Friday, December 31, 2010
1) Deepened my relationship with Kaci
2) Learned more about what it means to be a man of God
3) Switched to Westwind Church (Part of depening my relationship with Kaci)
4) Started a Blog
5) Started a larger accountability group
6) Became a Connection Group leader at Westwind
7) I was in my first Play/Production (tons of fun)
8) Got Engaged
9) Got Married
10) Got a new apartment
11) Met a ton of great Men
12) Had an AMAZING honeymoon
13) Increased my love for beards :P
14) Saw/hung out with my Brotha man.
15) My mom stayed with Kaci and I.
16) Saw my Wife officiate the wedding of my Brother-in-law.
17) Got a GREAT new job.
18) Screwed up a lot.
19) Combated my pride (still doing that)
20) Learned more of what it is to be a husband who is a “Servant Leader”
Thank you Jesus for the great 2010, I am looking forward to see what 2011 has in store.
Preview of 2011 possibilities:
Good friend (Travis) getting hitched
Me sitting at the head table
Kaci and I falling more in love
More of my screw ups
Thursday, December 30, 2010
I was a little slow this week so I decided to get a head start on the reading plan, (I am now about two weeks ahead) so I read the book of Job in about three days, and I actually found it fascinating and beautiful. So here is a quick synopsis and my thoughts of the book, please keep in mind that this was not an in-depth study, and I am by no means a Bible scholar. (I read the HCSB version, you should check it out).
The books starts out with God and Satan talking, Satan just came from scouring the world, and God says something to the effect of “Hey man, did you see Job, he is a pretty awesome servant of mine” and Satan is like, “Psshhh, whatever man, that is just because you have blessed him, I mean who wouldn’t love someone who gave them all this sweet stuff”, so God says, “Fine, you know what you can test him. See what happens. But, you can’t harm Job, you can do anything you want otherwise.”
So Satan proceeds to kill all of Jobs son’s and daughters and take all of his possessions, (and Job was pretty much the “Bill Gates” of his time. But guess what?? Job doesn’t curse God, instead he honors him more. So then God dial’s up Satan and is like “What’s up now!” then Satan is like “Well you didn’t let me touch him, I mean your are really cramping my style man”, so God is like “Fine! You can touch him but just don’t kill him”.
Satan then proceeds to inflict Job with sores, and all sorts of medical badness, but doesn’t kill him.
Here is where the story shifts gears. Job starts complaining to God, he is like “God, what the heck? I did everything you asked me to do and I am getting inflicted with all this nastyness??” and so forth, he still loves God, but is trying to figure out why God appears to be punishing him.
Job has three friends who respond to Job’s complaints, and they all pretty much have the same answer, “Well you must have done something to upset God, I mean, God only punishes evil people. So somewhere you must be evil.”
Job’s response is something like, “Well I have seen some evil people prosper, if only for a little while, so I don’t think you can say that God only punishes ALL evil people”
And it goes back and forth for a while, but Job’s last friend finally lays it all out. He says something to the effect of, “Job quit lying bro, you did some nasty stuff that we don’t know about, because I know God is perfectly just and He wouldn’t do something like this to a perfectly good person. Give it up man, tell us what you did.”
At the end God himself jumps in, taking the form of a tornado type thing. He tells Job that he did well, and tells his friends that they have sinned by putting God into their form of “Justice”, and might I add God has some pretty good points. He talks about “Behemoths” which I can only assume are dinosaurs, and how he made these huge creatures that eat grass, when they could easily hunt and kill smaller animals. He also talks about how humans are able to tame and control these large Oxen, which are much larger than humans and should not necessarily have to be subject to them. So God points out that He has ultimate wisdom and justice. (I would note that I may be totally wrong on what God was trying to convey to Job there)
I would have to agree with God, I mean there is so much on this earth, the way it was created and/or evolved that just doesn’t make sense, and that we don’t know anything about. Like the oxen, why don’t they take over the world? Additionally I would like to point out that God’s form of Justice is very different then our own. For example in the early days he would punish and entire line of descendants for the mistake of one of their ancestors (aka Cain), and that doesn’t really seem fair to me, but it did to God so I’ll take it. Plus there is so much that our minds just cannot comprehend, like “Eternity”, or how time is relative to the speed of light.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that God is how we explain what we can’t understand, because I think that through science/math and observation we can learn a lot about the universe, however, I believe that God is bigger than all that and God is one thing we may never be able to fully comprehend.
One day when I sit with Jesus perhaps he will tell me, but if not that’s ok too, as long as I get to be with Him.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
The best example “hero” that I can think of is the “Watchmen”. Now I have only seen the movie, and have not read the graphic novel, so that is what my opinion is based on. Each one has his own SEVERE issues to deal with. More than one are murderers, one of the older Watchmen is portrayed as a rapist, one is a work-aholic. While I was watching the movie I was having problems picking sides. I mean who were the real bad guys?
