Thursday, April 28, 2005

quote of the day

"I often wonder how a gospel based solely on the merits of one who has died to forgive sin could be perpetuated on the merits of those who don't seem to need it. If the whole point of the gospel is forgiveness of sin, then why do we insist on continually parading these almost perfect lives in front of each other? How has it happened that the people who proclaim forgiveness of sin don't seem to have any sins to be forgiven themselves? How has a church that once was the happy possession of common fisherman and prostitutes and tax collectors become the home of the spiritually elite? There are undoubtedly, numerous and complicated answers to these qustions, but I believe at the root of them all is lurking the issue of the Pharisee." John Fischer in The 12 Steps for the Recovering Pharisee (like me)

rejoicing

the student rally was very powerful last night. I rejoice that it is done because it's a wee bit stressful. At the same time I rejoice because I was touched by God and I believe others were too. What does it mean to have a ful life? That was the theme and I was reminded again that I fill my life with some very shallow things at times. Philippians 3:8 in the bible was the theme verse and it was very encouraging to have our speaker help me understand the passage. God is good.

What does it mean to you to have a full life?
What does it mean to have an empty life?
How do we stay committed to the things that fill us appropriately?

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

uh huh

Tuesday flew by. I had a great time with a friend during breakfast. We chat about life each week, encourage each other, and offer a listening ear. Then, I spent some time gearing up for the big Youth Rally we have tonight in town. It's going to be sweet. 7-9PM at the High School. I met with another friend this morning to practice my Spanish. He's a Mexican . . . a very smart Mexican student who is doing some graduate studies on international scenes, especeically in Latin America. We talk about all kinds of things today: vice taxes, legalizing drugs, homosexual marriage, abortion, and suburbanite teenagers. It was fascinating. I have a day filled with people, my favorite kind of days.

so what do you think on the following subjects?

Vice Taxes? Taxes claimed for schools or other public needs that come from tobacco purchases, gambling, etc.

Legalizing drugs?

Homosexual marriage?

Abortion?

Suburbanite teenagers?

Monday, April 25, 2005

quote of the day

"Truth is wild, mysterious, alive, and always on the prowl to capture, confront, and find us!" Mike Yaconelli

What makes truth alive?

How do we sometimes strip truth of its mystery?

What truths impact you?

mondays motivations

some Mondays are a dreary start to the week, but this morning was different. Despite my crazy cat attacking my toes before my alarm went off, I had a fabulous morning. I spent some time in prayer and reading the Word. I was shocked in Jeremiah 2 of humanity's constant struggle to remain faithful to God. I was shocked because every verse was pointing at me. I run from God, I turn to worthless idols, and I so easily get distracted by the temporal things of this world. All in all, I was reminded of God's grace this morning. I have hope!

This weekend was very hard. I picked up my grandma from the airport on Friday. Her health is waning now that she is 80. My parents are considering putting her in a nursing facility. She (like all of my family) is quite stubborn. Then, on Saturday, my grandma fell and hurt her leg and is still in the hospital. Also, my sister is having a surgery in a few weeks. These family events have weighed heavily on my heart. When I visited my grandma in the hospital on Sunday, I was deeply concerned for her low weight and constant memory lapses. I fear aging so much . . . the fact that our bodies slowly die is a very scary reality for me. I am overjoyed to know that my grandma has hope in Jesus Christ. Her physical life may end sooner than I had hoped, but eternity is soon to begin for my beautiful grandma.

Well, the day is young, the week is young, and it's time to get ready for a week of service to God and others.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

escape

What do you do when you want to get away from your own thoughts and feelings? Last night, I got home about 10:30PM. I was unhappy by some of the things I had done that day. No major sin issues, just frustration. I wanted certain things to happen in such a way, and they didn't. I wanted to go home, watch a movie (to drown out the thoughts in my head), and fall asleep exhausted. Well, God gave me a very amazing wife. She challenged me to talk through my thoughts, embrace reality, and deal with my frustrations. I went to bed refreshed, not totally free from all my emotions, but happy that I didn't just avoid the issue.

Great quote of the day: "There is no greater obstacle to truth and revelation than to think you already know what you need to know." John Fischer

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

culture

I've spent a good chunk of my last few weeks studying culture. What's the differences between the folks in their teens, twentys, thirtys, etc. Also, what's the difference between the early 1900s and the present. Oh, my head hurts. Then I realize I have to read 40 pages of systematic theology, write a seminary paper and take a final test all in the next few days. Woops, I better get going. My head hurts . . .

What culture changes have you seen in the last 10 years the last 50 years the last 100 years, 500 years?

Just wondering

body and mind

Last night I had an ol' friend join Carrie and I for supper. Brandon is a fraternity brother. He is a deeply fascinating person. He reads anarchist books, studies chemisty in college, and works a gyro stand on Welch Ave. in Ames, IA. My first year of college is filled with wonderful memories of talking with Brandon. Through many sleepless nights we'd discuss Buddhism, Christianity, movies, college, and the like. One of our favorite pasttimes was re-watching Good Will Hunting or The Matrix. Both movies seemed to resonate with our lives. Though we're both Iowa boys, frat boys, and Iowa State fellas, our paths have been very different. He teaches me things I'd never study if he weren't my friend. I thank God I have Brandon in my life.

