Friday, February 29, 2008

Lost: Season 4, Episode 5



This episode was all about Desmond. The 'name' for the Episode was called, "The Constant". The 'constant' was about the only thing that I understood in this episode.

There are definitely "time" issues that are going on and I do not think that we fully have the answers to how they are fully working. I am really wanting to know how this "time" is really working and if the "time" is going to be what the show will all be about in the end.

One of the interesting things are the 'small' hints that may be in the show that you do not know are hints. I watch a little bit of last weeks episode with the "pop-ups" I think that the book that "Sawyer" was reading was a HUGE TIP. Of course, I had no idea about the book (never read it) so I did not make the connection .... anyways ...

We almost got an answer or beginning of an explanation from Faraday but the explanation was interuppted with the call from the Freighter.

What we did learn was that if you have a "constant" you can hold on and make the transitions in and out and for Desmond, the constant is Peggy. Because of his back/forth and meeting with Faraday; he told Penny he would contact her in 8 years. Here is the recap of the last minute of the show and Desmond making the call. With him being in/out of time; he at the time did not know Sayid.

Final Moments

Desmond is back on the freighter. Desmond quickly repeats Penny's number to Sayid, and the call goes through. Desmond waits as it rings, hoping it goes through. Then, "Hello?" Penny picks up. Desmond can't believe she answered, and Penny can't believe he called. She asks where he is, and he explains he's been on an island. He asks if she still cares about him, and she says yes. She's been searching for him for three years. She knows about the island, she's been doing research on it. A burst of static drowns her out. She comes back in and says when she talked to Charlie, she knew he was still alive. Desmond tells Penny he loves her and always will. Penny says no matter what, she'll find him. She loves him and then the phone goes dead. The battery died, but it was enough. Desmond recognizes Sayid and is all right now.

Next Week:
Juliet is the key figure.

Season Update:
With the writers strike over. Lost announced that they were going to add 5 more episodes to this season. We will have 6-8 the next 3 weeks. We will then have a month break. 9-13 will resume on April 24.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

It is Heating Up

The day for voting is coming closer and the candidates are making their big push to win the voters over. I have received emails to go and listen to Bill Clinton on Friday and then an invite to listen to Chelsea on Saturday.

Bill Clinton is in town here in Wooster.
Chelsea Clinto is in Akron (45 mins).

Chelsea's visit in Akron is bring numerous woman out who are in leadership positions. They seem to be trying to "nail" down the woman votes with this pit stop.

Maybe, I will post more on these later.

Now, there is something else is "heating up" and that is the Obama / McCain spit fest over Iraq. I think that Obama painted himself in the corner a little and he is grasping for anything to get out of it. I am sure that he wishes that he could have his comments about Iraq back during the debate.

Eye Tattoo



Ummmm, that looks like that would HURT !!!

He wanted to be the first to get his eye tattoed. He succeeded. No word yet if he can see still or how he is feeling and no photo of the final picture; it is still healing.

It look over 40 incisions to accomplish the look that he was going for.

I do not make too many guarantees in life but here is one that I can be certain about. I will NEVER get my eye tattoed.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Clinton Edges Obama in Debate



Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton signs autographs after a debate with Barack Obama February 26 in Cleveland, Ohio. The gloves came off between Clinton and Obama Tuesday as they traded hard-hitting jabs at possibly the final debate of their marathon White House tussle.

I watched the debate last night and I believe that Clinton once again "beat" him in th debate format and has significant strength in a few key issues that we are/will face as a nation over the next few years.

However, Obama has been gaining great steam over the last month and a half. Not only has he been winning all the states recently and by a good margin; he has been eloquent in his speeches and his grassroot support is mind-blowing with nearly a million people giving money to the campaign.

I think that Clinto needed to give a few knock-out punches to secure Ohio and Texas and "stay in the race" and I DO NOT think that she did it. Yes, I think that she "won" the debate but not in a convincing enough way to "move" voters to her camp.
It looks like she may win Ohio but I do not think she will make progress in other areas.

It was interesting to watch some of the after-the-debate-coverage and listen to the "professionals". The things that I liked about the debate di not "sit well" with the professionals. Here are some of the examples:

- Health Insurance Conversation
- Hilary Clinton "joke" regarding SNL

I think that the Health Insurance debate which last 16 mins was very critical. Helth Insurance is a very hot topic and IS going to be a big platform for the Democratic Party. Thus, they need to debate this and get it ot on thetable. I still think that there is at least 1 unanswered question that both canidates need to answer.

The questions (in clear answer form) would be the following:

Clinton: How do you plan to cover everyone with insurance and how do you rebuke the claims on it being a mandate even if they can not afford it ?

Obama: The mystery number of 15 million os thrown around that would not be covered, yet you say they (all) will be covered; can you explain the gap ?

There were many other issues that were coveed and ones that I may dive into later but the two that I believe that will be very importat to individuals will be the following:

- NAFTA
- Foreign Policy

So, did you watch and what did you think ? I will give more thought / input in comment sections if anyone wants to discuss.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Every Christian Will Want One

I received an email with this as the headline today. I thought, "boy, I can not wait to see what this will be." Well, here was the answer:



It is the Left Behind game. Um, you are kidding me, right ? Every Christian will want one ?? Maybe, I will be the only one but I do not want one.

However in case you are itching for it and maybe getting it for free and using the game as an evangelistic tool; then click on the link and go for it.

http://www.leftbehindgames.com/free/

Monday, February 25, 2008

Obama Vs. Clinton Debate



As a person who receives information from the candidates, I received an email from the Clinton campaign to join them for some debate parties. The debate is tomorrow and I do not think that I am going to be able to go and pull it off.

I would be interested in watching the debate with a group of individuals and enjoying great food while watching it and then hearing everyones' action or reaction to the debate.

The debate is going to be at Cleveland State.

In the last debate, I thought Obama did a good job. He has improved over the last year. However, I still think he shows a little weakness in the debate when he is away from his polished speeches when he has down pat - even w/o notes and propters.

In the Clevelad paper, they had an article about how the event was being paid for. It is paid by individuals who want to see the debate and meet the candidates and have some "extras". Look at some of these costs ....

The party is offering "sponsorship" debate packages that include behind-the-scenes tours of the debate site, a pair of VIP cocktail parties at the Terrace Club at Jacobs Field and debate tickets, topping out at $50,000 per package.

In the fund-raising plea, billed as a debate invitation from "the Ohio Democratic Party and Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson," corporate sponsorship packages are hawked from the $50,000 level on down to $15,000. Individual sponsorships are also available for $25,000 for 25 debate tickets on down to $2,000 for a pair of debate seats.

"The Democratic Party is committed to running a public lottery in a fair and open way, and we are doing that," Goepfert said. "We are not selling tickets, we are selling sponsorships."

The bold is my emphasis. That just cracks me up (a little). It is kinda like selling tixs at higher prices and indicviduals claiming the price is not for the tix but the tshirt that comes with the tix.

Yah, Yah, I know not exactly the same but that is what I thought.

Maybe, I can sneak away and go to a watch party ......

Save Me From Myself



The book that I finished today was called: Save Me From Myself: How I found God, Quit Korn, Kicked Drugs, and Lived to Tell My Story. This is the stroy of Brian "Head" Welch, who was the lead guitarist of Korn.

To me, this was a very interesting book. I do not read many autobiographies but this was a good book and a good read. He did a great job in sharing his story from childhood to the present. He shared how he grew up, how he came into the band and his struggles and how he overcomed the struggles.

One of the things that he shares is that when the "story" broke, CNN & MTV followed him and wanted to do stories about him and see if this was the "real deal". Here is a piece that CNN did years ago:



Since the piece ended, the song that he wrote was to/about 50 Cent.

Overall, I think that the book was very good and I am glad that when this came as a reccommend read to me via Amazon that I took them up on it.

