Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Music

If you are still looking for music for the season but are not looking for quite the traditional performances, check out The Bored Again Christian's episode 73.  They have a rockin' version of several of your favorites.

And what about that "Dreaming of a White Christmas"?  Was that forecasting global warming?

Sacred Echoes...

I recently heard a message given by Margaret Feinberg. Who was speaking about her book "The Sacred Echo" which, it turns out, is it's own sacred echo.

One of the things I have been thinking about in recent months is practicing the presence of God.
  A few weeks later, I ran across the book "The Practice of the Presence of God" by Brother Lawrence in my library.  It is a book I need to pull out and practice.

One of the practices is hearing God's voice.  In the Old Testament, the prophets regularly heard God's voice.  We on the other hand, are expected to be guided by the Holy Spirit (also God's voice maybe).

In Mararet's message, she references 1 Kings 19:8-18 which talks about God's voice not being in the loud earthquake and wind but being the thing you have to strain to hear.

Now, here is the echo.

Less than one week later, we are doing our devotional time prior to worship team practice and Russ uses the same passage, talking about the same thing.

Maybe I need to move "The Practice of the Presence of God" up in my reading stack.

A quick note... Margaret is supposed to be speaking at the end of March...  I may need to find a sub for worship band and go... I have enjoyed listening to her.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Echos of a song...

There are certain songs that echo through my life.

One of those is "Cause We've Ended as Lovers" which was written by Stevie Wonder.

I was first introduced to it my freshman year of college through my roommate's Jeff Beck "Blow by Blow" album (yes, vinyl).  

I ran across it again a few years ago when I heard Dave Beegle's "Beyond the Desert" CD.

I saw the song performed by Jeff Beck and an amazing young bass player named Tal Wilkenfeld last year and ran across that version again on YouTube tonight...  Here it is...

I may have to look up some of her work.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Interesting Weekend

This was an interesting weekend.

First, we may have picked up a new family member. On Friday night, we picked up a dog (around a year old) from Western Border Collie Rescue.  We are "fostering to adopt".  In other words, we have a month to determine if we want to deal with any problems that come with the dog -- different I suppose from the problems we cause.

Marj calls him Keva (they had named him "larry").

On Saturday, we looked out the window after Rocky barked and this is what we saw...  It turned out that Brighton was having it's Christmas parade, our neighbors were playing the parts of Santa & Mrs. Santa.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

zOE's on Coverville

In October, Brian, the host of Coverville announced a "Coverville Idol" around the band Squeeze.

zOE's iMAGINARY fRIEND got together for brief studio effort with the result being "If It's Love".

You can download the song for free and, if you are a Squeeze fan, listen to the rest of the songs here.  All the songs are being released as a Squeeze Tribute CD called "Take Them (They're Yours)".

And, by the way, we'd love for you to vote for our song here.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008


Thanks to Rob for pointing this out to me...

The 50,000 Pairs in 50 Days Challenge

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Jubilee Years and Restoration

We sang a song by "delirious" this weekend called "Did You Feel the Mountains Tremble" this Sunday.  There is a line in the song that paints interesting symbols in my mind.
And here we see that God you're moving
A time of Jubilee is coming
Jubilee is mentioned in Leviticus 25:8-55 and is part of The Law that God gave to Israel.  

There are two special years mentioned in The Law.  The first is the sabbath year which occurs every 7th year.  The other is the year of Jubilee which is to occur every 50th year.

Every 7th year, the people were supposed to:
  • forgive all debts
  • release all hebrew servants
  • read the law at the Feast of Tabernacles
I remember my Dad practiced his own "sabbath year" with the land by rotating crops.  I don't remember if it was exactly a 7 year rotation but it was close.  This allowed the land to renew by planting crops that didn't leach one particular mineral out of the soil and let others replace the nutrients the others need.

Every 50th year, Israel was to:
  • let the land lie fallow (not plant crops)
  • give back any land purchased from others.
  • release all slaves
I don't remember seeing (and I have heard others say this) any record of Jubilee being celebrated in the Old Testament.   Maybe it was and not recorded but you might expect to see it once.

The year of Jubilee was to be a time of restoration.  A time which foreshadowed the coming of Christ and his restoration of the earth.  That is why I liked the lyrics above.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Paying it...

I struggled with a "cute" title for this post and didn't get there.

I am in a vacation situation that I find myself every year.  "Use it or loose it".   If I don't use my vacation, I forfeit the ability to use it... The nice thing is that Qwest encourages you not to "loose it" and, honestly, is pretty generous with their time off (vacation and sick).   

That being said, I am home this week and really only take three days of vacation.  Yesterday, I spent time getting my computer backup in order (I now have the Mac "Time Machine" running against a non-Apple networked drive).  Today, I started off listening to a couple of great messages from William Paul Young, the author of "The Shack".

You see, a couple of weeks ago, my new friend Elizabeth, who rides the bus I ride some mornings, mentioned that she had listened (or at least downloaded) these after she found out that William Young had spoken at Crossroads Church in Denver.

If you don't know, "The Shack" is a book that Young describes as a "parable".  It describes his relationship with his father and the journey back to seeing a loving God.  This is a book that I resisted reading because so many people said it was good.  A friend gave it to me after she gave up on reading it (she didn't like it).  I loved it.  Marj loved it. I understand why all the hype.

This isn't, at least directly, a post about the book, however.  First, I want to invite you to listen to the messages that William Paul Young gave.  You can get them here but I'll let you cheat and get them here and here (the same spot, just direct links).

Second, I am always amazed how God guides you into more and more understanding of him and his ways, often without asking for it.  A question pops up, God will guide you to an answer...  Listening to these messages were one of those times.  Not necessarily for me but it does  address some things I have thought about and that friends have talked to me about. I'll warn you, however, that Young is all over the map on what he talks about.  for me that is a good thing.

