeless shelters, skid rows, abortion clinics, rehab clinics,
etc... tomorrow. Yes, it's that simple. And...besides it being
simple, it is a matter of obedience to God's will for us to care for
the least among us.
I am attaching an invitation to the Project 1.27 Conference. Please
consider joining other church leaders for three days in Colorado, to
begin exploring how God might use us to meet the needs of foster kids
in our city.
Let’s join this endeavor. Janey DeMeo
Saturday, December 08, 2007
“Midnight Clear, the feature film we worked on over the last year and a half or so, is finally available on DVD from Lionsgate. You can get it anywhere, for the most part, including Walmart and most retail stores. You can also order it online, of course, at places such as amazon.com (http://tinyurl.com/37ge6n). If you're interested in it, please purchase a copy (makes a great Christmas gift, since it's set on Christmas Eve!), as we need good sales to show Lionsgate that our movies can succeed, so they'll make more! And if you like it, please say so at places such as netflix, imdb.com, amazon.com, etc. I hate to sound like such a car salesman, but these are the kinds of things that help build support and interest in Hollywood to make more films like it.
You can see the trailer at our website, as well as http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=enjG_qbng5Y.
The movie is PG-13 for "mature thematic elements," so it's not a kids movie, but there's no language or sex. The film tells the story of five strangers spread out across a small Southwestern town who are in various stages of loneliness and depression on the day before Christmas. Throughout the day and night, they randomly cross paths, and in subtle but unique ways, affect each other's lives forever. If you check out our website, it's got links to some really good reviews, pictures from the film, updated info, etc.. It's got a good message of hope without being overly sentimental or cheesy.”
One more “Christmassy” thought on this blog. Amidst the Christmas madness, let's have a clear conscience about how we give. How ‘bout we all go out of our way to bless foster children, orphans, homeless and poor people anywhere and everywhere this Christmas? I’ve got lots of ideas how to do this so if you lack any, contact me. Or read this blog again. Or see www.orphansfirst.org
Let’s make this Christmas count like never before for the needy.
Janey -- www.JaneyDeMeo.com
Monday, December 03, 2007
Apparently, a boy claiming he’d prefer to use the girl’s bathroom will be able to do just that. Are we nuts? Our girls will be in danger. What boy of a certain age wouldn’t want to be in a girl’s bathroom or locker room, dah?
All this is according to the new law signed by Gov.Schwarzenegger.
Check out details here: http://www.savecalifornia.com/getactive/boycott.php
I urge all parents, grandparents, sisters, brothers, non-parents, anyone and everyone to make their voices heard to change this bill.
When we were in France, my husband turned the tide of history by kicking up an international stink (that’s some stink, trust me) about a law which stated a person could be imprisoned for “brainwashing”. There was no criteria for brainwashing which meant that you could be incarcerated for sharing the Gospel. I won’t rehash details of that time right now, but let’s say that a little voice shouting loud goes a long way.
Now, with our children’s future at stake, if we don't take action then we're headed for dark days. Let's not accept that they kill our children's purity. Let's not take it lying down but let's be pro-active knowing the Lord is on our side. Let’s PRAY, petition and communicate...
Janey DeMeo © December 2007
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
When in Florida where I spoke for the Embraced by Grace Adoption Awareness Seminar, I heard that when children are hungry (especially babies), it is agonizing. We cannot imagine the pain they feel—so much more than we adults do. But this baby starved over 6 days with a notice over his little crib, “DO NOT FEED”. He was placed alone (so the crying wouldn’t bother anyone?) to die. Meanwhile, several families had stepped up to adopt him.
I pray you’ll read this before Thanksgiving. Why? Because the Lord would have us mindful of those who are without, of those starving for lack of food—or lack of love—or both. He wants us to remember those whose lives are sacrificed by cruelty—or by courage such as our military. He wants us to think of the orphans and to do all we can to help them. May He make our hearts tender and compassionate. And may He make us quick to pray, and to act so that our lives make a difference.
Oh, and since we’re speaking of turkeys, and preventing cruelty, in case you missed my previous posts please also check this out: www.KentuckyFriedCruelty.com -- a video of how KFC treat their chicken. This is extreme cruelty and we can help stop it.
Your caring makes Thanksgiving what it should be!
Friday, November 09, 2007
Anyway, some of the words that caught my ear include these:
“No castle in the south of France…
And daddy was the apple of my eye
He will always be the apple of my eye.”
I did live in a castle in the south of France where I saw a lotta kids who had no-one they could call Daddy. It broke my heart. Now I’m seeing the same trend here in American and my heart is doubly broken.
Martina McBride sand a beautiful song about prayer (again). Words included:
“Blessed is the believer who knows love is a redeemer
And stays to pray for the times in which we live…
Give me a heart of tender mercy…
Everybody just stop & pray for these times in which we live”.
I was deeply touched. You’d never hear these kind of words at a secular music concert in France. Nor England.
One of the musical phenomena who performed was 17 year old Taylor Swift who won the Horizon Award. She first thanked God before thanking everyone else who’d invested in her. Carrie Underwood introduced Taylor and had won her own awards aplenty including female vocalist, stated, “God has blessed me with so many wonderful things, I’ll spend my life trying to figure out why.”
Brad Paisley won mail vocalist of the year, thanked everyone, ending “…and more importantly, God.”
Words in another song performed that night: included, “I’m proud to live in the boondocks, I found Jesus there...”
It was beautiful. And I love that so many people have the reflex to thank God. But what I’m still figuring out is whether these words express a sincere walk with God, or whether they’re just part of the American—especially southern—cultural mix. I guess it’s not for me to know. But it troubles me. Why? Because of so many folk truly know God, why is America going to the wolves?
Janey . DeMeo © November 2007
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
So, let’s talk movies. The good, the bad & the ugy. Beginning with the good, I hear Bella’s awesome and can’t wait to see it. Bit while beautiful films are being produced, trash abounds. The latest ugly movie apparently is sheer evil so let's be warned and warn others about The Golden Compass starring Nicole Kidman. Advertised as a normal children's movie, it clearly aims at teaching children that there is no God. (In fact, they kill God in the story.) The movie's based on of a trilogy of children's books and the author is an atheist named is Philip Pullman. Let’s take heed and let people know.
Such ugliness rides a trend of blatant filth and anti-God TV shows and movies. Seems almost everything nowadays promotes loose living to the point of debauch, totally disregarding consequences. So, you go pick up a “onenightstand”. Doesn’t matter that he/she might have a disease. If I didn’t read the Bible and understand that this is all part of a wind up (or wind down) bringing us nearer to the time when we’ll be with Jesus, I’d get seriously overwhelmed.
I like movies that make me think, motivate me, drive me to want to make a different. One of my fave old movies (and my family's) is Brother Sun, Sister Moon by Zephirelli. It’s just been redigitaled in DVD format. The film, poetically telling Francesco of Assisi’s story, is laced with profound spiritual innuendos that could easily be missed. For example, Francesco begins rebuilding an old church ruin and his friends think he’s crazy (literally). One by one they try to draw him back into their world. But one friend, Bernardo, pours out his heart to Francesco, sharing his own dissatisfaction with life. As he does, Francesco sees a large stone, asks where his friend had found it, and then quotes the verse, “All ye like lively stones are being built…”. He sees the stone as a fit for his church—and his friend as a stone for God’s temple.
