The trial of a serial killer has captured the attention of most of the people in my little town. Finding an impartial jury has not been easy. Opinions are expressed in the morning coffee gatherings, in the papers, and on the regional news.
I met recently with a group who were close to one of the victims. Very early into our meetng, one of people spoke up: “I have a question. Do I have to pray for that guy?”
Easy answer: no.
But I’m not into easy answers.
I helped my questioning friend to tease out what she was really wanting to ask. She was somewhat resistant—seeking to hide the truth she was trying to avoid. But we finally got there. “Do I have to forgive him?”
What followed was an honest discussion about forgiveness. No one was comfortable…needing to forgive can do that.
As we were wrapping up our meeting, a new question surfaced: Do I have to like him?
Even easier answer: no!
Scripture says nothing about liking someone. I don’t think we’re wired to like everyone.
But we have to care about them. We have to love them.
Loving someone…caring for them…praying for them doesn’t mean we have to like them—and we certainly don’t have to like or condone what they did.
Perhaps the only thing we can pray for them is that they will find the strength to face the consequences of their actions.
If I did something horribly wrong I would hope someone prayed that much for me.
This is a note I posted on Facebook on this date in 2009. It still holds my hope and heart today.
Lent Day 28: Tattoo
March 24, 2009 at 7:40am
Lent Day 28:
My older daughter is visiting us. It is good to have her close and it will be hard to let her go when it’s time, but our connection is good. While she was here, she got another tattoo. This bothers her father. I try to remain neutral. I have to admit that of all the ones she’s gotten, I like this one the best. It’s the Celtic symbol for motherhood—or at least I hope it is!
Over the years both my daughters have tried to talk me into going with them and getting a tattoo. There’s something “special” about doing that, so I’m told. I know that there are biblical comments prohibiting tattooing, but that’s not why I haven’t gone. I am a wuss about pain, but that hasn’t been my deterrent, either. I can’t imagine anything that I want engraved on me for forever. The image of a wilted rose on an 86 year old woman’s body just doesn’t get me all jazzed up.
And yet, somehow, I want my life to be tattooed with Jesus. I want my laughter, my conversation, my touch, my service, my work, my prayers, everything that I am to immediately point to Jesus. As much as I want that, I know that my life is so far from consistent. My heart desperately seeks to live in a way that is pleasing to my Father, but my choices betray my lack of trust and my selfishness. I truly understand the struggle that Paul speaks about in Romans 7.
In my life I have known the absolute bowels of wretchedness. I know what it’s like to screw up so royally that you lose all respect, wallow in shame, and try to rebuild integrity. I’m thankful for grace that makes climbing out of that dark pit possible. I’m thankful that Paul moves from chapter 7 into chapter 8: There is therefore, no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
So, if I ever got a tattoo it would be a grapevine bracelet (symbolizing that I am just a branch needing to stay connected to the vine). In the vine would be a turtle (a rich symbol and spiritual totem) and a daisy (for me a symbol of hope and faithfulness). All three would serve as reminders to me to keep living, to keep being fruitful, to truly make every effort. The only place they may ever be is in my heart, but hopefully they will be seen by those Jesus sends my way each day.
I like a book that starts out by telling me where I’m going to end up. And Laurie Coombs does that in this book. In the preface she states that ultimately this is “a story that displays the glory of our God.”
I have met the author and was very impressed by her humility and sincerity. So when I got the opportunity to read this book, I jumped at it. And I wasn’t disappointed.
As I read the story, I felt like I was sitting across the table listening to Laurie while we shared a cup of coffee. The reader can be sure this hasn’t been “prettied” up. It’s a raw and real struggle to be obedient. The story took Laurie into some difficult situations and conversations, but in the end it truly displays the glory of God.
Ms. Coombs points out that we often think the journey of faith is like “skipping through a meadow, hand in hand with God” when in actuality it’s much more like “summiting Mount Everest.” Definitely not a stroll in the park.
