Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Why Do We Do What We Do?

In Romans 7 Paul says, "I do not understand the things I do. I do not do what I want to do, and I do the things I hate." I read this story a few minutes ago and it made me think of that verse...

"A toothless man has been arrested for stealing toothbrushes. According to O Dia newspaper, 32-year-old Ednor Rodrigues was filmed taking seven toothbrushes from a supermarket in Ribeirao Preto, Brazil. When he was approached by the police, he tried to deny the robbery - even showing the officers his toothless mouth. He finally admitted to the crime: 'I don't know why I did it. I know it was stupid. I have no teeth, what was I thinking?' " - Sunday Mail [Scotland]

In staff meeting today we were talking about how so many people hold themselves back from really getting to know God and/or serving Him because they feel stupid about what they've done, although in reality it more than likely is not as bad as what others have done, we just build it up so bad in our minds. So tell me, can you get more stupid than stealing toothbrushes when you have no teeth?


Monday, May 29, 2006

Shameless Audacity

Sorry, I know I blogged already today, but I'm reading a new Bible translation and I came upon this phrase, and I can't get it out of my head. I just love it.

Shameless audacity.

Here's where it comes from. Jesus is trying to explain to His disciples about prayer and He tells a story of a man who asks his neighbor for bread at midnight after the neighbor's all comfy in bed with the door locked. Jesus says that the neighbor will not give him bread out of friendship, but because of the "Shameless Audacity" of asking for it in the middle of the night, he will go do it.

When was the last time you prayed for something so big you thought you had a shameless audacity to ask it of God? Have we whittled our prayers down to nice little prayers that are easy to answer so we're not imposing on God?

To my shame I learned this lesson in Africa. I remember praying that our school assemblies would make a difference in these kids lives, that they would be changed and better off for us being there. And I remember thinking and praying, "Please God, let 10 people get it. If only 10 people would understand your love." Instead, I remember the person speaking ask if anyone there would like to start a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and hundreds of hands going up asking how (at some schools, it was thousands). I had originally thought that 10 was a nice number. How safe. How stupid. What if I had prayer for a shamelessly audacious number of people to experience God's love. What would have happened then?


Weapons Or Furniture?

I was reading a book by Dick Staub today. He told a story of how he visited the Dyak tribe in Kalimantan (Borneo) and talked with a man who lived there wearing a beautiful sword on his side. He liked it because it reminded him of a Dyak sword he had years ago that was lost when he moved.

What he really got from looking at the sword was its use. This tribal leader used his sword every single day, from cutting branches as he traveled through the jungle to killing poisonous snakes. That sword was his life. He needed it. Without it the jungle would have killed him.

And Dick Staub's sword hung on his wall.

The question was how many people take their Christian weapons listed in Eph. 6 and hang them on a wall. They make nice decoration but are never used. The Sword of the Spirit, or the Bible, looks beautiful in it's leather-bound case, but is never opened and read. The gospel message is a nice warm security blanket to us, but is never shared or told to people that need to hear it.

Is your faith living, or is it decoration, color added to conversation about yourself?


Saturday, May 27, 2006

Northern Lights

Sorry it's been a few days. I haven't had any real revelations, sorry.

But I did see something today. This.

It's a picture by Mike Hollingshead in Nebraska. It just made me miss the cold white north. In Ontario they weren't nearly this bright, but the further north you go, the bigger and better they are, so when I was in Edmonton and Grande Cache, they were like this and more.

The funny part is how it's all simple physics (as Noah and I were discussing the other day). It's caused by electrons jumping around. For all the evolutionists, what point does it serve? For all the creationists, did God have us in mind when He made it?


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

What Makes Jesus Smile?

I'm sure you've been told it some time in your life. I know I have. That wonderful guilt-ridden phrase that drives me nuts (which is probably why I say it sometimes to people, just because it's so ludicrous). "You're making the baby Jesus cry..."

Instead, I want to go the other way. I hate the shame in thinking I do something to make Jesus cry, so what makes Jesus happy? I read it today. To be honest, I couldn't really find any other verses in the Gospels where Jesus is described as "happy" or having "joy" except this one.

At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure. - Luke 10:21 (I added the italics).

Do you see it, what makes Jesus happy? What makes Him smile? What causes Him to be full of joy through the Holy Spirit?

People who get it.

