Pick your holiday!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!
or for those of you who believe that Halloween is of the devil...

Happy Reformation Day!

Oops...there's a train coming!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Every morning I drive across the same set of rail road tracks. They're nothing special. Just typical railroad tracks on top of a mini hill and a set of lights and arms that stretch across just to stop traffic should a train be oncoming.

What I find interesting though, is that every time I go over these tracks, people either a) go over the tracks without paying attention or b) look for a train as they pass over the tracks.

The observation: People depend on the flashing lights and bells to tell them that the train is on it's way. What if a train was coming and the power was out? Or the lights simply weren't working? There are houses that line both sides of the track, so people wouldn't see the train until it was too late. They cross the track...SMASH!

We do this spiritually all the time. We get involved in something and think nothing of it. We say to ourselves that if something is wrong with this, God is going to send me flashing lights and bells to warn me. But we head straight on towards those tracks without looking for any danger. By the time we hit the track, we're so far gone we don't see the train coming and soon after that, there is a train wreck.

"Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he wil flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will life you up." - James 4:7-10

The more often we come to God grieving because of our own brokenness, the better off we are in seeing that train coming before it's too late. We can't always depend on those flashing lights to get our attention. We have to constantly be on guard to resist the enemy.

The Year of Living Biblically

Friday, October 26, 2007

I found a great article on Christianity Today's website. It's about an agnostic Jew who decided to read through the entire Bible and follow it word for word. Here is an excerpt:

Of course, some of the Bible's laws prove too strange even for Jacobs. The notion that one should break the neck of a cow near the scene of an unsolved murder (Deut. 21:4) is a bit too bizarre to be transforming the NYPD anytime soon. And, as Jacobs notes, some recommendations (e.g., "kill magicians") are downright illegal.

You can find the rest of the article here. You'll enjoy it!

Common Ground on Evolution

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Lately I've been obsessed with social bookmarking sites such as Digg.com and StumbleUpon.com, in fact I often use popurls.com every couple of hours to keep up on what is 'hot' on the internet.

What I have found lately though, is that there is a common rising of popularity of atheist and evolution websites that keep popping up. Is it because there is a rising population of atheist and/or evolutionist? Or is it that these sites just happen to have a larger sample of those belief systems? I don't have the answer to that. But regardless, I have been keeping up with a lot of those sites, blogs and vlogs.

I think what bothers me the most is that neither side is able to come to any type of common ground on the issue of origin of life. The Creationist/Intelligent Design is not willing to step up and talk to Evolutionist and vice versa. What I've noticed is that a lot of the reason why, is because of preconceived generalizations about the other party.

Creationist/ID believe that evolutionists are morally depraved atheists, hell-bent on destroying the Christian faith.
Evolutionists believe that Creationist/ID are religious fanatics with no real intelligence.

Sadly, both sides have justification for believing some of those stereotypes. Speaking on behalf of intelligent Christians, I apologize for any of my brothers and sisters that may seem "stupid" or resolve to unintelligent debate such as circular reasoning. Unfortunately, we have earned many of our stereotypes and I think it's high time we started proving ourselves.

When it comes to the issue of origins, we have to have some kind of common ground on both sides in order for some sort of dialog to continue. I think it's going to have to be the Creationist/ID that will step up and make the effort.

How does that happen?

I think we have to start with one question: How did it all start?

When these 2 groups get together to "talk", both sides decide to spill their entire worldview onto the other, and that doesn't do any good. If we stick to one point, we can have dialog. Let me give a for instance:

Creationist/ID: Let's forget about the age of the earth, or evolution for a moment and think about life. How do you think life started?
Evolutionist: Honestly we don't know, but our best guess is that there was a pool of water and lightning struck it and 'life' was started.
Creationist/ID: I believe that instead of a bolt of lightning, there was an original mover, call it 'God', call it aliens, call it some advanced form of life before us.

