Monday, December 29, 2008

Penn Says..

Penn Jillette is a pretty prominent and outspoken athiest. For those that don't know, Penn Jillette is the guy from the Penn and Teller comedy shows and tour. They've been on various things all over the place.

This story was pretty cool to me. Check out the video below:

If we believe heaven and hell are real, if we believe that eternal life is a reality, how much do we have to hate others to not tell them about it? How much do we hate someone to not tell him a truck is bearing down on them, destined for collision?

He says at the end, "I know there is no God." He says it with such certainty. Something tells me if more people reach out to Penn in love and grace and mercy and truth he will begin to come around. "Something is different about these 'Christian" people'", he'll begin to think.

And something is different. Something is radically crazy about the early church that they would heal and mend those with the plague, knowing they were embracing their own death, but with a single focus only on helping those in need for the honor and glory of Christ. Something is radically crazy about Jim Elliott and many alike missionaries embracing their own death to reach notoriously violent and barbarous tribe with love and mercy.

I'm glad I'm one. And I want to be what Penn calls a "good man". I want to share the cure and purpose for life rather than selfishly hoard it to avoid social awkwardness. Join me.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Conference

December 28-January 1st is always a favorite time of year of mine.

We're currently at Christmas Conference in Indianapolis. It's essentially a gathering of 2000ish college students from around the Great Lakes area who meet to see and savor Jesus. And to have a stinkin good time. I enjoy so many things about the conference. The worship is always rockin, the fellowship refreshing, and the decisions for more of Christ, from believers and non, always numerous.

It was a great reminder of our job description and life when we were introducing the conference. Simply, we know how to throw a good conference. We know how to get people excited and to throw a good party. We're great masters of ceremony. Yet, the reality of anything we do is that apart from Christ intervening in our space and lives and time, we've essentially wasted a lot of time and money. Christ needs to reign and needs to be uplifted in both our hearts and the hearts of these 2000 students. Would you pray for that?

I'll try to post a few times, but the schedule is pretty packed, so who knows.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Blog name? And me!

Apparently everyone has these catchy names for their blogs.  I'm not a big fan of the current name, so if anyone has any good suggestions bring em on!

And I figured I should maybe talk a little about what's going on in my life, as this seems to be the main reason many people read blogs.  (As an aside, how self-absorbed is our culture that we create websites to talk about ourselves?)

Here's a picture of my family:

Not sure why, but I look a bit chinese in that picture, but oh well.

Melissa and I have been married 3 years now, with our fourth coming up in May.  Kinda cool being married, but I'm sure I'll post quite a bit more on that later.

Noah is 3 months old, born on September 13th.  It's crazy being a father.  I think just recently it's started to hit home that I really am a dad now.  Seriously, for the first couple months it just felt like we were long-term babysitters, but since he started smiling at us and recongnizing us, it's opened entire new avenues for him in our hearts, and I've taken being a "daddy" a lot more seriously.  He's becoming a lot more relatable, so we're just excited to spend time with him.

We work at Ohio State with Campus Crusade for Christ.  We've been with them for three years now and are currently raising support to begin our ministry.  Kind've a stressful time, but faith-stretching nonetheless.  I'm sure I'll post much more on that later as well.

For now, I just need a blog name.  Any suggestions?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Busy Weekend

We have a busy weekend ahead. It'll be great. 3 Different Christmas parties and celebrations in NW Ohio in the next two days, then the drive home Monday, then the Thursday drive to Canton to celebrate with my family. Today we have Melissa's family Christmas, which is really great.

Her family has always been really awesome at catering to the needs of the family and being really flexible, which is a huge blessing. We get to have Christmas and Thanksgiving with both families because her family usually does both a bit early so everyone can be there and then go elsewhere on the actual day. I'll tell you what, I'm sure it's saved Melissa and I from having a dispute once or twice by not having to decide where to go on what holiday. So many married couples I know fight over this. Your family or mine?

Plus I love coming to her parents because they always hook us up. Her dad buyes donuts for me just about everytime which is awesome! It's weighing on my midsection but much appreciated. And we always get great meals and family time. Just an overall good time. Now if Noah would just cooperate... for some reason he is being really fussy the last day or two.

Anyways, thanks for reading! I'll try to post more this weekend, but who knows, I may get some awesome toys for Christmas and be totally distracted.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Love of God

What a marvelous thing it is to be loved by God!  And I make no distinction here, Christian or not.  You are loved by God.  You are cherished, adored and the joy of His heart.

