POC Blog

The random technotheolosophical blogging of Reid S. Monaghan

October 2019 - Power of Change - Audio Update


2019 Power of Change Annual Report

Greetings friends,

I’m very grateful to send along to you our annual report for the 2018–2019 ministry year. Our fiscal and ministry year runs from September 1 through August 31 and in the report you will find some ministry highlights as well as our financial report.

Please note there is a video introduction to the report this year and you can access that by clicking on the image at the very start of the PDF! (Here's a link to that here too)

Many thanks to all of our supporters who pray for us, give funding to the work, encourage our family, and believe in the work of Jesus in our world. A special thanks to our Board of Directors, our local pastors, my friend Weylon Smith for his design work on this report, and to my wife and kids who make life beautiful every day in the midst of all the joys and pains.


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2018 Power of Change Annual Report

Greetings friends,

As August came to a close so did our second year of full time service to the Lord through Power of Change. During the month of September we closed our books, collated some data and looked back with a full heart of gratitude to the faithfulness of our Lord.

In this year’s report we invite you to rejoice in the work that has happened through our partnership all over the country, on the podcast airwaves and in and through many lives. We shared the gospel with young people, encouraged pastors and church planters and invested in the training of others for gospel life and mission.

Kasey and I simply send a hearty thank you and we hope that all praise and glory and honor would belong only to our King.

In Jesus,

Reid S. Monaghan

2018 Power of Change Annual Report

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Good sans God? A Guest Essay by Kylene Monaghan

The following is an short piece my 8th grade daughter Ky submitted to a NYTs essay competition. Hope she does well! I thought it was worthy of a guest blog post here on the blog: 


 Good Sans God?

A woman donated a kidney to a child in desperate need of a transplant. She does not believe in God, but has she performed a morally good act? Of course. One can be good without believing in God. To say otherwise is absurd. The question to answer then is can good exist without God? I propose that if God does not exist, then objective moral values do not exist.

Some moralistic atheists, as Louise Anderson argues, would think this hypothesis false. They “find moral value to be immanent in the natural world, arising from the vulnerabilities of sentient beings and from the capacities of rational beings to recognize and to respond to those vulnerabilities and capacities in others.” This definition replaces right and wrong with vulnerabilities. Yet vulnerabilities are not defined, nor do we know which vulnerabilities pertain to evil or good. More importantly, if God does not exist and people are simply highly developed animals, then why are humans alone subject to basic morality? If a lion kills and eats another lion, it has committed no injustice. Yet murder and cannibalism are inarguably wrong by all accounts. What holds us to a moral standard?

Let us return once again to my thesis, ‘If God does not exist, objective moral values do not exist’. To prove this, we must differentiate between objective and subjective morality. Objective morality means right and wrong are set in the object itself, in its fundamental rightness or wrongness. As William Craig said, “To say that there are objective moral values is to say that something is right or wrong independently of whether anybody believes it to be so.” In contrast, subjective morality means that right and wrong are not set; they exist only in the beholder’s eye. We know that in space, without an objective reference point, we couldn’t be sure which was up or down. Similarly, without an objective moral standard, one cannot be sure of right or wrong. This objective moral reference point is found only in the character of God.

Atheism provides no standard, no secured reference point, to differentiate between right and wrong. New Atheist Richard Dawkins stated without God, there is “...no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.” So do good and evil even exist? Yes. Objective moral values do exist. This is blatantly evident in the world around us. Human trafficking is evil. Whether the trafficker thinks so or not, the practice remains an atrocity. We now arrive to a conclusion: if God does not exist, objective moral values do not exist. Yet objective morals do exist, and therefore, so does God.

Power of Change Update - March 2018

This month we have an audio update for our friends, family and ministry partners. May the Lord continue to give us grace to impact and influence the coming generation with the gospel. 

Audio Update - March 2018

FCA Breakfast at VHSL 1A/2A State Wrestling Championships

Photos from this event by Grace Studios. 

Brown University Trip

Plugged and Unplugged Life at Home

Our family is technologically oriented. It probably starts most with Dad. My undergraduate degree is in Applied Science in a computer science track. I've been a heavy user and early adopter of technology as it rolled out over the last few decades. It is my hobby, I listen to podcasts on the tech industry and news. I love it. I remember as a college student using computer software for my calendar and printing it out my day. The Palm Pilot and personal digital assistants were a revelation. They were a precursor to the convergence that would take place with phones, MP3 players and pocket computers. These devices  took mainstream flight with the launch of the first iPhone in 2007.

