Semper Reformanda

...some days even my lucky rocketship underpants don't help.

[Sunday, August 30, 2009]

Appreciate Technology!


[Saturday, August 29, 2009]

Colorado: Part I


Some highlights from my trip to Breckenridge, Colorado...

Aug 21
  • Had to get my license plate tags renewed before I left town... always a chore.
  • Forgot my checkbook at the DMV so I had to go back.
  • Got pulled over for running a stop sign one block from my sister's house before leaving for CO.
  • Had an uneventful flight from STL to DIA.
  • Ended up with a 4-banger Kia Sportage rental.
  • Got a meatloaf sandwich for lunch at the Happy Cooker.
  • Figured out the 4-banger Kia Sportage sucks for driving in the mountains of Colorado.
  • Met up with mom and dad & checked into our condos
  • Had dinner at the Breckenridge Brewery with 2 of Erin & Steve's friends -- Shane and Jason. I had a reuben.
  • Mom and dad decided to give me the master bedroom (king-sized bed and private bathroom w/ whirlpool tub and walk-in closet) so they could move around more in the bigger common room (trundle bed and pull-out couch). I wasn't going to complain.
Aug 22
  • Went to the Blue Moose for breakfast (I had pancakes, eggs, bacon, and half a cinnamon roll)
  • Everyone went to buy groceries, and I stayed behind to get some peace and quiet and do some reading.
  • Mom and dad found Country Bob's Steak Sauce at the grocery, which is produced in Centralia, IL... not too far from our hometown.
  • Grilled steak for dinner.
  • While we were waiting for the steak, I found a lego table in the game room of our complex. I rejoiced greatly.
  • Additionally, there was a life-size chess set near the grills that dad and I tried out after dinner.
  • Played Yahtzee later on... I took names by rolling 3 yahtzees.
More to come...

[Tuesday, August 18, 2009]

Looking forward to vacation


[Sunday, August 16, 2009]

Jedi Gym


Watch the whole thing... even if its hard. :)

Reading the Bible -- Jude 1-4


1 Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James,
To those who have been called, who are loved by God the Father and kept by Jesus Christ:

2 Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance.
The sin and doom of Godless men
3 Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. 4 For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.

Jude starts off as most of the NT letters do: by identifying himself. We find out in verse 1, that Jude is the brother of James, who is the brother of Jesus thus, Jude was also a brother of Jesus. Most likely, this is the same Jude (or Judas) that is referred to in Matthew 13:55 - a son born to Joseph and Mary after the birth of Jesus.

The end of verse 1 determines the audience of the letter - in simple terms, true believers.

Verse 3 starts us off on an interesting note. It seems that the letter of Jude is not the actual letter he wished to write. Originally he sought to write about "the salvation we share," however circumstances made it such that a new topic took precedence. That topic being the defense of the faith against the false teachers that have started popping up in the church.

He goes on to use some pretty powerful phrases such as "men whose condemnation was written about long ago" and "godless men" to describe these false teachers who have "secretly slipped in" to pervert the Gospel of grace.

Licentiousness was an issue all the NT writers had to deal with. A common battle Paul had to face with his fairly revolutionary Gospel of free grace was that this led to liberal living and moral flexibility. The so-called "Christ died so that I can do whatever the heck I want" mentality. Jude was no exception in having to participate in this battle.

We see a glimpse of the argument against licentiousness that Jude will be making here in verse 4. First, he firmly states that "license for immorality" is changing the "grace of our God," which would not make it grace at all. Moreover, changing grace from what it actually is, is a flat out denial of Jesus Christ, who, as Jude states is "our only Soverign and Lord." The language here, speaking to Christ's authoritative role over the Christian.

In the following verses, we will see this theme fleshed out more.

Reading the Bible


So I'm gonna try something new. I'm going to blog about what I'm reading in the Bible. The hope is this will keep me accountable to reading and actually thinking about what I read.

I'm starting with Jude because I don't think I've ever heard a sermon or seen much spoken/written about the book. And I find it immensely interesting.

Stay tuned...

[Friday, August 14, 2009]

The Crossing & AC on KMOV


[Thursday, August 13, 2009]

This past year


So the teaching year at The Crossing is coming to a close with the end of the summer. As we gear up for a new year and changes all around, I thought it would be good to reflect a bit on where we went this last year.


Still moves me...


Mystery at The Crossing - 4/12/2009 from Andy Sharpe on Vimeo.

John 3:16

I am constantly amazed at the talent and abilities of my friends.

[Wednesday, August 12, 2009]

LEGO What?!?!?!


Re-blogged from one of my favorites...

Variety recently reported that Warner Brothers has brokered a deal with LEGO. They are making a movie. Did you see this coming? I sure didn’t.

Here’s what Variety has to say:

WB is toying with plans to develop a movie around Lego and its popular building blocks.

Scribes Dan and Kevin Hageman are penning the script for the family comedy that will mix live action and animation. Warners is keeping the plot tightly under wraps, but it’s described as an action adventure set in a Lego world.

Apparently, LEGO has been approached about making a movie before, but has always turned the idea down. This time, things seem to be different.

Directors and producers in town have attempted to make a Lego movie for years, approaching the Danish toymaker with various ideas, but Lego turned down most of them because it’s highly protective of its brand.

