In the Presence of Good — Nicholas Winton (Part 1)

What kind of investment do you need to make today?

Young Nicholas Winton was an ordinary 29-year-old man who was a clerk at the London Stock Exchange. His world was investments. However, he would soon make an investment of his own that would change many, many lives.

The year was 1938. He had been invited by a friend to come to Czechoslovakia and visit. During his visit, he became alarmed about the events that were unfolding. Czechoslovakia was on the verge of joining forces with Nazi Germany. They were already exporting the Jewish citizens in that country to concentration camps. He feared that not only would the adults be sent to the concentration camps, but the children as well.

He knew that he had to do something to save those children. He began to organize a way to get these children out of the country and into foster homes in Great Britain. He arranged for eight trains to take 669 children to London. Few of them would ever see their parents again. Meanwhile, as expected, these parents were taken away and put in concentration camps.

For 50 years, Nicholas Winton said nothing about his heroic action. He didn’t even tell his wife. Then one day, in 1988, while she was in the attic in their home, she came across a scrapbook. This was a scrapbook that Nicholas had kept during the time of the rescue, complete with pictures of the children as well as the names and addresses of their families. All of this had taken place fifty years ago.

His wife made public the story of his investment in the lives of 669 children. What unfolded was a wonderful story.

Nicholas Winton is now 100 years old. Just last week, some of these people gathered in Prague and rode a vintage train to London commemorating this rescue. When these people arrived in London, Winton was there to greet them.

Yet, this was not the first time that he had met them. The first time was in 1988 when he was a guest in a studio audience for a television show and then received quite a surprise.

(to be continued)

Places I’ve Been

1. Interview with Douglas Moo on the 2011 NIV. One of the most interesting stories this week.

2. Jeff Berryman, “The Day After Being a Preacher.” I love reading Berryman. Very descriptive.

3. Tom Bandy, “Uneasy Evangelism in an Ambivalent World” (Leadership Network)

4. John Stackhouse, “Good Bookstores: If We Ignore Them, They Will Go Away.” Stackhouse, a professor at Regent in Vancouver, speaks about one of my favorite bookstores, Regent’s own campus bookstore.

5. Scot McKnight, “Christian Consumerism: Branding as a Sign.” I thought this was a particularly good post and needs to be read widely.

6. Paul Taylor in the Financial Times. “Tech Tips for Term Time.” On the technology that college students actually use. I found this very interesting.

7. Jimmy Adcox has written a fine article entitled “A Time to Plant.” Note also other good articles on church planting in this series. All of these appear at is a wonderful ministry resource.

Places I’ve Been

What an excellent post by Jeff Berryman as he describes the human condition! He writes concerning the “broken heart.” This post really helped me think about the condition of the world. sangi.jpg

I have been blessed by reading Scot McKnight’s Jesus Creed. I really like his new series Acts and Mission. There is something about reflecting on what God was doing through these early churches, as recorded in Acts, that has reminded me of some basic but critical elements of the Gospel.

Earlier today, I read a nice essay by Gary Thomas (author of Sacred Marriage) entitled “Soul Mates or Sole Mates: Making a Wise Marital Choice.” Thomas says many people embrace the notion of searching for their one true “soul mate.” They may actually be better served by valuing and using wisdom regarding seeking a potential mate.

Richard Mouw on a visit to Turkey in July and going to a Muslim circumcision party. “Turkish Delight?”

Michael Hyatt has written a very good post entitled, “Five Ways to Energize Your Team.” I continue to find much practical help regarding leadership from Michael Hyatt’s blog.

Interesting interview with Chip Heath and Dan Heath (Willow Creek Leadership Summit) on a variety of issues.

Again, Tony Morgan has a nice list of quotes from Willow Creek Leadership Summit.

This is a really good piece by Don Miller on self pity. I’m glad I read this! “Self Pity, How to be Downwardly Mobile.”

Anne Jackson had an interesting post this week, “One Thing You Would Tell the Church Leader/Pastor World.” Read through the comments. There were a few of these I really needed to read.

A brief but important observation by Mark Batterson on the value of books as virtual mentors.

