Monday, March 30, 2009

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Hilarious Video:

Let me set the scene. Kentucky has just fired Billy Clyde (their basketball coach since spring of 2007). He is hurt because he feels there are expectations that go beyond just coaching, and he wasn't judged fairly. Being the fact that this is Kentucky, every person and every media member wants to talk to him, but Billy doesn't like the media that much (one of the reasons he's getting the boot). So, after the press conference, Alan Culter, a reporter from the local NBC affiliate chases Billy through the UK practice facility.

Funny Things of note:
1. Billy never talks to the person on the other line of the phone.
2. The weird running scene with Billy talking about running with Alan.
3. The part where Billy is desperately trying to pull the door shut,
4. The commentary by the other two reporters from Louisville.

Hat tip to Inside the Hall

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Why take these pictures?!? I don't know!

The other day I was looking through my pictures, and I noticed something: We take a bunch of pictures with our heads in front of something cool. Case in point, this photo. Steph and I went to a marching band competition a few years ago, and took a picture of the field with our heads in the picture.

Why do we do this? My only guess is we wanted to prove we were there, and that we have heads.

Sometimes we get really creative and stand in a straight line in front of something really important. Like this waterfall in Chicago:

I mean everybody has wedding photos and they take pictures of everybody standing in a line or a of family reunion with everybody just sitting there staring at the camera. Like this original:

By the way, Steph's family is related to the Hatfields.
(they're from the west side!...and by west I mean West Virginia!

Why take pictures like this? What are we trying to remember? Standing in a line waiting for the person with 5 cameras to get a shot with everybody's eyes open? Why is this a popular idea? All we get is that glare in our eyes that doesn't allow us to focus for like 5 minutes. This is the memory we're trying to save?!?! Why not take pictures of events! or of great beauty? Instead, when I look at your photos on Facebook I'm stuck looking at a close up of your mug...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Love: what's it got to do with anything anyways?!

Philosophy cannot understand love. It’s irrational. It makes absolutely no sense. It does things that make other scratch their heads. One can only understand love if they have been in love.

Love drives people to sacrifice everything. Love keeps lovers up all night. Love would cause a college student to rent a car and drive 15 hours in order to get to spend 5 hours with the one he loves. Love makes people do things that others see and say, “that’s CRAZY!”

We can only understand God if we view him through the lens of love. The Bible is at its core a love story; God creates the world because of love; he looks to redeem his rebellious creation because of love; he calls out Israel because of his love; Christ comes to us because of love; he dies for us because of love; he creates the church because of love; he calls all to himself because of love. If we do not understand love, we do not understand God’s actions or the story of the Bible.

For this reason, theologians and philosophers who attempt to look at God’s actions through Christ a lens that doesn’t include love, miss the mark. For example, John Calvin created a model for understanding God’s working in the world – predestination – that makes sense philosophically yet it does not include love; thus it creates a poor understanding of who God is.

What do you think about this?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Quick Question:

On of my favorite professors in undergrad used to make us write position papers where we were forced to "fall off the log" (to be forced to pick sides on an issue, when the solution was somewhere in the middle) on an issue. It was probably the best thing a professor has ever made me do, as I was challenged to actually think about the issues. The point of "falling off the log" is not to pick the right answer, but to fully understand the nature of the issue being talked about.

If I were to challenge you to fall off the log on the issue of salvation which way would you go? Would you veer towards the universalist side (everybody goes to heaven regardless of the way they have lived their lives)? or would you veer towards predestination (only some go to heaven, they have no choice in the matter as God picks who gets in and who burns)? What are the pros and cons of each side? Let me know!

*try and keep your answer around 100 words

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Great Quote:

We must be prepared to make the same heroic sacrifices for the cause of peace that we make ungrudgingly for the cause of war.

- Albert Einstein

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Check out....Stephanie's blog!

