Thursday, September 30, 2004

Another Awesome Bible Study Last Night

Last night at The Gate we had another unbelievable Bible Study. We were studying John Chapters 7 and 8. The Woman Caught In Adultery in Chapter 8 is the story of each of us. Jesus shows so much compassion to a person caught in the act of sin. He doesn't condemn her, but He does tell her to go and sin no longer. To have a Lord that cares that much about us is incredible. This is a story about each of us in that each of us will go through the same thing in the Day of Judgment. We will be standing before God and Christ will tell us, "Don't worry, you're taken care of. You are forgiven. You are perfect in Me!" What a great day that will be.

We had 2 Buddhist students from Nepal attend last night's Bible Study. One of our sisters in Christ is a good friend of theirs and brought them with her. We showed them our love for them and shared with them what it is like to live in a personal relationship with the Creator of the Universe. They heard the Gospel in a loving, compassionate way, and felt our love for God and each other. I pray they will return next week.

My Favorite Photo

I thought I would use Rob's advice in the Blogging 102 by Rob post below and add some pictures to my blog. I added a photo to my profile (not a good photo, but I don't take many pictures of myself). And I added this one. This my favorite picture of my son Matthew on a Take Your Son to Work Day about 8 years ago while I was flying C-5s in the Air Force and living in Dover, Delaware. A full-size version is located here. Link. It got blurry if I tried to make it larger in the blog.

I really touched up the pciture to make it look this way. I would never put my son out there on the windshield! But, please don't tell him that.

Blogging 201 By Rob

Here's the next installment of blogging instruction from Rob, Link. Good advice on posting pictures Rob!

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

The Guest Speaker List Grows for AXIOM04

I posted earlier about the Illinois Baptist State Association Collegiate Conference called AXIOM04 that my collegiate group is hosting and I will be speaking at on October 8 and 9. The Lord is really beginning to fill out the program. Frist on Friday Night October 8 we will start with a concert by Bebo Norman, Bethany Dillon, and Jason Morant. Bebo is one of Christian music's big stars and Bethany Dillon and Jason Morant are two up and coming worship leaders that are the heir apparrents to David Crowder. Bebo and Bethany will be giving a concert and Jason will lead us the conference in worship after the concert is over. They are touring together and happened to have a concert cancel on them and were unexpectadly available when we asked. I've heard they're unbelievble. We're expecting 350-400 college students for the conference on Saturday and 1500 for the concert on Friday.

The concert is in the evening and just today I heard that George W. Bush will be speaking that afternoon in our church. What an incredible weekend we have lined up. The traffic will be horrible, but I am a Bush fan as are most of my students. God is working in our group and I am excited at what is going on.

Praise God for the work of His Spirit in our lives!

What Could You Do?

Jordon Cooper and Darryl Dash have links to this incredible music video. Link. Makes you think about what is important in life and what we can accomplish.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

The Fever is Catching

I like Off Shore Fisherman's post on the DDR. The same thing is happening at my house. My son has gone from being a computer nerd who spends every waking minute on his butt playing Sims 2 to a danceaholic. Its great! My daughter also spends a lot of time dancing. I'm not much of a dancer, but sure have a great time watching them as the music speeds up. The fever is catching!

A Sad Day for Montreal

Will the Montreal Expos be moving to Washington, DC? It looks pretty likely. Here's a story on Yahoo Sports. Link.

I wish the Canadian teams could succeed at a better rate. Several hockey teams have moved from Canada to the US, and now it looks like the Expos will be moving. It was just 3 short years ago when Bud Selig wanted to close down the Twins and Expos franchises. Now the Twins have won the American Leage Central Division the last 2 years. I'll be cheering them on through the World Series unless they play the Cardinals.