I first saw that movie in Montreal where my husband was planting a church. At the end of the film, he went to the front of the theatre and preached a salvation message. Way to go dude.
On that note, let's support all those making good movies. Let's all go see Bella and any other movies promoting godly values. Let’s seek excellence, not trash.
Janey DeMeo©November 2007
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Being salt, light or firefighters is a choice. It's something we get to do as we choose to live for Christ.
As many mourn the loss of their homes in the fires, my sympathies are divided. Sure, I feel compassionate for those who lost their homes. Of course. This is tragic. But I feel less compassionate for those who lost their home which was just one home among many homes they own while, meanwhile, many remain homeless. This week some some of us will be feeding the homeless again (thanks to the Bread of Life homeless shelter). And yes, some of those homeless folks became so by wrong choices. But not all. Some became homeless because fires crept up on them, destructive sparks, uninvited. And they suddenly found themselves in the streets.
May God remind us to build our homes not on sand, nor on wood, hay nor stubble but on Christ and His Word. That's our only sure foundation.
Janey DeMeo©October 2007
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
The Bark of the Bog Owl, the first in a series of fantasy adventures, is a tale of the noble and unexpected exploits of 12-year-old Aidan Errolson—the Wilderking. He is destined to bring deliverance to Corenwald simply by “living the life that unfolds before him—and doing good.” The adventures he experiences seem to do just as the saying says—they unfolds before him, echoing the wonderful Scripture we find in Ephesians 2:10 about the works God has prepared for us.
The story’s backdrop, Corenwald, reminds me of the Shire in Tolkien’s hobbit world (see my interview with Jonathan below). And so do many of the names: Odo, Gergo, Dobro... The characters are as wonderful as their names. Dobro Turtlebane, for example, is the boy-next-door type of ruffian with a heart of gold. Bayard the Truthspeaker—in my very Tolkien-minded outlook—is a sort of Gandalf figure and a mirror of truth. Greidawl of Pyrth, on the other hand, has been drawn from the Bible; he’s Goliath.
Bible truths are woven throughout the plot as Aidan simply lives the life that unfolds before him—adventures and all. His adventures involve all kinds of dangers and intriguing creatures, including an alligator.
I highly recommend The Bark of the Bog Owl for kids. Find it here: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0805431314.
Read my interview with Jonathan Rogers below:
(JD – me, JR – Jonathan Rogers).
JD - Jonathan, I'm an avid Tolkien fan. How much did his writings inspire you in to write The Bark of the Bog Owl?
JR - I can't say Tolkien was a conscious influence. I like The Lord of the Rings, but I haven't drunk of it as deeply as you no doubt have. As Tolkien himself pointed out, however, people don't always understand their own influences and inspirations. You read, you hear, you experience, and it all gets mashed up and decomposed into what Tolkien called "the leaf-mould of the mind." It's fertile soil for creation, but one of the defining characteristics of good compost is that you can no longer identify what exactly it used to be. Sometimes an outside person can identify influences that an author is not aware of. A reviewer once remarked that my books owed a lot to Mark Twain. That was news to me, but when I looked back over Huckleberry Finn, I realized how right the reviewer had been. It had been an unacknowledged debt, but I definitely owed a debt.
JD - I know you have a bunch of kids (what fun), and you've tested your work on them. Do you have any girls? Do the gals like the book as much as the guys?
JR - I have two daughters. One is just getting old enough for the Wilderking and will soon be able to read it for herself. My younger daughter isn't ready for it yet. I get lots of email from girls who like my books, so they do seem to have some appeal beyond the world of boys.
JD - Was there a bottom line thought that triggered your desire to write the series of the Wilderking books? If so, in a nutshell, what?
JR - There are lots of ways to answer that question. One thought that triggered my desire to write these books was simply the thought that I had to start using the gifts God had given me, or I was just going to wither away. But I suspect you're talking more about what themes or ideas I wanted to express in fiction. I wouldn't describe the Wilderking as "message-driven." I didn't start out with a message or a moral, then try to find a story that would be a vehicle for that message. I did, however, start with a desire to explore the idea of wildness. Why do we all feel "the call of the wild" in one way or another? If that feeling is God-given, what are we supposed to do with it exactly. In The Bark of the Bog Owl, the call of the wild turns out to be the call of God in a boy's life. Starting there, I tried to tell a good story and let any morals or lessons take care of themselves.
JD - Thanks Jonathan. Keep up the great writing.
Janey L. DeMeo
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
What I saw today typifies what I’ve seen since I’ve been in So Cal. On one hand, there are those who seem indifferent—perhaps because they personally are not affected. But on the other hand, there’s a strong remnant of God’s people here—and they’re not shy about proclaiming it through deed and action. (OK, so we all see through a different perspective—something I tackle in my article in next month’s Indeed Mag. (Walk Thru the Bible), entitled “Single Vision.” And also in my booklet, Women (& Men) in Dark Glasses!) I see through European eyes, and having lived 2 decades in atheist France where “Christian” is just weird.
Here in San Diego, news programs highlight stories such as this: A young couple’s entire house burns to cinders. They grab their kids, their dog and their Bible. Their testimony? They’re glad they’re safe and grateful they grabbed their Bible. “That’s the most important.”
Churches have opened their doors as shelters to receive evacuees, create animal centers, or become medical centers. Generosity overflows. Yes, sure, there are plenty of panicking people and animals. But there are caring Christians around making a difference. And as for the firefighters, they’re heroes. They’ve forgone food, sleep, comfort—so that many still have homes.
However, I’m sure all can use extra prayers—that we wouldn’t be paralyzed in the doom and gloom but that we’d stay vigilant and sensitive to instructions from above.
As for me and my house, we bow our knees in awe trusting the One who will use this for His glory—and pray for all those who need a special touch from Him at this time. This is not just about fires and ferocious winds. It’s about God—and what He is trying to say to all of us through the elements. May He grant us ears to hear, and hearts to obey.
Janey DeMeo©October 2007
Monday, October 22, 2007
At this time, 300, 000 people have been evacuated due to these fires. Curiously, one fire that was an instigator began at Witch Creek. They call it the Witch Fire. And all that right before Halloween. Thank God our trust is not in man, nor in superstition, but in the Living God. No fire is a threat to Him for He is a consuming fire.
Just today I was thinking of how amazing our God is to place the sun in exactly the right place. If it were closer to earth, we'd burn to death. If it were farther, we'd freeze. His is in perfect control. I find such contrast in the fact that man is unable to even control the fire...
May we all be praying for those whose lives are affected by these devouring fires. God have mercy. And may the Lord draw people close to Himself during this time—and save the helpless, whether big or small, young or old.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Before I discuss this kind of willfully inflicted suffering – acts of cruelty – let me premise it by stating that statistics clearly suggest that people who are cruel to animals are often cruel to children. It makes sense. Cruel people are bullies who want to victimize those who are helpless. Thus, animals—then children!!!
If you care about right and wrong, being a light in a dark world, please check out this VIDEO. It explains what the missing ingredient is in Kentucky Fried Chicken—cruelty. Go to: www.KentuckyFriedCruelty.com to see how they treat their chickens. And if you’re wondering how this affects you, just remember: unchecked cruelty breeds more cruelty—which affects the children!
