Buried Alive by Roy Hallums

January 31, 2010

Buried Alive On November 1, 2004 Roy Hallums ducked out of a dinner party hosted by his employer in the upscale Mansour district of Baghdad to finish some work in an adjacent office building of the Saudi Arabian Trading and Construction Company. At the same time a gang of ruthless thugs, later identified as members of the Jaish al-Mujahideen or Mujahideen Army, were finalizing their plans to storm the company’s compound. Little did Roy Hallums realize, as he crossed the secured and protected distance from the dinner party to his office, that he was also crossing over into a brutal 311 day nightmare during which time he would be virtually Buried Alive.

Warning: Buried Alive is a white-knuckle firsthand tale of terror, torture, and triumph that will leave the reader’s fingernails permanently imprinted on the book’s front and back covers. On the 241 pages between those two covers readers will glimpse, if only as from beneath a blindfold, a surreal world in which kidnapping and human traffic is considered a legitimate form of business and where the adhan, or Islamic call to prayer, is accompanied by the sound of torture induced cries and screams. The book however is not without its lighter (if that is a word that can be used in such circumstances) moments. Case in point: upon being pistol whipped by a guard because President Bush had won reelection in the U.S. Roy Hallums quipped “I guess he was a Kerry supporter”.

This is a book that should be read by everyone who wishes to have greater insight into events in the Middle East. Be warned though, although it is not overly graphic and never sensational, the facts portrayed within leaves of this book are indelible.

Find it at Amazon.com

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com <http://BookSneeze.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


BibleStick Unboxing

January 5, 2010

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The BibleStick from Faith Comes By Hearing I recently won (on Twitter of all places) showed up on my door step today so I thought I’d take a minute or two to show it off.

First things: The BibleStick is a dedicated digital audio player that comes pre-loaded with the entire New Testament in audio. I received the ESV audio version but apparently it also comes in an NIV, KJV, and Kids flavor as well.

Set up out of the box, as expected, was simple and the whole process was much more enjoyable because I didn’t have to fumble around the house trying to find the single AAA battery needed to fire it up. Battery is included. The sound quality of the supplied earbuds is surprisingly good. Paradoxically, the most complex part of the set up was associated with the L and R markings on the earbuds – are they designed for left or right handed people? It must make a difference otherwise they would not have been labeled. If I mistakenly put them in backwards would the audio play backwards? Finally I through caution to the wind and popped one in each ear  (which, incidentally, is much more comfortable than sticking both of them in one ear—not recommended) and powered the player on.

The player is small, only slightly larger than a thumb drive or a pack of gum but it has a solid feel. Time will tell, but my initial reaction is that it will endure my innate clumsiness and likely last longer than some of the cell phones, two laptops, and one very small kitten that had the misfortune of falling into (I should say out of) my hands. The volume up/down and next/previous track controls as well as the on/off button are well designed and have a pleasant tactile feel.

As I mentioned earlier the sound quality is good but really the most important part of the entire shabang is the fidelity of the audio to the Bible. In this respect, the BibleStick is excellent. The background sounds, great voice talent, and first class production quality is as good as any available commercial product in my opinion.  Given this and the mission of the Faith Comes By Hearing ministry, I will definitely pick up more BibleSticks in the future as gifts and giveaways and have no hesitation recommending it to others as well.

By the way, turns out that reversing the earbuds doesn’t cause the audio to run backwards after all.

Enjoy!

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Another Bible Reading Plan

January 2, 2010

I’ve been asked about my Bible reading plan on a couple of occasions in the last few weeks. What is it about the New Year and interest in Bible reading plans? Anyway, because of the interest and because a few people have asked, here is a short description of the one I follow.

First, though, a couple of quick pre-notes and observations are in order. This plan is what works for me; there are a lot of Bible reading plans out there and I have tired and failed at most of them. It would not be an exaggeration to say my reading plan is the product of many years of good intentions followed by failure. There is nothing unique about my Bible reading plan; all of the reading plans I have tried influenced, to one degree or another, the development of the plan I now follow. I have found that I need an achievable measurable goal to help me stick to the plan. The goal of this reading plan is simple and easily measurable: Read the entire Old Testament in one year and read the entire New Testament four times each year. A big part of making the goal achievable is to make sure the plan accounts for things that are not within my control. No matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to get more than 24 hours crammed into any given day and work, family, church, social, and other commitments take up a good chuck of those hours each and every day. The reason this plan works for me is that ‘fits’ into my life no matter what I manage to get myself into.