I thought the most depressing game in baseball was last summer. I blogged about it here. Link. Basically it was an all Canadian game during interleague play between the Toronto blue Jays ane the Montreal Expos. What was depressing is that it was a home game for Montreal and they were playing it in Puerto Rico. That had to be a slap in the face for all Canadians.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Blogging 102 by Rob

Rob has another good post in his series on blogging. Link. He hasn't been blogging very long, but is doing a great job at it. Keep them coming brother.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

The Word on War

I have an unbelievable opportunity to lead a breakout session at the Illinois Baptist State Association's annual Collegiate Conference called AXIOM04. This year's conference theme is "Your Word is Truth". I lead the McKendree College Baptist Collegiate Ministry and I am a retired US Air Force Navigator. So, I guess I am a natural for the breakout session called "The Word on War". I'm not so much concerned about people's opinions on the war in Afghanistan and Iraq, but I am interested in resources others have come across that deals with what the Bible says about war. I have found some solid resources, but am interested in more. Please let me know if any of you brothers and sisters have seen any resources dealing with the Word on War that you can recommend.

Thanks for the help. Your brother in the Lord,


Friday, September 24, 2004

Blogging 101 by Rob

Rob Williams has a post on Blogging 101, for those of you who are interested in becoming bloggers, or those of you who don't know how to use all the tools. Link. There is always room for more in the blogosphere.

Rudy, Rudy, Rudy!

It's official, Rudy Carrasco will be throwing out the first pitch at Dodger Stadium. Link. If anyone deserves this it is Rudy. He runs the Harambee Center in my home town of Padadena, California. He has done so much to reach out to the community in a section of town that has been traditionally overlooked. I have never physically met Rudy, but have come to know and respect him through his weblog and the weblogs of others. And, I have heard from my family and friends back in California how much good Harambee is doing. Next time I am in town (probably next summer) I will stop by and say hi. Good job Rudy!

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Go Cardinals! and Rudy Carrasco has a super article on the St Louis Cardinals and how the best team in baseball this year has pretty much gone without much publicity. Link. The Cards are a team that is full of classy people, many of them Christians. From interviews I have seen on our ocat St Louis networks, most of the Cardinals probably appreciate the lack of attention and the freedom they have to go out and do their jobs without any media distractions. The reason why I think the Cards did so well this year that they are a team full of unselfish athletes (a conrast in terms). St Louis is regarded by many as the best baseball town in America, and we are honored to be the home of Joe Buck and Bob Costas (my favorite sports broadcasters). It is the best sports town I have lived in!

On a slightly different tangent: Rudy Carrasco has a shot at throwing out the first ball at LA's (my hometown) Dodger Stadium on Tuesday. Link. Good job Rudy.... don't bounce it!

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

National Debt has an interesting post by Jerry Bowyer in its weblogs section today regarding our national debt.

Here it is:

Debt, Be Not Proud

Last week the congressional budget office announced their latest forecast for the deficit of this year. They said the deficit would be over $420 billion which is the largest in dollar-terms ever. That got a lot of play. What didn't get as much play was that it looks as though the deficit is going to be about 50 billion dollars less than the previous forecast made in May. Why is the deficit dropping? The CBO was very clear about this: The deficit is dropping because revenues are rising. By the way, almost no ink was given to the fact that their forecast showed falling deficits in seven of the next ten fiscal years.

That's last week's news. Here's this week's update: On Monday the federal government released the latest treasurer's report and it turns out at this point when we are just a few weeks away from the end of the fiscal year and there's practically no guess-work left to be done, revenues have risen even more dramatically than the CBO estimated. We're up over $80 billion this year.

There's a war aspect to this, too. It's clear that the "deficit growth is due to tax cuts" theory is blown away by the evidence. The deficit growth is due to spending increases, some of which is war-related. But so what? We've always borrowed money in times of war. In fact, the stock market was created in the modern world originally as a place to trade war bonds as Niall Ferguson demonstrated in his well-researched book, "The Cash Nexus." The founders did it,
and debated afterwards about whose debt it was. Lincoln did it, Wilson did it, FDR did it and so did Reagan. Critics who blast Bush for running deficits in time of war are holding him to a standard that they do not impose on presidents of the past. By the way, while we're on the subject, the oft-repeated Democratic talking point that we have never before cut taxes at the beginning of a war is simply false. FDR cut cap gains at the beginning of WWII (although he did raise marginal rates). Kennedy cut taxes at the beginning of Vietnam, and Reagan cut taxes at the beginning of the roll-back phase of the Cold War. On a smaller scale, even Clinton himself cut cap gains taxes at the beginning of the Yugoslavian conflict.

