Yo, Adrianne...

I just got back from a guys night out. We had dinner at Outback and then went to see the new "Rocky Balboa" movie. I loved it. Of course the story was awful and the cinematography was worse, but hey, it's Rocky!

As I was driving home listening to a little "Eye of the Tiger" on the ol' Ipod, I was punching the air imagining myself in the ring. Yes, sometimes I am still eight years old. Okay, most of the time I am still eight years old. Just ask my wife! =)

In the process of my montage, I was reminded of an event that occured when I was younger. I was probably eight or nine years old at the time. We were all riding in the car when out of nowhere some jerk cuts my dad off. My dad lays on the horn behind the guy. Well, the guy slams on his brakes trying to get my dad to hit him from behind. After a couple of scary moments we end up beside this guy at a stop light. My mom is kind of freaking out at this moment and begging my dad just to forget it. Well, my dad turns and looks at this guy and sorta pumps his fist as if to say, "Bring it on buddy."

I remember afterwards my mom talking to us and telling us that my dad was sorry and that acting that way isn't very christianlike. She was probably right. But all I could remember was, "My dad is the toughest guy in the world!"

They say that the way you picture God has a lot to do with the way you view your Dad. My dad was (and is still) a very concrete guy. He knows what he believes and why and isn't afraid to tell you so. You always know where you stand with him. When we were kids and we got in trouble, we knew it was only a matter of time before we'd be in front of the ultimate judge and his leather judgements. Projecting this view on God can be scary when you're in trouble, but it's extremely comforting when you're scared.

In this Christmas season, it's easy only to think of Jesus as this little helpless baby that apparently didn't cry when he was born. But I kind of like to think God was a little pissed at the fact that his people were being so led astray that he just couldn't take it anymore and finally looked and satan and pumped his fists and said, "Bring it on buddy!"


Jesus was born and so we give presents...

I love Christmas time. I love the music and the decorations and the church services. I love the cold and the presents and the traveling. I love Christmas. If nothing else I love that there is no other reason to celebrate Christmas then Jesus' birth. I know the 'liberals' have turned into "Happy Holidays" and "Winter Break" for the kids, but December 25th is still recognized as Christmas and the reason for all the holiday madness.

Like I mentioned, I love the Christmas music. My favorite is a song called, "O Holy Night." It was written by a frenchman named Cappeau who was a winemaker. His priest asked him to write a Christmas poem to be read at their Christmas mass. He wrote the poem on a journey to Paris. In Paris, he met up with a friend of a friend named Adolphe Adam. About this time Adam was hot stuff because of an opera he had written the year before. Long story short, Cappeau put it to Adam's music and a masterpiece was finished. Later on, the song would be banned from some church's because of Cappeau's un-Christian views. Cappeau was anti-slavery and anti-social in-justice. Imagine that.

Anywho, I thought I would post the lyrics and a video of Eric Cartmand singing it. Just because I like it.

Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

O holy night, the stars are brightly shining;
It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth!
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope, the weary soul rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees, O hear the angel voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born!
O night, O holy night, O night divine!

Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming,
Here came the wise men from Orient land.
The King of kings lay thus in lowly manger,
In all our trials born to be our Friend!
He knows our need—to our weakness is no stranger.
Behold your King; before Him lowly bend!
Behold your King; before Him lowly bend!

Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His Gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother
And in His Name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy Name!
Christ is the Lord! O praise His name forever!
His pow’r and glory evermore proclaim!
His pow’r and glory evermore proclaim!


I've Got A River Of Life...

Have you ever had moments where you were refreshed? Like the kind of refreshed after a good nights sleep, where you get to sleep until you just wake up. I'm having one of those days today. Well, technically, it started yesterday.

I was on my way home and I had just unpacked my ipod from it's hiding place inside my workout bag. Yeah, it had been awhile since I'd seen it. Anywho, I was flipping through the artists and came across a band I hadn't listened to in forty years. Smalltown Poets. I used to love those guys. Clickwheeled it to "Prophet, Priest and King." I would like to share a bit of this song...

"If I indeed am misperceived by some heads of state.
Hey, that's great
'Cause I talk to a prophet who tells me the truth
And I dine with a king at my home in Duluth
Better yet I'm in touch with a much needed friend
Who hears my confessions and pardons my sin

But my closet's a shrine to an old friend of mine
Here I talk all the time with a prophet, priest...
I pull out boxes and brooms and I gush like a groom
For it's here I commune with a prophet, priest and king

For awhile I had forgotten about the gift of prayer. Not that I never prayed, but most of the time it was in passing or in traffic (Dear God, smite this bad driver and the piece of crap he is driving. Amen.). You know the kind, when you just kind of think of stuff and you say, "Yeah God, do that okay?" I used to think that this was okay, that as long as I 'thought' about God at some point during the day I was okay, or I had filled my quota for the day. But the more I thought about it, I thought of Jesus. Here is the Son of God, the most connected human ever to God, and even he had to go away and be by himself for hours and hours at a time to be right with his Father.


But then I realized it made sense. Jesus isn't so concerned about the end product, or the result of our prayer like we are. We say, "Oh be with them cause they have cancer, amen." Now, whether he decides to heal them or not isn't really the point. He wants to struggle with us. Cry with us. Rejoice with us. And the only way for that to happen is for us to choose to spend time with him.

It's uncomfortable at first because he usually airs the dirty laundry first. Yeah, that sucks. But isn't always the best when you slide into bed on those nice clean sheets that are still warm from the dryer? Well, the only way to get there is the laundry room.

So today, feeling all refreshed I went on the internet in search of new adventures. Came across this site of a church that seems to be living my dream. First of all, I think they have the best name for a church website that I could ever dream of: http://www.churchinabrewery.com Check them out, especially the two blogs about rethinking church and rethinking life. Good stuff. God is good!


Beau Red...

Have you ever had nothing to do? I mean nothing. Not a time when you were putting something off. Not a time when you were waiting in anticipation for an event to occur and it was just the calm before the storm. Just nothing.

My job site has slowed down quite considerably. We only have one house left to build. There is three of us and I'm the boss, so whenever something actually needs to get done, I have my choice of lackeys to acomplish this task. Well, this all leads, of course, to my task list being quite short. Whenever life is overwhelming, you seem to long for these moments. But now that these moments last forever, I just wish they'd go away for a bit.

The worst thing is, when you have nothing to do, your brain actually stops working. I've gone on some other blogs and tried to leave witty and insightful comments, but most of the time they just make me look like an ass. Have you ever wanted to be the funny one in the room, but in the end, just end up looking like pauly shore? Yeah, that's me.

I wish there was some great spiritual or moral insightfulness I could leave. "Idle hands are the devil's...something or other. I could look it up and actually get the quote right, but that might actually give me something to do. And in keeping with the spirit of this post...


Just how...

Just how much am I willing to give?

Just how far am I willing to go?

Just how deep will you take me?

Is it so far, I'll have to let go?

Just how wide will your love be?

Just how long will it last?

Just how much abuse will you take?

Before justice comes to pass?

Just how much will I trust you?

Just how long down this road?

Just how far from your borders?

Just far must I go?

I don't think I can do this.

If you aren't a part of it.

I was hurt so much the first time.

I was hurt and it bled.

But now the bleeding is over.

And my wounds are almost healed.

And the scar is left to remind me.

It's in your blood I am sealed.

Just how can you love me this much?


Really? This is the mentality of my country?

A friend (who is a proud republican) recently sent me this email. I'm sure he was serious.

"A lady wrote the best letter in the Editorials in ages!! It explains things better than all the baloney you hear on TV.

Recently large demonstrations have taken place across the country protesting the fact that Congress is finally addressing the issue of illegal immigration. Certain people are angry that the US might protect its own borders, might make it harder to sneak into this country and, once here, to stay indefinitely. Let me see if I correctly understand the thinking behind these protests.

Let's say I break into your house. Let's say that when you discover me in your house, you insist that I leave. But I say, "I've made all the beds and washed the dishes and did the laundry and swept the floors; I've done all the things you don't like to do. I'm hardworking and honest (except for when I broke into your house).

According to the protesters, not only must you let me stay, you must add me to your family's insurance plan, educate my kids, and provide other benefits to me and to my family (my husband will do your yard work because he too is hard-working and honest, except for that breaking in part).

If you try to call the police or force me out, I will call my friends who will picket your house carrying signs that proclaim my right to be there.

It's only fair, after all, because you have a nicer house than I do, and I'm just trying to better myself. I'm hardworking and honest, um, except for well, you know.

