Monday, September 6, 2010

Kids win this round

I have always thought that those kid leashes were a bad idea because children are not dogs. This picture provides visual proof:

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Three things #177 - Special Edition


This is a Special November 1st Edition of Three things:

1. I am adopted. And if you know Jesus, according to Ephesians 1:4-5, so are you. Mrs. Underdog and I love the picture of the gospel that is contained within the act of adoption. And although we do not currently have plans to adopt (take a deep breath Mom and Dad!), we have a growing passion to help people that want to adopt.

So, with that in mind, I will be running a half-marathon to help raise funds for families that want to adopt. Slow, unathletic dude running? Adoptions? Seems pretty disassociated, right? Not if I am going to run in the Marathon for Adoption (http://www.marathonforadoption.com/) that is coming up at the end of October!

So, I can hear you asking, how can I help a middle-aged jogger reach his Chariots of Fire dreams and help orphans at the same time? Glad you asked! I don't know yet. I will have more details in the next couple of weeks.

Until then, pray for my training. I had planned to run a race at the end of November and this accelerates my schedule by about a month.

2. Just to prove that our family is really deep, here was the line of conversation at the dinner table tonight:

This chicken is really good.--->Can chickens smile?--->I wonder if these chickens were related?--->Are chickens emotionally stable animals?--->Are all chickens anti-death penalty?---->If chickens had a theology, what would it look like?--->Where would the farmer figure fit within chicken theology?

We are deep thinkers, I tell ya.

3. And finally, it is nearly impossble not to laugh at this clip. Make sure you turn the sound up....


Marriage is not mainly about prospering economically; it is mainly about displaying the covenant-keeping love between Christ and his church. Knowing Christ is more important than making a living. Treasuring Christ is more important than bearing children. Being united to Christ by faith is a greater source of material success than perfect sex and double-income prosperity.

So it is with marriage. It is a momentary gift. It may last a lifetime, or it may be snatched away on the honeymoon. Either way, it is short. It may have many bright days, or it may be covered with clouds. If we make secondary things primary, we will be embittered at the sorrows we must face. But if we set our face to make of marriage mainly what God designed it to be, no sorrows and no calamities can stand in our way. Every one of them will be, not an obstacle to success, but a way to succeed. The beauty of the covenant-keeping love between Christ and his church shines brightest when nothing but Christ can sustain it.

---- John Piper

Monday, August 30, 2010

Safety first

I always say safety first....oh, yeah...for the kids too....

Saturday, August 28, 2010

It's not about you....

Friday, August 27, 2010

A Clarification of sorts

In my post earlier this week, Ryann commented on the idea that we are "made to worship" is potentially a bad one. After re-reading what I wrote, I am afraid that I was not real clear in what I was attempting to communicate. So I want to try and clarify my statement.

In a lot of evangelicals circles there is an underlying premise that we give to God in a way that adds to Him in some fashion. That by singing praises to God, we contribute to His glory. That our generosity in giving helps God in achieving His purposes. And although this sounds great, it is a dangerous line of thinking that ultimately leads to really bad theology. The point that I was trying to make is that God did not make us out of any sort of deficiency or need. Act 17:25 says that "God is not served by human hands as though he needed anything, for he himself gives to all men life and breath and everything." The Trinity was completely fulfilled and satisfied without us. God is glorious in every possible way. He needs nothing. Ever.

Our worship is important because God commands and desires it. But He does not demand our worship because it fills some void in Him. Worship is for our benefit, because it re-orients us towards what is True and Pure and Good, towards What is Eternally and Completely deserving of praise. And even our worship originates with Him as He gives us spiritual eyes to see Him.

I hope this makes sense. I fear it may be clear as mud. :)

Here is the quote from the sermon that initiated my thoughts on this:

We were created continuously outpouring. Note that I did not say we were created to be continuous outpourers. Nor can I dare imply that we were created to worship. This would suggest that God is an incomplete person whose need for something ourside himself (worship) completes his sense of self. It might not even be safe to say that we were created for worship, because the inference can be drawn that worship is a capacity that can be separated out and eventually relegated to one of several categories of being. I believe that it is strategically important, therefore, to say that we were created continuously outpouring - we were created in that condition, at that instant, imago Dei.

---Harold Best, Unceasing Worship, Biblical Perspectives on Worship and the Arts via Mark Driscoll

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Bubbles are my happy place

Three things #176


1. When you go to a large banquet where they serve the standard "rubber chicken" fare, often the salad and dessert are on the table when you get there. I have fallen into this pattern that I think troubles the others at my assigned table every single time. I eat the salad first. And then there is this delay before the entrees are served. I eat pretty fast, so the pause before the main course is longer for me than most people. So I eat the cake. And sometimes, if the table has empty seats, I will eat two pieces of cake.

But that is where I draw the line. Any more than two desserts before the entree is simply gluttonous. But two pieces of cake can pass as appetizers, I think.

2. In my morning training runs, I see a lot of bunnies. And they all show off how fast they are by sprinting away when they see me. So I am making it a goal to punt a bunny if I can catch one. Then I will know that I am really, really fast. Bunny fast.

3. Heard this morning: The idea that we were "made to worship" God is potentially a bad one. It implies that God needs worshipers and made us for that purpose. God needs nothing from us. He is complete in everyway. God requires nothing from His creation to be whole. The Trinity was perfectly happy without us.

Monday, August 16, 2010

A moral conundrum


On Sunday, I was running through a local neighborhood. It was about 5:30am and the sun was just beginning to rise. I was in the last 1/4 of a five mile run and the tank was nearing empty. On my right was a fenceline lined with hedges about seven feet tall. As I was running, I caught the faint scent of smelly skunk. I took evasive action and jumped fifteen feet in the air into the street. This movement caused a violent rustling in the hedges and a strange hissing sound that could only be the shrill of a really ticked off skunk. Having avoided the peril of death scented misery, I continued on my way.

This is where the moral conundrum comes in. About fifty yards down the path, I met a runner going in the opposite direction on the same sidewalk.

So. The appropriate thing to do is:

A. Scream "RABID, MAN EATING SKUNK DEAD AHEAD!!" at the top of my lungs.

B. Trip the guy or hip check him, then sprint like crazy, having saved him from a worse fate.

C. Turn around and follow at a distance to see if the skunk gets the guy, giggling like a drunk hyena.

D. Keep jogging, and invest in Tomato Juice stocks.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Three things #175


1. I guess God would not have to keep continually humbling me if I weren't so filled with pride to begin with.....

2. I read a post about an incredible cheeseburger. I consider myself a conissseur of sorts. But Peanut Butter on a cheeseburger? Really? Guess I will just have to try that.....


2a. The best local burger is the Black & Blue at Kenny's Burger Joint. It it is a 1/3 pound burger grilled with Cajun spices and covered with blue cheese crumbles just before it leaves the kitchen. I tear up just thinking about it.


