Monthly Archives: December 2008

2) Catch The Momentum At Momentum

When I grow up, I want to be as smart as Justin. See a fraction of his research at

Read the latest on intercession for unreached peoples, browse global issues, catch upcoming conferences, and, in short, “Build your ability to reach the unreached peoples of the world.” That’s what Momentum Magazine is all about. Be sure to catch the full-length magazine layouts at

There’s nothing like that anywhere else on the web. Thanks for your work, Justin.

4) Headed To A Sensitive Place? Check For Security Vulnerabilities

One of the best spots for checking your computer for vulnerabilities is Steve Gibson’s “Gibson Research Corporation.” It’s even better, in my opinion, than the designers of anti-virus/firewall software… because it’s totally unbiased and not self-serving. Start at:

Follow the prompts to “ShieldsUp!”. (Note: You can look up in the upper left at the landing page there… hover over “Services”, then click on “ShieldsUp!” Read, then click “Proceed.” At the ShieldsUp page, click on “Filesharing.” The outcome you want is, ” All attempts to get any information from your computer have FAILED.” That’s the answer you want to see. Anything less is unacceptable.

Next, start the whole process over (you won’t be able to click “Back”. This time click on “Common Ports.” The answer you want this time is, “Your system has achieved a perfect ‘TruStealth’ rating.” Anything less is unacceptable. If you don’t see these two messages, go shop for a better firewall.

Next click on “All Service Ports.” The answer you want here is ” Your system has achieved a perfect ‘TruStealth” rating.'”

Hats off to Steve Gibson for giving us these kinds of tools.

5) Christian Light Foundation Provides Light For Philippines

We’re grateful to the work of CLF in Philippines, on the web at…

They give their all to provide child care, medivangelism, Bible Studies, church planting, film evangelism, and a tape lending library to the lovely people of the Philippines. Now, their partnership and vision have not only supplied the needs of people in the Pacific, but also on a global basis through their partnership with Brigada. Thank you!

6) Do You Work In Hard, Unreceptive Places?

If so, consider enrolling in the International School of Reconciliation Studies, a self paced, web-based, school for leaders. In association with the International Reconciliation Coalition, an organization founded by John Dawson, President of Youth With A Mission, The International School of Reconciliation speaks of reconciliation between God and Self, the Biblical Basis of Reconciliation, and best practices of reconciliation around the world. Scholars and practitioners from around the world are your teachers. Enrollment is open the month of January, for more information go to

Limited financial scholarships are available.

7) Grateful for Partners

Thanks to a Brigada participant in Phoenix for the $75 gift which, in combination from another giver from Bowling Green, formed a “True Fan” gift to Brigada. So Phoenix and Bowling Green formed a partnership! :-) Another long-time friend from Marion, IN, became a “True Fan” as well (another $100 gift), and yet another participant messaged yesterday to say he was sending $100 in the mail to make a 3rd True Fan. He wrote, “Try to give a little each year. Appreciate all you do to keep Brigada up and running.” So those 3 “True Fans” united with matching gifts from the Middle East to form a $600 gift!!! God be praised!

8) Many Don’t Report Totals; Brigada Does

Think of all the causes you’ve seen which never offer any report about totals. Perhaps they say, “Financial report available upon request.” Brigada is up front with you to let you know exactly where we stand… and where we stand is *extremely* close to our 2008 needs. Remember, if we go *over* our needs, we push that support into 2009, where the budget is pegged to be identical to 2008 (no increase for inflation). With just $1381 remaining to raise, we only need 7 more “True Fan” gifts of $100 each — or any combination that can add up to $700… because we have the promise of matching gifts from the visionary international church in the Middle East. Here’s your chance to push Brigada into the New Year with 2008 wrapped up with a bow. Will you be one of the 7? If so, just click one of the pushbuttons at the right-hand top of the home page… or use the PayPal link on the upper left if you prefer. Remember, even with the PayPal links, you don’t have join PayPal to give through it. Or if you prefer, just send an old-fashioned check payable to Team Expansion to: Team Expansion (Brigada), 13711 Willow Reed Dr., Louisville, KY 40299. (Team Expansion is a 501(c)3 incorporation so for USA citizens, your checks made out to Team Expansion are tax-deductible.) As always, be sure to let us know if you’d like us to promote any particular service or ministry, or if you’d prefer your gift be anonymous. And thank you in advance for helping.

