Sunday, December 30, 2007


I have finished listening to a series from LiquidChurch called iGod based on Romans 1-3. You can listen here, here and here. It is a great start at adjusting my view of God.

The first in the series dealt with putting God in a Box. My favorite quotes are...
"On the sixth day, God created man. On the seventh day, man returned the favor."
-- unknown (attributed to Pascal)
“You can safely assume that you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.”
-- Anne Lamontt

Blog Psychology at it's best

It may be the blog version of Lucy (from Peanuts) Psychologist stand...

What Your Pizza Reveals

People may tell you that you have a small appetite... but you aren't under eating. You just aren't a pig.

You aren't particularly picky about pizza. It's so good... how could you be? You fit in best in the Western part of the US.

You like food that's traditional and well crafted. You aren't impressed with "gourmet" foods.

You are dependable, loyal, and conservative with your choices.

You are cultured and intellectual. You should consider traveling to Vienna.

The stereotype that best fits you is guy or girl next door. Hey, there's nothing wrong with being average.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

More Coverville Countdown 2007

Coverville just released numbers 24-17 of their countdown of best covers....

I was excited to see the song I nominated as number 22 -- Blake Morgan's version of Paul McCartney's "Maybe I'm Amazed". I was also happy to see Copper Box's version of Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb".

Monday, December 24, 2007

Coverville Countdown 2007

The Annual (I have listened for 3 years now) Coverville Countdown is underway -- 32 to 25 were released today and 40-33 released last Thursday.

My favorites from 40-33? Social Distortion's cover of "Ring of Fire", Joan Jet's cover of "Crimson and Clover", Rufas Wainwright's cover of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" and my favorite of the bunch, the Gypsy King's cover of "Hotel California".

From the lineup I see on the 32-25 list, I can already tell that I will enjoy The Clash's "I Fought The Law" and Bill Kirchen's "Hot Rod Lincoln" (I liked that one enough the first time I heard it I bought it).

While I am thinking about it, the Coverville Blog recently told us about "Yuletide Zeppelin", a mashup of Christmas songs with Led Zeppelin riffs playing in the back. You can read about the song here but download it (legally and free) here.

Friday, December 21, 2007

A National Treasure

We enjoyed the original "National Treasure" so much we took the opportunity to see the second one, "National Treasure -- Book of Secrets", we even hit the first showing today for the $5 tickets (at the Brighton Theater). If you saw the first one, most of the starring roles are reprised and the actors do a great job.

If you want to se a fun mystery it is a good choice.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


I promised book reviews, get ready...

I was reminded of where I left off a couple of Sundays ago. The current sermon series is called "Kingdom of God: Grip It & Rip It" which is on the first chapters in Matthew. The first message was on the Genealogy of Christ, specifically how there are lots of people of ill repute but reformed characters in that lineage, specifically, Rahab, Ruth and Tamar. At one point in the sermon, it was mentioned that not to many people like genealogy. This brought back memories of the book I read when I quit giving reviews.

It is called "A Frederick Family Album: Memories, Pictures and Documents of an Iowa Farm Family" and was written and published by my aunt, Elizabeth VanderSchaaf.

This is not, by far, the first book she has written. In fact, she has more than 14 books behind her now, many of them dealing with my family history but all of them dealing with family history from my side of her family or her husband's side.

This was a fun book to read, especially when it started talking about those I was familiar with, my Grandmother (who died when I was 5) and my Grandfather, my great uncle Elmer, my Dad and Aunt. Of course, many of her memories were of my grandparents, my Father and herself.

There is quite a bit of historical information in there as well. For instance, I skipped over some of the legal documents that were included.

Now to tie things back to the sermon. One of the things that she always said was you tell family history, no matter how bad things looked. The point made by the pastor that Sunday was that you could tell that the lineage of Christ was real because it was not whitewashed but showed the good and the bad.

No More Whoppers?

Thanks to Greg at the Church Video Ideas blog, I had a flashback to my Junior High/High School years.

Youth for Christ held a roller skating night every month that we would go to enjoy. Often, on the way home, we visited the Burger King.

This video is shows what would happen if the Whopper was removed from the menu. I suspect that Burger King hopes this goes viral. I am doing my best to help out!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


We were first told of the shootings at the YWAM campus in Arvada Sunday Morning. That morning Dave, who has done some teaching at YWAM, talked about joy during the music part of the worship service. Dave told us that Joy, unlike happiness, is a choice, not a feeling. Our worship during those services was passionate.

Today I read Psalm 33 (New Living Translation)
Let the godly sing for joy to the Lord;
it is fitting for the pure to praise him.
Praise the Lord with melodies on the lyre;
make music for him on the ten-stringed harp.
Sing a new song of praise to him;
play skillfully on the harp, and sing with joy.
For the word of the Lord holds true,
and we can trust everything he does.
He loves whatever is just and good;
the unfailing love of the Lord fills the earth.

The Lord merely spoke,
and the heavens were created.
He breathed the word,
and all the stars were born.
He assigned the sea its boundaries
and locked the oceans in vast reservoirs.
Let the whole world fear the Lord,
and let everyone stand in awe of him.
For when he spoke, the world began!
It appeared at his command.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Gospel What?

Sometimes we forget that there is a (more?) virbrant and (more?) active Christian community outside the enclave of the United States.

Today I ran across an interesting site called Gospel Reggae. It is very "island" flavored and, with snow on the ground, warms my heart.

The first tracks I listened to were from Ghana (west Africa). It also included tracks from Beliez as well. Artists you can sample include Kenneth Appiah and the Soul Winners, ZiggySoul and Katalys.

You can even visit their "Christafari" kids page.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Friday, November 23, 2007

More Pandora Podcast

In May, I blogged about the Pandora Podcast. They have not only given us audio but have started videos of "Great Places to see Live Music".

The latest of these is on "Red Rocks" and can be seen here.

Red Rocks is one of the places my parents visited on their honeymoon (if I remember right). The fun to watch as I have seen several concerts here as well.

Remiss - Book reviews

If you are wondering, I have not stopped reading. I just stopped mention that here!

I will fix that next month when I tell about the things I have been reading.

Similes and Metafors

One of the podcasts I have been listening to is Grammar Girl. Why?

When I was in college and trying to learn French, I contended that I couldn't learn a foreign language because I didn't know English well enough.

This podcast is a help! You can listen to the podcast I am blogging about here. This particular one is on Similes and Metafors. Within the podcast the speaker (not Grammar Girl this week) states:
People use these figures of speech when speaking romantically. “Dearest, your eyes sparkle as starlight in the water of a deep, cool well.” The speaker is drawing a parallel between his beloved’s eyes and starlight in a well. She doesn’t actually have wells for eyes; if she did, she would slosh when she walked. But her eyes do sparkle, and that is the connection he’s drawing.
I was amused to hear him say "She doesn't actually have wells for eyes; if she did, she would slosh when she walked."

Why are these important? We hear and use these language constructs all the time. Do we recognize them? Quite often not.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Thanksgvining so soon?

It is hard to believe this year has gone so fast. I think the whole family has been suprised by how fast the year has gone by.