Hilary Clinton on Obama's Messiah Charachter

Here we go. Over the next 8 days, I am going to open myself up and place a lot of "political" agenda on my blog. I am going to be all over the board. I will also be showing things that I support and things that I do not support. This is to hopefully promote discussion.

Yesterday, I posted a post on Do not Vote for Obama. The information that I posted was a direct letter that we received. I do not agree with the letter and I think that they took the letter to the extreme. It came from the right. However, Clinton has picked up on it and is now using it in her campaign.

Here is the video and some comments underneath it:



Words from Hilary:

Let's just get everybody together. Let's get unified. The sky will open. The light will come down. Celestial choirs will be singing. And everyone should know we will do the right thing and the world will be perfect.

Words from Obama Supporter

The unmistakable implication here is that Obama's supporters are delusional because they believe that Obama is the messiah. For Clinton, it is certainly an unusual tactic she is employing to persuade the millions of Democrats who support Obama to switch and support her. Essentially, she is saying that if you support Obama you're an idiot who has been duped by a man pretending to be the messiah.

It is going to be a great finish to the Democrat Primary. In the days to come, I am going to do a why to vote for / vote against each one of them.

Lost: Season 4, Episode 4



The episode was about Kate. So far this year, each episode has focused on one particular charachter and this week was Kate's turn.

I have to admit that, once again, I came away scratching my head at a few parts and trying to decipher what is really going on. But, that is what the draw of LOST is for me. There are so many unknowns and so many possible twist.

Back to Kate ....

1. Kate cut a deal with Miles (Locke's prisoner) to find out what he knows about her. She gives him one minute with Ben. Miles tries to extort 3.2 million from Ben and Miles reveals to Kate that he knows everything.

2. Kate gets bannised from the 'camp' because of what she did. Locke is "running" the show. In the meantime, Kate goes and spends one last night with Sawyer and we find out (at least we think) that Kate is not pregnant and can't be.

3. Kate has a flashforward where we see her getting out of her prison sentence by taking probation. Her mother does not testify, Jack is a charachter witness. They meet briefly afterwards and Kate says that they can not go out or meet till Jack sees Aaron.

Jack / Kate / Aaron ....

Okay, so we are led to believe that Aaron is Claire's baby. Now this brings alot of questions:

- Why does Kate have the baby ?
- Why will Jack not see the baby ?
- Are Jack and Claire half-brother / half sister ?
- What about Claire's pysic (seasons back) about her needing to raise the baby

Desmond & Sawyer

At the survivors camp, they have the individuals contact the freighter and when they do; they realize that the helicopter did not reach them. The helicopter and Desmond are going to be the focus of next week ( this thursday) episode.

Locke

The grenade in Miles mouth ... ahhhhhh

The Crash

Jack states that the crash only had 8 survivors and 2 of them died to get to the Oceanic 6 and that Kate was responsible for the survivors.

I am really curious to why this is the tory. This also brings out numerous questions:

Why do the "6" stick to this story ?
Where are the individuals who rescued them with their story ?

I have no clue. I need to read some details.

Next week, we see the plane and learn more about Desmond.

Here is to LOST

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Don't Vote for Obama



We, in Ohio, are 9 days away from our primaries and this is the fax that was waiting for us in the office today ....

As a husband and wife, we write with urgency regarding a matter that greatly concerns us. Christ is our Messiah, yet many in our state today are swooning over a man who rallies have a 'messianic" appeal; a man who preaches hope and promises change.

Matthew's Gospel warns us:

CHAPTER 7

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves (15).

CHAPTER 24

Take heed that no man deceives you. For many shall come in my name, saying, i am the Christ; and shall deceive many (vs. 4-5)

And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many (11)

For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect (v. 24)

What does this man's evangelical eloquence conceal? One who temorizes with abortion, and who would negotiate with the enemies of freedom? A man whose spiritual advisor preaches revolution, and openly admires the Nation of Islam.

Is this the hope that we long for? Is this the change that we seek?

May we appeal to you, our Christian friend, to in turn warn your friends not to be seduced by a hope that will disappoint and a change that could terrify the children of God!

With Sincerity,

From Christians in Columbus

- - - - - - -

Just passing on info that came to me. I am NOT endorsing this document as TRUTH

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Glow in the Dark



Book Description

Got your faith? Check. Got your sphere of influence? Check. Got the entire world crying out for a breath of fresh air, a ray of light providing a glimmer of hope? Check, check. Now it’s your turn to make a significant impact on your world. Starting with you—your mind and deeds—Glow in the Dark will make you aware of your often overlooked beliefs, thought-patterns, and habits. Then, by concentrating on your family, church, workplace, and culture, you’ll see just how far a little light—you!—can go. The change begins when you’re willing to let God use you in every area of life.

My Thoughts

When I picked up the book and began to read the book, I knew that this one was going to be a little challenging for me. The book would push me into some uncomfortable places. The reason for this is that at times, the book is filled with what I like to call, "evangelism cheese". However, as I am looking for and at the books that I am going to read for 2008 (my goal is 75); I am hoping to be diverse.

Even though there were numerous places in the book that made me cringe, made me roll my eyes and whisper, "ooooh, brother", there were elements that really rang true and that I thought were very good.

The book was a good example of looking for nuggets of true and inspiration in places that you normally would not look at or expect. Thus, I will share with you some of the paragraphs that I liked and parts will give you a glipse of what the book covers.

Inside Book Flap

Recognize the battle for the lost souls and impact the kingdom of heaven! Glow in the Dark will show you how to:

- See in the Dark by Thinking Biblically
- Shine Through the Dark by Living Righteously
- Pass the Torch by Building a Healthy Family
- Become a City on the Hill by Building a Healthy Church
- Display the Flame by Impacting Your Marketplace
- Light Up the Flame by Influencing Your Culture

Development of Book

We will begin our book by addressing the nature of this war and its most important and most vulnerable front - the mind.

Next, we will look briefly at some of the challenges in our society and how each of us can make a difference.

Finally, the balance of the book will deal with the solutions. We are big believers in glancing at the problem (thinking critically) and gazing at the solutions (having a positive, can-do spirit).
(pg. 14)

Highligh Paragraphs to me

Imagine a time when the body of Christ works like one organism, where every part is healthy and performing at its peak. Imagine a time when society takes on the face of the church rather than the other way around. Imagine a time when the body of Christ is known by its love - by what it is for instead of what it is against. Imagine a time when the body of Christ actually glows in the dark places of the world. (pg. 100)

It is not too big of a goal to expect God to use us in the communities in which He's placed us! Is our faith big enough to believe that we could be a change agent in the community? 9pg. 112)

Ultimaley, this book is about leaving a legacy, what we leave in our wake, what kind of impact we make, how we allow God to use us. It is about choosing to live in such a way that lives are different because of our influence (pg. 142)

Progressive Discipleship:

- Be a Model
- Take the Initative
- Multiply Yourself

(pgs. 152 - 160)


Christian Evangelism Cheese

This is my term. One that I know that 'offends' some and to some the statement irritates because they take it to think that I do not take the "gospel" seriously; that is not the case. Below is an example from the book that fits into the 'christian evangelism cheese':

Ron was on an airplane flight and here is the conversation that occurred:

Ron's Seatmate: So, what do you do ?
Ron: I am an ambassador
Ron's Seatmate: You're a what?
Ron: I'm an ambassodor
Ron's Seatmate: What country do you represent?
Ron: Oh, I represent something far larger than a country
Ron's Seatmate: Oh, what do you represent?
Ron: I represent a kingdom
Ron's Seatmate: What kind of kingdom?
Ron: The biggest! Whereever I go, I represent the King and His kingdom. I'm an ambassodor of Jesus Christ.

He then shared 2 Corinthians 5

(pg. 51)

Depending on where you are at, you may, you may not like this book. But, I think that you can pick it up from Amazon for $ 1.99; so it might fit in the budget.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Lent: Friday, Second Week

Yes or No

The devotional today was thought provoking for me today.

