May 28, 2009

"Is God Dead? Or Just Not Riding The Bus?" posted an article today entitled "Is God Dead? Or Just Not Riding The Bus?". I was intrigued at first but as I read the article I noticed that it ended up being about how atheists want the freedom to spend thousands of dollars to advertise they are atheists. I have absolutely no issue with people who want to share their opinions and views, or even those who want to spend a lot of money to do so because that is one of the foundational freedoms of our country.

I guess the part I'm confused about is why would they spend all of that time, energy and resources to convey a message of the even harder work involved in disbelieving. The article says, "The ads are designed to show lonely atheists that they do not walk alone — and they can go on disbelieving." Can you imagine how difficult it must be to convince yourself day after day, hour after hour, minute after minute that you don't believe in the Creator? That most, if not everything you see is a result of randomness? Man, and some people think having faith is hard work...

I have to give credit to Steven Gray because the title of his article certainly got my attention and even caused me to click on his link but come on...God...dead...really? The whole idea that somehow someone or something can kill God is really just funny to me. What are we going to kill God with, our magic opinion bullets?

May 26, 2009

It's Getting There

A few pics I took today w/my phone to show our progress in the rip-off-the-aluminum-siding-and-redo-the-wood-siding-underneath project. We are trying to get as much ready as possible so the scrapping, priming and painting can start later this week. We decided to rip down the soffit to expose the cool looking wood underneath and built custom attic vents of our own. Looks much better but needless to say it's been quite the project.

And here are a couple pics of "The Green Monster" least that's what we call it.

May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

The first thing I noticed when I got up this morning, other than it had been raining, was the United States flag that my neighbor put out on the front of her house. It seems extremely appropriate on this day when we remember and recognize all of the men and women who have been willing to give up so much, in a system that gives them very little in return, in order for the rest of us to have so much. Whether they are family, friends or complete strangers we remember your commitment and willingness to serve and say 'Thanks'!

May 24, 2009


So I downloaded the free Coldplay album from their website (you can get it here) entitled "LeftRightLeftRightLeft" and have been listening to it for the past couple days and must say that I'm impressed, especially for a free album. I have never seen Coldplay live though they are coming to Noblesville this summer and am toying with the possibility.

Now I know there are a lot of people that criticize Coldplay or people that like them but regardless of whether you like them or not, I think it would be hard to argue how musically talented they are. I find the 9 songs on this album flow quite nicely together, sound great and are over before I know it. I especially like this live version of "Glass Of Water". The album is only about 40mins long but not bad for a free live album. I would highly recommend checking this out if you haven't already.

May 23, 2009

"Living A Legacy"

A sermon I gave at our Saturday evening Memorial Day Weekend service (it also happens to be my 200th post!)
“Living A Legacy”

I hope you are and have been enjoying your Memorial Day Weekend. Certainly can’t complain about the weather. Two things I want to say about the weekend before we jump in…

First of all I want to start by thanking all of our service men and women who have sacrificed so much for the freedoms that you and I experience on a daily basis. This weekend is about honoring their memory, commitment, sacrifice and dedication.

The other thing this weekend has come to be known for, especially here in Indianapolis, is of course the Indy 500. Now, I have never been to the race. I am not saying this as an attempt to get a ticket or be invited to go, just to say I haven’t been. And I have to admit, I’m not really sure I ever want to go. The thought of sitting out in the baking sun watching cars drive around in a circle. I’ve driven the roundabouts in Carmel and I mean…I’m not sold. For those of you going to the race, I hope it ends up being one of the most exciting ones in recent history.

It is important to remember. We remember people, places, and events. We learn by remembering how or why something did or didn’t happen. I’d be interested to hear what comes to mind when you hear the word ‘legacy’? Webster defines ‘legacy’ as: a gift by will especially of money or other personal property: like a bequest or as: something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past. We all want to be remembered, to leave some sort of legacy. Do you remember as President Bush was preparing to leave office hearing all of the talk about “his legacy”?

We’re going to spend some time this evening talking about how people will remember us. To ask ourselves the question, “What is the memory I am creating of myself and will it last?” Living a legacy is not about hoping people will remember you after you’re gone, it’s about changing the way you live NOW in order to make a difference in the PRESENT and the FUTURE. This idea is what makes this so important regardless of our age, profession or background. I think often times we think of the word ‘legacy’ as a word signifying that the end is near; the end of a career, the end of a life, the end of a term in office, etc. but in reality, I think the memory people will have of us starts right now.

Which leads to a couple thoughts I had…

1. To be a lasting legacy we need to remember where we came from
a. Deut. 5:15
b. Countless times in the OT we read, “Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed you.”
c. The psalmist notes, “You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” (139:12-14)
d. God says in Jeremiah, “I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (29:10-12)
e. Remember that you are not your own. Paul tells us in 1 Cor. 6:19-20 that we have been bought at a price.

