Thursday, December 14, 2006

What I Believe

Now if you’re reading this that means you probably know me, because not too many people actually read this. But do you really know what I believe? Now that’s the issue.

One of the more disappointing events of my college years was when I went before the DBMD. My classes had told me that the DBMD would grill me and I needed to be prepared to defend and explain my beliefs to “the Gatekeepers.” But my three meetings with the watchmen of my district left me wanting. I was expecting to have to at least flex and in fact I barely needed to stretch. It was like I've spent all this time preparing to come and see if I match up, and they sent the JV team.

Recently, what I have discovered about myself is that I can get pretty dogmatic about things. I have all these opinions about stuff that really doesn’t matter, but I would make them matter to me. Instead of worrying and focusing on what is important, I found myself concerned about debates that maybe I should have avoided.

So I have decided to keep my dogma to a minimum. I want to narrow down my wedge as skinny as possible. So I have come up with six (6) points of dogma. These six points I believe with all my heart and I will die for them. Everything else to me is debatable and everything else just helps explain my top five.

1. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are three distinct persons, that mysteriously are one.

2. Jesus is the only way to God. There is no other way.

3. Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s plan for creation.

4. Jesus’ movement is centered on reconciliation and living a better life.

5. The church, the global community of Jesus’ followers, is God’s plan for spreading this movement.

6. Our lives we live now determine our eternal destiny.

Now I plan on posting some of my lesser beliefs at a later date. What do you think about my top 5? Do you think I’m missing anything? Probably you do, let me know.

Friday, November 03, 2006

why forgetting everything may not be the best way to go about it...

Last weekend my grandpa forgot everything. Well not everything, just the stuff that was important. Lucky for him it was just a reaction between too much sinus medicine and his blood pressure meds. And he’s ok now.

Even though it was very serious, it was still really funny. He kept trying to say things to make people laugh, but he’d forget what he would say. So apparently he told my grandma that she was his third wife. That’s funny cause they’ve been married since he was 19. He doesn’t remember the fact that he said it, but who knows maybe he’ll use this memory loss thing as an excuse for the next couple of years.

Deuteronomy is a book that is based on remembering. The whole book is most likely Moses’ final address to the people before they go into the Promised Land and he went up the mountain for the final time. But what are they to remember?

You see Deuteronomy comes at the end of the people’s time in the desert. When they first left Egypt God leads the people to Mt Sinai. It is here that God will give them the Law. Before He begins God explains the purpose behind the Laws he is about to give. God says to Moses, “Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”

God tells Moses that he has set the Hebrews free from bondage and has set them apart from the nations so that they can be His priests to the nations. He sets up Laws that the nation is to follow that promote freedom and hope. Thus their message is a message of freedom from bondage, a message of hope. This is what they are to remember.

His whole message was you have to remember who you are. If you forget who you are than what good will you be to the nations? How can you be a priest if you don’t remember the message?

People are suffocating around us. They are desperate for hope and they think that they get freedom by throwing away God. They think that God holds them back and what they’re really doing is putting on more chains of bondage. But what the world really needs is to see people living a life of freedom, a life of hope. The world needs the priests of God to stand up and show the God that wants to free them from their bondage.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Update for those who like to know.

I guess for those of you are interested might enjoy an update on my life every once and a while. So here's a quick look at what I have been going through.

Last April I graduated college. It was very weird experience. I still don't feel like anything happened. I know I have graduated but it still doesn't feel like it. I have my diploma but at the same time, I don't feel like the 4 four years of college actually took 4 years.

July 9th I started at a church as the youth pastor there. that only lasted 6 weeks and in the end of August I was fired, so I moved back home. It was kind of tough but I'm learning from the experience. Being at home is kinda humilating, and not having a job kind of puts me in limbo.

So that leaves me living at home. I have started subbing in the local Intermediate School District. It is a very humbling experience, some of the kids that I am working with have real issues, but when you hang out with them you can see that despite all the other stuff that they have going on in their lives, they are beautiful people. I worked with a girl in a wheelchair who really couldn't do much of anything, but she had maybe the most beautiful smile. I learned from working with her just what it meant to love and to see how blessed i really am.

I guess God is teaching me who He is. He is showing me that he is in control and that I need to get my act together. I have been listening to Erwin McManus. Mosaic Earlier this year he did a series called Chasing Daylight (titled after his book with the same name) and it really challenged me. It was based around this concept: "If our birth is like the sunrise and our death is like sunset, then all we are doing is chasing daylight." It was a very interesing concept to me I guess.

Since i was let go by that church, I have kind of been in a state of lets wait for God to move in my life. Maybe just maybe I have been thinking, I need to move and God will reward my boldness. What do I have to lose if I follow God and trust in his plan. I keep thinking things like "What good am I doing if i'm just sitting back?" "How can I be used?"

That's what i'm doing and where I am at. Thanks for looking into my life.

Blessings on your house! the Legend

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

the powerful king and a little baby...

(I'm trying a different style of writing, tell me if you like it, or if you think that it's too blunt or too choppy. Thanks! ~the Legend)

King Herod was a powerful King.

He was 100 times wealthier than all the people he ruled put together.

He built massive fortresses.

The temple he built for the people was an awesome feat of engineering and architecture.

His palace was on the top of a mountain. The only way up was through a tunnel in the middle.

Surely this man would be remembered as one of the most important men in the history of the country of Israel.


In a humble little village in the shadow of Herod’s palace a baby was born.

This baby was born into poverty.

This baby was born into a somewhat questionable situation.

The baby was destined to change the world; he was to be named Jesus.

Herod heard that this baby born was destined to be a great and powerful king. In an attempt to defend his power, he killed all the babies in that village.

The baby Jesus escaped and grew up to be a rabbi.

As a rabbi he began to teach about a new type of kingdom.

Jesus said that foxes (a rabbinical term for the Herods) have holes…. but the ‘son of man’ (himself) had no place to lay his head.

Who would believe that this baby would one day become the most influential person in the history of the world?

And who would believe that this powerful king would become a pimple on the face of history? Remembered not for his riches, his power, or what he built, but that he massacred the children of that little village.

What circumstances are you dealing with today in your life that nobody would believe anything good would come out of it?

Who would believe that the impossible would happen?

When you come upon a circumstance like that in your life, remember the story of a powerful king and a little baby.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

...I think football.

What do “boom!”, “there’s a guy!”, and “Brett Favre” have in common?

If you guessed John Madden, you’re right.

Now I know that many people out there don’t like John Madden, but I’m a fan. I have always been a fan of the big guy, for no reason than the fact that whenever I hear his voice I think football.

Now for you people out there who feel he is less than intelligent enough for you football viewing prowess-get over it. He has developed a style of describing the game that has simplified the game.

Ironically, he has become the family friendly guy in the booth.

That’s ironic because as a coach he got two personal fouls on the same play for cursing at an official.


Regardless of the fact that he does get annoying, he always finds a way to talk about Brett Favre, and you really don’t understand what he’s saying sometimes-he gives a guy like me hope!

His video game series has become the best football game ever.

Hands down.

Without a question.

My friend CJ can tell you every player in the NFL. How does he know so much trivial information? He played Madden’s video game.

His style of commentating and his video game have taught more people about football than any other person in the game. No matter what you think of him you cannot deny this fact.

Madden has become a cultural icon!

When I hear John Madden, I think football.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Covers our shame

One of my favorite books growing up was the book of Genesis. It is one of the more popular sections of the Bible for Sunday school classes to focus on, but sadly I think that so often we don’t come back to the stories as adults and miss the truth that is just sitting there before us.

I have been spending my devotional times for the past couple of months in the book of Genesis. I’ve come to love and appreciate the book and the narrative that you find in the beginnings of the book. Genesis in fact is the Greek word meaning just that "beginnings". I believe that this book is meant to be just that.

I would like to spend a couple of weeks breaking down the book and moving from beginning to end, talk about some things that I have noticed and gleaned.

I break the book down into six sections. First there is the Creation narrative, the Flood Narrative, the life of Abraham, the life of Isaac, the life of Jacob and his 12 sons, and then finally the Egypt narrative. Thus the book begins with creation, and ends with an explanation of how the Hebrew nation ends up in Egypt.

