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."


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.