Now smartphones and personal computing devices line our pockets, inhabit our wrists, and ride in our laps for both work and leisure. They are also taking over our lives and the lives of our family. "Screen time" is now a colloquial phrase in parenting and many times kids are handed "devices as baby sitters" at a very young age.

The drawbacks of these technologies are real: disctracted people, texting while driving, walking into telephone poles, looking at screens instead of faces, the rewiring of our brains and smashing of attention spans have all arrived. Yet the benefits to work and play have been enjoyed by millions and personal devices are revolutionizing how we do just about everything. Our devices are here and we need to engage this wisely.

In order to to live both the plugged in and unplugged life our family just took another step together towards our enjoyment of technology while minimizing its ill effects on our relationships, sleep patterns, brains and spiritual lives. The following are a few of the recent tech changes we have made at home along with some house rules we are all working to follow. Each of them includes a technological solution as well as human problem solving to change our flow in our family.

On and Off Times

The internet is always on in many of our homes through the ubiquitous flow of WiFi thoughout the house. But why? There are certain hours where I simply do not want my kids to have wifi signal. Wind down, read something, unplug, pray and talk to each other.

Technology Solution

We use a system of mesh wifi routers from Eero. They are awesome for their ability to spread your wifi through every inch of your home but they also allow you to assign various devices (like every single one used by kids) to profiles and have the Internet completely turned off. So from 10pm-6am none of the kids devices can get on the Internet. So no waking up or staying up late and getting online. Eero also has the ability to assign a custom DNS server so that those who use something like OpenDNS for filtering will be good to go. 


Human Solution

Yes, we are aware of work arounds technologically, but we do what we can and trust out kids not to LTE it on their phones. Plus, the phone does not live in the bedroom. We can also turn the profile back on if homework projects are going awesome but it's going to take until 10:30pm to complete the job. Dad says yes to these type of requests.

Charging Station


There are so many times when I'm on my phone around the house and ignore people who matter to me deeply. There are also times we want set aside as no device times with our family. We also can lose devices here and there and have to ping them to trace them down. So recently we have created a new solution that solves many problems at once.

  • It provides full batteries for our devices
  • It provides a place to put our devices at dinner time and at bedtime (well, before bed time)
  • It allows devices to NOT live in our bedrooms, at the bedside table
  • It allows reading of real books at night and a time where we turn off all screens prior to going to bed
  • It removes the temptation to grab phones in the middle of the night
  • It removes the temptation to make the mass of email, texts and social media notifications first thing in the morning
  • It allows the first movement of the day to be before God and not instantly connected by our alarm clock/smartphones

Enter our new charging station. We created a solution and a set of house rules for its use that is already blessing our family.

Technology Solution

Here is our basic set up with links to the actual products we are using

Power Strip

You have one laying around already, grab it and plug in. Get a surge protected one with some USB ports as well if you don't have something laying around the house already.

Anker USB Chargers

There are actually full multi-device chargers out of the east that do almost all that is involved here. Some of the reviews for them involved shoddy workmanship and even sparking (aka fire hazard). If you are not family with Anker, thank me later. They make some of the best charging accessories out there and are very well made. I thought of using a 10 port Anker but then all the USB plug-in points would be on one side of the charging station. Getting two 5 Port was a bit more pricey but allows the charges to face opposite sides of the station and to use smaller cables to limit clutter. The Ankers are safe, provide great amperage to the devices and even have two fast charge ports each. Put some colored markers on those fast charging cables and make them parent phones only. Lol. Just kidding.

12 Inch Lightening Cables

Though we use PCs for our computers, we are all Apple for mobile devices. So I found 5 packs of 12 inch lightening cables and bought two of them. This gives 10 short cables that go directly from the USB port to a slot in the station without tangles or clutter. If you own Android or other devices grab some micro USB cables and you'll be all set.  

Holder thingy

There are lots of these made of many materials on Amazon. I chose a black one that had 10 slots. We don't have ten devices yet but there are five of us and we have some phones and iPads already.

End Table 

Commandeering an end table from the house, gave space underneath for the kids to charge their Chromebooks. I don't personally appreciate the Chromebook but our school system gives them to all our kids and they do use them, especially our middle and high schoolers, extensively for school work. They plug into the power strip and live underneath. Out of the room at night so in the evenings there are no devices, no TVs in bedrooms.