The devotional touched based with Abraham as he set out to follow God even though he did not know where he was going.

We are called by Jesus. He says, "follow me". We have an invitation, what will we do with that invitation? For me, it comes down to one word - trust. Trusting God is being in the right relationship for God.

In Romans 4:3, we see the following Scripture:

Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness

So, what are we to do ?

We are to trust and we are to follow Jesus throughout the day; no matter where we go or where he has called us to be.

Prayer

Help me expect great things from you, Lord, as I try to do great things for you.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Lent: Thursday, Second Week

Promises, Promises

Abraham is used as the backdrop. He had some 'audacious' promises that were given to Him. If you follow one of the 'lectionary' readings; this may have been your reading last week. When he heard the promises, he trusted God and set out.

For those who do not know all the geneology; from Abraham's son (Issac) came the Israelites. Six hundred +/- years later, they received the promised land. Today, you and I are "blessed" by Jesus, a son of Abraham.

Prayer

Give me the assurance of all your wonderful promises.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Life After Church



Life After Church is a book that is written by Brian Sanders. This book was fantastic. I enjoyed reading the book and grabbing a hold of to some of his insights. I have numerous underlines in this book, many folded pages and a few YES, YES AND YES'ES written by statements. I will post a few of the highlights for me in this post, along with the Amazon description of the book.

Here we go:


Product Description (from Amazon)

Life without church. It's getting easier to imagine. And maybe you already left. A leaver, then. Committed to Jesus, not an institution. Perhaps you've left your church in spirit, remaining in the pew. Outwardly silent. Secretly bored. In either case, Brian Sanders has a word for you. Out of his own experience as a leaver, Brian distills the complex problem into two viable options: Stay. Remain in your church with the blessing of Christ and in the power of his great vision for the church to come. Take the path of revolutionary leaving. Move purposefully, seeking the kingdom of God that is beyond institutions. Whether Sunday mornings find you alone in a one-bedroom apartment or isolated in a church of thousands, Brian reminds you that the choice is yours. Reform the church that is Christ's. Be it from the inside out, or the outside in.

He believed that he was being called to leave the church and shared with his readers the journey and his insights. He reference the book process by sharing that what prompted him in this journey was a question the preacher asked at church during the sermon. The question was the following:

What does the Holy Spirit what you to do. For him, he thought the answer was Leave. On page 15, with that in your mind, this is what he states:

The questioned that awakened this internal conversation in me that day is a variation on the question that this book will address: Is it really possible that God might be actually leading Christians to leave the church? Certainly people leave churches every day for myraid reasons.

Now, let me say, this book is good for everyone. It is not just good for those who are wrestling with the question; should I leave the church. This book will help you wrestle with your faith and what we may be doing "as church".

In a later post, maybe tomorrow, I will share about his thoughts in chapter 4; which dealt with Our Building Project: The Leavers Reconstruction of Church. I think that this was one of my favorite chapters and the insights are too many to contain in a paragraph.

Here is one of my favorite paragraphs in the book:

The church sits as the only institution with the resources to transform the face of the planet Earth to a place of justice, peace, and equity, a place without sufferring. We have the message (gospel), we have the leader (Jesus), we have the example (sacrifice), and we have the power(love). The church has neverless lost its way. On the one hand, we are capable of so much, and on the other hand we are accomplishing so little (pg. 100).

That just "fires" me up. We can do so much and yet, we really do so little.

He shares the "vision" of some of the "leavers" and this just resonates in my soul and I do not see why people can ot stand behind the following:

We believe in a kingdom where the subjects don't rest until everyone is treated like human being: love, respected, forgiven, accepted. Where every child is seen as the bearer of the fingerprint of God. Where the Third World problems are first priority. Where we fight, scratch and bleed until there is no more child prostitution, no more slave labor, no more racial profiling, no more hate crimes.

We believe in a kingdom whre little girls look at themselves in the mirror and say, "I am just right." Where the little boys fight for the weakest among them and never for themselves. Where hope is alive because we hold before our eyes the vision of Jesus both crucified and risen. Where sufferring is our joy because we found worthy to suffer for Christ. Where, as Jesus died at Gethsemane, see see the price we must pay and pay it, embracing the suffering before us and demonstrating the inexhaustible power of the one who calls us, the one who went before us, the one who receives us - Jesus the Christ (pg. 117).


To those paragraphs, I scream, "Amen!"

More from this book later. There is the description and three of my favorite paragraphs; among many. I definitely reccommend this book and then ask you to share the info with those you come into contact with.

Lent: Wednesday, Second Week

Why suffering?

I am not sure if the devotion today was good timing or bad timing. It would be all in how you look at the situation. There are many individuals who throw up there hands and ask many questions and a lot of times; it boils down to this:

Why, in the world is there suffering?

When it hits close to home, it is obviously more personal. I know for myself and my family that we have grappled with this question frequently. There seems to be suffering. however, we know that the suffering by others are far worse than what we are going through.

The "answer" in the devotion is that there is no answer. Well, to be techical it says, rather than having an answer to a question, we have a God that makes us more than conquerors.

There is a sentence in the devotion that I will wrestle with and grapple and here it is:

Often in tragedy our struggle is to let go of what we no longer can have, in order to receive the new good which God has waiting for us.

What do you think of the statement ?
Do you believe that statement to be true ?
Are you currently struggling ?

So, we cling onto Jn 3:16 and go; in spite of what is happening, God loves us and will win for us.

Prayer

Be with me in my deep valleys. Carry me when I falter; they're your footsteps in the sand.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Interfaith Partnership

This morning, I had the opportunity to go to WAIP (Wooster Area Interfaith Partnership). This is an organization that I am looking at getting involved in. I am going to have to see if I can adjust some calendaring to make it a reality for myself though. Their meeting times, contradict another engagement.

So, what is WAIP ?

WAIP is a group of people in ministry from a diverse faith background in the Wooster area. We come together to promote religious understanding, tolerance and to provide an interfaith witness to the community.

Our goals include:

- To create an interfaith community based on understanding, friendship and trust

- To educate adherents and the public about customs and practices of faith traditions

- To provide interfaith public worship and ceremonies expressing local and global concerns

- To promote social justice, peace and human dignity

I really enjoyed meeting a few of the individuals from the local faith groups and look forward to partnering with them in many different aspects and ventures. I believe that this will be a great step for me in getting more "grounded" in the community and helping Wooster become even a better place for us to live.

Lent: Tuesday: Second Week

Believe in Him

Today's Lenten devotional did not resonate with me. However, I attempt to grab a hold of something in everything that can be positive and give me the "nugget" that I need at the time and maybe this is the sentence from the devotional:

So, our worth is affirmed by nothing less than the willingness of the Son of God to lead us through death and resurrection, so that we can be the children of God.

Prayer

I believe. Help my unbelief, Lord.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Lent: Monday, Second Week

I did not do a Lent post for this weekend (Saturday and Sunday). On Saturday, we were in West Virginia all day and this Sunday was a little hectic and sporadic with church events.

So, here is to me, to get back in the groove ....

The devotional reading for today was entitled: New Life The scriptural backdrop for today was the very familiar verse: John 3:16

Today's devotional was pretty straightforward with it's message. The message was the following: God's in charge, and God has wondrously provided a way to rescue us.

It really is amazing that God of the universe decided to become human and live among us. Not only that but when He came; He defeated sin, death and the devil and with those defeats; he gave us eternal life.

Prayer

In your mercy give me a new birth into this new life.

A Practical Joke

Spring Training is here in baseball and practical jokes can be abundant; this to me was a funny practical joke.



Of course, if he knew the baseball rules, he would know that they are not allowed to trade out of MLB but that is another story.