Stephanie has started a blog called "simply inspired designs" (here)

She describes its intent as:
My blog "simply inspired designs" will, hopefully, be my outlet for putting ideas I have floating around in my head out into the open for me (and maybe others!) to see. From fashion, interior design, gift wrapping, and event/wedding planning, I want to continue my search into exploring and developing my creative self.

I suggest you check it out! She's really creative and her design stuff will be super cool!!!

Hilarious Video:

Maybe the most shocking Letterman interview since Madonna back in the day. Joaquim Phoenix recently retired from acting, has grown a huge beard, and taken up hip hop music. Also, if you watch the clip, it appears that he has also taken up some sort of drug usage; definitely spaceman'd out.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Five Blogs I read (and you should too)

Tim Founds, a M.Div Student at Fuller, is one of the deepest, most thoughtful people I know. I totally recommend following his blog. Reading his thoughts will make you a better person.

My friend Matt Leroy writes a blog, The Other Side of the Lake that plays out like a journal of his life. (at least one with all the big events and thoughts of his life). Matt's a funny guy, he raps and can break dance. Also, rumor is that he plays a mean Kazoo. But seriously, he and Justin Simmons have moved to Chapel Hill, North Carolina to start a movement there. They're calling it the City on a Hill Project, and their aim is to Love Chapel Hill. It's such a great concept and a great movement!

Spartansweblog has become my favorite sports blog out there. KJ, puts in tons of time and thought into breaking down the play of the Michigan State Spartans Men's Basketball Team. even if you're not a Spartans fan the way he breaks down the game will make you a better student of basketball.

The Forgotten Ways is a blog by Alan Hirsch. He wrote the book, Search for Things to come (oh yeah, Matt Leroy "borrowed" my copy...then moved to North Carolina.). He is a very good thinker, and his post are always thought provoking. Check it out!

Monday, March 16, 2009

NCAA preview

This week the NCAA tournament begins. Honestly, March Madness is my favorite sporting event of the year; no other event contains the drama, pageantry, intense competition, and year-in year-out relevance as college basketball does. Every year the NCAA tourney performs. Every year its worth watching; you can’t say that about the Super Bowl; you can’t say that about the World Series; you can’t say that about college football; you can’t say that about (pick a championship). For this reason alone, many people turn on TV, print off a bracket, or talk about Cinderella. It doesn’t matter who you are, its an amazing event!

Last year there were four teams that were just better than everybody else: Kansas (the champs), Memphis, North Carolina, and UCLA. This year that’s not the case; there are a number of dominant teams, but its not as definite and clear cut as last year. All the top teams have issues and liabilities, and I think it’s a much more wide-open event as the result. The top 16, or so, teams all have a legit shot at taking home the price.

Final Four picks:
Michigan State (homer pick), UNC, Pitt, Memphis.

Champion: Pittsburg
Final score (65-57)

Why Pittsburg?
They're the toughest team in the country. They play some great defense. They rebound the ball well on the offensive side. They have a couple of freaks. Fields is a great point guard who controls games. Sam Young is a good player.

I reserve the right to change my picks before Thursday. I will note the change with an asterisk indicating that there has been an edit. THANK YOU

Sunday, March 15, 2009

All things Michigan!

The University of Michigan is officially in the NCAA's for the first time since 1995! They play Clemson in the 7-10 game as part of the South Bracket. Here is a video for all Clemson fans:

Also, Michigan State got into the dance as a #2 seed in the Midwest Bracket! Since 1995 every player who has used all 4 years of eligablility at Michigan State has made it to the Final Four. This year Travis Walton, in his final year at State, is the player who could be the first 4-year Izzo player to not get to the final weekend of the tourney! Here is a video celebrating the 2000 National Champions:

So what I'm trying to say is, you'd better watch out 'cause all things Michigan are coming to getcha!!!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Steph's 1st Design...aka...seeing what can do!