Genesis starts with the creation of the world. The first two chapters paint two very different pictures of the creation story, but Moses does not seem to be focusing on the world’s creation but the creation of man. Genesis 1 climaxes with the creation of man. While in Genesis 2 man is created first and everything else is created around him. These chapters side-by-side scream to us that God’s focus in this world is man.

A couple of months ago I wrote a blog titled Naked. This post was subtitled “why clothing isolates us.” I tried to discuss the point that so often because of our fallen nature, we try to find value in who we are because of what we can do and because of how we look. We fail at this because we forget that our value comes from how God views us, and he views each of us as valuable. This is a result of the fall, sin has entered how we think, and has turned us not just against God, but also against each other. Because of our sin, we are constantly trying to prove to each other and to God that we matter that we are valuable, even though this struggle seems to always be tearing us apart.

At the end of Genesis 3 there is an interesting end to the Garden Scene. God has found Man and Woman, he has passed judgment on their actions, and has banished them from the Garden, but he pauses and does one last thing. It says that he makes coverings for the couple out of animal skins.

This is the first recorded death in the Bible, and the one who killed is God. Earlier in chapter 2 Moses records nakedness with shame. This is totally unbelievable; God kills to cover their shame. God is the offended party here, yet he is the one who is repairing the damage. In the ultimate example of foreshadowing, death is the tool that will be used to cover the shame that results from sin.

God’s ultimate creation has been tainted with sin, but God is not content to let his masterpiece to be completely destroyed. The creation narrative shows to us that God will take the first step in restoring his rebellious creation. God immediately set the path to the cross. If you read Genesis 3:15, you see what many believe to be the first prophesy concerning Jesus. God tells the snake “he (referring to the son of woman) will crush your head and you will strike his heel.” You will sting him, but in the end he will have victory.

May you embrace the gift of Jesus - forgiveness that covers all our shame.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Great Quote

“Indeed, for women and other oppressed people, Jesus turned upside down the accepted wisdom of the day. Pharisees believed that touching an unclean person polluted the one who touched. But when Jesus touched a person with leprosy, Jesus did not become soiled-the leprous became clean. When an immoral woman washed Jesus’ feet, she went away forgiven and transformed. When he defied custom to enter a pagan’s house, the pagan’s servant was healed. In word and in deed Jesus was proclaiming a radically new gospel of grace: to get clean a person did not have to journey to Jerusalem, offer sacrifices, and undergo purification rituals. All a person had to do was follow Jesus. As Walter Wink puts it, “the contagion of holiness overcomes the contagion of uncleanness.”

-Phillip Yancey "The Jesus I Never Knew"

Monday, August 07, 2006

It's from a you know it's good

S. Cady has come through with another great post! Check it out, marvel at the link that he put in.

Seriously, the link is pretty stupid! His title is right, crying is my response.

Cady's Magic

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Peace through fighting....I think not!

I understand the Christian pro-Israel position. I understand the Israelis need to protect themselves from terrorism. I understand that there are Muslim terrorists out there who want nothing more than to destroy the Jews. I guess I just miss how fighting and killing people is going to solve the problem.

The problem in the Middle East is that for literally thousands of years the people of Israel and their Arab neighbors have been fighting. Both sides have been practicing hate towards each other. They have stood dogmatically on their positions and when those positions have been threatened they have responded with force.

As a result of this constant fighting and hatred they have continued to fued for the entire time. It’s just like the feuds up in the hill country of West Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee in the 19th century. The Hatfield’s and the McCoy’s kept fighting until just a few years ago. Why because there was always another axe to grind. There was always another revenge that had to be carried out.

This is the problem with fighting for peace. Look at World War II. One of the biggest causes was World War I. The German people were disgraced and humiliated after they lost, and it probably didn’t take a orator like Hitler (even though it was) much effort to rally the people behind getting revenge and avenging this disgrace. The hurt was already there.

Simple and plain, war does not lead to peace.

I am not saying we should not fight nor am I saying that a country does not have the right to defend itself. Israel as a sovereign nation has the right to stop another country from launching missiles into its cities. But just because it does have that right does not mean that they should expect force to stop another jihad movement from attacking her another day.

The only way for peace to happen is for one (or both) of the parties to agree to give up their right to justice, give up their pride, and move on. What would that mean? It would mean ideologies to change drastically. It would probably mean that Israel would lose it’s nationhood because the Arabs would take it by force. But then there would be no fighting.

If we look at the prescient that the early Christians set for peacefully giving up their rights we see how to gain peace. The Roman Emperors had it out for these people. They killed, tortured, divided them, enslaved them, and tried to do everything possible to destroy their movement. The Christians could have fought back, but they would have been destroyed. The Jews fought back, and in 70 AD everything they stood for was destroyed.

Jesus constantly talked about giving up your rights, about loving your neighbor, about not making it about you and what you wanted. He even set the example by dying on a cross. Culturally, turning the other cheek and walking another mile were references to the Roman soldiers. They would hit people. Jesus said to not fight back, but instead to allow them to hit you again-to give up your rights. Soldiers could make people carry their gear for a mile; Jesus said to offer to carry their equipment an extra mile. To again give up your rights.

Did Christians get hurt? Yes. Did Christians die? Yes. Were people’s lives totally changed as they watched Christians give up everything? Yes. Did Romans become followers of Christ? Yes. Was the Empire eventually won for Christ? Yes! Jesus’ message of a non-violent approach to peace does work. Who would have known God would have the answer?

It seems impossible. Is it possible for Israel and their Muslim neighbors to ever co-exist in peace? I think yes. But I do not think it will ever happen if they fight and if they continue to kill each other. Nope! You cannot win peace with war. It just doesn’t work.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

I deserve....?

just a quick question...

I things like this all the time - "That's not fair!" "That guy deserves what he's getting." "Let's be fair." "Justice demands (this or that)"

I think we all hear this. Humans are all out there demanding that there be some level of fairness. I think CS Lewis spends and entire chapter in Mere Christianity talking about just this issue. And there is a level of fairness that I think as humans we all cling to hoping that we can have a level of fairness towards ourselves.

But is this fairness really that important?

What did Jesus say about seeking Justice? What did he say to do when somebody slaps? What about when somebody wants to borrow something of yours? He definitely seems to be saying not to worry about getting Justice. You are right, it’s not fair that you were slapped; it’s not fair that somebody doesn’t have what they need so they have to get from you – but justice shouldn’t be your concern.

This is something that has been bugging me for a little while now, because I feel that there are tons of Christians (myself included) who are so concerned about life being fair, when Jesus so clearly talks about living above receiving justice.

just a thought…

Thursday, July 20, 2006

how could I?!?!?!

I am reading Brennan Manning's book Ragamuffin Gospel for the first time. Even though I am only half way through the second chapter, I am thinking it may be the book that will have the biggest impact on my life yet.

The Second Chapter is dealing with God's largeness. The power and the vastness of who he is can only be described as stunning. The one comment that really struck me last night was the fact that if you hold up a dime a arms length away from your self you are blocking something like 15 million stars from your view. 15 MILLION!!! That's just crazy.

I guess the whole point is that God is huge, large, vast, uncontrollable, AND he yet still loves sinners like us. How amazing is that? I'm typing this and I don't even know if I get how crazy that fact is.

In my devotions I am reading through Genesis. I am just amazed at the book, it is so deep and so rich and compelling. I am getting into the part about Joseph, and as I book marked my page for tomorrow, I noticed a note at the top and the bottom of the page. The note on the bottom said, "If we really understood God's immensity we wouldn't sin!" That hurts.

In my last post, I talked a bit about the Law. I was trying to paint the Law of God in a positive light, because so often we look at it in a negative light. I talked about how breaking the Law would be somewhat like committing adultry against God.

So as I am reading Ragamuffin Gospel, that note in my Bible, and I my post about the Law, I guess I am a bit humbled.