Some of that is due to being busy (I have been less busy this year than last but things still go faster than planned).

I have been listening to s sermon series on "Sabbath Living". Not on taking Saturday off but on living inside the margins of your life. Allowing you to get some "space to breathe". I suspect I am on the outside of the margins in my life.

You can find the audio here, here, here and here.

Friday, November 09, 2007

A test of giving and pride

A friend and fellow musician on our worship bands gave me a gift last night that has tested my pride. He had gotten a pair of headphones, then found these, then got another pair of the original as a backup pair. Last night, he offered these to me. THANKS TODD.

I struggled with the gift, offered to pay him for them (he said he'd take a Coke or something). These are the most expensive headphones I have ever used but they also happen to be the clearest sounding headphones I have ever used. As Marj said... What an expression of extravagant love.

Feet washing

In the few days since I was introduced to this print, it is quickly becoming one of my favorites. To get the full story behind the picture, click on it. For the short version, this was used in a promotional campaign in Seattle for seminars on the character of God run by a ministry called Heavenly Sanctuary.

It shows several world leaders with their feet being washed by Christ. The most controversial thing about it is that Osama Bin-Laden is one of those sitting before Christ.
Before you react too harshly and become offended, think it for a bit. We are entering the Christmas season, named after Christ. His message was contrary to the Jewish leaders of his day, promoting love for those around him, rather than hatred. He did not endorse any of the political powers and yet, has influenced the world for 2000 years.

In the "reverse economy" of God, he told us to serve those around us, changing the relationship between ourselves and them from one of equals or, even one of power to one of servitude. This was not only a lecture to his diciples, he deomonstrated it to them (and through scripture, us).

Did Christ die for these people? Yes, each and every one of them. He also died for those they represent or rule. Can the most innocent or the most evil of these people be redeemed? Absolutely! Not through their own doing, however,

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Last play... down but not out...

I am not an avid football fan but I have to give kudos to Trinity University in their last play against Milsap College.

The YouTube description reads:
Trinity wins the game on a 15 lateral play. Miracle in Mississippi Unbelievable last play "Miracle in Mississippi" Unbelievable last play of SCAC title game between Trinity University and Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi on Saturday, October 27, 2007. Play began with 2 seconds remaining in the game Trinity used a total of 14 laterals to take the ball 61 yards for the game winning touchdown division III 3 texas
Here is the video:

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Evan Almighty and Shoddy

We watched "Evan Amighty" tonight. Last weekend, we started a new series called "Shoddy". What do the two have to do with each other?

Evan Almighty is a movie about a newly elected US Senator who get's called by God to build an Ark. Like many of those that are called, he is understandably skeptical. As he get's closer to completing the ark, however, he gets sold out for the task given him. If you are expecting solid doctrine, you will be disappointed. If you are looking for a feel good movie, this will not disappoint.

The sermon series, "Shoddy", is about the book of Malachi, the last book of the Old Testament. Malachi is sent to the people of Israel who were living shoddy lives. To God at that time, it means people who are doing all the right things but are not living the life God really has for them.

Why do I see the connection? In Evan Almight, Evan is asked to do something which is totally crazy. Ignore is duties to the country and build an Ark. As Evan settles down to the task, those around him mock him, he becomes a media freak show. You will, however, need to watch the movie to get the full story.

Throughout the Old Testament, God asks his prophets to perform actions that one person called "little dramas" to get the attention of the people around them. Unwilling to live "shoddy" lives, they do those things, many times, questioning God at the same time. What were some of those actions?
  • Isaiah was asked to walk around naked for 3 years to illustrate the shame Israel would feel in captivity.
  • Hosea was asked to marry a prostitute and later, buy her back out of slavery to illustrate God's forgiveness for Israel (the prostitute).
  • Jonah lived out a drama showing God's forgiveness when he was asked to go to Ninivia to warn them to repent.
Questions that the movie (and the sermon series) are raising:
  • How would I react if God asks me to do something unusual?
  • How would those around me react if I start to follow what God asks?

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Rockies pulled it out.

I am not a huge baseball fan although I did get to a ballgame this year when we had an afternoon group outing. It was two games before the end of the season and we got to see a win.

In fact, at this point, the Rockies have won 19 of their last 20 games (it may be 20 of the last 21 -- as I said I am not a huge fan). That includes the first two pennant games (on the road), the 3 games to get them there and the one game that got them to the post-season play (they were tied for the wild card spot).

It has also been fun seeing my friends blogging about their success. That includes optional:g, and Rob (he posted here and here) as well as Rob's wife.

What I find interesting is this article titled "Batting for Jesus" that was published today in "The Independant", a newspaper in England. It starts out...
Most sports fans are used to praying for a win but one of baseball's rags-to-riches teams have more reason than most to believe a higher power is answering.
Click here to read the whole article.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Erwin McManis on being relevant

Last week the Catalyst conference was held in Dallas, Texas. This is a conference for Christian leadership development. Erwin McManis is one of the speakers. This is a clip.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Back of the hand?

I went to lunch with some friends on Friday. One of the things that came up was the passage in Matthew 5:39 (and Luke 6:29 ) where Jesus tells those listening to him...

But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also.
This sounds quite passive. From what I have learned, it is not. According to this page...
In the society of that time, a slap on the cheek was not intended as a physical injury but rather as an insult, putting an inferior back in his or her place. The strength of that insult depended greatly upon which hand dealt it: as the left hand was seen as unclean, a slap with the left hand was the insult far greater than one dealt with the right hand. This was reflected in the legal penalties for an inappropriate slap: the penalty for slapping a peer with your left hand was a fine one hundred times the penalty for slapping a peer with your right hand; the penalty for slapping a better with your right hand was a fine while the penalty for slapping a better with your left hand was death. The people Jesus was speaking to most directly were, by and large, slaves and the downtrodden. A slap on the right cheek was dealt with the left hand. To turn the other cheek would leave the master with two options. The first would be to slap the slave again, but this time with the right hand (therefore declaring the slave a peer). The second would be not to slap the slave again (therefore effectively rescinding the first slap). Now, such impudence and sauciness would often tend to bring punishment, but it none the less says "Hey, I'm a human. I have rights. You can't treat me like this." It is not an action without suffering for oneself, nor does it inflict suffering on the "enemy": but it does say and do something in a powerful way.

One of my favorite quotes this week?

From Bono, the lead singer from U2:

Religion can be the enemy of God. It's often what happens when God, like Elvis, has left the building. A list of instructions where there was once conviction; dogma where once people just did it; a congregation led by a man where once they were led by the Holy Spirit. Discipline replacing discipleship.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Audio Isaiah

Over the last two weeks, I have been listening to Isaiah on the Daily Audio Bible.

This passage (Isaiah 46:5-11 The Message) struck me...

"So to whom will you compare me, the Incomparable?
Can you picture me without reducing me?
People with a lot of money
hire craftsmen to make them gods.
The artisan delivers the god,
and they kneel and worship it!
They carry it around in holy parades,
then take it home and put it on a shelf.
And there it sits, day in and day out,
a dependable god, always right where you put it.
Say anything you want to it, it never talks back.
Of course, it never does anything either!