We have to speak on terms with those that don't adhere to our set of beliefs. Sure, we believe in God and miracles and that God created us. But the instant we start down that path with someone who doesn't believe in any of that, we appear to be preaching to them and we lose them. Now if a relationship exists, then it's a different story. But that's another post. Speaking in terms that an evolutionist can identify with only helps our dialog. We have to remember that we're talking to someone that doesn't share our faith, and finds things like miracles simply unbelievable.

I honestly believe that the point of Intelligent Design can be a plausible one for the scientific community. I don't expect it to be any science text books, nor do I think it should be (after all you can't apply the scientific method to God), but in a general dialog both matters come down to "Neither of us were there and no one else was, so we have to do our best guess." We will have our lens of faith while the other has on the lens of science. But we have to seek a common ground.

A Haiku

Friday, October 19, 2007

Haikus are easy
But sometimes they don't make sense

Ezekiel, prophet of weird stuff

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

I finished my nearly 10 month study on the Gospels this week and started the Prophet of Ezekiel.

Weird stuff.

"...and in the fire was what looked like four living creatures. In appearance their form was that of a man, but each of them had four faces and four wings. Their legs were straight; their feet were like those of a calf and gleamed like burnished bronze..." - 1:4b-7

"Eat the food as you would a barley cake; bake it in the sight of the people, using human excrement for fuel." - 4:12

On a side note, when you make notes in your Bible, make sure they are legible. Apparently I had an insight into verse 5:1 and I have no idea what I wrote back in college. Oh well.

God has a word for the people of Israel and Judah through Ezekiel...and they aren't good words. Their sin is pretty obvious: Idolatry. According to God, "she has rebelled against my laws and decrees more than the nations and countries around her. She has rejected my laws and has not followed my decrees." (5:6). That's pretty bad when the nation of God has become more sinful than those that aren't godly.

Now, I have to disagree with a lot of our evangelical friends who equate America to Israel. I just don't think that God was speaking to America when he was saying some of these things. I think God's main message was to his spiritual nation...not a nation of borders and national sovereignty.

In other words, God's word has MORE to say to believers than the United States of America. But that's a different topic.

The point is idolatry. Don't do it. Plain a simple. If it were only that simple. What is idolatry? Is it bowing down to a Buddha statue? Is it making a calf out of gold and proclaiming it as a miracle worker? Well, yes. Is it trying to solve all of our problems on our own? Yes. Is it setting relationships higher than our relationship with God? Yes.

God's Word is pretty specific as to what the consequences were to the Israelites for their idolatry.

"...cry out 'Alas!' because of all the wicked and detestable practices of the house of Israel, for they will fall by the sword, famine and plague. He that is far away will die of plague, and he that is near will fall by the sword, and he that survives and is spared will die of famine. So will I spend my wrath upon them. And they will know that I am the Lord, when their people lie slain among their idols around their altars, on every high hill and on all the mountaintops..." 6:11-13a
Basically, God was going to wipe them out, there was no way around it. What does this have to do with us? We live in a culture of depraved idolatry, and we accept most of it on an everyday basis without even giving it a second thought. It's scary.

The almighty dollar.
Serial TV shows.
Books, DVDs, and other media
Video games

I see a couple of mine on their, and I'm sure there are a lot more that I'm missing or don't want to think about. Church, let's give God that place in our hearts that he deserves.

No longer Christian, but disciple

Monday, October 15, 2007

I have decided to no longer call myself a “Christian”. Before you panic, let me explain. We throw around this term ‘Christian’ all the time. We talk about a Christian nation. We talk about Christian leaders and Christian families. Unfortunately, the name which used to signify someone being a dedicated and committed believer in Jesus no longer means that at all.

ABC News recently ran a poll and discovered that 83% of Americans call themselves Christians. Wouldn’t this country be a much better place if that were certainly true! I believe that the term Christian has simply become a term that someone believes in God. And that’s about it. Maybe they go to church once or twice a year for a holiday. There is no difference in lifestyle or worldview. Author Bill McKibben discovered that 40% of “Christians” can identify onlyfour out of the 10 Commandments.