When people understand the Truth. When they start to live their lives as God wants them to be lived. When they tell others about the Truth they have found. That's what makes Jesus happy. That's what makes Jesus smile. Understanding who Jesus really is and living your life in that knowledge.

But how would that look? Can you imagine if people started to suddenly "get it" and their lives were changed? I read a book the other day where one character said there are 4 billion people on earth who say they believe in God. The other character asked why he said it that way, "say" they believe in God. The first character's response was basically "If they really believed it, they would be living differently. They would be giving to the poor, showing love, etc."

Let's do what we can to make Jesus smile...


Tuesday, May 23, 2006


More proof that even after reading the same passage in the Bible 300 times, somehow on the 301st something pops out at you.

It was actually reading someone else quoting Romans 12:2 - "Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is." Now, I've read this verse easily a thousand times. I have it memorized (it's a good one to know), but it was last night for the first time I did something I've never done with this verse, and do very seldom. I looked up the original Greek transcript.

Now I should start with I'm not one of those people that carries around a Greek Lexicon and Hebrew Torah so I can get the "full original meaning". In my mind, the people who translate have already done that to the best of their ability and if I look through enough translations, I'm sure to get an idea as to what was meant. But last night was different. Primarily, the word transform there in the beginning.

You see, the original Greek, which I don't know, so I had to translate all those funny little symbols, uses a word that we have in English, but don't really have the proper function in our language that is talked about here. It's a form of the word metamorphosis, hence the title, I made a new term to apply. We're not supposed to be transform into a new person, we're supposed to metamorphesize into a new person. Transform makes me think of the old 80's toys Transformers. Move the pieces around and it looks like something new. Metamorphosis is more like a worm that turns itself into a cocoon and weeks later comes out as something completely and utterly different, a butterfly.

See, God wants us to be totally and utterly new. He doesn't want us to turn from a truck into a robot with wheels for elbows (thank you Optimus Prime), there should be nothing from the old on us. A worm has no sort of wings anywhere on its body or even in it's body waiting to come out. That little squirrelly thing completely changes so much it has new appendages that take it from the dull life of inching around a leaf to flying across meadows, opening up new worlds it never saw before. That's what God has in store for us. New worlds and depths of a relationship with Him like we've never known.

But it all goes back to the idea of metaporphesizing. We have to get completely rid of the old. Can you do that...?


Monday, May 22, 2006

God Is Gravy

It's a new phrase that's stuck in my head. Richard Becker said it last night.

It's our American view of God. We don't need God. We don't live each day for God. God is not the center of our lives. But He does make us feel warm and fuzzy, a nice addition to our day. He's the nice and warm brown gravy that makes our potatoes taste better.

And that's pretty much it for us Americans. The problem is it's horribly wrong, but we don't mind it and we don't confront that image because then we wouldn't feel so warm and fuzzy. It's really kind of sad. Jesus gives His life for us and how do we respond? "We don't really need You to do that, but if it makes you feel better, we'll put You minimally in our lives. You can feel good that we appreciate you and we can feel good that we have Jesus."

Shouldn't there be so much more? Oh, wait, I'm sorry. That would upset the 50% or more of you that go to church every Sunday because it makes you feel good, not because you have a relationship with Christ.

...Offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. (Rom. 6:13b)


Sunday, May 21, 2006

A Time To Kill

It's not what it sounds like...

The other day I mentioned the show Boston Legal and Liz wrote in her favorite line from the show. They actually stole the idea of that line from this movie, "A Time To Kill", a really good movie with Sandra Bullock not as whiney as she usually is and Matthew McConaughy before he played stupid heartthrob roles (plus Samuel Jackson, Keifer Sutherland, Kevin Spacey and a huge list of other notable actors).

But there's one line with those two actors that I've always remember, it's by far and away my favorite from the movie. Matty is a married lawyer who's representing someone who has no chance of winning, Sandy is a law student who sees it in the paper or somewhere and decides to help him. Herein we enter the scene. It's late. They've both been working really hard. They're tired, and they're at his office. He has decided that he's going to spend the night.

Then Sandy asks the magic question. "Do you want me to stay?"

And Matty gives the best answer ever! "Yes... so you should go."

Where has our honest morality gone? We need more people who are willing to look at the situation and go, "This is tempting, that's why I have to get out of it." Did you know that 90% of Americans think that adultery is wrong, but 70% have committed adultery (according to one survey)?!