God has stooped down from heaven to show me love. He has shown me how to live. He has given me the example of his people Israel to show me His faithfullness. He came to earth and died for my sins. All this and I still seem to find ample ways to sin against Him.

What's more is I do this against Him and he forgives me and loves me still!

I guess the whole point of this post is to say that the grace of God is amazing. I do not think that I could ever ask for more. I don't think that I can ever get away from this grace nor would I ever want to. And if you havn't read Ragamuffin Gospel, put everything else down and go get it and read it.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Thoughts on the Law

Whoops it has been a month since I last posted…my bad. I’ll try and make up for it in the future by post much more often. In the mean time I hope that your break from reading my rants and raves has been enjoyable.

Since I last posted I have been dealing with a few questions. One big question is ‘how are we supposed to understand the Law of God?’ Is it a big weight that we are to carry around our necks? Is it the magical formula to please God? Are we blessed for following the Law?

There seems to be this very negative stereotype surrounding the whole conversation. It seems to be a burden that nobody can master. It is a duty to follow God’s law, an unpleasant duty that Christians seem to cringe at following. This seems way of thinking seems to arise out of Paul’s letters where he is talking about how we all mess up and break the law.

People say following the Law is boring, and in fact the first five books of the Bible are often those that are ignored and read the least. I guess even I have portrayed this concept when I am helping somebody read the Bible I suggest them to steer away from Leviticus Numbers and Deuteronomy.

I have begun to rethink my view on the Law recently. The more I come back to this issue, it seems that it is the Law that God gives Moses that describes how we should live. It is the proper way that we should live. We are designed to live by the Law. Therefore when we break the Law, not only are we sinning against God, but we are harming ourselves.

Think about it, when a husband cheats on his wife, he has broken a sacred trust with her-thus hurting their relationship. Studies have shown that the relationships that are the happiest and most fulfilling are those where both partners are faithful to each other. Everything works best when it operates like it was designed to.

I think that Paul’s point was that we all mess up; its part of the make up of being human. It doesn’t make sense to just bail on following the Law just because you mess up. It is like saying that when playing basketball you quit playing because you’re going to break the rules. It would be preposterous to do that.

This whole thought process started for me as I heard a pastor in Indy preaching that when we follow God’s law, he sees us and blesses us. I guess my reaction was that if we are designed to follow the Law it would make sense that everything would work better that way. In the same way that it makes sense to put gasoline in a car when you want to drive it somewhere, it is how it is designed to work. It is not God blessing you; it is living like you were meant to live.

Think about it…

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Great Divide: Who I was and Who I am...(pt. 1)

So as of April 29, I am no longer an undergraduate student at IWU, and contrary to the fact that I haven't posted in like a month, I am still alive and ticking. Part of the problem is that I have been adjusting to the whole 40 hours per week deal, and I have 3 jobs. Excuses aside, I have tried to sit down and type this post up multiple times and I just haven't been able to type. Call it writers block, call it tired of typing, call it laziness, whatever you want to I have missed my blogging time. So apology placed-lets move on.

I guess for the next couple of weeks I want to look back at the 4 or 5 biggest catalysts to my personal growth and change over my undergraduate time. Around the end of March or the beginning of April (If I remember right) I started to think about what I was like when I first came to college, and how I think completely different than I did way back in the summer of '02.

I would like to start be explaining who I was when I arrived on campus the summer after my senior year of High School. I was a country boy who thought that Marion was a decent town (I still kind of do) that had enough to keep me occupied-I mean what more could you want than fast food, two bowling alleys, and a movie theater. Lets get serious, Marion is like 30 times bigger than Carson City. I was a well meaning nice guy who thought he had a bunch of stuff figured out and that I understood the world and my faith on as deep a level as I ever would.

What scares me today is that 4 years later I have seen things that have completely reshaped my view on issues, totally changed my view of Christianity, and totally changed where my calling has lead me.

The initial impact on my life started the second that I moved on campus, it was the fact that I am no longer living in Michigan. My good friend Jason says that I am doomed to forever live in Indiana (who knows it could happen), because I hate it so much. First of all that is not true but coming here, it was obvious to me that Michigan and Indiana were not completely alike. It was a good first lesson to learn.

I noticed the difference when I went into JC Pennies for the first time. I forget who I was with, but I went into the men's clothing section, and instead of finding the usual Michigan, Lions, Pistons, and Tigers gear, I found Colts, I-U, Notre Dame, and Purdue merchandise instead. It was a HUGE culture shock to me. I had never thought that places outside of Michigan would not include the major Michigan sports apparel.

Next was the people deal with the weather, Michigan weather is colder and has much more snow, so we're used to getting dumped on, Indiana is not the same. My first year it snowed every weekend, it was heaven on earth, but everybody around here complained that it was the hardest winter ever. Getting around was almost impossible, people did not plow the road, they left snow and the snow turned to ice, it was NUTS!

I guess my first year I learned that places are different, and that Michigan is not as normal as I thought, normal becomes where you grow up in. Hoosiers are normal when they are in their beloved flat state, Wolverines are at home when they are in the mitten, and Buckeyes are happy when they realize that they can spell Ohio.

I guess I learned that each place is different and that people while somewhat different, are pretty much all the same. So instead of looking for differences, it was up to me to look at people and try and find a common denominator. How was this person the same as the other people that I know back home. Or maybe better yet how can I make where I am home instead of always clinging to where I used to be.

(I still consider myself a Michigander, so don't ever confuse me for a Hoosier, but I guess I am ok with spending the rest of my life in Indiana. Everybody has to count the costs and sacrifice on some level....)

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Does God hate sinners? (A response To

Just in case you don’t know, there are people there who proclaim that God hates sinners. They make harsh, rude, offensive statements portraying God as if he were filled with rage and making judgment the primary concern in God’s repertoire. People like Pat Robertson and the people of Westboro Baptist Church are great examples of preachers of this “Gospel.”

Pat Robertson is a classic example of a man who says things that flat out turn people away from Christ. He speaks out against homosexuals and against people who promote lifestyles different than his by using judgment language. An example of this type of action is last fall he told a community in Pennsylvania to watch their backs because God’s judgment and wrath coming in response to them voting down the schools wanting to teach creative design creation theories. What?!?! (I would just like to make a point here, creative design is not a Christian theory, it’s closer than evolution, but still it’s not Christian so Pat just needs to get his facts straight.)

The Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka Kansas has a very similar reputation. Their church homepage is I say more? These people are vicious anti-homosexuals, using language like “God hates you!” Their web site has features like the listing of their 6 daily pickets of the courthouse in Topeka, and the other nationwide events that they picket at showing how God hates fags…AND anybody else who does not join the ferocity of their attacks.

In case you don’t know me and are reading this, I do not agree with the homosexual lifestyle, but I do not believe that you can do anything to make God hate you. I do not believe that what you do changes anything about how God feels about you as a person. John 3:16 one of the most quoted verses in the Bible says. “For God so LOVED the World, that he gave his Son, that whoever believes in him shall have eternal life.

The word for world there in the Greek is kosmos. It literally means the world-everything It does not just mean the people on the earth, nor does it mean just the people who follow God, but everything! I do not know how much more broad you can get! God Loves this world! Jesus came to repair the broken relationship that man had with God. There is nothing more central to the heart of Christianity.

The word that is used for Love is John 3:16 is the word Agape. It means intense passionate pure hearted love. It is not the I love you like a brother or the physical love, but LOVE. God is not saying I like you, he is saying you’re so important to me, I am coming to save the day! You sin and disconnect from me, so I am coming to save you! Not you sin I am coming to judge you.

If you go to the next verse of John 3, verse 17, you read, “for God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.” HOW CAN ANY PERSON SAY THAT GOD HATES ANYBODY!! Doesn’t the revelation of Jesus and the work of Jesus seem to shoot that thought do the ground Another way to read that verse is to say God didn’t send his Son to judge the world but to save it.

God loves you-he loves you enough to become a man and impose upon himself all the limitations that man has, and then die a death for you, that you might be free from the problems and the wounds and the hurts of this life-he did not come because he hates you. For God so loved the world….

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

This explains a ton!