Now, new questions, like what's up with 1 Peter 3:18-22

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Kingdom Coming... Free music.

Shaun Groves released a song called "Kingdom Coming" on election day to, as he puts it...
Kingdom Coming released on election day 2008, as a reminder to me and Christians everywhere that our citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20) and it spreads not by sword (John 18:36) but unlike the kingdoms of this world (Isaiah 40:21-24), the kingdom we serve has no borders and no flags and no end.
You can download it here...  You can also listen to Shaun preach a little below...

(special thanks to "KingdomGrace" for bringing this to my attention)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Fuel prices drop and I am disappointed...

No, not at the price of fuel.  I like that.

What disappoints me is how few people actually learned.   I have been a "mass commuter" for several years.  In fact, when possible, I use either mass transit, carpool or rode my bicycle.

Over the last two years, as prices of fuel slowly rose, we saw more and more people riding the bus.   Now, however, the ridership has fallen dramatically.

Busy Weekend.

This weekend we spent with the Phantom Flyers flyball club.  Since Rocky came along but didn't run, Marj and I did things like shagging balls (Joel mostly), keeping statistics (Marj) and judging (line and box judging).  Rocky felt it was his duty to add to the noise level because he felt he should be running.

This evening, Marj & I went to a "Worship and the Word Movement" get together.  We got to have a time of worship and hear how God has been using Dave and Tara. It was also officially announced that "Heavenfest" will be held again this coming year... The work starts all over again.

Monday, November 10, 2008


I ran across a site called "Typealyzer" which analyzes the writing style of your blog.

Here are my results...

You can get more information on my analysis by clicking above.

Friday, November 07, 2008

The end of politics for a while?

I hope this is the end of my political posting for a while but...

First, a coworker (who lives in Phoenix) was at the McCain "party" Tuesday night and happened to be caught during the concession speech by an AP photographer.  He is on photo #8 here.  The disappointment shows on his face.

Now to what really brought on this post.

Cal Thomas wrote an article that appeared in the Modesto Bee titled "Power evangelicals seek isn't in government".   It is worth reading.

A quote from that that I found quite good:
Thirty years of trying to use government to stop abortion, preserve opposite-sex marriage, improve television and movie content and transform culture into the conservative evangelical image has failed.

The question now becomes: Should conservative Christians redouble their efforts, contributing more millions to radio and TV preachers and activists, or would they be wise to try something else?

I opt for trying something else.

Too many conservative evangelicals have put too much faith in the power of government to transform culture. The futility inherent in such misplaced faith can be demonstrated by asking these activists a simple question: Does the secular left, when it holds power, persuade conservatives to live by their standards? Of course they do not. Why, then, would conservative evangelicals expect people who do not share their worldview and view of God to accept their beliefs when they control government?

Of course he is right about that. He continues

What is the answer, then, for conservative evangelicals who are rightly concerned about the corrosion of culture, the indifference to the value of human life and the living arrangements of same- and opposite-sex couples? The answer depends on the response to another question: Do conservative evangelicals want to feel good, or do they want to adopt a strategy that actually produces results?

I'll let you read his article for his answer.


I need to credit the title for the last post to the late Larry Norman.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

You can be a righteous prophet get a blessing off it.

The Daily Audio Bible has been wandering though the prophets for the last month or so with nearly 2 more months left.

Listening to them the second time around is much more interesting.  I don't think it is because I know them already.  Honestly, I don't.  I have, however, tried to "get inside their heads" a little better.

The language they use is strange.  It is what we would term "Apolocaptic" in style.  Filled with imagery and hyperbole.   Something I heard recently that made a lot of sense when dealing with this style.
  1. You have a lot of hyperbole being used.  Hyperbole is the use of exaggeration when speaking.  We don't do this as well as many other cultures.  I work with a man from India who does this quite well.  The world is falling in when something goes wrong... Even though I know it isn't.    When you hear "The sun will go dark...." or something like that, it isn't a weather report but a statement on their world view.
  2. The Bible is full of "types and shadows".  We typically look at those types all pointing to Christ but it is deeper than that and something that as a non-jewish person, I don't do well in the old testament.   Take for instance, the land of Israel.  According to what I heard, the typical jewish person looked at the land as their "garden of eden" where they were given the task to care for and dominate it.  Those who were not jewish were considered some of the animals to dominate.  When an invading country invaded or predicted to invade, they looked at these invaders as monsters overthrowing the poor defenseless people.  This is why you have some of the imagery in Daniel and elsewhere.
  3. Prophets were given dramas to play out used to make a point to the people around them. 
    • Hosea, for instance, was to marry a prostitute representing God's commitment to Israel. When she returned to being a prostitute, he was told to wander through the streets looking for her, yelling for her, representing God looking for his people.
    • Ezekiel was told to lie on his side one day for each year that Israel was unfaithful. He was also told to eat food cooked with human dung.
    • Isaiah was told to walk around naked for 3 years to show the shame that Israel would be facing when taken captive.
Needless to say, they are much more interesting this time around.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Music Today and Yesterday

By yesterday I am being both a little metaphorical and literal.

With the never ending (they say continuous) election coverage last night, Kyle being sick so not going to karate and me having an evening free, I put in the G3 Live from Denver (2003) DVD I rented from NetFlix to listen to some screaming guitar work from Joe Satriani, Steve Vai and Yngwie Malmsteen (left to right).

To say the least, Kyle was impressed.  While watching, I have the computer out looking up all sorts of facts about the artists, etc.   One of my favorite Steve Vai songs is called "For the Love Of God" which is an instrumental.  I don't know the beliefs of God that he holds but a bit of interesting trivia turned up in the wikipedia article about the song they mention that Vai "fasted and meditated for 10 days" to prepare to record the song.

