Tuesday, May 31, 2011

how the west thinks

a church without the gospel is a church without power (rom 1:16). the last paragraph reveals the motive in the recent developments of the pc(usa) decision.

"Already, a number of congregations have voted to cut ties with the PC(USA) this year. Though the PC(USA) is the largest Presbyterian denomination in the country, membership has been on the decline for decades. The denomination has around 2.7 million members, which is half the size it was a generation ago."

we see that a decline in church attendance is scary for those who are in the church business. it is hard as a pastor or board of directors who's salaries may or may not depend on the success of the organization to easily make these decisions. i had suspected that the motive for the move to allow practicing homosexual men and women to be ordained in the church was in part due to the dwindling numbers when i first read this story.

i don't even believe this is about homosexuality. i believe this move reflects a heart condition of individuals who would rather be liked and relevant than stand up for the accuracy of scripture. it could be anything polygamy, an affair revealed from the pastor, the dissension of a group of men who feel they know better than leadership; all of which have roots in self idolatry and pride.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

kids say the darnedest things

dutch and titus have watched a certain show that is a spin-off of cars the disney pixar movie. it is called mater's tall tales. these 5-10 minute episodes are tow mater doing crazy things which lightning mcqueen does not believe really happened. they include:

1. being a monster truck wrestler
2. being a dare-devil
3. being an "autonaut"
4. being a heavy metal singer (featured here)

and a few others that make a jab at pop culture. these ALL are very well done. disney did not cut corners at all in my opinion. dutch and titus both have watched this movie several, several, SEVERAL times.

there is one episode, as i mentioned, that mater tells the tale of when he was a heavy metal singer. his band's name is heavy metal mater. the opening of each episode always starts the same, with tow mater (tomater) saying, "if i'm lying i'm cryin." in his heavy metal mater episode he says the saying but in a heavy metal vocalist style. watch the style...

we finally got titus on video imitating heavy metal mater.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

romans the reason

i don't want to claim to know the answers to everyone's problem...ok maybe a little part of me wants that but the cause of the issue i think is just as important as the answer. this morning i have continued my study on romans. i am on week 2 and i am not even out of the 1st chapter, sheesh.

1:25 is very clear that "they" exchanged, not god. it was not his desire for their to be an exchange. they meaning we, his creation, exchanged the truth for a lie. we exchanged for the real gospel, which carries power and authority, for a message of inaccuracy completely void of life. it may contain power but only the power which hails the dark spiritual tyranny as something to be worshipped. a powerless message can only produce a powerless church; it's a formula that fits even the most basic of any structure. a church without power is like a business without capital or income. it will spend more that it makes eventually causing it to entertain ideas of a merge with another firm who once was a competitor. if the merge goes through the competitor now becomes an ally and will have room for implementation. new vision, mission, and influence will now be adapted into the structure consequently creating a whole new business model, which will effect the market altogether.

at the sacrifice of originality and created order the church exchanges the truth of "the word" becoming and appearing to maintain relevancy. it, however, doesn't see the debased position it takes as it pushes itself away from power and authority. the need to fill pews is a weight of frustration.

it saddens me to see the division such issues can create within the bride of christ. if it is not accepted then there is a cultural division; if it is accepted there is a division amongst the church. may we feel the pressure and weight of our decisions; may the consequences of said actions be a foresight for discussion. please, let us talk about this together so that division may not ruin us.

Monday, May 16, 2011

so whats the big deal

my last memories of 29 can be summed up best by the last few hours until the clock struck midnight. went out to downtown waterloo with my best friend allyster taubeneck then came to my apartment. we then enjoyed some wine, talked, and skyped with austin trying to arrange his flight to visit us here in beglium. those are the moments that i cherish. moments when nothing is on the agenda, but being together with great people. then i fell asleep to indiana jones and the temple of doom on my laptop.

there are landmark birthday's throughout one's life and i think, based on your culture, they are pretty consistent and yet still debatable.

year 1 - this marks the first year of your life and although you don't necessarily remember, it is significant for those who love you. as jerry seinfeld notes that your first birthday and your last one in old age are quite similar. "your not quite sure whats going on," "other people have to gather your friends for you," consequently you are thinking, "these are my friends?" nonetheless this birthday is big for mom's especially.

year 5/6 - depending on when you start kindergarten. this is a landmark year because, i feel, you are understanding the greatness of friendships and sleep-overs (even though they usually end in the parent coming to get you in the middle of the night) and the outdoors. you start school and have lunches where you begin to understand the value of this event. a lunchable is the greatest thing to bring to school besides a surprise visit from your parents who may have brought mcdonalds with them. also, at this age you know and can appreciate the value of birthday's so its fun to be recognized in front of your friends.