I normally read rather quickly through books I’m going to review. This book is not meant for the speed reader. This story invites the reader into the true give and take experience of biblical forgiveness. It’s a process that can’t be rushed.
I appreciated the material the author included at the end. Hearing from Anthony and the other inmates who were changed by this process was interesting and encouraging. Forgiveness truly has a ripple effect.
I recommend this book quite highly.
I was given a copy of the book by the publisher in return for an honest review.
You can follow Laurie Coombs on Twitter and Facebook.
And yet, as fresh and captivating as this book was…it is exactly what I should have expected from Davis Bunn.
The invitation on the back cover is “take the turning and walk the unlikely road.” From cover to cover that is what this book is. It is a non-stop invitation to turn from the familiar, to turn from the comfortable, to turn toward the One who calling his people to himself and to his work.
The big irony in the story for me was how God infused and used those who should be without hope to rekindle hope in others while the one who tried to convince others hope was dead was hanging onto hope the tightest…or so he thought.
Hope is not a dream. It’s God’s reality for his people and this book hands you that truth, page after page turning page.
My favorite part of the whole book was Aaron’s sermon from Isaiah. It’s worth the price of the book all by itself.
My favorite quote comes from Ruth as John is facing a task that he doesn’t feel qualified for. She tells him, “No one is saying you don’t have reasons to refuse. But God is asking each of us to stretch beyond what we think we can do. That’s what it means to be called.”
The message is simple, the challenge is life-changing. I give all the stars possible because it calls to reach for those stars…and for God. Turn the pages for yourself and delight yourself in the journey.
Davis Bunn is a four-time Christy Award-winning, best-selling author now serving as writer-in-residence at Regent’s Park College, Oxford University in the United Kingdom.
Defined by readers and reviewers as a “wise teacher,” “gentleman adventurer,” “consummate writer,” and “Renaissance man,” his work in business took him to over 40 countries around the world, and his books have sold more than seven million copies in sixteen languages.
Visit Davis at davisbunn.com or theturningbook.com/
I received a complimentary copy of The Turning from River North Fiction in exchange for my honest
The total number of days between Saturday, February 17th, 1979 and Monday, February 17th, 2014 is 12,784 days.
This is equal to exactly 34 years and 12 months.
This does not include the end date, so it’s accurate if you’re measuring your age in days, or the total days between the start and end date. But if you want the duration of an event that includes both the starting date and the ending date, then it would actually be 12,785 days.
12,784 days is equal to 1826 weeks and 2 days.
The total time span from 1979-02-17 to 2014-02-17 is 306,816 hours.
This is equivalent to 18,408,960 minutes.
You can also convert 12,784 days to 1,104,537,600 seconds.
I have been married more of my life than not.
I don’t think in terms of me, for I am we.
To say that my life has been blessed doesn’t even come close to how I feel. No one thought this marriage would last. No one counted on his fierce loyalty and commitment to commitment…or my keen awareness that while he is not perfect, he is perfect for me.
We have 35 years of memories and few pictures to go along with them. We have punchlines, but don’t remember the jokes. We have favorite places and lots of favorite foods. Two beautiful and amazing daughters and four delightful grandchildren.
And we have hopes and dreams for the future. Plans that include less work, more enjoyment, and a warmer place to call home.
We recognize that each day is a gift.
At the end of our wedding ceremony, we each took a red rose from a vase on the altar table and gave them to our mothers. Then we sang Henry Mancini’s song, “Sometimes.” Actually, I sang because Nelson got pretty choked up. It didn’t sound as good as Julie Andrew, but you’ll get the gist:
Then as now, I am aware that there are many people who have aided us in this journey, cared for us, prayed for us and with us. Thank you. You mean so very much to us.
And now to quote one of my favorite professors, and dear friend, who often quotes Dag Hammarskjold, “For all that has been–Thanks! To all that will be–Yes!” God bless you all.
I woke up this morning with a cut on the pad of my left middle finger. It was like a large paper cut and unfortunately, it is my dominant hand. And as is often the case when I get a paper cut, we are into eating oranges and grapefruits: attack of the killer citrus! Owie. No matter what I did this morning I was bumping, brushing against or getting citrus on it.