This morning I woke up about an hour early and put on some of the Phil Keaggy I had recently downloaded from eMusic and it rolled into the Derek Trucks I downloaded from there as well.  Talk about different styles.  I happened to be listening to "Out of the Madness" which has lots of different styles.  "Young Funk" impressed me a lot because of the mix of styles in the song itself.

Now, to wrap the last paragraph back around, a song I was introduced to by Phil Keaggy just turned up on my search for "Young Funk".  I saw that "John the Revelator", performed by Gov't Mule which Derek Trucks has some association with.... Small world.

I am still blaming the time change for the early morning. I get my "body clock" set and, despite what the clock says, I have a hard time resetting it. It seems my friend Jeanie doesn't have my problem.

As far as emusic goes, I'd love to have a bigger subscription but I guess I have to be satisfied with the 30 songs/month that I am on now.  It's just that I have 30 cd's saved for download later.  Phil Keaggy, Larry Norman, Malcolm & Alwyn, Asia, etc.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Only one more day

  • Only one more day to receive phone calls from people I've never met telling me what my opinion should be.
  • One more day of advertisements telling me the worst characteristics of the people they are opposing.
  • One more day for this country to make history with either an african-american president or a female vice president.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Kyle's promotion

A quick note...

This week, Kyle received his conditional black belt.  He now has 1 year to get his first degree belt.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Voting the Bible

Yesterday, I got my ballot into the "mail-in" drop off.  It is a good feeling not to need to stand in line for early voting, not to stand in line for regular voting, etc.

A news report yesterday on Channel 4 stated that:
As of early Friday morning, the Colorado Secretary of State's Office reported that nearly 1.3 million registered voters had cast ballots already, either in person or by mail-in. That's 40 percent turnout. 

At this point, I am extremely tired of the advertisements, each either promising their solution will put America into prosperity again or that the other candidates solution will make things worse. 

One race that is particularly vitriolic is the Musgrave/Markey congressional race.  Each has accused the other of illegalities, each denies the allegations of the other.  Musgrave has claimed to be an "evagelical Christian" while Markey was raised Catholic.  From the tenor of this race, I might conclude that they have either abandoned their faith or that they follow a very different Bible than mine.

Then there are the calls from the pro-life groups urging me to vote a particular way.  One was a recording from a priest, the other I remember was from a group called "Vote the Bible".  I looked up their website and was not surprised at what I found.  They seem to believe that there are only two Biblical issues this election (as in ever election for the last 20 years or so).  Abortion and same-sex marriage.  They state:
Vote the Bible seeks to provide information to those who wish to be informed about the official and published positions of those who would see public office.  These positions are obtained from each candidate for election and each party's official published platforms.  We think that Christian voters want to cast their vote in conformity with the Word of God, so we have included scriptures that are applicable to public issues.  Vote the Bible does not endorse any political party or individual candidate.  We do encourage you to cast your vote in this most important election for the candidate of your choice.
I find this to be a rather myopic view of the Bible.  Not that these two issues are not important to God.  It is that there are a lot of other issues which relate to how his followers should live.  I think there is a list around somewhere with about 10 items on it that seemed pretty important at one point... It went something like:
  1. 'You shall have no other gods before Me.' 
  2. 'You shall not make for yourself a carved image--any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.' 
  3. 'You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.' 
  4. 'Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.' 
  5. 'Honor your father and your mother.' 
  6. 'You shall not murder.' 
  7. 'You shall not commit adultery.'
  8. 'You shall not steal.' 
  9. 'You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.' 
  10. 'You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's.'

Certainly, the issues that the "Vote the Bible" people care about show up on number 6 and 7 (sort of, that is a whole different debate). On the other hand, if we are to "vote the Bible", dare we think about how many of the other ones have been violated by our politicians?  I certainly believe that there are lies (I was going to say untruths but isn't that being a politician as well?) being told by every candidate out there.  They alone can not be the solution and they will not always represent me well.  

Throughout the law as well as the rest of the Bible, God is also concerned about issues of hunger, poverty and justice for those that don't have that option.

If we are going to "Vote the Bible", lets vote ALL the Bible.  Otherwise, let's quit fooling ourselves and only partially bringing God into politics and vote for the choice we feel is best.  Lets also get politics out of the Church and quit letting the politicians pander to and control the Church and have the Church get to the task we were given... building the Kingdom of God rather than the empires of man.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

How far?

I was asked this question the other day...

Joel? Do you ever wonder how far off we are from the "Christianity" that Jesus wanted?
My answer was...  Yes, for several years now.  I am also not the only one that has been asking these questions.

The version of being a Christian that I see, even in the "best" churches, at least here in America departs quite a bit from the version I see in Acts.  I am even willing to forgive the cultural and political differences between 2000 years ago and now and still have a lot of questions.

Why should we care? Because, in many respects, theology (our thinking about God) does shift the further out from the source we get.  Even when we have a standard like the Bible, that is true.

An analogy here is a laser level.   If you set up a laser level slightly off, close to the center, you won't see much problem, in fact, it could be less than a nail point of difference.  Move several feet down the line and the standard shows 1".  Move further down and the level shows more difference.

The last reformation happened 4-5 centuries ago although it started earlier than that.  It was a reaction to abuses of power and theology of the Catholic Church.  

I have heard rumblings, however of a new reformation, a neo-reformation.  This being a reaction to the blatant Americanization of Christianity.   Maybe it is time?  

That does, however, raise a lot more questions...

Paul wrote to the Galatians...