"Think about this. Wrap your minds around it.
This is serious business, rebels. Take it to heart.
Remember your history,
your long and rich history.
I am God, the only God you've had or ever will have—
incomparable, irreplaceable—
From the very beginning
telling you what the ending will be,
All along letting you in
on what is going to happen,
Assuring you, 'I'm in this for the long haul,
I'll do exactly what I set out to do,'
Calling that eagle, Cyrus, out of the east,
from a far country the man I chose to help me.
I've said it, and I'll most certainly do it.
I've planned it, so it's as good as done.
The first two lines are telling to me...
So to whom will you compare me, the Incomparable?
Can you picture me without reducing me?
It is quite easy to recreate God in our image. We reduce God to a managable god. Some think of him as loving but not just, some think of him as just but with no grace. Some even go as far as the rest of the paragraph, talking about how it is easy to replace God with an image we not only construct in our minds but with our hands. The next paragraph is the rebuttal...

Remember your history,
your long and rich history.
I am God, the only God you've had or ever will have—
incomparable, irreplaceable—
This is good because any god I could make would be quite destructable, not crafted well and definately replaceable.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

100K in 20 years

Yesterday I filled up the gas tank in my truck. It is a 1988 Toyota pickup with no bells or whistles... The you could say the maunal windows are "automatic by arm-strong". It can barely fit the family in the front seat. We are the 3rd owners, buying it from some friends in the early '90's with less than 35,000 miles on it.

It is the somewhat legendary 4 cylinder engine and has been quite reliable and, since having the thermostat changed out, has been very comfortable. It rides like a truck because it has suspension set up for 4x4 travel, something that has come in handy more than once in snow.

As I mentioned, yesterday I filled up the tank and as is customary, filled out the log book with the miles, price and quantity. The odometer read 100125.4. We finally cleared 100k miles. I have heard rumors of this engine going 300k miles with care so I figure I have another 40 years with this truck.

Monday, September 17, 2007

A new perspective on the apostles

I have often wondered why the 12 followed Christ so easily and quickly. After all, the call was simply "Follow Me".

Pastor Rob explained this yesterday as:
  • Jewish boys at the time of Jesus memorized the Torah (the first 5 books of the Bible) by the age of 10, starting at 6.
  • If you were an exceptional student and "made the grade", you were promoted and got to memorize the rest of the Old Testament by the time you were 14.
  • If you were exceptional with that, you graduated and were then taught the the theology and traditions behind the law until you were 18.
  • A hand picked number of boys then actually got to study with a rabbi... If you were a good student with good character. You would then become a rabbi yourself at around 30.
Rob then explained that Jesus was considered a rabbi or some renoun for his understanding of scripture and walked up to 12 men who, because of their professions, likely didn't make the grade somewhere along the line. He than said "Follow Me". From the text, many of these guys may have been young men of around 20 or younger. They would have been eager to be recognized by a rabbi and asked to follow. On top of that, this is someone who was well known.

Little did they know what they were in for!

Thursday, September 06, 2007


I know that those of us that are not from the Catholic tradition sometimes look down on the "rite" of confession. I ran across an interesting site today, however. It is called Christians Confess.

One of the things I find interesting about it is that, although I think confession is healthy, here you do not confess "sin" but you apologize. I am not sure there is a difference... On the other hand, I am not so sure there isn't.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


I know I have mentioned before that I thought we tend to look at our faith through culture colored lenses.

I was struck with this a few times over the past weeks. A few months ago, I read a post from Greg Boyd who mentions the influence the Greek culture had on our view of God and prayer.

Then, recently, I listened to a podcast of a couple of philosophers, Jack Caputo and Richard Kearney, talking about the effect of Greek philosophy on the teachings of the early church. It is pretty dry but I included the link to part one above.

Some of the effect that Greek philosophy had was the process of reasoning but much of it tended to try and define God.

Yesterday, on the recommendation of my friend Dave, I (finally) listened to "Ten Shekles and a Shirt" on Judges 17. The message was given by Paris Reidhead many years ago. In this message, he talks about the effect that humanism has had on the Gospel since the 1800s when Darwin started the movement.

My thoughts?
  • We need to start looking to the God of the Bible, not the God we think is in the Bible.
  • While one of the reasons Christ died on the cross was to offer us salvation, "It's not about me"!
  • Once we start letting other philosophy's form our view of the Bible, we start getting off track.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Google Earth adds Google Sky

Have you recently upgraded your Google Earth program recently? They have now added sky maps. There is a button on their top menu bar which flips it around.

The image of Polaris (center) on the left was generated using this (you can click to enlarge). Each of the blue dots in the image can be clicked to reveal photos taken by the Hubble Space Telescope.

Now, if I could just remember the constellation names.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Pride and Amazement

First the pride. Yesterday (Saturday) Kyle went to a test at his Martial Arts studio. Here is a picture of the results.

He was given his middle brown belt. The guy with Kyle is his Karate instructor.

This is only 2 belt levels away from the provisional black belt. To get his black belt, Kyle will need to become proficient in self defense (sparing) as well as better conditioned.

On another note, Marj took her test to go to a purple belt. She has already broken her first board, learned lots of self defense and done quite a bit of sparing.

(Should I be afraid?)

Now for the amazement.

We have been going through I John in church for the last several weeks in a series called Ignite. The classic verses, the ones I remember most from I John is I John 4:7-8 which says:

Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. (New Living Translation)
In context, this verse is talking about loving others who are followers of Christ.

What amazes me is how picky we are as a group to call people names, level accusations and all around, enjoy others pain.

I ran across a website (I will let them remain nameless lest I start to fall into the trap) which blasts any Christian organization, denomination, church or person who they don't agree with. This includes differences of "minor" theology or practice.

What are my list of "major" theology... I heard one good explaination... The things contained in "Mere Christianity" by CS Lewis. These cover the basic life and death of Christ, basic thoughts on God and the Trinity. These are things that as I have re-explored my faith, I haven't questioned. What are the minor things? Things like Free Will vs Predestination. Views on the end times, etc. Things that are, quite frankly, gray areas that have been discussed by theologins for many years.

So, these verses in I John, tell me that in spite of where the guy next to me in church is on any of these issues, my duty (not choice) is to love him. Now, the word "love" here is not typically they way Hollywood sees it. The word in the Greek is agape (there are at least 3 other words for love in the Bible meaning other things). The easiest explanation here is the sort of love that a parent has for their child.

How then, can we turn around and blast someone who differs on the minor points and call that love? I am sure that some can do that. I don't see it, however. It makes those in that are trying to follow Christ look petty and childish. That reminds me of another verse about love...

Friday, August 24, 2007

More on God's Warriors

My guess on the common thread for the program "God's Warriors" was nearly right.

Part 1 was God's Jewish Warriors which concentrated on the struggles around the West Bank area in Israel. Here the common thread is they believe when they fully control Israel, the Messiah will return.