And what a deal it is for me! I live in your house, contributing only a fraction of the cost of my keep, and there is nothing you can do about it without being accused of selfishness, prejudice and being an anti-housebreaker. Oh yeah, and I want you to learn my language so you can communicate with me.

Why can't people see how ridiculous this is?!

Only in America ....if you agree, pass it on (in English). Share it if you see the value of it as a good simile. If not blow it off along with your future Social Security funds.

Are you able to read this? If so, thank a Teacher. And since it's in English, thank a soldier."

Now, I'm as proud as I can be to be an American. I take my hat off during the national anthem. I even have red, white and blue underwear. But let me see if I can follow the logic of this...

You are comparing this country (into which I was born) and my house (that which I paid for). I don't own America. Just because I carry a Costco card doesn't make me the CEO. What happened to:

"Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Yes they came here illegally. But I doubt very seriously if anyone can look back down their family tree and find someone who made an "agreement" with the Navajo. I'm not saying we should send an open invitation to every soul in Mexico. But maybe instead of strengthening our borders we could find a way to strengthen the Mexican economy. For all the millions of dollars we spend on defense of the border, we could initiate some new business ideas and commerce for the "wretched refuse." We are all, afterall, citizens of only ONE kingdom...and that's something even republican's will agree with you on!


Things To Be Thankful For...

I spent this last thanksgiving in a very unthanksgiving enviroment. Candice's parents were out of town, so I didn't have anyone to mooch off of. So, we headed to some friends house full of people I didn't know or care to know. We didn't have any Turkey. Yes, that's right, NO TURKEY. We didn't have mashed potatoes, corn, gravy, rolls, or stuffing. We also didn't sit down and say everything we are thankful for. What kind of American Thanksgiving was this? A communist one! Well, I for one won't stand for it! I'm going to say the things I'm thankful for if it's the last thing I do. Or the next thing I do...

1. My Wife
2. My Girlfriends (thats a joke)
3. My Wife's sense of humor that won't kill me for making that joke.
4. Turkey.
5. The Indianapolis Colts.
6. My Friends.
7. Big Screen TVs.
8. Ipods.
9. The new Jeep Wranglers.
10. Jesus Dying on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins (see number 2)
11. The Star Wars Kid.

"The Star Wars Kid"? Yes, the Star Wars Kid. You remember that fat kid that made a video of himself that got leaked onto the internet and is now the most viewed viral video of all time with 900 million views, right? Well, if not, here is a remake of the classic. Happy Late Thanksgiving!


Top Ten Comedy Scenes Of All Time...

I decided last night as I lay in bed I would post my top ten funniest momments in cinema. Now, notice these aren't my funniest movies. These are scenes from movies that are funny. The only criteria was they had to leave a good quote. For instance, there is a great scene in the movie "Young Frankenstein" when they are looking for a head and the camera scrolls from one head to the next. Underneath each head is a description with how old each head is, i.e. 20 years dead, 10 years dead, etc. They finally arrive at Egor's head perched upon a shelf. Great scene. Unfortunately, no quote except, "Hello!" which really isn't a quote. It's more of a greeting. So, I want my top ten comedy movie scenes to have the lasting effect of a good quote, and since this is my blog, I can do whatever my wife tells me I can do!

Top Ten Comedy Scenes In Cinematic History
(to be read with a booming, echoing voice)

Number Ten: Happy Gilmore Fights Bob Barker
Bob Barker. The arse-kicking machine.

Number Nine: Monty Python's Search for the Holy Grail
When King Arthur encounters the Black Knight. Oh man.

Number Eight: Pink Panter Strikes Again
Inspector Clouseau is checking into a Bravarian hotel. He notices the innkeeper's dog. Sorry, no video, but click here for the audio.

Number Seven: Old School
Blue's funeral. Between an awesome rendition of "Dust in the Wind" to the ending quote of, "Like a real divorce?" this is a great scene. But the most quoteable of all, "You're my boy Blue!" will remain in infamy. All I could find for this one is a newspaper clipping about the actor's untimely death.

Number Six: Super Troopers
Then entire opening scene is fantastic. (Warning: Adult Language Ahead)

Number Five: Dumb and Dumber
Well, how do you narrow this one down...I didn't. My favorite is the moped, but there are so many...

Number Four: Tommy Boy
Once again...How do you choose? Well, I don't think anything has been imitated from this movie as much as...

Number Three: Anchorman
Once again, to pick from these is like trying to pick your favorite kid. But since I'm my mother's favorite I guess I'll have to pick as well. The quality of the clip is bad and not near long enough, but it does encompass the greatest mother quote of all time...

Number Two: Monty Python's The Life of Brian
I know, I know. This movie is blasphemous. But the stoning scene will kill ya anyway, so why not die laughing? The fact that these are men dressed as women dressed as men is just genious. Enjoy and then pray for my soul.

Number One: This is Spinal Tap
The first Rockumentory. I could name six or seven scenes that absolutely crack me up. Okay, I will. When they are on their way to the stage and get lost, when they open up the new albums only to find pure blackness (it's a pastel black), when stonehenge comes out of the ceiling only to be 24" tall, when they are playing the last stop on their tour at an amusement park, Shark Sandwich, the fact that 'Big Bottoms' is an all bass song, and oh so many more. But the scene of all scene's and my number one favorite comedy scene of all time is when Marti Debergi is interviewing Nigel Tufnel and they are talking about his guitars and amps. Makes me cry.

Well, there you go. How'd I do? Tell me your top ten and what you think I left off. You're wrong of course, but you can tell me anyway.


Kill the fattened calf! Call your friends and neighbors and party! The Son has returned home! The sheep has been found! The coin is no longer lost...well, at least my keys aren't.

That's right, I'm a doufus. I found them exactly where I last put them down, in a little forgotton corner of my office. Wow, I'm an idiot.


Say Goodbye to Older Days...

I can't believe it is the middle of November. It's almost Christmastime (well, according to starbucks and various other retail stores, it already is). Time seems to move faster and faster the older I get. I'm already 27! That's crazytalk.

We bought a new house. We are moving in sometime next month. It's kinda scary because we are renting our old house to some friends, so pretty soon, I'm going to be responsible for a lot of real estate. That's a little scary to me. Okay, that's a lot scary to me.

Things with Beer Church have gone downhill. With being out of town a couple of weeks it's threw everything into a bad cycle. People not knowing if we were going to have it. Other people traveling and what not. I don't know. Maybe it's time we grew up. Who knows.

Well, just thought I would post an update.


Where, Oh Where, Have My Little Keys Gone...

I lost my keys yesterday.

I have no idea where they could be.

It was nearing quitting time yesterday. I stood up, started towards my car, reached in my pockets...and nothing. I thought, "Oh, I probably just left them in my jeep." I get to the jeep...and nothing. Then I thought, "Maybe I left them on my desk." I go back inside my office...and nothing. I searched high and low. I retraced the retracing of my steps. I went into every room I was in yesterday and tore it apart...and nothing.


I am so frustrated I can't even begin to put into words.

I called my wife and after a bit of, "I have no idea how I can be this stupid either..." conversation, she comes and drops off her key to my jeep. I started home and began going over and over and over again where I could've possible set them down, where they might've fallen out, anything that might give me a clue as to where to look when I got in office the next day. I just kept going over and over and over and the frustration continued to build. It was making sick to my stomach. I was longing to have this uneasiness alleviated.

And then I thought of the lamb.

I've lost stuff before, sunglasses, couple bucks here and there, more sunglasses, but I usually gave up on the search after a couple of minutes. But these keys are invaluable to me. Even this morning, before writing, I searched for an hour. And I'll continue to when I finish writing.

Thank God he hasn't stopped searching for me.


I Fail...

I do. Oh man do I fail.

In my job I get to talk to a lot of people. Unfortunately, most of the time they are pissed off as they can be. Usually I get to go in and get yelled at, tell them what we are going to do to make them happy, and then try my best to do it. Even if I am successful and finishing the work I told them I would do, they are usually so fed up with my company that the momment the last thing is signed off the door is shut and that's it.

But sometimes, sometimes, I get the good ones. The ones who aren't mad. The ones who love their home and are so excited to be in it.

That sometimes was not today.

But of course, with all bad things, there is a copper lining. I asked the customer if she was a part of a church. She said no, but that she was interested in getting hooked up with one. I told her of a couple of good churches in the area.

Then comes the conversation that I don't know what to do with. It's the "as-long-as-I'm-a-good-person-and-believe-in-God-I'm-okay" conversation. I did my best to say it's all about Jesus. I did my best to say it's about the Holy Spirit leading my life. I did my best to say my life would not be complete without my Saviour.

