Thursday, February 25, 2010

Really, Vancouver?

Vancouver 2010

I'm not big into winter olympics, but...
Is Canada unable to get access to such new technology as walkie-talkies? They could have one at the bottom of the mountain and one at the top.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

It Should Be Different

'It should be different than this,' I shouted to my kids as we once again ran out of the house in order to get them to school on time. I don't know what your house is like on a school morning, but my house is rarely calm, even when we seem to have plenty of time. Perhaps we should be living as if we don't have all the time in the world.

'It should be different than this,' I shouted to the teens who were probably only half listening by this point in youth group. The topic was evangelism and the list of usual suspects were being thrown at me. I've heard them all. 'That's the pastor's job.' 'I'm not very good at sharing with my friends.' 'All my friends are Christians.' 'None of my friends want to hear about it.' 'I have a sore toe.'

None of the excuses are good ones, mind you. What it comes down to for us is deciding that we need to do what God has called us to do. 'Go and make disciples' seems pretty straight forward (Matthew 28:19).

I believe it comes down to our desire to make a real difference instead of what Mark Steele referred to as a 'flashbang', all noise and no lasting affect. Or, as Mark Mittelberg wrote in The Unexpected Adventure, 'Cultivate passion and excitement for the unexpected adventure, and you'll be amazed at how you can stir up your church to become a more spiritually dynamic and contagious place.'

In order to cultivate passion, we'll have to work on it. It won't come as easy as the next Facebook status update. Much like writing poetry for that girl you like, you might have to get creative or ask your mom what rhymes with pretty. In the end, we need to remember that God has left this job to us and no one else.

It should be different than this. Perhaps we should be living as if we don't have all the time in the world.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Tell Him What He's Won

It had been years, but sickness pushed me to it. I watched Lingo with game show host Chuck Woolery. In case you're wondering, he still looks the same as he did when he hosted Scrabble. Game shows crack me up because the host sits there and does very little. He gets a little information from the contestants, flirts with the ladies, and tells them if they win or lose. That's it. But for some reason, they have assistants, usually a lady who has no skill other than pushing buttons and looking pretty, and a guy too ugly to put on screen, but with a great sounding announcer voice.

This announcer guy usually 'tells them what they've won.' And because Chuck and his good-time buddies, the hosts, need a breather, announcer guy comes in and lists all this great stuff that the winners are about to be taxed on.

It reminds me of what I read in the book of Deuteronomy just a few days ago. Moses is listing all the stuff God's going to give the winners, I mean Israelites. The Israelites were about to farm land that had already been prepared, drink water from wells already dug, live in homes, fully furnished, that had already been built. Sounds pretty nice.

But that's not all... if you act now, all foreign armies will be routed for you by God, all diseases will land somewhere else, and you will be very, very rich. It's just as easy as spinning a wheel or guessing a letter.

How much are we like this without realizing it? We hear people say that they work for everything they got, but that's not really true. We may have done some work, but the real work has already been done by Jesus Christ. And the prizes in store for us are tax-free.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Never Forget

You can have Christmas and Easter. Tell me all about why Thanksgiving rocks. President's Day, Labor Day, Memorial Day and Celebrate Red-Head Recovery Day are all fine. But if you're ready to leave the Junior Varsity of holidays and step up into the big time, then today is your day. That's right, today is Fat Tuesday!

This is my holiday, a festive day that begins with a pączki (pronounced poonch-key) and ends with my finishing every dessert within a mile radius of my home. You can read more about the historical side of this holiday by visiting here or googling Fat Tuesday. But here's the basics; Christians would use this holiday to stock up on carbs and then go without during the season of Lent.

And Lent is all about remembering. It coincides with the Passover, which is also a meal about remembering. In this case, it was recalling how God rescued the Israelites from Egypt. My wife, Jennifer and I were discussing this because we are reading the Bible through in chronological order.

We are to the part where Moses gives the Law, in its entirety as well a breakdown of the recent History, to the Israelites about to enter the Promised Land. Jennifer commented that we just read this stuff last week. Indeed she is correct. But I remind her that it had been 40 years since God first gave them the Law. That's a long time. It only takes our kids 40 seconds to forget what we told them to do.

Besides, despite reading about all of their blunders, we too need reminders. Daily, if not more. Some reminders taste like the flaky communion wafer. But others are the pączki, a doughnut that puts other doughnuts to shame. Who says we don't need reminders? Perhaps today, I'll need a couple of reminders.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Hear No Evil



Be very careful where you read this book. You may find yourself disturbing others around you from laughing out loud. Matthew Paul Turner has written quite a story here which kept me turning pages late into the night, at the risk of waking my sleeping wife.

