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Ten P’s in a Pod: A Million-Mile Journal of the Arnold Pent Family (The Vision Forum, 2004) is a remarkable and heart-warming story of how a family of ten traveled across two nations to share salvation in Christ.

Ten P’s in a Pod was compiled from journals written by Arnold Pent III during his seventeenth to nineteenth years. First self-published in 1965, the book became a word-of-mouth success nationwide among Christian families inspired by this engaging story of dedicated parents, a musically talented family of eight siblings, a vision for evangelism, and God’s blessings.

Arnold Pent III is the third child and second son of Arnold and Persis Pent Jr. His account is therefore personal, funny, poignant, and respectful, and its spiritual depth is a testimony to the parents’ instruction and the Scripture’s impact upon the teenage author.

The story reveals a Father who was a man of astounding faith, innovative spirit, and vision for evangelism, along with a Mother who was a person of equal faith, faithfulness, and servant’s heart. How these two were able to take a family of eight children across both the United States and Canada throughout the 1950s in various old cars is a story worth reading.

The family eventually earns the sobriquet “the world’s most unusual family.” Their incredible facility with long, memorized passages of Scripture, their musical presentations, and their 10 P’s story of making their way without knowing how or when necessary funds would come, all while driving thousands of miles, is, in a word, amazing.

The Pent family home-schooled their children before home-school became a verb. They traveled as a family music program and reached all manner of churches and people with God’s message. Their story demonstrates that it’s possible for siblings to love one another and for a family to stay together as a productive unit during a time when cultural trends began pulling families apart.

Lessons are apparent throughout the book: God is faithful, God provides, exercise and good eating habits really can preserve health, Scripture memorization is good for the soul as well as practice of the Christian life, family matters, the Good News can reach the seemingly most hardened individuals.

Not long ago I happened to become acquainted with Arnold Pent III, so I can attest that his love for the Lord and his desire to reach the lost continue fifty years later. His family’s story is engaging and enjoyable. I recommend it, both as a “good read” and as a source of inspiration.


© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2010

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow Dr. Rogers at


Jim Samra’s The Gift of the Church: How God Designed the Local Church to Meet Our Needs as Christians (Zondervan, 2010) is a pastor’s passionate answer to the question, “What benefit is the church?” In his first book, Samra states his conviction early: “Nowhere is God as present as he is in the midst of his gathered church.”

Samra cares about the universal Church, but his heartbeat is the local church, the one we attend or should be attending on a regular basis. Samra acknowledges the value of other Christian organizations, parachurch ministries, and gatherings of two or more believers, all of which matter to the Christian life. But in Samra’s view only the church is created by God for specific purposes of community, and Jesus proclaimed this uniqueness when he said, “I will build my church,” (Matthew 16:18).

Samra argues the church offers an opportunity for God to speak in a special way. Through the Holy Spirit, Samra believes people hear from God other than simply in the preacher’s actual words. He relates several anecdotes about people who later credited him with spiritually energizing statements he never made, yet some of these people had the statements documented in their notes. Samra believes this is evidence of God’s unique presence in the church.

Church is a place where God brings believers together in concert with him and others, a place where diverse talents are combined in productive unity. Church is the City of God or place of koinonia, God’s design for countering the lonely crowd and alienation so often characteristic of the City of Man. Despite the flaws in the church, the result of sinful human beings gathered together, Samra strongly contends the church is God’s vision, an organization and an organism of great beauty.

The book’s theological analysis is interspersed with stories and illustrations drawn from the author’s church experience both as a parishioner and as a pastor. The stories are especially helpful making the otherwise scholarly text more interesting and understandable.

Overall the book is a love letter to the church. It’s written by a pastor with a clear sense of calling. It’s written with a great appreciation for the spiritual blessings of family, of home church, and of church-as-family. It’s written with both a faith and an empirically based confidence in the profound benefits awaiting all believers who accept the gift of the church.


© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2010

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow Dr. Rogers at

In this day of text messaging and email addresses for everyone, wouldn’t it be great to email the Lord at his address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.? Of course we cannot email God. But he’s given us an alternative means of communicating with him—praying so he will hear what we say and reading the Bible so we can hear what he says.

