Monday, October 30, 2006

What do they think we are?

Again my frustration with being bombarded with political advertising boils to the surface.

You have the candidate ads which are , for the most part, positive. Then you have the party ads who are not quite so positive. Finally, you have the 527 ads which are down and dirty. The thinking is that "We need to keep our candidate looking good so someone else can sling the mud!". The faulty logic here is that I believe both the party and 527 ads can back fire on those they are meant to support.

In the Denver area, a good source for what is true, what is false and what is spin is Channel 4's "Reality Check". Check it out!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Challenged again

My preconceived notions were challenged again as I listened to Scott speak about Revelation 3:14-20.

We were lead in several worship songs prior to communion and offering, among them, "I am Free", "Open the eyes of my Heart" and "Blessed be your name".

Scott read from the passage...

"To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:
These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God's creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me."

He then told about Laodicea which had a resort town with healing hot springs on the one side and mountains providing the water on the other. The town was wealthy because they had sheep which gave them a black wool as well as an eye salve.

The problem was that the water was sent from the mountains to the town through an aqueduct which, by the time it arrived and was stored in the water system, had turned tepid.

The things that challenged me, especially in my weekend of challenging podcast listening were...
  1. It is easy to be tepid, apathetic or even distracted.
  2. The "hot" and "cold" don't just talk about a spiritual temperature but that fact that the people were not spiritually refreshing or spiritually healing.
  3. He also talked about how, while the church was well off, they didn't really have the spiritual necessities of life. The illustration here of being poor, blind and naked actually spoke in contrast to their physical situation of being well off, having easy access to the healing eye salve and having easy access to clothing made from the wool.
  4. Finally, he talked about the last verse... "I stand at the door....". I suspect most of us have heard this used in evangelism but Scott pointed out that within the context given, it is actually talking to the Christ followers in Laodicea. He also mentioned that dinner was "The Meal" of the day and so being told that Christ would dine with them was quite special.
Where does that leave us? One of the challenges Scott talked about was that he felt that Northern Hills has been too "consumer oriented" but has been showing signs of more and more people within the church with an expanding desire and a love for God.

Lost in the cast space


Ok, the last couple of days, I have been in the process of catching up. What that means for me is sitting down and listening to the podcasts that I haven't listened to yet.

It also turned out that not all were podcasts. Let me give you my inventory, at least the ones that struck me.
  • Liquid Church HD - Tim Lucas and his church are being given the green light to go out on their own, creating a High Definition church. What struck me about this is how close his desires are to the desires of Northern Hills when creating Whitewater.
  • An interview with Moby (in three parts). Interesting to see how this popular artist (not someone I really listened to but did know about) incorporates his faith and art and the questions they raise.
  • Jim Wallis speaking on Minnesota Public Radio about faith and politics.
  • Jim Wallis and Gregory Boyd debating faith and politics at Bethel University. This was an incredible debate. The questions that the students asked were insightful and ranged from "traditional" thinking to more in line with what Wallis and Boyd were speaking about.
  • Melvin Bray on the Emergent Village podcast. Melvin is a story teller who tells an extended story of the adulteress and Jesus. Honestly, this is the one that really inspired me to post here. The story was touching and incredible! You can also read it on his blog with a little more of the story behind the story here.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

I know.... Weird.

This is weird, I know. I just found out that today is Weird Al's birthday! Happy Birthday Al.

Although sometimes pushing the boundaries of common sense, I have liked his music and parodies for some time now. Al is a great showman and musician. I won't go near musical genius however.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

An interesting way to listen to music.

The pedigree on this is about 6 generations:

It started when my friend and worship leader Dan started blogging, that lead to Rob which lead to Scott. From Scott, I found out about Anthony Coppedge where I learned about his podcast on Creative Synergy which he shares with the author of ChurchVideoIdeas.