3. One of our local sports stars, Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers, finds a way to give glory to Jesus in every interview he does. And he has a knack for doing it in a way that makes it impossible to edit out of the conversation. The story of God's grace for him is pretty compelling.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

50 years


The old couple entered the room and took a seat in the second row. They stood out to me because the rest of the crowd consisted of ambitious twenty somethings. As I spent the morning at Wycliffe Bible Translators, I found that just about everybody was younger than me. Except for this couple.

As the chapel service began, this elderly man and his wife were asked to come to the front of the room. They slowly rose from their seats and half-walked, half-teetered to the podium. The president of the school introduced them and then presented them with a plaque. The plaque was to recognize 50 years of mission work translating and teaching the Bible in the small places of the world. Despite their hunched backs and slow pace, their countenances were bright and filled with the kind of indescribable contentment reserved for battled tested saints.

As they received the award and the applause that erupted, the president asked this question: "There are many young people here training to go and translate the Scriptures. What advice do you have for them?"

"Don't give up", said the gentleman with a grin.

The president waited for more, but the longer the silence continued, it became apparent the answer was complete.

"Uh, could you expand on that a little?"

The missionary gave this reply, "Never give up. God brought us together at the University of Michigan and we fell in love with Wycliffe. The idea of working with languages and translating was appealing to both of us. So we went into the field. In the early years it was often just the two of us in a village with very little field support. And the translation work was slow. And we got sick. We have raised children and both of us have beaten cancer. It was often very difficult and the devil said to us, 'You don't need this. Go home and enjoy the rest of your life.' But we stayed. And looking back at all that God has done with us and through us, life contains no regrets. Never give up because you don't know what God is doing."

Awesome.

I later found out that that couple was a key component in four complete Bible translation projects where there was previously no written language. They also taught basic Bible study methods to new believers in over 50 countries.

Never give up.

Monday, August 9, 2010

A Monday prayer

Grant, O my God,
that I may know you,
love you and rejoice in you;
and if in this life I cannot do these things fully,
grant that I may at the least progress in them from day to day,
for Christ’s sake. Amen.

- Anselm of Canterbury, 1033-1109 A.D.

The Parable of the Sea

Sea Parable from ilovepinatas on Vimeo.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Two conversations that are proof I have a strong marriage.

Car conversation #1

Me: I think I would like to be a villian someday.
Wife: Really?
Me: Yep.
Wife: And your name would be?
Me: Probably something like.....General Armpit.
Wife (already laughing at her own joke): First name Harry?
Me: General Harry Armpit. Sounds good....

Car conversation #2

Me: I think there is such a thing as a dumb question.
Wife: Really?
Me: Yep.
Wife: Like what?
Me (holding up a coffee cup):Like....Is this a banana?
Wife: Uh-huh.
Me: Or....Do you believe in ketchup? Or...Are you a fruit?
Wife: Sure.

Awkward pause.

Wife (slightly worried): Have you been thinking a lot about this?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Three things #170


1. My great grand children will read my blog long after I am gone and will interpret these long gaps in one of two ways. Either great grandpa was a slacker who couldn't think of anything good to say for long stretches. Or great grandpa was a deep thinker that took a considerable amount of time considering something of lofty wisdom to post.


Probably the former, I bet.


2. My youngest daughter has been assigned a nickname. This is generally the sign that she has been adopted into the pack as a "keeper". Until the point that you get a personalized nickname, you are formally a part of the family, but you are not officially initiated into the clan and given all rights and priveledges therein (mostly the right to complain about stuff). It usually takes a few months for an appropriate nickname to reveal itself. We now have Bear, Joshy, Schmoo, Droop, Josey, Sunshine, and.......Hoolie.


3. Read the best opening chapter to a book that I have read in years last night. From an author I did not previously appreciate. Like finding hidden treasure.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

A lack of leadership

I am consistently failing (and apologizing to) my bride for not leading us to pray together every evening. We make time for the things that are most important to us, right? So this quote from Tim Keller on his blog cut me pretty good:

The last form of prayer that I do daily is prayer with my wife, Kathy. About nine years ago Kathy and I were contemplating the fact that we had largely failed to pray together over the years. Then Kathy exhorted me like this. "What if our doctor told us that we had a serious heart condition that in the past was always fatal. However, now there was a pill which, if we took it every night, would keep us alive for years and years. But you could never miss a single night, or you would die. If our doctor told us this and we believed it, we would never miss. We would never say, 'oh I didn't get to it.' We would do it. Right? Well, if we don't pray together every night, we are going to spiritually die." I realized she was right. And for some reason, the penny dropped for us both, and we can't remember missing a night since. Even if we are far away from each other, there's always the phone. We pray very, very simply - just a couple of minutes. We pray for whatever we are most worried about as a couple, anyone or anything on our hearts that day. And we pray through the needs of our family. That's it. Simple, but so, so good.

Have mercy on me, Lord Jesus.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

This makes my stomach turn.

Evidently, these are popping up on benches all over Colorado Springs:


I did not click through to the site, nor would I encourage you to do so. But this type of public prediction is really sad for a couple of reasons.
1. The people that produced this message in effect are claiming to know more than Jesus and the angels (Matthew 24:36).
2. If your guess at the date is wrong, you have done harm to the Name of Christ and cost yourself all credibility, both within and outside the church (Deut 18:22, Jer 28:9).
3. I am guessing that relatively few people are threatened into the kingdom of God. I know that God can use any means He chooses to save people, but it would seem to me that there are more effective ways to communicate the gospel.
Sick.



Monday, July 26, 2010

Good quote




"Like a sneeze, sin feels good at first, but it leaves a huge mess."




----Craig Groeschel, in The Christian Atheist, page 22

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Three things #165


1. I have been experimenting with invisible tattoos. I have given myself a few including a great, fierce tiger on my forearm. The benefits of invisible tattoos is that you get to be trendy and cool without spending a lot of money. And alhtough no one can really see them that well, invisible tattoos don't age poorly. In forty years my tiger will not resemble a bloated striped walrus.

2. We have these "pay by the ounce" frozen yogurt places going up everywhere. The concept is that you fill your bowl with allow the yogurt and fruit or candy toppings you desire and they charge you by weight. They use the soft serve machines with the lever that you pull and the yogurty goodness emerges from the spout below. I have secretly had fantasies about just putting my mouth under the spout of the peanut butter yogurt machine and letting the perfect yogurty goodness run over.

And yes, I used the phrase yogurty goodness twice (uh, three time now). I may get an invisible tattoo of myself gorging myself on Peanut Butter frozen yogurt.

3. Does it make me a complete wuss that I got misty at the end of the movie Dreamer last night. Yeah, it does. But that horse won that race against incredible odds and saved the farm and helped so many people deal with their dysfunctional family issues. Doesn't a horse story like that deserve a few man tears? I think that I will probably get the corner of my man card clipped for this.....

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Thought provoking

‎"Doubt is not the opposite of faith, certainty is." --- Anne Lamott

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Three things #164


1. It is easy to exchange God centered-ness for church centered-ness or family centered-ness or Bible study centered-ness or marriage centered-ness. All of these things are intended for our santification, but none are a substitute for God Himself.

2. On a lighter note, my parents didn't like the movie "How To Train Your Dragon". Maybe it is because they saw the title and were expecting a documentary?