6 I am shocked that you are turning away so soon from God, who called you to himself through the loving mercy of Christ. You are following a different way that pretends to be the Good News 7 but is not the Good News at all. You are being fooled by those who deliberately twist the truth concerning Christ.

 8 Let God’s curse fall on anyone, including us or even an angel from heaven, who preaches a different kind of Good News than the one we preached to you. 9 I say again what we have said before: If anyone preaches any other Good News than the one you welcomed, let that person be cursed.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Jesus is my friend

When I first saw this, I found it a little scary.

Now, the more I think about it, in "it's day", this video by "SonSeed" was probably pretty progressive

On her "Crazy Christian Clips" blog, Joanna posted David Crowder doing the same song...

Friday, October 17, 2008

More Reading

I have started a rather challenging book.... In fact, the name is "The Challenge of Jesus" by N. T. Wright.

It is quite good.  The source for the material is a series of lectures given at an InterVarsity conference in 1999.  The purpose of the book is to have you, the reader, realize the historical context that you read in the Bible.

I'll let you know more about it when it is finished.

The next one in the queue, however, has arrived.  I pre-ordered it as I have been reading the authors blog for some time.

The title, "The Blue Parakeet" sound like a mystery novel or something.  I read a bit of the first paragraph in the first chapter and he immediately had me hooked.  Why?  
When I was in High School, I went to a Christian camp in Muscatine, Iowa....
Why did that have me hooked?  I went to that camp, Spring Valley Bible Camp.

I did read a few more pages and it looks good.  Again, I'll let you know more as I finish reading.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Car Report

The part shown here is the cause of the belt coming off on Sunday.  The spring broke, causing the pulley to go out of alignment, pulling the belt off.

No, it wasn't terribly expensive.  Replacing the belt at the same time may save some expense later on...

At least we are a two car family again.  This isn't something I'd normally brag about as I normally take other commuter options but because the little truck has limited room, it's nice to be able to take the family on the road.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Car problems....

Last week, the tires, this week, the accessory drive belt.  It comes with the territory though, the van has over 178,000 miles.

What makes this worth blogging about is the circumstances.

Last week, after church, we got home after Marj made a comment about the front right tire looking low.  I fired up the air-compressor and filled it up, then blew out the sprinkler system (a good decision in hindsight).  The next morning, I was on my way back into the house with the paper before leaving for work and noticed the van sitting with a downhill tilt.  To make a long story short, we found that the last tire we purchased was the wrong size for the rim and ended up damaged -- it was, however, the only tire on the car that size.

Today, I took Rocky to the dog park before church.  On the way home, the car got hard to steer and just as I pulled into the development, started to overheat.  I stepped into the house and on the way back out, noticed the belt hanging on the ground.  I tried to put it back on but I needed some equipment I didn't have access to so we canceled our plans.

Why mention this?  Because we both feel that God took care of us.  We could have been on the road when either incident happened.  We could have been miles away from home.  It could have been a "blow-out" incident.

Yes, it is an inconvenience but close to home, it is manageable and while not cheap, when you are in an emergency, things seem to get expensive really fast.

We dropped the car at the car care center down the street and hope they can get to it tomorrow..

I don't think I told about the blow-out incident last year.

On a Saturday last summer, I was headed down I-25 at about 75mph (legal speed in that area).  Ahead of me I see smoke, a car head left, into the crash rail, then bounce across the interstate, stopping on the shoulder.  The only car damaged in the pack that this occurred in was the car with the blown tire.

I pulled over to see if I could help.  The driver gets out of the car, distressed because she is late for work.  The front of the car is crumpled.  I called 911, then stayed on the shoulder with the damaged car with my flashers blinking.

When the Westminster police officer arrived, he stopped to see what happened with me... When I told him, a look of amazement crossed his face.  He dismissed me and I headed off to my destination.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Bass Player Face

Stuff Christians Like #419 mentions "Bass Player Face"... Wonder if I qualify.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

A Derek Webb song for the next two months...

From Derek Webb's cd "The Ringing Bell"

A Savior on Capital Hill (you can listen to it here on Last.FM)

I’m so tired of these mortal men

with their hands on their wallets and their hearts full of sin

scared of their enemies, scared of their friends

and always running for re-election

so come to DC if it be thy will

because we’ve never had a savior on Capitol Hill

you can always trust the devil or a politician

to be the devil or a politician

but beyond that friends you’d best beware

‘cause at the Pentagon bar they’re an inseparable pair

and as long as the lobbyists are paying their bills

we’ll never have a savior on Capitol Hill


all of our problems gonna disappear

when we can whisper right in that President’s ear

he could walk right across the reflection pool

in his combat boots and ten thousand dollar suit

you can render unto Caesar everything that’s his

you can trust in his power to come to your defense

it’s the way of the world, the way of the gun

it’s the trading of an evil for a lesser one

so don’t hold your breath or your vote until

you think you’ve finally found a savior up on Capitol Hill

I made the news....

Well, not me directly but the project I have been working on for the last few years has officially been announced and released.

See this for the official press release.  A short clip from the article reads...

Through the qHome online portal, customers can see who's calling their home phone, listen to voicemail, forward messages, manage their contacts and place a phone call with a click of a mouse. When qHome customers are away from home, they can log into the qHome portal from most computers, remotely view and manage their home phone activity and receive instant message pop-ups of incoming home phone calls with Windows Live Messenger. 
You can see a short demo here.

Sunday, October 05, 2008


A few posts ago, I mentioned the YouVersion: iPhone Edition (which also works on the iPod Touch).

As nice as it is, you should bookmark (and register to use) regular YouVersion.  Why?  I'm glad you asked.