This is where it got interesting. Today, ChurchVideoIdeas had an audio related entry that was really COOL. It seems there is a site called Pandora which claims to be the start of "The Music Genome Project". What that means, in so many words, is that they are analyzing music (see the link in the previous sentence.

They have put together a really nice little tool to build Internet radio stations. You enter an artist, it picks a "characteristic song" then links from that to other songs related to that artist or song in some way.

I have tried "Matt Redman", "Lynard Skinard", "Bach" and "Victor Wooten" and haven't stumped it yet!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Wild Life

Yesterday was interesting. We live not far from a large open field, some trees and an irrigation ditch. We have lots of rabbits in our neighborhood as well as in the open area.

Because of the rabbits, we have also seen raptors in the area (Owls and Hawks). Yesterday, we saw two coyote's around 100 yards away. They were actually bigger than I thought they would be and fatter too as we have not been seeing as many rabbits as we used to.

We elected to stay well away from where they were headed!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Put 'em away....

I spent a lot of time going to the new Brighton "Super Target" this weekend. We got tossed out of the store on Saturday.

No, not because of something we did. They were having a drainage problem and the Fire Marshall cleared the store.

Today, we stopped back for the few things we hadn't picked up on Sunday. Then, we found the one thing we forgot (and really did "need") just after we got home.

I ran to the store the third time alone. I parked some distance away from the store but about 3 spots away from a cart corral, those things in the parking lot that are there to put the carts into (that nobody seems to use). These are particularly well designed cart corrals as we do get a lot of wind out on the prairie.

No carts nearby as I ran into the store. When I came back out, however, two carts were near the front bumper. Why can't people walk the 30 feet to put away a cart, especially when I am nowhere near a handy capped parking spot?

What Truth?

I have had this podcast sitting in my player ready to go for days. Since I subscribe, it automatically pulled down.

The title of the talk was "Relational Truth". I was cautious as I pushed the play button. Was I going to disagree with what was said?

Let me say starting off, I was quite impressed.

This podcast was downloaded from the Emergent Village. I realize now that I misread the title of the talk as the speaker was not about "Relative Truth" but says that God, being truth, is a relational God.

I will, on the other hand, say that I don't know much about the Emergent Church movement but I am finding a strange harmony in what I hear from those involved, what I read in the Bible and my feelings.

What's this???

You may have noticed all the images laying around the blog. You also may be wondering "What is it?" or "What does that mean" or "Why do I get all this stuff I don't understand when I click on it?".

This image denotes the RSS feed. To find out more about RSS, you can revisit this and this post....

I did this because I found giving links to podcasts feeds looks really silly unless you really want it. I also found that some blogs don't publisize their feeds so to make it easier, I added the image with a link to their feed.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Compare and Contrast....

Shortly before I heard John Lennon's song "Imagine", I read this post in willzhead's blog.

Here is what I found strange as I listened to the lyrics....
Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one
From willzhead...
This Tuesday there will be a demonstration at the White House, just prior to the time when the President is to sign the Military Commissions Act of 2006, legislation that legalizes torture of prisoners. Further, this bill would eradicate the the writ of habeas corpus for detainees, meaning that we have eliminated the process for determining if the prisoners we are torturing are even individuals of interest. God help us (and I mean that quite literally). This is a terrible piece of legislation and ranks the United States with some of the cruelest and most barbaric cultures.

Tuna Fish

Yesterday, at supper, I looked over at Kyle and said....
You can tune a guitar and you can tune a piano but can you Tuna Fish?
At first he looked at me with a look that said "What is my crazy Dad talking about"? Then the light bulb went on and a great big grin broke across his face with a giggle.

Several years ago I got to hear James Burke speak at a conference in Denver. Burke is a technology historian who has done a book/audio/video series called Connections which traces the evolution of inventions from early history through today.

In that speech, which was at a computer related conference, he talked about how they have not yet developed great speech recognition software because the way we have a computer do things and the way a human brain works is quite different.