Human Solution

  • Well, phones go on it at night one hour before bed time and they go with them to school in the morning.  We keep them plugged in for family connection in the morning for breakfast and prayer before the kids head off to school.
  • We still have general bed times for our kids. Sometimes it's more like "bed goals" or "bed hopes" for the teenagers. ;-)
  • I was pleasantly surprised that the roll out did not incur the whining and wrath of our teens, though some apologetics was necessary.
  • Casualties - Audiobooks at night were a casualty as well as using the phone as alarm clock These changes are VERY difficult for me. My eldest and me will have to adjust the most to these changes. I think we will also benefit the most. And yes, they still sell cheap, old school alarm clocks if you need one.

Look at my Face

One final thing we've added to our family flow is a simple pause and relational examination. If you are looking at a screen when you should be looking at a face, we need to put down the screen. Look at my face! We need to give this sort of attention to one another in our families more and more in our hyper-connected age. And your battery will be full as well! Enjoy your devices, but don't neglect the precious people that are right in front of you each day. 

Help Houston


As some of you may know I currently serve on the Acts 29 US South Central network leadership team running church planter assessments for the center of the country. The US South Central network includes the great state of Texas.

Clear Creek Community Church, one of our churches in the Houston metro area, is running point on collecting funds to serve in recovery efforts in light of the devastation resulting from Harvey. I know the leaders of the church and they have our full trust. Additionally, trusted friends have recommended Crossover Bible Fellowship as a place to give  

We recommend these as churches to give toward help those impacted by this torrential storm.

Follow the voice inside?

We live in a time where we no longer think truth is out there. In our day truth is created, generated, is personal and comes from within. Whether learned in class espousing philosophical deconstruction or simply singing along with a song from Moana, we are taught today to follow the voices within. Follow your heart! Find your own truth! Do what makes you happy! That chorus sings incessantly today.

Last month marked a year since our family moved out of New Jersey. This month marks two years from the time where God made it clear that our time in the garden state was coming to the end. This was not what "my heart" wanted. I had always assumed and intended to stay in the northeastern United States serving God's purposes there. When it became clear that it would be best for us to transition the church we had planted and base a new ministry out of Virginia, my heart literally felt sick. By this, I don't mean a bummed out feeling for a couple of days. I mean a deep feeling of discouragement and sadness that lingered for many months. Why? I love New Jersey and the work I had been given to there. My heart said stay, be still, endure, figure it out, and keep a tight hold on my will and plans.

And please don't think it was some heroic decision on my part; I was not happy in my soul about leaving. Yet as I look back over the last two years I see a kind hand of Providence at work in countless ways that I would have never been able to see by looking into my heart. Today, the Lord is giving me new passion and excitement for my work that I could not have anticipated. I see his light in my wife's eyes and my family is doing well in a new season. I am enjoying the care of my new pastors and building friendship with them and serving the Lord's purposes together. God has cared for his church in New Jersey in wonderful ways through his people there. If I had followed my heart, none of these decisions would have ever been made.

Sometimes God's plan works out in our lives by doing what we do not, on the surface, desire. Sometimes loving him and loving other people means we should transform our personal desires and plans. I believe that sometimes things are not so clear until much more life is rolled out by God into the rear view mirror.

The sovereignty of God is much more than a mere doctrine. It is something we trust. It is knowing that the judge of the earth will always do right by his own children even in the most difficult and trying circumstances. We trust God's providence and rule because we trust God. 

Though in catchy Disney songs we might hear to always follow the voice inside, there are times when the voice of the one who made us must hold sway. Sometimes these voices lineup. Our hearts desire is the will of God for us. These days feel great. There are other times we learn obedience through trials and difficulties. Obeying God through his Word, wise counsel, difficulty and circumstance is quite complex. It is a sure and true path in the end.

The martyred missionary Jim Elliot once remarked that in trusting Christ he had never made a sacrifice. I wish I could say I always knew to trust God with every difficulty, circumstance and decision in real time. Sometimes I just don't. And yet trusting the one who is the truth has always led me in his path and for this I simply give thanks. He really does know what is best even when it doesn't feel that way to us.

I wish my heart trusted more readily and easily and I understood as much in the moment as I do looking back over over the years. But you know what they say about hindsight; it does get clearer as each day passes.

So these last two years have been challenging for me but they have led me back to the words of Jesus Christ: "Come, follow me." And in these words there is also a corollary truth: we don't simply follow the voice inside. 

Life and Doctrine

The apostle exhorted a young pastor long ago to watch his life and his doctrine, to persevere in them, and by doing so he would save himself and his hearers. (1 Timothy 4:16)

A pastor should care to both preach well and grow well in his character. This was said early and often in the Christian tradition. For example, the north African theologian Augustine of hippo once wrote:  

More important than any amount of grandeur of style to those who seek to be listen to with obedience is the life of the speaker… A preacher should seek to live in such a way that he not only gains a reward for himself, but also gives an example to others, so that his way of life become's, in a sense, and abundant source of eloquence.  