Sometimes I wonder where the mainstream media is more deficient: In their knowledge of economics or in their knowledge of history. I guess we'll call it a tie.

Provides lots of ideas for thought. What are yours?

Tuesday, September 21, 2004


Erin has a great post on what is important in life. Link. What is importnat in your life? What do you define worth from?

Badge of Honor Part Deux

Scott Williams is a Pastor friend of mine in British Columbia, Canada. I have learned so much about living with abandon for the Lord by reading what is going on in his life. He has posted about what he is going through lately and how he is coping. I like the thought of releasing my idols. I wish I could cope so well. Link.

Friday, September 17, 2004

The Discouraged Pastor

I've read Darryl Dash's Blog on a daily basis. He inspires me to keep a balanced life and ministry. The last couple of days he has been posting about being discouraged. Then today I cam across Forgiven's post on 8 Ways to Encourage Your Pastor. It is so critical to let your Pastor know when he/she is doing a great job. So, many times we only go and small talk with our Pastor after the Sunday gathering. But, how many of us develop a real trusting mutual relationship with them?

Spend a little time with your Pastor and let them know they are appreciated.

"The Donald" Blew It

What a surprise ending on The Apprentice 2 last night. Bradford had immunity from the previous week and felt so confident in his ability that he made a blunder and gave it up. "The Donald saw that as a huge blunder and made Bradford pay the ultimate price. He told Bradford, "You're Fired!" I thought "The Donald" made a big mistake. He over focused on Bradford's blunder. Ivana was the Project Manager and had some serious lapses in judgement as the person in charge, and Stacie J was Ivana's thorn in the side. I could see "The Donald" choosing to call Bradford on his bluff if there were no other serious candidates for termiation, but Ivana and Stacie gave him lots of ammunition. Ivana or Stacie should have been terminiated for the good of the corporation, not Bradford. Trump even told Bradford that he was the best person in the group, but still terminated him. I think "The Donald" let his emotions get in the way and affect his decision. Donald, "You're Fired!"

Thursday, September 16, 2004

The Samaritan Woman at the Well

Wow, another spirit-filled Bible Study last night. We have been using the DVD The Gospel of John as our visual text. It is such an incredible tool. I was in awe at watching Jesus' encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well. The Jews didn't associate with the Samaritans, so when Jesus spends the time to talk to her and tell her about Him I see it as an example that we all should follow. We used it last night to talk a little about living our lives as a witness to the Gospel. We need to be living a missional life to be effective for the Lord.

Every time I read Scott's Blog and hear about the amazing things New Horizons is doing in the streets in Mission, BC, or when I read Biscotti Brain's Blog and The Off Shore Fisherman's Blog about what is going on in their church I am staggered at how little I am doing to make a difference in my community. How many times do we settle for the routine we have known our whole life when we could really be making a difference in thelives of others? I am convicted that I am in a routine and not doing enough to share Jesus with those I am not comfortable with. This post by Off Shore Fisherman is particularly convicting to me. Link. How do we live the gospel before a lost world? If Jesus were our true role model we should all be honored when we are approached by others saying, "Do you have a place for them, our Church just isn't the right fit? Could we send them here?". I can't think of a question that could be more flattering to a Pastor. I understand that churches each have pesonalities, but being missional means that we take the gospel into today's culture. Some churches are stuck in the routine and can't make the transition to being missional, but others do and thrive on it. Praise God for the differences they are making in people's lives! God loves the Samaritans, skateboarders, college students, even the kids at the canal.

Please Lord, help us all to be plain clothes Christians and live out the gospel in the midst of a lost world!

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Why Do You Blog?