I do believe in redemption, in an opportunity to become more than what your sin once made you. I believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross so I don’t have to carry the weight of my past sins; I believe that his sacrifice covered my sins, and can cover all other’s sins as well. With that being said I would not “aspire” to be a sinner simply so Jesus could save me. That is not what I want for my kids, I want my kids to have hero’s who learn from their mistakes, hero’s that don’t break the law, hero’s with integrity, hero’s with honor, hero’s that choose to do right instead of wrong.
Friday, December 17, 2010
Travis : Travis and I have known each other for a little over a year, we met through Kaci and Battlestar Galactica. Shortly after meeting we became accountability partners and quick friends. Travis started dating his now fiancé Sarah shortly after Kaci and I became “official”. Travis and I have enjoyed the ups and downs of our relationships together and he has always been there to punch me in my man parts when I screw up. He was also a founding father of Beardenzia. I will be standing up for Travis at his wedding, just as he stood up for me at mine. Together we are sharpening one another as the verse in Proverbs goes. I am truly blessed to call Travis my friend.
Ryan Tow This is one of the most selfless people I know and a great man who leads by example. He has a family of three young children, and recently took in two foster kids. He is an elder at Westwind, and has led a Bible study that outgrew his house and had to multiply. He is one of the nicest men I have ever met and a guy who I often seek advice from. This is a man who leads by example, plain and simple.
Brother Minister Barker This is another guy that I go to for advice, (although I don’t always take it :P). He was with Kaci and I through pre-engagement counseling and is a great shepherd leader. He always makes sure I am equipped to lead my own Bible study, and reminds me often that it is ok to “say no”. He has also spurred me on to pursue Biblical Manhood, and is always at the church offices at 6:15am every Thursday for “Men’s Fraternity”.
Derek Martin: A member of Beardenzia, this Man also pursues Biblical manhood. His authenticity and ZEAL to get closer to God has been a great example for me. He also has a great somewhat subtle sense of humor. Also Beards.
David Khak Lam: This Cop from the rough streets of Vietnam (by way of China) is a man after God’s own heart. He is willing to open up and share his struggles with me and is always asking for advice. He also opens up his home and allows me to do laundry there FOR FREE on Sundays! Dave has also served as a great example of leadership. He is constantly challenging the men around him to grow closer to God and reject the sin they may have become accustomed to. He is also nice enough to record the UFC for me (since I don’t have cable). Dave is also a great example of hospitality, he has opened up his home to Derek and Travis, and there will be another guy moving in this winter. Besides having almost three roommates, Dave is constantly having get together at his house, this has built community in our connection group. Dave is a great guy, and single (ladies??).
Ben and Tyler These guys recently joined our accountability group (which is now, Travis, Derek, Ben, Tyler, and myself) While these gentlemen don’t share the same nerdy interests as Derek, Travis and I we do share a love for Jesus, and they are constantly authentic and challenging me to grow closer to God.
Anyway, that would be a brief overview of some of the great dudes I have met at Westwind Church, I look forward to getting to know them and sharpening them as they sharpen me. There are a TON of other guys that go to our church who are amazing, I just picked these few because they have had the greatest impact on my life.
Until Next Time,
Monday, November 29, 2010
A BRIEF HISTORY
I have taken some sort of energy drink/caffeine supplement almost daily since early in my high school career. While the forms have shifted, from Pepsi to “Spark”, then to various energy drinks and coffee/tea, one thing has remained; they all have some sort of caffeine. Over the years I have learned that your body builds up a sort of tolerance to the drug, the more you take over time the less it affects you.( I.e. the first time I had one dose of “Spark” I was a bit jittery, then, as time went on I slowly upped the dosage until I was having a double dose of “Spark” several times a day and feeling little or no effects.) There were short times when I would stop taking caffeine, but never longer than a week or two. Every time after I had stopped and got back on, my body had re-set and caffeine suddenly had a greater effect; which was great, I could spend less money to get the desired result (more energy).
THE EXPERIMENT/INITIAL RESULTS
My five day journey began on a Monday. The day was great until about 2pm which was when my first hard core caffeine headache hit, I took some ibuprofen which helped. Day two sucked the most I think, the headache hit hard, and I felt slightly physically ill. Day’s Three was more manageable and I only took ibuprofen once. Day Four I didn’t take ibuprofen at all and had only a slight headache, and Friday I just felt great!