Or if you’re wondering what you can do…well, for one thing, stop buying KFC. Boycott them. Make a statement about cruelty. If we don’t nip this one, bigger cruelties will be ignored. Let’s not be chicken. Let’s open our beaks loud and cluck until our voices are heard and this cruelty ends.
Janey DeMeo©October 2007
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Since I was young—when my parents first took me to France—I didn’t want to spend my life in England. Not sure why really. The cold maybe? Or just my fairytale mind believing the grass is always greener someplace else. I actually wanted to live in France, probably because I’d tasted of its beauty and spoke the language. And that’s exactly where I ended up—for almost a quarter century. But it wasn’t the weather, nor the language, not even the fine food that took me there. It was Jesus. His call and His purpose. And now we’re in America for that same call and purpose—to serve Him.
So what about England? Where does it fit? Well, I realized during this recent visit to my precious family that I’m a Brit no matter what. I might not live in England but part of England still lives in me. Part of her history and culture. And there are things I miss: the green, the sound of British birds (they have a different accent you know), the quaint villages, tea houses, marmite… Yes, England still holds a certain charm—in spite of the pervasion of Islam and Liberalism. You just need to stop to smell the lovely, English roses along the way.
However, if we’re not careful, there may come a time when we no longer smell the roses. Either they’ll have lost their scent or we’ll have lost our sense. Sense of smell, of course, but also our SENSE. Some things just don’t make sense. Here’s something senseless I recently heard on radio that infuriates and alarms me.
America is so tolerant of Islam that it’s paving the way for ingrown terrorism—using our tax dollars to do so. Hear this. Right in the city of the 9/11 attack, NY, tax dollars are funding a school teaching in Arab promoting the Islamic culture. It looks to be no more than a thinly disguised incubator for Islamic radicalism. Hear full details here: http://www.issuesineducation.org/ (Are Schools Promoting Islam?).
Since half the classes will be taught in Arabic, and most of us don’t understand it, who’s to control the spread of Islamic propaganda and the promotion of Jihad? One of the school’s big promoters is from CAIR, the Council of American Islamic Relations. CAIR’s founder, who promotes this school in New York City, said “Islam is in America to become dominant.” He promotes this Islamic school, the Kallil Kabron International Academy (not sure if this is how you spell it).
Meanwhile, if you want tax dollars for a Christian school, you won’t get them. This is forbidden. We can’t publicly promote Christianity, sing Christian carols etc. or the ACLU would jump down our throat. But where is the ACLU on this issue? It’s a totally double standard. We’re also, apparently, allowing the Muslims to have their own parade. Disgraceful. Distasteful. Disgusting.
We need to recognize the Trojan horse, the enemy’s permeation into American society. Ignorance is not bliss. It’s cruel stupidity. WAKE UP AMERICA! We’re supposed to be in war against terrorism—not breeding it in our back yard. Let’s not follow the foolish footsteps of England and France in such matters.
For more details, check out the Thomas More Law Center: www.ThomasMore.org or “Are Schools Promoting Islam” here: http://www.issuesineducation.org/ Or call Issues in Education: 1- 888-ISSUES9. And do read Tom Tancredo’s book, In Mortal Danger.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
My children were not just the inspiration but also the catalyst for my first published work. I wanted to honor God as a mom, but also as the senior pastor's wife, and women's teacher in our Theological Institute in France, I felt responsible to study biblical parenting—particularly in light of the atheistic and pessimistic French culture producing many unhappy parents and kids. While I knew God wanted me to be Spirit-filled and parent according to biblical principals and higher love, I also sensed He wanted me to encourage fellow parents in the journey. He was calling me to be a conduit to pour out to others - albeit a sinner saved by grace and a mom learning to parent. So, I did things back-to-front and published my first book in France before I'd written much else (just a few booklets and newsletters, but that's all).
That book is entitled, Mon Dieu, ces enfants! published by Editions Vida. It now exists in a different format in English as a book & workbook in one—fabulous for individual or group study:
Heaven Help Me Raise These Children!-- Biblical Direction for Practical Parenting Issues. Order at www.Carepointministry.com (Click on PARENTING).
That was 12 years ago. And although I write on many subjects today, my now-grown children still inspire me. But, equally inspiring are the orphans and suffering children I work with. Their stories are compelling and need to be
told. Their daily struggles, their dreams, their brokenness, their compassion, their unique personalities, their sense of justice because of the injustice they’ve seen—those things motivate my writing. They enthuse me with passion so much so that even when my writing is not directly related to them, it often provides a tool to publicize their needs by allowing me to put my website in the bio line: www.orphansfirst.org
I wonder how much I'd be writing if it weren't for the children. But then again, we’re all children in our Lord’s eyes. So, I guess for as long as there are people, I’ll be writing. (I do love animals, but they don’t read a whole lot…)
Janey L. DeMeo©October 2007
Founder/director of Orphans First - www.orphansfirst.org
Thursday, September 13, 2007
The thought of children consuming lead—or any poison for that matter—because of man’s greed, his desire to make more money with less care, faster, is heavy stuff.
I’ve been thinking about hot topics relating to the welfare of children. Take, for example, the McCanns, now accused of killing their missing child, Madeleine. I don’t know all the facts, and I’m convinced the media won’t give them to you. It’s hard to glean objective reports among the grapple and grab for sensationalism. Is Portugal’s trying to cover something up? It is hard to imagine that this couple who seem to love their twins could have done anything to that little princess. I do know one thing for sure: God knows. And I’m praying that truth be revealed.
Meanwhile, I know about another couple accused of killing a child. I choose not to give details here but I spent some time researching their story. If you read some articles, you’d swear the parents were culprits—or at best disciplinarian fanatics. But if you dig deeper, it’s not that hard to read in between the lines. It sure is looking as if some “force” is trying to destroy a Christian family and discourage fostering and adoptions. It reminds me of a sad conspiracy reflecting the dark times we live in. I’m praying for the couple concerned and for truth to be revealed.
More news: A school principle left her child in her SUV for 8 hours. The car got unbearably hot. The baby died. She apparently forgot the child in her haste to get to her job. Should she be prosecuted? Oh my, how did we ever get to this place? This is insane.
I don’t want to stir up controversy. I know little about the above news items. I have no right to spout an opinion. But what I do want to say is that we cannot just gullibly believe what the media spouts out. And when we hear that America’s (happily) is taking measures to refuse toys with lead in them, we can rejoice—yes, do let’s rejoice—but let’s not close our hearts to the thought that so many children elsewhere are not protected. It’s just not economically interesting to seek their protection.
My conclusion: We need to pray like we’ve never prayed before. We need to talk to God about all these issues, ask for His wisdom, guidance and also ask Him what we should do. And we need to pray for His truth to be upheld.
More news: One in a million have sextuplets. A 29 year old in Tampa gives birth to sextuplets—5 boys, one girl. She chose not to eliminate any. (Good for you gal! Those babies belong to God). The babies are beautiful, as is the couple’s other little girl. I wonder how they’ll cope. I also wonder if they used fertility drugs (the news didn’t go into that). And I wonder again what will happen to the thousands of abandoned children, not wanted, stuck in the foster system or some orphanage somewhere.
