Video — Iraqs Guns for Hire — National Geographic

If you’d like insight on the life and environment of security contractors in Baghdad, Iraq watch this 45 minute film. You’ll also get to see that precious city’s streets. Take note, this film came out in 2007 when the situation in Baghdad still involved the US military.

I love Iraq. I really do.  She will move past all this mayhem and shine again.

Video — Iraqs Guns for Hire — National Geographic.

These were our usual two trucks of security detail in Baghdad. These are NOT foreign security contractors. They are Iraqi. And they are actually quite kind and jovial when not on hyper-alert.

HOPE IRAQ CD: Welcome to the Project

One of the things I am up to lately is the raising of one of my brainchildren. I have long-dreamed to create a music CD of prophetic songs for specific cities in Iraq. Now that dream is being born. Friends of mine are spear-heading the HOPE IRAQ CD project. We hope to complete the professional quality CD by May. Some time thereafter, it will be for sale publicly.

Come journey with us on a dream to transform a nation by seeing her prophetic destiny and declaring heaven’s purposes over precious Iraq. This is the sort of thing that will change history – for the better.

 <Iraq, arise and shine! You will flourish again!>

Click for more —–> Welcome to the Project. <—-

My EBOOK for sale!

First of all, this is not THE book I am working on – that book is a memoir. THIS is a compilation of my academic writings about the Middle East. Check it out! And be sure to tell your friends too! Enjoy. Preview it HERE.

Buy it on Amazon for $3.99 HERE.

The book is approximately 140 pages long (depends on the device you read it on). Here’s the Table of Contents:

Table of Contents


Chapter One

Issues in the Modern Middle East: Questions and Answers

Chapter Two

The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO)

Chapter Three

Israel’s War of Independence

Chapter Four

Arab Nationalism

Chapter Five

Arab Regimes

Chapter Six

The Middle East in the Ottoman Empire

Chapter Seven

Snapshots of the Crusades: The Battle for the Holy Land

Chapter Eight

Afghanistan’s Taliban: A consideration of justice, injustice, & Christian response

Chapter Nine

Zionism: Zion is mmmmm . . . a lot of things

Chapter Ten

Jewish Thought and Practice: Rites Regarding Life and Death

Chapter Eleven

A Look at Christianity among Arabs in Israel

Chapter Twelve

The Islamic “Story of Jesus”

Closing Thoughts

The Loft Sessions by Bethel Music

Bethel Music released a new album this week. It’s called “The Loft Sessions” and it is absolutely gorgeous. The music passionately welcomes the Holy Spirit in a distinct and powerful way. The song “Draw Near” is one of my favorites. Ah, the bliss of Jesus! We are already one with Him! Let’s increase our awareness and enjoy LOVE!

Also, you can buy the album HERE.

Pretty Baghdad

“Pretty” and “Baghdad” aren’t often paired together, despite the truth that Baghdad is very pretty. Beauty is in the eye of the Beholder. God is the Ultimate Beholder. How He sees cities is how they really are. God sees potential in cities. He sees giftings. He sees dreams and destinies, hopes and visions. He wants cities to shine.

I like this illustration of Baghdad because it is very pretty.

I hope it helps people re-see that precious city and its precious people.


I recently wrote a guest review for the book “Lion of Babylon” on the author’s website. I would love it if you read the review and posted comments on that website. Let’s use this as an opportunity to raise outrageous hope for Iraq! Spread the word! Read the book! Get friends and family to read the book! Believe for Iraq’s flourishing!


Read the review:

A Look Back at the War in Iraq

The video linked below is an informative overview of the war in Iraq. It would be great to have a more positive overview to pair with this one: stories of hope, testimonies of healing, demonstrations of God’s Presence, and so on. I know those stories exist, but the media has yet to re-train itself to report good things and to stir hope rather than fear. That as it is, you are cordially invited to ask the Holy Spirit what IS going on behind the scenes in Iraq and how to pray and believe for Iraq’s flourishing. God loves Iraq. She’s beautiful and important. The dreams of Iraqis matter to God. They should matter to us too.

A Look Back at the War in Iraq


YOU are a reformer

Weeks ago I was in Baghdad: a city of my dreams, my blood, my hope. As often happens after great success, there is a gentle tapering, a daily walking, a calm thinking: from this place where and when – upward and onward: what does it now look like?