YouVersion is a FREE offering from and offers
  • A daily reading plan.
  • A Bible reader with many different versions in several languages.
  • Ways to add comments to the passages you read.
  • A way to take and store notes
Their description is

Welcome to YouVersion

A revolutionary online Bible that enables community and collaboration like never before.

Organize - YouVersion empowers you to organize the content that's important to you! Share - Simply share meaningful content with anyone, anytime, anywhere. Community - YouVersion makes it easy to connect and collaborate with others. Contribute - With YouVersion you have the power to share your content with your closest friends, family, or anyone online!

Friday, October 03, 2008

re: Where is our hope?

This was posted on Scot McKnight's Jesus Creed blog:
Somewhere between 6pm and 8pm, Central Time, on November 4th, 2008, the eschatology of American evangelicals will become clear. If John McCain wins and the evangelical becomes delirious or confident that the Golden Days are about to arrive, that evangelical has an eschatology of politics. Or, alternatively, if Barack Obama wins and the evangelical becomes delirious or confident that the Golden Days are about to arrive, that evangelical too has an eschatology of politics. Or, we could turn each around, if a more Democrat oriented evangelical becomes depressed and hopeless because McCain wins, or if a Republican oriented evangelical becomes depressed or hopeless because Obama wins, those evangelicals are caught in an empire-shaped eschatology of politics.

Where is our hope? To be sure, I hope our country solves its international conflicts and I hope we resolve poverty and dissolve our educational problems and racism. But where does my hope turn when I think of war or poverty or education or racism? Does it focus on November 4? Does it gain its energy from thinking that if we get the right candidate elected our problems will be dissolved? If so, I submit that our eschatology has become empire-shaped, Constantinian, and political. And it doesn’t matter to me if it is a right-wing evangelical wringing her fingers in hope that a Republican wins, or a left-wing evangelical wringing her fingers in hope that a Democrat wins. Each has a misguided eschatology.
You can read the whole post here.

The question is... Where is our hope?

Thursday, October 02, 2008


This month is Ramadan, a time when believers in Islam are fasting all day. This has caused some controversy in the NFL where several players are fasting.

As a Christ-follower, I have heard several different ways fasts are to be done as well as several different purposes.

The other day, however, I was listening to the Daily Audio Bible (I still recommend this by the way) and heard Isaiah 58 and God's perspective on Israel's practices of fasting.  From "The Message":
1-3 "Shout! A full-throated shout! Hold nothing back—a trumpet-blast shout!
Tell my people what's wrong with their lives, 
   face my family Jacob with their sins!
They're busy, busy, busy at worship, 
   and love studying all about me.
To all appearances they're a nation of right-living people— 
   law-abiding, God-honoring.
They ask me, 'What's the right thing to do?' 
   and love having me on their side.
But they also complain, 
   'Why do we fast and you don't look our way? 
   Why do we humble ourselves and you don't even notice?' 

 3-5"Well, here's why:

   "The bottom line on your 'fast days' is profit. 
   You drive your employees much too hard.
You fast, but at the same time you bicker and fight. 
   You fast, but you swing a mean fist.
The kind of fasting you do 
   won't get your prayers off the ground.
Do you think this is the kind of fast day I'm after: 
   a day to show off humility?
To put on a pious long face 
   and parade around solemnly in black?
Do you call that fasting, 
   a fast day that I, God, would like?

 6-9"This is the kind of fast day I'm after: 
   to break the chains of injustice, 
   get rid of exploitation in the workplace, 
   free the oppressed, 
   cancel debts.
What I'm interested in seeing you do is: 
   sharing your food with the hungry, 
   inviting the homeless poor into your homes, 
   putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad, 
   being available to your own families.
Do this and the lights will turn on, 
   and your lives will turn around at once.
Your righteousness will pave your way. 
   The God of glory will secure your passage.
Then when you pray, God will answer. 
   You'll call out for help and I'll say, 'Here I am.'

I don't know if this is the only answer to what a fast is to be like. I don't think so.  I do believe that the purpose of fasting is to "get something" from God for yourself, although, that may be a result. 

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Phil Keaggy in Concert

Tonight, Marj, Kyle & I got the pleasure of seeing Phil Keaggy in concert.  He is an incredible musician.  We also got to hear him hit a very wrong note.  Not only that, due to the way he layers his music using a recording device called a Jam Man, we got to hear it a second time after he pointed it out!

The high points of the concert were the dialog he had with the audience and a couple of songs he sang.  In particular, "Your love broke through" and "Salvation Army Band".  I've included a video of "Salvation Army Band" I found on YouTube.

I also found a video of "Your Love Broke Through"

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Thought this might be fun...

Here are the states I've visited

visited 29 states (58%)
Create your own visited map of The United States

They also have the world map but it looks pretty unvisited in my case.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Post Olympic Comedy

For those of you who didn't get enough gymnastics, my parents emailed this 1981 comedy routine from Paul Hunt.

If that isn't enough, there are many more on YouTube including this Balance beam from 1988

And this floor exercise from the same year.

The Presidential Race

Both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions are behind us.  I've heard Christian friends raving about Sarah Palin.  I've heard others raving about Barack Obama.

Months ago, I heard people (Christians too!) state....
If (fill in the blank) gets elected, I'm leaving the country.

Which I find to be an interesting statement.

Today, Scot McKnight has a response to a letter he received in his "Jesus Creed" blog.  Scot is a professor at North Park College, a writer and a theologian.

