Dr. Livingston, I Presume?

I read a book about Dr. Livingstone once.

Bored me to tears.

The Daring Heart of David Livingstone by Jay Milbrandt was anything but boring.

David Livingstone was known as a missionary, explorer and anti-slavery advocate.  As a missionary, he only had one convert during his lifetime.  His entire life was a jumble of faith, missions, exploration, fame and failure. He spent more time in Africa than he ever did with his family.  In fact he went years without seeing his children. 

Prior to this book, my recall of his life was limited to his failures and the fact that he got lost in Africa.  The whole, "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?" was the only thing I could quote about his life.

One thing that was largely lost on me was his passionate drive to end the slave trade in East Africa.  This is where Jay Milbrandt does Dr. Livingstone justice. Milbrandt examines David Livingstone's life through the lens of his anti-slavery crusade.  He looks at his failures and successes and how they impacted the ongoing slave trade.  Quoting from Livingstone's journals and other papers, he shows his commitment to God, desire to serve Him and the many times he falls short.  Yet through it all, you see Livingstone's continual focus on stopping injustice.

My view of Livingstone has changed quite a bit after reading this book.  Shortly after his passing, the slave trade was ended in East Africa and it had everything to do with Dr. Livingstone.  After reading the facts laid out by Jay Milbrandt, I can say unequivocally that David Livingstone changed the world!

A must read for history buffs, those who love missions and for anyone who desires to see an end to the modern day slave trade.

BookLook Bloggers has provided you with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy.


Back to the Wall!

Over the years, I have always tried to sit with my back to the wall. 

It could have something to do with the fact that, as kid, I was attacked from behind at school.  I remember sitting on a ramp near our locker area and feeling a sharp pain near the back of my neck.  I woke up on the ground with my back and neck bleeding from cuts made when another kid repeatedly hit me with his cleats. 

Whatever the reason, I always liked to sit facing the door.  I wanted to see what was coming.  I learned to live with one eye open!  I felt as if I couldn't trust anyone and had to watch my own back.

Actually, It was a pretty miserable way to live.

My relief came as I began to understand the nature and character of God.  I found comfort in a passage from the latter part of Isaiah 52:12. While speaking on deliverance for Israel, Isaiah has this word, "...For the LORD will go before you, And the God of Israel will be your rear guard."

Now that sounds like someone who has your well-being in mind!  He goes before them and is their rear guard.  We also see from Scriptures that the Lord surrounds us. (Psalms 125:2)

God has my back, my front, my whole being!

Now that is protection you can count on!


David Wilkerson

My familiarity with David Wilkerson comes primarily from The Cross and the Switchblade and receiving his newsletter for a short period of time in the late 1980's.  This created an image in my mind of a man who seemed cutting edge but also at times quite legalistic.  I knew almost nothing else about him.

When Zondervan announced a new biography about David Wilkerson, written by his son Gary, I was intrigued and also a little curious how open his son would be about his dads life.

Having now finished the book, I am impressed.

Gary Wilkerson has crafted both a loving tribute and an unvarnished look at his father's life.  This book gives you a clear picture of his dad's spiritual life and corresponding struggles.  You see both his highs and lows of a lifetime of service to the Lord.  The behind the scene looks at his book The Cross and the Switchblade and the movie of the same name were quite interesting.  The fallout among his own staff when he released The Vision was a bit surprising.

David Wilkerson's ministry is still changing lives today.  I saw firsthand the work of Teen Challenge while living in Croatia and can attest that it does change lives.

What develops over the course of this book is a story of a man who was passionate for God and who still struggled with his own faith walk.  I found myself encouraged by this clearer picture of David Wilkerson. I found myself relating to some of his spiritual struggles and his final acceptance of the grace of God.

I highly recommend this book.