9) The Backpage: Re-Read The 7 Habits; Pick Up The 8Th Habit

If you’re like me, you probably have incorporated one or more of Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” into your personal life. Perhaps they’ve become so common place that now they seem just like common sense:
*** Be proactive
*** Begin with the end in mind
*** Put first things first
*** Think win/win
*** Seek first to understand, then to be understood
*** Synergize
*** Sharpen the saw

Well now Covey has a new book out entitled “The 8th Habit.” To steal only a little of his thunder, we’ll reveal, at least, that the 8th habit, in Covey’s understanding, is, “Find your voice and inspire others to find theirs.” In short, Covey is encouraging today’s workers to discover their unique personal significance. He maintains that this “calling” resides at the nexus of
*** talent
*** passion
*** need
*** conscience

He writes, “There is a deep, innate, almost inexpressible yearning within each of us to find out voice in life.” He clarifies this assertion by pointing out that all humankind have an inner need “to learn, to love, to live, and to leave a legacy.” He says in this new age, it’s not quite enough to pay fairly, or merely treat kindly — though these are basics. He even says we need to step beyond the level of “using creatively.” What he concludes is that people want to serve human needs in principled ways.

I’ll have to admit, I’ve seen this come to pass in both of my sons, aged 22 and 19. The 22-year-old just landed an internship with a first-rate Nashville (TN) law firm. Seeing as how he wants to go to a top-flight law school in the next 18 months, that job seemed so strategic to Dad. But for him, not so much. The truth is, he’s talking about letting it go so he can help get goats to Ghana, or stoves to Mongolia, or heifers to Haiti. He’s living proof: this new generation is searching for *meaning*, not material.

The 19-year-old is cut from the same mold. He’s shopping for colleges right now and, although he’s factoring in scholarships and dorms, he’s much more concerned with each school’s study abroad program and how it factors into changing lives.

All of which has sent me back to basics. Today I made the obligatory trip to Barnes & Noble, picking up a new copy of “7 Habits” (mine is long-since loaned, never to be returned), along with a new copy of “8th Habit.” Let’s find that compass as we head into 2009… and let’s walk toward True North. Some of the above principles “will preach.” What do you say?

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10) Closing Stuff

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COPYRIGHT — (We actually have to say this stuff so the material can’t legally be used by those who are not likeminded.) This issue of Brigada Today is Copyrighted 2008. However, permission is granted to freely redistribute these materials, including those available on the Brigada website, provided that such redistribution is to those who will help the Good News of Jesus Christ to reach the unreached. To copy or reproduce Brigada Today for any other reason is illegal and is not permitted. When you quote or paraphrase material from Brigada, please include this phrase: “For a free subscription to Brigada’s weekly missions publication, write and/or visit Brigada on the web at”

2008/12/14 — Brigada Today

“Brigada: Since 1995… Buckets full of Resources, Trends, Challenges — all in a weekly e-zine & website…”
Compiled by Doug Lucas, Team Expansion, Louisville, KY
(Almost caught up!)

In this issue…

1) 2008 Scott Shaum Reading List: ***Introduction***

For the third year in a row, we’re blessed with a reading list featuring “great reads from the past 12 months” by our good friend, Scott Shaum. I believe I was originally connected to Scott via a mutual friend, Donna, who has a passion for member care. She’s volunteered *profoundly* for the organization I lead (Team Expansion) and recently *also* has picked up working member care for a very missions-active local church in Joplin, MO. She introduced me to Scott and somehow, the next thing you know, he was sharing his reading list for the past year. What I *like* about it is that it’s always heavy on issues that relate to member care, but also broad enough to pull in a wide swath of issues, both global and domestic. I believe you’ll find it both compelling and enticing again in 2008. Scott wrote, “This year’s list is broken into several sections hopefully to be of help in making choices. I begin with a list of the best books I read, then have provided annotated comments below from these books and others. There are some titles I read that I did not put on this list as I am not convinced their worth your time or money. Please do realize that these are my opinions and heavily influenced by my own journey.”

In case you want to purchase any of these books, we’ll include links to them from Amazon. Just click on the image of the book/cover beside each item of this edition of Brigada Today. [Disclaimer: A portion of the purchase price will then be donated back to Brigada as a gift from However, this does not raise the purchaser’s price. In other words, if you purchase the book from Amazon, you’ll pay the same price either way. At least using these links, Brigada gets a small donation out of the deal and you end up with the book for the same price. In the past couple of years, this gift has averaged around $50. It’s like Scott’s chance to give something to the whole Brigada family while he makes a gift to Brigada too! :-) ]

So with that as an intro, we’ll thank Scott once again and — on with the show!

