Saturday, December 6, 2008

Why Are These Guys All Half-Naked?



The sad thing is that I kind of like the song...just not the awkward half naked dancing manfest.

The Return of Scrubs.

One month from today the new (and probably final) season of Scrubs starts.

I say probably because every season was going to be the last, but it keeps on plugging along.

I wish Arrested Development would have done the same thing.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Jesus Wants To Save Christians - Rob Bell

This morning I finished reading the new book by Rob Bell titled "Jesus Wants To Save Christians". This books is based off of a sermon series that Bell did at Mars Hill a couple of years ago and decided to write a book that is somewhat tied to that series.

I find Rob Bell to be a great communicator, in his sermons as well as his writing.

I think this book has a lot of eye opening ideas that are curcial for the church today to answer. Some of the questions that are brought to the surface are, "do we use our power to help the powerless?", "do we use our money wisely to help others or do we use it unwisely and build multi-million dollar buildings to show off?"

I think these questions need to be asked in today's consumer driven Christianity.

Although I agree with several of Rob Bell's conclusions, I disagree with some of the ways that he gets there.

Some of you who have really looked into Bell's beliefs know that he has said that Jesus has already saved "all of creation" and "we all have the same destiny, but we can live in that reality now". This comes through in the book some, as well as a chapter that decsribes the book of Revelation as a coded message that John delivered to his former congregation to rebel against the establishment. He referes to paying taxes as the sign of the beast, and seems to be advocating some sort of righteous anarchy.

I found this interesting seeing as how Jesus himself said "Render on to Ceaser what is Ceaser's". Bell also seems to hint that violence and wrath are not in Jesus' persona, and it is true that he did not lash out violently (except in the temple with the money changers) during his ministry, scripture even says that he "did not defend himself". However, to say that this is not a part of Jesus message does not jive with the message of Revelation when Jesus shows up riding a horse, carrying a sword, and ready to kick some butt. Mark Driscoll describes this as "Ultimate Fighter Jesus", which might be a fairly accurate image...except for the whole played up dramatics and crappy play by play from the announcers.

All in all I would recommend this book, but I would also HIGHLY recommend that is be read with caution and discernment. It seems that in several ways Bell is drifiting the road of the emergent movement where McLaren and Sweet dance with pixies and wish truth away on the back of a unicorn. *I know this is a mean critique, but it is hard to claim the things they claim without doing away with the truth of who Jesus is, according to Jesus.*

Read it if you want, just be careful.

All in all I give this book 3 trendy pairs of glasses out of 5.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Saturday, November 29, 2008

violent thoughts

I have them every time I see Bob Stoops on TV.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

3...it's a magic number

I have three followers now...awesome.

Late Links

This past weekend was pretty crazy, Coldplay on Friday night, crying myself to sleep on Saturday night because of those stupid Sooners.

So anyway, here are the links to the 1st and 2nd installment of Zak White's thoughts on debt...Tuesdays are crazy so I plan to comment and give my thoughts tomorrow...as well as a review of the Colplay concert and how I eneded up being in arms length of Coldplay.


Zak - Debt #1 - You Need A Plan

Zak Debt #2 - Tax On The Poor

I will probably only discuss the first blog since the second one is an article from Dave Ramsey. Plus the article from Dave makes me terrified of snakes, bees, and electric chairs.

Don't play the lottery...if God wants you to win then a winning ticket will blow through your opend car window while driving.

That is how i I do it. I don't buy tickets...I just drive with the windows down.

P.S.-Be praying for Zak's brother in law...he was involved in an accident and his arm was crushed in some far equipment.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Debt and piggybacking

My church, New Life EFC, has been very outward focused in a lot of the ministries that we run. It is something that we all as a staff have been very passionate about.

With the state of the economy and the fact that there are credit card commercials saying that we are a "nation of consumers" and that there is "nothing wrong with that", our church has been very focused on sharing true biblical principles about debt. I have loved it. We have offered a variety of programs to help people to get rid of their debt (not manage it...but kill it).

I have never been a fan of debt, even though we have plenty. Now that we are looking to get our first house I see the importance of getting out of debt quickly. Although out debt is unavoidable (student loans) we are still wanting to get it taken care of quickly.

Not all debt is "bad, immoral debt" but it is never good to live under debt.

With thinking about this topic I decided to piggy back and to post links throughout the week to my good friend Zak White's blog. He is going to be spending his week talking about debt, and he has some great thoughts on the subject.

I do believe that a lot of debt is more than just a finanical issue, or a way to pave the road to happiness and more possessions later in life, but it is a theological issue. So anyway, here is Zak's first blog introducing the subject: Zak White - Debt Kills

Enjoy!

Death By Love


I just got through reading Mark Driscoll's new book "Death By Love." This books is a collection of letters written to individual people and explores a situation in their lives and then applies the work of Christ on the cross to their lives.

I found this book to be very creative and well written. I think everyone knows at least one person who is going through some of the events mentioned in this book.

If you know anyone who has ever been, abused, raped, has a loved one who has cancer, addicted to pornography, been angry with someone, addicted to drugs, is not a Christian, is searching for God, hurts themselves, or is the son of a pastor then you will find that this book has some great theological ideas that can be shared with those individuals.

At times I did find this book to be a little repetitive. I know that these letters are supposed to stand on their own, but I think that putting the same ideas, stories, illustrations, and scripture in several chapters can be quite boring.

I am not sure I would recommend this book to read cover to cover, but I would highly recommend it to pastors and counselors who would like a great, biblical, resource to take people to who deal with any of the above problems. In addition to some great thoughts and truths from scripture, the book also contains some very cool artwork to introduce each chapter...just check out these samples...



These letters are written with a lot of love and a lot of truth, which is how I hope my ministry is seen by those I talk to. I could see myself writing letters very similar to these to a multitude of people over my future years of ministry. Although, I am not sure that I would write a letter to my two year old son that weighs the options of limited atonement, unlimited atonement, and unlimited limited atonement.

So if you have the means, and would enjoy this resource then you should definitely look into it. If you are interested in learning more about this book on Amazon just click the book cover at the top of this post.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Monday, November 17, 2008

Saturday

The big Tech vs. OU game is coming up on Saturday.

It is a big day for the Red Raiders and all of the fans that have not jumped ship for UT, USC, LSU, or any other school that has had recent success. And yes I do cheer for UT but not at the expense of my Raiders.

I will be cheering hard from CO.

Friday, November 14, 2008

At least I ave the Red Raiders

The Mavericks are 2-6.

The Stars are 5-8 (with only 13 points)

Both are at the bottom of their divisions

The Cowboys are 5-4, only because they have one division victory and the Eagles don't have any.

The Rangers only matter during the All-Star break.

The Rockies flopped this year and then traded Holliday away.

I would glad relive this all again next year if it means Tech wins a national championship.

Denver's first snow

Yesterday I wore shorts and a t-shirt all day. I walked the dogs through the field next to our apartment. I sat out on the balcony and read. Then I went to bed thanking God for a wonderful and warm day in mid-November...

Then I woke up this morning. There was snow on the ground, ice on the steps, a cold chill in apartment as I got out of the shower, and of course I had to walk the dogs with wind and snow stinging me in the face.

I think this snow snuck up on my and I feel that summer was stolen from me like a car stereo (in the middle of the night, by someone who will probably pawn it off for beer money).

On the plus side, it was yet another occasion to listen to Christmas music on the way to the church. So I listened to Josh Rosenthal's new Christmas album, and then I listened to some Sufjan Stevens Christmas music. It made the morning so much better.

Also, when it is cold outside I feel like I am more productive than normal (not that I slack off when it is warm outside, but I feel less like going outside and the rest of the church staff does not go outside with me to throw a football around or play a little tennis golf around the church). So with that being said I need to work on week 2 of our "Who is Jesus?" series and look at how he was fully man...fun stuff.