So how does that happen? Either they don't really care, or, the more likely answer, they didn't recognize the temptation in time and/or they didn't remove the situation. As hard as it is to seem, there is always a way out. But I don't know your situation! How can you say that? "But remember that the temptations that come into your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can't stand up against it. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you will not give in to it." I Cor. 10:13. I used to keep that verse on a card in my pocket to help me memorize it, and to remember the truth in it.

Thank you for the godly lesson Matthew McConaughy (I don't think that phrase has ever been uttered before...)


Saturday, May 20, 2006

Potatoes Are Evil...?

I promise, I'll get to my busy week a little later. I'm going to mention this a little bit tomorrow at NewSong, but thought I'd put a bit of it up here.

So here's the interesting piece of knowledge for today. Are potatoes evil? Well, kinda... maybe...

When was the last time you had a potato? Mine was about 3 hours ago, had some tater tots with dinner ("gimme some of your tots"). Potatoes are everywhere in our society. Almost every single fast food place in the world has them (mmm, McDonald's fries...). They are a staple food in any restaurant. The world is in love with potatoes.

For those that don't know the magical history of the potato, here's the short version. People in Peru have been growing them for centuries, thousands of years before Christ. Then, in 1537, Spanish explorer Gonzalo Kimenez de Quesada visited Peru and found them. Good old Gonzo decided to take them home since they were so incredibly easy to grow (no work needed) and people across Europe were starving.

But they didn't catch on right away. Some thought they were poisonous, some confused it with deadly nightshade (A poisonous shrub) and some even thought it caused leprosy. It took scientists telling famous people to promote them to get people to eat potatoes. But you know what one of the main reasons people didn't eat them was?

Potatoes aren't mentioned in the Bible.

There it is, the magic answer that plagues so many things that have been done in the history of man and are still going on. If it's not in the Bible, it must be evil. Can't drive cars, they're not mentioned in the Bible. Don't watch TV, it's not mentioned in the Bible (although I'm sure a little less TV would help us all). So many good things we don't do because we are the ones scared of change, but we mask it in the guise of being obedient to God. He made potatoes, didn't He? Millions of lives were saved because of this little spud.

But don't eat them whatever you do. You can only eat foods mentioned in the Bible. Is there a verse in the Bible that says that...?


Friday, May 19, 2006

TV Addiction

Sorry, it's been a busy week...

But here's what I learned today. I saw something I have never seen before. I'm not sure if it's marketing genius or just more proof that our society is taking a nose-dive. The sad part is it will probably sell more than it should. You ready?

I saw a fridge... with a television built into the door.

That's right. We need TV's in every room but we don't want them to take up space, so we have flat panel TV's, but that's not enough. Now there's one in the door of the fridge.

Now I understand the idea of having a TV in the kitchen, especially if you're cooking something that takes an hour, but really doesn't require that much thinking. Maybe I'm a little spoiled in my tiny apartment where I can watch TV from my kitchen because my living room is just around the corner. But to actually put a TV in the door of the fridge?

The only thing coming to mind is that scene in Back To The Future where Marty McFly is sitting with his family in the 50's and they can't believe that someone would have two TV's...


Saturday, May 13, 2006

I Figured Out Why I Love Dilbert (God's Debris)

Tonight I spent the night reading a book by Scott Adams (the guy who writes Dilbert) called God's Debris. It was incredible. I could talk about it here, but to be honest, I don't think I could keep it under 10 000 words. You have to read it yourself. You can download it for free at www.dilbert.com.

A word of warning though. I don't agree with everything said in the book. Even the author said that. He also said that people under 14 shouldn't read it and I agree with that too. It's too mind-popping. If you are one of those people who are condemning the DaVinci Code because your own faith is too fragile to handle it, this is not the book for you. It is not a book of truth. It is a book of thinking, a book that will make you think.

Just don't blame me where those thoughts take you...


Friday, May 12, 2006

Is It That Hard? Pt. 2

This morning I get to work and see in my email that someone has left me a comment on my blog. It's from someone who has the Bible on DVD I mentioned earlier, and since the three people I know who read this don't have it, that means someone new and exciting is reading this. I'm not sure I can handle it...