Meanwhile, a 16-year-old kid drops out of high school and now works for UPS. Why? Because his mom is now in prison for 2 years. Why? Because she bought beer for her minor’s birthday party, at his request. She took the car keys from all the kids who were there and insisted that they stay the night. Still, she bought them beer illegally. And now she’s behind bars. And Ryan’s life is ruined. Sure, his mom made a mega mistake. But my heart breaks because this kid’s heart is broken. His life is destroyed because of it. No future for him now. Just a broken heart—unless God does a miracle. I’m counting on the latter. I’m trusting God will do a miracle for Ryan. Let’s pray for him.
Commemorated on 9/11 this week: 2, 974 died at the Twin Towers and the crashed planes combined—all that because of terrorists. Tragic. But the greater tragedy is that America is still letting in illegal immigrants from high risk countries. I would encourage anyone to read of In Mortal Danger by Cong. Tom Tancredo and learn some of the things that are still taking place in America.
Janey DeMeo©September 2007
Monday, September 10, 2007
The Secret encourages a sort of New Age humanism, power-positive thinking, mind over matter, speaking into existence what is not etc. It’s a differently packaged form of “name it & claim it”. And it’s deceptive.
This book, like some others I’ve heard folks recommend for biz building, speaks of the “power of attraction”. If you’re positive, you’ll attract success etc. If you’re successful you’ll attract success etc. My question is: In whose eyes? What is successful to man is not necessarily successful to God. Or in eternity.
One highly successful person was Mother Teresa—in spite of her doubts. (Hey, who doesn’t have doubts at times? And if you’re caught up in a religious system, you likely have greater doubts). Most of Teresa’s time was spent with poor people. She attracted them. She also attracted people who wanted to help them, or who wanted to know Jesus. And although she was often in the company of rich, influential people, that was not where she was most at ease—and they were neither the source of, nor the inspiration for, her success. She hung with the poor and needy. They, and God, breathed success into her ministry.
While I realize that business is not ministry but rather it’s a means to make money, I think we must be as honest in business as in ministry. As Christians, we should present our goods with integrity. Promoting a belief system whereby you can speak yourself into becoming rich doesn’t cut it for me.
If we’re Christians, then let’s shine Christ’s light before hailing a philosophy that either contradicts biblical values or imitates them in a deceptive way (as does The Secret). Let’s think things through biblically and prayerfully before gullibly riding the current wave of forwarded emails.
The Secret is about “me” and my embetterment. The Gospel is about Jesus, and helping others. We help them not so they’d then help us; we help them just to help them, so they’ll have better lives. That’s what’s so beautiful about helping the poor and, as Jesus said, about inviting them into our homes. They cannot give back in lucrative terms.
My prayer is that we learn to discern. There’s a lot of stuff out there that sounds good, upbeat, positive…But is it biblical? There’re a lot of wounded Christians out there from unbalanced movements (either too legalistic or with a really warped sense of grace). Some have thrown out everything they ever learned of God—throwing out the baby with the bathwater just because they have a hard time finding the baby in the dirty water. (Granted, it does take a little bit of groping around in the murk, but that’s where the Word truly is a light. It helps us find the baby in the dirty bathwater). May God help us not to throw away the baby—the truth—and not to lose all Christian bearings and discernment becoming wishy-washy, gullible Christians who will now swallow every sugar-coated philosophy…
I say, “Time to wake up”. All of us. I don’t want to sleep the sleep of dullness and be lulled into lululand by lies. I want to wake up to the Master’s voice, to the sweet sound of our Shepherd calling and directing us (Isa.30:15). He will not remove our Teacher if we’ll hang on in there (Isa.30:20). So let’s hang on in there. Hang with Him. Hang with the poor. Cling to the Bible. Forget The Secret. Let’s read the Bible.
Here’s a good website to learn more about The Secret: www.alwaysbeready.com
Janey L. DeMeo©September 2007
Friday, August 24, 2007
Then we’re reminded of Michael Vick’s victims. He drowned or hung the dogs that didn’t win, after already torturing them their entire lives. My thoughts? He deserves the same treatment. But our God is a God of mercy so let’s pray that Vick gets maximum sentence and that he too comes to know Christ in prison. Maybe he’ll have time to do some good on this earth before meeting his maker.
We also learned that Mother Teresa—someone I’ve admired for years—had serious doubts about her faith. Am I surprised? No, not at all. If she really knew Jesus, she would be vulnerable to doubts as we all are. But more importantly, she did not have sound teaching Let’s face it, her faith was based on an unbalanced system, not solely on the Bible. That would make it shaky. And if she didn’t have true faith (I personally believe she did based on years of studying her life and quotes, but only God really knows), then having doubts would be explained by a lack of Christ’s indwelling life. The Bible and the indwelling Holy Spirit help dissipate doubts. Add to that mix a good assembly of believers to encourage and allow us to hear good teaching and you have a good recipe to build up your faith—although hard situations and trials never fail to test it. Without those essential ingredients, it’s almost impossible to hear God’s voice.
That’s my take (at least, briefly put). What’s yours?
Other news includes that Berlin Zoo has a new baby elephant. I’d so love to see him. I absolutely love elephants. They are incredible animals—and their qualities could put a lot of humans to shame. More on that another time…
Janey L. DeMeo Copyright©2007 August 24th
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
I don’t think I identified with the key player, Packer Throme, because frankly I’m not a boy—although I live with two and I bet they could plug into this character, especially my son. The characters are very well portrayed, distinct and enough stereotyped to allow us to recognize them from life.
The book is filled with adventure, action, pirates, intriguing plot and gore. Yes gore. Blood spilling fights. It all had a purpose. Polivka brilliantly portrays the horror of life, sin, evil and carefully weaves the beauty of mercy into his story. That to me is what Firefish is really about.
Sure, Firefish is the story of Packer Throme, a young man who loves God and is also in love with the young and beautiful pastor’s daughter, Panna Seline.
Packer has apparently failed at seminary, but seeks to make a difference in the world and, like most of us, is has mixed motives; he wants to combat evil but he also wants to marry Panna. Should he risk his life to try and improve the world of his poor fishermen in his world? Or should he stay and settle down with Panna ignoring the knowledge left to him by his now deceased father?
Packer finds himself joining the pirates in the quest to follow his father’s discoveries and help find the fiendish firefish. His goal is to improve the economy of the poor fishermen in the world he grew up in. Unexpectedly, Packer finds himself targeted by Talon who is driven by cold blooded cruelty that shows no bounds.
I really should say no more. You just need to read the book. And I’d especially recommend it for men and for boys. How hard it is to get our teen boys to read. Maybe this will lure them in. It did me—and I ain’t no pirate person.
Brief interview with author, George Bryan Polivka. (GBP = author, JD = me, the interviewer).
JD - George, did you draw your inspiration for this book from the Pirates of the Carribean craze?
GBP -- No. I wrote "Firefish" a dozen years ago.
JD - I see mercy as a key thread throughout the book. Is mercy a facet of God's nature you particularly hoped to portray?
GBP -- Yes. That, and the heart of the believer that craves it, knowing mercy is not deserved. I like to talk about faith as what happens on the other side of despair, and I tried to work that out in the story.