Have a good one, and if it is not snowing where you are and you don;t have to scrape your windshield off don't feel too sorry for me. Because I get to see snow covered mountatin every morning.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Hurt - Chap Clark


This book came out when I was in seminary and I never picked it up until fairly recently. Although this book is not what I would call "A page turner" it is full of practical and real advice on how to reach out to this broken and abandoned group of students that are walking through their adolescence every day.

We are a society that, I believe, has abandoned teenagers. This is why teenage stress is at an all time high, it why they put in more hours for school and homework than most adults do for their jobs.

If you work with students in any form, or desire to work with students, or work with people who work with students, you need to read this book.

I seriously can not recommend it enough.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Independent Artists

Hello. Something I love doing is offering reviews of music, especially unsigned artists such as Josh Rosenthal, Make Like A Tree, and any others that I have done on this blog. If you are interested in having a music fan review your music and place an honest review to point your fanbase to please let me know.

If you are interested please email me, jefflhoward@gmail.com

Have a great one.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Wall Street Journal Article

I found this article about the treatment of President Bush to be a little thought provoking. Any thoughts?

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122584386627599251.html

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Addison Road - Hope Now

Here is the new video from Addison Road...such good people.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Josh Rosenthal - Narratives


About a week ago I received Josh Rosenthal's new Christmas album called "Narratives: A Christmas Album". I am a sucker for Christmas music, which is why I have a play list on my ipod that is just Christmas music.

My usual complaint about Josh Rosenthal's albums is that they end and I wish that there was more music on the CD (I know that this is a good problem...it would be worse if I couldn't wait to stop listening to the music). The plus side is that I can give a song by song review of the album.

1. Come O Come Emmanuel - The key to recording a well known Christmas song is giving it something that makes it sand out. My favorite version of this song to date is the Sufjan Steven's version found on his Christmas EPs. Rosenthal, also makes his mark on this song with an uncharacteristic fast beat, that seems off place at first, but soon makes for an added element in a beautiful song that makes it stand out among other versions of this classic hymn. Towards the end of the song Rosenthal and producer Josh Wilson sing the last verse in Latin which is yet another creative example of adding his own spin on the song. The instrumentation is more complex, and wonderfully orchestrated. If you are going to download a new version of "Come O Come Emmanuel" this year then it needs to be this one.

2. This Changes Everything - There is a distinct difference between "Christmas songs" and "songs about Christmas". Although his album contains both, this song is a Christmas song to the core. This Rosenthal original is a songs that is reminiscent of a classic Christmas hymn, complete with quiet drum rolls, focusing on the cultural shift that takes place over the birth of the Christ-child. An example of this focus is when Rosenthal sings, "Priest put down your sacrifice, king give up your crown tonight, Prophet come and see the child born to die, to bring you back to life, Raise your voice with angels sing, bow before this manger King, with hope to give and peace to bring, this changes everything" This song has quickly become my favorite track on the album, and possibly my favorite modern Christmas song, largely because it has the feel of a timeless classic. It is not only a beautifully crafted and performed song, but it also is a constant reminder of the focus of Christmas and reminds us all that his birth "changes everything, so rejoice".

3. Christmas for Cowboys - This is a classic example of a song about Christmas. Rosenthal brings a new life to this song about spending Christmas out on the range driving cattle. The song contains the usual intricate guitar that people have come to expect with any Josh Rosenthal release but this track also features the lovely and haunting harmonica of Rapheal which was also present on Rosenthal's last release "Renaissance". It is a short and simple song that has a personality of it's own and is a fantastic lead in to Rosenthal's second original on the album.

4. Before I Go - For those of you who have heard the story to Rosenthal's catchy song about leaving Lubbock titled "Gotta Get Out" will have a fond appreciation for this song. This is a song about wanting reconciliation and healing in a situation that is waiting for you "back home". Offering the truth that running from our problems does not mean they are gone, but often escalate without facing them. This song is loosely tied to Christmas in that it discusses going home for the holidays and having to face the pain that is still there waiting to be reconciled. It is a brutally honest song which reminds Rosenthal fans why they have connected with his music in the first place. I personally feel that this is one of the best songs that Rosenthal has penned, relying less on masterful guitar work, and more on melody, and honest, thought provoking lyrics.

5. Christmas Morning - It is a great task to take on a song written and performed originally by a great song writer. Rosenthal seems up to the task with Lyle Lovett's "Christmas Morning". Much like "Christmas for Cowboys" it is a simple song that is one of the shorter ones on the EP. Although, I do like this song, I also believe that it is probably my least favorite on the album. This not due to this song being bad, or ever sub-par, but due to the fact that it is preceded with four outstanding tracks that are, for the most part, flawless. Even though as a song it does not stand out among gems like "Before I Go" or "This Changes Everything" this does showcase Rosenthal's voice in a way that few songs do. As Rosenthal sings on this track it makes me think of Ryan Adams on Jacksonville City Nights. A low-key voice that bring in the emotion instead of relying on instrumentation.

All in all I believe that this is one of my favorite Christmas albums to date. It would be a great addition to any one's holiday season. Josh Wilson's production is outstanding and Rosenthal is in rare song writing form.

Tracks to download:
All of them (though you are out of your mind to not download "This Changes Everything" or "Come O Come Emmanuel"

This album releases on Tuesday, November 4th.

#2

Texas Tech is #2 right now. I really hope they keep it up.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

I never thought I would see Corso do this...

This was a video of Corso picking Texas Tech to beat UT....and it happened.

Of course he picked OSU the next week and we all know how that turned out.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Christmas 2009

For those of you wanting to know what to get me next Christmas I have your answer...


http://stereogum.com/archives/video-games/here-come-the-beatles-the-video-game_031791.html

Finally a music video game worth buying...sorry Metallica...I guess you will have to take your overrated music elsewhere.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Corn Maze

Tonight I will be taking our students (high school and junior high) to a local corn maze. I am looking forward to running out of the stalks and scaring students...especially the guys who are tryting to put up the tough front to impress the lady folk. That is always fun times.

In the next couple of weeks I have a few more reviews coming:
-Hurt (the book)
-Death By Love by Mark Driscoll (book)
-Narratives: A Christmas Album by Josh Rosenthal (music)

It is a very busy week so don't expect much until Monday.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Follow Up

We got back from our Fall Retreat on Sunday afternoon and it went very well.

Thanks to any of you who were praying for us as we were gone. There were a lot of small and important steps takend by students this weekend.

Friday, October 24, 2008

100!

This is my 100th post! I could not think of anything really important to talk about so I decided to make this post all about the post.

Maybe I am drawing attention to this very minor achievement because of some childhood trauma.

Maybe I am doing it because I am too lazy to right out a well though out discourse on something important.

I do have several people to thank.
-God for giving me ten fully functioning fingers to type
-Meredith for encouraging me to type, and to stay out of her hair
-My readers, both of you.
-Zak White - for gripping at me for not writing enough
-George Clooney - You know why

Have a great weekend!

Heading To The Mountains

Today we are leaving for our high school ministry's Fall Retreat.

I am excited for a time to get away form the same old routine for a few days. The topic of this retreat is on prayer and it will be lead by my friend Brendan. I think it is going to be a good time for our students.

I would appreciate any of you who might happen to read this over the course of the weekend to say a quick prayer for the students and the retreat. I figure since the retreat is on prayer, it would be good to have people praying for the retreat from time to time throughout the weekend.

Thanks guys.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A look at the lives of students

In today's society student only get an average of 5-6 hours a night. Who can blame them, between school, sports, band, musicals, homework, church, extra curricular activities, work, spending a little bit of social time, and of course eating, it is amazing that they are even getting that much.

