“I thought I’d be dead by 21”
Great pain produces character. It can just as easily produce fear, rejection, and self-loathing.
My early life produced in me a fear that I’d be dead by 21. This personal narrative is my memory of a lifelong search for love, belonging, and a sense of place. Walk with me on my journey through abandonment, panic attacks, fear, rejection, bullying, and unbelief, out into the blinding light of healing love.
Adopted touches on the issues nearly every child or adult adoptee must face on the way to maturity, wholeness, and redemption. Along the way it provides valuable insights to adoptive and foster parents who long to see their children whole; and, to adult adoptees who wonder why they do what they do and how healing can be the next chapter in their life story.
“If every beginning minister were given a start-up kit when they began, David Alves’ book, would be an essential. It contains the indispensable fundamentals for a long and fruitful ministry. Providing step-by-step guidance, this book could save many from premature erosion that takes place beneath the surface in ministry. I highly recommend this primer for every new and veteran minister who cares about his or her future vitality!”
Dr. Wayne Cordeiro, author of Leading on Empty: Refilling Your Tank and Renewing Your Passion and Senior Pastor of New Hope, Oahu
“ . . . For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility,”
–Ephesians 2:14 NIV
With the increase of immigrants–legal and illegal–into our nation, with the spread of Neo-Nazism, vigilantism, and the rise of separatist churches, the body of Christ needs to address racism. Not that there is anything wrong with having national borders. God himself established nations and borders.
“When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when he divided mankind, he fixed the borders of the peoples according to the number of the sons of God.” (Deuteronomy 32:8, ESV)
But the discerning see Satan moving–in the upswing of Neo-Nazis and skinhead racist activities and in the south in black churches where white people are not welcome and in white churches where black believers are unwelcome. We see him at work spitting in the face of a Mexican migrant in Texas. As a result, we must be thoughtful about how WE–the Family of God–will respond, when Puerto Ricans, Chinese, Mexicans, Liberians, or African-Americans begin to attend our lifegroups, worship, and Celebrations.
Have you come to realize that, as believers, we no longer are to consider Hispanic, Latino, African-American, or Caucasian blood? Instead, we see only the blood of Jesus that has reconciled our lives through His blood shed for us and has joined us to one another through salvation, symbolized as we partake together at the Lord’s Table. So that we are of one blood in the body of Christ. The wall of partition has been broken down. What a profound thought.
The text above tells us that Christ has “destroyed the barrier.” That is, the barrier in our hearts against others.
When we of many colors and backgrounds gather around the cup of the Lord, we proclaim His death for us all and “drink His blood” (symbolically). In that blood, the nations have been reconciled into ONE family, ONE nation, ONE household in Christ Jesus. You and I are no longer separated by blood. We belong to Him and to one another. Here is no room for prejudice or retribution, anger or vengeance, only thanks-giving.
Zero Toleration In the Churches
In the churches, Father-God wants to bring people from all the Nations into our midst. We must not tolerate racism or regionalism in ourselves. Your growth in spiritual life requires that you begin to see from God’s perspective (2 Cor. 5:15-16). You are not your own, you’ve been joined to a new community, a new family (Eph. 2:19-22), a family of the nations.
God wants you to see other born-again Christians as a part of your very own body (1 Cor. 12), no matter what their color or national origin. As for our enemies, we are to learn to love those who oppose us. As a matter of fact, who do you have more in common with: your white, Anglo-Saxon Protestant neighbor, who bullies his wife and kids, drinks until drunk, and shouts profanities out his window until 2am, or a born-again, Spirit-filled Iraqi or Iranian? In Christ, there is no room for racism.
Are You Connected to Him?
Let’s remember that the precious shedding of Jesus’ blood, connected you to God and to His children . . . ALL His children. Your future is a life in community, not as white or black or yellow, but as an obedient disciple and a child of a multicultural Family. Blood counts, but only the Blood of Jesus. Join me in creating a welcoming, Kingdom-fellowship, the Oikos (household) of God to the Nations (Eph.2:19).
“You will never know how hard it was to keep you boys busy,” my dad acknowledged in a moment of morphine-induced honesty following surgery for colon cancer.
“Did it ever occur to you to give us a day off?” my youngest
Dad hesitated, but only for a moment — “The thought never crossed my mind.”
“Keep busy” buzzes in my head. My daily “to do” list gives an often distorted shape to my day.
In A Sabbatical Primer for Pastors, David Alves raises his voice over the buzz. “God is taking you out of the brick making business,” he writes. With frequent references to his own story, David argues that Sabbath and Sabbaticals offer a God-designed way for me to be free from the drivenness that has served as a constant companion since my youth.
The Primer troubles me with a question that lingers like the scent of a powerful perfume: which father’s voice will shape the remaining years of my life?
–Clayton Blackstone, author of Meet Me for Breakfast and Pastor of the Advent Christian Church in Bangor, Maine
To Catalog or Not to Catalog?
That is the question for us bibliophiles. Why is that a question for us? Because we are a diverse lot. We are a stewpot of male, female, everything in between, adventurers, eggheads, bookworms, Renaissance men and women, lovers, haters, spiritual, unspiritual, true believers, atheists, scientists, romantics. You get my point. We have a challenge agreeing on anything . . . except our love of books. But even here, we diverge–our tastes align infrequently. But when they do . . . it’s Nirvana, Happy Hunting Ground, Heaven, or Oblivion–whichever you embrace.
For some, cataloging opposes a dearly held value–freedom. The person who has a perfect memory, has his/her books already cataloged mentally. He knows where every book he ever bought is located. She is aware of the date of purchase, the cost, the conversation at the checkout, and the feel and weight of the volume (perhaps smell too). Others of us–I believe most of us–know we think that maybe we have that book. Sounds familiar. Oh right. I bought four copies because I forgot about the other three. I know they’re here . . . somewhere. And that’s the testimony of a young person. Add forty years to a twenty-year-old and 10,000 volumes over a lifetime, and you might be in the boat I’m in.
I NEED to catalog.
And if you use your books, as I often do, as research assistants, then you definitely need to catalog. Unless you IQ and retention are superhuman–which leaves the rest of us out.
In a modest attempt to unite us toward a consensus then, let’s consider some reasons for or against cataloging your personal library. See, I know you. Some of you are already querying, “Why do we need to ‘unite . . . toward a consensus”?
Because, we may grow. We may be able to move from our own opinion to include the opinion of someone who can simplify our lives and free us of our limitations. Someone who got desperate enough early on to know that libraries catalog for a reason. And I have benefited from that system across my years of education, research, and writing.
Don’t have a personal library? But you want one? Then take a moment to read “How to Build Your Personal Library.” You may want to then read, “How to Arrange Your Personal Library.” Then come back here.
Some Pro’s and Con’s – You Decide
- Takes too much time
- I could be reading instead
- I hate organizing
- I’d rather not know what I have. I like surprises
- I know what I have
- I can easily access the information I need
- I like order and harmony
- If I want to lay my hands on a book, I know exactly where it is
- I want to know where I bought it, when, how much I paid, etc.
- I can do book lists in an instant
3 Resources I’ve Found Helpful
- Librarything.com – a little technical for me. I prefer user-friendly. Also, I could not find a mobile app that worked properly.
- Collectorz.com – costs money, but a good system. I used it for years. Stopped using it because every upgrade cost money and I could only access my books if I had my computer wtih me.
- Goodreads.com – FREE and easy to use. Lacks some bells & whistles, but I’m sure they’ll show up soon enough. In addition, the mobile app is excellent, easy to use and access, and user-friendly.
QUESTION: Do you catalog your personal library? What software or site have you found helpful?