3. I am taking the boys to their first Major League Baseball game next week. One of my readers has a way to upgrade from outfield seats to luxury suites. Any tips for us, Miss Igarashi?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Friday, July 16, 2010

Important salvation quote

Telling people the need for the gospel, both their felt need and the real need, is plainly important, but it is not itself the gospel. When we have explained what God has done for us in Christ - the gospel - then we may go on to explain the benefits of receiving the gospel and the perils of ignoring it. However, telling people that they can choose either heaven or hell is not telling them the gospel. Telling them, as Peter did, that repentance and faith go hand in hand with the gift of the Holy Spirit is important, but it is not the gospel.

Whenever people's sense of assurance of salvation is expressed in the first person, something is amiss. When the question "How do you know God will accept you?" is answered by "I have Jesus in my heart, " "I asked Jesus into my life, " "The Holy Spirit is in me, " and so on, the real gospel basis for assurance needs to be reviewed. We rejoice when the answer comes in the third person: "God gave his only Son to die on the cross for me, " "Jesus died, rose, and is in heaven for me." When the focus is on the finished and perfect work of Christ, rather than on the yet unfinished work of the Spirit in me, the grounds for assurance are in place.

- Graeme Goldsworthy, Preaching the Whole Bible As Christian Scripture: The Application of Biblical Theology to Expository Preaching, 95

(Source)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Whoa. Probably true.

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!


Probably means a three year old Shakespeare.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Praise Jesus for Marriage!

Here is that Andrew Peterson video that I posted about the other day.

Three things #162

1. Once the shock wears off, people that find out I have 7 kids, ask me what that is like. First I tell them it is great about 95% percent of the time. Then I explain to them the complexity of our family using this illustration. In the average family of four people, each person has three relationships to maintain. The father in the family has to oversee and coach and deal with conflicts within 12 total relationships. With my family, there are 72 relationships and at any given moment they can be great or strained. Its complicated.

2. I had trout for lunch. And I think I might be able to get my two year old to eat trout if he thought it was dragon. He is a big How To Train Your Dragon fan at the moment. (If you haven't seen that movie, I recommend it highly. Better than that overrated Toy Story 3, I tell ya.)

3. Finally, take a moment to read this post. This is one of the best pieces I have read in months. I can't get it out of my head.

True?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Three things #161


1. Like a slow working poison, my finely honed talent for being a timely smart alec is fading into....maturity. I feel terrible about it. It is effecting my blogging. I am reading more complicated books. I have tried everything: Looney Tunes, The Muppet Show, hanging out with teenagers, etc. But without some sort of intervention, Smart Alec Me will soon perish.

2. I am reading a biogrpahy about Warren Buffett. He is a really interesting guy, partly because you would not suspect the richest guy on earth to be humble. In the first chapter, he tells his biographer, "If I give you one version of a story and someone tells one that is different, include the less flattering one in the book."

3. I am more convinced that ever that the publishing of too many "Christian" books is doing more harm to the church than good. We need fewer people speed reading many books and more people concentrating on going deep with few books. Too many people rely upon the authors they read to do their Scriptural meditation for them, instead of thinking deeply about the things of God.

"[Our failure] in our duty to study God's Word...is not a lack of intelligence or passion. Our problem is that we are lazy." --- RC Sproul

And I am the worst of all men at dithering about in the shallow end of the pool.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

On Resurrection Letters Vol II

WE are just a couple of weeks away from Andrew Peterson's new album. I will lose man points, but a couple of the songs I have heard made me tear up. This is powerful music. Click on the Dancing in the Minefields video and listen:

On Resurrection Letters Vol II

The Dad Life

Yo. Check it out:

Happy Day

This makes me laugh everytime I watch it. I love the under-his-breath "Crybaby" at the end....

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Three things #160


1. Every once in a while my world just goes gray. The excitement of colorful adventures and a sunny outlook is replaced by the black and white tones of routine interrupted by trouble. It is at these times that I cling to the promise of God's goodness. He is not deaf to my prayers nor blinds to my difficulties. Instead, He has higher purposes, chiefly the sancification of my thoughts and habits and desires.

One of the sentences that I cling to when the world is tone deaf is "His goodness and mercy shall follow me all of the days of my life". I don't have to chase His goodness and mercy. It is not like a stubborn mule that I have to tug and pull along. No, Jesus' goodness and mercy are my constant companion, like an inescapable shadow. Jesus goodness and mercy are like my nose, I don't always think about my nose, but it is always with me whether I acknowledge it or not. And sometimes, when I look in the right places, I think, "Ah, yes. there is my nose. It was there all along." Such is goodness and mercy. Only they don't smell. Okay, this post is over.

1a. Sorry. For the nose analogy.

2. Punctuation is like Facebook You can ignore it but pretty soon someone is going call you a loser if you are not constantly using it

3. So let me get this straight, I can arm myself with a semi automatic weapon and that is okay, but I could get years in jail for possessing Black Cats within the city limits? Ironic, isn't it?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Three things #158


1. I heard an interview on NPR the other day with the rap artist Eminem. Regardless of your opinion of that genre, Eminem is really talented at putting words together. The most interesting thing he said was that not all lines in rap have to rhyme. He said that if two words sound similar enough, you can bend them with your enunciation so that it works.

2. I have new used car. Its acquisition was a trail of small miracles that are too cool to be coincidence. God provided the right seller at the right time at the right price. The coolest part of the story is when the service department told us to donate the car for tax credit. This would of course result in no cash for the car. My beautiful bride suggested that we had nothing to lose by taking the car to CarMax. CarMax then offered us $2k. That was just the amount we needed to finish paying for the car we were acquiring. You can see a picture of my new car right above this post. ;)

3. To my beautiful bride: Fourteen years ago, I made promises to you, that by God's grace I have kept. I love you more today that I did then. Experience has made our relationship wiser and more humble. You are my Engedi. I can't wait to see what we get to do next....together.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Three things #155

1. Please check out the comment on my previous post on modern day slavery. Kevin says that slavery is at its lowest point in history. Let's aim for the death blow to this evil.

2. Totally different subject. While Mrs. Underdog was out tonight, I decided to watch the post mortem concert video they did for Michael Jackson called This Is It. I know, I am a complete loser. A couple of observations. That man had charisma that was off the charts. Jackson took the talent he had and maximized it in a way like no other entertainer has to date. That said, it is also obvious that god-like status had destroyed him and sapped the meaning from life for him. Mr. Jackson meet King Solomon. Oh yeah, and that series of shows in London they had planned (there were 30 concert dates) would have been unlike any thing ever done before on stage. Endless funds make for amazing effects.

3. I want to read a book sometime. Just one. And something not authored by Dr. Seuss.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Slavery is not dead.


My heart has been squeezed the past week since I viewed a short video on the modern day slave trade. Slavery did not end with the conclusion of the Civil War. It is alive and well both within the US and outside our borders. Worst of all, the sex slave trade is very active in Asia in particluar. (One commentator said that most underage brothels in Asian countries are funded by male tourists coming from the US. Sick.) Let these numbers sink in:

27 million – Number of people in modern-day slavery across the world.