As I talk with teens in the youth ministry here at New Life EFC I can see the stress filled bags under their eyes. They are being pushed by parents to succeed so they can get scholarships, they are being pushed by teachers so they can get raises, they are being pushed by peers to avoid embarassment when the class ranks come out, they are being pushed by coaches who think that winning is everything (it's high school coach...not the NFL...so shut up), they are being pushed by their jobs to work more hours, they are being pushed by choir directors to practice three hours a night when they are done doing the other 4 hours of homework that is given each day, and of course they are being pushed by themselves, to meet these ungodly expectations that are places on them with no room for failure.

I am fully convinced that the life of a high school student to so incredibly different than when I graduated just 9 years ago.

It is not surprise to me that teen alchohol and druge use has skyrocketed as fast as their schedule fills up. I wonder how to create and environment that is free from expecetation to succeed and filled with expectation to just simply be.

We as a culture are stressing out teenagers for the sake of "a better tomorrow". I am not sure how this mentatilty will flesh out in the future but I would put big money on the fact that it won't be good.

So if you work with students in any capactiy make sure you are teaching them that they can say "no" to extra activities. We have been teaching them that "no" is only a good response when someone offers them drugs or sex, however I think the stress levels that teens face today are almost as dangerous as drugs and sex.

Sorry about the rant, but it just feels so good.

out of the stands

In a move as crazy as a soccer mom possibly becoming vice-president of the county, Mike Leach has found a new kicker.

During half time of the Texas Tech/UMass game a few weeks back there was a contest for free rent if someone could kick a 30 yard field goal. Apparently Matt Williams, a transfer student from Tarleton State, nailed it. Before finding his seat Williams was flagged down and told to come to Leach's office the next day.

Due to poor kicking (6 missed PATs so far) Williams might be kicking for the Red Raiders this Saturday against KU.

Next thing you know there will be a Golden Retireiver playing basketball, with movies made about his life. I bet they call them all "Air Bud" event though the phrase "air" is best applied to basketball only. Nothing says hockey like "Air Bud".

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Bright spots

This makes the Jason Kidd trade look a little better.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Jesus quotes

So in a few weekd (starting in Nov.) I am doing a new study with my students called "Who is Jesus?" which is designed to answer some doubts of current students as well as some of their friends at their schools or work places.

It is a five week study looking at five different areas of Jesus' life. This will hopefully be a good study.

I named this study "Who is Jesus?" and not "Who was Jesus?" to imply that Jesus is alive and well, and living in Mexico. Ok, so maybe Jesus is not living in Mexico (and yes that is an Audio Karate reference).

I was wondering if any of you (my faithful reader...notice it is not plural....so this means you) had any good quotes about who Jesus is from different celebrities, or theologians. It does not have to be correct...in fact it would be great if it was not.

Just to let you know the five weeks are based on the following topics:
Week 1 - Is Jesus God?
Week 2 - Was Jesus a man?
Week 3 - How did people know that Jesus was coming?
Week 4 - Did Jesus' mom have to be a virgin?
Week 5 - Why did Jesus come to earth?

Anything relating to these topics would be greatly appreciated. Mucho Gracias.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Red River Rivalry

The time has come. UT. OU.

I love the fact that this game is ovetshadowing the LSU/Florida game.

HOOK 'EM!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Fleeces + Football = Fall

The fall is finally setteling in here in Denver. Today I woke up and it was a little foggy, 45 degrees, and I felt like staying in bed all day. I love the fall.

Time to get out my fleeces and long sleeve shirts. Time to start layering my clothes and eat soup at night instead of turkey sandwiches.

The fall also makes it feel more appropriate to be watching football on Saturdays, for example tomorrow I will wake up, walk the dogs, make some coffee, watch the Longhorns beat the Sooners, listen to the Red Raiders beat the Cornhuskers on the radio, and then watch any random game that is on TV.

I also love the fall because I am able to see my students games (football AND futbol) as well as other school activities. I love it. I know that a lot of people do not enjoy the fall, but I am not one of those people. Things are cool, but not freezing, there is not two feet of snow on the ground, but you also don't feel like your car is a sauna everytime you get in....did I mention football?

Well, I am going to play some Jon Foreman and Ryan Adams (perfect fall music) and get back to work on the new CREW PM series "Who Is Jesus?" If you have any ideas for aspects of Jesus to cover then please leave me a comment, or leave a comment anyway, maybe your favorite recipie or fall music. Have a blessed day!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Just a quick reminder...


Texas Tech is still undefeated

Jakob Dylan - Seeing Things


Almost everyone knows Jakob Dylan, even if they don't know that they do.

Jakob Dylan (formerly of The Wallflowers) has recently released his first solo project called "Seeing Things". We all know his voice from those 90's hits "One Headlight" and "6th Ave. Heartache" This album is a very stripped down version of Jakob. The songs are just acoustic with some light percussion in the background.

I always enjoyed the Wall Flower's music, especially as they stopped being played on the radio and developed a little more of an alt country feel. So I had high expectations when I got this album.

Dylan's songs, both in sound and lyrical content, remind me of a Cormac McCarthy novel put to music. The are songs that deal with depravity, despair, and in the end hope.

I really enjoy this album, but I do wish that there was a vinyl version of "Seeing Things" available because the songs sound as though they were meant to be on vinyl (much like Jon Foreman's EPs which I just found out today are coming out on vinyl, oh happy day!).

This album is definitely worth the listen, however I would recommend that you go to itunes and give it a listen just to make sure you like the acoustic psuedo-country feel.

Tracks to listen to:
-Valley of the Low Sun
-All Day and All Night (not great lyrically, but the feel reminds me of a Johnny Cash song)
-War is Kind
-Something Good This Way Comes
-Up On The Mountain (I am not sure what this song is really about, but it reminds me of Jesus)
-This End of the Telescope

Tracks to skip:
-Evil is Alive and Well
-I Told You I Couldn't Stop

Friday, September 26, 2008

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Dangerous Faith - Joel Vestal


I have always enjoyed a good book from a self-deprecating author who has a few fresh ideas, or at least a few fresh ways of looking at old ideas.

I have never liked authors who are writing books that are full of common sense ideas that have been repeated time after time and using themselves as the pinnacle of the practice of these ideas.
The authors that say "I did this right at this point in time, because I am a good person, and smart, ruggedly handsome, and can leg press 605 lbs."

These same authors also use the downfalls of others to illustrate the opposite of good. "My friend Bob wanted to go to a strip club so he did. While he was there I prayed and talked to Jesus about it (Jesus appears to me in person). My friend was inside and got herpes from the toilet seat and now when he gets a rash it looks like Jesus to remind him of grace."

Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce you to Joel Vestal (note: the above quotes were made up for comic relief not direct quotes from the book). However, I found Vestal's writing to be boring and full of stories about how strong his faith is and how he encourages those around him just simply be being present.

Maybe I am wrong and Vestal is really that good of a guy. In which case he will forgive me for writing this.

I did not have any problem theologically with Vestal's book, I just found it hard to connect with. Judging by the title I thought it would be a book about living out your faith in the face of dangerous circumstances and overcoming the fear of harm with faith in God. What the book is, is a memoir of Vestal's life and trips with little universal advice. Had the book been titled "Joel Vestal's Me" or "Dangerous Faith: The Life and Travels of Joel Vestal" then I would have gone into it with a different attitude.

If you like memoirs from someone who is not self-deprecating then I highly recommend it. If you do not like these types of books then I suggest you pick up something else at the book store.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Japanese Game Shows

I have always been intrigued by Japanese Game Shows...I find them to be hilarious.

I am excited because tonight we are playing several of these games with the students for our "Japanese Game Show Night"...pretty creative title, I know.