year 12/13 - the next is the years that usher you into middle school. it is a stretch from 5/6 to 12/13 but that amount of time is necessary to prepare you for the most dramatic moments in your life at this time. even then, most are NOT prepared. things start changing and faces become all weird looking and somewhere in the mix you can throw braces in there. hair in weird places, smells, zits, incontrollable voice influx, it is a wonder how this is the moment that teens begin to really like and become attracted to the opposite sex. but these are the years to take notice of relationships and most do take advantage of the moment.

year 16 - ah yes, sweet 16. the year of freedom, so to speak. most get their license and are able to drive, unless you are poor and you have to take the home school edition in which your dad makes you read EACH page twice before he signs off on it, oh and at age 17 no less. i really had no issues with getting around because most of my friends at this point were 1-3 years older than me so transportation was not my biggest problem. most start high school or have in the last year and are now learning what it means to be at the bottom of the pack again as "fish" in a sea of sharks. these years for me where the greatest years of my life and even though i would like to go back and change things i still would love to just go back and experience them again.

year 18 - graduation is in your presence. you get to move onto a schedule that YOU choose, but you must choose wisely. at this time you must register to vote (even though i think they should raise the age requirement) and you will most likely vote for whoever lady gaga tells you to vote for. at this age if your into naughty things you don't have to ask random strangers to buy smokes for you (similar to 21 and alcohol) at gas stations. starting college is big too and becoming more popular. don't be fooled by a school that seems to be more of a party school than others...if there are college kids, parties will happen. most still don't know exactly what they want to pursue at this point of entry. even still, some will change their career choice and start something that they did not even get a degree in.

year 21 - graduating university and starting to look at the rest of your life is what is kind of taught within our culture. although i believe this trend is changing. at this age you are able to get into places that shun away the teeny bopper (i.e. bars and night spots) which may be due to the fact that in the united states you are capable to purchase something called "alcohol" (and many do). responsibility is now your friend or arch nemesis. in the years previous you have noticed it gaining strength and maybe you have been able to withstand invasion the time is now rapidly approaching when you will NOT be able to escape its grip on your life. responsibility will choke you out if you don't surrender to it.

year 30 - hopefully you have settled down a bit by now and are ready to help someone else with their life responsibilities. if not there is still time. most are finding out their passions and what they like to do as opposed to what they are forced to do. it can be a bit scary, depending on your perspective, at this moment. for me, i am not scared because i see the glass half full right now. there is a refreshing peace when one is able to reflect on their past and see the hand of god on their life. the longer the experience the greater the reflection and peace.

i will not go on here to the 40's or 50's and beyond. although i do think the next monumental years in one's life are every decade after 30's. when i reflect in greater measure over my life it is hard to not think of the initial circumstances (positive and negative). but i truly remember many events that have stuck with me, shaped me, and in some ways derailed me. these are memories i would not change. i do think about what life would be like 30's from now. it seems like it took so long to get to this point. i wonder if it will feel that way when i am 60. i do know this if i am doing the exact same thing: married to liz, emotionally connected with my sons, serving in ministry with close friends, studying god's word and journaling everything he is saying, looking forward to holidays with family, and living the life that reflects who god is, i know i will be deeply satisfied with his handiwork.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

when i turn part 4

september 11th 2001 holds a different memory for me. i was working for an organization called sports magic based out of orlando florida. this was a training camp for crowd entertainers. many of my closest friends were on this trip and it definitely was a dude-bro trip. the morning of the attacks one of the rookies on the squad came busting into our room and turned on the tv and said the united states is under attack. the thought of this guy coming into the veterans room the way he did was similar to kevin costner's visit to the sioux tribe for the first time in dances with wolves. we were thinking "who does this guy think he is?" well, our flight back home around 1ish that day was canceled due to what took place. we were stranded in orlando on the companies dime. because we were the favored squad of the entire camp they gave us passes to a bunch of things throughout the city and put us up in a hotel and gave us per diem. we did mourn the loss of many but lets just say our experience was a picture of the unity that america was about to embrace in the next few months.

i love taking road trips. i think i would enjoy one by myself just as well.

i hate when people argue in the comments sections via the internet. especially when it is topics of pro-life vs pro-choice and christians vs atheists. but i do love conspiracies and controversy so it is a win win for me.

my dream is to have a few orphanages in ukraine and maybe one day africa.

you have to admit that genitalia in general has gotten humanity into a lot of trouble. i will ask god if he had thought of an alternative to what we have now when i get to heaven.

i am a terrible mother.

i always try to be a know-it-all. and if i don't know it i will play devil's advocate. i know, i need to stop but it goes along with the whole loving controversy thing.

i need absolute quiet when i study the word. i can tolerate music, with no lyrics, but if it has a very syncopated drum beat, or lyrics, i will think about that more than anything else. that is why prayer rooms are hard for me in a corporate setting. although i can testify to receiving revelation during sessions. i get distracted way to easily. the same could be said for conferences where there are people i don't know worshipping with me. don't even get me started on the expressions (that i feel are good in appropriate moments) that have flags and banners. i am a people watcher.