One of my favorite sites is This is where I go look for the big world issues. Probably like 3-5 times a week I look to see what is going on in the world around me while I have my head buried in the sand.

I noticed an interesting interesting article today, it is talking about how men get more defensive around the time their women are fertile. Kind of an interesting research topic, how do you get this kind of information?!?!?! Anyways take a few minutes to check it out.

Does your guy ever act like this? Has a girl ever told you that you're too protective? or maybe have you ever noticed you want to rip some other guys head off? Maybe it's right....I don't know just wanted to see what you think.

Monday, April 24, 2006


Today I went to Dave Smith's house for my final exam. The final consisted of "Chicken Surprise," a green bean casserole, and the works. It was great! Quite possibly the best final ever. After we ate we sat in his living room and Dave talked to my class about a sermon he had heard before.

The title of the sermon was there is a fly in my communion. The theme of the sermon was a question: "Does the fly pollute communion, or does communion sanctify the fly?"

I guess it made me think of what the implications are for my life. Do we live like we're being polluted by the things of the world, or are we purifying them by including them in our lives.

I guess it is nothing more than just a shift in thinking. I feel that so often as Christians we shy away from “the things of this world” because we are scared that sin is more powerful than the work of Christ in us. So we run and hide and we hide the transforming power of Christ that is in us, thus depriving the world of his work.

If we believe that the power of the work of Christ is more powerful than the powers of this world, why are we scared of coming in contact with the “flies” that hover around us? Do we miss the chance to do amazing things because we do not realize the power that is in us? Do we underestimate the power of Christ?

Just some thoughts, I have two days left of college life-and then I graduate! It’s exciting and scary. I do not know where I am going or what I am going to do in a few months. So the future is big and unknown for me now, but I have to trust that God is in control and I can believe in him.

Until next time-you stay classy…

He is the Living one-And he holds the keys of death in his hand

I recently had to do an exegesis paper on the Revelation Chapter 1. I learned a bunch and I really have fallen in love with the entire book of Revelation. So this is my paper. I had to ask a question as the basis for my research, so my question was what is the message to the churches and why do they need this message.

All the information that I found points to the fact that these churches were undergoing major persecution (if the book was written in the 90’s). Emperor worship and polytheism ruled the day, and Christians were at the least bad citizens and at the worst trying to tear about the moral fiber of their culture-thus it was ok to persecute these peoples.

The belief was that if the gods were appeased then the people would be blessed, and if the emperors were pleased they would look upon their region with favor, as he had in many occasions. By the end of the first century this was one of the most prosperous regions the empire, and they did not want to endanger that. For this reason the area was highly motivated to persecute the church.

We see that when Paul brought the message of the Gospel to Ephesus that because of the temples losing money, the people were stirred to rioting. These people were dedicated to their gods and did not appreciate one bit the Christian’s message. This is the atmosphere of the region.

The imagery of Revelation 1 is two folded. The first image is the image of Christ as a sufferer. He is described as having been pierced, and the firstborn of the dead. This image of Christ shows the example that the people should follow, as Christ is not only a sufferer but also he is the first born of all sufferers. To be persecuted for Christ is following his example.

The second image is the image of Christ as glorified. This is seen later in the Chapter as John is describing what Jesus looked like. Jesus is described in powerful ways-fire in his eyes, a sword coming from his mouth, feet like burnished bronze, the keys of death in his hands. This is not a Jesus who is powerful and glorious.

This Jesus is standing amongst the candlestands the represent the churches. This Jesus is not right in the middle of his people. They are suffering and Jesus is there, powerful and mighty. He is alive and the Living One, and he is standing in the middle of his people.

The message of this chapter is to be faithful. Follow Christ’s lead, as he is standing amongst your congregation. He is the Living One, he is the slain one, and he now holds the keys of death

Thursday, April 20, 2006

and I'm spent

so today I finished my lat bit of homework for Dr Drury and i'm almost done with homeletics II. I have an exegesis paper and a couple of book reports left to do and i'll be done with my college career!! But as for tonight i am going to bed early! so in the mean time check out this link that is linked to my's about Taco Bell!

that's all i have for now...'You stay classy San Diego'

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

"Behold I make all things new"...what does that mean?

In the Apocalyptic Literature class that I am taking, a quote from Revelation 21 has stuck out to me. In verse 5 'The One sitting on the throne' says, "Behold, I am making all things new." How does this apply to our everyday lives? Is this being said at the end or is this for us today? Can we say that God is making all things new through the death of Christ? how can we understand a passage that seems to be as broad as everything....

I guess this is my big struggle right now, because I definatley am not new. I struggle with the same sins I was dealing with 10 years ago. I am teaching students to do things that I myself am still not victorious over, and it sucks. But God is making all things new. So why am I not new yet?

I guess the part about Revelation that we miss so often in our understanding of the text is that it is not God makes all things new or God will make things new or even God has made all things new; but God is making all things new. That means that God is in the process of making me new. The end is not God's only goal, but getting there is what is important. It's about the persistence of doing what it takes that God is concerned with.

The root of the book of Revelation is faithfullness. I think taht Revelation deals more with the concept of being faithful than it does even with the idea of victory. From the first chapter to the last, the book is a call for God's people to be faithful to his commands and to his way. Then and only then when we are faithful will we find victory.

So I guess this is what I need to think about being made new, that I am going to stumble and regress at periods of time in my life, but I need to be faithful. God is in the process of making me (along with everything else) new. When I feel like I am getting no-where maybe I need to ask where I am going; or even better if I have stopped going where I need to be heading.

What about you? Do you find it tough to be in the middle of being made new. God is using situations in your life, maybe even leading you into situations that may be tough, but on the other side you will be closer to being new. I pray that you will follow on the path of being made new.

Good Night and Good Luck-Goodbye

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

I'm Back!!

So Lent is over and now life is back to normal. I am back to checking out blogs and I am back to eating at the fast food establishments that surround my life. I have dearly missed both-but it was good to give them up.

Over the past 40 some odd days I have had many thoughts running through my head, the biggest being of course graduation and finding a job. Because I participated in the Wesleyan Loan Grant program, I now much search for and settle with nothing less than a full time job in a Wesleyan church somewhere. My ideal job would be a student ministries position, so I have been hunting for job opportunities as they have come across my plate.

So what's next for me? Well I need to find a place to minister in, and I have to get all my coursework done. So in the next couple days and couple of weeks I have to find solutions for these situations.

That's what's up in my life, I'm glad to be back online! I'll cya around

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

What I am giving up for Lent

So last night in a question about Lent I asked what are you giving up? It has been weighing on my mind for a couple of days about what I should give up. I got up and went to an Ash Wednesday Service and had to get up bright and early at 6:35 to get over to the Chapel by 7:00, so I had like two and a half hours to before chapel afterward. After I did some homework, I realized it would be good for me to spend some reflective quiet time pondering what Lent was really about.

While I was pondering, I felt challenged about what I really would give up. We all say, I would give up everything for Jesus! The last couple of days while I was thinking about what to give up, and my mind kept coming back to posting and reading other people's thoughts, and I realized just how much time I spend doing just that. So I am going to give up my blog pages for the 40 days of Lent. My next post will be sometime in April (probably Easter afternoon), if you read this page often I apologize, maybe I will delegate Stephanie to helping fill in the dead time.

In the mean time-I will see you around and I always have a cell phone!

the Legend - out

A little Break-topic: Lent

So it's lent season! what are you giving up? i challenge you to give something up. It's not to be a better Christian, but it's to challenge your committment level. Also I believe that Christians should never be in a place where they are not willing to give something else up. So even if you read this and it's after Ash Wednesday I challenge you to consider removing something from your life until easter.

Why? because it really forces you to focus on what is important. You are forced to be out of your comfort zone. You who God that you will do anything to draw closer to him. These are just a few thoughts to consider!