Yesterday Rob ran a post that asked "Who's Your BlogDaddy?" Being one to always steal someone else's hot topic and run with it, and in the spirit of my last post regarding The Online Body of Christ I want to ask you "Why Do You Blog?" If you see yourself as part of the Online Body of Christ where do you see yourself fitting in and what function do you serve/what spiritual gifts are you using?

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

The Online Body of Christ

Last night I received an E-Mail from a friend I met recently in blogosphere. She is new to the blogging scene and has one of the best blogs that I read. Each post encapsulates huge issues in our lives and turns them into bitesize pieces that we can devour and savour and then ponder so that we can come back later and be inspired again and again (no reference to belching please). I wish my blog was more like hers. Most of the time my blog reminds me of a bad Seinfeld episode (a show about nothing) while her blog is so well-crafted and has so much more depth of content. It has made me sit back and reevaluate my thoughts on why I enjoy blogging.

If we are striving to create community through blogging, then Christians who blog are part of creating an online Body of Christ. We are all part of a bigger whole. There are lots of people out there blogging, but as brothers and sisters in the Lord I believe Christian bloggers have so much more to bond us together.

This coming Sunday night I will be walking my students at the McKendree College Student Ministry through an exercise in using our spiritual gifts. During the exercise we will build walls out of piles of rocks. Each student will dedicate their rock, put their name on it, decorate it uniquely, bring it forward, and place it in the wall. The wall is one of my metaphors for the Body of Christ. It is the same for the online Body of Christ.

All of us would probably agree that it is important for the Body of Christ to use their spiritual gifts. God gave us these gifts for us to use in building His Kingdom; for equipping the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:12, NASB). Just as in the local church, the online Body of Christ is a place where these needs should be met, communities are built, and something worthwhile can be made out of something useless. Ephesians 4:16 (NASB) in discussing the Body of Christ says,

From whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.

This can ony happen if we each do our part and use those special gifts the Lord gave us when we came to know Him.

How do we do this in the context of the blogosphere? In some ways we are already doing this. There are a several blogs I read frequently that I can say are exercising the gift of teaching. They have taught me something I couldn't have learned any other way. I am amazed each day that there is such an incredible depth of dialogue in the blogosphere. There are a couple of blogs that I read daily because they are so encouraging to me and are exercising the gift of encouragement. Each of us in the online Christian community can fill the same roles that we do in the local body of Christ.

So, as I though about how much I wish my blog was like my friends blog I finally realized that as a member of the online body of Christ I am being exactly what the Lord wants me to be. The blogosphere allows me to be myself, to exercise those gifts that the Lord has uniquely blessed me with and to help build a useful wall out of useless discarded material. I shouldn't try or want to be the head, when my gift is to be the arm or the leg. The body would be incomplete without any one of us. Praise God that we each fill a need in His wonderful body.

I enjoy blogging because it allows us to be a rock in the wall of community

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Bible Study Last Night: John Chapters 2 and 3

We had a great Bible Study last night at The Gate (our McKerdree College Collegiate Ministry). We watched John Chapter 2 and 3 from the movie The Gospel of John and used it as our visual text along with the Bible as our written text for a discussion of the two chapters. It went very well. Andy led the discussion and did a fantastic job.

Every time we meet I am impressed with the spiritual maturity of the students who attend and the moving of the Holy Spirit when we just let go. It is so rewarding to see student peer ministery. I know I am supposed to be developing the future leaders of the church, but they do so much more for me than I could ever do for them. I can hardly wait for each Wednesday or Sunday Night to come along to see what direction the Lord will lead us.

Sunday Night I will be teaching on something the Lord has laid on my heart. I don't teach too often at The Gate, but I feel the Lord has something for me to say to kick off the new school year. Please pray for the students!

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Hangin' In There

Last night I attended the yearly Saint Louis University Department of American Studies Graduate Student Orientation. I had a great time hearing the departmental overview and meeting all the new students. About half way through I realized that I only recognized about 3 or 4 of the 100 students in the meeting. As I surveyed the room I noticed that there was only 1 student that has been in the program longer than I have. Not all of the students were at the orientation, so I know there are others that have had to be around longer, but I appear to be one of the definite old timers in the PhD program. It was very humbling. I have just started my dissertation, so I will be around another year or two before I'm done. Needless to say, I am not moving very fast.