I’m glad I read this today. Chris Brogan on “Simple Touchpoints of Loyalty.” Simple ways to focus on others.

John Ortberg on “Taste and See.” I like reading John Ortberg!

From Out of Ur, a video with Ed Stetzer on “Ministry Pornography” (on lusting after other pastors’ churches).

Places I’ve Been

Did you see this post on Scot McKnight’s “Jesus Creed”? A great post for teachers. Encouraging.

Take a look at this three minute video, “A Lifetime in Snapshots.” Life really is very short.

Anne Jackson did a survey regarding modesty, etc. last week. Here are her results along with many interesting comments.

My former professor, Dr. Everett Ferguson lists his top five books on the first century Greco-Roman world.

How does technology impact personal relationships?

Interesting but sad. Atheists who practice “de-baptism.”

Now this is a really nice story about a surprise pianist as a Vancouver, B.C. maestro helps a British couple in their wedding.

From Michael Hyatt for bloggers “Focus on Blog Content Before Traffic.”

I read L. L. Barkat’s “Seedlings in Stone.” This week I read her post, “Nothing in Return.” She is a wordsmith who has the eye and ear of a poet.

Interesting. Tim Spivey’s “America’s Fastest Dying and Fastest Growing Cities. Tim is a great guy and a good thinker.

Hope that all of you have a good weekend. Be sure to check out “God-Hungry Live.” These are videos collected over the past year or so. These include videos by such people as: John Ortberg, Fred Craddock, Tom Long, N.T. Wright, Scot McKnight, Tim Keller, and many, many others. You can either go to the main page here or you look through the playlist here.

Places I’ve Been

Frank McCourt, author of Angela’s Ashes, dies at 78. Read this article regarding his high school teaching years: “A Storyteller Even as a Teacher.”

Don’t have a swimming pool during the hot, sweltering summer months? Check out the dumpster pool.

Read “Top Ten Ways to Ruin Young Pastors.” (Thanks to Andy Rowell for this link.)

Very interesting interview with Kevin Vanhoozer upon his move to Wheaton College and Graduate School in the Fall, 2009.

Michael Spencer has written a post entitled “What Might Boys Read?” You might skim through the many, many comments on this post. Very interesting.

Sam Rainer has written a post entitled “Signs of a Struggling Local Church.” Note this quote taken from the post:

We don’t take risks. Unfortunately, many church leaders have been beat up or burned. As a result, they focus more on not getting in trouble with their congregation than turning the world upside down for Jesus. They lead churches to play it safe rather than taking risks to reach more people.

13 Idea Starters for Stuck Bloggers” by Michael Hyatt. I found this to be a very helpful post.

John Ortberg on “Hand Crafted” (God’s way of shaping and using us).

Places I’ve Been

Anne Jackson has written a very fine post — one that should be read by leaders in particular.  Read "The Drawbridge."

Read L. L. Barkat’s "I Collect Words."  One reason I enjoy reading her blog is because she helps me think about the words I use.

Karen Spears Zacharias has written a fine post on "Sexting."  A nice appeal for some common sense.

Michael Hyatt helps me think about leadership.  One fine example of his thinking/writing is "Leadership 2.0."

John Frye has written "Another Look at the Imitation of Christ."

Scot McKnight continues a very fine series, "Justification and New Perspective."  (This is a review of N. T. Wright’s new book, Justification: God’s Plan and Paul’s Vision.)

Christian Book Expo

On Saturday, Charlotte and I went to the Christian Book Expo in Dallas at the Dallas Convention Center.  This was a gathering of book publishing companies that featured over 200 hundred Christian authors.  The gathering was open to the public.  For attendees this was an opportunity to hear these authors in various seminars and panels as well as roam through thousands of books.

In the morning, we went to a Christianity Today panel entitled "What is the Emerging Church?"  The panel featured Kevin Deyoung, Tony Jones, Scot McKnight, Brent Harris, and Alex Harris.  Charlotte and I spent a few minutes visiting with Scot and Kris McKnight after the panel.  