If you feel that it is too Catholic for you to do--> then that's just silly. cause more than just Catholics will participate in this 40 period. I will be posting about Lent in the next couple weeks. so look foward to that!

in the mean time give something up! when you are the most frustrated remember Jesus dying on the cross for your sins! remember his victory over the grave! and give up something-->something like fast food!

in the mean time i'll talk to you later


Monday, February 27, 2006

Lost the plot (The Church part 2)

The Church for years has been labeled irrelevant. Christians are seen as people who hold to an ancient and old-fashioned religion that really does nothing but hold people back from doing what they want to do. The culture around the church has in many places moved into a post-Christian era, a scary place for Christians to minister to people in.

How do you minister to a group of people who think that there are beyond you and what you believe? The problem is that the Church has not noticed this and in most situations is still trying to prove that it is right. So the culture around us sees us as even more irrelevant. It’s a huge downward spiraling cycle that continues to move the Church farther and farther away from being effective in the culture around it.

If the church wants to succeed it needs to get beyond the fact that Christianity is right. Being right and wrong is not something that matters as much in our world, and something that should not even be a concern in our lives. (Besides if we are always trying to prove we’re right, then the Church becomes a place of conflict instead of a place of healing and help.)

All the way back in the Old Testament, we see the Hebrew nation was commanded to look out for the poor, the fatherless and the widow.
• The Torah commands farmers to not harvest their fields completely so that those who do not have may gather for themselves.
• There are extensive areas in how to protect the rights of women.
• There are commands to make sure children have fatherly influences in their lives.

These commands are the primary moral obligations that the people of God were given. There is no doubt that there is an emphasis on righting the social injustices of the world. The problem with Israel is that they continued to forget this, and the prophets kept reminding them. Isaiah in the very first chapter of his book writes a very harsh condemnation to the people because they have neglected the poor, the fatherless, and the widow.

Jesus followed this line of thought with an emphasis on putting others first. He condemns the teachers in the temple (Mark 11) for just this. Jesus in verse 17 quotes two Old Testament passages, Isaiah 56:7 and Jeremiah 7:11. Many people think these comments were references to the entire passages, a sort of rabbinical style of conversation. These passages would then be comments about how the leaders of Israel have neglected the people that they were supposed to be taking care of and looking out for themselves.

Much of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, & Luke especially) have Jesus talking about what he calls the “Kingdom of God.” He describes this kingdom as a place where people focus on the needs of other first. A place where generosity is focused on and where coming in first is not the major concern, a place where our world is literally turned upside down.

Jesus as he ascended into heaven, gave the directive to his disciple to: “Go and make disciples of all the nations...teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded.” What has Jesus commanded us to do? He has commanded us to teach people about this upside down Kingdom!

The problem with the Church is that so often it has mixed up teaching about the Kingdom of God with teaching the correctness of the Kingdom. We’re not called to prove its existence but to live it out. This is how we lose our relevancy to culture. We get into groups and we write out statements of our beliefs and then never let it leave our Church doors. We build amazing buildings where we can worship, but never improve the condition of the people’s lives around us. And all this is done thinking that it is what Jesus would have wanted us to do.

The book of James sums this conversation up. James 1 ends with this comment-“Religion that God our father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after the orphans and the widows in their distress and to keep ones self from being polluted by the world.”

Our mission if we should decide to accept it is to be concerned with the well-being of others around us!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

The Church (part 1)

I am going to do a series of writings on the church. I hope that over the next four or five weeks that I will begin to understand what I believe more clearly, and just what the church is and is going to be. So thanks for reading along with my thoughts.

First I think we need to explain just what the church is. If you went to Sunday school you know that the answer is “We are the church!” The Church is the people that make up its congregations and then the combination of all those congregations. So the Church is the total of all the different Christians around the world combined.

Today in the Student Center at IWU, I heard a conversation going on about the Catholic Church. Apparently one of the guys did not appreciate being lumped into the same category as the Catholics. I know he is not alone, because I grew up in a very Separatists community, and people who are Catholics were (and still are) looked down upon. But this is not the way that it should be. The Catholic Church is still part of the “Big C” church community.

Christ is the Greek word that means, “Anointed one”, it is the counterpart for the Hebrew word Messiah. So to be a Christian means to be a follower of the anointed one. Not a very complicated idea, and I’m sure that this makes sense. So if the Church is the collection of the followers of the Anointed one, we should be following His lead.

Second, the more that you study the New Testament, the more that you see the earliest disciples of Jesus were very subversive to the Romans. The Greek word for church “ecclesia” was actually the word used to describe the community of the Roman Empire. This must have been a totally revolutionary concept for those who heard the Gospel for the first time. Here is this religion that is proclaiming the new message, and comparing themselves to the Roman government.

This group of people who gathered together also used many of the terms used to describe Caesar. They used the names that described glory and honor to Caesar and gave them to Jesus. The book of Revelation is full of them. Even the concept that Jesus ascended to Heaven and is sitting at the right hand of the Father is imagery from the Romans. There was a story that said, Julius Caesar ascended to the right hand of the Gods after he died. So we see that even the early Christian imagery has a very Roman slant to it.

So the name and many of the images of the church have a 1st century understanding. We have adopted them in our 21st century understanding to think that they are entirely “Christian” ideas, but they are not. I have said all this to try and say we have to understand the culture of the first followers of Jesus, to understand where what we are today.

The early Christians were countercultural! They were different than the people around them, which is why they were persecuted. In Church History Class we talk about the misconceptions that people had of the Christians. They were called cannibals, immoral, godless, and anti-government. They were killed and they were maimed they were persecuted everywhere they went. This was not because they were any of these things, but because they were different.

What does the body do?

First the body meets together to hear the word explained. This is the part where the preaching and teaching happens. This is essential to teach people what they believe.

Second the Church administers the sacraments and orders itself in a proper manner. I would like to consider the sacraments larger than just communion and baptism, I believe we should include more of a Catholic understanding of the sacraments.

Thirdly keeping our community rightly ordered. This is where Christians understand of right and wrong, and how life should. This has become the primary way that we know we are Christians, and we need to be careful, but it is still an important part of Christianity.

This is a basic idea of what I believe the church to be. Everything that the church does must come through this understanding of the Church in my opinion.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

The World Ripped Open (part 2)

The world has been ripped open and the walls and the barriers that were once established are now non-existent. This is the thought that I threw out in my previous post. I made the point that now the Heavens and the earth and whatever separates the two from each other has permanently damaged. But what does that mean? It means that heaven is now trying to pour out onto earth-it is seeping out and trying to fill the earth up!

This is kind of a different thought because most people think of heaven as a future reality. There is the here and now-and then there is the future physical universe and that’s heaven. Rob Bell, a pastor in Grand Rapids describes Heaven and Earth in a different way: Heaven is a place where things happen, as God would have them, Earth is a place where they don’t.

Jesus taught in stories, many times he told stories like this; “The Kingdom of God (or Heaven) is like...(enter Parable). The Kingdom in these parables was a Kingdom where things were done quite differently than in the world around Jesus’ listeners. In these stories it was like the Kingdom Jesus was talking about was almost completely backwards from what they knew.

The weird thing about Jesus’ teachings is that they were talking about being selfless. To be a religious person was to deny ones self and follow Christ. Jesus wanted people to give up a pursuit of being #1 and to make others a higher priority.

Jesus seemed to be talking about Earth (the place where things don’t always happen the way God wants) becoming more like Heaven (the place where things do happen as God wants). He was talking about the total change the world, not just a religion. He didn’t want his disciples to just change how Judaism impacted their lives, but he wanted to change how they lived.

What has happened in the last few decades is that people have started to treat Christianity as only about getting people saved. We have become Gnostic* to some level and have only concerned ourselves with the spiritual, and this is wrong! We have forgotten what Jesus taught us to do! We have neglected the message of the Bible!

James 1:26-27 seems to cap the conversation of Jesus’ ministry. James was addressing the community of believers and was discussing some abuses in the church. Apparently there were Believers who were trying to gain the attention of the rich and popular. James wants nothing to do with this type of action, and says in these verses, “real religion is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

I guess this has been the point of these last two posts. I honestly believe that as Christians if we only focus on our Salvation, we are not being good Christians. We are being called to look after the orphans and the widows, the poor and sickly, those who cannot take care of themselves. God wants us to be not about ourselves and us getting to heaven, as much as he wants us to be helping other people and making sure that they are going to go to heaven. Or Better yet-help them see heaven here on earth.

