The Fourth Man (Dispatches from the Front Episode 10)

The announcement of the latest release in the Dispatches from the Front series, Episode 10: The Fourth Man is welcome news! (Available from Westminister Bookstore by clicking the title link above.)

Among the very best missions video series available is  Dispatches from the Front by Frontline Missions International (follow FMI@Twitter). The intention of the video series is to bring “viewers up-close with sights and sounds from distant corners of the Kingdom.” Why? Because believers “everywhere desperately need a renewed vision of Christ and the unstoppable advance of His saving work in all the earth.”1 To this end, Dispatches from the Front succeeds in every way.

The sights, sounds, and reflective narration are informative, encouraging and challenging because they provide an inside look at real ministry done by real people in real places around the globe.

In this 10th installment in the series, Tim Keesee takes the viewer into new territory: The Middle East.

“He is risen!”—three words that change everything. This wonderfully good news that was first announced to the women at the Empty Tomb is still being declared boldly in the Middle East by the Risen King’s messengers! Dispatches from the Front goes into this region of centuries-old darkness and division that is now overshadowed by the fierce violence of ISIS terror. Yet, the Gospel is powerfully at work in the Middle East, and Christ is building His Church there just as He said He would. Neither the gates of hell nor the gates of Islam can withstand the work of our Risen King! From mega-cities in Arabia to refugee camps left in the wake of ISIS terror, The Fourth Man goes beyond the headlines to showcase the Gospel’s power to save, the mercy and love of believers, and their abiding joy as Christ walks through the fires of persecution with them.2

I have personally watched all of the previous episodes multiple times and have included them in the curricula of my college and seminary missions courses. So, add my name to the long list of enthusiastic endorsements, which include, among others, Tim Challies, Mark Dever, John Piper, Carl Trueman, David J. Hesselgrave, and Justin Taylor.

It matters not whether you are a seminary or Bible college student, a missions pastor, or a lay member of your church that knows nothing about missions, you can benefit from this series.

Dr. Craig A. Dunning, PhD
Lead Professor of Intercultural Studies/Missions
Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary
#GoBBCLife Change U!

The video clip below will give you an idea of what’s inside episode 10.

1 http://tinyurl.com/m4sgstg
2 http://tinyurl.com/l22meyh

@SquareTrade Is For Real

square-tradeBackground

Just under 3 years ago, I bought a MacBook Pro from Amazon and had to decide whether to extend my warranty coverage with AppleCare or Square Trade. I compared the prices and coverages and realized the latter simply offered more, MUCH MORE coverage for less money. But I had no idea if Square Trade was as good as they advertised themselves to be. In fact, it sounded too good to be true!

Square-Trade-coverage

I’m fairly skeptical when buying insurance or warranty extensions, believing it’s mostly a racket and, in the end, will not be all it is advertised to be. In spite of my skepticism, however, I often extend my warranties and hope for the best.

I feel compelled to protect myself because I realize I’m not the kind of Mac owner I see at the coffee shop. You know, the one whose aluminum body MacBook remains shiny and spotless. The one whose monitor doesn’t have smudges or scratches. I. Am. Not. That. Person. I have two kids (ages 10 and 3) who have been known to use my laptop as a spring board or step stool or decorate it with stickers. As rough as they are, though, I’m more rough on the unit. I don’t worship my Mac. I use it as a serious tool, and it shows: scratches, dents, smudges, stickers, missing foot pads, and metal eaten away from HOURS of resting my palms on it.

By now, you must realize something went wrong with my laptop and I am reviewing Square Trade’s warranty. If that’s the case, you are correct.

My Story

About 6 weeks ago, which was a few months before my warranty expired, I was unable to insert a dvd into my SuperDrive® and assumed the reason was a recent tumble my computer experienced. Since the earphone jack had not worked for some time, the two issues gave me the incentive to get it fixed. So, having forgotten I bought Square Trade instead of AppleCare, I went to Apple and was surprised that I didn’t have coverage, which likely would not have been covered by AppleCare anyway.