At creation what happened was an outpouring of the goodness and love of the tri-une God.  God was totally sufficient in himself, totally satisfied and joyous.  He needed nothing.  Yet he overflowed, and so the birth of creation.  God was so good and loving that his joy overflowed into creation.  He simply had to share His goodness and holiness and love with others.

Yesterday I spent some time meditating over a passage in Hosea.  What a marvelous book!  The love of God towards me just overcame my heart.  That love is available and ready for all.  Take it!

If you have ten minutes right now, I'd love for you to do this faith excercise, or if you like, meditation.  If not, print this out and do it later.  Please.  Again, Christian or not, I'd say to you this is the desire of your heart.  This is your reason for being.  Read the following passage from parts of the book of Hosea.  In places where you see the word Israel replace it with your name.  Re-read and pray over this for ten minutes.  I guarantee you will meet the love of God.

Israel, how could I give you up?
My heart turns against it.
When Israel was a child I loved him,
I myself taught him to walk,
I took him in my arms;
Yet he has not understood that I was the one looking after him.
I led him with reins of kindness,
with leading-strings of love.
I was like someone who lifts an infant close against his cheek;
stooping down to him I gave him his food.
How could I treat him like Admah,
or deal with you like Zeboiim?
My heart recoils from it,
my whole being trembles at the thought.
I will not give reign to my fierce anger,
I will not destroy Ephraim again,
for I am God, not man;
I am the holy one in your midst
and have no wish to destroy.
(Hosea 11:1a, 3-4, 8c-9, NAB)

You are loved by the holy one.  You are adored.  If that is not the greatest news we may receive than I'm in the wrong business.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Oh my

I saw this Paul's blog.  This is awesome.  I thought my proposal was good.  This guy totally takes the cake.  This was done by two church staff members and they did the whole thing with volunteers.

By the way, if you've not seen the movie, check out Enchanted, great flick.

A needed reminder

It's funny just quickly searching other people's blogs how many are focused around the "reason for the season", and they point out how we need to keep in mind just exactly what Christmas is about.  It's funny to me how Christians always feel the need to point out what should be absolutely obvious.  It's like we're so forgetful and aloof and worldly that we need to be reminded, "Oh yeah, this Christmas season is about the Christ that I've fully dedicated my life and will to."

I'm not saying this to bash anyone, and I truly hope this is not received that way.  If anything, the motives of these preachers, pastors, radio people and Christian bloggers are pure.  They are trying to reunite people with the ultimate reality of the universe.  They are pointing out what everyone inherently knows they ought to do: Take some time this holiday season and meditate on the majesty of Christ.  Meditate and think on His greatness and His love.  Be with Him.  Stop the excitement over new toys and games and days off from work and be with the only One who satisfies, the true longing of our hearts.

But we need to be reminded.  We can get so wrapped up in everything.  From the decorations, to the gifts, traveling, money, traffic and snow, this time of year can be a whole lot more hectic than others, and thus, makes it even harder to concentrate on the things that matter.  That's why these "reminder people" are doing a good work.  To me it just breaks my heart that it even needs said.

One church celebrated Christmas last year with perhaps little outwardly to rejoice over.  They had been attacked 14 times.  Their pastor had been wounded.  In fact, they kept buckets of water in the back of the sanctuary just in case.  In case of what?  Well, when their attackers would lob "Molotov cocktails" (bombs made with gasoline-filled bottles) into their sanctuary, they would use the water to quickly squelch the flames.  Then they would return to worship.  These were the prices of being a born-again Christian.  Of being someone who loved Christ.

This church was in Bethlehem.  The same Bethlehem that our Christ was born.

During this time of celebrating the birth of Jesus there is still singing in Bethlehem; "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!" (Luke2:14)

So I join the throng of people to remind you to remember the reason.  Remember Christ.  Let us sing together with them.

-parts of this taken from the "Voice of the martyrs" magazine.  Check it out!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ok, here we go

We're entering into a whole new realm. The blogging world!

As I feel I don't really have a whole lot to say, nor will it be very interesting, something tells me this blog won't be the most popular one in the world.
My heart behind it, though, is:

1. to update friends on my life

2. to practice my writing (an aspiration of mine someday)

3. a new hobby which excercises my mind rather than my hand-eye coordination

4. for fun!

Hopefully this will go well. I'm sure I'll be posting on a variety on subjects including, well, just about anything running through my head.Thanks for visiting! I'd love comments!