Their comment was quite valid. "hmmm...I love movies which is why I purchased this product. I just wish they had it in the NIV version. Seriously, if the Bible on DVD helps bring someone to Christ...isn't that worth the $29? "

First of al, if it brings you closer to God, hey, all the power to you. And since you actually have the product, maybe you, anonymous reader, can give a little more information on it. My impression was that it was not a movie, rather, someone reading the Bible with the pages on the screen so you can read along. But again, anything that brings you closer to God is worth $29.

But I still have two questions. Will the Bible on DVD actually bring someone to a relationship with Christ? I see a commercial on the all-Christian network with a nice Republican looking family sitting in their living room watching pages of a Bible on TV. I have friends who don't have anything to do with God and I have a hard time seeing them seeing the commercial in the first place, then actually buying the thing to have as a Bible. When I think of going over to their place, I don't think of bringing the Bible on DVD to teach them about Jesus. I think of actually talking to them (what a thought). From my experience, tracts and little leaflets about Jesus are not as effective as people actually talking to someone and showing them the love of Christ.

My other question was more about our society than the product itself and goes back to my first post. Are we so lazy we can't even read anymore? We can't pick up a book and read for ourselves, we have to watch someone on TV read to us? Yeah, that worked when I was 4 but I've learned to read since then. How can you use the DVD as an effective tool like the Bible? If I want to cross reference what is being read on the screen with another scripture, do I have to switch discs, find chapter 21, then forward for 23 seconds? Can you do a topical study with the DVD's? Maybe it's just a me thing, but I even hate digital daytimers because you have to go through so much trouble to find what you're looking for. In my daytimer, I just flip open the page.

Annonymous commenter, whoever you are, thanks for reading and writing in. You've made me think a little bit more and like I said earlier, if it works for you, all the power to you. I just pray your growth isn't stunted by the technology and you aren't trapped in the pre-recorded DVD box of how the Bible flows together. I hope you're still reading your Bible too.


Thursday, May 11, 2006


Let's set up the story...

Jesus is walking and a man named Jairus says his daughter is dying. He asks Jesus to come home with him and heal his daughter. By the time they get there, the girl is dead. Everyone says they're too late, but Jesus says it's okay, He can take care of it. Then there's this little verse.

Luke 8:53 - They laughed at him. They knew she was dead.

Have you ever cracked a joke at a funeral? It doesn't go very well. People are not in the mood. Here we are surrounded by people who watched this little girl die. Jesus says He can help, and they laugh. They laugh! There is so much unbelief that they cannot hold it in or express it, but instead they laugh. How stupid is that? The Answer they sent for says He can solve the problem, the One they were depending on, and they laugh. Idiotic.

Do we ever have that kind of faith in God? We ask Him for help, He says He can, but we still laugh because it seems so impossible?

If it seems so stupid, why did you ask Him in the first place? Not quite the action that comes to mind when I think of the word "faith"...


Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Boston Legal

Nothing really deep today, I just got to see the show "Boston Legal" for the first time in a while, and I remember why I loved that show (it's not that good when you don't see it every week, but it was still good tonight). They tackle tough issues. They make you think. They have trials that no one would touch in real life.

Like tonight's. Here's the basic premise. A woman in India lost her child because the health care clinic didn't have the right equipment. They used to have the equipment but lost it because a U.S. agent went there and saw a poster that he interpreted to be pro-abortion. Many of you may not know this, but the U.S. will pull international funding for health care if any clinic is pro-abortion, instead they promote pro-life.

And herein is the debate. One side saying the woman should be compensated for losing her baby since the U.S. pulled it's funding on a law that they don't even support in their own country. Makes sense, we have abortion here, how can we be so hypocritical to say that it's wrong for someone else to do it? (To give a little history, the original reason for the law was to stop euthanasia by countries such as China who have a limit on the children you can have thereby causing people to kill their children if they aren't men and cannot carry on the family name, etc.) But then there was the other side? Why should the U.S. compensate? Why is it our job to supply the world with everything? The U.S. gives $55 BILLION a year to help other countries, while here at home, we are below the top 50 countries in literacy, we have over 30 million people in poverty, we are $8 trillion in debt and we can't even provide for our own people that suffered in hurricane Katrina. Why is it automatically the U.S.'s fault if someone doesn't have the tools they need when the U.S. was generous to give those tools in the first place (and how dare the government make stipulations for those they give money to).

