Tuesday, April 27, 2010

What I am studying currently

Someone asked me yesterday what books I am reading, so I thought I would share my current reading list with you. I tend to read several books at a time, so most of the time I am in the middle of reading several books.

One: “Histories,” by Herodotus (I love history and Herodotus is the father of history)
Two: “The Complete and Unabridged Works of Josephus” (1st Century Jewish Historian)
Three: “Biblical Sites in Turkey,” by Everett Blake and Anna Edmons
Four: "The Silmarillion" by J.R.R. Tolkien

As for Biblical study, I am currently studying the books of Jonah and Daniel. Look for a sermon series on these sometime this year. I am also reading every thing the Bible says about the Trinity (this term is not found in the Bible) and the Holy Spirit.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Book Review, “You Can Be Everything God Wants You To Be”

“You Can Be Everything God Wants You To Be” is a gift book written by Max Lucado. It is a small book packed with pithy stories, Biblical wisdom, and every day illustrations that come from an earlier Lucado book, “Cure For the Common Life”. As I read it, this book reminded me (in content) of Rick Warren’s, “Purpose Driven Life” and Joel Osteen’s, “Your Best Life Now,” although condensed, of course.

The focus of the book is on living within the will of God. The author reminds us that as Christians, we should seek God’s will for our lives, and this book encourages that. It serves as a nice short devotional book, each page serving as one thought or one devotional. I read it to my family for evening worship, and it did not take too long to go through it. In fact, we actually read several pages at a time.

The one down side for me is that the thoughts are so short that there is not much to hang on to and many of the illustrations are illustrations others have used in other books. If you are well read, you will find some redundancy. If you are looking for one thought, you will benefit from it. If you are looking for some depth, this book is not for you.
On the front of the book it says the book is a perfect gift for a graduate. I can see that. This book offers encouragement and would make a fine gift, especially for a high school graduate.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Listening to Your Life

One of my favorite devotional books is a book of daily meditations written by Frederick Buechner. It is called "Listening to Your Life." Buechner is a Presbyterian minister who has authored at least 30 books in a variety of different genres(fiction, autobiography, essays and sermons).

I thought I would share with you one of the quotes that love: “Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery that it is. In the boredom and the pain of it no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it, because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace. And Christ is here with us on our way as surely as the way itself is here that has brought us to this place. Christ is with us, as subtle and pervasive as air."

I really believe this, Jesus is with us. He will not/does not leave us or forsake us. Good News!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Miracle?

This morning, at the Pastor's prayer fellowship, Adam Peacocke mentioned the story of this mildly autistic eleven year old girl who was found after being lost in a Florida swamp for four days. The man who found her was a volunteer from her church, who told the news media, "I see it as an answer to a lot of people's prayer. I'm just very thankful, I'm thankful that God used me as a part of it to be able to find her. It's definitely a miracle. I didn't know where she was. The only person who knew where she was was God, and I asked him, and he led me directly to her, straight -- well, as straight as you can go through the swamp."

King said he prayed the whole time he was searching, even when it seemed like he was going in the wrong direction. In one case, he said, there was water all around and he didn't know where to go. "He said, 'Go that way.' And I'm looking at water. I said, 'Lord, are you sure?' He said. 'I got ya.' And as soon as I start walking, the ground under the water is solid. It's only about a foot and a half deep. He took care of me all the way there."

Check out the story below.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Book review: Lies The Government Told You: Myths, Power, and Deception in American History

"Lies The Government Told You: Myths, Power, and Deception in American History"
By Judge Andrew P. Napolitano

Judge Napolitano’s goal in this book is to make us aware of the eroding freedom we as Americans are experiencing more and more each year. The Judge wants this book to prompt us to react: to abolish the federal income tax, to prohibit imminent domain, to impose term congressional limits, to abolish the Federal Reserve System, along with many other things. His premise is that government has broken its promises, lied to us, and deceived us, all for their personal benefit.

Each chapter of this book addresses a particular lie we as Americans have fallen victim to over the years; from the fallacy that “Every Vote Counts” to “Everyone is innocent until proven guilty.” I found many of the chapters interesting. I learned things like how our electoral voting system works, or how much freedom has been taken away from us by the Patriot act, or how the war on drugs is in many ways very similar to the time of prohibition in America. All good reading, although a bit technical in places.

While I did not agree with Judge Napolitano on everything he wrote about in this book, I do think that it is informative. Many of the things he writes about are things many of us have seen as problems for years.

If you are interested in politics, law, or the U.S. Constitution, you will enjoy this book and it will give you plenty to talk about. You will also discover things you will disagree with. In some areas, the Judge seems to have an ax to grind. I assume he has been damaged from personal experience. No government is perfect, and Lord knows our government has made a lot of poor decisions and that we have and have had a lot of flawed leaders. You will have to read it and decide for yourself. Maybe that’s the evidence of true freedom.

Reviewed by Ron Aguilera

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Book Review-A Million Miles in a Thousand Years

Book Review: Miller, Donald, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, Thomas Nelson, Nashville, TN, 2009

Reviewed by Ron Aguilera

The first thing I will say about this book is that some of you won’t like it! If you want a book with a clearly outlined message, this book is not for you. If you want a book that will make you think about your life and challenge you, then buy it and read it.

It actually took a while for me to “get it”. I started reading it and a few chapters in I put it down for a while and tried to grasp where the author was going.. Now that I am done, I am ready to read it again. Some of you won’t like it, but some of you will be moved immensely by it.

Miller starts off with an illustration that captures the essence of his book and our lives. Here is what he says, “If you watched a movie about a guy who wanted a Volvo and worked for years to get it, you wouldn’t cry at the end when he drove it off the lot, testing the windshield wipers. We spend years actually living those stories, and expect our lives to be meaningful.”

This is a powerful book about life and the stories that make up our life. The book centers on Miller relating to us the process of how he and two movie producers are writing a screenplay for a movie about his life. In the process, he explains how he is learning about what makes up a good story and how to apply this to the story of our life. Miller spends most of the book weaving in and out of stories of his life, and in the meantime we begin to learn what makes up a good story and how our story compares to that and to the ultimate story God wants us to write with our lives.

Some of you won’t like this book; some of you will be gloriously moved by it. Through it, I better understand the power of stories, the role of characters and conflict in our lives, and the importance of creating memorable scenes in the stories of our lives.

I definitely recommend it!

“A good movie has memorable scenes, and so does a good life.”

Friday, April 2, 2010


The ancient city of Ephesus is the largest archeological site of the seven churches of Revelation. Ephesus once was a magnificent city, home to one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, the temple of Artemis.

Acts 19 talks about the riot that broke out in Ephesus because Demitrius, a leading silversmith, was upset that Paul's preaching about the one true God was bad for business. I stood in the same amphitheatre were that riot took place. Two hours the crowd shouted "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians" until finally the city clerk got them to go home.

As I walked around the ruins of Ephesus I couldn't help but think that this once large city, with a magnificent temple and a thriving religious community, is no gone. There is nothing there but the signs of a past civilization. It made me realize how fragile this world is, even the most powerful fade away.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


Visited one of the seven churches of Revelation, Pergamon. The ruins there were a powerful reminder of the great city that once stood there. Around 90 AD, when John wrote a letter to the church there, Pergamon was know as a center for emperor worship. The Great Altar of Pergamon is in the Pergamon Museum, Berlin. I had a chance to visit tha t museum back in 1990. The base of this altar remains on the upper part of the Acropolis. It was perhaps to this altar, believed dedicated to Zeus, that John of Patmos referred to as "Satan's Throne". (Revelation 2:12-13). A fascinating place!