Since I was a small boy growing up in a Christian family and taken to a church every time the door was open I’ve heard preachers and teachers exhort me to read my Bible and pray. Participating in these activities is part of the practice and tradition of the Christian faith. Not to read your Bible or pray is in a very real sense not to know what it means to live the Christian life.

God, his Word says, likes to hear from us. He wants us to talk to him, to share our needs and express our gratitude. The Sovereign Creator God of the universe invites a relationship with those he created. He desires communion with you and with me, just as he wanted it with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden long ago.

Reading the Bible lets us learn God’s will for his world. Once we learn it we become his ambassadors, carriers of a message of reconciliation to a lost and hurting world. We know truth and are able to make it known. We can do this because our confidence and our competence are rooted in the Spirit of God’s grace in our lives, not in our own strength.

We may not be able to contact the Lord by emailing him via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., but we can know and think his thoughts after him. This is one of the profound beauties of biblical Christianity.


Revised “Making a Difference” program #462.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2010

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow Dr. Rogers at


The Church Universal (or universal Church or catholic Church) is a title or phrase used by theologians and church scholars to refer to what the Scripture calls the Body of Christ. It represents the sum total of all Christians, genuine believers in Christ, in all times, countries, and cultures.

So to refer to the American Church or the Middle East church is a way of describing a subset of the entire Body. These terms encompass Christians who live in the United States or who live in the countries generally considered part of the Middle East, respectively.

There’s much Americans don’t seem to know about their brothers and sisters in Christ in the Middle East, some of what they think they know that’s incorrect, and much more to say about what God is doing in the Church in the Middle East. To address this issue I recently wrote a column, a beginning commentary, on “What the American Church Should Know About the Middle East Church.”

The column refers to SAT-7, which is a Cyprus-based Christian satellite television ministry for whom I work. SAT-7 broadcasts daily in Arabic, Farsi, and Turkish throughout the Middle East and North Africa, and its mission is to strengthen the Church in the region.

If God chooses to bless SAT-7’s efforts and those of other Christian ministries, if he builds his Church in the Middle East, than it is truly possible for us to see spiritual and cultural transformation in the region in our lifetimes. This is our hope our prayer and our focus at SAT-7 and its support offices, SAT-7 Europe, SAT-7 UK, SAT-7 Canada, and SAT-7 USA.

I encourage you to learn more about the Middle East Church. While the Church isn’t featured everyday in the news like the region is, the Church is there and it is about the Father’s work.


© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2010

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow Dr. Rogers at


Wide receiver Andre Johnson and cornerback Cortland Finnegan were fined $25,000 each today for fighting in Sunday’s NFL game between the Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans. Both players were ejected from the game but neither faces further suspensions.

In a modest apology, Johnson said, “What happened out there today was not me…” Huh? Who was it then? Last year, Johnson was fined $7,500 for fighting with Finnegan, pulling him to the ground by his facemask. Two similar infractions, particularly involving the same opponent, suggest Johnson is less than truthful with us and maybe himself. If he doesn’t have an anger management problem than he certainly has a problem with this one player. It “was not me” doesn’t hold water.

Of the two, Johnson got in the most blows including fists to Finnegan’s head. Johnson, the bigger man, even threw Finnegan to the ground and as Finnegan was on all fours attempting to get up, Johnson stood over him pounding fists to Finnegan’s head area.

But Finnegan is no angel. Both Finnegan and Johnson tore the other’s helmet off. This was no push-and-shove testosterone contest. Both were clearly trying to hurt the other. And this is Finnegan’s fourth fine this year for fighting and taunting other players bringing his total to $45,000. Finnegan had been taunting Johnson throughout the game and taunted Houston fans as he left the game nearly causing a fan riot in the process.

Fines have not caused either player to own or change his behavior. Both players are repeat offenders. Both are guilty of unsportsmanlike conduct undermining the integrity of their sport. Fines will never result in changed behavior. Players simply treat fines as a cost of doing business, for some a budgeted expense.

Near the beginning of my years as a university president, several student-athletes committed some serious rules violations. The athletic director, coach, and a couple of other university administrators deliberated the matter with me and we eventually suspended the players for four games.