I am waiting for the timing to return to Iraq. I am choosing to enter God’s rest. I have zillions of thoughts, like Styrofoam peanuts charged with static-electricity, they awkwardly seem to go everywhere and yet, nowhere simultaneously. I am fireworks on a boat in a bay, waiting for the next great sea voyage. The voyage is what I was born for, made for, prepared for. Ships are “safe” in harbor, but not designed for staying.

The tension hurts. The waiting, at times, feels horrible. Romans 5 tells me perseverance produces character and character produces hope; but the excruciating pain of the development of this particular brand of fortitude challenges me to decide how much I truly believe this truth. It REALLY challenges me. In many moments I feel so far from seeing the answers it is laughable, yet I feel those answers like I feel God: for they are in Him. Today I was driving through the mountains of Yosemite with my family. I pictured myself as God’s lung: filled with Him, filled with Him to the degree I would allow Him to breathe deeply of me.

I sometimes think about inhaling Him less deeply. Then I realize, yet again, I am lovesick. I can’t stop. He’s got my heart: hook, line, and sinker. So, I keep letting Him be breath to me, invisible life to my physical life. The collision of the unseen and the seen smarts almost daily: it cuts against me like icy wind on cheekbones down a ski slope. Intimacy can be downright gut-wrenching, especially with consummate lovers like God.

So, I keep on keeping on. And in my resting the fire gathers fresh color. Jeremiah’s notion about God as a fire in one’s bones both terrifies and liberates me, because I know I would do anything for His capital “L” Love.

I am too much like Him to let Him go. And He is also too much like Himself to let me go.

He’s radical. (I laugh.) His radical-ness is what got me into this situation: His character has rubbed off on me quite irrevocably.

<Oh, God. GOD! Your creativity has left us undone. For Your Name’s sake we remain thus. For the sake of the world we live thus. Well done, God. You have made us well. We are like you. And revolution is here; and coming.>



Fearless jumping and the grasshopper basket

About two weeks ago I had a dream while sleeping. I dreamed I was in a house in the Middle East; and as I was moving toward the door to leave the woman of the house came out of the kitchen. In her hands was a basket shaped like a grasshopper. She explained to me that it was a gift, meant for use in folk religion, but she had redefined it and redeemed it for her own Jesus-centered purposes. She said it was a reminder of a prayer strategy. She then took the lid off, which was the grasshopper’s head, and showed me a circle of colors inside the lid. Each color represented a prayer focus. It was really insightful and the hidden nature of the colors was important. The colors were inside the grasshopper and they required revelation in order to understand what they represented.

It was a powerful moment. As I thanked the woman and left the house I knew the wisdom she gave me would be a key to my approach to life in the Middle East for years to come.

Interestingly, later that week a top US military person told me the prayer strategy God gave him for Iraq over the course of two years.

I knew the grasshopper was important in its symbolism so I google-d it. The first and only link I clicked on said the following:

Grasshopper Symbology — The grasshopper is associated with astral travel. They have the ability to leap through time and into space where the true mysteries of life exist. People with this medicine have the wisdom necessary to overcome obstacles efficiently and are able to jump into successful ventures without preparation or planning. When the grasshopper appears to us we are being asked to take a leap of faith and jump forward into a specific area of life without fear. Usually that specific area is one that we have avoided and is often connected to change on a larger scale. This can represent a change in location, relationships, career or just in the way we perceive ourselves.

Grasshoppers can only jump forward….not backward, or sideways. So, when grasshopper shows up he could be reaffirming to you that you are taking the right steps to move forward in your current situation. Or it could be that he is telling you to go ahead and move forward, getting past what is hindering you. This is why grasshopper is the symbol of good luck all over the world. Grasshopper’s ability to connect and understand sound vibrations is why he is also a symbol of your inner voice. he could be telling you to trust yours. *

I read the explanation out loud to a friend nearby. We both opened our eyes wide and laughed substantially: the laugh of discovery, awe, and whoa-God-is-omniscient-eeriness. It felt like the words were exactly for me. There I was sitting in Iraq, the place I’d dreamed and prayed about for 16 years, dreams were materializing; yet, I was on the brink of another sequence of large decisions to LEAP forward WITHOUT FEAR.

That move forward is happening. I am building relationships with people in Iraq that will facilitate my path back here one day.  Moreover, inside me is a prayer strategy, simple, but expanding. There is a rainbow ring of promise around my neck, around my voice, and it will be unveiled. The purposes of heaven will be made manifest in my life and in Iraq’s life.

We are bound for glory to glory, so forward we shall go.