Monday, September 22, 2008

New Josh Rosenthal Song

Hey guys! Be sure to check on Josh Rosenthal's new song from his upcoming Christmas album. It is available on his myspace.

http://www.myspce.com/joshrosenthal

The song is called "Before I Go" and it is one of his best yet.

Just letting you all know. Have a good one!

Friday, September 19, 2008

so much to do, such little to prove

Are you rushing around trying to get tons of things done? Is time flying faster than smear campaigns in politics?

Why?

Why are we so consumed with working as hard as we can in order to prove our worth. I have a few friends who are convinced that they have to run themselves ragged in order to be seen as worthy of the work they do. This is a short trip to a dead end.

We run around working our butts off and spend almost as much energy pointing to the amount of work we do (I know I am quilty of this as well).

I read recently a quote that said "we are a culture that has forgotten how to be." We feel like if we are not doing then we are not contributing to society, or the organization. If we are not contributing then we are worthless.

This is bass ackwards to what we find in the gospel. It is the anti-do gospel. We are told specifically that it is the grace of God that saves us, NOT OUR WORKS. Why do we still hold on to this idea after experiencing the grace of Christ?

Does it mean we can be lazy? No.

Does it mean we should not work as hard? Not at all.

What it means is that it is ok, and important to breathe. Take a break. Spend some time sitting, not thinking about what you need to be doing instead. Soak up the presence of God.

Perhaps it means that we still work as hard to accomplish what God has told us to accomplish...but perhaps it means that we do not need to spend so much time pointing to the work we do.

I believe if we spent the time that we spend in trying to make people notice the work we do and we just simply used that time to energize, rest, pray, and just be, we would be much better off.

So I say today, we all take a break...maybe an afternoon, maybe an hour, and just be. Listen to the voice of God and enjoy it rather than planning out your next move. I will let you know how mine goes soon.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Vintage Jesus - Mark Driscoll


Vintage Jesus is possible one of the best, and well written theologies of the person of Christ. Mark sets the book up with the chapter titles posing a questions such as "Did Jesus Have To Die?", "Where is Jesus know?" and "Is Jesus really God?"

This makes the book great for a reference book so you can easily fine the subject that you are looking for. The books is also full of scripture to back up Mark's standpoints, they are not just made up.

Mark is a pastor that I respect, for theology as well as the way he interacts with culture. I would highly recommend that you pick up this book if you have ever had anyone ask you a question about Jesus that you know you can answer but would love to be able to answer a little more fully.

The book is a fairly easy read so pick it up if you are interested.

Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld

I know some people hate these commercials but this one is absolutely hilarious.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Yellowstone

So this past weekend I was in Yellowstone with Meredith and my in-laws. It was incredible.

Not only was I fifteen feet from a Grizzly, I also was about 4 feet from a moose and a Bison. Man it was a good trip.

It was also a good time of recovery. Here are a few images...more later.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Why I Love The Cowboys

I love the Dallas Cowboys. There is nothing that will change my mind from cheering for God's team. This only fuels it even more.

The following was copied and pasted from espn.com...

IRVING, Texas -- Tony Romo: Pro Bowler, playboy quarterback and, apparently, a Good Samaritan handy with an air compressor.
Tony Romo Romo
A couple says Romo helped them patch a flat tire on the side of a busy street last weekend after the Dallas Cowboys star returned home from a season-opening win at Cleveland.Bill and Sharon White told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that at least 100 drivers ignored their broken-down Mercury before someone stopped late Sunday. Sharon White said a well-dressed man "with something strange on his chin" walked up and offered a hand.
Romo needed 13 stitches after his chin was split open in the 28-10 win over the Browns. He bent down and helped the Whites get their faulty air compressor to fill up the tire.
Sharon White said she asked twice before Romo confirmed her suspicions about the do-gooder's identity.
"I did something no 50-year-old woman should be doing, but I screamed real loud, and then jumped up and hugged him," Sharon White told the newspaper in Thursday's editions.
Bill White had a different reaction.
"Don't tell me how you guys did," he said he told Romo. "I'm going home to watch it."
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

Way to go ROMO!!!

I *Heart* Mormons - David Rowe

The book "I Love Mormons" is a book that came out a few years back, and of course that makes my review timely and relevant.

Rowe's book, however, is one of the best layouts of Mormon theology and is completely full of practical ways to share your faith with our friends in the LDS church. A couple of common mistakes that are made is thinking that Mormons are Christians, or beating them over the head with our correct theology. The firt approach is niave and the second is dumb.

One of the most respectful and appropriate things we can do with someone of another faith is to learn what they really believe and educate ourselves so we can have meaningful conversations and share our faith with those individuals.

If you want to learn how to effectively share your faith with Mormons and understand their faith better then I highly recommend this book.

Kate Micucci - Dear Deer

This might be one of the most random, yet weirdly awesome videos ever.

I dig the song and Kate Micucci's voice Anyway, watch, laugh, cry, blink, repeat.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

2 blogs in a day...oh ya.

So recently we decided to make T-shirts for our students to wear on Tuesday to advertise and start conversations with other students at their schools so that they can invite their friends to CREW on Tuesday nights.

I really believe that students should take a major role in the creativity of their student ministry. Without this involvement we create a bunch of students who are disconnected from the ministry because they do not feel any form of ownership of the ministry.

What I did was ask the students to submit T-shirt designs for the new CREW T-shirts. After the entries were in I would then bring the shirt designs to everyone in the youth group and let them vote for the T-shirt. The student whose design won the contest would get a free shirt, and the shirts would be student designed.

I asked the students for random things because nothing strikes up a conversation better than random logos. I can tell you that the students delivered.

For those of you who question the creativity of today's students need to look at this design and recognize that it might be random...but it is certainly creative.

Without further ado...this is the design that was decided on.


A peanut eating an elephant...who would have thought? (By the way...the colors are messed up...the peanut and elephant are actually different colors...not sure how to correct that)

MxPx - Contention Video

I know that as I have gotten older I have added new music to my collection that might not have quite the edge of some of my earlier music.

Even though I listen to a lot more Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Wilco, Ryan Adams, Iron & Wine, Dwight Yoakam, and Sufjan Stevens now days...I still love some good old punk rock.

I never get tired of MxPx. This may not be the best video ever made...but I just like listening to this music and smashing things...in my mind of course.

Friday, September 5, 2008

venting...

I hate politics. Church Politics. Government politics.

I am tired of people wearing shirts and using bumper stickers that say "Obama - Our Only Hope"

I would be tired of those people if they did the same thing with McCain. Jesus is our hope...not Obama...or McCain...or a certain political party.

I am tired of politicians who give a bunch of hope filled soundbytes without a plan...and accuse the other party of doing the same thing they are going.

I love watching The Daily Show. I hate people who think it is fair and unbiased.

I hate the fact that politicians familes are the focus of reporters.

I hate the fact that reporters laugh when they are accused of being biased...I don't care that they are...just admit it.

For the record...there are reporters and analystis that are biased on both sides.

I hate the fact that a party that encourages women's rights are making claims that Palin can;t take care of her kids when they have never done that with a guy. A father is just as important as a mother in the life of a young child.

I am tired of Christians who make their decisions based on abortion and gay marriage alone.

I am tired of campaign commercials that highlight the faults of the other (I know it is nothing new...just tired of it). It reminds me of little boys shouting insluts that make no sense on the playground.

I am ready for December.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Gospel & Personal Evangelism - Mark Dever


I recently read this book about sharing the gospel with those around you.

I found the book to be well written and practical...but also a little basic.

I would highly recommend this book for a new believer. It outlines the importance of knowing what the gospel is (differentiating between the true gospel and false gospels) as well as the importance of sharing the gospel and how to do it in a way that is not judgmental or idiotic (that is my word, not his).

