Thursday, February 26, 2009

New Reads

So, one of the coolest things about my trip to West Monroe is that the pastor hooked me up with a free book. Giving me a free book (that's interesting--no thanks Chic-fil-A) or free music or free Starbucks immediately moves you up my "favorite people list." I cannot wait for this book it looks great:

I'm also looking forward to reading When the Spirit Speaks by Warren D. Bullock and this book:

As soon as I finish up the book I'm currently in (well one of the books I'm halfway through with) Finding Our Way Again by Brain McLaren, I'm diving into these great books.

Monday, February 23, 2009

On the Road Again

Greetings everyone!  It's Monday, the start of another great week (hopefully).  Today is especially great for me because I'm getting ready to head to Louisiana.

I absolutely love to travel.  Visiting new places--especially large cities, is one of my favorite things.  I could travel for a living (anyone willing to pay me to visit places, please leave your name and contact info :)  I've never been to Louisiana, so I get to add a new state to the ones I've visited.  Here's my list of places I've been:
South Carolina
North Carolina
West Virginia
Washington D.C.
...and now Louisiana

What about you?  Where have you been?  What are your favorites?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Babies Don't Quit

"...I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."  
Matthew 18.3

I don't know if you are like me, but, there are somethings that Jesus says that don't make a whole lot of sense to me.  Sometimes it would seem like--as a preacher--he would lose His mind.  He has everyone going, and the crowds are drawn in and then *BAM* He hits them up with a line like "unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood you cannot be my disciple." [John 6.53 paraphrased]  And the thing that always gets me is that last line, "you cannot me my disciple."  Almost every outlandish thing Jesus says is followed with that phrase.

I grew up with the general teaching that the living under the New Covenant was easier than the Old.  I disagree with that.  Yes, the Old had more technical things, but for the most part, they were doable (just mundane).  However, in the New, we're asked to do things that are basically impossible on our own.  Here are a few examples:

You have heard that it was said...'do not murder'...(Old), But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother is subject to judgement (New).

You have heard that it was said, "Do not commit adultery.' (Old) But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery...(New)

The verse at the top falls into this category in my mind.  How in the world are we supposed to become young again (unless of course you are Benjamin Button)?  Why would we want to become like a child, AGAIN?

I think God answered that question (or at least part of it) for me the other night.  On our way home from the Regional Tournament, the coach's daughter began walking up and down the bus (she's a little over 1 I think).  She's still grasping the concept of walking, so she often fell.  But when she did, she never cried, she didn't just lay there for ever.  She'd always get back up.  And then it hit me, "babies don't quit."  They fall all the stinkin' time, the hit their heads on stuff, and they struggle at doing almost everything that we do without thinking.  But they never quit.  I think that's why Jesus used the illustration of becoming like a child to follow Him:  because babies don't quit!

Monday, February 16, 2009

More Interesting Thoughts...

First off, I want to say thanks to Ryan, Codie, and Kayla for their input on the last post.  All were VERY good insights.  If you haven't read them, check it out on my last post, "Why Salt?"

As promised, here's what I found (this is not my opinion, it's theologian Adam Clarke's):
Salt was the opposite to leaven, for it preserved from putrefaction and corruption, and signified the purity and persevering fidelity that were necessary in the worship of God. Every thing was seasoned with it, to signify the purity and perfection that should be extended through every part of the Divine service, and through the hearts and lives of God’s worshippers. It was called the salt of the covenant of God, because as salt is incorruptible, so was the covenant made with Abram, Isaac, Jacob, and the patriarchs, relative to the redemption of the world by the incarnation and death of Jesus Christ. 

Here's another nugget of Scripture I found about a month back when I was reading Ecclesiastes [5.1,2]:

As you enter the house of God, keep your ears open and your mouth shut. It is evil to make mindless offerings to God.  Don’t make rash promises, and don’t be hasty in bringing matters before God. After all, God is in heaven, and you are here on earth. So let your words be few.

I think that we Pentecostal/Charismatics don't honor this part of God's Word.  We believe in exuberant worship and clapping, dancing, shouting, etc.  Don't get me wrong this are all good things and are also listed in the Bible as expressions of praise [Exodus 15.20, Psalm 126.2, 1 Samuel 4.5, Ezra 3.11].  But, I think we we fail (sin?) is forgetting the truth of this verse in Ecclesiastes.  We need to realize that God is in heaven and we are just part of HIS Creation.  So often we come in and offer God the first thing that pops in our minds and rush to make commitments to God that we never keep, when really He just desires for us to be in His Presence.  We wonder why we don't hear from God, but maybe it's because He can't get a word in edgewise because we're singing, shouting, dancing, praying, etc.

This verse has really challenged me.  I've tried to let me words be few in worship, and it's not easy.  When you're used to constantly making noise and you try to stop that noise while everyone around you is still making it...well it's not easy.

I think I need to find the balance between exuberant and reflective praise; the balance between speaking and listening.

What about you?  What do you think? 

Friday, February 13, 2009

Why Salt?

So I was reading in Leviticus (ch.2) last night when I stumbled upon a verse that has me a bit baffled.  Here it is:

Leviticus 2.3: Season all your grain offerings with salt to remind you of God’s eternal covenant. Never forget to add salt to your grain offerings.

Sometimes God asks things that don't make a lot of sense--especially in the OT (maybe its just b/c I've never been a Jew).  Apparently, for some reason this salting is very important.  But why?

I need your help.  If you have ANY insight at all (no answer is too crazy), please comment me.  Monday, I'll post what I found out...

Thanks for the help.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Basketball Tournament

Thanks to Codie for the design.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Whenever the topic of "marriage" comes up, my mind immediately turns to this great montage:

Then I found this video today (on Tony Morgan's blog). It's funny--but that awkward funny because you know it's true for tons of people. (Just a stat for you, 6 people I graduated with in 2005 with have either already divorced, or are in the process of).

My prayer is that I will NOT be this to my wife.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

What's Your Favorite...?

I've seen different versions of this question since I've followed blogs (which is a good bit longer than I've actually blogged).  But I have a question:

"What bands/musicians/singers are your favorite?"

I love music, so I'd like to hear what you listen to...

Monday, February 2, 2009

Redemptive Themes

So, I finally saw the Dark Knight Friday (yeah, I know, I'm WAAAAAAAY behind).  First off I'd have to say that I LOVE the movie.  I love the interpretation of what growing up was my favorite superhero.  The characters, Gotham, the "culture", it all has an entirely different feel than the Tim Burton Batman movies.  

One thing I love about great movies is how they are trying to show you something more than just a great movie.  Many times, the best movies have undercurrents of Biblical themes: redemption, sacrifice, love, hypocrisy...the whole gamut.  The Dark Knight follows suite.

I think the thing I loved the most about the Joker was how--even though he WAS psychotic and blood-thirsty, he was really just trying to show that everyone else was as evil as he was (and that maybe he wasn't that evil?).  It can really be an eye-opener as to how corrupt people can be--especially when they are "pushed."

I wonder if a crazed-murder were to take over a church, and make the threats the Joker did, how would we respond?  Would we show love and compassion--even at the cost of our own lives...even our families lives?  Or, would we be just like everyone else and give in to save our skin?

If you've never seen the Dark Knight, I highly recommend it.  Enjoy the beauty of the film...the creative interpretation...but also look at the lessons to be learned from it.