I did my best.

But I failed. I don't know what success is in that conversation. I don't know if I'm just to be the sower scattering the seeds, hoping some to fall on fertile soil. I don't know if I'm to be the Paul planter, or the Apollo waterer. Too often, I feel I'm the Peter.

You know Peter. Had a chance to stand up for Christ and didn't. Could've cost him his life. Could've cost him deep. Could've, but he missed out. He failed.

I fail too. Oh, do I fail.


Time Keeps on Slipping, Slipping, Slipping...

So I know I've basically turned this into my weekly gem finds on the internet. I wish I had more time to sit and just blog my thoughts, but even as I write this I've taken three breaks to have to deal with issues at work (of course, I am getting paid to work, but that's not the issue). Hopefully one day I'll have the time and the thoughts to start blogging a bit more consistently.

Till that day however, I will continue to share things I come accross that are just too unbelievable unless you see them for yourself. Here is one of such things. Enjoy.


Time to go solo...

One great way to ruin/awesomize a church solo?

Projectile Vomit!!!!!!


This isn't fair...

Have you heard of Nikolai Valuev? He fought his first fight agains some poor chap named Monte "Two Gunz" Barrett. Seems like Monte needed at least three gunz (with a 'z' mind you) if he was going to have a shot at this guy. Valuev stands 7 feet tall. SEVEN FEET. Weighs in at a meeger 328 lbs. That is literally twice my size. This guy is a monster. The picture was not doctored in any way. I think the hairy back is just icing on the cake.


Little Superstar

Seriously, is there nothing sacred anymore? Now even little mexican people can be the star of the internet. The things we exploit...



I just read this quote by a guy named Douglas John Hall:

"If we once have the courage to give up our defense of the old facades which have nothing or very little behind them; if we cease to maintain, in public, the pretense of a universal Christendom; if we stop straining every nerve to get everybody baptized, to get everybody married in church and onto our registers (even when success means only, at bottom, a victory for tradition, custom and ancestry, not for true faith and interior conviction); if, by letting go, we visibly relieve Christianity of the burdensome impression that it accepts responsibility for everything that goes on under this Christian topdressing, the impression that Christianity is sort of Everyman's Religious Varnish, a folk-religion (at the same level as that of folk-costumes)-then we can be free for real missionary adventure and apostolic self confidence..."

There are parts of this I agree with and parts I disagree with. But I know what I think. What do you think?


Which one is the Jackass?

I went with some friends to see Jackass 2 last night. I know, I know, that probably appalls some of you...and I have to admit that I found myself quite uncomfortable with some of the stunts performed in the movie. But, as the Bible says, "all things are yours," so I figure there must be some redeeming qualities about the movie that I can share with you.


Nope, it was pretty much useless the entire way through. If you are in the mood to catch yourself vomiting in your mouth a couple of times, then I would suggest the film. If you enjoy male nudity, then check it out. If you are looking for ways to torture captives at Guantanamo Bay, you could probably get some suggestions from this movie. Otherwise, you'll probably be sad you wasted $9.75 on this.

But I loved it.


On Second Thought...

My previous post on the Church has garnered quite a response from my faithful readers (okay, mom and my brother had a lot to say). I guess I just want to reiterate that I love the church. My comments weren't said to bring her down but to raise her up to a higher standard. I feel like Jesus' life was so important, so controversial, so miraculous that if His followers truly believed His gospel message, we would change the world.

Several commentators have asked me what I am doing if I believe this. The first answer is not enough, but more specifically, I've started a church. This was born out of a desire to do church different. I know you hear that from everyone who starts a church and I'm probably as full of hot air as the rest of them, but it non the less is my desire. How am I doing that? Probably not as good as I should.

We have a tiny fellowship. It exists of two couples, two singles, and a married woman who comes sometimes. It's not small purposefully, it just is. We don't have a real formal meeting time. Mostly we meet on Thursdays, but it isn't resigned to only Thursdays (or for that matter, every Thursday). We serve at the homeless shelter a couple of times a month. We have no paid ministers. We are studying the life of Jesus right now, which is a discussion mostly led by me. We do not take the Lord's supper in a traditional sense as of yet, but every month we eat a meal together and thank Jesus for all he has done for us. Someday, I hope this looks different, and I think we'll get there soon. We give our tithes mostly to a shelter for battered women, which is ran by our local rescue mission, but sometimes we also tithe to other churches. We don't have a worship leader, so we go to a local church on Sundays to worship our Father.

I feel like our church is more of a state of being than of belonging or doing. We aren't perfect. And we are different. And I believe what we are doing is different. We aren't there yet. But it's nice to just be a group of people who love Jesus and are living like it.


Dum Dum Dum Dum De Dum, Dum De Dum...

Darth Vader's lesser known, less charismatic, younger brother. Enjoy.


Doing Church...

So I've had this thought swirling around in my head lately. Well, not so much lately as the last three years. I'm not sure I'll be able to articulate it the way I think it in my head, and worse, once I put it out there I'm a bit afraid of the reaction I will recieve. First of all, let me start out by saying I love Jesus very much. I've learned in the past three years to love his church with all my heart. And it's because I love her that I find myself in this place. I know I'm no church expert, but being that I was in one every sunday the first 25 years of my life, I do feel like I have some ground to stand on.

I'm not happy with what I see going on. We've turned the Church into something we do on Sunday. I know this is something the "Blue Like Jazz" generation has been saying for some time now, but what are we doing about it? I hear of new church plants and they all say the same thing. We are finding a new way of doing church. I'm not even sure that's what our world needs.
What if the way we do church is fine. What if some people will get it (there are a large number of growing churches out there, and I would venture to say every major city probably has at least one growing church in it) and some people don't? Not everyone is going to be a Christian right? So maybe we aren't so screwed up...maybe.

But I don't think that's true. I think we are screwed up, but I also think it's because we are asking the wrong questions. I think we are so pre-occupied with a new way of doing church and leave our faith by the wayside. The early church did church in the way they did out of a survival instict. They met daily because they had to encourage one another on a daily basis or deep depression might sink in. Some were being persecuted in a very painful way, so they had to develop these communities of faith for support.

But above all, they were people of faith.

Maybe instead of finding a new way to do church (as if there is this secret formula which will win the masses) what if we need a new way to live our faith? What if we are missing a connection among all christians. That's how the ixthus came to be. Christians would use this as a secret marker identifying the local church. It was a new way to live out their faith in a world hostile to them. Does this world really need a new church meeting in any available school closest to them? Maybe. But what I think this world really needs is the church living out their faith in a new and fresh way. When we figure that out, I think the "doing church" part will take care of itself.


Boom Goes the Dynamite...

Sometimes I spend my day thinking of what I want to blog about later. I'll twirl it around in my noggin, thinking of a creative way to structure my stories. I think about what might be interesting to read or what just might be a word from above for the masses.

This is not that day.

So, in cases like this, I simply turn to my faithful youtube to provide you with some mindless entertainment. Enjoy.


Long Time Gone...

Obviously I've been busy.

August is the third quarter end of my company's fiscal year. What this means in plain english is that August = Hell. But, the good news is no matter how hard my company tries, the sun still comes up and the sun still goes down and eventually August is over. Now that it's month number nine I should be a bit more regular with the blogs. Till then, enjoy this bit of awesomeness...



Is not fun.


I'm going to die now.


Your Mother Is My Home...

I'm sitting in bed watching a movie right now (don't you love wireless internet!!!). I've seen this movie several times, though I won't mention it's name for fear of losing any bit of manhood I have managed to muster in these 26 (almost 27...arrrrrgh) years of living.

When watching it this afternoon, I heard a line from one of the main characters that I remember hearing before. It's a sweet line about his love and affection for his wife. See, his wife has dimentia and can't remember anything about her life. Her kids, her husband, her job, everything is gone. The husband has resigned himself to just being around her in hopes that every now and again she'll pop back into reality (okay, by this point, I've given the movie away).

There is a scene about halfway through the film when the kids come to visit their parents in the old person facility. The mom doesn't recognize any of her kids of course, much to the sadness of her children. After the mom excuses herself, the son turns to his dad and begs him to return home.

The father's reply is priceless.

"Look guys, that's my sweetheart in there. I'm not leaving her. This is my home now. Your mother is my home."

There is a beautiful passage in Ephesians 5 that talks about a husbands love for his wife. It speaks of giving up of himself. But more than that it speaks of Christ's love for his bride. As I heard the actor say those lines, I couldn't help to first think of my wife. My beautiful bride. I would do anything for my wife. I know I'm not perfect and I have a temper, but when I think of the girl with the green eyes, I can't help but smile. She's my world.