Part 2 was God's Muslim Warriors which looked a lot at the terrorist activities but also tied into the chain-reactions that Israel and the US have "caused". The militant Muslims like Bin Ladin believe that the presence of our troups on their soil defiled their land. Muslims also believe, however, in a coming Messiah. This Messiah is the grandson of Mohammad. One of the more touching parts of this segment was the desperation felt by the Palistinations due to being forced into what they call "apartheid".

God's Christian Warriors was part 3. The first hour concentrated on the link between conservative politics and the Christian Right. It highlighted Jerry Falwel, his last interview before his death, as well as serveral others in that movement. Again, the issue of apocalypse showed up as the show talked about churches who are helping to fund illegal West Bank settlements.

I thought the series was well done, fairly well balanced

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Warriors, the war and the Peace

Tonight, I started watching a series on CNN call God's Warriors. Tonight is God's Jewish Warriors, tomorrow, God's Muslim Warriors and Thursday, God's Christian Warriors. Since I am only 20 minutes into th show, I can't tell you much what it is about but I will try and report more later. I do, however, sense an interesting common thread -- Apocalypse.

The history behind this is that for some time now, I have been thinking a lot about the Kingdom of God and what that might mean. (The link pulls a list of all mention of that phrase in the Bible).

The really odd thing about this was 2 weekends ago when Marj and I went to see The Bourne Ultimatum. The movie is an action and violence packed adventure telling a story of cover-up and deception (I guess you can't cover-up without deception). About half way through the movie, I was struck by the difference between "The Kingdom Under Heaven" (the kingdom of God) and the "Kingdom of this world"(Satan's domain), even if only a fraction of what was being done in the name of patriotism in this movie was true.

Shortly afterward, while still watching the movie, these thoughts started running through my head: "The Kingdom of God is like..." followed by various analogies from Jesus' words.

In spite of Christiane Amanpour's assertion, are these people really God's warrior?

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Computer Problems

No, not the one I am typing on. The computer in our office was being primarily used as a print server for the Marj's and my Laptop as well as a file server. For some reason, most likely a cooling fan, it died. Oddly enough, so did our printer so we were forced to purchase a new one.

As a result, we have a set of printer cartridges. If you have an HP printer that can use the "78" tri-color, we have a cartridge (still in packaging) looking for a home. You'll need to talk to Marj on the price... Personally I might just give it away but I wouldn't make any promises.

There is also a partially used 78 and a partially used 45 (black) cartridge that I would happily give away but they need to be handed off quickly.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday to Kyle.

12 years ago at this time, I was (calmly) driving Marj to the hospital where we would have a son.

Kyle Gordon was the name picked out on the way to the hospital. Gordon is a family name in Marj's family.

We love you Kyle!

To honor the day, I am on vacation!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Chicken and the Pig

My post yesterday talked about Anna's thoughts on being Fit or Fat. My friend (and pastor) Scott discussed the same post here, adding his take on being a Consumer or Contributor.

This is a common illustration in the software industry. In fact, we call it the "The Chicken and the Pig go to Breakfast".

The story goes something like:

A chicken and a pig went to breakfast one morning and talked:

Let's start a restaurant!

What would we call it?

Ham and Eggs!

No thanks. I'd be committed, but you'd only be involved!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Fit or Fat?

On one of the blogs I read (see it here), a woman told about loosing 60 pounds and how it changed her perspective.

She then goes on to talk about the difference between "Fit" or "Fat" Christianity.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Whatever happened to Country Music?

I've often said that the only types of music I don't like are Opera and Country. The odd thing is I do like Classical and Bluegrass.

Tonight, however, a Country Music Association program was on and I listened to a couple of the songs and decided that the new face of Country Music is more like Rock 'N Roll. Yes, the vocals are a little different but the words really are not. The instrumental backing sounds very similar.

I may have to change my tune about Country. Now if they could just do something about Opera...

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Roof Tile Syndrome

Roof Tiles
I was introduced to this phrase coined by Mark Buchanan. You can read his article here. It refers to the story of Jesus healing the paralized man in Mark 2:1-12. Unfortunately, I am somewhat familiar with this syndrome. Buchanan defines it as:
Roof-tile Syndrome is when we are so caught up in the preaching of Jesus, we turn our backs to the needs of those still outside the building. We become barriers and not gateways. It's when we care more about keeping things intact than about restoring lives that are shattered. It's when we're more upset when stuff gets broken than excited when the broken are mended. It's when church gets reduced to the preaching of Jesus so that we fail to notice that we're seeing very little of the forgiveness and healing of Jesus. It is when we are so fearful about upsetting the religious folk (or homeowners) in our midst that we stop taking risks to get people to Jesus.
I have attended churches with this syndrome. And, of course, if you expand the definition a little, you not only see it in churches but in business, familes -- life in general.

Why is this? Because we always seem to forget that God is BIG and I am not. It is not about me.

Over the last 20 years, I have seen Roof Tile Syndrome:
  • In a church that had people unwilling to go one Sunday because there was no message, just music.
  • In a company that was trying to change the culture (in my opinion, for the better) but people would need to learn new job skills.
  • In families who are unwilling to accept the childrens new husbands or wives.
The funny thing is, as much as change sometimes hurts and the process of ripping apart the roof-tiles is uncomfortable, I want to be a part of a family and church willing to do that for the Kingdom of God.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

God's Pie

A couple of days ago, I ran across this video from Central Christian Church in Las Vegas called "God's Pie". This video won the Best in Show Award at the Buzz Conference.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Jabez was a whiner!

A few years ago, a great debate raged in the Frederick household. It started when Marj brought home "The Prayer of Jabez". In my really abbreviated version of the book, the author talked about this guy mentioned in 1 Chronicles 4:9-11 who asked God for a better life and God granted his request. In a discussion with my allergist, he gave me an immediate dislike for the book before I ever read it, an opinion he shared with me.

The book sold many copies. Without knowing the author, I can only suggest that if he didn't mean to preach a "Health and Wealth" gospel, people were misinterpreting him.

Why do I say Jabez was a whiner? Listen to how the verses read in the New International Readers Version:

Jabez was more respected than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez. She had said, "I was in a lot of pain when he was born." Jabez cried out to the God of Israel. He said, "I wish you would bless me. I wish you would give me more territory. Let your powerful hand be with me. Keep me from harm. Then I won't have any pain." God gave him what he asked for.

Why people think that because Jabez did this, it will work for me, I don't know. Somehow I must have missed the prayer that Jesus prayed to do the same.

I do remember the story of the widow who complained to the judge and here request was granted. I remember more, the commands to feed the poor, care for the widow, give water to the thirsty and cloth the naked.

I may be way off base but... This is a discussion that still pops up in our house from time to time but I don't think Jabez's prayer is as favored as the author would like it to be.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

More small things

Some time ago, I posted this. Here is another one.

Two weeks ago, we were given a new band schedule through the end of the year. Dan, our worship leader, sent a different schedule out, adjusting dates and a few things.

Yesterday at work, I was given a pager schedule (when I need to carry that dreaded pager). I put both of those schedules into my calendar and discovered I do not ever carry the pager when I am playing. I was amazed.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Dump the Comments

I noticed load time with click comments was a little longer than I think it should be so...