2. To be a lasting legacy we need to recognize that a lot of things won’t last
a. Eccl. 1:11; 2:16
b. Deut. 8:17-19
c. Remember when Jesus tells us not to store up treasures on earth but rather to store up treasures in heaven? (Matthew 6:19-21)

3. To be a lasting legacy we need to be about things that will last

a. Rev. 1:8; 21:6; 22:13
b. Ezek. 18:21-24
c. James 5:19-20
d. Heb. 10:32-39
e. Rev. 3:1-3a

May 21, 2009

This & That

My semester is officially completed! I turned in my last paper for 1 of my 2 classes last night and must admit it feels pretty good. It was certainly not the best paper I have ever written but it completed my semester nonetheless. Now I've got about 3 weeks before I head down to the HUGE metropolis of Wilmore, KY for my next class. A week long intensive of Church History I. Should be good times.

So I did something I've never done before, I subscribed to a magazine with the intent of actually reading it. My first Newsweek arrived earlier this week. I've worked my way about half-way through it so far and am glad I decided to pick up a subscription. Should provide plenty of things to think and blog about. For example, there is a short piece commenting on the book Going to Extremes: How Like Minds Unite and Divide by Cass Sunstein. One of those comments reads, "The Web unites - and it polarizes. Online, it's possible to filter news into what Sunstein calls the "Daily Me": a flow of information that only reinforces one's previously held opinions" (pg. 17).

This really makes sense to me and even scares me a little because we do the exact same thing with the Bible. How often have we run into people (or been those 'people' ourselves) that use bits and pieces of the Bible to "reinforce [our] previously held opinions" about God, the Church, right and wrong, morality, etc. We have the opportunity to bring people together, to display unity, to serve the Body of Christ by understanding what the Bible is actually saying in the context of God's story or we could keep trying to shove our opinions in people's faces and see what happens.

May 18, 2009


Frustration is annoying. Have you ever gotten frustrated with something that someone caught the brunt of it? You know those times when you are working with this or that, maybe it's a car or a computer or wood siding on your house, and it isn't going like it should and you can feel the frustration level begin to rise?? I'm not sure if the "wood siding" gave it away but I've been running into this the last couple days as Tai and I continue to work on refinishing our house.

It really doesn't make any sense for me to get so frustrated about the fact that the wood siding cracks or splits when I try to replace it. And it makes even less sense in situations like these to allow someone else to be impacted by our frustrations. It is not their fault and they have done nothing to deserve the dumb things we say or do as a result of our frustrations, whatever the cause. The ones we love the most are typically the ones that see us at our most frustrated and as a result experience some collateral damage. Weird how that works. Not cool or fair but certainly weird...or maybe unfortunate is a better word to use.

I don't get frustrated like this often but whenever it does happen an apology is not far behind. The majority of the time those apologies are headed in Tai's direction because of her willingness to put up with me. This made me often, if ever, do you think God gets frustrated with us? Do apologies follow close behind?

May 14, 2009

1 = 1

I had the chance to grab some coffee with a friend of mine that I have not talked to in at least 4yrs. In that time he has finished 2 tours of duty in Kandahar, Afghanistan and nearly squeezed in a Bachelor's degree in Mass Communications with a double minor of History and Christian Mission in between. Needless to say it was great to see him, let alone get a chance to hear stories of what his faith looked like while serving in a foreign land. He talked of his genuine concern for the Afghan people and desire to see them live in peace yet contrasted that with the attitude some have that American lives were somehow more important than those of the locals. It was evident from hearing him talk that this caused him a certain amount of stress as someone that is trying to follow Jesus.

Immediately things come to mind like, "For God does not show favoritism." (Rom. 2:11) or "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" (Matt. 5:44) and "If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant to all." (Mark 9:35). It seems as though the message we should be getting from Scripture is one of equality. We have all equally sinned, all of which Christ was willing to die for equally. It is not as though Jesus was picking and choosing who He deemed "worthy" of His sacrifice and redemption because if that were the case then none of us would make the cut. So then it would seem, at least to me, that there is an innate equality amongst all of humanity regardless of culture, language, or skin color that would say 1 life is = to another life.

So, as followers of Jesus, the question we must ask ourselves is if we actually live this way? Do you and I walk around day after day seeing each and every person we come in contact with (or our "neighbor" as Jesus would say) as equal to ourselves? Can we honestly say they have worth that is equal to or even greater than the worth we see in ourselves? I believe that until we are able to start living this the Church will continue its struggle for relevancy in today's culture.

May 10, 2009

Get Real

Dr. Jackie Chandler spoke this morning in service and entitled it "Get Real" and used a passage from the book of James as her text. James happens to be one of my favorite books because he just brings it, lays it on the line and tells it like it is. I love that. Things like, "If you know the good you should do and don't do it, you sin." BAM!! You know what you're suppose to do but decide not to...BAM...sin. There is no room for questions, no room for me to squirm some sort of lame justification as to why I did or didn't do something. Nope. I did or didn't do what I knew should or shouldn't be done and that is flat out, nasty, ugly, hurtful sin. Nothing like calling a spade a spade.

