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.