Some critics accused the university of being over the top, way too severe in its punishment. Other critics thought this discipline was too light, that we were “coddling athletes.” I don’t think either criticism was valid.

Those who thought the university was unfair failed to take into account that we did not kick the students out of school and they were permitted to continue their studies, thus losing no time, course credit, or money.

Those who thought the university was giving special favor to athletes failed to account for the fact that the worst discipline an athlete can experience is loss of playing time. In other words, these student-athletes would rather have done anything, including lose academic time and money, if they’d just been allowed to continue on the team.

This is why I say the NFL, or any other professional sport, will not be successful in changing players’ behavior on the field or the court simply by fining them. Many of these athletes are millionaires, or at least earn a lot of money. Losing cash might hurt a little but not much.

Another thing: a fine is individual. You fine the guilty player, he pays the fine, and he continues to play, so his team feels nothing. If you suspend a player, i.e. take away his ability to play, you get his attention and you get the attention of the entire team. Now, this player’s unsportsmanlike conduct has put at risk the entire team’s ability to win games and championships. You’ve created a collective interest and incentive in playing according to the rules. This results in positive peer pressure.

So you can fine athletes all you want, even large fines, and you’ll only be minimally successful, if at all, in altering their actions. For athletes, playing matters most. Suspend players from a game(s) and I guarantee you their unsportsmanlike behavior will be reigned in when they come off the bench.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell should ditch the fines and set up a system of game suspensions appropriate to the infraction.


© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2010

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow Dr. Rogers at


Dr. Tony Evans once observed people are always saying they’re “Dying to do this or dying to do that. Pretty soon, they’re just dying.”

Evans further noted that no one really knows who the old people are, i.e., if you’re 25 years old and you’re going to live until you’re 40, you’re fairly old. If you’re 40 yrs old and going to live to be 100, than you are fairly young. So no one really knows who the old people are. (International Forum on Christian higher education sponsored by the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities, Dallas, April 2006.)

So what’s the moral of the story? We’re all in the same process—if we’re breathing, we’re aging. We’re getting older and there’s nothing we can do about it. Though there’s something we can do about how we go about it.

In commercials we’re sometimes treated to pop culture maxims like “You’re only as old as you feel.” That’s encouraging, because sometimes I get up or go to bed with aches. So I guess I feel old?

Or “Age is only a state of mind.” OK, try that one when your mind says “Go” and your bod says “No.”

Or “50 is the new 30.” All right, I can get into that. Except there are things I could do when I was 30 that I can’t do in my 50s. More importantly, there are things I could do, maybe did, in my 30s that I don’t want to do in my 50s. So does this make me older or wiser? An aging Boomer or an emerging Brainiac?

I’m 58 at the time of this writing. Even if I live to be considered elderly, I’ve already lived most of my life. This isn’t a morbid thought, just a realistic one. Do I have another 10, 20, 30 years? Another day? Blessedly, I don’t know. I only know that God’s given me a certain number of days and I’m accountable to him not for how many days I have—that’s his call—but for how I use those days.

In the past couple of days two notable men died, one at 84 years who I knew only by his public persona and work, one at 96 years who I knew personally.

The first: Leslie Nielsen, an actor who will be most remembered for comedy films, Airplane! and the Naked Gun series, late in his career. Nielsen had a successful acting career, but he was well into his 50s before he “hit it big” with his hilarious comedic gift.

The second: Peter Cook, a man who lived his life in Grand Rapids, Michigan as a locally respected businessman and philanthropist, one of the kindest, most gracious men I’ve known. He was financially successful in automotives earlier in his life, but he’ll be most remembered for his considerable generosity and the humility with which he gave in the last three decades of his life.

Both men accomplished great things in their “older years.” Not everyone can do what they did, but everyone can do what he or she can do.

There’s no rule written in the sky that says people must put stop aspiring, stop growing, or stop achieving simply because they’re older. Besides, as Tony Evans noted, nobody really knows who the old people are anyway.


© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2010

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Dr. Rogers or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow Dr. Rogers at