Censorship And A Sock Drawer...

I did something today that I promised myself I would never do.

When I began this blog I teetered with keeping my identity a secret. That's why I'm the anonymous human. I've read reallivepreacher.com for a couple of years now and I really liked the idea of being able to say whatever I wanted without any kind of remorse. Without the thought of offending anyone or worrying about what anyone might think.

I wasn't wanting to write a blog where I could cuss, but a blog where if I cussed, no one would think my salvation was in jeopardy. But ultimately, I realized that if I didn't tell anyone I existed, no one would ever know. And I'm narcissistic enough to want people to comment and tell me how good I am, that I just couldn't keep it a secret.

So then I had to wrestle with saying how I really felt sometimes with what some people I know read this would think if I did. I have really enjoyed the freedom that comes with not being on the pedestal of full time ministry. I enjoy being able to have conversations with people at the poker table and not have to lie to avoid having an awkward conversation with the guy next to me who just told me what he did with his hooker last night. I enjoy just being a christian who ministers to his world. Having beer in the fridge and not worry what image it says.

Yesterday I posted a video about some really stupid people. It was a guy who thought it would be a great idea to dive through a slip and slide drenched in alcohol. Oh yeah, and the alcohol was feeding the bon fire taking place on top of the slip and slide. Well, long story short, he burnt half his body to a crisp and hopefull made himself sterile. After some conversations, I pulled the video....okay, Dad made me take it off, but I don't blame him. The language on there was bad and it showed full frontal male nudity. And lets be honest...who wants to see that?

But the reason I pulled it is because of my brothers. I have three little guys that look up to me and don't always know what's right and wrong. I really wouldn't want to be held responsible when the deck goes up in flames on my parents house and Nic is below it with his slip and slide and a can of gasoline. So, even I have bad judgment calls.

For now, I'll just hide this one in my sock drawer...


No Words...

I came across this little ditty on the youtube. Hilarious.


She DOES love to laugh...

My friend Betsy over at betsy loves to laugh posted this and I thought I would see how bad I could butcher it.

For hours and hours I could...Find something else to do instead of the task that would only take me five minutes.

I feel best about myself...when I look at myself naked in the mirror...I am SEXY!!!!!!!!!

I absolutely cannot stand...bloggers who copy stuff from others...

I am afraid of...the letter Q (I had to work up courage just to type that!)

I love to splurge by...spending money...how else to you splurge? Cause seriously, if there's another way, I would love to save money.

I save by...trying to find new ways not to splurge.

I am trying to work on...finding new ways not to splurge...is this like the same question posted three different ways?

In high school...I was never allowed to splurge.

In college...I was too broke to splurge.

I feel I'm a good mom when...I splurge?

I regret...splurging.

I could never have too many...chocolate chip cookies

And you thought I was going to say splurge now didn't you?


And This Is Why...

The Office is the greatest show on the tele.


I Wonder For Elysium...

I miss drumming.

I was never very good at it, but it wasn't really my fault. The couple of guys at our church that formed a little band were in need of a drummer. They had the equipment but not the body. They had been hired for a show in Ohio and needed someone. So I volunteered and learned in two weeks how to lay down the skinny. I must say it wasn't bad for only two weeks.

The problem is, I never got any better.

I took a personality test one time. I guess it wasn't so much a test as it was a profile. Cause you can't fail. You can only find out you're insane. Anyway, I found out that I enjoy new challenges but get bored easily. It's why I always want new cars. I'm already tired of the one I got.

Looking back, I guess it makes sense. I had a sort term goal and met it. After that, what's to learn? But sitting at my desk today, listening to a little Coldplay made me long to get back behind the skins. Drums are a funny thing you know? I learned to play guitar when I was 16. Of course (once again) I should probably be a lot better than I am now 11 years later, but at least it's something I can pick up everynow and again when I'm at home and bored. But to be a drummer requires an investment. You have to find a place and time to practice when you won't annoy the crap out of everybody. Plus, it's not like you can just bang on any ol' set of pots and pans. Getting a drum set is quite expensive.

So, I'll probably just sit here and miss it. No big deal. I'll get bored with missing it in a few minutes and decide to do something else.

Like write a blog.


I Might Be Slow, But I'll Make It...