Do you have friends that make you think in ways you normally wouldn't?

Also, this morning I hit the basketball court. My body aches, especially my knee. Who would have thought a 24 year old would really be old? I gotta take on the world. See ya

Monday, April 18, 2005

a quote about faith

"Faith is more than an intellectualy buffet where we are given permission to try this or that. Faith is a relationship with Jesus complete with all the twists and turns that relationships bring. It's in the tussle of following this Jesus--during the process of getting to know God--that I am surprised, confronted, exposed, challenged and pushed beyond my comfort zone. The word for this dynamic interaction with God is growth. Not only does my faith in Christ allow me more space to explore alternative ideas, my faith allows me the space to follow Jesus whereve he goes." Mike Yaconelli in Dave Tomlinson's Post-Evangelical

Questions to consider:

What things are hard for you to believe?
What things have you been told to believe that you want to challenge?
How can faith allow for alternative ideas to be investigated?

a new week

I had a week to forget . . . well not totally. Last week was filled with very little passion, a little to mechanical. It's probably not good that when I was going to bed last night I told my wife that I was VERY ready to start over. It's not that I wasn't overwhelmed at times by God's goodness and His power; it's just that my heart was bored and a little frustrated by the monotany of life. I am prayerfully expecting big things this week.

I had a great breakfast with a great friend today. I hope it to be the spark I need to get things going today.

Has anyone seen the movie "Finding Neverland?" If you have, what did you think? I will post some of my movie comments later this week after hearing from you.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

tired . . .

I don't know why this happens, but there are days when I am just tired. It's not that I got too little sleep or that I've been eating poorly, it's just days where closing my eyes and escaping reality would be the preferred method of life. I am having one of those days, but with a little caffeine help (thank you Pepsi) and with weighing deadlines . . . I am going to get working.

My day has been so so, the whole sleep thing isn't fun . . . but my wife has really loved me today. Marriage is awesome. Church was fasinating, Sunday school was encouraging, and I am looking forward to spending time with people tonight.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Friday's musings

I started the day with golf. It was fun to have
2 golfers along, one being my wife, who have not
played very much. They both improved throughout
the round. I also spent the day running errands
and working on the house. My wife and I had some
frustrating moments working on our
"soon-to-be-finished" remodeled bathroom.

We are going to have a nice night to ourselves
and maybe hang out with a few friends. But
tomorrow we have a full day.

Questions I am pondering today:

What does it mean to be at peace?
Why does every project take longer than expected?


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Thursday, April 14, 2005

prayer

If you are a student of mine or a student of prayer, please respond to this question:

What have you gained or learned in your life through prayer?

Thursday morning

Last night at our high school gathering known as The Harbor, a very godly woman shared her spiritual journey. She shared about prayer, and how it's taken many years to learn the true reasons for prayer. Her first prayer was at age 9 when she prayed for a friend who had been hit by a car. Sadly, the prayer seemed unanswered and her friend died of brain damage. This event and a few (and I mean very few) other prayer opportunities seriously scarred her spiritually. She's only been a Christ-follower for 4 years, and in this time she has been constantly praying for her now 4 year old daughter. Her daughter has had a hole in her heart that constantly remains a health threat, but the threat has never been serious enough to require surgery. Every year the surgery gets postponed, God is praised. It's not fun to keep praying when we all would just prefer God to heal this precious girl, but God's ways are higher than our ways so we trust God will continue to teach us things. It's not easy to trust God, but we all learn things when we do.

This morning, I was challenged by a seasoned pastor to think deeply and broadly. Many Christians read the same 3 authors their whole lives and never allow themselves to be challenged with a different point of view. I do not want to be afraid to have my views and ideas challenged. And I don't want to think it's wrong to change my opinion.

I am not sleeping long or well. This makes me irritable. I need to be more disciplined.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

preoccupation of the self runs in my veins . . .

So, I made this blog this morning and made my first post. Then all day, I want to see if people are reading it and commenting on it. I am so prideful. I honestly think my life, my wisdom, and my vision for the world is worth something so much. The bible says we are supposed to be slow to speak and quick to listen. I hope this blog site doesn't give me too many opportuntiies to speak, when I should be listening.

I have lots of work to do, and it's getting to the point when I need to focus in for tonight's gatherings.

Who really cares what I think?

So, I've been reading web blogs and all kinds of blog sites for a long time now. I thought I should wade into this arena myself. I feel life is one crazy mess that is only sorted out as people dialog together so I hope others feel free to comment on the crazy mess I call "my life" as well as other things that stir your heart.

I am currently thinking through some issues of hypocrisy in my own life right now. I am reading a book called "12 Steps for the Recovering Pharisee, like Me" by John Fischer. He has successfully shown my deep desire to judge others and create my own false sense of self-sufficiency.
Does anyone else recognize the Pharisee in them?

Why do we like to be Pharisees when we see it hurts others (and ourselves) so much?

This is one crazy mess . . . that's what I call life.