After I achieved my goal of my five days I decided I could only have caffeine on days I did NOT work. This has worked out great so far; however, I have had to re-learn my caffeine digestion. I had one bad experience on a Saturday when I had an energy drink at 6pm and one at 10pm, big BIG mistake. When I used to consume energy drinks 2X’s per day I could take one at 10pm and be in bed by 1am, but since my body wasn’t accustomed to that high amount of caffeine anymore I was up in bed until around 4am, and it made for a horrible morning. Through trail and error, I have figured out that the energy drinks now last about six hours instead of two, so I can plan my consumption accordingly.
As for the days when I don’t consume caffeine I simply go to bed earlier. During the day I still get tired around 2pm (like I did when I drank energy drinks). I don’t get headaches anymore when I don’t have my “fix”, and I am saving a TON of money by only having them on the weekends.
All in all I would say that caffeine is a good thing and a tool, you just need to know how to use it. Caffeine like any other drug/medication can be awesome when used appropriately. If not you are simply throwing money away.
Friday, November 26, 2010
I am truly thankful for my wife.
She loves Jesus more than me.
She puts up with my random questions, and my very opinionated self.
She is a great cook, and makes almost EVERYTHING from scratch.
The fact that she will quietly wait and not complain while I am playing Video Games with my
brother. (Sometimes she even encourages me to play Video Games with him :P).
She gives it her all even when she is sneezing every 3 seconds (Literally folks, literally.)
She cleans the kitchen pretty much by herself, (that means doing ALL the dishes)
And most of all I just love who she is. She is my social half, my external processor, my grace filled heart, she is the perfect balance for me. She is truly an undeserved gift from God.
Monday, November 8, 2010
I guess I have been internally processing a lot of things lately, mostly theology based, wrestling with the tough questions. Working out my salvation with fear and trembling. I read a lot of Driscoll and some Piper looking at the idea of predestination (aka Calvinism) the far reaching implications of Calvinism as well as free will (aka Armenianism), and the implications of free will thinking.
A ton of Bible reading went into this study as it does continue. These questions have given me new motivation to spend time in the Bible, taking in God’s wisdom and basking in his glorious work. I think that with this study I have come to know God more, which is what I had hoped for.
While I feel there is a legitimate case for Armenianism I tend to fall on the Calvinistic side of things, and I was probably predestined to land that way (It’s ok if you want to laugh at that). The thing that I cannot get around with Armenianism is the total depravity of man (by man I mean humans). I don’t think that given a choice anyone would “choose” God.
As it is written:
“There is no one righteous, not even one; 11 there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. 12 All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” 13 “Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit.” “The poison of vipers is on their lips.” 14 “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16 ruin and misery mark their ways, 17 and the way of peace they do not know.”18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
I have been reading a lot lately about predestination vs. free will, and it has taken me back to my semi-philosophical college days. Yes for a while I actually thought about majoring in philosophy but ultimately decided that philosophers think too much and act too little, so I didn’t. That being said I still LOVE philosophy in small doses. One of my favorite subjects is that of God, namely the existence of God. A noted philosopher and theologian Thomas Aquinas wrote several arguments in Summa Theologica for the existence of God and in this blog post I want to discuss one of them.
Thomas Aquinas asserted that everything we can observe in science and in nature has a cause. Ie: Thunderstorms are caused by water evaporating from the earth and gathering into clouds, then re-condensing and falling into earth. Or the ball hit the wall because I threw said ball at said wall. So every thing in life has a cause right? Aquinas argued that you could trace these causes back to the beginning of time until there was a first cause, and the first cause was God. God moved which caused the creation of the world, which then led to many other causes, a chain reaction if you will.
The major argument against this argument is “What caused God?”. To this the answer is simply “God existed forever”. To which the immediate rebuttal is “If nothing ‘caused’ God, then why does there need to be a cause for anything else?” or “If God has been around forever why can’t anything else have been around forever?”
My college philosophy professor would assert that this (above) argument makes the “First cause” argument void and to a certain extent I would agree with him (only on the idea that the argument is logical in that it can be observed in nature, however I believe that God did create the universe and everything in it). I would say that per the laws of science matter can neither be destroyed nor created, it is simply changed and that would point to matter being around for eternity…
For life, life had to have a cause there is no other possible explanation for it. It is the one question that has plagued evolution scientists since Darwin. The complexities of a single cell organism has been compared to that of a Boeing 747, and for matter to “mystically” all come together at the right time in the right place, in the right order of chemicals is very very improbable if not impossible. It is something that as not been replicated in a lab, it is indeed a profound mystery for which scientist don’t really have an answer.
One outspoken atheist Charles Dawkins, put forward the idea that life was seeded on earth by aliens. The obvious question becomes “what caused the aliens?” in which case you simply come back to square one of the original argument.