Steph is trying out a new website ( to get her creative juices flowing. Here is the first collage titled "Summer on the Lake". She might even start a blog with this! Finally!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!
Happy St. Patrick's Day! - by Twirlsteph on

Friday, March 13, 2009

Some links:

Why I think Tom Izzo is such a great coach: here

Free NT Wright audiobook here (hat tip to Jeremiah)

Some Brilliant thoughts by Coach Drury (here) about the whole "Octomom" situation.

Creative way to spin the Madoff Ponzi scheme (here) by Mark Cuban. His coverage of Madoff has been really good. I think Cuban is a brilliant person, and it makes sense he has made as much money as he has. This guy knows what's going on!

What! Rob Bell has another book coming out this year? The answer is yes, Drops Like Stars comes out this summer. (I guess this is what happens when you have a sabbatical...two books in one year)

Here is a creative look at Xerox. Their sales pitch is to not try and sell their product. Huh!?! Check out Scott Anthony's Harvard Business column on this (here).

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Great Quote:

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

- Martin Luther King Jr.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Why I am a non-violent.

I was looking at my blog tags, and realized that the topic I've written about most is non-violence. I am a big believer in nonviolence, but please don't think it is totally in reaction to any wars that are in progress today. It is in reaction to something that happened a long long time ago.

I believe that as a Christian, the only responsible position to take, is to reject war. I do not think war can be in any way defined as a Christian reaction to any problem in the world. Where do I get this? My answer: Jesus. I believe that Jesus rejected violence. Thus I cannot support violence in any shape or form.

How did God respond to evil? Jesus' death on a cross, that's God's response. Jesus is God's response to injustice. Jesus is God's plan to stop evil from happening. Jesus is the pattern that Christians are to follow. Regardless of the issues my position has with Old Testament issues, Jesus leaves no room for any other position. He point-blank reject violence. His way is not the way of the sword, instead it is the way of humbling himself all the way to death if it meant going that far.

War is about power; one army over powers the other. War is about control; one nation looking to use its military strength to control another. War is about coercion; as political power players us the threat of it to get others to bend to their direction. War is about death; as thousands die as a result of the decisions a few.

Jesus was about humbling yourself. His life showed that God's kingdom is not about becoming powerful; its about laying your life down. His life was a living example of love. Jesus showed that God is not in the business of empire building, instead he's in the business of tearing down evil with the weakness. He showed that weak is the new strong. This mindset is counter-intuitive to the mindset of war, and it if for that reason I must reject war.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Church Planting #2: Spending Time in the Community

The church is the one organization in the world that exists for everybody that is not presently in it.

I don't know who said that or where it came from, but I think it's pretty close to the truth. The majority of the problems in the church today are the result of church members not understanding the truth in that statement. Perhaps you've heard of worship wars? The whole context of the worship war is people arguing for the type of music that they like. Maybe you've seen churches split over stupid issues, like the color of the carpet. I'm pretty sure you've been to a church that has no relevance to the community around it. Why do churches have to deal with these situations? Probably because people think their church gatherings are all about them!

I think as pastors we need to be sensitive to the community around us. Rob Bell, in his book Velvet Elvis, suggests that churches shouldn't need to have signs. People should be hunting for them! They should be as bastion of hope for a community that is dying! The problem is that when churches become self-serving, the purpose of the gathering is no longer present and the group is officially on it way to death.

In order to adjust the mentality of a church, the leaders should be emersed in the community. They should know the types of people they have the possibility to minister to. They should know the issues, concerns, hopes, and dreams of their community. As my friend Matt said, you gotta find the heartbeat of a community. It is when a church knows who it is ministering to, where it can minister at, and how it can be the most effective in its ministries, the church is on a good path towards reaching the place it is living in.

What are some practical ways that your church could get rid of its sign?
  • Perhaps your city has a ton of strip clubs...maybe some of the women in your church could go show the love of Jesus to strippers. Give them some dignity, and help them get out of a system that traps them.
  • Perhaps your church could do something about people in your community who don't have adequate housing. Thus give hope to people who have no hope. 
  • Perhaps your church could look around its neighborhood and spend all of its time doing things to show just one subdivision in your area what the kingdom of God looks like. 