800,000 – Number of people trafficked across international borders every year.

50% – Percent of transnational victims who are children.

1 million – Number of children exploited by the global commercial sex trade, every year.

70% – Percent of female victims who are trafficked into the commercial sex industry. This means that 30% of female victims are victims of forced labor.

4 - Age of the youngest victims in the global sex trade.

I am not trying to convince anyone to get involved in abolition*. But, if you are a Christian, get off the sidelines and get in the game. Abortion. AIDS. Slavery. Prison. Addictions. Opportunities abound to get in the fray.

Do something to fight evil. Give money. Give time. Pray.

Do something.

* This blog provides a good list of organizations that are on the front lines of the modern day abolition movement.
------------------------------------


I'm sorry.


Yesterday's blog post was awful. Sorry.

I am afraid that my blog writer's block continues, but read the following article today and I am going to post it in it's entirety.
Heroic.

You're either going to go out like Judas or Jesus—that's how your life is going to end. You're going to go out like Jesus, faithful to the end, whatever the cost, or you're going to go out like Judas, prematurely, tragically, rebelliously, shamefully. I want you to keep your boots on, finish strong, run your race, see it through to the end, be a completer, a finisher, a closer of the things God has given you to do.

As you read this, maybe you're like me, you may wonder, "What happened to these guys?" We know in the Bible, they went forward. Some of them were cowards, but they toughened up. The resurrection put some steel in their spine. They preached, they taught, they planted churches. John wrote five books of the Bible, Peter wrote two. These guys did get some stuff done, but the Bible doesn't tell us how they finished—for that we've got to go to history. Did they die with their boots on? Here are some of their stories from Foxe's Book of Martyrs. It was first written in 1559, and it's fantastic. Gotta love the Puritans.

James
Wonder how James died?

The first apostle to suffer after the martyrdom of Stephen was James, the brother of John. Clement tells us when this James was brought to the tribunal seat, he that brought him and was the cause of his trouble, seeing him to be condemned and that he should suffer death, was in such sort moved within heart and conscience that he went to the execution and confessed himself also of his own accord to be a Christian. And so were they led forth together, where in the way he desired of James to forgive him what he had done. After James had a little pause with himself upon the matter, turning to him he said, "Peace to thee, my brother," and kissed him, and both were beheaded.


James had a critic who wanted him murdered. He had a Judas, and on the way to be crucified, apparently he had some conversation with his Judas, and his Judas repented and said, "I'm sorry. Let's get beheaded together for Jesus," and they did. James is a bad man—in a good way.

Thomas
"Thomas preached to the Parthians, Medes, Persians, Carmenians, Hyrcanians, Bactrians, and Margians. He was killed in Calamina, India." Most of these men died murderous martyrdom. You know what? Mars Hill Church would be much smaller but much holier, more effective, more fruitful, I think, if we had a little bit of suffering. Can't make it happen, I've tried. But what happens is when people start giving their life for the cause of the gospel, all of a sudden those who are playing church stop playing. They either step up for Jesus, and go from "come and see" to "go and die," or like Judas, they just walk away and go do something else.

Simon
"Simon, brother of Jude and James the younger who were all the sons of Mary Cleophas and Alphaeus, was bishop of Jerusalem after James," Jesus' brother. "He was crucified in Egypt." Crucified. Dietrich Bonhoeffer said it well: "When Christ calls a man, he calls him to come and die." Come and die. When Jesus says, "Pick up your cross and follow me," that's what it means to be a disciple, that you go the way of Jesus. You give your life for what he gave his life to, the glory of God and the good of others for the church. "The other Simon, the apostle, he was also crucified."

Bartholomew
"Bartholomew is said to have preached in India and translated the Gospel of Matthew into their tongue. He was beaten, crucified, and beheaded."

Andrew
Andrew, Peter's brother, was crucified. Bernard and St. Cyprian mentioned the confession and martyrdom of this blessed apostle. Partly from them and partly from other reliable writers, we gather the following material:


When Andrew, through his diligent preaching had brought many to the faith of Christ, Egeas the governor asked permission to the Roman senate to force all Christians to sacrifice to and honor the Roman idols. Andrew thought he should resist Egeas and went to him, telling them that a judge of men should first know and worship as judge in heaven. 'While worshiping the true God,' Andrew said, 'he should banish all false gods and blind idols from his mind.' Furious at Andrew, Egeas demanded to know if he was the man who had recently overthrown the temples of the gods and persuaded men to become Christians, a 'superstitious' sect that had recently been declared illegal by the Romans.


Andrew replied that, 'The rulers of Rome didn't understand the truth. The son of God who came into the world for man's sake taught that the Roman gods were devils, enemies of mankind teaching men to offend God, and causing him to turn away from them. By serving the devil, men fall into all kinds of wickedness,' Andrew said. 'And after they die, nothing but their evil deeds are remembered.' The proconsul ordered Andrew not to preach these things anymore or he would face a speedy crucifixion."


If you were going to get crucified, would you stop calling yourself a Christian?

Whereupon Andrew replied, [and this is an amazing line] "I would not have preached the honor and glory of the cross if I feared the death of the cross." He was condemned to be crucified for teaching a new sect and taking away the religion of the Roman gods. Andrew, going toward the place of execution, and seeing the cross waiting for him, never changed his expression, neither did he fail in his speech. His body fainted not, nor did his reason fail him as often happens to men about to die. He said, "'Oh cross, most welcome and longed for, with a willing mind, joyfully and desirously I come to you being the scholar of him which did hang on you because I have always been your lover and yearn to embrace you."



"You boys want to crucify me? There's a good spot, go for it. I belong to Jesus."



Matthew
"Matthew wrote his Gospel to the Jews in the Hebrew tongue after he had converted Ethiopia and all Egypt. Hircanius, the king, sent someone to kill him with a spear."

Philip
"After years of preaching to the barbarous nations, Philip was stoned, crucified, and buried with his daughter."

Peter
The first of the ten persecutions was stirred up by Nero about 64 A.D. His rage against Christians was so fierce that Eusebius records, "A man might then see cities full of men's bodies, the old lying together with the young, and the dead bodies of women cast out naked without reverence of that sex in the open streets." Many Christians in those days thought that Nero was the Antichrist because of his cruelty and abominations. The Apostle Peter was condemned to death during this persecution. Although some say that he escaped, it is known that many Christians encouraged him to leave the city and the story goes that as he came to the city gates, Peter saw Jesus coming to meet him. "Lord, where are you going?" Peter asked. "I am coming again to be crucified," was the answer. Seeing that his suffering was understood, Peter turned around, returned to the city where Jerome tells us he was crucified upside down at his own request, saying he was not worthy to be crucified the same way his Lord was.


John
"The second persecution began during the reign of Domitian, the brother of Titus. Domitian exiled John to the island of Patmos." It's an actual spot and I've been there. "But on Domitian's death, John was allowed to return to Ephesus in the year A.D. 70. He remained there until the reign of Trajan, governing the churches of Asia, and writing his Gospel until he died at about the age of one hundred."