So I don’t think Thomas’s argument was as weak as initially assumed I just think that if the argument is focused, namely on life, it becomes much more potent and harder to refute.
I’m no theologian or great philosopher, but I do like to ponder these questions, because I think it is good for Christians to challenge their faith as to make it stronger.
Friday, October 8, 2010
Warning: I will be talking a bit about sex in the paragraphs to come, so brace yourselves or turn away.
Making the Emotional Connection:
It turns out that during the course of a day a woman becomes disconnected from her husband, and it is important that a connection be re-established upon meeting up after a day of work. I, being a semblance of a man, didn’t realize this. In my man brain my thoughts are “We texted and emailed each other at work, there has been no break in our connectedness”. I was wrong, and one thing I learned is that texting and emailing are no substitute for face to face conversation.
Making the emotional connection is fairly simple. All I have to do is ask her about her day, and listen, and from time to time ask follow up questions. I found this is very important, and helps my wife feel the love I have for her. But that isn’t the only reason it is important for me to ask about her day.
There is a book titled “Men are Waffles, Women are Spaghetti” or something of that nature. The book goes on to state that men like waffles, can compartmentalize better than women. Meaning that parts of men’s lives are less likely to affect other parts of their lives. Women on the other hand are like spaghetti, every part of their lives affects every other part of their lives, it is all jumbled together like spaghetti. This is the other reason it is imperative that I ask about my wife’s day. If she had something happen at work, or something happened with her family etc. it is important that I know what happened, and how it affected her for several reasons...
1) The most important reason, is that I can be there for her, so that I can comfort her through whatever trial she is faced with. So that I can lovingly lead her, and know how she is emotionally and how I can help her/serve her best.
2) Sex, I like most men have a hair trigger, we can have great sex anytime any where. My lovely wife, like most women, needs to feel emotionally engaged, and needs to feel safe, secure, and loved when making whoopee. Things that go wrong at work with her family with me etc. always affects her sexual experience. I want her to be happy, and want her to want to give herself to me freely completely, feeling safe and secure and that all is right with the world.
3) Learning about my Wife. I love my wife dearly and want to be her best student, learning about her day and how things affect her helps me get to know her better, and that is something I love.
I love that my wife is a complex puzzle that I have yet to totally figure out or understand but I am looking forward to taking a lifetime to do it. (although my goal is to do it in half the time so that I will have the other half free to enjoy her completely).
Saturday, October 2, 2010
This past Sunday our pastor, Brandon, was speaking on the book of James, specifically the verses which talk about taking care of widows and orphans. He told a story of a mother who wanted him to explain to her son why the rich should not give all their money to the poor. He said that the kid was right, that that’s what should happen. This got me thinking about how this would relate to my own views of low taxes and limited government programs for anybody (the poor included). Are my views wrong? Am I twisting the Bible to say something it doesn’t?
In short no, I don’t think that the rich giving all of their money to the poor contradicts my views on lower taxes, and limited government. For one, James does NOT say “Give all of your money/possessions to the government and let them take care of the poor.” We are commanded, I like to think of a finger pointing at me “YOU! take care of the widows”, “YOU! take care of the orphans.”, the responsibility doesn’t rely on a third party it is your personal responsibility to do these things.
When I think about the fact that the Government is slowly but surely kicking God and Jesus out of our founding documents and schools it makes me wonder why government programs would be any different? So if we decide we want more government programs to help raise our children and take care of the needy aren’t we neglecting our responsibility as Christians to bring the gospel and aid to those who need it? I say absolutely YES. I think that voting for higher taxes to pay for government programs it takes money out of your pocket that YOU have been commanded to give to the poor, to pay for services to the poor that YOU should be providing*.
But what about the Christ followers who work for the government and assist in helping the poor and needy? My heart breaks for them, because I know their hearts have to be breaking everyday as they are unable to openly share the one thing the people truly need, and that is the Gospel. Their hands are tied with red tape and they are at risk of losing their job if they boldly proclaim the gospel. I’m not saying they don’t and that they aren’t able to minister in other ways, I just think the ideal would be being able to openly share the gospel.
I know that no matter what some people will have more than others, and we are obligated to give what more if any we have. I just think in an ideal world we would have greater potential for good if the government got out of the way.
"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down fro mthe Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows"
*Some folks do this corporately at a church level, they think they can simply give money to a church and say they are good. I think we have been called to more than that.
Friday, October 1, 2010
Slow to become angry? What does that look like? I mean some of the times that I get angry it just happens. I don’t spend time meditating and thinking “Yes, this qualifies as something I can be angry about because xyz criteria have been met.” It just happens, someone flicks my face, the waitress gets my order wrong, someone submits a credit application incorrectly… AGAIN. When triggered by these and many other things my immediate involuntary reaction is anger.