Puzzled about my lack of coverage and certain that I had purchased extended coverage I went to my Amazon account and called up my previous purchase records. There it was: Square Trade. At the moment, I had no memory of buying it or registering it, but had done both over 2 1/2 years prior. I was nervous, but made the call anyway.

A friendly customer service representative (CSR) answered and helped me sort out my account and make my claim. “What is the problem?” he asked. I explained my SuperDrive® malfunction and earphone jack problem and asked what’s the process to make a claim and get my computer fixed. He asked for me to hold while he updated my file, and when he returned he outlined my options: 1) I could send it to Square Trade and have their techs repair the unit, or 2) I could take it anywhere I wanted for repair and send a receipt for reimbursement. I initially chose option 1 and had a shipping box sent to me, and within minutes I had an email confirming the process and my decision to send it in for repair. However, my skepticism kicked in and I couldn’t bring myself to send it to Square Trade for repair. This was simply too good to be true and too easy. After the shipping box sat in my office for 2 weeks, I called to report my change of mind and ask for option 2. The CSR simply said “okay, let me change your file and give you a new confirmation number.” Within minutes, I had a second email, confirming my decision to choose a technician and be refunded.

Still skeptical, but feeling a little more confident I began to look for local technicians to do the work. I took my laptop in and the tech began work the next day. He called back to say that he didn’t think the SuperDrive® problem was due to a drop, it was something else that would only be revealed after he dug a little deeper, which required a go-ahead from me. He also said, that my earphone jack was likely a logic board problem and that my hard drive was showing signs of failure. All told, the price was upwards of $600 to fix what he thought was wrong, and more if the SuperDrive® was busted. I hoped for the best, gave the go ahead and about a week later, my laptop was fixed. It had a new logic board, new hard drive and a re-aligned SuperDrive®. Oh, the problem with the SuperDrive® was a plastic coin my son had inserted into the slot. I didn’t know he had done that, but realized the culprit immediately when the tech sheepishly said, “there was a coin in your SuperDrive®, a gray plastic coin.”

After paying for the repair, I immediately scanned and emailed my receipt to Square Trade. Within minutes, I received a note declaring payment would arrive within 7-10 business days. Now the wait. It was excruciating because I didn’t have $600 to throw at this thing if Square Trade didn’t come through. As promised, the check arrived without any hesitation for the additional cost of a hard drive, which was never mentioned in my discussion with the CSR.

Conclusion

Square Trade is for real! Their promises were too good to be true, but they were true. Their customer service reps were extremely easy to work with, and understanding of my skepticism. I still can hardly believe how well this worked, but I have the check in hand to prove it.

Thanks Square Trade for doing business the “old fashioned way” with integrity and courtesy.

40 Questions about the End Times

Having lived in Israel for many years, meant being asked about the “End Times” on a regular basis: “When do you think [insert event] will happen?” “Where do you think we are in the time line?”

It also meant being presented with seemingly every conceivable End Time scenario. This was so prevalent that I found myself avoiding the topic altogether. Rather than my time in Israel causing me to understand the End Times better, I think it caused me to be grow somewhat dismissive of the topic, which I regret.

If you are like me or are genuinely confused about the End Times, Kregel’s new book, 40 Questions About the End Times,might be helpful.

If this book is as good as 40 Questions About Christians and Biblical Law,another book in Kregel’s 40 Questions series, then Eckhard J. Schnabel will have made an important contribution to the End Times discussion.

Worth Reading

David Gunner Gunderson offers some wise and helpful thoughts about how we should respond to the thought that life is short . . . and they might be different than you assume.  Life is short so don’t waste it

Pastor Wade Burleson shares his story of leading a fellow prisoner to Christ in a Cozumel, Mexico jail. The story should encourage you in your faith, and it offers some insight into the risk of renting a vehicle in a foreign port of call while on a cruise. Saved from Hell in a jail cell in Cozumel

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