They typical way a computer processes speech is to hear a word, look it up, associate a meaning, then proceed to the next word, assembling the meaning as it hears the word.

Burke said that scientists think that the way our brain works is to hear a word and immediately build a decision tree (similar to the one below), eliminating branches of possible meanings as it hears the next word (my phone does this with letters in words if I put it into iTap mode). He also said (and this is where I tie it together), that the scientists believe that what makes a joke funny is that it takes a path not on that decision tree, causing the humor.

(*** This is Kyle and I approve this post ***)

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Admitting the wrong...

I pulled a couple of posts off here last night.

These posts pertained to the politicizing of the Foley scandal. I am still upset about the way things are handled for the following reasons:
  • From the news reports, the sending of IMs to pages was a known issue for years by several in leadership
  • It has been handled poorly politically by all sides of the issues. On the
  • Many (not all) of our "christian leaders" have been strangely silent or have condemmed and then made excuses for Foley's behaviour.
  • The conservatives in congress and elsewhere are using this as a "the liberals are attacking me" excuse to garner sympathy.
  • The liberals in congress and elsewhere are forgetting their wrongs and vilifying the concervatives.
Sometimes, I think we should term limit the lot and start all over with fresh elected officials who care about the people they represent.

All the time, I think we as followers of Jesus should divorce ourselves from the politics of this country and start looking at the people who need Jesus.

This is NOT a cry to say DON'T VOTE. This is a cry to say.... VOTE WISELY!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Yesterday at Northern Hills

My friend Chang frequently posts his impressions of the church service the previous weekend.

I thought I would give my impression of the service I went to. For those that don't know, Northern Hills has 2 different services happening each Sunday. They are called The River and Whitewater. Whitewater is higher energy and the favorite service for my son, Kyle. Although I like the music and feel of Whitewater, I still tend to gravitate toward the River service.

Quick notes off the top! Marcy ran great sound this weekend! The music portion of the worship, lead by Dave was wonderful. Then we've got Scott who has been our speaker.

Each time I hear him speak I am overwhelmed by his passion which overflows his love for God and love for speaking about His word.

This week, we heard a message on Revelation 2:18-25. Most of the message dealt with church discipline as it related to this passage. We quickly moved to Matt 18:15-17 and how to treat those who do not change as a result of this discipline. I had always assumed that verse 17 meant excommunication like the Catholic church practices. According to Scott, "How did Jesus treat the pagans and tax collectors?" He hung out with them, trying to show them the right way through his example.

Book Review: The Myth of a Christian Nation

I can finally say that I am finished reading the book "The Myth of a Christian Nation" by Gregory A. Boyd.

It is a challenging book to read as it challenges a lot of our way of looking at America (or any other country for that matter). Rather than going into an in-depth review, I'll refer you to this review done by Vanguard Church.

Instead, I'll tell you my take-aways.
  • There are two kingdoms that we deal with, the "Kingdom Under Heaven" and the "Power over the Earth".
  • When people who should be more concerned with the "Kingdom Under" perspective become distracted or involved with the "Power Over" perspective, the "Kingdom Under" perspective is distorted or harmed.
  • We, as humans, are prone to tribalism, including being drawn to the "Power Over" viewpoint.
  • Jesus did not concern himself with the politics of this world.
  • If it doesn't "look like Jesus" than it is likely a "Power Over" rather than "Kingdom Under"
The thing that I do like about the book is that
  • It is not partisian, unlike the Randall Balmer book I recently read, in fact, throughout the book, you find very little out the political viewpoints of Boyd.
  • He keeps pointing you at Jesus.
I'm going to read it again soon as I think I need it to sink in further.

Sunday, October 08, 2006


I'd like to congratulate the podcaster of one of my favorites for his 250th show. Coverville's 250th show was well done.

Among the things I liked about this one?