*Gnostic belief is that the spirit is good and the physical is evil. So we only need to worry about dealing with the spirit. What is done by the physical is beside the point. Gnosticism has been condemned as a heresy and is not good at all.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Does God hate sinners?

Just in case you don’t know, there are people there who proclaim that God hates sinners. They make harsh, rude, offensive statements portraying God as if he were filled with rage and making judgment the primary concern in God’s repertoire. People like Pat Robertson and the people of Westboro Baptist Church are great examples of preachers of this “Gospel.”

Pat Robertson is a classic example of a man who says things that flat out turn people away from Christ. He speaks out against homosexuals and against people who promote lifestyles different than his by using judgment language. An example of this type of action is last fall he told a community in Pennsylvania to watch their backs because God’s judgment and wrath coming in response to them voting down the schools wanting to teach creative design creation theories. What?!?! (I would just like to make a point here, creative design is not a Christian theory, it’s closer than evolution, but still it’s not Christian so Pat just needs to get his facts straight.)

The Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka Kansas has a very similar reputation. Their church homepage is I say more? These people are vicious anti-homosexuals, using language like “God hates you!” Their web site has features like the listing of their 6 daily pickets of the courthouse in Topeka, and the other nationwide events that they picket at showing how God hates fags…AND anybody else who does not join the ferocity of their attacks.

In case you don’t know me and are reading this, I do not agree with the homosexual lifestyle, but I do not believe that you can do anything to make God hate you. I do not believe that what you do changes anything about how God feels about you as a person. John 3:16 one of the most quoted verses in the Bible says. “For God so LOVED the World, that he gave his Son, that whoever believes in him shall have eternal life.

The word for world there in the Greek is kosmos. It literally means the world-everything It does not just mean the people on the earth, nor does it mean just the people who follow God, but everything! I do not know how much more broad you can get! God Loves this world! Jesus came to repair the broken relationship that man had with God. There is nothing more central to the heart of Christianity.

The word that is used for Love is John 3:16 is the word Agape. It means intense passionate pure hearted love. It is not the I love you like a brother or the physical love, but LOVE. God is not saying I like you, he is saying you’re so important to me, I am coming to save the day! You sin and disconnect from me, so I am coming to save you! Not you sin I am coming to judge you.

If you go to the next verse of John 3, verse 17, you read, “for God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.” HOW CAN ANY PERSON SAY THAT GOD HATES ANYBODY!! Doesn’t the revelation of Jesus and the work of Jesus seem to shoot that thought do the ground Another way to read that verse is to say God didn’t send his Son to judge the world but to save it.

God loves you-he loves you enough to become a man and impose upon himself all the limitations that man has, and then die a death for you, that you might be free from the problems and the wounds and the hurts of this life-he did not come because he hates you. For God so loved the world….

Thursday, February 02, 2006

The World Ripped Open (part 1)

Jesus was born into a Jewish world around two thousand years ago. The entire world of the Jew was wrapped around the Temple and the temple worship system. This temple was in the holy city of Jerusalem, and in the middle of the temple was the holy of holies. This holiest of sites is believed to be the spot where Abraham actually laid Isaac on an alter to sacrifice, and was separated from the rest of the temple by a huge curtain (some say 18 inches thick!).

In Solomon’s temple, the Ark of the Covenant was placed in the holy of holies. The top of the Ark was in such a way that it looked like a seat. Many described this as a place where the presence of God would come and sit. Thus the throne of God was in the holy of holies in the Jewish temple in Jerusalem.

The holy of holies was in located a part of the temple where only the priests could go. The Priest’s section of the temple was located in a place where only ‘clean’ Jewish men could go. That was located inside the walls of the temple, and that was inside the walls of the city of Jerusalem. All of these dividers were defended and protected by the Jewish people, to defile the temple was a bad thing, and the Jews were very protective.

I hope you can see the separation that there was between God and man. There was no walking into the presence of God, you had to be clean, a Jew, a Jewish man, a male Jewish priest, and you had to be the High Priest (who was male and Jewish) to enter into God’s presence. Even then you could only do so once a year, and only at the risk of your very life.

But it all changes, and this change starts in Rev 12. We see the image of a woman giving birth to a child, and a dragon trying to devour the child. Many scholars believe that this is the Christmas story and that the child is Jesus and the dragon is the Devil. Now the devil is given authority on the earth, and thus for God to enter earth, he must do so by defeating the Devil. Thus the life of Jesus should be seen as an invasion on the earth and the power of sin and the devil. We cannot shy away from this mentality, because it is through this understanding that the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus are seen in the Gospels.

This understanding is carried over into the first chapter of Mark. It is here that Jesus public ministry begins. Mark 1:9-13 talks about the baptism and the 40-day period of temptation that Jesus went through before he began teaching and mentoring his disciples. But it is in here that we see a very interesting event happen. When Jesus comes out of the water, Mark (in the NIV) says in verse 10, “…(Jesus) saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descended on (Jesus) like a dove.”

The word torn is the Greek word scitzo-and it’s where we get the word schism. It means to rip or tear in a violent way. A schism is seen as an irreparable tear. Thus when God “scitzos” the heavens, he is tearing it open and what he has done is seen as not being able to be fixed.

Next in Mark 15 we find Jesus on the cross dying. In verse 37 Jesus gives up his Spirit, and we see the effects in verse 38-the curtain of the temple (as in the NIV) was ripped open. Remember that curtain was the curtain that surrounded the holy of holies, the place where God’s presence was and where it was separated from the world. The Greek used here for torn is the word scitzo. Need I say more?

Jesus death has now ripped the world wide open. No longer are we separated from the presence of God. We can, through the death and resurrection of Jesus, have communion with our creator. Where there once was separation but now there is the possibility of union. This is the power of the death of Jesus.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Groans: when words are not enough

God, by definition, cannot be defined. When we try to spell out just what and who God is, we run out of definitions to explain what we are trying to say. By nature, if we can define and understand him, he ceases to be God. The creation shouldn’t be able to explain the creator; it doesn’t work that way.

Regardless of what we can and cannot do, we try and explain anyways. I think there are those who a very good job with what they have to do. While these men are usually older men who have spent most of their lives in study rooms of large universities-and have no idea of what worship is-some of the most popular theologians today are much different. These men are much younger, hipper, and are often college dropouts.

Today the most popular theologians are the worship musicians that are writing our worship music. While there are some who are kind of janky; there are some great worship leaders. This past December I helped work the Wesleyan Church’s Logos 5 Youth Convention. It was tons of fun the speakers were great, from what I heard the seminars were creative and challenging, and the bands were cool. But for me the best part was the worship band, Something Like Silas.

At the beginning of the week I wasn’t sure what to think about them. They seemed ok, but I wasn’t instantly sold on their music. But by the end of the week I was in love with them. My love was for a couple reasons, but there was one moment that completely changed my view of the band.

The lead singer was talking about how sometimes when you are writing songs, word cease to explain what you are thinking and feeling. He was talking about there are times when all you can do is groan sounds to communicate how you feel.

When he said this I had to stop. It was an amazing thought for me. I so often find myself in the role of the person stuck in a stuffy office knowing what it means to worship, but so often forgetting what it is to worship. Why is this so? What could stop be from being completely in awe of my Creator-God?

I think the biggest reason is arrogance. So often we study theology and God and we think we have it all under control. All we are doing is making our intellect our idol, cause like I said earlier, it is the nature of God that we cannot even begin to wrap our minds around who He is. So it’s nothing short of an arrogant idolatry.

I’m begging you! Don’t fall into that trap! Learn to sit back and fall in love with your creator. Get to the place where all you are able to do is groan-because words are not enough.

Naked: why clothing isolates us

When was the last time that you stopped and marveled at the fact that God loves you? How often does it strike you that the Christian life and the Christian experience makes no sense and God is getting a raw deal? I mean come-on we humans can be pretty lousy people. But he stands by our sides and never gives up on us.