A couple of points he hits in his response...
More importantly, on November 5 I will get up and go about my business no matter who gets elected. There will be people who need to hear about Jesus; there will be people who are suffering from systemic injustices; there will be people abusing power; there will be good reasons to drink coffee and eat lunch with colleagues... ...Changing Presidents will not end those needs and those problems and those parts of my life. So, my task as a Christian is to follow Jesus by loving God and loving others as well as I can. Changing Presidents won’t change that one bit. I don’t see that either candidate has the intent of depriving us of these things.
...I don’t hope in the next President. I think that is idolatrous. In fact, hoping in the next President is the first step toward idolizing empire.
Read Scot's full response here.  Then decide who you want leading you.  A man (or woman) or God!

*** Editors note... Google is placing the images on the page, not me.  The ordering is not significant in any way.  In my editor, they were on the same level with (just for the sake of irony) McCain/Palin on the left and Obama/Biden on the right.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

YouVersion: iPhone Edition

If you are looking for an interesting application for you iPhone or iPod Touch. has just released YouVersion in beta.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

the post from an iPod touch

For my birthday, I was given an iPod Touch. it is an amazing device.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Worthwhile reading

I found this post by Prodigal Jon a great reminder of God and his forgiveness. It is titled "Stuff Christians Like #387 - Thinking our Junk will shock God".

Because Terry Mattingley, one of my favorite religion writers posts there, I subscribed to the blog this week.

It has been an interesting read.  What have I learned?
  • The writer of Basic Instinct is now a Christian
  • The importance of asking the right follow-up question at the Democratic National Convention.
  • The conflict (none?) former porn star Jenna Jamison finds with being a "devout Catholic" and having babies without a husband.
  • Faith at the Democratic National Convention
It has been interesting reading.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Reading, Reading, Reading...

I've been pretty silent about what I have been reading (actually I've been pretty quiet anyway).

Let me say first that the books on this list may not be for everyone.  They are deep, they don't necessarily follow traditional thought, although, they don't deviate as far as some would claim.  Lastly, they are all books I enjoyed and learned from.

Easily one of the longest titles, A Christianity Worth Believing: Hope-filled, Open-armed, Alive-and-well Faith for the Left Out, Left Behind, and Let Down in us All" by Doug Pagitt left me wanting more. Much of it is first hand stories from his life.

Much more deep, N. T. Wright's "What Saint Paul Really Said: Was Paul of Tarsus the Real Founder of Christianity?" was an interesting and deep glimpse into Paul's life and thought processes.  The take away from this for me is the cultural setting Paul wrote in.  Especially when most of the epistles start similar to "Paul, a bond-servant of Christ".  In the culture he is in, Paul was risking death as he just wrote -- "Jesus is Lord, Caesar is not".

Finally, N. T. Wright's "Following Jesus: Biblical Reflections on Discipleship" was amazing.  He took sermons he had preached which were high level summaries of several books in the New Testament and brought each one back to the Eucharist.

Currently I am reading "The Shack" by William P. Young which is a fictional account of his character's meeting God in three persons.  I have friends that can not say enough good about the book and others that didn't like it at all.  So far, I'm liking it.  The biggest problem is the hype around the book.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Cardboard Testamonies

I found this on another blog and thought it was pretty cool.

I am still trying to figure out what I would put.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Politics.... It's starting all over

I got a call last night from someone in the Obama campaign.   They were nice enough to ask if I would support him in the upcoming election.

I replied that I am a registered voter but an independent (meaning I am not registered with either party) and don't know enough of the issues to make that determination.

One of the podcasts that I listen to recently interviewed Mike Huckabee.  You can download and listen to it here.  It was a good interview and Huckabee impressed me.

A few months ago, they also interviewed Tim Sanders. You can listen to that interview here.  Sanders is an author, not a politician.  I have read at least one of his books ("Love is the killer app").  He was asked about the "likeability" of the crop of politicians.  He explained the Bill Clinton had a high "likeability factor".  Even his enemies, when talking to him in person had a hard time disliking him.

He was then asked about the candidates in the primaries.  He said Obama was the most likable, much like Kenedy which frightened him as it makes him a pretty big target.

Neither candidate from the major parties is ideal.  Politics is all about compromise which sometimes means nobody is really happy with the result.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Zoe's official press release

Our band zOE's iMAGINARY fRIEND just released our self-titled debut album.

The album features 11 new songs with styles ranging from rock to ballads.


zOE's iMAGINARY fRIEND is available on:


- The iTunes Store within your Mac or PC iTunes Program.

Amazon (

Rhapsody (


- Our MySpace Music site ( and other subscription and streaming services.


The zOE's iMAGINARY fRIEND Compact Disk is available from Cafe Press ( The CD is professionally manufactured in jewel

case packaging, CD Text capable and registered with Gracenote CDDB for track information.


We also have zOE's iMAGINARY fRIEND related merchandise at Cafe Press.

We have shirts, mugs, caps and many other items.


You can listen to a sampling of the songs and band info on our MySpace Music web

site: and on any of the sites above.


You will find album lyrics, links and more at our web site,

Zoe's on iTunes - A shameless plug

zOE's iMAGINARY fRIEND made it onto iTunes. Wow!

We're also for sale on AmazonMP3 and and EMusic, Rhapsody and Napster.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Heavenfest... It's over!

We were first introduced to this last summer.  Put on a music festival.  At our church.  10,000+ people in attendance.  Why?   

Because God told Dave to do it.  The sign of success was not the 10,000+ people who showed up.  The sign of success was the fact that he was obedient and that God was lifted high.

On the left, you can see a picture of the main stage on Friday (I showed up for a while to help out) that my friend and pastor Rob took.  He has a few more on his site.

I got the privilege of helping with "The Vox", a teaching and comedy area.  I was able to have some friends David and Mary help out there as well.   Some of the people we were hosts to were Jim Copeland from World Venture, Trace Bundy, Cleto Rodriguez and Bradley Hathaway.

I am going to leave with a YouTube video from Trace and Cleto.