It’s not a big pain. It’s just an annoying and constant reminder.
Thinking on that reminded me of one of my favorite songs from the musical movie Godspell, “By My Side.”
In case you wondered, here are the lyrics:
Where are you going?
Where are you going?
Can you take me with you?
For my hand is cold
And needs warmth
Where are you going?
Far beyond where the horizon lies
Where the horizon lies
And the land sinks into mellow blueness
Oh please, take me with you
Let me skip the road with you
I can dare myself
I can dare myself
I’ll put a pebble in my shoe
And watch me walk (watch me walk)
I can walk and walk!
(I can walk!)
I shall call the pebble Dare
I shall call the pebble Dare
We will talk, we will talk together
We will talk (chorus) about walking
Dare shall be carried
And when we both have had enough
I will take him from my shoe, singing:
“Meet your new road!”
Then I’ll take your hand
That you are here
By my side
By my side
By my side
By my side
Then the man they called Judas Iscariot
Went to the chief priests, and said
“What will you give me to betray Him to you?”
They paid him thirty pieces of silver.
And from that moment, he began to look out for an opportunity
To betray Him.
I’ll put a pebble in my shoe, and watch me walk….I shall call the pebble dare.
This song, this entire musical, made an enormous impact on my life, and my faith. The seeds of grace and forgiveness expressed in the story of the woman caught in adultery were planted deep in my heart. Little did I know then how much I would need them as I faced my own stoning moment.
But, why a pebble? Why call it dare?
Like the woman, I want to follow–but there is always a cost to following. I want my commitment to mean something. I don’t want to forget what the grace which enables me to journey with the Savior cost–him or me.
Amazing how much one can learn from a little cut. I still haven’t figured out how I got it. I guess that isn’t as important as what it caused me to remember.
(You can find the story that inspired the song in John 8.)
The search may have been for unlimited power, but the discovery seems to have been unlimited grace for those with overwhelming shame, those struggling to trust and forgive, and those simply seeking to serve.
Once again Davis Bunn has provided an exhilarating story that invites the reader to think big: big about the world we live in and big about God. Not to be forgotten was the battle that evil wages within the heart of man to control the source of power for selfish means.
I had an immediate affinity for our hero, not that I’m a scientific genius, but that I know what it is like to have failed someone and beat myself down with a mallet of shame. The struggles that floated up with issues of trust and forgiveness were also portrayed in real and relatable ways.
The story was totally engaging. I found myself shouting words of warning (“Don’t go there!”) and tearing up at the pain when evil seemed to triumph. It is definitely the kind of read that will evoke the emotions of the reader as well as challenge the reader to think and consider. In that sense it is a great balance for head and heart.
I give this book 5 stars. I would highly recommend this book and look forward to seeing the pages come to life when the movie adaptation is released this fall!
Simon Orwell is a brilliant student whose life has taken a series of wrong turns. At the point of giving up on his dreams, he gets a call from an old professor who has discovered a breakthrough in a device that would create unlimited energy. He needs Simon’s help.
Upon crossing the border, nothing goes as the young man planned. The professor has been killed and Simon is assaulted and nearly killed by members of a powerful drug cartel.
Now he must take refuge in the only place that will help him, a local orphanage. There, Simon meets Harold Finch, the orphanage proprietor who walked away from a lucrative career with NASA and consulting Fortune 500 companies to serve a higher cause.
With Harold’s help, Simon sets out on a quest to uncover who killed the professor and why. In due time, he will discover secrets to both the world-changing device and his own unlimited potential.
Unlimited, the movie: <img src="
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About Davis Bunn
Davis Bunn is a four-time Christy Award-winning, best-selling author now serving as writer-in-residence at Regent’s Park College, Oxford University in the United Kingdom. Defined by readers and reviewers as a “wise teacher,” “gentleman adventurer,” “consummate writer,” and “Renaissance man,” his work in business took him to over 40 countries around the world, and his books have sold more than seven million copies in sixteen languages.