So as I was sitting there in service listening to her speak, I found myself jotting down some thoughts in response to some of the points she was making. One of the things she said had to do with the idea that real actions are not scripted, they are simply a part of who we are. The more I thought about this, the more it made sense to me.

If something is scripted, it seems much less real to me. You know those times when you call a customer support line and the voice on the other end (if you're lucky enough to talk to a human being) has a scripted conversation in front of him or her they simply read to you? It's just like that, you and I both know that we are not actually having a real conversation with this person but rather we are talking and they are simply reading to us. Or when Mormons knock at your door and you try to have an open and honest converstaion with them and start asking questions that don't fit into their scripted answers, they don't know what to do. It makes me wonder if it is real for them.

When we pretend to be something we're not we are following a script (written by someone or something else; signficant other, culture, etc.) that results in our conversations, relationships and goals being anything but real because we're not being real ourselves.

Mother's Day

Not a single person on this planet hasn't been impacted one way or another by a mother. You either are one, were one and most definitely have/had one. I think it's good we have a specific day set aside to recognize mothers because chances are they don't get the 'props' they deserve, so here's to you moms...Happy Mother's Day!! Without you none of us would be here, so thanks.

Be sure to honor your mom one way or another.

May 8, 2009

Debit or Credit

I can vaguely remember from my Accounting I & II classes in high school seeing two columns, one associated with 'credit' and the other associated with 'debit'. I was always a little confused by the relationship between these two because (please correct me if I'm wrong because I certainly could be) 'debit' = good because it was money coming in and 'credit' = bad because money was going out. So what's the deal with being asked the question, "Is that debit or credit?" when making a purchase? As far as I know they both take my money, hence the confusion but that's neither here nor there...

In preparing to wrap-up our study of Philippians this Sunday I came across an interesting thought, well at least to me. Paul uses a couple interesting words in the closing passages of his letter to the Philippians that stood out to me for one reason or another: giving and receiving (4:15), credited (4:17), account (4:17), received full payment (4:18). So in this passage (4:14-19) Paul uses a few "commercial" or "business" kinds of words and that made me curious to see what these words looked like in the Greek, so I started to check them out. The words that I found most intriguing weren't any of the words I highlighted above but instead in verse 19 the words meet and needs (reading from the NIV).

meet: the idea of filling or making full, to supply
needs: a necessity; duty, business or a debt

All of this Accountant lingo got me thinking...maybe "all the needs" Paul was talking about in verse 19 are the debts we owe as a result of our sins and that God has filled that debt through the glory of Christ Jesus. If nothing else it proved to be a great reminder to me that the debt I could never repay has been covered in full.

May 6, 2009

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

I had the chance to grab a matinee showing on opening day of the latest film in the X-Men series entitled "X-Men Origins: Wolverine". Overall I found it to be entertaining but must admit that I was a little disappointed. I really enjoyed the previous X-Men movies (especially 1 & 2, 3 was ok) and had high expectations coming into this movie, which maybe was unfair on my part but, fair or unfair, I didn't feel like this movie was nearly as good.

The movie focuses on the character of Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) and his journey of self discovery and realization. There is plenty of action and special effects, arguably too much in an attempt to make up for a story line that might not be strong enough to carry a 106min long movie. I was interested by the story and would have traded seeing it developed a little more for some of the different action sequences, which I think would have allowed Wolverine's sarcastic wit (that I enjoyed so much in the previous movies) to show up.

I found this movie to be entertaining but was hoping for more. There is a lot of action and most, if not all, is fairly violent so please take that into consideration if you plan on seeing it or allowing children to see it. For what it's worth, I would give it a B/B-.

May 5, 2009

Rethink Church

The United Methodist Church is launching a new marketing campaign entitled "Rethink Church" as of tomorrow, May 6th. The premise behind the change from "Open Hearts. Open Minds. Open Doors." to the new slogan, according to the official United Methodist Communications website, is:

The campaign seeks to offer the church, not as a place to come to and stay within, but as a base of operation for expressing faith by moving out into communities and around the globe to become part of God’s plan for world transformation.

Don't get me wrong, I love this idea as I truly believe this is what the Church was designed to do and be in the first place but I'm confused as to why it has taken this long to figure this out. The other thing I wonder is how long will this transformation take to happen? How far has the UMC drifted from living this out?

This campaign is specifically targeting young adults aged 18-35 by challenging them "to think of church, not as a static institution, but as a movement of people empowered to transform the world" (site link). This is what the Church has been from the very beginning. I think the need to "Rethink Church" must first be for those of us already in the pews by challenging how comfortable we have made the Church for ourselves. We have to stop treating it like some sort of country club and remember we have been commanded to serve, rather than looking to be served.

Personally, I like the new campaign slogan...a lot. I like it much more than the current one and believe it is a solid place to start in order to get a better grasp of what it means to truly be the Body of Christ. I'm anxious to see what this will look like as it plays out.