One thing that really sucks about not being in full time ministry is just the feeling that you're out of it. There is a whole nother (is that even a word?) cuture that is out there and when you aren't a part of it...well, you aren't a part of it.

It's like when your friends go see a movie in the theaters and you wait till it comes out on DVD. And then you try and bring it up in conversation.

"So...how about "The Usual Suspects" huh? Never saw that coming."

"What? That was like ten years ago."

Anywho, I felt a bit like that yesterday. My church showed a video that Bill Hybels taped with Bono. Now, before you all criticize my speed at coming to the table, let me just ask you a question: Did you know there is a new kind of epoxy for all your retro anchor bolts? You didn't? Man, you're slow.

So, I'm sure this video has been out for a while, but I just saw it and I want to talk about it now. There was so much on there that I identified with. So much that convicted me. And so much that made me love my God. If you haven't seen it yet, I have no idea how to get ahold of one except to pray to Bill Hybels (he is right under Jesus after all) and maybe he'll put one under your pillow when you lose your next tooth.

Something on there that really gripped me was when Bono was talking about christian art. He said that chrisitan art seemed to lack the tension of living for Christ but failing miserably. I thought it a beautiful way of saying christian music sucks. It really caused me to wonder about the whole business side of christianity. It seems in a lot of areas, the only reason we have it is because the product wouldn't survive in the 'real' world without it.

I'm probably rambling here, and this might not make much sense to anyone else, but it furthered my philosophy that it just makes sense to be a christian where you're at with what you're doing. I mean, if christian music was any good, it wouldn't have to survive on christian book stores for most of it's sales or christian publications for most of it's advertising. If it really encapsulated the struggle of being holy in an unholy world, of searching for something beyond, of dealing with everyday life issues, maybe, just maybe, it could make it without the help of the christian market.

Kind of like...oh...I don't know...U2.


A Moment of Silence, Please...

Bubba's dead.

My wife is a kindergarten teacher and as such she recieves a plethora of gifts throughout the year. In her first year of teaching, one parent gave her a Beta fish. It was a beautiful little guy (or girl...couldn't really tell, you know?) with a dark blue main color and some red on his fins and what not. My wife held a contest with her students to name the fish. Somehow, and I'll never understand this, the name "Bubba" beat out the likes of "Fish", "Nemo" and my personal favorite, "Shark".

Well, winter break came and my wife brought Bubba home to take care of him during the break. Somehow, in someway, something happened to Bubba. We thought he had died, but we think now maybe he had a fish stroke. All we know is he could no longer use the right side of his body. He would lay on the bottom of the bowl and just swim around with the left side. Eventually, he could no longer reach the top of the bowl so we had to transfer him to a little dish so it wouldn't take so much effort to get his food. Slowly, but surely, all the color began to fade from his little body. His vibrant blue turned to a more familiar fishy silver. The crimson red now turned to something of a rust color. Not wanting to disappoint the kids, my wife pulled the ol' switcharoo and bought a new beta so her kids wouldn't have to see this now decrepit looking one.

The new "Bubba" looked almost identical and had way more energy than the old "Bubba". When my wife would come home on a break she would place the new Bubba by the old Bubba and it was very sad. The vibrant colors on new Bubba made you feel sorry for old Bubba.

Then a funny thing happened. New Bubba died. After only about 8 months, one morning he was done. And in the little cup next to new dead Bubba was Old Bubba swimming around on his side.
So Old Bubba became something of a legend. Though he looked like a fish version of Skeletor, he continued to be his little retarded fish-self. Soon he became very endearing to us and we even moved him into our master bath vanity so we could say hey to him every morning and make sure he was doing okay.

On Wednesday, April 11th, at approx. 5:15 a.m., Old Bubba met Jesus. He had outlasted New Bubba by almost two years. As I flushed his little body down the toilet, I must admit I was a little sad. Such a survivor.

I felt the need to dignify his life with some sort of remembrance. It may not be much, and only about two of you will read this, but at least it's something....a moment for Bubba.

Single tear.


God Works...

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose."
Romans 8:28 (NIV)

I've known this verse for a long time. It's one I've heard my mom say a thousand times. Behind John 3:16, it's probaby the second greatest promise made in Bible. That no matter what happens, what evil comes along, that there is a chance it will turn out for ultimate good. I say a chance only because there are conditions on this promise. This isn't just blanket, cover-all that everything that happens on earth is ultimately good. No, before the good comes, certain qualifications must be met. But before I get there, let's take a good look at the first part of that verse...