Augustine, On Christian Teaching

In similar fashion, the golden mouth preacher Chrysostom challenged others to live a life of holy integrity before God and his hearers:

The praise of the speaker does not consist in applause, but in the zeal of the hearers for godliness: not in noise may just at the time of hearing, but in lasting earnestness. As soon as applause has issued from the lips it is disbursed in the air and parishes;   but the moral improvement of the hearers brings and imperishable and immortal reward both to him who speaks and two of them who obey. The praise of your cheers makes the speaker illustrious here, but the piety of your soul afford the teachers much confidence before the judgment seat of Christ.  Wherefore if anyone loves the speaker, let him not desire the applause but the profit of the hearers. 

John Chysostom, To Those Who Had Not Attended the Assembly

Like many parents I have adopted the phrase "know who you are and know whose you are" with my children. I want them to know they are loved by God and by our family as they walk out into the world in their journey of life.  As a preacher, we are to know the same thing. We belong to God and we serve at his request and calling. 

Preaching should be as much about our character and way of life as it is the preaching event. We can never be someone that we are not and no on stage fakery or eloquence will fool the eyes of God.  

As preachers of the Gospel we should care to share the truth and to live the truth in our own hearts and lives. This means an honest life of repentance and faith. Repentance for our own sins and shortcomings which are legion. Faith to keep our eyes on the one who forgives and raises the dead to new life. If we fix our eyes upon Jesus the author and perfector of our faith, both the joy and the substance of our message will flow fourth out of a life lived for him.

Watch your life and your doctrine…Persevere in them both.  

The Works of Roger Crowley

One of the portions of history that is lost to many modern day people is that of the late middle ages. This was time of the great empires of Islam and Christendom and the various clashes of civilization. Islam had marched out of Arabia from the time of the prophet forward and consumed vast territories and lands in North Africa, the ancient near east and Asia. 

The rise of the the Ottomons and the vast empire forged by the Turks and their subjects followed. This era was touched on so little in my education to my impoverishment. In recent years, I've found a great delight learning about these Mediterranean empires of Asia and Europe that shaped the modern world. 

My guide into these worlds have been the works of the British historian Roger Crowley. I cannot recommend his books enough with the audio versions being a particular joy to me. Crowley covers the conflicts, trade and intrigue of the various Mediterranean powers exposing the reader to the Habsburgs of Europe, the Ottoman Turks, the wily Venetians and the rise of the ambitious Portuguese.  If you like narrative history and creative non-fiction these works are a must. 

The following are descriptions of the books from Crowley's site. I have provided links to both Amazon and Audible for any who are interested in picking up a copy. Highly recommended. And no, this is not an ad, we don't do ads here on the POC Blog. 

Constantinople: The Last Great Siege tells the story of one of the great forgotten events of world history - the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks in1453.

For a thousand years Constantinople was quite simply the city: fabulously wealthy, imperial, intimidating - and Christian. Single-handedly it blunted early Arab enthusiasm for Holy War; when a second wave of Islamic warriors swept out of the Asian steppes in the Middle Ages, Constantinople was the ultimate prize: ‘The Red Apple’. It was a city that had always lived under threat. On average it had survived a siege every forty years for a millenium – until the Ottoman Sultan, Mehmet II, twenty-one years old and hungry for glory, rode up to the walls in April 1453 with a huge army, ‘numberless as the stars’

Constantinople is the taut, vivid story of this final struggle for the city told largely through the accounts of eyewitnesses. For fifty-five days a tiny group of defenders defied the huge Ottoman army in a seesawing contest fought on land, at sea – and underground. During the course of events, the largest cannon ever built was directed against the world’s most formidable defensive system, Ottoman ships were hauled overland into the Golden Horn, and the morale of defenders was crucially undermined by unnerving portents. At the centre is the contest between two inspirational leaders, Mehmed II and Constantine XI, fighting for empire and religious faith, and an astonishing finale in a few short hours on 29 May 1453 – a defining moment for medieval history.

Constantinople is both a gripping work of narrative history and an account of the war between Christendom and Islam that still has echoes in the modern world.