But as I pondered more into his (the actor's) love for his wife, it reminded me of the verse in Ephesians and I gained new insight into Christ's love. I can't help but think of Christ on the cross. I can't help but think of the angels who looked down from heaven and couldn't understand why a perfect son would sacrifice himself for such an adulturous wife. I can hear them beg the son,

"Please, come home. Come back and everything will be as it was."

The son turns his face to the darkened sky and with a phrase encapsolates it all,

"It is finished."

He left the diety of God for the humility of man. He left the power of God for the frailty of man.

When the Son turned to the Father and told Him it was time to go, the Father knew he was right. A tear fell from His cheek as He asked the question He already knew the answer to, "Are You sure?"

His reply was simple.

"My sweetheart is down there. I'm going to her. That is my home now. She is my home."


Sometimes, Reality is Reality

I love reality shows. Lately, Monday night has been the night to watch. At nine o'clock on NBC you have "Treasure Hunters." I am hooked on this show. It's a great adventure that includes both brain and braun and deals with early American History. How can you not love that! The contestants sometimes are a little ho hum, but overall, it is a great show.

Next comes "Road Rules, Real World Challenge." I've watched this ever since the original battle of the sexes when Johnny Mosley was the host. Also a fantastic show. I think MTV just knows how to edit well.

It was on this show that last night that something one of them said struck me.

It was a conversation between Derek and Diem. Okay, maybe not so much a conversatioin seeing that both of them were drunk, but they were mouthing the words none the less. This is pretty much how it went:

<Derek> "How can You like me? I'm so........WOOOOOOOOOOO" (as he flails his hands in the air acting crazy)

<Diem> "Yeah, but the 'WOOOOOO' is what makes it exciting"

<Derek> (very contemplative) "............yeah."

I think God is a lot like that. Not so much the drunk part but the 'WOOOOO' part. I think we like to picture God as this real safe guy who has everything under control. I think only half that is right. I do think God is in control, but I think his control is a little bit outside my comfort zone.

I know every writer in the world has quoted C.S. Lewis, so without further adieu:

"Is---is he a man?" asked Lucy.

"Aslan a man!" said Mr. Beaver sternly. "Certainly not. I tell you he is the King of the wood and the son of the great Emperor-Beyond-the-Sea. Don't you know who is the King of Beasts? Aslan is a Lion--the Lion, the great Lion."

"Ooh!" said Susan, "I'd thought he was a man. Is he---quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion."

"That you will, dearie, and no mistake," said Mrs. Beaver, "if there's anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they're either braver than most or else just silly."

"Then he isn't safe?" said Lucy.

"Safe?" said Mr. Beaver. "Don't you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe. 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you."

Most of the time, when we are trying to control everything, I don't think we are feeling God's 'WOOOOO'. I think we want to have everything planned out. Knowing where our next paycheck is coming from. Knowing where we are going to sleep that night and what car we'll drive in the morning. I think the more we try and control, the more we lose the 'Wooooo'.

And when we lose the 'WOOOOO,' we lose the excitement.

I don't want to loose that. I want to keep the 'WOOOOO' alive. I want to trust in God's organized chaos of life. I want to live life not in the safety of his will, but in the danger of it. I want to step out of that boat and meet Jesus on the water. More than that, I want to crawl up on the cross and die to myself.

Oh, give me the courage to meet Aslan. To look at the King with trembling knees. If I can do that, I know one thing...somewhere inside of me, there will be a 'WOOOO'.

And unlike Derek and Diem, I'll probably remember it in the morning.


Gotta Be Numero Uno...

So I find this really interesting. I'm going to venture a guess that we are the only nation in the world that ranks our churches. I know, I know, this is a ranking of the most "influential" or whatever. Let's just say it...

'BEST.' There, we said it.

What we really mean are these are the best churches. Is this what we are to strive for? Maybe in our western civilization there is no way around a competitive attitude. I know every preacher on the list is just happy to be recognized (and I'm sure they are all very godly men) but you can't tell me ol' Ricky Warren is happy at number two. Somewhere inside that cat is a tiger wanting to be number one.

I'm not making fun of these churches. God knows I will never hold a candle next to these guys. I'm making fun of the ranking system. What is 'influence' anyways. I know the maxwellians out there will let me know that leadership=influence. So great. These churches have the largest number of leaders out there.

Congratulations. Here's your prize. A lifetime supply of John Maxwell books and free addmission to the Willow Creek Leadership Summit.

Anywho, along with leaders, I hope these people are having an influence on their poor, widowed, hungry, and homeless. That, I think would make everyone's top fifty.


I am addicted to YouTube.com...

But seriously, with this kind of stuff, how can you not be?


How Many Hail Mary's Is This Worth?

I was reading my Bible today and came across this. I know we've all heard the last part of that before. We've seen it on athlete's shoes, on signs at ball games, lots of places. But when you read it in context, I think we find it's not about God helping us to make the free throw, or catch the touchdown pass.

I think it's a little more deeper than that.

I often find myself frustrated in my job. It's long hours, complicated, hot, and I deal with construction people all day long. I often go home wiped out and just ready to crash. It's just not what I want to do with my life.

Then I'm reminded of this verse. Being content in ALL circumstances.

I got a call the other day from a former customer of mine. He said he was creating a position for his company and thought of me. Thought I'd be a good fit.

I was pumped. I still am. I was thinking as I was driving back to my site from lunch how it would just be perfect. It deals with the quality assurance side of homebuilding. I thought, "God, I can see your hand in this. I can see the experiences you've given me and how you've prepared me for this. Finally, a job I can be content with."

It was in that momment, when I prayed that word content, that I felt the Spirit speak.

"What if it's not for you, can you still feel me leading you?"

I almost had to pull over.

God forgive me when I put other things in front of you thinking it will bring me happiness. God forgive me when I look for contentment in everything but you.

With you, I am content. With my job, with my life, with my marriage, with everything. Not because you make those things better, but because you are better than those things.



Is That What He Means By Lukewarm?

Okay, seriously, I think I'm going to vomit.

No joke.

I went to a 'real' church for the second week in a row. Last week we were in Seattle and hit Mars Hill to hear Mark Driscoll speak. Didn't blow the roof off the place, but it was good for my heart to see the church seeking God through the scriptures and worshipping with new songs.

This week.....not so much.

I won't name the place, though I will pray for it so it might fall on it's knees in repentance (though that probably isn't likely).

It started off normal enough. Three songs of worship (new enough to be cutting edge, keyboards enough to be adult contemporary). Something that bothered me (and this is all personal), one guy on guitar led the first song, a chick with a mic led the second, and the guy behind the piano led the third. They all had great voices, but I wasn't sure the point behind splitting up the songs, but like I said, that's all personal.

Next, the youth minister stumbles out talking about the two weeks of camp he just came from and that he's hardly awake. Probably not the guy you want doing the announcements, but whatever.

Then the token special. 100 years by five for fighting. Excellent.

Then lighting struck. Well, it should've, cause then it would've stopped the abomination that causes desolation from taking place.

Seriously, it was that bad.

His topic was "How to Balance Work and Life."

I looked around.

Yeah, there's a crowd and a stage and a soundboard and microphones and lights. This is church all right. For a momment I thought I had stepped into a self help seminar.

"H0w to Balance Work and Life."

He quoted a science text book more than he quoted the bible. He used Jesus as the ultimate example of balance.

First of all, no duh, Jesus is the ultimate example of everything. However, Jesus was homeless and jobless, so unless you are advocating a mass exodus in the work force, I'm not sure that completely applies.

Now, maybe in the infinate wisdom of the elders they decided that this church was getting too full of workaholics so they searched out the formost expert on this.

But I doubt it.

Worst of all, his three points for keeping life balanced were: task lists, relationships, and rest.

I'm not kidding. Nothing about reading your bible or praying to begin your day. Nothing about keeping God first and letting everything else be small stuff. Nope; tasks, relationships, and rest are the way to do it. He even had us draw an example on our notes. It's an upside down triangle (doesn't that mean you're gay?). Tasks in the upper left, relationships in the upper right, and rest at the bottom.

I've preached some bad sermons in my life. But may I never, ever preach a sermon on balancing life and work. And if I by some off chance I am forced to, please, please, shoot me.

At least I won't have to vomit.


Got Jobs?

I just decided that I want a new job. I'm really tired of mine. Unfortunatley, it pays well, so this will be hard. I'm throwing this out there to see if anybody has some suggestions for a job that will let me sleep in past 6:30 am and pay decent. Any suggestions?