One think that Dever hits on is the fact that we are sharing the gospel of Jesus, not recruiting church members. This distinction is so important. I think far too often people believe that if they tell people about church programs that their church offers then they are sharing the gospel with them, this is a tragic mistake. It is not that church events are bad, in fact they can be used to share the gospel of Jesus, but those events are a means to the end, not the end itself.

I would highly recommend this book to new belivers who are unsre of how to share their faith, or church leaders who are wanting to get some ideas on how to teach their new believers to share the gospel of Jesus.

Just a quick sidenote from me on the true gospel...

The true gospel is that we are seperated by sin from God and that Jesus died as a substitute for that sin to be cleansed. Jesus then rose form the dead and we offered to re-enter a right relationship with God apart from sin.

The true gospel is not...

Be good and moral (although it is good to be moral)

God will bless me if I behave (this is stupid, stupid, stupid....in case you messed that...stupid)

Fighting injustice (sorry po-mos, there is more to the gospel than living green and building a well...although both are good they are not the gospel of Jesus)

Wearing a Chirstian Shirt...I don't care how cleaverly they changed a corporate logo to something spiritual...it is just a shirt.

The gospel, I believe, is best shared in the context of relationship not through standing on street corners yelling at sinners or leaving a tract in a public bathroom. So, if you are a Christian then get our there and make some friends who are not...and love them.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Gabe Dixon Band

The new album from The Gabe Dixon Band is awesome. I love it. It is just simple piano rock with some really great song writing.

I highly recommend it.

Songs to listen to:
All Will Be Well
Disappear
You And Only You (only from itunes)

Songs to skip:
Further The Sky

Short and sweet...like an oatmeal cream pie.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

For all the slackers...

When I say "slacker" I do not mean people who are lazy...I mean people who do not follow through on their blogs...like me.

Things have been nuts at the church and I am trying to keep on top of all of that stuff.

We had a great kickoff this past week for our Tuesday night stuff, it was awesome.

Anyway, for those of you who do not find time to blog because you are too busy...you are not alone.

By the way, I am re-reading "Searching For God Knows What" by Donald Miller. I forgot how much I love that book.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Thursday Reviews - Coldplay - Viva la Vida


I have never been a huge Coldplay fan. I am not sure what it was about them that never got me excited. It is not that I disliked them, but they just lacked that something special.

That attitude has changed upon listening to their new album Viva La Vida.

This album is one of my favorite albums in recent months. Coldplay has traded in their piano driven, falsetto singing,soundtrack music sound for a more guitar driven album. Chris Martin sings lower on this album which makes them sound even better.

The album starts out with the worst song on the album, "Life in Technicolor" which is just a simple riff that is repeated over and over again with small changes and added instruments. If personally am not a fan of instrumental album openers unless they are done by Sufjan Stevens.

The second track "Cemeteries of London" is a great blend of slower melody with faster drums, I have always loved songs that do this.

The fourth track "42" sounds like a more typical Coldplay song which is not bad, but I could take it or leave it.

Following "42" Coldplay launches into "Lovers in Japan" which is one of my favorite songs. Probably because it sounds a lot like a Smiths song, and to add to the effect, the first 3 seconds of Chris Martin's voice on this track sound eerily like Morrisey.

The song "Yes" is full of great instrumentation and is easy for a guy to sing a long to without feeling it in the genitals.

Everyone has heard Viva La Vida thanks to Apple commercials. I do love this song. I am not sure what it is about. There is a great deal of religious imagery on this song (as well as the whole album) but this one seems to stick out. It strikes me like it is a song from God who is no longer in power...which makes me think of the God of a lot of some of the emerging church leaders...but that might just be because I am biased.

"Violet Hill" reminds me a little bit of later Beatles songs...so obviously this is not a bad thing.

"Strawberry Hill" is my favorite song on the album. The intro sounds like a bluegrass riff played on an electric guitar. Very cool

The last two songs close out the album nicely. I highly recommend this album, in fact I recommend that you buy it on vinyl since the vinyl version comes with a free CD of the album.

Songs to skip:
-Life in Technicolor
-42

Songs to listen to:
-Viva La Vida
-Strawberry Hill
-Yes
-Violet Hill

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

way too long

I have bee away for the past two weeks. I was in Texas for a week and then in Kansas for youth camp. Due to the long absence I will post two reviews tomorrow and then I will probably take a nap.

I hope you all are doing well.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

God's Country...Tomorrow

I am heading back to Texas tomorrow morning for a week.

Finally, I will be back in the land of good BBQ and Mexican Food.

Is it bad that I am more excited about the food than seeing family?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Last Thursday's review...almost a week later.


I have been reviewing to many books lately I though I would shift gears a bit. I recently got the new CD from The Myriad called "With Arrows, With Poise".

The Myriad is the band that won the MTV contest for the next big artist out there. It is cool that they won, since most Christians do not make creative music that is still easily listened to by a large number of people.

So on to the review. I love this album. That is about as easy of a review I can think of. It is a great album that does not sound like every other Christian musician (that being a Eddie Veder sound-a-like voice over the top of Nickleback-esque music...see Todd Agnew).

This album opens with the track "You Waste Time Like A Grandfather Clock" which is a great track that makes me think of playing spades, only due the line "that when we start counting sandbags". This is followed by the track "Get On The Plan" which is slightly more upbeat but still in the same vain as "You Waste Time..."

The third song "Forget What You Came For" starts with a simple piano riff that remind me of Ben Folds...except better. It is a more mellow song that sounds almost like a b-side from Radiohead's The Bends album. This track is followed by the first single "Clean Shot" which has a bass head that defies you to bob your head up and down. This is a fun song that deserves to be played loudly in your car while driving around this summer. I am also partial to this song because it is my ring tone.

"The Accident" begins with a driving guitar which is a little bit different than the majority of these songs. After the first few seconds this songs begins to take shape into a song that is more similar with the others on the album.

"Holiest of Thieves" is a slightly slower track which is also very beautiful. This is a track that can sing you to sleep and also get stuck in your head...which is not good for narcoleptic people...they have enough problems already. The next track "A Thousand Winters Melting" might be my favorite all around track. It is catchy and also recalls images of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardro

"Polar Bears And Shark Fins" is a mix of industrial and piano, which might sound weird, but it is a good song.

The album closes out in a fairly solid format. I could highly recommend this album, it does not disappoint. FYI: If it does not sound great the first time, give it a couple of listens, it is a grower.

For fans of:
Radiohead
Midlake
Pilotdrift
Pedro The Lion

Tracks to hear:
"Clean Shot"
"A Thousand Winter Melting"
'Stuck In A Glass Elevator"

Track to skip:
"Don't Let Them See You"

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Time Killer

I think today you should send an email to your co-workers asking them if they feel they are prepared to respond to an unsolicited email, even if they think it is a total waste of their time.

Ice Blocking



Yesterday I went Ice Blacking for the first time ever.

Ice Blocking is when you sit on a block of ice and then slide down a hill and try to stay balanced.

It was a great time and I wish I had head of this before...but I grew up in Lubbock, Tx so there was not point in doing that...because there are no hills...it would have just been sitting on a black of ice.

Anyway, if you are bored this weekend then give it a shot. Also, if you are bored this weekend and in the Denver area you can always help us with our CREW Garage Sale for students who are trying to raise money to go to camp.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Review Thursday-The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment by Tim Challies


I recently finished this book by Tim Challies who is a web designer who hails from the Great White North. Although I have had my difference with Canadians over the years (they try to pawn of ham as "Canadian Bacon"...I'm not buying it...it is to different parts of pig) I was still very fond of this book.

This book does not have a misleading title...it is about the act of discernment which is a discipline that has not been the focus of much attention in recent years.

Challies attempts to engage the reader and spur them on to making discernment a daily part of their lives.