But the company sparked to Lin and the Hageman brothers’ embrace of core values Lego wanted to include in a film, especially “a fun factor, creativity and that imagination has no boundaries,” Lin told Daily Variety. The film’s been in development for more than a year, with the scribes and producers making several trips to Denmark to work with Lego’s execs on the concept.

Also helping is the long relationship Warner Bros. has had with Lego over the years. Warner has licensed characters like Batman, Harry Potter and Speed Racer to Lego to integrate into playsets, and through TT Games, the videogame publisher that WB bought in 2007, has produced the popular “Lego Star Wars,” “Lego Indiana Jones,” “Lego Batman” and, soon, “Lego Rock Band” titles.



Hmmm this reminds me... Family vacation is coming up soon.

[Tuesday, August 11, 2009]

Bait and Switch


What do you think of this?

Taken from here.

To start, a story.

A few years ago a female student wanted to visit with me about some difficulties she was having, mainly with her family life. As is my practice, we walked around campus as we talked.

After talking for some time about her family situation we turned to other areas of her life. When she reached spiritual matters we had the following exchange:

"I need to spend more time working on my relationship with God."
I responded, "Why would you want to do that?"
Startled she says, "What do you mean?"
"Well, why would you want to spend any time at all on working on your relationship with God?"
"Isn't that what I'm supposed to do?"
"Let me answer by asking you a question. Can you think of anyone, right now, to whom you need to apologize? Anyone you've wronged?"
She thinks and answers, "Yes."
"Well, why don't you give them a call today and ask for their forgiveness. That might be a better use of your time than working on your relationship with God."

Obviously, I was being a bit provocative with the student. And I did go on to clarify. But I was trying to push back on a strain of Christianity I see in both my students and the larger Christian culture. Specifically, when the student said "I need to work on my relationship with God" I knew exactly what she meant. It meant praying more, getting up early to study the bible, to start going back to church. Things along those lines. The goal of these activities is to get "closer" to God. To "waste time with Jesus." Of course, please hear me on this point, nothing is wrong with those activities. Personal acts of piety and devotion are vital to a vibrant spiritual life and continued spiritual formation. But all too often "working on my relationship with God" has almost nothing to do with trying to become a more decent human being.

The trouble with contemporary Christianity is that a massive bait and switch is going on. "Christianity" has essentially become a mechanism for allowing millions of people to replace being a decent human being with something else, an endorsed "spiritual" substitute. For example, rather than being a decent human being the following is a list of some commonly acceptable substitutes:

Going to church
Spiritual disciplines (e.g., fasting)
Bible study
Voting Republican
Going on spiritual retreats
Reading religious books
Arguing with evolutionists
Sending your child to a Christian school or providing education at home
Using religious language
Avoiding R-rated movies
Not reading Harry Potter.

The point is that one can fill a life full of spiritual activities without ever, actually, trying to become a more decent human being. Much of this activity can actually distract one from becoming a more decent human being. In fact, some of these activities make you worse, interpersonally speaking. Many churches are jerk factories.

Take, for example, how Christians tip and behave in restaurants. If you have ever worked in the restaurant industry you know the reputation of the Sunday morning lunch crowd. Millions of Christians go to lunch after church on Sundays and their behavior is abysmal. The single most damaging phenomenon to the witness of Christianity in America today is the collective behavior of the Sunday morning lunch crowd. Never has a more well-dressed, entitled, dismissive, haughty or cheap collection of Christians been seen on the face of the earth.

I exaggerate of course. But I hope you see my point. Rather than pouring our efforts into two hours of worship, bible study and Christian fellowship on Sunday why don't we just take a moment and a few extra bucks to act like a decent human being when we go to lunch afterwards? Just think about it. What if the entire restaurant industry actually began to look forward to working Sunday lunch? If they said amongst themselves, "I love the church crowd. They are kind, patient and very generous. It's my favorite part of the week waiting on Christians." How might such a change affect the way the world sees us? Think about it. Just being a decent human being for one hour each Sunday and the world sees us in a whole new way.

But it's not going to happen. Because behavior at lunch isn't considered to be "working on your relationship with God." Behavior at lunch isn't spiritual. Going to church, well, that is working on your relationship with God. But, as we all know, any jerk can sit in a pew. But you can't be a jerk if you take the time to treat your waitress as if she were a friend, daughter or mother.

My point in all this is that contemporary Christianity has lost its way. Christians don't wake up every morning thinking about how to become a more decent human being. Instead, they wake up trying to "work on their relationship with God" which very often has nothing to do with treating people better. How could such a confusion have occurred? How did we end up going so wrong? I'm sure there are lots of answers, but at the end of the day we need to face up to our collective failure. I'm not saying we need to do anything dramatic. A baby step would do to start. Waking up trying to be a little more kind, more generous, more interruptible, more forgiving, more humble, more civil, more tolerant. Do these things and prayer and worship will come alongside to support us.

I truly want people to spend time working on their relationship with God. I just want them to do it by taking the time to care about the person standing right in front of them.

[Monday, August 10, 2009]

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus


This looks really really good.

The Least Interesting Man...


[Tuesday, August 4, 2009]

Neat... if you like music or the brain


World Science Festival 2009: Bobby McFerrin Demonstrates the Power of the Pentatonic Scale from World Science Festival on Vimeo.