  • The requests from other podcasters at the podcast convention.
  • The Sid Vicious version of "My Way" in punk.
  • Save Ferris' version of "Come On Eileen"
Probably my favorite piece selected was one I had not heard before. Monte Montgomery's version of Dire Straights "Romeo and Juliet". Marvelous acoustic guitar work on that one!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

This morning's walk

Every morning someone walks the dog... Usually it is Marj. On weekends, however, I try to go along. This morning, I grabbed the camera and took this photo as Rocky ran toward me. This is taken in a field about 1 block away from our house.

The backpack was to give him more of a sense of "working" and contains a couple of small bottles of water.

Friday, October 06, 2006

What does it look like?

As I finish reading The Myth of a Christian Nation, the phrase repeated in various contexts over and over again is....

"If it looks like Jesus" or "If it doesn't look like Jesus".

I was listening to the latest news about the school shootings in Pennsylvania and saw something that "Looked like Jesus". According to the news report, the community effected by this shooting...
  1. Asked for prayers for the family of the shooter.
  2. Set up a fund to support the family of the shooter.
In Luke 6:27-30 (The Message) Jesus said...
To you who are ready for the truth, I say this: Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer for that person. If someone slaps you in the face, stand there and take it. If someone grabs your shirt, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. If someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

What's going on?

Romans 1:21-25
What happened was this: People knew God perfectly well, but when they didn't treat him like God, refusing to worship him, they trivialized themselves into silliness and confusion so that there was neither sense nor direction left in their lives. They pretended to know it all, but were illiterate regarding life. They traded the glory of God who holds the whole world in his hands for cheap figurines you can buy at any roadside stand.

So God said, in effect, "If that's what you want, that's what you get." It wasn't long before they were living in a pigpen, smeared with filth, filthy inside and out. And all this because they traded the true God for a fake god, and worshiped the god they made instead of the God who made them—the God we bless, the God who blesses us. Oh, yes!

We have sin headlining the news... Within one week we have had a congressman from Florida resign in discrace and three school shootings. Two of these had intents of sexual assult associated with them.

Do we need any more proof that what Paul wrote in Romans 1 is accurate?

My heart mourns with the parents who's children have been harmed in these events. My spirit grieves with those who are angered by these events.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


I listened to a podcast interview that Catylist did with Louie Giglio... WOW.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Hitting the top...

I find it odd that while our housing market throughout the US, but especially here, is soft, the business news is all about the Dow Jones index hitting the highest point in it's history. Don't get me wrong, as long as the Dow rises, many of the retirement accounts I have in place benefit. I often wonder, however, is this a case of the Rich getting Richer and the poor getting poorer?

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Facing the Giants

My family and I went to see Facing the Giants yesterday. What a wonderful movie. We heard that it was made in Georgia on a budget of < $200K. The story focus is on a coach of a loosing Christian high school football team. Everything in his life it headed downhill, including his job. Granted, it is fiction but quite a professionally done film. My take-aways:
  • Our job, the sport we are in, etc in and of itself are not our reason to live. We are to glorify God whether we are succeding or failing.
  • God can do greater things than we can imagine if we are willing to trust in him.
It started in some of our local theaters this week so GO SEE IT!

Here is the film's publicity story line:

From the award-winning producers of FLYWHEEL comes a new, action-packed, family-friendly drama about a high school football coach who draws up a new game plan for his team … and himself.

In his six years of coaching, Grant Taylor has never had a winning season. Even the hope of a new season is squelched when the best player on his Shiloh Eagles decides to transfer schools. After losing their first three games of the season, the coach discovers a group of fathers are plotting to have him fired. Combined with pressures at home, Coach Taylor has lost hope in his battle against fear and failure.

However, an unexpected challenge helps him find a purpose bigger than just victories. Daring to trust God to do the impossible, Coach Taylor and the Eagles discover how faith plays out on the field … and off.

With God, all things are possible …

This is not a paid promotional ad and no movie viewers were harmed in the writing of this post.