But at a hundred, he may have had a lot of scars on his body, because before they exiled him, they tried to kill him. They boiled him alive, and he lived through it, so they exiled him for a while. He got out and wrote books of the Bible, as a boiled old man.

We're glad you come and see. You need to go and die.

Father God, I pray for us as a people. We're in a day where we get a lot of come-and-see. There are free sermons on the Internet, classes, training, Christian music, radio stations, radio preachers, church events, mass crusades, services, small groups. It seems, Lord God, like there are more come-and-see opportunities than any people have ever been offered in the history of the world. And God, we rejoice in the come-and-see opportunities. We rejoice that people come to hear the Bible and see lives change through Jesus.

But God, I pray for the grace of the Holy Spirit and the hearts and minds and the lives of our people, that they would respond to your call to become Christians, that they would respond to your call to persevere as Christians, that they would give like Christians should give, that they would serve like Christians should serve, that they would suffer like Christians should suffer, that they would testify like Christians should testify, and Lord God, I pray for the grace of the Holy Spirit on us as a people that we wouldn't just be a come-and-see people, that we'd be a go-and-die people.




In Jesus' name, Amen.




Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The heat saps my will to blog.

One of my readers is forcing me to blog.

First, this reader refuses to visit us in Texas and now this relentless exhortation to being writing blog posts again. I mean, its hot here in Texas, not moderately cool like, say, you know, Joplin. Its so hot that to get tomato soup, we just go to the garden, pick a couple of tomatoes, and cut them in half.

And you expect me to blog under these conditions?

And keep in mind that humidity makes me incoherent. I'm not that good at the English thing to begin with, but then you pile on humidity and I might as well be typing Tweets with my toes while blindfolded.

Oh, yeah, and I can read your mind as you read this post. I am not complaining. I have advanced beyond that. I whine.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Three things #154


1. If a Father had a fun fund to fund, how much fun could an underfunded, unfunny fun fund fund?

1a. I'm sorry.

2. I think the difference between solitude and loneliness is having someone to go home to.

3. I have to go to Washington DC next week to man a conference booth. The theme of our booth is hope and change. I bet it will make us a very popular booth at first. But when the masses realize we have no plan and no ability to deliver on a single thing we promise, we will become annoying and irrelevant. At that point, we will just spend like drunk sailors and when problems arise we will just talk about how "complicated" things are. I think thats what everyone does when they go to Washington DC, right?


Monday, June 7, 2010

No comment


Saturday, June 5, 2010

A poem


To the Evil Birds in Mine Neighborhood


Evil birds in mine neighborhood,

I hate y'all.

For you savage my poor defenseless tomatoes

With thine nasty, sharp beaks,

Sucking the life from mine lovely harvest.

Thou eatest mine crops

And mockest my farming efforts.

So, I willest kill thee,

Kill thee dead. And thine offspring.

Long live my tomatoes.
Wretched birds.

Three things #150


1. Blue is dead. Blue was the Acura that was just about older than all of my kids. And yesterday she expired. After 145k miles, the transmission just gave up the ghost. "Random chance" the Honda service guy called it. And, alas, to replace the tranny would cost more than the old car is worth. Sigh.

And we will have to take on a car payment again. What really bums me out is that we had just paid off our credit card balance. We had plans to attack paying off the family van. We had just donated some money that we felt led to give. And then Blue goes kaput.

I am not complaining. I know families that are in pretty dire straits with husbands that want to work and cannot find jobs. But there is a sense of irony in the timing of Blue's death. The over arching question of life is front and center once again. Through circumstances we could not have foreseen, God is asking "Do you trust Me?".

2. I am also sad about the death of John Wooden. He was a good man. His basketball accomplishments will rightly receive a lot of attention. But the man off the court was an outstanding example of a husband and father. Read the following about his wife, Nell:

Junior high school sweethearts, they were married 53 years until Nell died in 1985. To this day, he writes her a love note every month and sets it on her side of the bed. He has never kissed anyone else.

I once asked him if we could write a book together about how to make love last. He agreed—until the day we were to start. I'd been waiting on his porch for half an hour when he finally opened the door, tears streaming down his face. "It's too soon," he wept. And Nell had been dead 15 years by then.


I want to love like that.

3. List for the day:

- Pray that God will provide the right car at the right price.
- Clean the kitchen and garage.
- BBQ (at home) tonight with my wife for date night?
- Sneak in a nap.

Not neccessarily in that order....


Thursday, June 3, 2010

This is good and cutting....

Boldness, not deliverance. Extension of the gospel, not a change in circumstances. Courage, not comfort. Maybe I ought to spend a little more time praying for that type of thing rather than a band-aid for my perceived problems. Because if I did, it would show that I had a much more full grasp of how big and important the gospel really is.

----From Michael Kelley's blog

Three things #147

I am a really boring person right now. Sorry.

1. I now have 10 people officially following my blog. This made me feel important until I understood that one was a waterfowl and another did it accidently and couldn't figure out how to undo it. Fame is such a burden.

2. You know the summer is going to be hot when people in Southern India tell you it is hotter in Texas than it is where they live. We might see 105 degrees this weekend. In June.

3. I really want to buy a television just so I can watch Planet Earth and Life DVDs in high definition. I mean, look at this trailer and tell me you don't want to see that frog tongue in high def. In other news, Father's Day is right around the corner.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Three things #146


1. I bet that it was really incredible following Jesus around. Everyday a disciple woke up with infinite possiblities. Maybe Jesus would bend nature to His will. Maybe He would raise the dead again. Maybe He would get in a fight with the Pharisees again. Maybe He would tell stories all day. Maybe He would tell me that He loves me. Maybe He would confuse my little brain with difficult predictions. Maybe He would tell me things about myself I didn't know. Maybe He would give me a nickname.

And maybe He still does these things.

2. I had to buy new slacks yesterday. I now have a whole bunch of dress slacks that are tight in the waist. I know, guys aren't supposed to mentioned stuff like this. But, I am coming to terms that middle age means that I can no longer down Frappacinos, exercise a little, and stay the same size. Crap.

3. I must admit that I am pretty excited about the World Cup. The Olympics are so passionless in comparison. I enjoy the excitement of tracking the brackets without any emotional stake in the outcomes. One of my hopes in life is to be in a stadium with soccer fans that chant and sing and cheer the whole time. I wish church was more like that.....

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Three things #145

1. When I see someone with tattoos, I usually take the time to compliment their ink. They always are proud of their body art and sometimes it allows for a gospel oriented conversation. But I am now sitting a table away from a young lady that has naked blue woman grasping a bloody heart covering the length of her upper arm. True story. And I'm SPEECHLESS.
2. Every time I have played golf in the past ten years, Tiger Woods ineveitably comes up sometime during the round. I played in a golf scramble and Tiger was never mentioned. His reputation is in complete ruins.
3. I never watched the LOST series. But I am amazed at the hope that was invested in a tidy, clean, meaningful end to the show. But in our post-modern age, I think it was foolish to believe that there would be a satisfying conclusion. No, our stories are no longer as interested in ending with truth as they are in creating pointless conversations.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A great post from me

I have had other things to do and so the blog has been silent.