Good bye Click Comments.

Monday, June 18, 2007


In music, dissonance occurs when you have two notes that are in an interval that doesn't please your ear. One such interval is "The Devil's Interval", or the tri-tone. This is essentially a C - F# interval. Played in the right context, however, it can be used to resolve to a more pleasing chord.

I learned a new term on Saturday -- Cognative Dissonance. Cognative Dissonance occurs when what you do and what you believe is in conflict with each other. Romans 7 shows us some great examples. Way to often, when we see cognative dissonance occur in our own life, the response is to either doubt what we believe, or define a new version of what is right (see Romans 1).

I have heard that there is a study that show an amazing number of High School graduates fall away from their faith when they attend College. I wonder if this is due to cognative dissonance? While intellecutally, these students are challenged and those challenges are often blamed for changing student's faith, I suspect a bigger factor is that there are too many temptations that are not appropriately handled. Once they are not appropriately handled, it can lead to a cognative dissonance. It is then easier to give up on my faith than to correct the source of the problem.

Now, my concern is, if Kyle is heading out into the world in a few years, away from Mom and Dad, he will undoubtedly face these issues -- even the Apostle Paul did. The common response from many is to tighten down the screws of legalism. Control the behaviour and you control the person. I can't believe that this sort of response shows that overflowing grace talked about in the Bible. I don't however, have an answer other than prayer.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Cultural Taboos

This is something I deal with daily. Not my taboos but others. You see, I work with several people from India. Most of the Indian's that I deal with are vegetarians who, for religious reasons, find eating meat taboo.

According to one online dictionary, taboo is defined as
  1. proscribed by society as improper or unacceptable (adj)
  2. a prohibition or interdiction of anything; exclusion from use or practice. (noun)
  3. to put under a taboo; prohibit or forbid.
Many of those things we count as taboo we have good reason for. Driving while intoxicated should be taboo as it puts others in danger. The Bible has prohibitions on sex outside marriage as it is against God's ideal and as we have found, can lead to contracting an STD, pregnancy, etc.

What is disappointing to me is when we make something taboo when there is no danger to others or prohibition in the Bible. Doing this tends to put us above God.

Today, as part of my Daily Audio Bible listening (June 15th actually as I am two days behind because of some download problems previously) we heard Acts 10. This is where Peter is in a
trance, sees the sheet and is told to eat all the animals previously thought to be unclean.

It is tempting to look at these verses and just think about the pork (or some other unclean dish) we had for dinner. In fact, this is how I looked at it for years.

Looking at the context of the story, however, the trance happens as the servants of a Roman army officer is on the way to ask Peter to hear the message of Christ.

Had this happened one day earlier, Peter would not have seen the servants as they would have been unclean. There was a religious taboo against seeing these men as it was against the laws of Moses. Jesus, however, had set a different example and we assume Peter was there to see most of these examples. Jesus spoke with a Samaritan (taboo) woman (taboo) (John 4). He healed the servant of a Roman Officer (taboo) (Luke 7). He healed on the Sabbath (taboo) (Mark 3). He spent time with sinners and tax collectors (taboo) (Matt 9).

Peter was given new instructions though. It was now permissible to eat unclean animals. It was permissible to talk to the unclean people (like me?).

This brings me to the question at hand. What cultural taboos should I be breaking to better follow Christ's example of reaching those who need him? The other side of this issue is if others are breaking my taboos, do I need to give them grace in order for God to be glorified.

Monday, June 11, 2007

New feature - Click Comments

I added Click Comments to this blog. Why? I don't know. I am surprised when someone tells me "I was reading your blog" or when I get an email to that effect. I have several friends who I know read the blog. I have also found I enjoy the feedback but often, there are people who have had some sort of technical problem leaving a comment.

I have often found that, although I like the feedback and I know others like feedback on what they write, it is sometimes quite brief so this allows you to quickly add a comment, just by clicking, no text necessary!

Saturday, June 09, 2007


While listening to the Grammar Girl podcast yesterday, I learned about a new punctuation mark. Honestly, I don't know how new it is, maybe I wasn't paying attention in class that day.

It is called an interrobang and is used in suprised questions. For example ...

What‽ You won the lottery‽

The name makes sense to a computer geek, as it is an interogerative and the "!" is called a bang in unix (computer operating system and C programming) speak.

Friday, June 08, 2007

iLounge - The Free iPod book

If you have an iPod, you may want to check out iLounge . They are offering their "The Free iPod Book 3" for the cost of downloading it. There are a lot of advertisements but also some good information. The need to pay for it somehow though so maybe you get what you pay for!

As of this writing, the download is in a large banner near the top of the page.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Tech Support

A friend recently introduced me to this video. It has to be one of the funniest tech support videos I have seen!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Kyle's World Wide Debut.

A couple of weeks ago, Kyle and I were listening to the My Trivia Podcast #79. Evey couple of weeks they do a "Who am I round" which allows callers (or those who email) to answer the question outside the show being listened to. The answers are given in a later show.

As we listened to the "Who am I" for that show, Kyle knew the answer so I suggested he call the answer in.

If you listen to the answers in Episode #81, you can hear Kyle answer the question.

If you would like to find out more about the show, follow the link to My Trivia Podcast.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Mr Smith goes to Washington

Kyle & I caught the last 45 minutest of this Jimmy Stewart/Francis Capra movie. Sometimes I think it should be a pre-requisite for any politician prior to running, then again, after they have been elected.

AMC (the movie channel) said that it was considered an un-American movie as it was too critical to those that held the offices at the time.

If you have never seen the move, rent it! The message contained in the movie is that a politician works for ALL the people they represent, not just the rich few.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Farewell to Falwell

The question on the bus on Tuesday was why the flags were at half mast. Nobody figured it out. We did find out that Jerry Falwell had died. I still don't know if it was related as Law Enforcement Memorial Day was Monday or Tuesday as well.

I remember in the early 1980s when Falwells Moral Majority came into prominince. It was the Regan years and it seemed that "Christians would finally get what we deserved". We may have, I don't know. I know that many of the changes in our society in those years have not been pleasing to God or to Christians. Some changes in society may have been pleasing to Christians but maybe not to God, something I won't judge here -- just a tendency to think that what we think is good is not necessarily reflecting God.

I don't know if Falwell's work there slowed the slide towards Chaos or if it had any effect at all. You see, God is in contoll, whether we recognize it or not.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Sometimes it's the little things

Sometimes it is the little things which show us that God cares for us.

Today, I need that reminder (more about that at a later date).

The background? Due to an effort to save money, I have been taking my lunch nearly every day for over a year. The lunches consist of a frozen entree which tends to saves at least $5 daily.

Today, I grabbed the one from the freezer which looked "the best" for the day, a nice little Italian dish with noodles, sauce and meat. It felt a little light so I did a quick check to see if I had gotten just a box. No, from the check, things looked normal so I packed it in my bag and headed out the door. That was my first mistake.