2) 2008 Scott Shaum Reading List: Best Reads Of 2008

Here are Scott’s picks of the past year… the top books for 2008, in his opinion:

Crossing The Unknown Sea – Work As A Pilgrimage Of Identity
by David Whyte

A Guide to Living in the Truth: Saint Benedict’s Teaching on Humility

by Michael Casey

Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation

by Palmer Parker

Red Bird: Poems

by Mary Oliver (poetry)

House of Belonging

by David Whyte (poetry)

Letters from the Desert

by Carlo Carretto

Here If You Need Me: A True Story

by Kate Breastrup (Memoir)

Becoming a Coaching Leader: The Proven Strategy for Building Your Own Team of Champions

by Daniel Harkavy

3) 2008 Scott Shaum Reading List: ***Spiritual Formation***

Here is Scott Shaum’s reading list for “Spiritual Formation” for the past year:
Crossing The Unknown Sea – Work As A Pilgrimage Of Identity
by David Whyte
David Whyte is Irish-born, now lives in Seattle area. In a book store you will find this book in the business section. This book is about how having an open heart, eyes and ears in the midst of our vocational life will allow us to learn to be true to who God has made us to be and do. Though not a “Christian” book, Whyte grew up in an Anglican church and knows some Biblical truth. I had a chance to hear him speak in October – without a doubt one of the most gifted and moving public speakers I have ever heard. He is a poet by trade (he tells how he got there in the book). His writing is insightful, reflective, and penetrating.

Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation

by Palmer Parker
Parker is a Quaker. Unfortunately (in my estimation) he allows new age influences to creep into an otherwise rich spiritual heritage. His writings are exceptionally insightful into the deeper truths of life (seasons, identity, formation, etc.). This is a short, easy read, but one that needs to be read slowly and reflectively. The book starts out a little weak (and flakey – New Agey) but the last three chapters are gold – he shares what he has learned from personal bouts of depression, the need to go deep in our struggles, and the truths to be learned from nature’s seasons.

Worship, Community & the Triune God of Grace

by James Torrence
This will be a theologically stretching book for many, but I recommend it for your expansion. Torrence always has amazing insight into current trends and theological implications.

The Way Is Made by Walking: A Pilgrimage Along the Camino De Santiago

by Arthur Paul Boers
The author writes of his personal pilgrimage on the El Camino de Santiago in Norther Spain – an ancient pilgrimage trek of 600 miles. As he writes of his experience he teases out the biblical motif of pilgrimage and reflects on how to maintain that posture in daily life. Not extremely well written, but I still found it intriguing and helpful in some areas of my own pilgrimage disciplines. It helped that I read it while in India….

The Lazarus Life: Spiritual Transformation for Ordinary People

by Stephen Smith
Steve and Gwen Smith have become very dear friends of ours. This is a book written from Steve’s heart and life story. An intimate reflection on the raising of Lazarus as recorded in John 11. The chapters on the Lingering Jesus (how he does not show up when we call him) and the section on our illusions around this reality are searching and unique. An accompanying workbook has just been released. I highly recommend this to your own journey and a great group study.

A Guide to Living in the Truth: Saint Benedict’s Teaching on Humility

by Micheal Casey
Last year I read two of Casey’s books (see 2007 Reads List). Casey is a Cistercian Monk in Australia. I love his writings. The material is penetrating and challenging yet assessable. The book draws upon Benedict’s chapter 7 in the Rule. It will be of great encouragement to you in your own journey. Advisory: I would not start with Casey. I’d read Nouwen and others extensively, then move towards Casey. However, if you are ready to go deeper in your walk, get Casey and absorb his writing. You will not regret the exercise. Casey wonderfully brings monastic spirituality into the world of those of us who do not have this calling.

With Burning Hearts: A Meditation on the Eucharistic Life

by Henri Nouwen
A reflection from Jesus interactions with the two disciples on the way to Emmaus (Luke 24). Typical of Nouwen it is rich and reflective. This is a hardback with beautiful artwork. Not his best writing (I’d highly recommend Life of the Beloved) but Nouwen is always food for the heart.

Letters from the Desert

by Carlo Carretto
“The purpose of life is to be transformed into divine love,” writes Carretto. At the age of 44, Carretto entered the Little Brothers of Jesus in North Africa. This book comes from his personal lessons and growth from those years. This is not an easy read, but well worth it – numerous chapters are beckoning me deeper into God’s heart for the poor and His love for me.

Gift of the Red Bird: The Story of a Divine Encounter

by Paula DʼArcy
This is D’Arcy’s story from crushing loss (a tragic car accident) to a walk with God, burnout in ministry, to a truer walk with God. Easy to read, written in first person, it will invite you to ponder your own pace of life and why you do what you do (pp. 54-55).

Champagne for the Soul: Celebrating God’s Gift of Joy

by Mike Mason
Mason set out on a 90 day experiment to be deliberately joyful everyday. This book contains 90 short (1 1/2-2 pages each) chapters on the subject of joy. I learned that my joy muscles are anemic – I’m way too serious (you already knew that). Easy to read, very informative, join him in the challenge.