Unlimited is Davis’s first screenplay to be released as a major motion picture. The book, Unlimited, is a novelization of the screenplay.
The inspiration behind the Unlimited film and novel is Harold Finch’s book, Success: Four Keys to Unlock Your Unlimited Potential. Download a free copy of Success here: http://unlimitedthemovie.com/4-keys-book/.
Q & A with Davis Bunn
The storyline in Unlimited is inspired by true events. What actual events inspired the story?
Harold Finch was formerly the founder and CEO of the first management-leadership consulting groups in the US. In the mid-seventies he sold the company to H&R Block for over a hundred million dollars—back when a hundred million actually meant something. Answering God’s call, he has spent the past three decades traveling the world, teaching his concepts for free and helping underprivileged children learn that they do indeed have both a purpose in God’s eyes, and the potential to succeed. His experiences form the basis for this story.
What ignited your idea for the characters to create a device that would convert raw wasted energy into useable power?
I actually wrote the screenplay for the film before writing the novel. This happens occasionally—Godfather and Love Story were both conceived in this order. While working on the film script, the producer and Harold and I were discussing what might work as a basis for the story’s suspense element. We were looking for something that had the means of revealing this ‘unlimited’ potential in people. I don’t actually remember who first came up with the idea of wasted energy, but soon as it was said, we all jumped on it.
Simon Orwell, the protagonist in Unlimited, is a brilliant, cynical electrical engineering student who finds danger irresistible. Did you model his character traits after yourself or anyone you know?
Alas, we all know a Simon. These days, this type of person is all too common. An individual with huge potential, who allows himself or herself to become distracted by the multitude of temptations that basically define modern life. And yes, I do know several such people. Some turn this into hugely productive directions, thank goodness. Usually to do so requires divine help, a clarification of focus, and strength they must reach out and ask to receive.
Armando Vasquez and Harold Finch are important mentors in Simon’s life. Who has been a critical mentor in your life, Davis? How has that person encouraged you to push beyond the boundaries of what you thought possible?
There have been several such mentors, for which I remain extremely grateful. One such person is Carol Johnson, who recently retired as editor-in-chief at Bethany House Publishers. Carol has been instrumental in my becoming the best writer I could be, and continues to act as a sounding board for new ideas and characters. Another, I am happy to say, is Harold Finch. His lessons on combining God’s teachings with lifelong aims have been a genuinely rewarding experience with far-reaching results.
Many of the characters in the story are orphans. What parallels do you see between the orphans in the story and real-life spiritual orphans?
A beautiful question. While researching the core components of this story, orphanage leaders repeatedly stressed the need to teach orphans to believe in themselves and their natural abilities. Too often they see themselves as lost, without purpose, without a role to play, without chances, without love. What made this story work, I think, is how Simon Orwell shares these same feelings about himself. And how he comes to realize God is the only one to fill this need.
Many people believe they must wear a mask to hide the parts of themselves they are ashamed of. How is this story about removing that mask?
So much of life remains hidden away. The darker elements of a life without God only amplify this falseness. Simon has spent so much of his life, so much of his energy and time, in hiding. As the story unfolds, he discovers that an essential element of arriving at his full potential is being honest with himself. This is where the mask is most damaging, and also where it is often hardest to release. We seek to hide the truth, even when we know the act is a lie in itself. And the mirror we require to see the truth about ourselves is the one that God offers, in infinite patience, in gentle love.
The title, Unlimited, has multiple layers of meaning. What does that title mean to you?
Unlimited was the title brought to me by the film’s producers. When I first began working on this story, it was just that, a title. But as I grew to know Harold, and heard him teach, and read his lesson plan, and then actually applied what he has come to call his ‘Dynamic Life Retreat’ (see Harold full teachings on his website, HaroldFinch.com) I have come to agree with them in their choice. Bringing God into the equation of life’s direction, success, and reaching full potential does reveal the true meaning of Unlimited.