Around lunch time, I went to the break room to heat it up, pulled it out of the box and found I only got one of the three ingredients -- the noodles. Disappointed but not defeated, I figured I'd pop down to the nearest sub shop and buy a nice sandwich and chips. The shop even has Diet Dr. Pepper in the soda machine, a bonus!

A few minutes later, my boss pops in and I hear something about being interested in lunch. I shout out that I am interested and ask where he was going. He said a vendor he was meeting with has bought lunch for the meeting and there were some left that they would share. When we got up there, I found a nice turkey sandwich and a Diet Dr. Pepper.

Considering this sort of thing has happened several times, I hardly think it is an accident!

Thanks God!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

World Views

This evening, I received an email from an organization. That mail was deleted but it gave me a new realization.

I have been bothered every time I hear the words "Biblical World View", the hairs on the back of my neck stood up. I have taken shots trying to figure out why it bothers me so much but tonight I think I have the issue figured out.

My first attempts of figuring out why it bothered me were along the lines of...
A "Biblical World View" depends on someones interpretation of the Bible. What if their interpretation and mine don't match up?
Tonight, the light bulb went off above my head when I read those words. The thing that is bothering me is that I am on earth to help prepare for God's Kingdom, whatever that means, not "follow the Bible" (it's a side effect). If that is the case, should I not be more concerned with a "God's Kingdom World View"?

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Bottom Feeders

Yesterday, I listened to this message from Woodland Hills titled "Leadership with a Limp". The summary is as follows:
  • We are created to fill ourselves with a relationship to God.
  • Anything we fill ourselves with that is not God is idolitry. We often fill ourselves with praise, judgment of others, etc.
  • If we are feeding that desire with Judgment, we are bottom feeding, similar to catfish, etc.
  • We need to remove that plank from our eye before trying to remove the spec from other peoples.
  • In order to lead well, we can not hide our faults and sins, if we do, it can become a different form of idolatry.
If there is any question that I "limp" feel free to contact my wife.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

A conference and a challenge.

This weekend, Marj and I attended a Family Life Marriage conference at Northern Hills. I left with a lot of mixed feelings.

Let me first tell you that the conference was quite good. It dealt with communication and the road blocks that are put up that inhibit communication. The longest married couple had been married for 40 years, the newest for 10 weeks with at least one engaged couple there.

One thing that struck me as we were going through the material was how easy it is to pull scripture out of context. I'll use some examples here...

I remember seeing the picture of Jesus standing at a door, poised to knock. This is based on Revelations 3:20.
“Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends. (New Living Translation)
Typically, this is used as an evangelism tool. That is not, however, the use that was intended for that verse. In fact, it is quite the opposite. That verse is stuck at the end of a passage that John wrote to the church in Laodicea. This is asking the people of that church to get rid of their apathy.

The question I have been dealing with is the ethics of using a verse out of context. This is something I see being done all too often.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Pandora Podcast

A few months ago, I discovered Pandora and shared it with a friend (and I think here).

This week, my friend told me about the Pandora Podcast.

Pandora is part of the Music Genome Project, an effort to analyze music. The result is their player which allows you to enter a song or the name of an artist. That song or a song from that artist will be played, followed by songs which are similar in sound or style to the one you entered.

Their podcast is also is an analysis project full of information. They have shows that talk about the basics of harmony, drums, bass, guitar, guitar effects, major and minor, vocal mic placement in recording and several more.

So far, only 11 podcasts have been produced but they are full of information!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

It's not your Fathers America

Daylight again, following me to bed
I think about a hundred years ago, how my fathers bled
I think I see a valley, covered with bones in blue
All the brave soldiers that cannot get older been askin' after you
Hear the past a callin', from Ar- -megeddon's side
When everyone's talkin' and noone is listenin', how can we decide?

(Do we) find the cost of freedom, buried in the ground

Mother earth will swallow you, lay your body down
Find the cost of freedom, buried in the ground
Mother earth will swallow you, lay your body down
(Find the cost of freedom buried in the ground)
-- "Find the Cost of Freedom", Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
I have been around this world long enough to remember a lot of privileges or freedoms that have gone away in the name protection. For example:
  • I remember going to the local airport and watching the planes. Watching the passengers board and de-plane, watching the planes take off and land. Not from a concourse but from an overlook with emergency stairs to the tarmac.
  • I remember cars without seat belts and no requirement to buckle-up.
  • I remember when the voting age was dropped from 21 to 18 because "if you were old enough to "die for your country" you were old enough to vote.
  • I remember when the drinking age was 18 or 19 country wide for the same reason.
What happened? Hijackings, deaths due to no seatbelts, drunk driving deaths. Are these "good enough reasons"?

This week we were saddened by the deaths at Virginia Tech. What more evidence of a broken world do we need?

In a conversation with a friend this week, the conversation changed to "we need to do something to protect these students" came up. After listening to the argument, I asked, "At what cost to freedom?". My ancestors for 3 or 4 generations have served in the military to guarantee freedom for themselves and their children as well as to fight injustice.

Looking at the changes to freedoms over the last 40 years or so, each one, taken individually is a "good thing". Taken as a group, however, I wonder.

I wonder if we, as citizens, have lost common sense, self-control and the power of observation. A case in point was the McDonalds Coffee burn lawsuit which netted the woman quite a bit of money for doing somethin my mother would have told me not to do. The result is not, of course a loss of freedom but all these crazy warning labels that, for the most part, are ignored because many people do have common sense.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Observations on Joshua - Taking Sides

If you would like an intro and haven't read my previous "observation" you can go back and read it here.

At the end of Joshua 5, the people have successfully entered the land they were promised and are poised to take Jerhico. Joshua is out doing something (the text doesn't really say what) at the end of chapter 5. verse 13-15 and we read (New Living Translation):

When Joshua was near the town of Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with sword in hand. Joshua went up to him and demanded, “Are you friend or foe?”

“Neither one,” he replied. “I am the commander of the Lord’s army.”

At this, Joshua fell with his face to the ground in reverence. “I am at your command,” Joshua said. “What do you want your servant to do?”

The commander of the Lord’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did as he was told.

Here is Joshua and Israel about ready to follow orders that are strange, marching around a city to conquer it, and we find out that God's army is not on Israel's side but on Gods.

Why did that catch my attention? Because way too often we find a righteous cause and assume that because it is what we think God would approve of (or even has told us to do) that he is on our side.

The choice as I see it is not whether God is on our side but are we on Gods?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Observations on Joshua

Yes, I do mean the 6th book of the Bible.

The Daily Audio Bible has now finished Genesis through Deuteronomy. As I have been listening to Joshua I have had a couple of "ah-ha" moments.

Let me set the stage. The people of Israel have been wandering around the wilderness for 40 years while the generation that left Egypt have all died off. Moses has just died and Joshua took over and has asked the people for their loyalty. Joshua 1:16-18 (NLT) says:
They answered Joshua, “We will do whatever you command us, and we will go wherever you send us. We will obey you just as we obeyed Moses. And may the Lord your God be with you as he was with Moses. Anyone who rebels against your orders and does not obey your words and everything you command will be put to death. So be strong and courageous!”
At Northern Hills, we have recently finished a series on "Heros" which was based on Judges. The theme is that the people drift away from God to worship idols. The people end up being oppressed by other people in the area. God raises up a leader to help liberate the people. The cycle starts all over again. By the end of Judges, you start asking why?