The New Christians: Dispatches from the Emergent Frontier

by Tony Jones
(Note: This is not a book on spiritual formation, but on trends in the church). I am not up on the controversial topic called the “emergent Church.” I am intrigued by what I am hearing and seeing. Like all movements there are elements that are needed and those that are off-balanced over reactions to existing imbalances. Tony Jones is a fresh, engaging writer (his The Sacred Way is a must read). I found this book extremely stimulating, edifying and encouraging. I am aware that I am reading about a controversial topic from one of its main proponents and leaders – a less than objective source. But it is still a good read.

4) 2008 Scott Shaum Reading List: ***Leadership***

Here is Scott Shaum’s reading list for “Leadership” for the past year:

Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership: Seeking God in the Crucible of Ministry

by Ruth Haley Barton
Through her writings, Barton and her organization (The Transforming Center near Chicago) are addressing a huge need in the Evangelical Protestant church – a rule of life. We are addicted to a consumeristic mentality of life and spirituality and we have no idea. Barton’s earlier work Sacred Rhythms is a must read. This newest title could fall under my “spiritual formation category”, but Barton writes it to and for leaders. She uses the life of Moses and his encounters with God to lay out God’s intention of developing and deepening the inner world of leaders. To paraphrase Palmer Parker from Let Your Life Speak, leaders do not merely need competency they must have the courage and skills to delve deep into their own inner life. Barton’s book guides you in this process. Chapters 11 and 12 are wonderful writings on leadership community and team leadership discernment – worth the book alone. Barton’s writings can be shallow at times, but her subject matter and some of her ideas are the need of the hour.

Becoming a Coaching Leader: The Proven Strategy for Building Your Own Team of Champions

by Daniel Harvaky
Harvaky is a Christian who has begun an extensive leader coaching business (a for-profit called Building Champions, Inc.). This book outlines their coaching philosophy and methodology. His argument is that to be a truly outstanding leader, you must be a coaching leader – purposefully develop everyone in your organization. I absolutely agree. This is true, Biblical, God-emulating leadership (God is always developing leaders for his purposes). This book is detailed and practical. I have incorporated numerous elements into my own work life and am using the model to further develop my coaching model.

Shepherd Leadership: Wisdom for Leaders from Psalm 23

By Blaine McCormick and David Davenport
A look at the posture of shepherding for all leaders from Psalm 23. Not a deep book, but they have many insightful applications that must be addressed by leaders. I have spoken on the principle that all leaders must learn shepherding skills – leadership is about leading people well, not merely the bottom line (in fact the bottom line comes when people are led and developed well). If you are a leader, I encourage you to read this book and reflect on how you may grow in your movement toward the people you influence.

5) 2008 Scott Shaum Reading List: ***Poetry***

Scott wrote, ” I never could understood poetry. I have learned it is because my eyes and lifeunderstanding (wisdom) needed development. I was introduced to Mary Oliver this year, and have quickly expanded out to other authors. I present the works I have read thus far, and will read again and again. I am enjoying the truth conveyed in the economy of words and pictures of poetry. Remember, a large part of the Old Testament is Poetry. I am starting to get it….”

Red Bird: Poems

by Mary Oliver
Oliver is in her 70’s and lives in Massachusetts. Her writings are largely of nature, but also reflects on other topics. She seems to be going deeper in her personal faith, though I do not know that she is a Christ-follower. Her works are easy to follow, not too terribly symbolic for the rookie poetry reader, and very envisioning. I will never look at a tree the same way again.

House of Belonging

by David Whyte
Whyte’s poetry is much more philosophical and takes some deeper pondering. I often have to read a poem 5 times to begin to get it, but they are rich diggings.

6) 2008 Scott Shaum Reading List: ***Biographies***

John Adams

by David McCullough
A masterpiece bio. Fascinating history, I learned stuff about the making of our country I never knew. Its a tome and worth the read.

Here If You Need Me: A True Story

by Kate Breastrup (Memoir)
The story begins with the death of Breastrup’s husband, a Maine State Trooper. She then goes to seminary and becomes the chaplain for the Maine Game Wardens. Though Breastrup’s Universalist theology is bankrupt, she writes on subjects such as death, loss, grief, God’s mystery, remembering, and mourning with dignity, honor, and appropriate humor. This is an enjoyable read that I will read again and again. I cannot recommend it enough

The Translator: A Memoir

by Doud Hari
Hari is a translator for correspondents in Sudan. This is of his life. If you want glimpses into the atrocities of Darfur, this is an eye opener.

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