US cover.jpg

The inhabitants of the Maghreb have it on the authority of the book of predictions that the Muslims will make a successful attack against the Christians and conquer the lands of the European Christians beyond the sea. This, it is said, will take place by sea.’ 
Ibn Khaldun, fourteenth-century Arab historian

In 1521, Suleiman the Magnificent, ruler of the Ottoman Empire at the height of its power, prepared to dispatch an invasion fleet to the island of Rhodes. It was to prove the opening shot in an epic struggle between rival empires and faiths for control of the Mediterranean – the White Sea to the Turks – that consumed the centre of the world for sixty years.

Empires of the Sea tells the story of this great contest between the Ottomans and the Spanish Hapsburgs. It is a fast-paced tale of spiralling intensity that ranges from Istanbul to the Gates of Gibraltar and features a cast of extraordinary characters: Hayrettin Barbarossa, the original Barbary pirate, the risk-taking Emperor Charles V, the Knights of St John, last survivors of the military crusading orders, and the brilliant Christian admiral, Don Juan of Austria. Its brutal climax came between 1565 and 1571, six years that witnessed a fight to the finish, decided in a series of bloody set pieces: the epic siege of Malta, the battle for Cyprus and the apocalyptic last-ditch defence of southern Europe at Lepanto – one of the most dramatic days in world history, that fixed the frontiers of the Mediterranean world that we know today.

Empires of the Sea is the sequel to the much-praised Constantinople 1453. It is page-turning narrative history at its best – a story of extraordinary colour and incident, rich in detail, full of surprises and backed by a wealth of eyewitness accounts. Its denouement at Lepanto is a single action of quite shocking impact. Cervantes called it ‘the greatest event witnessed by times past, present and to come’. The book is also a narrative about technology and money. Lepanto was the Mediterranean’s Trafalgar, the last and greatest moment in the age of the galleys before sailing ships with broadside guns swept all before them, and it was paid for, on the Christian side, with Inca gold.

City of Fortune tells the story of Venice’s rise from lagoon dwellers to the greatest power in the Mediterranean. It was an epic five hundred year voyage that encompassed crusade and trade, plague, sea battles and colonial adventure.

Along the way, Venice created an empire of ports and naval bases – the Stato da Mar – which flourished under the lion banner of St Mark and whose sole function was to funnel the goods of the world back into the warehouses of the lagoon. Venice became, for a time, the axis of world trade and the richest place on earth. The city was a brilliant mosaic fashioned from what it bought, traded, borrowed and stole across the Mediterranean basin.

The path to empire unfolded in a series of extraordinary contests – the sacking of Constantinople in 1204 that launched the Stato da Mar, the slugging contest with Genoa fought to the death within the lagoon itself, and the desperate defence against the Ottoman empire. The long arc of ascent, domination and maritime decline is the subject of this book.

Drawing on first hand accounts of crusaders, sea captains and merchants, as well as the state records, City of Fortune is a rich narrative about commerce and empire, seafaring  and piracy, and the places where Venetian merchants sailed, traded and died: Constantinople, Crete, Alexandria, the Black Sea, theAdriatic and the shores of Greece. It begins symbolically on Ascension Day in the year 1000 and ends with an enormous explosion off the Peloponnese in 1499 – and the calamitous news that the Portuguese had pioneered a sea route to India, strangling Venice’s lucrative spice trade.

‘The sea without end is Portuguese.’ Fernando Pessoa

In 1497, Vasco da Gama rounded the Cape of Good Hope and became the first European to sail to India. This feat came off the back of sixty years of coherent effort by the Portuguese to find a way out of the Atlantic Ocean. Then they set about conquering the world.

As remarkable as Columbus and the conquistador expeditions, the history of Portuguese exploration is now almost forgotten. But Portugal's navigators cracked the code of the Atlantic winds, launched Gama’s expedition and beat the Spanish to the spice kingdoms of the East - then began creating the first long-range maritime empire. Driven by crusading fever and the lure of the spice trade, a few thousand Portuguese, equipped with a new technology – ship-borne bronze cannon – joined up the oceans and surprised the world. In an astonishing blitz of thirty years, a handful of visionary and utterly ruthless empire builders, with few resources but breathtaking ambition, attempted to seize the Indian Ocean, destroy Islam and take control of global trade.

This is narrative history at its most vivid - an epic tale of navigation, trade and technology, money and religious zealotry, political diplomacy and espionage, sea battles and shipwrecks, endurance, courage and terrifying brutality. Drawing on extensive first-hand accounts, many of which have never been available in English before, it brings to life the exploits of an extraordinary band of conquerors - men such as Afonso de Albuquerque, the first European since Alexander the Great to found an Asian empire - who set in motion five hundred years of European colonisation and unleashed the forces of globalisation that shape the modern world.