The one thing that all these ideas have in common is that they have looked for ways to actually be a light in their community! They have seen the needs and have let the way they live their lives be the message of the Gospel. If I were to start a church tomorrow, it is actions like these that I would want to be central to the existence of that community.

What do you think?

Monday, March 09, 2009

UK's Billy Gillispie: how bad coaching is...bad!

*This post is not about basketball, even if you may think it is.

I have noticed in the past few years that there is a formula to being a successful college basketball coach, without really being a good coach. I began to notice this when the University of Kentucky picked their new coach, Billy Clyde Gillispie. Touted as an exciting young coach who would return UK to a hotbed for basketball success. Gillispie has recruited well, but his teams have not been very strong. Why? He’s one of the new and upcoming coaching sensations, why hasn’t he turned UK into a national power? (Not that it wasn’t before he got there, but that’s another story for another day.)

As I have watched Gillispie, I realized that he was using a model that is based on recruiting the top skilled players in the country, giving them a basic system to play in, and motivating them to play up to their talent level. It makes sense why someone would do this, because talented players are exciting to watch; talented players will make good plays that make coaches look good; talented players usually win. Thus the strength of this model is in recruiting and motivating; not coaching. This model is everywhere today in college basketball, mostly because it works.

You see if I have big, stronger, faster players, who shoot the ball better than your players, I will win. This does not make me a good coach; it makes me a great recruiter and motivational speaker. I should not be confused with a good coach, if I am just a recruiter and motivator. The results should not be confused with the means (Or just because somebody wins games, or even championships, does not mean they're a good coach!)

Now I say all this, not to dog UK, but to point out how it is easy to allow ourselves to miss the obvious - the fact that these guys cannot coach - because we’re blinded their success. Fans like winning, alumni like winning, athletic departments like winning, but coaching is not about winning. Coaching is about teaching. Coaching is about player development. Winning is a by-product of a well developed, well taught team.

What's the fall-out from the Billy Clyde coaching style? Well, basketball suffers. If players are not being taught the intricacies of how to play the game, then those details never get passed down. Eventually the game will erode and deteriorate. Things that have been learned will cease to be known. This is why good coaching is so important, it passes along the art of the game from generation to generation. This is why we need good coaches. The end result: basketball eventually dies.

This principle translates over into every discipline. The question we have to ask ourselves is, “Are people in a particular discipline more concerned with success or the purpose of that discipline?” This is the root of the problem, when people cease to care about anything other than success, the product will eventually suffer as people look for shot-cuts to success. We should not be deceived by this mindset, because in the end we only hurt ourselves by taking shortcuts.

What do you think?

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Saturday Sports post: A game winning dunk

This dunk is near the end of the game with Indiana coming on hard, Michigan State is only up 2 points and the shot clock is beginning to run out. I'm sitting next to Stephanie, who was cheering for Indiana, and when it happened I jumped up and ran in front of the TV jumping up and down flexing like I was actually the one who dunked the ball... what I'm trying to say is take a minute and watch the video.

See, aren't you glad you watched that?

Friday, March 06, 2009

Thoughts about the Drug War in Mexico

Mexico is in the midst of a Civil War. According to CNN last year the murder rate was through the roof, and this year it looks like it's going to get worse. While the issue is a Mexican issue, the responsibility should be placed squarely on the shoulders of the US, as the drug trade is fueled by the American demand for drugs.

Chris Heuertz
of Word Made Flesh spoke in chapel last fall spoke about our lack of holiness being the source of evil in the world. His point is that when our private lives are immoral and corrupt, it spawns evil in other places. Or when we privately snort cocain in our living room, somebody in Mexico city gets shot; they are connected. Our sins result in other peoples' oppression.