If you've ever wanted an honest look at why some Christians stand out, this is a must-read. Matthew does a great job of giving us an insider view of what it's like for many growing up in the church. It would appear that his church (and family) put the mental in fundamental.

I thoroughly enjoyed every sideways glance into the 80's and 90's in music and pop culture. In today's age, when seeing things from other people's perspective is considered to be of uber-importance, this books fits the bill. In the end, Matthew goes to show that perspective is everything and we should take more time to see what others see.

Thank you, Matthew, for the reminder.

You can purchase this book at http://reader.waterbrookmultnomah.com/catalog.php?isbn=9781400074723

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Don't Make Me Stop This Car

The last member of an ancient tribe that has inhabited an Indian island chain for around 65,000 years has died. Boa Sr, who was around 85 years of age, was the last member of one of ten distinct Great Andamanese tribes, the Bo.

I don't study indigenous tribes much, and obviously I did not know Boa Sr personally. The article talks about how her people's ancient language died with her. The finality of it all struck me. I tried to imagine this scenario being played out with Americans, or even just my family.

It caused me to think of 2 Chronicles 36:15-21. This is the fall of Jerusalem. These verses talk about how God had warned them again and again. It was kind of like when your dad finally does pull the car over. It never seemed like it would come to this. Sure, you have been kicking his seat for the last 300 miles, but who knew he was serious?

It's a reminder that things come to an end. Your fun, the reign of Israel, or even a tribe from India. And yet...

Hope remains. If only for this world we have hope, we are to be pitied (1 Corinthians 15:19). But we have hope that goes beyond this world. Someday my earthly life will come to an end, but much like the end of a caterpillar, something more beautiful waits on the other side. But hopefully not as messy, because all the pictures look really sticky.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Love & War



Love and War is a book about finding the marriage you've always dreamed of. So naturally I read it for a friend. After all, I have a great marriage. So I started reading to see what stuff might be in there...to help my friend.

John and Stasi Eldredge are amazingly transparent about everything within their marriage. I doubt that they would call themselves experts, but having been through the difficult times, they certainly speak from experience. And they share those experiences with us, even us who are in great marriages.

Combining their insider knowledge of what it takes to be a man and a woman separately, they come together to write not just a book, but a call to action to live the adventure together as married couples. I'm not saying your marriage needs a crisis intervention, but this book could certainly change how you look at marriage, even if it is a good one.

To purchase this book, please visit http://reader.waterbrookmultnomah.com/catalog.php?isbn=9780385529808.

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

God, the Snuggie, & the Bedazzler

As I'm reading through the less interesting parts of Exodus, I notice repetition. Back in chapter 28, God was giving Moses all the details about how to build the Tabernacle. He also appeared to have invented the Snuggie and the Bedazzler when describing how the priests were to be dressed. (If you're unaware of the technological breakthrough known as the Bedazzler, google it...you're missing out on some fine bling.)

If it wasn't enough to read God's description of just how long each curtain should be and how to overlay everything in gold, we get to read it again when the Israelites actually get around to doing it. They collect items and sew and build the Tabernacle and they bedazzle the priests. We read it word for word...twice. And I ask myself why we have to read it twice.

Then it hit me.

This story is about God. It would be easy to forget that and assume this story is about Moses and the Israelites wandering in the desert. In fact, it would even be easier for us, with the benefit of hindsight to ask why they would go to this much trouble when they're just going to build a temple. But consider this; that temple is not being built until Solomon reigns as king. They don't even know yet that they will ask for a king.

This Tabernacle has to last through the desert wanderings, the days of Joshua and the conquest, the period of the Judges, and Kings Saul and David. That's a lot of years. And during those many years, God deserved their worship. During those years, the Israelites needed to give their worship.

It's a lot of detail for us to read, but I believe it speaks to the importance of our worship to God. We will one day worship God in Heaven, but until then we should give great detail to how we worship Him now.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Angels



Maybe you've never given them any thought. Maybe you've given them too much thought. Either way, David Jeremiah has written a great book about angels. They are accounted for all over the Bible, even in many places you might have missed. So if you're interested (and you should be) in what angels are, what they're doing, or how they relate to God, you should check this book out. Did you know they might be as curious about us as we are about them. I actually hadn't given that much thought.

I picked this book up, a bit skeptical about how interested I would be. But I found it to be super-fun to read as well as a great conversation starter. The angels have some very important work that includes us. This book makes a lot of sense when considering how we can be focusing our worship and our work on God, even more than we already are.

Don't skip this as another fad. This is for the spiritually mature who want to grow.

To purchase this book, please visit

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.