Another sad fact: I also noticed last night that there is only 1 faculty member left from the department when I entered the PhD program in 1999. There has been an almost universal swap oout of older faculty with newer faculty. Who knows, I may end up outlasting them all!

The first 2 years of the program consisted of classroom work. I was excited to get that complete, but the last 3 years I have only managed to complete my written exams, oral exams, my foreign language requirement, and my dissertation proposal. Althoug I spent a year living in Korea I haven't completed that much in the last 3 years. Anyhow, I feel a little more excited about completing the program and actually see light at the end of the tunnel.

It kind of reminds me of our Christian walk. When we first come to know the Lord we are excited and feel like nothing can hold us down. But, as the time goes by it is easy to get into a routine and lose a little of that excitement. It takes revival in our lives for us to remember what life was like the moment we first trusted Jesus. And, it takes commitment each and every day for us to complete the task of spreading His gospel to every corner of the world.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Searching for God's Will

I have been battling myself the last couple of months to try to understand how I might be able to best serve the Lord. I have felt His call to the ministry and have filled my life with trying to please Him. I have been active in ministering to collegiates at my church at my local church and a local college campus, but I am feeling Him call me to do more. I feel that the Lord is calling me to plant a new church, and I am just trying to understand that calling. Not so much when and where, but how He wants me to prepare myself to do whatever He calls me to do. I have spent a lot of time in prayer over God's will and know that He will reveal what He wants me to do at the right time.

I was hit twice today by circumstances that the Lord has put in my path. First, was in my daily reading this morning covering Luke Chapter 1. Zacharias, John the Baptist's father, was performing his priestly duties and was selected to fulfill the once in a lifetime task of burning incense inside the Temple. While in the Temple he saw the angel of the Lord who told Zacharias that he and his wife would have a son who will turn the sons of Israel back to the Lord (Luke 1:16). Zacharias said how will I know for certain, which means that he doubted the Lord. The angel then tells Zacharias that he will be silent until the birth of his son.

It got me thinking that by not following what I feel is the Lord's will I am doing the same thing that Zacharias did. I am doubting the Lord. I think I need to spend some more time in prayer.

The other circumstance today is not quite so spiritual. In my fortune cookie after lunch I received a fortune that read You always know the right times to be assertive or to simply wait. One of the issues I have been praying about is about how long I continue to pray for circumstances to align to proceed. I have been praying that the Lord would reveal His will so that I will know when it is time beyond a shadow of a doubt. I have been knocking on the door of God's will in prayer and I want Him to show me whether I should continue to keep knocking at the door through prayer, while waiting, or open the door and go to work. The Lord is a great and awesome God and serving Him is an incredible responsibility.

The Insanity of National Polls

Thanks to Jordon Cooper for a link to Steve Berlin Johnson's blog. Link.

Steve makes an important point. We can disregard the national polls. They don't matter. It is only the swing states that are too close to call where the polls matter.

I remember George W. Bush being interviewed after he was declared the winner of the 2000 election. I thought his statement was very telliing. The Democrats kept making statements that Bush "stole" the election and wasn't the rightful winner because he didn't win the popular vote. I kow that I'm paraphrasing, but Bush said something like "You're right, I didn't win the popular vote. But my goal wasn't to win the popular vote, but to win the electoral vote. We don't elect our President from the popular vote. If we did, I would have run my campaign to target more popular votes."

How many of us forget what happened in 2000. Maybe electing our President by the electoral college isn't the best way to run an election, and I would support a switch to electing the President using popular vote. But right now we still use the electoral college system, and s long as it remains the system we use polls taken in states where the outcome is already assured is meaningless.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Light Posting

I have been awfully busy at work and haven't had much of a chance to post anything the last couple of days. I'll get to it when work lets up. I guess it is good job security to be busy!