But I wanted to post this today.

If this doesn't make you laugh for joy, you need help. Seriously.

There’s a story told, from Civil War days before America’s slaves were freed, about a northerner who went to a slave auction and purchased a young slave girl. As they walked away from the auction, the man turned to the girl and told her, “You’re free.”

With amazement she responded, “You mean, I’m free to do whatever I want?”

“Yes,” he said. “And to say whatever I want to say?” “Yes, anything.” “And to be whatever I want to be?”

“Yep.” “And even go wherever I want to go?” “Yes,” he answered with a smile.

“You’re free to go wherever you’d like.”

She looked at him intently and replied, “Then I will go with you.”

Jesus has come to the slave market. He came to us there because we could not go to him. He came and purchased us with his blood so we would no longer be a slave to sin but a slave to Christ, which is the essence of freedom.

And now there’s no freer place to be in life than going with him—with the One who is himself our true liberty.

- Tullian Tchividjian, Surprised by Grace: God's Relentless Pursuit of Rebels, 182

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

If you are having a tough day....

...Chicken Monkey Duck will make all things better:

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

This post is for Aaron

This young man has some wise things to say about your favorite team.....

Monday, May 17, 2010

Three things #139


I have a lot of things to type here tonight. So there is more than three things, but I am going to do it anyway.

1. Life is not pointless.

2. I think that churches build buildings for the wrong reasons. Particularly in the US we consider having a place to meet as a higher priority than alleviating suffering. Every time I hear about a building campaign, my stomach tightens into a little ball.

3. My fathering is terribly inadequate. I rest in the knowledge that my children have an all-sufficient Father that loves them more than I ever could.

4. I can't wait to hear Jesus laugh.

5. Back to #3. Most people I run into in the supermarket and see all 6 of the kids assume that I am some sort of idiot or some sort of hero. Little do they know that I am really a heroic idiot.

6. When Jesus turned the water into wine, I wonder if some wedding guest asked the host if the wine was organic?

7. Nothing is worse for a guy than going to the supermarket to buy his wife some "unmentionables" only to have the people in the check-out line want to strike up small talk about their craving yogurt covered raisins. For SEVEN minutes. True story.

8. I worry more about the people my kids will marry than almost anything else.

9. I can't help myself. I keep trying to grow a goatee. I know that people look and me and think "That man has fuzzy caterpillars stuck to his face." But I keep trying, nonetheless.

10. Sometimes I wonder if there is that much difference in the train of thought in my two year old and that of a puppy. No way to tell, I guess.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Cathedral building

One of the lead news stories in Dallas tonight was that First Baptist Church of Dallas raised $115 million for their new downtown campus. It will be a massive project that will include green space, a fountain, and multi-level parking.

In other news, pastors in Haiti are preparing for an influx of homeless, hungry people when the seasonal torrential rains obliterate the tent villages that went up after an earthquake destroyed their entire country.

I HAVE AN IDEA! Maybe the FBC Dallas people could "make do" with their already beautiful campus and give the $115 million to help people in Haiti stay alive.....

Nah.

Gotta have that green space, you know.

And multi-level parking.

One horrible thing

Mrs. Underdog and I saw the movie Monsters and Aliens after someone recommended it to us. I have an opinion on the film as a whole. I think that Monsters and Aliens is the movie viewing equivalent to being waterboarded. Or perhaps to being pecked to dead by a hundred psychotic pigeons.

You should avoid seeing this movie. Unless you like stuff that is horrible beyond words.

The End.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Reckoning

Although I know that I see through a glass darkly now, there are sometimes glimpses into the stark, indescribable beauty of the Life to come. And I sense the long shadows of an original creation begging for the redemption that often seems too long in coming. But in His second coming King Jesus will finally give eternal grace and peace to our homesick souls.

Every once in a while, I hear in a song something of the endless grace that is and that is to come. Songs with the gravity of spectacular Truth. Often, that song is by Andrew Peterson. Here you can hear a new song called "The Reckoning" from Andrew's upcoming album.

Praise Jesus for songs that remind us of who we are and who we will become.

Bubble Gum for your Little Brain

Two interesting quotes:

"The things I thought were so important - because of the effort I put into them - have turned out to be of small value. And the things I never thought about, the things I was never able to either to measure or to expect, were the things that mattered." --Thomas Merton

"Jesus came to raise the dead. He did not come to teach the teachable; He did not come to improve the improvable; He did not come to reform the reformable. None of those things works." --Robert Farrar Capon

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Thud


That is how I felt this morning.
Thud.
Nothing wrong, mind you, but nothing happening that I was really excited about in the coming day. And perhaps there is a character flaw embedded in that admission. I guess that most mornings I wake up with several events on the agenda and this morning there was nothing.

Thud.

With the arrival of the baby, sleep has been erratic and quiet moments have been rare. The normal routines have been obliterated and then gathered together to be burned. (Okay, that's an exaggeration.) Scripture memory and concentrated prayer and Bible study have been lacking. My nerves are frayed and my patience is impatient.

Thud.

But as I was in the shower this morning, the Lord Jesus reminded me of the passage that our family read last night in the Gospel of Mark. All of these people are gathered around Jesus and they are really hungry. They have no access to food. Jesus tells the disciples to feed them. The disciples do the math and ask Jesus if they should spend the $30k to cater the event. Shortly after this exchange, Jesus provides more food than can be eaten. Those people did nothing to receive God's favor and provision.

And I was thinking this morinng that the point of the passage is that Jesus is to be our Bread. And He is always providing what we need. And often more than we need. All of the spiritual disciplines are good and necessary, but only if they lead me to know and love and acknowledge Jesus. I often fall prey to the idea that I must be the pursuer of God, that the repsonsibility lies with me to chase God. In reality, the Bread of Life is always here. Jesus will never leave me or forsake me. He is always good to me.
His grace is sufficient for me.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Because God said so?



Researchers can't explain how what they're calling the "impossible" star came to be. The star was discovered in a star-forming cloud in the Milky Way Galaxy called RCW 120. And here's the coolest part: Even as a baby star, it is already eight to ten times larger than our sun, and it's still feeding on the gas and dust clouds around it. The star is set to be one of the biggest and brightest stars in our galaxy within the next few hundred thousand years — meaning, this star won't ever be a part of our lives. (Source)

Is it just me or does this seem to happen a lot? Researchers or scientists seem to continually find things that simply defy explanation. If the simplest explanation is often the correct one, then most often I think "God did it" is probably the best answer for things we can't explain.

From the Planet Earth series

Creation is endlessly amazing. Watch:

Not political, just common sense.

I heard our President quoted this morning saying that Fannie and Freddie Mae would have access to "unlimited funds" to solve their stupidity problems.

Okay, so I added one word in that last sentence. But then I found the article below. I guess I am not the only one feeling a little uncomfortable with the "unlimited funds" thingy.

Nature

As the Pups and I read the Gospels, I am amazed all over again at Jesus' complete mastery over nature.

Jesus commands bread to reproduce and it does.

