Semper Reformanda

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

[Monday, November 30, 2009]

Meditation: Charles Spurgeon


‘Alas’ say you, ‘I have done wrong.’ I know you have; but HE has not.
If your confidence were in yourself, that wrong of yours might crush your hope; but since your confidence is in God, and He has not changed, why should you fear? ‘Oh, but I am so sinful’. Yes; I know you are, and so you were when He first looked upon you in love. If His love had sought to come to you by the way of merit it never would have reached you; but it comes to you by way of free, rich, sovereign grace and therefore it will come to you evermore.

Courtesy of C.H. Spurgeon

[Wednesday, November 25, 2009]

Viral Video Chart


I'm not sure how I missed this... but this site lists the top 20 most watched videos over certain periods of time.

Fun to check out occasionally.

[Thursday, November 19, 2009]

Mac Book Pro -- on its way!


I ordered a Macbook Pro 13 inch laptop the other day. I have a friend that works at the store that was nice enough to share his discount with me. I'll never understand why it's the most efficient use of resources to ship from China to Alaska to New Jersey to get it to me in St. Louis... but hey, I don't get to make those calls. This sucker could be waiting for me when I get home, but chances are it won't be till tomorrow. I'm looking forward to it! I'm actually procrastinating on a paper I need to write so I can use the Macbook to write it. :)

[Wednesday, November 18, 2009]

Tim Keller @ Covenant Seminary


Tim Keller stopped by Covenant Seminary during his book tour for Counterfeit Gods. Here is the audio for the Q&A by Dr. Chapell and the students of the Seminary.

For Steve -- New video game just for you


Although this seems too good to be true, it looks like it's legit.

[Wednesday, November 11, 2009]



The Texas Department of Justice has a list of convicted criminals who have been executed, and their last words on their website. Yes, this is unsettling and yet interesting. More unsettling because of the "random" person I clicked on.

Yes I do. To the Harris family. I have been trying to tell you for years that I am sorry. I know that I hurt your family bad. I am sorry. Wynona should not of even have happened. I am sorry. I truly am sorry for the hurt and pain I caused you. I hope you can forgive me. One day I hope you can move on and if not I understand. Tim Jackson, Bobby Dan Spade and Mr. Segal thank you for your lies. Your lies set me free. I couldn't do a life sentence. To my mom, I'm sorry. I love you. I'm not the big son that you wanted me to be. But, I love you. To my friends, Synnova, Kay I thank you for everything. I'm ready. I told you years ago that I was ready. Synnova tell everyone I got full on Chicken and Pork Chops. Rodney, take care of my mom. To the fellas on the row, stay strong. Renee, I love you baby. Fleetwood is up out of here. I'm ready Warden. (bolding mine)

I know my name is pretty common, but goodness... out of ALL the last words I could have clicked on. I'm still processing this. Maybe more later.

If you want to read some last words, click here.

Advent Conspiracy


It's that time of year again... Christmas season. Although, I don't think it officially kicks off until the day after Thanksgiving, its in the air and I'm getting excited! I'll admit that I really do enjoy Christmas... I love the weather, music and people. However, this can also be a hectic and horrible time of year from a financial perspective. Christmas in the United States has reached amazing heights in the amount of money spent on presents each year. The resulting credit card debt and financial strain in January is never a good thing... yet year after year, we do it again and again.

Well, not anymore.

Advent Conspiracy is a movement started by 3 pastors Rick McKinley (Imago Dei, Portland), Chris Seay (Ecclesia, Houston), and Greg Holder(The Crossing, St. Louis). The idea is simple... spend less at Christmas on presents, and give more presence (see what I did there?). By giving even a single gift that is specifically meaningful to the recipient instead of the sweater or tie you know they will never use, you show love for that person instead of an obligation to buy something for them. These presences could range anything from dedicated time together to handmade scarfs or even food. But the idea is always the same. Instead of just picking something (or many things) off the shelf, spend some time choosing/creating/doing something meaningful for the people you care about.