The Great Wilderness

This is a picture of the Hubbard Glacier. It is located just a bit north of Skagway, Alaska. This is one of the many pics I took on our trip. If you would like to see more, go to my myspace site here.

Sorry if this doesn't do the beauty of this area of our great country justice. You'll just have to visit it yourself.


Ain't Nothing But a Prayer Thing Baby...

So, I know it's been a long while since I gave a blog. We just got back from vacation and I was waiting until we got our pictures loaded onto our computer so I could share a few of the good'ns with you. But alas, the day before we came back I dropped our camera in the middle of Pike's Place Market in Seattle and well, right now I got nothing. The camera was shipped off to the manufacturer and we won't have it back for about four more weeks. Sucks. So, we are going to take the memory card to Wally World this weekend and try and load them on a cd or something. I'll post them when I can.

On other news, church was really great last night. After our core member's coversation two weeks ago I decided we ought to do a study based off Acts 2:42. I know this is somewhat overused, so instead of studying that verse we looked into the key components making up that verse. I decided to start with prayer, since it seemed to be of upmost importance to our savior. Out of all the verses that deal with prayer (and there are many) I focused mostly on what Jesus said of prayer.

I found a few peculiar teachings that I thought I would share.

First, Jesus tells a parable in Luke 11 about a man who has a friend come to town. He doesn't have anything to share with this friend so he goes to another friends house even though it's late at night. He bangs on the door and asks the man for some bread to share with his friend that was in town. The man says it's late, come back later. But the man at the door just keeps knocking and knocking until it eventually opens and he get's what he is asking for.

On the onset, this looks like Jesus is saying, "Just keep asking God for it and eventually he'll get tired of your asking and give you what you want." But I think there is more to this. First of all, if the man at the door was asking for a million dollars so he could impress his friend, I don't think he would've received it from his other friend. Secondly, the reason he was asking was because there was someone he was in relationship with who was in need. So he asked the only one he knew who could fulfill that need for his friend. I think this story reveals a lot more behind the motives of prayer rather than the persistancy of prayer.

Second, in his sermon on the mount, Jesus teaches us about prayer. In Matthew 6:8 Jesus tells us that God knows what we need before we even ask. This began a great discussion on the necessity of prayer. Why pray if the outcome is already known?

I think my sister (who is in town visiting) had the best insight on this. She mentioned how sometimes her daughters will hold up two different pairs of shoes. Maybe one goes with the outfit and one doesn't. It's not so much that she cares which pair of shoes her daughters wear. It's that her daughters care enough to ask for help. Her daughters want their mom's influence and love in their life. I think when we think of our relationship with God in these terms it can shed quite a bit of light into our lives.

Lastly, Jesus gave me some encouragement. He tells us in Matthew 18 that when two or more of us agree on something on this earth it will be done. He also says that where two or more are gathered, he is with us.

Now, I don't think that means God leaves us all alone when we are by ourselves. I think Jesus is emphasizing the importance of coming together and praying. In our weak moments when we are praying by ourselves, we may be tempted to ask for the million dollars or the perfect job or the perfect spouse. But when we come together as a church, there is an accountability that happens. Maybe if it's something you can't pray about together as a church, then it isn't something you need to pray about as an individual.

We had a whopping 5 in attendence, but I guess that meets the criteria.


Sorry folks...Church is cancelled.

It started with a phone call on Monday night. Two of my friends had heard me talk about our house church enough that they wanted to come Thursday to see what it was all about. I was so excited.

"Finally," I thought. "Things are starting to happen."

Over the next few days I called our 'members' just to make sure they were coming and to let them know we were going to have 'visitors'. One by one they seemed to all drop out. One is on a cruise. One has to work. One is out of town. One wants to spend the evening with his girlfriend. One had to work.

"What's going on?" I thought.

I was super bummed. I called my friends and told them not to come. This would be the second week in a row that beer church would be cancelled due to lack of participation. I had made up my mind.

Beer church was over.

It made me sad. Like a part of me was dead. And it was. I had such high hopes for a house church. I truly saw the need for something like this in our community. Something that was authentic. Where barriers came down and no one was there to impress anyone, but everyone was there to glorify God. A place where we could discover what it meant to be a church and travel that road together.

After two of our 'members' got off work, they ended up coming over. I told them my disappointments. Suprisingly, I was met with theirs. The more we talked the more I realized they wanted beer church as much as I did. The problem was, beer church didn't exist.

Oh sure, we had a Bible study every week. But where was the worship? Where was the communion? Where was the confession? Where was the prayer? And not the end of the meeting, do it out of obligation prayer. Where was the excruciating, soul reaching, depth of my splatna prayer? It seems the very things I was afraid of pushing were the very things they were craving. I was so afraid of taking leadership and being placed in a position I wasn't even sure I wanted to have exist at beer church, that I was missing the opportunity to lead these people to God.

It's amazing how nights when church is cancelled, God still shows up.



This is absolutely one of the most amazing things I have ever seen in my entire life. This was during an actual game.


Had a Bad Day Again...

I'm sad today.

Yesterday I went to an orientation for college. Sitting in a college classroom listening to degree requirements and class possibilities kind of got me excited. I started thinking about all the different experiences I could have. Pottery, History of Rock and Roll, Theater, History of the American Presidency. The excitement within me grew and grew like an unborn child.

Then came reality.

That life will never be mine. I had forgotten that I am not a college student. I am a professional home builder who is trying to squeeze a degree into this life I've been given.

I depressed myself for a little while thinking of the life I could've had. The life I missed out on. There are so many experiences I will never have. So many opportunities that will never be mine.

But then I remembered the girl with the green eyes. I remembered how peaceful she looks when she sleeps. I remembered how beautiful her hair is in the wind. I remembered how endearing her voice is on the phone.

The college life will never be mine.

But the girl with the green eyes is, and that's all the memories I need.


Amazing Grace Indeed

This is why I'm a Colts fan.

(thanks Joey for the link.)


My Spiritual Life is Like a Football Game...

When I was in the eighth grade, I was the second string quarterback for our football team. No matter how hard I tried, I just wasn't as good as the number one quarterback (granted he had been held back a year, so he was a year ahead of me...). Playing time was few and far between. Until my momment came.

We were playing one of our county rivals, Western (the other two county schools were named Eastern and Northwestern. Clever, I know). The score was tied and the clock was winding down. We got the ball from a punt and began driving down the field. We get to the one yard line and all of the sudden, I hear my named called. I jumped up off the bench next to the water cooler (as was my customary spot) and ran up to the coach. Seems first stringer Manboy had some sort of equipment problem. Probably because his head was too big for the helment. Anywho, the coach gave me a play and sent me in.

I was nervous.

But, the play was simple. Snap the ball, turn to my left, pitch the ball to the running back.

'Snap the ball, turn to my left, pitch the ball to the running back. Snap the ball, turn to my left, pitch the ball to the running back. Snap the ball...' I repeated to myself over and over.

I approach the line.

"Blue fourteen, blue fourteen. Set. Hut."

The ball is snapped. I turn to my left. I raise my arms to pitch the ball to the running back.


Somehow in the excitement of snapping the ball and turning to my left, I had mistaken empty air for a football. I turned around to see the ball lying peacefully just behind my center's big butt.

Instinctively I reached for the ball. Once it was safe in my arms I closed my eyes and headed for the promise land. Soon the pressure of other eighth grade bodies pressing down on me was all I could feel. The wistle blew and slowly, the release of pressure began. I opened my eyes to see the official raising his two hands.


After that play, I proudly trotted back to the end of the bench.

I really can't remember if we won that game or not. That might've been only one of many touchdowns scored that night. But for me, it was the only one that counted.

I think God's work is a lot like that game. We aren't always going to be on the front lines. Most of the time, we're probably going to be on the sidelines while God uses others to do his work. I just think that when the time does come, and he calls your name, that it's important we remember what we've learned. Sometimes we're going to drop the ball, but if we'll pick it up and head for the goal, somehow, things always end up okay.


Missing The Point I Think...

Last night my wife and I had dinner with a former student of hers. She is now married to a youth minister in Iowa. That makes me feel old.

On the way to dinner my wife and I had a "discussion" about working at a church. There have been a couple of instances of interest from other churches that have definately whetted my appetite for ministry again. I'd say I miss about 90% of working at a church.

So we went to BW3's or as most of the world calls it Buffalo Wild Wings (I'm not sure where the 'West' went to...). I ordered my usual non-tuesday special of buffalitos. This time I wasn't feeling too saucy so I went for the mild instead of my usual medium sauce. Bad choice.