JD - Did you write this book for any particular audience?
GBP -- It's for the people of God, in response to the command, "Feed my sheep."
JD - Do you think see the book being made into a film? (I do and I even have a suggested actress for Panna).
GBP -- I see the book as a film when I write it! I have written movie scripts and television programs. But I'd love to hear how you see Panna. I can't mentally cast it myself; the characters are too real for me... and they aren't actors!
JD -- Thanks George. Keep on writing, and killing those firefish. We'll be looking for the next book.
GBP -- You're welcome. And it's available now! Amazon or your local Christian bookseller. "The Hand that Bears the Sword."
Check out some of my fellow bloggers’ reviews of The Firefish:
Wayne Thomas Batson
CSFF Blog Tour
D. G. D. Davidson
Lost Genre Guild
Rebecca LuElla Miller
John W. Otte
Daniel I. Weaver
Monday, August 20, 2007
For a boomer babe new to chick-lit and new to So Cal where the story takes place, I enjoyed One Little Secret. The plot centers around Ursula Rhoades, a middle-class, educated boomer chick with an almost perfect family. Ursula’s life is comfy—until a secret silently sows pandemonium.
Ursula typifies the submitted, steadfast Christian mom and wife who places family above her own dreams. But when an opportunity opens for her to fulfill a latent dream, she begins recording an album with a famous, “sexy dude” rock star—incognito. Meanwhile, her own husband is caught up in his own ambitions as a lawyer—and is away for several months on a case. So are the kids. Ursula is quite alone. Quite the set-up for trouble.
Although Ursula appears spiritually solid, some of her behavior leaves us questioning her maturity—and turning pages. For example, Ursula is often alone with Nik, and there is a clear, although controlled, play of chemistry between them in spite of their age-difference. While Ursula never betrays her marital status, she does put herself in precarious situations. At one point, Nik turns up at her house at 5am where she is all alone—and has been for weeks, making her vulnerable. Ursula invites him in. Not a wise move—especially since Nik is attracted to Ursula.
This kind of predicament keeps the tension rising as the reader wonders if Ursula will, in fact, cross the line. Some would argue that she already crosses the line by ignoring God’s mandate to “abstain from all appearance of evil.” Whatever viewpoint you take, from the angle of plot only, the dilemma keeps us turning pages—albeit with a bit of a “tut, tut!”
Bottke is generous with detail. I enjoyed the décor in Ursula and Don’s bedroom (my favorite color), and some of Ursula’s footwear sound gorgeous. Nothing is spared to show the opulence of Hollywood and riches. (On a personal note, since living in So Cal near some the world’s richest people while working with some of the poorest, the paradox often leaves me perplexed!). So, if you’re into boomer chick lit intrigued by glitz and Hollywood, you might want to give this book a try. I think you’ll enjoy it! You can order it on Amazon.com And while you're there, check out Allison's U-Turn series.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Today, someone emailed me this blog url. I urge you to look at it whether you’re interested in animals or not. Personally, I think we should care about animals hurting just because they hurt. And because they’re helpless victims. But if that’s not where you’re at, maybe this will prick your ears. There’s a distinct link between cruelty to animals and murdering humans. One commonly leads to the other. Read more about it here and see what you can do to help:
Here is a direct quote from that blog (used by permission).
“Help prevent cruelty and torture to animals in the State of California. Help ensure these heinous crimes will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and perpetrators will be justly punished with a longer prison range. Currently, California law allows only a MAXIMUM of 3 years, which is greatly out of proportion with the seriousness of the offense - help raise the limit to a maximum of 6 years. Statistics show that individuals that commit crimes against animals are FIVE TIMES more likely to commit violent crimes against humans. Animal cruelty is a serious crime, which should result in a serious punishment. Sign this petition, and urge local legislators to create a bill to help amend this law, and impose a stricter sentence. It only takes a moment, and it's such a worthy cause! Adam is a tiny kitten who was burned alive in June of 2007 in Santa Rosa, California. Ensure that crimes like this will be punished to the fullest extent of the law. Learn more about this petition at www.adamsamendment.com”
Thanks for caring enough to check into this. As I’ve suggested in a previous post, dealing with this kind of cruelty can help prevent cruelty to children. May God soften our hearts to do His will in these types of situations, and keep us from becoming cold or indifferent!
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Recent news exposed the depravity of Michael Vick and all those who, like him, brutally torture animals for their twisted, evil pleasure, electrocuting the losing dogs after they’ve lived in pain and agony perhaps for years. What they do to those animals is unthinkable. Monstrous! This sordid tragedy brings to thought many things. One is that this is a cruel world and we, the redeemed, are called to be salt and light in it. How can we be more salty and lighty? First, we can pray.
There is no doubt in my mind that prayer changes things. How, why, to what measure—those are deep theological issues and we may all bring to the table a different doctrinal slant. But prayer does change things. It is a privilege allowing us to collaborate with the divine, with God.
We can pray more for the suffering children of the world – that God delivers them, that He’d send forth laborers to release them from their plight, that He’d raise up Christians to adopt, and others to help financially…We are given the privilege to pray so let’s do it.
We can pray also for suffering animals. Why not? I didn’t say pray for them more than for humans, but we can add that to our prayers. There is no beauty in cruelty. It is not right that creatures suffer, especially from human inflictions and inhumanity. Let’s bring hope into these harsh situations by praying.
Of course, we can pray for souls, for people to come to Christ. That’s a given. What could be more important? We can also pray for nations, for ethnicities for governments, for troops, for those trapped in religion. We can pray for old people whose lives are close the end, for young people, for the wounded and needy, for the poor—and the rich who, according to Jesus, have the greatest difficulty coming to Him (perhaps because they don’t realize they need Him).
But there are other thoughts I have too. I’ve thought about the immeasurable sickness in man’s mind to perform such cruelties as dog fighting. I personally don’t understand it. But I do know this: Jesus died for the sins of all mankind. He can forgive, cleanse and give a new heart to each one who lets Him in. This is quite remarkable. The movie, The Last Sin Eater brings this out, and I recommend seeing it.
Janey L. DeMeo
Copyright©2007 (written July 31st 2007)
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
If you don’t believe me, read IN MORTAL DANGER – The Battle for America’s Border and Security by Tom Tancredo, U.S. Congressman, Colorado (WND Books). Extremely enlightening, delightful reading, I highly recommend it. (The book reflects Tom’s integrity.)
I wish I’d read In Mortal Danger before. I’ll say more when I’ve finished reading but for now it’s triggered off several thoughts:
Today, our core Christian values are being turned topsy-turvy, justified by relativism so that it’s calling evil good is commonplace. No wonder then that illegal actions are glossed over, even endorsed. But when we accommodate those who bypass the law instead of making them accountable, we promote the belief that breaking the law is OK. (The book’s context clarifies this statement but to avoid ambiguous interpretations to any who don’t know my heart, I’m not referring to actions parallel to Corrie Ten Boom deceiving Hitler’s régime to obey God’s higher law of compassion).
Anyone can understand why people want to come to America—especially me. But to bypass the proper channels only increases internal instability. And employing illegal aliens (who provide cheap labor) as a means to increase one’s income is not only rooted in greed, it’s illegal.