So how does one become “slow to become angry”? I honestly had no idea so I posed the question to my awesome Bible study. Not surprisingly my good friend Travis came up with an answer that blew my mind and made this whole thing so clear. The answer: Holiness and Humility. All of the reasons I listed above made be angry for one reason… ME. Because I am a sinner and can be/am very prideful , when someone flicks MY face it disrespects ME. When the waitress gets MY order wrong I have to wait to get MY food, or I have to suffer through what was brought to ME. When someone submits a credit application incorrectly I have to fix it, and it take MY time away from doing things I want to do.
Don’t get me wrong I believe there is such a thing as righteous anger, but 95% of the time the reasons I become angry is because my little world becomes less than perfect. If I was completely humble and Holy, like Christ is Holy, I would be able to see that those things don’t really matter. The only thing that truly matters is that God be glorified.
To God be the glory forever, Amen.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Unfortunately I don’t have anything terribly witty to write about so you get this lame sauce blog.
Kaci and I are going to retreat to a friend’s farm for the weekend with two of our favorite couple friends. I am super excited. Games will be played, fun will be had, excellent food and drink will be consumed, jokes will be made, mysterious woodlands will be explored, but most importantly we will all get to get away for a couple of days and relax.
More to come on our experience,
Friday, September 24, 2010
The following is a Historical account of what we think happen, while historians dis-agree on some of the details the major themes are agreed to be accurate.
2009 B.C. Earth,
The world at this time is divided into three warring Countries or Clans. The Waters Clan, Sloss Clan and Kennedy Clan.
The Waters Clan was known mainly for their crimson red facial hair and their ferocious lion riding cavalry. At the time they controlled the majority of what is now Europe, and some of the Middle East. Their leader was Travis “Red Beard” Waters. Red Beard was known for his thick red facial hair which he used to his full advantage in combat; his beard was so thick they said it would stop a crossbow’s arrow or the brunt force of the heaviest of battle axes. His lion, Dietrich, was said to be the most ferocious of any four legged beast. Lord Waters brutal efficiency on the battle field was matched only by his strategic intellect.
The Kennedy Clan was known for its thick black facial hair and for their ability to use bears (often independent of riders) in battle. At the time the Kennedy clan controlled most of what is now known as Russia, China, Mongolia, and some of the Middle East. They were also making a push into North America via (what is now) Alaska. Their leader was Ryan “Black Bear” or “Shogun” Kennedy. Kennedy was known for riding a chariot pulled by three black bears into combat, and was even said to have destroyed a legion of enemy combat troops single handedly. Kennedy’s combat tactics earned him the title of “Shogun” when he conquered what is now Japan.
The Sloss clan was known for their extraordinary social skills. They were able to recruit entire civilizations into through the use of diplomacy and assimilation. At the time, they controlled Australia, Southeast Asia, the majority of North America, all of South America and eastern Africa. Their leader, Kaci “The Socializer” Sloss, was known for her profound diplomatic skills. She was known mostly for her charm. After her armies plundered a Capital City killing all of the royal family except the Kings son, she was able to charm him into joining her army. (He was later killed in The Great Battle for the Middle East)
For years these three nations warred against each other. Eventually the Kennedy clan blundered by over extended itself making a push into Canada via Alaska. “Black Bear”s armies were spread too thin and “The Socializer” was well fortified and poised to counter attack. “Red Beard” had just lost a significant battle in the Middle East as his armies had not been able to fend off the Sloss clan, and Eastern Europe was at risk of invasion on two fronts. The Sloss clan could come up through Africa and had the potential to attack Eastern Europe if she could win the Middle East. The Sloss clan was poised for one final strike that would end these wars and make “The Socializer” the Queen of the known world.
Sensing their impending doom the Heads of the formerly opposing Kennedy and Waters Clans met to discuss their predicament. Travis and Ryan got a long splendidly and it was decided that an alliance should be made. (Please note: Some Historians believe that Derek son of Bruce founder of the soon to be Highland Beard clan oversaw the meeting.) The alliance was formed, and the decision was made that the Kennedy clan would make a surprise attack on the Sloss clan in the Middle East to give the Waters clan time to re-enforce and launch it’s own counter offensive on the war weary Sloss clan. Many Black Bears, and Kennedy clan members died to give the Waters Clan the upper hand in the Middle east.
The Sloss clan was soon over run as the fronts in Northern Africa, the Middle East, and North America where too much to maintain. Ryan met with Lady Sloss to negotiate the terms of her surrender, and as soon as he laid eyes on her he became enamored, and fell instantly in love. Lady Sloss and Lord Kennedy eventually married, and became the first King and Queen of what is now Beardenzia.
