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Tyler Morning Telegraph - Galdámez brings church planting, education experience to Grace Español

Here are two articles written by Emily Guevara ( Twitter: @TMTEmily)  on our background and on  Grace Español .   Tyler Morning Telegraph...

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I'm Not Hungry for The Hunger Games!

Finally. I finished The Hunger Games. I wanted to find out what the fuzz is all about. I am not going to give a thorough review just some of my literary thoughts about it.
The book takes places in a post apocalyptic North America much like Mad Max. Now it is called Panem with 12 districts controlled by the Capitol. The Capitol sponsors the hunger games as a result of an uprising by district 13 against the Capitol. District 13 was eliminated. Now all districts have to have two of their young ones (13-18) fight for survival in these games. The last person standing out of the 24 is the winner.
This concept isn't new. This is the idea of the Gladiators. They were controlled by Rome and they forced to fight till death. In the Hunger Games though, there isn't much fighting going on. It takes a long time before the action takes place and when it does it is very reserved. The main protagonist Katniss only kills two people out of 24 and the book isn't gory in any way. So we can call it Gladiator light. I don't think this is a bad thing, but isn't a new idea.
This concept raises the question of good and evil, especially evil by oppressive government. But this concept isn't new either. You find this in Orwell's 1984.

Another important element is the fact that the Capitol is watching every move by the competitors. This reminded me of The Truman Show. In The Truman Show, as opposed to The Hunger Games, the protagonist doesn't know he lives in a manufactured world and everybody is watching him. But the concept is very similar.

The first 130 pages gives the background and preparation of the games. The second half (131-374) involves the games. The author does a good job describing and setting the background with flashbacks in the first half and overall in the book. The training part moves fast and it is hard to believe real training takes place. I was expecting action in the second half, but it didn't come. There is very little of it, and the killings are kept very discreet. Much of the book is centered around Katniss' predicament and her discovered love Haymitch.

As far as character development, I wasn't totally convinced. The author description of Katniss was not well-developed nor believable. I couldn't buy that a sixteen-year old had become a skilled warrior on her own out of a survival need and able to defeat all other competitors. Her characterization is a bit shallow and besides Haymitch, all others are barely described.

What makes the book so popular? It is really a no brainer. First, there is the teenage factor. Teenagers are in the book which is the intended audience. Teenagers are attracted to teenagers, especially those who go against the "system." That is the second appealing feature. The concept of a teenager standing up against an evil system is attractive. It works with young people. Finally, the love factor is attractive. What's a book without a couple in love? (even a concept as ridiculous as a vampire in love is attractive to teenagers and young adults) Add to this the intrigue of one survivor and you have teenagers and young people hooked to find out how it will end. And for this you will have to read book 2 and 3.

So there. I probably made enemies after this. But you are free to disagree with me.

God's Will and God's Promise, A Reflection of 1 Thessalonians 4

Many Christians ask what God's will is for their life. They believe God has a specific, detailed plan for the life. They focus all their attention on trying to find out what it is, that they forget what God's has already revealed to us as his will. In the Bible, you don't find Christians trying to find what God's will is for everything they do. Instead, they live according to what God has already revealed and commanded them to do.

In 1 Thessalonians 4 Paul tells the Thessalonians what God's will is for their lives. The first is found in verse 3: "It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality." (NIV) The word use for "sexual immorality" is the word "porneia" and we all know what that is. It is used in a general sense to refer to acts that are sexual in nature contrary to God's plan. God's will for us is that we live a holy life, a life dedicated to Him that avoids sexual immorality. If there is a time where we need this it is today. Many Christians have been involved with the sexually charged culture to the point where they give in to it. There is almost no distinction between how Christians behave sexually and those who don't know Christ.

Paul continues and warns the Thessalonians that "that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God." (v. 4-5, NIV) In the next two verses, he also let's them know to be careful not to do any wrong to another Christian in this area because God will judge them accordingly. Again, it calls us to holiness and purity.
Young people and singles, especially, should take note that for God it is a serious business to fool around sexually in any way with another Christian without regarding them with purity and honor. God will judge us for how we treat them in this area. If we disregard this command, we disregard God himself. This is serious.

God's will is that our bodies are kept pure and honorable. The verses are clear and need not much explanation.

God's will is also that we love each other (verses 13-18). We have been taught by God to love and we should love others as well.

The last part of this chapter, Paul reminds the Thessalonians of God's promise of the resurrection of those dead in Christ when He comes back. The Thessalonians had experienced the death of some of its members and Paul encourages them by pointing that death isn't the end, they will see their loved ones again. Christ's resurrection guarantees the resurrection of those who are "sleeping" (sleeping is used as a euphemism for death because the death of the body is only temporary) in Christ. Christ will bring them back in a resurrected body. This may be confusing for some. In chapter 5 Paul continues this topic which I will write about later.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Ten Things I Learned While In France

1. There is a crepe place in almost every corner.


2. Don't jay walk or they will run you over!

3. Smoking is cool, so many people do.

4. They love MacDonalds, but who doesn't?

5. When you ask for coffee large and small they mean French sizes.

6. Don't trust maps when looking for places.

7. When asking directions, be ready to ask 2-3 times and still get lost.

8. Streets names are called "Rue de..." and they change all the time

9. The metro is the best way to move around and it is quite simple with numbers and colors for neophites in the Metro system.

10. They have the Louvre museum where the Da Vinci Code was filmed!





Ten Things I Learned While in Rome

1. There is Pizza in every corner.

2. There are eating places in every block.

3. They love carbs for breakfast, lunch & dinner.

4. They need more chickens for eggs and cows for beefor steak.

5. They have good water, even from fountains or firehydrants (we saw people drinking from both).

6. Water is not free in restaurants.

7. Wi-fi is a commodity in public places.

8. Old and new buildings coexist together in perfect harmony.

9. If you want coffee, say "American coffee" and bring your cream with you if you don't want milk.

10. Jaywalking is not forbidden, it's a way of life.




Wednesday, April 11, 2012

You know your hotel isn't great when...

I usually post serious stuff, but this was a must

- There is no elevator and you are on the 3 rd floor
- You bump everywhere in the bathroom
- You tell them to give you a clean cover because it had hairs
- You have to buy a sheet because you don't trust theirs
- Your wife doesn't want to take a shower
- The office is so near the kitchen and you can see pans.

All true!