Anywho, we got to talking about the ministry they were doing in Iowa. It sounds like it's really taught them a lot and they are doing some good things there. There were two issues that she brought up that I thought I would blog about.

First, she said they are dealing with a situation where there is a youth sponsor who wants to help out in their youth ministry, but doesn't attend their church on Sunday mornings. I guess the church they are at has a rule that you can't be a youth sponsor unless you are a 'member' of their church. Her husband even went so far as to say to the sponsor, "you know, you have a real gift for ministry. It's up to you if you are going to use it or not." Some how implying that if he doesn't become a member, he's going to be a bad steward of God's talents.

Wow! Maybe I missed that class in college. You know the one where it explains that each church is seperate and independant of each other. Oh wait, that's right, we aren't! Last I researched there was one body of Jesus. There was one church. So what if one worships on this mountain and one worships in Jerusalem. We are all children of God right?

This leads to the second point. I asked why they wouldn't want to attend their church. Then she made a comment that made my skin crawl. She said she wouldn't attend their church either if her husband wasn't employed by it.

Double wow! You know, a prostitute wouldn't have sex with her johns if they weren't paying her either. I'm not sure if that says says something about the church or about the minister. Now, I understand missionaries. I understand going to a third world country and not being a part of the culture or community, but ministering to them out of love. Maybe that's what this is. Maybe.

But I doubt it.

This is America. You're telling me that there is such a surplus of ministers in this country that the wanting are left to the scraps. Or better yet, there is such a surplus of Christians in communities you would rather live in that you had to move to the boonies to reach the non-christians?

I don't have a problem getting paid to do ministry. I have a problem being a ministry whore. Going where the good money is. Going where the good ministry is. How about going to the people you love? How about going to the city you love? How about going to the neighbors you love? How about not moving every 2-3 years in search of the latest and greatest. Or how about changing what you don't like at your church so that you would attend there.

I could write a book about how youth ministry has become a sub-church of the church instead a part of the whole. How do church leaders expect the church to reach the people of the area, if the ministers wouldn't even go to the church. Do you think they are just going to come because the youth minister is cool or has his program planned out for six months for their kids? Even if they do, do you expect their kids to actually want to attend church once they have a choice, just because it's the right thing to do?

I'm sure I'm way off base here. I'm sure I've just been burned to bad to see a good thing for a good thing. But that's the 10%. That's what I can't get past.


The Mob and Egg Sandwiches

It's funny the memories that come back to you.

A few years ago, there were four of us that would meet weekly to become better men. Sometimes it would be to play ball, play video games, or just talk. Most of the time, there was a book we were going through that would spur our conversation.

I remember one morning when we got together we were hungry, so Mark suggested going to Salvinos. I'd never been there before, but I remembered one time having a bite of Mark's sandwich that he had brought home from there, so I was down.

We drove down Boulder Highway to this corner shop in a run down strip mall. To be honest, I was a little leary of eating anything coming out of this hole. But we walk in and we were instantly transported to New York. On the wall opposite the door there was this giant poster/wallpaper of the city skyline. There were sausages and other various meats hanging behind the counter. Uncle Guido was sitting in the corner smoking his cigar playing checkers with himself. If the Mob is still running Las Vegas, this is where they eat.

We get our egg sandwiches and fried potatoes and sit down at the one table in the shop. Pretty soon Uncle Joey and Uncle Frank come through the front door.

"Hey Sal," they yell to the guy behind the counter.

"Hey Joey, Hey Frank" yells Sal.

I was loving it. I've never watched the Sopranos, but I've seen Good Fellas enough to know they just came back from whacking a guy. Probably buried him in the desert. That's what I would do.

Uncle Guido asked us what book we were talking about. At that time it was "Wild at Heart" by John Eldredge.

"You guyz are Christians?" He asked.

"Yeah." I said.

"I'm Catholic". He said.

Go figure.

He then proceded to tells us how much he loved the virgin Mary and how she watched over him and how often he prayed to her. He showed me the virgin Mary tatoo on his shoulder. He showed me the virgin Mary medallion around his neck.

"You ever prayed to Mary?" he asks me.

Now, I've never prayed to Mary before in my life. Still haven't.

"Sure." I said.

"Yeah. She's great." He says.

With that we finished our sandwiches and left. I don't know why I remembered that this morning. But I'm glad I did.


Take Him at His word...

Podcasts are the coolest thing in the world. If you have an ipod or some other mp3 device, you can download hours and hours of entertainment. And the best part is, it's all free! Some of my favorite podcasts are of Sen. Barak Obama (D-Ill.), Jack Black's Confessional from the set of Nacho Libre, and of course, the parody to the president's weekly radio address.

But perhaps my most favorite are two preachers. Two very different preachers. One is a guy named Erwin McManus from Mosaic in Los Angeles and the other is Mark Driscoll from Mars Hill in Seattle. I like these guys because they are so different from each other. Erwin is very comtemplative and feelings oriented. Mark is very traditional and biblically based. Both are great.

Recently, on my way home from work, I was listening to one of Mark's sermons. The sermon was actually on marriage, but that's not what caught me. He spoke about trusting Jesus. It was one of those momments when a spiritual truth just kind of hits you out of no where.


What does it really mean to trust Jesus?

I thought about that for a long time. I mean, really, when it comes down to it, I don't have a problem believe that a guy named Jesus lived about 2000 years ago. I really don't have a problem believe that he said the things the bible says he said and did the things the bible says that he did.

The problem for me is a bit more internal than that.

Do I really trust him? Do I really trust what he says? Am I really placing my trust in him and through him to where "rust and moths" can't destroy it?

The answer is so hard, yet easy to discover. I simply have to look at my life.

If I really trust Jesus, then I'm living the gospel. Then I am being a light into the darkness. Then I don't really need to tell others I'm a Christian, my actions will speak for me.

Of course, if I'm not living this way, I don't trust him.

Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus
And to take Him at His word
Just to rest upon His promise
And to know, "Thus saith the Lord"

Jesus, Jesus, How I trust Him
How I've proved him o'er and o'er
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus
Oh for grace to trust Him more!


Workers block?

So this is what writers block feels like.

Since last monday, I have worked 9 days straight. And not just 8 hour days mind you, I'm talking 10-16 hour days. That's a long time. I've worked over 110 hours since last monday. For my foreign friends, that means working on a holiday that everyone else and their mother get's off. But not me.

All that has left me with this....I have nothing to say.

Maybe I'm too tired. Maybe I'm just not creative and ten blogs was about my limit. Who knows?

I know this. When I work this much, I'm no good. I fight with my wife because I'm pissy. I completely neglect my walk with God. I don't stay in touch with friends and I eat shabbily.

So, no more workey. Need sleepy. Need fluff pillow.


The Christian Code...

Last night my wife and I went to one of our favorite places for dinner: Chipotle! I love their burrito bol. Yum Yum. Anywho, the one we went to is right in front of Sunset Station, a local casino here in Vegas. This casino houses one of the many movie theaters showing "The DaVinci Code." (I feel like there should be music going "duh duh duh" in a dark and sinister way...) When we were parking the car, we noticed some people standing on the corner protesting. They were saying what we all probably expect them to be saying. "The Davinci Code mocks Jesus." "The Davinci Code dishoners my Savior."

At first I had my normal reaction anytime I see Christians protesting. "Get a life," I thought. "Quit giving Christians a bad name."

But the more I thought about it, the more it bothered me. I'm not sure why, but I think I can narrow it down to one of two things.

First, is the aforementioned reason above. Something about Christians crying out against culture bothers me. I guess the way I look at it is this: I have a dog named Athena. She is a 2 year old boxer. Boxers are a very hyper breed. Every single time I let her in when I get home from work, it's like she hasn't seen me in years. She is so excited and runs and runs and runs untill she just collapses from exhaustion. I love our little routine. Dogs are great because you can train them. Athena's not the brightest of the bunch, so she takes a little patience, but she's getting there. The other night, I heard her barking at the door. Usually this means she wants out, but as I rounded the corner to head to the door, a funky odor came over me. I knew immediately this would be bad for me. Sure enough, a fresh, steamy pile of dookie lay under the pool table. Of course I was mad. Of course I told her she was a bad dog, but inside it didn't really bother me that much. Why you ask? Well, because she is a dog. I mean, it's not like my best friend came over and dropped some heat under my pool table. More than likely she pawed at the door and I just didn't hear her. My point is this. Most of the world is lost. What do we really expect? Do we really expect them to care if the movie, "dishonors our Lord"? Sometimes a dog poops in the house. Sometimes the world doesn't get theology quite right. Not a reason to protest in my opinion.