We are not independent of our neighbor. We do not live lives separate from the world around us. We are all one family! We're a big global village, each impacting one another. (remember that the oil prices were in part the result of China and India now buying more oil)

Well why write about this? Because I think that the other side of the coin is true. If sin results in other people being oppressed, then holiness should result in other people being liberated. If we live the life of Jesus, it should be a good thing for Mexico. Yet, our country may be one of the worst neighbors possible for Mexico...

What do you think? How can we combat the drug traffic coming in and out of our country?

Thursday, March 05, 2009

champs...enough said

DARRON CUMMINGS/Associated Press

photo found here

only in Kentucky

My friend Adam pointed me to this video, so hat tip to him. This is possibly the craziest youtube ever!

best quote: "I try not to smile, cause I got my teeth knocked out by a chainsaw"

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Great Quote:

Peace is not the absence of chaos; it is the presence of God.

-JD Walt

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Church Planting #1: pray, pray, pray

I would like to begin a series on church planting. I would like to focus on what I would do, and the theology behind it. I have never attempted to do something like this, but as I have been thinking, studying, and reading about church planting, I have come up with some ideas on how I would like to do it. Thus I would like to offer the following steps on I would take in planting a church.

1.) Pray, Pray, Pray
2.) Spend time building a relationship with a community
3.) Develop a core of people
4.) Not focus on growth, but mission
5.) Place a premium on creativity
6.) Continually push the envelope
7.) Constantly return to center

I would like to over the next few Tuesdays write on these seven steps. So here is my first offering: Pray, Pray, Pray

I have struggled with pray throughout my life. It seems to be a very vague and confusing concept. I have grown up with prayer and I think its safe to say that I have prayed nearly every day of my life. Yet with that said, for the vast part of my life, prayer has not been central to my existence. I’m sure that I’m not alone in this.

I think we often give lip service to prayer. I went on a missions trip in the summer of 2000 to Brazil. Like any other missions trip to another country, it cost quite a bit of money; something like $2,500. I did not have that kind of money, nor did my parents so I sent out ‘prayer letters.’ Perhaps you’ve done something like this. You send a letter asking people to do two things: pray and or send money to help pay for your trip. I put quotes on prayer letters, because I was more concerned with getting the money than the prayer. Let’s be honest, I sent that letter out not because I wanted people to pray, but because I wanted their money; it was just more spiritual to add the prayer piece in. I’m just being honest here.

I hold the belief that as a church we need to pray. Why? Because prayer is calling for God to change our eyes to see reality. Too often our prayers are, "God, I don’t want to go through this hard thing!” or “God I need that thing…” We ask these things as if we forget that God is in control and that He wants good for us. The problem is, like children, we often want things that are not good for us. This is why Jesus begins his prayer in Matthew 5, your kingdom come, your will be done. His prayer is focused on a change in heart.

It is when our hearts are changed, when we can see God’s kingdom that we begin to spread the kingdom. It is then that God begins to spread his kingdom. Bono, had a great quote at the President’s Prayer Conference a few years ago. He said, “Stop asking God to bless what you’re doing. Get involved in what God is doing—because it’s already blessed.” This is the heart of prayer.

Prayer will move the church planter to place themselves in the middle of what God is doing. Prayer will position the planter in God’s plans, and that’s the best place we can be. It is here that God wants to work, and it is here that God does work. As a planter, where else would we want to be? We do not want to be here merely because we want to be successful, but because it is here that we are where we should be.

So the first step when planting is prayer.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Quick Question:

Recently, in my class on Revelation (NT666), the professor was talking about how because the church undermined the Roman empire, they were persecuted. He suggested that this is the model for the church, our values are different than that of the world around us, and the world should hate us.

The values of American culture are so counter to that of the church; yet there is not a complete rejection of the church. Do you think this means that the church is not being faithful? or perhaps the values of America aren't so anti-Christian?

What do you think?