I think these verses shed some light on it! The people replied "...And may the Lord your God be with you as he was with Moses..."

This stuck out becase here it appears that they never personalized their relationship with God. That was Mose's and Joshua's job to them.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The iPod as a learning tool...

I can tell you that while people keep buying them, there are those that still see no real use for an iPod. Because they are an "electronic device", their use is frowned upon during take-off and landing in planes.

We did, however, put Kyle's iPod to good use last month. You see, Kyle auditioned for a part with lines in the school spring play at his school. Since Kyle is busy but can memorize well, he didn't know his part as well as the teacher would have liked. To help with this problem, Marj and I got his script, read lines into some recording software (Garage Band in this case) and had him load it onto his iPod. Running through his lines with the lines we recorded (everything around his), he was able to memorize them quite quickly.

Wonder if that would work for Scripture memory!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Life at home without a net

I would have to agree with you if you were to call our situation this week trivial. However, being unplanned, it made things tougher.

You see, on Tuesday evening, I decided to tighten the security on our wi-fi (wireless internet) and, in the process of an upgrade, caused the device to go into an endless (if one or two hours weren't proof of that, I'll send it to you for verification) cycle.

A call to Qwest and magically, another is on the way, as long as you agree to pay for it.

Yes, I had internet access at work but due to the fact that my employer allows me to use it for work I don't like abusing the privledge.

We are back on-line now....

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Ice Floats -- That's cool!

I started to think about this while filling my water glass...

Because ice floats you get natural convection. This cools the bottom of the glass as well as the ice cooling the top, making the drink that much more refreshing.

Cool Huh!

Friday, March 30, 2007

Bono honored

Today, on his Leave it Behind blog, Brian Bailey (author of The Blogging Church) posts about an award given to U2's Bono for work done on Project One.

Check out the post, which highlights the speech as well as the speech itself.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

"Pause and think of that"

As I mentioned a couple of months ago, I have been listening to the Daily Audio Bible. Last week's version was the Amplified Version. The hook with the Amplified it to take words that are somewhat poorly defined and give several alternative meanings.

Hearing the Amplified read out loud annoys me as often as not because you get several definitions run together as when reading. One example is Romans 12:3 (read it aloud and all the words, even the ones in parentheses for effect)...

For by the grace (unmerited favor of God) given to me I warn everyone among you not to estimate and think of himself more highly than he ought [not to have an exaggerated opinion of his own importance], but to rate his ability with sober judgment, each according to the degree of faith apportioned by God to him.

One such word, as you go through Psalms is the word Selah. The effect was not annoying but inspiring when I heard over and over....

Selah [pause, and think of that]

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Christus Victor Ministries and Practicing the Presence

I ran across the Greg Boyd's blog tonight. Greg is a pastor, and author. He has a tendency to be somewhat controversial (this might be an understatement). On the other hand, as time goes by, he is helping to answer a question I have had for some time... How much has America's "version" of Christianity diverged from what Christ intended?

One of the most interesting posts that I looked at, however was More "Practicing the Presence". The introductory paragraph really stuck out to me...
One major problem many American Christians face is that we tend to embrace a magical view of the Christian faith. We assume that if a person “prays the sinners prayer,” “surrenders their life to Christ,” and “accepts Jesus as Lord of their life,” this somehow magically “saves” them and will sooner or later magically transform them – if not in this life, then in the next. This is why most evangelical churches place so much emphasis on the “conversion experience.” The trouble is, this magical view of faith doesn’t work. Research shows that, in terms of their core values and behaviors, Christians differ very little from their non-Christian neighbors. We don’t consistently experience, and therefore don’t consistently manifest, abundant kingdom LIFE.
Go read it and let me know what you think.

Sunday, March 25, 2007


Homeward bound
I wish I was
Homeward bound
Home, where my thoughts escaping
Home, where my musics playing
Home, where my love lies waiting
Silently for me
-- from Simon & Garfunkle's "Homeward Bound"
It is always somewhat bitter-sweet coming back home from a long vacation (more than a couple of days), especially when that vacation is truly relaxing.

It is good to be back but there is all the "around the house" chores that need to be done. At the same time, there is the realizaton that I need to go back to work on Monday. (if I had only bought that winning lottery ticket).

It was good to see family and spend some time together. Due to distances, we haven't really gotten to spend much time with Catherine and her family (Pete, Ryan and Rachael) so it was nice to do that. It was great to meet Mario's wife Wanda and see his daughter Jewel as she has grown since we saw her last.

Now... Back to the chores!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Vacation day 8

Day 7 was recovery from day 6. It included internet and grilling.

Day 8, Kyle went with the cousins to Disney's Animal Kingdom. Marj and I went for a drive which included eating at Joe's Crab Shack (the Florida Grouper was quite good), a swamp boat ride and a visit to the medical clinic which diagnosed Marj's outer ear infection.

The swamp boat ride was fun. They seem to like showing people the local 'gator population. We also saw sand hill cranes, raccoons and a turtle.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Vacation day 6

On Saturday morning, we checked out of our temporary spot at Westgate and headed off to meet Marj's brother Mario who had flown in the night before from Georgia.

My joy of having internet access turned to mild disappointment when I found our new room (here) didn't have the wireless working in my room.

Marj's sister Catherine and her family checked in on Saturday night.

At this point we had two missing pieces of luggage.

Mario took off on Monday but we had a great time meeting his wife Wanda and getting re-acquainted with his daughter Jewel. Later, we headed to Downtown Disney for a bit of ice cream at the Ghiradelli Chocolate Soda Fountain.

Yesterday (Tuesday) we all ended up at Disney's Magic Kingdom. Not my favorite place but we have 2 seven year-old's and an 11 year old who love it.

Today, we are recovering from being all Mouse House'd out. We grilled by the pool and while most everyone is relaxing by or in the pool, your's truely found the internet connection does work next door and is free to owners so I am taking advantage of the situation to keep things updated!

Friday, March 16, 2007

A Lethal Weapon?

When Marj and Kyle got me an iPod Nano for Christmas, I don't think they realized how lethal a weapon it was.

I saw a link to "8 Ways to Kill Someone with the Nano" at iPod Hacks.


Ides of March

Yesterday, March 15 was the Ides of March. My first exposure to the term was a band with that name and their "hit" song Vehicle (iTunes link).

I do find it odd that it odd that something we usually associate with the assassination of Julius Ceaser is usually found somewhere within the whole season of lent.

From Blogcation to Vacation

We are on vacation now... This is something Kyle has been looking forward to for some time. Not because of where we are but the fact he is not in school.

The place we are staying has wireless (for a cost) so I can keep up with everyone!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

A Blogcation

A what? I have been missing in action for a bit. I took a Blog Vacation -- a blogcation. One blog writer I know of has quit blogging for lent. I didn't quite go that far, I have been busy.