Travis “Red Beard” Waters took mercy on the beleaguered armies of the Kennedy clan and soon united the two clans into what became “Beardenzia”. “Red Beard” also took a wife from a more ancient civilization.
Beardenzia divided in to separate city states, most notably the “Black Bear Clan” (Made up of former members of the Kennedy Clan), “Red Beard Clan” (Former members of the Waters Clan), and “Highlander Beard Clan” (Founded by Sir Derek Martin). They lived in peace and harmony until the end of the age.
Monday, September 20, 2010
Light and Life at last at hand!
A Light that must be shown to all
Clear and True her Saviors call
To her home it must be brought
Good news to her kin must be taught!
Rushing home she cannot wait,
Her flight is sure and true and straight
What waits for her at home she knows
Her family questions will not pose
For forbidden is the Light you see
Light means death It cannot be free
Though death awaits in the morn
Death cannot this Light forlorn
She welcomes the dawn with Light in Hand
and pays the price the law demand
She would do it again, can't you see?
The Light was meant for you,
and it was meant for me.
Friday, September 17, 2010
Lately I have had free time on my hands (particularly at work) so I have had time to read various news articles and keep up on the times, it has also given me an opportunity to think and reflect. Unfortunately much of my reflection has been outward instead of inward. I haven’t thought of what I have been doing wrong, what I could be doing right or better or what I could be doing for other people. Instead I have been looking a lot on what people are doing wrong. What is wrong with our country, what is wrong with the Church what is wrong with so-and-so to the extent that I am starting to feel like the Pharasee in the parable Jesus told in Luke 9…
To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.'
"But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'
"I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."
I should never forget the fact that I am a sinner and no better than anyone else.
Father God forgive me of my sin, and cleans me of my pride.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Then someone hit the brakes, life slowed down. The activities were less frequent, travelling was less frequent, more time was spent at home. This was expected to an extent but I feel like my life suddenly became boring. Don’t get me wrong, I mean I love being married, but I guess I expected it to be more work then it actually was. On top of that my job slowed down to the point where I was bored the majority of the day. The meaninglessness of life is/was caving in around me. It makes me question things, like “What difference does it make?”, but I think the biggest thing is my lack of contentment. It turns out that when you don’t have a whole lot going on you tend to get squirmy, and discontent.
My contentment should be found in Jesus, and I think that you can “over do” it but at the same time I don’t think God made me (or anyone) to sit around all day. He made us to do things*, to work the fields, to protect our families, to build relationships, all glorifying Him.
As my work isn’t doing an adequate job of making me tired from a days work, and since I am involved in ministry, I am going to start “working the fields”. I am going to do what God built all people to do WORK, because I am meant to be physically tired at the end of the day. This means running and moving weight. I think this will also help my confidence (not necessarily pride), and confidence is needed when leading.
Friday, September 10, 2010
While Muslims cry “Freedom of Religion” as they build a mosque that 60% of New Yorkers don’t want, an angry pastor decides to burn the Quran and cries “Freedom of Speech”. The question is who is right?
This situation has truly amazed me, how our political leaders are fairly silent when Muslims want to build a mosque a block away from ground zero (and then even send an imam with radical ties on trip to the middle east on the taxpayers dollar). Then these same politicians are outraged when a preacher decides to stand up to them (radical Muslims), and actually try to convince him not to go forward with his protest. In my opinion the leaders should have been equally vocal on both counts, or not vocal on either of them. Do I think the government should have used its power to stop either event? No, it isn’t within their power to do so.
The case has been made that the burning of the Quran will endanger our troops, and increase recruiting for Islamic extremists. I can see that and I definitely agree that it would be a problem, and I don’t want to put our troops in harms way (my brother is one of them). That being said, I also think that a semi-radical leader who refuses to condemn Hamas, and who has ties to the Islamic Brotherhood building a mosque on American soil could be just as dangerous for American citizens and just as good for radical Islamic recruiting, as burning the Quran.
So, what why are they treated so differently? The answer is simple, American Christians (with the exception of the Quran burning pastors) don’t throw as big a fit about not getting their way as the Islam’s do. Plain and simple, Christians are viewed as the oppressors, (fairly or unfairly is another matter all together) and Islam is playing the victim card. I think the media has a great deal to do with this, I didn’t realize that they actually burned Bibles in Gaza until I ran across an article on the Drudge Report.
Life isn’t fair I guess, and even if Christians knew about the burnings that were going on I don’t think we (Christians) would have threatened violence against Islam. I think the pastor has every right to burn the Quran, just as I think the Islamist have the right to build a mosque, but just because you have a right doesn’t make it right, right?