On the other hand, something about seeing them take a stand for Jesus is kind of motivating. When was the last time I did something that blatenly said, "I stand for Jesus and everything he says and even if it makes me look like a fool, I am willing to do it for him." Let me see......yeah, a long, long time. Something about the word 'dishonor' really got me. I like people who hold Jesus in a high regard. I remember one time going to an episcapalean service (I know I butchered that one, but bear with me okay?). I just remember being blown away by the amount of reverance they had for God. When they started the service, these altar boys carried in these giant banners the praised God. I thought, "now this is cool." What these people were saying was, "this hurts me to see God thought any less than what he is." And really, how do I argue with that?

I can't really say I've come to a conclusion on anything. I don't expect the world to understand us or our Jesus. But I find myself also longing to be in that picket line holding a sign that says, "I dishonor my Savior."


A Time is Coming...

"Onward to the prize before us!
Soon His beauty we’ll behold;
Soon the pearly gates will open;
We shall tread the streets of gold."

"When we all get to Heaven,
What a day of rejoicing that will be!
When we all see Jesus,
We’ll sing and shout the victory!"

I grew up singing this song. It's a good song. We used to sing it A LOT. But I think it all to often reflects the total mindset of Christians.

Here's what I mean. When Christ was on this earth, he seemed to press a lot about the kingdom of God. And he didn't always say it as what was to come. As a matter of fact, he said it like it was already here. When the woman at the well asked about where to worship, he said, "A time is coming, and has now come..." I don't think Jesus meant for us to wait till he returns to be a part of his kingdom. I think he was more concerned about what was going on right now.

I'm not making any huge theological points here. There's no grand secret to anything I am saying. I just think too often we think that there will be a day when we have a victory. There will be a day when we finally get to see Jesus.

I think that time is coming and has now come.

If we wait until Armageddon to see Jesus then maybe we're still blind.

If we wait till judgement day to claim our victory, then maybe we've already lost.


The Bride...

A friend and I have been carrying on a conversation on my Myspace page about the church. It seems to me that there is a growing number of people who are dissatisfied with the current situation of the church...at least here in America. It isn't limited to young people either. I've had conversations with people in their 50's who have been Christians for years. The disappointment in what she has become is spread far and wide. I think that's why so many people are willing to do church plants. But sooner or later, it seems even they turn into the same old same old. In his last email, my friend asked me what the church would look like if I could start from scratch. I find this interesting because that's pretty much the situation I find myself in. But, even in my perfect world, there is a difference between desire and reality. So, I won't go over where we are, but more where I would like to be.

First, the thought of a church conjures up images of community. I was talking with my Dad earlier this year about the church and I asked him why the church doesn't look like it did in early Acts. I was talking about the whole selling of possesions and sharing everything. He said that they did that out of necessity. That it had to be their way of life to survive. I like the thought of that. That it becomes a way of life, living in the church. A way of survival. So much so, that if we don't, somehow the essential message of Jesus will be lost. This is always a tough sell though, because the more growth that occurs the less community seems to happen. How do we balance this? I don't know.

Second, the thought of church conjures up ancient rituals. Baptism, candles, chants, scripture memorization, prayers, incense, meditation, and communion. I like the thought of connecting with Christ the same way some of it's early fouders did. If this is what they did only centries after he left, why can't we use them milliniums later? I'm not even opposed to some of that stuff that has been in the news lately. There's a secret (oooh, doesn't that sound appealing?) organization called 'Opus Dei'. The Davinci Code paints these people as the keeper of the secret of Christ's bloodline. But the cool part is, they really do exist. Basically, they use pain as a way of connecting with God. They wear this bob-wire type of bracelet around their thigh for a couple of hours a day. They use a cat-o'-nine-tails type whip to help them in their meditation. Now, most use this one made of yarn and other harmless materials, but the founder of the sect used a much more realistic one that would make him bleed EVERYTIME! Crazy!

Thirdly, the thought of church makes me want to give, both monitarily and personally. I think of encouraging Christians in Muslim countries. I think of inviting homeless people into our home. I think of people who realize that this world is temporary, and so are their possesions. This is one I struggle with a lot. We live so comfortable. We give 10% to the church, and we still have plenty. It would be hard for me to give that up. Really, really hard. I think of the rich young ruler. We always assume that he couldn't do it. I like to think he did. I like to think he struggled with it. That the look on Jesus's face was burned into his psyche until he couldn't help it. Maybe it wasn't till years and years later, when death was approaching and he looked over his land with tears in his eyes and knew he had missed out on so much that the Lord was wanting to do for him.

D, the thought of church reminds me of worship. I know, I know, there are all different ways to worship. But it seems from the Israelites to the early Church, corporate worship was a big part of what they did. What if we took the phrase, "everything I do for God is worship" and made it, "worship is everything." What if maybe one week there wasn't a sermon. But the worship was the sermon. I dont know, but I know that I have been starved for worship ever since I left the mainstream church and I miss it deeply.

The church should also be a place of confession. Yes, confession. Maybe this falls into the ancient stuff or not, I don't know, but I know it's needed. I think one of the biggest ways Satan binds us is with the thought of being judged. You know what? We need to be judged. We need to have someone else who is imperfect look into our lives and help us clean it up. I know I recently went through something like this, and while it scared me to death, when it was all said and done, it was one of the best experiences of my life. To be able to say to others, I SIN, and know that they love you and want to help restore your walk with God, well, that's the church.

These are just a few of my ideas, but I wanted to get this post out because it has been gnawing inside of me.


Voice Crying Out in the Wilderness...

I just read an incredible article about Christian music. Sorry if this offends anyone...


the best of Myspace...

A couple of months ago, I posted my first blog on my Myspace page. I thought to be complete that I would bring it over here. So, enjoy...

I just had a really interesting weekend. Two of my uncles came into town. I love those guys. They are so funny. We had a great time playing golf, watching movies, seeing the sights, and of course, playing poker. A couple of months ago, I had a chance to go back home to see the Colts play the Steelers in Indy. While I was there, we took the time time to go see my Mamaw and Papaw. My Mamaw was all upset about a letter that she had recieved from one of her sons. Basically, the letter said how he rejected everything he had been taught about God and Christ and that it was just impossible for him to believe it anymore. Well, the son that wrote that letter was one of my uncles in town visiting. I had been looking forward for them coming to visit for many reasons, but one of which was hoping for the chance to get into a discussion with Him about what he believes. He basically said that he believes there is a God, but that God doesn't care about us. He created us, and now, he's left us alone. We had a great conversation. I really enjoy talking with people who are more intelligent than myself, and this was no exception. He really made me think. One of the things he said was, "if you were born in the middle of Iran, would you be a Christian?" I just think it's a really good point. I wonder how many of us believe what we believe just because it's what's popular. Just because we were born in America. That bothers me. I told him that even if the God who created us doesn't care about us, that he deserves our worship just for creating us. That he deserves to have our lives just because of who he is. Then I think we got to the real issue for both of us. I said how I was tired of churches saying they care about people, but really meaning that they care about people's money. I told him I couldn't justify working at a church and getting paid. I said that I think Jesus cared a lot more for the poor and elderly and outcasts and rebels and homeless and diseased then we do. He said if I really believed that, then I wouldn't be building houses in las vegas. WHAMMY!!! Problem is, he's right. So the question is: Do I really believe that or not? Or maybe: Do I believe that, but decide that my life is more important than giving it to Jesus? Either way, I'm not sure that I like the answer I arrive at. This really puts baggage on my soul. Baggage for a destination unknown.

May Day...