I remember being a little girl (amazing I can remember that far back), and seeing Muslim-nation immigrants pour into England like uncountable (and unaccountable) stampedes. I remember parents expressing alarm about how this would tax the national health system (it did—it rendered it practically impotant!).
Today, Britain is paying. Hearing Dad talk about Britain’s present socio-political front is scary. (No, it’s not scary to talk to Dad—he’s a sweetie—but it’s scary to hear what’s happening). Still, England’s instability may prove to be childplay compared to what could well happen in America—if we don’t wake up.
Today I received a comment from a missionary-pastor friend, James, who wrote this with regards to a NY Times article entitled “Small Donors Give Big to Obama” by Dan Morain and Doug Smith, Times Staff Writers, July 16, 2007. (Check it out online). Sez Missionary James: “…I read the following article and was truly shocked. How can a Muslim get this far in the campaign for the highest office in the USA? This is a very disturbing news article to me. America needs to wake up now instead of after the election. Many people were shocked when an unknown like Bill Clinton was elected. I hope we are not asleep this time. Obama attended Wahabi school in Jakarta. Wahabism is the Radical teaching that is followed by Muslim terrorists who are now waging Jihad against the western world. His recent move to join the Church of Christ is nothing less than “political candy.” Don’t swallow it. Be assured, a stomach ache is soon to follow. James”.
That’s not hard to digest, James. You wrapped it up well.
However, I'd still like to know more on all the candidates before casting judgment. I know better than to believe what media say -- whether good or bad. Best to check out the facts thoroughly first. After all, there are a lot of alarmists out there, and they only serve to distract us from our true focus, make Christians look like idiots, and keep us from the essential. Let's pray diligently and ask God to really lead us in truth and illuminate the facts.
Now, how do we prepare our children for this kind of unpromising future? A friend recently interviewed me with regards to my book, Heaven Help Me Raise These Children - Biblical Direction for Practical Parenting Issues –
Meanwhile, I believe that there’s never been a needier time to better equip ourselves as parents—for the sake of our children’s future. May God give us grace to obey.
Janey L. DeMeo
Copyright © July 17th, 2007
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
Undoubtedly because of your prayers, our time in Vagas was God-driven, God-given. Every second was jam-packed with activities magnifying Christ including several radio broadcasts, services, meals with awesome folk. How adventuresome it is to walk with God, led by Him. One minute we were with the homeless, the next with high-profile people and we could pour into both. Oh, and the women’s study was a great blessing… Thanks for praying.
We also met an amazing man, Josh, who lives on the streets of Vagas—by CHOICE. In other words, he’s a respectable citizen, a Math teacher, but 5 years ago, he gave up everything to live on the streets and minister to the homeless. Check out his website: http://www.geocities.com/servingjesus99212
The homeless hold a special place in my heart. And God’s.
So many children have no homes—like Lena who I’ll feature in this month’s Orphans First newsletter – www.orphansfirst.org
Still, many who have homes are really homeless since they’ve not yet secured their Heavenly abode. Their home here, and all the rest that takes place here, keeps them from reflecting on the eternal. They think they’re independent, free from needing outside help, but in fact, they’re entrapped by dependence on temporality.
July 4th -- America celebrates independence. Me too. I celebrate being free. Free to follow Him as the Newsboys sing. And I celebrate living in a free country—but with a zeal to see America return to basics and not plunge deeper into the mire of filth, amorality, compromise, luke-warm-ness…etc.
Sweet America, land of dreams, you have been blessed.
Do not caste away your blessing,
As worthless waste for glitter that isn’t gold.
Rather, hold fast to the dream of pure gold.
Pure gold—that lines the streets above,
Golden pure from trials’ mold.
Purified gold because you chose,
To flee from what glitters to embrace the Gold.
Copyright©July 3rd 2007, Janey L. DeMeo
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Time evaporates. Tomorrow I travel again. And I only just got back.
The Write-to-Publish conference in Chicago was awesome. Fellowship was rich and inspiring both on the spiritual and the intellectual level. I made contacts for Orphans First that will hopefully generate more prayer for the children with more people considering how they can help them. I returned home with a long list of potential assignments as well as some exciting, new projects for O.F.—enough to keep me busy for a long, long time. Yikes! Now I need every ounce of God’s grace to get things done.
Why is that so important? Because there are millions of children being enslaved, abused and suffering. Getting the word out can make a big difference for them.
Tomorrow, I’ll do a women’s radio broadcast in Las Vagas, and another with my husband on Friday. Sunday, he’ll preach at a friend’s church and on Monday, I’ll teach a women’s Bible study. Great opportunities but I hate the thought of hot Vagas in June. Still, God never said the call would be comfy!
Returning to the conference in Chicago, I’d like to share some reflections about the call to write and whether or when we should quit.
A young, new writer I met was enthusiastic about writing but concerned about juggling family with two very small children, and writing. I encouraged her never to place writing above being with her children. Maybe she could write during their naps. But if it didn’t work out for some reason, then maybe the timing’s not right. If she couldn't write for a long season, it didn't matter. What matters most is her children because she only has so many years to invest in their precious little lives.
(I cover this subject—as well as many others—in my parenting book:
Heaven Help Me Raise These Children! -- Biblical Direction for Practical Parenting Issues.)
Sometimes God calls us to quit either a project or our entire career--even just for a season. He might need to re-prioritize our focus, such as when a career becomes our ambition, our goal, our (dare I say it) "idol". God and family come first. If not, then who are we writing? What is the purpose behind our words?
Sometimes God has us quit our piece because it's oozing with bitterness. We might need to come back to it later when some healing has taken place. (Sometimes, of course, the healing takes place as we plod on—which complicates our ability to discern whether we should or shouldn't quit).
But if we quit because it's tough, or because we haven't yet found a market for our "masterpiece", then we perhaps need to remind ourselves about spiritual warfare, about godly determination, about having gutz to press on when that seems to be what God requires of us. As has been said gazillions of times: writing is hard work. But worth it if He's calling us to do it. If God is calling us, quitting is not an option, no matter how bleak things might appear.
As my fellow compatriot once said: "Never, never, never give up!" Thanks Winston. I agree.
Janey L. DeMeo
Founder/director of Orphans First - www.orphansfirst.org
freelance writer, author of Heaven Help Me Raise These Children!
Biblical Direction for Practical Parenting Issues.
http://janey-demeo.blogspot.com / http://www.myspace.com/orphansfirst
Friday, June 01, 2007
My daughter’s Master’s graduation was beautiful and we enjoyed renewing contacts with friends in Atlanta, one of my favoritist cities. The adoption awareness seminar in Daytona Beach, FL – sponsored by Embraced by Grace, a Christian adoption agency – went fantasticly well and was catalyst to several adoptions.
Here on the homefront, last week we enjoyed a special banquet at the Spirit of the West Coast with Peter Furler of Newsboys speaking, followed by a wonderful, God-exalting concert by the Newsboys. My husband, son and I had a blast just enjoying the Newsboys' great music, super performance and spiritual inspiration. Helping build houses for poor people in Baja, Mexico, this band lives what they sing and preach. Love 'em. And tomorrow we have Switchfoot, This Holiday Life & a bunch of other bands on Moonlight Beach hosting a surf contest. (Can you understand why I keep harping on So Cal-ers being so spoilt? It's the truth). Too bad Louis won't be there. Yes, Louis left yesterday to minister again in several countries in AFRICA. And I will be in Chicago next week for the Write to Publish conference—a Christian writer’s conference I highly recommend.