Consuming Jesus



Consuming Jesus: Beyone Race and Class Divisions In a Consumer Church by Paul Louis Metzger is the latest book that I finished. I read this book in one day, Saturday, while at my parents house. The book may be a little too scholarly and indepth to do that. It may be a book that needs to be read and chewed upon a little before proceeding.

There were a few paragraphs that really stood out to me and I will share them with you:

It seems to justify not bothering with breaking down racial barriers, since they would only distract us from "church growth". And so the most segregated racist instituition in America, the eveangelical church, racks up the numbers, declaring itself "successful" oblivious to the fact that the dismemberent of the body of Christ brodcast to the world every day a hypocrisy as blantant as Peter's at Antioch - a living denial of the truth of the Gospel. (page 9)


We often assign value today based on need and usefulness. In a consumer-oriented, free-market society, the value of something increases when the demand for it increases; thus the value is not inherent, but imposed. This is true of products but also with people: we often treat people as commodities, not as person in communion. Human value is based on usefulness and likeability. the same holds true for churches; churches provide religious products, and their value depends on how many people are attracted to the religious goods and services they provide.
(pg. 46)

If we fail to take Christ's cross work seriously and fail to suffer with those who suffer and give to those in need, especially believers, we trample the Son of God underfoot. (pg. 105)

Christian and churches should glory in what they have in common with one another and with the world in these ventures - more than preoccupying themselves with what seperates them. (pg. 159)

Those were some of the statements that stood out to me for various reasons. Now, if you picked up the copy of my book, you would see 100+ things underline and marked for me to remember. There are also stories and illustrations in the book that made me shake my head and question how there are so many arrogant Christians out there. To give you a final summary of the book, I will list the opening paragraph in the Afterword:

Consuming Jesus is a powerful book. But it s more than a book. It has the potential to serve as a catalyst for a movement whereby the evangelical community repents of its consumerist heart and practices and responds to God all-consuming love to tackle the pressing race and class problems in the church and broader culture today. It has been a long time coming.

I would recommend the book; however, I will say that at times it is a little deep and I think at times a little repetitive. But it is a book that needs to be written and a book that hopeful will help us push aside some of the consumeristic mindset; help us consume Jesus and for us to reconcile with one another no matter our race or class.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Pagan Christianity



This is the revised version that just recently came out by Frank Viola and George Barna. the official title of the book is called: Pagan Christianity: Exploring the Roots of our Church Practices.

There has been a lot of commotion about the book; thus I was very interested in taking a look at it and see what all the fuss is about. After reading the book, in a sense, I can see where some would be upset but then again, I really have no clue why you would be 9if that makes sense).

Here is a good write-up that explains the premise of the book:

Have you ever wondered why we Christians do what we do for church every Sunday morning? Why do we "dress up" for church? Why does the pastor preach a sermon each week? Why do we have pews, steeples, choirs, and seminaries? This volume reveals the startling truth: most of what Christians do in present-day churches is not rooted in the New Testament, but in pagan culture and rituals developed long after the death of the apostles. Coauthors Frank Viola and George Barna support their thesis with compelling historical evidence in the first-ever book to document the full story of modern Christian church practices.

Sorting Out Truth From Tradition

Many Christians take for granted that their church’s practices are rooted in Scripture. Yet those practices look very different from those of the first-century church. The New Testament is not silent on how the early church freely expressed the reality of Christ’s indwelling in ways that rocked the first-century world.

Times have changed. Pagan Christianity leads us on a fascinating tour through church history, revealing this startling and unsettling truth: Many cherished church traditions embraced today originated not out of the New Testament, but out of pagan practices. One of the most troubling outcomes has been the effect on average believers: turning them from living expressions of Christ’s glory and power to passive observers. If you want to see that trend reversed, turn to Pagan Christianity, a book that examines and challenges every aspect of our contemporary church experience.

Are We Really Doing Church “By the Book?”

Why does the pastor preach a sermon at every service? Why do our church services seem so similar week after week? Why does the congregation sit passively in pews?

Not sure? Pagan Christianity makes an unsettling proposal: Most of what present-day Christians do in church each Sunday is rooted not in the New Testament, but in pagan culture and rituals developed long after the death of the apostles. Authors Frank Viola and George Barna support their thesis with compelling historical evidence and extensive footnotes that document the origins of our modern Christian church practices.

In the process, the authors uncover the problems that emerge when the church functions like a business organization rather than the living organism it was created to be. As you reconsider Christ’s revolutionary plan for His church—to be the head of a fully functioning body in which all believers play an active role—you’ll be challenged to decide whether you can ever do church the same way again.

I think that the interesting thing about the book that it is a history lesson about why we do things in the church and how they came about. There are a lot of people who claim that we do things by the book (1st century Christianity - NT) and then you take a look at what they are doing and they really have "pagan aspects" in their worship.

when you come confronted with this then you need to wrestle with that aspect and see if it really matters where it came from and if it is helping to 'fulfill' god's purpose or should we strip them out. If you choose to strip them out then the landscape of the church culture will shift dramatically.

For those interested, here are the chapter listings:

Chapter 1: Have We really Been Doing it by the books
Chapter 2: The Church Building
Chapter 3: The Order of Worship
Chapter 4: The Sermon
Chapter 5: The Pastor
Chapter 6: Sunday Morning Costumes
Chapter 7: Ministers of Music
Chapter 8: Tithing and Clergy Salaries
Chapter 9: Baptism and the Lord's Supper
Chapter 10: Christian Education
Chapter 11: Reapproaching the New Testament
Chapter 12: A Second Glance at the Savior

For me, it was a very good read to see where everything came from and how it plays into our church. I do believe and know that there are a lot of things that we do do not come out of the early church. A lot can be traced back to 'pagan' thoughts that made their way into our lives and churches.

The chapter that 'hit home' for me in particular was Chapter 2. I think that we as churches have done a injustice with the amount of money that we have spent on our buildings. Thus, the chapter was a chapter for me to think about heavily.

Then there was some things for me to chew on with Moody and Graham. How their works
and their lives have shaped us and how their thoughts have impacted the church are things that need to looked at.

If you choose to pick up the book and read it; here is the warning from George and Frank: Be prepared for a rude awakening as you find out how off track our current religious practices are.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Lost: Season 4, Episode 3

Wow .... what a twist with Sayid. I have NO IDEA what that was about and the last 15 seconds with him getting the bullet pulled out - who was doing it and who he is working for ..... whoa

I am so confused but I am loving it

Lent: Friday, First Week

The Choice

This devotion was about sin and our choice to ignore it or to confess it to God. The devotion was based on Gen 3 with Adam and Eve pointing their fingers at one another and blaming each other or the serpent for their bad choice.

In life, daily, we have choices. We can make choices that are pleasing to god or displeasing to him. When we fail, sin, we have the opportunity to be close to God; by allowing Him to bind us with forgiveness.

There were two key scriptures, one from the Old Testamet and one from the New Testament. These come from the Jeff Version.

Psalms 32:5 - God, I came to you and I confessed to you all of my wrongdoings and because of your greatness; you forgave me of my sins and wiped my guilt free.

1 John 1:9 - God is a faithful and just God and He will forgive us of our sins and He will wipe out all of our unrighteousness; if we come to Him and condess our sins.

Prayer

Help me come clean, so you can make me clean

Thursday, February 14, 2008

John McCain

I can not stand his smile :)

Lent: Thursday, First Week

Coup d'etat

This devotion was based on the last temptation in the wilderness (Matthew 4:8-9). The devil was going to give Jesus EVERYTHING. All He had to do was bow down and worship Satan. He could have had it all ......

One small problem, the world is not the devil's to give. However, we often have the "world" waved before our noses. We have things that are placed in front of us like a golden carrot ... it is there for the taking. But, once again, it then is about us and selfishness and that is not what we are called for.

So, how did Jesus handle the pressure and the temptation ? He looked at Satan and gave him some more scripture to chew on "worship the lord your God and serve only him".