sometimes i wonder if i was born in the wrong century.

honestly, i am scared to death of jesus' second coming. i am afraid i will miss something or won't recognize him. like i am waiting for a certain bus at a certain bus stop and i accidentally get on the wrong bus line and it is too late to get out to change it.

if i am going to read i must have an actual book in my hand to mark pages and make notes with a pen. i can't do this whole electronic book thing. not that it is stupid but that i can't make that transition. i also hate it when people tell me, "i just don't read," then i notice they have a facebook and twitter account of which they read ALL. DAY. LONG.

i love that there are certain bands that no one else likes but me (even my wife). the same could be said for certain types of music too. this might be why no one asks me to "put some music on," and this also drives me crazy. i really hate it when i have something playing and then someone will come in and change it or turn it down for something else.

when i turn part 3

i can remember walking into the house liz and i would live in thinking we are moving into this house. i also remember the moment we both said we are moving out of 2010 ola lane in 2010.

i still wish i could be on staff a shady grove church sometimes

i remember when liz told me we were going to have dutch. i didn't react the way she would have hoped and i still feel bad for that.

my dad and i are so much alike. except for the fact that i will not construct a shower facility outside...yes he has one.

whenever my wife and i go to bed at the same time, most nights we will lay in bed watching seinfeld reruns. we have been doing this for years now. i love it.

when ever liz and i go to another country i beg her to allow us to make "our mark" in that country. we are doing pretty good so far across the globe.

i remember driving home from the dealership when i had bought my first car. i felt so cool, until i realized i bought a chevy cavalier.

i remember walking up to an iraqi when i went to denmark on a missions trip and the terror in my mind about the current state of the war. i remember his face as he thanked me for liberating his country. that moment shaped my view for people in that part of the world. he did not know me from adam. every other muslim i had met regardless if they were iraqi or not seemed to want to defend or excuse behavior of their leaders. not this guy, he expressed extreme gratitude.

i remember when i was in high school and hanging out late on the weekend with my friend nathaniel phillips. we were pulled over for curfew violation (we didn't get a ticket). the police officer, thinking he had busted me good, asked me if my parents knew where i was. i told him yes and he called my mom and she verified that she knew where i was. i felt like telling the cop "BOOM SUCKA!" but i didn't.

i have made up my mind to be rock and roll the rest of my life. so i am going to try.

i am so thankful that alcohol and marijuana (or any drug for that matter) didn't appeal to me when i was a teen.

i was a virgin when i married liz, but i remember thinking, "i know exactly how this is supposed to happen" on our first night. and i will never forget the moment she walked around that aisle and was coming to me, it was truly an el rey by the lassie foundation moment.

i wish i was good at poker. when all my friends get together i always decline to play. i know they are all better than me...or am i bluffing?

i hate that i don't consider others more than i should. sometimes i can be so selfish. there is a couple that lives in the same apartment building as liz and me. they go to the same church as well and speak english, but i have no desire to hang out with them. i think that is sorry, but i can't force to be his friend. i don't have the energy right now.

more to come...

Monday, May 9, 2011

when i turn part 2

i blame my parents for all the good attributes in my life

i remember talking to michelle harbst and liz williams in the gym of 1829 on a wednesday night about relationships and i had no thought at that moment my wonderful lifetime bride was on the other end. good thing my a-game was on.

i want to go to kathmandu but have neither the funds nor the thought that it might be ok for me to go right now.

the espresso machine we got from liz's sister katie, is the best thing that has happened since sliced bread.

my wife can start cleanses in one day and have so much determination to stick to them...i wish i could do that.

having more than enough scares me more than not having enough.

i love waking at 530am and thinking about what the lord wants to say. this mean my night life guy is slowly dying, or i should say, he is not seen nearly as much anymore.

i love the thought that even if this whole following god thing turns into being a fraud i still will know i had peace following him anyway.

i love, after being sick and unable to taste food, the first morning when i can taste the intensity of a cup of coffee. on that note, every morning when my lips are touched by the flavor of coffee i literally feel the greatness of god on this earth ;-). i can drink hot beverages in every season...even the summer afternoons will not keep me away from a cup of coffee.

finding that cd of ambient music that can be added to my list of already extensive amounts of music brings joy to my heart. keep it comin helios, hammock, slow dancing society, brian mcbride, and the many more that i haven't named.

in high school most of my hanging buddies were in the class above me. when they left for their senior trip i missed them but remember riding in josh briscoe's le mans listening to p-diddy's remix of the police's every breath you take. that was a sweet remedy for my hearts desire.

i remember being on my knees one night in brad pratt's apartment rededicating my life to the lord. a bunch of guys were there praying over me. transformation happened but not right away.