So who is right? Come on all you black and white believers with no room for grey. Which side is right? And after you come up with an answer, imagine you're not an American citizen. Who's right then?

Honestly, the saddest part in all this to me, is this. If everyone around the world who says they're a Christian, who goes to church once a month, who takes Christmas as a vacation, but still would say they believe in God, if all those people were to give the money to the church that God asks them to (10% of their income), would we have this problem? Would there be any corner of the globe without the medical supplies they need? So why are there still places that need financial aid?

Where's that black and white theology now...?


Monday, May 08, 2006

Wisdom Of Larry Scubelek

For those that don't Larry, he's a really nice guy, and really smart too. The other night I was working at the church's Fish Fry (mmmm...) and we talked for a bit. He mentioned about how hard it is to take his own medicine, but how you have to do it. He told someone who was going through a problem to stop worrying and give it to God, then something went wrong in his life, and he had to choose to do the same thing. If it's right for you to tell someone else to do it, you have to do it as well, right?

Well, I hit that this week. I've been trying to get my hands on a few programs for my computer to make a CD. So this week I find someone selling them cheap on eBay. Really cheap. One was an older version so I thought this guy was blowing out his old stuff. Nope. All pirated and illegal. Then all these questions ran through my head. "How can I make a worship or Christian CD with illegal programs?" "How can I make the pastors' sermon CD's will something illegal?" or my favorite "How can I tell the guys and gals at church not to download illegal stuff if I have it?"

But I'll tell you what, it was really hard when you're holding in your hand everything you need and have been waiting for for oh so long...


Wednesday, May 03, 2006

My Car

Someone's going to have to help explain this to me...

For the last two and a half years, I have spent my time driving this wonderful black Toyota Camry that was in an accident. To be frank, the hood was tied down and it came in runner up in a contest looking for the worst youth worker car in America. It was bad, but it got from point A to point B.

So a few months ago it started to get a little worse, and I really didn't want to put any more money into it, so I traded it in (they actually gave me $500 for it!) and I got a nice little red Geo Prism. Good on gas, runs, the hood opens with a switch life is good.

Fast forward to today. For two years I hoped someone would hit my car and I could get a new car from insurance money. But noooo, instead, now with my "new" car, it gets hit today. And not some major accident either. My bright red car, sitting all alone in the parking lot, gets backed into by a soccer mom not paying attention in her nice mini-van.

Seriously, you've got to be kidding me. I swear when God looks down on my life, there's a little Comedy Central emblem in the corner...


Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Theology And The Cranberries

I doubt many people who read this will remember who the Cranberries are. Few of you will remember the Irish band or one of their top hits "Salvation", but one line from it is going through my head (the one they repeat about 4 billion times in 4 minutes, that takes talent). It says, "Salvation is free".

So here's my question. Is it really free? I love how in our modern society we focus on me. Me, me, me. What does it cost me? We don't care about the slave labor that made our leather wallet from Taiwan, we don't want to know about it, we worry about what it costs me, and what will keep that cost down. We don't worry about farmers struggling day in and day out just to make, no, no worries about what it costs them for us to get our gallon of milk at Wal-Mart, we just want to know how we can get it cheaper.

Everything has a cost. One of the amazing things about salvation is it is free, to us. A price was already paid for it. In the realm of the entire universe, no salvation was not free, it's just already been paid so now we get it free. Be thankful that such a great and awesome opportunity has been given to us with no need for payment, but don't forget Who did pay for it.

For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver. He paid for you with the precious lifeblood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. - I Peter 1:18-19


Monday, May 01, 2006

Is It That Hard?

So today I'm home feeling a bit under the weather, which usually means I watch way too much TV, and I see this product on TBN or whatever it is (the Christian Network). http://www.bibleondvd.net/ It's no joke, the Bible on DVD.

At first I think this could be a cool thing, a movie of the entire Bible. No. It's the pages of the Bible with narration and the occasional picture. I kid you not. They showed a family sitting around the TV staring at the page of the Bible some guy was reading to them.

Is it really that hard? Can we not just pick up a book, The Book, and read it anymore? Do we need it on TV read to us? Are we that addicted to the tube? Yes, it's great there's another medium for us to see God through, but come on. I think we've passed the line from a bit much to insane.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go watch someone read the Bible to me on TV (see, it even sounds weird).