Between helping Kyle and a friend with a project, work, etc. it has been quite an experience.

We found out over a week ago that my parents were without power due to an ice storm. Within a couple of days of asking for prayer, the power was back on through a temporary fix. (yea!). It took the power company 6 days to do just the temporary fix and a permenent one would have taken longer. Had it not been for the out of area repair people.....

I have also been working at getting a new computer set up... God (and Qwest) were quite generous so I took the plunge. I had been wanting to switch to a Mac (you have seen those commercials) for a couple of years now but other things have taken priority. Finally, the time came! The commercials are right! The only issue I have is that I can't run e-sword on this machine. There are other bible study programs out there but the challenge I am finding is that with copyrights, it is hard to get the versions you want all together. Some of the programs I have found are either too expensive or just not what I am looking for.

On the other hand, I could actually load Windows XP on here and be done with it.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

What ever happened to Common Sense (and freedom)?

Tonight I read a news story here...
New York Senator Carl Kruger is introducing legislation that would make it a crime to listen to your iPod while crossing the street. (The next thing you know, they'll ask you to look both ways first!) Canadian comedian and filmmaker Jared Sales has rendered a few mock iPod ads in response to what he feels is an unjust imposition.
The mock ads are below...

My question is, "what ever happened to freedom and common sense"? If I read between the lines on the story above, the reason the New York state senate is considering such a bill is because someone has gotten hurt crossing the street while listening to their iPods. That (those?) someone(s?) have then lacked the common sense to look before crossing.... Now it may cost us another freedom.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Just another manic weekend

This weekend was busier than most. I don't know why I think the situation will change.

With one son, one wife and my involvements, things got crazy yet again.

Last weekend, rather than relaxing and recovering from the previous week, I helped Kyle and a friend build an earthquake table for a science project at school. That evening we headed off to church followed by a play that a friends sons were in.

This weekend, we decided to replace Kyle's bed which meant heading to the store, picking out the bed, loading it up... Then I headed off to worship band practice. Sunday after church, Marj had a party for her media team which I was also attending. The weekend was topped off by a meeting at church. All though this weekend, I was trying to clean up the last bit of a project at work.

The highlights for the weekend?

Our Worship Leader Dan, is getting married this month and is down in Brazil finalizing all the paperwork to bring his future wife back for that to happen (you can read about it here). As a result, we had a guest worship leader, Megan Isaacson, come to lead. Megan is a fairly new recording artist from Colorado who, as a friend says, "Has a voice like an angel". I have been privileged to be in worship bands she has sung with twice this year (and once previous to that). If you would like to hear some of Megan's music, visit her "MySpace" page.

The Church meeting was an informational meeting on what is the vision and future at Northern Hills. Many churches with a more "traditional" structure would have called it a business meeting or a members meeting. Northern Hills called it an owners meeting. I don't want to go into specifics as it is not my place to do so. I will go into my impressions however. Most of my life at any church has been filled with members and business meetings where people go out of duty, many with their own agenda of how "church should be done". This wasn't that meeting! I have rarely seen a meeting run with such a focus on God's Kingdom, not on the church, not on business but on God's Kingdom. Sure, the church was talked about, sure, business was talked about but that was not the focus! I walked out in awe!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Interesting listen

Yesterday, I was listening to Samir Selmanovic talking about "Finding God in the Other" using Pauls discussion in Athens as a text basis.

I don't agree with some of what he said but these point's stuck out.
  • "Religion" is typically a "God Management System". Most of the religions around are ways of managing God. If we think about your typical pagan tribe who worships nature, the sacrifices and rituals are ways of managing their "gods".
  • Christianity can become an idol. He states that anything that is not God is non-god. If something is non-god, it is a candidate for becoming an idol. While ideal Christianity is a good thing, there is really no such thing. The result is that Christianity can become a God management system as well. I believe that as a religion, Christianity has become the idol, the god of many.
There were quite a few other points he made but I am still not sure I can buy into everything he talked about.

Cabin Fever is setting in.

I'll admit that I am spoiled by typical Colorado weather.

We have had a "weather event" every week, usually around the weekend, since the week prior to Christmas. If memory serves me right, it has been snow, snow, snow/cold, snow/cold, snow, fog, snow/cold. We haven't reached our "snowiest months" of March and April!

The bad part is that the last week has been quite moderate and got my hopes up.

All I can say is that if you hear me complain about summer, slap me down!

Monday, February 12, 2007

My sock dream

As I was sorting my socks, I realized I have a dream for my sock drawer. Maybe you could even call it a vision.

That vision is to get enough of "exactly the same" pairs of socks. Why? Because sorting them is difficult and, in the wrong light, can lead to mis-matched pairs.

Let me give you an example. My tastes in socks would look just fine in a 1960 television set. Either black or white. Black goes with pretty much anything, white goes with the rest -- ok, call the fashion police if you will.

The problem I have is that I have a couple of dark blue pairs, many pairs which are not the same size but similar design, some that are the same size but not the same design. Wouldn't it be easier to have 7-10 pairs exactly alike?

Sunday, February 04, 2007

It's a side effect

I woke up this morning thinking "It's a Side Effect". Before I explain that further let's talk about side effects.

As we hear those pharmaceutical advertisements, at the end, you will hear "Side effects include...." and a bunch of nasty things that happen.

Sometimes, however, the side effect becomes the desired thing. Let me put my techie hat on and talk amplification. The goal of audio amplification traditionally is to have a small input signal from say a guitar or microphone be amplified through the electronic circuits and come out sounding louder. Originally it was done using tube components which are very inefficient and are not very durable (they can be broken easily). Solid state transistors came along and solved those problems but there was a side effect.

As a signal is overdriven (too much input signal) inside a tube system, the experts say that the distortion (variation from the original signal) produces odd harmonics. As a signal is overdriven (too much input signal) inside a system, the experts say that the distortion (variation from the original signal) produces odd harmonics which, while not accurate, can be pleasing to the human ear. In a transistor system, that same overdriven signal produces even harmonics which is not so pleasing to the human ear. Much of the audio world is now using solid state with one exception. Guitar amplification is done primarily with tube so you can get that warm distortion that you hear in nearly all modern music. The side-effect has become the desired product.

Back to the discussion at hand. As someone seeking to follow Christ, we are given two commands in Matthew 22:37-40.
Jesus said, "'Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.' This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: 'Love others as well as you love yourself.' These two commands are pegs; everything in God's Law and the Prophets hangs from them."
So, why no more? It's the side effect. If we do those two things, all the moral issues we face in the world go away. No, I don't mean that the world gets more moral. What I mean is that if we obey these two things, the whole 10 commandments thing goes away in our own lives. We also see that issues around giving to and loving others goes away.

The problem that I woke up thinking about is that too often, we are looking for the side effect to become the end product. In other words, we expect those around us to act morally, obeying those 10 commandments just because they are there, not because they are following the two above. We expect people to "act Christian" even if they are not following those two commands.

Matthew 6:31-33 goes right along with the passage above...
“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need."

Let's quit looking at the side effects and considering them the end result... Seek after God first and let the rest take care of itself!