"And we know in all things God works..."

Some translations say "all things work for good". I like the New International Version best. It makes God the subject of the verb 'works' as apposed to 'things' being the subject. And anytime you make God the subject, I think it's a step in the right direction. The greek word for 'works' used there is 'sunergeo' which means, among other things, "be partner in labor". I think of it as, God working with us and through us to turn the evil in this world into good. It's not that the works themselves suddenly turn out that way, but that the creator of the universe takes an active role in working to turn things that are wrong right. To make things the way they ought to be.

"...for the good of those who love him..."

So here we find the first condition. That God only promises (but does not limit his helping) to those who love him. I remember growing up and asking how we are supposed to love God. 99% of the time I was answered with the verse John 14:15, "If you love me, you will obey what I command." This was to imply that doing good deeds, doing the things we are commanded to do is loving Jesus. But that simply isn't true. Jesus says, "If you love me..." meaning we would already love him to do the things he commands us to do. The love would already be inside of us and would manifest itself into action, but the action itself isn't love. The truth is, if we really want to love Jesus, if we really want to love the king of kings, we simply have to accept his gift. To really love Jesus is to say yes to his grace.

"...and have been called according to his purpose."

Here is the second condition. I'm sure there are many interpretations of this last part of the verse. Those on the Calvinist side of the debate would probably use this as a prooftext of predestination and those on the Arminianist side would probably say it's those that follow his will. Since I believe it's both, I can say it is certainly for those on his side of the fence. That while the action of good works isn't a substitute for love, our love can't exist without it. That if we do indeed love Christ, our deeds would reflect it according to his will.

So why the sermon? Because this verse has come to mean a lot to me in the past couple of weeks. As I type, my Grandma is laying in an ICU unit somewhere in Michigan. They just discovered the tumor they removed on Friday was cancerous. They don't know how much more is there. Sunday night she 'coded' which apparently means her heart stopped or was so weak it wasn't pumping blood to the necessary organs. And I have to say God is good.

My grandma is a kind soul. Even if I didn't always agree with their beliefs, they stood up for what they believed and humbly went about their business. She stood by my Grandpa as they started churches from Montana to Tennessee and many places in between. She has a great singing voice and makes a killer ham. How can cancer work for good? Because God's in charge. Because my Grandma understands eternal life doesn't start when you die. Because Jesus is enough good for everybody. It may sound hokey and it may sound trite. But He's either enough or he's not.

If He's not, then he doesn't promise us a thing.

And if He is, then we already know it's true.


In The Year 2000...

When I was growing up, all I ever wanted to be was a rock star (except when I was like in first grade...I wanted to be a doctor so I could look at naked people). Anyway, when I hit high school, some friends of mine put together a little ditty called "Last Exit." We weren't any good, but we were the only local band around for miles, so we kinda won the war of attrition if you know what I mean. It was great though, we made a little E.P. that we sold to our parents and grandparents. We played a couple shows and the occasional CIY. But our crowning acheivement was by far the time we opened up for Skillet. At the time, Skillet was an up and coming christian artist who rocked your face off. We had the concert at our high school and since my church was the one putting it on and I was the one organizing it, I got to choose the opening act. It just so happens Last Exit was free that night so we put together a 20 minute show. There was one song and one song only when I got to leave the dungeon of my drums for the glory of the microphone. It was to make it's debut at the Skillet show. Over 800 people packet the careteria/theater at my high school and cheered me on as I sang Blur's "Song 2." Somewhere there's a pic of me in front of this enormous throng of adoring fans. I love that pic.

After the concert we took Skillet out to the local Applebees for some fine dining. I remember sitting and talking with their then-guitarist Ken. He told us if we really wanted to make it we needed a hook. He suggested we name our band " ". (I only put the quotes in for effect. He didn't make the little gay finger quote things, he just didn't say anything.) He suggested getting a bunch of fruit of the loom white T's that we could sell with our band name and logo on them which would be nothing. I remember it vividly only because it was so funny.

Well, fast forward ten years and we are in the middle of the emo world. Make's me laugh. This whole story is a lead up to a clip I found from some comedy show in Austrailia. Enjoy.