Now that you've spent less and given more, with some of that cash you've saved how about giving some of it away to others that have need? Our church partners with a group called Living Water International who drills water wells for those in 3rd world countries who don't have the luxury of clean water. However, this is just one idea. As I write this, Albert Pujols is getting ready to speak to ~200 business and church leaders from around the St. Louis area about the work the Pujols Family Foundation is doing, and how this Advent Conspiracy idea is a pretty neat thing.

By spending less and giving more to those around you that you care about, and by using some of that extra money you didn't spend on presents towards a cause that helps push back darkness and injustice in the world, you love all. You show that you recognize and acknowledge the world outside of your immediate surroundings. That there are people who don't have it as good as you do, and that you actually can make a difference. Essentially, Christmas can still change the world.

Through all of this above, this takes some pressure off right? No longer are you searching for gifts upon gifts. No longer are you standing for hours in line at the mall or waiting for that parking space 2 miles away. Instead, you are free from those burdens and able to focus on Christmas itself... to worship fully the advent of the Christ being birthed into the world. This baby Jesus who would give us a glimpse of God, and His desire to rescue us from ourselves. Who would later die and through His death reconcile us to God, paying our price for us. Who would then be resurrected from the dead to secure eternal life for us, that we might live forever with God in glory.

This is the true meaning of Christmas... this is what the Advent Conspiracy is about. Will you join us?

What are you planning on doing this Advent season?

[Friday, November 6, 2009]

LEGO philosophy


This reminds me of a conversation I had with Brian Moncey in Kirkwood Park one night...

How big is too big?


I recently read this blog about FBC Dallas' new $130 million building project.

Nobody should fault FBC Dallas or anybody else for building a building. But this isn’t a building. This, and a bunch of other stuff, i[t]s Bible Belt Disneyland. This is evangelicalism with more cowbell. This is Field of Dreams attractional church. And it stinks to high heaven...

...Not go and tell. Come and see is the “mission” of megachurchianity.

After a little research, I found they are running ~3 services with about 11 thousand people. I can't help but think to my church, Windsor Crossing and wonder if there is really much that separates us in terms of size (we run close to 10 thousand on Easter & Christmas, but that's spread over ~7-10 services and have close to 5 thousand every weekend at 2 sites now, with 5 services at one site and 2 at the other). On the flip side, Francis Chan has a radically different approach:

Convicted by the verse to "love your neighbor as yourself," Chan showed up at the next board meeting with an agenda. In the early years, Cornerstone gave away 4 percent of its budget. Chan asked them to give away 50 percent. Cuts in staff salaries and serious sacrifices in programs would have to be made, but it only took a half hour for the board to agree.

Chan's church now meets in an amphitheater in the park to accommodate their growing size (They are in SoCal, so the weather is on their side most of the time I'd guess). And they are now giving away 55% of their budget to various ministries.

If it rained, they'd get wet knowing their money was feeding the hungry.

So what do you think? I think these are vitally important questions to be discerning considering the brink of change we are on here in St. Louis and the ministry of Windsor Crossing. Would you be willing to have church in the park? Maybe not in St. Louis. :) What are your thoughts on what the modern church should look like? Should we go for a huge complex to fully meet the needs of the community? Should we get rid of as much as possible and live radically different lives culturally? Should we balance the two (which is what I think the Crossing does currently)?

How do we make sure we are in a "go and tell" mentality rather than a "come and see"?

May we not focus on our own will, works and power; but rather on the will of God, the work of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit. May our church buildings be nothing more than a "place to hang our hat" so to speak, and that a large majority of what constitutes our "church" exists entirely outside its walls.

[Wednesday, November 4, 2009]

The new and improved(?) Sesame Street


This article talks about the changes that have been made to Sesame Street over the years since its 1969 debut. This is making news because of a disclaimer that now comes on the 40th anniversary DVD box set:

"These early 'Sesame Street' episodes are intended for grown-ups, and may not suit the needs of today's preschool child."


However, I think some of the changes were probably for the best... Some of you might remember the Cookie Monster diet change that happened a few years ago:

Today, Cookie Monster's diet is much more balanced, as he has adopted the philosophy that cookies are a "sometimes food." Cookie coincidentally changed his tune in 2006 amidst reports that childhood obesity had reached epidemic proportions.