He also corrects the thinking that discerning is a spiritual gift that is given to some but not to all. It is clear throughout scripture that we are to discern what is right and pleasing to God. It is much like the spiritual gift of worship. Some might have been given a musical ability to lead other in worship, but that does not replace the fact that all Christians are called to be worshipers of God in spirit and truth.

In this book the comparison is made between discerning good and evil with discerning counterfeit currency. Apparently Canada is known for three things...1. Maple Syrup 2. Funny comedians (Mike Myers, Martin Short, The Kids in the Hall 3. Counterfeit Money. Sorry, Alanis Morrisette did not make the list.

Although this analogy wears thin at times it still makes a valid point. Sometimes Satan will try to trick us with something that looks and sounds good, but upon closer inspection and comparing it with scripture we see that there may be no good in it at all.

The book is nothing new...but still worth looking into.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

sleep

I need some sleep. For some reason I woke up last night and could not go to sleep.

Maybe it was sugar. Maybe it was bad sushi. Maybe it was a bad dream. Maybe it was the drunk monkey in the corner yelling at me in Spanish (which might be a side effect of bad sushi)/

Friday, May 30, 2008

Lost Season Finale...and Theories

So last night i sat riveted in front of the TV for two solid hours. It was really great and as usual it left me confused. When thinking about the events of what happened I believe that I have figured out what LOST is all about.

Here is my theory...

LOST has been a set up. They are going to complete the next two seasons and then it will be shown that LOST is simply a spin off of Perfect Strangers.

Here is why I think this...

On the island people from all over show up. I think the next season finale the younger sister from Family Matters will show up. The younger sister that disappeared during the show with no explanation what so ever.

This will show that technically LOST is just a spin off of Family Matters...with the disappearing sister as well as a possible appearance Urkle. This will also be seen when the Dharma Initiative is actually ran by Winslow Industries.

Now as you know Family Matters was a spin-off of Perfect Strangers, however when Family Matters started there were no appearances by Balky or Cousin Larry. My theory is that they are also on the island in another hatch which keeps late 80's TV stars young and fresh.

At the conclusion of the series these actors will be released and Balky and Cousin Larry will move back to Chicago and laughter will begin again.

I know what your up to J.J. Abrams...trying to create the greatest television show sin-off trilogy since Golden Girls, Empty Nest, and that other show about the hospital in Miami. Plus we all know TV needs sex appeal like this again...

Thursday, May 29, 2008

John Eldridge - Walking With God



It has been a while since I posted anything. Sorry....to both of my readers. My plan is to be more consistent with posting reviews of books and CDs. My plan is for Thursday to be the review day and for the other days of the week be more random thoughts and possible the occasion grocery list. Needless to say it is Thursday so here we go...

I finished reading this book a couple of weeks ago and it is still sinking in. John Eldridge is a gifted writer and it very transparent and honest in his writing. This is a breath of fresh air compared to many books that are written now days by Christian authors.

The book is basically a year's worth of prayer journal entries in which Eldridge has gone back through and added a few notes here and there. It is very honest and insightful.

Eldridge begins the book talking about the fact that Adam and Eve were created for this intimate relationship with God. We see in scripture that they walked with Him and conversed with Him. Eldridge believes that we are created with the same need and desire...to be intimately connected with our God.

It is clear to me that Eldridge has been at this "intimacy" thing a lot longer than I have. It is clear that prayer for him is a natural, and frequent part of the day. It is as if he and God our on a life-long road trip in which the conversation is not necessarily constant but frequent and in the moment. Just like commenting on what you would see driving across the country.

Although there are some items in Eldridge's theology that I may not necessarily agree with (such as our dogs waiting for us in heaven) I am still moved by his honesty and desire to live in intimacy with God.

The book speak a great deal about praying against things as well as for things. The process of discernment is coated in prayer it is clear that Eldridge seeks out God's wisdom in prayer in almost every major decision.

This book is a more personal writing than some of his previous books and is not meant to be a laid out theology of our relationship with God. This is important to keep in mind as you read this book.

I recommend this to anybody who is wanting to be challenged in their prayer life.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Mouse Chronicles vol. 2

Today I found a mouse pellet when i walked into my office. It was right in the middle of the floor. I think it was a message, much like the horse head in The Godfather.

Not only did I see the mouse pellet...I say the culprits. That is not a typo my friends...that "s" belongs on the end. Multiple mice.

After I sat in my chair at my desk I once again saw the blur. This evil mouse ran into my office...under the couch...and then back out followed by another mouse. This only mean one thing...they are organized.

I can not be sure because the move so fast but I am almost positive that they were wearing camouflage pants, black lines under their eyes, carrying walkie talkies, and one of them was making black ops style hand signals with his little disease ridden paw. So needless to say I am afraid of them.

Every time I walk out into the hall I wait for something to strike me. I keep looking over my shoulder afraid that they are sneaking up from behind. What is scary is that I am sure they are watching me type this.

I also never noticed that there are little mouse sized shrubberies in my office. In fact, now that I think about it they are in a different spot every time I look over at them. I am sure they are about to attack but I have an ace up my sleeve...


That is right. The Terminix man showed up this morning and set out traps for those little rodents.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Mouse Chronicles vol. 1


So today I was in my office working on what I was going to tell our graduating seniors this year when I noticed a slight movement to my left. As I turned I saw a mouse run out from under the love seat in my office and out into the hall.

I ran after the mouse but it was gone. My guess is that it went under Dusty's door (Dusty is the middle school pastor). I opened his door to tell him that I was mouse hunting and then I discovered something...

Dusty is terribly afraid of Mice.

Dusty was determined that I either made it up or that it ran down the hall because he could not admit that it might possible be in his office.

I personally know that it has to be in there. I think it is in a corner plotting Dusty's demise or possibly even configuring an advanced mouse repelling system to drop down from the ceiling tiles on Dusty's head.

This was not one of those cute white Stuart Little mice. There is no Michael J. Fox voice over. This was one of those nasty gray mice that probably had all kinds of diseases. However it is good to know that it is in Dusty's office and not mine.

However I do have a loaded air soft pistol in my desk...and Dusty has his blow gun so we are very well prepared for this little rodent to bring it on.

Monday, May 5, 2008

moving

I am in the midst of packing...when i am done I will continue blogging.

I am not a fan of moving. If anybody in the Denver area wants to help I am all about it.

Stupid packing.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Way too late...or too early

So it is may 1st in the beautiful state of Colorado. What does the first day of this wonderful month bring me to celebrate spring...it brings me freaking snow!!!

Why on earth is it snowing on May 1st.

I feel like I should have left the Christmas decorations up for another 5 months. At the very least I should not have packed away all of my winter stuff so I would not have to go to work on a t-shirt.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Vow - Ed Gungor



It has been a while since I wrote anything on here.

I wanted to let you guys know that I finished another book. "The Vow" by Ed Gungor.

The premise of this book is to make vows to God in regards to things that help us to experience His grace. In other words, if you spend time in solitude praying and it lifts your spirit and you feel that the direction of God is more easily determined in your life due to that time of solitude then Gungor would suggest that you vow to spend time everyday in solitude praying.

Gungor makes this clear that vows are not scripturally mandated, but they can be a large benefit to the Christian life. I would have to agree. Since reading this it has been the back of my head to make some sort of short term vow that could possibly help my experience the grace of God in my life on a daily basis.

I am not sure what it is that I will vow, I will probably have to spend some time "taste testing" different spiritual disciplines to see what God uses to communicate grace to my soul.

Anyways, the book is a very well written and thought out description of the benefits of making vows and how to do so appropriately. To be honest the book does begin to drag a little bit towards the middle. It seems to be a little to repetitive and I think he even uses the same analogies twice to describe the same thing in both accounts. I am not sure if he was hoping people would forget about the analogies, but like an ugly kid going around the second time on a carousel...I remembered.