I am constantly amazed by how this whole sin thing affects all human beings. My friend and I were talking about the sin and shame cycle in the lives of guys (sorry we're not girls so we don't quite understand how y'all work ladies) and how destructive it is to our self-esteem. I lived in shame for almost 10 years, and somewhat still do, for my short-comings (something that I am overcoming) all because I misunderstand who God is and how he relates to me.

You see God loves me because of who I am, not because of what I do. It's crazy to think about. Our performance has nothing to do with God’s love. It’s great! God will never stop loving me, but sin blinds me to this fact.

I have talked with many guys and they all feel the same way, “I am alone in this struggle.” It’s a lie from Satan and it is the effect of sin on our lives. Sin brings with it isolation, a lack of trust directed towards others around us. I contend that the root of sin is self-not necessarily evil-and sin destroys the community that God intends for us to have.

In the garden Adam and Eve were one with God. God’s love for them freely flowed and they were able to walk around naked. If you read Genesis you’ll notice that the concept of Adam and Eve being naked was a big deal. Thus when they sin in chapter 3, one of the first things that they do is hide from God-and each other.

Adam and Eve could walk around naked because they had no insecurities. It’s a simple concept-you are the most vulnerable when you have nothing to protect you from everybody else. People can see you for who you are, every excruciating detail of who you are is bared before all to see. Humans as a species do not like this. So Adam and Eve covered themselves so that they could have the dignity of privacy.

But God did not create us with clothing in mind. We are created to be naked-to be able to bare everything we are to the world. To find our sense of self worth in God’s love for us, and not in what other people think. So instead of being naked, our world is relegated to hiding who we are behind labels and brand names. We find our identity in how we appear to people instead of in the fact that I am loved and accepted by my creator.

The problem with the human being is not that we hate each other, but we are so bent on creating an image of security and independence, so people don’t think we are insecure and dependent on what they think. We have become a group of hurting people trying to hide our hurts from other hurting people, who are in turn hiding things from us.

I believe that the love of Christ creates a security and sense of self worth that enables people to strip down and let others see what they have been hiding. Because Christ loves us and finds pleasure in us for who we are and not what we do, we as Christians are called to live naked before each other.

Jesus teachings were all about breaking down the status quo-“you will be first in the kingdom of Heaven if you are willing to be last here on earth.” Translation: God loves you, who cares if you finish first. He sees you as a winner no matter what. Stop trying to impress people.

Please do not read this and go join a nudist colony, or walk around campus or your town physically naked. This would not be a good thing! Instead think about how much you are hiding your hurts and insecurities from other people because you think what they think matters at all. If what the Bible teaches is true, God’s opinion is the only opinion that should matter to you.

Because when it is all broken down, it really is our clothes that isolate us.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Dan's thoughts on "End of the Spear"

I went and watched the movie, End of the Spear last night it was a great recreation of the lives of the Saint family. In 1956, Nate with his 4 four friends Jim Elliot, Ed McCully Peter Flemming, and Roger Youderian were killed by a tribe of Indians called the Waodani Indians as they were attempting to bring the gospel to the people.

This movie has made me stop and think, "Would I be willing to do that?" Would I willingly lay my life down for the gospel? Would I leave my family behind if it meant that the gospel would be spread to the very people who killed me? That’s such a tough question to work over in my mind.

I look at these men and they were the cream of the crop. Most of them went to Wheaton College (also where Billy Graham attended), and definitely would have been leaders in our own country if they had chosen that route. The book Through Gates of Splendor talks about their lives leading up to the massacre. These were extraordinary men!

How would it change the world if people would be willing to lay down their lives for others? What would happen if we lived our lives like these men? What if we decided that them seeing the light of Jesus was more important than our lives? or even our popularity? or living comfortably?

These guys went and died in a sticky, hot, nasty jungle and left their children without fathers and their wives without husbands-thousands of miles away from their homes-all for the very people who killed them! And we’re worried about what other people think about us in our new clothes.

This movie challenged me to really think about what it means for me to be a follower of Christ. I don’t think that there is any room for me to say, “Those Guys Were Missionaries, they were supposed to die for the people their reaching out to.” No I am a missionary today to the people I see around me. I am a missionary to the guy who I pay at the BP when I put gas in my car. I am a missionary to the lady who takes my change at Taco Bell! I am a called to love the person who hates me the most in the world, and be willing to give everything I have if they have a need. (I don’t know who hates me the most in the world today, I was just making a point.) I need to lay down what I want and what I think I need for those around me, I mean after what the guys down in the Jungle did for a group of murders, how could I not.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

What I think about this week's spiritual emphasis

The Spring Semester’s spiritual emphasis week at our school has reached its halfway point and it’s a different feel than the last 6 summits. For the first time in 3 years the attendance level in the meetings has declined. People on campus are connecting with the speaker as easily and are not coming away with the feelings that they have in the prior 36 months.
There is a difference and this is readily noticed and I think that it is in the expectation students have for the atmosphere. Since the Fall Summit in 2003, the speakers have been powerful and charismatic. Their popularity on campus was not to do with their depth but with their style and authenticity. This is no diss on the messages that they have brought; they were good messages, but this has become the expectation and the atmosphere.
The height of this “show mentality” was last semester; the worship band and the speaker were electric. They played great music and gave a very relevant message. It was a terrific series of services and nobody who was there left the same. They really changed the school when they left; the next summit was going to be forced to measure up against this awesome time of worship and growth. And I believe that this week is the evidence of this.
Kevin, the speaker in the fall, brought with him the message of a “Revolution” how we need to change the culture around the church. He is right we do need to change the culture of the church around us, but while his message was this, his performance was nothing different than what came before him. They put on a great show, and everybody loved it.
I am in no way wanting to tear down what Kevin did when he was here, but I believe that because of the atmosphere his team created, people were more receptive to what he had to say-and not what he did say. If they really had listened to what he was saying the campus would be different-there would have been a revolution.
So what happens is 4 months later in the same setting, Dwight (this week’s speaker) comes to campus with a completely different style, and is greeted with empty seats. To me what happened 4 months ago loses all relevance. Yes, people came out by the truckloads, yes the campus was a buzz with the message that was brought, but the evidence of a God movement, disappeared soon after September was 2 weeks old.
One critique of revivalism throughout the history of revivalism is that it is just a show. We spent a ton of time in Church History class discussing the rise and fall of this movement, and I think it is a topic that we still do not want to address. We struggle with the thought of whether the movement is the show or it is the Holy Spirit. I think the only way to discern this is to look long term. Does the impact last longer than just a few months? Do we see other people impacted by the power of God in their lives? Does this revival not only impact how the people worship but how they live? Because worship is all about how you live, who you are impacting, and a lifelong pursuit of God.
Dwight was part of a revival some 30 years ago, while a student at IWU (then Marion College), and his life has changed the face of the evangelical movement. People are in ministry because of his work. He has touched churches, pastors, denominational leaders, and lives of common everyday people in the pews-all because of the impact of a simple revival that he attended in College Wesleyan Church.
As a result of this occurrence in his life, Dwight has impacted people all across the world through discipleship. His main focus is to not bring thousands of people to the Lord, but to take the people in front of him closer to Christ likeness. In turn, those people he has impacted will impact the lives of the people in front of them-and so on and so forth.
The evidence of a successful revival is the long term life change, not the amount of people who put their butts in the seats of the sanctuary. This is the only way to properly judge the power of God as successful, but this does not mean that a series that has 15 people there is successful if the room is built for 1500! We need to remember that in the end we must wrap the message of truth into a relevant package. The more people who hear the message the better, and the more lives changed the more the Kingdom is built.
So I hope that the lives of hundreds of students on the Indiana Wesleyan University campus are changed eternally tonight and tomorrow as we listen to Dwight proclaim the message he has been given. That’s when we’ll know it has been a success.

Sports Blog newest attraction on internet...

I just started a converstaion blog with some friends. We are planning to post sports related comments on this site where we can argue and discuss issues that pertain only to sports. I am so pumped about this, so if you're interested to see what we have to say about the world of the jock, then by all means take a look at.