Talking of writing, I have an article in this month’s issue of Indeed magazine (Walk through the Bible) called: Expectant Squawking (Drawing Near to a Generous God). This is a great devo mag more meaty than most—a great tool to go deeper with God.
On that note, some great books I recommend are by Chris Tiegreen, Indeed’s editor:
http://homepage.mac.com/ctiegreen/Personal2.html Chris’s writing is refreshingly deep. He doesn’t cater to the feel-gooders who formulate their doctrine based on what keeps them comfy. Chris, like many of my fave authors, knows about suffering and understands its value in our lives. And, whether we like it or not, pain has great value.
Speaking of suffering, this weekend features the Worldwide Weekend of Prayer for Children at Risk (see details at www.viva.org). The idea behind this event is to encourage churches, small groups and individuals to specifically put time aside to pray for the world’s suffering children. There are so many needs out there, it’s not hard to think of children who need our prayers. Sadly, there are still too few churches who implement this event on their premises or who even promote it for small groups. I hope it’s through ignorance and not through indifference. God forbid that we wouldn’t find it important enough to put aside our comfort for a while and give time to intercede for those who cannot speak up for themselves: Prov.31: 8,9.
This brings me back to the title of my article mentioned above: God is indeed generous. He waits to be gracious to us (Isa.30:18). And He waits for us to call on Him on behalf of others.
On that note, yikes, the clock is ticking me off. Must go. I’m hosting a prayer meeting at my home tonight and the house needs cleaning. Don’t want folks sneezing ‘cause of dust in the middle of praying right?
If I don’t blog before I’m back from Chicago, please know I appreciate your visits and especially your prayers for the suffering children of the world.
Janey DeMeo (copyright 31 May, 2007)
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Pic of my children at my daughter's bachelor's graduation several years back. Now she's getting her Masters...
Just a quick update before hopping on another plane… It seems that I’m on a wheel that’s turning round faster and faster. My head is spinning and I can’t get off. But I do believe there’re some amazing things around the corner.
Our daughter, Rachele, graduates with her Master’s of Arts from Luther Rice Seminary in Atlanta in a few days. We’re really proud of her—especially since she’s a newly wed and continued doing her online courses while working and being a new bride. Way to go gal.
On Saturday, I’ll be speaking at an Adoption Awareness seminar at the Daytona Beach Hilton Hotel, beginning around 1.30 pm, and organized by a new adoption ministry—EmbraceD by Grace founded by a dear friend of mine. Apparently, Florida is one of the highest states for children who need adopting or fostering so we’re praying for God to really touch hearts to make a difference in their lives.
Africa – well, we’ll be going again soon. Or at least my husband will.
As I’m typing this, the TV is on in the background showing the Academy Country Music Awards. Carrie Underwood just won a reward and she (again) thanked God first and foremost. Ok, I know some don’t get it. I know America is fast falling. But trust me, we’re still better off than many countries where folks don’t believe in God, or if they do, it’s not the real God. But let’s not forget: To whom much is given, much is expected. Because we’ve been given much, we are more accountable. That’s sobering.
Lots more to say but now I must go back to my packing. At least I can enjoy the music in the background.
Closing thought: Let’s be praying for the needy, and especially the world’s suffering little ones. And let’s remember: The first person to benefit from my prayers is me. It changes me! And, of course, it opens the way for those precious children to receive timely help.
Saturday, May 05, 2007
Don’t Be So Callous, So Cal-ers!
Today I was not thinking about Heaven. Not that I don’t often think of it. I do. But today I was absorbed by earthly problems. Seems there are days like that (let’s say, most days!!!). My focus shifted later when I attended the End Times Conference at Maranatha Chapel. I was reminded of the simplicity of Christ and our greater hope. It was very kooooooooool to consider all the biblical prophecies already fulfilled and to remember again that our lives here are ephemeral. I’ve been reminded of it a lot lately here in So Cal.
Let’s face it, So Cal-ers, we’re spoiled. Apart from the gorgeous weather and the nearby ocean, we’re also living in a part of the world that’s sun-saturated and Son-soaked. There’s so much going on here to deepen your faith that it’s not hard to be enthused about Jesus—if you choose to tune into the vibe. Some disagree. Some think So Cal is all superfluous superficiality. I say, it’s the new-era Bible belt. But I guess it all depends where you come from. (I just returned from four countries in Africa where people would die to have access to such an abundance of diversity presenting the Christian message. And where I come from—Europe—it’s spiritually impoverished.)
Europe is poor. And Africa is poor. Poor children. Poor people. And poor representations of Christ. In Africa, many try to exploit the hungry souls of the precious Africans, bringing them such rubbishy lies as are presented by the so called “prosperity gospel”. It sure isn’t a gospel. It’s a bunch of bologna. The problem is that when you’re hungry, and there’s no food, you’ll eat bologna.
So Cal-ers are rich…and I don’t mean money. I mean that here in So Cal we have access to all kinds of Bible speakers, Christian music, Jesus conferences—all the time. If you’re hungry to grow it’s there. Of course, there’s plenty of seeker friendly, superficial churchianity also. But if you choose the meat, it’s there. And with good music to go with it.
Take the last few weeks for example. Last weekend the Truth seminar took place in Yorba Linda. A weekend of solid teaching to ground folks in their faith. Simultaneously, there was also a seminar in Anaheim on helping children at risk—something we should all feel concerned about in a world with ever-increasing cruelty to children. Sadly too few people attended. Prior to that, 6 weeks tent revival took place in Costa Mesa. In spite of the distance, we were able to attend a few evenings including the Wednesday featuring the old Jesus movement band “Love Song”. And they sounded better than ever, making us weep with good memories. (That evening many came to Christ, just as back in the good ol’ seventies....)
But I wonder how many are oblivious to all the God stuff that’s going on around us. Too busy perhaps? Oh, tis hard to pull away from the surf (ouch!!!) or the malls perhaps with their never-ending, ever-enticing sales…So much to distract us. So little time for…well, for less entertaining stuff. Sorry to sound facetious—or maybe a tad self-righteous—but I’m looking at life as a European who spent over two decades in dark France where such Christianity is nada. Aint there.
Yes, it’s true that there’s a lot of superficial Christianity. But there’s also a lot of amazing stuff taking place for God’s Kingdom. We need to tune our hearts to them. Tune our hearts to His voice to be sure we’re in the flow of what He’s doing. There are many, many hungry souls out there—even here in So Cal. (Met three today). Let’s not become calloused whereby we don’t see them or hear them.
Let’s not be so callous, So Cal-ers! Rather, let’s be soft and gooey about what God is soft and gooey about. Lets be tender and alert to all that God is doing so that we can better reach out to those who don’t know Him. And let’s remember we’re rich—oh so rich compared to many—and give to those who are oh so poor. He’ll meet us there!
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
I’ve read several articles, trying hard to understand what possessed Cho Seung-Hui, the disturbed, young killer. And I mean “possessed”. Was he indeed possessed? I certainly can’t answer that question and I’m not even sure it would make much difference because one doesn’t need to be possessed to perform such heinously chilling crimes. Not nowadays!