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Spring Project - Meet Zoe

It started as a spring project but ended up being finished this summer.

Many of you have heard or asked about Zoe's Imaginary Friend,  especially "Who's Zoe"?  Zoe is pictured on the CD cover and on the right here.

The CD is done and have been uploaded so they will soon be available for purchase on-line... I'll post again when they are up.

Now about the band.  A few months ago, a group of Qwest employees who were musicians got together at Bill's house for a music day.   We spent the day recording several songs.

Bill (guitar/vocals/producer/engineer) then asked me to help on this project with Matt (viola/keyboards/mandolin).  At the same time, asked if I knew any drummers.  I happen to know a few and contacted Kevin (drums) and we started rehearsals in late March.  Margie (vocals) is a friend of Bills who lends her vocal styles to the song in a great way.  In addition, she has written the lyrics to one of the tunes on the CD and has several more in the works.

A selection of the finished songs are up on the myspace page.  We have Zoe's merchandise, including bumper stickers, etc on the Cafepress Store.  You will soon be able to purchase the CD there as well. 

And about Zoe and her imaginary friends?   Zoe is Matt's daughter.  A few years ago, she had a couple of imaginary friends... You'll need to get the CD to get their names

Saturday, July 05, 2008

The Ballgirl

This video I saw originally on the Jesus Creed blog is amazing.

Evidently it is a viral video advertisement from Gatorade.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Leaving Christ on the Cross

One of the things about the crucifix that bothered those in the church that I grew up in was the fact that it "left Christ on the Cross".

This was also a valid claim about movies (and musicals) such as "Jesus Christ Superstar" and "Godspell".

At the same time, I am surprised how many people I listen or talk to leave Christ on the cross without meaning to do so.  What do I mean?  It is quite easy to talk about Christ's death without talking about his resurrection.  It is quite easy to remember the sacrifice without the miracle of resurrection that MUST accompany the sacrifice for it to mean anything.

The way I understand the story of redemption in the New Testament, one of those acts would be inconsequential without the other.

Notice that Christ was crucified with two other men.  A frequent occurrence in the Roman Empire at the time.

What is unusual about the story is, as those around me growing up pointed out, Christ not only died but rose from the dead, proving he is God.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

A perspective on Worship

Through an email exchange, I was introduced to the work of N T Wright, the Bishop of Durham.  He has written a book called "Simply Christian" which attempts to address what Christianity is to the post-modern world of today in the same way C S Lewis addressed "Mere Christianity" to the modern world of the 1940s.

When speaking at Calvin College's "January Series" in 2007, he states:
One of the basic laws of spiritual life is that you become like what you worship. When you worship an idol, whatever it is, part of you dies as you take on the lifeless image of that idol.  But if you worship the God in whose image you are made, you are renewed in that image.
-- Bishop N T Wight

You can download the whole speach here.  There is quite a bit of introduction (musical and speaking at the front, after that....

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


It's firing up again. Both the Democratic and Republican national conventions are within site.... Not much drama there, both candidates have been chosen.

Last night, I answered the first of (I suspect) many political polls.  I love (NOT) the way they engineer the questions to get the results they want.

On top of that, James Dobson hits the news with a claim that Obama distorts the Bible.   Obama fires back that Dobson distorts Obama.

I think, as a matter of course, both are right, both are wrong.  Again, I see Christians wanting to put too much faith in the President and not enough in the King (of Glory).

McCain is not any better (Dobson doesn't support him either) as he recently made a politically loaded statement that his allegiance is first, last and always to America.

I think I am feeling very Mennonite lately.  That may not be a bad stance to take.

Friday, June 20, 2008

A Quick Update.

So... I was going to post this last Saturday but didn't want to interfere with the post on Fathers Day.

Here are some things that are happening.

Kevin & I finished laying down bass and drum tracks for zOE'S iMAGINARY fRIEND.  Glad it is over with and looking forward to hearing the finished product.  All involved are great musicians and lend their particular flavor to the soup that is "zif".  You can hear some of the work in progress on the site or on the MySpace page.  We are looking forward to a "release" in July or so...

As I walked out the door last night, I warned everyone that I may not be at work today.  Since I didn't need an excuse, this is that much more enjoyable (not real... but fun).

Wasp invasion. The pest control people are coming over as they are places I don't feel comfortable getting to.  Why did God create wasps and mosquitoes?

Lawn work. The real reason I am not going to work today.  Due to lots of activity on the weekends with "zif" and church, not much time to fix the back which looks pretty bad after last winter.  Also have a spot to patch in the front.

30 down 20 to go.  Pounds that is.

Marj is tutoring Algebra this summer.  She has 5 students including Kyle.  Things seem to be going well.

I was impressed by the insitefulness of this post... The opening line to Prodigal Jon's post on "Genesis 13 - Good meaning bad" is
"For me, using drugs wasn't the real problem..."

To top it off... I think our dog learned to spell.... I mentioned to Kyle that "Rocky had to go O-U-T" and he headed toward the door.... hmmm.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

A fun fathers day present

It was a fun fathers day present.  I got it on Friday rather than Sunday but it was fun.

Kyle and Marj plotted to get me flight.

Do you remember those dreams where you are flying with no assistance?  Soaring over the landscape?  I am sure dream interpreters have some sort of meaning for that.  To me it nothing more than wanting to fly!

Several times, when we visited Orlando, I wanted to try the indoor skydiving but never got around to it.  This year, however, we found out that there is one in the Denver Area called SkyVentures.

Friday afternoon Marj picked me up from the bus stop and we headed out.  After a short class, we suited up.  Marj, Kyle and I split 10 minutes of flight time.  Videos are below...