  • Homecourt
  • Saturday, January 14, 2006

    The Golden Years

    One of my newer books that I enjoy is Everyman's Talmud. My friend Nick had it in his library and he uses it frequently in his teachings, so I thought I would pick a copy up. Basically it’s a collection of the Jewish laws and their interpretations by Rabbis. It is just like a theology book, but it is Jewish so it has a different feel.

    Anyways, I was reading about the Jews understanding of the Messiah. The introduction to the section talked about how for Jews, the glory years are ahead. In the same way that in our culture we are always talking about how great it was “back in the day,” Jewish people (at least in first century Israel) were looking forward to the future.

    This lead me to think, shouldn’t this be the way that we think as Christians? Aren’t we supposed to be looking forward towards the prize that awaits us? Why do we always want life to be like it was 15 or 50 years ago? Well let’s be honest, culture in America is definitely less Christian that it was 15 or 50 years ago. So for some reason American Christians want to go back to those days.

    The problem is that as Christians remove themselves for society, society loses its moral compass. How Christians can expect non-Christians to act like a Christian would; it doesn’t make sense. Non-Christians act like they do because they do not have Jesus! Without Christ a person is not a Christian and cannot be expected to think or act like one.

    Thus the doctrine that the world is getting worse comes out. Yeah it seems that the depravity of those around us seems to be getting worse, but does that really mean that the best is behind us? It almost seems like that mindset is “we’ve lost the battle, lets give up” I would like to think that God in his infinite mercy and grace (and the fact that He’s all knowing and all powerful) would provide ways for the Christian populous to transform this culture back to one focused on him. (What that looks like I don’t know and maybe I’ll discuss later.)

    I suggest that we as Christians fight to make the future a better place in this world! Just because the trend seems to be moving away from God and morality, does not mean that the sky is falling, and we should start shouting, “Come quickly Lord!” Thus taking away that which keeps it preserved.

    Be the catalyst that changes your community, that’s the way that the Golden Years are yet to come.

    Tuesday, January 10, 2006

    Dan's thoughts before the semester starts....

    This morning I was forced to go to an RA in-service. The in-service dealt with ‘pop culture’ and how it is impacting the lives of students in America. PBS’s documentary: “Merchants of Cool” broke down just how in depth that these huge companies, that control up to 90% of the media outlets, study teenagers.

    I guess being a young adult I am an expert on ‘pop culture’ as these very people that are working on teenagers today have sold me on what ‘cool’ is also. It is no incident that they have so much influence on the market today, not only do then have a near monopoly but they also spend millions and billions and dollars studying and selling their pitch.

    I think there were 5 ideas that I realized today that really challenge me about ‘pop culture’ they are:

    1.) There are really only 5 major companies that own all of the smaller companies that dictate to me what I should think, act, wear, eat, look like, etc.
    2.) It is no incident that trends move so quickly, those 5 companies are trying to push the envelope.
    3.) Christians are just as influenced as everybody else.
    4.) These major companies don’t care about happiness, they care about the bottom line.
    5.) Cool ceases to be cool, once people realize that it is cool.

    If cool is being marketed to me, which it is, MTV (and the like) is the tool. The special made a comment that I never thought of before; MTV is a 24-7 commercial. Everything is selling something to me: the music, the clothing, how I should look, movies, what I should think about social issues, etc.

    The disturbing part about this is that the second that we think that we’re cool, and that we are on the edge we find that we’re just in the middle of the crowd and everybody has moved on beyond us further out and further in. So we go off searching for the next “cool” thing. When we find that we must go off and find cool again, and we end up in a big circle. Running around never finding what we’re looking for.

    The whole precept of the piece was to show that while this culture is what I know, it is nothing more than a grand scheme to make me think about my self in a certain way, and then buy accordingly. While that may not be a fun thought it is probably the truth. The executives don’t care about me being happy, as long as I think happy is what they’re selling.

    Sounds like a pretty dark view of culture. Makes it look like everything I know as less real and more fake than ever before. That who I am is worthless and nothing more than another buck in the coffers of the rich.

    But it doesn’t have to look this way. I think that as Christians we must force ourselves to see the good in the world around us. ‘Pop culture’ may be flawed and have entirely incorrect presuppositions, but there is beauty in the world around us and we must look for it.

    As a Christian if we put our heads in the sand and give up on the world, we're damning people that we know who are in the world to a fiery hell. We must! We must engage culture, we must show the world that there is so much more than just being cool. I believe we need to stop trying to be cool, because all we are doing is chasing our tails.

    This culture will be completely different in 25 years. It will probably be different in 10 years. And I contend that it is different than when I was in High School 5 years ago. If we are continually running around trying to catch up, we’re losing track of what we should focusing on, and that is the healing power of Jesus.

    I guess to sum up this little rant, culture is important and we’re always going to be trying to catch up to it, but while we are doing that we need to remember that the message of Jesus, is a message that will meet the student, meet the parent, meet your neighbor right where they are.

    Thursday, January 05, 2006

    Nobody Likes a Bad Fan!

    Ok I love basketball. It's the most exciting beautiful sport to watch. Basketball at it's finest makes grown men jump up and down and pretty women cry. I played this lovely sport in high school and for fun in college, and while I am not a great player I'd like to say that if I was in shape I would fit into most (obviously not like D-1 ball or the pros) groups of ball players. So when Stephanie's grandma bought me tickets to Indiana v. Michigan at Assembly Hall I was pumped.

    I went into Assembly Hall a marked man. I knew that it was going to be crazy and everybody but me was going to be wearing maroon, and thus my blue and yellow shirt was going to stick out like a sore thumb. And I did, but it was tons of fun. Indiana pulled out the victory, and Michigan played well. So it was a good experience but I noticed a bunch of things.

    I have liked I-U basketball for a while, I think that Bob Knight had his teams play the right way, even if he was a bit off into the deep end. But when I came to Indiana for college, I learned that there are fans (some who root for I-U) who need to study how to be a fan. This showed itself to be true when I was at the game last night. I couldn't believe some of the things that they were saying, and how livid that they got over things that happened in the game.

    No before you think I'm sounding off at people just because they are from the state of Indiana, let me clairify my point. I-U has good fans and Michigan (or MSU) does indeed have bad fans. And yes i sometiems classify myself as a bad fan. But I am a recovering bad fan. So the next time that you're watching a game try and remember these tips:

    1.) It is just a game. Unless you're gambling (which is a terrible way to spend your money) you have nothing to gain or lose besides pride for your team. Don't let your emotional status be determined by how well your team did, cause I guarentee you this, they will lose sometime.

    2.) Usually your team is fouling just as often as the other team is (especially in conference play) so stop whinning about the officials! As I was watching the game last night, nobody complained when I-U wasn't called for a foul-but everytime Michigan got away with one there was an outcry! So remember not to be too hard on the officials.

    3.) Yelling at the players doesn't help them. If you were at work and you messed up, how would you feel if your boss was standing over your shoulder yelling at you? would it be better if your boss was encouraging you? So when your team messes up cheer or encourage them instead of yelling mean or harsh things to them

    4.) The team can't hear you yell. Unless you have courtside seats your yelling for directions cannot be heard so remember that! It's ok to yell, just don't expect your team to respond to your prodding.

    5.) The coach is the expert not you. Hey I like to think I know tons about basketball, and I do. But not as much as the coaches do, regardless of how dumb he (or she) is. Remember they didn't hire you, so the decisions that are made in the game should be respected (to some degree at least)!!

    So that is how I feel about bad fans. If you want to see a good model of how to be a crazy fan, watch Duke Home Games. The Cameron Crowd is crazy-thus the nickname for the student section-The Cameron Crazies! They cheer and are rowdy but their chants don't involve cussing and they are polite to the officials, well as much as can be expected. I just think that they're great and I have a ton of respect for their additude during the games.

    Also, if you're a believer and you're reading this, remember that you are representing Christ when you are watching sports. So do such good deeds among the pagans that they may praise God on the day that he returns!

    Anyway thanks for reading if you have anymore tips leave them I may do a little update later! Peace!