There is a scripture that is in Romans and it says, "every mouth may be silenced, and the whole world held accountable to God".

We need to be humbled. We are not God and we need to look to him and we need to place ourselves into Him. We need to worship Him and we need to serve Him.

Prayer

Lord, against thee, thee only have I sinned

Birthday Party

Thanks to my wife, I am able to make this post and do it in minutes. She did all the work on the pics. i saved them and inserted them in and it took no time at all.

On Sunday, we had jacob's and Bethany's birthday party. Jacob's is on the 7th (he turned 9) and Bethany's today, the 14th 9she turned 5).

We had a combined birthday party at the pool. They had a good time and had a few friends each there. Here are some of the photos:

Jacob and his Balloon



Bethany and her Balloon



Hanging in the Pool



Bethany and her Girls



Jacob and the Boys



Stacey and Bethany ( mommy and bee )



One of the neat things for me to see was that there were a lot of children and parents from "church" that were there. It was just great to be with everyone outside of Sunday morning and it was kinda fitting with the message that spoken.

To My Wife ....



Happy Valentine's Day.

Thank you for everything that you do for me and the love that you continue to shower to me. The last 15 years with you have been very fantastic. I am thoroughly looking forward to the next 50+ years with you.

You truly are an amazing woman that has wonderful strenght.

Thanks for being a fantastic wife. I do appreciate it; even though I probably do not lift you up enough about that. You are wonderful in my eyes.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Lost: 1 of the 6



He is one of the six. He will be revealed tomorrow night. Remember, you did not hear it here.

My Back and Neck



Well, I went to get the results of my test yesterday at the chiropractor. The news from them was not overly good. I have quite a few problems in my neck and upper back.

In particular, my cervical and thoractic are not in good shape. I have a few vertebrates that have no spacing and are rubbing together and a few that have v spacing with them being pinced nerves.

My motion and strength is weaker than the right side ad I am shorter on the left side as well. Then add a splash of scoliosis in the neck area of the spine and you have a little understanding of why I am in pain at times.

The good thing about the news and diagnosis is that, i now know why I have been in pain and they did find items on the xray, so they know at least where the trouble spots are and can at least develop of strategy to treat me.

I am on a 10-week treatement plan and we will see how it works and how I am feeling after the 10 weeks are up. maybe, this will help me in the physical aspect of my Wellness '08 plan.

My first appointment is this afternoon, I will let you know how it goes.

Lent: Wednesday, First Week

Today's devotion was called: Most Devious, Most Subtle

This devotion was based off of Matthew 4:5-7. This passage is where Satan tempted Jesus to throw himself off the temple. Satan assurred Jesus that he could call out to God and nothing at all would happen - He 9Jesus) would be saved from harm.

Jesus did not "bite" and was willing and able to see through the temptation and answer Satan with Scripture. Jesus said, "You don't put God to the test".

It can be a struggle to not put God to the test. I think that many times that we get in a trap of thinking that God "owes" us. I know that through our family struggles with premature babies, miscarriage, medical woes, financial hardship, car wreck and chuyrch caos that at times, we can look up to God and go, "why is this happening to us".

As stated in the devotion, "there are times in which our faith and obedience feed our pride and tempt us to reverse who is God and who is the servant."

Prayer

I cry with Paul, "wretched man that I am, who will rescue me?"

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Lent: Tuesday, First Week

Today's devotional was on priorities. I think that priorities are extremely important and I think tat most individuals do not have their priorities "in check".

The scripture that we looked at was the temptations of Jesus out in the wilderness. In the scripture, we see Jesus do what we are unable to do many of the times. He kept his priorities straight and did not let the good keep him from the better and best.

For you see, turning the stone to bread (Matthew 4) in itself is not "evil". Bread is good. However, it is what is behind turning the stones into bread symbolozies that does not make it the wise thing to do.

As mentioned, we need to have our priorities in order. This is not a newslfash. We can see the example very early on (the first sommandment). We need to love God and have Him first in our life.

The final sentence was very good: What happens when we face a choice? Satan's strategy is to use God's good gifts to keep us from God.

Prayer

Lord, help me remember who is really number one.

Sermon Introduction

The service went very good. Here is the scripture and the introduction of the message. I will not post the whole sermon; this will just be to give you a feel of the direction that the sermon went .......

Scripture: Romans 12:9-21

This morning, I want us to take a look at the passage that we just read. The scripture that was read is from the book of Romans. Many individuals would claim that this is one of their most favorite books in the Bible.

The book of Romans is a book that is very deep in theological meaning and covers numerous aspects of the Christian faith. When you take a look at the first eleven chapters, we see many issues that are covered.

However, in chapter 12, a transition takes place. Remember the scripture that we read was from chapter 12 and we took a look at versus 9-21. In these versus we see that Paul shows us that a life sacrificed to God will lead to a life that is transformed – changed – into a life that is acceptable to God. Chapter 12 demands a changed life.

Let us briefly take a look at what Luther had to say about Romans chapter 12: St. Paul teaches the true liturgy and makes all Christians priests, so that they may offer, not money or cattle, as priests do in the Law, but their own bodies, by putting their desires to death. Next he describes the outward conduct of Christians whose lives are governed by the Spirit; he tells how they teach, preach, rule, serve, give, suffer, love, live and act toward friend, foe, and everyone. These are the works that a Christian does, for as I have said, faith is not idle.

Now, Luther mentioned that there were outward conducts that would be displayed in our lives which then would also be transparent into the lives of our churches. But, a dilemma has taken place over the years. Some of these dilemmas include the fact that we have become a very individualistic society. We in turn have lost the concept of what true Christian community and thus, the church has lost what it was designed for.

So, today, I am going to take a small look at the church and community of believers and then look at the community (town) that we live in and see how this passage can help reshape us into what God has designed us to be. We will then have a challenge for you to take that next step.

The church is not an organization, nor is it a system, nor is it a structure, nor is it in an institution. It does not begin with a methodology, or a creed, or a formula. It does not even begin with leadership. INSTEAD the church is a group of followers of Jesus Christ who God has brought together so they can walk through life with one another.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Lent: Monday, First Week

The title of today's devotion was called: Bottome Line

The theme of today's devotion can in the following statement: Temptation comes dressed as a blessing. I think that statement is very true. We always think that if "bite" into the temptation that we would be better off. The reason is because we see the "misperceived" good in the end results. However, in the end, we will not be better off and we we will not be the person that we really want to be and we definitely won't be the person that God wants us to be.

Too many times, we are striving to do our will not God's will. We must turn ourselves over to God and surrender to His will.

Prayer

God, forgive my reservations when I pray, "Thy will be done."

A Recital: Kansas

I have no idea what it being said in the introduction, but this girl can play the keyboard and puts on a fantastic recital. This is a recital that even I would love.

Wellness '08 Update

This last week may have been the most difficult week for me this year in terms of eating healthy and drinking enough water. We ate at the church a few nights and then I went out to restaurants on Friday and Saturday night and I let myself "slide" a little with what I hate. But, I did stay away from the "pub/tavern" food that I could have indulged myself in.

Today, I took a step in wellness that I think that I have needed to take for a long time but I have not done it and a lot of it has to do with finances and insurance. But, my neck and back have been hurting quite a bit lately. I have always had pain but I usually "suffer" and take some Advil. Well, this morning, I went into the chiropracor and they ran some test on me and took x-rays. I will have the consult tomorrow and will know more. At first glance though, they can tell that I have more movement, flexibility, and strenght in my right side than my left. I also had a electro massage treatment for 10 mins and orders for ice packs a few times during the day.

On the health and welness aspect (physical weight), individuals seem to notice the wight loss. Wether, it be my pants saggng or my face slimming out. I do get on the scale every Monday, so I do know that there are pounds that are coming off. More on that in weeks or months; not now.