I do think Islam is a false religion leading people to Hell instead of heaven, I love Jesus, and Jesus commands us to “Love our neighbor as our self” and although I screw up at it a lot I do my best. I think this preacher may be mistaken in what he is doing. I think it will harden the hearts of most Muslim’s to the one thing they need, Christianity. Part of me also thinks America needs a wake up call, we need to realize that the radical Muslim world is pushing a double standard on us. They push the Muslim law on their own people and don’t allow Christianity to even exist legally in their countries while telling us that we (Americans) have to let them do whatever they want.
It is, put simply, a contradiction.
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
The Overton Window: By Glenn Beck—This book follows a PR agent, and an aging FBI agent on two different story lines that never really come together as they try to stop a major terrorist attack on the US. It is filled with political diatribes that pretty much give Glenn’s point of view on the world minus religion (see other Glenn Beck posts). The book was long and since I was already aware of most of his political views it tended to drag on. It was an easy read but very anti-climatic. The story had some suspense; however the character development didn’t really happen. The book does keep you guessing (mostly because there is no character development). My Rating: Three out of five stars. It was ok; I wouldn’t recommend this to friends who disagree with Glenn Beck, or to any thriller fans.
The Last Patriot: By Brad Thor: Wow! This book is probably the best political thriller I have read to date. The plot is essentially a mix of “National Treasure” and “The Da Vinci Code”. It follows several characters, an FBI agent, a former Secret Service agent (Scot Harvath) and a former Black Ops agent turned Muslim extremist. They all end up looking for the same book/manuscript, “Muhameds final Revelation” which would change the way Muslims view their faith and traditions. Lots of action and twists, enough back story to each character so that you understand how they got to where they are. There was a healthy dose of history (twisted at some points) to make the book seem more real. The ending gave me chills. My Rating: Five out of Five stars. I recommend this book to everyone.
The Apostle: By Brad Thor: This book wasn’t quite as good as The Last Patriot. The Plot was much more direct. A major presidential campaign contributors daughter is captured so, with the help of the president, she recruits Scot Harvath to go to the middle east to break out a captured terrorist to exchange for her daughter. (per the demands of the kidnapers). There is a secondary plot that I found more intriguing involving the President and the death of his former campaign manager. My Rating: Seven of Ten stars. A good book, but I would recommend “Lone Survivor” by Marcus Luttrell as a much better book on Middle Eastern combat/intrigue.
There you have it folks, those are the three books I read this summer. My current reading schedule dabbles in more non-fiction, as I am currently reading D-Day by Steven Ambrose, and I also have Founding Faith on my future read list. I am also going to be reading “Lions of Lucerne” by Brad Thor (Yes, The Last Patriot was that good).
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
He is jealous for me,
Loves like a hurricane I am a tree
Bent beneath the weight of his wind and mercy
Then all of a sudden I am unaware
of these afflictions eclipsed by glory
And I realize just how beautiful you are
and how great your affections are for me
Oh how he loves us so
Oh how he loves usHow he loves us so
Yea He loves us
We are his portion
And he is our prize
Drawn to redemption by the grace in his eyes
So heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest
And I don’t have time to maintain these regrets
When I think about the way
He loves us
Oh how he loves us
Oh how He loves us
How he loves us so.
There are different versions of this song, but I like the one played by the Westwind Church worship team the best.
Thursday, September 2, 2010
One of my earliest memories of Glenn were those of him grilling a pedophile that had recently been arrested. While the authorities could not prove the pedophile did anything to children the guy had a website where he graphically detailed what he would like to do to them. Glenn grilled this guy; he put him up against a wall so everyone could see how dumb and sick this he was. I remember the pedophile was hiding behind the first amendment, saying that he could write whatever he wanted to about whoever he wanted to. Glenn asked him something to the extent of “So, would it be ok if I graphically described ways I was gong to murder you? Would it be ok if I had a website dedicated to killing you would that be ok?” The pedophile immediately backed down, and even looked a little scarred, he had no response, he said something like “Well at some point I would get law enforcement involved”. BOOM! He was pinned to the wall, and Glenn from that point on had my attention.
His show was a mix of politics and pop-culture, the “Fusion of entertainment and enlightenment” is how his radio show describes it. He would often talk about politics, global warming, and socialism etc. much as he does today, however every Friday he would interview a famous person, usually in the entertainment business. Glenn interviewed one of the stars from Penn and Teller, and “The Motor City Madman” Ted Nugent among others. My favorite interview was when Glenn interviewed Jeff Foxworthy, I guess it stuck out to me because they both loved their families dearly, and it came out in there interview. They both authentically talked about their kids and wives, and although there was a lot of laughing they spoke very respectfully and lovingly about their families. This again was another reason I chose to watch listen and read about Glenn Beck.