A couple of other things – don’t use an electronic Bible on your PC, smart phone, etc. for your daily reading. Instead use an old fashioned book type Bible with pages between two covers and use the same one every day– the value of which I learned when my dog ate Ecclesiastes (but that is a different story). Use the version of the Bible you are most comfortable reading but don’t use a paraphrase. I use a Bible without study notes to help keep me on task and I keep a pencil handy to make margin notes about things I want to come back to after I have completed my daily reading. Use bookmarks and finally, always begin each daily reading with prayer.

The plan consists of five reading lists – (1) Old Testament, (2) Psalms, (3) Proverbs, (4) New Testament, and (5) Acts in that order. Each day, I read three chapters from the Old and New Testaments, and one chapter each from Psalms, Proverbs, and Acts. Reading only 3 chapters each day from each of the Testaments allows for one complete reading of the Old Testament and four complete readings of the New Testament each year plus a complete reading of Psalms twice a year, Proverbs 12 times a year (I need it!), and Acts 12 times each year. Each day’s reading takes less than 40 minutes to complete and all of it combined allows for plenty of time during the year to achieve my goal of reading the entire Old Testament in one year and to read the entire New Testament four times each year— even when I miss (a) daily reading(s) because of things I cannot control.

Old Testament – start at Genesis Chapter 1 and read book by book all the way through skipping Psalms and Proverbs when you get to them. When you get all the way through the Old Testament, start over again at Genesis 1. Read 3 Chapters each day.

New Testament – start at Matthew Chapter 1 and also read book by book all the way through skipping Acts when you get to it. When you get all the way through the New Testament, start over again at Matthew 1. Read 3 Chapters each day.

Psalms, Proverbs, and Acts – start with Chapter/Psalm 1 and read Chapter/Psalm by Chapter/Psalm all the way through. When you complete that book, start over again at chapter/Psalm 1. Read one Chapter/Psalm from each book each day.

Oh, by the way, there is no rule against reading more chapters each day so when you get to those parts of Scripture that interest you more, by all means, keep right on reading. When events over take you and you find yourself, for whatever reason, unable to read the Scripture on a particular day, simply pick back up where you previously left off.

Q&A:

Q: Why not use an electronic Bible for the daily reading plan?

A: It doesn’t work for me and I suspect it does not work for most people. Using a traditional Bible has the additional advantage of not being dependent on electricity while being easily portable. For the most part, your Bible can (and should) go where you go, a traditional book type Bible makes that easier.

Q: Why not use a paraphrase of the Bible?

A: It’s not the Word of God.

Q: Which translation of the Bible do you use?

A: NASB, ESV, and King James. I have others that I use/consult often but those are the main three. Interestingly, for me, I find the KJV to be the easiest of the 3 to memorize; I use the NASB for my daily reading and the NASB and ESV about equally for most of my Bible Studies. Yes, I have and use an electronic Bible.

Q: Is there a reason I should try your Bible reading plan?

A: No, not really. If you have one that works for you now don’t change. If you do not have one, feel free to try this one out. If you do not have a daily Bible reading plan, I do urge you to start one – if nothing else, pick up the Bible every day and read it. Few other things are more important.

Q: Besides yours, do you have another Bible reading plan that you would recommend?

A: I’m not really recommending my Bible reading plan, just pointing out that this is what works for me. If you feel it would also work for you, try it; if you feel that another reading plan would work for you, try that one. Just have a daily Bible reading plan! Two reading plans I would recommend for others include the McCheyne Bible reading plan and Professor Grant Horner’s Bible Reading System. Of the two, I’m most comfortable with Professor Horner’s.

Q: Isn’t your Bible reading plan like Professor Horner’s Bible Reading System.

A: Yes, except it is different.

Q: I’m a Christian and don’t feel that I need to read the Bible every day.

A: OK, that’s not a question but if you have read this far you know something is missing – either you need a daily Bible reading plan or you are not a Christian—either way time for some serious self-examination on your part.

Q: So what are you saying?

A: Get and use a daily Bible reading plan that works for you!


His Christmas Story

December 1, 2009

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Free MP3 download:

His Christmas Story by Max McClean is available from ListenersBible.com.

Quote:

When we hear the Christmas story what do we feel? Is it just a nice story? Well, yes. But it is also telling us that a huge event has just taken place; an event so big that it changes everything. Why? Because the infinite, eternal being who created all things decided to pay us a visit, knock on our front door, get to know us and find out about our hurts and our pains.

Feel the weight of this extraordinary event in this new 25-minute scripture CD that explores the size and magnitude of Christmas. Make this a part of your holiday celebrations.


The Importance Of Reading The Bible

November 15, 2009

Read Your Bible

It’s a busy world. Read the Bible.


Another Jihadist’s Business Card

November 14, 2009

jihadist's business card


Reformed Rap

November 14, 2009

More theology in this 4.5 minute video than is preached in an hour form the pulpits of many churches today.


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