Banning Shane Claiborne



I am amazed. Shane got "banned", "bounced", "axed" or whatever you want to call it from a speaking arrangement at Cedarville recently. There was a "blog outrage" that caused the University to run for cover and not let him speak.

I tried to follow the rabbit trail a little to see what was occurring and happening. But, when I ran across the video above that was used for an example of his false doctrine and hate ... i just shook my head and cried.

Friends, we all love Jesus and are trying to follow him.

I am amazed at Shane's life and what he does for the city that he has immersed himself in. He does not want applauds, but he sure does deserve it. If you are unfamiliar with what he does, check it out sometime.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

First Sunday in Lent

There will be four scripture readings for the first full week of Lent. They are the following:

- Genesis 3:1-7
- Matthew 4:1-111
- Romans 5:12-19
- Psalms 32

Today's devotional was called "The Truth About the Cross"

I think the best way to sum of the short devotional for today is with this statement: Sin may not instantly shock us, like sticking a finger into a light socket, but eventually we'll reap what we sow when we misuse God's good gifts.

Prayer

Help me face the truth about myself, so I welcome gratefully your gift of Salvation.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Lent: Day 4

Today's readong dealt with a clean heart. The passage tie in for today was Psalms 51. For in that Psalms, we hear a plead that says, "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me."

The readings from As Wednesday have launched us on our Lenten journey: Fast - give up whatever it takes to make room for God. Shut the door to wrestle alone with God. Now is the time; we don't know if we will have tomorrow. Because our great God is teaching out to reconcile us to himself, so that in the weeks ahead God can form you and me a clean heart - a godly heart.

The Prayer

Create in me a clean heart, O God, until I can play it by heart.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Lost: Season 4: Episode 2



Well, a helicopter is now on the island. Will individuals be able to get off of the item.

Does the helicopter run ?
Is there enough fuel ?
Will they be safe it they leave ?

and a hundred more q's could be asked

The epsiode in my opinion was excellent. They "introduced" the resuce team well in flashbacks and with their tie-ins with Naomi. I thought hat it was excellent to see all the survivors different reactions to them and then of course, you had the climax at the end ....

The Climax at the End

Ben is with Locke's group tied to a tree, and Sawyer is giving him a brutal beating. Locke realizes Ben is his problem and asks Rousseau to escort Alex away. He's going to kill Ben. Right before Locke pulls the trigger, Ben tells them the woman's name is Charlotte Lewis. He tells them her entire history, the names of her team members and that they are there for him. She and her people are a threat, and if Locke shoots him they'll never know how much of a threat. Locke asks how Ben knows what they want, and Ben simply says, "Because I have a man on their boat."

Jesus Without Religion



Book Description

In Jesus Without Religion, author Rick James begins by clearing his throat. Free of creeds, quarrels and specialized theologies, he speaks of Jesus. No dogma, no politics, no moral at the end. Jesus. What he said. What he did. And what, exactly, was the point. The answers about Jesus, according to Rick James, are in the context. In his own unconventional way, James recalls the specific contexts that color Jesus' story, bringing forward this man you've heard so much--and so little--about.

If I would have read the book description, I would have known more what I should of expected while I was reading the book. This is a book that I will probably re-pull off the bookshelf and try to re-read with the knowledge of "what lens to read this through". With that being said, the book was good. I think that it is vital for us to read scripture and read Jesus life with not any of the last 2,000 years of junk "us followers" have piled onto him.

If, we truly want to follow him and be like him, we need to be like the 'true him' not the one that we falsely have built. Here is where the problem lies. This will be a small rant that gets away from the book:

Too mny times, we as Christians, do things in Christ's name and they are not anywhere close ot what he did, thought or believed. One of the most interesting things that has occurred is the list of things that Jesus didn't do. People get upset about the list and say, "it ain't biblical". Uhhhh ???? It is not in scripture, so how can you say that he did do it. Ahhhhh, nevermind.

so, back to the book. Rick truly tries to strip away "religion" and look at Jesus. At times, many may think it s a little deep. But, if you want to see Jesus w/o the junk, take a look. Maybe, you will disagree ... that is fine. I am not 100% sure that I give full thumbs up but it is a book that is a little refreshing and a little challenging.

Lent: Day 3

Now is the acceptable time; now is the day of Salvation. This was the scriptural emphasis for the devotion today. The lesson was based upon: now is the hour.

God was rescuing the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them.

Thanksgiving to God

Thank you for today and for your grace that reaches for me.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

0 for 5

I have the next five books that I want to read that I do not currently have at home or the office and I called the local Christian bookstore to see if they would set them aside and I would be up in about 90 mins (when I take Bethany to swimming).

Well, I went 0 for 5. They were willing to set them aside but they do not have any of the five books that I want. I guess my reading preference is out of the scope of contemporary reading circles.

Thus, it looks like CBD or Amazon will get an order later on this afternoon.

Lent: Day 2

Today's devotional reading touched the heart. The focus of the reading was on Matt 6:6; where we are to pray to God in the secret.

The reason that it touched by heart is that there were two words in the reading that echoed loundly in my soul: still and occupy.

For you see, to be still is a great way to connect to God. As the writer eludes to, when water is still, you can see deeply. In our stillness, we need to find the solitude to connect with the God of the Universe. He has created this world and He has created us and we need to push everything aside and spend some time with Him. We need soliture: alone time. just God and me.

However, worldly things seem to occupy my thoughts. These things are very important. For example, as I was trying to enter into "solitude", my mind was racing with what had occurred today (breakfast with Jacob), emails that needed to be answered, finally reading for my sermon prep, confirmation tests and more. These things were "banging at the door" wanting in and wanting to occupy my thought process. But, I needed to relax, push them to the side and say, "you can wait". I need these minutes with God.

The short lesson for Lent ended with this prayer thought: Lead me beside still waters that I can drink deeper of you, the water of life.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Scripture for my Message

On Sunday, I will be giving the message at the 9 am service. We are going to be doing a wonderful series (in my opinion) during Lent. I will be sharing more on that in the next few days. However, I finally decided on the passage that will be the focus. The Scripture comes from Romans. Here is the Scripture:

Romans 12:9-21
The Message (MSG)

9-10 Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.

11-13 Don't burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don't quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.

14-16 Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they're happy; share tears when they're down. Get along with each other; don't be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don't be the great somebody.

17-19 Don't hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you've got it in you, get along with everybody. Don't insist on getting even; that's not for you to do. "I'll do the judging," says God. "I'll take care of it."

20-21 Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he's thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. Don't let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.

- - - - - - - - -

I love those words. We are going to be looking at Loving God / Loving Others but then really "jumping off" of that and exploring, "us going out, not us coming in".

Lent: Day 1

On the devotions, the scriptures are for the week and then each day, they have a devotion that "backs up" the Scripture. Here are the Scriptures for Week 1:

Matthew 6:1-6
Giving to the Needy

1 "Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 "So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Prayer

5 "And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Matthew 6:16-21

Fasting

16 "When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Treasures in Heaven

19 "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

2 Corinthians 5:16-6:2
Amplified Bible (AMP)

16 Consequently, from now on we estimate and regard no one from a [purely] human point of view [in terms of natural standards of value]. [No] even though we once did estimate Christ from a human viewpoint and as a man, yet now [we have such knowledge of Him that] we know Him no longer [in terms of the flesh].

17 Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come!

18 But all things are from God, Who through Jesus Christ reconciled us to Himself [received us into favor, brought us into harmony with Himself] and gave to us the ministry of reconciliation [that by word and deed we might aim to bring others into harmony with Him].

19 It was God [personally present] in Christ, reconciling and restoring the world to favor with Himself, not counting up and holding against [men] their trespasses [but cancelling them], and committing to us the message of reconciliation (of the restoration to favor).