Glenn’s politics have always been something I enjoyed and probably the main reason I followed him for so long. He was always for personal responsibility and against big government. He believed (and still believes) that by lowing taxes you can stimulate the economy and that the private sector does most things better than the government. He almost always tries to do the right thing, even when it is hard. Most recently, in the case of Shirley Sherrod, a member of the NAACP was accused of making racist remarks in a speech given several years ago. Glenn stood up for her and said that she should not have been fired, he said that we should hear the whole story before we start making rash decisions. It was later revealed that the tape had been doctored. Glenn (as well as I) have very differing views on political philosophy than Ms. Sherrod, so for him to stand up for here said a lot about his character. The fact that I agree with Glenn politically and the fact that Glenn tries to be a man of character are probably the main reasons I have followed him for so long.
Early 2007 I discovered, through Wikipedia, that Glenn Beck was a Mormon. I was surprised, and didn’t know how to take it at first. Glenn had mentioned his faith from time to time but he never went in depth. During the early years I could care less what Glenn believed, he didn’t talk about it that much and it wasn’t like he was trying to convert people to Mormonism. I let it slide, and tuned him out when he spoke of theological issues. Lately, however, Glenn’s answer to all of our countries problems has been turning to god, which I agree with (assuming it is the Christian God and Jesus Christ). Glenn however has just used “god” in a very general sense, implying that he doesn’t care if you turn to the Jewish god, the Islamic god, the Mormon’s god, or the Christian God. He seems to think that they are all essentially the same thing and America needs to get back to it. This I have a problem with, because my God is above ALL other god’s, and if it doesn’t matter what god you turn to then it denies my God because if it doesn’t matter what god you turn to then it essentially states that all god’s are equally powerful, which is false. Glenn recently illustrated these universalist beliefs at his 8/28 rally where he had religious leaders from all faiths pray together.
Why does Glenn want people to get back to God? I believe that he authentically wants to unite the country. While I do believe that the country should unite, and that a united country would be better for everyone I also believe that doing this is secondary to believing in the one true God. As Glenn has put what god you believe in as secondary to living in a united country I believe he has put country over God. This is something I disagree with whole heartedly, and because this has become a central theme in his show I can no longer in good concience continue to follow his show.
I will miss Glenn’s sarcastic humor, and his viewpoints on politics and current events. I may even check in on him from time to time. I will definitely pray for him and his family that they may come to know the one true God. It is with a heavy heart that I am saying “Goodbye Glenn Beck”.
*Follow in the sense of watching his TV show/reading his articles/listening to his radio program, NOT in the sense of following him as a religious or political leader.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
My expectations were that Mr. Bunch would make factual arguments that Glenn has made over the past few weeks or months showing that he was revising history, or re-writing it (as the title suggests). What I was looking for as far as an argument was “Glenn bed said x, but the truth is y”. I was greatly disappointed. While he shares his opinion in several places, he never really shows that Mr. Beck is twisting or re-writing history.
Mr. Bunch does quote Dr. King once, “Famously, King lashed out at the Alabama governor -- George Wallace -- who had "his lips dripping with the words of 'interposition' and 'nullification' " -- a reference to claims by Wallace and other segregationists that states' rights trumped the power of Washington to promote integration.” Really what I think Dr. King was more concerned was the fact that Governor was twisting and misusing what interposition* was originally meant for. The declaration of Independence clearly states “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…” The Governor of Alabama at that time clearly misused interposition, and that was what Dr. King was referring to. I think Dr. King cared more about ending segregation than states rights vs. federal rights, he simply wanted to get the job done and I don’t think he cared who did it. Even with that being said the 8/28 rally isn't even about race or Dr. King, it is about honoring our armed forces, Glenn Becks website re-inforces this.
What bothers me most about this article is that it doesn’t contain facts proving the premise true. I understand that this is an opinion piece, but I think Mr. Bunch would have been much better off titling his piece “Glenn Beck and Tea Parties Suck”. But that is my opinion, and I think unjustified phrases such as... “bending the history of 20th-century America like a Philadelphia soft pretzel.” And “Beck has led his loyal followers on a journey not just to "reclaim" civil rights but much more audaciously to rewrite the sweeping narrative arc of American history from the time of the Founding Fathers forward” proves my point.
This is my opinion of an opinion piece, I have no doubt that Mr. Bunch has a great deal more of an education that I do and is a far superior writer, but then again so does and is Mr. Beck.
* Interposition, in the context of the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions, refers to an asserted right of U.S. states to protect their individual interests from federal violation or any abridgement of states' rights deemed by those states to be dangerous or unconstitutional. In the words of the Virginia Resolution of 1798 – Wikipedia.org