I'm not sure how I feel, really. It started with a sleepover I was at on Saturday. Well, it wasn't supposed to be a sleepover, but it sure seemed like one. We just finished our six mile walk where I feel like we raised a lot of publicity for the cause. Then we all gathered in the back parking lot of a church and wrote letters to our senators and the president. All fine and dandy. But listening to some of the conversations made me feel strange about a lot of things. First of all, almost everyone there was trashing the President about the war in Iraq. Now, of course, no one likes war. No one is really happy about the fact that we have young men and women dying daily. But, you know what, when the war started, I was all for it. So I don't feel like I have the right to all of the sudden change my position. As an American, I don't think I have the luxury. But of course, we were there to raise awareness about the situation in Uganda. So what do these people think were going ot happen? We were going to send a peace delegation to Uganda hoping the LRA will just lay down their arms because we are the U.S.? If the war is going to end in Uganda, it will take bloodshed. Some of theirs, some of ours. No one wants that, but some evils are better than others. That's how Rwanda ended. When one side won. It's not pretty. It's reality. And so today, thousands of illegal and legal aliens are on the march. And thousands and thousands of retarded bigots will scream "GO HOME MEXICANS!" then return to their home which was built by...yeah, you guessed it. This is our world people! Things are just going to change because we want them to. Because we do a march or because we write a letter. Get involved or shut up. I almost feel worse for going on the walk and sleepover then if I hadn't. I feel like I've associated with a bunch of whiners and feel goodies who think that we actually made a difference. No, the three guys who went to Uganda made a difference. Why? Because the sacrifice they made was real. But I simply have a sore back from the concrete. I know this is all a bunch of rambling, but what are we to do? How are we to feel? The reality is, our would is a messy place and we've been living with butlers and maids for too long that have been wiping our asses and telling us what good looking ones they are at that until we became too fat to move or care about anything but ourselves and where we were getting our next meal.

And I'm one of them.


16 Questions...

I often wonder what would happen if God intervened in a more supernatural way. I mean, I believe he has the power to. And I believe sometimes he does, in small ways that can most of the time be explained away in a scientific or medical manner. But I'm talking about, what if God sent a prophet, someone who had a connection with God deeper than anyone we'd seen in awhile? And what if this guy was more than a good preacher? What if he was more than convicting? What if he could do more than predict the future and pray for you? I'm talking what if he could confront God's enemies and bring literal hell fire and brimstone (I don't even know what brimstone is, but I know it's bad and you don't want it) upon their heads? What if the poor could bring them their sick because hospitals are too expensive, and he would heal them? And what if he came from some poor town in Africa and didn't speak our language? What if he condemned America and told us if we didn't start caring more about the world (and I don't just mean about the countries that might have the nucular power to bring us down, I'm referring mostly to those that don't) then God would stop caring about us? What if he said that everyone who made more than $30,000 better start giving away half of it, or we'd be in danger of losing our salvation? I wonder if we would listen. Sure we might hear about it, but would we really listen? Or would we say, that's just some poor black guy pissed at the world? Would we be willing to invade Iran, not in the military sense, but with bibles and the willingness, not just to die, but to suffer for the kingdom of God? Would we do it? The Bible says that Jesus was prevented from doing miracles in his hometown because of their lack of faith. The Bible also says that though we are faithless, he is faithful. But could our lack of faith be preventing him from reaching in and interfearing with our world? Or, does he do it and our lack of faith keeps us from recognizing it more?

There's no place like...

Last Friday, my wife and I attended a wedding. Well, I should say I attended, my wife was in it. Let me tell you something. A wedding is boring enough when you have your best friend next to you to crack jokes with. It's REALLY boring by yourself. But, in all fairness, after the wedding was over, the post wedding extravaganza was incredible. Lots of food, beer, and dancing. Two of my favorite things (I'll let you decide which one doesn't belong...). Anywho, as boring as weddings are, there is always one part that I enjoy. It was the most anticipated part for me at my wedding, so I'm always interested at other's weddings. It's the part when the bride comes around the corner for the very first time and the groom is seeing his bride in all her glory. What an amazing momment. I had seen my wife a million times before our wedding day, but I had never seen her more beautiful. What a perfect momment. In that momment, nothing else matters. You may have argued in the days leading up to the big one about flowers or DJs or mother-in-laws. You may have fought over the honeymoon destination or the mother-in-law (are you noticing a theme here?). But in that momment, all is right. You don't think of those things. All you can think of (besides the other thing) is how right everything is. I think there is a reason for that. I think there is a reason that you finally feel like you are becoming one. I think it's because you are home. You see, when you are dating, there comes a point on every date where you must go home. After the movie and dinner and making out, no matter how late you stay up or stay out, there comes a time when you go back to where you live and she goes back to where she lives. I think this is why God made man a companion, because it's not good to go home alone. But more than that, it reminds me that we still aren't home. That some day, there will be a time when we are presented in a white dress to our bridegroom. That one day we will be shining in Glory. And on that day, we will be home.


When Baptism Isn't Enough...

I recently came accross this article on Christians and global warming. Apparently some Christians actually believe that if you care about the earth, you're going to hell! Crazy! I think this Joel Hunter makes some sense. I especially like when he talks about working with corporations who have worked with Planned Parenthood in the past. I seem to be noticing a trend of Christians who are tired of the rote Christianity that has been handed them. Like if you are a Christian then you are a republican who hates gays and stem cell research. Now, don't get me wrong. I think there are times to say wrong is wrong. But for too long, I think we've expected too much of non-christians and not enough of Christians. How could Christianity not be leading the charge against global warming? Some have argued that global warming doesn't even exist. That it is something 'science' is making up. Even if that is true, shouldn't we above all people still lead the charge to PREVENT it? Of all people we should be the most grateful for this giant playground that he has given us. My wife and I recently took our dog Athena for a road trip. About 20 minutes outside of Vegas is Red Rock National Conservation Area. I was wowed by the beauty of this place. To think that God created that millions of years ago knowing that someday I would take my out of shape body and try and climb up places I have no business attempting. It was wonderful. So, even if it's selfish. Even if it has nothing to do with obeying his command to take care of the earth, shouldn't we just do it because it's cool to see the Grand Canyon and swim in the Pacific?


What's The Use?

My friend recently found this article about baptism in America. He has since posted three times because of some of the responses to his blogs. Here was my response to his second blog:

I think the problem is probably all semantics. Don't you love the English language! I think there are a lot of people who would say baptism is essential for salvation. But I think if you changed just one word in that sentance, almost everyone who professes Christ would agree with that statement. Because you're right about several things, one of which is that baptism is commanded. Both by Christ and by Paul, I think there would be few who would argue with that. So the question is this, when God commanded Abram to circumcise himself to join in the covenant with him, was it the literal removal of the foreskin that made that covenant a covenant? No, of course not, it was the Word of God. The same is true here. Is it the actual dipping in the water that produces eternal life (both now and forever)? No, it was the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross. The shedding of blood by the perfect Lamb of God. By His wounds we are made whole. So what word should we change? We could change 'baptism' with 'obedience". Would you say obedience is essential for salvation? Hmmm...no, this debate is about baptism, so let's leave that in there. What about th word essential? No, that's the whole debate...And salvation is at the core of what we're talking about. So, how about this: Baptism is essential TO salvation. See what I did there? Kept salvation and baptism and essential in there, but didn't hinge salvation ON baptism, but made it seem incomplete without it. Man am I clever. But seriously, what if we think of it this way. What if for a momment we put Baptism in the same catagory as Repentence. I don't think this is so far a stretch since that one time when the church was just getting going and no body knew anything about nothing so everybody was confused and they figured that that guy who's yelling at them just spent three years with the Son of God, so he just maybe might know something about the subject of eternal life, so they decided to ask him what it took for salvation. They had already believed (since they had been cut to the heart as the good book says) so now what? Well the Rock pulls this one out saying, "REPENT and be BAPTIZED for the forgiveness of your sins." So there's several ways to look at this. On one hand, someone would say, "SEE to be saved you have to do these two things!" Bill Wolf the heretic would say, "no no no, since their sins have been forgiven, they need to repent and be baptized." Well Paul asks this question, "Should we just keep on sinning, knowing that there is nothing in the whole world that we could ever do to seperate us from Christ?" How would you feel when they catch the guys that raped that stripper at Duke if their excuse was, "Well, Jesus will forgive me, so I figured it wasn't that big of a deal." Probably feel a lot like we do when we think of the terrorists who flew planes into the world trade center for the Glory of God. Something's a bit off. Something doesn't match up. So what gives? Well, I think you'd say a follower of Christ would have to be repentant of their sins. That repentance was a basic lesson taught by Christ himself (just ask the woman caught in adultry). I certainly wouldn't want to be the guy standing in front of God on judgement day who accepted him, but then raped and molested little children because he knew Jesus would forgive them. Whether or not God puts him on the right or left, well, frankley that's up to God. But I sure wouldn't want to be in those shoes. Can't like those odds. So then, I think it would be safe to say that anyone who is serious about their relationship with Christ would be serious about their repentance. They would claim it was essential to their faith. That it would be impossible for them to follow Jesus without repentace. That without repentance, their conversion wasn't really serious. That without repentance, the words they said didn't really have any meaning. So take everything I just wrote and insert Baptism into it. On the issue of essential FOR salvation, won't touch it with a seven hundred and seventy seven foot pole. But if you want to ask if it is essential TO salvation...well, I think he's already spoken.