This book is worth the buy, or at least the read if you want to borrow it. I think that Gungor takes a lost spiritual discipline and breathes fresh life into it.

As for me, I just need to figure out how to a)find the right vow for me, and b) get that ugly kid off of the carousel.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Serial Bumper Stickers II

A while back I put up some "serial killer bumper stickers" I kind of felt like doing a few more of those. Let me know if you come up with any and put them in the replies. The one that is the funniest will get a high five at our next encounter.

-"I brake for sorority houses"
-"My other car is your back seat"
-"Blunt Force Trauma Happens"
-"Clinton for President"
-"My child kills honor roll students"
-"Save the whales...wait...I mean save the murder weapon"
-"click it or kill it"

That is all for now. Those aren't as good as round one.

Later.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

200

I almost have had my blog looked at 200 times. That means that when you subtract me and my wife there have been seven people look at it. HOO-RAH!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

How does that happen?

The Mavericks blew a 12 point halftime lead. How does that happen?

I am obviously distraught so I am going to have my wife remove all sharp objects that are in my immediate vicinity.

bye bye ms. chair model lady....and myspace

I am thinking about completely doing away with my myspace account. Any thoughts?

Friday, April 18, 2008

Senor Colberto



My friend Isaac showed me this. It will make you laugh till you pee.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Deadly Viper Character Assassins


I just finished reading this book which was written by Mike Foster & Jud Wilhite.

This book is about different "character assassins" that will destroy your integrity if you are not aware of them or if you are not setting yourself up to overcome them.

One of the things that I love about Christianity or any conversation regarding any issue when Christianity plays a part is the fact that God is the Alpha and Omega. What I mean by that is most conversations regarding God will start with God (the Alpha).

A basic conversation starts out with a basic theology of who God is, his characteristics and attributes. From there is it natural to discuss how we should live in response to the character of God as people who are created in His image and saved by His grace.

When that conversation reaches the issue of integrity we see that due to several spiritual reasons we are called to live with character. We also know that we are under attack by Satan who would love to see out character for out the window, have people question or ministry, and in the end place a nugget of doubt about who Jesus really is in the back of people's minds.

This leaves the conversation headed in one direction...God. We need God's grace to not get sucked into a cycle of spiritual masochist activity. We also need to recognize that it is His power that helps us over come temptation, or his sovereignty in always providing a way out for us.

This is what I mean by God being the Alpha and Omega of spiritual conversation, He tends to be the starting point and the ending point, which is completely appropriate.

This book is like the middle part of that conversation. There are no spiritual ties to character and integrity whatsoever. Other than mentioning quotes from Christian leaders there is not direct link to the importance of our integrity and a God who made us in His image.

I agree with what Mike and Jud say in this book. It is full of practical advice that can be applied to our lives to help us avoid pitfalls in regards to our character. Unfortunately it is only half of the conversation.

One example in the book is in the chapter called "The Assassin of Amped Emotions". In this chapter it spelled out that we should not go blind with rage, yell at a co-worker or subordinate and batter them emotionally because of a mistake. The reason for this is because "once a person in a organization has been attacked that person will stop contributing to the organization". Although this is true, it is only half of the story. Forget the fact that the individual you might yell at is a person created in God's image and a person that is cared for and loved deeply by an almighty God, what matters is that if you lose your temper that person will cease to perform for you.

The ideas of this book are true and good but the foundation is not there. It is like they have given someone who has never played baseball and given them a ball, bat, and glove and sent them out on the field but they never explained the purpose of the game.

The book is not a bad read, funny in parts, a lot of good advice, but know that there are so many more pressing issues in regards to our integrity than what is mentioned here. There is also a blog up where the conversation is still going regarding this book, I hope that there these underlying, and overlying issues will be brought up.

***On a side note, there is a small two page interview with Tony Hale in this book that for me was completely worth the read. Tony Hale is the actor who played Buster on Arrested Development. Hilariousness incarnate.***

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

This is why I am proud of the students in my youth group.

In fact this is one of my leaders. Way to dance Jens.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Shack


Hey again. It has been a few days. Sorry about that. I wanted to let you guys know what I thought of my latest book that I finished reading the other day.

The Shack by William Young.

I have heard a lot about this book and fortunately enough I got it and was able to give it a read. For those of you who may not have heard of this book, it has been likened to Pilgrim's Progress.

Apparently this is going to be one of those classic Christian books that is reprinted over and over with more and more contemporary covers...like all of C.S. Lewis' books.

In this book Young writes a story about a man (named Mack) whose daughter was abducted and never found. Three and a half years after the disappearance Mack receives a note from God to meet him at the shack where his daughter's dress was found along with a bloodstain.

The bulk of the book (after the setup) is Mack's conversation with God and working through the tragedy. The book deals with some pretty heavy issues such as anger with God, doubt in God's power to do good and stop evil, forgiveness of self, those who wrong us, and God.

Although there are a few small statements from Young that I do not hold to theologically I would still recommend this book to anybody who feel likes reading 250 pages of dialog.

The book is not all sadness and anger, there are parts that are funny and heartwarming. I do not know if this is going to be placed above C.S. Lewis books in terms of timeless greatness, but it is definitely up there.

Friday, April 11, 2008

hilarious

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y8Kyi0WNg40

This will make you laugh.

Cormac Mccarthy - The Road


I recently took a break from the theology books that I have been reading. I was trying to figure out what to read and then I came across a copy of The Road at the thrift store up the road. It only cost me 75 cents. TOTALLY WORTH IT.

I had recently gone to go see "No Country For Old Men" and really liked it. I have become somewhat intrigued with McCarthy and decided that I should give this book a try. After all it did win the Pulitzer Prize, which is literature's Grammy...of course the Pulitzer still has some meaning since they hand out Grammies to anybody that is smart enough to put a half naked girl in a music video to sell a few more units. Way to go Black Eyed Peas.

The Road is about a father and son who are walking across America, not for a cause or to stay fit, but to survive. America has burned. People have become cannibals. Ash is in the air.

Not exactly a bedtime story for little kids, but it is honestly one of the best novels I have ever read. McCarthy's gift for storytelling is amazing. His gift was very clear to me because I found myself caring deeply for these characters, even though their names are never given.

As the story progresses the father and son talk about good vs. evil. They question whether God is still there, or if He has become indifferent to their existence. Although the conversation is very real (which normally makes for boring reading), I found myself sucked in to the story.

These two characters have not made a turn for the worst. They hunt for real food, not attacking those that are weaker than they are to devour them. As the characters put it, they are "carrying the fire". They are holding on to the few things that make them human. The father remembers this old way of life and is fighting to preserve it. Not for the sake of nostalgia, but so his son can hopefully not become animals (like those given to cannibalism).

This book, although set in a hard to comprehend setting, it incredible real and easy to read. Big time recommendation from me. Do not let the fact the is was in Oprah's book club turn you away from it. Also, be sure to read it before they movie comes out, which they recently started filming.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

FINALLY!!!! The four best shows on TV together on the same night...again.

So I found this picture of Zach Braff revealing his innermost thoughts and it got me excited because tonight Scrubs is finally back on TV with new episodes. The absence has been slowly killing me on the inside.

Tonight I plan on using my Ghetto TiVo to record "My Name Is Earl", "30 Rock", "The Office", and of course "Scrubs" so that I can watch them with Meredith when she gets home from leading some counseling group. I tried to convince here that there could be nothing done for them in group that would heal them like that hysterical antics of Dwight Shrute and Dr. John Dorian. Of course, she did not believe me.