Cookie Monster was awesome, but this is actually a good step in my opinion to lead by example.

As the article states:

Early "Sesame Street" had some other elements that would not pass muster today. Oscar the Grouch is just plain nasty, children are seen riding their bikes without helmets, and there's even a sketch where the human character of Gordon can be seen approaching a little girl on the street. He takes her by the hand and brings her into his house for milk and cookies (again with the cookies!). Clearly, that could be misinterpreted by today's standards.

All in all, Sesame Street as unassuming and beneficial as it is, still has to evolve and change in a changing world.

This was a similar conversation to one I was having with a friend a week or two ago about the changing of the times. We were talking about what we got away with when we were kids... I'd take my bike in the summer and be gone all day. I'd come back for lunch, then back out until dinner. Mom didn't mind and she just stood and yelled for me when it was time to come home. I'd have to think that those days are long gone now.

I don't think that the world is any more dangerous now than it was 20 years ago, but it seems our sensitivity and awareness of the danger has increased. I just wonder if that is a good thing.

What do you think about all of this?

[Tuesday, November 3, 2009]

I like the Navy


The Great Adventure -- Part 2


So... I sold my house. Its a really weird feeling. I was only on the market for a little over three months, but it really was one of those things I didn't think would actually happen. This whole experience has given me confidence in prayer and has further solidified my alignment with God on the path my life is taking.

Here are some highlights:

The goal of selling the house was to free up my financial situation so that I could concentrate more on school instead of the corporate world. From an investment standpoint this was a horrible idea because of the market, and the fact that I had only lived in the house for a little over a year.

I met with some trusted friends and mentors in my life to talk about this idea and felt affirmed to proceed. Also, through prayer and petition to God, I had a peace about what I was doing.

I actually get a buyer to make an offer after like 40 house showings with no bites. This guy low-balls me by like $10,000 -- sort of a deal breaker for me if he doesn't get his act together. I'm not holding my breath.

I counter his offer, and he counters just a tiny bit lower than mine... he had come up ~$8000!!! Now why would this have been? Well, my realtor let the buyer know that we had several showings and an open house scheduled soon and chances are there would be a lot of interest for a house this price... all of which was true. I sort of think God played a bit of a role in this as well. Its funny how some people think if man is responsible for something that somehow precludes God from being active in the situation... not so in my opinion. God's providence is a very interesting thing.

Parallel to all this, I wrecked my car during the torrential downpour that was October in Saint Louis. The insurance company called it a total loss, so I was going to get a check. However, the mechanical work (to get the car road-ready) was about half the check, so I just repaired the car and basically made money! I've just got a big 'ol scrape on the side and a missing hub cap, but that's ok by me. And, yes I'm fine. :)

So we come to an agreement on price, and then starts the inspections (for those who don't know, after you have an accepted offer on the house, you have 15 days to get a home inspector in the house to look at it from top to bottom. He then writes a report based on his findings that details problem areas that a normal Joe-schmo wouldn't see. This starts another negotiation process where you come to an agreement on compensation/repairs for those things.)

The buyer wanted me to replace all the electrical circuits in the house, a new roof, and various other things. Just as a side note, replacing all the electrical would include ripping out walls and other nasty things that wouldn't be a very good idea. I was a little distraught. So close yet so far away.

We counter with what we are willing to do, and the timeframe expires... but they want an extension. Great, just prolong my nail biting.

Finally, they come back and ask for a bit more cash than I offered, and we have a deal.

So, I'm now technically house-less and I have to move out before November 16th!

That was step 1.

Now its on to finding another place to live, which I thought I had lined up... not so much. Still working on that. However, step 1 has given me enough of a peace about this crazy tumultuous time in my life to know that I'm not the only one working in this situation. First, I have some amazing friends and family that are walking through this with me every step of the way. They are supportive, loving, and giving and I really appreciate that. But also, I have confidence in the God of the universe that He is for me in this situation. Romans 8:28 tells us that "God works for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose." I believe that means that as long as our lives are centered on His desires, His will, His glory things will work for good. Not necessarily what we expect to be "good," but good from the perspective of God, who in essence, knows much better than I what good actually is.