That afternoon, we went to another Christianity Today panel: "Does the God of Christianity Exist and Does it Really Matter?"  This particular panel featured Christopher Hitchens, an atheist and author of God is Not Great, and four Christian authors, William Lane Craig, Lee Strobel, Douglas Wilson, and Jim Denison.

The discussion was interesting on several levels.  It was very civil and all participants were gracious.  Yet, there was something about the format that just didn’t seem to work very well.  At times, it felt awkward with the moderator and four other believers reacting to or questioning Hitchens.  It seemed somewhat disjointed and without any real direction at times. 

In many ways, the comments made by these Christian apologists and by Hitchens were predictable.  Nothing really new or unusual.  Douglas Wilson seemed to connect best with Hitchens.  They had previously been in similar settings together and I sensed that they genuinely liked one another.  Yet, Wilson also asked some of the most interesting and probing questions regarding Hitchens’ presuppositions.  

It was great to see Bob Matthews, who I went to school with many years ago (Dallas Christian).  It was also good to meet Michael Hyatt whose blog I enjoy.  (You might enjoy reading his post regarding his three days at the same event.  You can read his latest post regarding the Expo here.)

Places I’ve Been

You might enjoy looking through my new Alltop page.  This page reflects some of my interests.  If you haven’t visited Alltop yet, you might enjoy looking around.

Notice this nice piece by Josh Graves on what he learned through writing.  Very good.

Read this post by Dan Kimball the other day and the link to Bob Hyatt on their concern for video venues.

John Dobbs has written on the value of Twitter.  If you are wondering about the value of Twitter, this would be a good post to read.  (I have been using Twitter for about a month and am just now beginning to see its value.)

L.L. Barkat on "So are you ‘just’ a writer?"

Andrew Jones on "The State of Faith-Based Online Communities."  Some very interesting reflections.

Michael Hyatt on "Eight Reasons I Love G-Mail."

Scot McKnight on "A Brother’s Wisdom" (Reflections on James).  This is an outstanding series.  He has now posted twenty of these reflections.

Places I’ve Been

A very nice post by John Frye: "When Old People Speak."  This is a short piece but says much.  (Yes, I know it was posted at the end of July but I somehow missed it then.)

Subversive Influence has a good post entitled "3 Leadership Lessons from John 3."  I really like the following paragraph:

Leaders may often allow their own needs to be met through their
ministry to others.  In being “needed” by the church, they find their
own significance and use this to build themselves up in their mind.
This is not the place to find one’s worth and significance,
as it drives the need to be engaged in the lives of others,
transferring the benefit of the relationship from the parishioner to
the minister.  Again, this is a recipe for disaster that has caused pain
and hurt to those in the pews as the pastor discards them to move on to
another based on his own need to “help” others.  This must be selfless,
always bearing in mind that the actions are on behalf of others.

Darryl Dash, "There Was a Time When the Church was Very Powerful."  A great quote from MLK Jr. 

David Fitch has written a very interesting post entitled "When They Will Not Come."  This is his opening line in this post:

Here’s the first of many more posts on the subject of "When They Will
Not Come": Church-planting, church-pastoring and church-life as it is
AFTER the "attractional" nature of the church has disappeared in society…

Scot McKnight has written a piece for Out of Ur entitled "The Wright Brothers (In Christ)"  (reflections on two books by N. T. Wright and Christopher Wright).

Michael Hyatt, President and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, gives tips to first-time writers. 

Arlene Kasselman has some very good questions for reflection in "When the Well is Dry." 

Places I’ve Been

Thanks to Liam Byrnes for pointing readers to John Piper’s post in which he quotes C. S. Lewis on writing.  Very helpful.

John Mark Hicks on "Divorced People–What Do They Feel?"

John Frye has written a fine piece, "Jesus Goes Postal."

Steve Addison on "The World’s Worst Persecutors"

Arlene Kasselman seeks comments regarding your experience with accountability groups.

Colin Adams posts regarding John R.W. Stott on "What the Congregation Should Remember."

Scot McKnight has posted for a number of weeks on the Kingdom of God.  Some very, very good insights.   (Thanks to Bob Robinson for the compilation of these posts.)