By the way when I say Ghetto TiVo I mean that I will be recording it on VHS via our awesome TV/VCR combo. We are not afraid to kick it like its 1989. Besides there is something about watching those shows with the color slightly off and the characters foreheads being slightly stretched at the top of the screen. It is going to be awesome.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World - a long overdue book review


A couple of weeks ago I finished reading a collection of essays that was edited by John Piper. All of these essays centered around the idea of Christ's supremacy in the postmodern/relativistic culture in which we live.

These essays are the product of a conference in which these different theologians gathered together to talk about this exact issue.

The contributers to this collections are:
David Wells
Voddie Baucham Jr.
John Piper
D.A. Carson
Tim Keller
Mark Driscoll

When I first opened this book and jumped into David Wells essay my head began hurting. I felt a little bit of nausea. Things became blurry. Then I realized that David Wells is much much smarter than I will ever be. His essay is very thoughtful but hard to follow. However, his essay lays the groundwork for the remaining essays.

Voddie Baucham's essay is much more readable and deals with the concept of truth in a postmodern world. The idea of truth is something that only a few people claim to have knowledge to, but everyone's actions point to what kind of truth they hold. It was also nice to hear from Voddie that I am still a good person even if I am not as black as he is.

John Piper's essay is on joy. What a shocker. The Christian Hedonist writing an essay on joy. However, his essay is probably the easiest to follow although his thought process is just as "deep" or "challenging" as any of the other authors. I really enjoyed this essay and was challenged by reading it.

D.A. Carson & Tim Keller both have very interesting essays on the topics of Love and the Gospel. These essays were not my favorite but still very informative.

Mark Driscoll finishes out the essays in this book with one that rivals Piper's essay to be my favorite. It is interesting to hear from a guy who was at the forefront of the postmodern movement just a few years ago but took a step back when he saw there was a lot of theological compromises that were being made for the sake of "being enlightened" or "seeker sensitivity".

The book closes out with a transcript of a dialog between the different authors. This book is worth the purchase for this reason if for no other.

I would recommend that anybody who deals with people in this culture of "truth is whatever you want it to be" read this book.

I have also finished another book since this one. I hope to review it in a couple of days.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Suicide Road Trip (pt. 2 of 2) "Home is where my couch is"

So I believe it was about a week ago when I posted the first part of my trip with Andy.

I have finally caught up on rest and looking back at the trip I remember a lot of flatness in Kansas and that is about it.

We did get pulled over but to Andy's cleavage we were able to avoid getting a ticket.

We were also made fun of my some townies in the last town before the Colorado State Border.

I have a feeling that the townies were making gay jokes about us. I can't blame them since we were two guy in a Toyota Avalon and we had a little white puffy dog with us.

Now I know not to judge two guys when I see them with a puffy white dog...unless the dog has a scarf on. Then I will make fun all I want.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Suicide Road Trip (pt.1 of 2) "I'm going to Jackson"

Right now I am writing this in a basement that belongs to my friend Andy's parents. This basement is connected to a house that is located in Jackson Missouri.

Andy and I left this morning at 2:30 (MST) and got here at 6:00pm. We made this drive to pick up a dog that Andy's sister and brother-in-law are giving him. Since I am such a good friend I agreed to come wit him so that he would not be alone for the trip.

We are leaving tomorrow morning and driving back to Denver.

Then I will got to bed and get up to teach twice on Sunday.

I am a good friend.

Thus far on our drive the following has occurred:
1-We ate lunch at Taco Bueno (there are no Taco Buenos in Denver...this was a big deal for me-in fact it is like a man getting to hear the Clash when he lives in a town that only plays Nickleback.

2-We saw the Oscar Meyer Weiner mobile. This is always a great sight that inspires grown men to begin making jokes that are on par with most jr. high maturity levels.

3-We almost got in a wreck. There was a wreck. It happened quickly. Due to my cat-like reflexes i was able to point towards that car that was moving at 70mph just a mere second before and was now at a stand still in the middle of Interstate 70. Because I was able to point so quickly Andy had adequate time to stop before hitting the back of the car.

4-I discovered the magic of XM Radio. The magic of XM Radio is that any given time you can find a song from R.E.M. on at least one station.

5-At one point we saw what we thought was a break in the flat lands of Kansas...it turns out that is was just a grassy area that had not been mowed in awhile.

I will write more thoughts after we get back to Denver. Then I will have experienced everything I did today but backwards, and with a dog.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

It was...arrested development


Last night Meredith and i finished watching one of the best (if not the best) series in the history of television for the third time.

Arrested Development was 53 weeks of hilariousness and good times.

If you have not seen the show then you really need to.

If you have seen the show you know what I am talking about.

If you do not like the show then I would suggest that you go move into the mountains and not bother anybody.

However, there are very obvious rumors out there that there will be a movie. I really hope that this is so.

To make me alugh at work I think everyone should post their favorite Arrested Development quote.

Monday, March 24, 2008

At least I am batting over .500

Now that the sweet sixteen has been set I now have to look at my bracket and weep. I got 11 of the Sweet Sixteen.

My final four is shot.

Stupid Georgetown.

Culture Shift - Albert Mohler


I just finished reading Culture Shift by Al Mohler.

Mohler is the president at Souther Seminary and I have to be honest, I was a little nervous about reading this book. When I went to seminary (another southern baptist seminary) I left with a really bad taste in my mouth.

I felt like I was surrounded by people who loved to argue theology but were afraid to engage or interact with the culture. This is the problem of a lot of evangelical Christians. We like the idea of changing the world in the name of Christ but we are afraid to be exposed to the "world's evils" which I firmly believe is a bigger statement about our faith than it is about the culture.

Mohler's book (for the most part) is a breath of fresh air. Mohler uses good theology, merged with common world views from a variety of sources and ends up presenting a call for Christians to engage the world with a gospel of grace and change.

In the introduction of this book Mohler makes it clear that to sacrifice theology and blend in to the culture is a sin, but at the same time it is a sin to not live a missional lifestyle.

Mohler's take on the so called secular world view, how to deal with the issue of abortion and world relief are well thought out and well written. Mohler makes it clear that a Christian can be smart, well informed, well balanced, and yet hold to an accurate theology.

There are a couple of issues where I find Mohler a little hazy. One example is that Mohler speaks out against torture but still says there is a place for it. Unfortunately this is a pretty wide view and yet there is not definition for when such action would be deemed acceptable. I will admit that it is hard to reconcile any form of torture while holding to a belief that all people are created in the image of God.

There are also two chapters that Mohler writes in regard to dealing with students which seem to contradict each other. In one chapter Mohler expounds on the idea that we are raising a nation of wimps. This is due to increased coddling by parents who try to protect their children from any form of evil, including the child's own bad choices. When I read this chapter I found myself saying "amen" and banging a tambourine in my head quite a bit. It was like my own private mental charismatic worship service in my head.

However, in the other chapter regarding parents and raising Christian students he leads to the idea that parents should begin preparing an exit strategy from public school to protect them from the "evil teachings of homosexuality and sexual behavior" I firmly think that this flies in the face of his argument about how parents treat their children.

It seems to me that the parents could respond to this by engaging in conversation with their students (it might be awkward but it is also biblical). No student wants to hear their parents talking about sexual acts but that is part of life. This way parents can combat information that is being taught to their students while continuing to allow their students to be light in a dark world.

I do not think it is any coincidence that out nation's jr. high and high schools have become as spiritually dark as they have which Christian parents have pulled their Christian children out of high school at record numbers.

It reminds me of a quote that I used to have as my wallpaper on computer by Rob Bell. He said. "Why blame the dark for being dark, it is far more helpful to ask the light why it is not as bright as it should be."

Although I tend to begin disagreeing with Mohler on these areas I would still highly recommend this book to anybody who would like to read a good philosophy in how to deal these issues in our society in a way that is not judgmental but in a way that is loving and points people to Christ.