Jesus commands water to become great wine and it does.

Jesus commands water to become solid beneath His feet and it does.

Jesus commands a sightless eye to see and it does.

Jesus commands a demon to leave a man forever and it does.

Jesus commands the weather to change and it does.

Jesus commands a fig tree to die and it does.

Amazing.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Chew on this for a while....


One of my life sentences is that "God is doing ten thousands things in you and about you and through you that are for your good, but that you could never fully comprehend." This illustrates that in some manner:

Richard Wurmbrand tells a story that illustrates the necessity of believing God for good, unseen purposes, when all we can see is evil and frustration:

A legend says that Moses once sat near a well in meditation. A wayfarer stopped to drink from the well and when he did so his purse fell from his girdle into the sand. The man departed. Shortly afterwards another man passed near the well, saw the purse and picked it up. Later a third man stopped to assuage his thirst and went to sleep in the shadow of the well. Meanwhile, the first man had discovered that his purse was missing and assuming that he must have lost it at the well, returned, awoke the sleeper (who of course knew nothing) and demanded his money back. An argument followed, and irate, the first man slew the latter. Where upon Moses said to God, “You see, therefore men do not believe you. There is too much evil and injustice in the world. Why should the first man have lost his purse and then become a murderer? Why should the second have gotten a purse full of gold without having worked for it? The third was completely innocent. Why was he slain?”

God answered, “For once and only once, I will give you an explanation. I cannot do it at every step. The first man was a thief’s son. The purse contained money stolen by his father from the father of the second man, who finding the purse only found what was due him. The third was a murderer whose crime had never been revealed and who received from the first the punishment he deserved. In the future believe that there is sense and righteousness in what transpires even when you do not understand.”


---(100 Prison Meditations, 6-7)

Hopeful

I wonder if this could happen in my church?

Maybe a better question: I wonder if this could happen in me?

“The evening meeting connected with the Bible conference began January 6th, in the Central Church [in Pyungyang], with more than 1500 men present. . . . After a short sermon, . . . man after man would rise, confess his sin, break down and weep, and then throw himself on the floor and beat the floor with his fists in a perfect agony of conviction. . . . Sometimes, after a confession, the whole audience would break out into audible prayer, and the effect of that audience of hundreds of men praying together in audible prayer was something indescribable. Again, after another confession, they would break out into uncontrollable weeping and we would all weep together. We couldn’t help it. And so the meeting went on until 2 A.M., with confession and weeping and praying. . . . We had prayed to God for an outpouring of his Holy Spirit upon the people, and it had come.”

--- Eyewitness account, quoted in Young-Hoon Lee, “Korean Pentecost: The Great Revival of 1907,” AJPS 4 (2001): 77. (Source)

Come, Holy Spirit, and make me see.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Three things #136


1. We had Pup #7 on Saturday evening. She is happy, healthy, and the center of attention. It is always a small miracle to be at the birth of a brand new person. New to us, that is. We discovered her existence nine months ago. God knew about her before time began. We saw her little face for the first time yesterday. God planned her visage eons ago. It is good. No, it is very good.

2. I saw a t-shirt a couple of days ago that I thought was pretty clever. It said: "Sin is like chocolate covered feces." Sounds about right.

3. Mrs. Underdog will be in bed for the next five days straight. At first that sounds pretty good, getting to nap whenever you want and having a handsome, spectacularly intelligent gentleman wait on you hand and foot. But I guess that after 48 hours, being stuck in bed is like a little prison.

Friday, May 7, 2010

How too many people experience church....

Irony lives Part 2.

This left me somewhere between laughter and throw up. Decide for yourself:

"Sunday's Coming" Movie Trailer from North Point Media on Vimeo.

Yo Yo Rock My Minivan

Irony lives.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Three things #135


1. We met a few of the Igarashi family in person for the first time this evening. A few thoughts on this very cool encounter. First, when people have a love for Christ in common, there is an immediate chemistry that exists. This was apparent tonight. Second, you can tell a lot about a person simply by the way they treat children. I consider my kids to be pretty good judges of character and Mrs. Igarashi got superior marks across the board. Finally, I was extremely impressed with Miss Igarashi. She was incredibly well-spoken and thoughtful and a great example that I will urge my girls to imitate. Thank God for new friendships....

2. I was asked for my opinion tonight on John Piper having Rick Warren at his next conference. I am certain that just about every angle on this pseudo-controversy has been thoroughly explored. But I will say this: In my humble opinion, the whole Reform community could learn a lot from Warren's ambition to live out his theology by serving the poor, dialoging with those who do not share his views, and using his influence to impact everyone he can. We can debate Warren's theological views all we want, but when is the last time you served someone that didn't love you?

3. As we are now two days past Mrs. Underdogs due date, we are more resigned to the fact that Jesus is in charge of birthdays. On that topic, how come we don't have cake and ice cream on the day a child is born? I think this potential tradition deserves some real consideration.

Extra double bonus post

Two posts today. I know, I am a classic over achiever. But this was too thought provoking not to pass along:

Then the Lord said to (Moses), "Who has made man's mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord?" (Exodus 4:11)

As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" Jesus answered, "It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him." (John 9:1-3)



To be clear, God's sovereignty doesn't mean he merely permits disability. These verses show us that he sovereignly intends it, both for his glory and for our good—"that the works of God might be displayed."
(Source)

I struggle that I struggle with this truth. But God's glory is often magnified through circumstances that we would not choose. And God works all things for the good of those that love him and are called according to His purpose. So that not even suffering is not outside His sovereignty, but is central to His purposes.

Whether I like it or not.

Free book for y'all


I am going to risk recommending a book that I have not read for three reasons:

1. It is based on a sermon series that I thought was very good.
2. The book is free, a price most people can afford.
3. The church needs people that recognize that The American Dream has more in common with the Prosperity gospel that it does with the commands of Jesus.

If you are ticked off at that last comment, you should get the book and then get back to me. Here is the link to get a free copy of David Platt's book The Radical Question.


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Three things #132


1. The Igarashis are coming to town tomorrow (except for Coie, who came last year but was not impressed and will not return). We will be going to dinner and going to the park. I told the younger children that both visiting Igarahis can fly.

I hope they are not disappointed. The children, that is.

2. Last night was Boyz Nite Out. Just me and three Tryon youngsters itching for trouble. We really went nuts. Burgers at Mooyah (messy, yummy), experienced 3d television at BestBuy (consensus: overrated), ran through a big maze in the shape of Texas (highlight: scared the wits out of cocky 8 year old), and had a nightcap of frozen yogurt (I almost cried when I learned they don't have Peanut Butter yogurt anymore). Oh yeah, and we established that we don't understand rugby.

3. We are dog-less for the first time in many years. Its really weird. I think dogs make us better people.

Happy....


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Good quote

“For my own part, I tend to find the doctrinal books often more helpful in devotion than the devotional books, and I rather suspect that the same experience may await others. I believe that many who find that ‘nothing happens’ when they sit down, or kneel down, to a book of devotion, would find that the heart sings unbidden while they are working their way through a tough bit of theology with a pipe in their teeth and a pencil in their hand.”