Nowadays you can just feed your mind on ubiquitous obsessions of evil. And every ghoulish gadget and garbage possible is at your fingertips ready to make you a puppet of the macabre. Let’s face it: TV, movies, video-games, web sites—all avariciously espouse filth and violence as if the world’s gone mad. Really mad! And many of us know it. Still it goes on.
One article I read was written by someone previously in the same class as Seung-Hui. He’d read his class-mates twisted plays. They’re now published on the net and I read one. Horrible. This play was a homework assignment and was apparently read aloud in class. That means people heard it and had an opportunity to catch a glimpse of the torment plaguing this kid’s mind. How can it be that teachers heard this stuff and did nothing? No-one saw red-flags? Or they just ignored them? This is my question: Why are we ignoring such heavily morbid obsessions with hatred, death, evil being expressed by fellow human-beings—and some very young?
I like what I read on Assist News Service – www.assistnews.net – where Michael Ireland’s article quotes David Kuo’s blog. Kuo alludes to the fact that not only is it not enough just to be aware of tragedies through TV and media, but continually giving so much time to update ourselves on them, weep over them and empathize in our hearts is actually counter-productive. It would be better we limit the quantity of time we engage in absorbing the needed info (news, media etc.) and embrace the horror of it in our hearts only to quickly put our empathy into action by helping those around us in need. Amen to it! I love this concept because there are needy kids all around—especially in the foster system.
I’ve recently thought a lot about the disconnected kids who reach 18 having never connected to any family—not even a foster family. They leave the system with nobody to turn to for guidance, help, and encouragement. Many become prostitutes or delinquents of some nature. Many end up in jail. Yet, we can do something. Not only can we begin praying for them but, in most states, we can ask foster agencies (especially Christian ones) to connect us to these older kids. Or to connect us to those who will soon be leaving the system. We can become their friends, their listeners their mentors and maybe, by speaking into their lives through love, we can help prevent them from making major mistakes with their little, vulnerable lives. Love changes things. And love is an action!
Let’s face it, it’s not true of all but it’s true of many: A lot of kids have hatred because they’ve been wronged. After reading one of Seung-Hui’s plays, it’s clear to me his heart harbored deep hatred. One of his plays features a boy who hated an abusive step father. (I couldn’t face reading his other play). The words echo distorted ideas, violence, sick-mindedness... I wonder how many kids there are out there whose hearts are steeped with unresolved conflict and hate. May God help us pray for them—and reach them. We are Jesus’s hands and feet. Let’s find those around us, those we can reach, who are needy. And let’s lay down our lives to reach them so that, instead of becoming haters, these kids can be transformed into loving, God-fearing citizens whose lives impact others for good.
May God make us all mentors of those in need, givers to those who are so lost and needy so that these kind of incidents become fewer or stop altogether.
Monday, April 16, 2007
This month, the CSFF is featuring Karen Hancock’s Return of the Guardian-King : http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/asin/0764227971
Although I have not read this book—hey, who can read when they’re crying so much?! (You should see those street children in Africa and see if you cry)—I know my fellow bloggers have, and they’ve written wonderful reviews so please visit some of their blogs:
CSFF Blog Tour
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Wayne Thomas Batson
< Gene Curtis
D. G. D. Davidson
Kameron M. Franklin
Heather R. Hunt
Lost Genre Guild
Kevin Lucia and The Bookshelf Reviews 2.0 - The Compendium
John W. Otte
Tsaba House Authors
Daniel I. Weaver
I will be back soon with more news on my recent trip. Let’s just say that God was very present. I do thank you for your prayers.
Thursday, March 15, 2007
“I’m leaving on a jet plane. Let’s hope I’ll make it home again.” No, it’s not a new song I wrote. Just this week’s reality.
Some know the movie Out of Africa. Well my husband and I are going into Africa (again)—to four countries. Louis will, of course, train leaders and national pastors, and mentor in evangelism and church planting. I’ll teach the women and especially work with street children, poor children, orphans…in hopes of catalyzing a ministry to suffering children among the African churches. (I first did this in India in 1998, and then founded Orphans First to provide a support system for more needy children’s ministries: http://www.orphansfirst.org/). Anyway, please keep our trip to Africa in prayer. Back in April.
Meanwhile, the CSFF blogtour is set for March 19th – 21st, but since I’ll probably be either in a plane or in some African country when my co-bloggers post their reviews, I’m posting mine a few days ahead of time...
Double Vision by Randy Ingermanson
I love Randy Ingermanson’s book, Double Vision. Unlike Randy and his two main characters, Dillon and Rachel, I’m neither a physicist nor a computer geek, but my love for character-driven stories made this book a delightful read for me. Randy’s characters are distinctly portrayed and their lives intertwine with enough curious complexity so as to keep you turning pages—at double-pace.
Double Vision is the story of “three secrets, two women, one man and no time.” Dillon Richard is the one man whose unusual gifting of geekishness, integrity and good looks make him intriguing. He is a genuine genius who finds himself entangled in an adventure involving two lovely women: Rachel Meyers and Keryn Wills. One is a genius and extroverted beauty of Jewish background; the other an attractive novelist, down-to-earth financial officer and practicing Christian. Both work with Dillon on a project that, if successful, could revolutionize the world. A complex adventure ensues endangering their lives and their secrets. In the mix of the complot is the added complication of two women liking one man, and one man needing to make the right choice.
Christy Award-winning novelist. Randy Ingermanson is also a Berkeley-trained physicist. Double Vision is humorous, suspenseful, and romantic and Randy’s style reminds me of another of my “favoritist” writers and good friend, Bill Myers. Is the world ready for both Bill Myers and Randy Ingermanson? I’ll let you decide. Check out Double Vision here: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/asin/0764227335
Visit Randy Ingermanson’s website - http://www.rsingermanson.com/index.html
And visit my fellow CSFF bloggers and see what they are saying about this book. Links to their sites can be found here http://csffblogtour.com/
Now, out of marvelous fiction and back to reality. I really am leaving on a jet plane…and really do covet your prayers. I’ve been to Africa several times but I cannot forget that on my first visit some pesky little mosquito made straight for me, took a long sip from my arm and ignored the fact I was taking the malaria meds. That mostinko was immune. I got the worse strain of malaria that exists and it almost made me extinct. I barely got out of Africa alive. But that was years ago, in my younger days when my blood was more appealing. Or so I like to tell myself…
Prayers appreciated – for health, traveling mercies, blessing for those here on the homefront, and that the work of God be done so that many Africans hear the Gospel and many poor children are concretely helped.
As we say in French, until soon (à bientôt). Que Dieu vous bénisse.
Friday, March 09, 2007
Amazing Grace the movie
However, having said that, EVERYONE should see the film. It was rich in inspiration, character portrayal, humor, tragedy, history, culture, Britishness (and for a Brit to say that, you can trust it). I also LOVED the fact that Wilberforce’s house was filled with animals, showing a very humane and tender heart. As well as bringing about the abolition of the slave trade in
The timing of seeing this movie was perfect for me in my walk with Christ. Louis and I (and perhaps our son) are off to four different countries in