The word ‘disciple’ has more of a deeper meaning and identification with Christ. If you remember the words of Jesus in Matthew 28: “Therefore go and make disciples…” Notice he didn’t use the word Christian, but the word disciple.

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26-27.

The cost of being a disciple is steep. Being a disciple is more than going to church on Sunday. It’s more than participating in a committee. It is living out the faith every single moment of the day. From the time we wake up, to when we go to sleep. Faith is more than just calling ourselves “Christians”, it’s living it out every single day no matter how difficult it may be.

So I no longer identify myself as a Christian. That’s what 83% of Americans call themselves. I am a believer. A disciple of Christ.

Comcast will suck out your soul

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Ladies and gentlemen if there was ever a company with the absolute worst customer service, that would be Comcast. Not only does their regular service beyond basic cable stink, but their internet services hardly ever work and their customer service, like I stated before...is the worst!

Let's rewind back to May.

I'm preparing to leave the parsonage for our new home in town. I want to make sure I have all my services disconnected, Comcast being my main concern.

I call them. They assure me that all I have to do is bring in my cable modem and all will be completed.

Oh if it was only that easy. The next month, I receive a bill for what was previously being paid on a monthly basis. I call to make sure everything is okay and they say "Well yes! That's normal! In fact, you'll get a refund for the month of June since you paid for that month." That's great I thought! All I had to do was wait for the paper work to go through the system.

Yet again, if it was only that easy.

The next month, the bill has doubled from not being paid the previous month. I call again, slightly annoyed. They tell me that everything is okay, I don't have to pay for it. They just need to send someone out to completely shut off the service to the house from the telephone poll. They tell me not to worry, it will be taken care of. At this point, I'm thinking "yeah...right."

So what do I receive in the mail yesterday? Another Comcast bill! This time for three times the amount! Needless to say I'm a bit mad. This is getting ridiculous. So I call...again. I explain to the nice woman on the phone that this has been going on for 4 months, and I just want them to stop sending me bills and return to me (but it really goes to the church) the refund it needs! She tells me to hold.


She comes back and explains that she talked with my district supervisor and that I need to come into the local office (not really local for me) and show proof that I haven't been living in that house. At this point, I lose my temper...which is very rare for me.

"Why do I need to show proof that I don't live there? I requested it to be shut off and it shouldn't matter whether or not I live there, I wanted it shut off."

"This is what you have to do."

"Why? I was told from the beginning that all I needed to do was bring in my cable modem and the service would be completed and shut off. Now you're telling me that I need to use up my lunch break and drive 45 minutes to turn in a slip of paper?"

"I know and understand sir, but there isn't anything I can do...blah blah blah..."

So today I have to go in and turn in my paper that states that I moved out of the house in June.

Apparently, you sell your soul to have Comcast. They will do whatever it takes to annoy you, enrage you, inconvenience you and otherwise make your life a living hell.

For anyone that reads this and has the opportunity, please reconsider using Comcast. In Seymour there is Cinergy Metronet which provides amazing service for both HDTV Cable (less than Comcast) and Fiber Optic High Speed Internet (Both faster and cheaper than Comcast). There are other internet and cable companies out there that actually want to take care of their customers.

Oh..I'm addicted

Monday, October 08, 2007

Last January I became addicted to a TV show. 24. I absolutely fell in love with it. I couldn't get enough of it. So I rented the first 3 seasons and bought seasons 4 and 5.

I happened to come across a friend who owned the first season of Lost. Guess what happened? Addiction! I did the whole season in 4 days. I loved it! The depth of character is great, the plot lines are addicting and intriguing. It's great!

Now I have a problem. Season 1 left me hanging...big time! So I am in need of Season 2! Please someone help me find it!