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.....


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


That is how I felt this morning.
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.


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.


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.


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.


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)


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."

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.


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?