C. S. Lewis, quoted in R. L. Green and W. Hooper, C. S. Lewis: A Biography (New York, 1974), page 115.

I need to get a pipe, I think....

Monday, May 3, 2010

Three things #130


This will be a deep thinking three things. I think.

1. We saw something tonight that I have never seen in my life thus far and will likely never see again. God in His grace showed our family a full rainbow. A massive rainbow that started and ended its full arc within our eyesight. Not only that, but there were two of them. Two rainbows. And I was once again reminded that God always keeps His promises. Always.

2. I am confused about our reaction to miracles. As I read the Scriptures, it is apparent that miracles do not have the ability to change hearts. Instead, they amaze in the short term, but with time, they only create a want for more miracles. The Israelites watched God systematically destroy their captors, the most powerful nation on earth. And then God made food fall from the sky. And went before them in a cloud and fire. But it did not turns their hearts towards God.

The crowds that followed Jesus loved the miracles He did, but didn't understand Him (or the purpose of the miracles for that matter). They liked having their bellies filled with supernaturally created bread, but did not like the difficult demands of His teachings. Even healed lepers did not obey Jesus (Mark 1).

I am puzzled by this constant need in us for new fulfillment. I think about the modern day hullabaloo over the iPad. The websites and magazines praise its innovation and beauty. It is fabulously new and sheik. But wait six weeks. We will have had our fill of the greatness that is the iPad and start wondering what is next. The iPad will not seem as awesome as it does today.

I recognize that a miracle by the Creator of the universe and the iPad from Steve Jobs are not remotely comparable. But I think that the hunger in people has the same source. We were so damaged by the Fall and the indwelling sin that resulted that we always want more of bread that cannot satisfy. Our corrupted core desires the bread but not the Breadmaker. We will accept healing but reserve the right to disobey the Healer just a moment later.

Still chewing on this....and what to do about it....

3. Mrs. Underdog says that a lot of things are not permissible nor beneficial. She won't let me ram other rude drivers with our monster truck sized van. She won't let me try fruit before I buy it. And she says I can't get a Ferrari.

Even if I save my allowance for it.

Some pregnant people are just party poopers.

All parents will nod their head....



From Doug:

Parents, especially young parents, aren’t you tired of trying to get it all right? Aren’t you tired of trying to discipline your kids by the book? Aren’t you tired of trying to match up with other families? Aren’t you tired of trying to do A + B and never getting C? Let’s admit it. There’s only so much we can do. God must do the rest.

So let’s be faithful in what we can do. Let’s sow the seed of the gospel. Let’s teach it. Let’s live it. And let’s pray it for our kids. And when the day is done, let’s rest. Let’s rest well.

After all, that’s the wonder of the gospel! As John MacArthur says, “you sow the seed, you go to sleep, and it grows” (Mark 4:27).


----------------------------

I have argued for quite some time that the value of most "parenting" books is almost nil. The sum effect of most is to make parents feel like they will never measure up to the style or schedule or adult kids of the "uber-parent" that felt compelled to share their success with the masses. I usually feel like C- middle school kid getting lectured by the Ivy League of parenting studs.

Despite our best attempts at parenting, I am more and more convinced that it is a miracle that any child does well in life. I have seen kids from "good" families go "bad" and vice versa. It think that the key to parenting is embedded in paragraphs above. Preach the gospel, pray for your kids, and trust that their Heavenly Father loves your kids more than you ever will.

God will give grace for your poor parenting decisions and humility will inevitably follow any good parenting decisions. Jesus will gently lead sheep with young sheep:

(Jesus) will tend his flock like a shepherd;
he will gather the lambs in his arms;
he will carry them in his bosom,
and gently lead those that are with young.
---Isaiah 40:11

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Reading good books


If you are looking at this blog post, I have to assume that you can read. So, I am looking for your help.


What is the best fiction book you have ever read?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Three things #126


1. I was at a Sheraton Hotel this evening at a event for investors. At the same hotel there will be a horror film festival over the next three days. The mix of the Wall Street guys and the Goth contingent was really, really weird.

What struck me in watching the Goth/horror film group was how much they seemed to delight in the morose and evil. They were passionate about these films about depravity and sickness and death. Just by watching you could tell that there was a strong sense of community for these vampirish guys around their common interest.

And I bet that Jesus would more likely have hung with the Goth kids than with me and my venture capitalist compatriots. It is the sick that need a physician....

2. The most surreal thing I have seen in my entire lifetime was a Goth guy that accidently walked in an entrance to the hotel and through the Grand Ballroom filled with investment types. After about ten paces, he knew he had come in the wrong set of doors. What made the scene surreal was the object that the guy had draped over one shoulder: a full size stuffed sheep wearing a confederate flag knit sweater.

3. Finally, this:



Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Three things #125

1. Want a good stock tip? But Taco Bueno stock. Between Mrs. Underdog's late pregnancy tostada cravings and my post birthday lack of desire to cook, their stock will most certainly rise. Carpe muchacos.
2. My Denver Broncos drafted two vocal Christians with their two first round picks in the NFL draft last weekend. My hometown Cowboys, on the other hand, seem to draft guys with a parole officer in tow.....
3. I notice that most people seem to find very little satisfaction in their work. I wonder if it is beacuse there is no end to the demands of most employers. Once you accomplish a goal, it is immediately replaced with a new one. I find that the marketplace is generally lacking in grace and joy.

(Punish kittens.)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Life.


I know that you have a lot going on. If you are reading this, I assume that it is probably a break from your other myriad responsibilities. Or maybe you are a bum, sipping coffee in a Starbucks somewhere, goofing off while attempting to maximize your caffeine consumption. Maybe both, I don't know.

But I want you to pause for just a moment and consider how incredible it is that you are alive. I think that we often take life for granted. But 90 years ago, you did not exist except in the mind of God. While He knew every detail of your future, your entrance into existence would surprise pretty much everyone involved. Until that moment of recognition, the best evidence of your future was a star in the sky that Father Abraham saw generations ago.

But God knew the plans that He had for you long before Abraham's star gazing. God would call you into being and create you from absolutely nothing. You would inherit life loving, creative Creator. And it was good. He would put breath in your lungs and a give your heart a consistent rhythm. He would begin knitting you together inside your mother's belly before even she knew you were there. He would fearfully and wonderfully instill you with a will and a personality. Your sense of humor and your laugh and your ability to carry a tune and your appreciation for art and your aptitude for math and your taste in food and favorite colors would all be blended into a unique personal chemistry that is too complex for words to accurately describe.

You are alive because God made you live. And that is a miracle.

But don't take it for granted. For someday your life will end. Borrowed air will exit your lungs for the last time and number of heartbeats that God ordained will reach their potential. Your body will give out. You will die, just like everyone else.

So number your days. Each one of them is a gift. Today was given to you so that you might remember your Creator. You were made so that you might love God and to love your neighbor as you love yourself. You are here right now, alive, for a purpose.

So take a moment and thank Jesus that you are alive. Because life is precious.
And short.

Don't waste it.