Joel's Second Flight

Marj's Second Flight

Kyle's Second Flight

You can see more of the videos here.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Readers Digest and Acts?

I found myself looking forward to this passage in Acts this week!  It is essentially the "Readers Digest" version of the Old Testament... Acts 7:2-50 reads:

Stephen replied, "Friends, fathers, and brothers, the God of glory

appeared to our father Abraham when he was still in Mesopotamia, before the move to Haran, and told him, 'Leave your country and family and go to the land I'll show you.' "So he left the country of the Chaldees and moved to Haran. After the death of his father, he immigrated to this country where you now live, but God gave him nothing, not so much as a foothold. He did promise to give the country to him and his son later on, even though Abraham had no son at the time. God let him know that his offspring would move to an alien country where they would be enslaved and brutalized for four hundred years. 'But,' God said, 'I will step in and take care of those slaveholders and bring my people out so they can worship me in this place.'

"Then he made a covenant with him and signed it in Abraham's flesh by circumcision. When Abraham had his son Isaac, within eight days he reproduced the sign of circumcision in him. Isaac became father of Jacob, and Jacob father of twelve 'fathers,' each faithfully passing on the covenant sign.

"But then those 'fathers,' burning up with jealousy, sent Joseph off to Egypt as a slave. God was right there with him, though—he not only rescued him from all his troubles but brought him to the attention of Pharaoh, king of Egypt. He was so impressed with Joseph that he put him in charge of the whole country, including his own personal affairs.

"Later a famine descended on that entire region, stretching from Egypt to Canaan, bringing terrific hardship. Our hungry fathers looked high and low for food, but the cupboard was bare. Jacob heard there was food in Egypt and sent our fathers to scout it out. Having confirmed the report, they went back to Egypt a second time to get food. On that visit, Joseph revealed his true identity to his brothers and introduced the Jacob family to Pharaoh. Then Joseph sent for his father, Jacob, and everyone else in the family, seventy-five in all. That's how the Jacob family got to Egypt.

"Jacob died, and our fathers after him. They were taken to Shechem and buried in the tomb for which Abraham paid a good price to the sons of Hamor.

"When the four hundred years were nearly up, the time God promised Abraham for deliverance, the population of our people in Egypt had become very large. And there was now a king over Egypt who had never heard of Joseph. He exploited our race mercilessly. He went so far as forcing us to abandon our newborn infants, exposing them to the elements to die a cruel death.

"In just such a time Moses was born, a most beautiful baby. He was hidden at home for three months. When he could be hidden no longer, he was put outside—and immediately rescued by Pharaoh's daughter, who mothered him as her own son. Moses was educated in the best schools in Egypt. He was equally impressive as a thinker and an athlete.

"When he was forty years old, he wondered how everything was going with his Hebrew kin and went out to look things over. He saw an Egyptian abusing one of them and stepped in, avenging his underdog brother by knocking the Egyptian flat. He thought his brothers would be glad that he was on their side, and even see him as an instrument of God to deliver them. But they didn't see it that way. The next day two of them were fighting and he tried to break it up, told them to shake hands and get along with each other: 'Friends, you are brothers, why are you beating up on each other?'

"The one who had started the fight said, 'Who put you in charge of us? Are you going to kill me like you killed that Egyptian yesterday?' When Moses heard that, realizing that the word was out, he ran for his life and lived in exile over in Midian. During the years of exile, two sons were born to him.

"Forty years later, in the wilderness of Mount Sinai, an angel appeared to him in the guise of flames of a burning bush. Moses, not believing his eyes, went up to take a closer look. He heard God's voice: 'I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.' Frightened nearly out of his skin, Moses shut his eyes and turned away.

"God said, 'Kneel and pray. You are in a holy place, on holy ground. I've seen the agony of my people in Egypt. I've heard their groans. I've come to help them. So get yourself ready; I'm sending you back to Egypt.'

"This is the same Moses whom they earlier rejected, saying, 'Who put you in charge of us?' This is the Moses that God, using the angel flaming in the burning bush, sent back as ruler and redeemer. He led them out of their slavery. He did wonderful things, setting up God-signs all through Egypt, down at the Red Sea, and out in the wilderness for forty years. This is the Moses who said to his congregation, 'God will raise up a prophet just like me from your descendants.' This is the Moses who stood between the angel speaking at Sinai and your fathers assembled in the wilderness and took the life-giving words given to him and handed them over to us, words our fathers would have nothing to do with.

"They craved the old Egyptian ways, whining to Aaron, 'Make us gods we can see and follow. This Moses who got us out here miles from nowhere—who knows what's happened to him!' That was the time when they made a calf-idol, brought sacrifices to it, and congratulated each other on the wonderful religious program they had put together.

"God wasn't at all pleased; but he let them do it their way, worship every new god that came down the pike—and live with the consequences, consequences described by the prophet Amos:

Did you bring me offerings of animals and grains
those forty wilderness years, O Israel?
Hardly. You were too busy building shrines
to war gods, to sex goddesses,
Worshiping them with all your might.
That's why I put you in exile in Babylon.

"And all this time our ancestors had a tent shrine for true worship, made to the exact specifications God provided Moses. They had it with them as they followed Joshua, when God cleared the land of pagans, and still had it right down to the time of David. David asked God for a permanent place for worship. But Solomon built it.

"Yet that doesn't mean that Most High God lives in a building made by carpenters and masons. The prophet Isaiah put it well when he wrote,

"Heaven is my throne room;
I rest my feet on earth.
So what kind of house
will you build me?" says God.
"Where I can get away and relax?
It's already built, and I built it."

What follows is Stephan being killed by the clergy and people at that time. Why? Because he "spoke against the "Holy Temple". Saul, who we know mostly as Paul, was among those that stoned Stephan.