20 So we are Christ's ambassadors, God making His appeal as it were through us. We [as Christ's personal representatives] beg you for His sake to lay hold of the divine favor [now offered you] and be reconciled to God.

21 For our sake He made Christ [virtually] to be sin Who knew no sin, so that in and through Him we might become [[a]endued with, viewed as being in, and examples of] the righteousness of God [what we ought to be, approved and acceptable and in right relationship with Him, by His goodness].

2 Corinthians 6

1 LABORING TOGETHER [as God's fellow workers] with Him then, we beg of you not to receive the grace of God in vain [that [b]merciful kindness by which God exerts His holy influence on souls and turns them to Christ, keeping and strengthening them--do not receive it to no purpose].

2 For He says, In the time of favor (of an assured welcome) I have listened to and heeded your call, and I have helped you on the day of deliverance (the day of salvation). Behold, now is truly the time for a gracious welcome and acceptance [of you from God]; behold, now is the day of salvation!(A)

Psalm 51
Contemporary English Version (CEV)

Psalm 51

1 You are kind, God! Please have pity on me. You are always merciful! Please wipe away my sins. 2 Wash me clean from all of my sin and guilt. 3 I know about my sins, and I cannot forget my terrible guilt. 4 You are really the one I have sinned against; I have disobeyed you and have done wrong. So it is right and fair for you
to correct and punish me. 5 I have sinned and done wrong since the day I was born.

6 But you want complete honesty, so teach me true wisdom. 7 Wash me with hyssop [a] until I am clean ad whiter than snow. 8 Let me be happy and joyful! You crushed my bones, now let them celebrate. 9 Turn your eyes from my sin and cover my guilt.

10 Create pure thoughts in me and make me faithful again. 11 Don't chase me away from you or take your Holy Spirit away from me.

12 Make me as happy as you did when you saved me; make me want to obey! 13 I will teach sinners your Law, and they will return to you. 14 Keep me from any deadly sin. Only you can save me! Then I will shout and sing about your power to save.

15 Help me to speak, and I will praise you, Lord. 16 Offerings and sacrifices are not what you want. 17 The way to please you is to feel sorrow deep in our hearts. This is the kind of sacrifice you won't refuse. 18 Please be willing, Lord, to help the city of Zion and to rebuild its walls. 19 Then you will be pleased with the proper sacrifices, and we will offer bulls on your altar once again.

The theme and thought for Day 1 was, "when, not if". The reading was concentrated on "fasting". Here is the sentence prayer:

Spirit of God, help me give up some treasures on earth for your treasures in neaven.

The Season of Lent

"Lent” is the forty days leading up to Easter. The word itself simply means “Spring” and finds its etymology in some Teutonic phrase for lengthening days. There was a time when the forty days were called “Quadragesima” (forty-days); but fortunately, “Lent” won out. “Ash Wednesday” is the first day of Lent. Now, if you are astute – or really bored – and you do the math, you’ll find there are 47 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday. For some reason the Sundays don’t count, subtracting them out gives you forty days. These forty days have the obvious parallel with Christ’s time in the wilderness – hence the idea of fasting, or giving something up. It also finds a parallel with Israel’s wondering wilderness - it is a time of preparation and repentance.

Lent is probably the oldest tradition in the Christian calendar. The Council of Nicea (A.D. 325) noted that two provincial synods should be held each year, “one before the 40 days of Lent.” Athanasius (d. 373) in his “Festal Letters” implored his congregation to make a 40-day fast prior to a more intense fasting of Holy Week. So the forty days before Easter were a “special time” as far back as the 4th Century. Gregory the Great, who is regarded as the father of the Medieval Papacy, is credited with the ceremony that gave Ash Wednesday its name. Some time in the late 6th Century the Church started marking the foreheads of Christians as they came to their churches on the first day of Lent. The ashes reminding them of the biblical symbol of repentance (sackcloth and ashes) and their mortality (dust to dust).

For this year, I am going to do two things. The first thing that I am going to do is a lental devotional. the devotional is called: Listening to Lent: Daily Devotions, Discovering the Lessons of Lent. The second thing is that I am going to "give up" something for Lent. The item that I am going to give up for Lent is coffee.

The devotional will be "easy" for me for the most part. Spending time reading Scripture, reading a devotion and then pondering a thought comes fairly natural.

The giving up of coffee may be a little difficult. I love coffee and have several cups a day. Some days, I will (would) drink 6 cups. So, this will be a sacrifice. I have to tell you a funny story (to me) on me giving coffee up.

When Isaiah found out that I was giving up coffee for Lent, he was not happy. He let out a big sigh and threw his arms up in the air. He said what about me ??? Does that mean that I will not beable to have my coffee now on Saturday mornings ??? For you see, each Saturday morning, he has coffee with daddy while eating the donuts.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The Problem with Christianity

"The problem with Christianity is we made it into a religion about Jesus rather than a commitment to be like him"

In my readings, I came across this statement and it is one that has been bouncing around inside my head. I think that the reason that it rings true is with some fundamentalist christianity reading that I have been doing lately. I think that we have misplaced the purpose of the message that Jesus came and delivered.

It is followed up by this quote:

Wether the people lived the way of Jesus became irrelevant to some and seconday to many. Salvation became a status, easy to achieve and verify. This understanding persists.

Too many times, I hear the message of salvation is boiled down to fire insurance. To me, that is sound. Individuals want to break salvation down to making the right steps and saying the right words. That was not the point of Jesus.

Monday, February 04, 2008

The 4 I's

A few years ago, I would have been standing and applauding this chapter and pointing to us ( the church that I was serving at ) and saying, " yes, we have got this nailed down. "

Now, I still like the chapyer but it does make me bite my lip a little even though I understand why they, as a church, uses this approach. I do not know if that makes any sense whatsoever. Thus, let me just give you the 4 I's and then share why it makes me squirm a little.

Inspiration ( Large Group )

Inspiration comes from the worship service. The purpose of the worship service is to inspire people to become fully developed followers of Christ.

Even Brian, though, may like this statement on the serive and preaching:

By the same token, if preachers seek to be relevant apart from the theological teachings and biblical exposition, they stand in the danger of scratching where the people itch but doing so with human teaching and wisdom, not with profound and transformational revelation to God. In my opinion, this is the way many contemporary churches have built large congregations. We have series after series on marriage, relationships, parenting, finances, and success - each of them being important topics that deal with the questions people are asking - but often our treatment of the subject resembles more the teaching found in Self-Help/Motivational section of Barnes and Nobles than it does on a thoughtful presentation of Scripture (pg. 96)

Instruction ( Midsize Group )

Midsize groups is from community groups (sunday school classes made up of home groups ). The purpose of the Community Group is to instruct people to become fully developing followers of Christ.

The discussion in the Community Groups provide a "breakout" from the worship service and an outlet to share what they have learned in their personal studies. (pg. 99)

Involvement ( Small Group )

The small group experience comes in the form of home groups. The purpose of the home group is to involve people in the Seven Functions of Biblical Community.

Introspection ( 1 Person )

Introspective comes from the individual studies. The purpose for each individual is to be introspective about his or her personal growth as a fully developing follower of Christ.

Thus, there are the 4 I's. The one aspect that I really like is that their church is based on the beliefs, values and practices. Thus, you will hear them in worship, you will hear them in community groups, you will hear them in home groups and you will study them in your individual study. Thus, there is cohesiveness and everything ties together.

The area that makes me squirm ( a little ) is that this is a "funnel" approach to ministry and I am not sure how comfortable that I am with that method. I also think the temptation (as he mentioned) is to have the worship service be more about reaching those not connected to the church and thus tends itself to slide into a production mentality.