i remember when i was 12 the family sat down for dinner and i wanted to try some of my dad's beer. he was drinking keystone light. he said ok and i tried it. trying to be able to be like him i was acting as though i liked it...it was the most disgusting thing in the world. keystone light STILL is the most disgusting thing in the world (besides my youngest sons vile poo's).

more to come...

when i turn

sitting here in my apartment i am trying to think of clever words to construct a well thought out story or possibly a grand revelation i have received this week for my life 30 years in. note that it is very difficult to gather thoughts when you decided to not take your child to school and therefore he is home with you. nevertheless this post will be one of transparency...

i love stories that tell of individuals across the world having dreams and in the middle of that dream jesus christ comes to them and reveals who he is. these reports are happening more and more. it stirs me most when it happens to muslims and i can't explain why but i get stirred every time i witness a radical islamic individual come to know the lord through this process of a dream.

i am hanging on to a music dream. i remember the first time i was asked to be apart of levi smith's worship team. it changed my life forever. i also remember him talking about the difference between music as a hobby and music as a calling. i have embraced it as a calling, and hope that even if i never make the "big" stage, i have been able to get into places and reveal the love of god through music ministry. it seems to serve me well.

one day i hope to write a book. my thoughts are about a book that defends how natural the spiritual really is (or at least how god wanted the spiritual to be natural). i know this may be a long process. thanks to gary benjamin i am well on my way as of very recently. this book, i hope, will serve as a help book for professional counselors and pastors that are not professional.

i still wonder many times if i am doing what god had designed for me. call it insecurity, call it immaturity, or call it stupidity but i know i won't let go of him.

i still wonder if i had pursued a soccer career if i would be playing in top tier clubs right now. i hate that i am turning 30 and should be in the prime of my physique and can barely get out of bed some mornings cause my legs are hurting and my back aches.

i do love that in a world of technological advancement (even beyond our control). i am still not caring too much for the next latest toy or trinket. i hold dear to my journal of leather and tree. however, i do prefer the moleskine, which i guess would be considered the technological advancement of someone who enjoys writing.

often there are times in my life when i want people to recognize my intellect, wit, humor, and achievements. i will even do things in order to gain this recognition...crazy huh?

i type the word "the" like this sometimes "teh" and don't catch it (it also happens with "from" being "form").

whenever i think i may have offended someone i will not be able to go to sleep until i know that it has been made right.

right now at this very moment i hate that i cannot provide for my family the way i should when compared to all the rest of the men i know in my life.

i am not in a hurry anymore.

i could easily live with my parents the rest of my life.

i always want to be on the front line of ministry; knowing what god is doing, knowing the politics of the whole thing.

i aspire to write an ambient album that is used for meditation on the word of god.

gel pens (sanford uni-ball 207 gel pen) make my writers mind go crazy. i love them and can never have enough.

if only i could learn your language in a matter of days.

despite knowing the warnings of too much money, i still want more of it to do the things that would be fun.

i constantly struggle with the "us" versus "them" mentality and i like to correct others when they take this strategy.

i still bite my fingernails despite the health warnings.

i wish i could get rid of my "muffin top" torso. and i don't understand how my arms can stay so chiseled.

i often wonder if beards and long hair will ever be acceptable to all cultures as an acceptable business like professional appearance. then again, if it did i probably would do something else just to be counter-culture.

i still remember going to south by southwest with my best friends who let me tag along with them and having the time of my life.

i still remember wishing that an elder at my church would ask me to go to another country with them as they did with my friends, and then getting that chance with my pastor jon dunn. it still brings tears of joy to my eyes.

i remember when i kept wanting to go back into doing things for the ministry after feeling like i would get burned and burned again and liz would get frustrated because she loved me and didn't want me to get hurt again.

i remember being "the guitar tech" for my best friends' band radiant. even though i didn't know more than how to change the strings and tune the guitars. every night i would go to help them at a show i felt so important. this opportunity made me think that i could be in a band one day but i didn't want to right away because i didn't want to stop helping radiant.

i remember when my dad found out i smoked cigarette's and he said, "if you have them in this house you better throw them out or i will throw you out!"

i remember the day i got a phone call from my friend david lancashire who said he wanted to pay my salary to be able to continue working at shady grove.

i remember when i bought, my then girlfriend, liz a new dvd player and blue crush. we watched it in her living room and i felt like i did the greatest thing ever.

1996 state champs! 1998 my senior year i remember having to play center forward to help put our team 3rd in state after losing our star keeper and center forward having to play keeper to replace him. i scored two goals that i will never forget. i also remember having a break away with a guy right on me and due to our athletic shorts being so ridiculous my "package" almost was exposed due to the shorts riding up on me mid sprint. it could have been a hat trick.

more to come...