The Series

Entry 1: Introduction to the Series and Book
Entry 2: Individualism
Entry 3: Five Characteristics of Community Around a Purpose
Entry 4: 10 Ancient Christian Beliefs
Entry 5: 10 Ancient Christian Practices
Entry 6: 10 Ancient Christian Virtues
Entry 7: Seven Functions of a Biblical Community
Entry 8: The 4 I's
Entry 9: 5 Characteristics of Community Around Common Place
Entry 10: Consumerism Mentality
Entry 11: 5 Characteristics of Community Around Possessions
Entry 12: Dreams of Community & Conclusion

Nathan and Family

I have had a few people who read my blog, ask me about Nathan and how they are doing or about their story.

I am not sure how I came across his site, it was really early in the process, but I have been following their story and praying for them as I read the blog.

He has recently gave an abbreviated glimpse of his story. Here it is.

Continue to lift them up in your prayers as they still have a long journey ahead of them.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Giants Win Super Bowl XLII



Rick Seubert #69 of the New York Giants celebrates with his son Hunter after the Giants defeated the New England Patriots 17-14 in Super Bowl XLII on February 3, 2008at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

Well, the Giants pulled of the upset and won the game. It was a fantastic game; especially the fourth quarter. Plaxico is looking like one smart guy with his prediction and his game winning touchdown.

I did not think that the Giants, specifically Eli, had it in them (him) to pull it out. However, the Giants defense was unbelievable and kept them in the game by only giving up 14 points. Eli was great on the last drive and at the 1:05 mark his play to get out of the mad rush, escape the sack and throw it long for an unblievable catch started the final push for them to win.

The Manning brothers go back-to-back. They seem like a great family. My hats off to you, Giants, you pulled off the upset and played a great game.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Lost: Season 4: Eapisode 1



Well, I enjoyed the episode. I have to admit, I think that I am "completely lost" though. So, Lost fans out there that are hitting this site; give me your scoop. Tell me what you think is going on with every one. I have hit a few sites to see other people's theories.

Who are the six ?
Who is Jacob ?
What is going to happen when the new folks hit the island ?
What is up with the flash forwards ?
Do you love or hate Locke ?

C'mon, light up my comment section. Give some predictions on what you think might happen on Thursday. The countdown is on.

Seven Functions of a Bibilcal Community

We have taken a look at the beliefs, the virtues and the practices in this series. Now, we are going to take a look at the purpose and how this will be carried out through various functions.

Essentially, they would focus internally on helping each other within the community to grow in their love for God and for their neighbor. Externally, the gathering of disciples would work together to love others outside of the group, as Christ would have them do.

Now, I am not sure why there are folks who throw up the yellow and red flags here and go, "this is not what God wants us to be doing." To me, it sounds like common sense and a great (biblical) understanding of how we should be doing life.

Acronymns are cheesey but they do make things easier to remeber things at times. So, the functions of the community spell out SERVICE.

Spiritual Formation
Evangelism
Reproduction
Volunteerism
International Missions
Care
Extending Compassion

I like what Francis Schaeffer says when he says, "Christian community is the final apologetic." Now, the group(s) do not get together in their group and divides these task up. Each individual carries out each task.

If anyone wants to know or expound how they see each function carried out with each group; please ask or give us suggestions and examples.

I know, this is very herectical. We step into the steps of Jesus and his disciples and follow their example of living.

The Series

Entry 1: Introduction to the Series and Book
Entry 2: Individualism
Entry 3: Five Characteristics of Community Around a Purpose
Entry 4: 10 Ancient Christian Beliefs
Entry 5: 10 Ancient Christian Practices
Entry 6: 10 Ancient Christian Virtues
Entry 7: Seven Functions of a Biblical Community
Entry 8: The 4 I's
Entry 9: 5 Characteristics of Community Around Common Place
Entry 10: Consumerism Mentality
Entry 11: 5 Characteristics of Community Around Possessions
Entry 12: Dreams of Community & Conclusion

Friday, February 01, 2008

Stones Lying in the Water


On the Beatitudes, "they contain a message that would change the world. What a pity that Christians have been listening to the message for two thousand years, but they (the Christians) are like stones lying in the water for centuries, never soaking up a single drop." Gandhi

Spencer & Sex Toys



I learned something yesterday. There are alot of people in this world that do not check things out. I thought it was "common knowledge" that Spenser's had sex toys and that they were not hidden in the store. They, the toys are very visible and are even accessible to younger individuals, if they are in the store.

Yes, they have some great novelty items, signs, posters, beads, lava lamps and "old fart" t-shirts but it (a lot of their stuff) is very sexual. I do not agree with everything that is in the store and I do not think it is appropriate for them to have them available for young kids to buy ... However, I want to emphasize an element that shocked me.

On the 11 o'clock news, they did an investigation piece on Spensers. They took cameras into the store and showed middle school boys laughing at the sex toys, they showed Amish girls looking at racks of items and giggling at the toys, they showed a 4 year old with items in her hands (not sure what it was ) and it went on.

Spencers state who they target and they have adult content signs on their entrance (at the bottom) and they think that "covers them". Their ethics could definitely be questioned.

However, what did shock me was the parents (in the interview) that did not know about the stores products. They say it has changed since they were teens. I don't really think so, they were eye-popping when I was a teen in the 80's.

So, to me, here is the point. Parents, we really need to learn what is going on with your teenagers and set limits and know what they are doing. Parents with 4 year olds .... I do not think that you should be taking your 4 year old into this type of a store.

Also, why are 9 and 10 yeard olds roaming the store by themselves anyways ? This could go to any store, let alone Spencers.

Congrats to parents calling the news team to do the investigation and warning parents about the dangers. I thought a lot of people if not all knew that. It was a good reminder to keep people informed and keep yourself informed about what is happening around you.

If Grace Is True



If Grace Is True: Why God Will Save Every Person by Phillip Gulley and James McLholland is the latest book that I finished. I am going to try to read a variey of books this year that will be very diverse in topic and hopefully challenge my mind with various theological perspectives.

They co-authored the book and di the writing in a fashion that you were unaware of who was writing. They did this because they did numerous personal illustrations and covered individuals that they had met in the past.

Overall, I thought the book was very excellent. Numerous times as I was reading the book, I was writing in the margins. There were things that I wowed. There were paragraphs that I wrote, " I need to chew on that" . In certain places, I wrote, " yeah, but what about ......". The one thing that I was impressed by was that eventually, they seemed to answer all the questions that I came up with.

Now, I am not saying that I agreed with their perspectives on all the issues after they explained them. But, through their reading, their writing and their wrestling with the text and their journey; I could see where they came to their conclusions.

There are probably a few posts that will come up in my writing over the next month or so concerning this book. I am not setting out to write on the book but the thoughts from the book will penetrate my thoughts and I will expound on them later.

Here are a few quotes from the book to give you a small glimpse of the writing:

So many people enter churches persuaded God is lurking in ambush. They come expecting fire and brimstone, and we've been all too willing to heap it on. We've slandard God's charachter too long. I regret the times I maniupulated and coerced others with sermons designed to shame and frighten rather than celebrate the love of God. I failed to appreciate the depth of God's love. (pg. 68)


In choosing grace over wrath, God laid the foundation of his kingdom upon forgiveness and reconciliation, not upon revenge or even justice. Grace is the bedrock of the kingdom. (pg. 80).

Salvation is not a matter of good works or right doctrine. Salvation is an act of God, born of his desire, ability and determination to redeem us. "He saved us not because of the righteous things we have done, but because of his mercy" (Titus 3:5).

Jesus championed grace and ridiculed the meticulous justice keeping of his righteous peers. He offered forgiveness so freely that when he forgave the sins of the paralytic, his opponents complained, "This fellow is blaspheming!" (Matthew 9:3). In any culture obsessed with balanced scales, grace will seem blasphemous. (pg. 127)

The problem with Christianity is we made it into a religion about Jesus rather than a commitment to be like him." We have lost our way. ( pg. 154)

The book is a very challenging book and one that will stretch your mind and thoughts. The premise of their work can be summed up in the following seven words: I believe God will save every person.